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Residents Of Coastal New England And Canada Urged To Stay Inside As Lee Brings Fierce Winds And Rain; Lee Expected To Make Landfall In Canada Today; Lee A Post-Tropical Cyclone, Remains A Potent Storm; Investigators Examining If Hunter Biden Filed Taxes On Time; Special Counsel May Bring More Charges Against Hunter Biden; FDA: Popular Drugs For Colds, Allergies Don't Work; Lionel Messi Skipping Saturday Match in Atlanta. Aired 11a-12pm ET

Aired September 16, 2023 - 11:00   ET




FREDERICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this Saturday. I'm Fredericka Whitfield.

All right, a top story we're following today, the powerful storm nearing the New England and Canadian coasts just hours ago, Lee, Hurricane Lee weakening from a category one to a post-tropical cyclone, but it is still posing serious threats including strong winds and heavy rain. Meteorologist Derek Van Dam is live for us in Cape Cod. Derek, the National Hurricane Center issuing a new advisory just moments ago on this named storm was a hurricane but what's going on now?

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yeah, Fredericka. We have all the latest information to pass along to you and our viewers. We're on Cape Cod on the coast of Massachusetts, still getting battered by the occasional tropical storm force gusts here. And that information you want to hear is that the storm is only a matter of hours before making landfall somewhere as according to the National Hurricane Center between the border of Canada and the United States. So it is well north and east of where I'm at. But we're still feeling the impacts. That's an idea that we've been stressing for several days now that this wind field is just so large.

Speaking of winds, 75 mile per hour sustained winds with this post- tropical cyclone. You could think of this as a powerful nor'easter, right? We don't need to get into the details of what post-tropical cyclone means, just basically loses its tropical characteristics and is still going to cause havoc.

Aas you can see up and down the coastline here in Cape Cod. Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, out in the open ocean behind us where they had 20-foot waves breaking on their shoreline earlier this morning. Here's the new updated forecast track. This storm is expected to weaken. Remember, it moved into considerably cooler water this morning and yesterday too, because it moved out of the Gulf Stream and water temperatures in this part of New England just off the coast are in the upper 50s. So hurricanes don't like that cold of water, right? So that causes the weakening of a system. That's why it's post-tropical are one of the reasons and that's why the wind field continues to expand. That is what typically happens with these types of storms as they interact with the environment around them.

The latest watches and warnings, this is new as well. They've dropped tropical storm warnings across the coastline of Rhode Island and into Martha's Vineyard because we know we're on the backside of the storm that continues to raise to the northeast, over 20 miles per hour. But we continue with those tropical storm warnings across down east Maine all the way into let's see, New Brunswick as well as the coast of the Canadian Maritimes into Nova Scotia. That's where we currently have hurricane watches still in effect.

So they believe that the potential still exists, at least for hurricane-force gusts. And as we advance, you'll see how large this wind field is. It stretches over 400 miles from the center. That is how large the system is Fredericka. And that is why we still feel the impacts along the New England coastline from Cape Cod where I am now all the way through the state of Maine right along the coast.

Now just checked and there are over 55,000 customers without power this morning in Maine. And we expect those numbers to continue. And you could see people still just walking around, you know, some of the locals here on Cape Cod over my left shoulder. These guys are just going about their own business. They're used to this type of weather. Nor'easters occur here. They have battened down the hatches and they protect their property but they go about their day. They know a better weather it's coming tomorrow.

WHITFIELD: Yeah, just don't get in the water and be able to move fast if you see that water rising because it moves fast.

VAN DAM: Right.

WHITFIELD If you see that water rising because it too moves fast.

VAN DAM: That's correct. That's correct. Yeah.

WHITFIELD: All right, Derek Van Dam. Thank you so much appreciate that. And 400 miles I mean, that's very significant, which is why it is still volatile, volatile, and unpredictable.

All right, just moments ago President Joe Biden approving an emergency declaration for Massachusetts due to worsening conditions from Lee. Joining me right now to discuss Chip Riley. He is the Emergency Preparedness Director for Barnstable County, Massachusetts. Chip, so what are you all experiencing where you are?

