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House January 6th Committee May Refer At Least Three Criminal Charges against Former President Donald Trump to Department of Justice; U.S. Southern Border Bracing for Surge of Migrants After Federal Appeals Court Clears Way for Ending Title 42; El Paso, Texas, Deputy City Manager Mario D'Agostino Interviewed on Continuing Influx of Migrants into City. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired December 17, 2022 - 10:00   ET




BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Happening now in the Newsroom.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he's guilty of a crime. Look, he knew what he did. We've made that clear.

SANCHEZ: The January 6th committee expected to announce multiple criminal referrals against Donald Trump. What that could mean for the former president and how the DOJ could respond.

And officials along the southern border sounding the alarm as Title 42 is set to end.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A situation that, again, it's bigger than El Paso, and now it's become bigger than the United States.

SANCHEZ: How they are preparing for an influx of migrants and what they want from the Biden administration.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's surreal, to be a tourist in a country where there is political unrest taking place.

SANCHEZ: Hundreds of tourists left stranded in Peru. The effort to get them home amid chaos unfolding there.

And outrage after a university chancellor mocks Asian languages at a commencement ceremony. The offensive remark and what he is now saying about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Caring for Winston, tending to the house, playing with him, all of that comes first.

SANCHEZ: And how women are stepping up to fill jobs in America's workforce as more men opt to stay home.

Newsroom starts right now.


SANCHEZ (on camera): Buenos dias. Good morning. Welcome to your weekend. It is Saturday, December 17th. I'm Boris Sanchez.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Hi Boris. And I'm Amara Walker. You are in the CNN Newsroom.

SANCHEZ: We are grateful to have you. Great to be with you, Amara.

And we begin this morning with what would be an unparalleled condemnation of a former president of the United States. The committee investigating the January 6th attack on the Capitol is expected to refer criminal charges, multiple criminal charges, against Donald Trump.

WALKER: Yes, the select committee will make its final recommendations on Monday during its final hearing and may refer at least three criminal charges against Trump.


MICHAEL ZELDIN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: They have been gathering evidence, the January 6th Committee, that is, has been gathering evidence for a very long time. They have more evidence gathered than DOJ as far as we know at this point. And so if the prosecutors on the January 6th Committee, and there are many of them who sit as members or as staff, say to the DOJ, we've looked at this evidence and we think it meets the standard of convictable crime sustainable on appeal, then I think DOJ takes a harder look at than if there was no referral.


WALKER: CNN's Annie Grayer joining us now with more. So Annie, tell us what we can expect on Monday, what kind of criminal charges in terms of referrals are we talking about?

ANNIE GRAYER, CNN REPORTER: Well, Amara, the January 6th committee is considering at least three criminal charges against former President Donald Trump that it would send to the Department of Justice for it to pursue. And those charges are obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the federal government, and insurrection.

Now, whichever charges the committee decides to pursue, it will present its findings in its last public meeting which is scheduled for this Monday at 1:00. And the Department of Justice will definitely take a look at whatever the committee sends over, particularly because not much information has been shared between the two sides up and to this point. But some of these charges have been out there. A federal judge has previously said that he believes Trump may have been involved in an obstruction of an official proceeding. So some of these might be familiar to prosecutors.

But taking a step back, the January 6th committee issuing criminal referrals to the Department of Justice is largely symbolic in nature. The DOJ already has wide-ranging criminal probes into January 6th. But if members stand up on Monday and say that they believe that Donald Trump has committed a crime and they have evidence to support that crime that comes out of more than 17 months of work, more than 1,000 interviews, that really is a powerful closing message, Amara.


SANCHEZ: And, Annie, obviously, the criminal referrals will draw much of the attention on Monday. But what else can we expect from that final hearing?

GRAYER: Boris, this is the last public meeting of the committee. It's the committee's last word before it finishes up its work. And in addition to presenting its findings on criminal referrals, the committee is also going to be voting on its final report, which will then be released to the public as of Wednesday, so a couple of days later. But this will be the committee wrapping up everything that they have presented so far and highlighting the new evidence and new materials that are going to be coming out in its final report and through the criminal referrals. So this will be the committee's 11th hearing to close out its investigation, and we'll have to tune in Monday and see what happens.

