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Balloonist Works on Climate Solutions; Biden's Granddaughter to Get Married on South Lawn Tomorrow; AG Garland to Announce Special Council in Mar-a-Lago, Parts of 1/6 Investigations; Actor Chris Hemsworth Receives "Strong Indication" of Genetic Predisposition to Alzheimer's Disease. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired November 18, 2022 - 13:30   ET




BERTRAND PICCARD, BALLOONIST: It was very emotional because it was my last chance. I had failed twice already. It was the last balloon, the last opportunity.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Round-the-world record-setting balloonists, Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones, touched down today.

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): And then he stopped himself by building a solar airplane and flying around the world on clean quiet sunlight.

PICCARD (on camera): I speak to you from the cockpit in the middle of the Pacific, flying on solar power only, no fuel.

(voice-over): For me, Solar Impulse was not about transporting passengers. It was about transporting a message to show that you can achieve so-called impossible goals with technologies, renewable energy, no fuel, no pollution.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How smooth it is.


WEIR: Six years later, he says there are about 600 electric aviation projects in various stages around the world.

And as nonprofit Solar Impulse Foundation, they promote over 1,400 money making earth-saving startups to governments big and small in sectors from food and construction to transport and energy.

Like Wave Roller, which hopes to power entire coastal communities using natural ocean energy. And UBQ, which turns garbage and dirty diapers into a replacement for conventional plastic.

While nations struggle to agree on what to do next, Piccard has an immediate action plan for cities because local leaders, closer to local problems, can help unleash and scale countless innovations. PICCARD: If I come to a head a state and I say there are a lot of

interesting ideas for the future, the guy is going to tell me come back in the future.


PICCARD: I want to come to heads of states and executives of big corporations and say, look at the solutions that exist today.

WEIR: And while Piccard is a techno optimist, he is also a licensed psychiatrist.

PICCARD: When you fly in the balloons, you are pushed by the winds into the unknown.

WEIR: Which comes in handy when trying to save humanity from itself.

PICCARD: And your only way to steer the balloon is to change your altitude to take another wind, another wind layer that has another direction.

And in life, it's exactly what we have to do. Drop the ballast of your certitude, paradigms, belief, throw that overboard so you can change altitude in your mind.

Then you take a new narrative, a new direction, protection of the environment as something exciting, creating jobs, developing the economy because it's profitable, offers new business developments for the industry, and you replace what is polluting by what is protecting the environment.

It's a complete change of altitude.

WEIR: Yes.

PICCARD: And if you do that, you will have much more people supporting you. The businessman, the politicians they will think, wow, that's really something that we can identify to. It's not threatening us. It's offering us a better future.


ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: He's brilliant. It is so impressive.

Watching that piece, seeing the beauty of the landscape, too, is such a reminder about how precious this globe is and his ideas, I hope the world leaders are listening to him.

WEIR: I hope so, too. He is a techno optimist. We don't have a whole lot of time. We don't have a whole lot of agreement. Things are grinding their way towards the finish at COP27.

But the point he's trying to make is we have all the technology we need right now, it just takes human will.

CABRERA: But we're capable. We can do it. Thank you, Bill, for sharing that with us.

WEIR: You bet.

OK. We have this just in out of Colorado. Democrat Adam Fritsch just announced he has now called Republican Congressman Lauren Boebert and has conceded in the battle for Colorado's third congressional district race.

So there will still be an automatic recount done by the secretary of state because this one is extremely close. But again, Lauren Boebert's challenger has now conceded.

It's a nice day for a White House wedding. OK. So Billy Idol won't be at this one. But 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will be the site of a special family celebration this weekend. We have the details.


And it turns out this Bud is not for you if you are going to the World Cup. A new beer ban two days before the tournament kicks off. The controversy surrounding the World Cup in Qatar go much deeper than a can of suds.


CABRERA: Will President Biden do the Macarena? Or maybe the Electric Slide is his thing. The people need to know, sir, as the White House becomes the ultimate wedding venue this weekend.

The Bride to be, President Biden's eldest granddaughter, Naomi. She will soon become the 19th woman ever to say "I do" at the executive mansion.

