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FTX Founder Arrested in the Bahamas; Ukraine Trying to Protect Power Grid from Attacks; U.S. Officials Announce Nuclear Fusion Breakthrough; Biden Addresses Better than Expected Inflation Numbers; At Least Seven Dead in Peru Protests; Citgo 6 Member Speaks to CNN; BTS Member Begins Boot Camp. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired December 13, 2022 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ELENI GIOKOS, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Under arrest, the disgraced boss of FTX is in custody and about to make his first court
appearance, we will bring you the charges against him.
French president Macron hosts an aid conference for Ukraine, where President Zelenskyy's message is, help us survive the winter.
And a big energy breakthrough is about to be announced.
Could nuclear fusion power your whole house someday?
GIOKOS: I'm Eleni Giokos in Dubai, hello and welcome. This is CONNECT THE WORLD.
Now Wall Street and European stock markets are roaring higher. That's after U.S. inflation cooled considerably in November. U.S. consumer price growth
slowed to 7.1 percent last month. You can see how the markets are reacting. It is green across the board.
The Dow, reentering boom market territory in early trading. It's up almost 2 percent. Now the latest numbers show that inflation is easing in the
world's biggest economy. The hope is that cooling inflation pressures will lead to the Federal Reserve raising interest rates less aggressively on
Wednesday and beyond.
All right, so, from crypto celebrity to pariah, a stunning fall from grace for Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of the bankrupt crypto currency exchange
FTX. He has been indicted on eight criminal charges. That is including wire fraud as well as conspiracy.
Authorities say Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas on Monday after U.S. prosecutors filed criminal charges against him. The Securities and
Exchange Commission is charging the former CEO, alleging he, quote, "orchestrated a years-long fraud against FTX investors."
And there is a question looming over this, where is the money?
Where are investors' deposits?
At least 1 million FTX depositors who cannot access their funds also want to know. I want to bring in CNN's Anna Stewart.
Anna, I think when this happened, when FTX imploded, the big question was, how quickly will the SEC act?
When will he get arrested?
He was himself, SBF, as he is known, vocal on Twitter. He's been on other platforms, talking about his involvement and how he just didn't know what
was going on. Tell me about the timeline leading up to this arrest.
The crypto industry and so many others, they've been asking why it's been taking so long.
ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, in terms of the specific story, I think it's been really quite rapid, hasn't it?
It was the beginning of November when there was first to report that suggested some sort of misuse of funds between FTX and its sister company
as a separate entity, Alameda Research.
Ever since then we saw Binance putting out, trying to sell all its FTT token. And it was a run on FTX. It was rapid, it had to do within about a
week, declare bankruptcy and then we started hearing from SBF.
As more information came out and more and more SBF was willing to talk, whether that was in the media outlets, on Twitter, in DMs, at a stage that
he attended virtually, it became abundantly clear that everything he was saying was likely to end up being used in court.
And he hasn't really helped his case here. It has been interesting though, that throughout this, he has said that he didn't wittingly commit fraud. He
has made some mistakes, he certainly said that. But he said a lot, take a listen to the some of the things he said in the last few days.
We don't seem to have that. Apologies.
Essentially he says that he wasn't as competent as he thought he was. He will be working overtime to try and prove that point in the various
investigations from criminal CFTC, that's the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, and, of course, SEC, the Securities and Exchange Commission,
three investigations working in parallel.
GIOKOS: Yes, really interesting. You know, the new CEO, who also happens to be the liquidator or, you know, the man that helped the unwinding of
GIOKOS: Reading some of those comments, which, of course, happened a few weeks ago, it's seen as a complete failure of corporate controls like we've
seen with FTX. And SBF was meant to be speaking in Congress today.
I think many people were looking forward to this.
Could you give me a sense of what people are saying about the next step here?
STEWART: Well, there's a lot to watch just in the next hour. We're expecting, for instance, the extradition hearing of SBF. We're also
experiencing that (INAUDIBLE) to take place.
And John Ray, the new CEO that's overseeing the reconstruction, is testifying. We have his written comments. It's going to be stinging. He's
listed number of things that went wrong.
Most of all, a comment on the leadership. We have that comment.
"FTX group's collapse appears to stem from the absolute concentration of control in the hands of a very small group of grossly inexperienced and
unsophisticated individuals, who failed to implement virtually any of the systems or controls that are necessary for a company that is entrusted with
other people's money or assets."
All of this to come in the next hour, there is a lot to watch. Eleni.
GIOKOS: Yes, and, Anna, we have that sound bite that you were after. I have to say, watching this playing out over the past few weeks, so many
people wondering what this is going to mean for their deposits, what it's going to mean for the impact contagion within the crypto space as well.
STEWART: Yes, I think people are worried, they're upset. And, I think in terms of the crypto community, this is a long list but yet another scam,
scandal in the crypto space, another exchange that can't be trusted.
