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Negotiations Paused After Hitting Snag; Soon: Teixeira Due in Federal Court for Detention Hearing; DeSantis: "Zero" Chance He Backs Down in Disney Fight; Ukraine's Zelenskyy to Attend G7 Summit in Japan. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired May 19, 2023 - 15:00   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Alarm at the Pentagon: Defense personnel downright baffled at how the accused classified documents leaker kept his security clearance even after he was warned repeatedly about misusing sensitive information. Jack Teixeira expected to appear in court this hour and we are following the latest.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: A suspected has just been arrested for tipping off a Proud Boys leader about his impending arrest. The accused: A Washington, D.C. Metro Police officer. We are following these major developing stories and many more all coming in right here to CNN NEWS CENTRAL.

KEILAR: We begin this hour with the nation's looming debt crisis. We are now another hour closer to a potential default. The high stakes negotiations between the White House and Republicans have broken down at least for now. Here's Congressman Garret Graves. He is leading negotiations for House Republicans.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to be meeting more today and do you expect the ...

REP. GARRET GRAVES (R-LA): We've decided to press pause because it's just not productive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you mean press pause?

GRAVES: We're just pressing pause.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you get stuck in the ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No more conference meeting tomorrow?

GRAVES: I don't know. I don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think you'll be meeting in person this weekend?

GRAVES: I'm not sure right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you pulling out the deal (inaudible) ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So why did they reach at this pause?

GRAVES: It's just unreasonable right now.


KEILAR: All right. So this is a setback that crushes what had seemed to be a growing optimism. Earlier President Biden cut short his dinner with fellow G7 leaders in Japan for a virtual briefing from his negotiators in D.C. The U.S. now has only 13 days before it could run out of money to pay its bills and deliver a devastating blow to the American and global economies.

CNN's Jessica Dean is live for us on Capitol Hill. I mean, I think the expectation, Jess, is that they're going to take this up to the very limit. But still, that is just entirely nerve-wracking.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is entirely nerve- wracking. And there's just so much on the line, Brianna. If you'll remember when we were in a similar situation in 2011, just getting so close to the deadline allowed Moody's and they made them take our credit down a notch.


So things can happen even if we get there, so it is very serious. These negotiators do know that as we just heard from Congressman Graves there. They are pushing pause. They're just going to take a beat and I'll go back and kind of talk amongst themselves and see if they can come back together and push forward.

What we do know is that negotiators from the White House and from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's office have been talking for several days now. They've been laying out where they think they might be able to make some progress and come to an agreement.

We also know that both sides understand that a negotiated deal at this point is the only way out of this mess, that that is the way they want to go forward. The problem is there's just so much space between where the GOP is and where the White House is.

Here's speaker Kevin McCarthy.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Well, we've got to get movement by the White House, and we don't have any movement yet. So, yes, we got a problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The tone seemed really optimistic yesterday, is it ...

MCCARTHY: Yes, I mean, yesterday ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... so the easy stuff is done, and the hard stuff is left?

MCCARTHY: ... yesterday I really felt we were at the location where I could see the path. The White House is just - look, we can't be spending more money next year. We have to spend less than we spent the year before. It's pretty easy.


DEAN: Now, again, the White House really believes that they've been reasonable in any particular spending cuts. And we've heard from the House GOP saying that's just unreasonable that they're not where they need to be. So it really underscores just kind of the gulf that exists between the two sides right now.

But Brianna, I've been up here for several years now, it is worth noting that in these situations, typically they make some progress. And it is not uncommon for this sort of thing to happen for them to all kind of take a step back and for it appear to be a real setback.

So this isn't uncommon. What needs to happen next, though, is that they need to come back together and push ahead.

Speaker McCarthy had said he wanted a deal in hand by the end of the week, if they could get it - so they could get it through the House and then get it through the Senate by that June 1st deadline. That's what they're still looking at.

The question now is just can they get that done, Brianna.

KEILAR: Yes. Look, to be honest, sometimes it feels like an annoying part of the script that we have seen all too often.

I want to bring in CNN's Matt Egan to talk about this.

Matt, what was the economic reaction to today's news of an impasse?