WALKER: We sure will. Annie Grayer, thank you for your reporting. And a reminder, we will have special live coverage of Monday's January 6th Committee hearing. That begins at noon eastern right here on CNN.

SANCHEZ: The southern border is bracing for a surge in migrants next week after a federal appeals court has cleared the way for the Biden administration to end what's known as Title 42. Title 42 is a controversial Trump-era policy that was put in place during the pandemic under the guise of protecting public health. It allowed the government to expel asylum seekers faster. Now some Republican-led states seeking to keep Title 42 in place are signaling they could appeal to the Supreme Court before the policy is set to expire on Wednesday. Officials in El Paso say that Border Patrol is apprehending as many as 2,500 people every single day and that number is expected to double if Title 42 is lifted.

With us this morning, an official from El Paso, Texas, the deputy city manager Mario D'Agostino. Mario, thank you for sharing part of your Saturday with us. You were quoted -- of course. you were quoted as saying that the city's infrastructure already can't keep up with the number of migrants entering your city. What happens if Title 42 is lifted?

MARIO D'AGOSTINO, EL PASO DEPUTY CITY MANAGER: Title 42, we don't know what the true numbers will be. We know that the number of returns right now under Title 42 in the El Paso sector isn't that high even. It's a few hundred per day. So you can imagine they won't be turned away because there won't be Title 42 in place. And then we have a large population of Venezuelans, as we saw back in September-October timeframe when we had that surge here locally in El Paso. So we know there's still a large section of them still in Mexico right here in out neighboring city of Ciudad Juarez. And so, as Title 42 goes away, how is that going to add to it?

What we have seen in the past seven days is an increase upwards of about 2,500 per day. I think our seven-day rolling average is just over 2,400 right now. And those are apprehensions per day. On the other side of it, you are looking at about 1,400 per day of releases. While 1,200 of those might pass through NGOs and other processing facilities, there is a couple of hundred to a few hundred a day that are being actually released in the streets. And so we are already seeing that in the community. So it is concerning with Title 42, and on the 21st.

SANCHEZ: So what kind of strain does that put on your residents?

D'AGOSTINO: The strain we are seeing right now is just the ability to keep up with that type of flow through the community. And what I mean by that is El Paso is about 800,000 strong. We do have a moderate- sized airport. We have a couple of smaller bus terminals. But that's not enough to keep up with normal holiday traffic. Now on that you have another 1,400 people who are looking to travel. The vast majority are not staying here in El Paso, very few, and so they want to travel on. So it's making those connections.

So the strain, we don't have the infrastructure, the flights out of El Paso, the buses out of El Paso to keep up with this flow. The strain is what normally NGOs will house is that 24 to 48 hours for somebody to come into the system, order their tickets, secure their travels, and then move on their way. That 24 to 48 hours is not happening with the number of people traveling. So now it's taking five plus days before they can travel on. Those are the difficulties we see. We just don't have enough shelter capacity available so that we can house everyone. And so as these numbers continue to climb, that is our biggest concern, is people not having a place to stay.


SANCHEZ: I want to share with the viewers something you wrote in "The El Paso Times," quote, "The city will need to dig deeper and show its compassionate and nurturing character while faced with yet another surge in this humanitarian crisis." I'm sure you heard from residents whose compassion may be running low, and I'm wondering what they have shared with you.

D'AGOSTINO: You know, there is both sides. You are going to hear from both directions. What we do know is there is a large group of people already in our downtown area, and a lot of them, we're offering to get off the streets, we're getting facilities for them to help with their transportation, and a lot of them are choosing to stay. And they are choosing to stay because we have that portion of the community that is that compassionate part of El Paso, and they are out there, and they are taking them everything from food to clothes to you name it.

