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CNN Tonight

White House and GOP negotiators Inching Closer to Deal in Debt Ceiling Crisis; CNN Obtains Copy of "Burn After Reading" Note Brian Laundrie's Mother Wrote; PA State Legislature Takes Up Gun Reform; Census Bureau: U.S. Population is Growing Older; "CNN Tonight" Presents "On the Lookout." Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired May 25, 2023 - 23:00   ET




ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Hi, everyone. Thanks for tuning in to this hour where we bring you "Tomorrow's News Tonight." We have our great lineup of reporters here with me tonight: Harry Enter, Zain Asher, Danny Freeman, and Omar Jimenez.

Okay, the U.S. has one week left to solve the debt limit crisis before facing default. Sources tell CNN White House officials and GOP negotiators are getting closer to an agreement to raise the debt ceiling, and Zain is on this story. Are we on the verge of a deal?

ZAIN ASHER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: I think that the major disaster that we were talking about on Tuesday has more or less been averted for now. I'm somewhat optimistic based on what I am hearing. I think I'm getting the impression that if McCarthy really wanted to make a deal at this point, he probably could.

So, in terms of the contours of what we are hearing right now, there is possibly a deal in the work to raise the debt ceiling for years and issue spending cuts for two years. So, that's good news there.

I think that my concern is even if they reach a deal, right, this is what I was talking to you about earlier in the week, even if they reach a deal, even if you have McCarthy and Biden sort of coming together and reach a deal, he -- McCarthy still has to sell it, right? And that is the issue. He still has to sell it to the House Freedom Caucus. And there is a section of Republicans, a faction of Republicans that are going to condemn whatever deal that comes out. And so that is the issue.

There's a belief that, of course, they need Democrats at this point to make this work, but I think what is good about this particular deal that's being talked about right now is that either side possibly can frame this as a political win, right? So, Republicans say, look, we actually, you know, cut spending quite significantly, and Democrats can say, no, we protected the worst of spending cuts from actually happening. Both sides can frame it as a win. So, I am cautiously optimistic. We're not out of the woods just yet, especially because of the timeline. That is what I am concerned about. Seven days, 72 hours to review that lawmakers have, plus it is going to get through the House, plus it is going to get through the Senate as well, president's desk. I am concerned about the timeline, but I think that I am far more optimistic now than I was, say, yesterday.

CAMEROTA: Okay. I am less optimistic --


-- because of what you just said. I am because I did not know that he had not talked to the Freedom Caucus first and found out what they would agree to. Why are we going through this exercise in futility if he is going to make a deal with President Biden and then have to go sell it to the Freedom Caucus, because they're the ones -- as you know, Congressman Matt Gaetz is one of the people who said, like, I don't believe --

ASHER: That's the thing.

CAMEROTA: -- schedule in the debt limit.

ASHER: Yes, I don't believe in the schedule at the debt limit. There seems to be a group of Republicans who actually don't believe that a default would be that bad or it's grossly exaggerated. That's the issue. I think that line of thinking is foolish, right?

A default for this country would be Armageddon. It would be absolutely catastrophic. I don't think that we are going to get there, though. I just don't believe that we are going to get there.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, and even just being close, you know, I feel like we're already starting to see -- you know, I agree that, you know, there is cautious optimism out there, but on the other side of cautious optimism, I am sure is reckless --


-- reckless thread. But even just being close to this deadline or this perceived deadline has already changed a few things or warnings --

ASHER: Yes, it closely fit.

JIMENEZ: -- from what you have seen, right?

ASHER: Yeah. I mean, the move by Fitch in terms of issuing a warning, that was a bold move because when the S&P actually did downgrade U.S. debt in 2011, you know, they received backlash for that. Bold move by Fitch, certainly, I think it was necessary though. I am still looking at the markets and I'm wondering why they are so muted, why there is sort of no reaction from the markets in terms of this. I mean, this is significant.

I think one of the issues is that this is the second time, right? So, we already experienced a downgrade, S&P downgrading U.S. debt 10, 12 years ago. And so, the second time around is not a shocker.

