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CNN NewsNight with Abby Phillip

Biden Admin Scrambles To Slow Migrant Surge; Haley Skips Over Slavery When Asked About Cause Of Civil War; "The New York Times" Sues OpenAI; Two Politicians Swatted On "Christmas Day"; Fans Mourn The Loss Of South Korean Actor Lee Sun Kyung. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired December 27, 2023 - 22:00   ET



KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: The Englishman known for his tenure as Agent 007 was sighted yesterday in Wyoming after allegedly walking in the thermal areas of Yellowstone National park. Obviously, that's a no go. Regulations prohibit walking around those designated trails or boardwalks off of those, I should note. The Park Service says that water in and around the hunt springs can cause severe or even fatal burns. No kind of MI-6 training, of course, could even help with that. I should note Pierce Brosnan has been ordered to appear at the Yellowstone Justice Center on January 23rd.

In 2021, a park-goer faced similar charges -- who was facing similar charges was sentenced to seven days in jail. We have reached out to the actor's representatives for comment, and we'll let you know if we hear more.

Thank you so much for joining us on this busy news night tonight. CNN Newsnight with Abby Phillip starts right now.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: Lady Liberty has a problem. No one knows what to do with the tired, poor, huddled masses coming to America's border every day. That's tonight on Newsnight.

Good evening. I'm Abby Phillip in Washington.

And today, a meeting with massive consequences, America's top diplomat, Antony Blinken, making a day trip to Mexico for a two-hour high-stakes sit down with that country's president. The topic is immigration, the immovable object of American politics.

The latest pressure point is a migrant caravan winding its way through our neighbor to the south. The Border Patrol was already overwhelmed before this month and then this month broke records for illegal crossings, 10,000 humans in a single day at the southern border on multiple occasions.

Now, if you live in New York City or in Chicago and you go for a walk right now, you'll see the ripple effects of all of this, migrants, men, women, and children stranded on the street corners, food, a question mark, shelter, another question mark, what next, a question mark. Democratic mayors say that they are desperate for help from President Biden. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR BRANDON JOHNSON (D-CHICAGO, IL): Without real significant investment from our federal government, it won't just be the city of Chicago that won't be able to maintain this mission, it's the entire country that is now at stake.

MAYOR ERIC ADAMS (D-NEW YORK CITY, NY): The federal government said to New York City, we're not going to do our job. You do our job.

I am not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel from the federal government.


PHILLIP: And on the other side, Republicans say it's a failure of federal policy also owned by President Biden.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): They wanted us to vote on a piece of crap bill right before Christmas. I said, I'm out of here. I'm not going to sit here and vote on a bill that won't do anything.

REP. NANCY MACE (R-SC): Blinken's visit to Mexico is all about paying lip service to this issue.

This is a massive, massive problem for the Biden administration. They refuse to address it.

REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): Some of my Texas constituents are starting to ask me, what point is there to being a part of the United States of America any longer? What's the purpose? We are not being protected by the federal government.


PHILLIP: A problem so bad that some Texans want to secede? Well, to borrow from Churchill, the border is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside of an enigma.

But it's not exactly a new enigma. Presidents and Congresses have known that they've needed to do something about this problem, about immigration, and they just haven't, or they simply haven't done enough. Just look.


GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Today, I am pleased to sign s. 358, the Immigration act of 1990. It is the most comprehensive reform of our immigration laws in 66 years.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: All Americans, not only in the states most heavily affected, but in every place in this country, are rightly disturbed by the large numbers of illegal aliens entering our country. The jobs they hold might otherwise be held by citizens or legal immigrants. The public service they use imposed burdens on our taxpayers.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: The debate over immigration reform has reached a time of decision. Tonight, I will make it clear where I stand and where I want to lead our country on this vital issue.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Today, our immigration system is broken and everybody knows it.

My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once too.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: To those who refuse to compromise in the name of border security, I would ask, imagine if it was your child, your husband or your wife whose life was so cruelly shattered and totally broken.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: We can secure our border fixed immigration system to be orderly, fair, safe and humane. We can do all this while keeping lit the torch of liberty that has led generations of immigrations to America.


PHILLIP: Now, if you've been paying attention, you know it's only a matter of time before this immigration problem became untenable. So, now that the country has maybe pushed past that point of no return, what can lawmakers do? Will they do anything? Well, Mexico's president today suggested that barriers, barbed wire fences or walls are not the answer. More money is.

