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New Day Saturday

Select Committee Subpoenas Secret Service For Missing Text Messages; Biden To Meet With Leaders Of Nine Arab States On Security, Energy Mental Health Groups Express Concern About Readiness Of New Suicide Prevention Hotline; Astronomers Find Radio Burst In Space That Sounds Like A Heartbeat; Webb Telescope Captures Incredible Pictures Of Distant Galaxies. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired July 16, 2022 - 07:00   ET



KRISTIN FISHER, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. I'm Kristen Fisher.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Kristin. I'm Boris Sanchez. The January 6th Committee issuing a new subpoena to the Secret Service after claims the agency erased text messages from the day of the insurrection. Why one committee member says their explanation doesn't make any sense?

FISHER: Plus, President Biden is meeting with key Middle East leaders at this hour in Saudi Arabia, what he's hoping to achieve with this really critical visit? And then of course, there's that criticism that he's facing over his meeting with the Saudi Crown Prince just yesterday.

SANCHEZ: Yes, and America's truckers say, they are struggling with a surge in diesel prices, their concerns as costs continue to climb coming up.

FISHER: And this may be my favorite story of the day, as you know, Boris, a deep space discovery. The heartbeat sounds that have astronomers all a flutter.

SANCHEZ: A flutter.

FISHER: I now. You see what I did there?

Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. It is July 16th. And you know, Boris, it may be a Saturday in the summer but it's a busy Saturday in the summer with the President's trip overseas, and all these new revelations about the January 6th Committee.

SANCHEZ: There is a lot going on. We're going to take you to Saudi Arabia. Our Wolf Blitzer is there just moments from now, but first of the January 6th Committee is digging into reports that the Secret Service deleted text messages sent the day before and during the insurrection. The committee issued a subpoena to the Secret Service yesterday after meeting with the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security. We should note, this is the first time the committee has subpoenaed an agency that's in the executive branch.

FISHER: And earlier this week, the government watchdog accused the Secret Service of erasing those text messages after his office requested them. But the Secret Service says that the messages were deleted simply as part of a device replacement program.


REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): I will say that the explanation that you have to factory reset, and eliminate your data without backing up your data? Just seems -- I'm skeptical. I mean, I wouldn't do that. The argument about when the request was made is largely irrelevant. The Secret Service was aware that this was one of the signature events of our country, and that there would be a need to preserve all of the evidence because of that. And also, there's a, an obligation for federal agencies to retain records. So, this is troubling, but they've said they've got the tax and the committee intends to get them all ASAP.


SANCHEZ: We're going to have more on the January 6th Committee coming up, but let's get right over to CNN's Wolf Blitzer, he's live for us in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. And Wolf, President Biden, apparently, about to deliver some remarks?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, he's meeting with the leaders here of the GCC plus three. The members of the GCC, the Gulf Cooperation Council plus Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt, leaders from those countries have come here to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia as well, looking at live pictures we're getting from, from Saudi TV here. And this is very, very important.

Mohammed Bin Salman speaking right now, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia is representing the Saudis, clearly at this important GCC meeting. The President of the United States has made it clear he wants to revitalize the U.S. Middle East strategy. He's hoping to turn a page on U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia as well, that's why he met with MBS, Mohammed bin Salman, yesterday.

That's why he emerged later in the day and made a statement to the news media about what he called the achievements that have been forthcoming during the course of his visit here to Saudi Arabia. But this is the last day of his trip to the region. He'll be heading back to Washington over the weekend. He's got a lot going on, certainly back home.

But he's got a lot going on here in the Middle East as well, meeting with key Middle East leaders on issues ranging from security to economics, to human rights. And once again, he met in the last hour with the President of the United Arab Emirates, which is very, a very important player here in the Middle East.

Just moments ago, the leaders all pose for what's called the so-called family photo. But it's President Biden's interaction with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, that is looming large over this entire summit. The President says he confronted the Crown Prince, said he was being -- said the current Prince was behind the killing of the Washington Post Columnist and U.S. resident, Jamal Khashoggi. He says, the Saudi leader known him once again as MBS denied involvement.


President Biden was also fiercely criticized for a so-called fist-bump during this, his first visit with the Crown Prince in quite a while. The Saudi government wasted no time promoting the image on Saudi State TV and on Twitter and elsewhere, releasing a lot of photos at the same time. The trip comes as the president is dealing with fallout from high gas prices soaring inflation back home, and that's certainly playing here in these discussions in the Middle East.

