Return to Transcripts main page
Interview With Representative Tim Burchett (R-TN) About Impeachment Inquiry On Biden And Trump's Latest TV Interview; Fact- Checking Trump's "Meet The Press" Interview; DACA Suffers Another Legal Setback; Former Obama Aide Outlines Her Path In New Book; FDA, CDC Approve Updated Vaccine For Anyone 6 Months And Up. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired September 17, 2023 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington. Good evening.
Right now President Biden is on his way to New York where he's slated to meet with world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly, including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The stakes could not be higher for the Ukrainian leader as his country faces an uphill battle in its counteroffensive against Russian forces. He's expected to seek more support from the U.S. and its allies.
But as the president prepares for another moment on the world stage, he's facing major political headaches back here in Washington. House Republicans are moving forward with an impeachment inquiry against him. And when asked about it at the White House earlier this afternoon, he laughed and told reporters his response to McCarthy is, quote, "lots of luck."
And that's just one fight up on Capitol Hill. A government shutdown is also looming as the deadline to get a spending bill passed in Congress inches closer.
Let's discuss that and more with Republican Congressman Tim Burchett of Tennessee.
Congressman, we've got a lot of ground to cover. Thanks so much for being with us. Let me ask you this. Starting on the impeachment inquiry, as you know, one of your Republican colleagues in the House, Ken Buck, is making some headlines for condemning the Republican impeachment effort against President Biden. He says the GOP is relying on what he calls an imagined history. What do you think? Do you agree?
REP. TIM BURCHETT (R-TN): Ken is a former prosecutor. He's an honorable guy and he's a dear friend. As a matter of fact, we were sitting side by side on January 6th when all that went down. So I would -- I listen to what he says. He doesn't speak often, but when he does, he does it with a great deal of class and intellect.
So I take everything he says seriously, Jim, honestly. I wouldn't brush it off because he makes some valid points. He's stated how does that tie -- you know, when he was vice president, all this criminal activity, how does that, you know, forward into being president? And there's a gap there. And so I think that's what -- you know, honestly, I think that's what part of the inquiry -- I'm not an attorney, but I think that's what the inquiry will do, will allow for more of that activity. I just wish we could --
ACOSTA: Yes. There isn't any evidence of any criminal activity during that time when he was vice president that's been put forward. But, I mean, just to jump in there and ask you specifically, do you think it's a good idea to launch this impeachment inquiry, or do you have some reservations about it?
BURCHETT: Oh, I don't have any reservations about it. It's an inquiry. It's not an impeachment. And if you think we're going to get the votes to do it, 60 votes in the Senate, even if we get it in the House, the impeachment, I think it's a pipe dream. But I believe the basis is not requesting. You know, they're demanding it. Everywhere I go somebody will say something about it and say we need to get on with it. You know, as I've stated Speaker McCarthy and Jim Comer --
ACOSTA: So it's being done for political reasons?
BURCHETT: No, no. I think it's being done because people are -- you know, we live in a democracy. To say anything in Washington is political, you know, the soft drink you drink in the committee room, it's political. You know, we have Chick-fil-A for lunch, it's political. Not a lot of tofu on the Republican side at luncheons. So yes, everything we do down there is political. It's a political town. We're political officers. So in the sense it is, but it's just we're doing our duty. It's what we're asked to do.
ACOSTA: Right. You're old enough to remember, just as I am, that when House Republicans impeached President Clinton back in the late '90s, that wasn't exactly good for the Republican Party back then. It came at a cost for the GOP and helped Bill Clinton's approval numbers. Might this backfire on House Republicans and help President Biden?
BURCHETT: It might, and that's why I've encouraged us to move ahead with the budget situation. We're $32 trillion in debt. The conservative proposals out there are spending -- you know, all estimates show we're going to take in around $5 trillion, and we're going to spend around $7 trillion. Now where is that conservative in any shape, form, or fashion? I think we need to, as has been stated, walk and chew gum at the same time.
We've got separate committees. I think Jody Arrington is a very capable chairman of the Budget Committee. I wish I was still on the Budget Committee because, you know, in 30 years or so, we haven't passed a budget in Congress, and I would like to see his committee move forward with a budget that would, in fact, balance our budget in a reasonable amount of time.