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Well, Brianna, the reaction hasn't been all that dramatic. It's been negative, but I don't think that investors or economists are freaking out yet. If you look at the stock market, U.S. stocks actually opened the day mildly higher and then this debt ceiling impasse news hit and we saw the market go into the red.

You can see the Dow is down about 115 points as we speak. I think there is some disappointment here because investors had been starting to get hopeful that maybe there could be a framework for a deal announced in the coming days perhaps as soon as Sunday when the President is supposed to have a press conference. That obviously does not look likely at this point.

I did just talk to Moody's Analytics Chief Economist, Mark Zandi. And he told me, look, I always thought this was going to go down to the wire. He added, if the rhetoric is dark next week, markets will start to react. We'll see a lot more red on the screen. And by the end of the week, it'll be dark red.

And he added that if this stretches through Memorial Day weekend, that's where you could see a 2011 style market freak out. Now, we're not there yet and hopefully we won't, not just because of the market reaction. It's because of the economic one, right?

I mean there's a lot at stake in terms of higher borrowing costs and job loss. I mean, the White House has estimated that even a near default would wipe out about 200,000 jobs. So Brianna, I think the point here is, the longer that stretches out, the closer you get to that June 1st deadline, the greater the impact on the economy.

KEILAR: Yes, just once. If they would not take it right to the deadline, wouldn't that be amazing?

Matt Egan, thank you. Jim?

SCIUTTO: And we've been there before.

Well, minutes from now we expect to see the alleged Pentagon documents leaker in court, federal judge to decide if 21-year-old Jack Teixeira to stays in jail ahead of his trial. Former and current defense personnel tell CNN they're just alarmed that Teixeira managed to keep his security clearance, that's because newly released memos show that Air Force leadership had warned him repeatedly about mishandling classified documents. And those warnings came months before his arrest for posting classified information online.

CNN's Jason Carroll, he's outside the court in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Jason, it seems like when you look at this judge in the case has a lot of new evidence to weigh, particularly the fact that to Teixeira was warned repeatedly. I mean, that goes to his leadership who didn't take him off the job, but also to his knowledge of what he was doing.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. Right. And warned going back to September, October of last year, Jim.


As you know, after he was caught looking at classified information and taking notes about it and putting it in his pocket. And then shortly thereafter that his supervisor said look, this is not something you're supposed to be doing and admonished him for that.

Meanwhile, just a few moments ago, his father enter the court. So some of the key players starting to arrive here at - as you know, his father is asking the court along with the defense that Jack Teixeira to share would be released in his custody under certain conditions while he awaits trial.

But the prosecutors in this case saying given all that they've seen and given the new information presented this week to the court, including the information that we talked about that he was accessing these private documents, these top secret documents as far back as September and October of last year that he should remain behind bars.

Again, after he was admonished by his superiors, according to prosecutors, he went on to brag about it online and said the following. He said, "All of the expletive I've told you guys, I'm not supposed to man how expletive up is it, I can type out all this and still be ready for more but I can barely get through a two-page college paper."

Prosecutors then telling the judge just this week, the weight of evidence against the defendant has only grown stronger and the risks the defendant poses if released have come only sharper into focus. Prosecutors also pointing to that very disturbing video that has come to light showing Jack Teixeira to and firing a weapon and using racial slurs in doing so.

The defense for its part saying that Jack Teixeira is not a threat in terms of National Security or to anyone else and that he should be released in his father's custody. This hearing now expected to get underway just about a half hour from now, Jim.

SCIUTTO: We know he was certainly a threat to national security, up into the point he was caught.

Jason Carroll in Worcester, Massachusetts, thanks so much, Boris?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: In Florida, Disney dealing a blow to the Sunshine State and Ron DeSantis. But today the governor is punching back saying there is zero chance he is backing off his feud with the entertainment giant. This latest political skirmish took another turn yesterday when Disney announced it is scrapping plans for a billion- dollar development in Florida, costing the state an estimated 2,000 jobs. Just moments ago, DeSantis fired back on a campaign stop in New Hampshire. Listen.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R) FLORIDA: We the people are going to govern. And to put one corporation on a pedestal and let them be exempt from the laws is not good policy. It's not free-market economics and it's not something that our state is going to be involved in. And we will not change from that. So they can do whatever they want. I know people try to chirp and say this or that. The chance of us backing down from that is zero.


