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Female Film Workers Urge Hollywood Not To Boycott Georgia; Game Of Thrones Ends Tonight After Eight Seasons; Bodexpress Throws Jockey, Finishes Preakness Anyway; Alex Baldwin As Trump Sings Queen On SNL. Aired 6-7a ET
Aired May 19, 2019 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A GOP lawmaker said President Trump has, in fact, engaged in impeachable conduct.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think this gives Democrats more ammunition to go after Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The beginning of the withdrawing of one Republican coming up publicly and saying this man, this president, has committed these offenses, that is a big start.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think any of this stuff is going to shake the ground.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Joe Biden held his official kickoff rally here in Philadelphia.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The single most important thing we have to accomplish is defeat Donald Trump. Beat Trump. Beat Trump. Beat Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I saw him left and go and grabbed on to the oven door.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've actually seen a funnel cloud halfway to the ground.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of a sudden, the roof is gone and you're looking up at the sky.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. So good to have you with us here. It has been said by Democrats, former officials even some conservatives, now a sitting GOP congressman has said President Donald Trump has -- quote -- "engaged in impeachable conduct." VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: The congressman, Justin Amash from Michigan, said after reading the Mueller report. And let's read it here. It's clear to him the president's actions and behaviors -- quote -- "meet the threshold for impeachment." But he does not say whether Congress should walk through that door.
He laid out his reasoning very carefully in a series of tweets and we are going to read for you every one of them right now. And he starts with his principle conclusions. One, Attorney General Barr has deliberately misrepresented Mueller's report. Two, President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct. Three, partisanship has eroded our system of checks and balances. And number four, few members of Congress have read the report.
He goes on to say, "I offer these conclusions only after having read Mueller's redacted report carefully and completely, having read or watched pertinent statements and testimony, and having discussed this matter with my staff, who thoroughly reviewed materials and provided me with further analysis."
"In comparing Barr's principal conclusions, congressional testimony, and other statements to Mueller's report, it is clear that Barr intended to mislead the public about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's analysis and findings."
"Barr's misrepresentations are significant but often subtle, frequently taking the form of sleight-of-hand qualifications or logical fallacies, which he hopes people will not notice."
"Under our Constitution the president shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. While high crimes and misdemeanors is not defined, the context implies conduct that violates the public trust."
"Contrary to Barr's portrayal, Mueller's report reveals that President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment."
"In fact, Mueller's report identifies multiple examples of conduct satisfying all the elements of obstruction of justice, and undoubtedly any person who is not the president of the United States would be indicted based on such evidence."
"Impeachment, which is a special form of indictment, does not even require probable cause that a crime, obstruction of justice, has been committed. It simply requires a finding that an official has engaged in careless, abusive, corrupt, or otherwise dishonorable conduct."
"White impeachment should be untaken only in extraordinary circumstances, the risk we face in an environment of extreme partisanship is not that Congress will employ it as a remedy too often but rather that Congress will employ it so rarely that it cannot deter misconduct."
"Our system of checks and balances relies on each branch's jealously guarding its powers and upholding its duties under our Constitution. When loyalty to a political party or to an individual trumps loyalty to the Constitution, the rule of law -- the foundation of liberty -- crumbles."
"We've witnessed members of Congress from both parties shift their views 180 degrees -- on the importance of character, on the principles of obstruction of justice -- depending on whether they're discussing Bill Clinton or Donald Trump."
"Few members of Congress even read Mueller's report; their minds were made up based on partisan affiliation -- and it showed, with representatives and senators from both parties issuing definitive statements on the 448-page report's conclusions within just hours of its release."
"America's institutions depend on officials to uphold both the rules and spirit of our constitutional system even when to do so is personally inconvenient or yields a politically unfavorable outcome.
Our Constitution is brilliant and awesome, it deserves a government to match it."
All right. For reaction to those tweets let's bring in CNN White House reporter Sarah Westwood. Sarah, what have we heard from the party, from the president, from the White House?
