Return to Transcripts main page
Florida's DeSantis To Kick Off Campaign On Twitter With Musk; Trump Lawyers Ask For Meeting With U.S. Attorney General; Trump Hush Money Trial To Start March 25, 2024; Flashflood Warning For All Of Guam As Typhoon Mawar Near; Police Return To Reservoir In McCann Search; 93-Year-Old Woman And Grandson Visit All U.S. National Parks. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired May 24, 2023 - 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: Hello, and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church. Just ahead on CNN NEWSROOM. Plenty of new twists and the 2020 full race for the White House. Ron DeSantis has chosen an interesting way to announce his candidacy. While Donald Trump will likely be facing a criminal trial right in the middle of a critical primary month.
A monster storm is barreling down on Guam right now. The island is bracing for torrential rain, life-threatening storm surge and 165- mile-an-hour winds from Typhoon Marwa.
Plus, grandma joins road trip. We will speak to the 93-year-old woman who just visited all 63 U.S. national parks, the oldest living person ever to do so. And the grandson who went with her on this wild adventure.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center. This is CNN NEWSROOM with Rosemary Church.
CHURCH: Thanks for being with us. Well, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis will launch his long-expected run for the White House later today in an unconventional way. He will make the announcement during a live chat with Twitter owner Elon Musk on the side's audio platform Twitter spaces. Despite some recent stumbles, DeSantis has long been viewed as the most serious rival to the twice-impeached Donald Trump in the battle for the Republican nomination.
Trump and his allies have already spent $13 million in recent weeks attacking DeSantis on the airwaves. And they're now planning a coordinated effort to up end his campaign. CNN's Jessica Dean has a closer look.
JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: News coming on Tuesday that makes it official. Something that has been talked about for months and months. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis will announce that he is running for the Republican nomination for president in the 2024 race. What is unique about his announcement we're told by his political team is that he will be sitting down to do so with the owner of Twitter, Elon Musk.
He'll be doing that on Wednesday night. That is certainly not typical and not typical -- typically how someone would announce their candidacy. But it goes with what we have been told about what this likely campaign will look like, which is it won't be typical. It won't be traditional. They want to really push the envelope and do things in a unique and different way. And this certainly fits the bill in that situation.
We also know that DeSantis will be gathering his biggest donors and bundlers here in Miami on Thursday to really amp up that fundraising game and make sure that they turn in big numbers right out of the gate. He's really going to set all of them loose to raise as much money as they possibly can to really give him big numbers right out of the gate. And also, on Tuesday night, we saw this video from the Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis who was retweeted by her husband.
It's essentially a hype video and then at the end it has a code for people to text to the word watch. So again, all of these pieces coming together for something that we know has been in the works for months now that has been talked about so much. But now Florida Governor Ron DeSantis officially getting in the 2024 race and we will start to see how that shapes up with both his Republican rivals chiefly among them, former President Donald Trump and the sitting President Joe Biden.
Jessica Dean, CNN, Miami, Florida.
CHURCH: Donald Trump's criminal trial for allegedly falsifying business records will start on March 25th of next year. Right in the middle of presidential primary season. Trump appeared by video link in a New York courtroom Tuesday for a hearing on what he can and can't say publicly about the case. The former president has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts. The case revolves around payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about their alleged affair.
Well, Trump's legal team is requesting a meeting with U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to discuss what they call the ongoing injustice being perpetrated by the Special Counsel. CNN has reported that Jack Smith is close to wrapping up his investigation into Trump's handling of classified documents and possible obstruction.
He's also looking into the former president's role in the January 6 Capitol insurrection.
Joining me now from Los Angeles is Ron Brownstein. He is a senior political analyst for CNN, and a senior editor for The Atlantic. Appreciate you being with us.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Hi, Rosemary.
