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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Nikki Haley: "I Will Be Voting For Trump"; CNN Speaks With Father Of Murdered Israeli Hostage; Ex-Model Claims "Diddy" Drugged, Sexually Assaulted Her In 2003; Crime A Major Election Issue In Portland, Oregon; OpenAI Stops Using Virtual Voice That Scarlett Johansson Says Sounds "Eerily Similar" To Hers. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired May 22, 2024 - 17:00   ET




This is CNN breaking News.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: We have some breaking news off the top of this hour here on The Lead from former Republican presidential candidate, South Carolina governor and U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley. She is speaking live right now for the very first time since she dropped out of the race in March. She just announced that she will be voting for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in November. CNN's Jeff Zeleny joins me now live in studio.

Jeff, did we expect this or is this a surprise?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Jake, it's somewhat of a surprise. She did not mention Donald Trump's name at all in a speech that she just finished giving. But it came up in the question and answer session at a think tank, the Hudson Institute, which she now is leading here. She was asked near the end of that Q and A, who would she vote for? Her speech was very critical of Joe Biden and his policies. Again, she did not mention Donald Trump by name until she was asked who her ballot would be for.


NIKKI HALEY, (R) FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As a voter, I put my priorities on a president who's going to have the backs of our allies and hold our enemies to account, who would secure the border. No more excuses. A president who would support capitalism and freedom. A president who understands we need less debt, not more debt. Trump has not been perfect on these policies.

I've made that clear many, many times. But Biden has been a catastrophe. So, I will be voting for Trump.


ZELENY: So she also went on to say, really picking up where she left off on March 6, her concession speech, she said it is the burden of Donald Trump to reach out to her supporters, to win them over. So, Jake, she went on to say this, having said that, I stand by what I said in my suspension speech, Trump would be smart to reach out to the millions of people who voted for me and to continue to support me and not be automatically assumed that they will support him.

So, is this a surprise? No. She's the last standing Republican rival who had withheld her endorsement. The last major candidate, Chris Christie has as well. But look, she's a Republican. She's a two term former Republican governor.

She served in the U.N., of course, as ambassador. So this is not a surprise. The question is what happens to her supporters? But talking to her advisors, she doesn't own these supporters. She doesn't own these voters, and hundreds of millions of them have been cast since she dropped out of the race.

So again, she said that she hopes he reaches out to them. The bigger question, could she still be considered to be his running mate? Ralph Norman, a Republican member of Congress from South Carolina, said just yesterday here on CNN he's talked to the former president. He wishes he would reach out to her for running mate. He has said that he is not going to put her on the shortlist.

We shall see.

TAPPER: So also, Chris Sununu, the former governor of New Hampshire, who was a Haley supporter and now is endorsed Trump, said that he wished that Trump would bring Haley on the ticket.

Stick with me, Jeff. I want to bring in Ashley Etienne, who worked for Vice President Harris, and Bryan Lanza, who worked for the Trump-Pence campaign.

Bryan, how significant a moment do you think this is?

BRYAN LANZA, FORMER DEPUTY COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, TRUMP-PENCE CAMPAIGN: First of all, thank you for having me. I think it's another moment of the party uniting behind Trump. First, you had Bill Barr announced here on CNN that he was supporting Trump. I think that shocked a lot of people. And you see more and more of what was viewed as the resistance sort of lining up supporting Trump.

And that's where the party's going. They're going unified into November. And I push back a little bit on what Nikki Haley said that Trump needs to appeal to her supporters. He's clearly appealing to supporters because he's consolidating the Republican vote already. That's not on accident.

That's on a target, that's on a targeted pitch that the campaign is focused on, is hitting those voters without necessarily addressing the Nikki Haley situation. Now they can address it and sort of reinforce. We've been talking to you. Now Nikki Haley's on board. Let's unify the rest of the party and let's get ready for November.

