Return to Transcripts main page
Connect the World
Russian Arms Dealer Offered in Swap for Americans Whelan and Griner; Russia Strikes Kyiv; Biden and Xi Speak as Pelosi Considers Trip to Taiwan; Summer Travel Chaos; Pope's Pilgrimage of Penance; U.S. Economy Shrinks Again in Q2. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired July 28, 2022 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Though the administration has been loath to engage in prisoner swaps to free American citizens, concerned that
countries like Russia could be incentivized to try to hold more Americans, it is one of the few tools that actually work.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): The U.S. offers a prisoner swap for two jailed Americans in Russia while condemning Moscow's aggressive action
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON (voice-over): And President Biden speaks to China's leader at a moment of global tension between the two superpowers.
And the U.S. is ramping up 10 stain for monkeypox just days after the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a global health emergency.
ANDERSON: Well, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Hello and welcome. It's 3 pm here in London. I'm Becky Anderson for you.
The U.S. put the offer on the table weeks ago.
Right now the question is, will Russia take it?
CNN learned that the Biden administration offered Moscow a deal. This basically says, give us two detained Americans, Brittney Griner and Paul
Whelan, and you can have convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout who is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence in America.
The ball appears to be in Russia's court. The Kremlin spokesman said today, there is no agreement on the issue so far. News of the proposal came just
hours after Griner, the WNBA star, took to the stand for the first time in her criminal trial in Russia. She testified about events leading up to her
arrest in Moscow.
Let's start with CNN's Kylie Atwood, who is tracking the latest developments for you from Washington.
KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the man nicknamed The Merchant of Death, convicted arms trafficker Viktor
Bout, currently serving a 25-year sentence in the United States.
THOMAS HARRINGTON, OPERATIONS CHIEF, U.S. DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION: When arrested, he oversaw operations capable of delivering enough weapons
to launch rebellions, fuel revolutions and slaughter untold thousands of people. He was an accessory to violence on a scale that is beyond
ATWOOD (voice-over): And now, according to sources briefed on the matter, the Biden administration has offered to return him as part of a proposed
deal for two Americans the United States says are wrongfully detained in Russia, Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan.
Secretary of state Antony Blinken saying they've offered a deal to Russia but not confirming the details.
ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We put a substantial proposal on the table weeks ago to facilitate the release. Our governments have
communicated repeatedly and directly on that proposal.
ATWOOD: Though the administration has been loath to engage in prisoner swaps to free American citizens, concerned that countries like Russia could
be incentivized to try and hold more Americans, it's one of the few tools that actually work.
And now, sources say, President Biden supports the swap especially after the last swap between the United States and Russia earlier this year
received bipartisan support.
Bout is a former Soviet military officer who's been accused of using front companies to funnel Soviet-era weapons into conflict zones like
Afghanistan, Liberia and Sierra Leone, even working with U.S. government contractors in Iraq.
PREET BHARARA, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: He's a dangerous person. He was one of the most prolific arms dealers in the world. He was convicted in the
U.S. federal court in New York of conspiracy to kill Americans.
ATWOOD (voice-over): A far cry from Bout's global arms smuggling operation, Greiner has pleaded guilty to bringing less than a gram of
cannabis into Russia.
BRITTNEY GRINER, WNBA: I did not plan or have the intent to bring any cannabis or banned substance to Russia. I do understand what my charges are
against me. And with them being accidentally in my bags, I take responsibility.
ATWOOD (voice-over): Griner says she had medical cannabis to treat her pain from numerous sports injuries and that she accidentally took it with
her while she was rushing to pack up for the trip having recently recovered from COVID. In a Russian courtroom today, she described her harrowing
arrest at the Moscow airport.
GRINER: My rights were never read to me. No one explained any of it to me. I definitely knew I was being detained and I kept asking if I could leave
or what's next. But it just was wait, wait for results.
