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Don Lemon Tonight
Democrats Gain Momentum Heading Into Midterms; Biden Cancels Student Debt For Millions Of Americans; CA Expected To Ban New Gas Car Sales By 2035; Houston Communities Of Color Fight Against Illegal Dumping That's Creating A Health Hazard; Study Finds Lookalikes May Share Similar DNA. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired August 24, 2022 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR SENATOR TED CRUZ: And the Democrat who won, Ryan, used Roe as really the cornerstone and really the focus of his campaign.
But I don't think that abortion and Roe v. Wade is the key ingredient to his success. The secret recipe for him was Roe, it was part Roe, it was part falling gas prices, and it was part good old-fashioned politicking. He was a really good retail politician, went door-to- door, and really worked on the retail politics to win this race.
So, all of those factors together --
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: We had him on. He said -- he was just on the last hour, and he said that abortion and Roe v. Wade, that was the cornerstone to his campaign, even putting out an ad. He won this -- just to explain to the viewer, he won this House seat in a New York swing district last night after casting his campaign as a referendum on Roe v. Wade. He said the ground is shifting beneath Republicans' feet and that they are panicking. Go on.
STEWART: Republicans are looking at that race as a huge wake-up call. It does send a signal that Democrats are very galvanized behind that, and we can't wait until the 11th hour before the general election to get out the vote.
So, I know of social conservative organizations that are getting bus tours ready, get out the vote efforts, volunteer groups to galvanize the pro-life community to get them out to vote early on in the general election process.
But this was certainly an opportunity for us to realize that Democrats are just as motivated about this as we have been on Supreme Court justices for the past decade.
STEWART: So, both sides are really looking at that as an opportunity to buckle up and get out the vote. LEMON: Let me bring someone else in the conversation, CNN political commentator Paul Begala. Paul, welcome to the program, welcome to he conversation.
So, Harry Enten, you know, data as I call him, he is CNN's numbers cruncher, he crunches numbers for us, he said Democrats have now outperformed Biden in 2020 in each of the four House special elections since Roe was overturned. Traditionally, the party in the White House loses seats in the midterms, but do you think this year could be different?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Could be, Don. I wouldn't have told you that six months ago. But when the Roe decision came down, the Dobbs decision came down, throwing out 49 years of constitutional rights, something changed.
Midterm elections are always a brake pedal, and almost always a brake pedal against the president. Voters yesterday in New York, voters in Florida, they're starting to say, whoa, we need a brake pedal, but it's on the Republicans.
The constellation of issues, Trump, abortion and guns, has made a lot of voters say, whoa, we do need a brake pedal, but not a break on Biden. We need a break on the radical extreme Republicans who try to take away our rights. That's what Pat Ryan ran on in a very tough district and that's what he won on.
LEMON: Alex, this is according to the democratic firm catalyst. In states with competitive Senate races like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Arizona, new voter registration was much more tilted to women after the Dobbs decision. Does that say anything to you?
STEWART: Yeah, that's a concern, and we saw that --
LEMON: That's for Alex.
LEMON: Alex, not Alice. I know it sounds like. Sorry.
ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's one that's real close. Yeah, no, but, look, Don, of course, it says something. And, you know, this is part of what can make the difference between a wave election, which is when the incumbent party gets just totally clobbered almost irrespective of what the opposition party does or doesn't do, and the sort of normal range, rough midterm campaign.
Again, Democrats have a lot to be worried about in November. Biden's approval rating is still quite low. Inflation is still quite high. This is not a sort of prime political environment for Democrats to run on a two more years of the same. But what turns a set of circumstances like that into total political catastrophe is when the president's party sort of the demobilizes and decides this isn't even worth showing up for, I'm not really interested in paying attention to politics, and what is this midterm election anyway?
I think what you've seen since the Dobbs decision and those voter registration numbers speak to it is a real level of engagement among folks from the center to the center left to the left that wasn't necessarily there before.
LEMON: Paul, Charlie Crist won the democratic primary in Florida last night. He's going to take on Republican Governor Ron DeSantis. This is what he said earlier on CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Do you want President Biden to come and campaign with you?