ASHLEY ETIENNE, FORMER DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY, VP HARRIS: I mean, I just think this really puts on full display for the American people how spineless the Republican Party is today. How they've completely rolled over and are now behind in backing Donald Trump, when all of these from Sununu to Nikki Haley, have had great, massive objections about Donald Trump, from the $8 trillion he's added to the debt, to the chaos, as she would describe it, that he perpetuated as president, from domestic policy to foreign policy. Now all of a sudden, we just delete on that. We hit delete on that. She expects American people to forget that she actually said that.

I think that her voters aren't, to your point earlier, her vote -- those aren't her voters. I think those voters are in pure objection to where the Republican Party is today. They're disgusted by Donald Trump. They wanted an alternative. She represented that alternative. Now that she's out of it, I think those part -- those folks don't go back to the Republican Party.


TAPPER: So just -- Alyssa Farrah Griffin, Trump's former communications director, who's no longer a fan of Donald Trump, said in response to Nikki Haley saying she's going to vote for Trump, quote, "Disappointing but not surprising. I lost all faith in politicians a long time ago. Trump is a threat to democracy and has no business being near the White House." So there are some who --

ETIENNE: Within the Republican Party that have lost faith in their own leaders.

TAPPER: Right, but you were talking about what Nikki Haley said about Trump during the campaign.

Jeff, I want to play some of what she said in the weeks before she dropped out of the race in March.


HALEY: I feel no need to kiss the ring. I have no fear of Trump's retribution. I'm not looking for anything from him. My own political future is of zero concern.


TAPPER: So Haley could have made this announcement at any time since she dropped out of the race. And certainly, and, Bryan, I want you to weigh in on this in a second after Jeff, certainly there are a lot of people out there still voting for Haley in these primaries. I mean, knowing that it's futile, but I think she got, like, almost 20 percent of the vote in Indiana, double digits in Pennsylvania, 6 percent last night in Kentucky, not a lot, but still, she's not even running. Why now? Why make this announcement now?

ZELENY: Look, one of the reasons, I'm told, is because the primaries are nearing their end, and she, of course, is thinking about her future. I'm told it's not decided yet. She has no idea if she will run again in 2028. That's a long time down the road. But she is a Republican.

So there was a donor meeting with some of her top donors just last week in South Carolina. And at that meeting, I'm told that it came up. I mean, there is some concern about her branding. She's not a Joe Biden moderate. She is a conservative Republican.

TAPPER: Right.

ZELENY: She just believes the party should not be of the MAGA variety. So the reason she's doing it now, because she was asked the question directly. She went there and she wanted to take the air out of the suspense a little bit.

The bigger question is, what does she do now? Does she campaign on behalf of Donald Trump? Does he ask her, does he reach out to her? Those are very unknown at this hour.

TAPPER: And Bryan, so I give you one homework assignment a second ago. Here's the second one. Is there a difference between her saying I endorse Donald Trump and her saying, I'm voting for Donald Trump and here's why.

LANZA: No, I don't think it's a difference to her voters. I certainly don't think it's a difference to the campaign. I mean, at the end of the day, you know, she says she's going to be punching her ticket for Donald Trump. That's what everybody wants to hear in the Republican Party and that's what they're going to be hearing.

I do think she'll likely campaign. I mean, the reality is she's going to be a very popular person among the circuit, especially the suburban women, which the campaign recognizes they have challenges. I don't think she's going to be VP or even the cabinet position, but she's a very strong and powerful surrogate for the campaign. And I think she'll deliver on that.



ETIENNE: No, I mean, I think the concern is that she's prioritized her own political future over the future of the country. Whatever happened to constitutional Republicans? The ones who believe in those foundational documents, the one that -- the ones that -- you know, the documents that Donald Trump says he's going to do away with on day one, that he's going to lead like a dictator. And she knows that. She was in those rooms.

She saw it and she brought that to the American people and said, this guy does not deserve to be in the White House. Why all of a sudden that changes and she's not going to get anything out of the deal is just a disgrace. And I think it slap into the face of the American people.

TAPPER: Bryan, how do you explain all the thousands of people that are still voting for Nikki Haley in these primaries, Republican voters?

LANZA: It's probably still a little bit of a protest about what you see. But let's remember this happened in 2016. You had a phenomenon of a lot of Republican and the primary voters still not voting for Trump. But what did we learn? We learned in November that they voted for Trump.

