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Millions On Alert As Powerful Winter Storm Moves East; Special Counsel Speeds Ahead On Criminal Probes Surrounding Trump; American College Student Missing While Studying Abroad In France; U.S. Scientists Reach Long-Awaited Nuclear Fusion Breakthrough; Founder Of Collapsed Cryptocurrency Exchanged Arrested In Bahamas; Tributes Pour In For Journalist Grant Wahl. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired December 12, 2022 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LAURA COATES, CNN HOST AND SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: A massive winter storm that has been slamming the west is now moving east. More than 10 million people across more than a dozen states are under winter weather alerts tonight.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: And depending on where in the country you live, you can be facing blizzard conditions, flooding, or even possible tornadoes over the next few days. So, let's get right to meteorologist Britley Ritz in the CNN Weather Center. Okay, what are you seeing?
BRITLEY RITZ, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yeah, the system is massive, stretching from the northern plains back into the four corners all the way down into the deep south, and again, ranging from snowfall, ice, and even the threat of severe weather.
Snowfall depth currently across the Sierra mountain range back into the central Rockies ranging anywhere from a foot two feet of snowfall. The heaviest snow fell across the Sierra mountain range over the last 24 hours where it picks up almost six feet of snow above 5,000 feet.
And all of that moisture that fell over the Sierra mountain range now pushes up through the central Rockies into the northern plains and upper Midwest today and tomorrow.
Some of us already dealing with these sleet condition. You'll see the pink popping on radar. That's ice. Yes. A quarter of an inch to half an inch of ice expected up to an inch in some of these areas that are under the ice storm warnings. So, this will continue on.
And then the thunderstorms, you'll see the lightning starting to fire up in parts of Nebraska down into the Texas panhandle already. This is going to be a continuance over the next 24 to 48 hours.
Blizzard warnings in effect that is 25 mile per hour winds, over a three-hour period of time where visibility is going to be knocked down to a quarter mile if not longer. We are talking about winds in Goodland, at 50 or 55 miles per hour, sustained with gusts even stronger than that. of course, as that low pushes to the north, you can expect that in Rapid City, North Dakota as well here in the next or two.
That area of low pressure, you will see areas highlighted in red, where we will have the most vulnerable areas of severe weather again stretching from the central plains back across the southeast, moving into the lower Mississippi Valley where we will have that threat of damaging winds, hail, and even long-lived tornadoes. Once we move into Wednesday, that will push into the Florida panhandle.
COATES: Unbelievable. Thank you very much, Britley.
I want to turn now to the special counsel wrapping up the criminal investigation surrounding Donald Trump now subpoenaing Georgia secretary of state.
CNN political commentator Errol Louis is here along with Scott Jennings and John Dean, former Nixon White House counsel. Also, CNN political commentator Ashley Allison joins us as well.
Look, I mean, John, let me begin with you for a second here because, look, in less than a month, a special counsel. You've got Jack Smith issuing subpoenas for Brad Raffensperger and local election officials at battleground states, asked a judge to hold Trump in contempt for failing to comply to the subpoena. You got multiple people before and a grand jury as well.
And by the way, we're learning -- I think he is still in Europe recovering from a bike accident. This is a lot of ground to cover in a short amount of time. What do you make of it?
JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Laura, I think he's right on top of it. He has been on top of it from day one. He filed a pleading in the 11th Circuit when the argument was about to be made, contesting statements they made, the Trump people had made in their brief, and he has been sending people to grand juries. He got top aides, two councils from the Trump White House and Stephen Miller.
So, he is really pushing this and moving it quickly.
CAMEROTA: Ashley, our panel last hour raised the question, what has taken so long? Basically, it has been, you know, two years for some of these investigations that have going on. Now, we are seeing Brad Raffensperger be called about January 6th and things like that. it is like the special counsel is moving with a lot more alacrity than the Department of Justice was.
ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, you know --
DEAN: Is that for me?
CAMEROTA: No, sorry, for Ashley. DEAN: Got it.
ALLISON: At some point, I wanted it to be more expeditious process. But the reality is that slow and steady wins the race. And what the race -- a victory means is making sure that people who tried to overthrow our democracy face the necessary consequences.
I think the Department of Justice has done a lot of work laying the foundation when the special counsel was appointed. They've now taken the baton and it may seem like it is moving faster. But a lot of work has been done already by DOJ. And so, I'm willing to be patient as long as justice is served.