CHIP RILEY, EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS DIRECTOR, BARNSTABLE COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS: Well, that wind is diminishing slightly and we're expecting it to drop off here in the next couple of hours. We were pleasantly surprised. We did have some -- some significant wind gusts, especially towards the outer Cape. But we haven't seen any major, major damage. We've had -- and we have had some trees down, some utility lines down and we're very fortunate in that we didn't face major coastal erosion. We had some small spots up and down the North Side beaches but nothing major, no -- no major impacts to homes that we know of as of yet.


WHITEFIELD: So you know, you all are hearty folks. You know, you're used to nor'easters. You're -- you're used to tropical storms, hurricanes, all of that. But then how does the Cape prepare for something like Lee when it has been so unpredictable along the way?

RILEY: Well, one thing we do very well, here on Cape Cod is regional coordination. We -- we work together with all the towns, with all the partner agencies, state agencies, local NGOs. We meet monthly. We've been meeting daily for the last week or so. We're twice a day calls of the last couple of days so we coordinate well together. And that's a big part of -- of preparedness.

So we integrate well. We -- we're very efficient in how we respond to incidents. And then of course, we have a great outreach program with our residents to -- to follow FEMAs guidelines, to make a plan, be informed, and build a kit so our folks here are pretty hearty.

WHITEFIELD: Yeah, even with that kind of preparedness. Are there areas that you're still very concerned about, are there particular vulnerabilities?

RILEY: Well, we're very susceptible to beach erosion, especially on north-side beaches. We do have assessment teams through county departments as well as the State Coastal Zone Management divisions out doing further inspections. They're working with the local communities.

Right now, we're worried about additional power outages, limbs down, especially as folks head out, you know, we always counsel people to not go see the big waves. We asked folks to stay off the beaches or if they do go out to be extremely safe, we want to make sure that we don't have any waterborne issues. They did have one issue in one of the communities where they had a water rescue this morning. So we're -- we're trying to keep people away from those situations, be safe as they travel out, if they travel up, and try to leave our first responsible responders available for the bigger incidents that may still occur.

WHITEFIELD: All right. All the best to you and everybody else in Barnstable County and surrounding areas. Chip Riley, thanks so much.

RILEY: Thank you.

WHITEFIELD: All right now to the historic auto workers strike that is in its second full day. Negotiators for the United Auto Workers and the big three carmakers are expected to be back at the bargaining table today. And for the first time ever, workers are striking at plants from General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis all at the same time.

Workers say they want bigger raises and other benefits after years of concessions during rough times for the industry. The carmakers say despite big profits in recent years, the raises being demanded would drive them out of business. President Biden weighing in saying now is the time for companies to step up.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No one wants to strike. Say it again, no one wants to strike. But I respect workers' right to use their options on in the collective bargaining system. They've been around the clock and the companies have made some significant offers. But I believe that should go further to ensure record corporate profits mean record contracts for the UAW --


CNN's Gabe Cohen is at Stellantis plant in Ohio where workers are striking so Gabe, you know are there any signs of progress or any anticipated progress as the two sides meet?

GABE COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, that is the million-dollar question here. And you can hear the honking going by. It is just on -- on repeat every few seconds you see a car fly by honking a lot of support for the picketers here outside of this Stellantis plant where they typically be building and putting out about 1,000 jeeps or a little more than that every single day. But it is shut down right now.

As you mentioned, the sides heading back to the bargaining table today. And the head of the auto workers union said yesterday that they have put counter offers in front of each of the Big Three automakers Ford, GM, and Stellantis and they're now waiting for a response. But we got a much better sense yesterday of just how wide the divide has been with the head of the Auto Workers Union saying that at this point, 80 percent of members' demands, 80 percent have not been met in any of the offers that they have seen from the big three. So it does seem like we're still possibly a ways away from a deal.