CNN's Rosa Flores reports from the border with more on this moment of crisis.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Abby, what U.S. officials are hoping for is for Mexico to do something to stem the flow of illegal migration. That's the bottom line. And what we were expecting U.S. officials to ask Mexico for is for them to move migrants south.

Now, that's code for upping law enforcement. We've seen this in the past during prior surges when some of these talks have happened in the past. And what Mexico usually does is they start chartering flights from Northern Mexico to Central or Southern Mexico or they up deportation flights or buses and send these migrants directly to their home countries.

We're also expecting U.S. officials to ask Mexico to control their railway. That's how migrants move very quickly from Southern Mexico to Northern Mexico through something called Laressia (ph). That's what they call the railway. And in past surges, what Mexico has done is they've installed checkpoints that don't allow migrants to get onto those trains.

And then, finally, we're expecting the U.S. to ask Mexico to provide incentives for migrants to stay in Mexico. Now, I've got to tell you from experience, from talking to a lot of migrants, migrants don't want to stay in Mexico. But bottom line is that whatever Mexico does or doesn't do impacts the number of apprehensions at the U.S. southern border.

Now, here's the reality. Yes, the numbers have dipped in the past few days, no question. Earlier this month, a seven day average for migrant apprehensions was at about 9,600. On Tuesday, apprehensions were about 6,000.

But here's how you've got to look at it. If your home is flooded five feet and, yes, the water level drops about two, three inches, yes, that's some relief. But your home is still flooded. That's exactly what's happening on the border right now.

Border Patrol is still overwhelmed. They're stretched thin. Yes, they've gotten really good at decompression and that's why we don't see 15,000 migrants under a bridge. But that doesn't mean that there are no gaps in border security. There are gaps in border security, and that's what keeps border patrol agents up at night. Abby?

PHILLIP: It certainly does. Rosa Flores, thank you.

And joining me now, former Univision and Telemundo Anchor Maria Celeste Arraras. Maria, thank you so much for joining us.

Look, we've been hearing predictions for so many months, especially after Title 42 expired, that there would be this explosion at the border. That didn't happen then. But now, as we're getting into the winter, it's happening. Why is that?

MARIA CELESTE ARRARAS, FORMER UNIVISION AND TELEMUNDO ANCHOR: Well, partly -- hi, Abby. Partly, the reason is because Mexico has stopped deporting migrants that come into their territory because they don't have any more funds. And this is basically about money.

President Lopez Obrador was very clear days before Secretary Blinken set foot in Mexico City today that this was a negotiation, and that one of the conditions that he had was, number one, that the United States had to start talks with both Cuba and Venezuela, and, number two, that the United States had to help financially some of these countries in Latin America where all these migrants come from in order to get to the root of the problem so that they wouldn't have reasons to leave their countries.

I cannot imagine how that would be part of a negotiation right now, considering that the Biden administration is having so much trouble trying to get money for Ukraine and Israel and then having to add money for these countries. And it raises many questions. Is it the responsibility of the United States to pay for these situations?

And the situation has gotten to such a point that there's a reason why President Biden sent Secretary Blinken this last week of the year during Christmas and when we're about to celebrate the coming of 2024, because the house is being flooded. The White House is being flooded. And two very important polls came in today that I think also feed fuel to the fire because, for example, one of them says that, for Americans, for voters, the second most important reason in their reason for them to vote is migration. And number two, another poll came out that 47 percent of Democrats disapprove of the Biden administration handling of migration.


So, this could very easily cause President Biden the re-election, especially when we have former President Trump saying that on first day in office, he would be a dictator and he would take care of this, which resonates in view of what we're seeing with much more than his base. And he's going to have to show some leadership, and the window is closing.

PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, as you point out, Mexico is asking for more money to go to these countries that the migrants are coming from, by the way, not all of them in Latin America, many of them coming from places like Haiti and even other parts of the world.

Do you think that Mexico is really interested in actually being a partner here? Is there anything other than money that the United States can offer to Mexico to help them do more here?