REP. CHARLIE CRIST (D-FL): Absolutely. Listen, look what Joe Biden has done for our -- President Biden, forgive me, has done for our country. He's been exceptional. Look what he has done for the world. I mean, what's happening in Ukraine, him bringing NATO together, new members to NATO, Finland, Sweden, it's remarkable, the E.U.
I mean, what another president could have done what he has done? He has been phenomenal. Gas prices are down, inflation is trending down, democracy is trending up. I can't wait for him to get down here. I need his help, I want his help, and he is the best I've ever met.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Emphatic, supportive, confident, I mean, it seems like most Democratic candidates are punting that question. But Chris, all in on Biden, is that the right move?
BEGALA: Absolutely, because, you know, it is like Joe Louis said to Billy Conn, the boxer, he can run but he can't hide. So, Democrats should run with Biden, and Charlie is showing exactly the way to do that. Voters will respect you if you stand for something. But they don't respect you if you fall for anything.
I think Charlie got it exactly right. Democrats have a record to run on. My God, they just passed the biggest climate bill in history, the biggest health care bill since Obama, the biggest infrastructure bill since Eisenhower, the first gun safety bill since Clinton. They've got a hell of a record to run on.
I'm glad, finally, to see a Democrat running with some spine and being proud that they've actually accomplished a lot.
LEMON: Actually, a former Republican, Alice.
LEMON: A former Republican governor of Florida. Go on.
STEWART: Right, yeah, former Republican, now Democrat. Look, he is going to need all the help he can get. The reality is he's not running for president, he's running for governor of Florida.
And if you look at the current governor of Florida, DeSantis, he has done a tremendous drop. Florida has a booming economy, more people moving to the state than anywhere else. Tourism is on the rise, 2.7% on inflation in the state of Florida. That is going to be a really hard record to run against. And you can't just call DeSantis names. You have to run on his record and what you can do to un-prove that.
Not only that, DeSantis has raised $132 million in his war chest to run this race. That's going to be a really steep hill for Charlie Crist to climb.
LEMON: Right. Alex --
LEMON: -- there is also the Pennsylvania Senate race. John Fetterman, barely been seen on the trail since his stroke, and a lot of people are wondering if he has been as candid as he should be really about his health. He still has an 11-point lead over Dr. Oz in the latest Fox News poll. Is that a sign of Fetterman's success or House's shortcomings?
BURNS: Look, I think it's both, and I do think that there is an important question mark, which is, what is the John Fetterman campaign going to look like in the home stretch of this race? I think we have a pretty good sense of what the Dr. Oz campaign is going to look like.
By all accounts, and this is the perspective of senior Republicans in Washington by all account, it is not that formidable, Don. But the Fetterman camp has had an enormous success for letting Oz just out there, twist in the wind by himself, not doing a whole lot to help his own candidacy but with Fetterman really hanging back, and the question that is going to be in the final two months, is that going to be enough?
LEMON: Can -- Alex, can Republicans win control of the Senate without Pennsylvania?
BURNS: They can, but it gets a whole lot harder. You know, Pennsylvania is the most glaring place where Republicans are on defense on this map. And if they don't manage to hold the seat that they already have there, that adds one more to the tally of incumbent Democratic senators who they have to defeat.
So, it's not enough to just knock off one pretty formidable Democratic incumbent like Raphael Warnock. You got to add to that a second Democratic incumbent like Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire. You know, Don, the margins here are tight enough that Republicans have a whole lot of ways to count two plus one in the Senate. But when you start out down one, it gets twice as hard.
LEMON: Yeah. We shall see, and we'll be here covering it. Thank you, Alex. Thank you, Alice and Paul. See you soon.
President Joe Biden announcing historic new steps to address student loan debt, but not everybody is happy about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Here's what my administration is going to do. Provide more breathing room for people so they have less burden by student debt, and quite frankly to fix the system itself.