So it's a great storyline that we can talk about and sort of create this upheaval. But at the end of the day, we know they fall in line because we look at historical patterns and they fell in line in 2016.

ZELENY: One thing I learned today, the Biden campaign is actually studying those voters, particularly Indiana, where more than 21 percent, one in five Republicans voted for her. They're trying to see -- you know, a lot are suburban women, but not all of them. So, we will see now that Haley has said who she's supporting, if that changes at all, sort of, you know, be a calculus for some of her voters. But, again, she has said she doesn't own these voters.

So, there was a mix. Some were Democrats in other states, but even in closed primary states, there were still a lot of Republicans voting for her. It was definitely a protest vote. We'll see if the Republicans for Biden organization, which is ramping up, will get any other people on it or not. She will not be one of them.

TAPPER: Ashley, here's something else Nikki Haley said before she dropped out of the race earlier this year.



HALEY: At some point, maybe we should say the reason that America keeps losing is because of Donald Trump.


TAPPER: She's certainly given the Biden campaign a lot of clips that they can use in their ads. I don't know how effective they'll be, though, with her out there saying, here's all the reasons why Donald Trump is better.

ETIENNE: Yes, I mean, I think the concern for her, she's part of probably lost. I can bet all credibility with those voters that are voting for her now, those protest voters. So I'm not so sure what effect she'll have on the campaign trail going forward. And I'm not so sure this endorsement really moves any of that 20 percent in any of those states.

I mean, you're absolutely right. She's given a lot of fodder to the Biden campaign. But also, I think more than anything else, it really should wake up the Republican Party. They should be asking themselves, how do we reclaim this party? How do we get to this, in this position that we're in now where we're going to the head of the party who's lost three consecutive cycles, right, dating back to '16.

TAPPER: 2018.

ETIENNE: 2018, excuse me. How is this person, the head of the party? One who's antithetical to everything we stand for and represent as a party that they used to? More importantly, if you don't mind me adding -- TAPPER: OK.

ETIENNE: -- you have, you know, Senator Romney who says there's -- this is the scariest thing, if you ask me, a growing faction within the Republican party that no longer believes in the constitution and that supports people like Putin. That is alarming. And it should be to Nikki Haley and the fact that she's compromised her principles to now support Trump is despicable.

TAPPER: We'll give you the last word here.

ETIENNE: Listen, I think Governor Romney in 2016 provided a lot of lines to hurt President Trump and Iran, and it had no factor. So whatever lines Nikki Haley provided in the 2024 race, it'll probably have no factor as well.

You know, she's on board. She made a decision that she analyzed Joe Biden's policies, she analyzed his foreign policies, which is viewed by a universal lens as weak, and said, you know, a weak America, a weak American leader is far more dangerous than anything Donald Trump has done. And by the way, the voters have made that decision as well. These Republican voters have.

TAPPER: All right. Well, big news on this -- what day is today? Wednesday. Thanks so much for being here. Really appreciate it.

Coming up next, an interview that takes courage and strength, a father's hope that his message will be heard. Stay with us.



TAPPER: Now, two major developments in the Israel-Hamas war. In a moment, in his first U.S. interview, you're going to hear from the father of Shani Louk. Shani Louk, of course, that 22-year-old woman kidnapped by Hamas and killed by Hamas. She was at the Nova music festival on October 7. Her remains were found by Israeli forces just last week.

But first, the declarations that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is blasting as a, quote, "reward for terror." Ireland, Spain and Norway all announced plans to formally recognize a Palestinian state. Let's start with CNN's Jeremy Diamond in Jerusalem.

Jeremy, reaction from Israel and the U.S. has been strong and swift following these three countries recognizing a Palestinian state.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No doubt about it, Jake. And Israel taking actual steps in response to these three countries recognizing a Palestinian state, the Israeli foreign minister today recalling Israel's ambassadors to those three countries and also bringing in those countries ambassadors to Israel for a formal reprimand and also where he said he planned to show them the video of women being taken hostage on October 7. As you said, the Israeli prime minister said that this would be a reward for terror. And he's also making clear that he opposes the establishment of a Palestinian state, saying that a Palestinian state today would be a, quote, "terror state," which he said he believes will attempt to perpetrate the October 7 massacre again and again.