ARRARAS: Well, Mexico has to be a partner because Mexicans are having a lot of problems with migrants as well. Many of these migrants stay in Mexico. As a matter of fact, this caravan that we have been looking at for the last few days, this caravan, nine out of ten people were saying today in Mexican media that they want to stay in Mexico. They're coming from the south, from Guatemala. They don't want to stay in the southern part of Mexico because there's really no industries or anything for them to get jobs. But they want to reach Central Mexico and Northern Mexico and stay there, nine out of ten.

So, these caravans never reach the United States. They dissipate because Mexico is very long. It's a thousand miles between the southern border with Guatemala to the southern border of the United States. So, they never reach the United States with these caravans. But visuals are very powerful. And when you see this caravan and you see President Biden on vacation in the Virgin Islands, you know, a lot of people start to know, is this what we want our president to be doing? And it's definitely affecting him in every sense.

PHILLIP: To that point, I mean, is there a goldilocks solution here for President Biden? He is either blamed for being too draconian on the left or not draconian enough on the right. Is there a policy that you can see out there that can benefit him politically? You said this could cost him the election.

ARRARAS: Well, I'll tell you, I think that immigration reform is very difficult, but securing the border shouldn't be. So, he should secure the border right now and continue handling it in a humanitarian way, but with a stronger reaction on his part to secure the border. Those visuals of the caravans, even if they don't reach the U.S., scare a lot of people, especially in the southern states.

This caravan comes with this giant banner that says Exodo de la Pobreza, which means exodus of poverty. And imagine for people that live in the southern states, they see that and they say, I don't want these people that are poor coming here and becoming a burden where I am and I'm paying taxes. So, even though they don't reach in these big numbers all at the same time, it still causes an impact.

PHILLIP: Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, she said this recently. We did not spend years fighting this agenda under Trump only to give in to Senate Republicans' extreme demands now. Do you think that Democrats on Capitol Hill are interested in a political solution to the problem right now, or is it something that, in a political time, we're going into the 2024 election, is useful from a political perspective?

ARRARAS: Well, after these polls that I mentioned, they have to be very alarmed. These are the voters that have voted for President Biden. 47 percent of Democrats disagree. And when you come to think of it, there's a lot of mayors, Democratic mayors that are sending the alarm as well because they're being affected in the cities because of this lack of a strong policy to put an end to this invasion, as many people see it. So, it's really costing him dearly.

And it's very curious. A lot of people are -- I was looking at these reports from Mexico today, and many of the people that are coming are Cubans. And it's very curious because there's a lot of Cubans here in Florida that are voting for the Trump administration, yet they don't want other Cubans to be coming to the states. The same thing happens with many Venezuelans. They're here, they're very much pro-Trump, and they don't want other Venezuelans coming. So, they support that strong fist with immigration.

PHILLIP: It's not a straightforward thing by any stretch of the imagination, even when you look at all of these different groups of people who are important voting blocs for both parties.

Maria Celeste Arraras, thank you very much joining us, as always.


ARRARAS: Thank you, Abby.

PHILLIP: And ahead, Nikki Haley is facing some questions tonight about what she said or didn't say about the civil war.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was the cause of the United States Civil War?

NIKKI HALEY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, don't come with an easy question, right?


PHILLIP: Plus, The New York Times says that OpenAI copied millions of its articles to train ChatGPT, and now The Times is suing.


PHILLIP: Tonight, what Nikki Haley said or didn't say that has a lot of folks going, really?

Well. CNN's Eva McKend is in New Hampshire with more. Eva?

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Abby, an awkward moment at this rally here in Berlin when Nikki Haley was asked about the cause, the origins of the Civil War. She seemed tripped up by the question and suggested that it was about the government and personal freedoms. The questioner then called her out for neglecting to raise the issue of slavery.


Take a listen to the exchange.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was the cause of the United States Civil War?

HALEY: Well, don't come with an easy question. I mean I think the cause of the Civil War was basically how government was going to run the freedoms and what people could and couldn't do. What do you think the cause of the Civil War was?

I'm sorry?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not running for president. I want to see your view on the (INAUDIBLE).

HALEY: I mean, I think it always comes down to the role of government.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, you answered that question without mentioning slavery.

HALEY: What do you want me to say about slavery?


HALEY: Next question.


MCKEND: Now, I should mention we did approach that man at the end of the event and he wouldn't give us his full name or where he was from.