ATWOOD (voice-over): But with Russia's invasion of Ukraine still raging and U.S. sanctions still pressuring Russia's economy, U.S. officials
believe the Kremlin is using Griner as a political pawn.
The family of Marc Fogel, who was similarly detained for bringing cannabis into Russia that he said was for treating chronic pain, believes he is also
being used as a pawn. Last month, he was sentenced to 14 years in a Russian penal colony, though the State Department has not declared Fogel to be
ANNE FOGEL, MARC'S SISTER: He made a terrible mistake by taking medical marijuana into Russia. But 14 years in a hard labor camp is essentially a
death sentence for him. He's 61 years old and he has a very long history of spinal injury.
ATWOOD (voice-over): Now there are questions today about why the Biden administration is publicly saying that they have put a substantial offer on
the table for the Russians when typically these negotiations are kept very closely held with very few details being described publicly.
And National Security Council's John Kirby said that that decision wasn't made lightly and it was made in the context of these ongoing efforts to
bring home both Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner.
And there's also questions about why secretary of state Tony Blinken is affording a phone call with foreign minister Lavrov of Russia could be
viewed as a win for the Russians.
And he said he thinks it's -- there's utility in conveying clear messages to the Russians on top priorities for the United States -- Kylie Atwood,
CNN, the State Department.
ANDERSON: Well, that's Kylie Atwood reporting. CNN's Natasha Bertrand joining us now from Washington.
Natasha, we know that a substantial offer was made to Moscow in June. Joe Biden himself personally signed it off. If this swap goes ahead, it would
be, frankly, a stunning development for a whole host of reasons.
What more do we know at this point?
NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, it would certainly be asymmetrical. Viktor Bout was convicted for international arms
trafficking, whereas Brittney Griner was alleged to have carried a small amount of cannabis into Russia.
Paul Whelan has been convicted on spying charges that the Americans say are completely bogus. So it would be a very significant development, especially
because the Russians have been asking for Viktor Bout back for many years now. So it would be a major coup for them, in a sense.
But right now, interestingly, the Russians apparently have not responded in a substantive way to the Americans' proposal. Now the Kremlin spokesperson,
Dmitry Peskov, suggested this morning, there have been no agreement on this issue.
Biden administration officials are deeply frustrated that they have not received a substantive response because they feel as though the Russians
really should've jumped at this opportunity, especially because the Americans are offering, as I said, someone who the Russians have wanted
back for a long time in exchange for two Americans, who have not committed, in the eyes of the Americans, of course, very serious crimes on Russian
So the next steps here are going to be more diplomacy, a phone call between the secretary of state Antony Blinken and the Russian foreign minister
Sergey Lavrov in the coming days.
He's going to raise the issue of the prisoner swap and attempt to convince Lavrov that this is a good deal for them. It remains to be seen why the
Russians have not yet accepted this but of course, the Biden administration feels that they are giving up on a very good deal here and they are hoping
that they can change their minds. Becky.
ANDERSON: How long is this still going to be on the table, do you think?
Is it clear?
BERTRAND: It's really not clear at this point. The administration, of, course made this public because they wanted to show the American people
that they are doing everything that they can to get Griner and Whelan home.
They have faced a lot of criticism, domestically, from groups that say that they have not been doing enough. They're saying, well, we put this offer on
the table, it's really out of our hands now. The ball is in the Russians court, so to speak.
It doesn't seem like they are willing to take that off the table anytime soon. They feel that they made this very substantive offer and now they're
waiting for the Russians to come back with either a counter offer or some kind of substantial offer to get the Americans home in another way.
Clearly they are very committed to getting Griner and Whelan home if they're willing to make what many are calling such a huge concession in
giving Viktor Bout back to the Russians.
ANDERSON: Natasha Bertrand is on the story out of Washington. We continue to wait on the Russian response.