Now, as for the United States, they are rejecting that notion of unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state, but also reaffirming a two state solution. Listen.


JAKE SULLIVAN, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: President Biden, as I just said, has been on the record supporting a two state solution. He has been equally emphatic on the record that two state solution should be brought about through direct negotiations, through the parties, not through unilateral recognition. That's a principled position that we have held on a consistent basis. We'll communicate that to our partners around the world, and we'll see what unfolds.


DIAMOND: And now the Israeli foreign minister is vowing that there will be, quote, "serious consequences" for the recognition of a Palestinian state from these three countries. We understand that the foreign ministry is currently considering moves that could restrict the travel, for example, officials from those countries. And today, the finance minister of Israel, Bezalel Smotrich, a far right member of Netanyahu's governing coalition, also saying that he is going to seek the approval of 10s of 1000s of housing units in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, as well as new settlements. He also wants to block tax revenues, Palestinian tax revenues collected by the Israeli government meant for the Palestinian Authority, which is already quite severely cash strapped. That could certainly have real consequences in the West Bank.

What is clear is that this move by these three countries to recognize a Palestinian state, which they say will be followed by other countries, largely symbolic, but it is, of course, once again highlighting Israel's growing isolation on the world stage. Jake.

TAPPER: Jeremy Diamond in Jerusalem, thank you.

Last week, the Israel Defense Forces recovered the bodies of four hostages from Gaza. One of them was that of 22-year-old Shani Louk, who was kidnapped by Hamas from the Nova music festival. She had previously been confirmed killed, but her body was then returned to her family. Over the weekend, a funeral was held for Shani. Hundreds of people attended to honor her memory, and her body was finally laid to rest. Shani Louk's father, Nissim Louk, is with us now.

Nissim, thank you so much for joining us under such horrible circumstances. How is your family holding up? How are you doing?

NISSIM LOUK, FATHER OF DECEASED HOSTAGE SHANI LOUK: Thank you very much. And good afternoon for all of you.

Yes, these are rough times in Israel after what happened to us on the seventh of October when, you know, in the middle of the day, actually in the morning, terrorists and Hamas members crossed the border from Gaza into Israel and killed so many people in one day. And for us, it's a catastrophe. It's a tragedy. And especially for myself, you know, I have a big hole in my heart by the shape of my daughter Shani Louk, which I'm sure most of you saw the pictures all over the world. And she is lying in the back.


There's a beautiful, young 22-years-old girl lying in the back of a Toyota pickup. And on top of her there are like five militants with machine guns. And, you know, for her father to see such a horrible thing, it was difficult. But yes, we buried her this week, on Sunday. And it was from one side very painful, of course, but from the other side, it was a relief.

And I feel a little bit lucky with all this tragedy that happened to us and to the Jewish people in Israel and around the world because this is something that is bigger than us, of course. With all the pain, I feel a little bit lucky because from the first week, like two weeks after the seventh of October, we knew that she was dead because they found a piece of her bone from the skull. And we did a DNA check and it was her. So we knew that she was dead, like two, three weeks after the seventh of October. And now we had another present from Shani, actually, probably that we have the body and we buried it on Sunday.

And, yes, it's complete. And we closed the loop. And I feel lucky twice. OK. With a big tragedy that happened to the Jewish people in Israel. Yes.

TAPPER: How do you want Shani Louk, your daughter, to be remembered?

LOUK: Since Shani, my daughter, was born, you know, we live in a beautiful place in a beautiful forest in the middle of Israel. And, you know, since she was a little baby, actually, she used to go into the forest like, you know, in the fairy tales and pick up flowers, and she was always happy and smiling and dancing. And she was a unique person. And, you know, you could see the light coming from herself. And, you know, also she was a beautiful girl and you see the inner beauty and outer beauty.

