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House Kicks off Investigations; Santos Defends Himself; FAA System Outage; Experts Raising Alarm over TikTok. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired January 11, 2023 - 06:30   ET



KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Jordan himself ignored a subpoena that he received from a congressional committee. But what other targets are they expected to go after? Has there been anything that's bipartisan when it comes to what they're looking at?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And that's a good question because also last night we saw this creation of the subcommittee on China, on kind of competition with China, and that did get overwhelming - like, a lot of bipartisan support. So that was interesting to kind of see these two next to each other.

But what we think will be less bipartisan are investigations into Hunter Biden, for example, into the withdrawal of Afghanistan, the border. We know that they're very interested in oversight over the Department of Homeland Security and Secretary Mayorkas. These are some of the targets that they've been telegraphing now for months, let's say even years, right? And we expect them to go pretty hard at that.

And, again, this is the meat of what Republicans want to be doing right now in the House. So, we're going to see more and more of this as they continue to ramp this up. And it will take a little time to wrap - to ramp it up. But once they get there, this is what they want to spend their time doing.

COLLINS: Yes. Well, you have a busy two years ahead of you, Jessica.

DEAN: Yes, we do.

COLLINS: Poppy, and, of course, we should note, this morning on Capitol Hill, Poppy, this is when they're going to be deciding who is in charge of these committees and what that looks like.


COLLINS: That will really determine the direction they take.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: What about me?

HARLOW: For a committee?

LEMON: She's like, Poppy. I'm here. OK, sorry.

HARLOW: Oh, please.

George Santos -

COLLINS: Oh, Don, I thought you were asking if you were going to be chairing any of these committees.

HARLOW: Me too.

COLLINS: I was going to say, I don't think so.

LEMON: I have - no, you couldn't pay me enough.

HARLOW: Does McCarthy also have unilateral power to replace the ones he's kicking off with Don Lemon? I don't know.

LEMON: No. We'll see.

HARLOW: Check the rules.

LEMON: We've got some folks we can talk to about that. So -

HARLOW: Kaitlan, we'll get back to you in just a minute.

George Santos, the embattled Republican congressman from New York, who admitted to telling a slew of lies during his campaign, is facing a new ethics complaint. New York Democratic Congressman Ritchie Torres and Daniel Goldman filed that complaint with the House Ethics Committee to investigate Santos' financial disclosure reports, right, who he said were his clients, how much he allegedly made from them. He says he has done, quote, nothing unethical. Santos made up lies about where he worked, where he went to school, his faith, his family connections, the Holocaust, his religion, even circumstances surrounding his mother's death. Now, the House Ethics Committee declined to comment to all of this to CNN. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy calling Santos, that whole situation, quote, an internal matter.

So, let's talk about this. CNN political commentator and former White House communications director Alyssa Farah is here, and senior CNN political analyst John Avlon.

Good morning, guys.



HARLOW: What do you think, Alyssa, given your work in the Trump White House. Kevin McCarthy's close ties to it. And his -- he wouldn't say anything before he got Santos' vote to be speaker. But even now I think it's really interesting that he says, you know - I think he told Manu, you know I deal with things internally.

GRIFFIN: Which, by the way, is absurd. They just did a 15 round vote for speaker on the House floor rather than -

LEMON: Come here.

GRIFFIN: Rather than hashing out -

LEMON: Give me the high-five.

GRIFFIN: Behind the scenes our internal division.

The thing that's interesting - I think this is an important step that Goldman and Torres are leading. However, the thing with looking into financial disclosures is, you only - you decide what you put on it. Now - now, ethically and being above board and being honest, you are, you know, under penalty of perjury or committing a federal crime. You need to include everything. But this is somebody who's kind of a pathological liar. So, I'm not sure that the financial disclosure he submits to Congress, that would then be investigated, would actually reveal that much.

This is something that I think, to truly get to the bottom of his finances, especially the $700,000 that he loaned to his campaign, you're going to have to - that's going to be an outside attorney, not something that happens within the House Ethics Committee.

LEMON: John Avlon -


LEMON: Look, everyone's like, due process. We get it. These things are provably false, a litany of them, that can be backed up by the facts. It is evidence.


LEMON: So then what is the hold up? In the old days, when people had a conscience, and when people had shame, they would say, OK, I screwed up, I resign, or something. But then nothing here. What - I mean, come on, Kevin McCarthy. Come on, George Santos.

AVLON: Look, guys, I mean the -- we are in a post-shame politics downstream of Donald Trump. And when he says I've done nothing ethically wrong, I don't think he knows the meaning of that word. He's done everything ethically wrong by lying to his constituents about every aspect of his biography. You want to find the truth, you follow the money. That's going to be part of the investigations here. And this - this complaint by his New York colleagues is a step in the right direction.