Aside from that exchange, though, Haley really trying to convince New Hampshire voters that they can be the decision-makers in this contest, telling them that they don't read the headlines, that they make the headlines coming out of this state, and that she believes that she is a strong contender against former President Donald Trump. And not only can she overtake him in this primary but that she is the person best suited to confront President Biden in a general election. Abby? PHILLIP: Eva McKend, thank you.

I want to now bring in Philippe Reines, the former spokesman for Hillary Clinton, and Republican Strategist Rina Shah.

Philippe, I'll start with you. Your reaction to what played out there at that Nikki Haley town hall.

PHILIPPE REINES, FORMER HILLARY CLINTON SPOKESMAN: I'm glad you weren't showing me and Rina as we were watching. I was wincing. I mean, I think we've all seen that look. It's when a candidate in a primary knows that they have to answer a certain way that's probably different than what's in their heart and what they will answer in a few months from now if they're lucky enough to be the nominee. But that look that caught in the headlights look is terrible.

I would also note if memory serves, South Carolina was the first state to secede from the union, and she was governor of South Carolina. So, I don't think that she didn't know. I think she just didn't want to give an answer that would come around and bite her, which is unfortunate. But I don't think it matters whether it was a gotcha question or whether she liked it or not. She didn't handle it well. And little moments like that do add up.

PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, look she seemed surprised to get the question maybe because she was in New Hampshire, but it's not the first time that she's made comments like this, Rina. In 2019, she said the Confederate flag was about quote service and sacrifice and heritage. That kind of talk may work in a southern state like South Carolina, but will it work in New Hampshire?

RINA SHAH, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: See, this is what's complicated about Nikki Haley. She takes three steps forward and she'll take five back. And this is exactly why her candidacy suffers in moments.

Just like in the fourth debate, it seemed like she hadn't brought the real version of who she was. What we saw in her answer, her inability to come out with the word slavery right away on its face, answer the question boldly, showed that she does the exact playbook that I have seen non-courageous Republican candidates take.

They continue to say, well, I don't have to answer the question. What do you think is the answer? This is something I always advised against, because it does come back to bite you. When you've shown a version of yourself that's authentic and courageous, and then you go another way, this is what's complicating, again, about Nikki Haley.

We have to look at her for who she is. She's somebody that's caught up and serving as her own worst enemy right now. She's caught up in what she thinks she ought to be on most days to Republican electorate. And then she knows she has a moment to set this legacy forward, just like she did in the aftermath of the church shooting in South Carolina, and talking about taking down that flag.

She is a complicated candidate. She will continue to have missteps like this, and this is what worries me. You can't go mano-y-mano with Donald Trump when you complicate yourself like this over and over again.

PHILLIP: Well, look, I mean this is a moment now where Haley has an opportunity to get a lot of national attention. She's doing well in the polls. We're a couple weeks to Iowa and New Hampshire. She's also trying to convince, she and a lot of other Republicans, Chris Christie, to get out of the race and back her. Just listen to this new ad that he put out in response to those calls.


CHRIS CHRISTIE, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Some people say I should drop out of this race. Really? I'm the only one saying Donald Trump is a liar. He pits Americans against each other. His Christmas message to anyone who disagrees with him, rot in hell. He caused a riot on Capitol Hill. He'll burn America to the ground to help himself.

Every Republican leader says that in private.


I'm the only one saying it in public. What kind of president do we want, a liar or someone who's got the guts to tell the truth?


PHILLIP: At moments like tonight with Haley, I mean, you can see why Chris Christie's not eager to just get out and back her, Philippe.

REINES: Yes. Well, I mean, even that aside, I mean, Chris Christie, I think in particular is not the kind of person who is going to quit as opposed to being fired in this case by the voters when it finally gets to that point.

But I think it's a little bit of a circular argument to say that Haley needs Christie to drop out of the race to do well, for Haley to do well, implies that Christie has voters, which why would he, if he has voters, leave? If he's doing so poorly, then what's the difference if he leaves?

Haley has to run her own race. You cannot base your strategy on what five other people do or don't do. Yes, she could say, I would like for Vivek and Asa Hutchinson and Ron DeSantis and Chris Christie to all leave, and then all of you will add up to 45 percent. I'll be really close to Donald Trump, but that's not the way it goes.