I think there's also this belief that, listen, maybe this warning by Fitch will actually give lawmakers the nudge they need to reach an agreement. I don't necessarily know if that will end up happening but, hey, look, they are somewhat -- I don't want to say that close but closer than they were, let's say, couple days ago.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: I think the reason why investors are not necessarily worried is because it's the same old game all over again, right?

ASHER: Right.

ENTEN: I mean, you know, you mentioned the one time that there was a downgrade, but --

ASHER: We've done this.

ENTEN: -- limit crisis. You know, oh, it's bad, it's bad, it's bad, and then on the last second, oh, no, we got it, don't worry, we came to an agreement, it is so good.



That's kind of like what it sounds -- you know, yes, there can be the pessimism that Alisyn has but, you know, what I took from you is optimism and, of course, you know, yes, there -- may be not everyone in the Freedom Caucus will go ahead and agreed to this, but the fact is you can pass it with democratic votes, too, right?

ASHER: And also, by the way, just to add to another point I was making earlier, you know, there's a big difference between a downgrade that is based on an actual default and a downgrade that is based on the risk of a default. That's the thing here.

In 2011, the downgrade that we saw, which obviously got much closer to a potential default, two or three days out, S&P just in terms of stocks, the S&P 500 reacted quite sharply, down six and a half percent. It took the market six months to come back.

I don't think we're going to see that this time, though. I think that, you know -- I mean, I actually thought that what would we would see is a deal to make a deal, but it seems as though one of the good things and the sort of silver lining in all this is that Biden is not going to have this hanging over his head during the elections, that this is a two-year deal, which I think is fantastic just politically for both sides but especially as he's up for reelection. So, I am optimistic but very, very cautiously.

DANNY FREEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Can I ask, though? You keep saying seven days, right? That's calendar days.

ASHER: Yeah.

FREEMAN: And in between, there is still a holiday weekend where members --

ASHER: But they would be given 24 hours-notice to come back and vote.

FREEMAN: Right, but that seems to suggest that -- I mean, we are going to be seeing members, right, in theory, in their home districts grilling burgers and hotdogs or the other way around. I mean, that seems like there is or isn't urgency in your mind?

ASHER: I mean, I think -- yes, there is urgency, absolutely, but I think that the risk of a default in this country would be so catastrophic. You think about what it would mean for the U.S. economy, what it would mean not just -- obviously, we've spoken about payments not being sent out on time, social security payments not being sent up on time, service members not being paid. Obviously, that's a nightmare.

But on top of that, bond holders not being paid would be catastrophic for global financial markets. By some calculation, if it is a protracted default, the stock market will lose about 50% of its value. And on top of that, eight million more Americans could be out of a job.

So, I think that even though there is a faction of Republicans that seem somewhat complacent, you know, the Matt Gaetz of this world who don't necessarily believe that -- who believe that Janet Yellen should show her work --


I do think that there are a lot of sensible people out there who don't want to wait and who don't want to stick around to find out what a default actually looks like.

CAMEROTA: What happened to the sticking points that were the major obstacles?

ASHER: The work requirements.

CAMEROTA: The work requirements. So, what have they decided?

ASHER: Work requirement is still a big sticking point. So, that is still a point of contention. I mean, my thing is that Democrats are probably not going to budge on that because, obviously, they budged in terms of the spending caps. So, it will be a sticking point. But I still think there is going to be some movement to come together.

Also, energy permit reform is also another sticking point as well. So, there are still major sticking points. Don't get me wrong, we are not yet out of the woods, but I think that we're moving closer, and I just don't believe -- I think McCarthy is sensible. I don't believe that he is going to let this happen.

CAMEROTA: Okay, Zain, thank you very much. We really appreciate your optimism --

(LAUGHTER) CAMEROTA: -- all of this.

UNKNOWN: We need optimism, you know.

ASHER: We're not out of the woods.

UNKNOWN: Yeah, there we go.


CAMEROTA: Tomorrow night, she will be, like, we don't have a deal.


CAMEROTA: Thank you for telling us --

ASHER: This time next week, yes.

CAMEROTA: -- where we are right now. Thank you.

All right, CNN has obtained a copy of the "burn after reading" note that Brian Laundrie's mother wrote him. So, we are going to tell you what's in it and why it is part of this lawsuit by Gabby Petito's parents.