And so they are actually feeling comfortable being on the street. And for us, it's about making sure we can connect them, we can get them to the destination that their choosing to go, get them somewhere safe, out of the elements, make sure they are not in harm's way and no one else is in harm's way, and just keep that flow going. That's the difficulty we have here, is, as you know, we have those caring and compassionate people, El Pasoans, and then we have some that are saying, why do we have to fund this? Why do we have to carry this burden?

And so we understand that. We're working our best, we're working with the federal government. We did get some emails this week talking about giving us some advanced funding going into the next quarter so we can stand up operations a little bit further. We've talked about our reimbursements for previous dollars we spent this year. This year I believe we spent $9.5 million in migrant relief. And so as a community, that's a lot of money. And so we're making sure that we are submitting our reimbursements through the federal government.

SANCHEZ: So you talked about funding for the current problem, but long term this is going to continue being a serious issue. What is your message, Mario, to Congress and to the White House?

D'AGOSTINO: We've said it. We've said it repeatedly. There is not enough funding to buy our way out of this. There is not enough shelter space here in El Paso. There is not enough transportation out of El Paso. And it's not just -- I'm speaking El Paso. That's where I'm at. It's any of these border communities that are going to see this influx in the next few days. And so with that we ask to look at other ways to control entry, and just meaning how can we -- if you take it from an asylum seeker to maybe a refugee status, can we offer the same thing we did like when we set up the Afghan village when they passed through? Can it be a more orderly passage, where people have a chance to come in, get a work permit, and then go to work and be productive and take care of themselves. Is there options like that?

When the Customs and Border Patrol decompresses, as they call it, their facility holding about 5,000 people a day now, and it's well over their capacity, but that's what they are seeing coming through. And so when they decompress, they decompress along the border to other border communities. Everyone's feeling this burden now. We need to look at how can we decompress to other areas. If you're going to allow them to pass through, take them where there is larger transportation hubs, where people can connect and get to their destination a lot quicker instead of leaving all the strain along the border region.

SANCHEZ: Mario D'Agostino, the El Paso deputy city manager, thank you for the time. Look forward to speaking to you again potentially in the coming days if Title 42 is reversed. Thank you.

D'AGOSTINO: Thank you.

WALKER: We are following new developments out of Peru this morning where hundreds of tourists from around the world remain stranded amid ongoing violent protests in the country. At least 20 people have been killed in those demonstrations. The U.S. State Department says it is working to evacuate the dozens of Americans stuck in Machu Picchu. The ancient remote city has been inaccessible since trains in Peru have stopped running. CNN's Rafael Romo with the latest.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE) RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: I have been in touch with Americans who planned a trip of a lifetime to exotic places in Peru like the ancient city of Machu Picchu. They told me as early as Monday, they noticed people protesting violently on the streets in cities like Cusco and Ayacucho. Shortly thereafter, rail lines and regional airports shut down and now they are unable to return home. The death toll now stands at 20 after more than a week of violent protests. Authorities say there are at least 40 injured, but the figure has been steadily increasing.

Former president Pedro Castillo was impeached and subsequently arrested on December 7th after announcing his plan to dissolve congress. The unrest sparked by his arrest has prompted international warnings about travel to Peru. A state of emergency was declared Wednesday and now eight regions are under curfew.


But it's become painfully clear that measures authorities have taken so far are not enough to put an end to the chaos. I spoke with Michael Reiner, he's an American tourist from Washington, D.C., who told me he is part of a group of eight Americans, mainly college buddies and other mutual friends, who are now stuck in Peru. This is how he described their situation speaking to us from Cusco.

MICHAEL REINER, AMERICAN TOURIST: It's surreal to be a tourist in a country where there is political unrest taking place before our eyes. It's a whole new way of experiencing a country. The context for that for us is there's something bigger happening here than just our travel experience.

ROMO: Peruvian authorities have confirmed the Cusco airport has reopened. This is good news for people trapped there trying to catch a connecting flight to Lima, the capital to leave the country. And just to give you an idea about how popular Peru is as an international destination, more than half-a-million foreign tourists visited the country in the first five months of the year according to government figures.

Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.


WALKER: Rafael Romo, thank you.