Now, these workers who are on strike, about 13,000 across the country, including 5,800 here in Toledo. They're making just $100 a day in strike pay at this point of being paid by the union because they're not making a salary and yet worker after worker that I've spoken with over the past 36 hours. So I asked him how long do you think you can do this? Do you think you can sustain and they have told me they were prepared for this. They've been saving up money, told months ago, at least that this could happen, and they say they are ready to strike for as long as they need to actually want to.

I actually want to bring in one of those workers I've been speaking with. Heather, if you want to come chat for a moment, you were telling me you're a temporary worker here. But it doesn't really mean temporary talk to me about the experience that you say you have had here at this Stellantis plant.


HEATHER TAFT, AUTO WORKER: I am getting ready to hit my six year mark as a temp. I was hired in as a TPT, temporary part-time worker. With our last contract, we were changed to supplemental employees. It just means they could change the how long we can work. Now, we work 10-hour days, generally six days a week, at an hour before quitting time, our supervisors can come through and pick who they want to work up to 12 hours a day so we get an hour's notice that we are mandatory 12 hours.

COHEN: So you're saying within hours' notice they tell you you can't leave. You have to stay for three more -- two or three more hours.

TAFT: Yep. Yep. Yes. And that happens a lot to us. We number almost half of the workforce here, like its -- it has to stop. There's no end game. The -- their $20 proposal is to pay TPTs is ridiculous. Six years and I have not had a raise in almost two years now. I tapped out at $19.28. So I've been making $19.28 for two years trying to raise a family and with inflation, it's hard.

COHEN: Thank you, Heather, and best of luck to you out here.

TAFT: Thanks.

COHEN: So you can hear the energy level high. There is so much frustration among these workers, Fred, and they're ready for the long haul here.

WHITEFIELD: And it sounds like it. All right, Gabe Cohen, thank you so much in Toledo.

Let's talk more about all of this. Nathan Bomey is with us. He is a business reporter for Axios who has been covering the auto industry for 10 years now. He's also the author of the book "Detroit Resurrected to Bankruptcy and Back.

All right, Nathan, great to see you. So you just heard Gabe reporting there that strikers say 80 percent of their demands are not being met. Does that say to you that this is going to be a very lengthy strike?

NATHAN BOMEY, BUSINESS REPORTER, AXIOS: I do think it will be this is a wide gap. You got the UAW wanting a wage increase of about 36 percent right now. Ford and GM have offered 20 percent so that's a 16- point gap. The funny thing is, I think that's where they're the closest, where they're the furthest away is on benefits because the UAW wants a return to traditional pensions and retiree health care and the automakers say that is absolutely not going to fly.

WHITEFIELD: And then you hear from auto -- the automakers who are saying in the companies are saying we can't afford to pay everybody 40 percent increases over a certain period of time. I mean, that will make us go bankrupt. Do you buy that?

BOMEY: Well, the automakers are concerned about the competition that they're facing, the likes of Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen, Nissan, Hyundai, all of which are nonunionized and all of which already have a cost advantage on the Big Three. And so the only question is, how much wider is that cost advantage going to be? The automakers remember the bankruptcies of 2009 with GM and Chrysler and they understand that their comp -- their compensation got out of whacked at that point. But the UAW says that no, this is not that old time. The profits have come back and now our we want big increases. WHITEFIELD: And -- and you wrote actually, this week that the future of electric vehicles plays a very significant role in all of this. Electric vehicles are here to stay, all the automakers have adapted, and now have, you know, electric vehicles. But does this strike also say that, you know, workers are concerned that the demand for electric vehicles just might outpace their ability to even, you know, be able to make modifications that they need to make in order to keep their jobs?

BOMEY: Yeah, I mean, I think that the UAW is concerned about the EV transition. And they've said as much to the President. They do support electric vehicles, but they want this to be an equitable transition. The concern is that EVs don't typically require as many people to assemble as a gas engine vehicle. So that means potentially fewer union members over time. But, you know, and this is where I think the problem is for the President. The President wants both electric vehicles and he wants a strong contract. And there's some tension there that they're going to have to resolve.