COATES: That's a good point, Ashley, the idea of thinking about the groundwork possibly being done and the reason you can now sort of hit the ground running is because there has been a foundation. It remains to be seen.
But Scott, as you all know, I mean, we are really frankly days away from a new Congress being sworn in. Obviously, DOJ is a separate and it tends to be a separate entity from Congress and government. But I wonder, politically, what do you thing the ramifications of this will be. Do you think this is still a politically-viable investigation where the electorate is behind it?
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDNET TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, look, the investigation has momentum. I mean, it has been going, as you pointed out, for a couple of years. A lot of people have been interviewed. A lot of documents have been obtained and grand juries were in paneled. I mean, this thing has momentum.
And so, it strikes me, given the people that he is currently seeking to talk to, that they are getting to the point where they're going to start making some decisions.
So, yeah, I mean, it is viable because real things happen. January 6th happened. The phone call to the Georgia secretary of state happened. A lot of things were said and done and were really done right out in the open. We all saw it with our own two eyes.
And so -- also, I would just say, political liability of an investigation, public opinion of an investigation, it's really kind of irrelevant. I think the point of all this should be justice should be done no matter what public opinion is.
That's what we should all want here, for any crimes that were committed to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and for everybody to have their day in court within the system that we all agree to. So, that's what I want as an American. I hope the special counsel gets us there.
CAMEROTA: Well, if you have something to add, feel free, but I also want to pivot at some point to what Stephen Miller is up to.
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Oh, yeah. CAMEROTA: So --
LOUIS: Yeah, we definitely want to get that. I will just say, look, even simply receiving the subpoena in, you know, Wayne County in Michigan, Allegheny County in Pennsylvania, Maricopa County in Arizona, it has a beneficial effect.
As we all know, anybody who's had contact with the criminal justice system, you get a federal subpoena with your name on it. You are going to think a little bit more carefully when the next election comes around about whether you want to engage in sort of wild speculation about stolen elections and start issuing memos about seizing machines and so forth.
So, the investigation is longer than a lot of us would like, but it's already had, I think, a beneficial effect.
CAMEROTA: That's a good point. Let's pivot to Stephen Miller. So, everybody remembers Stephen was the architect of the child separation policy at the border among other hits. And so, he has started this anti-white bigotry group. And he is suing when things prop up in the government that he thinks are, you know, discriminate against white people.
For instance, billions of dollars in pandemic aid that was going to Black farmers. Billions of dollars that was going to minority and female-owned restaurants. And he's winning. He is winning in court.
LOUIS: This is -- this is how it works. Social movements give rise to counter movements. Right? So, you have Black Lives Matter movement, and then you have sort of a counter movement. We have the thin blue line flags start popping up all over the place. You had the George Floyd protest in 2020.
Well, Stephen Miller and company, you know, in reaction to all of the different really interesting projects that happened all over the country where people are trying to sort of come to terms with past injustices, well, it gives rise to a counter movement where Stephen Miller apparently got tens of millions of dollars collected to try and go into court and try to make a case that, no, we should not rectify these past injustices. It is what happens. I don't think he ultimately will be successful --
CAMEROTA: But he already has been in some court cases.
LOUIS: He can win this case or that case. But if you step back and look at the broad picture, the reality is white men are not being discriminated against, most Americans under 18 years old or kids of color.
The country is changing. As the president is constantly saying, this new younger generation, they're the smartest, the most tolerant, the best educated, the most techs savvy generation we've ever had. I would bet on the kids and not the dinosaurs like Stephen Miller. COATES: Well, you know, the fact of the matter is, and I think you
make a great point, the idea of what you judge the success of these different matters, but the talking point to be used nonetheless to show that there is some discussion about why it's problematic to correct past wrongs.
Let me ask you, though, John, on different point more broadly. I just wonder from your perspective going forward as we are embarking on a time when we got a new Congress, still looking back, one woman in particular, Marjorie Taylor Greene, the congresswoman from Georgia, talking about what she would've done differently with a January 6th insurrection and how it would've been successful. I mean, take us back to your reaction to the idea that this is a punchline to this day.
DEAN: It's kind of a sorry commentary, actually, that she would say, we would've done it better if we've done it more aggressively and we would've done it with arms. She seems to forget that there were lots of weapons there.