But I want to take a step back, too because it's against the backdrop of one of the new GOP rules being basically hobbling the Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent body designed to investigate just these sorts of things, which, of course, George Santos said was fantastic.


AVLON: It's -- that's where the oversight meets the road here. HARLOW: Can I - can I get you guys to respond to - because it's not

all Republicans that are saying nothing. Kevin McCarthy may be saying don't - you know, don't mind this, I've got it internally. But I thought Kaitlan's interview with Dusty Johnson, a Republican from South Dakota, yesterday, was really great and especially this last question she asked him, and his answer.

So, here it was.


COLLINS: What about your new colleague, George Santos? Does he deserve a seat on any committees?


REP. DUSTY JOHNSON (R-SD): Listen, if I was the speaker, I wouldn't put George Santos on committees until we had a deeper and more full understanding of exactly what went on during his campaign. He should be referred to the Ethics Committee. There should be a full and complete investigation. And he should be held accountable for what he's done. The fact that he's a Republican doesn't keep me from saying he needs to be held accountable for whatever he's done wrong.


HARLOW: It was that last line, Alyssa.

AVLON: That's it.


GRIFFIN: Well, and, Dusty Johnson, by the way, quickly becoming one of my favorite moderate Republicans out there. But, he's absolutely right. And, by the way, Kevin McCarthy has chosen not to sit some Democratic members on committee. And we could parse, you know, whether that's the right choice or not. Ilhan Omar, Swalwell, Adam Schiff. So the idea that you would seat a truly pathological liar, who's lied about every aspect of his resume and his personal life, is kind of absurd when you're already withholding people from committee. And Kevin McCarthy could still have his vote on the floor without seating him on committees. That, to me, seems like the most obvious step that he should take as the accountability plays out.

AVLON: Right. That would be the Marjorie Taylor Greene play from the last Congress.

But what Dusty Johnson said there is what used to be common sense and needs to be again. You're going to apply the same standards to people no matter what party they belong to.

LEMON: Isn't that what I just said to you before?


LEMON: Like, whatever happens with that. HARLOW: Yes. Yes.

AVLON: I'm not trying to quote you, (INAUDIBLE).

LEMON: That was all - that was all - that was all great until, as they say, until, right, he's like, I just think that it's all provably false, the evidence right now. There doesn't need to be, for me, I don't think, an until, right?

HARLOW: Right.

LEMON: If you - you understand what I'm saying?

GRIFFIN: Right, it's pretty well documented.

And one other thing, and you kind of made this point, John, this is just further evidence of the degradation of Congress. And we have a recruitment problem within the GOP. I, at one point, I used to try to recruit candidates. I was trying to get someone to run against Marjorie Taylor Greene. He had the background. He was a veteran. A small business owner. And he just didn't want to go near it. And how often good, credible people don't want to go near the mess that is Congress is a real problem.


AVLON: That's actually a strategy.

LEMON: Speaking of - speaking of Congress, those - and you say the degradation of Congress. Let's talk about the diversity of Congress because this moment happened. I want you -- listen to the words and then take a look at the actual picture, which is evidence here.

AVLON: All right.


SEAN HANNITY, HOST, FOX NEWS: One of the things I like to see, and I'm seeing, is more diversity in the Republican Party.



LEMON: And then you look at the room, and what?


GRIFFIN: A lot of old white guys.

AVLON: A lot of old white dudes. And, you know, speaking to a hometown crowd.

Now, it needs to be said that the GOP, you know, has --

HARLOW: There's the photo. AVLON: Yes. That's not an advertisement for that idea, is it?

LEMON: Well, there's one, right?

GRIFFIN: I see two women or three women.

AVLON: And - but, look, I mean this - this GOP --

LEMON: And there's George Santos there. He is Jew-ish.

AVLON: Well, ish.

Look, the current GOP members of Congress actually do represent modest improvements in diversity. That's good for the country, right? I mean lest we forget this was once the party of Lincoln, you know, and so we'll take progress where we can get it and we should acknowledge it. But, you're right, there's a fundamental contradiction between the words and, you know, the audience.


AVLON: And not it (ph).

GRIFFIN: And contrast that with Democrats, which have made huge strides to have the most diverse leadership ranks that they've had in history. It's something my party's always lagged on. The conference doesn't look like the American public. It have - we have made small strides. But, again, it goes back to recruitment. We need members that look like the country.

LEMON: Yes, for decades - and I've been here, gosh, for decades, oh my gosh, there's nowhere -- look, the positive thing is, there's room for growth in the Republican Party but they just - they've just -- they've got to make the effort to really do it because I've been hearing it for decades.


