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Court Rejects Bid By GOP-Led States To Keep Title 42 In Place; 1/6 Committee Expected To Announce Criminal Referrals Of Donald Trump; Hospitals Struggling Under Weight Of Flu, RSV, COVID-19; Famous Los Angeles Mountain Lion Euthanized; TSA Intercepts Record Number Of Firearms, Most Of Them Loaded. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired December 17, 2022 - 18:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been sounding the alarm for months on this crisis.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Public officials all in the process of planning and preparing for what's to come next week if and when Title 42 is lifted.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's going to be a rash of people.

MICHAEL REINER, AMERICAN TOURIST STUCK IN PERU: It's surreal to be a tourist in a country where there is political unrest taking place.

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Americans who had planned the trip of a lifetime now stuck in Peru.

ANNIE GRAYER, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: The January 6 Committee is considering asking the Department of Justice to pursue at least three criminal charges against former President Donald Trump.

REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): Our Committee uncovered a wide ranging plot to overturn the election.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: I am Pamela Brown in Washington, and you are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

And we begin this hour with the growing crisis along the nation's Southern border. Border towns are seeing a surge of migrants streaming in from Mexico, and those numbers could swell even more.

A Federal Appeals Court has rejected a bid by several Republican-led States to continue Title 42, which is due to expire in just four days. That Trump-era policy allowed authorities to immediately expel migrants for health reasons because of the pandemic.

So let's bring in CNN's Ed Lavandera who was in El Paso, a city buckling under the strain.

Ed, what's it like they are on the ground?

LAVANDERA: Well, we are here in downtown El Paso outside of one of the bus stations, and as we've seen for several days now, this is an area that is essentially turned into a campsite. Hundreds, if not several thousand over the course of the last few days have been stuck here, waiting -- and all of these people you see around me have been processed by Border Patrol agents. They have permission and papers to be able to travel elsewhere into the United States, but that is the backlog here.

They cannot -- sometimes they cannot move them out fast enough, and that is what city officials here are the most concerned about because as we've seen this surge here in El Paso over the last week, which has very little to do with anything, with the lifting of Title 42, they know what is coming or what they projected to be coming here in the weeks ahead, and that is why the focus right now is trying to move people out of border communities to their final destinations as quickly as possible.

And here, people are preparing for yet another night on the streets, and what we have seen outside these bus stations where people have been camped out is kind of the generosity of locals here who will bring goods and essentially leave them here for people to pick up. And really people are most concerned about getting blankets and shoes at this point.

This is one woman who had just arrived here a little while ago, she's giving away blankets, and you can see people here who have been lining up to try to get whatever it is that they can.

People here are essentially bracing for what could very well be another long night. And just so that people have a real clear understanding, even though a lot of these -- all of these people crossed in from Mexico. many nationalities here. There are people from Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Honduras, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, as well. So these are all people coming from many different areas in Central and South America as well. So this continues to play out.

But city officials here really working to make sure that they can move people out as quickly as possible because right behind them, they know thousands more could be coming in the days ahead -- Pamela.

BROWN: Ed Lavandera, thanks so much, on the ground there in El Paso.

And our next guest is the mayor of Las Cruces, New Mexico. That is a city less than an hour north of the border. Mayor Ken Miyagishima joins us now.

So Mayor, we just learned that New York City says it will need at least $3 billion in Federal support through 2026 to manage the surge of migrants. So if New York City needs that much, what does that mean for border cities like yours?


Thank you for allowing me to say a few words.

So basically, we're pretty fortunate here in the City of Las Cruces. We handled the 2019 surge and we currently are helping right now our counterparts there in El Paso. We actually have funds set aside for things such as this that doesn't really impact our day-to-day operations.

But to answer your question, probably about $25 to $50 million, depending on the number of migrants that we need to help our counterparts there in El Paso.

BROWN: So you say you're prepared for this. You have what you need, but what are you anticipating?