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Victor, Congressman Amash's comments drew swift condemnation from the Ronna McDaniel. She's the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee.
She wrote in a series of tweets, yesterday, "It's sad to see Congressman Amash parroting the Democrats' talking points on Russia. The only people still fixated on the Russia collusion hoax are political foes of Donald Trump hoping to defeat him in 2020 by any desperate means possible."
And she goes on to say, "Voters in Amash's district strongly support this president and would rather their congressman work to support the president's policies that have brought jobs, increased wages and made life better for Americans."
Now keep in mind that Congressman Amash has been a long time critic of President Trump. This is not the first time he spoken out against President Trump but this is so significant because he's the first sitting Republican lawmaker to what seems like call for impeachment or at least open the door for that path for Republicans if they choose to go that way.
Now there has been some tension among Democrats in the House where impeachment proceedings would start because there are some members of Democratic leadership who want to hold off on impeachment until more information comes to light. They don't want to rush to that judgment for fears that could actually help President Trump get re-elected in 2020 and there's the progressive wing at the party that -- of the Democratic Party that sort of been agitating for impeachment because they think they have seen plenty of evidence in Mueller's 448-page report to support beginning impeachment proceedings.
And Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, a progressive, she is one of those lawmakers who has supported impeachment in the past. She wrote to Congressman Amash, "Justin Amash, come find me in 1628 Longworth" -- that's a house office -- "I've got an impeachment investigation resolution you're going to want to cosponsor."
So there are some fears among Republicans that Congressman Amash's tweet storm supporting impeachment and sort of siding with the Democrats on the seriousness of the allegations in Mueller's report that that could give Democrats more fire power as they push to open impeachment proceedings to continue investigating Russia even as the White House stonewalls subpoenas and request for testimony on all fronts -- Victor and Christi.
PAUL: All right. Sarah Westwood, we appreciate it so much. Thank you.
BLACKWELL: All right. Let's talk about this now. With us CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer, historian and professor at Princeton University. And Siraj Hashmi commentary writer and editor at "The Washington Examiner."
Gentlemen, welcome back.
And, Siraj, I want to start with you. The president's critics including congressional and senate Democrats have wondered when Republicans would potentially break in any significant way from the president's characterization of the Mueller report, this full exoneration. One has now done it. What is the significance of one and this one?
SIRAJ HASHMI, COMMENTARY WRITER AND EDITOR, "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": Justin Amash is not really the most significant Republican to come out against President Trump and sort of suggesting it, opening this door about impeachment. Now if you want to say it was say Senator Lindsey Graham or even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell then obviously President Trump has a crisis on his hand.
But at this moment Amash has been very critical of President Trump. He's criticized him over say picking Brett Kavanaugh to fill Anthony Kennedy's seat. And he's even floated the idea about running for president in 2020 on the libertarian ticket.
But with respect to this particular thread, there are two possibilities at play. One, it could be that he is running for president. But the second one is that he could be signaling that if a House floor vote was brought up by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt --
HASHMI: -- that he would support it and this is probably the case that he is laying out in which he would support it.
BLACKWELL: All right. Let's talk about 2020 in just a moment. Julian, let me come to you.
I just read everything that Congressman Amash tweeted. What he did not write was that President Trump should be impeached. He lays out what the responsibility and role of Congress is but did not write that Congress should now begin impeachment proceedings. The significance of stopping short of that, from your perspective, and does he now have to make that clear?
JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That is the most significant point and in some ways he sounds like the Democrats who have been saying the president engaged in impeachable behavior but, at the same time we are saying we are not moving forward with impeachment proceedings. And Amash's tweet which is very pointed, it's very direct but it stops short of calling for the process. So unless anyone calls for the process, this is a lot of rhetoric, it could be damaging to the president politically but we are not moving closer toward impeachment proceedings.