And she was an amazing girl. She was so happy and she was so free and she did whatever she wanted. You know, sometimes it is hard for a father to see a girl, beautiful girl doing everything she wants, you know, but still she was a free person and did everything that she wanted. And on that crazy day, you know, like, she went to a party in the south of Israel, just near the Gaza border. It was a beautiful party with 3,000 people and they were dancing all night.

And in the morning when the rocket started coming from a Gaza strip towards Tel Aviv in Israel, we called her and we asked her, Shani, how are you? Are you OK? And she said, yes, I'm OK and I'm heading towards Tel Aviv and everything is fine. And actually this was the last phone call that we had from her and to her. And the terrorists got her halfway to Tel Aviv and kidnapped her body. They killed her first and then kidnapped her body to Gaza. And you know, luckily a few days ago, some of the soldiers that were in a special mission, they found a hole in the ground. They went down, 15 meters down and they found a tunnel, like a one kilometers long tunnel. They were walking in the tunnel and then they found a room. They filled up with the sandbags, they took all the bags out and suddenly they saw the four bodies.

What was very amazing was that I saw the picture of my daughter Shani, you know, after they found her a few days ago and the body was complete. It was a beautiful body, still with the same color, the same skin, the same tattoos. And it looks like to me like she died actually yesterday.

But I want to tell everyone, you know, Shani was a beautiful girl, really, an amazing woman. And one day after the seventh of October in all over Europe there was a very famous picture. You see, Shani, my daughter, which had double passport, means she was an Israeli, German civilian and she had two passports. And the day after, on the eight of October, there was a big picture, beautiful picture on the main pages all over Europe and it was written there -- from one side you see Shani, beautiful, dancing on from -- and on the other side you see these militant terrorist murderers. And it was written, look at our beautiful German girl and look at what this barbarian doing to her.


And I think that this is one of the most important pictures, you know, actually ever in the last, let's say, 50 years, that in one picture you can see from one side an angel and from the other side demons. From one side beauty, from the other side you see pain and you see horror. From one side good and from the other side bad. Like if you take this picture and you show it to a little kid, you know, they doesn't know anything about Israel and Palestinian and problem, and you tell him, what do you see? He will tell you, I see -- oh, look at this beautiful girl, you know, and look what they are doing to her, these cruel people.

And whenever, you know -- many people in the world think, the Israelis, the Jews are the bad and the Palestinians are the good. And so -- and whenever each one of you have a, you know, question, am I the good man? Am I the good guy or am I the bad guy? Yes? So just, you know, look at the picture and immediately, you know, it will bring you back into, look, look at the picture.

You see immediately the good and the bad. And you cannot, you know, mix in between these two. Like there is a line in between these two pictures and you cannot mix this picture.


LOUK: You see good and you see evil.

TAPPER: Nissim Louk, thank you so much for talking to us today. May Shani's memory be a blessing. We appreciate your time and we're so sorry. We're so sorry for what happened. LOUK: Yes. Yes. Thank you. Thank you very much, everyone.

And, you know, spread the light of Shani because she had a unique light. And, you know, take a little bit of this light and, you know, and spread it around the world and so the world will be a better place. Thank you very much.

TAPPER: Yes. Amen to that. Amen to that.

Up next, yet another lawsuit against rapper Sean "Diddy" Combs, a model accusing him of sexual assault in 2003 explains why she's coming forward now.



TAPPER: In our Pop Culture Lead, new disturbing sexual assault allegations against multimillionaire rapper and producer Sean "Diddy" Combs. The latest lawsuit filed on Tuesday by former model Crystal McKinney claims that Diddy, quote, drugged and sexually assaulted her in 2003 after an event in New York City. This is the seventh lawsuit against Diddy and comes just days after CNN revealed exclusive surveillance footage showing Diddy physically attacking his then girlfriend Cassie Ventura in 2016. Ventura's original lawsuit against Diddy is the only one that has been settled. CNN's Elizabeth Wagmeister has been on top of the story from the very beginning. Elizabeth, what more do we know about McKinney's allegations against Diddy?

ELIZABETH WAGMEISTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So McKinney says that in 2003, when she was 22 years old, she had met Sean "Diddy" Combs and that he promised to help her with her career. Now, she says that after a New York fashion week event that he invited her back to his recording studio and that is when she alleges that she was assaulted.