But, you know, I think these are attempts to gather attention. There is an attention economy out there they're talking about. And people on the right like Marjorie Taylor Greene like to draw attention to themselves and do it with outrageous statements one after another. It is sort of the standard mantra of the right now to see what can be more outrageous than the last person said.
CAMEROTA: Okay. Thank you all very much for those insights. Next, what happened to a 21-year-old American studying abroad in France? His family has not heard from him in a couple of weeks. His fellow students have reported him missing now. We have the latest on this mystery.
CAMEROTA: A New York college student studying abroad in France is missing. The parents of Ken DeLand, Jr. says they have not heard from their son in more than two weeks, and he had been in touch with them every day.
COATES: Now, they're desperate for any information where he might be. A French prosecutor has now opened an investigation. But, so far, it looks like the trail has unfortunately gone cold. More from CNN's Jason Carroll.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This may be the last known image of Ken DeLand, Jr. It shows him just as he entered a sporting goods store in the south of France, wearing a red jacket and gray knit cap. That was December 3rd.
CAROL LAWS, MOTHER OF KEN DELAND, JR.: I just hope that he reaches out to us.
CARROLL (voice-over): DeLand, a 22-year-old senior at St. John Fisher University in Rochester, New York, is part of a study abroad program in France, at the University of Grenoble Alpes. DeLand's family says they have been communicating frequently, but then, the messages stopped.
KENNETH DELAND, FATHER OF KEN DELAND, JR.: We were just exchanging how he was doing and, you know, he has been traveling, he has been having a great time. We just shake our heads. We don't understand why he's not reaching out to us.
CARROLL (voice-over): His family launched a website, seeking answers and detailing his last known whereabouts. November 27th, his parents last heard from him on WhatsApp. That's when they say their son boarded a train headed for the Valence, France.
Two days, November 29th, the public prosecutor's office in Grenoble, the city where DeLand was studying French, opened an investigation after his fellow students reported him missing.
November 30th, the last known activity from his phone. Then, December 3rd, DeLand made an $8.40 purchase at that sporting goods store located just about 80 miles from Grenoble. His mother is saying nothing seemed wrong during their conversations.
LAWS: It's like any normal conversation that we have had. He's telling me about the time that he's having in Europe. He was looking forward to coming home for Christmas and starting to put the plans in place for that.
CARROLL (voice-over): The French prosecutor's office telling CNN, DeLand told several people he was underprepared for overseas study and was having difficulty making friends. St. John Fischer University says it is working closely with the American Institute of Foreign Study on the investigation. AIFS is saying in a statement, we are working with local law enforcement who have begun a search. We are hoping for his swift and safe return.
Back in his hometown, a prayer service held at the Clifton Springs United Methodist Church.
UNKNOWN: I like to see you come home and preferably before Christmas for your family's sake and for yours, too. Just be safe.
CARROLL (voice-over): His community and family praying that he will soon be found safe and sound.
DELAND: We are waiting. We are worried. We don't know what, you know, where he is.
CAMEROTA: Jason Carroll is here with us now along with Errol Louis and John Miller, CNN's chief law enforcement and intelligence analysts. John, it seems like -- tell me, does this seem like foul play to you? Does this seem like he left of his own accord? And the reason I say that is because of what Jason just reported on, that the young man reportedly told several people that he was underprepared for this study abroad and was having difficulty making friends.
JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: So, part of the issue here is he is 22. You know, if he wants to walk away, he can walk away. It is not like a missing child. I think that is part of why his parents are having trouble getting information --
LOUIS: It is.
MILLER: -- because A, he's an adult, and B, the French have extraordinarily complex laws about privacy and sharing anything that is under investigation, especially with another country, especially about an adult.
So, tied up all that, to get back to your question, it looks like he walked off the set from the study program as we see him 87 miles away buying something for $8.40 in a sporting goods store. The problem is, when he goes off the grid totally, no communications. You know, the cellphone pings, the credit card stops moving.
You have to wonder, even if he walked away with his own volition, did something happen to him? And that's the real question right now. Is he okay? Where is he? Why is off the grid?
COATES: Just on that point, I mean, just thinking -- I mean, the parents obviously are worried about their son. They want to know where he. There is the concern that you raised, Alisyn. Has there been frustrations about the lack of information? What are they hearing, if anything?