BLACKWELL: Siraj, you mentioned 2020 and Ronna McDaniel, the chair of the RNC, she tweeted out in response that Amash's conclusions are being fixated on Russian collusion or hoping -- or anybody tweeting this, they are fixating on Russian collusion or someone hoping to defeat him in 2020.
The president's job approval according to the latest FOX News poll is at 88 percent amongst Republicans. Is this something that he is really considering do we know? When he was on CNN a few months ago, he said that he had not ruled it out.
HASHMI: Well, I don't think he would be running as a Republican.
HASHMI: If anything, he would be running as a libertarian. In that case probably siphoning off of more of President Trump's support among (INAUDIBLE) never (ph)Trump Republicans and libertarians who are supporting Trump who may feel a bit disillusioned by his presidency over the last couple of years. In which case it was -- him in states like states like Michigan where Amash is from or in other rust belt states where he won in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in 2016.
And so 2020 may be about helping Democrats more than helping President Trump, but at this moment, Amash is probably -- you know, he is one of those people who has been very principled and outspoken about President Trump. So there's certainly just a possibility that he is just speaking his mind and there's nothing more to it --
HASHMI: -- but, of course, this is Washington and this is just one of those things where -- is he running for president? We have no idea.
BLACKWELL: Yes. Well, he released it on Twitter so at some point he's going to have to come out and actually speak about his position here.
Julian, Amash also writes that he believes that the attorney general misled the public in a statement and congressional testimony, but here again he doesn't explicitly call for a consequence for the attorney general. Does this bolster the Democrats case that there should be one? Is there any influence, any residue that -- relevant to the Democrats' case?
ZELIZER: Well, it does. Sure. Anytime there's a Republican voice raising these kinds of concerns about the president, about the attorney general it helps to make the argument. This is not simply a partisan witch hunt as the president says. That you have conservatives whether it's Amash or George Conway who are openly talking about impeachable offenses but it doesn't change the basic dynamics.
The Republican leadership including Senator McConnell said case close and the Democratic leadership at this point is not really moving on the process. So it provides some cover for the argument about both individuals, the president and the A.G., but it leaves us exactly where we were two days ago.
BLACKWELL: Siraj, on that point we saw the tweet from also Michigan representative Rashida Tlaib saying, come on over to my office, I've gone an impeachment resolution you might want to sign on to. What does this mean for those Democrats who have said we are not going to move forward on impeachment because there is no degree of bipartisanship? Is this enough, this one anomaly at this point to move any of the leadership for the Democrats, Siraj?
HASHMI: Amash's thread is mostly symbolic but it does help progressive Democrats and House Democrats at large who've been pushing for impeachment with fund-raising and getting reelected in 2020 especially among a lot of these contentious purple districts and battle ground states.
And Amash's signal right here is basically saying, look, Republicans even agree with us that President Trump should be impeached. Therefore, donate to us and we should, you know, be in control of more power in the government. So Amash is definitely helping Democrats more than he's helping Republicans at the moment.
BLACKWELL: All right. We'll talk more about this tweet this morning. Siraj Hashmi, Julian Zelizer, good to have you.
HASHMI: Thank you.
ZELIZER: Thank you.
PAUL: Well, breaking overnight. An 8-year-old girl has been found safe after she was kidnapped while she was walking with her mother. Now police in Texas say a suspect is in custody. And Salem Sabatka, that's her name, was taken last night when a man drove by, grabbed the young girl.
CNN affiliate KTVT says her mother tried to jump into the car but she was thrown out as that car sped away. Now this morning Fort Worth Police Department tweeted, "Salem has been found safe. Suspect is in custody."
We're going to be speaking with an officer from the Fort Worth Police Department and get more information on this and what happens from this point on.
BLACKWELL: Police in Portland, Oregon, have identified the teen accused of attempting to carry out a school shooting.
Investigators say that Angel Granados Dias entered a classroom on Friday wearing a black trench coat and pulled out a gun. Fortunately the school's football coach tackled that suspect. The coach has been identified as Keanon Lowe, a former wide receiver at the University of Oregon. Yesterday, Lowe tweeted, "When confronted with the test the universe presented me with, I didn't see any other choice but to act. Thank God."