The Biden administration says steps Saudi Arabia is taking and will take in the coming days, he says, will drive down oil prices and provide some relief. Last night, he said that relief should be coming within a week or so. Our Chief White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins is with me here in Jeddah. She's following the president, following all these developments. Kaitlan, it's clear, the President has a lot going on here in the Middle East right now. The stakes for the U.S. and for him personally, politically, are enormous.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And look at what you're watching right now: seeing MBS lead this meeting of these leaders here in Jeddah, and really working to restore his image on the world stage, world stage following the death of the journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.

And when we saw two U.S. officials going into this trap, you know, what did President Biden get out of this? What was he seeking to gain that made it worth the political cost of meeting with someone that he once vowed to make a pariah, and a government that he said had little social redeeming value?

And obviously, Wolf, they talk about security, they talked about oil, they talked about a lot of the issues that these leaders are discussing today, in addition to Iran. But then when you asked, what do the Saudis get out of this? It's rehabilitation for MBS. It's that meeting with President Biden, those photos, and that is why the Saudis we're so quick to act on that.

And so, certainly, he's walking away from this, clearly, MBS helping -- this is helping his image on the world stage. So, of course, today, the big questions have been what is the president working on and having conversations with these leaders, because he downplayed the fact that he was actually meeting with MBS at this and we are about to hear from President Biden, we should note, not long from now, after the Saudi Crown Prince stops speaking, President Biden is going to lay out his vision for the Middle East.

And that will be notable in and of itself, Wolf, because this is an administration that really tried to kind of move their foreign policy away from the Middle East. They'd seen other administrations get bogged down in it, not really ever come out with any success. They wanted to move away and focus on China and focus on Russia, obviously, ever since the Ukrainian, the Ukraine invasion happened.

And so, now, you've, you're seeing President Biden realize that they need the Middle East to a degree, they want to make sure that they are shoring up U.S.'s standing in the region. And that's why he is meeting with a leader that he wants basically said he would keep it an arm's length because of the murder of a journalist. And so, that has really been the backdrop of this entire this entire summit here finishing up.

BLITZER: And as, and as we await Kaitlan to hear from the President of the United States, I want to bring in for some analysis, a guest. Joining me now is Jonathan Panikoff, he's the Director of Biddle -- he was, he's currently the Director of Middle East Security Initiative at the think tank in Washington, the Atlantic Council. He's also a former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East at the National Intelligence Council in Washington as well.

Jonathan, Kaitlan, and I have some questions for you. Thank you so much for joining us. How important are these talks right now that are underway with Arab leaders here in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia? What's your analysis? What's to come? And specifically, what's to come as far as gas prices are concerned? Because that's certainly hovering over these talks as far as the U.S. is concerned.

JONATHAN PANIKOFF, DIRECTOR, MIDDLE EAST SECURITY INITIATIVE: Well, thanks so much for having me, Wolf. I'm thrilled to be here. The reality is that this summit was not going to be able to produce meaningful changes in gas prices. The Saudis and the Emiratis just have very, very limited spare capacity themselves.

On the other hand, and maybe a little bit of fortuitous timing here, commodity prices have been dropping across the board. And so, the President may see a correlation when he gets back to the U.S. of falling gas prices continuing, and that obviously would be positive for him politically.

BLITZER: How much of an economic and diplomatic minefield, Jonathan, is President Biden walking with this visit to Saudi Arabia? Did he have no choice but to come here? How important is this trip?

PANIKOFF: I think, that's right --

BLITZER: Hold on a second, Jonathan, we'll get back to you in a moment. But let's listen to the president.



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- reasons of the world. I like to three cars Saudi hosts for inviting the United States to join this summit, and for their hospitality welcoming all of us. A great deal has changed since I visited this region when I served as vice president United States, both on the world stage and in the Middle East.

Around the world, we're seeing efforts to undermine the rule-based order. With China's increasingly course of actions in the Indo-Pacific and beyond, with Russia's brutal and unprovoked war against his neighbor in Ukraine, with Iran's destabilizing activities here in the Middle East, we've also seen critical changes.