And, you know, one of the biggest exchanges in the world. And SBF, himself, as a person, was very much the poster boy for crypto. He was legitimized,
really; he was appearing in Congress hearings, he was on stages for financial and crypto summits. He was interviewed by the media. He was a
trusted figure in the space.
So I think this failure is really going to destroy trust throughout the crypto sphere. That is the big concern.
What is going to be left of those that really believe that bitcoin is the future after this?
GIOKOS: All right, Anna Stewart, thank you so much. Good to have you on, we will be talking in the next hour, I'm sure, as we wait for the press
conference and his appearance.
All right, let's move on now to the effort to help get the Ukrainians through a cold, dark winter of war. The French prime minister says more
than $1 billion has been pledged at a conference in Paris.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy had called for nearly $850 million in aid as he addressed the conference virtually. The money will go to help
rebuild and restore Ukraine's badly damaged energy network, as well as for food, water, as well as health care.
Covering this story from France, as well as Ukraine, we have CNN's Jim Bittermann in Paris for us and Will Ripley in Kyiv.
Jim, I want to start with you, the big question is, the aid package, what is that going to look like?
And importantly, is there alignment in terms of what President Zelenskyy is asking for and what donors are putting on the table?
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SR. INTL. CORRESPONDENT: I think it's pretty much absolute alignment. In fact, President Zelenskyy is getting more than what
he came in here asking for.
He has got more than $1 billion on the table in pledges so far. Just to make the point, this is civilian aid we're talking about. This is not
military aid. There has already been billions promised for that.
In fact, this is just to help Ukraine get through this winter up until mid March, is the way president Macron suggested it should be when he called
the donors to this conference. There are 46 donors here, donor nations, as well as some NGOs. And there is also 700 French companies represented here,
which are going to be showing what they can do to help out.
Already, France, for example, has pledged over $70 million to help Ukraine through the winter. That includes a number of high power generators, 63
generators. All of the aid that's coming in, it's being focused into different baskets.
But the main categories of aid are basically electricity, heat, health, food and transport. Those are the things that the French believe are needed
to get Ukraine through the winter. That's the kind of thing that is being pledged today, Eleni.
GIOKOS: Yes, and we have Will on the ground as well.
Will, we know that Ukraine has been building up its defenses on the Belarusian border. You looked at this firsthand.
Can you give us a sense of what you've learned and importantly why Ukraine is preparing for any type of offense or where they need to build defenses
WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we traveled up to the north, Eleni, because there has been so much focus on what's
happening on the front lines to the east and the south.
And yet, just in the last week, there has been a flurry of military activity in Russia's very close friend and Ukrainians' unfriendly neighbor,
Belarus. They named a new foreign minister, a new air force chief. They conducted a snap military inspection.
And last week they were holding counterterrorism exercises and joint drills with Russia. There's also been an increase in the number of Russian troops
in Belarus, which is raising alarm here in Kyiv, wondering if Belarus may join Russia in the war.
RIPLEY (voice-over): We have just arrived at a Ukrainian military forward operating base near the Belarusian border. They're going to show us the
fortifications they put in place to protect against the potential Russian ground invasion.
A few miles away, in neighboring, Belarus an ominous show of force; Russian and Belarusian troops holding joint combat drills like they did earlier
this year just before the invasion.
RIPLEY: Are you concerned about the troop buildup on the Belarusian border?
OLEKSIY REZNIKOV, UKRAINIAN DEFENSE MINISTER: We have to be concerned because we have not friendly neighbor but we have 2,500 kilometers, not
friendly borders. Belarus, Russia, and temporarily occupied -- we have to be ready here.
RIPLEY (voice-over): Defense minister Oleksiy Reznikov tells CNN that Ukraine is preparing in case the Russians invade from Belarus again. He
says they urgently need more weapons, anti tank systems, more advanced missile defense.
"We are not afraid of them," says the captain, Dimitri.
"We don't expect them to come here but, if they do, we will be ready."
These soldiers are constantly rehearsing, ready at a moment's notice.
RIPLEY: Do you think the Russians are going to try to come again?
RIPLEY (voice-over): "Let them try," says Igor (ph).
Before the war, he prepared sewing machines. Now, he drives this.
RIPLEY: How quickly can you get guys to the front if you need to?
RIPLEY (voice-over): "It will be very fast," he says.
They started building these trenches in early April, reinforcing them ever since, getting ready for the Russians. They overpowered Ukrainian defenses
at the start of the war. Six weeks and thousands of deaths nationwide later, soldiers from this battalion helped force them out.
RIPLEY: Was there ever a point where it was overwhelming?
Where you thought, we cannot do this, we cannot fight them off?
RIPLEY (voice-over): "I never felt like that," says Teddy (ph), "because I know there is no way back. We have families at home, we have children."