And I think they can do that. I think that's one of the concerns, and it's a valid concern, is that we just stay focused on one issue. But I think if we're allowed to play this out, I think that the other committees will go ahead with their job and move ahead with that because that's what's going to sink this country.
You know, the conservatives, on one hand, they're saying we need to kick Joe Biden out of office, and I say, do you want Kamala Harris as your president? And they, oh, no, no. And I said, well, that's what's going to happen. So I said you better have you a plan. And that's why I've stated we need to move ahead with some budget talks because that's I believe down deep, that is why the Republicans have a majority. We know we're out of control spending, and we've got to get control of it.
ACOSTA: But to do that, do you think there's going to be a government shutdown?
BURCHETT: Possibly. Possibly. I saw the --
ACOSTA: Do you support that?
BURCHETT: Well, if we don't have -- if we're not reducing the amount of money we're spending, I would support it because we're in a situation -- you know, they're saying it could cost us $3 billion to shut down, well, let's put that in perspective. We've sent basically $114 billion unchecked to Ukraine. We spent -- you know, I think the conservatives and frankly some of the moderates are concerned about the border situation, the fentanyl.
I mean, you've seen the numbers. It's ridiculous. And there's no other reason to do that other than to say we've made a mistake at the border. And that mistake is multi-presidential, and it continues on into the Biden administration exponentially. So I think there's a lot of things tied into that.
ACOSTA: Congressman, let me ask you about former President Trump. I'm sure you saw earlier today he was on "Meet the Press." He was speaking out on his attempts to overturn his loss in the 2020 election, and he says pushing his unsubstantiated claims of election fraud that the election was rigged, which of course is not true, was his idea. Let's listen to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KRISTEN WELKER, MODERATOR, NBC'S "MEET THE PRESS": You called some of your outside lawyers, you said they had crazy theories. Why were you listening to them? Were you listening to them because they were telling you what you wanted to hear?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know who I listened to? Myself. I saw what happened. I watched that election and I thought the election was over at 10:00 in the evening.
WELKER: Were you calling the shots then, Mr. President, ultimately?
TRUMP: As to whether or not I believed it was rigged, sure.
TRUMP: It was my decision.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Congressman, he seems to be admitting that it was his decision to try to overturn the 2020 election. Is that a good idea for him to go on "Meet the Press" and acknowledge that sort of thing when he's under investigation by the special counsel?
BURCHETT: Well, I'd need to go back and watch. I don't watch "Meet the Press," so I wouldn't know exactly what he said, I wouldn't know if that was a cut-up clip or not. But I suspect what he's saying was he does not believe that he lost that election, and in his heart, he doesn't believe he lost that election, and a lot of folks do, and a lot of the base do. All I can tell you is in Tennessee --
ACOSTA: Isn't that a little bit silly, though, for him to continue to say that?
BURCHETT: Well, our secretary of state Tre Hargett runs a clean election in Tennessee, and we've had -- received very few complaints. And that's really all I ever comment on Tennessee. But, yes, I think we need to get --
ACOSTA: Your election wasn't rigged, was it?
BURCHETT: Let's get on with --
ACOSTA: You won.
BURCHETT: No. No. I won overwhelmingly, so I sure hope it wasn't. And I'm usually the most underfunded candidate out there. So I'm doing something right, I guess. But no --
ACOSTA: But I guess you get what I'm saying, right? I don't know, I guess --
BURCHETT: I do. I do.
ACOSTA: It boggles the mind a little bit why the former president continues to say that. All of your colleagues in the House, you're not saying your elections were rigged, and yet Trump continues to say the election was rigged. Why doesn't somebody tell him to knock that off? Nobody believes that except him.
BURCHETT: Well, he's Trump. I mean nobody told George Bush -- either Bush what to do, and I suspect nobody told President Obama what to do. Ultimately they have big egos, and they do what they're going to do, and they're going to say what they want to say. And that's the problem with leadership. That's one problem I do not have. I've got people around me all the time that tell me what I don't do right.
In my household, I get that quite a bit, and I'm generally wrong when they tell me that. But, you know, I'm not president of the United States. ACOSTA: He's also blaming the House speaker for what took place on
January 6th. Let's listen to a bit of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WELKER: I want to know who you called on that day?
TRUMP: By the way, Nancy Pelosi -- I don't have -- why would I tell you that?