MIYAGISHIMA: Well, one thing that I look at it maybe a little bit different perspective because after Title 42 ends, then Title 8 comes into play and that's a lot more strict for these migrants.


MIYAGISHIMA: And so one of the things that if I could tell you this, and if I was the President's adviser, I would say this is a good opportunity to take some of these migrants to qualify, give them temporary work visas, and give them some jobs and get them to actually contribute to social security adding to the tax base without us having to pay for them.

BROWN: You mentioned Title 8, if you would, because not all of our viewers know about that, just tell us a little bit more about that.

MIYAGISHIMA: Sure. So Title 8 is what we have before Title 42, and so Title 8 basically means that, you know, if you enter the country illegally, of course, they can they can send you right back, except for different countries such as Venezuela. But if you enter it again, they can imprison you.

Title 42 does not have that type of specifications. I mean, that is why you see them coming in. If they don't get in, they try it again. If they get sent back, they try it again, because there is no penalty under Title 42, unlike there is on Title 8, there is.

BROWN: So as you're well aware, some lawmakers are urging President Biden to visit the border. Is that something you would like to see? Do you think that would help at all?

MIYAGISHIMA: You know, I think it would. It would do two things. One, I think it would speak volumes for the President, but also to let them know exactly that the border is a safe area, it is a great area. And of course, I grew up here, but also to see exactly how the men and women of Las Cruces, El Paso, Juarez, how we all work together to try to solve the situation.

BROWN: So I want to -- you're talking about solving this situation. Here is how the Homeland Security Department plans deal with it. I think we can put up some bullet points of what they're doing here. They say they are going to allocate more resources for processing of nonprofits who work with migrants, harsher consequences for illegal crossings. Do you think that the Federal government is doing enough to deal with this crisis in your view? I know you have your ideas, but do you think what it is doing so far is enough?

MIYAGISHIMA: Again, Pamela, if I had my druthers, I would actually ask the Attorney General who has the power to appoint Immigration Judges immediately, that way there, when they come into the United States, and they get the paperwork, they'll have their initial hearing. That way, they can be given a temporary work visa, and we can put them to work.

Because I know if, whether New York or Los Angeles, or any of these other cities, such as mine, they need workers. And this will actually help a lot of the businesses that are looking for workers and having to pay twenty, thirty, forty percent and more of their normal wages just to get someone to work for them.

BROWN: All right, Mayor --

MIYAGISHIMA: So, going back to your question. Immigration Judges would be really a big thing to have.

BROWN: All right, Mayor, thanks so much for your time tonight, we appreciate it.

So will former President Donald Trump be criminally charged for the insurrection? Well, that is what a Congressional Committee is expected to ask the Justice Department for.

Our Capitol Hill reporter, Annie Grayer is here.

So Annie, we've got the final January 6 Committee public meeting on Monday. This is kind of the grand finale, if you will, walk us through what to expect.

GRAYER: So Pamela, on Monday at one o'clock, the January 6 Committee is going to be presenting its criminal referrals to the public, and its supporting evidence for that. And we now know that the Committee is considering asking the Department of Justice to pursue at least three criminal charges for former President Donald Trump and those three charges are obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the Federal government, and insurrection.

So whichever criminal referrals the Committee does decide on for the former President, and we are told there could be more than what we know is under consideration, we will see what those criminal referrals are and the supporting evidence for it on Monday.

BROWN: Right, because they're working all weekend. I mean, things could change, right? We still have until Monday. Is that it for Monday with what the Committee has worked on or is there more after Monday?

GRAYER: So in addition to criminal referrals for the former President, we know that other individuals in the Committee's investigation are also being considered for criminal referrals by the Committee and beyond criminal referrals, we know that there are other types of referrals, different categories, as many as five or six we are told that the committee could be presenting and that could include referrals to the House Ethics Committee or to the Bar Association.

And beyond that, we're going to see all of the members on the Committee vote to release its final report, which once that vote happens, will be released on Wednesday of this week.

