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U.S. President Joe Biden Arrives in Japan for the G7 Summit; New Evidence on Donald Trump's Criminal Investigation May Undercut his Claims; Harry and Meghan Survive in a Paparazzi Chase; Parents slam Plans for Asylum Seekers in New York Schools; Nine People Killed in Italy due to Severe Flooding; The Bachelor's Newest Spin-Off Involving Singles in Their 50's. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired May 18, 2023 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world. You're watching "CNN Newsroom," and I'm Rosemary Church.
Just ahead, U.S. President Joe Biden expected to arrive in Japan this hour for the G7 Summit. We're live in Hiroshima with a look at why this is a shortened overseas trip for the President. Looking at live pictures there, in fact.
Plus, new evidence in the Special Counsel's criminal investigation of Donald Trump's handling of classified documents. Details on CNN's exclusive new reporting.
And we are learning more about the paparazzi chase of Harry and Meghan in New York. We're live in London on what the royal couple's team is calling near catastrophic.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): Live from CNN Center. This is "CNN Newsroom" with Rosemary Church.
CHURCH: Thanks for joining us. Well, U.S. President Joe Biden is in Japan this hour, ahead of a Summit of the world's leading democracies. We're just waiting for him to land at this moment. This is a live picture. G7 leaders are expected to discuss the war in Ukraine and how to counter China's growing influence around the world.
But Mr. Biden has canceled visits to Australia and Papua New Guinea so he can head home and focus on the looming debt crisis. The U.S. government is expected to run out of money early next month, if lawmakers don't lift the debt ceiling. The President says he's confident of an agreement with Republican leaders to avoid default.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: America is not a deadbeat nation. We pay our bills. The nation has never defaulted on its debt and never will. We're going to continue these discussions with congressional leaders in the coming days until we reach an agreement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: So let's go live now to CNN's White House reporter, Kevin Liptak in Hiroshima. Good to see you, Kevin. We are awaiting the arrival of Joe Biden in Hiroshima. He's actually arrived. So what's expected to come out of this G7 Summit once it gets underway, particularly on the pressing issues of Ukraine and China?
KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yeah, Air Force One did just land a few minutes ago at an American Marine Corps base. And the President will speak to some of the servicemen there before he heads on his way to here, Hiroshima, where the G7 Summit will be getting under way. And, of course, those two big issues that you mentioned, Ukraine and China, will dominate the discussions among the leaders around that table. The G7 has really emerged as the most critical sort of organizing block when it comes to the Western response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. It has coordinated its sanctions, it has coordinated billions of dollars in military aid.
And we do expect new sanctions to emerge this week, really trying to close some of the loopholes that exist that have allowed certain Russian entities to evade the sanctions that are already in place. The leaders do really want to get a handle on that, so that those sanctions can't be evaded going forward.
They will also want to discuss the situation on the battlefield there in Ukraine, as the Ukrainians prepare for a counteroffensive, really hoping to regain some territory. And what President Biden and the other leaders hope is that will provide some leverage when the Ukrainians and the Russians sit down at an eventual negotiating table. Where that is, when that is, those all remain open questions. But, certainly, the hope is that this counteroffensive will allow President Volodymyr Zelenskyy some leverage when those negotiations do begin.
And now, remember, Zelenskyy has just finished a major tour of Europe. All four of the European members of the G7 hosted him in their country, announced billions of dollars in new military assistance, really making the point that Europe is becoming sort of the center of arming Ukraine after the United States had taken the lead for the past 14 months as this war got underway.
Now, the other major issue, of course, will be China. And we are in Asia. The G7 only happens on this continent every seven years. So I think it will sort of loom larger than usual over this Summit. What President Biden wants to do is to coalesce these leaders around a general approach to Beijing. And, Rosemary, the Europeans and the Americans are not always on the same page when it comes to how to confront China's growing military and economic aggressions.
Certainly, President Biden will want to have those discussions. They have been hard discussions in the past about what he really hopes for coming out of this Summit is sort of a general consensus about how to move forward with China. Rosemary. CHURCH: And Kevin, President Biden was of course forced to shorten
this overseas trip, wasn't he? So he can return to the U.S. and finalize a deal to avert a U.S. debt default. What's being said about this?
LIPTAK: Yeah, for all the talk of Ukraine and China, really the most pressing threat to global stability right now is the risk of American default that would send the global economy into tailspin. And it's something that these leaders, I think, will probably want to talk to the President about when he sits down. He won't want to reassure them that the risk of default is small. But of course, that deadline is looming. June 1st is the date, the earliest date that the U.S. could run out of cash to pay its bills.