For the first time since 9/11, the American president is visiting his region without American troops being engaged in combat, and a combat mission in the region. We'll always honor the bravery and selflessness, selflessness of the -- and sacrifices of the Americans that served including my son, Major Beau Biden, who was stationed in Iraq for a year.

And we'll never forget the memory of the 57,054 American troops, who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere over the last two decades. But today, I'm proud to be able to say that the air and land wars in the region, wars involving huge numbers of American forces is not underway.

We, but we maintain both the capacity and absolute determination to suppress the terrorist threat wherever we find it. We've demonstrated that this year, eliminating the (INAUDIBLE) of ISIS in a daring operation just this week, taking out another key leader of ISIS. We're going to continue our counterterrorism efforts working with a broad coalition of countries, including everyone around this table.

And we will turn our attention, and our resources to supporting our partners, strengthening our alliances and building coalitions to solve the problems facing this region of the world and the world today. The United States is clear-eyed about challenges in the Middle East, and about where we have greatest capacity to help drive positive outcomes.

Our objectives are focused on are -- excuse me -- are focused to realistic and achievable so that we can target our resources, rebuild trust, and deliver real results. And we will operate in the context of the Middle East as it is today, a region more united than it has been in years. The GCC is a prime example of that.

Former rivals, re-established diplomatic and economic ties, new memberships are being forged. And increasingly, the world is seeing the Mid-East, the Middle East through the lens of opening an opportunity. Let me state clearly, that the United States is going to remain an active engaged partner in the Middle East.

As the world grows more competitive, and the challenges we face more complex, it's only becoming clear to me that how closely interwoven America's interests are with the successes of the Middle East, we will not walk away and leave a vacuum to be filled by China, Russia or Iran.

We'll seek to build on this moment with active principle American leadership. Our new framework for the Middle East has five key principles and like to very briefly share them with you today. First, the United States will support and strengthen partnerships with countries that subscribe to the rules based international order.

And we will make sure that these, those countries can defend themselves against foreign threats. The United States and each of the countries around this table are in a central part of that order because we reject the use of brute force to change borders.

On the entire GCC plus Egypt and Jordan, voted in the United Nations General Assembly to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine, it was a watershed moment. It showed that the core values of sovereignty and territorial integrity are truly universal. And I want to be clear, supporting a rule-based order doesn't mean we always have to agree on every issue. But it does mean, we align around core principles, allow us to work together on most pressing global challenges.


For example, on food security, we're collectively committing billions of dollars to alleviate the crisis here in the region, with more than $1 billion coming from the United States. On (INAUDIBLE) security, we agree on the need to ensure adequate supplies to meet global needs.

Energy producers have already increased production and look forward to seeing what's coming in the coming months. On the climate crisis, we're collectively investing hundreds of billions of dollars in clean energy initiatives, increasing our climate ambition, and working together to diversify supply chains, and invest in critical infrastructure.

And we're looking forward to Egypt, the UAE hosting the next two major U.N. climate conferences. Second, the United States will not allow, will not allow foreign or regional power to jeopardize the freedom of navigation through the Middle East waterways, including the Straits of Hormuz, and Bab al-Mandab. Nor will we tolerate efforts of any country to dominate another in the region, through military buildups incursions and or threats.

The free flow of commerce and resources in the Middle East is the lifeblood of a global economy. That's as true today as it been has, has, has been for decades. And when nations adhere to international rules that works, so my administration has made it a priority to protect those vital waterways.

We've established a new naval task force as the work in partnership with many of your navies to help secure the Red Sea. That includes the first naval task force to use multi-man surface vessels and artificial intelligence technology to enhance marine, maritime awareness. We're also integrating air defenses and early warning systems to ensure that we can defeat airborne threats.

Third, United States will not just aim to deter threats of regional, to regional stability, we will work to reduce tensions, de-escalate, and conflicts wherever possible. This approach is already reaping dividends. As was mentioned, in Yemen, working closely with Saudi Arabia, Oman, the UAE and the U.N., we forge a truce that is now in its 15th week.

We've welcomed the leadership of Iraqi Prime Minister Kadhimi, to bring countries from the nav -- from the neighbor, from the region together for talks in Baghdad. Thanks to the months of quiet persistent diplomacy, we help finalize an agreement to remove international peacekeepers from Tehran Island and the Red Sea and transform an area that once sparked wars in a future hub of peaceful tourism and economic development.

