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Witnesses: Sexual Violence Used To Crush Protesters In Iran; At Least 103 People Killed, Rescuers Search For Survivors; IAEA: No Immediate Safety Concerns At Zaporizhzhia Plant; 38 People Killed in Fire at Chinese Factory; COVID-Related Deaths in China; Twitter's Blue Verified on Hold; Disney's New CEO Plans to Restructure Company; NASA's Orion Makes Successful Maneuver; Interview with American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Executive Director Dan Dumbacher; Biden Urging COVID Boosters; Jay Leno Discharged from the Hospital; Interview with Journalist and "Run Tell This" Host Mara S. Campo; Interview with TIME National Correspondent Charlotte Alter; Interview with Pollster and Communications Strategist Frank Luntz; How to Heal the Soul of America. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired November 22, 2022 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR (on camera): Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.
Just ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM, brutal tactics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): They choose the women who were pretty and suited their appetite. Then, the officer would take one of them from the cell to a smaller private room.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH (voice over): A CNN exclusive investigation. Iranian protesters defying the morality police, say they are being raped in custody.
A powerful earthquake levels homes and schools in Indonesia more than 100 people are dead.
Plus, another CNN exclusive. On the ground, with a reconnaissance team in Ukraine, how their efforts helped push the Russians out of Kherson?
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center. This is CNN NEWSROOM WITH ROSEMARY CHURCH.
CHURCH (on camera): And we begin with new information on the protests sweeping across Iran.
In the coming hours, The E.U. is expected to discuss its response to Tehran's crackdown on demonstrators, including the situation in the Kurdish region of the country. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH (voice over): Human rights groups based in Norway tells CNN that at least 13 people have been killed in Kurdish cities in the past 24 hours.
This, as an Internet watchdog says cellular data was down in those areas for hours during the protests.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH (on camera): Well, since the beginning of protests over two months ago over Mahsa Amini's death, Iran's regime has unleashed a campaign of repression.
Eyewitnesses tell CNN, sexual violence is being used to suppress, demoralize, and in some cases, blackmail protesters.
CNN's Nima Elbagir has this exclusive report. But we want to warn you, it contains details of sexual violence.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Over these mountains is Iran, a regime that has succeeded in cutting many of its people off from the outside world. But disturbing stories detailing the authority's brutal retribution, systematic sexual violence against anti-regime protesters have begun leaking out.
We've come here to the Kurdish region of Iraq to try and find out more.
This is Hannah (PH), not her real name, a Kurdish Iranian woman recently smuggled out of Iran. She fears for her life.
After taking off and burning her headscarf on the streets, she was arrested and detained by Iranian intelligence officers.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): They choose the women who were pretty and suited their appetite. Then, the officer would take one of them from the cell to a smaller private room. They would sexually assault them there.
ELBAGIR: Hannah isn't only an eyewitness, she also was violated.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I feel shy talking about this. You can still see what the policeman did. Look here on my neck, it's purplish. That is why I'm covering it. He forced himself on me.
Then, a fight broke out with another protester drawing away Hannah's attacker, Hannah and others can hear screams and they believe a woman was raped in an interrogation room.
Hannah sketched out the police station as she remembers it. She estimates 70 to 80 men and women were together in a main hall that accessed four private interrogation rooms.
It was in these interrogation rooms she says that she was assaulted and others were raped.
CNN was able to locate the police station through Hannah's description, eyewitness corroboration, and geolocation using key landmarks. It's in the Islamabad neighborhood of Urmia.
Based on this testimony and speaking to a number of sources, a pattern of repression comes into focus. Police centers used as filtration points, moving protesters from one location to another. Often families left not knowing where their loved ones are held.
One Iraq-based Kurdish militant opposition party pack identified over 240 people who they believe are missing within this maze of detention centers.
Human rights organizations believe the number is higher, in the 1,000s. Some of the victims as young as 14. Many are men, supporting female protesters. Their punishment as severe as the women's.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They brought four men over who had been beaten, screaming intensely in another cell. And one of the men who was tortured, was sent to the waiting room where I was. I asked him what all that screaming was about, he said, they are raping the men.