And also, you know, it's a little bit of whack-a-mole on a multi candidate field. It's not so clear that Christie were to drop out that it were down to Haley's favor. You don't know that some people's second choice with Christie isn't Ron DeSantis or Asa Hutchinson or whoever. So, it's overly simplistic. And I think it's also a moot point after, you know, Chris Christie is at home watching this thinking I ain't going anywhere.

PHILLIP: All right. Rina, in a recent interview for President Trump, he was asked if he would consider Nikki Haley as his vice president if he won the nomination in 2024. And here's what he said.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: No, I'm not considering anybody at this time. Just, look, I know very well. I actually got along with her very well. As you know, she left at a nice ceremony at the White House, you know, the Oval Office, it was very nice.

She said terrific things about me. She said he's a great president. And then she decided that of nowhere to run. So, I was a little bit surprised at that, but that's a politician.


PHILLIP: Rina, do you think he's telling the truth there, and maybe perhaps, more importantly, do you think that this even matters, whether Nikki Haley would even consider it?

SHAH: I don't think Nikki Haley would consider being his V.P. at this point. I mean, it was somewhere between debate one and three that I believe his staff left a birdcage in front of her hotel room. He's called her bird brain.

He's called her, I'm sure, worst things in private. But this is Trump's party through and through. We know that. The great many of us that have tried for years on end to save the party from what we have seen to be imminent death have soon realized that, you know, maybe the party doesn't want saving from itself. Maybe it wants a character like Trump that's going to be bold and brash and not say what should be conventional wisdom, like the answer to what was the reason for the Civil War.

Trump would never come out and say slavery was his country's original sin. But you know, guess what? We are a country that can, has, and will strive to be a more perfect union like our founders wanted. That's an answer that Nikki Haley should have given. Chris Christie, I believe, would have given that answer.

So, you see in this mixed bag of candidates, this clown car that still exists on the right, this inability to get serious, this inability to get past this party that wants to do nothing more but talk social issues, talk about fear, and an illegitimate fear, I must add, of the unknown and the changing face of America, the anger about that. Those are what defines the Republican Party today.

And I think when we talk about these internal spats between Trump or Vivek or Trump or Nikki or between Ron and Vivek, none of it matters. Because what we're going to see in the next three months is the real definition of who the Republican Party wants to be come January 2025. I have not yet seen that. I don't have much faith that it lies within four people we last saw in the debate stage. And that makes me nervous because I know the American people want a better option than Joe Biden.

PHILLIP: Well, we will see what happens. I mean, it does seem to your point, Rina, the Republican voters are the ones driving this train here. It's not going to be any one person deciding who's in and who's out and who ends up being the nominee other than the voters themselves.

Philippe and Rena, thank you both for joining us tonight.

REINES: Thank you, Abby.

SHAH: Thank you.

PHILLIP: Next, the creator of ChatGPT is facing a lawsuit from one of the biggest news publishers. So, why is The New York Times going after OpenAI for copyright infringement?

Plus, police are now investigating swat calls against Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, and she's not the only high-profile person who's been swatted and was swatted just this past Christmas Day.



PHILLIP: "The New York Times" is suing OpenAI, that's the parent company behind ChatGPT. Now, "The Times" is alleging that in the training of ChatGPT, the company used millions of copyrighted articles that includes in-depth investigations, opinion pieces, reviews, and how-to guides. And "The Times" is not saying OpenAI merely just used their information.

They're alleging that the company actually prioritized content from "The Times", which they say highlights the value of their work. So, why not? Well, "The Times" says that they had been licensing or in negotiations to be in licensing with OpenAI for months now until those talks fell apart.

Meanwhile, OpenAI is closing deals with other publishers to license their content, including the German media conglomerate Axel Springer, which owns "Politico" and "Business Insider". And earlier this summer, OpenAI also signed a deal to license content from "The Associated Press".

Let's discuss all of this with CNN Contributor, Kara Swisher. Kara, thanks for joining us tonight.



PHILLIP: So, just to give people a sense of this lawsuit here, can you explain to us just in the workings of how ChatGPT actually works, why would "The Times" be so upset about their content being used in this algorithm?

SWISHER: Because they paid for the content. It's their IP, it's their intellectual property, and it's theft. That's what they're saying, essentially. And this is -- this is different than, say, a Google search that points to "The New York Times". This actually dives into "New York Times" articles and serves them up as if OpenAI made them or created them.

