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Mohamed El-Erian is Interviewed about the Fed's Rate Hike; QAnon Fans Celebrate Trump's Embrace; United Flight Emergency Landing; Sanjay Gupta Introduces his Champion for Change. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired September 22, 2022 - 09:30   ET



JEROME POWELL, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: Inflation behind us. I wish there were a painless way to do that. There isn't.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Let's talk about this with Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz, also president of Queens College at Cambridge University.

Mohamed, you have been talking about this, warning we could get to this point for more than a year now. Here we are. And, you know, I'm struck by what you call just a real tragedy, that this is an impossible decision that the Fed has had to make and it sounds like will continue to have to make.

MOHAMED EL-ERIAN, CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISER, ALLIANZ: Yes, Poppy, it is tragic because we could have avoided this. But unfortunately, the Fed did not act early enough. So instead of just tapping the brakes, it is slamming on the brakes, which means that this is not just about higher borrowing costs. This is about a high risk of a recession. This is about 401(k) valuations being destroyed. So, there's a lot of what Chair Powell calls pain, what I would call significant damage to Americans because the Fed has been so late.

HARLOW: You know, Senator Elizabeth Warren has been sounding the alarm bells on this, by the way, for a long time, saying when you raise - when you hike rates like this over and over again, you are increasing the chances of a recession and increasing the chances that you put, you know, potentially millions of folks out of work. And her argument is that that is more painful than even sustained high inflation. Now, experts differ on whether they agree with her, but that is her assessment. And she called the rate hike yesterday extreme.

And I wonder if you agree at least in part with her. I mean I guess there's no -- they're saying they have no choice, but do you agree with her assessment of what this then does?

EL-ERIAN: So, what is extreme is the extent to which they're having to raise rates fast. I mean we're got from 0 percent to 3 percent in six months, and we're still going higher. According to the Fed, we will go above 4 percent by the end of the year. That's a massive change. And we started very late.

So, yes, it is a very violent shock to the economy. Yes, it will create a very high risk of recession. It's something that will hit the most vulnerable segments of the populations. Absolutely right. So, Senator Warren is absolutely right there.

Where I think there's no choice is that the Fed has got to put the inflation genie back into the bottle. If it doesn't, then we risk more stagflation, which is high inflation, recession. That's a horrible combination. But it is a shame because we didn't need to be here. This is a problem of the Fed's own making.

HARLOW: So, Mohamed, it sounds like you think a recession is a real, real likelihood. I just wonder how - how deep and how prolonged of one.

Nouriel Roubini, as you know, just a few days ago, the economist, said the recession is not going to be short and shallow, quote, it's going to be severe, long and ugly if there is one. Do you think so?

EL-ERIAN: Yes, we -- we have some economic strength. So, I do think there's more resilience that should - should keep the recession to one that is shallow and short, but that assumes the Fed doesn't make more policy mistakes. We have a strong labor market, and that's really important. That is a very significant part of our economy.

So, we should have a shallow and relatively short recession, but it assumes that the Fed gets it right from here. And I can tell you that neither the markets nor many politicians have the sorts of confidence in the Fed that we should have, let alone the rest of the world.

HARLOW: Mohamed El-Erian, thank you very, very much.

EL-ERIAN: Thank you.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Quite a warning there. Worth listening.

Well, the far-right conspiracy group QAnon is embracing what it says is a clear nod of support from President Trump. We'll take a look at this seemingly blatant sign of approval.



HARLOW: Supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory are celebrating online this morning because they believe that former President Trump signaled support for their debunked, dangerous conspiracy theories yet again. This time this embrace seems to be clearer than before.

SCIUTTO: I'm glad you said dangerous, Poppy, because, as folks may remember, someone with a gun showed up at a location here where QAnon people claimed there were children being sold into sex slavery.

HARLOW: That's right. SCIUTTO: This is the issue now. A social media repost by the former president of him pictured him with a Q slogan and Q pin. And now just as they have for years, they say it's trying to distance the former president from the movement.

CNN's Donie O'Sullivan reports.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT (August 19, 2020): Well, I don't know much about the movement other than I understand they like me very much.

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Former President Trump has long flirted with QAnon, but this illustrated meme he reshared last week with QAnon slogans and a Q on his lapel is one of his most brazen endorsements of the conspiracy theory.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even President Donald J. Trump put that on there, a guy wearing a Q pin, storm is upon us, patriots are in control.

O'SULLIVAN: Hosts on this QAnon radio show, celebrating.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that is the reason that you are all here, because you know the truth. You all know who Donald Trump really is. You all know who the fight is really about and who the players are that actually want to destroy our country.


O'SULLIVAN: On Trump's social media platform, QAnon followers saw the president's post as a clear sign he is with them and with QAnon. One post read, at this point, anyone denying that Q was a legit operation affiliated with the Trump administration is in major denial. Another read, @realdonaldtrump has over 4 million followers, yet he seeks out Q people to ReTruth.

JOAN DONOVAN, RESEARCH DIRECTOR, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL: What we've seen recently from Trump is different from what we've seen in the past. Prior to this he would say he's heard of these QAnon people. He believes them to be great patriots. Now the message is directly one- to-one. It's no longer ambiguous.

CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: Well, certainly we are concerned about the QAnon phenomenon.

O'SULLIVAN: The FBI has warned of the dangers of QAnon and its potential to inspire violence.

GREG EHRIE, ADL VICE PRESIDENT, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: What we have is a former president, potential candidate for the presidency of the United States, legitimizing what's in essence a cult.

O'SULLIVAN: QAnon has been associated with bizarre claims about cabals and child sacrifice, but the slogans and symbols of QAnon have now become intertwined with Trump's lies about a stolen election. O'SULLIVAN (on camera): Yes, I go to a lot of Trump rallies. I see a

lot of people wearing QAnon t-shirts. It doesn't mean they're all necessarily violent or dangerous, does it?

EHRIE: It does not. And that's the most difficult law enforcement scenario to deal with because you want to identify threats amongst these hundreds, sometimes thousands of people.

O'SULLIVAN (voice over): Trump delivered some of his speech Saturday in Youngstown, Ohio, to a backing track.

TRUMP: We are a nation that is no longer respected or listened to around the world. We are a nation that in many ways has become a joke.

O'SULLIVAN: That music you hear sounds identical to a song associated with QAnon. While it played, the crowd all pointed their fingers in unison toward the sky.

DONOVAN: The imagery of everybody, their heads bowed with their finger pointed in the air showing the number one, this is where meme wars are most potent because for some people they were seeing that reflected in the QAnon meme where we go one, we go all. Others were seeing America first be reflected.

O'SULLIVAN: The Trump team denied the music was a QAnon song.

EHRIE: It was played. And to the people who are listening, that's a siren song. Even if it was an accident, it becomes the perception. And it's easy to counter that. Where is the, no, that's not what I meant, no, I do not support this group's statement, that you would expect from a viable candidate.

O'SULLIVAN: But Trump has never outright disavowed QAnon. Quite the opposite. He's, instead, endorsing candidates who have echoed the conspiracy theory, like Mark Finchem, the Republican candidate for secretary of state in Arizona.

STATE REP. MARK FINCHEM, (R-AZ): There's a lot of people involved in a pedophile network and the distribution of children. And, unfortunately, there's a whole lot of elected officials that are involved in that.

O'SULLIVAN: At a fundraiser for Finchem this weekend, a performance of another QAnon song, named after the QAnon slogan, where we go one, we go all.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): Where we go one, we go all (INAUDIBLE). We'll (INAUDIBLE).


O'SULLIVAN: Now, amid all of this, as you can see there, QAnon is really thriving on Trump's social media platform.

But just this morning, Facebook executive Nick Clegg was speaking at an event run by Semafor in Washington, D.C., the news outlet, and he reminded us that Trump could return to Facebook, to Facebook's platforms, as soon as January. You might remember, right after the January 6th attack on the Capitol, both Facebook and Twitter kicked Trump off their platforms. Twitter did it for good, but Facebook said it was a two-year thing. So, Facebook has that decision to come up with in these next few months. No indication from Clegg of what way that decision will go. But, in the context of all of this, you can see how important it is.

SCIUTTO: Right in time for a potential presidential run.

O'SULLIVAN: Exactly.

HARLOW: Donie, thank you. Your reporting is always just, as we say, jaw dropping. Thanks a lot.


HARLOW: All right, well, this next (INAUDIBLE) forced this United Airlines flight coming from Newark to make an emergency landing. What we're learning about this terrifying takeoff, next.



HARLOW: All right, this just in, the FAA is investigating a United Airlines flight that left Newark last night and declared an emergency, then had to return to the airport. Did land safely back at Newark.

SCIUTTO: Thankfully. Flight tracking data shows the flight circling over the Atlantic Ocean multiple times before turning around and heading back to the Newark Airport.

CNN's Pete Muntean joins us now live in Washington with more.

Pete, what do we know? Do we know what the danger was here? How much was the flight in danger?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, really a testament to the crew here, Jim. Also air traffic control and the engineering of this airplane. A Boeing 777-200. It took off, United flight 149 is what we're talking about here at Newark Liberty International Airport around 11:30 last night. And new video that is surfacing right now shows a shower of sparks coming out of the airplane as the landing gear was going up. Pretty quickly it was apparent that there was a problem here, United Airlines says. And you can see the flight aware track there.

The flight went out to the east of the Jersey Shore and orbited overhead the Atlantic Ocean for some time. United says to burn off fuel before the flight came back in to land at Newark Liberty International Airport without issue.

Two hundred and fifty-six people on board.

[09:50:02] Nobody hurt.

What is interesting here is that United was pretty quickly able to determine that this was a problem with one of the plane's hydraulic pumps. That's a really critical system. Almost the blood that flows to some of the really key parts of the airplane, the landing gear, the wing flaps that are used for takeoff and landing, also the brakes.

The good news on the 777, the 21st century jet, it was designed with three of these systems on board. Three independent hydraulic systems. So even if two of them fail, the airplane can still operate normally.