CAMEROTA: CNN has a copy of the "burn after reading" note that Brian Laundrie's mother says she wrote him before Gabby Petito's death in 2021. The letter is at the center of a lawsuit brought by Petito's parents against Laundrie's parents. Omar Jimenez is on this story. Okay, so, Omar, tell us about this letter. What is in it?

JIMENEZ: All right, so, let me just start back up, just give people a refresher at the timeline. So, this goes back to summer 2021. Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie go on a road trip across the country. Late August, she -- they are in the Great Tetons. Early September, he comes back, goes on a camping trip with his family, she doesn't.

So, mid-September, she is reported missing. He is reported missing not long after the. Her body is found about a week later. His is found about a month later. And authorities say that this letter was found in a backpack near his body in October 2021.

So, the critical portions of this letter, I want to show a critical portion of that that they were listing when they put this out. So, you can see some of the handwriting there, but it basically says, if you're in jail -- and this is from the mother to Brian Laundrie -- if you are in jail, I will bake a cake with a file in it. If you need to dispose of a body, I will show up with a shovel and garbage bags. If you fly to the moon, I will be watching the skies for your reentry. If you say you hate my guts, I will get new guts. Now, this is an undated letter, okay? But Roberta Laundrie, the mom, says that this letter was written before Gabby Petito had disappeared, before their trip, and in an attempt to repair a relationship with her son.

Now, the Petito family looks at this letter and sees those lines and says, no, this is proof that you are trying to send a message to your son that you would be there to help dispose of our daughter's body. That's why they wanted to get the letter admitted into this lawsuit to bolster their case.


That is why the Laundrie family understandably saying, no, no, that's not what we were trying to say in this particular letter.

CAMEROTA: Right. So, the question is, is this just a love letter from a mother to a son expressing the depth of her love to him or is she trying -- offering to be an accomplice?

ASHER: We will have thoughts on that.

JIMENEZ: Well, and I was going to say, there is another aspect of it, too. The letter was inside an envelope that said, burn after eating. And so, okay, same deal. The Petito family looks at that and says, burn after reading, what suspicious writings are in this envelope that requires burning?

The Laundrie family says, wait, this is actually an inside joke between the mother, the son Brian Laundrie, and Gabby Petito playing on a book called "Burn After Writing," where you essentially look at questions that are in this book and you write down your answers meant to sort of bolster discussion, so to speak. Again, another suspicious flag for the Petito family.

That said, to give a little bit more context on this letter, I want to read another part of this letter. There's the "burn after reading" part that was on the outside of the envelope. Another part of the letter says, I just want you to remember I will always love you, and I know you will always love me. You are my boy. Nothing can make me stop loving you. Nothing will or could ever divide us. No matter what we do or where we go or what we say, you will always love each other.

And so, again, the Laundrie family is, like, if you look at the whole letter, it's much more of a love letter trying to repair. Again, the Petito family is looking at a specific passage and saying, wait a second, this is too much of a coincidence.

ASHER: And the key question is when was that letter written.

JIMENEZ: Exactly.

ASHER: Was it before or after Petito's death?

JIMENEZ: Exactly.

ASHER: And how do we find that out?

JIMENEZ: That's a big dispute. Obviously, it's undated right now. The letter, as we understand from Florida officials, was found in a backpack that Brian Laundrie near his body in October 2021. But his mother says that that letter was written prior to that because she claims she was questioned by the FBI about that letter before his body was actually found.

And so, while that might not necessarily clear up the contents of the letter, it does give a little bit more, if you go by her reasoning, little more clarity to the argument that this was not a big conspiracy once the body was missing.

CAMEROTA: Hold on. Let me understand the timeline. So, the FBI could confront that, right? When does she say the FBI asked her about this letter?

JIMENEZ: She just says that the FBI asked her about this letter before her son's body was found.

CAMEROTA: But do we have confirmation from the FBI about that?

JIMENEZ: We do not. We just have what has been going on in court. And so, this is something, I should say, too, that this is what the mother has claimed. At this point, they're sort of moving towards their filing motions and sort of moving towards a trial where, I can imagine, if this actually gets to witnesses appearing on the stand, they will put the FBI on the stand and say, when did you talk to this mother about the letter, because, again, as you mentioned, Zain, the undated part of this is what makes the whole difference here.