ELBAGIR: Based on witness testimony, CNN traced the location to an Iranian army intelligence headquarters. Voice here by a translator, a 17-year-old boy sent CNN a voice note following his imprisonment. We are withholding his name and location for his safety.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): When a security guard heard me discussing the rape of the other inmates, he started torturing me all over again. They tortured, raped me from behind.
ELBAGIR: Even as authorities visited sexual violence on protesters, regime figures accused female protesters of prostitution of, "wanting to be naked".
Of the incidents of sexual violence against protesters inside Iranian detention facilities, most occurred in the Kurdish majority areas to the west of Iran, home to a historically oppressed minority.
Disturbingly, in some cases, the rapes were filmed and used to blackmail protesters into silence.
There has been a real escalation where female protesters are, as you can see here, being openly assaulted, often sexually.
But the violence against women like the protests are not confined to the Kurdish areas.
They are often focused on locations where the protests are most intense, like here in the capital, Tehran.
One of these stories is Armita Abassi, a typical 20-year-old on social media, sharing her love of animals --
In social media post appearing under her name, Abassi, like many young women in Iran criticize the regime openly after the protests began.
Unlike most, she did it without anonymity. It didn't take long for security forces to find and arrest her. Abassi disappeared.
Soon after, whistleblowers began to post on various social media platforms. Medics sharing eyewitness accounts of what had been done to Abassi.
"First of all," they say, "there were a few plain clothes men with her and they did not let her out of their sight. Even during a private medical examination, they were there." "She was my patient. I went to her bedside. They had shaved her hair. She was scared and was trembling." "When she first came in, they said it was rectal bleeding due to repeated rape, the plain clothes men insisted that the doctor write that the rape was from prior to her arrest. And then, after this issue was becoming obvious to all, they change the entire scenario altogether."
The details of these leaks were confirmed to CNN by an insider at Imam Ali Hospital, where Abassi was brought to be examined.
In a statement, the government said, "Abbasi was treated for digestive problems." The medics who treated her said that was not true.
The Iranian regime denies the rape, accusing her of leading protests and allegation which could see her face the death penalty.
At this usually busy border crossing between Iraq and Iran, it is deceptively quiet. Those who can cross tell us the noose is tightening on protesters.
Authorities have for decades used sexual torture against Iranians and it appears once more a familiar pattern. Sexual violence deployed to enforce an assertion of moral guardianship. Nirma Elbagir, CNN, Iraqi Kurdistan.
CHURCH: And CNN has reached out to the Iranian government for comment, but we've not heard back yet.
Well, a frantic search is underway for survivors after a devastating earthquake in West Java, Indonesia.
CHURCH (voice over): The province's governor reports at least 103 people have been killed and hundreds injured. Aftershocks, power outages, and the threat of landslides are complicating rescue efforts.
The government is putting up tents and building shelters for more than 7,000 people forced from their homes. Indonesia's location on the so-called Ring of Fire in the Pacific Ocean makes it prone to earthquakes. This one was a 5.6 magnitude.
CHURCH: And CNN's Anna Coren is following developments live this hour from Hong Kong.
So, Anna, what is the latest on search and rescue efforts?
ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, they're ongoing, Rosemary. Obviously, crews searching for any survivors trapped under the rubble.
We are talking about hundreds of homes and buildings that have collapsed, 1000s that have been damaged. The death toll, as you say stands at just over 100, but that is expected to rise.
Officials will address the media in the coming hours about that latest death toll.
But one woman who spoke to the media spoke of her anguish in trying to find a missing child. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I have seven children and one of them hasn't been found. The children were downstairs and I was upstairs getting laundry. Everything collapsed beneath me, and I was crushed beneath this child. One of my kids is still missing. My house is flattened.
Good God, two of my kids survived. I dug them up and this one, two others I brought here and one is still missing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COREN: Yes, the pain that these people are currently going through in the hope that their children, their loved ones are still alive.
According to officials, you know, those who have died were crushed by rubble. And the president, Rosemary, he is there in Cianjur. Right now, he has addressed search and rescue crews telling them that their priority is to find those who might still be alive.
He's offered his condolences, obviously, but also compensation to the victims and their families. He's also saying that these buildings must be rebuilt to be earthquake resistance.