And as we continue to work closely with many of you to counter the threats posed, by posed in the region by Iran, we're also pursuing diplomacy to return constraints on Iran's nuclear program. But no matter what, the United States is committed to ensuring that Iran never gets a nuclear weapon.

Fourth, the United States will build political, economic and security connections between the United States, between the U.S. partners wherever possible, while respecting each country's sovereignty and independent choices. Integration, interconnection, these are the underlying themes of our meeting today.

How many years have we been trying to connect the Iraq's electricity to the root, to the GCC, the GCC grids? I remember being briefed on it in 19 -- in 2016 when I was Vice President of the United States. I said, let's get it done. Well, today finally, after years of failed efforts and false starts, thanks to the efforts of so many around this table, it's done.

New energy projects linking the region, a new free trade deal, investments between neighbors, like the Saudi investments in Egypt and Jordan. And more than we build these connections, the more we'll see the benefits that return to our peoples and will grow.

Fifth, the United States will always promote human rights and the values enshrined in the U.N. Charter. Foundational freedoms are foundational to who we are as Americans. It's in our DNA. But it's also because we know that fairly, that the future will be won by the countries that unleash the full potential of our populations, where women can exercise equal rights and contribute to build the stronger economies, resilient societies, and more modern and capable militaries.

Where citizens can question and criticize the leaders without fear of reprisal. I've gotten plenty of criticism over the years, it's not fun. But the ability to speak openly and exchange ideas freely is what unlocks innovation.


Accountable, accountable institutions that are free from corruption, that act transparently and respect the rule of law are the best way to deliver growth, respond to people's needs, and I believe, ensure justice. And no country gets it right all the time, even in most of the time, including the United States, but our people our strength. Our countries, with the confidence to learn from our mistakes grow stronger.

So, let me conclude by summing all of this up in one sentence: The United States is invested in building a positive future in the region, in partnership with all of you and the United States is not going anywhere. This is a table full of problems, full of problem solvers. There are a lot of, there's a lot of good we can do if we do it together. Thank you again for inviting me to participate in the summit today. And thank you for the many years of partnership between your countries and the United States. God protect our troops. Thank you.


BLITZER: The big picture from President Biden speaking here in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia at this opening session of the GCC, the Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Saudi Arabia, other Persian Gulf states, Arab states in the gulf, as well as three countries that are not members of the GCC, also participating: Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq, they are participating as well.

Kaitlan, you know, you've covered the White House, you're our Chief White House Correspondent, the last line from the President's opening remarks: "the United States is not going anywhere." He wanted to reassure these countries that the U.S. will continue to play a very significant role in the Middle East. He's clearly concerned that he said it earlier in his remarks that if the U.S. were to completely withdraw, the vacuum would be filled by either Russia or China or Iran, for that matter.


BLITZER: These countries are worried about that.

COLLINS: And that's what the White House says is really the purpose of this visit is that, yes, it came at a political cost for President Biden to meet with the Saudi Crown Prince, it's, it's remarkable to see the two of them sitting there next to each other, given those comments that he's made about him.

The fact that he has never spoken to him since taking office until yesterday when they met. But also, this is the concern of the White House that they have, which is that the United States was losing its influence in the Middle East, and that that was allowing the possibility for Russia and China to make inroads and basically fill that leadership vacuum.

And so, they wanted to make their presence clear. And I think that's also a bit of concern for some of the leaders who are present here is that President Biden has very much turned his eye to China and of course, now to Russia in confronting those threats, and less so working with the Middle East on their issues as well. And so, he did say, the United States will remain active and engaged in the region. It was a clear message to Russia and China.

And also, that's why he stated so forcefully that the United States is not going anywhere. Of course, there are still live issues for them to deal with, but that is the message that the White House wants to walk away from the summit with, of course, much of it, the reality is that it's going to be focused on that meeting with the brutal, with the Crown Prince.

BLITZER: The effect, the de facto leader of Saudi Arabia.

COLLINS: Correct.

BLITZER: For all practical purposes, the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Jonathan Panikoff is still with us. Right now, Jonathan is a Former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the National Intelligence Council in Washington. He's now with the Atlantic Council, a think tank in Washington. What did you think of the President's remarks, Jonathan?

PANIKOFF: I thought they hit the mark. The banner on your screen says it correctly. This trip was fundamentally about resetting the relationship. There are not going to be huge gains that we're going to be made in any specific area.

