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Special Counsel Questions FBI Decision To Launch Full Investigation Into Trump-Russia Connections; Biden And Congressional Leaders To Meet For Talks; Erdogan Predicts He Will Emerge Victorious In Runoff. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired May 16, 2023 - 02:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.

Just ahead on CNN NEWSROOM. A bombshell or a dug. After years of investigating, Special Counsel John Durham releases his findings on the origins of the FBI's Trump-Russia probe. But does his report actually reveal very much?

A violent attack on a lawmaker's office. A man wielding a baseball bat injuring a staffer and an intern on her very first day. And we have new video that appears to show the same man involved in an earlier attack.

Explosions ring out across Kyiv just hours after Ukraine's president wrapped up a whirlwind tour securing new aid to his country's fight against Russia.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Rosemary Church.

CHURCH: Good to have you with us. Well, it is a report four years in the making, the special counsel appointed during the Trump administration has released his findings about the origins of the FBI's Trump-Russia probe. John Durham criticized the agency and concluded the FBI should never have launched a full-blown investigation into connections between Donald Trump's 2016 campaign and Russia.

But the report failed to fulfil expectations set by the former president that the special counsel would find the FBI's probe was nothing more than a political witch hunt. CNN's Evan Perez has all the details now from Washington.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Special Counsel John Durham released his final report casting doubt about the FBI's decision to launch a full investigation into connections between Donald Trump's campaign and Russia during the 2016 election. The 300- plus page report sharply criticized the FBI and the Justice Department throughout but does not recommend any new charges against anyone or any wholesale changes to the way politically sensitive investigations are being handled.

The report falls well short of expectations that were set by foreign President Trump and his allies who have long claimed that it would prove that the FBI's investigation was a political witch hunt. Nonetheless, Donald Trump claimed vindication posting on his social media platform that it was evidence of a scam. Durham's report finds many mistakes by the FBI including what he calls confirmation bias.

He concludes that the FBI discounted or willfully ignored material information that did not support the narrative of a collusive relationship between Trump and Russia. Republicans in Congress have already called for Durham to come up to the Capitol for a hearing to discuss more about his investigation.

Evan Perez, CNN, Washington.

CHURCH: And joining us now from Los Angeles is Areva Martin. An attorney and legal affairs commentator. Good to have you with us.


CHURCH: So, what did you make of Special Counsel John Durham's long awaited report on the origins of the FBI's Russia probe with his finding that the Justice Department and the FBI failed to uphold their important mission of strict fidelity to the law and his conclusion that the FBI should never have launched a full investigation into connections between Trump's 2016 campaign and Russia?

MARTIN: Well (INAUDIBLE) report, Rosemary. One, it reiterates a lot of information that has already been released by the Department of Justice, by the inspector general's office. So, it's in many ways repeating information that has already been made available to the public. It doesn't add a lot of new information. And a lot of the issues that are raised in this report about the way sensitive investigations are conducted at the Department of Justice and the FBI.

A lot of changes have already been made since the time that this investigation was actually launched. So, it doesn't really add much to the public discourse. Now, Donald Trump is making a lot of the report which we expected him to do no matter what the report said, but it nowhere -- it doesn't come or it doesn't rise to the level of what Trump has been touting for years, which is that this investigation was going to reveal some smoking gun evidence and possibly lead to, you know, indictments of high-level people in the FBI.


And possibly even the Department of Justice. And some experts are saying it's really a lot to do about nothing, that it's a big nothing burger in some ways.

CHURCH: Yes. And it also appears that after four years of examination, John Durham doesn't even recommend any new charges in his final report on the origins of the FBI's Russia probe. But your reaction to that?

MARTIN: Yes. Not only rosemary, does he not recommend any new charges, he doesn't really even recommend any substantial changes to the way that the FBI conducts its business. So, he does however, though, echo some of the conspiracy theories that Donald Trump and the MGA crowd has been, you know, touting again for years, that somehow Hillary Clinton was behind the entire investigation that this was all done to, you know, taint the name of Donald Trump while at the same time promoting Hillary Clinton.