LEMON: A game-changing announcement on student loan debt from President Joe Biden today, laying out his plan to cancel $10,000 in student loan debt for borrowers making less than $125,000 per year and extending the payment freeze one final time until the end of the year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: Now, I understand not everyone -- not everything I'm announcing is going to make everybody happy, but I believe my plan is responsible and fair. It focuses the benefit on middle class and working families. It helps both current and future borrowers. It will fix a badly broken system.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: All right. So, joining me now to discuss, CNN political analyst Natasha Alford and CNN economics commentator Catherine Rampell. Good to have you both here in studio. Thank you so much for joining. Good evening.
Natasha, I'm going to start with you. The president's plan, and we will put it up, also forgives $20,000 for Pell grant recipients and proposes a cap of 5% of monthly income for repayment. How big is this going to be for borrowers?
NATASHA ALFORD, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think this is really, really important, especially when you talk about Black people who will benefit from this policy, right? There's been a lot of conversation about, does this actually impact the Black community who showed up and showed out for Biden at the polls?
And the reality is that Pell grants or something that are really present in the Black community, and that is because we are working with so many structural issues that have set us at a disadvantage from the beginning, right? Less wealth to work with. We go into the workforce, we deal with smaller wages and a paid gap in particular for Black women.
So, it is a way of signaling support and intention around trying to ease the burden for Black voters, even though it doesn't explicitly say that it's directed towards them.
LEMON: Catherine, listen, there's been a lot of pushback on this from a lot of folks and even some Democrats are pushing back. Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers has said that it's going to make inflation worse. He says this isn't a good use of federal money. Why do you say that?
CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN ECONOMICS COMMENTATOR: I think -- the inflation stuff, I think, directionally, it could make inflation a little bit worse. I think it's probably going to have minimal effect, to be fair.
My concern is that it's not a particularly targeted way to help people who are struggling with student loan debt, and there are people who are struggling student loan debt. Maybe they never graduated, for example, so they never got the payoff of their investment.
When they took out this debt, they never got the degree, they never got the higher income that is supposed to go with that, or maybe they got a degree that's worthless. Those are people who, I think, we definitely should be helping.
But the way this plan is structured, you also get student debt forgiveness for households making up to $250,000. Not only that, you get debt forgiveness for people who just graduated from an MBA program and are about to start their advancement banking jobs.
It doesn't account for the fact that what people's income is today is not representative of what their future incomes are. A medical resident looks like they're not making a lot of money today, but their long-term income is quite high. Do we really want to be spending all of this money, you know, God bless the work that doctors do, but are they the neediest population here?
And so, I think it sort of represents a failure of imagination to think about how you could target those who are affected. And there are the other things the Biden administration is doing to try to target those people. But this is a very, very expensive way to deal with a problem that ends up giving a lot of money to people who don't really need it.
LEMON: So, do you think it should be addressed, but there was a more creative way to do it?
RAMPELL: Yeah, I mean, this is going to cost probably a half trillion dollars and some of that money will go to Black borrowers who were defrauded or who make less money, you know, because of other reasons related to discrimination and everything else.
Some of that money will go to wealthy white professionals who took out debt for a degree that pays off that will allow them to be able to repay their student debt payments.
So, you know, I feel like this is sort of a problem with a lot of -- this is my issue with a lot of progressive policy approaches right now, that this approach of just sort of like spending a lot of money and hoping some of it ends up in the right hands of the needy, but you end up making programs cost a lot more than they need to, and you end up giving away a lot of cash to people who don't need it. And it's not like there are unlimited resources in the world.
LEMON: Go ahead.
ALFORD: What I hear you say, people who don't need it, right, this is where my imagination sort of asks that we expand because there's a whole generation, particularly of young Black professionals, who will be the first to go to grad school.
They may have a title of doctor or some sort of profession that is expected to pay more, but they're not coming from households where they even own a home. They're not coming from households where they even have wealth or savings as many of their white counterparts do.
