Return to Transcripts main page

CNN News Central

F-16 Training Underway For Ukraine Fighter Pilots; Father Of Slain Idaho Student Speaks With CNN; Surgeon General Warns Of Social Media's Possible Impact On Kids; Texas House Poised To Vote On Bill Requiring The 10 Commandments Be Posted In Classrooms. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired May 23, 2023 - 15:30   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Can you talk to us about some of the shaping operations that you were seeing and what that means during this counter offensive?


BRIG. GEN. STEVE ANDERSON, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Yes, so what they're trying to do, is they're trying to prep for a counteroffensive. And the way they're doing it right now, they're doing an intelligence prep of the battlefield on this 600-mile front right here. But they're also using HIMARS and long-range artillery to strike the logistics nubs and the hubs in the rear, the headquarters facilities, etcetera. They're trying to shape the battlefield. Trying to prep for -- find out where the Russians are weakest so they can launch some kind of a counteroffensive.

KEILAR: Talk to us also about these F-16s. Obviously, we've heard a lot about them. Ukraine has been asking for them and asking for them. European allies say the Ukrainian fighter pilots are already training on these. We are expecting these are going to be supplied by European allies with the blessing of the U.S. Is it a game-changer though?

ANDERSON: It's not a game-changer but it is a very strong strategic message. It's showing once again, U.S. and NATO is behind the Ukrainians. They're not going away. And what they're trying to do, is trying to help the Ukrainians to conduct those deep strikes that I just talked about. This is a very capable aircraft. It's a much better aircraft than the MIG-29. It operates better, faster and sustains itself longer.

KEILAR: This is the MIG. This is the inside of a MIG.

ANDERSON: Right. And if you compare this to the F-16, you'll see that the visibility on the F-16 is much better -- much better. So, it's a better aircraft. But it's been around since 1979. Guess what, that means maintenance. It's got maintenance requirements and the United States needs to do something about that. Maintenance and repair parts.

We need to put experts on the ground in Ukraine. We need to have American contractors from General Dynamics and others. They're helping the Ukrainians sustain these aircraft. Because if they're going to win this offense, they're going to need a lot of logistics power and they're going to need to have air coverage over the entire battlefield.

KEILAR: Obviously, a huge reticence to do that. We see no indication that that is happening. General, thank you so much for taking us through this. We do appreciate it.

ANDERSON: Thank you, Brianna.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: Coming up next, I'm going to speak to the father of one of the four University of Idaho students who lost their lives. We're going to get his thoughts on the alleged killer's silence when a judge asked him to enter a plea at Monday's hearing. That's coming up on CNN NEWS CENTRAL.



SCIUTTO: The man accused of stabbing four Idaho college students to death sat silently during his arraignment yesterday. His attorneys employing an unconventional legal strategy.


JOHN C. JUDGE, JUDGE LATAH COUNTY, IDAHO DISTRICT COURT: Is Mr. Kohberger prepared to plead to these charges?

ANNE TAYLOR, BRYAN KOHBERGER'S ATTORNEY: Your honor, we will stand silent.

JUDGE: Because Mr. Kohberger is standing silent, I'm going to enter a not guilty plea to each charge.


SCIUTTO: That is an Idaho-specific criminal rule which essentially allows a suspect to avoid verbally committing to being guilty or not guilty. He is set to stand trial on October 2nd. The family of one of the victims, 21-year-old Kaylee Goncalves, says they will attend every day of that trial. They have been in the courtroom so many times already and kay Kaylee's father, Steven Goncalves, joins me now. Steve, good to have you on. Thanks for joining us.


SCIUTTO: As I always begin when we speak, I just want to start by asking how you and your family are doing through all of this?

GONCALVES: It gets tough when you -- things get back to normal and, you know, going into that courtroom and all the procedures that go along with that, all the discussions. It reminds you that you're not out of the mess yet. So, it gets tough. It's been a rough week. SCIUTTO: How was it to see Kohberger there not uttering a word, either

in his defense or nothing?

GONCALVES: We've heard that he likes to control every nook and cranny. You've heard from his classroom, his grading, he's a control freak. So I wasn't that surprised that even in front of the judge, you know, he didn't call the judge your honor. He hasn't to this day. And you know, he didn't say a word. So, you know, he likes to be in control.

SCIUTTO: Yes. You know, whenever we talk, I always say, listen, I've got a daughter, I can only imagine the pain you've been through. When you're in that courtroom and you've done it before and had to stand or sit within feet of him, how do you manage that? What are you feeling in those moments?