BROWN: So no surprise, the Trump team has released a statement claiming the Committee a kangaroo court that held "show trials." How much does any of this matter?


GRAYER: So, look, the Department of Justice is obviously going to take a look at whatever the Committee sends their way because the two sides haven't really been sharing information this whole time. DOJ wants to see what the Committee has.

Some of these referrals that are under consideration won't be a surprise to prosecutors. A Federal Judge has previously said that he also believes Donald Trump could have potentially obstructed an official proceeding, and let's also be honest that a criminal referral from the January 6 Committee to the Department of Justice is largely symbolic in nature.

DOJ already has wide-ranging criminal probes into January 6, but if all members of the January 6 Committee get up there on Monday, and they say, based on all of the evidence that they have uncovered, based on 17 months of their investigation, more than a thousand interviews, putting together an integral timeline of what happened in the lead up to and on the day of January 6th, if they say all of that has led to evidence of the former President committing a crime, Pamela, that's a strong final statement from the January 6 Committee.

BROWN: Yes, and it is worth just reminding our viewers that the Committee has been holding a lot of the evidence close to its vest, and so this will be the first time again for DOJ to see a lot of what the Committee has.

So we'll be looking forward to that. Thank you so much, Annie.

And don't miss CNN's Special Coverage of Monday's hearing by the January 6 Committee. I'll be joining our coverage starting at noon Eastern.

Well, there is news tonight in Georgia in another investigation of former President Trump.

Sources tell CNN the special grand jury there investigating Trump and his allies efforts to overturn the 2020 election is winding down its work which means it could be making recommendations soon to the Fulton County District Attorney.

The grand jury has been looking at what Trump described as a "perfect phone call" -- remember that -- with Georgia Secretary of State when Trump asked him to find the votes. Well, the special grand jury can't hand up indictments. If recommendations are made, the DA will then have to go to a regular grand jury to ask for indictments.

Well, hundreds of tourists in Peru tonight, they are stranded, unsure of how they're going to leave the country.

Large protests have shut down airports there and trains and they are preventing them from leaving.

CNN's Rafael Romo speaks with some tourists whose dream vacations turned into nightmares.


REINER: We were out a few times when some of the initial protests were beginning.

ROMO (voice over): It was a trip he had been looking forward to, Michael Reiner, an American tourist who lives in Washington, DC says he was very excited about traveling to Peru with another seven Americans, friends from college and others.

REINER: We arrived in Lima last Thursday night. We left Friday morning from Lima to Cusco, and then from there, we spent three days in Urubamba, which is part of the Sacred Valley between Machu Picchu and Cusco.

ROMO (voice over): But the fun trip to an exotic location came to a screeching halt Monday, when they realized all of a sudden the whole country was in turmoil and their safety was no longer guaranteed.

REINER: To be a tourist in a country where there is political unrest taking place before eyes is a whole new way of experiencing a country.

ROMO (voice over): Deadly protests around Peru have rocked the South American country for more than a week after former President Pedro Castillo tried to dissolve Congress.

Lawmakers responded by impeaching him and the Attorney General put him in jail, accusing him of conspiracy and rebellion, which prompted thousands of his supporters to violently take to the streets.

Eight provinces throughout the country are now under curfew, but Lima the capital is not included so far.

In addition to regular Peruvians, the chaos is having a severe impact on hundreds, if not thousands of international tourists who are stranded in Peru right now, people like Jon Royer, an American from Baltimore, who is struggling with his girlfriend and currently stuck in Cusco.

JON ROYER, AMERICAN TOURIST STUCK IN PERU: My girlfriend was in the restaurant, and then all sudden we heard whistle blowing, and all the shops started slamming their doors, and everybody ran off the street, or into the shops. ROMO (voice over): Every year, thousands of foreign tourists are drawn to world famous sites like the Machu Picchu Inca citadel. The problem right now is that many of them are trapped in different cities, because some airports are closed and they can't take flights to make a connection in Lima to leave the country.