But the fact that he spent four years, that he spent $6.5 million of taxpayers' money, and the fact that there are no recommendations for charges or major changes to the FBI suggests that this wasn't a big deal. And that's probably why we didn't see Merrick Garland. He didn't make any changes. He didn't make any redactions. He just released this report. So, I think it was his way of saying maybe we can now finally put this entire investigation to bid.

CHURCH: Yes. And as you mentioned, Donald Trump is trying to spin this as a win for himself and claim vindication. But the report did not go as far as he would have liked, as you mentioned. It didn't show that the FBI's investigation was a political witch hunt which is exactly what Trump wanted to hear. So, what all did this report achieve after four years, 300-plus pages and as you say, more than $6 million?

MARTIN: Yes. It doesn't achieve very much of anything. We know that the Special Counsel Mueller did find that there are substantial ties between the Trump team and Russia. However, more didn't go further in terms of recommending that any charges be brought against our Trump or anyone in his orbit at that time as well. And now what this report does, in many ways, again, just tells us what Mueller and his investigation already told us.

Echoes some conspiracy theories that Trump has been touting for years, and at the end of the day, doesn't make any substantive recommendations to be acted on by the Department of Justice. So, no matter how Donald Trump tries to spin this, this is not a big win for him, does not vindicate him and does not change the ties that were established by the Mueller report between Trump and Russia.

CHURCH: Yes. All very frustrating for the American taxpayer, of course. Areva Martin, thank you so much for joining us. Appreciate it.

MARTIN: Thank you.

CHURCH: The district attorney in Fulton County, Georgia is asking a judge to reject Donald Trump's latest effort to block her investigation. Fanni Willis is looking into the former president's efforts to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia. Trump wants evidence and the final report from a grand jury thrown out. Well, it says Trump is trying to restrain a criminal investigation before any charges are filed.

She plans to announce her decision on charges this summer. Trump and his supporters are accused of launching a plan to submit fake electors and the Georgia Secretary of State recorded Trump asking him to find 11,000 votes, more than that in actual fact.

Well, in the coming hours, U.S. President Joe Biden is set to meet with congressional leaders of the White House to try and get on the same page about raising the U.S. debt ceiling. They have been at odds over the matter as the nation inches closer to defaulting on trillions of dollars of debt on June 1st. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warns a default could come with serious consequences.

She says, "If Congress fails to increase the debt limit, it would cause severe hardship to American families, harm our global leadership position and raise questions about our ability to defend our national security interests." House Speaker McCarthy does not seem optimistic they will meet the deadline.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I appreciate the president finally willing to talk after 97 days, but there is no move. We're only a couple of weeks away. And if you look at the timeline to pass something in the House and pass something to the Senate, you got to have something done by this weekend and we are nowhere near any of that.


CHURCH: A U.S. Congressman says two of his staff members were injured Monday when a man struck them with a metal baseball bat. Democratic Representative Gerry Connolly told CNN that had happened at his district office in Northern Virginia. The two staff members were briefly hospitalized and the suspected attacker was arrested.


CNN has learned that before the assault, the man may have been involved in another incident that was caught on video. And we want to warn you the footage can be hard to watch.


CHURCH: And you can see here, a woman screaming as she was chased by a man wielding a bat. Neighbors say he was the same person who was arrested in the attack on the lawmaker's staff. And CNN's Jessica Schneider has more.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: The suspects father now telling our team that the suspect suffers from schizophrenia and has not taken his medication in three months. Plus, the suspect was arrested for assaulting a law enforcement officer last year. The charges were ultimately dropped. And now that suspect is being held without bond on two charges. Police have identified the suspect as 49- year-old Xuan Kha Tran Pham.

They say that he entered this building right behind me which is the district office for Congressman Gerry Connolly just before 11:00 a.m. That's when he assaulted two staffers with a metal bat. He hit one senior aide in the head. He also attacked an intern. It was her first day on the job. Both of them were taken to the hospital with non-life- threatening injuries. Now the Congressman, Gerry Connolly he was not here. He was actually at a ribbon cutting event.