And so, when the President and his aides were deciding whether to embark on this trip, they really had to sort of come up, think about the trade-offs of staying behind in Washington, coming for part of the trip, canceling part of the trip. And what they eventually determined was, while they could postpone some of the diplomacy that will be under way or was supposed to be under way here in Asia, they cannot postpone these discussions about raising the debt limit.
So the President's aides are meeting with Republicans on Capitol Hill to try and come up with an agreement. Those talks are progressing. They have escalated, increased over the last several days. So, certainly, the hope will be that they can come up with an agreement that the President will then return to Washington early to sort of see-through and eventually sign.
But I think there are some leaders here who will be disappointed that he wasn't able to fulfill his engagements in Australia and Papua New Guinea, where the message, implicitly or otherwise, is that he has more important things to do back home. And I think, you know, it doesn't do anything to rebut the notion among leaders, certainly European leaders that the American political system is sort of in a state of dysfunction at the moment.
And so President Biden will have all those conversations when he makes it here to Hiroshima and participates in the Summit over the next several days.
CHURCH: And, Kevin, as you have been speaking with us, we've been taking this shot of Air Force One. President Joe Biden has landed there in Hiroshima, Japan, at the start of the G7 Summit. And very soon, we can expect the staircase to drop and for the President to disembark. So, of course, pressing issues, as you say, on Ukraine and China particularly. Kevin Liptak joining us there from Hiroshima, Japan. I appreciate it.
Well, new evidence in the investigation into classified documents taken by Donald Trump to Mar-a-Lago may undercut some of his claims. At a CNN town hall last week, the former U.S. President insisted that simply by removing the materials from the White House, he had declassified them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Why did you take those documents with you when you left the White House?
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I had every right to under the Presidential Records Act. You have the Presidential Records Act. I was there and I took what I took and it gets declassified.
COLLINS: A question for you though when it comes to documents. Do you still have any classified documents in your possession?
TRUMP: Are you ready?
COLLINS: Do you?
TRUMP: No, no, I don't have anything. I have no classified documents. And by the way, they become automatically declassified when I took them. But why?
COLLINS: No, you have to declassify them.
TRUMP: Let me ask you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: But according to multiple sources, the National Archives has records showing Trump and his top advisors knew about the correct declassification process. And those records are being sent to the Special Counsel.
CNN's Paula Reid has the exclusive details.
PAULA REID, CNN SR. LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: According to this letter from the National Archives, obtained exclusively by our colleague Jamie Gangel. These 16 records that the Special Counsel wants to obtain reveal communications, some from top Trump advisors, explaining the how, why, and when you would declassify certain documents.
Now, that's significant because the Special Counsel is looking at several crimes, including possibly mishandling classified information. And if the Special Counsel could use these records to establish that Trump was on notice about the process of how you declassify materials and the fact that it applied to him. That could help inform prosecutors as they decide whether they want to bring a case.
Now, the former President's lawyers have given various explanations for how and why he brought these classified documents down to Mar-a- Lago. The former President has suggested he automatically was able to declassify these documents.
He's also said that he had a standing order to declassify them. And his lawyers, though, have argued that part of this was about the process, being flawed and things were inadvertently packed up at the end of the administration. So these records will help clarify the extent to which Trump was aware of how you declassify items.
Now, the Special Counsel may have to wait to get their hands on these documents because the former President's legal team, they may file a legal challenge. They have not been successful in preventing prosecutors from getting much of the evidence that they have tried to obtain. But I am told by a source familiar with their thinking, they may still file a challenge because they want to try to protect constitutional and presidential privileges.
Paula Reid, CNN, Washington.
CHURCH: And earlier CNN asked a former Trump White House lawyer if these new revelations from the National Archives mean an indictment is imminent. Take a listen.
TY COBB, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: I think there is a possibility that the obstruction case may be broadened to go ahead and include the Espionage Act counts and the possession, illegal possession of the classified documents, given -- given the extent that, and solely because of the fact that Trump keeps lying about what the law is. And they may decide that it's important enough for the country to fully grasp that. They don't need that to prove the obstruction. Trump could be right that he can declassify these things between foot massages, but the reality is, That's just not the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
The Republican-led US House has blocked an effort to immediately remove George Santos from Congress, despite growing pressure for the embattled Republican to resign or be expelled. It instead voted to refer the resolution to the Ethics Committee.