REINER: There is something bigger happening here than just our travel experience, and having been to many parts of South America, I know that the priority should be with supporting the Peruvian people.

ROMO (voice over): President Dina Boluarte declared a State of Emergency Wednesday hoping that some of the measures like banning large gatherings and suspending some personal freedoms would bring an end to the chaos.

Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.


BROWN: And just ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM on this Saturday, a surge in respiratory illnesses is causing a crisis in the hospitals across the country. Could the Holidays lead to even more infections?

And as we all know, inflation is a persistent problem making the things that you need even more expensive. We're going to run the numbers and look at where it is getting better and where it is getting worse.

Plus, California's Governor is among those mourning a mountain lion tonight. Why P22's death means so much to Los Angeles and why some are saying it should be a wake-up call for the city.

We'll be right back.


BROWN: Well hospitals across the country are getting walloped as three respiratory illnesses make the rounds. Given the combined impact of the flu, RSV, and COVID-19, many hospitals are running out of beds.


BROWN: So what that means is that accident victims, people suffering heart attacks, and other health emergencies, they might not be able to get the urgent care they need.

CNN's Gloria Pazmino is in New York to bring us the latest. So what is going on there at these hospitals -- Gloria.

GLORIA PAZMINO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pam, public health officials are describing it as this sort of triple threat that we are facing right now, especially as we all get ready to go into the height of the Holiday season. So many of us have been waiting to gather with families and friends. So many of our gatherings had to be downsized or maybe even skipped entirely in the past two years. But now here we are, once again and we are now dealing with high rates of the flu, RSV, and COVID. And the flu numbers are particularly important and concerning.

We have seen some improvement in the data over the last week or so. What we're still seeing that people are not getting vaccinated. In fact, the Health Department puts out a target every year, that's about 70 percent of the population should be vaccinated. But so far, only 40 percent of adults and 46 percent of children have gotten the flu vaccine and that is leading to some concern because those flu numbers are continuing to increase, and we're not through the season just yet.

I want to just put the numbers in some context, what we are seeing so far, more than 150,000 hospitalizations, 15 million people have become ill as a result of the flu, and 9,300 people have died.

And as I said, those numbers have not been this high in at least a decade and we're not over. We're not done with the high season yet.

So what to do, as we all head, as I said into the Holiday season? Public officials are recommending that you mask up indoors, that you test and that you make sure that you are getting those vaccines, especially those COVID vaccines and a booster in addition to your flu shot.

There is a lot of concern, but health officials are highlighting the fact that we now do have several tools in the toolbox in order to be able to gather safely and prevent others from getting sick if we are sick ourselves. So it can be done.

The Federal government is responding they have once again, opened up requests so that you can put in your information, your address, and you can get those COVID-19 tests delivered right to your door, so another option for people to do -- Pam.

BROWN: All right, Gloria Pazmino, thank you so much.

So, CNN medical analyst, Dr. Leana Wen, she is standing by to talk more about this. Doctor, the Department of Health and Human Services says 80 percent -- 80 percent of US hospital beds are occupied right now. But COVID-19 only accounts for six percent of that. So, what does that tell you?

DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, it tells us that COVID has to be put into the context of all other illnesses at this point. Prior to COVID, even during the flu season, during the winter, hospitals became pretty full also, and that's because we have the flu, we have RSV, we have many other respiratory viruses, and we also have other reasons that people need to be hospitalized.

They may have appendicitis or gallbladder infections, or heart attacks, or strokes or be in car accidents. So, the concern now is whenever hospitals become so crowded, care for everyone ends up suffering. Maybe you would have waited an hour to be seen in the ER, now you're waiting six hours. And so, the concern is on a population level, and there is also a concern on the individual level that when there are high levels of viruses circulating, then people who are very vulnerable to severe illness, they are more likely to get ill and become severely ill.

