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Coronavirus Cases are Rising in Europe and China; Gang Leader Threatens to Kill Missionaries Held Hostage; President Joe Biden Optimistic Democrats Can Agree on His Agenda; Poland's Border Crisis; Beirut Blast Investigation Pits Elite Against Victims; Beirut Blast Investigation Pits Elite Against Victims; Biden Administration Warns: No Country will be Spread; House Votes to Hold Bannon in Criminal Contempt of Congress; Nine Republicans Vote to Hold Bannon in Contempt, 200 Plus Vote Not to; Biden at CNN Town Hall: "I do Think I'll get a Deal" on Infrastructure, Spending Bills, It's all About Compromise". Aired 2-3a ET

Aired October 22, 2021 - 02:00   ET




PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello and welcome to our viewers from all around the world. I'm Paula Newton.

Straight ahead here on "CNN Newsroom," restrictions, mask mandates, and lockdowns returning as COVID cases rise across Europe and China. We are live in Beijing as officials try and stop outbreaks from worsening.

Plus, U.S. President Joe Biden expresses confidence in the CNN town hall that he can win over democratic holdouts and advance his sweeping agenda, but he acknowledges more work is still to be done.

And new reports detail the destabilizing effects of climate change and its impacts on threats to national security. I will discuss with a guest.

So, across Europe, COVID-19 infections and deaths have been rising ominously for the past several weeks. And despite those lockdowns, restrictions and mask mandates, public health experts fear cooler weather will lead to dramatically more cases still. Nearly all of Europe and Russia are already in some kind of red, as you see there.

With daily deaths now breaking records in Russia, Moscow has announced it will again go into lockdown for 10 days beginning next Thursday. Only about 30% of the population there has been vaccinated.

In the meantime, in the U.K, more than 52,000 new cases were reported on Thursday, the highest since July. But Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the government is sticking to its plan to push for more vaccinations instead of those new restrictions.

Poland and Hungary, in the meantime, are among the hardest hit right now. The senior official with the World Health Organization says he has no doubt that cases in Europe will, in fact, keep rising in the months ahead.


MIKE RYAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WHO HEALTH EMERGENCIES PROGRAMME: So, the reality is that in the situation where there is intense social mixing and the winter period with people inside, we are going to see further transmission of the virus. The question is whether that transmission turns into severe cases, hospitalizations and death.


NEWTON (on camera): And as bad as it is in Western Europe, the countries that were once part of the Soviet Union are faring much worse.


NEWTON: In Romania, hospitals are beginning to buckle. Some of the patients now feeling regret.

ELENA CROITORU, HOSPITAL PATIENT (through translator): I said, let's wait and see about getting vaccinated. But it wasn't okay. I regret it now. If I could start over, I would be the first in line.

NEWTON: As a fourth wave of coronavirus crosses Romania, one person is dying of COVID-19 every five minutes. This week, the country hit the highest death, rate per capita in the world.

Neighboring Bulgaria was close behind. The two countries are struggling to contain recent outbreaks as they also battle skepticism. Vaccine hesitancy there and across Eastern Europe appears widespread.

UNKNOWN (through translator): It is fascism. Those who rule this country will definitely be sentenced. I'm sure about that. A person must have a freewill.

NEWTON: Across Latvia, new lockdowns that started this week is set to last until mid-November. The spike in COVID cases there reached record highs Thursday as the country recorded its most infections in a single day.

In Estonia, Poland, Latvia and Croatia, far fewer adults are fully vaccinated than the rest of the European Union. Even further below the E.U. average, Russia, Romania and Bulgaria as well as Ukraine, where just over 15% of adults are fully vaccinated.

Citizens of former Soviet bloc countries might be particularly suspicious of getting the jab, some analysts say, after decades of communist rule that eroded areas of public trust. Now, as new waves of the pandemic spread through the region, restoring faith in authority may be as difficult as containing the virus itself.

(END VIDEO CLIP) NEWTON (on camera): As you see the crisis there through Eastern Europe, China is recording dozens of new local cases. This comes amid concerns of a wider outbreak across 10 provinces as parts of Northern China are now bracing for more restrictions.

Now, Chinese state media is reporting more than 50% of flights and a dozen rail routes have now been suspended in northern and northwestern regions of China.


NEWTON: This all comes less than four months, four months before Beijing is set to host the winter Olympics.