PAUL: Still ahead, Stacey Abrams and four female Democratic presidential candidates are joining forces to take on anti-abortion legislation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STACEY ABRAMS (D), FORMER GEORGIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Right now across the south and around the country, a woman's right to control her body and a doctor's ability to give the health care we deserve is under attack.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Plus, severe weather continues today and it's about to get even worse.
Allison, what are you expecting?
ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: That's right. The system from the last few days continues today and then we see a brand-new stronger system develop for Monday. We will have those details coming up.
PAUL: Eight seasons of fire and blood are coming to an end. The series finale of "Game of Thrones." It's on tonight. Not all of the fans are happy with the way it's wrapping up. What they are doing and how far they are getting in their protest.
PAUL: Eighteen minutes past the hour right now. And former Vice President Joe Biden walked the line between calling for unity and calling out the president at this major rally in Philadelphia. Here is political reporter Arlette Saenz.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Joe Biden held his official kickoff rally here in Philadelphia, preaching a message of unity and also emphasizing the need to defeat President Trump in 2020.
Biden argued that the policies that are important to voters and to Democrats -- civil liberties, a woman's right to choose, a bold climate change plan -- that none of that will happen if President Trump is still in office. And Biden really portrayed the president as a divisive figure. Take a listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Folks, let me tell you something. The single most important thing we have to accomplish to get this done, the single most important thing we have to accomplish is defeat Donald Trump.
As long as Donald Trump's in the White House, as long as Donald Trump's in the White House, none of these things, these critical things, are going to get done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAENZ: Biden also pushed back on the idea that he might be naive for thinking that Democrats and Republicans can work together to achieve consensus, Biden pointing back to his own time in government saying that this is a time for people to stop fighting and to start fixing things. Now this event was held in Pennsylvania, which is a state that Donald Trump won back in 2016 but it's a state where Biden sees a possible opening going forward in 2020. And it's clear that Biden is trying to frame this election as a showdown between himself and the president.
President Trump will be here in the state on Monday, holding a campaign rally of his own but, of course, before Biden gets to a general election match-up, if he gets to a general election match-up between himself and the president he still has to make it through that crowded and diverse Democratic primary field -- Arlette Saenz, CNN, Philadelphia.
BLACKWELL: Millions of people are under a threat of severe weather today. At least 35 tornadoes have been reported since Friday. We will tell you where the threat is today next.
PAUL: Well, the storm prediction center says more than 50 million of you are under a threat of severe weather today. We are talking about hail, heavy rain, strong winds, isolated tornadoes pushing through the northeast and the number of tornadoes we have already seen is pretty disturbing.
BLACKWELL: Thirty-five since Friday, slamming Kansas, Nebraska, Texas. The storms are expected to get worse.
CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar is following the latest for us. I mean, this section of the country has seen enough already. What is on tap for today maybe?
CHINCHAR: A little bit more of severe weather. That is the unfortunate part. And it's going to last a couple more days too.
We have two separate systems. The one that initially started Friday continued yesterday and will continue yet again today. We have a tornado watch in effect right now until 10:00 a.m. central time for portions of Mississippi and you can see Louisiana as well as these strong storms continue to push their way through.
Then the threat for today extends basically from Louisiana up to Michigan over into Canada and then back down into Virginia. It's an odd shape but this is where we expect the majority of the severe weather to be. Again the threats themselves will be a few isolated tornadoes, damaging winds and the potential for some hail as well.
Here can you see those storms really begin to fire up in the afternoon and evening. We already have some ongoing this morning so you can't rule that out. But especially for more areas in the Midwest and the northeast it's really going to see the majority of their intense storms in the second half of the day.
But here is the thing. That first system begins to exit out and a new system from the west begins to push in tomorrow. That is what is going to bring us our additional threat on Monday.