And so I definitely agree with the correspondent, Gloria, just said, if you have not yet already gotten the flu vaccine, please get it. If you are somebody very vulnerable to severe illness from COVID, make sure that you get that updated by bivalent booster for COVID as well.

BROWN: Yes, that's important. I lost my dad recently. He had COVID. He is 88 years old. He did have an underlying condition, but it took him. And I just think it's an important reminder that it is important for those who are vulnerable to get their -- to do everything they can to prevent getting sick.

So I want to talk about the deaths here. More than 10 percent of deaths in the US last week were due to the flu, COVID-19, or pneumonia, we should note both bacterial and viral. That's well above expected levels for this time of year. How concerning is this? Do you expect it to get worse? Better? What's your assessment?

WEN: Well, I'm very sorry to hear about the loss of your father, and I think it's a reminder that COVID is not over and however much we may wish that it's over, this is still a very deadly disease especially to people who are very vulnerable.


WEN: We have another situation right now, too, which is that the levels of influenza, the flu, the levels of RSV are much higher than would have been expected at this point in the season.

Some people attributed that to an immunity gap that we just did not get RSV or influenza as much in the last two years because of COVID precautions, and as they got lifted, now a lot more people are getting sick.

I think that's probably what's happening. This is the reason why we're seeing an earlier than usual influenza season, but I see it among my own patients that there is so much fatigue around vaccines and precautions, and people are just not getting the influenza vaccine. That really is highly protective, it reduces your chance of getting hospitalized, reduces your chance of getting ill.

And so it's not a perfect vaccine, but it does reduce your likelihood of severe illness. So get the influenza vaccine also.

BROWN: it's been an especially rough time for parents with little kids. I have said just anecdotally so many of my mom friends, they've had to take their kids to the hospital, and I was just reading about an increase in the evasive strep A, and how concerning that can be for kids.

Tell us a little bit more about that. WEN: Yes, I mean, this is a time where kids are spreading a lot of different viruses, a lot of different bacterial infections to one another as well. I know that my kids also just since they started back in school this year, they've had four or five rounds now of various infections, and those infections could include RSV that we're hearing a lot about, it could include flu or COVID.

But we're also seeing that there are other diseases that have long been here, including strep infections that are here as well. So, it's really important to get diagnosed if your child is having high fevers, difficulty swallowing, if they are having -- complaining of a sore throat or just not seeing like themselves. That's another reason that you should seek medical care.

Antibiotics, there are plenty of antibiotics that work very well against strep, and so make sure that you get that diagnosed, and just in general, be on the lookout for what's not normal. You know your child the best. And so if your child is seeming sleepier than usual or not eating or drinking or just don't themselves, get medical care.

BROWN: All right, I want to quickly ask you before we go, all right, we're three years in, COVID is rampant. I may not be -- it may only be a small percentage of hospitalizations right now, but my question is, look, it still impacts our lives when we get COVID, right?

Do you expect to see this dynamic every winter going forward? I mean, is this always going to be a package deal? We've got the flu and COVID spiking every winter from now on.

WEN: That's what it looks like. It looks like COVID is endemic, meaning that is just here with us, and it may not just be the winter that we see surges. We may be seeing surges in other times of the year as well.

But I think it's a reminder to us that if we're gathering with vulnerable individuals, now is the time to start taking precautions. Consider, for example, a mini quarantine five days before you gather, reduce your own risks.

Masks also don't have to be all or nothing. Risk is cumulative. And so maybe you're not masking at work, but you can still be masking on the Subway on the way to work, at least during this Holiday periods to try to keep those that we're gathering with safe.

BROWN: All right, Dr. Lena Wen, thanks so much.

Well, inflation is easy, but Americans are spending less as we head into the Holiday. So what is happening with the economy? We're going to run the numbers with our Harry Enten, up next.

Plus, an NFL quarterback beat the odds, but in the worst way possible.


[18:32:55] BROWN: All right. A question for you, are you spending as much this year on holiday presents as you did last year. But overall, Americans are spending less and experts say inflation is to blame despite some falling prices.