Blinken's call with his Russian counterpart will be their first conversation since the war in Ukraine began. And, for the first time in
weeks, people near Ukraine's capital woke up to the sound of Russian missile strikes. Russia fired off a barrage of missiles outside of Kyiv.
ANDERSON: The regional police chief said 15 people were injured at a military facility.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON (voice-over): This crater is from a blast in Kharkiv, another northern city. Chernihiv was also attacked.
Meanwhile, in the eastern Donetsk region, Ukrainian officials report small gains by Russia. They say Russian forces captioned Ukraine's second largest
power plant. However, moving to the south, U.K. intelligence says Ukraine's push to retake territory in the Kherson region is gathering momentum.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: There's an awful lot going on, on the ground. CNN's Jason Carroll is in the capital for us.
A defiant President Zelenskyy earlier -- you've been out near the front lines.
What is he saying?
Is his determination supported by the reality on the ground in the theater of war?
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, very good question. I think there are a number of people on the ground who feel the same way that
the president does in terms of reaction from the Russians, especially when you see what's happening in the south in Kherson.
Let's start with what's happening in the region where we are in Kyiv; 20 projectiles fired in five separate attacks this morning, one hitting a
military facility, two more missiles apparently shot down by air defense systems.
Again, Moscow is attempting to show that what they can do is they can strike anywhere, Becky, at any time. The last time this region saw strikes
in this particular area was in June. So again, Moscow is trying to flex their muscles.
But they have had a more difficult time to the south in Kherson where the Ukrainians are now claiming that the Russians can no longer carry heavy
ammunitions across that bridge that they bombed on Tuesday.
The Ukrainians are saying that Tuesday strikes that they did were actually very accurate and were able to disable the bridge enough to really hamper
Russia's efforts to move supplies across that particular bridge.
The Russians, for its part, said basically, look, we can use ferries to cross that bridge but a lot of people who are looking at this are saying
basically the Ukrainians were really able to disable the Russians in that way. The president, as you say, speaking out today. He's speaking out on
national statehood day and he had a message for the Russians.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We will not stop until we have freed every meter of Ukrainian land. We will not rest
until we free our last village, last home, last well, last cherry tree and last willow. This is the only way it's going to be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL: So when you compare what's happening in the south to the east, where you see these you see these incremental sort of gains going back and
forth, the south is where the Ukrainians really seem to be making an effort right now against the Russians. Becky.
ANDERSON: Jason Carroll is on the ground for you, Jason, thank you.
One of the ways that Vladimir Putin is beating Western sanctions is by plundering resources of compliant nations. CNN's Nima Elbagir and her team
investigate Russia's involvement in Sudan's gold production and how that can be helping support Russia's war in Ukraine. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Deep in Sudan's gold country, miners toil in the searing heat, barely surviving in
what should be one of Africa's richest countries, providing gold for a war a continent away.
We investigate a force more powerful than Sudan's government controlling its gold, subverting Sudan's destiny, threatening me and our sources and
thwarting democracy to evade sanctions in Russia's war on Ukraine.
ELBAGIR: Russian manager is on his way, they're saying.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): We uncover the extent of Russia's grip on Sudan.
ANDERSON (voice-over): Nima Elbagir's full report starting Friday, 3 pm here in London. That will be 6 pm Abu Dhabi time. Check the times for
watching locally, only here on CNN.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: A critical conversation that could have lasting implications. U.S. President Joe Biden is speaking with his Chinese counterpart, Xi
Jinping, today as ties between the two countries deteriorate to their lowest point in decades.
And, flying the friendly skies, is no easy feat these days.
ANDERSON: We'll ask the head of one major airline about what we can expect the turbulence in the industry to somewhat calm.
ANDERSON: Happening right now, a high-stakes conversation between the U.S. President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping. It's the first
time they've spoken since March, amid rising tensions between the two countries.
Hanging over that phone call, concerns over U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's possible trip to the region and to Taiwan specifically. Beijing
has warned about potential repercussions if Pelosi does visit the self governing island. CNN White House correspondent Arlette Saenz joins us with
As we understand it, this call started about 1.5 hours ago.