CHURCH: So, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, will announce his candidacy for president Wednesday evening live on Twitter and a conversation with Elon Musk. And we're now hearing that Donald Trump and his allies plan to disrupt it in some way. How do you expect all this to play out? And DeSantis end up perhaps surprising everyone, even Trump?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, you know, I think the choice to do it with Elon Musk is actually very revealing of the fundamental tension in the Ron DeSantis campaign that will apparently begin in earnest tomorrow. On the one hand, he has basically tried to present themselves to voters in the Republican primary as offering Trumpism without Trump. I will fight all of the same culture war battles as Donald Trump, but I don't have all the baggage of Donald Trump.
And therefore, I am more electable and potentially better positioned to actually deliver the policies that he says he's going to give you. And so, to the extent that DeSantis has distinguished himself from Trump and has been to run to his right to really turn up the volume on all of these cultural war fights, everything from his battle with Disney to the Don't Say Gay legislation to the six-week abortion ban.
And appearing with Musk who has reinvented himself essentially as a right-wing culture warrior through his ownership of Twitter is an extension of that. The problem is, the fundamental contradiction of the -- of the DeSantis is that -- is best case against Trump is that he is more electable. And to the extent, he keeps trying to squeeze to Trump's right. He is generating more concern, even within the Republican coalition among big donors, and strategist about whether he would have any more appeal to the white-collar suburban voters who have turned away from the GOP and the Trump era than Trump himself.
And I think appealing -- appearing with Musk really, I think, underscores the fundamental tension and even contradiction at the heart of his campaign.
CHURCH: And meantime, Donald Trump's legal troubles are getting worse with a New York trial date now set during the 2024 primary season. How problematic could all this proved to be for the former president? And how might DeSantis try to benefit from Trump's legal woes, do you think?
BROWNSTEIN: This is going to be the mother of all split screens, Rosemary. I mean, they're talking about a trial in March of 2024 which historically is the make-or-break month in presidential primaries. I mean, March is usually a critical in determining how this plays out. And of course, this is not in all likelihood, the last legal jeopardy that Trump will face between now and then.
Between the special prosecutor investigations plural and all the signs that Georgia is planning to move forward perhaps in August. I think Trump's legal troubles so far, Republicans have been very loath to address them and if anything, they have inspired a kind of a circle the wagons effect among the GOP voters themselves. But ultimately, Republican, you know, Donald Trump is a bit -- as we've said before, he is such a large figure in the party, you are not going to dislodge him unless you give Republican voters a good reason to move beyond him. And the best reason they've got, the people running against them, is that he has so many -- so much baggage that he is unlikely to win a general election. And sooner or later, you have to think the Republicans running against Trump are going to turn to these legal troubles to make that case. And the fact that the trials could be going on during the primaries itself certainly gives them the ammunition to do so if they, you know, develop the courage, the nerve to challenge him in that manner.
CHURCH: And Ron, while all of these bubbles are long, the country is facing one of its biggest challenges. Finding a way to avert a default on its national debt, with only eight days left to reach a deal and get it through or get that legislation through Congress. How's that going to happen when the two sides are still so far apart?
BROWNSTEIN: Yes. I mean, you know, in some ways, the stakes that are being negotiated are so wildly disproportionately small next to the risk of default itself. The Republicans have set up a budget negotiation in which defense spending is off the table, designed really to be increased. Taxes are off the table. And the big entitlement programs for seniors that are the primary drivers of the federal deficit are off the table, in part because 65 percent of their votes now comes from white voters over 45.
And all you're left is with this small sliver of the federal budget, domestic discretionary spending. It's only about one in every six to $7.00 that the federal government spends. You could squeeze it as much as you want, and you're still not going to fundamentally change the trajectory of the deficit.
And the need to show that they are standing up to Biden is, you know, push impelling them to bring the country and even the world economy to the brink of crisis, over changes that will matter. I mean, these could be significant cuts and programs that matter to people, but will not affect the problem that they said they are concerned about. And you've got to think that sooner or later, there are voices in the Republican Party, and particularly the donor class who recognize the incongruency of what we are going through here.
