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Former Trump Officials Likely To Resist Congressional Subpoenas For Documents And Testimony Concerning January 6th Insurrection; Trump Hotel In Washington D.C. Possible Business Failure; Court Overturns Previous Stay On Restrictive Abortion Law In Texas; President Biden's Unpopularity Possibly Affecting Virginia Gubernatorial Race; Taliban Rule In Afghanistan Restricting Women's Rights And Girls' Access To Education; Young Women Recount How Instagram Addiction Led Them To Eating Disorders. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired October 09, 2021 - 14:00   ET



MARSHALL COHEN, CNN REPORTER: Hey, Fredricka, how are you? This is the fourth of four subpoenas to some of President Trump's strongest supporters and closest allies from his time in the White House. It's Dan Scavino, who was a deputy chief of staff and really the brains behind a lot of Former President Trump's activities on social media. The latest reporting as of this morning is that the subpoena was served down at Mar-a-Lago. Scavino wasn't there, but he is in possession of this subpoena.

He'll now have to start working with his attorney to formulate a response to the committee because they want all kinds of documents, communications, emails. And as you said, they want a deposition, too. That all could possibly be coming down the road.

But where things stand right now with Scavino and the other Trump aides, it's important to break this down one by one, because it's not just Scavino. There's also Steve Bannon. There is Mark Meadows, and there's also Kash Patel, who was a top official at the Defense Department. Bannon has said that he's going to put his foot down. He's going to take Trump's direction and try to fight this in court, try to claim executive privilege. Legal scholars say that's probably never going to work, but we'll see if it goes to court.

And then Meadows and Patel, the committee, the January 6th select committee in the House put out a statement saying that those two guys are engaging with lawmakers, they are trying to figure out a way forward. So at this moment that first batch of subpoenas, we're starting to get some responses. It's really not clear if any of them are really going to comply and give over any documents or any testimony, but this is where things stand right now, Fred.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: And then let's talk about this request or demand former president is trying to make, trying to claim executive privilege not just over witness testimony, but documents as well?

COHEN: A lot of documents that President Trump, former President Trump wants to keep secret, keep out of the hands of this committee, which, of course, is tasked with figuring out exactly what he was doing that day on January 6th and on the run-up to that day and that insurrection.

So former President Trump did make it clear this week that he wants current President Biden to use executive privilege to shield those documents. But the Biden White House said not so fast. They said in clear terms that they are not going to bail out Trump on this particular batch of documents, and the reason being that they think that there is no protection for an effort to subvert the Constitution.

Let me read to you exactly what they said. This is a statement from the current White House counsel in the Biden White House. This says, quote, "The constitutional protections of executive privilege should not be used to shield from Congress or the public," that's us, "information that reflects a clear and apparent effort to subvert the Constitution itself."

So in plain language what that means is that the Biden White House is OK with handing over these sensitive documents so that the lawmakers and us in the public can figure out exactly what Trump was doing that day. If he still wants to fight, he'll have to go to court. Fred?

WHITFIELD: Marshall Cohen, thank you so much.

Let's talk more about all this. Joining me right now to talk is Shan Wu. He is a former federal prosecutor and a defense attorney. Shan, so good to see you.


WHITFIELD: OK, so trying this hard to shield documents and testimony simply screams guilt, or at least trying to hide something.

WU: It does. And unfortunately, for the former president, executive privilege is not his to invoke anymore. Privilege, as we all know, is something meant to protect confidentiality, doctor/patient, attorney/client, but there's a big difference about executive privilege. It's not personal. It belongs to the office of the president.

WHITFIELD: Wouldn't his attorneys know this?

WU: I think they know that, but they also have a duty for zealous advocacy, so they're going to try to assert that anyway. I think, though, more important, as Marshall was pointing out, they first tried to convince the current president of the United States to invoke it, and the White House has declined to do that.

WHITFIELD: Right. And so now even through attorneys representing these four who have been subpoenaed, particularly the lawyer for Steve Bannon, says the former president instructed him to defy testimony. So if that's the case, I guess he's alleging that's going to be his protection, but if that is the case, wouldn't that be obstruction?