WHITEFIELD: The UAW says huge wage increases for top executives and record profits are proof that the companies really can afford to pay these workers more. Is that a fair claim?

BOMEY: Well, I think there's no doubt they can afford to pay them more. They've already offered 20 percent pay -- pay increases and that's on just the base wage. That does not even speak to some of the other benefits that they're discussing. So I think the question is, how much is too much that would -- that to hamper their profit and to hamper their ability to make these vehicles profitably. I think everyone wants them to be in business. The UAW understands that they're partners in this and they don't want to hobble the automakers. I think the debate is just going to continue for a while here on where that middle ground is.

WHITEFIELD: All right. Nathan Bomey, thanks so much.

BOMEY: Thank you.


WHITEFIELD: All right. More humanitarian aid is arriving in Libya as authorities and civilians continue to search for the 1,000s of people still missing. We'll have a report from inside Libya next. Also ahead. The latest on the historic indictment against a President's son. Why Hunter Biden could still face more charges. You're watching the CNN Newsroom. We'll be right back.


WHITEFIELD: All right. News just in to CNN just moments from now, the Republican-led Senate in Texas will publicly vote on Articles of Impeachment for suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton. A conviction requires 21 of the 30 eligible senator -- senators to vote against Paxton. CNN's Ed Lavandera Joining me now from Austin with more on this Ed, what are you learning? ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What will be the historic vote here at the Texas capitol as State Senators are beginning to enter into the Senate chamber there and at 10:30 Central Time, 11:30 a.m, Eastern Time, the voting on this impeachment process will begin. It will be a lengthy process as you -- as you mentioned. There are 16 Articles of Impeachment that the Senators will be voting on. They will do each of those articles individually, and each Senators vote will be read aloud, individually.

So there are 30 voting Senators, one Senator cannot vote and that is Senator Angela Paxton, the wife of the Attorney General so you can imagine as they go through this process, it's going to take some time. If he is convicted on just one of the articles of impeachment, the Attorney General will be removed from office. Now at the end of all of this, the Senators will also be able to vote on whether or not Ken Paxton will be barred from holding future office. So you can imagine here in Texas political circles, many people trying to read the tea leaves trying to predict exactly what is going to happen and what Ken Paxton needs. He needs 10 of the 19 voting Republican senators to vote for him to acquit him of these charges.

Now, at the very beginning of this impeachment trial, there was a vote to dismiss all of the articles of impeachment. That was a 24 to 6 vote. So kind of the conventional wisdom here right now says that Paxton has about six votes, but he's going to need another four Republican Senators. And, of course, we're assuming here that all 12 Democrats are going to vote to convict Ken Paxton. So that is the drama that is unfolding here, Fredericka, is trying to figure out exactly which of these Republican senators will vote against one of their own party members. And this is coming with very heightened political tension because of this vote, extreme right-wing groups that support Ken Paxton here in Texas are vowing to go after any Republican that votes again -- against Ken Paxton this afternoon. So you can imagine as we enter the 2024 political season what kind of a political pressure many of these senators are under and that's what leads to and provides so much drama in this vote.

As I mentioned here off the top, this impeachment vote after many of these Senators spent much of the day yesterday deliberating in a closed session just themselves. That vote is now expected to be made public here starting at 10:30 a.m., Central Time, Federicka.

WHITEFIELD: All right. Drama indeed with a lot of minute details, but really important. Ed Lavandera, thank you so much. We'll check back with you as we get more information on that vote.

All right, meantime, overseas Turkish ships are arriving in Libya carrying humanitarian aid equipment and over 300 aid workers following catastrophic flooding there. More than 5,000 people are dead and 1,000s are still missing. Search and rescue crews are racing against time to find survivors. A video shows Turkish disaster workers pushing through debris while waist-deep in water and mud, searching for the victims. CNN Jomana Karadsheh is in Derna, the city hit the hardest by these floods.