Wednesday's vote allows Republicans to skirt the issue of whether to expel their colleague for now. After the vote, things got heated on the steps of the Capitol between House Democrat Jamaal Bowman and Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JAMAAL BOWMAN (D-NY): Save the party. Save America. Save the children.
REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-NY): Save the suffering.
BOWMAN: Do something about guns.
GREENE: Right, so close the border. Let me tell you something, Jamaal.
BOWMAN: C'mon. Listen, I need you to say --
GREENE: Not very smart. You should pay attention.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Santos was recently indicted and pleaded not guilty to 13 federal charges, including allegations of fraud.
CNN's Manu Raju asked House Speaker Kevin McCarthy about the multiple ongoing investigations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANU RAJU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Will ethics have to wait until justice is done with the investigation and the court case before moving its investigation?
KEVIN MCCARTHY, U.S. HOUSE SPEAKER: No.
RAJU: What assurances do you have right now, that they won't have to wait?
MACARTHY: We have no ties- they can do their own thing. It will be the choice to make. I want our ethic committee to do it
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: We are following new developments in Ukraine, where explosions have been heard in Kyiv and in regions across the country after a nationwide air alert. Ukraine's air defense systems were activated and officials say debris falling over the capital sparked a fire. To the south, in the port city of Odessa, at least one person was killed and two others wounded in a Russian missile strike.
And CNN's Clare Sebastian is following developments. She joins me live from London. Good morning to you, Clare. So what is the latest on these explosions in Kiev and other parts of Ukraine?
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Rosemary, so we've had an update now from Ukraine's Air Force on exactly what went down overnight. They say that Russia launched several waves of attacks over the course of several hours, ranging from 9 p.m. on Wednesday night to 5.30 a.m. on Thursday morning. So it appears to have been a more spread out, less concentrated attack than we saw in that major attack on Monday night into Tuesday.
Earlier this week there were, they say, 30 missiles launched, of which 29 were shot down, cruise missiles launched from the sea, the air, and land-based Iskandar missiles as well. And they also shot down, they say, four drones, two of which were Shahid attack drones, which we know Russia has been obtaining, from Iran. So this was across many, several regions that we're hearing about, Kyiv, where apparently all of the missiles that attacked that capital were shot down.
Although we have been seeing images as you showed there of debris in Odessa. It seems that one missile did get through and hit an infrastructure facility. One person killed, as you said, Vinitsya as well in the south. All of these miles, by the way, from the front lines. So we see that Russia continues with this sort of attritional strategy, trying to exhaust Ukraine's air defenses. And we see, albeit with different weapons, but we see that same attritional strategy still playing out on the eastern front line, particularly in Bakhmut, fighting has really been intensifying in recent days.
We've seen that both sides now are claiming advances. Ukraine more in the suburbs to the north and south. Russia, though, via the Wagner chief, Prigozhin saying that his forces have advanced some 260 meters as of Wednesday. Rosemary?
CHURCH: All right. Our thanks to Clare Sebastian joining us live from London.
A judge will soon decide whether the alleged Pentagon leaker will remain behind bars while awaiting trial. Prosecutors say yes he should and have released new details about his alleged misdeeds.
Plus a chase through the streets of New York trying to avoid paparazzi. What the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are saying about Tuesday night. Back with that and more in just a moment.
All right, we do want to go live now to Japan's Honshu Island, where U.S. President Joe Biden is greeting, or certainly will in just a moment, greet troops at a military base near Hiroshima.
Mr. Biden arrived in Japan just a short time ago. We brought you those live pictures. He's there, of course, ahead of the G7 Summit this week. He's scheduled to meet in the next few hours with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. We'll continue to bring up a little sound so we can get a sense of the mood here.
(LIVE VIDEO FEED)
So there you see, as we know, President Biden likes to get up close and personal with everyone. He is there saying hi to the troops there at the air base near Hiroshima. We continue to watch this of course.