WELKER: I want to talk about -- you don't want to talk about that?
TRUMP: Listen. Nancy Pelosi was in charge of security. She turned down 10,000 soldiers. If she didn't turn down the soldiers, you wouldn't have had January 6th.
WELKER: Did you call military or law enforcement?
WELKER: Did you call military or law enforcement at the moment the Capitol was under attack?
TRUMP: I'm not going to tell you anything. I told --
TRUMP: Let me put it this way. I behaved so well. I did such a good job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Congressman, isn't it true that it's Donald Trump's fault that January 6th happened?
Had he just accepted the results of the election, there never would have been a January 6th. Why continue to blame the speaker at the time, Nancy Pelosi? It doesn't make any sense.
BURCHETT: Well, Dan Bishop and I who was newly elected at special election were walking up the steps to the Capitol running a little late. And there was one Capitol Hill policeman there on the gates, and they had all the fencing up and everything. And they made us to go around and go through the tunnel. And I said to Bishop, I said, that's kind of odd, you know. Usually they have more people here when they have a veterans or a biker rally or a Right to Life rally.
I think there was a complete failure all the way around. They did not see it. Speaker Pelosi was doing a documentary with her daughter that covered all of her activity. Frankly, Jim, I would love to come on and I tried to talk to the January 6th Commission about what I saw on January 6th. I was the last House member to leave the House floor, literally, and I could not -- and I saw somebody filming in the tunnel, and I couldn't get them to call me back. I've called them twice. And then finally I went and viewed the camera.
Had to go -- Rodney Davis took me in, and we viewed the cameras ourselves, the film. So I think there was a lot at fault there. A lot of people were at fault.
ACOSTA: But none of that would have happened --
BURCHETT: And human error.
ACOSTA: But none of that would have happened if Trump had just accepted that he lost the election.
BURCHETT: If Trump had -- well --
ACOSTA: If he had just accepted he lost the election --
BURCHETT: Well, if Trump had gone earlier on --
ACOSTA: Like your Democratic opponent in Tennessee when you won re- election, that person has said, you know what? Tim Burchett won the election. I'm going to go on my way and move on with my life. Donald Trump didn't do that.
BURCHETT: Well, I'm still --
ACOSTA: Lying about it being rigged.
BURCHETT: I'm still waiting on their call.
ACOSTA: OK. Well, let's put that to the side for -- but you understand my point.
BURCHETT: Listen, if President Trump had gone on the news and said, y'all cool it, it would have stopped. You're right there, absolutely, 100 percent. It put people's lives at risk, and I thought it would have been a great opportunity for him to make press, but he didn't. Nobody else did either. And it just went on and it went from bad to worse.
ACOSTA: Well, Congressman, we appreciate your time very much. I do want to get into the UAP investigation that you're doing up on the Hill. We're going to get you to come back another time, we'll talk about that as well. But thanks as always. Always good to talk to you. Appreciate it.
BURCHETT: Jim, it's always a pleasure. I look forward to your special on regular folks tonight. And thanks for looking after those dogs. I got three rescues and I'm a rescue. And we've got three dogs, four cats, and a couple of horses. So I appreciate anything that you do on those grounds.
ACOSTA: Absolutely. It's the best decision I ever made.
BURCHETT: Thank you, brother.
ACOSTA: Well, one of them. I shouldn't say the best but one of them. All right, thanks, Congressman. Appreciate it.
ACOSTA: Still ahead, former President Trump sits down for his first interview in a while with the press about what took place on January 6th. We'll talk about the challenges of questioning him.
Plus, Drew Barrymore hits the pause button on restarting her talk show amid the ongoing writers' strike. What she's saying about her decision.
And later, from being a child living on welfare to an aide in the Obama White House, Alejandra Campoverdi joins us to share her unique story now in a new memoir. We'll talk to her in just a few moments.
You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
ACOSTA: Former President Donald Trump sat down for a wide-ranging interview this morning on NBC's "Meet the Press."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WELKER: I want to stay focused on you.
WELKER: For the purposes of this interview, OK? Because it's important that we hear from you about all of this. Tell me --
TRUMP: Well, I'd like you to, but you keep interrupting me.
WELKER: Tell me -- Mr. President, tell me what you see when you look at your mug shot.