So, the title, the profession, the degree may seem to indicate that they somehow have an advantage or a privilege, but in the United States of America, the racial wealth gap has made sure that, although we're celebrating Black women in particular for being the most educated group, they are still -- they are still educated from a place of disadvantage and they are not paid --
RAMPELL: Yeah, but spend the money on the people who didn't get to go to med school, didn't get to go to law school, didn't get to go to business school, spend the money on the janitor at the investment bank. I mean --
ALFORD: It's more complicated than that. I interviewed a young woman who went to medical school. She is one of the first children in her family to go to college, and she couldn't even get a job in the field that she studied in. That is a reality for a lot of Black college graduates. They go in with these intentions and the labor market does not honor their experience.
RAMPELL: I think if you're a doctor right now, I think you are not going to have trouble finding a job, whatever your race or ethnicity, whatever obstacles you may face in life. Again, spend the money on the people who do not have expected high lifetime earnings. Don't spend it on the people who are likely to have a large return on investment.
LEMON: The question is, how do you figure that out? You've got to figure that out. And listen, we're talking doctors --
RAMPELL: Through food stamps, through investing in prenatal care, through pre-K. There are so many other better ways to spend money.
LEMON: Listen, on an average, doctors, as you know, don't earn what doctors used to earn in the old days. Listen --
RAMPELL: Doctors are the single occupation that is most likely to be represented in the top 1%.
LEMON: Yeah, okay, but still, I mean, it's not the same. Not all doctors. A family practitioner does not --
RAMPELL: Not all doctors, but again, the way this program is designed is that people who are -- households that are earning up to $250,000 today benefit. And we're not even taking in to account whatever their future earnings are.
I just -- if we had unlimited resources, yes, make everything free, but we don't.
LEMON: Let me ask you this. Let me ask you this.
RAMPELL: We just don't. That should be a lesson of the last couple years.
LEMON: "Devil's Advocate," but I thought it was really sharp because when I saw this on the internet, I thought it was going to be, you know, with Joe Biden, and he puts the sunglasses on and goes nah, nah, nah, you know what that mean, when the reporter asked him, you know, do you think this is fair to the people who made the commitment?
ALFORD: Yeah, the (INAUDIBLE).
LEMON: He said, do you think it's fair for tax cuts? And I don't hear that from Republicans as much pushback for these huge tax cuts for corporations, and as you say, the high-income earners in our society. Is that a fair criticism from the president of the United States?
RAMPELL: I don't know. I've been fairly consistent that I thought that the republican tax plan was a huge giveaway to the wealthy. I mean, just because one plan was not a good use of money or particularly targeted use of money does not excuse another plan --
LEMON: Very fair.
RAMPELL: -- not being particularly well designed.
LEMON: Right. Yeah. What do you say to that?
ALFORD: I see a generation that asks, does the government actually work? We're having this whole like moment right now where we're trying to reconcile, does democracy work for us? Does my vote work?
And for the younger generation, they may not understand all of the politics of foreign policy, but they say, we're spending all this money on Ukraine, right? Or we have the ability to give tax cuts, but what about me? You're telling me that the American dream is to pursue my education, to work hard, and, you know, as Mitch McConnell said, get an extra job, do all of these things, save money, and yet it's still not enough. What do I do with that?
LEMON: What does this do for him, the president, politically? Because there are some that are saying that this is not enough. What does it do for him?
ALFORD: I think it's a mixed bag. I think there are people today who their lives were changed. I know people who, their debt was wiped out because of what happened today, and they will have the opportunity to move forward in a way that they couldn't.
But there are others who say, this is a whole package, right? It's not just about student loans. This is about what happens with the George Floyd Policing Act and other promises that you made to our communities? I think people are going to come out in different ways around this.
LEMON: I do hear across the board, especially young people, man, forgive that student debt, like they're on board with this.
RAMPELL: Yeah, I mean, the people who benefit from it, for them, of course, it is quite popular. I think what the net effect is in terms of popularity is a little bit unclear.
LEMON: I was on the phone today with somebody who said, I've realized -- someone in their 40s or 50s who says, I realized that I am never going to pay off my student loan.
RAMPELL: Yeah, so, for those people, yeah, they're really happy. They should be. The question is, will most Americans didn't go to college? Again, I think the inflationary impact is going to be pretty minor, but directionally, it probably will be inflationary.