Now the spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex is calling a car chase with paparazzi in New York quote, "near catastrophic." But their version of events is not completely lining up with what police and even a taxi driver who picked them up says happened. The driver says the cars behind the cab did not seem aggressive and the NYPD says no injuries, collisions or arrests were reported. Despite this, the cab driver tells CNN the couple seemed scared.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUNNY SINGH, TAXI DRIVER: They didn't say much. It was their security guard who says where they were going, right? And as soon as he's about to say where they're going, all of a sudden the paparazzi just stormed the taxi and his flash is coming from every direction. They up against the car just taking pictures and stuff like that standing in front, you know, and then as we got stuck behind the garbage truck as when the garbage truck moved they started following the cars in behind us. When the paparazzi started taking pictures and once I heard from the back somebody said oh my God you know and then the look on their faces you can tell that they were nervous and scared.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: CNN's Scott McLean joins me now live from London. So Scott, how is this being reported across Britain and what details do you have on how this all played out?
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey Rosemary, yeah so what's really interesting if you look at the British press this morning and some of the major tabloids is that none of them, at least from what I can tell, are actually using any of the photos that were taken during this pursuit, this paparazzi pursuit of Harry and Meghan. The couple's argument is that publishing those photos would encourage what they call all a highly intrusive and dangerous practice. And it seems so far that at least the British tabloids are taking this to heart, though one American gossip celebrity website has not. Those photos are still up there.
Now, there were actually police involved with this whole thing. There was a police car escorting them, at least one that we know. And the reason why, you know, they weren't able to sort of escape the press more easily is because this wasn't a diplomatic escort. This wasn't closing roads, lights and sirens. That's that kind of a thing. This was the police having the police there for their protection. And clearly they didn't view the paparazzi as any kind of a threat. This was not a high speed pursuit. No one is claiming that it was. The reason that it went on so, so long, more than two hours, according to the Sussex's is because they didn't want to take the paparazzi back to the location that they were actually staying. They wanted to lose them so that the press where they were staying. And so after an hour and a half of trying and failing, they went to a police station to regroup. They ended up leaving in a taxi cab, as you heard from the driver there. That didn't work. They went back to the police station. Eventually they ended up making their escape when a shift change at the station ended up causing a traffic jam of police cars, which allowed the Sussexes to get away.
All of this, of course, is against the backdrop of the fact that Prince Harry's mother, Princess Diana, was killed in 1997 while being pursued by the paparazzi. The driver in that case was drunk but Prince Harry very much has put the blame on the photographers who are pursuing her. This is what he said about it in 2019.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM BRADBY, ITV HOST: Do you feel at peace in a way yet or is it still a sort of wound that festers?
PRINCE HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX: I think probably a wound that festers. I think being part of this family and this role and this job every single time, I see a camera, every single time I hear a click, every single time I see a flash, it takes me straight back. So in that respect, it's the worst reminder of her life as opposed to the best.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLEAN: So Rosemary Buckingham Palace, representing the King, Kensington Palace representing Prince Harry's brother, the Prince of Wales, have not commented on this. One other thing to point out quickly is that --
Prince Harry is actually appealing a British government ruling which denies him police protection while he's in this country in the United Kingdom. The government argues that even if he were to pay for police protection it would be set a precedent affording him the opportunity to buy police protection whereas other private citizens cannot. Rosemary?
CHURCH: All right, Scott McLean joining us live from London, many thanks for that.
Well, new details are emerging about the case against suspected Pentagon leaker Jack Teixeira. Prosecutors say his superiors caught him mishandling classified information on multiple occasions, and yet the Air National Guardsman was still able to leak U.S. government secrets on social media.
CNN's Oren Lieberman has the story.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: According to the latest court records filed in the case of Jack Teixeira, the 21-year-old member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard accused of leaking highly classified information online, he was repeatedly admonished and reprimanded within his own unit for inappropriately accessing classified information, and yet, as we've learned from prosecutors and from the court filings, he retained access to that classified information for months.
In three separate Air Force memos from within his unit, we get a look inside those admonishments, those reprimands against his behavior.
First, in September, on September 15, 2022, he was observed taking notes on classified intelligence information, according to this record, and even putting that note into his pocket. For that, he was reprimanded.
Yet one month later, on October 25, 2022, after the cease and desist order that came from the previous instance, He was seen doing a deep dive on intelligence information, which he didn't need to be doing. Another reprimand there.
But at that point, according to these records, he was even offered the chance to change jobs and train into a different position, which would have still given him access to sensitive and classified information.
And yet, once again, on January 30th of this year, one of his superiors observed him on a classified information system known as JWICS, viewing content that wasn't related to his primary duty. That superior told other superiors, and yet, at least according to these records, there was no action taken against him, and at least at the time, he retained his access to classified information.
Prosecutors say he used that access repeatedly to do deep dives on classified and sensitive information, and then used that access to spread it online to a group of friends and others on a Discord server.