Do we have any sense of the takeouts from this call at this point?
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, we are still awaiting word on whether this call between President Biden and Chinese president Xi
Jinping has concluded.
But it marks the fifth time the two leaders have spoken since President Biden took office. U.S. officials say this is about maintaining an open
dialogue with China, one of America's greatest competitors.
They also acknowledged there's very real points of tensions between the countries. That includes issues regarding Taiwan and the South China Sea,
as well as Russia's war in Ukraine and the economic competition between the U.S. and China.
This call had been in the works for several weeks but it's taking place against the backdrop of that possible trip by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to
the self governing island of Taiwan.
The trip has ruffled some feathers over in China. Just last week, President Biden revealed that the U.S. military does not believe it's a good idea for
Pelosi to travel to Taiwan at this time.
And behind the scenes, administration officials have been working to try to convince Pelosi of the possible risks of such a trip. We know that Defense
Secretary Lloyd Austin recently spoke with Pelosi. He said in his security assessment regarding the region that he did not specify exactly what they
Officials at the White House said they're always working to ensure that any leader has military support when they're traveling overseas. So that's part
of the discussions that are underway as well.
But as Pelosi is contemplating this trip to Taiwan, it's really drawn a very forceful rebuke from China, which has promised forceful and resolute
responses if she moves forward with the trip.
SAENZ: China has not specified what the responses might look like but there is concern that if there was any type of increase in the military
posture in the region, it could lead to a miscalculation that could potentially lead to conflict as well.
So these are all things that are currently being balanced as Pelosi is weighing this possible trip to Taiwan. We know that the Chinese president
Xi Jinping is balancing domestic concerns back home when it comes to the economy as well as the pandemic.
So he could potentially be trying to show this forceful reaction to Pelosi as she is contemplating this trip. But all of this is on the table as
President Biden is having this call with the Chinese president. This is a very precarious moment, especially when it comes to the issue of Taiwan.
ANDERSON: Arlette Saenz, thank you very much indeed.
If you have flown anywhere this summer in the Northern Hemisphere, chances are that it wasn't a pleasant experience: delays, cancellations have
skyrocketed; lines have stretched beyond belief. It's so bad, London's Heathrow Airport has asked airlines to quit selling tickets.
Airports are so understaffed, mountains of baggage sit unclaimed. We've heard Scotland's Edinburgh airport turned off its customer support hotline
because too many passengers became verbally abusive.
The bottom line: too many passengers, not enough staff to handle them. And adding insult to injury, our next guest says airfares are probably going to
keep going up. That prediction comes from Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary, who joins us now.
Michael, this industry, frankly, it is in a mess.
How would you describe the state of the industry at this point?
MICHAEL O'LEARY, CEO, RYANAIR: Becky, the introduction that was somewhat prejudicial. (INAUDIBLE) airlines like Ryanair who are doing very well this
summer, we are not short staffed, we're not canceling butts in airports where we're big, like Stansted in London, Charles de Gaulle (ph), Rome,
actually doing very well.
But it is challenging. It's an industry that's trying to recover from two years of being grounded maybe by governments refusing us permission to fly.
And the airports and the airlines are having to respond to that.
Many of our competitive airlines have left thousands of (INAUDIBLE) whenever they're short staffed. And the biggest problem we've suffered
certainly in Europe this year is a lot of airports have let go thousands of security, baggage handling from the house (ph) staff.
And they're struggling to get them back, particularly in the U.K., where Brexit has proven such an economic disaster and a barrier to employment or
getting people back to work quickly.
ANDERSON: What needs to happen next and in the very short term to ensure that this chaos in Europe -- and you're right to point out it's not
everywhere -- but it's in enough places to make travelers feel quite uncomfortable and not confident at times about getting back in the air?