You know, this earthquake, Rosemary, wasn't very big. It was a magnitude of 5.6, but it was shallow. It was only 10 kilometers deep, which is why we saw the violence. And it only lasted for 30 seconds that, that was the other thing, but it unleashed this violence and destruction in such a short period.
CHURCH: Yes, just horribly tragic. Anna Coren, joining us live from Hong Kong, many thanks.
The third day of the FIFA World Cup is just a few hours away and it's set to feature some of the most anticipated matches of the entire tournament.
CHURCH (voice over): First, Argentina will kick things off against Saudi Arabia, in what could be the start of Lionel Messi's final World Cup. The legendary Argentine has never won the title, but he's hoping this year will be special.
After that, Tunisia will face Denmark, one of the semi-finalist of the Euro 2020 tournament. Then, Mexico will take on Poland and its prolific scorer Robert Lewandowski. And finally, the defending World Cup champions France will start their title defense against Australia.
Monday began with a route as Group B favorites England dominated Iran. It was a 6-2 goal fest with intriguing storylines, both on and off the pitch.
Also, in Group B, Wales rallied and scored on a Gareth Bale penalty kick to tie the U.S. late in the match. It ended with a 1-1 draw.
And here is a look at the full Monday results. A group -- in Group A, the Netherlands clashed with African champions Senegal, with the Dutch seizing the victory. Final score, 2-0.
So, let's discuss this now with Kyle Bonagura, a staff writer at ESPN. Great to have you with us.
KYLE BONAGURA, STAFF WRITER, ESPN: Thanks for having me.
CHURCH (on camera): So, after Monday's matches, the United States that goes head to head with England on Friday. What will likely happen that day, given what we learned about the team's Monday?
BONAGURA: Yes, now, if you look at the results from day one of the group, you have to imagine that England's a pretty heavy favorite in that match. And I don't know if that's new information, I think when everyone looked at this group from the start of the draw, England was always going to be the heavy favorite. And then, you look at the results certainly remains the case given England was so dominant against Iran.
U.S. didn't look good for about 60 minutes against Wales, but kind of lost some steam at the end of the game before allowing the equalizer for Bale.
CHURCH: So, defending champs, France play Australia Tuesday, to the Aussies have any chance at all?
BONAGURA: I think, I wouldn't write them out, you know, you could -- you could -- they could certainly sit back and bunker and try to play for a draw. But yes, I mean, I think every expectation here is that the France will probably have a pretty easy time against Australia.
It's one of the, you know, bigger mismatches talent wise that we'll see. It's certainly a match day -- a match day one.
CHURCH: And global superstar Lionel Messi is on a quest to lead Argentina to a third title, when his team faced Saudi Arabia in the coming hours.
So, what's likely to happen there, do you think?
BONAGURA: Yes, I mean, Argentina is one of the hottest teams in the world football right now. They've won -- or their win unbeaten in 35 straight games, coming into this tournament, as you know -- you know, odds makers are calling them the second favorite behind Brazil to win the entire thing. Right?
So, if that's the case, I think that Argentina should be considered a heavy favorite today against Saudi Arabia, and certainly should be kind of primed for making a deep run in this tournament. Lionel Messi, everyone knows -- everyone across the world knows who he is, and he's probably here in his last tournament.
So, I think you'll suddenly see him try to make an impact and leave a lasting impression.
CHURCH: And of course, it has to be said that Qatar's hosting of the World Cup has been dogged by controversy right from the start. And Monday, was no different with Iran's team holding that silent protest. And European team captains being told by FIFA not to wear one love armbands.
What's your reaction to all of this? And was it a mistake to have the Cup held in Qatar, do you think?
BONAGURA: Yes, I mean, from the very beginning, Qatar never really figured to make much sense to host this tournament. The -- there's a -- there's a long list of issues of why that's the case.
And I think as this tournament progresses, you're going to see different elements, kind of showcase why that was the case. Or why the tournament shouldn't have been here.
At the same time, I think the local people, the ones I've interacted with here in Qatar have been gracious hosts for what that's worth. But yes, I mean, the rainbow armband, the one love armband issue yesterday was certainly rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, because this is -- this is something that the European teams had told FIFA they plan to do for, you know, a couple of months now.
And to get clarification the day before the tournament is about to kick off that they could potentially face yellow card discipline for wearing that armband.