TRUMP: I see somebody that loves this country in me, that loves this country. I see tremendous unfairness. I think very few people would have been able to handle what I handled.
WELKER: I just want to hear from you on this. I want to know what's in your head. When you go to bed at night, do you worry about going to jail?
TRUMP: No, I don't really. I don't even think about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Trump also said it was, quote, "my decision," as in his decision to try to overturn the 2020 election results. He said Republicans, quote, "speak very inarticulately about abortion" and slam state-level restrictions on abortion that could alienate Americans across the country. And that while he likes democracy, it had to be added, quote -- he said, quote, "I don't consider us to have much of a democracy right now, " which of course is not true.
Let's discuss with CNN's senior media reporter Oliver Darcy.
Oliver, we didn't really highlight it there, but he made a number of false statements, let's just call them lies, once again in this interview. And it highlights this problem, interviewing the former president is difficult. He's sort of like the Usain Bolt of lying. He lies so fast, it's hard to keep up. And it raises this issue of fact- checking him in real time.
OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jim. That's exactly right. I think it's very difficult to interview the former president. I think this interview showed again how challenging it is. Like you said, you know, his mouth is like a machine gun, and he uses it to fire off lies at a rapid, rapid clip.
But, Jim, I also want to be frank. You know, NBC News spent the past week hyping newly minted "Meet the Press" moderator Kristen Welker as someone who met the moment under Donald Trump's administration when she was a White House correspondent, and she did fail to meet that moment unfortunately during her interview with Donald Trump. There were a number of times where he said things that were just simply untethered from reality, and she did not aggressively fact-check him in a meaningful way.
And look, it's not easy. I'm not saying it's easy to interview Donald Trump. It's a very challenging thing as I just said. But they willfully took on this assignment. And if you're going to take on this assignment, you're going to sign up to interview the former president, you have to be ready to interview him in a manner that fact-checks him in real time, in an aggressive way because these aren't just falsehoods about anything, he's saying. These are very dangerous lies he's spreading, and they're damaging to our democratic institutions. And so carrying them really has a lot of consequence.
ACOSTA: Yes. I mean it's difficult for all news organizations, including this one. I mean we all have learned our lessons doing this, and, you know, I experienced some of this myself when I covered the White House. It is hard to keep him inside the guardrails of reality. How should the media approach these interviews with the former president? You know, Oliver, one of the thoughts that I had is that going into the next sit-down interview with the former president, if you're going to do it taped and so on, why not have a fact-checker, typically the correspondent or anchor has a producer with him or her.
Why not have a fact-checker in there as well? That way you can fact- check him in real time and say hold on a second, hold your horses there, Mr. Trump, you're not dealing with reality. You're not telling the truth.
DARCY: I think it's incredible, Jim, that the media still hasn't quite figured out a way to effectively do this. At least most news organizations are still struggling with this. But I think the key thing is you don't interview him as if he's a normal politician. This is someone who tried to subvert democracy in the 2020 election. And so the interview should be focused on holding him to account, not trying to make, you know, news as a lot of other people do.
It has to be about holding power to account and focusing on the damaging lies that he has told about the election and the damaging actions he took in the aftermath of the election that led to an insurrection on the U.S. Capitol.
ACOSTA: Yes. Yes, and you can't let him, you know, squirm his way out of these lies. I mean when he blames it on the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at that time, I mean obviously -- and I just had this conversation with Congressman Burchett a few moments ago. Had Donald Trump just accepted the fact that he lost the election, you know, there would have been no January 6th. There would not have been an insurrection at the Capitol.
So to blame this on anybody but himself is just not dealing with reality. And I do want to say I worked with Kristen Welker at the White House, when she was with NBC and I was with CNN, covering the White House, and I just thought she was a fantastic reporter over there. So I'm sure they're going to go back and look at what took place and try to smooth things out for the future.
But let me ask you this, Oliver. Let's switch gears, talk about the writers' strike. Today Drew Barrymore backtracked on the decision to bring back her daytime talk show. This stunned a lot of people late last week when they said, OK, no, we're going back on the air. What is she saying?
DARCY: Well, now she's reversed her decision, Jim. After all of that backlash, she posted a statement on Instagram, and I'll read to you part of it. She said, I have no words to express my deepest apologies to anyone I have hurt and of course to our incredible team who works on the show and has made it what it is today. We really try to find a way to move forward and I truly hope for a resolution for the entire industry very soon.