CNN Senior Data Reporter Harry Enten joins us now to run the numbers, so give us the breakdown here, Harry. Is inflation easing or not?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Well, yes, it's easing but I also like to look at the absolute level of inflation, right? So if we essentially take a look at the CPI over the last 12 months compare this year to prior last year, we see we're at about 7 percent, right? That is down from the peak in June of 2022 when year-over-year we had 9 percent inflation when we round it.

Of course, the average since 1948 is only 4 percent, so we're above average, still, but things are getting better. So it's sort of a half empty half full glass, you might say.

BROWN: All right. Well, better than half empty, right? Half full, half empty.

ENTEN: Yes. Yes.

BROWN: So what is one of the worst things getting hit by inflation, because some things are getting better, some things really not too much better.

ENTEN: Yes. Rent. Take a look at the change in rent from the prior year, we're up 8 percent nationwide. 1982 was the last time we saw this big of a change so it's been 40 years. And this is something I feel personally because my year-over-year rent increase up 28 percent, so maybe I might have to come live with you and your family, Pam, because the truth to be honest at this particular point, it's just crazy.

BROWN: We got a basement for you, Harry.

ENTEN: Right.

BROWN: But man, 28 percent, we need to talk to your landlord. That's a lot. Wow.


BROWN: All right. But you do live in New York, so that's a whole another situation there. Give me a reason to be optimistic. As you know, I like the glass half full, only glass half full. What is getting better here?

ENTEN: So let's say I wanted to take a car trip down to you, Pam, so we could hang out, maybe hang out in your basement, right? So if we essentially looked at the gas prices for a round trip to - round trip in a car, it was $90 back in June.

[18:35:04] Now, it's down to $60. Of course, I should point out that this is all imaginary because I don't actually know how to drive a car.

BROWN: You and my producer Allie Gordon (ph) need to chat because she doesn't either. All right. One thing we can't live without, obviously, is food. How bad is inflation when it comes to that?

ENTEN: Yes. So it depends what type of - what we're looking at exactly. But I don't know if you know this, but I am a huge fan of chicken. And chicken is actually something that's overtaken beef. In the American diet, it's the most popular meat. And if we look at the price of fresh boneless chicken breasts and we look at a weighted average per pound, look at where we were in the early summer peak, it was $3.50, now it is down to $0.95 cents per pound.

That is a change, a change of 75 percent - a drop of 75 percent and it's part of the reason why restaurants like Popeyes who, of course, specialize in chicken are trying to introduce new chicken breast because - new chicken sandwiches because now all of a sudden they are able to afford a lot more chicken to be able to give to the consumer.

BROWN: Makes sense. All right. So let's switch topics here.

NFL quarterback Matt Ryan made the history books today, but not for the reason he would want, right?

ENTEN: No, not for the reason he would want. So now we can say that Matt Ryan, a quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts has both the largest blown lead in a Super Bowl Game of 25 points and the largest blown lead of all time, 33 points.

The Indianapolis Colts, a 33-point lead today to the Minnesota Vikings. My friend, Derek, who's a Minnesota Viking fan wasn't even paying attention to the game. He went out with somebody and he missed what was the largest comeback for his Minnesota Vikings game. I would have missed it, Pam, I would have missed it if not for the fact that my friend Neil texted me and said, oh, my god, are you watching this, poor Matt Ryan, my goodness gracious, I feel so bad for him.

BROWN: Yes, that's rough. All right. So your Buffalo Bills' playing later, good luck for your team. But, of course, you're going to be watching this show and then you'll watch Buffalo Bills, of course. Right, Harry?

ENTEN: Yes, of course.


ENTEN: We have two screens.

BROWN: Okay. All right. Harry Enten, always good to see you, thanks so much.

ENTEN: Nice to see you.