And so, it's shoplifting, essentially, in a digital style, much more deeply than anything that's happened previously and a lot has happened previously.

PHILLIP: Do you think that this is about getting a more lucrative licensing deal, or are they looking for more than that here?

SWISHER: Well, they want to be paid for their content. I don't think that's a difficult thing to understand. Everyone, you know, you all get paid by cable companies. You know, everybody gets paid for their content that they make and they pay for. It's called a business.

And so, they're saying we want to get paid more and it might be to get a better deal. Others are, you know, Apple is trying to do deals. All kinds of companies are trying to do deals around this content. And the question is, is it fair use, which is what OpenAI is claiming, which is well beyond fair use.

I think most people would agree. Or is it something that they have to pay for. The question is what's the price and it seems to me "The New York Times" spends a lot of money on its content. I know they paid me to write content for them and they should get paid for the content that ChatGPT might scrape.

PHILLIP: Yeah, I mean "The Times" is saying that they want fair value for the use of in the content and they were asking for that in negotiations. I wonder, though, I mean, one of the things that this seems to highlight is that quality content is hard to come by --


PHILLIP: -- for a large language model like OpenAI, ChatGPT.


PHILLIP: What does this tell us about the future of this kind of technology? That the sources are somewhat limited. It's "The New York Times" and a few others that have reliable, accurate content.

SWISHER: Well, there's a lot of other content. There's space content, weather content. You know, there's insurance content, but this is actual news content.


SWISHER: And probably "The New York Times" is probably the jewel of content. There's a group of media companies that are considered high level and accurate and everything else. And so, you're going to want to, to serve that up rather than other content. And so if you want to do that, you really should pay for it.

And that's -- it's just, it is a question of price. You're right. But you can't just take it if, if you don't want to pay the correct price. And I think that's the point "The New York Times" is making here. So should other media companies and they should be in, they're all in negotiations.

I did an interview with Barry Diller a little while ago, who owns a lot of content. And he was talking about suing them because you know, he just called it out and out theft. And if they want to steal it, they should pay for it instead of, you know, jumping the turnstile at the subway station, essentially.

PHILLIP: Yeah. So, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is also working with a former Apple designer, John Ivy. He's the guy who helped design the iPhone, iMac, iPod with Steve Jobs. And I think the goal seems to be to create a hardware device that is built off of OpenAI software.


PHILLIP: Bloomberg's also reporting some other things that they poached Apple's current iPhone design chief. What's your sense of what they're working on here and could it be, you know, maybe the new iPhone, the kind of transformative physical technology?

SWISHER: Yeah, they are. It's Johnny Ive. And he actually did design. He's a very important designer. But he left Apple a while ago, you know, and of course he has a lot of loyal people who work for him. So, I'm not surprised people leave. You know, essentially it would be like a communicator on Star Trek.

You know, when they talked at a computer, what is this? And it tells you in real language. I think that's what they're trying to create, a version of it. But guess what? So is Apple. Apple will want that in their iPhones.

PHILLIP: That's right.

SWISHER: Google will want it in their phones and everybody else will want something that speaks to you, whether it's through your AirPods or whatever, or your glasses or whatever. But eventually it will talk to you and tell you things about your schedule, about history, about the latest news, about you, you yourself. Who is this person I'm looking at? Oh, this is what she does, that kind of stuff.

PHILLIP: That's -- I don't know if that's interesting, exciting, or terrifying, it's one of those. SWISHER: You're very scrapable, as we say.

PHILLIP: Apparently.


PHILLIP: Kara Swisher, thank you very much for joining us. We appreciate it.

SWISHER: Thank you.

PHILLIP: And ahead, several high profile people, including Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, finding themselves the victims of swatting prank calls will look at what's behind this rise in these kinds of incidents.



PHILLIP: Two politicians swatted on "Christmas Day". Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene and Boston Mayor Michelle Wu both reporting Christmas Day attacks. Now, swatting is what happens when someone makes a false report of a crime to draw police to a certain location. Greene says this is the eighth time that she's been swatted.

And according to police, a man called into a suicide hotline claiming he shot his girlfriend sending law enforcement to Greene's address in Georgia. Now, Greene and her family were not hurt in that incident.