WU: It certainly could be obstruction. Trump would have legal counterarguments to make that he is claiming it's his interpretation of executive privilege, so he would say he has a good faith basis rather than an intention to obstruct Congress in this case. But that certainly could be something.


I think the Justice Department is less likely to go after that kind of instruction as obstruction. I think the litmus test for them is going to be if these defiant rebels like Bannon won't comply and Congress makes a criminal referral, what will Attorney General Merrick Garland do?

WHITFIELD: And do you see that that is the direction that it's likely to go?

WU: It sounds like that's what the select committee wants to do. I would actually suggest if they're serious about using all their tools that they go routes simultaneously. They can file the civil suit, which typically takes longer, and they can ask DOJ to prosecute it for criminal contempt.

And for this DOJ, unlike the other one, I don't think there's going to be a conflict where they don't want to prosecute it. But Garland's DOJ, with all due respect to my former colleagues, has been a little timid about going after former Trump officials I think. So this will be a big test for them if they want to do that.

WHITFIELD: And why do you think that is? Because the Department of Justice doesn't want to come across as -- they're afraid of any appearances of doing work for the White House, because obviously, the former president went to the White House, asked for executive privilege, and that White House said no.

So now if the Justice Department gets involved, is it tantamount to thinking that here we go with the White House going after the former president, because it's the existing White House's DOJ?

WU: That's exactly right, Fred. I think that this Justice Department is very much aware of the fact that the Trump Justice Department really debased and hurt the integrity of the institution. And these are folks who are very concerned with restoring that integrity, and so they're hyperconscious about being seen as overly partisan.

However, sometimes that over hyperconsciousness of that can lead to being a little too timid. I think this is a time for bold leadership at the department. But that's certainly what they're worried about.

WHITFIELD: Shan Wu, always good to see you on what I now understand through your research, this is your 601st appearance. Happy anniversary.


WU: Happy anniversary.

WHITFIELD: Glad you could be with us. Shan Wu, thanks so much. New documents from House lawmakers are casting renewed scrutiny on

Trump's Washington, D.C. hotel. Investigators are zeroing in on the hotel's massive financial losses and the money it took from foreign governments as well. Brian Todd has more.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: New information that Donald Trump's celebrated Washington hotel was not the successful venture the former president claimed it was. According to the House Oversight Committee, Trump's company reported in financial disclosures that the Trump International Hotel earned more than $150 million in income between its 2016 opening and last year. But the committee has just released documents saying that the hotel suffered a net loss of more than $70 million during that period.

How did they lose so much money?

ZACH EVERSON, "FORBES" MAGAZINE: The math never made sense. I think the problem is just they couldn't fill the rooms. There was no shortage of pro-Trump fans sidling up to the bar and embassies and other groups originally going to banquet rooms. But the guest rooms just sounded like they weren't renting that much.

TODD: Earlier this year during a weekend stay, a CNN employee who shot this video and took still pictures, observed very few guests staying at the hotel, hallways elegant but empty, elevators running up and down only a handful of times, indicating a lack of traffic to and from the rooms.

The House Oversight Committee documents say that during the four-year period in question, the Trump Organization had to funnel more than $24 million from other parts of the company to help the D.C. hotel. But that's not all. The committee says its analysis of the financial documents shows the Trump hotel received about $3.7 million from foreign governments, which the committee says raises concerns about whether Trump violated part of the Constitution that bans federal office holders from receiving gifts, payments, anything of value from foreign officials.

NORM EISEN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ETHICS CZAR: It calls into question whether Trump's dealings with these foreign governments were motivated by the best interests of the United States or his own financial interests.

TODD: The committee says the documents also show that Trump received, quote, undisclosed preferential treatment from Deutsche Bank on a $170 million construction loan for the hotel. Just before Donald Trump was elected president, the Trump International hotel opened, touted as a crown jewel in his real estate empire.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: With the notable exception of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, this is the most coveted piece of real estate in Washington, D.C., the best location.

TODD: It boasted luxurious suites, a Himalayan salt chamber in the spa, foreign officials, business elites, political powerbrokers likely trying to curry favor with Trump, constantly shuttling through the lobby.