RIPLEY: He says that 2,500 Russian vehicles actually passed right down this road.
RIPLEY (voice-over): Now we are driving down the same road to a bridge near the border, well within Russian artillery range.
RIPLEY: When the Russians invaded more than nine months ago, they just drove down this road, right over this bridge. But now the bridge has been
rigged with explosives. And these swamplands, which are frozen over, are full of mines.
RIPLEY (voice-over): When the first convoy of an estimated 30,000 Russians came in February, the Ukrainians were unprepared and outnumbered 6:1. Now,
like soldiers from a century ago, they hunker down in the trenches, waiting for whatever comes down the road.
RIPLEY: We know that Russia and Belarus are very close economically and militarily, they're actually part of a formalized union state.
But Western military analysts say the Belarus army, given that it's so small and relatively inexperienced, it wouldn't necessarily pose a huge
risk or even change the game of this conflict, which is definitely tilted in Ukraine's favor on the front lines at the moment.
But simply the fact that they have to worry about that here in Kyiv, they have to look toward the north in addition to the fighting in the east and
the south, that distraction alone is burdensome. And, Eleni, that maybe exactly why Russia and Belarus are staging these exercises near the border.
GIOKOS: All right, Will Ripley, thank you so very much.
We've also got Jim Bittermann for us covering the conference and the pledges that are on the table right now to assist Ukraine.
Thank you so much to both of you.
All right and we want to connect you to a breakthrough that could change the way the world itself is powered. For the first time ever, U.S.
scientists have successfully produced a nuclear fusion reaction that resulted in a net energy gain.
It is the same process that powers the sun and it is something scientists have been trying to harness for decades. The breakthrough could be a major
step in helping to end our dependency on fossil fuels.
Scientists need to figure out how to scale up and to store the energy produced and make it economically viable. The process is very expensive, so
a lot more research is still needed.
GIOKOS: All right and, happening now as we mentioned, U.S. officials and researchers are announcing that big breakthrough in energy production.
Press conference is happening right now, let us listen.
JILL HRUBY, UNDER SECRETARY FOR NUCLEAR SECURITY, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY: -- in our international laboratories. Monday, December 5th, 2022,
was an important day in science.
Reaching ignition in a controlled fusion experiment is an achievement that has come after more than 60 years of global research, development,
engineering and experimentation. The people at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories' national ignition facility reached this, a mission milestone
because of the work others did before them.
Their analysis of data and models, their continued pursuit to have the best possible facility and their sheer excellence and grit.
I would like to thank the members of Congress, thank you so much for being here today, that supported the national ignition facility because your
belief in the promise of visionary science has been critical for our mission.
I would also like to thank the international partners that worked with us on this, because their collaboration demonstrates the power and possibility
of advancing scientific pursuits.
Finally, a giant thank you to those talented federal defense programs and national security enterprise teams that supported this work at Lawrence
Livermore. We are so proud of the accomplishments of our Livermore's national ignition facility.
HRUBY: The national ignition facility is the world's largest and most energetic laser system. During experiments, 192 high energy lasers converge
on a target about the size of a peppercorn, heating a capsule of deuterium and tritium to over 3 million degrees Celsius and briefly simulating the
conditions of a star.
In achieving ignition, the researchers at Lawrence Livermore have opened a new chapter and NSA science-based stockpile stewardship program enabling us
to study new regimes.
Along with this, we have taken the first tentative steps toward a clean energy source that could revolutionize the world. Earlier this year, I had
the opportunity to remember the 30th anniversary of Divider, the last explosives nuclear weapons tests, conducted by the United States.
And reflecting on Divider, I spoke of how far our stockpile stewardship program has come and in how many ways we now understand our nuclear weapons
better than we did when we were testing.
Unlocking ignition at NIF will allow us to probe the extreme conditions found at the center of nuclear explosions and address significant, long-
standing stewardship questions.
The unprecedented nature of reaching ignition confirms what I and previous administrators at the NSA have been saying for decades: there is no more
dedicated or more talented group of scientists in the world, as it should be.
The tireless efforts of thousands of people from around the national security -- nuclear security enterprise and their predecessors are
responsible for this breakthrough. We honor their intelligence, their commitment and their determination.
Going forward, we know we will make further breakthroughs, we will have further setbacks. But all of this is in the interest of promoting national
security, pushing toward a clean energy future and --
GIOKOS: All right, that that was Jill Hruby, the U.S. undersecretary for nuclear security. It is a moment in history, nuclear fusion might just
change the way we consume energy and we produce energy.
Our next guest says this is nothing short of a landmark for science, Dr. Arthur Turrell is a plasma physicist and author of "The Star Builders,"
which charts the effort to achieve fusion power.