And then that system begins to push further east on Tuesday yet again bringing a threat to a lot of these same areas that have already seen some weather. But here is the main concern and that is going to be tomorrow. Because we are looking at strong tornadoes, damaging winds and, again very large hail that could exceed baseball size.
But the main reason you have this significant risk on Monday is for the threat for strong, large, very long-lived tornadoes. We are talking EF-3 or larger. Now what does that mean when you hear that number EF-3?
Basically in this context you're talking about entire forests uprooted by the trees. Now, we are also talking about cars, big heavy cars being picked up, lifted, and tossed several feet. Victor and Christi, then an EF-4 which is even strong now you're talking about well-built homes they are now leveled down to the foundation.
PAUL: Yes, it is -- it is frightening. Allison Chinchar, thank you so much for the heads-up.
BLACKWELL: Three production companies are planning to stop filming in Georgia to protest the new anti-abortion law but a film production designer in Atlanta says it's not the best way to help. We will talk to her live next.
PAUL: Also ahead, be sure to watch an all new episode of "THE REDEMPTION PROJECT WITH VAN JONES."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VAN JONES, CNN HOST, THE REDEMPTION PROJECT: This is the first victim-offender dialogue ever in Alaska for adults behind bars. Why was this so important for you to push forward and be the first one to do this?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been really aggressive with this issue. I basically have gone in and said, look, I've experienced a horrible tragedy in my life and an individual caused that tragedy. Now I want to have this conversation because there is things that I wanted to say to him that I didn't get to say.
When I went to sentencing, he was not fully accountable. He said, Miss Walters, I'm really sorry for what happened to your son, you shouldn't have had to bury your son. He didn't own it.
JONES: Do you think that he is accountable now?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know if he is accountable yet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: "THE REDEMPTION PROJECT" airs tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern only here on CNN.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN NEW DAY: President Trump is weighing in on the anti-abortion debate. At a series of late night tweets, the President wrote I'm strongly pro-life with the three exceptions, rape, incest and protecting the life of the mother, the same position taken by Ronald Reagan. Of course, this comes after several states passed bill without exemption for rape or incest, the most recent, Missouri, bands abortion after eight weeks. That bill was passed on Friday.
CRISTI PAUL, CNN NEW DAY: So here is the thing. Georgia has its own new anti-abortion law. The governor signed it into law earlier this month that's set to take effect January, on January 1st of next year. But opponents are already promising to challenge this in court, and a lot of people in the entertainment industry are threatening to just stop working on projects that are created in Georgia. Others are saying, listen, it might not be the best strategy.
Molly Coffee, a film production designer in Atlanta is one of those people. She joined a group of female film workers who wrote a petition on change.org. And it says, the petition says, your condemnation is understandable, but what we really need most is allies. Do you feel you're finding allies in Georgia and in Hollywood yet? MOLLY COFFEE, FILM PRODUCTION DESIGNER: We are. I mean, one of the big points that we wanted to make is let's ask the women of Georgia what they need because we were not a part of the conversation. Because it's very easy when voters still very disenfranchised and we don't know where to put our energy to make grand statements about how to make a difference. But we just wanted the women of Georgia to be able to weigh in and have an opportunity to talk, and it has been really great. People have been actually excited to do that. It's just helping people with their energy.
PAUL: Yes. I know that Hollywood argues, look, if we pull our films from this, is this going to make a difference. This is going to help women. But you assert, actually, it kind of hurts us to a certain degree.
COFFEE: Yes. I mean, the women here have been fighting leading up to this. So it's been something that we've been aware of for a while. Obviously, it's in the headlines now for everyone else but, you know, it's something we've been fighting and putting those efforts forth. And this is how we pay our bills and we own houses and we have kids in the school systems here. And we are making a difference. So abandoning those women to the state, a lot of people don't have the privilege to chase the industry to the next incentive. Like we were born and raised here. We live here and we will probably stay working here and have to find new industries.