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Just to explain to you where we are right now. We are in the Wadi Derna or the Derna Valley area. This is where you had those floodwaters just coming through this entire area here right in front of us, that's where those dams were before they ruptured. And then you have the water that was coming through here pretty much destroying everything in its way, including a bridge that was here. And you might not be able to see it by this traffic that's blocking the roads right now because this has become a main artery in the city where much of the infrastructure has been destroyed and roads have been blocked. But that is where a bridge stood connecting the city.

Now that's gone. And it might be difficult for us to move the camera because comms are very challenging the city right now. Over my right shoulder, that was a neighborhood, an entire neighborhood that no longer exists right now. This entire neighborhood was washed into the sea. And while we're standing here, we have seen people walking past survivors from Derna carrying whatever they've been able to salvage of their belongings. Grown men and women who are walking passed and sobbing. This is absolutely shocking and heartbreaking to see.

It was a storm like no other Libyans had ever seen before. But it's not only Mother Nature's wrath that's to blame for these apocalyptic scenes in Derna. Right up there is where the dams were when they burst. It unleashed all that water, the floods that swept entire neighborhoods like this into the sea and you can see the force of the water when you look at buildings like this and you can see how high the waves were.

Waves as high as 22 feet or seven meters submerge buildings and the current so strong destroyed almost everything in its path and washed it all into the sea. The Mediterranean turned into a graveyard for the people of Derna, how many lives lost here? No one really knows but it's in the 1,000s. The once crystal clear blue waters now murky and brown tell the grim story of a city that once was of those gone, young and old.


Children a few months old, elderly people, pregnant women, they're in the sea, 21-year-old Abdul Rahab (ph) tell us with nothing but a rope tied around his waist. He pulled 40 bodies on the first day he says.

There are other bodies. We don't know how to get them out. We just don't have any equipment and he says Derna is gone and you won't see it again. They've gotten some help since. International support has been slowly trickling in but nowhere near enough to deal with a disaster on this scale. It's mostly Libyans here, volunteers from every corner of this bitterly divided country, foes who fought each other for years united in grief, doing what they can to mend the wounds of this broken city.

Most are here to try and give the dead a dignified end. It's not the time to lay blame for what happened many say. But the dams had not been maintained for decades, residents say had they been, Derna and its people may still be standing. Nearly a week on, emotions here still so raw, Tiger and his family climbed on top of the water tanks on their roof. They all survived but most of his neighbors did not. There are 12 to 15 homes on our street. We lost 33 people he tells us. He then starts to name the dead, entire families gone. It's all just too much. Libyans know loss and death all too well. But nothing could have prepared them for this.

And a short time ago we were at the waterfront which has become the main staging area for delivering the bodies that have been retrieved to prepare them for movement for burial. And we were speaking to a number of the volunteers there who say that they are still getting a -- a lot of bodies, 22 today. While we were there, we saw several bodies being delivered. Yesterday, 90 bodies and people are so emotional. They tell you right now, these bodies have become unrecognizable. And you can just imagine what this means for the 1,000s of people who are still searching for the more than 10,000 loved ones who have gone missing.

WHITEFIELD: Jomana Karadsheh, thank you so much in Libya. All right. The special counsel investigating Hunter Biden may not be finished charging the president's son. Details on that and why Biden's attorney says the indictment violates a prior gun deal they made with the government.



FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right, welcome back. Just days after being indicted we're now hearing that President Biden's son Hunter could face more federal charges. Special counsel David Weiss has a roughly one-month window to decide whether he will file tax related charges against Biden in California or Washington D.C. All of this comes after Weiss indicted Hunter Biden on three felony gun charges just weeks after a plea deal fell apart. CNN's Kara Scannell has details.


KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Well there's a new potential deadline in the Special Counsel's investigation into Hunter Biden. Investigators are examining whether Hunter Biden failed to pay its taxes on time over a several year period.

For one of those years, the deadline to bring charges or the statute of limitations expires next month. Prosecutors with Special Counsel David Weiss' office have said they may bring tax charges in Washington, D.C. or California. Meaning charges could be announced within the next four weeks.