And I think, you know, put pressure on McCarthy to find a deal. One thing to keep in mind is that, especially with Trump openly opposing the idea of any deal, there are going to be Republicans who vote against whatever is agreed to, which means that McCarthy is going to need Democratic votes unless he really wants to go through with default. And if he needs Democratic votes, that is another incentive beyond the fact that Biden has to sign it, pushing them towards some kind of reasonable compromise. A deal is there I think if McCarthy can say yes.
CHURCH: Let's hope they can do that, because a lot of people are very worried. Ron Brownstein, many thanks
BROWNSTEIN: Thank you. CHURCH: We are learning more about the man accused of crashing a truck into security barriers near the White House on Monday. 19-year-old Sai Kandola was arrested and charged in federal court with depredation of property in excess of $1,000. Court documents reveal he threatened to "kill the president while praising Adolf Hitler after his arrest." The suspect told police he had been planning the attack for six months.
He's being held without bail and has not entered a plea yet and is set to appear in court in the coming hours.
Well, it's been one year since the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, where a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers. U.S. President Joe Biden will mark the somber day in the coming hours with remarks from the White House. He will remember the victims and reiterate his call for Republican lawmakers to take action to stop gun violence.
Meanwhile, Texas will hold a moment of silence and lower state flags to half-staff in honor of the victims.
Officials in Russia's border region of Belgorod say a counter terrorism operation is over following a rare ground attack by anti- Putin Russian fighters. Despite reports of new fighting Tuesday, the regional governor said there were no new incursions but that a car was damaged by an explosive device dropped from a drone. Russia's Defense Ministry is now claiming to have killed dozens of the anti-Putin fighters and pushing the remainder back into Ukrainian territory.
CNN's Fred Pleitgen has details.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): The Russian military allegedly fighting back. The Defense Ministry showing video of what it says are strikes against fighters who allegedly crossed the border from Ukraine.
LT. GEN. IGOR KONASHENKOV, CHIEF SPOKESMAN, RUSSIAN DEFENSE MILITARY (through translator): The remaining nationalists were thrown out to the territory of Ukraine where they were shelled until they were fully liquidated.
PLEITGEN: The fighters are anti-Putin Russians calling themselves the Russian Volunteer Corps and the Freedom for Russia Legion. Still, the Kremlin says it holds Ukraine responsible for the incursion. But in an exclusive interview with CNN, Ukraine's national security adviser brushed off those claims.
OLEKSIY DANILOV, UKRAINIAN NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR (through translator): There is a part of Russians who are on the sight of light and who went to deal with the darkness that exists in Russia now. What are the questions to us? I don't understand at all.
PLEITGEN: Russia claims Ukraine ordered the raid to distract from the situation in Bakhmut where Moscow now claims its forces controlled all of the city that has essentially been reduced to rubble, as these aerial views show.
The National Security Adviser insists Ukrainian forces still hold part of the town and that the decision to stand and fight despite overwhelming numbers of Russians was right.
DANILOV (through translator): It was our strategic defense operation which was successful for us, given that we held the territory for 10 months where we were destroying them every day.
PLEITGEN: Forcing the Russians into a battle of attrition here allowed Ukraine to prepare for a massive counteroffensive he says could begin anytime.
DANILOV (through translator): We are clearly aware of when, where, how and watch it start. The final decision is up to the President and the security staff. When the decision is made, Russia will do definitely feel it.
PLEITGEN: Greetings from Bakhmut, a graffiti in one of the videos from the cross-border raid into Russia reads and the Kremlin already using the incident to try and justify Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine. Putin himself portraying Moscow as the victim.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): We are often told that Russia has started some kind of war. No. Russia with a special military operation is trying to stop this war being waged against us.
PLEITGEN: But clearly, not all Russians agree. The groups who say they're behind the cross-border attacks are vowing to battle on defending Ukraine.
Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Kyiv.