But he says that the suspect really came in with an out-of-control rage. He said he shattered some glass in a conference room, also broke computers. So, now the U.S. Capitol Police are working with the Fairfax City Police. They've launched a joint investigation here. But this attack comes as the U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger has warned about the uptick in threats against members of Congress as well as their staff saying that in the last six years, the threat has gone up 400 percent.

Jessica Schneider, CNN Fairfax, Virginia.

CHURCH: We turn now to New Mexico where at least three people are dead and six others wounded after a mass shooting in the city of Farmington. Officials say the gunman was also killed. According to police, the 18-year-old opened fire in a residential area Monday morning, appearing to shoot randomly at people houses and cars. Investigators say the gunman used three different weapons including an A.R.-style rifle before he was killed by police arriving on scene.

Two of the officers were among those hurt. So far, police have not identified the shooter or any of the victims.

Time for a short break. When we come back. Turkey's presidential election is headed for a run off. How a third-party candidate may end up deciding the outcome.

And the head of the Wagner Group is responding to a recent report alleging he made an offer to Ukraine.



CHURCH: Facing the toughest challenge yet to his 20 years in power. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is predicting victory in a crucial runoff election in less than two weeks. The longtime leader fell just short of topping the 50 percent threshold needed to win reelection outright in Sunday's vote. Some voters have grown weary of Mr. Erdogan's rule. Critical of his response to February's deadly earthquake and his fiscal policies that have plunged the country into a cost-of-living crisis.

The leading opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu is vowing to fight until the end. He represents a coalition of six political parties and is promising to move Turkey in a more secular direction. CNN's Jomana Karadsheh reports.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Supporters of Recep Tayyip Erdogan took to the streets of Istanbul. First a show of solidarity with their leader facing the toughest election of his 20 years in office. That soon turned into a celebration. For his diehard supporters, there is one man, one cause and one Turkey, that of Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

And in the early hours of Monday morning, Erdogan doing what he does best rallying his supporters. In the capital Ankara, their man emerged to address his voters from the balcony of his ruling party's headquarters where he traditionally delivers his rousing victory speeches. This is no victory for the Turkish president, but certainly a win for now. He failed to secure the 50 percent plus one vote majority to clinch a third term, but emerged with a clear lead over the main opposition candidate.

RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, PRESIDENT OF TURKEY (through translator): Currently the majority in parliament is in our people's alliance. Therefore, we do not doubt that the choice of our nation which gave the majority in the Parliament to our alliance will be in favor of trust and stability in the presidential election.

KARADSHEH: And the wind is behind Erdogan as Turkey now heads for a runoff. But the opposition insisting they still can do this.

KEMAL KILICDAROGLU, TURKISH PRESIDENT CANDIDATE (through translator): I am here, I am here. You are here too. I will fight until the end. I swear and I know I will fight until the end. I am here.

KARADSHEH: It diverse opposition more united and more galvanized than ever thought this time would be different. They believe they could unseat Erdogan, that they could deliver change and deliver the promise of a return to a real democracy. A promise so many in this country so desperately wanted. In two weeks' time, Erdogan and opposition leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu will face off again.

And this man, Sinan Ogan could be the tiebreaker.

SINAN OGAN, TURKISH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have certain red lines such as fighting against terrorism and sending refugees back. We have voiced these conditions before.

KARADSHEH: Ogan's five percent of the electorate is a combination of disenchanted nationalists and protest votes of those who didn't like the opposition's choice of candidate but irked enough about Erdogan to deny him their support, at least in the first round. No election in this country's history has meant more for this divided nation where the two competing visions of Turkey are locked in a duel and it will be the Turkish people who will ultimately decide which leader and which vision will prevail.


Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Istanbul.


CHURCH: Just ahead. Volodymyr Zelenskyy returns to Ukraine after a quick European trip with some big military aid pledges in hand.

Plus, amid the tense calm in the Middle East, families grieve for the loved ones they lost in the fighting.

And millions of Palestinians around the world mark a somber anniversary.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. A senior Ukrainian official is calling President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's recent European tour a huge success. Mr. Zelenskyy made an unannounced visit to the United Kingdom on Monday where he met with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. The trip comes after similar visits to meet with the leaders of Italy, Germany and France over the weekend.