This is about setting a new baseline and seeing whether or not the United States Saudi Arabia and then the United States and a broader gulf community can work together across a host of issues.

Energy and defense have always been most important and the primary ones that have been focused on, but there's really an expansion that's important, including investment and infrastructure across the world that the Saudis have committed to investing in, that will help block out China a little bit and countered BRI, the Brick, Belt and Road Initiative.

And so, I think it was a helpful framing by the President. Now, the question is, this is a bit of a reset, how do they start over and where do they go from here?

COLLINS: And, Jonathan, that's such a good question, because I do wonder what you think the relationship looks like going forward, because so far, President Biden has only had two calls with the Saudis since taking office, those have been with King Salman. And when the White House was coming into this meeting, they were downplaying the fact that he was going to meeting with MBS.


They kind of framed it as, yes, he will be meeting with these leaders. MBS will be in those meetings. But it's not just the two of them. Of course, we did see them meet directly last night for several hours. And so, do you think going forward? Is there attempting this reset that now President Biden will be communicating with the Saudi Crown Prince? How often do you think that that will look like?

PANIKOFF: I think that certainly you could see an increase in communication, the fact that the President hadn't communicated a lot with the Saudi Crown Prince, I don't think should diminish the fact that the White House had been in communication with the broader Saudi government, and with various officials.

Obviously, leader to leader, there's no replacement for that. I do think that this should help set the stage for a broader relationship between President Biden and Mohammed bin Salman. But at the end of the day, the truth is also that right now the focus is going to turn to Russia, is going to turn back to China.

Those are the primary strategic challenges that the United States is facing right now. But what this did was it helped demonstrate and I think, remind folks, that in order to face those challenges, the U.S. still needs the Middle East, and the U.S. still needs Saudi Arabia primarily for its assistance, including on food security.

The Russians and the Ukrainian have a huge amount of grain. There's going to be a huge grain shortage, wheat shortage, probably into winter. And so, whatever the U.S. can do to work with the Saudis to help push the Russians and Ukrainians to allow some of that food to go forth is going to be critically important and humanitarian reasons across the region.

BLITZER: How much do you think the Iran potential nuclear threat right now is hovering over all of these discussions right now? We know a lot of these countries are deeply, deeply concerned about what they regard as an Iranian threat.

PANIKOFF: I think it's certainly hanging over the proceedings. But it's a little ironic, many of these countries, including Saudi Arabia, were very, very forceful in pushing the Trump administration to withdraw from the nuclear deal that was working.

Now, that Iran is actually closer to a nuclear weapon, what you're seeing is that these same countries are enhancing their bilateral and diplomatic exchanges with Iran, because they're concerned about being attacked by the Houthis, by other Iranian proxies.

So, I think it's certainly hanging over everything. I don't think that you're going to get any conclusion. But I think one thing that you will see come out of this is a baseline to see whether or not you can start in agreement for a defensive coalition that would exist and integrated air and maybe maritime coalition, for instance, that would integrate all of the Gulf states, probably Israel, into a defensive posture to counter Iran in the future.

That's going to take some time. It's not going to happen immediately. There's a lot of diplomatic issues, a lot of hardware issues to work out. But my sense is this was probably the start of at least being able to have those discussions. So, there's a balance to be had.

BLITZER: Yes, I think it's true that this Iranian threat is clearly moving several of these countries in the GCC closer and closer to Israel, which also is obviously very concerned about a potential Iranian nuclear capability.

Jonathan Panikoff, thank you so much for joining us. We're watching what's going on at the GCC summit here in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia right now. Kaitlan and I will be right back. Much more of our special coverage coming up.



SANCHEZ: So, there is one thing that's pushing up the price of almost everything you buy right now. And its diesel fuel has a major domino effect on the entire economy.

FISHER: Yes, and of course, it's because the vast majority of goods in the U.S. are transported by trucks which run on diesel. And a CNN, CNN's Ryan Young reports that means that truck drivers are in this pretty unique position of spotting economic headwinds before anybody else.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just off I-80 in Iowa, it's hard to miss Park festival, Park convention, Park job fair. It's the largest gathering of American truck drivers in the country.

Drivers here are telling us they are facing challenge after challenge from loss of friends to COVID, to supply chain shortages, to higher and higher fuel prices, yet they continue to deliver for the American consumer.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's been tough, especially now with the fuel prices the way they are.