ASHER: Uh-hmm.

JIMENEZ: She claims she wrote it well before the trip. But if it turns out it was at some point after her disappearance, then that becomes an issue.

I should say that the reason that they're filing this lawsuit, the Petito family, is because they claimed that the Laundrie family is essentially causing them unwanted emotional damage -- outrageous actually is the word that they use -- emotional damage by putting out a statement in mid-September saying, oh, we hope that Petito's body is found and we hope the search is successful when the Petito family is accusing them of already having knowledge that the body -- that there was a body to be found and that they were allegedly helping their son obscured that, hence the -- the cake -- you know, the file in the cake and otherwise.

ENTEN: It's so funny. I was having a conversation with my mother earlier today. There was a point at which that she sorts of just paused in the conversation and she says, I love you. I was, like, I know. She just goes, no, I really do love you, I want you to know that.

ASHER: So sweet. God, I love that.

ENTEN: She is a very sweet, kind woman. Very smart. Too far smarter than I am. And, you know, I just compared that -- I can't imagine her saying, I would file -- you know, bring a file and stick it into a cake. She loves me a lot, but that type of language, if nothing else, to me, it strikes me as like odd language of a relationship that's in a weird place, I don't know, in terms of guilt or anything like that.

JIMENEZ: For sure. And that's what the Laundrie mother has argued all along. They said that their relationship was strained. Even when Brian Laundrie came back from the trip in the Tetons and the family goes on a camping trip, they say that they never were told about any of this, that they never knew anything that went down in the Tetons.


JIMENEZ: Again, that is part of why the Petito family is so suspicious here, because there was contact with the family and Brian Laundrie after their daughter's body was left in Wyoming, and here, the family is defending themselves, saying, we did not know anything about it, this letter comes out, the date of it obviously becomes very crucial, and you see where the Petito's family's case is sort coming together, at least stacking up -- trying to stack up against that of the Laundries.

FREEMAN: Can I ask you?


FREEMAN: I know we were talking about this a little bit before the break, Omar, but I just want your perspective on, again, we're talking about this case and, obviously, there are a lot of strange and new and continual revelations that come out of it, but some of it feels like voyeuristic at times and there are a lot of people who go missing --


FREEMAN: -- and we don't talk about them. I wanted you to talk about that.

JIMENEZ: One hundred percent. I mean, you could have -- you could have a whole class on why certain cases go viral and captured the attention of a country versus others. Some would say, oh, it has to be an attractive woman. Some would say to it has to be an attractive, white women, and then people will jump on it. When the reality is, I mean, we do have hundreds of thousands of missing, unidentified cases that happen yearly across the United States and none of them, if few, get the attention that this case got.

And the attention that was brought to this case helped crack this case sooner. I don't want to say that they would not have cracked it, but literally, a YouTuber happened to drive by, happened to have his camera rolling on this van, happened to drive by the van, their van, in the Tetons.

And because he knew about the case, went back and look to his footage, and was, like, oh my, God, there is the van. And because of that, likely, the search for investigators really narrowed as opposed to trying to search across the vast national park that is the Grand Tetons.

You see that the involvement of the public makes a difference. You know that the involvement of the public makes a difference, shout out America's most wanted --


But again, it's the type of attention that so many other cases, I think, wish they would have because while the country may not be fascinated with these cases, at the core of these cases, our family members and friends who can't find their loved ones and don't know what happened to them.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Such a great point. I would also say that the couple also shot a lot of video --

JIMENEZ: They did, yes.

CAMEROTA: -- of themselves. So that, when you are on a TV news network, also is an element that you need for the story to keep going. It helps to have that.

JIMENEZ: Yeah. It gives people something to interact with.

CAMEROTA: Yes. And to look out for. And so, in addition to all the things that you just mentioned. Omar, thanks for the update on that. Really interesting.

Okay, so gun legislation just cleared a major hurdle in Pennsylvania, and Danny is on this developing story. We'll tell you all about that next.