What needs to happen in the short term to alleviate these concerns?
O'LEARY: What needs to happen in the short term is airports -- most notably I'm the most critical of is London Heathrow, which, during COVID,
paid out multimillion, hundreds of millions of now dividends to its shareholders and has (INAUDIBLE) the worst operation in London.
What needs to happen in the short term is the airports and the handling agents (ph) need to scale back up their pre-pandemic employment levels. The
other issue that's being covered over somewhat is European ATC performance is even worse than it was pre-COVID.
Where most airlines at the moment are getting away even during the worst weekends of recent months, (INAUDIBLE) even the worst airlines, are still
completing 90 percent of their flights, albeit with flight delays.
But about 20 percent of all Europe's flight delays are accounted for by French, German and Belgian ATC, which -- and there is no reason why those
guys are understaffed. Because they let nobody go during COVID. They're all state guaranteed employees.
But the service being provided by European air traffic control is abysmal. We're still 20 years into the European plan for a singular European sky
that has never been any major progress.
All we need is to break up European air traffic control and allow national agency providers to compete -- deregulated competition for European air
traffic control so we move to a system like the United States, where you have (INAUDIBLE) in the States because it just works. In Europe, they go on
strike every summer.
ANDERSON: I've heard you talk about this as a solution a number of times and over the years.
ANDERSON: You have predicted travelers face increases in airfares, as airlines cut back on seats and as fuel prices spike. Of course, as I
understand it, your first quarter fuel bill was over 1 billion euros, almost six times the same period last year. For that reason, perhaps we're
beginning to see mergers in the industry.
Do you expect the industry to look different this time next year?
O'LEARY: This time next year is probably going to be quick but certainly as you have higher oil prices in Europe and higher regulatory or ETS (ph),
environmental taxation on air travel, it is likely that -- what I said is that our average fare for euros, which is still by some business lowest
airfare in Europe, will rise toward 50 euros over the next five years.
There's going to be a gradual increase in the very low air fares. Lufthansa, (INAUDIBLE) so there's still lots of room to grow.
I do think that there will be consolidation, where we're (INAUDIBLE) Lufthansa is eyeing what is left of Alitalia; GAP (ph) is bankrupt, as many
of the European legacy (INAUDIBLE) only survived as a result of multibillion (INAUDIBLE).
So that consolidation process will continue. But maybe not over the next 12 months. I think over the next three or four years you'll see, I believe,
European airlines consolidate into four large carriers, Lufthansa, Air France, KLM, BA and Ryanair, in much the same way North America did 10
ANDERSON: What's your message to passengers, Michael?
O'LEARY: If you want a low fare and you don't to be disrupted this summer, book Ryanair, fly Ryanair.
ANDERSON: I should've seen that coming.
ANDERSON: I should have seen that one coming.
O'LEARY: I'm sorry.
ANDERSON: I'm going to try another one.
What's your message to the airports and to governments, who have an opportunity to help sort this chaos?
O'LEARY: One, we need effective reform of European ATC.
Two, to the airports, staff up. It's unacceptable that our passengers are suffering huge security dooms and huge waits at the border control and at
baggage, although most times in the U.K. (INAUDIBLE) continent of Europe.
And in the U.K., Brexit has been a disaster. We need the U.K. government to begin to reopen at least our (INAUDIBLE) more visas for Europe, (INAUDIBLE)
Europeans who have a perfect right to come in (ph) and do these jobs that frankly a lot of U.K. citizens don't want to do.
ANDERSON: Got to leave it there, sir, always a pleasure having you on. Thank you.
O'LEARY: Thanks, Becky.
ANDERSON: -- with me, Becky Anderson, with you today, from London.
Still ahead on this show, the Russian at the center of the Biden administration's proposed prisoner swap with Moscow.
Just who is Viktor Bout and why do they always accuse his falling the merchant of death?
More on that after this.
ANDERSON: Welcome back, I'm Becky Anderson in London. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.