GONCALVES: You go through all kinds of emotions, but rage is definitely probably the primary emotion that you have. And then I remind myself that I need to, you know, actually understand what's going on and memorize everything that's being said, take notes. So, you want to be strategic as well because, you know, justice doesn't fall out of the sky, you know. Sometimes you've got to earn it. You've got to do everything.

SCIUTTO: I get it. One thing you've said is that you're working with the state of Idaho now to try to make sure murders like this don't happen again. Can you tell us what kind of changes, what kind of steps you would like to see?

GONCALVES: You know what, we've wrote letters and we've gotten people involved that can actually make things happen.


I can just voice what the public -- you know, what people are sharing with me. We are getting a lot of people reaching out to us. And we just extend that information on to people, because right now I do have people who will listen. But my voice really isn't different than anyone else that's a member of the Idaho community. But we are trying to work with -- you know, with people to make sure that we can, you know, make something better and make the system better for the next, you know, circumstance that can happen so it turns out better.

SCIUTTO: I know you've made an effort as well to be together in this as much as you can with the families of the other victims. And you noted to me earlier that family members of other victims were also in that courtroom with you there yesterday. Do you feel you're all together in this?

GONCALVES: I do. I do believe that we -- we're all learning how to go through this step. You know, we're just parents and we've been thrown in this. And you know, we just listen and we work together and we send out our emails. And you know, did you hear this update? Did you hear that update? So, we're getting more organized. And I think we'll have a full front, you know, showing up in that courtroom when the time comes to where we're actually going through the hearing in the case. SCIUTTO: Now as you know, there is a gag order in this case and

there's a hearing set for June 9th. You want this lifted so that the family attorney can speak on your behalf. Of course, Kohberger's attorneys they oppose it. They say it reduces chances of a fair trial. Do you have any concerns that if the gag order was lifted that statements made could provide at least the grounds for a potential appeal if he get to that point? Is that something you're concerned about?

GONCALVES: Well, my part of the gag order is different than the Associated Press. Mine is just basically saying, when a family hires a lawyer, he should be able to speak on behalf of the family. And I think that's very clear. I think that's been in the Supreme Court. The only thing we're pushing back is they need to define why they don't think Shannon can speak on our behalf. He's not voicing his own opinion. He's voicing the family's opinion. And you know, what's the point of having a lawyer if a judge can just say your lawyer can't speak?

SCIUTTO: Yes. Of course, the other decision that's coming up as we come closer to trial, 60 days for prosecutors to decide if they will seek the death penalty in this case. Tell us why that decision is so important to you and your desire, your goal here to find justice?

GONCALVES: I think Idaho has a chance to make a message, you know. Unfortunately, a lot of bad things happen across America. But we moved here and people move here for the safety that we have. We have to make sure that the world knows that you can't come to Idaho. You can't hunt our children down and you can't kill them in their beds. And just be given, you know, a room to stay.

You know, this guy is a smart man. He's going to try to exercise his influence and write papers for other criminals. He'd have a presence. And he'd have -- still be able to act as a bad character. And that's not what we want. We're looking for somebody to, you know, pay the price of what he did. You know, it's not one person, it's four, four individuals that we're doing everything that they could possibly do to better their lives. And they just went to bed one night and some monster snuck into their home and killed them.

SCIUTTO: You know, we've been showing pictures as you've been speaking of Kaylee and there was one that caught my eye. Well, they all do. But of you and her together and you can certainly see in that photo the love between father and daughter. So, I just want to say we're thinking about you and we do wish you the very best.

GONCALVES: Thank you, Jim.

SCIUTTO: And we'll be right back.



KEILAR: Today a rare advisory from the U.S. Surgeon General. He is warning of the, quote, profound risk of harm to children caused by social media. We have CNN's Jake Tapper covering this next hour on "THE LEAD" and he's with us now to talk about this warning and what the White House may be planning to do about it. I think every parent wants to know about this. I mean, obviously my kids are not on social media, they are 4 and --


KEILAR: Yes, exactly -- 4 and just nearly 7.

TAPPER: That's interesting you say that.

KEILAR: Yours are older.

TAPPER: Mine are 13 and 15 and they are on social media. But 40 percent of kids 8 to 12, 40 percent say they use social media despite companies requiring users to be 13. So that day when your kids, when your beloved babies are on social media might be coming quicker than you think.

And look, the surgeon general sounding the alarm saying that social media poses a, quote, profound risk of harm to the mental health and well-being of children and teens. He says that engineers are designing products meant to keep people using them longer -- which we all know. And the question is, look, we've seen how destructive social media is for adults. A 13-year-old brain, a 14-year-old brain, a 15-year-old brain, it can cause real harm.