Let's bring in CNN's Kate Bennett now.

Kate, a big wedding weekend, a big birthday weekend at the White House. The president is turning 80. A lot to celebrate.


KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the president turns 80 on Sunday but that's a day after Naomi Biden's big wedding to Peter Neal.

It will take place tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. on the South Lawn. It's chilly in D.C. I hear there's no tent going up so guests might be advised to bring some sort of warm covering.

And then after the ceremony, there will be a reception in the White House for family. And for the wedding party, very small. And then in the evening, guests will come back and have dessert and there will be dancing and a bigger reception.

It's interesting, there hasn't been a grand-scale wedding of a presidential family member in quite some time. One of the biggest was the -- Lyndon Johnson's daughters got married

in the late 1960s at the White House White House, Lucy Johnson and Linda Johnson in 1967 during the peak of Vietnam.

Then Tricia Nixon, ahead of President Nixon's scandal in 1971 got married as well. Tricia Nixon got married in the Rose Garden. Linda Johnson got married in the East Room. Naomi Biden will be the first person getting married on the South Lawn.

Definitely, it will be a big weekend for the White House. As you said, it's not the only celebration. President Biden is turning 80, the first --


CABRERA: Breaking news --


CABRERA: Let's go right now to the Justice Department and our Evan Perez.

We're getting an announcement from Attorney General Merrick Garland, set to appoint a special counsel in the Trump probe.

Evan, tell us.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. So in the next 20 minutes or so, we're going to hear from the attorney general directly. But he is -- he has appointed a special counsel to oversee the investigation -- the twin investigations into the former president.

One of them, of course, is the Justice Department's investigation of the retention of national security information. These are the classified documents that were found by the FBI during the search at the former president's residence in Palm Beach in Mar-a-Lago.

The second part of this is parts of the January 6th investigation that touch on the former president.

Of course, you know that one of the things the Justice Department has been looking into is the involvement of the former president and the people around him in the effort to obstruct the transfer of power after the -- after the 2020 election.

He was involved in the fake electors scheme and in the entire effort to try to prevent Congress from certifying Joe Biden's victory at the end of the 2020 election.

Those are the two things that the special counsel, who has already been appointed by the attorney general, who is now going to oversee those two aspects of these two investigations.

Now, we're going to hear a little bit more about who the attorney general has appointed when the attorney general comes out to speak, again, in about 30 minutes or so. And we're going to hear a lot more about exactly why this was done.

But look, we previously reported, we broke the story here at CNN that this was something that was in discussion at the Justice Department.

And part of the calculation was the idea that, you know, having someone not part of the political leadership here overseeing these investigations was important if the former president declares that he is a candidate for office once more.

Given the fact that obviously he might be running against Merrick Garland, the attorney general's boss, Joe Biden, if he decides to run for reelection.

So that's part of the issue, which was to try to insulate those two investigations and keep them out of the realm of politics.

Of course, you guys know that, you know, you can try to do that, but then, of course, it has to do with Donald Trump and there's probably no way to divorce yourself entirely from the political atmosphere of this.

CABRERA: Evan, stay with me.

I want to bring in Jessica Schneider, who is learning more about the deliberations that took place to get to this point.

What have you learned, Jessica?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Ana, as Evan just mentioned here, it was our team two weeks ago that broke that news that the DOJ was considering whether or not a special counsel would be necessary once Trump announced his candidacy for a second term.

Of course, that announcement happening earlier this week on Tuesday night. So presumably the Department of Justice, the attorney general acting fairly quickly here, within a matter of days, to decide to name a special counsel to oversee these two parallel and very big probes that are ongoing.

Into January 6th and also the alleged retention of classified documents at the former president's home in Palm Beach, Florida, Mar- a-Lago.

So this has been something that the DOJ has been considering for many weeks, as all of these investigations have really crescendoed. And that announcement will be coming today from the Attorney General Merrick Garland.


You know, Evan talked a little bit about a special counsel, the fact that it can somewhat insulate the Department of Justice from any cries of politicization here. Of course, those cries are going to come inevitably.