SHAWN MATIJEVICH, FORMER EXECUTIVE CHEF AT RESTAURANT IN TRUMP INTERNATIONAL HOTEL: With so many every day, it almost got overwhelming at times how many VIPs and members of our government that are making headlines are all together in the same place.


TODD: Now sources tell CNN the Trump Organization has been looking to sell the lease on the hotel for more than a year. Contacted by CNN, the Trump Organization issued a written statement saying the House Oversight Committee's report was intentionally misleading, irresponsible, and unequivocally false. The statement says the committee showed a fundamental misunderstanding of basic accounting principles, and says at no time did the Trump Organization receive preferential treatment from any lender.

It also said that any profits collected during Trump's presidency from this hotel were voluntarily donated back to the U.S. Treasury at the end of each fiscal year. Deutsche Bank responded to the report by telling CNN in a statement that the committee makes several inaccurate statements about Deutsche Bank and its loan agreements.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


WHITFIELD: Coming up, abortion is once again effectively banned in Texas after an appeals court put a temporary hold on a previous ruling blocking the Texas abortion law. The latest next.

But first, a quick programming note. The new CNN original series "Diana" offers a glimpse at the person behind the princess and reveals a life more complicated and fascinating than the world new. "Diana" premiers tomorrow night at 9:00 on CNN. Here is a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was always different. I could always see inside me that I was going somewhere different.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was going to marry her dashing prince like all the stories she'd read.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was iconic. She was box office.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to dance with the princess tonight?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If she would like me to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pre Diana, there was zilch interest in the royal family.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think anybody has grown up in public like Diana has.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Diana provided a very public model for defiance and truthfulness.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Isn't it normal to feel angry and want to change a situation?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was able to recognize an inner determination to survive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The new CNN original series "Diana" premieres tomorrow at 9:00 on CNN.




WHITFIELD: The back-and-forth battle over abortion rights in Texas is taking another turn. Late last night a federal appeals court reinstated the state's restrictive abortion law, essentially banning procedures once again. The decision pauses a lower court's ruling just made on Wednesday that found the abortion restrictions in Texas were likely unconstitutional.

CNN national correspondent Natasha Chen is following these developments for us. Natasha, what now?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, the next immediate thing is that the U.S. Department of Justice has to respond to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals by Tuesday, 5:00 p.m. central time. That court of appeals is based in New Orleans.

As you mentioned, this came down last night just two days before a lower court, the U.S. district court of appeals on Wednesday -- I'm sorry, the U.S. district court had on Wednesday blocked the Texas law. That was Judge Robert Pitman. He ordered that at the request of the Department of Justice, that's why the DOJ is being requested to respond to the Fifth Circuit by Tuesday.

You can imagine with all this back and forth that this is creating lots of confusion for women in Texas, and we're actually hearing from a Louisiana abortion clinic that they're observing more women coming from Texas showing up at their door now.


KATHALEEN PITTMAN, ADMINISTRATOR, HOPE MEDICAL GROUP: Under normal circumstance, about 18 to 20 percent of the women we see are from Texas. And at this point in time, we are running closer to 60 percent.


CHEN: Now, on Thursday, just a day after that initial order blocking the abortion ban, an organization that runs several clinics in Texas said that its staff had resumed providing abortions for women who were more than six weeks pregnant.

And that was done with some legal risk because the Texas law actually allows for enforcement actions for abortions conducted during any court-ordered block if that order is to be reversed later. So it seems that they saw this legal wrangling coming here. Ultimately this could wind up before the Supreme Court, which had rejected an earlier request by abortion clinics for it to block the law, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Natasha Chen, thank you so much.

The same lies that fueled the January 6th attack have seeped into Virginia's race for governor. Republican Glenn Youngkin is calling for an audit of the voting machines used in the 2020 election even though Youngkin himself has said President Biden was duly elected. And as CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports, the Democrat in the race, former governor Terry McAuliffe, may be trying to distance himself from the leader of his party, President Joe Biden.


TERRY MCAULIFFE, (D) VIRGINIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: You know who is going to help us? Joe Biden!