CARROLL: A couple of things. They are worried sick as any parent will be worried if their child had gone missing like this. And remember, they say it is out of character for him because they say he had been communicating every single day, checking in, saying I'm doing this, I'm doing that, whatever.
But again, as John brings up, because of this fringed privacy laws, it's causing a great deal of frustration on behalf of his mother and father. They just want to know from French authorities, who are you talking to? What are they saying to you?
And again, he is an adult. He's 22 years old. And so, French privacy laws are there to protect you, even sometimes from your own family in terms of giving out information. But again, because the family is working with the State Department, because now the story has gotten so much international attention, behind the scenes, one would theorize that they are getting some information.
But, of course, these are two parents who are worried sick about their child. So whatever formation they are getting, it's not enough. CAMEROTA: Yeah, it's a nightmare when this happens in this country, obviously, but the idea it happening in a different country where there are those obvious different laws is just really upsetting.
LOUIS: One would hope that with or without the cooperation of the French police that they would put the message out, including this message tonight. Let as many people as possible see it. Tell them that, you know, call in your tips, call in any information or sighting and so forth.
I hope that they're doing that in concentric circles around this store to just ask everybody, street vendors, street musicians, anybody, have you seen this kid? Trying to get the message to him.
We all hope, I think, that he is maybe out having some kind of an adventure or meeting new friends, traveling around maybe without using credit cards, forgetting to call home. And if it comes to his attention that people are looking for him, perhaps he will call in.
COATES: Jason, at what point did this escalate? Do you think the State Department is involved in some respects?
CARROLL: Well, in terms of escalation, I mean, it happened once. His friends from school called and said, hey, he's not showing up. And I think that is one of the reasons why some of his parents were pushing back on some of those reports that came out that basically said, you know, from French authorities saying, oh, hey, look, he wasn't making friends.
They did acknowledge that learning French was a lot more difficult, you know, in terms of what he thought it would be. But it started to escalate after his friends noticed that he did not show up for class. So, of course, they alerted local authorities.
COATES: There's a host family?
CARROLL: There is a host family. The host family -- look, you know, from all accounts, I mean, the host family speaks very little English, but that is the way it works when you go with one of these exchange programs. But he got along with them. The host family, you know, took him to Switzerland to come on a visit.
And so, that's why there are so many questions here and why there is so much frustration on the part of the family wanting to get more information from French authorities.
CAMEROTA: Let's hope that this helps. As you say, all media awareness helps. Thank so much, guys.
COATES: Well, it is a riddle that scientists have been trying to crack for decades. How to harness nuclear fusion. Now, they made a huge breakthrough and it could have a major impact on clean energy.
CAMEROTA: We are going to explain how it all works.
COATES: In detail. Just Alisyn. Just Alisyn. CAMEROTA: Yeah.
CAMEROTA: U.S. scientists making a huge breakthrough. A source tells CNN that for the first time ever, researchers have been able to create energy from a fusion reaction. Laura, I could explain all of this in great detail. Basically, it is a giant step towards a clean energy future without dependence on fossil fuels.
COATES: That said --
COATES: The Department of Energy will officially announce the breakthrough in just a few hours. But her to help explain it to us all, CNN chief climate correspondent Bill Weir and science educator Bill Nye, host of "The End is Nye." Let me begin with you, Mr. Nye, on this point, because although Alisyn and I clearly know everything about nuclear fusion --
CAMEROTA: If you have any questions --
COATES: Feel free to ask us any questions you might have. But could you just explain for those of us who don't know how this is such a miraculous occurrence?
BILL NYE, SCIENCE EDUCATOR: So, I'll you a question, do you that the sun -- the sun is a continuous fusion reaction?
NYE: Do you really -- this is -- so, a nuclear weapon can be like -- we had it terminated World War II, splitting very large atoms apart, gave off tremendous amount of energy. But there is another amazing thing that happened in nature where you smash tiny, tiny parts of atoms together, protons, and they fuse and convert a tiny amount of their mass into energy, into heat, heat and light.
And that was the hydrogen bomb. But for -- all this time, for 80 years, people have been trying to get this idea where you could do it in a controlled fashion using a tiny amount of material. The material would be hydrogen that has an extra neutron, which is this now marvelous word deuterium. And if it has two extra neutrons, that is tritium.