And if you see a lot of ads from a Republicans saying Biden just increased inflation, maybe that breaks through, you know, is some of these very tight Senate races where, again, most of the population did not go to college, doesn't have student loan debt and may, in fact, be resentful of the fact that people with high lifetime earnings are effectively being subsidized by the working class, which is sort of how it works.
LEMON: It is a fascinating conversation. I'm not talking about like cardiologists. I'm talking about like family practitioners and people --
RAMPELL: That part is true, yes.
ALFORD: But there are polls that have shown that there are people who don't have debt who do support it. It's a popular policy.
RAMPELL: Yeah, I think it's popular now. The question is, what happens when it gets attacked?
LEMON: I love this conversation. Thank you both. I appreciate it. Good to see you. Thanks.
California making a bold move, planning to ban the sale of new gas- powered cars by 2035. Whew! Plus, they aren't brothers, they aren't even related, but there are more genetic similarities between them than you might expect. This is a fascinating story. And you might have your own doppelganger, too. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Officials in California set to ban the sale of new gasoline cars by 2035 and set interim targets to phase the cars out. Vote tomorrow by the state's air regulators is a combination (ph) of years of work after Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order in 2020 mandating that all vehicles sold in the state must be zero-emission by the year 2035. And this rule would have an impact beyond California.
So, let's talk about politics of it all with CNN senior political analyst Mr. Ron Brownstein live from Los Angeles. So, he lives there, and he knows it. Hey Ron, thank you for joining. This is a huge deal, man, and it's going to have some major political implications beyond California. Can you give us some perspective here?
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, first, this is following a long tradition. I mean, California has set the pace on clean air, in particular clean vehicle standards for over 50 years. The first tailpipe emission in the 60s, the catalytic converter in the 70s, the first carbon emission standards in the early 2000s. California has been consistently ahead of the other states and the federal government.
In fact, the Clean Air Act back in 1970 acknowledged California's role by providing it uniquely among the states the authority to set its own rules, and a few years later, they allowed other states to follow those rules. So, there are about a dozen, 13 blue states that generally follow what California does in the clean air and clean vehicle arena.
So, what's happening here is a potentially enormous kind of game- changer, pointing in the same direction as Biden who is probably going to come out with EPA regulations that push the auto companies in this direction.
The auto companies GM and Ford say they're already moving with significant investments in this direction. California and the states that usually follow its regulation account for one-third of U.S. auto market, auto sales.
So, it is entirely possible that as other states follow, this is really going to accelerate the transition, which will translate, by the way, into a lot of manufacturing jobs in many of the midwestern states that have suffered the most from the industrialization over the last generation.
LEMON: So, Ron, California is making these uber progressives moves like starting the timer on banning gas, fueled cars.
BROWNSTEIN: Yeah. LEMON: But then you have states like Texas, right, pushing further to the right on key issues like abortion. I mean, it's more like two different countries and two different states.
BROWNSTEIN: Yeah, look, I mean, I think what we're seeing here is the most dramatic broad divergence between the states, really since before the civil war. Obviously, the Jim Crow era, from Plessy vs. Ferguson, 1896, to Civil Rights Act in 1964 was an enormous divergence between the states that had segregation and those that didn't. But that was only about a dozen states, right?
This is essentially half the states. The red states are moving in a very systematic way to undo, as we talked about before, the rights revolution of the past six decades, which is generally seen more rights being nationalized and the ability of states to constrain those rights, whether it's abortion or interracial marriage or contraception reduced.
Now, you have states like Texas and Florida and a whole bunch of others rolling back abortion rights, LGBTQ rights, voting rights, banning books, censoring classrooms. Blue states are going in the opposite direction.
And it's not just on the rights front. I mean, we're talking about how blue states are moving to more aggressively confront the challenge of climate change. Almost all the red states joined in the lawsuit to stop the EPA regulations on power cleansing. Texas and other states at this point are passing laws to punish companies that try to disinvest in fossil fuels.