Now, Jake, I want to read you some pieces from the lawsuit and walk you through this. And I do want to warn our viewers that some of this is very graphic. Now, McKinney claims in the lawsuit, she says plaintiff later came to understand that Combs had laced a joint with a narcotic or other intoxicating substance. She goes on to say, seeing plaintiff was very intoxicated, Combs demanded plaintiff follow him, and he physically led plaintiff to the bathroom. In the bathroom, Combs forced himself on plaintiff.

As she was being assaulted, plaintiff felt panicked and physically sick. Upon standing and walking, plaintiff felt more and more woozy and then lost consciousness. As her consciousness returned, plaintiff realized that she had been sexually assaulted by Combs. So that is what McKinney's attorney is stating in this complaint.

As you see there. She alleges that she believes that she was drugged when Diddy gave her marijuana and then she was assaulted. Now, I do want to note, Jake, that I have reached out to Diddy's team. They have not responded to this new lawsuit yet.

TAPPER: Do we know why McKinney decided to sue Diddy now?

WAGMEISTER: So she has said that after seeing Cassie and other women come forward, that she felt like she had a moral obligation to share her story. But also, you know, Jake, there's a big conversation about the statute of limitations in prosecuting sex crimes and how that statute of limitations makes it very difficult for many accusers to come forward.

Well, there is a law that is called the New York Victims of Gender Motivated Violence Protection Law, and it creates a look back window where victims can extend that statute of limitations. Now, this law went into effect last year in March 2023, and it goes through next March in 2025. So that is how she was able to file this lawsuit. Now, we do have to point out, of course, this is the latest in a string of lawsuits. And although Diddy has not denied or responded at all to this one, he has issued a blanket denial back in December 2023. And as we know, after we exclusively obtained and revealed that surveillance video, he also released an apology.


TAPPER: Elizabeth, you also have a new exclusive interview with an accuser of Harvey Weinstein, the one who was at the forefront of the initial sexual assault allegations against him. Why is she speaking out now?

WAGMEISTER: Yes. So Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, she is, as you said, was really at the forefront of accusing Harvey Weinstein before the Me Too movement in 2017. Now, of course, Harvey Weinstein's conviction was overturned. But it's not just that why Ambra is now speaking to us, Jake. It's also because during Trump's hush money trial, she saw parallels, because tabloid king, David Pecker, who was the boss of the "National Enquirer," he testified on the stand admitting two burying stories to help Trump. And she believes that there were similar efforts to silence her. I asked her about that. Let's take a look.


WAGMEISTER: That if it happened to Trump with the same tabloid company, that could have been what happened to you with Weinstein.

AMBRA BATTILANA GUTIERREZ, HARVEY WEINSTEIN ACCUSER: I'm pretty sure it's what happened back in the days, like, they were trying to buy my story. They were trying to say, like, how much you want? And I kept just answering, nothing. I wanted to tell my story, but I wanted to trust someone. Somebody have the power in their hands, a big power in their hands, like he has to destroy somebody and their reputation, where at a time, as I said, I was a 22 years old model.


WAGMEISTER: Now, as you see, she is saying there that she feels like she was smeared in the tabloids. And it wasn't just that she was being smeared. She also tells us, Jake, that the "National Enquirer" offered her $150,000 to buy and bury her story, but she said no and turned down that large sum of money. TAPPER: All right, Elizabeth Wagmeister, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

What appears to be a major turn in an American city that prides itself on progressive politics, voters just sent a loud message about crime in Portland. The candidate benefitting from that message is going to join us next.



TAPPER: In our Politics Lead, the voters in Portland, Oregon have spoken. And although the final results are not yet official and there are some votes that need to be counted, it does appear that the voters want a tougher stance on crime than what they were getting. In a closely watched contest, longtime county prosecutor Nathan Vasquez has a sizable lead in his effort to unseat his boss, the incumbent District Attorney Mike Schmidt. Schmidt came to office in 2020 as violent protests raged in the city. He pledged to not prosecute even those who were clashing with police.