And so, using lasers, they zap this container, this whole gold thing with deuterium in it, and the lasers create x-rays, and the x-rays create constructively interfering shockwaves that get that thing to fuse without a giant magnetic model and without the gravity of a star. And so, it is the first time, by all accounts, that they have gotten more heat out than they put in. This is amazing.
As far as I know, in the reporting in the last few days, no one has mentioned that Enrico Fermi and his colleagues in the University of Chicago did the first chain reaction, which led to all the nuclear power plants we have now --
NYE: -- on December 2nd, 1942.
NYE: It is quite a little (INAUDIBLE) that it is very close to 80 years later, to the day, that this breakthrough occurred. And so, guys, if this would work --
NYE: -- if this is a harbinger, if this is really the beginning of something huge, it would change the world.
COATES: Thank you for explaining that to Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: I was going to say all that. But Bill Weir, tell us what we need to know.
BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Bill just did. It is a star in a box. This is the whole idea. This is why nuclear physicists have been salivating on this idea forever. It is taking a star and putting it in a box on earth and topping that energy that goes forever. It is what iron man has in his chest. Okay?
It is this endless clean energy machine. And the appeal of it is you do not have any nuclear waste, there is no fallouts, there is accidents. We don't have to drill or mine for fuel anymore because the fuel is seawater. We have 30 million years of seawater theoretically to feed these machines.
But what Bill was describing there, these 200 lasers aimed at what is essentially a peppercorn of hydrogen, a long way from there to where you can plug in your house to this stuff.
WEIR: This is for our grandkids, probably, as a meaningful technology. Bill, maybe you're more optimistic than I am about how fast the stakes. In the meantime, there are all these incredible breakthroughs that are happening with wind and solar and more will go online in the next five years. It went online in the last 20.
So, it will be interesting to see how this news is received by those who say we should be putting our billions of dollars in the technology that we know works today and getting oil and gas ASAP, and then maybe, you know, saving life as we know it before we go for these amazing moonshots.
But, at the same time, the promise of this, you know, private money is going to chase public after this, and so this could be a brave new world.
COATES: Bill, is there -- do you think that it could be in our grandchildren's lifetime? Could it be sooner?
NYE: Oh, absolutely. Just think about how quickly people went from discovering chain reactions. (INAUDIBLE) crossing the street in 1928 and he had this idea. And then just two decades later, we had nuclear power plants.
This could be the beginning of something amazing. So, everybody, you know this expression, H2O, water. There is no shortage of hydrogen, man. If we can find a way to make this happen continuously, what you do is capture the heat, and almost certainly capture the heat, boil water and make steam and make a turbine just as we do now in a coal- fired plant or a natural gas-fired plant or a nuclear plant if you're using fusion.
So, it is really an exciting thing. And it shows you the value of just investing. Just invest in basic research. There is no right answer. I got to say, Bill, to me, it's don't make me pick. We do not want to have to pick --
NYE: And because the climate situation is so serious, we want to do, as I like to say, everything all at once. We want to develop wind and solar, we want to develop this fusion technology if it is possible. We want to avoid -- you may know NIMBY, not in my backyard.
We want to avoid banana, build absolutely nothing anywhere near anything. We can't do that either.
NYE: We have to catch up, people. We have to build powerlines. That is going to have to go through somebody's right of way. We got to find ways to distribute electricity and include everybody in the future so that we have a higher quality of life for more people on earth and we can avoid having catastrophic climate consequences.
This is one more piece in the puzzle. Invest, invest, invest. And plus, people! I was born in the U.S. I don't know any better, okay? So, I want the U.S. to lead in this technology. I don't want to be catching up with researchers in other parts of the world who are fine people.
NYE: They are great colleagues, but I want -- CAMEROTA: You're a proud American, yeah. You make a great point. You make a great point, Bill. I mean, this is such a great story. So often, Bill, we have you on and it is discouraging climate news and it's catastrophic, in fact. And this is such a hopeful exciting story. So, thank you both for explaining it so well to us. Great job.
NYE: Let us tell our taxpayers and voters. Let's invest to change the world. Thank you.
WEIR: Yeah. I used to be a lot more fun. And thanks to the scientists at the labs.
CAMEROTA: It's great.
WEIR: Go science!