BROWN: And by the way, everyone, be sure to check out Harry's podcast, Margins of Error. You can find it on your favorite podcast app or at

Well, next hour, even love isn't immune to inflation. You know how we were just talking about inflation there, well, we're going to take a look at how rising costs are forcing people to make some tough decisions when it comes to dating.

Also, tonight Los Angeles is in mourning for a mountain lion that was a celebrity in its own right. We'll explain why its death has shaken the city up next.



BROWN: Well, people in Los Angeles are mourning a different kind of celebrity tonight. P-22 was a cougar who lived in the Santa Monica Mountains and two residents there, he was more than a mountain lion. This big cat you see on your screen was a symbol of the wildlife that calls L.A. home but finds its habitat slowly vanishing.

CNNs Camila Bernal is with us now. Camila, wildlife officials had to make one of those really difficult decisions about this animal. Tell us more about it.

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Pam. It was a difficult decision because they've been tracking him for 10 years, not only experts tracking him, but really L.A. and the nation, there's a Facebook page, there's an Instagram page, so many people following this mountain lion.

And unfortunately experts saying that about a month ago, they started to see some changes in his behavior. He was going deeper into urban areas. He was getting closer to people, attacking dogs. Dogs that were on a leash. And so experts thought maybe he was in distress and that it was best to capture him. That's what they did on Monday and then he went to get a medical evaluation.

This medical evaluation revealed a number of things. They already believed that he had been hit by a car. But they discovered trauma to his eye, to his head, to some of his internal organs and they also found preexisting illnesses. There was kidney disease. There was some infections in his skin, there was arthritis, just a bunch of different things that they took into consideration and then decided that it was best to put him down.

Some of the experts that have been tracking him for years. They spoke out this week and said that his data will live on, here's one of those experts.


SETH RILEY, CHIEF WILDLIFE ECOLOGIST, SANTA MONICA MOUNTAIN NATIONAL REC. AREA: He's been an incredibly interesting animal. It's - we've really gotten a lot of really great information from him. He's persisted in the smallest home range that has ever been recorded for an adult male mountain lion. And just been, like I said, a really interesting animal. And truth is he'll be a part of our studies - forever be a part of - an important part of our mountain lion studies, I'm sure we'll be looking at his data for years to come.


BERNAL: And that data also helping experts figure out what was the need for the world's biggest wildlife overpass that is currently being built here in Los Angeles and it is essentially a bridge that will sit above 10 lanes of highway 101 here in L.A., so clearly it's not just about a celebrity mountain lion, although he will be missed here in L.A., Pam.

BROWN: Yes, what a sad story really. I'm such an animal lover, but as it says they call it compassionate euthanasia. Thank you so much, Camila Bernal.

Well, an American college student who was reported missing while studying abroad in France is heading home tonight. A French official tells me Kenny DeLand, Jr. boarded a plane with his mother a short time ago. This is after a nearly three week international search that eventually found him in Spain.

The official tells me DeLand traveled to Spain voluntarily when some people he met in France suggested he go there. His parents say he finally returned their calls yesterday after seeing himself on the news. And I spoke with his father shortly afterward.



KENNETH DELAND, FATHER OF STUDENT WHO WAS MISSING IN FRANCE: He didn't really disclose a bunch of details yet. He made mention that dad stop contacting news outlets. And I said, but Ken, this is what parents do, we're worried about you. At this point, it show him how much we love him. Get him home.


BROWN: And the French official I spoke with tonight on the phone called this official just before the show said that she is so happy, that the French officials are so happy that this has a happy ending just before Christmas. Well, you were in the CNN NEWSROOM on the Saturday night.

Up next, just a year or two ago, airlines were practically begging people to fly, do you remember that? Now frequent fliers may find some of the perks they used to enjoy becoming a thing of the past.

Also, America has a drinking problem and it's hitting women especially hard. On an all new This is Life, Lisa Ling explores how the pandemic pushed casual drinking into the disease of addiction. This is live with Lisa Ling tomorrow night at 9 Eastern on CNN.