This race comes as Oregon recently overturned a 2020 ballot measure that decriminalized hard narcotics such as heroin. And Nathan Vasquez joins us now. Mr. Vasquez, I understand that until it is certified, you are not going to claim victory. I get it. I respect it. But you have a large lead. You've pledged to end open air drug use and drug dealing. We know that addiction is a disease. So tell us how you're going to strike the balance between law and order and treatment.

NATHAN VASQUEZ, MULTNOMAH COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY CANDIDATE: Yes, absolutely. First and foremost, thank you for having me here today, and I am very optimistic about the results. But I am dedicated to ending the open air drug dealing and the open air drug use here. But the balance is one that is built into the statute and it's one that we thoroughly believe here in Portland and that is meeting people where they're at on the streets and those that are struggling with substance abuse disorder and addiction, it's helping them get to treatment.

And so that's going to be half of the work here is really helping connect those individuals and supporting them through the process. But the other half is going to be very dedicated to really crushing those individuals that are dealing poison on our streets.

TAPPER: For those of us who are not in the Pacific Northwest and have been watching some of the curious law enforcement, or lack of law enforcement decisions made in Portland and up north in Seattle, where there was that lawless zone for a month during 2020, how do you explain how things teetered so far leftward that even progressives and liberals who generally support progressive politics thought that things had just gone way too far?

VASQUEZ: Yes. Well, I want to start by saying Portland is and still will be a beautiful community and city, and we have so much potential, and it is a wonderful community here. There were things that got off track, and I believe the community now is ready for a different vision, one that is, you know, it involves more public safety, but still, you know, has a strong place for progressive values. And that's something that we're going to honor here, but we're going to absolutely work towards delivering the promise of making victims a priority and public safety a priority here.

TAPPER: What was your reaction when the current district attorney, Schmidt, said he wasn't going to prosecute even those individuals who were in violent confrontations with police officers during the 2020 protests that turned violent?

VASQUEZ: That was tough. During that time, you know, I was working closely with law enforcement trying to deal with this. I was actually in the Justice Center the night that protesters littered on fire. As someone that has over two decades of experience and had worked on many of these, it was the wrong direction. It sent the wrong message to, you know, to our community and to really the individuals that were out to cause damage. And, you know, it's one where experience, I think, doing things from that lens would really take us in a different direction. And, you know, it's something that recently we've seen some issues here, and I believe that when I'm elected, I'll have an opportunity to do things in a much better manner.


TAPPER: A similar vote happened, I think it was a year ago in San Francisco, where a very, very, very leftward district attorney lost an election. Do you think the pendulum is swinging back, if not to the center and then to at least center left on the west coast?

VASQUEZ: Well, what I can say, certainly, is that in this community, in Portland, you know, I knocked on probably 15 to 20,000 doors and talked to a lot of folks. And, you know, they are still very progressive, still, you know, very kind of left liberal. And these are things that, you know, people are not abandoning those values by any stretch.

Really what they're looking for, though, is a balance. They want public safety and they want it delivered in a professional manner. And that's, you know, that's why I came forward with the experience. I have to do that in a way that kind of respects what we, our values in this community, but also make sure that victims and public safety are priority.

TAPPER: Nathan Vasquez, thank you. And prematurely, congratulations. Appreciate it. We'll be right back.




TAPPER: Our Tech Lead now, the future and power of artificial intelligence or AI, magnified, after the dust up this week between actress Scarlett Johansson and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. Johansson accused the company of using her voice in its updated edition of ChatGPT. Altman denies the allegation. You can judge it for yourself. Here's a sampling of Johansson's voice in the movie "Her," in which she plays in AI, followed by ChatGPT's virtual Sky voice compare it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to learn everything about everything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you about to reveal something about AI?


TAPPER: Not to mention Altman's post on X the same day as the announcement, he wrote one single word, "Her," which, again, is the name of that Johansson movie in which she plays AI. Despite all the attention on the story, he still hasn't named the actor whose voice sounds so eerily similar to Scarlett Johansson's.