CAMEROTA: Yes. It's fantastic. It's so great to be able to report a great story. Thanks so much for explaining it to us.
COATES: From a good kind of investment to --
CAMEROTA: You're right. There's a huge development in the story, that collapsed cryptocurrency exchange. Remember how millions of people lost money? The founder of that exchange has been arrested in the Bahamas. And that's the day before he was supposed to testify before Congress. We're going to bring you up to speed on what has happened, next.
CAMEROTA: His company was worth $32 billion at its peak. But the cryptocurrency exchange FTX filed for bankruptcy last month, potentially leaving crypto customers holding the bag.
COATES: And now, Sam Bankman-Fried has been arrested in the Bahamas after the United States filed criminal charges against him in just one day for his supposed testify before the House Financial Services Committee.
Elie Honig is back with us. Elie, why is this significant?
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: So, the question before we heard this news was, was this the result of fraud or incompetence? Well, now, we have the answer. The U.S. Department of Justice in Southern District of New York, my former office, says it is fraud. And that tells us they believe that he took intentional acts, intentional misstatements. Now, he's looking at criminal charges.
The SDNY, my former office, is famous for these Wall Street corporate prosecutions from the John Bonds (ph), cases of the 80s, through Bernie Madoff more recently. So, this maybe another one in that line. What's going to happen next? We, the United States, are going to try to extradite him. We do have a treaty with the Bahamas, meaning they can't send him over here. And then the question is, do we let him out on bail or do the prosecutors try to lock him up? Those are the things to look for as we move through the next stages of this prosecution.
CAMEROTA: And since he left the U.S., they might not want to let him out on bail.
HONIG: And he has got money, so they may be a little suspicious.
CAMEROTA: Okay. Elie, thank you for explaining all that. The sports world. Remembering journalist Grant Wahl, who died after collapsing at a World Cup match. Ahead, we are going to speak with another journalist who was sitting right next to him during his final moments.
CAMEROTA: The sudden death of journalist Grant Wahl on Friday still shaking up the sports world. Wahl was just 49 years old and in the middle of covering the World Cup in Qatar. Sports Illustrated, where Wahl worked for nearly 25 years, paying tribute to him, saying -- quote -- "No writer in the history of "Sports Illustrated" has been more passionate about the sport he loved and the stories he wanted to tell."
COATES: Some journalists who were in the press box also speaking out about their final moments with Grant Wahl, including Rafael Cores. He was sitting right next to Wahl during the match between Argentina and the Netherlands.
He joins us now along with one of Wahl's friends and former colleagues, "Sports Illustrated" executive editor and senior writer Jon Wertheim. Thank you to both of you for being here this evening. It is very difficult.
CAMEROTA: Yeah. And Rafael, I just want to start with you because there are still so many questions. It is so mysterious, what happened to Grant. And obviously, so disturbing for everyone. You were seated right next to him when he suffered some kind of medical emergency. Could you tell that he was in distress? What was happening?
RAFAEL CORES, JOURNALIST: Well, he was at Media Tribune in our row. He was the last in the row. Behind him, it wasn't like this metallic structure showed -- he was the last one. I was sitting to his left, next to him. The space is very tight, so we were like chair against chair.
This happened at the very end of the game. Actually, four minutes before the end of the second half of the extra time, we have been sitting there for more than two hours. Grant, I don't recall him moving in those more than two hours. He was talking with us, not much. Normally, we are focused on work, but we were commenting some place, you know, the game.
What I can say is that he was coughing, and we knew he had bronchitis. But, obviously, you would never expect what happened at the end of the game.
COATES: And on that point, I mean, before he has some sort of medical emergency, had he explained to you how he was feeling? I'm also curious as to what happened that you were first alerted to there being an issue.
CORES: Well, at that time of the game, we were all kind of, you know, with computers, and then the person on my left, which knew Grant from a long time, started to, like, listening, Grant, Grant, what is happening?
And then I tilt to my right, and I see Grant in distress. I don't want to be specific. I don't think we need to. But definitely, he was like in a critical situation. I tried to talk to him. I grabbed his face. I was trying to communicate with him. He was not responding. We started yelling for a medical (INAUDIBLE). The whole media area stood (ph) up because we were yelling.