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Terry McAuliffe has long been a Joe Biden kind of Democrat.

JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You're not going to find anyone, I mean anyone, who knows how to get more done for Virginia than Terry. That's a fact.

ZELENY: And in Virginia where McAuliffe is running for governor again, their association has always been a plus considering Biden carried the state by 10 points last year. But the lackluster September jobs report Friday --

BIDEN: The jobs numbers also remind us that we have important work ahead of us.

ZELENY: -- and Biden's weakened approval rating are the latest examples of political challenges coming from Washington, a point McAuliffe made explicitly in a virtual meeting with supporters earlier this week, a meeting that he thought was private.

MCAULIFFE: We are facing a lot of headwinds from Washington. As you know, the patient is unpopular today, unfortunately, here in Virginia, so we have got to plow through.


ZELENY: Republicans blasted out his comments, which offer a window into McAuliffe's mindset in the final month of a race that's suddenly making Democrats nervous about the party's standing and its appeal to independent voters.

GLENN YOUNGKIN, (R) VIRGINIA GUBERNATORIAL NOMINEE: If Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton had a son, it's Terry McAuliffe. Let's just be serious.

ZELENY: Glenn Youngkin is the Republican candidate for governor. He's more eager to talk about Democratic presidents than Republicans, notably former President Trump. He's walking a tightrope with Trump on election integrity, testing whether the lie that the 2020 race was stolen is a litmus test for GOP's candidates. Youngkin still calls for an audit even though he now says Biden was the legitimate winner.

YOUNGKIN: I have said that Joe Biden was our president. I still talk about election integrity. Election integrity is not a Republican issue, it's not a Democrat issue.

ZELENY: This November election offers the first measure of the climate heading into next year's midterm races that will determine whether Democrats maintain control of Congress.

Is Virginia still a blue state, or will your race test it this time?

MCAULIFFE: I always say, Jeff, that Virginia is a blue state in a presidential high turnout year. Every other year it's purple, it's purple. We've got to drive voters out.

ZELENY: Enthusiasm for the current president and the former one hang heavy over this race as a test for the nation to watch.

As early voting is already under way at voting centers like this across Virginia, the bottom line is President Biden, a drag on his party, particularly for those independent voters in the middle, or are Republicans still the party of Trump, which in the past has turned off those very voters? That is the dynamic heading into the November 2nd election that both parties are watching.

Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Alexandria, Virginia.


WHITFIELD: Coming up, Afghan women are now facing life under Taliban control, which includes a de facto ban on girls going to school after fifth grade. Some remain defiant, protesting restrictions. A look at what life is like for women in Afghanistan.



WHITFIELD: A delegation of U.S. diplomats is meeting with Taliban representatives in Qatar this weekend. It's the first meeting since the U.S. withdrew from Afghanistan at the end of August. Officials say the talks will focus on issues of interest to the U.S. and the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, women in Kabul are taking a stand as the Taliban attempts to roll back women's rights. CNN's Clarissa Ward has more on the courage those women are showing.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE) CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A handful of women stand quietly but defiantly. They're here to protest the Taliban's de facto ban on girls going to school after fifth grade, a small act of great courage. Taliban fighters start to pour in, their heavily armed presence a menacing question mark.

A new arrival appears unsure of whether to get out of the car. For a moment, it seems the Taliban may have come to protect the women, but the illusion is quickly shattered.

Someone from the Taliban has just come in, telling everyone to put away their cameras. It's getting a little tense over there.

A senior Taliban rips a phone out of one woman's hands. His men shoved journalists back. We try to keep filming, but the Taliban don't want the world to see.

They're ripping the women's posters. Put it away, put it away.

A machine gun burst sends a clear message -- the protest is over.

Nolabin (ph) Nastrotollah (ph) tells us he is the head of the Taliban's intelligence services in Kabul, and that the women did not have permission to protest.

Why does a small group of women asking for their right to be educated threaten you so much?

"I respect women's rights, I respect human rights," he says. "If I didn't respect women, you won't be standing here."

WARD: Would you have given them permission if they had asked for one?

"Yes, of course," he says, "we would have."