Over in Boston, our affiliate WBUR reports that authorities received a 9-1-1 call from a man who claimed that he shot his wife and tied her up in a home that Mayor Wu lives in. Now, Wu says that she's been the victim of a handful of swatting calls, as well.

Joining me now for some perspective on this is CNN Law Enforcement Analyst Andrew McCabe. He's a former FBI Deputy Director.


Andy, thanks for joining us tonight. Both of these incidents, luckily no one was harmed. But it seems the intention is for there to be something unexpected to happen. These incidents have really become much more commonplace in recent years. Is there anything that can be done to stop it?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, it's very tough, Abby, because in very, very few of these incidents, do we ever actually identify and apprehend the person behind it? So, we don't have a great visibility into what every offender's motives are when they engage in this sort of thing. You know, it's pretty clear that it's basically harassment.

They are trying to provoke a law enforcement response to your home in an effort to terrorize your family, to potentially provoke a lethal incident or to even just communicate that they know where you live and they can kind of reach out and exercise some sort of power over you.

And I can tell you from personal experience recently, it is terrifying and it's incredibly disturbing. And particularly to your family members you have to go through with it. But law enforcement, I think, has changed the way that they respond to these events in the last few years having learned through many experiences.

PHILLIP: Yeah. I mean, can you tell us more about that, Andy? I mean, you said that you yourself have been a victim of swatting in the past. What do they do to prevent this from inadvertently becoming a lethal incident when there are innocents involved? MCCABE: Yeah, so I think when it was new, it was pretty typical that

they would immediately call out the SWAT team or a significant tactical response, multiple vehicles, you know, all kinds of units would show up at your house. And it seems the process now, they focus on a much more subtle response, at least initially.

I can tell you my own situation. Maybe two officers in separate cars show up initially. They try to do an assessment of the house, of what's going on in the area, to try to see if they can perceive if there's anything that seems amiss.

And then they make contact with the occupants of the house to say, if you can get the homeowner or the spouse on the phone to say, are you okay? Is there anything going on in the house? We're outside.

And if all the questions are yes and positive, then they'll say, okay, come to the front door. I'm standing on the front door, come and talk to me. So, it's a way of assessing what's going on and responding, but in a way that's less likely to provoke a lethal mistake or response where somebody could really get hurt.

PHILLIP: We're also in this really tense political environment. Entering an election year, there's a war between Israel and Hamas going on. We've seen hundreds of U.S. synagogues, for example, Jewish organizations targeted with false bomb threats. Just in the last month, you know.

How much of this is part of this kind of environment that we are in right now as a country where these tensions are so high and people are trying to create fear and terror?

MCCABE: They really are, and this is traditionally a tough period for law enforcement to stay ahead of the threat because you have so many large gatherings, public gatherings, lots of people getting together and those, you know, around the holidays and those traditionally create opportunities for lone offenders and extremists who want to strike out, they have targets that they can work with that typical elevated threat environment.

This year is particularly sensitive because of what's happening in Israel -- in the Israeli Hamas conflict. You have multiple different sides that may be persuaded or motivated to lash out in support of their individual agendas and ideologies.

And so, there's a lot of additional actors this year that law enforcement is concerned about that. We know that from the FBI, DHS, NCTC, Joint Intelligence Bulletin. That was both the one that was put out on December 5th, and we had another one last week on December 21st.

So, there's no question that law enforcement is on very high alert for threat actors to be targeting holiday activities. New Year's Eve is really the climax of all of that.

PHILLIP: Yeah, and that is right around the corner. Andrew McCabe, thank you very much for all of that. And one of the actors in the international smash hit movie, "Parasite", found dead in his car. And it happened and made an investigation into illegal drug use and claims of blackmail. That's next.



PHILLIP: Tonight, an investigation is underway after an acclaimed South Korean actor, Lee Sun Kyung was found dead. Lee was just 48 years old and he catapulted to global fame for his role in the 2020 Oscar-winning film "Parasite". Police say Lee was found in a car on Wednesday morning and that his cause of death is presumed to be suicide.

This comes amid an ongoing investigation into the actor's alleged drug use. Officials say Lee has been questioned by police just recently -- December 23rd and he was held for 19 hours before being released the following day.

Joining me to discuss this is CNN International Correspondent Marc Stewart and also with us, Entertainment Correspondent Elizabeth Wagmeister. Mark, I want to start with you. What more are we learning at this stage about the status of this investigation?