CAMEROTA: After more than a decade of Republicans controlling the Pennsylvania State House, the now democratically-controlled body just passed two gun safety measures this week. Danny is reporting on this story. So, Danny, what is in these measures?

FREEMAN: It's very interesting. You know, the reason why I want to bring this up is because we've been talking a little bit about how just recently the Democrats took over the Pennsylvania State House the first time and, you know, like you said, over a decade, and were seeing what is now coming because of that.

So, two bills passed. Let's take a look at the first one. The first one is about universal background checks. Basically, what is in this particular law is, you can see right here, these background checks will basically mean that all firearms purchased regardless of size, you will have to get a background check. Basically, the law right now on the books in Pennsylvania is any handguns, smaller size, the barrel-sized guns, you have to have background check. Anything over that, larger shotguns, rifles, you don't.

And this also applies to license retailers, private transactions, and gun shows. A lot of Democrats were excited at the prospect of closing what you hear often, this gun show loophole. That's the first one that passed.

And then there was a second bill that passed which was on red flag laws. These are laws that a lot of folks in the gun control community have been talking about for a while. They are known as technically extreme risk protection orders.

Basically, if this were to be enacted, family members or loved ones of the people who are close to them, they can call law enforcement -- they can ask a judge to hold a hearing to disarm someone if they think that they're in a moment of crisis. We've seen a lot of different states enact and start to bring up those laws all over the country.

So, those two laws that we are talking about this week, again, something that would not have been thought to be possible in Pennsylvania 5, 10 years ago.

CAMEROTA: And did they have bipartisan support?

FREEMAN: Yes. This is interesting. So, both of these two -- I should say to start, there were four laws in total, four sort of gun regulation laws that were brought forward. These two passed, one failed, another one did not get brought up on to different subjects but all in this vein. The two that did pass though, did pass in bipartisan fashion.

But let me just be clear, when I say bipartisan, this emphasizes how close the state house is in Pennsylvania right now. The background checks passed 109 to 92, okay?


They got a few more Republicans that jumped over on there. The red flag laws passed 102 to 99, only two Republicans crossed over. And the third bill that failed when it came up for a vote earlier this week, failed 101 to 100.

So, these are the margins --

ASHER: Yeah.

FREEMAN: -- that are being played with right now in the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives.

ENTEN: I find it interesting. You know, we had Tim Walz on our network earlier this evening, the governor of Minnesota, also obviously Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan, and basically states in which democratic rule has finally come to basically the entire state where we have not seen it for a while, and it does seem on the state level, and sort of what I call the Great Lake battleground states, that all of a sudden, democratic priorities are getting passed, which is just such a difference from what I've almost felt over the last decade where it was Republicans basically passing laws on the state level while federal government was kind of standing still.

It seems like Democrats are finally playing and in some cases are winning at the -- quote, unquote -- "republican game."

FREEMAN: Absolutely. That's why, again, I think this is pretty significant and, as you said, part of a trend that we're seeing in this area of the country. Josh Shapiro, Democratic governor, newly elected in Pennsylvania as well, he says, I'm going to sign these two bills. This is a great moment. But, of course, there is always a but, in these dialogues, there is still an intensely republican state Senate that these laws would have to clear if they have a hope of getting to the governor's desk and have a hope of actually becoming law.

So, in other states where Democrats have taken up the entire state legislature in Pennsylvania, it is still a divided government. Listen, a lot of gun advocates and Democratic lawmakers who have been very happy and excited over the past couple of days that they finally got some gun legislation passed through one of their legislative bodies, they are saying, you know, we are going to fight, and if we are able to make it bipartisan here, maybe there's hope in the state Senate.

JIMENEZ: And so, you know, it goes to the GOP-controlled Senate. It does -- are there aspects of this that survive or is it truly just -- it's dead on arrival and we are happy that we've made some progress? In Minnesota, it came down to really just one seat, and then they were able to pass essentially all the sweeping democratic priorities. Here, what is the realistic end goal?

FREEMAN: I think that is a good question. Let me see if I can explain it to you this way. I think that what we saw here were Republicans in some cases actually trying to play ball a little bit and maybe if was, if see the writing on the wall, this will pass because we don't have a majority, then maybe we will try to get things that are of note to us.