And she also said that she's not going to be returning back to the air until this writers' strike concludes. The other talk show, "The Talk," also pausing coming back. And so what's interesting as you saw last week, all these shows announced basically that they were going to move forward with their season premieres despite the writers' strike. Now that they're facing some backlash, you know, he writers were picketing outside of these sets. Now that they're facing some backlash they're pausing and reversing those decisions.
ACOSTA: And Oliver, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, they kind of came up with a unique way to deal with the writers' strike. What can you tell us about that?
DARCY: Yes, they've started hosting this show, Jim, "Strike Force," where they've been talking about the writers' strike and a lot of other things. And they've been raising money actually for the writers. It actually stands in very stark contrast to what some of those talk shows have done. Instead of going back to the air, they've done this podcast. They're going to do a Vegas show, and they're raising money for the writers and other production staff that have been out of work while this dispute with the studios remains ongoing.
ACOSTA: All right. Great to see them doing that. And got to support the writers. We're nothing without our writers.
Oliver Darcy, thank you very much. Really appreciate it.
And make sure you're getting Oliver's "Reliable Sources" newsletter. You can subscribe to that newsletter at CNN.com/reliablesources. Thanks to Oliver for that, we appreciate it.
Still ahead, living in limbo. Undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children react to a federal judge again declaring the DACA program unlawful.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEX GALVEZ, IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: It's a political ping pong. Yes, DACA, no, DACA, yes, DACA, no, DACA.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: OK. Welcome back. You're looking at some live pictures right now of President Biden hopping on board Marine One as he gets set to attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York. The president will be there for a good portion of this week. He's not only going to be meeting with world leaders from all over the globe, he's going to be having a special meeting with the president of Ukraine this week, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, where a big topic will be, of course, aid to the Ukrainians as they fight the Russians. We'll stay on top of that, bring you more as it comes in.
In the meantime, it's a legal setback for the Dreamers. A judge this week ruling the Biden administration's efforts to preserve the Obama- era program known as DACA or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is unlawful.
CNN's Camila Bernal has more.
CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The success of this Mexican candy family business is, in part, thanks to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or DACA.
IGNACIO VIRAMONTES, BUSINESS OWNER AND DACA RECIPIENT: When we've got DACA, like, it was like -- it was a boost.
It was like a catalyst. And then things just happened faster. Things were easier. BERNAL: Licenses, loans, leases, all possible after Ignacio Viramontes
began benefiting from this Obama-era program. Now Ignacio and his two siblings benefit from DACA. They make part of the more than 580,000 so-called Dreamers in the U.S., undocumented immigrants often arriving to the U.S. at a young age, eligible for work authorization and shielded from deportation. But a federal judge in Texas this week ruled that a regulation intended to preserve DACA is unlawful.
JEAN REISZ, CO-DIRECTOR, USC IMMIGRATION CLINIC: The time is running out, and I think that even if the Biden administration appeals, which I believe they will, and I think it will go all the way up to the Supreme Court, looking at our Supreme Court and looking at the law, I think it's likely that the Supreme Court would find it unlawful, and then it's over.
BERNAL: Jean Reisz, professor and co-director of the Immigration Clinic at USC's law school, says the ruling could force a more permanent solution.
REISZ: People are reminded of the uncertainty, how much time do they have left, years maybe. And I think it really puts pressure on reform.
BERNAL: At the center of the issue is the scope of the president's authority, which is why for years, congressional leaders have tried to come to an agreement over immigration reform and failed.
GALVEZ: I think the agreement is there, but I think because certain factions of Congress have taken such a position against DACA, that it's very hard to come back to the middle and save face.
BERNAL: Immigration attorney Alex Galvez says that at the end of the day, it's the beneficiaries of the program that suffer.
GALVEZ: The Dreamers are in limbo once again. It's a political ping pong. Yes, DACA, no DACA, yes DACA, no DACA.
BERNAL: The Texas ruling does not impact current beneficiaries, but it does prohibit new applications. Yet the reality is that Ignacio does feel impacted.
VIRAMONTES: Even though I'm living like comfortably right now, always in the back of my head is, like, what if one day somebody decides to come and end DACA?
BERNAL: Camila Bernal, CNN, Los Angeles.