YOUNG: Diesel prices have risen more than 50 percent so far this year.

SCOTT ANDERSON, TRUCK DRIVER: You know, you can't expect the people keep paying and paying and paying. They're going to run out money eventually. And what are you going to do?

YOUNG: Prices are going up across the board. And many truckers here said orders are getting canceled and demand is slowing.

For some, the outlook for the next few months is grim.

I think there's a fear out there that is being placed. We got to figure out a way to get these fuel prices back and get back to business.

YOUNG: An economic impact of these big rigs is tremendous. You think about almost 72 percent of all goods in this country are moved by truck. And that has a real ripple effect.

It's about $12.7 trillion of goods moved throughout this country by truck alone.

BILL ABBOTT, ATTENDEE, IOWA TRUCK JAMBOREE: I can't say I can blame one person for it all.

YOUNG: Bill Abbott owns a farm and travels across the country with his vintage truck the shows like this one. He believes change is needed.

ABBOTT: It takes a leader that can grab the bull by the horns. But the economy such now, we need a leader that's going to grab the bull by the balls. I have never seen anything like it.


Before, I've used to my savings, I made money, we went on trips, then, I didn't spend much. Now, I'm spending a lot and I'm losing back all, all my savings.

YOUNG: There is also a can do attitude that reverberates all around here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just keep right on going.

YOUNG: Terry and Adam Wurzer own a small company that makes products for semi-trucks, and they say there is no choice but to push through the tough times.

ADAM WURZER, CO-OWNER, IOWA CUSTOMS: People, especially around here, they, you know, just because times get tough, they still work hard and they still fight their way out of the hole and they keep going.

YOUNG: The Biden administration says it sees and hears the plight of truckers and is aware of the driver shortage, and plans to help make it easier for those wanting to get their commercial driver's license, while also hoping to address concerns ranging from poor road conditions to wait times at delivery points.

For some, they say that can't happen soon enough.

The other administration wasn't like this. Was that a false economy? No. I think maybe this is. Hopefully, things will cycle out. I don't know.


YOUNG (on camera): Boris and Kristin, all the drivers we talked to were happy to talk about the economy. The impact that fuel prices is having on them on a day to day basis as they drive across this country. And they also were focused on infrastructure plans that should be coming into place in the next few years.

And suddenly they say they all need to watch, especially, if they want to keep these trucks rolling on the road. Guys.

FISHER: Ryan Young, thank you for that report.

And just a quick programming note, Join Drew Griffin for a new investigation into Steve Bannon and his master plan to reshape the U.S. government and the Republican Party.

"CNN SPECIAL REPORT: DIVIDED WE FALL" begins tomorrow at 8:00 p.m., and we will be right back.



FISHER: Mental health groups are worried that the new shorter number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 988 is not ready to handle any anticipated influx of calls.

FISHER (voice-over): And the new number which is available nationwide today actually, is designed to make it easier for those in a crisis to reach out for help. But the federal agency that's in charge of this hotline expects the number of callers to double from what it was in 2020. FISHER (on camera): So, joining me now is Dr. John Draper, the Chief Officer of the 988 suicide and crisis lifeline. Dr. Draper thank you so much for joining us, as this hotline new number becomes available to everyone.

But I'd like to start by asking you about just some of the numbers because when you dig into it, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline received 3.6 million calls, chats, and texts in 2020. That's a lot.

But government officials say that this year, that number could more than double. Why is that?

DR. JOHN DRAPER, CHIEF OFFICER, 988 SUICIDE AND CRISIS LIFELINE: Well, the reason for having a three digit numbers, so, it's easier to remember and easier to dial. The entire idea is to make this life saving service more accessible to everyone.

So, the more accessible it is, the more people are bound to use them. And we do expect over the coming year. Certainly, even today, we're going to have more contacts.

FISHER: Well, certainly, this number, 988 is going to be a lot easier for folks to remember, as opposed to that one 1-800 number which it was before. But back to my original question, Dr. Draper, I'm curious, you know, these government officials are expecting this number of people to call the hotline to double from 2020.

Can you just help us understand why the hotline is expecting to see this surge in callers?

DRAPER: Well, it's not so much that more people are suffering now. That's not the reason that we're going to have more calls. Again, it's going to be easier for people to contact.