CHURCH: And now, an exclusive report. CNN has learned from multiple defense officials that a senior U.S. General ordered his command to announce on Twitter that an al Qaeda leader had been targeted and an American drone strike but without confirming who was actually killed. CNN Pentagon Correspondent Oren Lieberman has the story.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The drone strike on May 3rd in northwest Syria targeted a senior al Qaeda leader according the U.S. Central Command, which governs military operations in the Middle East and in that region. CENTCOM as it's known, promised more information with operational details of that strike had been confirmed. But now here we are nearly three weeks later and CENTCOM hasn't put out any more information about who the target of the strike was or who was killed in the strike.
Officials tell us they knew it would take a few days to confirm who it was that was killed in the strike because at least partially, there are no U.S. troops in northwest Syria who can quickly investigate. So, it was a process that would take time, but multiple defense officials tell CNN that even so, even in the hours after the strike, General Eric Kurillo, the commander of U.S. Central Command ordered that tweet out saying that the U.S. had targeted senior al Qaeda leader in northwest Syria.
Still, as we wait on more information from CENTCOM as to who was targeted or who was killed, CNN has spoken to the family of the casualty who say he was a 56-year-old farmer with 10 children and had no affiliation with al Qaeda. CENTCOM has opened up what's known as a CCAR. A Civilian Casualty Credibility Assessment Report to see if in their conclusion a civilian was killed in the strike.
Officials tell us there is still some belief that a member of al Qaeda may have been killed here, but that's certainly not as high as it was when the strike was taken. One official say there was high confidence they were targeting a member of al Qaeda. Part of the issue here is the timing. The strike itself was on May 3rd. Officials tell us on May 8th, The Washington Post went the CENTCOM and presented information suggesting that a civilian had been killed here.
And then that civilian assessment from the military happened a week after that, depending on the conclusion of that assessment that may lead to what's known as a 15-6. A more formal investigation into the process behind the strike. This whole process, as it played out is almost stunningly similar to the strike in Kabul that the U.S. took in the closing days of the Afghanistan withdrawal. A strike that killed 10 civilians, including several children.
At first, the U.S. military and the Pentagon defended that strike saying it had killed a member of ISIS-K who posed an imminent threat. But after several media outlets, including CNN found issues with that narrative and spoke to family members of the casualty there, the U.S. was forced to walk that back and acknowledge that it was civilians that were killed there. In the wake of that strike, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered a review of civilian harm protocols in the process there and there were more processes that were put in place.
Brigadier General Pat Ryder, the Pentagon spokesman was asked today if he felt those were --processes were still followed and he said the Secretary has confidence that they very much are. The question now, where does the assessment from CENTCOM lead and will there be calls for accountability if it does in fact turn out from CENTCOM's own look that it was a civilian that was killed in this May 3rd strike.
Oren Liebermann, CNN, at the Pentagon.
CHURCH: Artificial Intelligence is reaching into more aspects of our everyday life. Now it could provide a medical breakthrough.
Coming up. Researches show CNN how the technology could help those without the ability to speak and explain.
CHURCH: Neuroscientists at the University of Texas in Austin have figured out a way to translate brain activity into words using the very same artificial intelligence technology that powers the groundbreaking chatbot, ChatGPT. The breakthrough could be revolutionary for people who have lost the ability to speak. CNN's Donie O'Sullivan has our story.
DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): You're reading people's minds.
ALEXANDER HUTH, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF NEUROSCIENCE AND COMPUTER SCIENCE, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS, AUSTIN: So, we don't like to use the term mind reading.
O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): These neuroscientists at the University of Texas in Austin say they've made a major breakthrough. They've figured out how to translate brain activity into words using artificial intelligence.
HUTH: These are different images.
O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Earlier this month they published a paper explaining how they had research volunteers listen to audio clips while having their brain scanned by an FMRI machine. Over time, A.I. algorithms, the very same tech that's behind ChatGPT were able to figure out what the volunteers were listening to just by watching their brains.
O'SULLIVAN (on camera): It is just crazy. You can watch how blood flows through the brain. And using A.I. and GPT and everything else translated into words.
HUTH: Yes. It's wild that this works when you put it that way.
Thumbs up, Donie.
O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): To test it all out, Professor Alexander Huth and I had our brain scanned while listening to parts of the Wizard of Oz audiobook.