For more on this, we want to bring in CNN's Steven Jiang, who is with us now from Beijing. You know, Steven, we've talked about this before, right? It is not an exaggeration to say that many of us have had more cases in our neighborhood than China has countrywide. And yet every time, China does treat this like it's a national emergency. What are they doing this time to try and get this under control?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: Paula, you mentioned some of the measures, and also, we are seeing these measures because China is almost the only country in the world now that sticks to this zero COVID policy. And with this, you know, top-down power structure and several major events coming up. You mentioned the Olympics. The hundred-day countdown to the winter Olympics is actually next Wednesday. And then after that, in early November, there is a major communist party leadership meeting being held here.

That's why, I think, many officials across the country would rather air on the side of overcaution. Now, of course, the concern for this latest outbreak is one, they still haven't been able to pinpoint the origin of these cluster of cases, and two, it is still spreading across the country.

Just in the last hour or so, we learned from Beijing officials here that they had just detected four new cases in addition to the number you mentioned, prompting them to lock down one more residential neighborhood and also starting another round of mass testing and extensive contact tracing, all, of course, part of this familiar playbook now.

But all of those measures really pose two questions. One is, how do they strike this balance between maintaining economic and social activities and containing the virus?

Even though officials are now trying to be more targeted in their approach, because of the population size and population density, all of these measures are still affecting the lives and livelihood of millions of people across the country, especially on certain industries like tourism and especially on small business owners when the economy is facing a lot of heavy headwinds.

The other question, of course, is this again causing to question of the efficacy of Chinese vaccines because this cluster of cases was first detected among a group of senior citizens from Shanghai on a cross-country tour. All of them fully vaccinated, tested negative before leaving Shanghai. So, obviously, an instance of breakthrough infection.

All the while, officials here continue to tout their high vaccination rate with some even saying when this rate reaches 85% early next year, this country may be ready for reopening its borders.

But now, of course, this outbreak is really pouring cold water on that prospect, not to mention shining under the spotlight on the Chinese vaccines whose manufacturers have not been very transparent in sharing their real-world data. Paula?

NEWTON (on camera): Yeah. That waning immunity, if there is evidence of it, will be a shame to see what they do about boosters, especially, as you said, with those major events upcoming.

Steven Jiang, thanks for the update, appreciate it.

Now, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has officially signed off on using the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines for their booster shots. The agency also endorsed using boosters interchangeably, a so-called mix and match approach authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. That means any of the three approved boosters can be given regardless of the initial vaccine that you've got.

A member of the FDA's Vaccine Advisory Board spoke to CNN after the decision. I want you to listen to this.


PAUL OFFIT, MEMBER, FDA VACCINES ADVISORY COMMITTEE: I think they were the right decisions. Basically, what they are saying is that if you are over 65, you clearly benefit from a booster dose, independent of which vaccine you've gotten. If you're between 50 and 64 and you have the kind of medical condition that puts you at high risk of severe COVID, then you too likely benefit from a booster dose.

For the most part, young, healthy people are protected against severe disease. I mean, what has been amazing about these vaccines, whether it's Moderna or Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson, protection against severe disease has really held up. It has held up for all age groups. It has held up for delta. But I think that for those two groups that I just mentioned, a booster dose, I think clearly would be a value.


NEWTON (on camera): Okay. And now to a just a heartbreaking and bizarre story. A cinematographer has been shot and killed and a director injured on the set of actor Alec Baldwin's latest film, "Rust."

Police say they were shot with a prop gun the 68-year-old actor was holding. Baldwin can be seen in these images, as you see there, distraught after hearing the news. He is also producing the film which is being filmed in New Mexico.

Investigators say the director of photography, Halyna Hutchins, died from her injuries. An investigation, of course, is underway. No charges have been filed. We will continue to follow this breaking story for you. We will bring you updates as we get them.

Now, the U.S. State Department believes a new video showing a Haitian gang leader is, in fact, legitimate.


NEWTON: Now, a senior department official spoke after the gang leader apparently threatened in the video to kill his 17 hostages. They are Americans, one Canadian, who were kidnapped while doing missionary work.

Matt Rivers has more.


MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A disturbing new development in this kidnapping case here in Haiti. In a video posted to Facebook on Thursday afternoon, a video that CNN is choosing not to show nor quote directly from, the leader of the 400 Mawozo gang, which is the gang that is accused by authorities of carrying out this kidnapping, the leader of that gang, Wilson Joseph, is heard saying that he is willing to kill these people that he has kidnapped, him and his fellow gang members, if his demands are not met.

CNN has previously reported that the gang is demanding $1 million per person as a ransom, according to a source in Haiti security forces. That will bring the overall ransom amount that the gang is asking for to $17 million. This video on Facebook was taken at a funeral for some of these gang members that the gang alleges were killed by Haiti's police forces.

Now, a source in Haiti security forces also tells us that the kidnappers have provided proof of life, proof that the kidnapping victims are still alive that the security force believes is credible. Authorities do believe that all of the people who have been kidnapped are still alive. That is an important development.

For the first time, we heard from some family members of some of the people who were kidnapped when a statement was read in Ohio, which is where Christian Aid Ministries, the group that these missionaries were here working for, is based. In that statement, it read, in part -- quote -- "God has given our loved ones the unique opportunity to live out our Lord's command to love your enemies, bless them that curse, do good to them that hate you."

So that is these families who are going through a very difficult time right now as they continue to await word on the negotiations that are ongoing to try and free their loved ones.

Matt Rivers, CNN, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (END VIDEOTAPE)

NEWTON (on camera): The weeks-long manhunt for Gabby Petito's fiance has officially ended. The FBI says human remains found in Florida's nature reserve are those of Brian Laundrie. Dental records confirmed the match. A notebook and a backpack were also found nearby on Wednesday after Laundrie's parents joined the search.


JOSH TAYLOR, SPOKESMAN, NORTH PORT POLICE DEPARTMENT: The notebook, to my understanding, has not been opened. That will need to be processed. We want to make sure that that is handled as carefully as possible. You only get one shot at these types of items. To hurry up and rifle through that, potentially damaging it would not be helpful.


NEWTON (on camera): Now, this discovery comes just over a month after his fiancee, Gabby Petito, was found dead in a natural forest in Wyoming. Her death was ruled a homicide by a manual strangulation. Laundrie was not charged in her death but with unauthorized use of debit cards. Neither family is commenting at this time.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth is back at Windsor Castle in good spirits, apparently, after spending a night in hospital. Buckingham Palace says the 95-year-old returned home Thursday afternoon after undergoing what they say were preliminary investigations on Wednesday. Now, palace source says the overnight stay was for practical reasons and the queen has now returned to work. This comes after she canceled a trip to Northern Ireland on the advice of her doctor.

Joe Biden takes questions at our CNN town hall. Just ahead, why he says he is still optimistic he can get his "build back better" plan through Congress. But the tough slog and a lack of progress could leave him looking weak on the world stage ahead of two key summits. We will be back with more.





JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: How we get there? We are down to four or five issues, which I'm not going to negotiate on a national television, as you might guess.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We'd be interested --

BIDEN: No, no, no.

COOPER: -- in hearing them, if you want.

BIDEN: I know. But all kidding aside, I think we can get there.


NEWTON (on camera): Joe Biden striking an optimistic tone on his infrastructure plan and his sweeping social agenda. The U.S. president admits the number of his proposals could be cut back or scrapped altogether. In fact, he was incredibly candid during this town hall. He does say, though, that he is confident all lawmakers can pay for the package without increasing corporate tax rates as originally planned.

CNN's Kaitlan Collins was at the town hall and has more.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Biden made a significant amount of news in the CNN town hall in Baltimore, perhaps most symbolically on the filibuster, saying that there could come a point where they have to fundamentally alter it.

Of course, they do not have that 60-vote threshold in the Senate that has prevented the president and Democrats from getting some of their biggest priorities through, including, of course, voting rights legislation, something that Republicans have blocked three times in this Congress.

The president is saying that could be a reason to alter the filibuster and potentially other reasons as well, but saying right now, he does not think is the time because he would lose potentially up to three votes on, of course, the sweeping economic package that he is currently negotiating with Democrats, but saying that that time could come.

Of course, the president doesn't have a vote when it comes to changing the filibuster. But given that he is a Senate institutionalist, it is a significant step for the president to be open to changing it.

It remains to be seen how those on Capitol Hill respond to that, but it did come as tonight, during the town hall, the president got into several details of the negotiations that are underway with Democrats, revealing positions that those two moderate holdouts, Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema, have, that they themselves have not necessarily revealed in public.