It is for those reasons that prosecutors in this case say Teixeira needs to remain in custody, in detention, as this process plays out. His attorneys have argued that he is not the threat that the prosecutors portray him as and that she should let him be out. That detention hearing coming up later on this week on Friday.
It is worth noting that last month we learned that not only were two of his superiors, including the commanding officer of his unit, suspended because of this ongoing investigation into how he had so much access to classified information that kept on leaking, but also the unit itself, their mission was suspended pending this investigation, the mission given to other units to perform that handling sensitive information. We have reached out to both the Air Force and the National Guard Bureau for a statement or an explanation as to how Teixeira was reprimanded and admonished for accessing this classified information inappropriately. And yet the problem persisted
Oren Liebermann, CNN, in the Pentagon.
CHURCH: An unpopular plan to house migrants in public school gymnasiums has sparked fierce community backlash across New York City, but city officials say they're in crisis mode and all options are on the table. We'll speak with the head of the New York Immigration Coalition about possible solutions. Back in just a moment.
CHURCH: Thousands of migrants have arrived in New York City over the past year. Most are from Central and South America and the surge has put an enormous strain on the city's resources. But a plan to shelter them in public school facilities has been getting loud pushback from parents who are concerned for their children's safety. On Tuesday, Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso was asked about those concerns. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONIO REYNOSO, PRESIDENT, BROOKLYN BOROUGH: Crime is going down according to our mayor and our DAs. Crime is considerably going down. These folks have not caused in any way, shape, or form an influx or an increase in crime. So this narrative about safety is just one that is being made up right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: For more on this, I'm joined by MURAD AWAWDEH, the executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition. Thank you so much for talking with us.
MURAD AWAWDEH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NEW YORK IMMIGRATION COALITION: Thank you so much for having me, Rosemary.
CHURCH: So New York is struggling to keep up with the housing needs of asylum seekers arriving in the city and creating what authorities are calling a crisis. The city had planned to use 20 school gyms to temporarily house some of these asylum seekers, but that outraged many parents. So now about 60 migrants, we understand, will be moved out of a Brooklyn school gym. But New York's deputy mayor stopped short of saying school gyms would not be used saying all options are on the table. So this plan seems unnecessarily disruptive, doesn't it? What would be a better solution to this problem?
AWAWDEH: You know, you're absolutely correct in saying that this is a disruption, right? And it's a disruption to the school environment where we have students who are actively learning in the school environment and we're taking away space from schools, which we know we don't want to see, right? New York City owns over and leases over 18,000 properties across the city. And what we do know is that there are a number of different facilities that they should be using.
They have access to their agencies that own these properties and really move people out of these schools and into better locations. And what we've been saying since the beginning is that we need to actually get people out of emergency shelter and into permanent housing, especially for our historically unhoused individuals, but they just need a little bit of help into getting into permanent housing.
CHURCH: Yeah. And I do want to get to that in a moment, but you have said that the city needs to coordinate with other localities across New York State, but there's also resistance in other cities and towns housing so many people, isn't there? So how do you solve this without stoking resentment, and because you certainly don't want that to happen?
AWAWDEH: Yeah, no, absolutely. And what we do know is that New York has for centuries welcomed immigrants and refugees from across the world, from Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and beyond. And this is not new. We have communities across New York State, the entire state from upstate New York to downstate that have been revitalized and their local economies have been thriving because of the immigrant communities. So we wanna make sure that we're coordinating with localities in different areas that are welcoming areas in the state to make sure that people are welcomed, that they are welcome and dignity and with respect and provide the services that they need.
But we have to do it in a coordinated fashion. We can't just be sending folks to other parts of the state without actually speaking to the localities or the state. And that's the work that we've been trying to get the city to do more of is ensure that they are communicating better with, you know, towns and villages and cities where we know that our communities will be welcomed and as well as making sure that they are, you know, contributing parts of society because that's what people want to do, right, they just need a little bit of help to get on their feet and continue to support our economies here in New York.
CHURCH: Right. And in addition to the asylum seekers arriving in New York, the city is also struggling to house the homeless and the mentally ill. At what point does it become a little tricky if not impossible to deal with the additional problem of housing asylum seekers?