Health care, you know, the remaining states that have not expanded Medicaid under the ACA are red states. And even on the basic structure of the economy where you have the blue states are the ones at the forefront of the transition into the information age economy to the point where the per capita, GDP at this point is 25% higher in the blue states than in the red states.
All of these fronts, we are seeing two very different systems emerge in many ways through the openings created by the republican majority on the Supreme Court, and that level of divergence in the country, I think, is a recipe for more social conflict going forward. As I said, I think we've never seen anything like this since the 1840s and 1850s.
LEMON: Thank you, Ron Brownstein. We'll see you soon. Appreciate it.
BROWNSTEIN: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: Broken furniture, discarded tires, illegal dumping is littering many communities of color and sparking a health hazard. Now, some passionate residents are fighting to end it.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: It is a blight across many neighborhoods in America. The illegal dumping of trash getting so severe that it's sparking a health hazard in some areas, and activists say it's predominantly impacting communities of color. Now, residents in one Houston community are demanding change.
CNN's Sara Sidner now.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): My grandparents plotted some of the original property.
UNKNOWN: My family actually lived in Trinity Gardens since the mid- 1930s.
SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Huey German- Wilson and Ken Williams (ph) both lived in and loved Trinity Gardens, which is about eight miles north of downtown Houston.
UNKNOWN: It's a beautiful community except we've got these other issues.
This was designed to be for Black families that were going to be farming.
SIDNER (voice-over): Both these homeowners have become community activists, passionate neighborhood watchdogs over an issue, they say, has been plaguing this predominately Black and brown community for decades.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): We've got illegal dumping at a magnitude that nobody is going to see anywhere else in the city.
SIDNER (voice-over): What are you seeing?
UNKNOWN: We've seen boats. We get lots of construction debris. You've got sofas, tables. I've seen half a car.
SIDNER (on camera): This is just a tiny sample of the filth that these residents in this neighborhood have been dealing with, they say, for years. You have tires, you have paint, you have construction items, you have wigs and weaves. It is a toxic soup. It's not just a problem for their property values, but it's actually a danger to the residents' health.
UNKNOWN: It's most definitely a health issue, but we still have little kids that go to playgrounds, they go to grandma's house.
SIDNER (voice-over): So, they started documenting in detail.
UNKNOWN: We would drive around to identify illegal dumping, and then put out a spreadsheet.
SIDNER (voice-over): And calling the city's help service line.
(On camera): Who do you call when you notice there are mattresses and all kinds of debris dumped?
UNKNOWN (voice-over): We call 311.
SIDNERY (voice-over): Do they show up right away?
UNKNOWN: No, nobody is coming quickly.
SIDNER (voice-over): They both say after decades of illegal dump sites that festered in the neighborhood, something changed. The Department of Justice announced that it was conducting an environmental justice investigation because of the perpetual problem.
(On camera): What happened when the Department of Justice stepped in?
UNKNOWN: I thought the president was coming to visit because the neighborhood was so clean.
SIDNER (voice-over): But the announcement infuriated at least one Black resident who lives in the neighborhood.
MAYOR SYLVESTER TURNER, HOUSTON, TEXAS: I grew up in that hood. As the mayor, I still live in that hood. So, I understand the frustration. But for the DOJ or anyone else to say that the city is discriminating against black and brown communities, that's absurd.
SIDNER (on camera): Is it absurd? Because you yourself said, look, this happens across America for Black and brown communities, especially lower socioeconomic communities.
TURNER: No. If you want to say illegal dumping is occurring, we're on the same page. And if you want to say it's occurring more so in communities of color, we're all of the same page. But don't dare say, don't dare say, that this administration is discriminating against communities of color. Now, you're totally baseless without merit.
SIDNER (on camera): So, it sounds like you felt blindsided.
TURNER: Well, that's a true statement. In Trinity Gardens, when you look at the numbers, the city picks up illegal dumping in that area two weeks quicker than on average.
SIDNER (voice-over): The DOJ is also looking into whether systematic discrimination is the reason 85% of Houston's incinerators and landfills are located in a Black and brown section of town.