HUTH: Big brain. Like obnoxiously big.
JERRY TANG, LEAD AUTHOR, A.I. STUDY: All right, Donie. We have a picture of your brain.
TANG: Yes. It looks good.
O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): I was scanned first followed by Professor Huth capturing images of the changes in our brains blood flow as we listen to the words from the audio book and showing how our brains interpreted those words.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When she had finished your meal and was about to go back to the road of yellow brick, she was startled to hear a deep groan nearby. TANG: You can see that there were getting recordings every two seconds. While he's listening to a story, we will feed this data through our decoder and try to predict the story that he's currently listening to.
O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): The next morning the results were in.
O'SULLIVAN (on camera): OK. So, it's been 24 hours since we got our brain scanned. You can confirm I have a brain.
HUTH: Absolutely. Brilliant. So, we were able to decode some stuff from my brain not so much from yours. So, this is one from my brain. This is from The Wizard of Oz.
So, on the left side is the actual words that I heard when she had finished her meal and was about to go back to the road of yellow brick, she was startled to hear deep groan nearby. And the decoded version of this is on the right. It's -- I was about to head back to school and I hear this strange voice calling out to me. So, it gets some things right. So, this like, was about to go back, was about to head back.
It completely misses some things like the road of yellow brick versus school, but then it gets this nice kind of example. So, she hears something. And then instead of a deep groan nearby, it said, a strange voice calling out to me. That means something related, even if it's not exactly the right words.
O'SULLIVAN (on camera): So pretty incredible to think that was about to head back as something that just by scanning your brain.
HUTH: Yes. I think that's one of the things that's really surprising to us about this. It can get things like that. It can get these entire phrases of exact words because here's the same segments for you.
O'SULLIVAN (on camera): Now, so we expected mine, not to be great.
HUTH: Because we haven't trained the model on you. The whole day, I'd be fine, but she wanted me to make it to her place. First, I got a little excited about it.
O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): The reason it wasn't able to decode my brain was because the technology currently needs people to sit in the FMRI machine for more than 16 hours. So, the A.I. models can train on specific people's brains.
O'SULLIVAN (on camera): Are we going to live in a world where, you know, I can walk by somebody on the street and they'll be able to hold something up to my head and they'll know what I'm thinking?
HUTH: Currently, we're very far from that. That might also never be possible. We can't completely rule it out. But as far as we know, that certainly won't be possible in the next few decades.
The real potential application of this is actually helping people who are unable to speak without them needing to get neurosurgery.
TANG: Now we have this like snapshot of the brain.
O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Jerry Tang explained how they use openAI's GPT large language model to help decode the brain. The GPT model is made up of millions of pages of text from the internet that the A.I. trains on and learns how sentences are constructed and how people talk and think.
TANG: GPT basically made our predictions a lot better.
O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): But it doesn't just work listening to audio. Professor Huth showed us what happened when he watched a movie with no sound while his brain was scanned. Watch as the technology is able to decode what his eyes are seeing.
HUTH (voice-over): She then took my hand and held it to her lips. She kissed it. Smiles.
O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Oh my god.
HUTH (voice-over): And she pulled me in for a hug. I got her back for about hours. I had to stop the bleeding and gave her my shirt to put over it
O'SULLIVAN (on camera): That was pretty good.
HUTH (on camera): No, no. It's a description of what was happening here.
O'SULLIVAN (on camera): Wow. Should we be scared by the work people like you were doing?
TANG: We think it's really important to continually evaluate the implications of brain decoding, and also to start thinking about enacting policies that protect mental privacy, and regulate what brain data can be used for.
O'SULLIVAN: Now, as you saw there, the technology didn't work so well on scanning my brain. And the researchers point out that, you know, they do not like to call this mind reading because it really is only working in very specific controlled circumstances right now where the technology has to be trained on somebody's brain for many hours. But they also warned that it might not always be that way that technology could advance to such a stage that, you know, something which we would traditionally associate with mind reading in terms of interpreting people's thoughts.