SANCHEZ: Still ahead, as COVID cases rise, officials are urging people to protect themselves as we close in on Christmas and New Year's Eve. The concerns amid this triple-threat of respiratory diseases.

Plus, Russia launching a barrage of attacks on Ukraine, hitting critical infrastructure targets. We'll take you live to Ukraine with a look at the extensive damage and the recovery effort underway.


[10:20:39] WALKER: Turning now to what may be the biggest threat to your holiday celebrations, we're talking about those three viruses that are rapidly spreading across the country, COVID, the flu, and the respiratory illness known as RSV. Now, the CDC just reported flu activity as still high despite some areas seeing declines. So, so far this season, we've seen 15 million infections, 150,000 hospitalizations, and over 9,000 deaths tied to the flu.

SANCHEZ: Further compounding the problem is the fact that RSV has also been raging, and COVID may be on the verge of a winter comeback. Dr. Fauci underscored how crucial vaccines are given this triple threat. Listen.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER: It doesn't have to the new normal for the simple reason that we have good countermeasures for at least two out of those three, and the three you are referring to is COVID, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus. We've got to get team to get vaccinated to protect them, their family, and society.


SANCHEZ: Right now, 14 percent of the United States is in a high transmission area for coronavirus, a higher rate than this time last week. All of this has prompted the White House to bring back its free testing program. President Biden tweeted that every household in the country is eligible for four free at-home COVID tests.

Let's discuss now with an expert. Dr. William Schaffner is a professor of preventative medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Dr. Schaffner, always great to see you. Appreciate the time. Many of us are about to gather for big family holiday dinners. How far do you think folks should go in protecting themselves?

DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, PROFESSOR OF PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY, SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: Well, Boris, I think we can get together for those Christmas and New Year's celebrations, and I think we can do them rather safely. Now, we have to have some ground rules, of course, and one of them is, if you want to come to the celebration, you have got to be vaccinated both against flu and against COVID with that updated bivalent new booster against COVID. So that's number one.

Number two, we could all do a COVID test. You were just saying they are now going to be available freely once against from the federal government. Sign up for those. They will be delivered very quickly. Everybody tests in the morning. If they are all negative, then we can come together at relative ease and enjoy our company and our dinners together. So I think there are things we can do if we go about them carefully and we can still enjoy this wonderful holiday season.

SANCHEZ: How about masking? We're seeing health officials urge folks to wear masks. There aren't any citywide mandates like we have seen in years past during the heights of the pandemic. What do you think? Should there be? SCHAFFNER: Well, I think that wearing masks is a good idea. It's a

strong recommendation. And please hear me now. People who are at increased risk of severe disease, people who are older than age 65, anyone younger who has an underlying illness, if you are immune compromised, if you are pregnant, please, as you go out in this holiday season to large crowds, indoors, wear that mask.

And one more thing, Boris. If you're wearing the mask below your nose, if your naked nose is poking out, the mask is worthless. It's got to be worn above the nose in order to work.

SANCHEZ: You knew I was going to ask. You had the prop ready to go, Doctor. Thank you for that.

So the CDC says that there are some 15 million flu infections, more than 9,000 flu-related deaths. How concerning are those numbers for you? How do they compare to years past?

SCHAFFNER: Well, we've certainly got three viruses out there firing their guns, as it were, simultaneously. Flu is out in fierce. In my part of the country, it is still increasing. So we have a lot of influenza.


RSV, that other virus, has come, and in some places, it's plateauing and going down, but there's still a lot of it out. And we were just talking about COVID smoldering along, and in some places, kicking up. So this looks to be a very early and fierce winter season. We hope they all come down, but we have to prepare ourselves. And vaccination, COVID vaccine, flu vaccine, if you haven't been vaccinated, please, don't linger. You have got plenty of time today to get both of those vaccines. The best gift that you can give yourself and your family members and your neighbor is to be vaccinated.

SANCHEZ: An important message, Dr. William Schaffner, thank you so much. And happy holidays.

SCHAFFNER: Happy holidays.

SANCHEZ: Stay with CNN. We'll be right back.