The president (INAUDIBLE) that paid leave is not going to be 12 weeks as he had initially proposed but will be down to four weeks. He talked about some of the climate provisions potentially changing. Also confirmed community college, in his two, three years that he had promised and touted several times in the campaign trail, are not likely going to make it in here.

He also said that Senator Sinema is opposed to expanding the Medicare benefits on the level that you see people like Senator Bernie Sanders pushed for. So certainly, some big alterations could happen to this bill from that initial proposal and from what we have been seen this week as Democrats do figure out a new way to pay for it. One other front where the president made news is he said he should have chosen his words more wisely when he talked about those Justice Department potential prosecutions of those like Steve Bannon, former President Trump's ally who defied January 6 congressional subpoena. The president is saying he will not call the attorney general and tell him who he should prosecute, though he did note he answered that question honestly.

Kaitlan Collins, CNN, traveling with the president in Baltimore.


NEWTON (on camera): Michael Genovese is a political analyst and the president of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount. He is also the author of "How Trump Governs."

All right. It is a good time, I think, Michael, for Americans to try and take stock of the Biden agenda. But to be clear, these ambitious plans, they don't just have national ramifications. They have international ramifications as well.

So, where do you stand on this right now? Do you think he can still get a plan for everything or in the end, is it just going to be infrastructure and a little bit of something else?

MICHAEL GENOVESE, POLITICAL ANALYST: I think tonight at the town hall, he waved a bit of a white flag. He admitted that there are a few things that were on his original list that are going to be taken off. It looks like free community college is off the list. It looks like taxing the rich is off the list. It looks like climate spending is off the list.

And so, for progressives, the news from that town hall was bad news. I mean, they lost a lot of the things that they were treasuring.


GENOVESE: For moderates, it's probably good news. But you mentioned the international implications. Biden will not be going to Europe with his package passed. And so, he will go to Europe somewhat weakened and somewhat rickety, especially given that he is not going to be able to tout climate change as a big issue, and he is not going to be able to sort of cite his own political clout in America. He will be there looking weak.

NEWTON (on camera): It is such an important insight, especially given how much people are geared up to try and get a breakthrough, just naming one thing, the climate meeting.

But do you think it will solidify a lot of opinions, at least in Europe, and unfortunately as well in Asia, that America is a weakening power here, and the fact that Joe Biden, even though he has the Senate and Congress, still can't get past what he wants to? Will it basically be a glaring note to everyone, oh, right, America is still very politically divided?

GENOVESE: We are divided. And as President Biden has said tonight, it was -- I'm not sure if it is not so veiled threat but he said -- he may have to find other ways of governing since he has not been able to go through the Congress, which is 50/50. And he said, when you have a 50/50 Senate, every senator can be president.

And I think that talks very specifically to his own sense of weakness and limitations. That is widely known throughout the world, when they see President Biden unable to even get his big-ticket legislation passed or even popular things passed through a Congress that is 50/50, that Republicans are filibustering whenever they can.

I think that sends a message that he is not in command, he is not in charge. And in part, it is his fault. I mean, he does a lot of talking. He talks a good game but he has not delivered, he has not gotten it done. He has demonstrated that he is very likable and people like his agenda but he has not been able to close the deal. And so, you know, he has a great wish list but he has not demonstrated that he can play hardball in Congress.

And so, he needs a little more stick to go along with his character. He has been playing a lot of defense. He needs to play offense. It's almost like -- it is the difference between running downhill which is easy and running uphill. He has been running uphill. He needs to coast and run downhill a little bit.

NEWTON: Michael Genovese, thank you so much, appreciate your insights here.

GENOVESE: Thank you.

NEWTON (on camera): As we were discussing, President Biden admitted that he isn't getting everything he wants on that budget list, and that includes an ambitious climate plan.


BIDEN: The existential threat to humanity is climate change.


NEWTON (on camera): And his administration released several major reports on the threat it poses to the United States and around the world.

Also, ahead here on "CNN Newsroom," E.U. leaders have fresh criticism for Poland over its treatment of refugees, now stranded along the border with Belarus.

Plus, more than a year after Beirut's deadly port explosion, a showdown between Lebanon's elites and relatives of the victims. The judge investigating the tragedy appears to have touched a raw nerve. That's ahead.