LEMON: Like, you know, big tent and the postmortems after they get routed and -

HARLOW: Republican autopsy as they call it, yes.

AVLON: They just ignore those.


GRIFFIN: Well, and that's the thing, it's the policies that lead to the recruitment of those voters.

LEMON: Thank you, both.

HARLOW: Thank you.

LEMON: And now this.

So, this is some breaking news. Major breaking news that we need to report right now.

Many flights all across the country grounded right now. This is after an FAA system outage. Now, keep in mind, this is a system that pilots use for any kind of notification. Not clear how many flights are affected or which locations.

We want to get straight now to CNN's Miles O'Brien. He's our aviation analyst.

Miles, good morning to you.

There's a -- little that we know here, but what can you tell us about the FAA's system in general?

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST (via telephone): Yes, good morning, Don.

It's the Notice to Air Missions, formerly known as Notice to Airmen. NOTAMs. This is real-time information that is critical for flight operations. It's information that is happening kind of right now, stuff that isn't in the charts or the published data already. It's stuff like closed airspace, closed runways, inoperative radios and navigation systems. And for an airline to fly on a flight plan, an airliner to carry passengers, the flight crew needs to be aware of these NOTAMs, obviously, to insure safe passage of flight.


So, this is distributed these days, of course, via computers. And there apparently has been some sort of computer glitch, which has stopped the distribution of this real-time data. And that means that a lot of aircraft are not going to be able to be dispatched and take off this morning. Hopefully they can get this rectified, otherwise we've got a very bad start to a morning for aviation.


O'BRIEN: You know, the whole - the whole system, as you well know, is a bit of a, you know, Jenga, and all you have to do is pull one little stick out of it and it kind of crumbles. And this might be what we're seeing here.

HARLOW: Yikes. If you're watching us sitting on the tarmac somewhere, good morning. Pack your patience, sounds like.

Miles, has this happened before? And if it did, how long did it take to fix?

O'BRIEN: I don't recall a crash of the NOTAM system before. You know, the air traffic control system is put together with a bit of bailing wire and duct tape anyway because it's a lot of, you know, legacy systems, as we'll say. And we've had outages over the year.

This particular system, I can't recall. It shouldn't be that challenging to repopulate all this data and get it out. But we'll have to watch closely. And a lot of people right now are sitting in those metal tubes wondering when they're going to be moving.



LEMON: Miles O'Brien is our aviation correspondent. And if you're just joining, there is a disruption happening because of an FAA system outage, causing flight groundings and disruptions all over the U.S. Not quite clear at this moment how many flights are affected by this. We do have - something to report about American Airlines, saying it's closely monitoring the situation which impacts all the airlines and they're working with the FAA to minimize disruptions to our operations and customers. That's from American Airlines. And I'm sure the others are doing the same.

HARLOW: All of them.

LEMON: We'll keep you updated on that. Thank you very much, Miles O'Brien.

We're going to stay on top of the delays.

Countless funny and entertaining videos we should tell you about on TikTok this morning, but it may be harming your kids. Experts warning about the dangers of the app straight ahead.

Plus this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know there was probably victims in there, and with the shots I heard, I know there was probably somebody that was going to be deceased.


HARLOW: That is the Uvalde police chief, new video exclusively obtained by CNN, of him speaking to investigators and finally giving some explanation as to why he says he waited to have officers go into that room where children were trapped with the shooter.




Well, psychologists are really raising the alarm about TikTok. They say the wildly popular video sharing app is having a harmful impact on young people's mental health, causing some addition, depression.

Vanessa Yurkevich has been looking at this and joins us now.

I'm so glad you did this because I'm really scared about what it means for, you know -


HARLOW: For our kids.

YURKEVICH: Yes, and, you know, Seattle Public Schools, just yesterday, they announced that they were suing social media apps, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and TikTok. But we are hearing from both national security experts and mental health experts about the worries that they have in particular about TikTok.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My money doing giggle, giggle. It folds. I like to see you wiggle, wiggle, for sure.

YURKEVICH: In just five years, TikTok has amassed more than 1 million global users.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cutting up all the vegies that are going to go into the broth.

YURKEVICH: Eyeballs around the world glued to the endless content and viral videos.

YURKEVICH (on camera): How long do you think you spend on TikTok every day?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two to three hours probably.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Three or four hours.

YURKEVICH (voice over): But last month the U.S. government, along with more than a dozen states, banned TikTok on most federal devices citing national security concerns over its Chinese parent company and the possibility it could pressure TikTok to hand over personal data.

There is no public evidence the Chinese government has done that. But there is evidence of another risk, social media's impact on mental health, particularly among gen-z.