He says if this is confirmed, we are witnessing a moment of history, scientists have struggled to show that fusion can release more energy than
is put in since the 1950s.
And the researchers at Lawrence Livermore seem to have finally and absolutely smashed those decades-old goal. And he joins me now.
So exciting, Doctor, I have to say. You know, this, as I say, it could potentially change the way we produce electricity, change the way we
GIOKOS: How significant is this announcement?
You're saying, if this is confirmed, this is a game-changer.
DR. ARTHUR TURRELL, PLASMA PHYSICIST: This (AUDIO GAP) mind here that nuclear fusion is the process that powers stars, right?
So we've all experienced it. If you go outside on a sunny day, if you see those pinpricks of light at night, it is the same process. So to reproduce
that here on Earth is an extraordinary feat, to get more energy out that was put in, is an extraordinary feat. And it really opens up the
possibility of turning this into a power source that we can use.
GIOKOS: OK, so, I want you to tell me about how clean this is. So nuclear fission produces waste; fusion is different, I think that is now the
question. This is being done in a lab.
What does it mean if we scale this?
What does it mean if we do this in mega production?
TURRELL: Yes, so, it's really worth saying that this is a scientific experiment and its goal was always just to demonstrate the principle that
you can get more energy out than you put in. So it's a long way from the kind of thing that you desire if you're trying to make a power plant.
But it's a really important milestone, because, of course, who is going to fund a prototype power plant unless you can demonstrate you can actually
Really important point on the route. In terms of telling us, look, this is a completely carbon free power source, like nuclear fission, but some of
the advantages over fission, which is what's in today's nuclear power stations, is there is no chance of meltdown.
And although fusion does produce some radioactive waste, it is only from the chamber itself. It is not waste products, it's not spent fuel. And we
think it will probably last maybe 100 years, rather than the long time scale, thousands of years, that some really dangerous fission radioactive
waste will last.
So for all of those reasons, people think it's a really great power source. And there is enough fuel for potentially millions of years of energy.
GIOKOS: Some of the images that we received show just how this happens, these elements that are basically brought together to release more energy.
I'm trying to hold back my excitement here. But the point is, this is happening in a lab type environment and to replicate it becomes the
What would the new power stations look like?
It is economically viable?
Your sense -- I know you're a scientist, you want to stick to the facts.
But how are you hypothesizing that this could turn out?
TURRELL: Yes, you're absolutely right to talk about how impressive (INAUDIBLE) can I just say. So, the precision in the design of this has
been extraordinary and it's just, on its own, even if we never use it for a power source, the scientific achievement here is just wonderful.
OK, so, what do we need to do to actually turn this into a power source?
There's quite a lot, to be honest. This was one shot of a single experiment. If you wanted the same process that we're seeing here for
power, you'd have to do that 10 times a second, which is a big difference. And you'd have to get the cost right down as well.
Now the important thing to take away here is that the current setup was never built (INAUDIBLE). And this shows us not just that laser fusion can
work but it gives us a really good idea that actually other approaches to fusion, that might eventually be more economical to work as well.
So I think the biggest effect this is going to have is crowd and investment, innovation, ideas and, frankly, excitement in trying to think
about how we take fusion from a scientific experiment to something that might actually be suitable for a power plant and economical in the future.
GIOKOS: Yes, and, Dr. Terrell, the question is, I guess, can we move away from fossil fuels?
Can we move away from nuclear energy?
I have so many more questions to ask you. But we'll have you back on the show soon. Thank you so much for joining us today.
TURRELL: Thank you.
GIOKOS: Thank you for your time.
All right, we're still fine, thank you.
We're following the arrest on Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of FTX, a company that collapsed a few weeks ago. He was arrested in the Bahamas last
night. We are taking you -- pardon me.
(OFF MIKE COMMENTS)
All right, we're going to Washington, D.C., for FTX the hearing. Here we go, let's listen in.
JOHN RAY, CEO, FTX: -- grossly inexperienced, non-sophisticated individuals, who failed to implement virtually any of the systems or
controls that are necessary for a company entrusted with other people's money or assets.
RAY: Some of the unacceptable management practices that we've identified so far include the use of computer infrastructure that gave individuals in
senior management access to systems that stored customer assets, without security controls to prevent them from re-directing those assets.
Restoring of certain private keys to access hundreds of millions of dollars in crypto assets, without effective security controls for encryption.
The ability of Alameda to borrow funds held at ftx.com, to utilize for its own trading or investments without any effective limits whatsoever.
The commingling of assets, the lack of complete documentation of transactions involving nearly 500 separate investments, made with FTX group
funds and assets.
And the absence of audited or reliable financial statements, a lack of personnel in the financial and risk management functions and the absence of
independent governance throughout the FTX group.
The fundamental challenge we face is there were in many respects starting from near zero in terms of corporate infrastructure and record keeping that
one would expect in a multibillion dollar corporation.