SANCHEZ: CNN's Natasha Chen has been following all the fallout. Natasha, the governor's allies have been saying that this is more finances than politics. What is Disney saying?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Boris, Disney in its memo about this move did not mention any politics, did not mention DeSantis. In fact, the reasoning given was changing business conditions and new leadership that caused them to make that difficult decision, but the right one, the chairman said. The chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products.

Now, that's on the surface. But if you take a step back, this is happening just a few days before Gov. DeSantis is expected to officially launch his presidential campaign and his potential 2024 rivals are definitely weighing in. Here's former Vice President Mike Pence speaking to Fox Business about that.


MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I like Walt Disney not woke Disney, all right. But Florida took the battle into the legislature. They won the battle for parents, and I just don't believe it's in the interest of the people of any state for a government to essentially go after a business that they disagreed with on a political issue. I disagree with Florida moving against Walt Disney.


CHEN: And here's a tweet from the Trump campaign saying, Ron DeSanctimonious gets caught in the mousetrap that culture of losing continues. Now, there may be a lot of political rivals jockeying here, but I also want to acknowledge the whiplash this is for employees of the Disney company.

A couple hundred of them had already made the move and so the company is going to work with them on possibilities, including moving back here to Burbank. Some people had already found other jobs because they didn't want to move to Florida. So a lot of life changes here while we are talking politics, Boris.

SANCHEZ: A messy situation for those employees.

Natasha Chen from Los Angeles, thank you so much. Brianna?


KEILAR: Coming up CNN NEWS CENTRAL, Ukraine's wartime president will soon head to Japan to seek solidarity with the G7 leaders. Volodymyr Zelenskyy's trip comes ahead of his country's highly anticipated counteroffensive.

Plus, a D.C. police officer accused of helping the leader of the Proud Boys avoid arrest.

And later floods leave many ancient towns across northern Italy in ruins. The recovery has only just begun.



KEILAR: Fighter jets for Ukraine and financial pain for Russia. Those are the priorities at the G7 summit in Japan right now. President Biden and his counterparts are there. They're awaiting a visit from Ukraine's Zelenskyy as they rally around him with some more critical support, including sweeping new sanctions that target Russia, also the U.S. signaling that it's ready to work with NATO allies to provide F- 16s to Ukraine.


CNN's Nic Robertson is in eastern Ukraine for us.

So Nic, how significant is this shift in the Biden administration's posture on these F-16s?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes. President Zelenskyy is calling it historic. It's hugely important for him. It's what he's been asking for, for many, many months now. A few months ago, when he finally was told that he could have NATO tanks, he immediately switched up gears and put the focus on aircraft.

We know back in February, the British prime minister said that he would - that the U.K. would train Ukrainian pilots how to fly F-16s. And then just last week in Iceland, there was a meeting of European leaders and the British Prime Minister, along with his Dutch counterpart, Mark Rutte, both said that they would begin to form a group that would help get Ukraine F-16s and help train the fighter pilots.

Now, President Biden has removed the - has made it possible for these NATO allies and partners like the Netherlands, like the Danish, like the Norwegians who have F-16 aircraft, that if they want to give them to Ukraine, the United States is not going to object.

So the momentum has been building slowly diplomatically. But now it's reached this critical mass at the G7 and this is going to give Zelenskyy what he wants to improve their chances and the important fight against Russia.

Now, the aircraft won't be in Ukraine's hands and the pilots not trained up ready for the counteroffensive expected soon. But Zelenskyy wants to be in the room with the G7 leaders. His advisors say it's extremely important that he wants to put clear proposals and give the other leaders their clear arguments for the steps that Ukraine is taking. But this undoubtedly when he arrives is going to put something of a spring in his step, Brianna.

KEILAR: Yes, it certainly is.

Nic Robertson in eastern Ukraine for us, thank you. Jim?

SCIUTTO: We are joined now by the Ukrainian ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova.

Ambassador, thanks so much for taking the time today.