The potential charges come on the heels of the federal indictment announced Thursday, charging Hunter Biden with lying on an ATF form when he said he wasn't using or addicted to illegal drugs and for possessing the firearm while using or being addicted to a controlled substance.

It's a dramatic reversal when only several weeks ago Hunter Biden had a deal to avoid prosecution on the gun charges if he abided by certain conditions for two years. He had also agreed to plead guilty to two tax misdemeanor charges, but that deal fell apart under a federal judge's scrutiny. Hunter Biden's attorney Abbe Lowell says prosecutors cow to political pressure from Republicans.

ABBE LOWELL, ATTORNEY FOR HUNTER BIDEN: You have to ask what changed. And what changed? You also just talked about. It is the folks like Chairman Comer and the Republican Magger Crazies who have been pressuring this U.S. attorney to do something to vindicate their political position, and guess what? They succeeded.

SCANNELL: Lowell has vowed to fight the charges saying they may be unconstitutional. Hunter Biden is expected to be arraigned in court soon on the gun charges and he now faces the prospect of going on trial in the middle of his father's presidential campaign.


WHITFIELD: Kara Scannell, thank you so much. Let's talk further on all this. With me now is Randy Zelin. He is a trial attorney who specializes in white collar criminal defense. He is also an adjunct professor of law at Cornell Law School. Randy, great to see you. Professor, I should say.

So let me start with the possibility of Hunter Biden facing more federal charges. This time related to tax charges. In July, a plea deal on those two misdemeanor tax charges fell apart. Similarly, with the gun-related charges, how will prosecutors be able to justify tax- related charges when, in that plea deal, conversations, there were certain admissions?


RANDY ZELIN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, certainly, I think that there are four paths that the defense can and will take to defeat this in its entirety. Number one, there is an agreement. There is a plea agreement. There is a diversion agreement.

Agreements with the government can be enforced just like any other contract, like a contract to buy a house. So that is road number one for the defense to go, to make a motion to enforce those written agreements.

Two, the question of whether or not the judge had the authority to reject the plea deal. There are certain instances when no question the judge does. I don't think the judge had the authority to do so here.

It would be one thing if she found the defendant not to be competent, not to understand his rights. He didn't do this knowingly and voluntarily. He couldn't admit to wrongdoing. But merely because she's uncomfortable with the plea deal, I don't know that she had the authority to reject it.

Three, whether or not the gun statute is constitutional. We saw it happen in New York. We saw it happen in the Fifth Circuit. Being a drug addict, nowhere in the Second Amendment does it say, if you are a drug addict or you are an alcoholic, you can't have a gun. So the constitutionality of the statute will be questioned.

And finally, we do treat people who are drug addicted differently than we treat people who commit crimes knowing exactly what they're doing. That's why we have diversion treatment programs.

WHITFIELD: All right, so on a couple of those things there, number one, on the whole issue of the judge, the judge saying this, rejecting the plea agreement, who will then make judgment on whether the judge had jurisdiction to do that. Is that an appellate, you know, panel or who makes that determination?

ZELIN: I believe it's going to be, and I think the defense has constructed it, to be both. In other words, immediately the defense will go back to the judge and make a motion to enforce the plea and the diversion agreement.

If she agrees with the defense, it's over. And the defense gets what we call specific performance of those agreements. If the judge rejects that, then I believe the defense will ask for the right to go immediately to the court of appeals. Normally you have to wait until the case is over, but there are exceptions. The defense will say, judge, it would be unfair to make us go through a trial when there shouldn't be a trial at all. We'd like to go to the court of appeals now.

They will go to the Court of Appeals, ask the Court of Appeals for the right to say, we need to deal with this now. This is too important. And the court of appeals could say, you're right, you do get specific enforcement, send it back. And then say, you know what, maybe we should have another judge oversee this at the trial court level.

WHITFIELD: OK, and then a follow up to your other two points if I can consolidate them where you say it would be precedent setting because nowhere does it say if you're a drug user or an alcoholic or, you know, does that preclude you from being able to own a gun.