The one thing that came up in these two particular laws and the background check laws, some of the Republicans in the state House actually were able to get a provision that said, okay, we may be more inclined to sign on to this, but what has to be in there is, if you are an undocumented person trying to purchase a gun, the gun dealer has to report you to ICE.

Some of the Democrats bristle at that a little bit, but other advocates were saying, listen, it's already illegal for an undocumented person to purchase a gun, so, okay, if that has to be the extra claws to get this across the finish line, that's okay in our books.

I think there may be some more wiggle room than perhaps otherwise we might have thought. I should say, the Pennsylvania House GOP, as a caucus, still said that these laws are criminalizing good, hardworking, Second Amendment gun owners. They're penalizing them. So, the main line is still opposition.

ASHER: Let me ask you this. When it comes to these red flag laws, how much do you think these red flag laws will actually make a difference when it comes to really reducing gun crime and mass shootings, for example, in the United States?

Obviously, I am from the U.K. and we are the kings and queens of gun control. To get a gun in the UK, I mean, do you guys know what it takes to get a gun in the UK? To buy one, a police officer will come to your house, sit down, interview you. You have to show the officer why you want a gun. You have to prove why you need a gun. If you love hunting, for example, you need to have documented photographs of you with your grandfather hunting.

The second thing is you have to prove that you are not a threat to the wider society. That means police officers will interview your parents, they will interview your friends, your neighbors as well. They will go to your doctor. Obviously, the doctor can't disclose any sort of personal information about your health, but they will go to a doctor and sort of try to weed out information about whether or not you are depressed or whether or not you have sort of mental health issues.

They are very strict. And that is what has been I think -- I am obviously biased because I'm from there -- probably the most effective thing at preventing a mass shooting.


And these laws were really strengthened after we had Dunblane, which is the British version of Sandy Hook. So, that was in the late 90s.

CAMEROTA: Obviously, something is working because, you know, as we have reported millions of times, that is not a country that has the epidemic of mass shootings that we have. That's fascinating, to hear what they have to go to through.

FREEMAN: Yeah. And to be clear, that is very different from --


-- Pennsylvania. Night and day. It's two different planets.

ASHER: Everybody is on the same page. That is the thing. There is no NRA, right? So, everybody is on the same page. And right after Dunblane, which I think about, 16 kids were murdered in that school shooting, and everybody was, like, we need to change these laws right now. So, there was not this political division, and I think that makes all the difference.

FREEMAN: You know, I'll say two things. First is that the gun law that failed in Pennsylvania, it was about having to report lost or stolen guns. So, if you lose your gun, the law would have said, you have to report it stolen or lost within 72 hours. And if you don't, you will face a penalty.

The GOP in Pennsylvania said, this is punishing folks who have not, in their eyes, done anything wrong. You lose your gun, you did not do anything wrong, so why should I then get penalized for that? So, I mean, it is challenging. There are folks who -- again, that Second Amendment is real and strong and don't --

ASHER: In the UK, it's a privilege (INAUDIBLE) right.


ASHER: It is not protected in any way, shape or form.

FREEMAN: But I want to answer your question about the red flag laws specifically because the discussion about that law in Pennsylvania, I think one of the reasons that it passed is because it was framed not really around mass shootings, it was not framed so much around crimes, specifically, that particular law was framed around suicide.

And a lot of the lawmakers who advocated for it said -- one in particular who sponsored the bill said, if this law were in a place when my dad took his life --

ASHER: Right, I read that.

FREEMAN: -- I think we could have saved his life. The Republicans got up and said, listen, we believe mental health is a problem and an issue that we need to address, we just don't think that is the way. I think that is the way that Democrats were able to pass that particular law.

CAMEROTA: Really interesting. Please keep us posted on what happens in the Senate.

FREEMAN: You got it.

CAMEROTA: Really fascinating. All right, meanwhile, America is getting older with more adults over 65 and fewer children under the age of five. Harry is going to explain why, what this means for the culture and the country and everything going forward.





CAMEROTA: America is getting older. The Census Bureau says the U.S. population has gotten older in the past 20 years. You think that we are getting older every year.


ENTEN: Yeah.