Mr. Zelenskyy has returned to Kyiv with new pledges of mill will free aid from Germany, France and the United Kingdom.


The aid packages include armored vehicles, tanks, drones, ammunition and offers to train Ukrainian pilots. We're also following new developments in the Ukrainian capital. Officials in Kyiv saying the city was targeted by a barrage of Russian airstrikes within the past few hours.

Meantime, on the eastern front lines, Ukraine's military says Russian airstrikes and artillery fire continue but there's been little movement. There are also reports of heavy fighting around the battered city of Bakhmut with unsuccessful offensive actions by Russian forces. Wagner Group Chief Yevgeny Prigozhin has denied a Washington Post report which says he offered to give Ukraine information on Russian troop positions in exchange for Kyiv pulling back its forces from the area around Bakhmut.

The story was based on U.S. intelligence documents leaked on social media in April. It further alleges that Prigozhin made the offer to Ukrainian military intelligence officers during a meeting in an unspecified African country. Prigozhin has speculated the story might have been planted by his enemies. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says it looks like another hoax. And Ukrainian military intelligence have declined to comment.

All right. I want to go to CNN's Clare Sebastian who joins us live from London. Good morning to you, Claire. So, what more are you learning about these new explosions in the capital Kyiv?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, according to one Ukrainian official in the capital, Rosemary, it was exceptional in its density. This overnight barrage complex assault involving a variety of different missiles. The head of the armed forces in Ukraine himself has now come out and said 18 missiles, various types were used, launch from the sea air and land that Ukraine from the north.

So, you really get a sense of the sort of scale of the attack. Even though it has to be said that we've seen the scale of these sort of overnight barrages from Russia lessons since those attacks on the energy grid during the winter. Now, of course, this comes after President Zelenskyy is what -- one Ukrainian official described as very successful trip to Europe. Russia on Monday, threatening retaliatory action after the U.K. pledged hundreds of air defense missiles and attack drones to Ukraine.

I think it can be viewed in that context. I think it can also be viewed in the context of the upcoming counter offensive which we are expecting from Ukraine. Ukraine has warned in the past weeks that Russia is trying to wear down its air defenses ahead of that campaign. So, that may be part of that strategy. I think it's also interesting to look at this in the context of Russia's resources.

Ukraine has said that while they believe they have enough missiles to sustain these kinds of barriers, they may not have enough resources to launch a significant offensive action of their own. So, it looks like we're going to see more of this kind of attritional style aerial assault tactic from Russia as we head closer to this counter offensive. President Zelenskyy on Monday saying that they are preparing for this but they still need a little bit more time. He said, they're not much.

CHURCH: Yes. All right. Clare Sebastian bringing us up to date on all those developments. Appreciate it.

While Israelis have celebrated 75 years of independence, Palestinians have held somber ceremonies for the same event. Only they call it the Nakba or catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands were forced to flee their homes once Israel was founded in 1948. Thousands of Palestinians marched in the West Bank Monday demanding recognition of their right to return. And this year, for the first time, the U.N. officially commemorated the day at its headquarters in New York.

The Nakba anniversary comes just days after fighting between Israel and Islamic Jihad killed 33 Palestinians in Gaza, as well as two people in Israel last week. Meanwhile, Israel plans to go ahead with its controversial flag march this week. An annual parade to mark control of East Jerusalem in 1967.

Now, one of those killed in the violence last week was a Palestinian man from Gaza who was working in Israel. Now his family is in mourning. Now CNN's Ben Wedeman reports.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTENATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Another father in Gaza has lost his son. As always happens here when calm returns. Mourners come to pay respects for those who were killed. But 34-year-old Abdullah Hasnain (ph) has named wasn't killed in an Israeli airstrike. Rather shrapnel from a missile fired by Islamic Jihad from his native Gaza into Israel ripped through his chest and abdomen.

Abdullah was one of around 18,000 Gazans to receive a permit to work in Israel. His father Jibril (ph) also working in Israel rushed to the hospital, it was too late.

[02:30:08] Human kindness triumphed over the passions of war. I found it made no difference to the doctors if we were Arabs or Jews, recalls Gjibril. I asked them to help me get procedures to take my son home and bury him, and they did.