But permissions are elusive, and previous protests have met a similar fate. On the streets of Herkana (ph) neighborhood, the consequences of one recent demonstration can still be seen. At almost every beauty salon images of women's faces to be defaced, as if to erase them from public life completely. The women inside this salon are too scared to appear on camera.


WARD: I asked them about the posters outside.

Who did it?


WARD: The Taliban did it?


WARD: "The Taliban came and drove away the protesters, then they cursed us and said to remove the posters," they tell me. "They told us to put on a burqa and sit in our homes."

But this city is full of brave women like Arzo Khaliqyar who refuse to do that. The activist and mother of five says she was forced to become a taxi driver when her husband was murdered one year ago, leaving behind his car, but little else.

Tell me a little bit about how life has changed for you since the Taliban took power.


ARZO KHALIQYAR, TAXI DRIVER (through translator): A lot of changes. Too many.

I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

WARD: It's OK. Take your time. It's OK.

KHALIQYAR: Since the Taliban regime has come to power, it has become very difficult.

WARD: She offers to take us for a ride. It's another small act of courageous resistance. While the Taliban have not officially banned women from driving, she says she has received threats, and that the militants hit her car two weeks ago as a warning.

I see the men, they stare at you, they look at you?

It's not long before she picks up a fare. Usually she prefers to take women and stay in areas she's familiar with.

Are you aware of the risks that you're taking when you go out every day and do your work?

KHALIQYAR: Yes, yes, and some places where I see Taliban checkpoints I'm forced to go through a street or change my route. But I accepted this risk for the sake of my children.

WARD: On the other side of town, English teacher Atifa Watanyar is also working hard to give her students a better future. The past year has not been easy. In May, a horrific bombing targeted the Said (ph) al Shahada (ph) school where she teaches, taking more than 80 innocent lives.

So you were here when the explosions happened?

ATIFA WATANYAR, TEACHER: Yes, I was in front of the door.

WARD: You were in front of the door? Did you see it with your own eyes?

WATANYAR: Yes, yes, I saw a very huge explosion in front of the other door.

WARD: Incredibly, the school reopened, but weeks later the Taliban swept to power and announced that, for the time being, from sixth through 12th grade, only boys should come to school.

It's just very striking that a bomb was not able to stop these girls coming from school, but now the Taliban has been able to stop them from coming to school.

WATANYAR: Yes, it's true. Every day I see Taliban in the streets, I be afraid.

WARD: But you're still coming here every day, you're still teaching?

WATANYAR: Yes. What should we do? What should we do? It's just the thing that we can do for our children, for our daughters, for our girls.

WARD: In the fifth-grade classroom, the girls are excited to test their English skills.



WARD: I want you to raise your hand if you love school. Wow! Everybody loves school.

This may well be the last year they get to come and study, yet they are still full of hope for the future.

Raise your hand to tell me what you want to be when you grow up. What do you want to be?


WARD: Doctor, OK. Who else wants to be a doctor? Oh, wow, we have a lot of doctors.

Sixteen-year-old Sanam (ph) used to have dreams, too. She wanted to be a dentist. The explosion at her school left her with serious injuries, but she was brave enough to go back for the sake, she says, of her close friend who could not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I felt that I must go back and study for the peace of her soul. I must study and build my country so that I can make her wishes and dreams come true.

WARD: So right now you cannot go to school. How does that make you feel?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I feel all my dreams are crushed and buried, for I won't be allowed to go to school and study. All my motivation is completely gone.

WARD: It's OK. Take a minute. It's OK. If you want to stop, we can stop. It's OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): The Taliban are the people who -- they are the cause of the situation I am in right now. My spirit is gone. My dreams are buried.


WARD: And yet recently she has started to read her books again and study a little bit every day. Just one more small act of great courage.

Clarissa Ward, CNN, Kabul.


WHITFIELD: Thanks so much, Clarissa, for bringing that view.

We'll be right back.



WHITFIELD: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican this morning. She has been in Rome since Thursday for the G-20 summit. The two spoke about a range of topics, including poverty, refugees, and climate change. You see the shaking of the hands. Pelosi's office releasing a statement calling her meeting a spiritual, personal, and official honor.