That -- but that may one day could be possible. And that's what you heard there on the research mentioning that it's so important to talk about mental privacy or rather a dystopian term, but ones that we're going to be getting more used to, as we enter this age of artificial intelligence. Back to you. CHURCH: A little disturbing, isn't it? Still to come. Heavy rain and winds are lashing Guam as Typhoon Marwa closes in. We will head to CNN's weather center for the latest update. Back in just a moment.
CHURCH: A flash flood warning has been issued for the entire island of Guam as Typhoon Marwa edges closer to the U.S. Pacific territory. It's been slowing down as it nears, pushing the expected landfall back a few hours, but its outer bands have already been battering the island with heavy rain and strong winds. An evacuation order has also been issued for coastal areas. And CNN meteorologist Britley Ritz is in the weather center she joins us now. So, Britley, it's slowing down but heading for Guam, nonetheless. What more can you tell us about Marwa and what it's up to?
BRITLEY RITZ, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I want to show you infrared satellite. It's based on temperature, but what you can see is the eye is trying to redevelop itself and it looks like it's doing so just a little further north. And if that's the case, then that northerly track would come to fruition. Right now, around the center of the low, winds of 140 miles per hour, again crawling roughly about six miles per hour.
So, here's that track, you see the line again, it's shifted a little further north, but I don't want you to pay attention to the line. You need to pay attention to the cone because there's still wiggle room. We talked yesterday about how that eye can wobble a bit, and each wobble makes a big difference. Regardless, this shift plays a big role in storm surge. So, the winds are now pushing around to the westerly side of the island and that would pull in more water than what it would originally have done on the easterly side. So, these numbers will likely flip.
Now, they'll be a little bit less, thankfully because we are down into low tide, but that high tide will start to rise up here in the upcoming hours as we inch closer to landfall. We've already lost some data, Andersen Air Force Base, the wind gusts are not even being reported and we've also lost radar data. We're starting to see some of the heaviest rain offshore, get closer here within the upcoming hours and again that torrential down rainfall and downpours will likely push in here in the upcoming hours with that -- with that system inching closer, Rosemary. So, we'll pay attention to that with the flash flooding concerns. I mean, some of these areas could pick up seven inches per hour in the eye wall.
CHURCH: Yes, appreciate you keeping a very close eye on that too. Britley Ritz, many thanks. Still to come, new details from police on why they've returned to a reservoir in Portugal to search for clues in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHURCH: Former British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson is once again under scrutiny for gatherings held during the Coronavirus pandemic. The focus this time is on meetings at Chequers, the countryside home used by Prime Ministers. The government has referred Johnson to police over the gatherings, held between June 2020 and May 2021. Johnson's office says it was never contacted about the new allegations and caused the police referral bizarre and unacceptable.
Last year, while still Prime Minister, Johnson was fined for throwing lockdown breaking parties at 10 Downing Street. Well, the search for new evidence and the disappearance of Madeleine McCann is expected to resume in the coming hours. Heavy rain and wind forced crews to postpone their work Tuesday in southern Portugal. A police source in Germany told CNN Portugal that pictures of the reservoir, investigators are searching, where found on a computer belonging to Christian Brueckner.
He was named as a suspect in the McCann case last year and is already in prison on unrelated charges. McCann vanished in 2007, during a family vacation in Portugal. She was just three years old at the time. And thanks so much for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church, for our international viewers, "WORLD SPORT" is next. And for our viewers here in the United States and in Canada, I'll be back with more CNN NEWSROOM in just a moment. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRAD RYAN, TRAVELER, VISITED 63 U.S. NATIONAL PARKS: What do you think grandma?
JOY RYAN, TRAVELER, VISITED 63 U.S. NATIONAL PARKS: I'm on the air.