WEDEMAN (voiceover): Abdullah leaves behind a wife, four daughters, and two sons.

His children his family, a whole family of seven people is now a destitute relative, Muhammad tells me. These Bedouins are pious people. They prefer not to place blame. Abdullah's death, they say was God's will.

A spokesman for Islamic Jihad denied any responsibility.

A short drive away, residents survey the ruins of a large house bombed by Israeli aircraft. Inspectors from the Ministry of Public Works gathering information on the destruction.

WEDEMAN: The neighbors say it wasn't a secret. This building belonged to somebody who was in Islamic Jihad's missile unit. The building was destroyed on Friday evening. In the process, however, all the homes in this area were severely damaged.

WEDEMAN (voiceover): The blast shattered windows and toppled walls. The neighbors had nothing to do with missiles and don't know when or if help will arrive.

Chady's (PH) home is in shambles. He shows all the help he's received so far, a bag of food with a few dollars. My house is destroyed, he shouts. A kilo of sugar and a kilo of flour. I'm going crazy. Can I fix my house with that? It's all madness, and they never get used to it.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Gaza.


CHURCH: Just ahead. U.S. officials respond to the sentencing of a 78- year-old American citizen in China on espionage charges. More details next.



CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. The U.S. State Department says it's aware of the sentencing of an American citizen in China on espionage charges. The 78-year-old who's also a Hong Kong permanent resident has been sentenced to life in prison by a Chinese court.

Joining me now is CNN's Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. Good to see you, Kristie. So, what more information are you getting on this U.S. citizen jailed for espionage in China?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Rosemary, we have very little additional information given the sensitivity about this case. We know that it is life in prison for this elderly 78-year-old U.S. citizen in China. It was yesterday when John Shing-Wan Leung, who is also a permanent resident of Hong Kong was sentenced to life in prison for espionage.

The sentencing took place in the court in Suzhou that you see on your screen there. In China, these cases involving state security are usually managed behind closed doors. The U.S. State Department did comment on the case overnight, says it is aware. Also added this. Take a listen.


VEDANT PATEL, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: When a U.S. citizen is detained overseas, the Department works to provide all appropriate assistance including relevant consular access. The department has no greater priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas. But just given privacy concerns, I don't have anything else to offer.


LU STOUT: Now, this case comes as the tension continues to simmer between the U.S. and China over trade, over Taiwan, over tech, and geopolitical issues, the list goes on. It also comes as these two world powers are trying to stabilize this rocky relationship. It was just last week when we saw China's top diplomat, as well as the U.S. national security adviser and their teams, meet for two days of talks in Vienna. And during those talks, Jake Sullivan raised concerns about the fate of U.S. citizens detained in China. And he added that this was a personal priority for the U.S. president.

Now, there are at least three other Americans known to be imprisoned in China. We have photographs of two of them, who are wrongfully detained according to the U.S. government. Kai Li, a father detained in China since 2016 on spying charges. Charges that he denies. You see them on the far right of your screen.

And also, Mark Swidan, a businessman convicted in 2019. He has been detained and held since 2012. Picture there in the center of your screen.

In addition to those two individuals, and unfortunately don't have his photograph, there's David Lin, a pastor who has been detained since 2006. And now John Leung joins this list -- this growing list of Americans detained in China. We continue to work on any reportable details about him including a photograph of this month. Back to you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, we appreciate that too. Kristie Lu Stout, joining us live from Hong Kong, many thanks.

LU STOUT: Thank you.

CHURCH: At least six people have reportedly died after a fire erupted inside a hostel in New Zealand's capital city of Wellington. Firefighters rushed to the hostel shortly after midnight local time and were able to evacuate 52 people, five others were taken to the hospital. But authorities say dozens more remain unaccounted for. The cause of the blaze remains unknown.

Raging wildfires have forced tens of thousands of Canadians from their homes and have even affected oil production in Alberta. As of Monday afternoon, 90 fires were burning across the province. 23 of them are considered out of control.


The situation is expected to worsen because almost no rain is forecast for the next 10 days. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was briefed by soldiers as he surveyed the area on Monday. Additional troops are being sent to the region to fight the wildfires.