PAUL: And you actually wrote about that. You said many of us made career choices that allowed us to stay here where we had built a community, a family, a home where women of all faiths and colors from all kinds of backgrounds, we are the backbone of this industry and we do not take what is happening here or around the country or around the world lightly. Giving up and moving would equate to giving up. We're not quitters.
Is it hard to draw that definitive line between, listen, we don't agree with what is happening but we don't to abandon our state and we don't want you to abandon the state just to try to make a point.
COFFEE: Yes. There is a larger problem of women's healthcare in Georgia that has to be addressed and people are working on addressing. And this might be a little bit distraction from that, I think, because we have the highest mortality rate in the United States. I mean, people are -- women are dying from childbirth in Georgia and that's insane that in this time that something like that could still be happening. We have so many counties that don't even have gynecologists or general practitioners. So, you know, there's a larger fight to be had here. And, again, the ability to chase it comes from a privilege that not everyone has.
PAUL: So, I mean, surely people in Hollywood have to understand this to some degree because everybody has been in those, especially those moments and even just beginning your career and you're trying so hard and you can't afford not to work. Have you heard from anybody in Hollywood who might be rethinking this protest? COFFEE: Yes. There are a lot of shows that are here now that are trying to figure out how to navigate it. We know we've seen J.J. Abrams and Jordan Peele make their statements that they're going to give profits. You know, the ones that we're a little bit more worried about are the ones that haven't made the choice yet to come to Georgia. You know, so, now, those are the ones that are weighing, okay, what other states do we have to explore and what do they offer as far as attack and (INAUDIBLE) things like that.
You know, we are one state of many. This is less at Georgia fight than it is like a larger bipartisan one. You know, 67 percent of the people in Georgia don't believe in overturning Roe versus Wade. So this isn't just a Georgia fight. We have to look at the bigger picture.
PAUL: So help people understand how if the film industry pulled out, it would hurt you, it would hurt your friends and your colleagues.
COFFEE: The industry really has. I mean, you're talking about a $9.6 billion economic impact in Georgia in 2018. I mean, it has made a difference politically, economically. You know, it's revived towns. The town of Senoia, you know, basically began a new when The Walking Dead moved in and made sure that they were continually investing in the surrounding towns.
So, you know, it will have not only like the economic impact but as those people leave, you know, well, we came so close last year to turning the state purple. You know, like we will actually reduce the number of voters in the state which, you know, they are kind of counting on. Sonny Perdue went on Fox News and said that he's comfortable with the film industry leaving Georgia, it's because they need to take it back from the impact that the film industry has had.
PAUL: Interesting, all right. Well, thank you so much Molly Coffee. Good luck with everything.
COFFEE: Yes. Thank you for having me.
PAUL: We appreciate you being here. Victor?
BLACKWELL: Stacey Abrams who ran for Georgia governor last year and four democratic female presidential candidates who are asking people to take action against wave of anti-abortion laws in a video released on social media. Now, this comes as Georgia, Alabama and Missouri are putting into place strict anti-abortion laws.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY): Women deserve the right to make decisions about their own bodies.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA): But in state after state, those rights are under attack so we need your help.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Please support organizations that protect the right to safe legal abortions. SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): Join us in this fight for women's rights in the courts and at the ballot box.
REP. STACEY ABRAMS (D-GA): Thank you for your support. Now let's get it done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Also, game over. After eight years of Game of Thrones, well, it comes to an end tonight.
Coming up, some fans just do not like this season at all. How are they reacting to the end of this huge culture phenomenon?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything you did brought you where you are now, where you belong, home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Tonight, one of TV's most popular shows comes to an end. And for millions of fans around the world, there is only one question, who will sit on the iron throne? Did you like that? I kind of really tried to sell it.
PAUL: You've got the voice to do it too. Through eight years of epic battles, I mean, there has been these brutal deaths and plot twists. I mean, fans have stuck with this show and its creators. The question is, are they going to get the payoff?
Joining us to talk about the show's finale, Callie Ahlgrim, Entertainment Reporter for Business Insider. Callie, thank you so much for being here.