It was -- it reflects poorly on the way that Qatar is running this tournament. Because FIFA is basically bowing to kind of every request from Qatar here in the last couple of days.
CHURCH: All right, Kyle Bonagura, thank you so much for joining us. Appreciate it.
BONAGURA: Thanks for having me.
CHURCH: And still to come, widespread damage reported at these Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine.
CHURCH (voice over): But no immediate safety concerns.
The latest on the situation in a live report. That's just ahead.
Plus, CNN sits down with a reconnaissance team in Ukraine for an exclusive interview and insight into the battle for one key southern city.
CHURCH (on camera): The U.N.'s nuclear watchdog says there are no immediate safety or security concerns at these Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant in Ukraine, following heavy shelling over the weekend.
CHURCH (voice over): Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency assess the damage and reported that key equipment remained intact. All six reactors at Europe's largest nuclear Atomic Energy Agency assessed the damage and reported that key equipment remained intact.
All six reactors at Europe's largest nuclear power station are said to be stable. The IAEA director general describe the latest shelling as another close call, and warn that next time we may not be so lucky.
CNN Scott McLean is tracking developments, he joins us live from London. Good to see you, Scott.
So, no immediate safety concerns at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, but still a dangerously close call, according to the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog. What more are you learning about all this?
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Yes. So, that's the good news, and the bad news that you just summarized there, Rosemary, that, look, the IAEA actually has four experts that are living on site. They went through, they surveyed the damage, they said that there is no immediate safety or security threat.
The bad news is that this was simply way too close for comfort. And I just want to bring up a map to show you exactly what we're talking about.
So, this is the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. It is located just outside the city of Enerhodar. And amongst the damage that they found was -- you can see the six reactors there. And amongst the damage that they found was actually impacts along the road that runs just alongside those six reactors.
MCLEAN (voice over): You can see that road between the buildings there.
One other thing now, those reactors are built in containment buildings, which are built to withstand the accidental force of a plane crash. But what's not clear is whether they could withstand these kinds of weapons of war that we're seeing here.
MCLEAN (on camera): Also, keep in mind that you see six rectangles there on the bottom of your screen, sort of bluish greyish rectangles there. Those are the cooling ponds.
MCLEAN: And they have no protection at all. They are right out there in the open. And obviously, they contain those spent nuclear rods. So, that's another area of potential danger. This is literally a minefield that we're talking about here.
And the main reactors are shut down, obviously. Four of them are in cold shutdown. The other two are sort of just creating steam and electricity for the local area there.
Now, the Ukrainians and the Russians are both blaming each other. The head of the Russian nuclear agency said, "We are informing the world community that the nuclear power plant is at risk of a nuclear accident, and it is obvious that Kyiv considers a small nuclear incident acceptable. This will be a precedent that will forever change the course of history."
And so, he is obviously urging everyone to realize that the safety of this area cannot be breached. This is raising alarm bells though in Europe. The French President Emmanuel Macron held an urgent call with President Zelenskyy to express his deep concerns.
Zelenskyy himself was quiet about this over the weekend. But yesterday, he said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): We are working to ensure the implementation of the IAEA's ordered to stop any hostile activity against Ukrainian nuclear objects.
And for this, the demilitarization of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant is extremely important.
Russia must withdraw all its fighters from there and stop selling the power plant.
MCLEAN: So, the IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi has, for months, been trying to get the Russians and Ukrainians to agree to a deal to have a buffer zone, a safety buffer zone around that nuclear power plant.
So far, though no deal has been struck. If there is any good news here, and it's not even that good, Rosemary, is that there were new -- no new attacks on the plant itself, though there was shelling in the city of Enerhodar right next door in the industrial area between the city and the nuclear power plant. CHURCH: All right, Scott McLean, joining us from London with the very latest. Appreciate it.
Well, now to a report you won't see anywhere else, new insight into the fierce battle for the recently liberated city of Kherson. Sam Kiley got a picture of how it unfolded from a reconnaissance team that targeted Russian forces on the frontlines.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Offensive, hyper vigilant, these foreign volunteers are reconnaissance soldiers, reliving weeks of fear and final victory in the battle for Kherson.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a fuel truck.