Still, in just over four weeks, we've instituted meaningful steps to gain command ad control. And every week we get a better understanding of what
occurred and the path forward, all with which will be shared with interested parties and affected parties throughout the chapter 11
The scope of our investigation is truly enormous. It involves detailed tracing of money flows and asset transfers, from the time of FTX's
founding, and complex technological efforts to identify and trace crypto assets.
We're in the process of collecting and reviewing dozens of terabytes of documents and data, including billions of individual transactions that were
leveraging sophisticated technology and expertise to identify and trace additional transactions and assets.
While many things are unknown at this stage, we're at a very preliminary stage, many questions remain. We know the following.
First, customer assets at ftx.com were commingled with assets from the Alameda trading platform, that much is clear.
Second, Alameda used client funds to engage in margin training which exposed customer funds to massive losses.
Third, the FTX group went on a spending binge in 2021-2022, during which $5 billion was spent on a myriad of businesses and investments, many of which
may only be worth a fraction of what was paid for them.
Fourth, loans and other payments were made to insiders in excess of $1.5 billion.
Fifth, Alameda's business model as a market maker required funds to be deployed to various third-party exchanges, which were inherently unsafe and
further exacerbated by the limited protections offered in certain of those foreign jurisdictions.
I know that the resolution of the chapter 11 process, as well as the investigation and the cause of the FTX group's collapse are of keen
interest to this committee and to your constituents.
Although, you know, there are many who need and deserve answers, there's customers, creditors, investors, counterparties, employees and regulators.
We're positioning ourselves to provide each of these constituents with the answers that they deserve.
Although a bankruptcy proceeding of this unprecedented nature will take some time to run its course, I've committed to working as quickly as
possible to investigate what happened, formulate conclusions and hopefully inform the committee's work here.
I should note that my ability to account on certain matters today will be inherently limited by the state of FTX's records, ongoing bankruptcy
proceedings and, of course, the numerous ongoing investigations by the U.S. law enforcement regulators.
I look forward to answering your questions to the best of my ability. Thank you again for allowing me to present in front of this committee. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you very much. Mr. Ray, it has been widely reported how FTX shifted customer funds --
GIOKOS: All right, we were just listening to testimony by John Ray, the current CEO of FTX. Today was meant to be the day we were going to hear
from Sam Bankman-Fried. He was arrested overnight in the Bahamas.
We have Anna Stewart with us, who is also listening in to this testimony.
John Ray is also the man who unwinded (sic) and oversaw the liquidation of Enron. He's been a custodian put in place to see exactly what is going on.
Interesting to hear some of those comments, saying that he saw customer assets commingled with Alameda.
GIOKOS: I think this has been the big controversy, the big question surrounding FTX over the past few weeks.
STEWART: So much has gone wrong in this. It's quite extraordinary to see even more listed by the man in charge of restructuring FTX.
He does appear quite shocked himself, despite having, as you say, been involved in many restructures before. I hope to show that you have a,
quote, pilot from his written remarks, which is what he is reading out there, which we already had over the last 24 hours.
He is now actually getting questions on FTX; that may reveal more. Within these comments, he said that the collapse, you know, stems from an absent
concentration of control in the hands of a very small group of grossly inexperienced and unsophisticated individuals.
He's pushing the blame right at the top, SBF, Sam Bankman-Fried, has been charged eight criminal charges, indictment has been sealed within the last
At the same time, he's facing charges from the CFTC, from the FCC. There is a lot going on and we're expecting him to face an extradition hearing in
the Bahamas in the coming hour as well. There's so much to watch.
I think that testimony in the Q&A from John, the new CEO in charge of that restructure, it's going to be particularly interesting, Eleni.
GIOKOS: Yes, exactly, I mean, I want to go through some of those criminal charges. So there are eight charges, including corruption, as well as wire
fraud. As you say, it's a long list coming through from other institutions as well.
STEWART: Yes, looking at some of these charges -- and the list is really long, this is a 14 page indictment that has been unsealed. They're charging
SBF with wire fraud, multiple counts of conspiracy, including conspiracy accounts to defraud investors, lenders and the United States, commit
commodities and securities fraud and money laundering and violating campaign finance laws.
It feels very much like they are throwing a book at SBF at this stage. And this has been rapid. This has been six weeks in the making, an exchange
from -- one of the biggest crypto exchanges in the world has fallen from grace.
And SBF has spoken at length to multiple outlets on Twitter. He has not helped himself in the runup to this. I think we've all been quite taken
aback with just how quick the process has been and how, in parallel, these different investigations are working together.
GIOKOS: All right, Anna Stewart, thank you so much for that analysis.
We are going to a very short break. We will be back with more news after this. Stay with CNN.