B. RYAN: Me too.
J. RYAN: I've been everywhere, man, I've been everywhere. That's the way we go.
B. RYAN: Even American Samoa, it turns out.
J. RYAN: Yes, even there.]
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: That smile lighting up your screen belongs to Joy Ryan, a 93- year-old woman who just finished traveling to all 63 U.S. National Parks with her grandson Brad. And together, they have stood on Glaciers, watched the sun on the desert horizon, splashed in the ocean and made a lifetime of memories, while hiking through parks across the United States. Grandma Joy and Brad have been traveling for nearly eight years, but they already know where they want to go to next. They got certificates at their last stop in American Samoa.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
B. RYAN: Grandma, 63.
J. RYAN: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations.
B. RYAN: Thank you so much.
JESSICA: Can I -- so, this is the National Park Quarter for American Samoa.
J. RYAN: Oh, my heaven, dear.
JESSICA: There you go.
J. RYAN: Oh, thank you.
B. RYAN: Thank you, Jessica (PH).
JESSICA: You're welcome.
J. RYAN: This is just like Christmas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And joining me now from Samoa is Brad Ryan and his grandma Joy Ryan. Welcome, it is a real pleasure to chat with you both.
B. RYAN: Likewise, we're very excited to speak with you.
CHURCH: And such a delightful story. Joy, you had never seen a mountain range or the ocean before this journey but now, nearly eight years later at 93. You've just made history by becoming the oldest person to visit every U.S. National Park. So, Brad, I wanted to ask you first. Why did you decide, this was something you needed to do specifically with your grandma?
B. RYAN: Well, because I knew she could do it. I knew that she had this hunger for life, this thirst for adventure that had never really come to fruition. She'd been stuck in her little town in Duncan Falls, Ohio for 85 years. And it was time for her to live the life she always dreamed of.
CHURCH: It is a wonderful story. And Joy, what did you think, when your grandson said he wanted to take you on this quest to complete a full circuit of every U.S. National Park and make history? Because not every grandson would want to do that.
J. RYAN: Well, my thought, he'd lost his mind to begin with. But I decided, well, I'll just give it a whirl. Back to suitcase and away we'll go.
CHURCH: I love it, and Brad, it doesn't end there, of course. What is your next quest with your grandma?
B. RYAN: Well, we've already landed on a Glacier in Alaska and front of Mount Denali, which is the largest summit in all of North America. We're headed to Kenya, in July, we're going to see Mount Kilimanjaro. So, I want to take her to the Seven Continents, for the person that never saw a mountain, I figure we should see the seven tallest mountains in the world. Seems like a smaller more manageable number than 63.
CHURCH: Absolutely, you know what Brad? Your grandma has made history, but you have won the award for the best grandson, I think, across the globe. Joy, I did want to ask you for the biggest highlights, I suppose, so far of this journey and what you're looking forward to in this next league of your trip.
J. RYAN: I guess the biggest highlight was when we got to go white river rafting. We were supposed to go number one, but they put us in number three and that was quite a ride. We're just like being on six roadie go shoes.
B. RYAN: So, yes, we signed up for a class one white water rafting trip, which I thought was going to be like a nice leisurely float down the river and then we got there and found out it was class three rapids. And I think I was more terrified than she was.
CHURCH: Wow, and what's grandma looking forward to?
B. RYAN: What are you looking forward to most?
J. RYAN: Oh, we're going to go to Africa. We're going to Kenya, and I'm looking forward to seeing all the little orphan baby elephants.
CHURCH: Wonderful. And do you know, we have to tell everyone that you've both got a huge following on Instagram. And how cool is it to have been sharing your journey with so many people? I think you've got about what, 75,000 followers?
B. RYAN: Yes, I mean, it's exciting because people can see what's possible. I always tell everybody, lean into the possibilities for getting older. Don't think about the limitations. Life is happening right now. And grandmother Joy, she's shown that we can do all these National Parks. And for everybody who's watching, bring somebody that's older in your life along for the ride too. I'm sure they will really, really be enriched by the experience and you will too.
CHURCH: I think that is beautiful. I mean, at 93, your extraordinary Joy. And Brad, just the most amazing grandson. Brad Ryan, Joy Ryan, thank you so much for talking with us and sharing your journey and good luck with the next league of this trip.
B. RYAN: Great, we'll see you there.
CHURCH: Thank you.