BROWN: Well, the TSA says it has a set a record that it didn't really want. The federal government says the number of firearms intercepted at airport security checkpoints is the highest on record for a single year.

As of Friday, agents had found more than 6,300 guns during screenings and this is really alarming. Get this, 88 percent of those firearms were loaded, that's according to the Transportation Security Administration. Gosh, it makes you wonder, I mean, if all those are loaded, you have to worry about others getting through, right? But they have caught a lot of record number. The civil penalty for violations is almost $15,000.

Meanwhile, while airline travel demand is soaring the sky seem to be getting less friendly for passengers. Air carriers are pulling back on perks. CNN's Pete Muntean explains why.


PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Stephanie Ogbogu is a proud frequent flyer, now frequently frustrated by the airlines.


STEPHANIE OGBOGU, FREQUENT FLYER: They wanted us to take advantage of travel, and then we finally do, and it's like, oh, wait, wait, wait, now it's too much.


MUNTEAN (voice-over): Stephanie is just one of Delta Airlines loyalists, fuming over new rules. Next year, the company is making it harder to get into its more than 50 Sky Club lounges at airports worldwide. Delta cites customers upset over lines outside and crowded seating inside, telling frequent fliers, "We have made the difficult decision to implement new policies that we believe will preserve the experience our guests deserve."


SCOTT KEYES, FOUNDER, SCOTT'S CHEAP FLIGHTS: I think this is the sort of a trend.


MUNTEAN (voice-over): Scott Keyes of Scott's Cheap Flights says airlines are cutting back on perks now that travel numbers are back near pre-pandemic levels. United Airlines is anticipating end of year holiday travel even bigger than this past Thanksgiving. Next year it will raise the bar on earning frequent flyer status, making it harder to get free upgrades and fees waived.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KEYES: It's going to be much more difficult to get into lounges, much more difficult to renew elite status and much more difficult to redeem their frequent flyer miles for a free trip.

MUNTEAN (voice over): A Delta flight from LAX to JFK over spring break would typically cost you 25,000 frequent flyer miles for an economy seat. Now, Scott's Cheap Flights says it will cost more than twice that, 52,000 miles.


BILL MCGEE, AMERICAN ECONOMIC LIBERTIES PROJECT: Well, I think, we're at a tipping point.


MUNTEAN (voice over): Consumer advocate say earning miles has never been easier, thanks to airline credit cards. But now, redeeming miles is getting tougher.


MCGEE: You enter these programs in good faith and you invest in them for years and years, and you find that the goalposts are a lot further away than they were when you started.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Airlines are - they're missing the mark here. I hope that they listen to the consumer and they really think about some of the decisions that they're making at the top level.


MUNTEAN (voice over): Travel experts say Pete Muntean, CNN, Washington.


BROWN: Well, NBA star Chris Paul is now a college graduate 17 years after leaving school to turn pro. Up next, the gift he gave to each of his fellow graduates today.

And in this season of giving, we want to show you how you can help our 2022 Top 10 CNN Heroes continue their important work and have your donations matched dollar for dollar watch.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: I'm Anderson Cooper. Each of this year's top 10 CNN Heroes proves that one person really can make a difference. And again this year, we're making it easy for you to support their great work. Just go to and click donate beneath any 2022 Top 10 CNN Hero to make a direct contribution to that hero's fundraiser. You'll receive an email confirming your donation which is tax deductible in the United States.

No matter the amount, you can make a big difference in helping our heroes continue their life changing work. And right now through January 3rd, your donations will be matched dollar for dollar up to a total of $50,000 for each of this year's honorees. CNN is proud to offer you this simple way to support each cause and celebrate all of these everyday people who are changing the world.

You can donate from your laptop, your tablet or your phone, just go to Your donation in any amount will help them help others, thanks.



BROWN: Nominations for 2023 are open and we're waiting to hear from you just go to to nominate right now and we'll be right back.



BROWN: Well, NBA superstar Chris Paul calls his college graduation a bucket list moment.