NEWTON: Leaders of the European Union will meet in just a few hours and two disputes with Poland are expected to top the agenda. Many members say Warsaw's challenge to E.U. treaties is a threat to the bloc's very foundation.

And then there is Poland's treatment of refugees trapped along its border with Belarus.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen has that report.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Other desperation in the dark and cold. Refugees screaming at Polish border guards, begging to be left out of Belarus. They are literally caught in the middle of a standoff between Belarus and the European Union. This video, provided to CNN by an activist, shows a group of Kurds and Yazidis stranded without shelter for days.

UNKNOWN (on-screen translation): The situation is not good. We are here for 10 days. People died here.

UNKNOWN (on-screen translation): Please come and rescue us. We are here with our Yazid brothers. There is no food here. There is nothing. They are treating us as a game. They send us back and forth.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): While E.U. leaders accuse Belarusian strongman, Alexander Lukashenko, of manufacturing this refugee crisis, Poland is also facing criticism after it declared a state of emergency in the area around the border banning journalists, NGOs, and initially E.U. officials from coming in.

Many of those who do try to help the refugees, refugees often lost in the vast forest of the border area, say Poland is keeping aid workers and reporters out because border guards are forcing people back into Belarus, a practice known as pushbacks, says Piotr Bystrianin, of the aid group Fundacja Ocalenie.

PIOTR BYSTRIANIN, FUNDACJA OCALENIE: They know that people will be dying. They know this and they continue to do this. That is why they need to be stopped. The national government needs to put pressure on the Polish government.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): While the Polish government has vowed to remain tough, even replacing barbed wire at the border with a wall and passing an amendment allowing migrants to be pushed back at the border, the U.N. Refugee Agency says that the new law contravenes the 1951 refugee convention and other laws by undermining the fundamental rights to seek asylum. But the Polish president says Belarus's cruel policies are the real problem.

ANDRZEJ DUDA, POLISH PRESIDENT: The situation on the border is as it is. What you can see are hybrid activities from the side of the Belarus authorities. There is no doubt. Migrants from different countries are being deliberately pushed across on purpose.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Poland says it has recorded more than 21,000 attempts to cross its border, all of which it calls illegal, and released this video the government says shows people trying to force their way into the country. The E.U. says it might impose sanctions on airlines that fly refugees to Belarus.

HEIKO MASS, GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): We will have to talk about consequences for these airlines. We need sanctions that make clear that we are not prepared to tolerate these kinds of actions any longer.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): A solution doesn't appear to be in sight and those suffering the most are the ones trapped in the border area. Several have already died, Polish authorities say, and the approaching winter will make the situation here even worse.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, London.


NEWTON (on camera): More turmoil in Beirut after that fatal port explosion last year. Members of Lebanon's ruling elite want the judge investigating the tragedy to be dismissed from bias. The victim's family say the judge just seems to have rubbed the powerful the wrong way and they want him to stay in the job.

Now, CNN's Ben Wedeman explains even more lives are being lost.



BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Beirut a week ago. A protest against the judge leading the investigation into last year's post (INAUDIBLE). Seven people were killed (INAUDIBLE). The judge leading the port investigation, Tarek Bitar, has touched raw nerves.

The judge is doing politics, declared Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. He is employing the blood of the martyrs and the injured, the tragedy and misfortune for political goals.


WEDEMAN (voice over): On August 4th Lebanon last year hundreds of tons of ammonium nitrate exploded in Beirut's port killing more than 200 people, devastating large parts of the city.

The investigation is focusing on ministers and other senior officials who knew that chemicals lay in the port for years, says Human Rights Watch Researcher Aya Majzoub.

AYA MAJZOUB, RESEARCHER, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: All of the individuals that Judge Bitar has called in for interrogation have signed documents indicating that they were aware of the existence of the ammonium nitrate in the port and they were in positions of responsibility and they could have taken action to protect the public, but they didn't.

WEDEMAN (voice over): With few exceptions, the political elite have closed ranks calling for Bitar's dismissal. We contacted all of those charged all declined to speak with CNN. Tracy Naggiar's three year old daughter Alexandra was killed in the blast. They want the judge to stay.