J. RYAN: And you have a good day.
CHURCH: Oh, both, so delightful. And if you want to follow Joy and Brad Ryan on their next adventure, you can follow their Instagram page, Grandma Joy's Road trip. Do look it up and do follow them. Well, the U.S. Surgeon General says social media presents a quote, profound risk of harm for kids. And he's putting the pressure on lawmakers and big tech companies to actually do something to protect them. The new report outlines correlations between social media use and depression, anxiety, body image issues, eating disorders, online harassment and low self-esteem and here's more from the U.S. Surgeon General.
DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: An average, teens are spending three and a half hours a day on social media. That's on average, it means many kids are spending much longer than that. But the key point is that the data also shows, when kids are spending more than three hours on average, that they face nearly double the risk, increased the risk of depression and anxiety symptoms. That's really profound and, you know, there are more concerning facets here. But what we have to understand from all of this, is that it is urgent that we take action to protect our kids and to make sure that their experience on social media is safe.
CHURCH: CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich has more now from New York.
VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): A new warning from the highest level. A youth mental health crisis, unfolding before our eyes. Social media can pose a profound risk of harm to the mental health and well-being of children and adolescents. That's according to a 25-page advisory from the U.S. Surgeon General. Earlier this year, Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy warned of the unfair matchup.
MURTHY: You're pitting a child against the world's greatest product designers. And that's just on a fair fight.
YURKEVICH (voiceover): Nearly every U.S. teenager is on social media. Up to 95 percent of kids ages 13 to 17 report using social media with more than a third using it all the time. Kids must typically be 13 to register on social media apps, but nearly 40 percent of children ages eight to 12 use it anyway.
MURTHY: I think that it's a time early adolescence where kids are developing their identity, their sense of self and dispute and often distorted environment of social media, often does a disservice to many of those children.
YURKEVICH (voiceover): The advisory concluded, we do not yet have enough evidence to determine if social media is sufficiently safe for children and adolescents, calling for more research. But it did side studies, which found increased risk of anxiety and depression, poor sleep, online harassment and low self-esteem.
JEROME YANKEY, DELETED TIKTOK IN 2021: The time I spent looking at all these attractive people doing amazing things in amazing places. Getting disappointed by my own life is never something I want to be doing, especially when I have the power to change it, but I just wasn't because I was spending hours on this app.
YURKEVICH (voiceover): Some experts say, TikTok has the stickiest and most addicting algorithm, keeping people on the app longer. Last year, TikTok users spent an hour and a half per day on the app on average, more than any other social media platform. This as Montana becomes the first state to ban the social media app on all devices, prompting TikTok to sue.
SHOU CHEW, CEO TIKTOK: I don't want to speak for all parents. I think it's very important that parents make their individual decisions with their children. But for me personally, I'm very comfortable with my children getting more involved with understanding technology at an early age.
YURKEVICH (voiceover): TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram have parental controls that can monitor teen screen time and content, but experts say the oversight should begin at home.
DR. REBECCA BERRY, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: It's important, when possible, for parents and caregivers to really model how they would like their children to utilize social media.
YURKEVICH (on camera): This report goes on to give a whole host of tips to parents like creating tech-free zones in the home. It also very much calls out legislators, asking them to do more by creating higher safety standards around data privacy for children, and there is a half a page dedicated to the benefits of social media, like community and support and self-expression. But the remaining 24 and a half pages very much focus on the threat being posed to the mental health and well-being of children and teens. Vanessa Yurkevich, CNN, New York.
CHURCH: The Boston Celtics will live to play another day in the NBA playoffs after beating the Miami Heat 116-99 in a must-win game four. Celtics star, Jayson Tatum lived up to his reputation for heroics in elimination games. He finished with 33 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. The Heat led to the series, three games to one, and we'll have another chance to advance to the NBA finals. Game five is scheduled for Thursday in Boston. And thanks so much for your company. I'm Rosemary Church, I'll be back with more CNN NEWSROOM in just a moment. Do stay with us.