So I heard you say that there is this magical element that enticed people into this show and they've lost some of that this last season. What do you think it's missing?
CALLIE AHLGRIM, ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER BUSINESS INSIDER: I think the biggest problem with the last season is that it's focused so much on shock value and spectacle, that it's lost a lot of the really smart character development that I think is the reason that people fell in love with the show in the first place.
You know, in the beginning of seasons, there wasn't a huge budget, there weren't like huge dragon fights and white walkers and all of this massive CGI spectacle, which is great and they are doing a great job of doing that, but what really was the reason people fell in love with it, in my opinion, is the character development and the way that they spun these stories that made a lot of sense for each character and they all faced clear consequences for their actions. Now, I think a lot of the plot points are just -- they feel rushed and sudden to a lot of fans and they're not taking the time to lay the groundwork for those characters that people have fallen in love with for so many years.
BLACKWELL: So you've this self-confessed entitled fan, if you heard about this created Change.org page asking HBO to remake the eighth season, probably not going anywhere, but here is what the fan wrote. Sometimes acknowledgement of the outcry is enough and decisions are made behind the scene to adjust for such backlash.
You talked about, you know, how this season feels rushed and people have been spoiled by this really textured, nuanced, well-produced season over the other -- or series over the other seasons. Are they a victim of their own success?
AHLGRIM: Yes. I think that's a really good point. I think we know that HBO offered the show runners to more money, to do more episodes and they turned it down. They felt like they could complete the story and do justice of the story in this amount of episodes and with this amount of time, which is fine. I think a lot of fans feel a little cheated because they feel like the show could have gone on longer and, selfishly, we all wanted to.
But if the show runners have a clear vision that they have been working towards for years and a finale and these endings for these characters, you know, I don't think a petition is going to do much to change it. But I think a lot of people are just signing it because they pissed and they want to people to know they are pissed.
PAUL: Okay. Let's talk about the end here. How, in your opinion, should it end?
AHLGRIM: If you would ask me this a couple of weeks ago, I would have said something totally different. The last episode, the most recent one rather, just definitely changed a lot for me in a way that it took some of the characters. I don't know for a spoiler-free segment right now. But I think --
PAUL: There probably will be a spoiler-free segment.
BLACKWELL: Yes. Do your best.
PAUL: Yes. Do your best. Maybe just your thoughts on what you think will happen.
AHLGRIM: Okay, yes. So I think now going forward, going off of what I've seen from this last season, I don't think anyone should sit on the iron throne. I think Westeros has proven that they are not responsible with monarchy and with -- and it just often leads to tyranny. And I honestly think that that's the thesis of this show is, excuse me, trying to put forward this last season is that someone who seeks power isn't necessarily fit to hold that power.
PAUL: Wow. That's pretty profound.
BLACKWELL: It is.
PAUL: Someone who seeks power doesn't mean they are fit for power.
AHLGRIM: It grapples with these huge existential questions that apply to our life and, you know, that's why it transcends this fantasy genre that they have chosen to put these huge stories in to.
PAUL: That's a good point.
BLACKWELL: Callie Ahlgrim, it sounds like she moved in to some of our political segments there.
PAUL: It did. That's why I said, wow, that's profound.
BLACKWELL: Seeking power not fit for power. All right, Callie, thanks so much for being with us.
AHLGRIM: Thank you.
PAUL: Have fun tonight.
Everybody is going to have fun. I know they're having parties.
PAUL: Coming up, how this horse ended up running the Preakness Stakes without his jockey.
BLACKWELL: Plus, SNL is going out with a bang this season with a Trump Oval Office sing-a-long led by Alec Baldwin and also taking jabs at some key Trump policies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEC BALDWIN, AMERICAN ACTOR: What I'm very excited about summer, getting around to those things, I never have time for golf, visiting friends in prison and enjoying all of the fantastic new tariffs from China.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: War of will, and now, the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore yesterday won, but that's not the horse that everybody was talking about this morning.