The mayor says the city has put a holistic approach into action to improving those neighborhoods, including dealing with illegal dumping.
TURNER: In the last 12 months, the numbers of the reports are less than they've have been over the last five years. Those are things the DOJ didn't know.
SIDNER (voice-over): But the DOJ's investigation is based on a complaint from a community legal aid group detailing evidence, they say, shows environmental racism is still occurring here. This push is part of the Biden administration's Inflation Reduction Act that recently passed and has earmarked $60 billion addressing environmental justice.
(on camera): Are you happy that the DOJ has stepped in?
UNKNOWN: Truly. Excited. It's just a piece of the iceberg. It's all environmental injustice.
UNKNOWN: So, for us, somebody has finally seen us. And we've got all of these other health concerns. Trash is the thing that brought everybody to the table.
SIDNER (on camera): Talking trash, literally.
UNKNOWN: Talking trash, literally.
UNKNOWN: Talking trash, literally.
SIDNER (on camera): The mayor agrees that this is just the tip of the iceberg and that there needs to be a wholesale change in some of these communities, economic opportunities as well as dealing with things like the fact that there is a food desert, and he says he's working on that.
But when it comes to illegal dumping itself, he says, look, we've already made changes. We've doubled the fines for illegal dumping. We have made it so that once a month there is a large trash pickup, which means things like mattresses and couches will be picked up at no cost to the residents.
He goes, some of those things, he believes, are making a difference. The residents say they need to see more change, and they need to see it faster. Don?
LEMON: Sara Sidner, thank you so much. So, what if I told you that you may have a doppelganger out there and you may share similar DNA? Don't believe me? Ask Charlie Chasen and Michael Malone. They aren't related, but they've got a lot in common. We're going to unpack fascinating new study. Next, twins? No? What?
LEMON: Okay, do you have doppelganger somewhere in the world? You might. Actually, we all might. Doppelgangers are people who resemble each other. They look like twins but are not related. A new study shows that doppelgangers appear to have genetic similarities. However, there are other big differences in their physical makeup and the physical makeup of their bodies.
So, Charlie Chasen and Michael Malone are doppelgangers who are featured along with others in an article in "The New York Times," and they join me tonight along with Dr. Manel Esteller. He is a director of the Josep Carreras Leukemia Research Institute in Barcelona, Spain. (INAUDIBLE), if you want to say it that way. He is also the coauthor of the study on doppelgangers.
Good to have you in the studio. Thank you, guys, for joining us. Charlie, I'm going to start with you. You are not twins, you're not related, what it is like to have a doppelganger?
CHARLIE CHASEN, DOPPELGANGER: You know, it is really interesting because we have known each other a long time. Michael and I go way back and it has been like a source of a lot of fun for us because over the years, we've been mistaken for each other all over the place, all over Atlanta. There has been some really interesting situation that have come out just because people thought we were the other person.
And so, for us, it has just been a lot of fun in another way, we are good friends, another way for us to, you know, to be even better friends and to bond more. We've got this thing between us that not everyone else has.
I mean, everybody has a doppelganger probably, but we actually know ours, we know each other well.
LEMON: I have one, too. People call me Anderson Cooper all the time when they see me on the street.
CHASEN: I see the resemblance.
LEMON: Michael, how did you guys actually meet? When did it click that you guys looked alike?
MICHAEL MALONE, DOPPELGANGER: We met because Charlie joined a band and he was playing guitar for a band, and I started guesting with this band. We started because the social circles were just converging on each other. We just became friends. We didn't see it in each other. We just liked each other as friends. And it just a friendship that grew until people started pointing out to us, you guys look like brothers, you guys look like brothers.
In fact, I met a set of friends here in Atlanta years ago because they asked me, do you play guitar with (INAUDIBLE)? I said, no, but my friend Charlie does. So, because we were brought together by music or social circles, we've been friends ever since.
LEMON: So, here's a question to doctor. I'm so glad that you are here. Tell us more about the study. You decided to study people who sort of looked alike, right, and who aren't related. You recruited 32 people who had participated in a photo project by a Canadian artist. They took some DNA test. They used facial recognition software. What did you discover after you did all of that?