MARC STEWART, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, Abby, it's already Thursday here in Asia, just before one o'clock in South Korea. And I think it is safe to say there is hope that in these hours ahead, we will get some answers to many lingering questions in this very upsetting and unusual case.


Police have called this a drug investigation, but Lee says he was tricked into using drugs, calling it a case of blackmail. At this point though, we do not know who this accuser or accusers may be, the circumstances surrounding it, and any kind of motive. In fact, at the time, Lee had actually filed a lawsuit over these blackmail claims.

I think it's also important to point out that police say Lee underwent several drug tests and that they were all negative, although we don't know exactly how many were actually given. As you mentioned, he has been interviewed many times by police, held for 19 hours just days before he died. Police still maintain he died by suicide.

The family, though, has told police they do not want a formal autopsy to take place. Abby, obviously, this is hitting Asia very hard. This is a beloved actor. In fact, the South Korean entertainment industry had a number of press events. They, for today, have been canceled.

PHILLIP: Yeah, it's so incredibly tragic. Elizabeth, you know, American fans know Lee for his work in "Parasite", an excellent movie that got so much buzz when it was out. But in South Korea, he is a household name. Can you just give us a sense, who was he in the prime of his career right now? And can you put this into perspective for Americans watching?

ELIZABETH WAGMEISTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. He really was at the prime of his career. This is an actor who really stepped into his career in the late 90s and has been working consistently, got his start in television, then moved over into film.

As you said, of course, most international audiences know him because of his work in "Parasite". And the importance of that film cannot be overstated. When "Parasite" won the Oscar, let alone winning, it was the first South Korean film to even be recognized by the Oscars in its entire history.

So, he, along with the cast and the director, can really be credited with bringing Korean cinema to the forefront of international audiences. He also had a TV series that was on Apple, and that was a global series. It's very rare for an artist who is not an American Hollywood artist to be at the forefront of a global series. So, that was a huge deal.

PHILLIP: Yeah, it really is. I mean, Marc, what is so perplexing about this is this part about what he claimed was blackmail. He had maintained his innocence throughout this drug probe. And police also say that they thoroughly investigated this, and the investigation into Lee's drug tests had all come back negative. Explain to us what is happening in South Korea that can make an allegation like this, something that is such a powerful force in such a big star's life like this.

STEWART: Right. The drug laws in South Korea are very strict. In fact, it's been a big priority of the President. In fact, in South Korea, you could use drugs while you are away, but if you're a citizen and you come back, you could actually face charges for that drug use even though it's somewhere else in the world.

There has been concern though that these drug policies may be unusually harsh towards celebrities and that celebrities may be targeted unfairly. So, that's something that the public is trying to reconcile.

But without question, Abby, these are some of the strictest drug laws in the world, for the most part have public support, but there is this concern that celebrities, high profile people may be unfairly under the spotlight.

PHILLIP: It's so interesting. I mean, Elizabeth, here in the United States, people are used to celebrities, frankly, dealing with addictions, having drug problems, sometimes out in the open. What is that kind of differential in your mind, I mean, of how this was treated in South Korea versus how we're used to kind of seeing celebrities treated here in the United States?

STEWART: I think Marc is absolutely correct that celebrities are perceived to be treated very harshly overseas and certainly in South Korea, not just when it comes to drug use, but also with mental health and how the media and society really looks upon them.

Now, if you compare that to Hollywood, here, celebrities in America, we are living in a society of redemption, quite frankly. You know, 10, 20 years ago, you had to be quote unquote perfect, but now you're more relatable to audiences if you are open about your struggles.

Look at Robert Downey Jr., who in the 90s couldn't work, could not even get insurance to be on a film set, and now is one of the top stars of all time.


Also, if you look at another recent tragic example with the death of Matthew Perry, of course, this is someone who was one of the top sitcom stars of all time, and now will be known for the work that he did to really raise awareness for addiction and how to combat that.

So, you're absolutely right, Abby, that here in America, it's of course not glorified, but when you come forward with your struggles, audiences really understand that.

PHILLIP: Yeah, it's been so interesting to watch this and so sad, again, what has happened in this case. Mark Stewart, thank you for sticking with us. And Elizabeth Wagmeister, thank you for joining us tonight.