SANCHEZ: New this morning, water supply and metro services are up and running again after a major disruption in Ukraine's capital of Kyiv.

WALKER: The mayor announced the service restorations after a barrage of Russian missile strikes hammered the city on Friday, forcing residents to take shelter in subway stations and leaving as many as two-thirds without water and heat. CNN's Will Ripley has more now on this latest wave of attacks targeting the country's infrastructure.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE) WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Without warning a massive Russian missile attack targeting cities across Ukraine on Friday. The military says around 40 of those missiles aimed at the capital, Kyiv, forcing thousands underground. Subway stations becoming temporary bomb shelters. Train service suspended for hours. Scores of students like Katia (ph) had to miss school.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was sent here about three hours. I want to go home.

RIPLEY: Ukraine says air defense shot down most of the missiles but not all. Several deafening explosions shook the country, the strikes killing at least in three in central Ukraine, terrifying people near the points of impact. Thermal and hydroelectric power plants and substations taking direct hits triggering an energy emergency with widespread blackouts. Ukraine's president says, "All their targets today are civilian, mainly energy and heat supply facilities. As a result of this wear, the meaning ever the word "terror" for most people will be associated with the crazy actions of Russia."

Ukraine's second largest city, Kharkiv, also plunged into darkness, no light, no heat, no water, even no way to auto cook. Many forced to brave freezing temperatures to line up for a warm meal. "People need to be fed," she says. "We are cooking on a wood stove." Ukraine's military monitored Russian jets above Belarus during the strikes. Moscow and Minsk staging joint military drills in recent days. Kyiv is warning of a possible attack from the north.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko announcing his friend and ally, Russian President Vladimir Putin, will be in Minsk on Monday, two strongmen strengthening their alliance. "We will never be enemies of Russia. We will never look disapprovingly at Russia," he says. "If it were otherwise, we would be like Ukraine."

Obedience in Belarus, resistance in Ukraine, this democracy under siege defying danger with a smile.

Will Ripley, CNN, Odessa, Ukraine.


WALKER: What a stark contrast. Will Ripley, thank you.

Still ahead, a university chancellor under fire for a racist and very offensive remark he made during a commencement ceremony when he mocked Asian languages in front of a crowd of people. We'll discuss that coming up.


WALKER: Many Asian Americans growing up in America will tell you that they were often singled out and ridiculed for the way they looked, made fun of by children turning up their eyes at them or just ridiculing Asian cultures by mocking their languages. Well, last week the chancellor of a university did the latter during a commencement ceremony speech. Listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)



KEON: That's sort of my Asian version of his --


WALKER: That's the Purdue University Northwest Chancellor, Thomas Keon. He is now facing calls to resign after making those comments, drawing outrage from so many people. And for context here, Chancellor Keon, he was following the keynote speaker who referenced using made- up languages in a speech to his grandchildren several times. His anecdote, it's important to note, made no mention or reference to Asians. So this seemingly just came out of nowhere.

The chancellor ultimately apologized four days later, writing in part, "I made a comment that was offensive and insensitive. I am truly sorry for my unplanned, off-the-cuff response to another speaker as my words have caused confusion, pain, and anger. We are all human. I made a mistake. And I assure you I did not intend to be hurtful, and my comments do not reflect my personal or our institutional values."

Let's talk about this, about the fallout and the damage that has been done. Attorney Shan Wu, who has been very outspoken on hate towards the Asian and Pacific Islander communication, the AAPI community, and of course, Lisa Ling, who has also been quite outspoken. She's also the host of the CNN original series "This is Life." Welcome you to both.

I have to say, it took me hours after seeing the headline to even click on the embedded video because I knew what was coming, right? And even just listening to that clip, I cringe hearing that. And I think it's because it thrusts me back to the days when I was in fifth grade and grade school and having boys or girls just come after me and tease me so cruelly in that similar way, mocking the way the Asian language sounds to them.


Lisa, I want to start with you, and just to get your reaction to see this was happening at the top, a chancellor of a university at a commencement ceremony. What did you think?