For us, the idea is to make sure that this is a service that is accessible to everyone and that people feel, listened to, understood, and responded to in this moments of crisis.

We do expect there is going to be more people calling, this weekend and over the coming months.

FISHER: So, this new system, I mean, it can really only be successful, right? If there's actually somebody on the other end, to pick up when somebody calls. I mean, somebody's calling for help likely isn't going to wait on hold for 15 minutes. So, do you think that you have enough people in place to pick up these calls?

DRAPER: Well, a federal government and states have actually provided an unprecedented amount of funding for historically under resource service. Again, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has been around since 2005, or 200 plus local crisis centers around the country. They've been doing this work, many of them for decades.

So, we know how to help people, but we've just not had the adequate number of resources for years. So, with the unprecedented amount of funding that we've received at the federal level, again, about 177 million has been received by (INAUDIBLE), our organization that we've been using to assist our national backup centers to make sure that every contact is answered.

Meanwhile, the states have been funding through $105 million, a grant from the federal government, plus their local resources. So, they've been providing local resources to their centers and getting them ready in a way that they have never been ready before.

So, we're feeling pretty confident going into this week and out. Now, I can't say that no one is going to wait. But I can say that if you hold on, you're going to get help from somebody who's trained and listened to you and care about your situation help you through it.

FISHER: The head of the Trevor Project, which is of course it's a suicide prevention organization. He described this new number and system as is a watershed moment. He's strongly in favor of it.

But he also told CNN that he's concerned that the implementation may not be ready. So, do you think that this hotline is ready today?


DRAPER: As noted, this is a new number, it's not a new service. So, our counsellors have been accustomed to doing a lot with a little for many years. And now, finally we have a lot more.

So, I do believe that we are going to be ready to respond to people if they could just hold on. And we do know from research that when people do connect with us, we are effective in reducing emotional distress and suicidality.

So, the more people that do, contact us, connect with us, the more lives are going to be saved.

FISHER: All right. Well, Dr. John Draper, thank you so much.

And if you feel like you need to call this hotline, remember that new number is 988. And we'll be right back.



FISHER: Scientists have made a stunning discovery deep in space, a brief radio signal from deepened space that sounds very similar to a heartbeat. And it's just the latest in what has been, if I do say so myself a very exciting week in space news.

SANCHEZ: A resident space enthusiast joining us now to discuss is Hakeem Oluseyi. He is an astrophysicist and host of Outrageous Acts of Science on the Science Channel.

Hakeem, good morning. Great to have you.

HAKEEM OLUSEYI, HOST, SCIENCE CHANNEL: Good morning, thank you for having me. FIISHER: Good morning.


SANCHEZ: Who is sending these heartbeats from space?

OLUSEYI: Yes. Well, listen first, let's clear up the whole heartbeat notion.


OLUSEYI: You know, my colleagues are nurse, heartbeats come in two, this comes in threes.


OLUSEYI: All right. So --


SANCHEZ: So, an alien heartbeat.

FISHER: It's a pulse. It's a pulse, right?

OLUSEYI: It could be. I'm thinking of the Migos flow. Or if you're Older, the Bertha Butt Buggy baseline.


OLUSEYI: All right. But you know, when you see something that's periodic in nature, typically, that means something that's spinning, you know, orbiting. When you see something fast, that means that it's small.

So, we already have a candidate for what this could be.


OLUSEYI: And the answer is much more mundane than aliens. But still pretty fantastic. OK? And that's a neutron star.



FISHER: And so, if it -- if it is a neutron star --


FISHER: What does that mean?

OLUSEYI: I mean, why is this something that scientists are so excited about?

Right, right. So, neutron stars are some of the most exotic items in the universe. So, when we think of stars, as astronomers, we don't think of it as a single thing. We think of it as two things. There is the core, and there is what surrounds that we call the envelope.

When stars die, they get rid of the envelope, small stars like the sun do so gently, massive stars do it explosively at supernova, but the core is left behind. So, the neutron star is the core of a dead massive star.

And the matter is unlike anything that we can create on Earth. So, it allows us to study matter in extreme conditions, allows us to study fields like the electric and magnetic fields in crazy conditions, and gravity and space time in extreme conditions.

SANCHEZ: Wow! We can learn all of that just by the pulse, essentially, right?