GIOKOS: All right, welcome back, I'm Eleni Giokos in Dubai, you are watching CONNECT THE WORLD.
GIOKOS: U.S. President Joe Biden has been speaking at the White House after new data showed inflation easing more than expected. Here's what he
said moments ago.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Good morning. This morning, we received some welcome news, in my view -- and I think the view of most
economists -- on the economic front, news that provides a reason for some optimism for the holiday season and, I would argue, for the year ahead.
And we learned last month's inflation rate came down, down more than experts expected. In a world where inflation is rising at double digits in
many major economies around the world, inflation is coming down in America.
In fact, this new report is the fifth month in a row where annual inflation has fallen in the United States. Inflation outside of food and energy, a
key measure of -- that economists use, also fell.
Make no mistake: prices are still too high. We have a lot more work to do. But things are getting better, headed in the right direction.
Most Americans can see the progress driving down the street, finding relief at the pump as gas prices fall. Gas prices are now lower than they were a
year ago and half the gas stations selling gas at -- are selling gas at $3.09 or less. The most common price for gas stations across the country is
The decline in gas price is giving consumers a break they need, helping them keep our economy growing. When you're a two-car family, they're saving
hundreds of a month. It's a big deal.
Today's report contains another piece of good news. Food inflation has slowed last month, providing much-needed relief for millions of families at
the grocery store.
This is welcome news for families across the country as they get ready for the holiday celebrations and for family dinners.
It's also important that we put today's news in a broader context.
When I took office, we inherited a nation with a pandemic raging and an economy that was reeling. We acted quickly and boldly to vaccinate the
country and to put in place a -- a new economic strategy -- a strategy built on an economy that was based on "from the bottom up and the middle
Now 21 months later, we can see how our -- our economic plan is working.
We've added, every single month -- every single month of my presidency, we've added jobs -- a total of 10,500,000 new jobs; 750,000 of them are
Where is it written, as I've -- you heard me say it before and I apologize for repeating it -- where is it written that America can't lead the world
again -- once again in manufacturing?
And, by the way, remember I talked at length about the need to continue to invest in research and development. Look what's going on from the
Department of Energy on the nuclear front. There's a lot of good news on the horizon.
The unemployment rate is down to 6.4 percent when I was sworn in -- down from 6.4 percent when I was sworn in. It's now 3.7 percent, near a 50-year
We've done all of this while lowering the federal deficit in the two years we've been in office: $1.7 trillion. Let me say that again: $1.7 trillion
we've lowered the federal debt. No administration has ever cut the deficit that much. And now inflation is coming down as well.
Prices of things like televisions and toys are going down and it's good news for the holiday season. Used car prices fell for the fifth month in a
row. New car prices didn't go up this month. That savings is critical to so many families. It gives them just a little bit of breathing room for the
And all of this means that, for the last several months, wages have gone up more than prices have gone up. Wages have gone up more than prices have
And I want to be clear: it is going to take time to get inflation back to normal levels as we make the transition to a more stable and steady growth.
But we could see setbacks along the way as well. We shouldn't take anything for granted. But what is clear is that my economic plan is working and
we're just getting started.
My goal is simple: get price increases under control without choking off economic growth; bring inflation down while keeping our labor market
resilient; build an economy from the bottom up and the middle out -- an economy with good jobs, good wages and for the long run, not a boom-or-bust
Because of my plan, we're beginning to see historic investments that are leading companies to invest hundreds of billions of -- let me say that
again -- hundreds of billions of -- to build semiconductor factories and other advanced manufacturing right here in America.
It's going to create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs in the years ahead. And, by the way, a significant number of these jobs are expected to
be jobs that pay an average of $125,000 a year and many don't require a college degree.
BIDEN: So things are looking up.
So what's next?
Because of my plan, we're taking powerful interests to lower -- powerful actions to lower prescription drug costs and health insurance premiums and
In just a few weeks, starting in January, families will get a little more breathing room. They've been told for some time since we passed the
legislation that we're going to be able to lower the price of drugs. Let me give you just one example.
Coming January 1, seniors with diabetes on Medicare are going to pay no more than $35 a month for a prescription of insulin. They, up to now,
they've been paying as much as $400 a month. That's a genuine savings for seniors.
This matters to so many families with loved ones who have diabetes and rely on insulin to survive, going from an average of $400 down to 15 -- or $35 a
In January, they won't have to choose between paying their insulin -- paying for their insulin and, in many cases, putting food on the table. It
matters. It's real savings to people and it's just about to kick in. The same is true from healthcare to clean energy.
By taking action, we're making real progress in strengthening and stabilizing our economy, giving Americans across the country some breathing
room in the process.
Look, I know it's been a rough few years for hardworking Americans and for small businesses as well. And for a lot of folks, things are still pretty
rough. But there are bright spots all across America where we're beginning to see the impact of our economic strategy and we're just getting started.