SCIUTTO: We have heard from our reporters on the ground in Ukraine that there is some concern on the front lines among commanders that they are lacking some heavy weapons systems in numbers that they would like before a counteroffensive. Does Ukraine need more weapons, more ammunition before it can launch this counteroffensive? MARKAROVA: Look, I will not comment on the on the date or the time when we will launch. We really trust our commanders to make that decision and they've proven, in the past, they are very successful in all of the decisions.

But, of course, we're dealing with a much larger and brutal enemy. Of course, we see how much even outdated and not very low-high precision equipment they have. So we need everything we can get in order - not only to do counter - offensive or if it will be several successful counteroffensives.

But essentially, we need to liberate all Ukraine and we need to build enduring strengths for the future. So yes, as much as we can receive from our friends and allies, will allow us not only to defend Ukraine, but to return peace to our continent and globally.

SCIUTTO: Russia has stepped up its air attacks in recent days, both on civilian and military targets. Has Ukraine lost any large or significant weapons supplies in recent days?

MARKAROVA: No, not weapons supplies. But unfortunately, we have seen how these indiscriminate attacks, again, kill people in Ukraine, destroy civilian infrastructure. We have been very effective with protecting everything we need for the counteroffensive and with supplies. But, of course, every such attack is a loss of life and huge damage to Ukrainians.

SCIUTTO: I spoke to the U.K. defense minister yesterday and he told me that the UK would support Ukraine's right to attempt to if it can to take back Crimea as well as parts of eastern Ukraine despite of course we know the importance that Russia places on Crimea and the naval port there. Is that part of Ukraine's goal in this counteroffensive to take back Crimea?

MARKAROVA: Absolutely it was and will always be part of everything we do. Crimea is Ukraine, was Ukraine and will always be Ukraine. Now, again, I will not comment on when and how and part of which counteroffensives, but we never recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea.

And frankly, whatever Russians and Russian criminals think about it, there is international law. Ukraine, when we voted for independence in 1991, Ukraine was part - Crimea was part of Ukraine. Russia recognized that and it remains part of Ukraine.

SCIUTTO: Mm-hm. The former president, Trump, was on CNN last week and asked about the war in Ukraine.


He would not state definitively who he wants to win the war, Russia or Ukraine. Would also not commit to supplying weapons as the U.S. has done over the course of the last year and more. When you heard those words, were you concerned? Are you concerned that if Trump were president again that the U.S. would stop supporting Ukraine defending itself? MARKAROVA: Well, we have very strong support from American people with a very strong bipartisan basis. And we hear and see tangible results of this support from President, from Congress, from ordinary people. And I want to remind that all American presidents supported Ukraine.

President Trump when he was president also provided lethal aid to Ukraine. So again, I - this is a very black and white fight. We are a peaceful country that was attacked by a brutal aggressive authoritarian state and it's important for Ukraine to win for Ukraine, but it's important for all of us who believe in the same principles and who believe in U.N. charter that Ukraine wins in this. And I know we can count on the people of this great country, which is found on the same principles.

SCIUTTO: The president - the former president also said that if he were president, he would stop the war in 24 hours. Do you believe that? Does the Ukrainian government believe that?

MARKAROVA: Well, the only person who can stop the war even in less than 24 hours is President Putin who started this war. And his aggressive actions are the only reason for this war. If they get out from Ukraine, the war will stop immediately.

SCIUTTO: Before we go, just finally, if you could describe the hopes you have for this counteroffensive, do you believe that Ukraine will turn the tide of this war?

MARKAROVA: I think we have turned the tide of this war already. We did not allow Putin to take Ukraine in three days. We liberated more than half of the territories of Ukraine that they were able to occupy since February 24th. And as someone whose house was under occupation for 32 days. I know that every day under occupation is torture and killing of our people.

So our goal is to liberate all Ukraine and we trust our defenders, and we trust our president to do it in the most efficient way.

SCIUTTO: Ambassador Oksana Markarova, thanks so much for joining the broadcast today. We appreciate it. Boris.

MARKAROVA: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Still to come, the prospects of reaching a deal over the nation's debt limit this weekend are growing a bit dimmer. Why have negotiations hit a snag?

Plus, new details in the case of a Utah mom accused of killing her husband and then writing a children's book about dealing with grief. We'll be right back.