TRACY NAGGIAR, MOTHER OF PORT BLAST VICTIM: He's doing his job. He is being stopped from the beginning. His job is really hard because you have the politicians the government and probably other countries trying to stop him and his fighting --

WEDEMAN (voice over): Lebanon has a long history of high profile killings never solved. The war crimes from its 15 year Civil War brushed under the carpet in the general amnesty. Outside the Justice Ministry, dozens of people gathering supportive Judge Bitar we've reached the point says protester - where we want the truth to prevent even more crime so we can live in peace in this country. What's at stake is Lebanon's future.

MAJZOUB: The implications of this investigation that Judge Bitar is leading go far beyond justice for the blast itself that extends to what kind of country does Lebanon want to be? Do we want to be a country ruled by the rule of law and accountability? Or do we want to be a country where politicians can literally get away with murder and with blowing up half of the capital city.

WEDEMAN (voice over): And so far, whoever is responsible has gotten away? Ben Wedeman CNN, Beirut.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN HOST: The Biden Administration issues a stark warning on climate change ahead of the UN Summit. No country will be spared. We'll take a look at the national security implications as laid out by U.S. officials.


NEWTON: The Biden Administration is warning the consequences of climate change will be far reaching and create problems for every country. That's one of the key takeaways from a series of new reports released Thursday that examine current and future threats to the United States.


NEWTON: Now the studies a cover how climate change will drive migration and could even cause another financial crisis? Now the intelligence assessment also points to geopolitical flashpoints and risks to national security.

It identifies, in fact, 11 countries, in the category of acute risk marked here you see them in yellow, and they include Afghanistan, Colombia, Guatemala, India, Iraq, Myanmar, and North Korea. Now, these reports come just 10 days before President Biden will attend the UN Climate Conference, known as COP26 in Scotland.

And before we get to more on that intelligence report, we want to look at some of those climate disasters and what could happen really, if there's no action? We want to bring in our Meteorologist Derek Van Dam, you know, in those countries highlighted and beyond, is there any doubt that we're already seeing the effects of climate change?

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, that's just it. That's the reason they identified those 11 particular countries because they are already experiencing some of the most extreme impacts from climate change, such as hurricanes, typhoons, and droughts.

And they have this acute vulnerability that they had to highlight within these four particular reports. By the way, Paula, this is the first time that the U.S. government is officially recognizing the link between climate change and migration as well.

In fact, they're citing a source that says 3 percent of the world's population, by 2050, will actually move from its country of origin. That's about 143 million people taking place in some sort of climate driven migration event pattern.

Now we know we have a warming world. We see it with the increase in sea levels. We see that with a rise in our global temperatures, the melting of glaciers, climate change is accelerating these particular events, and is becoming more and more rapid as the years go on extreme weather events are becoming more common.

Take this summer, for example, the number of extreme rainfall events across the planet were numerous from Tennessee breaking, shattering their daily record rainfall total, we think of the flash flooding that took place in Germany, France and portions of Eastern China.

The ocean as the world warms continues to absorb this heat, and that equates to stronger, more frequent intense tropical cyclones across the planet. We're expecting an increase in category four and category five equivalent hurricanes and typhoons across the planet as our world continues to warm.

Of course, temperatures on the increase that will continue in fact, the likelihood of heat waves and the frequency and duration of these heat waves will increase as time progresses. As our warm - our planet warms. This increases the area burned with wildfires, it also increases our sea level rise thanks to the Arctic sea ice that continues to melt.

It puts coastal vulnerable - coastal populations very, very vulnerable. You can see some of the five most vulnerable countries across the country we think of Bangladesh, Paula, that particular country only averages nine meters above sea level so very vulnerable location for coastal sea level rise.

NEWTON: Yes, hard to not to worry about what's ahead for them. Derek Van Dam I appreciate that.

DAM: Yes. NEWTON: CNN Intelligence and Security Analyst Robert Baer joins me now he is also a Former CIA Operative. This is not light reading Bob some will be tempted to say that, you know climate issues certainly climate is an issue. But is it a national security issue? What's changed on that in the last few years?

ROBERT BEAR, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: Well, it's global warming to be certain. And there's also ability for the CIA and DIA to measure, for instance, fossil aquifers, the Arabian aquifer is going dry and could go dry within the next 10 to 15 years.

So Saudi Arabia and Iraq simply do not have the water to sustain themselves. And what then happens is they need desalinization, which adds more carbon dioxide to the air and gets worse. Or you look at climate failure in Central America, El Salvador, Honduras, and it's a fairly accurate prediction.