I say it again: I've never been more optimistic about America's future. And today's news gives me another reason to be optimistic about that
We're building a better America, an economy from the bottom up and the middle out, not the top down. When the -- when the poor have a shot and the
middle class do well, the wealthy always do very well.
We just have to keep going. I know we can get this done.
And God bless you all. And may God protect our troops.
And I'll take questions -- I'm going to be seeing y'all a little later this afternoon. I'm not taking any questions right now. Thank you very much.
QUESTION: Can you say when you expect prices to get back to normal, Mr. President?
BIDEN: I hope by the end of next year we're much closer. But I can't make that prediction. I just -- I'm convinced they're not going to go up. I'm
convinced they're going to continue to go down.
QUESTION: Do you plan to veto the --
GIOKOS: All right, U.S. President Joe Biden there, making an address after a bit of an expected inflation number for November came in at 7.1 percent.
Many had anticipated another 7.3 percent, which is what we saw on October.
He says my economic plan is working and we're just getting started. The markets are rising on the back of this. We saw a really good start to the
trading day in the United States.
Now back into bullish territory, bull market territory. The Dow up seven tenths of a percent. As you can see the Nasdaq and the S&P also doing very
well. European markets are also in the green.
This is good news, this could perhaps mean the Federal Reserve will not be taking such an aggressive approach to interest rate hikes, which could add
some relief to the U.S. consumer. Of course, good news as we approach the holiday season.
All right, we're going to a very short break, we'll be back with more news after this, stay with CNN.
GIOKOS: Welcome back.
Violence spawned by political chaos has claimed more lives in Peru. Local officials said at least seven people have died in protest, two people on
Sunday and five more on Monday.
Some flights and trains have been canceled because of violent clashes between police and protesters. An international airport was closed after
the country declared a state of emergency in several provinces.
Meanwhile ousted leftist president Pedro Castillo claims he still in charge and is demanding his release from prison. Now in a series of tweets, he
also referred to the country's new president, Dina Boluarte, as a usurper. She was sworn in last week following Castillo's impeachment and subsequent
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIOKOS (voice-over): Meanwhile, in Brazil, a chaotic scene outside of the federal police headquarters in the capital on Monday. Supporters of
Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro gathered there to protest after police detained an outspoken Bolsonaro supporter.
Authorities say clashes bloke out when some demonstrators tried to rush the headquarters. Nearby buses and cars were also set on fire.
Now earlier in the day, electoral officials certified the results of October's election and confirming Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as the
country's next president. President Bolsonaro has yet to formally concede defeat. And his supporters have been staging protests over the election
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIOKOS: Brittney Griner is receiving a lot of physical and psychological support as she recuperates at a military base in Texas. The WNBA star's
agent says Griner's energy levels are high and that she's been eating more nutritious foods and supplements since she was freed from Russian detention
But her reintegration is far from over. Take it from a member of the so- called Citgo 6, who was released in a prison swap in October. After spending nearly five years in a Venezuelan prison, he tells CNN's Isa
Soares, coming home came with a host of challenges. Let's take a look.
ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jorge Toledo understands what it means to be held captive by a hostile foreign power.
JORGE TOLEDO, CITGO CORPORATION: It's very close to a movie but it seems that this is for real.
SOARES (voice-over): A member of the so-called Citgo 6, Toledo and five other Citgo executives were imprisoned in Venezuela in 2017 on baseless
allegations, including money laundering, U.S. officials say.
SOARES: Finally, you are going back home.
How did that feel?
TOLEDO: It was like going from total darkness to a total illumination.
SOARES (voice-over): "They were leaving behind an eerie and dark place. Five years of isolation, deprivation and torture," Toledo tells me.
TOLEDO: I spent 18 months with a very strong and intense light on top of me 24 hours, seven days. So that means that you are not able to sleep.
SOARES (voice-over): CNN has been in touch with his family for the last few years. They tell us that Toledo's health suffered. An athlete, a
marathon runner, he tells me that he lost more than 50 pounds his first year of incarceration.
Eventually, after months of back and forth between the U.S. Government and the embattled regime of president Nicolas Maduro, Toledo and four of his
Citgo colleagues were released in October as part of a prisoner swap.
TOLEDO: And we crossed with two individuals that I didn't know who they were. But I assume that they were the other human commodity that was being
SOARES (voice-over): President Joe Biden signed off on the deal. In exchange, the U.S. agreed to release two of Maduro's nephews, themselves --
SOARES (voice-over): -- convicted in 2016 for conspiring to import cocaine into the U.S., nicknamed the Narco Nephews.
SOARES: How did you feel, Jorge, about that exchange?
Do you think that it ought to have happened?
TOLEDO: We need to prioritize life.