Whatever the outcome here is, it could potentially impact millions of people, right? Not just Hunter Biden, but millions of people who may be alcoholics or, you know, once drug addicted or still drug addicted in terms of whether they have the right to own a gun?

ZELIN: Yes, and we have precedent right now. We saw it happen where there -- there have been laws in the books -- on the books in New York basically saying if you want to have a carry permit in New York City, you've got to show proper cause. You've got to show -- you've got to show special circumstances.

The Supreme Court of the United States said no, you don't. That is nowhere in the Second Amendment. That law was struck down. We saw it happen in the Fifth Circuit where there was a gentleman who had a history of being a drug addict, couldn't get a gun permit. And the Fifth Circuit said again, we may be able to stop people presently who are intoxicated, presently under the influence of drugs from possessing a gun, but merely because you have been nowhere does the Second Amendment say you can't have a carry permit. You can't carry a gun. So that's where we see the precedent and we will see it for Hunter

Biden. And as you said, perhaps millions of other people who have been drug addicted or alcoholics who want to have a carry permit.

WHITFIELD: Wow, that's fascinating. All right, Professor Randy Zelin, thank you so much.

ZELIN: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right, if you have ever taken over the counter cold medicine and perhaps you didn't feel better, well, now there might be a reason. An FDA panel says a popular ingredient used in a lot of medicines doesn't actually work, that story straight ahead.


And tomorrow our special Champions for Change series. Stories that spotlight everyday people who don't make headlines, but smash barriers and inspire others to do the same. Here's a quick preview.


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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Join us for Champions for Change.

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I want you guys to truly forget the word can't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As CNN journalists spotlight the change makers who inspire them.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Turns out that one human being can do a lot.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Champions for Change, starting tomorrow on CNN.




WHITFIELD: The FDA says a popular ingredient in many over-the-counter medicines for colds and allergies doesn't

work. Concluding in a panel this week that the main ingredient in those drugs is ineffective in tablet form.

Phenylephrine is used in products like Benadryl Allergy Plus Congestion, Sudafed PE and Vicks Sinex. According to the FDA, these products generally nearly -- generated, rather, nearly $1.8 billion in sales last year alone.

Dr. Jayne Morgan, a cardiologist joining me right now. Dr. Morgan, good to see you. So a lot of doctors have questioned the effectiveness of efylnifephrine --


WHITFIELD: Phenylephrine, for a very long time.

MORGAN: That's bad.

WHITFIELD: So how did it find its way in these products?

MORGAN: And so, you know, that was approved back in 1972, where the criteria was a little less stringent.


MORGAN: But we started to have some pushback against it around 2006, 2007. And then 2016 really started generating data to refute the original claims in 1972. And so it's really come to this point here in 2023, where we're finally looking at that data and saying, you know what? It really doesn't work. It's not any better than placebo in the oral formulation.

The reason for that is if you take it by mouth in any form, your liver and gut metabolize it. In other words, degrade it to such a degree, until there's not much active compound left, and still take --


WHITFIELD: Until it makes it way up?

MORGAN: That's right.


MORGAN: You can still take the nasal spray but you cannot take anything oral.

WHITFIELD: OK. So do you see that drug even being reclassified as a result of this discovery or acknowledgement. MORGAN: And so we will wait for the comment portion of the FDA and

then their final ruling on whether or not they will actually ask companies to reformulate their products or whether it will be a total recall and say all of these have to be removed from the shelves.

Remember this is an entire industry. There are over 250 products over the counter that contain Phenylephrine. So it's going to be very impactful. But we also have to have products available that are effective and actually do what we say they're going to do.

WHITFIELD: Well, I wonder what that's going to -- how that will impact consumers. I mean, when you, you know, have a cold or you have symptoms related to a cold or flu or something to those degrees you generally going to, you know, reach for some of these products but now there may be some reticence about trusting any of them even if they don't have this ingredient in them?