ACOSTA: In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we want to highlight a new book which charts the journey of one Latina on her journey here to the nation's capital in Washington, D.C. "First Gen" is the memoir of Alejandra Campoverdi. She grew up in Los Angeles as the daughter of a single immigrant mother, later being accepted at Harvard and then going to work in the Obama White House. And Alejandra Campoverdi joins us now. Alejandra, great to see you. I remember when we were running into each
other at the Obama White House back in the day. It was a little while back.
ALEJANDRA CAMPOVERDI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE AIDE TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yes. It feels like just yesterday, though.
CAMPOVERDI: It's great to be here with you.
ACOSTA: Great to be with you. Congrats on the book.
CAMPOVERDI: Thank you.
ACOSTA: Let's talk about the story of migrants, as you know, coming to the U.S. is a huge topic right now. What we don't hear about very much I feel like is we don't hear about the success stories of the children of immigrants who are coming into this country. You see the pictures on the news all the time of migrants coming to the U.S. They're often bringing children with them. But we don't hear about the success stories.
A lot of these children end up doing quite well. Lots of obstacles along the way, lots of challenges and struggles, but they do well. And you're one of those examples. Let's talk about that.
CAMPOVERDI: Well, thank you. What I actually am trying to point out in this book "First Gen" is we kind of do talk about the success stories, but not with a lot of nuance, right?
CAMPOVERDI: The journey of social mobility is one that has an emotional toll to it. And so you'd see these first and only, it's the first to this, the only to that, and we celebrate that. But a lot of that experience is kind of lost in translation. And if we don't talk about that, a lot of folks feel their experiences just aren't validated or they feel very isolated.
ACOSTA: Yes. And you write in your book about the experiences that children of immigrants have in common. Have you run across some recurring themes? What are some themes that stand out to you, challenges?
CAMPOVERDI: Absolutely. The idea for this book came from a speech I was giving at Harvard. They were having a Latino graduation. And I noticed in the students that they had this look in their eyes that I recognized, which was kind of a swirl of contradictory emotions. And as I started speaking about these emotions and these what I call the trailblazer toll, and these number of emotional tolls that kind of roll out throughout your life, I started realizing how widespread they are, whether it's breakaway guilt when you eventually make more money than other people in your family.
Your life is the only one that's changed. Or these extreme risks that feel like blindfolded cliff jumping where the stakes are so much higher for you. Because I remember when I went to Harvard, I had to take out $150,000 of student loan debt.
CAMPOVERDI: So when you say, she went to Harvard, that sounds great, right? But let's talk about what it really took.
ACOSTA: Yes. Let's talk about that. And you write about your experience at Harvard, what you went through when you were there. What were some of those moments like? Did you feel like this kid of an immigrant at Harvard, in a place where maybe there weren't so many folks like yourself there? What was that like?
CAMPOVERDI: Well, I say social mobility demands a lot of costume changes, right, because you are morphing to survive, and there's different pieces of yourself that sometimes you lose along the way. But, you know, as you're moving into these spaces, we're told a lot that imposter syndrome is actually what we're feeling. It's you're not confident enough. You're not confident enough. But actually we commissioned a national poll on "First Gen" students and imposter syndrome was down at the bottom as far as the emotional toll they experienced. It was financial trauma, which should be --
ACOSTA: What does that mean, financial trauma? Like you're always worried about money? Is that essentially --
CAMPOVERDI: Well, 82 percent of "First Gen" students have to work while they go to school. We're not talking like a job so that they can have spending money. A lot of them have to send money to their family and still feel financially responsible for their families.
CAMPOVERDI: And the number two reason, Jim, emotional isolation and loneliness. And that's why I wrote this book, so that we can feel seen and less alone because there's so many of us. A third of college students are "First Gen" right now.
ACOSTA: Yes. And as we were saying earlier, immigration is such a huge topic these days. It was a big topic at the Obama White House, where you served the Obama administration. Obviously for the Trump administration, it's a problem that the Biden administration is dealing with. What are your thoughts on this? Why is this issue so hard to solve? As we were just talking about a few moments ago with Camila Bernal in her piece, the DACA program is still --
ACOSTA: Struggling to deal with what do we do with the Dreamers coming into this country, who have been in this country for years and years now, succeeding? How do you get a handle on this issue?