BLACKWELL: Okay. Look at the screen. Check out the middle of the screen here. Bodexpress right there at gate nightmare, he threw his jockey right out of the gate, but that hasn't stopped him from finishing the race. He even took a he second lap around the track before he stopped. Listen, I've got this attention, I'm going to take a tour here. Thankfully, jockey John Velazquez and the other horses were not hurt because that could have been really ugly, a pretty crazy moment. But I feel bad --
PAUL: I've never seen anything like that before.
BLACKWELL: I feel bad for the jockey and trainer and the farm because to get to the Preakness Stakes, to get to that race --
PAUL: I know.
BLACKWELL: -- and that's how it ends up.
All right. Final cold open (ph) of the season of Saturday Night Live aired last night and featured Alec Baldwin as President Trump singing a Queen hit in the Oval Office.
PAUL: And in true SNL style, the lyrics included jabs at the President's tax returns, his tariffs on China, new anti- abortion laws. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CECILY STRONG, AMERICAN ACTRESS: He's a billionaire unless you take a look at his tax return. He's going to hide, hide, hide, oh, there's no showing you.
BALDWIN: I'm burning every bridge, yes, picking every fight.
STRONG: That's why they call him Mr. Bad Advice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: All right. CNN Chief Media Correspondent Brian Stelter is with us now. Brian, what was your take from last night?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is the season finale and we don't see Alec Baldwin playing Trump all that often anymore. They've really pulled back. You know, it used to be every week we would see a Trump impersonation. Well, Baldwin seems tired of it, the show seems tired of it, so they don't do this very often any more. That's why I thought it was interesting. And iIf nothing else, this definitely wakes you up when you see it the next morning.
Here's a little bit more of their Queen performance as a group.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KENAN THOMPSON, AMERICAN ACTOR: The Supreme Court is ready for a fight on abortion. We got the votes now. Women are screwed.
STRONG: Because an issue you got the results 50 years ago but no, no, no, old men are still in control.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: You can watch the whole song online. You know, Melania's character saying old men are still in control of women's bodies.
And the topic about these anti-abortion bills also came up on weekend update. There was a very serious comment from Leslie Jones. But, first, here's a couple of jokes from Weekend Update. One is about the tensions with Iran and then also about these abortion bills.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLIN JOST, ANCHOR, WEEKEND UPDATE: Amid rising tensions with Iran, there were rumors that the White House is now going to send 120,000 more troops to the Middle East. But don't worry. President Trump set the record straight with this firm reassuring message.
REPORTER: Mr. President, are we going to war with Iran?
TRUMP: I hope not.
JOST: You know it's up to you, right, man?
And a plan backed by the Trump administration, NASA has announced it will send the first woman to the moon by 2024. Unfortunately, it's against her will.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: And on from there, Leslie Jones, who's one of the best performers on SNL then came on and had a rant about these recent laws in Alabama and elsewhere. She said, you cannot tell me what to do with my body. A woman's choice means freedom for women and she did it in her usual comedic style. But it was a very serious message.
I think it relates to what you were talking about earlier this hour about the women in Georgia who work in the film industry and who were wondering what Hollywood production companies are going to go to try to protest these anti-abortion bills and whether that's the right thing or not. We see SNL obviously taking the liberal position on these issues but it's an ongoing point of tension in Hollywood -- in the entertainment industry about what the right way, what the wrong way is to speak out about these anti-abortion bills.
PAUL: Yes. I mean, it's such a good point when you think about people who -- they got to feed their families, they got to take care of themselves, and do you yank that from them to try to make a political point? It's dicey for all around, no doubt.
STELTER: Yes. It's just this ongoing debate and I think it's really interesting. Yes.
PAUL: It is. Stelter, always good to have you here.
STELTER: Thanks. Good to see you.
BLACKWELL: And be sure to watch Brian on Reliable Sources. That is 11:00 A.M. Eastern right here on CNN. PAUL: We'll be right back.