MORGAN: You know I have an opposing view. We should actually have more confidence in our system now. Because we have the ability to go back and say, you know what, we made a mistake. And you know what, things have changed in 50 years and we're going to acknowledge that science has advanced and that we have new information and are going to act on that information.

If in fact you have a cold, you can ask for products that have pseudoephedrine in them. Those are over the counter but behind the counter. You have to ask the pharmacist for them. You don't need a prescription because they do have value in making street meth.

Also products with guaifenesin in them. And so those are still ingredients that are very effective for people who have nasal congestion.

WHITFIELD: All right, so there is still some good stuff out there.


WHITFIELD: OK, now a big concern of course this fall and of course this winter as we're spending more time inside COVID and the latest strain, there is a new COVID vaccine already on the market.

MORGAN: That's right.

WHITFIELD: When do we start getting that?

MORGAN: So that vaccine is available now. And in fact we saw the FDA say that this really should be broadly available to everybody six months of age and older. And then the CDC came behind them and supported it. And said universally this should be available. We thought that originally it was only going to be targeted to immunocompromised and specialized groups. That was an option.

But it will be universally available and is available right now as of yesterday in some areas --

WHITFIELD: To everyone six months and older? MORGAN: Six months and older and we'll see it be broadly available now

that manufacturing will really ramp up in the next week or two.

WHITFIELD: All right, get those shots. Once again, here we go. All right Dr. Jayne Morgan, great to see you.

MORGAN: Nice to see you. Thanks, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Thank you so much. All right, Messi Mania, well it's reached Atlanta. But guess what, there are still questions now whether the soccer superstar will actually play at the scheduled game tonight. We're live from the stadium with a few answers.



WHITFIELD: All right, Inter Miami is set to play Atlanta United this afternoon in a big MLS matchup. But the game may be defined by a player who won't actually take the field, namely, Lionel Messi. CNN World Sports, Don Riddell is with us now live from the pitch at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. And oh boy, I think they're going to be a whole lot of disappointed fans.

DON RIDDELL, CNN HOST, WORLD SPORT: Yeah, I think you're right, Fred.

WHITFIELD: You're laughing, oh no.

RIDDELL: This is the thing when you're the greatest of all time.


RIDDELL: When you're the goat, every time you play it's news. But also every time you don't play, it's news. And that is the situation that we're facing here today. Messi is going to miss his first game for Miami since coming here a couple of months ago. And of course, he is just electrified Major League Soccer ever since he arrived.


But the club source has told us that he's not only not playing, but he's not even traveling for this game. So he won't be here at all. He won't even be warming the bench. And I think that's going to be really, really disappointing for the fans, some of whom who've paid an awful lot of money for tickets. We know that they were changing hands for hundreds and hundreds of dollars. Right now you can get one for as low as 40 bucks. So the air really has popped out of the balloon here.

The club have told us it's not because of the Artificial Turf. There had been some theories, concerns, thoughts that Messi wouldn't play on Turf. He said himself a couple of weeks ago that he would. But anyway, here we are the first game that he could have played on Turf and he's not. And we all kind of got a sense that this was coming last night when the team had already traveled and Messi was posting on social media footage of the pizza he was about to consume. And it was clearly a pizza that had been made and delivered in Miami. And so that's when we all kind of got a sense that he wasn't going to be making the trip. We can have a separate conversation about the toppings on that pizza.

WHITFIELD: Why would he do that?

RIDDELL: I've never seen -- I've never seen a pizza quite like that. But, you know, here we are. The guys played a ton of games. He's played -- he's played 12 games in 48 days. He's going to be playing five games in the next 15. So I can see why they would rest him. But for the fans, it is bitterly, bitterly disappointing.

WHITFIELD: Oh, yeah. I mean, I understand why he'd have to rest as well. But I don't know if the fans are going to appreciate the pizza moment. They're going to think that, you know, he's a little happy about not traveling.

All right, Don Riddell, we're going to check with you again. Thank you so much. We'll be right back.

RIDDELL: All right.