The United States is awaiting a response from Russia on what is a high- profile prisoner swap deal. First reported by CNN, the U.S. is offering to free convicted Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout, seen on the right, in
exchange for Americans Paul Whelan and WNBA star Brittney Griner.
The U.S. secretary of state, Antony Blinken, revealed the U.S. offered what it called a substantial proposal to Moscow weeks ago. The Kremlin
spokesperson today said there been no agreement so far.
So who is Viktor Bout?
Well, he's a former Soviet military officer and Russian businessman, who, starting in the 1990s, was accused of assembling a fleet of cargo planes to
traffic military grade weapons to conflict zones around the world.
He was accused of fueling bloody conflicts, from Liberia to Sierra Leone to Afghanistan. He earned the nickname "merchant of death" by his accusers. In
2002, CNN's then Moscow bureau chief Jill Dougherty met with Bout in Moscow and asked about the allegations. Here's an excerpt of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR (voice-over): Viktor Bout is a wanted man, the subject of an international arrest warrant. The charge: arms smuggling
around the world. "That's a lie," he tells me; he's an honest businessman.
VIKTOR BOUT, ARMS SMUGGLER: I'm not afraid. I haven't done anything in my life for what I should be afraid. And this whole story looks to me like a
witch hunt. Look, I'm coming to your office, I have no problem. And I say, who is looking for me?
I'm here. I'm not hiding from nobody. I'm having my normal life. And I don't want this story going on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: In 2008, he was arrested in the sting operation led by U.S. drug enforcement agents in Thailand. They were posing as the revolutionary armed
forces of Colombia, known by the acronym, FARC.
The extradition case lasted over two years. He was eventually extradited and brought to New York, where he was put on trial on charges of spying
weapons to the FARC and intending to kill U.S. citizens.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PREET BHARARA, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, SDNY: In a series of recorded meetings and telephone calls in South America, Europe and in Asia, Bout and his
associates allegedly made clear that they were ready, willing and able to provide a substantial arsenal to FARC for use against the United States.
According to unsealed documents, here is just some of the deadly arsenal that Viktor Bout allegedly offered up: more than 37 surface-to-air
missiles, 5,000 AK-47 assault rifles, anti personnel land mines, C4 explosives and literally, millions of rounds of ammunition.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Bout maintained that innocent but he was found guilty in 2011 and sentenced to 25 years in jail.
ANDERSON: Let's get you up to speed on some of the other stories that are on our radar right now.
Iraq's political stalemate is far from over. Supporters of Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr broke into Baghdad's fortified green zone to protest on
Wednesday. They were angry that a rival Shia politician that is corrupt had been nominated for prime minister. Al-Sadr later asked them to go home.
A landslide near Tehran's claims at least five lives. Flash flooding in the area piled mud four meters deep in the western and southern parts of the
capital. These pictures from the Red Crescent Society show rescue workers sloshing through the mud to find survivors.
A few hours from now, French president Emmanuel Macron will host a working dinner with The Saudi crown prince in Paris. This comes after Mohammed bin
Salman visited Greece and finalized an array of bilateral agreements. This is his first trip to the E.U. since the widely condemned killing of Saudi
journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Well, a repeated apology and a complex response.
ANDERSON: Pope Francis is in eastern Canada saying mass at this hour in Quebec City as he continues his weeklong pilgrimage of penance. Francis
once again said he is sorry for the role Christians played in the abuse of Indigenous children at church run residential schools. Some survivors say
his apologies haven't gone far enough.
Unlike the early days of the coronavirus, there are plans in place for testing and immunization for the current outbreak of monkeypox. The only
problem, there is very little demands for those vaccines.
The U.S. government can process 70,000 specimens a week, but few doctors are sending them in. CNN's medical correspondent, senior correspondent,
Elizabeth Cohen, has the story.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, a key to getting the monkeypox outbreak under control is testing and lots of it. That's why
the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention engaged with five commercial labs to increase testing capacity.