But ultimately, what's important to note here is that even though the special counsel will be named very shortly by the attorney general, he will reveal who it is.

That special counsel will operate independently. However, ultimately, any decisions about whether to charge the former president, Donald Trump, or any of his associates, that's something that will, in fact, be run by and approved ultimately by the attorney general and top officials at the Justice Department.

Of course, the United States public has seen this before. We saw Robert Mueller be named as special counsel by then-deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein. That was way back in 2017. We saw that probe ongoing for at least a year and a half, I believe.

And then, of course, we still have a special counsel, John Durham, who has been ongoing and actually unsuccessful in several prosecutions that he has brought.

So this will be a special counsel that will be announced by the attorney general. We are expecting that live announcement at 2:15. Presumably, the attorney general will name who the special counsel will be and then explain the parameters of this investigation and what he will be overseeing.

But, Ana, it will be quite broad because obviously these two parallel tracks into the president's -- former president's involvement in January 6, trying to overturn the 2020 election.

And then, of course, that continuing investigation that popped up over the summer that we all learned about into the alleged retention of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.

So expecting more from the attorney general in just about a half hour here -- Ana?

CABRERA: Do we know who he is planning to appoint or is he just going to announce he has made a decision to have a special counsel?

SCHNEIDER: Yes, I know Evan is actually over at the Justice Department. He seemed to indicate that the attorney general will probably name who the special counsel is.

And bringing you back to 2017 when Rod Rosenstein announced that there would be a special counsel, he did name that it would be Robert Mueller right away.

So it's expected that Attorney General Garland will do the same here and announce who the special counsel actually will be. But we will stay tuned for that.

CABRERA: I know we have our Paula Reid with us as well.

Paula, we've talked a lot about these other examples of special counsels but walk us through how this will work.

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, as Jessica noted, one of the things about a special counsel here is that they ultimately report to the attorney general. While they do operate independently, they get an independent budget,

all kinds of resources to carry out their work, they still have to consult with the attorney general before potentially bringing any charges.

Now, the big question you guys have been talking about this -- there's no answer right now -- is who will take on this job.

I mean, there's such a small circle of people who could take on this job and really help convince people that there's no political bias, that there's no politicization of this investigation.

As we reported, as Evan mentioned, Jess mentioned as well, the goal of appointing a special counsel is to try to protect the Justice Department, which has been embroiled in partisan investigations, for instance, pretty much since 2015, and the investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server.

They're trying to shield the Justice Department from political blow back. It's unclear if they can truly do that. Because, again, the final word lies with the attorney general.

It will be very interesting to see who was selected for this job, who is willing to take it on, and what exactly their mandate is.

We know that this individual will handle the investigation into possibly mishandling classified information down at Mar-a-Lago but also certain aspects of the January 6th investigation.

What does that mean? Is that just any role that the former president had in that? Is it also his associates? John Eastman, Jeffrey Clark?

That's going to be interesting to see how they carve this out and what parts they felt were so politically fraught that they had to be handed off to a special counsel.

CABRERA: OK. So stay with me, Paula.

Let me bump back to Evan, then.

And, Evan, then, given the special counsel is sort of independent of Merrick Garland and his Justice Department, what role will the Justice Department have moving forward in all of these topics?

PEREZ: Well, yes, I think that's exactly the big question. I think we're going to hear a little bit more from the attorney general to try to delineate some of this.

Look, there are over 1,000 people who have been charged or, you know, who are facing charges regarding the insurrection, the riot at the capitol on January 6th, 2021.

And so the special counsel we don't expect is going to take over all of those investigations. That is being handled by the U.S. attorney here in Washington.

So we anticipate, again, the attorney general will explain himself a little more when he comes out to speak very shortly.


But we anticipate that, at least for those investigations, I don't really have to do directly with the former president, with Donald Trump, and with people, you know, directly around him.

That those investigations are going to remain under the U.S. attorney in Washington who has a huge number of prosecutors, people brought in from around the country, to handle those investigations.

The group of Oath Keepers are on trial right now. So we expect those types of investigations to continue under the U.S. Attorney.

This special counsel, we anticipate, is going to handle things that are directly related or connected to the former president.

Because, again, the idea here is to try to remove some of this from the politics of having the former president running for office, that the current president, the boss of Merrick Garland, the attorney general, is obviously -- the possibility the two of them are going to be running for the same office.

That appears to be the goal of this new person that is being named. Again, we understand the attorney general has already named this person. We just need to learn who they are when the attorney general comes out to speak shortly.

CABRERA: What time of timeline could this special counsel be working on then if this is the person who's going to determine whether to bring indictments?

PEREZ: That's a very, very -- that's a huge question. That's a very important question.

Look, I think one of the concerns that I've heard internally is that what this means is that we're going to be waiting for this for a long time.

I have been told, though, my sources that, you know, look, it doesn't necessarily mean that. It means -- because you have a lot of this investigative work that is already happening by the FBI, by the prosecutors here in the Justice Department.

So, what they can do is they can easily move those people under the oversight of this new special prosecutor. Doesn't need to set things back as far as the calendar goes.

But, you know, without a doubt, one of the problems, one of the issues, with special counsels is that they can go on and on and on.

You don't need to take my word for it. Just look at John Durham. The attorney -- he was appointed with Bill Barr under the former administration, and he's still going. We don't know exactly when he's going to wrap up, probably very soon. But it's really up to him.

That's going to be the question. How do you control this from not going on and on and on? It's a very important question that you ask.

CABRERA: So, we have a lot more to learn. Hopefully, we'll get more answers when the attorney general makes his announcement, which is expected next hour around 2:15. We'll bring it to you live on CNN.

Evan, I'm going to let you go so you can dig and get more information. We'll continue to cover this story.

In the meantime, you probably know him from playing "Thor" on the big screen. But in his news series, "Limitless, Actor Chris Hemsworth reveals a very human and sobering discovery. He is genetically predisposed to develop Alzheimer's some eight to 10 times likely.


CHRIS HEMSWORTH, ACTOR: You're constantly thinking you're going to live forever, especially as a young individual. To all of a sudden be told, this may be the thing that might take you out was like, whoa. Kind of floored me.


CABRERA: Dr. Tara Narula is joining us now.

So good to see you, Doctor.

Hemsworth says he did blood work and discovered this. Explain.

DR. TARA NARULA, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Correct. So, it's a little bit difficult to talk about genetic risk for late-onset Alzheimer's Disease. We haven't really identified a lot of markers. There are several genes.

But one of them in particular is this gene. And in fact, Chris Hemsworth was told that he has two copies of that gene. As you mentioned, that increases the risk of potentially of late-onset Alzheimer's potentially about eight to twelvefold. If you have one copy of the genes, it's about two to threefold.

All of us have some form of these genes. It's really about four that's associated with increased risk. And that gene is associated with removal of plaques from the brain, so less removal potentially without form of the gene.

So, you know, it's tough to learn this because what do you do with this information? And I think that's really the next question, is who should be tested and how do you go on from here knowing that you may be predisposed.

CABRERA: Is there something people can do proactively if they have this information to try to ward off or delay the onset of symptoms if they are more likely to develop Alzheimer's?

NARULA: Again, this is a huge area of research within the Alzheimer's and dementia community, how do we prevent. And what we've learned so far is social interaction, cognitive

stimulation, exercise, and living a healthy lifestyle, and controlling blood pressure, diabetes, and smoking. All of that can potentially help reduce risk.


And then we've talked recently in the news about the new drugs that are in the pipeline that are being tested, whether they're antibodies or immunotherapy, that may hold promise at some point.

CABRERA: Dr. Tara Narula, sure hope there are more break throughs.

Thank you for that information.

That does it for us for Friday. Have a great weekend. I'll be back here Monday, same time, same place.

Stay with CNN, as we continue to cover the breaking news. We expect that presser, the announcement from Attorney General Merrick Garland about appointing a special counsel in both the Trump probes, the Mar- a-Lago documents and the January 6th investigation. So keep it right here on CNN.

Have a great weekend.