And I don't remember how many seconds went until the first paramedic, it was a female, a woman, arrived to where we were. I was holding Grant while he was trying to talk to her. And, for me, I mean, it was a very long time. Maybe was not that long. But I wanted her to do something because I have tried first actually to make him react. It wasn't working. I knew what she was doing, she was trying to talk to him, but that was not obviously working.
So, she took his pulse. And at that moment, she said, okay, we have to put him on the floor. Because the chairs were regular chairs, all like stadium seats, we took away the chairs and we put him on the floor. More paramedics arrived and they started doing CPR on him.
CAMEROTA: John, it's so shocking, obviously, on so many levels. He was 49 years old. He seemed to be in good health other than, you know, obviously, reporting that he had a cold or bronchitis. It has just obviously sent a shockwave through everyone.
And so, particularly, Jon, you, because you worked with him for so long and you've written beautifully about how -- what an inspirational writer he was, and so just share with us -- I mean, what was so inspiring about Grant?
JON WERTHEIM, EXECUTIVE EDITOR AND SENIOR WRITER, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED: Some of it was just the quality of work that he produced, whether it was long-form journalism, whether it was reporting news break, also podcast and video, this is someone who just had -- knew soccer as well as anyone, but it wasn't so much about the games, the people.
But apart from the work product, it was also the way he went about the job. He was compassionate, but he was principled. He was absolutely thorough and dignified. He was curious. He traveled everywhere. He covered the men but also the women. He loved (INAUDIBLE) national soccer was. Really was a model both in terms of the work he did, but also his approach to the job as well.
COATES: And Jon, we've heard from so many icons in sports, thinking about how they impacted, how impacted their lives. We remember thinking about even Lebron James. Obviously, a titan in the field of basketball. Remembering a cover story when he was in high school in Akron, Ohio, written by your colleague.
Just thinking about those moments of being able to identify the talent to have stuck with him after all these years and thinking about it. I'm really sorry that you are here today talking about him in this way. Tell me, what would you like the world to know about the legacy that you hope his work leaves?
WERTHEIM: I think just that you can have this kind of success and also this kind of humanity and passion, it was great that Lebron James and Billie Jean King and so many people from the soccer world weighed in, but so did and I think almost -- just as poignantly, if not more so, so did interns and people who are lower than him on the (INAUDIBLE) that he helped out along the way.
He took being a mentor very seriously. This was someone who had this incredible amount of success and incredible amount of access. He didn't want to hold that, he wanted to share that. And so, it was lovely that Lebron James remembered him from 20 years ago. I think it's remarkable it wasn't even the sport that Grant is best known for. Lebron remembered him two decades later.
But again, just as touching to me were the accounts from people who remembered his small acts of kindness that stayed with them for decades.
CAMEROTA: And Joh, I mean, as you pointed out, the sport that he is so well known for, soccer, which is not every American's favorite sport, as you know. I mean, we are much of a football country. What was it about soccer that so captivating for Grant?
WERTHEIM: It's a great question. It's not as though he was a college player. It is not as though he had this sort of pedigree on the sport. He was captivated in the sport when he went to South America when he was in college. I think he just saw the magic in it. And he just never got rid of the passion. It only grew the more he emerged himself, the more contacts, the more trips he went.
I remember when he covered the World Cup in 1988. It was the first time we've ever been to Europe.
He was absolutely glowing when he got back and said, now, he needs to convince to all the editors to let him cover the women's World Cup the following year the same way.
Soccer just stands something in him. I think he understood that this was a sport poised to grow. I think he got the magic and the subtlety, but I think he also really loved the culture, the fact that it was this -- this sort of laboratory, this microscope, and he conveyed that so well in the work he did.
COATES: Well, certainly, Rafael, you know this quite well as well. The magic of the sport, being able to cover it, and I'm sure it's a great comfort to his family to know that he was not alone and that somebody was caring for him when he needed it most. Thank you so much.
CORES: I have to say that we, Latinos, live for soccer. You know that. It is our main sport, by far. All the reporters, we cover soccer in the U.S. in Spanish language. We knew Grant Wahl. We respect the team a lot. We always thought that he was the best by far English writer or reporter, a soccer reporter in the U.S.
COATES: Thanks for that.
COATES: That is very nice.
CAMEROTA: Rafael, Jon, thank you both. Really appreciated.
COATES: And thank you all for watching.
CAMEROTA: Our coverage continues.