Well, it helps, right?


OLUSEYI: Because there is time in measurements you can make.


OLUSEYI: But also, what we're seeing here is a process that we were unfamiliar with. So, every time. Yes.

SANCHEZ: And we're learning a lot from the James Webb telescope as well. The images this week were stunning.

OLUSEYI: Oh, man. That is an understatement. I mean, you know, listen, if you brought us the Hubble Space Telescope out of the water.




OLUSEYI: You're -- you say it something. Right, yes.

FISHER: And I mean, this is something that astronomers had been waiting for, for decades. I mean, American taxpayers who poured about $10 billion into this telescopes.


OLUSEYI: The -- you has hold there. It wasn't cheap, yes.

FISHER: I'm just dying to know. I mean, look at this image here. And you compare the clarity of it to what Hubble was able to take.

OLUSEYI: Oh. Oh, yes.

FISHER: First of all, what did you think of these images, when you first saw them? Because they were a tightly guarded secret.

OLUSEYI: Far better than expected.

FISHER: Really.

OLUSEYI: Right, like, oh, man, like you hear about. You have all this anticipation. Is it going to be (INAUDIBLE) is going to live up to expectation.

FISHER: Look at that.

OLUSEYI: And you know, so much of science is just incremental progress.


OLUSEYI: This is a massive leap forward in our capability.

SANCHEZ: And help us understand why?


SANCHEZ: I've heard this Webb telescope described as a time machine of (INAUDIBLE). Right?

OLUSEYI: Oh, yes. Right. Everything is a time machine. You know, light is leaving me traveling to you. So, you have to wait some, you know, tiny fraction of a second to see me. So you never see things as they really are.

When you start talking astronomical distances, cosmological distances, now, it's taken light-years, 1000s of years, millions of years, billions of years. So, you know, nothing is as it seems.

So, really, when you look at the universe at this scale, is completely different reality and ideas like distance that we're accustomed to here on Earth, just throw that out of your mind. It doesn't exist in the normal way. We're accustomed to it. Yes.

FISHER: you note, that all the people that have been working on the Webb Space Telescope are now breathing a massive sigh of relief this week.

OLUSEYI: Absolutely.

FISHER: Now, that these photos have finally been released, but, I mean, this is really only the beginning of Webb. Right?

OLUSEYI: That is the figures of thing. Yes.

FIISHER: Like it is at least 20 years ahead of it now. So, now that we've seen just these very first initial images, what's next?

OLUSEYI: Yes, what's next? So, I'm going to tell you one thing that I'm excited for that we haven't seen yet. And that is, Webb has an instrument on its cameras called a coronagraph, which allows it to block out the light from stars. So, now, it looks at forming planetary systems, right?

And you can get the debris disks and maybe even directly image these extrasolar planets. Now, it's not going to be like taking the picture of a planet in our solar system, but it will allow were to study those planets, study their light, and maybe determine if those are planets that have bio signature molecules in their atmospheres.


SANCHEZ: Yes. Hakeem, you kind of rain on my parade when you said the heartbeat was not aliens. But I guess the big question anytime I talked to somebody of your caliber and expertise in space, are we alone? Do you know?

OLUSEYI: Man, I assume we're not. Because if you look at how early life got started on Earth, it seems to me that wherever you have liquids, chances are you're going to get this simple life for me.

It started so fast on Earth, right? And under, basically hellish conditions. But here is the thing, Earth is special, we have a transparent atmosphere and a strong magnetic field that protects us from radiation.

So, light hitting the surface of our planet for billions of years, taught our early life how to do photosynthesis, which led to the production of oxygen, which led to multicellularity in us. And that process took 4 billion years. Right? Just to get to multicellular animals. OK?


OLUSEYI: The average planet that we find atmospheres come in one of two types, either super thick, like Venus or Titan, right? Or absent like the moon or mercury,


OLUSEYI: So, simple life probably all over the place, complex life probably incredibly rare.

FISHER: And maybe the Webb Telescope someday could help answer your question, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Yes, that's right.

OLUSEYI: Absolutely.

SANCHEZ: Hakeem Oluseyi, we really appreciate the time. Thanks so much.

OLUSEYI: Thank you.

FISHER: Thank you.

OLUSEYI: Thank you for having me.

SANCHEZ: Of course, NEW DAY continues after a short break. Stay with us.