LISA LING, CNN HOST, "THIS IS LIFE WITH LISA LING": Amara, I had a similar experience as a young person. Pretty relentlessly mocked and made fun of for being Asian. But that was by other kids. So to have seen this behavior exhibited by the head of a university, it not only made me feel incensed, but I felt so sad for all of those students of Asian descent who were going through those commencement exercises that day, thinking about how hard they had worked to get to where they were, and to see the head of their university not only mocking the Asian language or the idea of Asian language, but to also see other faculty and staff laughing uproariously. It was just, it was a painful experience, frankly.

WALKER: Yes. And we can play that video over again with the volume low just to show the reaction when he mocks the Asian language. You see the people around him laughing with him. As you say, Lisa, just another layer of shock there.

And I'm glad you mentioned the students who were there celebrating a momentous occasion. Parents are there. I am sure some of them are immigrants. And to be diminished in that way and to be robbed of that celebratory moment. Shan, your reaction as well. And also, if you can explain, because I'm already getting tweets and messages with people gaslighting what happened, trying to downplay and say, well, look, you guys are overreacting, it's not nearly as bad as -- it was a harmless comment. Talk us to, Shan, about how damaging that this chancellor did is.

SHAN WU, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I would say to people that think it's harmless, this is an era where, unfortunately, anti-Asian sentiments have been stoked, and there has been violence, deaths have come from it. And taking it the other extreme, my own grade school experience, being bullied and beaten up by racist other school children, it's very, very hurtful to a child. And you can't be dismissive saying, oh, I was just making a joke.

And I think it's very telling here that it came in the form of a joke. This wasn't somebody who had an outburst of anger, a moment of indiscretion. This seemed very normal to him, and he expected it to be funny, and, as Lisa pointed out, there is humorous reaction to that. That's the normalization of racism, and that's what really needs to be called out here. It can't be simply dismissed as, oh, I made a mistake, because why this mistake? What he is really apologizing for is being caught. This kind of idea he thinks this is funny indicates a deeper problem within him, and I would say a deeper problem within the institution that this is at the leader of the institution.

WALKER: And the fact that the comments were unplanned, as you said, and off-the-cuff, that's disturbing in itself, right? What is his mindset.

Lisa, I want to get your reaction to the chancellor's apology. Grace Meng, the congresswoman from New York, tweeted this, this is, "This manufactured and fake apology for what he characterized as a mistake is a farce. Further action should be taken." That's just part of the tweet that I'm reading. Do you agree with Congresswoman Meng? And by the way, I should mention, the Purdue Board of Trustees, according to the school paper, has accepted Chancellor Keon's apology. Should he keep his job, Lisa?

LING: Do I believe he thinks that he made a mistake and that he is sorry? Certainly, I do because he has been getting a lot of heat. But again, this isn't just a random person. These aren't kids on the schoolyard mocking one another. This is the head of an academic institution. And there, I would imagine, are probably hundreds of, if not thousands, of students of Asian descent who feel probably pretty degraded by that experience. And as Shan just said, in this climate where attacks on Asian people

have increased astronomically, I would just expect that the head of an academic institution would just behave with some more sensitivity than he did. And even that apology, we're all human. Yes, we are human. We make mistakes. But again, in your role, those mistakes are unacceptable.


WALKER: Yes. And look, it seems like when someone says something insensitive or racist or hateful, they always go on this rehabilitation tour where they are meeting with these interdisciplinary teams, meeting with the specific groups that they offended. And this is what Chancellor Keon is doing as well. He claimed and said, actually, in that statement that he had formed a diversity, equity, inclusion team in the fall and that he is heading an interdisciplinary team to address issues important to the AAPI community. He's meeting with the student government association. Is this lip service, or is it meaningful? Shan, and then Lisa, I want you to have the last word after that.

WU: It seems like necessary lip service. It's necessary lip service for the institution and for him. But the real joke here is that Purdue thinks he would be the right person to lead such a task force. That's just silly. He should not be leading that task force. This type of sensitivity, great, let's promote it. But for a leader of an institution, as Lisa was saying, this is a problem. He should not have even had the mindset to normalize this type of behavior.