It's a vice presidential house divided by baseball. First gentlemen Doug Emhoff tweeted out this photo last night, calling it the one thing he and his Vice President Kamala Harris just can't agree on. The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants have been bitter rivals for over a century, well before they ever moved out of the west coast.

Well, somehow this is the first time the two teams have ever met in the playoffs. The Giants struck first, winning four to nothing at home, but you can bet the second gentlemen's Dodgers will be looking for payback tonight.

And finally this hour, you've heard of the baseball diamond. Well, how about baseball pearls? One outfielder is testing the limits of fashion while belting homeruns. Jeanne Moos has more on Atlanta's bougie Brave.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He's a slugger for the Atlanta Braves who is brave enough to wear pearls? Hard not to notice that he's accessorizing. Pretty sure Joc Pederson just became the first Braves player to homer while wearing a pearl necklace. The Braves themselves are having fun with sweet mother of pearl tweets. Fans are marveling. Joc Pederson out there smoking cigars and wearing pearls.

The outfielder joins icons who are partial to pearls, like Jackie Kennedy. When first asked about his new penchant for pearls, Pederson said it's a mystery for everyone. He assured a sportscaster there's no story. They're just dope. He said he tried the chain thing, and it was too hot and heavy. Pederson wears his pearls while staring at pitchers the way Audrey

Hepburn wore hers staring at Tiffany's windows. One fan noted pearls go with everything, even those street clothes Pederson wore into the clubhouse. Will pearls turn Pederson into the Dennis Rodman of baseball? As one fan joked, if you like that, wait for him to steal third in heels.

But, hey, pearls were good enough for Prince. Pederson's latest pearl of wisdom for why he's wearing them, that he's just a bad, rhymes with pitch.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


WHITFIELD: If all he wanted was attention, he is getting it.

Coming up, NASA is going to launch a spacecraft into an asteroid on purpose. Yes, really.



WHITFIELD: This week, Instagram admitted to promoting pages that glorified eating disorders to teen accounts. CNN's Sara Sidner has the story of two teenage girls that were impacted. And I just want to warn you, some of these images and topics are graphic and disturbing.

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Fred, we talked to two young women who live on opposite ends of the world but had very similar experiences, they say, with Instagram. Both said it led them down the path to an eating disorder when they were teens.


SIDNER: This is Ashlee Thomas at 14 years old having a complete meltdown because her parents are demanding she eat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just open your mouth and swallow it.

SIDNER: Thomas was in the grip of anorexia, starving herself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on. It's the last one.

ASHLEE THOMAS, EATING DISORDER SURVIVOR: It got to where I was sitting down and my dad holding my jaw open and my mom syringing food into my mouth because I just refused to eat.

SIDNER: How bad did this get for you and your family?

THOMAS: When I was admitted into hospital, the doctor said to me, we don't understand why you're here. You should be dead. And actually, in hospital, my heart failed twice.

SIDNER: Thomas says her journey with anorexia as a teen began with consuming content on Instagram about clean eating and what she thought were perfect bodies.

THOMAS: When I saw these influencers that had all the likes and had all the followers, I wanted to get a taste of that. I wanted to be liked and loved.

SIDNER: Would you say you were addicted to Instagram?

THOMAS: Yes, I was very addicted.

SIDNER: Thousands of miles from Thomas' home in Australia --

ANASTASIA VLASOVA, EATING DISORDER SURVIVOR: I was most definitely addicted to Instagram.

SIDNER: -- Anastasia Vlasova was also spiraling out of control in the United States. Clean eating captured her attention, too.

VLASOVA: I was just bombarded with all of these messages of you have to exercise every single day, or you have to do these types of exercises, or you have to go on this type of diet.

SIDNER: The more she saw, the more anxiety and depression she felt. But she couldn't stop. She says that led to her cycles of binge eating.

FRANCES HAUGEN, FORMER FACEBOOK PROJECT MANAGER: Facebook likes to present things as false choices.


SIDNER: Their stories illustrate what former Facebook employee turned whistleblower Frances Haugen testified before Congress.