KILEY: Many of veterans of the Kurd campaigns against ISIS in Syria, now they work beyond the frontlines.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) you go cover.
KILEY: Deep into enemy territory for Ukraine.
MACER GIFFORD, UKRAINIAN ARMED FORCES: We would get so close to the Russians that we could hear them talking. We could hear them cooking their food and chopping the wood to build their shelters.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like observation textbook where they wrote what's going on.
KILEY: Andrii's military call sign is sneaky. And that's what the 8th recon units under his command must be.
Getting spotted here during the campaign to capture Kherson is nearly fatal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Comeback one by one.
KILEY: But they make off with a trove of stolen documents and Russian technology, all leading to moments like this. The obliteration of a Russian command center, and the surrender of the Russian senior sergeant, a paratrooper abandoned by his comrades in retreat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were shooting with artillery he's hit and one more guy, a captain. Russians take the captain but left him.
KILEY: Is that him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, platoon commander.
KILEY: He tells them he's been hiding out for six days. Then, warns the Ukrainians that Russian aircraft could attack.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said, run out from here because aviation is shooting at this place."
KILEY: They've been bombing here a lot, he says. He's injured but now safe.
Russian airstrikes on their abandoned positions were a constant danger for the recon unit during the grinding advance on Kherson over the autumn.
Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, the mixed blessing. Missing with one can attract retribution from the air.
Recon is about gathering intelligence and hunting targets. Using drones to fine tune artillery.
For months bringing in strikes like this, trying to force the Russians to run and suddenly across the whole front, that's what they did. Run.
In chasing the Russians out, crossings like this have often been hit with artillery and or a mortar gamble.
Survival the giggling relief. But the rewards they say worth it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, yes, of course, when I seen villagers, you know, they've seen the Ukrainian military for the first time, and who knows, how long? Eight months, at least? Yes, of course. Right? They got a little teary eyed, you see everybody crying and thanking us for help -- for helping liberate their village, and yes, of course, it gets to you.
KILEY: Sam Kiley, CNN, near Kherson City.
CHURCH: And still to come, Beijing tightens COVID restrictions yet again, as new outbreaks continue to spread across China. We will have the latest on the crackdown. Back in just a moment.
CHURCH: In China, state media report 38 people are now confirmed dead after a fire broke out at a factory. Two of those killed were previously reported missing. Heavy flames and smoke gutted this trading company in the City of Anyang, south of Beijing. It took fire crews more than six hours to extinguish the blaze. It's not clear yet how fire started but police have reportedly taken suspects into custody.
Well, almost three years after the world's first case of COVID-19 was reported, Beijing says it is now facing its most complicated and severe phase of the pandemic to date. And that means China is tightening restrictions even further. It comes as Chinese officials are reporting the country's first COVID-related deaths in nearly six months. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout has the latest. KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDEN: There is a surge of COVID-19 infection across China with outbreaks in multiple Chinese cities from the Chinese capital in Shijiazhuang in the north, to the economic engine of Guangzhou in the south and the mega city, Xingcheng (ph), in the country's southwest.
On Monday, China reported 26,824 new local cases of the virus. That is the highest daily COVID cases reported since mid-April. And although these numbers are very low compared to global standards, China has been holding tight to its zero-COVID policy. This policy of mass testing, snap lockdowns and border controls, which has disrupted both lives and livelihoods. And that policy is testing residents across the country. In Beijing's most populous district, Chaoyang, which is home to nearly 3.5 people, officials have urged residents there, including students and workers, to stay home.
According to the deputy director of the Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control, "The number of cases discovered outside quarantine is increasing rapidly at present, and there are hidden transmission risks from multiple places. The pressure on Beijing has further increased."
Also, in the north, Shijiazhuang is undergoing five days of mass testing as the city urges its residents not to leave unless necessary. All shopping centers and entertainment venues are closed. Dine in services and in class learning suspended and the tough measures there come just days after the city relaxed COVID restrictions according to state media.
In Guangzhou, the Baiyun District is under lockdown until Friday. The district is home to the Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport. And on WeChat, local health authorities said this, "The risk of social transmissions of the epidemic in Baiyun District has and continued to increase, and the prevention and control is grim."
Last week, scores of angry residents in another Guangzhou district took to the streets to protest China's tough anti-pandemic policy. Chongqing, China's biggest city, with the population of over 30 million is also battling an outbreak. Last week, the city government announced that presidents are not allowed to leave the city unless necessary.
As winter is coming, COVID-19 cases across China are set to rise. The state-run "People's Daily" warns that the pandemic may worsen. Writing in an editorial this, "The situation of pandemic control is severe. We must maintain confidence that we will win, resolutely overcome issues such as insufficient understanding and insufficient preparation."
Now, earlier this month, Chinese authorities eased parts of its pandemic policy. And Goldman Sachs, as China could start to reopen, the April June quarter of next year. But experts are warning that a full reopening requires higher vaccination rates, a change in messaging and broader access to medical care. And given the rise in cases nationwide, it will be even harder for China to unwind its nearly three yearlong zero-COVID policy. Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Hong Kong. CHURCH: Elon Musk says Twitter's blue verified feature is now on hold until the company can address concerns over accounts being impersonated. The initial rollout earlier this month came with all sorts of problems when fake accounts started popping up, impersonating brands and high-profile figures.
Meanwhile, layoffs are now hitting the Twitter sales team with one employee telling CNN they will let go on Monday. And Bloomberg is reporting Musk will make more cuts in the ad sales team over the next week. Musk has already axed more than half of Twitters 7,500 employees since taking over just a few weeks ago.
Well, Disney's new CEO, Bob Iger, says that major plans to restructure the entertainment company will be announced in the coming weeks. Iger, on the left, returned to the media empire after his successor, Bob Chapek, was ousted. Disney's problems are vast, and fixing them all may not be possible. Last quarter alone, the company suffered $1.5 billion in streaming losses. Iger says that he will dedicate the next two years to trying to turn the company around.
NASA's Orion spacecraft checks off another success after completing a flyby the moon. After the break, I will speak with an expert about the Artemis mission so far and where the Orion is headed next. We're back in just a moment.
CHURCH: NASA is one step closer to putting astronauts back on the moon. The Orion spacecraft completed a flyby of the moon early Monday, a critical step in the Artemis mission to reach lunar orbit. It's now set to spend nearly a month going around the moon, saving fuel and testing its systems before heading back to earth. The unmanned Orion will go more than 40,000 miles past the far side of the moon, that's about 65,000 kilometers and further out than any spacecraft intended to carry humans as ever gone before.
Well, for more on the Artemis mission, I'm joined by Daniel Dumbacher, a former NASA administrator and executive director at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Thank you so much for being with us.
DANIEL DUMBACHER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF AERONAUTICS AND ASTRONAUTICS: No, my pleasure.
CHURCH: So, as NASA's Orion spacecraft completed its lunar flight by week of that magnificent but tiny image of planet earth far, far away in the distance, what was your reaction to all of this?
DUMBACHER: My reaction is this is fantastic accomplishment. NASA and the industry team are doing a fantastic job and it's great to be back at the moon.
CHURCH: Of course, this brings NASA one step closer to sending astronauts back to the moon. So, what are all the next steps that need to happen to make that a reality?
DUMBACHER: You'll see NASA do a couple of what they call burns, running the rocket engines to get into the right orbit and get the energy and all the orbits lined up the way they want it. And then, you're going to see them test out all the systems, all of the operational approaches, all of the communication systems, et cetera, just to make sure that it's safe and we are ready to put people on the next mission.
CHURCH: And when do you think we will see Artemis 2 to land on the moon with a crew on board? What is the likely timeline for that?
DUMBACHER: Well, Artemis 2 is going to be -- the next mission will have crew go out to the moon. They will not land on the next mission. It will be two missions from now where they will -- Artemis 3, where they will actually land on the moon with the new human lander system. And that's -- they're targeting 2025 for that.
CHURCH: And what are you looking out for as you follow the progress, this mission? Are there any concerns that you have at all?
DUMBACHER: Well, this is a test mission. So, you're always paying to making sure how things are working versus what we expect it or how it was expected to operate. And as you might have heard on the NASA press briefing earlier, right now, they don't have any big issues that they're working, that -- they are seeing a couple of minor things that they are trying to understand. But as far as the mission is going, it is going as planned and they are getting all of the data that they need. This is fantastic.