DR. MANEL ESTELLER, CO-AUTHOR OF STUDY ON DOPPELGANGERS: So, we look at these people that share the same faces. In fact, the first time I see them (INAUDIBLE) really a reality. And from these people, we will just do biological material, analyze their DNA. And in this DNA, we are able to see that these lookalike humans, in fact, they are sharing several genetic variants, and these are very common among them.
So, they share these genetic variants that are related in a way that they have the shape of the nose, the eyes, the mouth, the lips, and even the bone structure. And this was a main conclusion: The genetics puts them together. Other factors are different and this is the reason they are not completely identical.
LEMON: So, but is it -- because they -- do they have -- they have similar DNA, right? But does that mean that they are related?
ESTELLER: No, they are not. In fact, in each case, going back almost 100 years ago, there is no common ancestry. They are not related at all. They are not family.
LEMON: So similar codes, right?
LEMON: But not --
ESTELLER: Similar codes just by random chance. In the world right now, there are so many people that eventually, the system is producing humans with similar DNA sequences. That is the reason. And now with the internet, you can find these lookalikes in the world in an easier way.
LEMON: Okay. This is what I'm saying as I'm looking at this. I always said for years now, there are only so many faces.
LEMON: Right? And I see people all the time and I go, hey, they look like someone else.
LEMON: This is what you told "The New York Times." You told "The New York Times," essentially, there are so many people in the world that the system is repeating itself.
LEMON: So, I have a doppelganger out there, you think?
ESTELLER: Absolutely. I think all of us has right now somebody that looks like us, a double, in this case. And it is due to the fact that there are so many people in the world that it is very likely that you have these people.
Some people are fully 100% identical. These are the twins, the real twins, the brother twins. And there are people that are 90%, 80%, 70%, 60%. So, these lookalikes in our article, they are close to 80%, so they are like almost like natural born twins.
LEMON: It is amazing, I look at the pictures. The pictures are rolling behind the doctor in the wall behind us. I can't help but look at them. These people look so much alike, but they are not related.
LEMON: Charlie, your ancestors hail from Lithuania and Scotland, while Michael's hail from the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas, not even in the same part of the world.
CHASEN: Not at all. You know, we had a theory -- it sounds like the doctor just said, even 100 years back, we don't have any sort of connection. We had this theory for a while that there might be some Scotch or Irish that would be connecting us a couple 100 years ago, but it sounds like that is not even true. So, you know, we don't have common ancestry at all.
LEMON: Michael, you guys have been friends for 25 years now. Do you have a bond?
MALONE: Correct. Yeah.
LEMON: Do you guys have that whole twin sort of language?
MALONE: And we like a lot of the same things. We are just real comfortable. We are great, great friends. We have been through a lot together. Great stuff, a lot of tough stuff. That is what makes friends. And, you know, this is just, like Charlie said, one thing to just bring us closer together.
It made me realized that we are all connected, we are all connected because humankind probably started (INAUDIBLE).
LEMON: Charlie, congratulations. I understand you got married last week and Michael was the first person you called.
CHASEN: That is true. And I have to tell you, Don, we haven't really made a big deal about it, and so "The New York Times" article pretty much put that out in the air. So --
CHASEN: -- we are saying it live on TV. Here we are.
LEMON: It is amazing. Doctor, this is fascinating stuff. These people, I'm sure they look at each other and say, I don't like anything like --
ESTELLER: They recognize each other. When you mention about this connection that twins have, these people have something similar because beyond genes involving faces, maybe they share other genes that relates to the taste or things that they like. It is possible.
LEMON: Yeah. Thank you, all. I appreciate it. Be well.
UNKNOWN: Thank you very much.
LEMON: And listen, I want to thank Dr. Francois Brunelle for the pictures, the great pictures of lookalikes who we mentioned. He is a photographer. I am sorry, the photographer.
So, thanks for watching, everyone. Thank you all.
ESTELLER: Thank you.
LEMON: Thanks for watching. Our coverage continues.