Now those five labs can do 70,000 specimens per week. That's a lot. But CNN has found, by checking in with these labs, that actually the demand of
these labs is very low. Doctors aren't sending in specimens in any large numbers. Let's take a look at a few examples.
For example, at the Mayo Clinic, one of the commercial labs, they have the capacity to handle 1,000 samples a week. Over the past two weeks, they've
received 45, not per week but 45 over both those weeks.
Aegis, another lab, they have the capacity for 5,000 a week and they've received zero. They haven't received any samples thus far.
A third lab, LabCorp, one of the largest commercial labs in the United States, they say they've received more than this but still, the number of
samples coming in has been extremely low.
This is problematic for several reasons. One of them is that you can only find out who has monkeypox if you test them. Then you can isolate them, you
can do contact tracing. Also, in a country as large as the United States, you want to know where your cases are, so you can send resources to the
Let's take a look at monkeypox cases in the United States so you can see the number of cases has risen dramatically at a time when they're trying to
get this under control. A month ago, there was about 244 cases. Now there's about 4,600 cases.
There is several reasons for the low demand in labs. One of them is that most of the cases, really almost all the cases, have been among men who
have sex with men. This community often goes to sexual health clinics to get their care.
Now those clinics are often, they say, very underfunded. About half of them don't even use private labs because it's so expensive to do so. So you have
a lot of patients going to labs that can't send their samples to private labs. That's obviously a problem -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Elizabeth Cohen reporting for you.
Still ahead, former U.S. President Donald Trump is hosting the latest LIV Golf series this week. Who he's joining on the course for a round ahead of
that tournament is up next.
ANDERSON: Well, the latest numbers showing the world's biggest economy shrank, again in the second quarter. The U.S. GDP, a wide-ranging measure
of economic activity, contracted at nine tenths of a percent in an annualized basis from April through June.
Keep in mind, this is only a preliminary look and comes a day after Fed chief Jerome Powell declared the first reading of a GDP report should be
taken, quote, "with a grain of salt."
CNN's Rahel Solomon is watching this, she joins us now.
There's lots of talk of, don't worry too much about this number, because what is effectively doing, is that it's the second quarter of growth
contraction. Normally, it suggests a recession, right?
RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It normally would. This is a very odd year. In fact, JPMorgan put out a note that said an odd year that continues
to get odder. We have a lot of different things happening.
We're still seeing consumer spending, which is a huge part of GDP. Becky, I want to go through some of the facts and just look under the hood of what
we're actually seeing in the world's biggest economy.
Overall, consumers are still spending. They're spending less, however, on physical goods. They're spending more on services. Think, airline flights,
hotels, restaurants. We're still seeing that accelerate.
They were not seeing business investment. That really took a sharp turn lower last quarter. We are seeing less buildup of inventory. Becky, you and
I talked about this, even just this week, that retailers like Walmart, like Target, they have too much inventory.
We know that they've been trying to move inventory out. Part of that is reflected here. That, perhaps, is not a big surprise. How much lower the
number came in is another thing that's important in regards to the health of the consumer.
The U.S. consumer is about two thirds of GDP. Income actually grew on a kind of headline level. But adjust for inflation, earnings fell. This is,
of course, the big problem with inflation.
You are making more, wages are growing but you are taking home less. That is reflected in this report today. But another negative quarter, certainly
not going to help with the debate about whether or not we are, in fact, in a recession. Everyone is pointing to, including Powell, that the data just
doesn't reflect it, doesn't show it.
ANDERSON: Yes, I know. That's fascinating. We are also seeing a contracting economy in China. The two biggest economies in the world start
looking, you know, slightly shaky. And we're seeing a rise in interest rates.
You can argue that things are going to be tough down the road but it is unclear exactly what's going to happen next. We've had that discussion. We
will continue to have it. Thank you.