My next guest wrote in "The Atlantic" quote, the Johansson scandal is merely a reminder of AI's manifest destiny philosophy. This is happening whether you like it or not, unquote. Charlie Warzel is the author. He joins us now. Thanks so much, Charlie, for joining us. So Scarlett Johansson has lawyered up, and she might need to go to court if she wants any true recourse. But do you see AI as too far advanced and too untouchable to regulate, even at this point?

CHARLIE WARZEL, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: No, I don't think it's too late to regulate it. I mean, this is certainly not, the column was not a message to give up or anything like that. What I think the you can't stop it philosophy pertains to is the people who are making it feel this way. They feel that, you know, this is a technology born of science fiction that people have been trying to build and usher in for, you know, for decades. And I think they believe they're as close as possible to, you know, building something to, you know, to meet those ideals.

And so I think they believe that, you know, we're going to do this because we have to, because it's too important not to. And you can either get on board or you can attempt to fight us, but they clearly believe the momentum is on their side.

TAPPER: You write that AI is, quote, a technology that requires a mindset of manifest destiny of dominion and conquest. It's not stealing to build the future if you believe it has belonged to you all along, unquote. And again, I know you're reflecting how these AI people feel about this, not how you feel about it. From your reporting, how much is AI revolutionizing our day to day lives for the good compared to ill?

WARZEL: I think we don't know yet, right? I think there is a notion that higher up in the chain, when we, if they perhaps unlock a, you know, an artificial intelligence that can reason almost like humans, that's the goal. That's the aspiration. Well, then you could apply that, say, to science, to healthcare research, right? We're already seeing AI being used in protein folding and things like that.

There's AI injected, you know, in analysis tools and tools that, you know, defense contractors use in hospitals and all kinds of places. And so it's already embedded in our lives, and it's doing interesting and good things, you know. Another way to think about AI to some extent is computer automation to some degree. It's not always, you know, a sentient intelligence type figure. So there is good stuff, but there's so much promise, there's so much hype.

And when you look at a tool like ChatGPT, it's impressive, but it's not. It doesn't have human level intelligence or what, you know, they hope to have.

TAPPER: So in a recent shareholders meeting this month, as I'm sure you know, billionaire Warren Buffett compared AI to nuclear weapons, saying, quote, we let a genie out of the bottle when we develop nuclear weapons. AI is somewhat similar. It's partway out of the bottle, unquote. He's obviously speaking about the fact that there are dangers here and there is a degree to which government hasn't done enough to stop it and it's out.

WARZEL: Yes. I think that to some degree, the apocalyptic kind of "Skynet" terminator scenarios are also a good bit of marketing on the part of these AI companies, right? It signals that they're building something so incredibly powerful. But again, when you look at the tools that are out there, they are impressive, but a lot of them are, you know, closer to a, you know, fancy autocorrect or something that anticipates the next word in a phrase, right? It's kind of a predictive technology right now. It's not thinking. It's not doing. So, you know, I think we're a ways off.


TAPPER: All right, Charlie Warzel from The Atlantic, thank you so much. Always good to have you on.

WARZEL: Thank you.

TAPPER: Up next, an uplifting discovery in a small Iowa town after a horrible night of destruction. Stay with us.


TAPPER: In our last leads, multiple deaths are reported in the wake of tornadoes that tour across Iowa late Tuesday afternoon and evening as we told you earlier in the show. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, who visited the area today, says the town of Greenfield was flattened by a tornado. One positive note in all this horror, even though a tornado destroyed this family's home, it did avoid their outdoor kennel, leading to this very happy reunion.

There is a new flag controversy involving Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, believe it or not, "The New York Times" reported during this show that two years after the upside down American flag, the distress symbol was flown outside Alito's Virginia home during the stop the steal era.

[18:00:09] The appeal to heaven flag was seen flying outside the family's vacation home in Long Beach Island, New Jersey, last summer. "The Times" reports that the flag was carried by rioters at the Capitol on January 6th as well, and symbolizes both support for Donald Trump and a push to remake the U.S. government in Christian terms. "The Times" says neither Justice Alito nor the U.S. Supreme Court responded to their questions about this new second flag.

We'll have much more of this breaking news situation on the Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer. I will see you tomorrow.