CAMPOVERDI: We need to support these students, and a lot of these "First Gen" students we're talking about are these DACA students as well.
CAMPOVERDI: And they don't have support once they get into school. 90 percent of them don't graduate on time even though they make up a third of our college students. And so when we're talking about this financial trauma, when we're talking about this support, I mean, we're talking about the wealth gap. We have a unique opportunity here with these young people to be able to really enhance economic mobility in this country.
But we have to be honest about who we're talking about, and these are the social mobility generators. These are the American dream believers. They're almost audaciously optimistic about being able to buy houses and cars.
ACOSTA: And just to -- I wanted to touch on something that's near and dear to my heart, and that is my family. And I'm sure your family must be so important to you as well. You write about this lovingly in your book about your family, the struggles that your mother went through. Can you talk about that?
CAMPOVERDI: It was hard because writing this book I had to excavate not only a lot of memories of my own but a lot of traumatic memories that folks in my family went through, especially my mother.
CAMPOVERDI: And, you know, it's a full-circle part of this kind of invisible inheritances that we get from our family and thinking about the inheritances we want to disrupt and think about the inheritances that are so beautiful that we want to continue. And so as I kind of came out the other side of the sausage maker of this journey, realizing how intertwined, like a braid, all of our experiences are, and then in a lot of ways, we're a family's living memorial.
ACOSTA: Yes. And you also feel like you're their protector, like with my dad, Cuban immigrant. My mom raised me as a single mom. You feel like you want to protect them.
CAMPOVERDI: You do.
CAMPOVERDI: And that's also part of what we need to talk about because there is a lot of parentification and a lot of caretakerness in the children of immigrants, and it's beautiful. And we do want to take care of our families, and we want to talk about the emotional toll that it takes on our relationships and our responsibilities to make our family's sacrifices worth it.
ACOSTA: Right. You've got to take care of yourself, too.
CAMPOVERDI: Yes. Put your mask on first, right?
ACOSTA: Yes. Exactly. Well, Alejandra, thank you so much for your time. Really appreciate it. It's a great book.
CAMPOVERDI: Thank you.
ACOSTA: "First Gen: A Memoir." It's about an experience that a lot of people go through in this country, and you really shine a light on it. It's really important. Thanks so much for your time.
CAMPOVERDI: Thank you so much for having me.
Still ahead, COVID cases are on the rise as is the call for people to get up to date on their vaccines. Yes, we're talking about vaccines again. Dr. Jonathan Reiner is here with what you need to know to stay healthy this fall. That's next.
You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
ACOSTA: Major pharmacy chains are now offering appointments for anyone six months and older who want the updated COVID-19 shot. The FDA and the CDC signed off on the tweaked vaccine this past week, which officials say is effective against the latest strain that is currently making its way through the U.S.
CNN medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner joins us now. He's also a professor at George Washington University School of Medicine.
Dr. Reiner, great to see you as always. Who should get vaccinated first? What are your thoughts on this?
DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Everyone should get vaccinated. The vaccine has been approved and recommended for everyone in this country over the age of 6 months. And the way to think about this vaccine is everyone is going to get some benefit from this vaccine, and some people will have a bigger benefit, and that really comprises the people at the greatest risk. So essentially people over the age of 65, people with pre-existing conditions, you know, fighting cancer, immune deficiencies, you know, heart and lung disease. Those folks really comprise the group who have died, you know, from COVID.
REINER: So in fact --
ACOSTA: What do the numbers look like? Are people -- is there a trend that we need to be worried about, a trend line that is concerning to you?
Or is this really just about being prepared, being safest this fall and winter? REINER: No, we are in a torrential surge of COVID right now.
REINER: It's a little bit hard to know the exact numbers because states don't report cases anymore, and most of the testing is done at home with rapid assays. But using wastewater sampling, a model this week suggested that we have about 650,000 new cases of COVID per day. And that's about as high as it ever was during the initial surges in 2020, and we're getting close to what it was at the peaks of Delta and Omicron.
So there's a tremendous amount of COVID in the community. Hospitalizations have been up every week for the last eight weeks. Hospitalizations are up in the last week about 10 percent. Deaths are up about 5 percent.