United has had some issues with Boeing 777s like this before. Back in February of 2021, an engine exploded on one out of Denver, rained parts over suburban Denver. United had to come up with new inspections for these kind of planes, put them back into service.

And then, earlier this week, United had issues with some of these airplanes falling out of a different kind of FAA inspection. So, we will see here as the details come out exactly what caused this, although it's pretty clear this was a hydraulic problem, Jim and Poppy.

SCIUTTO: Goodness. Thank God for the flight crew and the passengers.

Pete Muntean, thanks so much for covering.

All this week you may have noticed we're bringing you everyday people who are changing society, getting things done in a series we call "Champions for Change." And they are champions.

HARLOW: Yes. My favorite segments all week. This year alone more than 2,700 people here in the United States have had a heart transplant. About 3,500 more are waiting for one. But what if we could cut that wait list to zero.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta introduces us to a champion who is doing something many said was impossible, building hearts.


DR. DORIS TAYLOR, STEM CELL BIOLOGIST: So much of what we believe about life is about heart. It's about love. It's about fundamental form. It's about connection. It's alive.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: This idea that you could start to construct that.

TAYLOR: Right.

GUPTA: You know, in some ways the biological sort of challenge of that, it's extraordinary.

Doris Taylor is an innovator. She's trying to do something that everyone said was impossible, grow new human hearts, individualized, personalized, waiting for people, thousands of people who need heart transplants and simply can't get them.

TAYLOR: So, we use a pig heart. And basically used the equivalent of baby shampoo. Put it through all the blood vessels in the heart. And what was left was this scaffold that looked like a heart. What we call our ghost heart.

GUPTA: This is the ghost heart. This is where it begins.

TAYLOR: Ghost heart. This is where it begins.

GUPTA: If I were somebody who you were doing this for, building this hear, would it be my heart ultimately?

TAYLOR: I will build you a personalized heart if you need a heart. I would take cells from your blood or your skin, I would make them into stem cells. I would then grow the billions of cells we need and put your cells on that pig's scaffold and you cover every surface of that scaffold with your cells, and then we teach it how to grow up and become a heart that matches your body.

GUPTA: I think this whole idea of teaching cells, it's hard to get your head around.

TAYLOR: When you go out and jog, aren't you teaching the cells in your leg to get stronger. That's basically what I'm doing, too. I'm just using an artificial stimulator and an artificial blood pressure.

GUPTA: Do you remember the first time you saw it actually work?

TAYLOR: Yes. Yes. You -- you know, it's one of those yes moments in life. You can't invent this stuff.

GUPTA: Right.

TAYLOR: Although we kind of did.

I'm going to tell you about a 20-year journey that many people told me couldn't be done.

MICAELA POWELL, HEART TRANSPLANT RECIPIENT: I always just checked the news on my phone. And I was like, oh, my goodness, ghost heart. Like, what could that be.

GUPTA (voice over): Twenty-six-year-old Micaela Powell had a heart transplant herself. Now, it saved her life, but it's not the personalized heart Doris is describing. Micaela is on a daily regimen of anti-rejection drugs, worried that her body might one day reject her donated organ.

POWELL: I was just insanely inspired by that video. It touched me so much that I just - I had to message her.

Thank you for giving me hope.

TAYLOR: She said, to think that I could one day have a normal life. Oh, my gosh. GUPTA (on camera): Oftentimes we don't hear the story behind the

story. To really understand the people who make these developments that happen -

TAYLOR: Can I say one other thing?


GUPTA: That story that's not often told.

TAYLOR: As an LGBTQ girl who grew up in Mississippi, who got kicked out of college actually for being gay, I would have never thought I'd be standing on this stage doing something like this.


So, thank you.

GUPTA: Can you imagine that? She was told not only can you not pursue your scientific dreams, we're not even going to give you a degree. A solution to one of the biggest problems in the world almost didn't happen because of who she is.

TAYLOR: For all the people who still say, no, they -- you know, we'll do it first in pigs, then we'll go to people. Every day we don't get there, somebody else dies. It's going to work.

GUPTA: I got to touch a heart today that was created by Doris. If there is such a place where scient and spirituality really intersect, I think it's probably in a place like this.

TAYLOR: Someone else said to me, you're not building organs, you're building hope.


GUPTA: I just love being able to do these type of stories and introduce someone like Doris to the world. So many times there's these incremental advances in science and then sometimes there's a sea change, such as what Doris is describing here with these ghost hearts, Poppy. I've got to tell you, you know, she says maybe five years from now with the funding you could start to see these in human beings, creating a personalized heart with your tissue.

HARLOW: Unbelievable.

GUPTA: Wouldn't need rejection drugs, anything.

HARLOW: Unbelievable.

GUPTA: It would be your own heart.

HARLOW: Building hope.

GUPTA: Building hope.

HARLOW: What a woman.

GUPTA: Through a heart.

HARLOW: Thank you for introducing us to her.

GUPTA: You got it.

HARLOW: What a woman. Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

All right, be sure to tune in Saturday night, 8:00 p.m. Eastern, for the "Champions of Change" one hour special. Sanjay is hosting. Don't miss it. It's right here on CNN.