CAMEROTA: Harry Enten has the numbers, and he is going to explain just how much older we are getting. Harry, explain. ENTEN: You know, I will tell you, I've tried as hard as I can, but I've never managed to become younger. Every single second, it seems like time goes forward.


ENTEN: But, look, I mean, the population that is aged 65 or older compared now or 90 -- compared to 2020 to where we were in 1920, look at this, 56 million people in the United States are aged 65 or older in 2020. It was just 5 million in 1920, up 10, 11-fold. The overall population is really only about three-fold.

But it is not just over the last century, it's over the last 10 years where the age 65 plus population has boomed. Look at this, up 16 million since 2010. Compare that to zero to nine years old, that population has actually shrunk.

So, it is not just that -- everyone, you know, we are just growing population, no, it's the older part of the population that is really growing, while the younger people are, in fact, shrinking. One little last nugget I will point out, though, if you want to find a place with some young folks, you know where you should go?

ASHER: Where?

ENTEN: Go out west. Go to Utah. That is, in fact, the youngest state by median age, just 31.3. If you want to visit some old folks, go up to New England. Maine is the oldest state in the country with a median age of 45.1. So, north and east old, south and west young.

CAMEROTA: What about other countries? How do we compare average age to other countries?

ENTEN: Yeah. So, you know, even though we are getting older, I should point out that the percentage of the population that is aged 65 or older is still relatively small here compared to other countries. If you look at the stats, what you see is that the USA has about 17%, the share of the population that is aged 65 plus. We're not anywhere near Japan 29%, Italy 23%, Greece 22%.

So, yeah, we're getting older, but the fact is when you put us in a global look, we're still a fairly young country, and I would like to say that even the oldest amongst us still feel young at heart.

CAMEROTA: Young at heart, yes.

JIMENEZ: So, my mind immediately goes to, aside from having collectively earlier bedtimes with this aging population, like, is that necessarily a bad thing? Does that show that our health care system, especially when you show and compare it to 1920, does that show that we are living more? There are more old people because we are, in theory, taking care of old people?

ENTEN: I think it's a great question. I think, one, it does show how much better health care outcomes have become, right? Just getting past childbirth, which used to be a very dangerous affair, obviously, we still have some kids who died during childbirth, but the fact is most of us make it past that point.


We have much better health outcomes for cancer, heart disease, things that would kill us much earlier on. These days, don't necessarily do that. So, the. That's the good news.

I think the bad news is, you know, obviously, the way a society keeps functioning is if you have more kids. Obviously, the number of kids we are having has shrunk. And that can lead to some bad outcomes. Our social security system is very keen on having young people pay in so that it can support the older folks.

Also, as we are aging, obviously, there are some age-related illnesses such as Alzheimer's that will grow in proportion, and we will have the necessary people within the population to be able to take care of them.

So, you know, we have some stuff up there on the screen right now. There is both good and there is bad. I would like to think, though, it is overall a better thing than not.

ASHER: Thank you. Seriously, thank you for saying because I think we do need some perspective on this. Listen, I fully respect the fiscal challenges when it comes to social security payments, et cetera. And I understand that it is financial burden. I don't want to say burden, but you get what I'm saying.

Bu my family is originally from Nigeria where the life expectancy is 50. And by the way, when my parents left Nigeria back in the 1970s, it was 38. That is the median age right now in the United States. So, come on, I respect the fiscal challenges, but the fact that people in the United States are living longer, that is a great problem to have, do you think?

ENTEN: Yeah.

FREEMAN: I do. But can I ask a question? As a millennial sitting here, is it all our fault that we are not having enough babies? Is that part of what is going on?

ASHER: We went too hard, that's why.

JIMENEZ: Millennials are having babies later.

ASHER: Right.

JIMENEZ: I mean, that's the trend, that each generation, at least the past two, that we have had babies later on in life, which in theory would mean you would have fewer babies in total.

ENTEN: And the other thing of note is we go through cycles, right? We had a baby boom after the second world war.

CAMEROTA: And this is the baby boom. This is the demographic that has gotten older so much. That's the baby boom.