CHURCH: And it is fantastic isn't it, and extraordinary as well because there were so many problems in the initial stages leading up to the launch. And yet -- I mean, one would not want to jinx this. but it has gone so smoothly, hasn't it?
DUMBACHER: It has gone smoothly and we all have to remember that these rockets and this spacecraft have millions of parts and lots of software that all has to work together and has to work perfectly at the right time. And so, you expect some of these challenges along the way because it's -- it never works on hardware the way that way it might appear to on paper.
But as NASA gets into this Artemis 1 mission, we are seeing that the planning and that the design and the operation is working extremely well. The NASA industry team with Lockheed Martin and all of their suppliers for Orion are doing a fantastic job. This is great.
CHURCH: And, of course, you mentioned Artemis 3 when it's going to have a crew on board landing on the moon, would that probably be the most dangerous part of this mission?
DUMBACHER: That would be a dangerous part of the mission and also, getting the crew back off of the surface of the moon and then, headed home. And then, of course, the reentry back to earth. You have to realize that when you are operating at orbital speed and orbital velocity and the amount of energy that has to be managed there are lots of dangerous steps here. And that's NASA takes all the precautions and does the design work and thinks about all the possibilities that can happen so that they are prepared to be able to handle any contingencies that occur.
CHURCH: Absolutely. Daniel Dumbacher, great to have you with us. Appreciate it as we go through all of these steps. A very exciting time for human history, isn't it?
DUMBACHER: My pleasure. Yes. This is -- we are on our way back to the moon and into deep space.
CHURCH: Wonderful stuff. Thank you so much for joining us. Appreciate it.
DUMBACHER: My pleasure.
CHURCH: Well, as part of an annual tradition, U.S. President Joe Biden has pardoned to Thanksgiving turkeys. This year, the big birds are named Chocolate and Chip.
On a more serious note, Mr. Biden urged Americans to get their COVID boosters and flu shots. The president said, we should all be thankful because only two years ago at the height of the pandemic, gathering for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner was considered risky.
And thank you so much for watching us. I'm Rosemary Church. World Sport is up next, then I will be back in about 15 minutes from now with more "CNN Newsroom." Do stick around.
CAMEROTA: -- rescuing these embryos and that you felt that they weren't being chosen by other, you know, potential parents. I guess that my question is, you know, there are tens of thousands of frozen embryos, maybe hundreds of thousands of frozen embryos around the country, you can't give birth to all of them. I mean, what is your feeling about that?
PHILIP RIDGEWAY, PARENTS OF TWINS FROM EMBRYOS FROZEN 30 YEARS AGO: No, that's a good point. I think there's sort of two problems. One is the upstream problem of there's more and more, you know, embryos created and then, frozen every day. But then, there's the downstream problem of what do you with the embryos that already are frozen? And we can't do anything about the upstream problem but we can do something about the downstream problem.
And adopting these two children may have been just a drop in the bucket. But these are two children that are no longer sitting in liquid nitrogen waiting to be adopted. So, whether it was two children or however many, we accomplished what we set out to accomplish, which is to, yes, rescue children.
CAMEROTA: And did you guys consider adopting, you know, traditional adoption, kids who have already been born?
RACHEL RIDGEWAY, PARENTS OF TWINS FROM EMBRYOS FROZEN 30 YEARS AGO: No, that was never really a thought process for us for our journey. I know some people, you know, it definitely is a consideration. But for us and for our family, the idea of, like I said before, giving birth to my adopted child, knowing that there are some, you know, kids still struggle with separation even as infants, since we're able to avoid that trauma for them was very appealing to me and then, really giving these children value.
A lot of embryos, a lot of people look at embryos as somehow less than human. And the reality is, is that God created every single embryo, that's it's because of him that they are living, that they are given life and they each have value. They're made in his image. And we really wanted to show how Timothy and Lydia were embryos but they're the same children. They were the same children now as they were then. They were just smaller.
And so, we really wanted to give these children, in particular, these embryos are frozen, a voice and show the world that they deserve life and that they should be given that opportunity to have life, you know, one parents and couple at a time.