And then we fix the long term issue, which is how are we going to deal with hostage diplomacy as a society?
SOARES (voice-over): Under Maduro, Venezuela has been pushed to the brink. More than 7 million people have fled the country in recent years with the
U.N. accusing the president of crimes against humanity.
But with the world's largest proven oil reserves and as the West attempts to move away from its dependence on Russian oil, Maduro's oil supply is
yielding some political power. Last month, the U.S. granted Chevron limited authorization to resume pumping oil from Venezuela, despite U.S. trade
sanctions in place since 2019.
SOARES: Should the United States ease sanctions on Venezuela?
TOLEDO: What I would say is, this has to be revisited just to make sure that the sanctions are oriented toward the right direction and not the
direction of damaging the common people, causing shortages in the population, et cetera.
So I think that we need to rethink the entire system.
SOARES (voice-over): In the footsteps of fellow Americans released from overseas captivity --
SOARES: What does freedom feel like?
SOARES (voice-over): -- Toledo found a new appreciation for the meeting of freedom.
TOLEDO: The air had a different smell. I perceive a wonderful, fantastic sweetness in that smell of the air.
SOARES (voice-over): A scent only those held captive can truly savor -- Isa Soares, CNN, London.
GIOKOS: Some news just in to you from South Africa. The parliament has just voted against starting impeachment proceedings against president Cyril
Ramaphosa. An independent panel alleges he covered up the theft of millions of dollars hidden in his private farm.
Opposition leaders say the president is corrupt and they're calling for his resignation. He denies any wrongdoing over the scandal, dubbed Farmgate by
the media. The ruling ANC party, which has a majority of seats in parliament, told its caucus to reject the votes.
GIOKOS: All right, let's get you up to speed on some other stories that are on our radar right now.
Kenny DeLand Jr.'s family say they are not getting full answers from French authorities about their son's disappearance, citing a French privacy act is
preventing information from being shared.
DeLand has been studying southeastern France and was last seen 10 days ago. The French prosecutor has opened an investigation.
Elon Musk's Twitter is disbanding its trust and safety council. The group has advised on issues including online safety, human rights, mental health
and suicide prevention. Last week, three members of the group resigned in protest.
The company says it's reevaluating how best to bring external insights into its products.
And still ahead, he is trading in his microphone for army duty. The oldest member of BTS begins South Korea's mandatory military service. How fans are
reacting when we return.
GIOKOS: "Now it's time for a curtain call."
Those words from the oldest member of the K-pop supergroup BTS, written on a fan platform. Jin is the first of the all-male group to begin South
Korea's mandatory military service.
The singer debuted his new look online earlier this week. CNN's Paula Hancocks has more.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He is exchanging five-star hotels around the world for military barracks just sight of the DMZ, the
demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.
Jin, this Tuesday afternoon, became officially the first member of the pop sensation BTS to start his military service.
At about quarter to 2:00 this Tuesday afternoon, we did see six black vehicles heading into the military barracks. And there was significant
security. It is believed that Jin was part of the convoy.
Now they had asked -- the management company and BTS -- that fans known as the Army don't come to see him off. There were a few that turned up,
though. One in particular, Mandy Lee from Hong Kong, had flown in especially to say goodbye.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANDY LEE, BTS FAN: We are here to -- I want to see Jin go into the military and I want him and wish him all the best and stay safe and
healthy. And we await him the night -- the 18 months.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANCOCKS: Jin will spend five weeks here for basic training. It is expected of all able-bodied men up until the age of 28. They're supposed to
spend between 18 and 21 months in this mandatory military service.
Now Jin was allowed to defer until he was 30. There was a law passed a couple of years ago, saying that anybody who excelled at popular culture or
art could defer it. And BTS certainly ticks that particular box.
There are some professional athletes who have won a medal at the Olympics, for example, or the gold at the Asian games, also some classical artists
who have been exempted.
But there was tremendous debate as to whether BTS should be exempted as well. But it's not the case and there will be seven of them in all that
will be starting their military training.
We saw families saying goodbye to young men here. There was one 20-year- old, also called Jin, who said he was nervous but also excited to be starting at the same time as Jin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIM SEOK-JIN, SOUTH KOREAN MILITARY CONSCRIPT (through translator): Yes, I'm a fan. And if I get to share the dorm with him, it would be really
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANCOCKS: We did speak to someone who had spent his military service at this barracks behind me. He said it was particularly brutal during the
winter. It could get as low as minus 30 degrees Celsius. And he said it really taught him to hate snow.
So this is not the easiest of places to do the basic training -- Paula Hancocks, CNN, South Korea.
GIOKOS: All right, we are going to a short break. More CONNECT THE WORLD continues after this break. Stay with us.
ARATI PRABHAKAR, DIRECTOR, WHITE HOUSE OFFICE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY POLICY: