Return to Transcripts main page

CNN This Morning

House Goop's Desire to Abolish the IRS; Bryanna Fox is Interviewed about the Idaho Murder Case; Tap Water Isn't Safe for Medical Devices. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired January 12, 2023 - 06:30   ET




DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN THIS MORNING, everyone.

Coming up, Wall Street cutting thousands of jobs in the latest string of layoffs. What's behind the move.

Plus, the suspect in the University of Idaho killings set to appear in court today. What to expect. That's ahead.

And experts are warning tap water isn't safe to use with home medical devices. The dangers that lie ahead and how to stay safe.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: A brutal day for Wall Street, not the market itself but for the thousands of people actually working on the street. BlackRock and Goldman Sachs the latest major companies to cut jobs. Goldman is expected to lay off more than 3,000 employees this week we are told. More than a third of the layoffs are coming from their trading and banking sectors. BlackRock, which, as you know, is the world's largest asset manager, is cutting some 500 jobs.

The layoffs aren't likely to be the last across Wall Street as other major firms are adjusting to this new economic really that we're living in. Everyone is bracing for 8:30 this morning when we are going to get those key inflation numbers and the new jobless claims as well.

LEMON: OK, this one is interesting because House Republicans have introduced a bill that would abolish the Internal Revenue Service. The legislation would replace the current tax code with a sales tax and eliminate all personal and corporate income taxes, the death tax and the payroll tax. The bill is unlikely to pass, but it comes just two days after every Republican in the new majority voted to pass another bill targeting IRS funding. House Republicans claim that they are just trying to stop the IRS from snooping on hardworking Americans.

This was Jake - I want you to listen to this -- Jake Tapper's exchange with Republican Congressman Mike Johnson about that claim.


REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA): The intent of hiring all these new agents would have the effect of going after hardworking families and small businesses.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Why not just be honest about what the bill would actually do? It's - it's -

JOHNSON: I am honest. I want -

TAPPER: You said 87,000 IRS agents, that's not what it is.

JOHNSON: Jake -- Jake, that is exactly what it is. That is the Treasury's own published report in 2021 that they said, as you noted, over a ten-year period, they wanted to add 86,800 and something --

TAPPER: Employees, not agents, employees.

JOHNSON: Oh, Jake - Jake, you know what all those positions are going to be? Have you seen that analysis?

TAPPER: So you're saying every one of the 86,000 plus is going to be an IRS agent?

JOHNSON: No, I'm not saying every one of them, but I'm saying a large percentage of those will be IRS employees who are deemed as agents to go after and do audits.


LEMON: CNN's chief business correspondent Christine Romans is here.

Good morning to you.


LEMON: She's like sitting here going, oh, oh, what is - what -- what?

COLLINS: I know.

ROMANS: The first act of the new House Republicans is to pass a bill based on a demonstrable falsehood. There's no army of 87,000 IRS agents coming after American families and small businesses. What this is, it's crucial new funding to get the IRS up to speed. There are 1.4 million backlog right now of last year's tax returns that still need to be done. If you tried to call the IRS last tax season, you didn't get through. They've hired about 5,000 new customer service agents. They need to hire IT people. They need to modernize the IRS.

There will be 52,000 IRS agents - employees, actually, retiring over the next five years. They need to replace those. Some of this 87,000 will go to that. We're talking about people who answer phones.

It also takes four to five years, did you know, to train an IRS agent to do - be able to do high level tax rushes. And so far the superrich are skating by. The IRS can't audit all the super-rich people who are under reporting their income to the tunes of hundreds of billions of dollars a year.

In 2010, 21 percent of tax returns for people who make $10 million or higher were audited. Now it's just 3.9 percent.

COLLINS: I have like 50 thoughts on this, but one of those is the former president himself, who did not get audited.

ROMANS: Right.

COLLINS: And the IRS said it was basically because they were understaffed.

ROMANS: Right.

COLLINS: And the audit, as the last time we checked when we were talking to Stacey Polaskiet (ph) on the show, the audit of Trump's taxes still was not done.

But what you said there is so important because it is 87,000 employees.

ROMANS: Employees, right.

COLLINS: They're not agents who are like this army. But when you call the IRS, they do not answer the phone.


COLLINS: And last year, only 13 percent of 173 million calls actually got through to somebody.

ROMANS: And I needed to talk to the IRS last year and I -- it was maddening for me and for so many people. And think of all of the changes in the laws during Covid. The tax changes, tax breaks, tax rebates, all these things that have to be addressed by an IRS that, by the way, has some 70,000 employees right now, down dramatically from its peak of even being like 10 years ago.


So, you've got fewer people. You've got creaky infrastructure. You need IT upgrades. And you've got House Republicans saying there's this army going to come after small business.

No, it's about being able to audit the superrich and just get the job done.

LEMON: I'm not -- I'm staying away from you this morning. What did you have in your coffee?

COLLINS: One thing we -

LEMON: Oh, go ahead. Did you want to ask -

COLLINS: Well, I -

ROMANS: Don's afraid of me.

COLLINS: I like your passion. But we should also tell people, this is not going to go anywhere. It's not going to pass.

ROMANS: No, it's not. It's -

COLLINS: I mean it might pass the House but it's not going -

LEMON: Yes, what would they replace it with? What would they even replace the tax code with is the question?

ROMANS: So there - the other - the other thing is they want to talk about just like some kind of a consumption tax. And that's another bill that is not going to go anywhere either. But, you know, it's - I -- it must poll well. Hating on the IRS must poll well. It's not good policy, right, because you need the IRS so you can get money so that you can, you know, lower your trade deficit - your - your budget deficit.

LEMON: OK. Thank you, Christine.

COLLINS: Don's scared of you right now.

ROMANS: Oh, Don.

LEMON: Whoo.

Thank you.

COLLINS: All right, new this morning, 7,000 nurses who were on strike in New York City are going to be back on the job because they have now reached a tentative deal with two private hospitals. The strike was over staffing and pay. It disrupted patient care over the past three days. The New York State Nurses Association says the new deals, they believe, are an historic breakthrough after demanding adequate staffing for decades. The new rules, we are told, will take place effect immediately at both hospitals.

LEMON: So, did the suspect in the University of Idaho killings study criminology to learn how to commit a crime? We're going to talk to a former FBI agent about it.

Plus this.


LINDSY DOAN, MOTHER OF MISSING FIVE-YEAR-OLD BOY: I want to switch places with Kyle. I don't want to be here. I want Kyle to be here. I wish Kyle was the one that was rescued.


COLLINS: That's the California mom of the little boy who was swept away in floodwaters. She's now speaking out and talking about how she's coping. That's next.


[06:41:58] COLLINS: One of the deadliest disasters in the history of our state. That's what one California official is calling this historic series of storms that you have seen that have been lashing California for the last two weeks.

Here's what we know right now. At least 18 people so far have died, about 4 million people are currently under flood watches as yet another atmospheric river, as it's known, is set to bring even more rain. The sheriff's office in hard-hit Monterey County now says that the peninsula could become an island as the Salinas River rises.

And the mother of the missing five-year-old Kyle Doan is speaking out after he was ripped from her arms amid the raging floodwaters.


LINDSY DOAN, MOTHER OF MISSING FIVE-YEAR-OLD BOY: I want to switch places with Kyle. I don't want to be here. I want Kyle to be here. I wish Kyle was the one that was rescued.


COLLINS: Authorities, including more than 100 National Guard members, are searching for him.

Forecasters predict that four more atmospheric rivers are expected to hit California in just the next 10 days.

LEMON: Oh, just awful.

We want to turn to Idaho now where the suspect accused of killing four University of Idaho students is expected to appear in court this morning. Bryan Kohberger is charged with four counts of first degree murder and has yet to enter a plea. At today's hearing, attorneys will discuss how they plan to move forward. Kohberger remains in custody without bail. His attorney says his client should be presumed innocent until proven otherwise.

So, joining us now to talk about this, criminologist and former FBI agent Bryanna Fox. She also wrote the recent "New York Times" op-ed titled, was the Idaho murder suspect studying criminology to learn how to commit a crime? That is a very good question.

Bryanna, good morning to you. Thank you so much.

So you say that there are thousands of criminologists in the United States, and I'm not aware of a single one who has ever been accused of committing a heinous crime like this. Does that answer the questions about connections between the Idaho suspect's alleged actions and his schooling?


I understand why people would jump to conclusions and assume that the reason he was studying criminology was to somehow improve his ability to commit these crimes and to essentially learn to become a better killer if that's what, in fact, he did. But I don't believe that's the case. That's not what we do in studying criminology. It's not what we train students to do. And I think it's really just a coincidence.

COLLINS: And I think a lot of this has to do with, you know, shows like "CSI," that make people see this and they go, oh, well, that's why he was studying that.

You know, you actually talk about how criminology is actually a reason that has - it's lead to many breakthroughs in the rates of crime and incarceration, the ways it's helped. But you can see why people draw those two connections.

So, you know, what is the way that you're, you know, pushing back on that saying that that's actually not what the thinking should be here?

FOX: Exactly. And people make those assumptions all the time when I tell them I'm a criminologist. And so I've learned this over the years. But I try to address it by saying, criminology is the reason why we've had these scientific breakthroughs that have helped us to reduce crime.


The goal of a criminologist is actually to prevent crime. We're not forensic scientists. We're not all profilers or studying serial killers like people assume. In fact, we study a lot of the crimes that impact the most amount of Americans and people around the world every day. Things like cybercrime, fraud, things that we really try to make an impact on through research, evidence-based work and policies and prevention strategies.

LEMON: All right, just -- just one more. Can we just talk -- because you mentioned the "CSI" effect, right, we were talking about it, and I think that's important since you wrote about that. Our very own expert here, John Miller, talked about -- I think he was on the day before yesterday and we talked about how long people thought it was taking to solve this case, but there were things that were happening behind the scenes. I mean people think it's going to be solved in an hour episode, right, much like "Law & Order." They think a court case is going to be solved in an hour episode.

It is not like that. Do you think that's affecting -- seriously affecting the public's perception because they're like, what's going on? Why hasn't this been solved? Where's - why - before covert or why isn't there a suspect in custody already?

FOX: Absolutely. And this is something that we hear from prosecutors, police. Everybody who's in the criminal justice system reports that this is something they face all the time. Misperceptions about the way the criminal justice system works. How fast it's supposed to happen. And we see this sort of bleeding over into criminology where we are expected to be, you know, studying or training our students to operate in a certain way, and it's just not true. So, I was writing this op-ed specifically to try to address those

myths so people can learn more about our field and what we do. And whether or not there's any association with studying criminology and committing crimes, you know, there's one case out of, you know, thousands of criminologists. It seems like a very tenuous association at best.


Bryanna Fox, really important distinction that you drew there. Thank you for shedding some light on that.

LEMON: Thanks.

FOX: Thank you for having me.

COLLINS: All right, there's a new study from the CDC this morning that says many people believe tap water can safely be used for medical devices, but this is wrong. And, actually, they say it's dangerous. We'll tell with you.

LEMON: Plus, a system failure at the FAA causing more than 10,000 flight delays and over 1,300 cancellations. We now know what happened behind the scenes, and we'll tell you.



COLLINS: All right, in a new CDC survey, a third of people wrongly believe tap water, this includes me, can be used safely for home medical devices. Tap water, though, is not sterile. And using it in things like a neti pot, a humidifier or even to cleaning your contact lenses can cause serious and potentially deadly infections.

Joining us now on this news, what to do, how to stay safe, is CNN's medical correspondent Dr. Tara Narula.

LEMON: I've done all of these, by the way.


COLLINS: Yes, and Don's like, one, two, guilty, guilty, guilty.

LEMON: Two, three, I'm bad, yes.

NARULA: Oh, no.

COLLINS: OK, but a humidifier, you can't put tap water in that, because everyone just uses the sink to fill them (ph)?

NARULA: I am guilty of that as well. And I feel terrible for my children because now I have exposed them to something bad.