CAMEROTA: Well, it's really interesting to talk to you guys. Obviously, there are all sorts of ethical questions, I mean, you know, science and in some ways has outpaced our ethical decisions about some of this stuff. And, you know, you guys are just touching on all of that. But it's really interesting to talk to you and to learn that after 30 years, you're able to have healthy kids from frozen embryos. So, thanks so much for taking the time and for talking to us tonight.
R. RIDGEWAY: Oh, thank you so much.
P. RIDGEWAY: You're welcome. Thank you.
CAMEROTA: Good luck with them.
OK. Now, to this, Jay Leno discharged from the hospital more than a week after suffering serious burns in a gasoline fire. He's released a photo that reveal some of his injuries. So, we'll talk about it.
CAMEROTA: Comedian Jay Leno is out of the hospital after being treated for burn injuries. The former "Tonight Show" host who is an avid collector of cars was injured in a gasoline fire a little more than a week ago, suffering burns to his face, chest and hands.
Doctors at the Grossman Burn Center in Los Angeles say they are optimistic that he will make a full recovery. The hospital releasing a photo of Leno with some of the medical staff. We're back now with Mara S. Campo and Frank Luntz are joined by Charlotte Alter, the national correspondent for the "TIME" magazine." Guys, I'm so happy to hear this because I was on the air last week when we first got word that this had happened and it sounded really bad. It sounded as though he was not going to be out of the hospital in a week. And so, I'm surprised that he's made this kind of recovery.
MARA S. CAMPO, JOURNALIST AND "RUN TELL THIS" HOST: It's great to see these photos, to see him recovering and healing. But I also really love that he posted these photos of him as he is in the healing journey. Because we live in the age of transparency, right, everybody shares everything. But it's not necessarily the age of authenticity. People aren't real about what they're going through.
So, when someone like Jay Leno post this as he's healing, not after the healing is done, but as he's going through it, I think with other people who are going through it, it really offers a lot of comfort.
CAMEROTA: And if we push in on that photo a little bit, I'm not sure if we can, you can see that he's still swollen. I mean, I can see the right side of his face, or the left side of our camera, it does look like he's burn. I mean, you know, it doesn't -- he doesn't look entirely just like Jay Leno there. And -- but here, again I mean, I think that it really helps to see him standing and looking virtually normal. Charlotte?
CHARLOTTE ALTER, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, TIME: Yes. And, you know, reports from the hospital say he is his old self. He is joking around. He's bringing cookies for the staff. I also thought it was nice that he posted a photo with the nurses who treated him. And sort of, you know, again, share the detail of his journey to kind of give credit were due to the people who helped him through it.
CAMEROTA: So, tell us your Jay Leno story.
FRANK LUNTZ, POLLSTER AND COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGIST: I was at the car show in Pebble Beach and Trump had actually helped get me suspended from both Fox and CBS. It was working.
CAMEROTA: Is that right? What year was that?
LUNTZ: This was 2015. And I was very upset. And I'm at the car show. He comes over and he's watching this. Because he follows politics. So, he says to me, how are you doing? I say, I'm not doing great. He says, I want to talk to you.
Now, hold on. Now, he's the king of the car show. He's in charge. This is the pro bonds (ph) -- I don't know. It's the best show in America for cars. He comes and sits with me and he says to me, I am not going to leave you until you feel OK. So, whatever it's going to take, he made me laugh, he gave me advice, he's taken me to his garage several times. This guy is a prince. And I am so happy that he's back out. I want him back on TV, and everyone who is listening should know that not only does he appear like a nice guy in private or on TV, he's a wonderful human being. And he really did -- he brought me back.
CAMEROTA: That's really nice.
LUNTZ: So, Jay -- I don't know which camera to look at. There we go. Jay, get well, get healthy and you are awesome and I owe you. I will donate to any charity. I will do -- go anywhere for you because you did it for me.
CAMEROTA: You heard it here, Jay. He'll donate to any charity. So, get well and let Frank know what charity you want. Frank, that's such a nice story. Thanks so much for sharing that. Thanks, guys. Thank you for being here.
CAMPO: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: All right. America is facing one tragedy after another from mass shooting to political violence. What can our leaders do to break this cycle? We have presidential historian Jon Meacham on how to heal the soul of America. John's next.