ACOSTA: Why are we seeing deaths the way it was during the height of COVID? Is it because people have gotten sick and they're immune, people have gotten vaccinated and they're somewhat immune, or is it suppressing the level of infection and how badly you're sick from this virus. Is that essentially it?
REINER: Yes, that is essential. It's a little bit of all that. It's estimated that about 95 percent of all people in this country have either -- have some immunity to COVID, either vaccine or illness or hybrid immunity. But still even with much lower levels of mortality than last year, about 650 people died in the United States last week. That compares to about a year ago, about 3,000. So we're at much lower levels. But this virus is still deadly. It's making a lot of people sick, and just about everyone now knows somebody who has COVID now.
ACOSTA: And you know, whether people want to get the vaccine is going to be an issue, I suppose. There's COVID fatigue. There's vaccine fatigue. I don't personally understand that. I'm going to go get my flu shot. I'm going to get this updated COVID vaccine. Why not? But it's out there in the political realm. Florida governor and presidential candidate Ron DeSantis, he says he's advising people under the age of 65 against getting the new booster shots.
And here's GOP candidate Tim Scott, who said this at the faith and freedom banquet. Let's listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TIM SCOTT (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Because if we continue the current trajectory of spending, it just goes up like a rocket. If we went back to -- there's no longer COVID by the way. We can't use that as an excuse. Someone saying thank God, right?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: So he's saying there is no COVID anymore. There's no longer COVID. So there's still a lot of misinformation swirling.
REINER: Yes, I'd like there not to be COVID, but COVID is still here, and it's rising right now. So we've politicized this. Jake Tapper this morning asked the former vice president, Mike Pence, whether he was going to get the booster, and he declined to answer that. I guarantee you he'll get the booster. We've managed to politicize health in the United States. If you -- and to the detriment of many people.
If you look, the best way to look at this is look what happened to the United States after vaccines became available to everyone, to all adults, which was the spring of 2021. Before that, in every state and by party, basically mortality was the same. But after the spring of 2021 when vaccines were rolled out en masse, you started to see this differential split. And if you looked at House districts that voted for GOP candidates, the mortality for COVID was higher.
And the answer to why is simple. Vaccine uptake amongst GOP voting folks in this country was much lower than for people who voted Democrat in the United States.
ACOSTA: Yes. And the way we got this under control is because people went out and got vaccinated, not to the level that we could have, but it got under control.
REINER: Yes. Everyone will get some benefit from this vaccine. The folks at highest risk will have the benefit of having a lower risk of being hospitalized or dying. And younger people, people who feel invincible, will have a lower risk also of perhaps getting infected. But importantly, they'll have a lower risk of getting long COVID, which can be very debilitating and is a real problem. But important where they'll have a lower risk of getting long COVID which can be very debilitating and is a real problem.
ACOSTA: And if you talk to anybody who deals with that, you don't want that.
All right, Dr. Jonathan Reiner, thanks so much. We'll be right back.
ACOSTA: Today on CNN, we're kicking off our "Special Champions for Change" series, stories that spotlight everyday people who don't always make the headlines but smash barriers and inspire others to do the same.
Next hour I can't way to share the story of my champion, who is revolutionizing the way shelter animals are treated and adopted. And there's more coming all this week. Here's a preview. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Here we go. Here we go. Come on, let's go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was about how many people came and helped.
ANNOUNCER: Join us for Champions for Change.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel a source of inspiration and pride just coming together.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want you guys to truly forget the word "can't."
ANNOUNCER: As CNN journalists spotlight the changemakers who inspire them.
SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: She teaches you to break through that fear to get to where you need to be.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Turns out that one human being can do a lot.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: She's opening a door for people that are desperate for freedom.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These aren't throwaway animals. These are precious beings.
ANNOUNCER: See how these community champions use creativity, heart, and grit to lift society up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When the music starts, something happens.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I surround myself with positive people. They help me be that inspiration.
ANNOUNCER: Champions for Change, all this week on CNN.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington. Good evening.
President Biden is now in New York City as he prepares for a big week ahead. He will meet with world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly this week. He will also sit down with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the White House in just a few days from now as Ukraine seeks more support from its allies in the midst of a challenging counteroffensive against the Russians.
Biden's appearance on the world stage comes as he faces a looming government shutdown, a House impeachment inquiry, and scrutiny over his son's indictment on felony gun charges.