ENTEN: That's exactly right. It's these people who are growing into the age of 65 and older. So, look, just because we have a pattern right now where perhaps we are not having as much kids, who knows what might happen 5, 10, 15, 20 years down the line? It's hard enough to predict an election a year and a half out. The idea of predicting population trends 30, 40 years down the line, that really scares me.

CAMEROTA: When we start breathing with robots because of A.I., obviously, everything is going to change. So, don't worry about that.

JIMENEZ: I was going to say, we should probably track into this pandemic that happened, when everyone was altogether.

ENTEN: Uh-hmm.

JIMENEZ: That's where I'm going to leave it.

CAMEROTA: That's great. Excellent.

JIMENEZ: We can track the trends from there.

CAMEROTA: Great point. Thank you very much for explaining all of that. Okay, up next, "On the Lookout," our reporters tell us what stories they're looking out for on the horizon.




CAMEROTA: And we are back with our fantastic panel of reporters to tell us what stories they are keeping an eye on. We call it "On the Lookout." Okay, Zain, what are you keeping an eye on?

ASHER: Turkish elections this Sunday, the runoff, and it is pivotal because we will see whether Erdogan is ousted or not. I think he's going to stay. But the economy has been through so much. There has been a huge amount of inflation. He has not raised interest rates which is, you know, a lot of people would say that's a disastrous move. And he has tried to have it both ways with NATO and Vladimir Putin as well. So, we will see what happens.

CAMEROTA: Okay. Fantastic. Okay, Harry, go.

ENTEN: So, you know, I'm the neighborhood shark reporter. We heard an unfortunate case off the Turks and Caicos. A tourist had a limb actually beaten off by a shark. That's the bad news. But I continue to emphasize that very few people are killed by sharks every year, well less than 100. So, you'll hear these stories throughout the summer. Look, unfortunate things happen. But going in the ocean, I would be much more worried about jellyfish than a shark.

CAMEROTA: I feel like you are giving us a mixed message.

ASHER: I know. CAMEROTA: You led with a tourist having a limb beaten off, but then you tell us not to worry.

ENTEN: I like to sensationalize at the top and then bring truth and reality, and then get me a date on alligator.

JIMENEZ: I'm going to get you that date. Don't worry.

CAMEROTA: Okay, Omar?

JIMENEZ: So, I'm looking at a case out of Mississippi. This was a mother who called the police because the father of one of her children was behaving, in her eyes, angrily. And so, she asked her 11-year-old son to call the police. When the police got there, the police shot the 11-year-old boy. Now, the good news is he is going to be okay.

But lawyers are saying, we called you for a grown man and you shot an 11-year-old who is under five feet tall. So, there's no way you could have mistaken that, in the attorney's eyes. So, I will be watching to see if this officer is charged, fired, any sort of discipline as this case moves forward.

CAMEROTA: Okay. Danny?

FREEMAN: Okay. This Sunday night, the series, not season, the series finale of "Succession" will be playing on HBO. We will finally find out, we hope, what happens to the Roy family and (INAUDIBLE), a Roy co-company --

ASHER: No spoilers, please.

FREEMAN: No spoilers but I tell you, I'm always behind on television shows.

ASHER: Me, too.

FREEMAN: So, I spent the past month or so catching up on all four seasons just to be ready for --

ASHER: I'm on season one, episode two, okay?

FREEMAN: It's worth it.

CAMEROTA: Season one, episode two?

ASHER: Season one, episode two?

JIMENEZ: You still have few days.

ASHER: I just stopped it.



ASHER: Where I've been? JIMENEZ: You got a few days.

FREEMAN: It is worth it, and I am extremely excited to see how this entire series --

CAMEROTA: But you know what, Danny? I'm a little sad that it's ending

FREEMAN: I know. Me, too.

CAMEROTA: Even though these are totally like repulsive people, I mean characters, I will miss them.

FREEMAN: I know, you know. But you got to break some (INAUDIBLE) if you want to make an (INAUDIBLE), something like that.

CAMEROTA: True (ph) words never spoken. Thank you for that. Thanks so much, all of you. Great to have you here.

All right, tomorrow on "CNN This Morning," a new use for artificial intelligence. How A.I. may have just discovered a new antibiotic to treat a dangerous superbug.

Thanks so much for watching tonight. Our coverage continues next.