I believe Facebook's products harm children, stoke division, and weaken our democracy.

Haugen also submitted complaints to the Securities and Exchange Commission, citing Facebook's own internal research which found Facebook's platforms, including Instagram, make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls, 13.5 percent of teen girls on Instagram say the platform makes thoughts of suicide and self-injury worse. And 17 percent of teenage girls say Instagram makes eating issues, such as anorexia and bulimia, worse.

In a statement to CNN, Facebook disputed the interpretation of the study and said the percentages are actually much lower.

HAUGEN: The company's leadership knows how to make Facebook and Instagram safer but won't make the necessary changes because they have put their astronomical profits before people. Congressional action is needed.

MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, FACEBOOK: We removed content that could lead to imminent real world harm.

SIDNER: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg responded to Haugen's testimony in a post to his employees, boasting in part, "We care deeply about issues like safety, wellbeing, and mental health. Many of the claims don't make any sense. If we wanted to ignore research, why would we create an industry leading research program to understand these important issues in the first place?"

Facebook has also said it welcomes regulation, but those who know the inner workings of the tech world say that won't save teens.

TRISTAN HARRIS, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR HUMANE TECHNOLOGY: Because their business model is putting kids into these kinds of loops of engagement. And that's what I'm really worried about, there isn't a quick fix to this thing. It's the intrinsic nature of the product.

SIDNER: These two young women say simply put, Instagram endangered their very lives as teenagers.

THOMAS: We shouldn't have to end up in hospital beds or we shouldn't have to be fed by a nasal gastric tube, or our parents say good-bye to us or hand over their parental rights because your platform is encouraging us to starve ourselves.


SIDNER (on camera): Ashlee Thomas you see there in the throes of anorexia is now 20 years old, and she's decided to go back on Instagram. But she is using it a different way. She's using it to try to help heal people who have eating disorders like her or who are dealing with mental health issues. She has started an organization called My Secret Burden.

We have also heard from Anastasia Vlasova and what she is doing. She is now in school, she is 18 years old, and she is happier and feels better about herself after completely deleting the Instagram app and staying away from it. She has also started a podcast, which is about to release, called Brave Takes, and is writing a children's book to try and children better deal with technology. Fred?

WHITFIELD: Extraordinary. Sara, thank so much. I'm glad these two young ladies are now thriving.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. The CNN Newsroom continues with Jim Acosta after a quick break.

But first, in this week's "The Human Factor," a young man's dream to become a star football player was derailed by tragedy. So he sought out another dream motivating -- another way in which to dream motivate others to be their best. Here's Dr. Sanjay Gupta.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Timothy Alexander realized at a young age he was very good at football.

TIMOTHY ALEXANDER, MOTIVATIONAL COACH: I wanted to grow up and play ball. Not just to play but have a career and do something for myself and for my family. GUPTA: But in his senior year in high school, an accident changed


ALEXANDER: We swerve hit first into a telephone poll. The car went down a cliff which left me paralyzed from the neck down.

GUPTA: Eventually he did regain the use of his upper body, but depression plagued him.

ALEXANDER: I tried to take my life three times in one week, and it did not go as planned. I said to myself, there must be a reason why I'm here. I told the head football coach my dream that I was going to be one of the best tight ends that ever came through UAB football, but I probably would never touch the field. And he said I want to invite you out to practice.

GUPTA: The honorary player worked out and did mental reps with players. The coach was so impressed by his drive, Timothy earned a full football scholarship at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, motivating everyone with his positivity. After getting a masters degree, UAB hired him as director of character development.

ALEXANDER: My job is to remind them why they decided to play this game.

GUPTA: His motivational speaking skills have led to bookings by pro sports teams and Fortune 500 companies.

ALEXANDER: It's our positive response that allows us to be unstoppable.




JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington. And we begin with the executive privilege tug of war over a batch of sealed documents related to the Capitol Hill insurrection. Former President Trump does not want them to see the light of day, no surprise there, and he's sure to air his grievances when he speaks at a rally in Iowa tonight.

But here's the thing, it's not his call anymore. That falls to the guy who defeated him.