JEAN TWENGE, PSYCHOLOGIST, SAN DIEGO STATE UNIVERSITY: Depression started to rise after 2012. So did self-harm and suicide.

YURKEVICH: Dr. Jean Twenge says as smartphones and social media grew, so did the rate of depression among teens. Nearly doubling between 2014 and 2019. By that year, one in four U.S. teen girls had experienced clinical depression according to Twenge.

TWENGE: So there's pro-anorexia videos, there's videos that instruct people on how to cut themselves. So what the algorithm is trying to is get people to use the app for longer, because that's how the company makes more money.

YURKEVICH: TikTok, in a statement, said, quote, one of our most important commitments is supporting the safety and well-being of teens. And we recognize this work is never finished. We continue to focus on robust safety protections for our community while also empowering parents with additional controls for their teen's account through TikTok family pairing.

Users of TikTok spent an average of an hour and a half a day on the app last year, more than any other social platform.

YURKEVICH (on camera): What is it that keeps you scrolling, even if you know maybe you've spent one, two hours on it?

EMERALD GOLDBAUM, SOPHOMORE, UNIVERSITY AT BUFFALO: Once you watch the one video, you're like, well, time to watch another. So you just keep doing -- it's like a cycle. You don't realize that the time is passing.

YURKEVICH (voice over): That's exactly what happened to Jerome Yankey.

JEROME YANKEY, DELETED TIKTOK IN 2021: I'd definitely done all my news on TikTok before. I had just been scrolling until the sun came up.

YURKEVICH: He says he lost sleep, his grades suffered, he lost touch with his friends, he lost his sense of self. In 2021, he disappointed the app.

YANKEY: 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.

HANNAH WILLIAMS, CREATOR, SALARY TRANSPARENT STREET: We have like a lot of cool resources that we give to our audience for free.


YURKEVICH: But Hannah Williams proves the positive side of TikTok, allowing her to create a business, Salary Transparent Street, providing pay transparency to her nearly 1 million followers.

WILLIAMS: I think TikTok definitely helped just because they have such audience reach potential.

YURKEVICH: She hopes TikTok's algorithm works in her favor.

WILLIAMS: Helping people in marginalized communities is the only reason I am doing this. It's my entire mission.


YURKEVICH: And there is research that points to the positive side of social media. According to Pew, they say that eight in ten teens say that they feel connected on social media.


YURKEVICH: Seventy-one percent report feeling like they're more creative because they're on social media.

HARLOW: And I think that brings up, is there a happy medium, right? And I think there is. I mean I remember recently the CEO of TikTok told Andrew Ross Sorkin

at "New York Times" deal book that they have alerts that pop in, right?

YURKEVICH: Yes, they do. They do. So, TikTok --

HARLOW: To tell you to stop.

YURKEVICH: Right. And we - of course, we reached out to TikTok because we wanted to know what they were doing to help with this situation and they have screen time management tools. They're also testing a sleep feature that will notify you when it's time to turn off your device, go to bed.

But the problem that we're hearing from teens is that they feel like TikTok in particular knows them. They know what they want to consume and they create this algorithm that really pumps in content that they feel is just so attractive, that they pull all-nighters, like Jerome in that piece told us.


YURKEVICH: So, it's a balance between the app, the company doing what they can. But also, you know, there is a part of it that's on us, too, to make those judgments.

HARLOW: And parents.


LEMON: Yes, and parents, as I said.

HARLOW: And parents.

YURKEVICH: here is a tool, family pairing, where if your daughter was on TikTok --

HARLOW: Never. Not at six. That's what I mean, never at six years old.

YURKEVICH: OK, 13 is the legal age they can get on TikTok.


YURKEVICH: But you could link your account with her account and you could control what she sees.


YURKEVICH: So, there is that too for teens.

HARLOW: That helps. Thank you.


HARLOW: Thanks, Vanessa.

LEMON: Thank you, Vanessa. We appreciate it.


LEMON: More now on our major breaking news to tell you about. The FAA experiencing a system outage. Many flights across the country grounded at this hour. What we're now learning. Make sure you stay with us.



LEMON: OK, so we have more on our breaking news this morning.

The FAA system outage is grounding flights right now. You're looking at -- this is Hartsfield Jackson International Airport in Atlanta. Harry Reid Airport in Las Vegas. This is a spit screen there. We don't see any flights taking off right now.

The system that is down is the one that gives pilots the notices they need to read before flying. Unclear right now how many flights will be affected because sometimes airlines may be able to operate with the information. So, the FAA advisory says, and I quote here, technicians are currently working to restore the system and there is no estimate for restoration of the service at this time.

So, we'll continue to check on this. This is a major, major story with these delays.

We'll be right back right after this. Don't go anywhere.