KEILAR: And it's scary. It's especially scary, I think for young girls. And the research has borne that out as well.

TAPPER: Yes, I mean, look, I mean the question is, how much of those algorithms are there to cause harm, versus how much are they there to prevent harm? Obviously, for some kids going on social media, you know, if they feel lonely, they can find a community and it can be a positive thing. Obviously, there's nothing in this world that's all- 100 percent negative, generally speaking.

But it also can send kids into bad places, bad spirals. It can encourage eating disorders. We've heard of TikTok challenges that have resulted in kids dying because of the idiotic suggestions people make. And it's something that parents really need to be on top of. There are no solutions to it as of now other than don't let your kids use social media. But you know what, good luck with that.

KEILAR: Yes, good luck.

TAPPER: So, we'll be talking about that on "THE LEAD" coming up.

KEILAR: We are looking forward to that. It is a continuing conversation that you're having that is so important for parents.

TAPPER: The moment that you give in and let your kid have a computer or a phone, I'm telling you, Brianna, you'll know. You'll come to me.

TAPPER: I will have crossed the Rubicon.

TAPPER: And we'll have the conversation.

KEILAR: All right, Jake, I will lean on you when that happens.

TAPPER: As always.


KEILAR: Thank you so much. And we'll see you on "THE LEAD" at the top of the hour -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: The separation of church and state once again in the spotlight and under dispute. This time in Texas where lawmakers could soon vote on whether the 10 Commandments must be posted in public schools there. We're going to take you to Texas.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Thou shall display the 10 Commandments -- at least if Texas lawmakers get their way. A new bill moving through the statehouse would require the religious rules be posted in every single public classroom. This is already drawing swift criticism from some civil liberty groups. Let's take you now live to Texas and CNN's Rosa Flores, who's been watching all of this unfold. Rosa, how close is this bill to actually becoming reality?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it has already passed the Texas Senate, and it has a critical reading scheduled for today, so we'll see. But, Boris, shall we dive into the language of this bill? Because as you said, it states that every classroom shall display a copy, a poster, a frame of the 10 Commandments, and that it must be legible from everywhere in the classroom.

Now Boris, this is Texas. If you have a Texas-sized classroom, well that Texas-sized 10 Commandments might be what you see in these classrooms because that's required by law. As a matter of fact, it's written in the code of this bill that the smallest size is a 16 by 20 inches and it also says that if your classroom doesn't have one and someone donates the classroom a copy of the 10 Commandments, then that classroom, quote, must receive, accept that copy of the 10 Commandments. It goes on to say that if you still do not have one in your classroom, then the school can use public funds to purchase a copy of the 10 Commandments.

Now, if your head is spinning with all the questions that you have running through your head, you're not the only one. Questions about the constitutionality of this. Questions about religious freedom.


So many questions, Boris, but of course the biggest question is will this actually pass? We don't know. We're checking on it. We'll let you know -- Boris?

SANCHEZ: We know you'll keep watching that story very closely, Rosa Flores in Houston Texas for us. Thank you so much -- Brianna. KEILAR: Is a 20-year reign about to come to an end? Lebron James dangling the possibility of retirement. What more, we're hearing about his future next.


SANCHEZ: We're closing the show with a story that's made some of us extremely emotional, including Brianna here. After 20 years of basketball dominance, is the reign of King James over?

SCIUTTO: Well, maybe. Lebron says he's considering the unthinkable, ending his just incredible career. Here he was moments after his LA Lakers loss last night, ending their playoff run a little early.


LEBRON JAMES, NBA'S ALL-TIME LEADING SCORER: We'll see what happens going forward. But I don't know. I don't know. I don't like to think about to be honest. I don't like to think about to be honest. And just with me personally going forward with the game a basketball, I'd like to think about.


SANCHEZ: I think he retires maybe for a year, maybe two, and then comes back to play with his son Bronny.


SCIUTTO: See, I just -- how many times have you heard athletes when they have a big loss say, well, maybe I got to be out -- that's my skepticism here.

SANCHEZ: It's a distraction, it's a tactic.

KEILAR: I want to see him play with his son. I don't care how it happens. Maybe stick around.

SANCHEZ: Really a passionate LeBron fan are you, Brianna.

KEILAR: I'm just here for a good story. Father and son together.

SANCHEZ: That would be a great story.

SCIUTTO: I would be a great story.

SANCHEZ: 100 percent. Yeah, thanks so much for joining us today. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.