LING: Look, whether he decides to resign or not or the institution makes him resign or asks him to leave, as a parent of Asian students, I would really consider, or reconsider my decision to send my kids to this school that had a head that was so insensitive to the incredible diversity that should exist at these institutions of higher learning.

WALKER: Yes. Really appreciate this very important conversation and driving home the point that for many Asian Americans it's a universal experience being ridiculed or mocked in some way as children or even as adults. Shan Wu and Lisa Ling, thank you. And as Shan said, this should not be normalized.

A quick reminder, don't miss this week's new episode of CNN's "This is Life with Lisa Ling." This week Lisa explores how for some the pandemic pushed them from casual drinking into the disease of addiction, especially among women.


LISA LING, CNN HOST, "THIS IS LIFE WITH LISA LING": How hard does someone have to drink to get to the point where they develop liver disease?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So for a woman that would be four drinks a day. A man it would be five. If you are binge drinking, it's that kind of pattern of alcohol use that leads to more severe liver dysfunction.

LING: I know that there are probably a lot of people who may not be seeing the consequences now, but is it giving birth to what could be just a disastrous situation years down the line?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we are already there. The number of referrals for liver transplant in young people, particularly young women, have gone up. A week ago Friday we had 24 referrals for liver transplant in one day.

LING: In your entire career have you ever --


LING: Would you have ever thought?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, never. Alcohol is the biggest problem in America right now, and it's one no one has really talked about.


WALKER: Just shocking. Lisa ling, sorry, you are still with us. But please, tell us just how widespread is this issue?

LING: Well, it is the biggest addiction in America, bigger than prescription pills, meth, and cocaine combined. We just don't talk about it because it's not only legal, it's celebrated. But as the doctor said, liver transplants are soaring. It has gone up 325 percent. And the patients he is seeing most often these days are younger women under the age of 35.

WALKER: That's incredible. Thank you so much, Lisa Ling, for joining us this morning.

Make sure to catch an all-new episode of "This is Life" tomorrow, 9:00 p.m., right here on CNN.

Back after this.



SANCHEZ: Here are some of the top stories we are following this morning. Five law enforcement officers involved in a May, 2019, death of black motorist Ronald Greene have been indicted on state charges by a Louisiana grand jury, marking the first time that charges have been filed in this case. Police say that Greene died after resisting arrest and struggling with officers, but his family says that state police initially told them Greene died in a car crash after a police chase.

WALKER: Video released two years after the incident showed officers kicking, punching, and using a taser on Greene before he died in their custody. Greene's family is calling on all law enforcement officers charged to be fired and arrested immediately. SANCHEZ: Back in the nation's capital, President Biden has signed a

one-week stopgap funding bill averting a partial government shutdown and keeping federal agencies open, at least for now. He signed it on Friday, and it will allow Congress a bit more time to finalize a one- year deal. But Republican lawmakers want to pass a bill for funding lasting only until mid-January. Remember, that's when they would take control of the House.

WALKER: And in Germany, a massive hotel aquarium holding 1,500 tropical fish and a quarter of a million gallons of water burst open, sending a flood of water, debris, and fish, as you saw there, into the hotel lobby and a nearby street.


So most of the fish did not survive, and two people were injured in that.

SANCHEZ: It is crazy. Before it broke it was billed as the world's largest free standing cylindrical aquarium. It was the centerpiece of a popular Berlin hotel. At this point it's unclear what caused the aquarium to burst. But if you have seen the documentary film "Finding Nemo" you know that aquarium fish get up to all sorts of hijinks.


WALKER: I do have to say, though, I do get quite uneasy when I go to aquariums and you're, like, you know, right outside that big glass and you go, am I really safe here. I am sure we are.

SANCHEZ: You always tap on it. You just --


SANCHEZ: You wonder.

WALKER: Stop tapping on it. Leave the fish alone.


WALKER: Thanks for watching, everyone. Good to be with you, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Great to be with you, Amara. There's still much more ahead in the next hour of the CNN Newsroom. Fredricka Whitfield is up next.