But, yes, we all think about tap water as being safe. And it is safe when it comes to drinking and cooking. It's essentially treated for that purpose. But what happens is, it's not treated to get rid of all the microorganisms. It is not sterile. And so, in the pipes in wells and plumbing systems there can live microorganisms, what we call biofilm. And if you use it in your eyes or inhale it through a humidifier or machines like a CPAP machine or vaporizers or you put it up your nose with things like a neti pot, it can potentially increase your risk for serious infections. You may have heard of some cases of the brain eating amoebas in people who use neti pots.

LEMON: Oh, my gosh.

NARULA: Or amoebic infections of the eye. These are rare, but that cause blindness. So, we don't want to scare people, but it is important to really raise awareness around this.

And as you mentioned in this survey that they did of about 1,000 people in 2021, about one-third thought, incorrectly, that tap water did not contain living organisms and about 60 percent thought it was OK to use in a humidifier - I'm sorry, for nasal rinses with a neti pot, about 50 percent for contact lenses, and 40 percent for CPAP machines.

LEMON: So even with filtered water like there's a -- I have a thing on my - on my sink that has a filter, but still - it's still tap (INAUDIBLE)?

NARULA: Yes. Someone asked me that yesterday. No, yes, those filters are not meant to essentially filter out things like parasites. There are filters you can buy that are - have pores or holes smaller than one micron, and those would potentially be helpful. So --

LEMON: I imagine she has this sitting here for a reason though.

NARULA: Yes, I do. So - so not to -- to give you some information about what you can do, first of all, you can go to the store and you can buy sterile water, right, or distilled water. Now, distilled water is the most pure. It's going to have no inorganic or organic minerals or active organisms. Sterile water, you still have some minerals but you're getting rid of any organisms. So, either of those are good options.

You can also boil water for about a minute or a couple of minutes and then let it cool and that water would be (INAUDIBLE) and these are the devices (INAUDIBLE) we're talking about or the things we're talking about. Things like humidifiers. So many parents use these. So many people use these, CPAP machines for sleep apnea, neti pots. Now, I've never used this, but a lot of people do and swear by them. And then contacts, which all of us wear. You don't want to rinse your contacts with, again, tap water. So, obviously, either the solution you can buy or one of these other options that we mentioned. So, food for thought this morning.

LEMON: So, I stopped using - I went to the eye doctor and I was using -- we don't like to have red eyes on television, right?


LEMON: So, we use eye drops. I was using them every day and they had to -- that's bad. So, I started rinsing my eyes under the tap.

NARULA: Oh, my gosh.

LEMON: Every morning? Why not --

NARULA: See, this story was for you.

LEMON: It's probably worse now.

COLLINS: The CDC is going to be like, Don --

LEMON: Don, don't do that. Oh, boy.

COLLINS: All right, this is really good to know.

LEMON: All right, thank you.

COLLINS: Thank you so much for - for that study. It's very important.

LEMON: Yes, thank you, Doctor. All right. Appreciate it.

NARULA: Thank you.

LEMON: President Biden now under scrutiny for his handling of classified documents as Republicans call for a special counsel to investigate.

COLLINS: Also, after months of setbacks on the battlefield in Ukraine, Russia is getting a new military commander for the war. We are live in Ukraine. We'll tell you who it -




REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): My sense is the administration has done everything right upon finding that these documents were in the wrong place. Obviously, it would have been better had it not happened in the first place.


RASKIN: But they've certainly dealt with it the right way.


LEMON: Well, we'll see because they're not really answering many questions.

Good morning, everyone. Poppy is off today. I'm Don Lemon. There's Kaitlan Collins. She's not in D.C. Don't adjust your television sets.

COLLINS: I'm back here, but in D.C., a lot of Democrats are like, OK, great, now we have to answer questions about these classified documents.


There's still questions around it and, obviously, they're very different.

LEMON: But they're shaking their heads like, oh, my gosh, this is an unforced error, right?

COLLINS: Yes, it's a headache for them.


So, good morning, everyone. We're glad you could join us.