I think if you we can have a lot of confidences the next 70 years, it will be uninhabitable. Those countries and the people that live there, the 10s of millions of people live; they're going to have to go somewhere. And so that's why they're looking at immigration.

And then there are big parts of China in Tibet that are going to fight over water. You know how it's going to come apart? At what speed nobody knows. But I don't think this kind of report is alarmist at all.

And let's not forget that throughout the history of humanity whenever the climate fails, civilization collapses, it's happened and you know 1177 BC and I can go to the date. And that's just a fact.


NEWTON: Absolutely. So let's get to the point that these - some of these reports are the first of their kind. It's coming just before the climate meeting. And yet, why do we still get the feeling that there is an inertia there that even countries like the United States and China will not be coming to the table with enough?

BEAR: We simply don't have alternative energy sources, we have no way to take carbon emissions out of the air, you've got population growth, which is still continuing, and it's slowing down. And there's not much we can do about there's no immediate solution.

So the Chinese simply can't turn off their coal plants and, and survive economically. So they're just ignoring it. I mean, it's really it's a short term survival that everybody's looking at. But in the long term, things are very dire. And you look at Senator from West Virginia, and he just doesn't even believe in global warming, apparently.

So you go on and on and on. And you have a very the right wing in the United States, the GOP doesn't accept global warming. And that's, you know, half of Congress almost, so no one knows what to do about. It's the people that scientists and using a pickle data are scared. And I'm scared for looking at civilizations that have come apart, again, Syria, the Civil War was started there by failing aquifers, people moving into the sea. I've worked in Syria for years, and I've watched this happen and they moved in, in the in the civil war starts and tens of millions of people are killed in these wars. So yes, it is coming. And I think anybody who denies it is sticking their head in the sand.

NEWTON: Yes. And the Senator, you mentioned, is Joe Manchin, of course, who right now seems to be holding up certain pieces of the Biden agenda, those pieces specifically being a lot to do with climate change.

I want to talk to you though, about that southern border, again, of the United States, could that make -- could this convinced many more people that this is a clear and present danger. I mean, according to the report a lot of those countries in jeopardy, and yet we've even seen it in the last calendar year in the United States, that they have had more migration to their southern border, because of climate issues.

BEAR: It's because of climate, you know, the coffee crop failing in Central America. People can't make a living, they have to come somewhere. They're desperate. They're coming here. And the question is what do we do about it? There's only so much water, you know, in the United States, and then you've got the Great Lakes, of course.

But in general, the problem frankly, is that mass immigration like this fuels right wing politics; don't even think about the right or wrong. It just does it always have in humanity. It is in Italy, it is in France, it is in the United States, and politically, this is what worries me it's going to inflame passions in this country. And you know that's the history of mankind. It's got nothing to do with Americans or the French or the Germans or anybody else. It's the way people react to mass migration.

NEWTON: Well, it's true that all of us could use you know some deeper understanding of what's at work here and try to get some solutions. We'll wait in the coming weeks Bob just to see if we do get anything more of that climate meeting. Appreciate your time.

BEAR: Thank you, Paula.

NEWTON: And I'm Paula Newton I'm going to thank you for your company. I'll be back at the top of the hour with more CNN Newsroom. But right now, "World Sport" is next.



DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Nine Republicans voting with Democrats the hold Steve Bannon in criminal contempt 202 Republicans said no, voted no. And it's no surprise since for a lot of them opposing the vote is something that's way more than just a bandit. OK, so let's break it all down with Stuart Stevens down. He's a Former Chief Strategist for Romney, Romney Presidential Campaign and Senior Advisor to the Lincoln Project. Good to see you, Stuart, thank you so much for joining us this evening.

So this committee is supposed to be all about investigating an attack on Congress, and most of the people voting today, we're there for it. Five people died that day, the seat of our democracy assaulted, but for Republican leadership, what's this about to them?

STUART STEVENS, SENIOR ADVISOR TO THE LINCOLN PROJECT: Look, I think you said it right? We have to quit being surprised by this. This is sort of like asking Tony Soprano's gang to investigate Tony, this isn't going to happen.

You know, we say that there are really two parties in America now one that's pro-democracy and that's the Democratic Party, and one that's autocratic. And Republicans keep proving us every day in different ways. And we just kind of have to accept this and look at it for what it is.