Passengers on an Austrian train bound for Vienna were shocked by what came over the loudspeakers on Sunday, recordings of a speech by Adolf Hitler along with inflammatory Nazi slogans. Some passengers feared the train had been hijacked. A rabbi from Vienna was on board the train and said he was disturbed not only by the recording but by passengers who were laughing. A spokesperson for the train line said someone used a duplicate key to get into the intercom system. Police are investigating.

And thanks so much for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church. For our international viewers, "WORLD SPORT" is coming up next. And for our viewers in the United States and Canada, I'll be back with more CNN NEWSROOM in just a moment. Please stay with us.



CHURCH: A warm welcome back to our viewers in North America. I'm Rosemary Church.

America's top spy agency has released a slick new video in the hopes of recruiting disaffected Russians. The CIA says the war in Ukraine has created an opportunity to collect valuable information on Moscow. CNN's Alex Marquardt has more.


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Questions being asked in Russian in a new dramatic video by the CIA just released to try to recruit more Russian spies by appealing to Russians' patriotism, frustrations, and the oppression they face under the Putin regime. CIA officials told CNN in an exclusive interview that the war in Ukraine has created an unprecedented opportunity that they want to capitalize on, recruit new Russian assets.

WILLIAM BURNS, CIA DIRECTOR: Disaffection with the war will continue to gnaw away at the Russian leadership beneath the steady diet of state propaganda and practiced repression. MARQUARDT (voiceover): In the past year of the war, the CIA has been encouraging Russians with valuable information to contact them quietly, securely, and anonymously through a portal on the dark web.

DAVID MARLOWE, DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR OPERATIONS, CIA: We're looking around the world for Russians who were as disgusted with that as we are because we're open for business.

MARQUARDT (voiceover): Instructions have been posted on the CIA's social media accounts. And this new video after making an emotional pitch to Russian viewers, details how to do that using the dark web browser called Tor. You're not powerless, it says. Contact us in a safe way.

The CIA recruitment video was first posted Monday evening on Telegram, the social media app that is highly popular among Russians who can't easily access unfiltered news or other social media sites.

JAMES OLSON, FORMER CHIEF OF COUNTERINTELLIGENCE, CIA: I call that hanging out the shingle. You know spreading the word far and wide that U.S. counterintelligence is open for business and we have deep pockets. And if you want to strike about back against this man you hate, Vladimir Putin, you have an opportunity now to do it safely.

MARQUARDT (voiceover): CIA officials told CNN they hoped the video will resonate beyond intelligence and security officials with people who may not realize that they have sensitive information to share working, for example, in cyber, tech, finance, and other fields. They may think contacting the CIA is too difficult or too dangerous. The CIA telling CNN they want to demystify that.

OLSON: We need people all through the Russian economy to cooperate with us. We need to know what's going on in this adversary country.

MARQUARDT (voiceover): There is no direct mention of Putin or Ukraine nor do CIA officials insist that is it meant to fuel unrest in Russia. Rather, they tell CNN these are timeless themes that they hope will drive Russians into the arms of the CIA.

MARQUARDT: In terms of what the CIA has already seen in their efforts to recruit new Russian spies during this war, they do say that they have been successful. One CIA official told me, in his words, there's contact coming in. Now, the CIA won't give any numbers or say where these Russians work but the CIA said they wouldn't be rolling out this new video if they hadn't already had some success.

We should also note that the FBI has tried to recruiting Russian spies right here in Washington with ads specifically targeted at people coming and going from the Russian embassy. An effort that the embassy called ridiculous. Alex Marquardt, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: In the coming hours, a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee in the U.S. will hold a hearing about the potential risks of artificial intelligence. Lawmakers will ask questions to experts in the tech industry, and discuss what guardrails may be necessary to consider as A.I. grows more prominent. Among those testifying is the CEO of Open A.I., the company behind the ChatGPT A.I. Chatbot. The software has sparked a new arms race in the field of artificial intelligence, which has the potential to change how people work and interact with each other.



Joining me now from Los Angeles, Lori Schwartz, is a technology expert and the CEO and founder of StoryTech. Thank you so much for being with us.

LORI SCHWARTZ, FOUNDER & CEO, STORYTECH: Oh, it's great to be here.

CHURCH: So, artificial intelligence technology is advancing so fast that some countries can't keep up when it comes to oversight of A.I.. And, unfortunately, the United States is one of those countries. How is it possible that the superpower is already behind in establishing government regulations for A.I. given the dangers it poses?

SCHWARTZ: I think it's a very complex situation because it is moving so fast, and it literally is hard to know what to do. But I also think that the U.S. government right now is probably missing an important role, a role that they had in the Obama administration, and that is almost technologies are. You know, someone who's paying attention to just these things and someone that can speak this language.

Because what you're having right now is a bunch of government officials running around talking to experts but not really being authentically inside of this world. And it's a complex world. There are a lot of different things going on. And it is moving really fast.

CHURCH: Yes, it's a very good point too because a lot of people in Congress don't have a clue about any of this. So, what are the main risks that you see being posed by A.I. right now, and what regulations need to be put in place before some major damage is done?

SCHWARTZ: Well, OK. So, the biggest challenge with A.I. right now is first, we have a world that has been trained to be afraid of technology, right? There's a lot of technophobia. So, you have a lot of people really terrified almost over the top about what A.I. can do.

Now, that's not saying that it isn't really scary. The real challenge with A.I. is that we don't know where it's going and what's going to happen with it. And that there are some bad actors out there who are going to use A.I. to create problems to send out what we call deep fakes where they're portraying a video of someone and it's not really them, or using A.I. to create content that's not authentic, and thereby causing millions of people to think things that aren't true. And so, there's a lot of challenges with managing this fast content generation that A.I. can do that feels real and feels authentic, but isn't.

But the other side of this is that A.I. is actually a fantastic tool that can help a lot of people. In any business category you name A.I. is bringing a lot of services and solutions that are very positive. And so, the challenge with this is how do we manage this in a way with regulations that tapers the bad actors, but still leaves it open for innovation. And that's the yin and yang of this right now is how do you do both at the same time?

CHURCH: Yes. So, what is the answer to that? Because I think you highlight the biggest problem, the fear that most people have, the manipulative or deceptive A.I. systems that could potentially bring down an individual, a business, a large company, even perhaps a government.


CHURCH: How do you control that?

SCHWARTZ: Well, I think this is going to take many different parties from many different groups. I think we are going to have to -- need to have some government regulation. I also think that tech companies are going to need to step in harder and really manage this, you know, really provide some guardrails for consumers and other folks that are using their solutions.

And then I think the general populace is going to need to step in and make some demands as well. So, when we see a piece of content, we need to know is it authentic or not. Is this a real piece of content?

And I think tech companies can help that by providing some verification processes so that we know OK, that was a real piece of content. So, I think you need a trifecta here. I think you need government, I think you need tech companies and I think you need consumers all working together to figure this out.

CHURCH: Yes, I think it's a really good point. You raise the texts that President Obama had in place. Because as we were talking about earlier, a lot of members of Congress are too old to really grasp what is going on here with artificial intelligence. And not having a go at their age, it's simply the fact that the younger people have a better grasp of all of this. So, who is equipped to put oversight in place if you've got a lot of people in Congress not really able to wrap their minds around this?

SCHWARTZ: Yes. I think that Congress needs to reach into the tech community right now and find somebody that they can work with who can speak their language, but also someone that's inside the tech community.


So, not a career politician, but a career technologist. And let them live outside of the Washington system because I think the problem in the past with a lot of tech czars is that they get swallowed up in the government system. And that stops them from doing what they need to do.

So, somehow there needs to be a partnership with a -- you know, technologist. You know, someone in senior leadership who can communicate what they need to communicate, but they're outside you know of the government system because they're just going to get squashed.

CHURCH: Yes, that's a very valid point. Lori Schwartz, thank you so much for joining us. Really appreciate it.

SCHWARTZ: It's my pleasure.


CHURCH: And thank you for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. Do stay with us. I'll be back with more CNN NEWSROOM in just a minute.