And it's just not going to change. The only thing you can do is go out and try to beat these people.

LEMON: It has to be frustrating. I know it's frustrating for folks like me who have to, you know, it is our job to speak the truth every night. And by saying what you just said about there's you know, one party that's operating in reality would have been democracy, others autocratic party, that people read that as partisan and it's not partisan.

It's not partisan to say that it's a fact it's the truth that's got to be frustrating for you, especially as a public. I don't know if you're still Republican, but there has to be frustrating for you.

STEVENS: Yes, I mean, look, if you look at how democracies die, today, most of them die at the ballot box and in the courtroom, not like with tank circling radio stations like Chilean. And, and part of the reason that democracies die is because the autocrats always deny what they're doing. And there is reluctance to the pro-democracy forces to accept what is happening. And that is the greatest danger here I think.

It looks like a normal time in many ways. We have a normal president, it sounds alarmist to go out and say this stuff. But look, I mean, Don, it's like a pandemic, what you say at the beginning may sound alarmist but at the end is going to prove way inadequate.

LEMON: Sort of - what happened today, with yesterday's vote in the Senate Republicans filibustering to prevent passing a voting rights bill? So they're trying to block an investigation into an insurrection, a riot against the 2020 election.

And they're blocking legislation that would make it easier for Americans to vote and harder to steal elections going forward. I mean, what does that say to you about the Republican Party of today? STEVENS: It's a pattern. This was not a close election, Biden got over 300 north electoral votes from the 8, 9 million. And Republicans after the election wouldn't even congratulate the President of the United State. And then they went out, Senators went out and try to deny mostly African Americans from voting.

That's what kind of disqualifies their votes, then there's attack on the Capitol. And then these state legislators have gone out and passed all these laws that give the legislators more power and potentially the ability to overturn elections. This is this is a pattern.

It's not something that it's casual, it's thought out, and it's methodical. There's people behind this who are very serious, who realize that if you are a white grievance party, which is what the Republican Party has become, and you're in a country that is becoming increasingly non-white, that this is your last best hope to change the rules of the game, and you can't change how the country's changing, but you can change how people vote in this country. And you can try to hold on to power.

LEMON: Thank you, Stuart. I'll see you soon always a pleasure having you. I appreciate it. We've got a lot more with my dream team tonight Kaitlan Collins, David Chalian and Nia-Malika Henderson. I should just say Kaitlan, David and Nia after this.



LEMON: President Biden making a lot of news tonight in CNN's Town Hall one final thought from each of you Kaitlan, Nia and David Kaitlan, you first.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I'll go first, which was the president saying that comment saying that he should have chosen his words more wisely when it came to what he said about him?

Yes, he does believe the Justice Department should prosecute those who defined as January 6 Congressional subpoenas. The president saying tonight that he did not choose those words wisely and said that he would not and has not called the Attorney General and told him who to prosecute who not to prosecute certainly not when it comes to January 6th.

Though he did say at one point, Don, that he did believe he answered that question honestly, but he pointed back to his campaign promise not to politicize the Justice Department.


LEMON: That was your question right, Kaitlan? Wasn't that your question to him?


LEMON: Yes. COLLINS: And we asked him pretty clearly. We asked what he thought would happen to those who don't - who do defy them and whether or not the Justice Department should prosecute them? And at the time, he did say, yes.

LEMON: OK, I got it. Get quickly, please Nia you next?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think voting. You know, if President Biden elected with a multiracial coalition, he clearly doesn't want to be the president, who also is on the job doing this massive rollback of voting rights.

You know, to your point, he clearly looked pained about this reality. The question is what is he going to do about it? And what can be done about it? And what Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema might have to do about it going forward?

LEMON: Mr. Chalian, you get the last one.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I thought you saw a president who's trying to bring the plane in for a landing here on his major domestic agenda item. I think he's trying to get some sense of urgency because if the Democratic Party fails to get this done, it could pretty seriously derail the Biden Presidency. And I think you saw somebody who was trying to get more specific, more active, more involved to try and bring this to a conclusion.

LEMON: Thank you dream team. I appreciate it. You guys. Have a great evening. I will see you soon. So there's a lot going on today, the president taking his vision to the voters as Congress flexes their muscle voting to hold Steven Bannon in criminal contempt. Stay with us.