AWAWDEH: You know, we've had affordability and housing crisis for a very long time. Our shelter has been in crisis for decades. We've had to really think more creatively in this past year and ensuring that we're providing people with the shelter that they need. You know, giving credit where it's due. The city did expand our emergency shelter system, opening up 120 hotels to the emergency shelters, as well as a number of emergency relief centers. But the solution isn't, continuing to expand our emergency shelter system.
Our solution is getting people into affordable housing, into permanent housing, and making sure that we're building more affordable housing across the city to make sure that people are able to be housed and remain housed. And that is the problem that the city is facing. And this is not a new thing. The former administration was dealing with this, the administration before that was.
So we just really need to make sure that we're investing deeply in housing, that were costing policy in the state level and the local level to protect people as tenants and to ensure that they are remaining in their homes.
CHURCH: Right. And you talk about this permanent housing and this affordable housing. Obviously, that has to be paid for. Who does pay for that?
AWAWDEH: Yeah. The taxpayers in the state of New York are paying for everything that we receive, right? So across the board, from every community across the state of New York, everyone's contributing to the success, the ability for New York State to thrive. New York City is one of the richest cities and one of the richest states and the richest nations in the world.
And we really need to be investing in our number one asset, which is our people, and ensuring that we're investing in New Yorkers, regardless if they've been here for 50 years or 50 days, to make sure they are able to succeed and to thrive because we are all part of an ecosystem that needs to work together to be able to continue to make New York the beacon of hope that we all know it to be and to be the shining star of this country.
CHURCH: Murad Awawdeh, thank you so much for talking with us. Appreciate it.
AWAWDEH: Thank you so much for having me.
CHURCH: More states throughout the U.S. are moving forward with controversial bills targeting abortion access. A federal court panel made up of three Republican-appointed judges tore into the Biden administration's defense of the approval process for an abortion medication.
CNN's Jessica Schneider has the details.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: These three judges on the Fifth Circuit panel, they were extremely critical, and they questioned lawyers for the FDA and the drugmaker very aggressively. Notably, these three judges were all appointed by Republican presidents, two of them appointed by Donald Trump. And those two have been very critical of abortion rights even before they joined the federal bench. One of those judges in particular, James Ho, he led this critical questioning against DOJ lawyer Sarah Harrington. In fact, he pounced within seconds of these arguments starting today. Take a listen.
JUDGE JAMES HO: I hate to cut you off so early, but you've said unprecedented. We had a challenge with the FDA, just yesterday.
SARAH HARRINGTON, ATTORNEY: You had a challenge to the FDA yes, but I don't think there's ever been any court that has vacated FDA's determination that a drug is safe to be on the market.
HO: Didn't the FDA just withdraw a subpart H drug just last month?
HARRINGTON: FDA can make that determination based on exercising its own scientific expertise. But it's not a court's role to come in and second guess that expertise. And no court has ever done that.
HO: I guess I'm just wondering why not just focus on the facts of this case rather than have this sort of FDA can do no wrong thing.
SCHNEIDER: So Judge Ho in particular, very critical of the idea that courts can't second guess the FDA or its scientific findings. So based on this harsh questioning, it is very likely that these three judges will side with the anti-abortion doctors bringing this case and perhaps block access to the abortion pill Mifepristone.
But even if they do that, the Supreme Court has already said that any restrictions or blocking the drug will not take effect until the Supreme Court has had time to consider the case, so a ruling on this issue could take several weeks from the Fifth Circuit and even then, whatever that court decides won't immediately go into effect. The Fifth Circuit is considered the most conservative federal appeals
court in the country. It's repeatedly ruled against the Biden administration and now it has this case that could impact the availability of the abortion drug Mifepristone, which of course is used for the majority of abortions in this country.
Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.
CHURCH: A case of two extremes with deadly consequences in northern Italy. A drought is followed by heavy flooding and takes an excruciating toll on the region. We'll have a live report coming up.
CHURCH: Another drastic weather change had deadly consequences in northern Italy. Officials say at least nine people were killed after severe rains caused heavy flooding in the Emilia Romagna region. A local CNN affiliate says several others are still missing and thousands have been evacuated. The region had a long drought before getting six months' worth of rain in just 36 hours.
Organizers have canceled Sunday's Formula One Grand Prix in the region after water inundated part of the race route. Officials say it's unsafe to hold the event.
And for more, Barbie Nadeau joins us from Rome. Barbie, what is the latest on this heavy flooding in northern Italy?
BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah, you know, a year ago we were talking about this area and the extreme drought they were under. Now we're talking about these deadly floods and they're really going under, faced with extreme conditions trying to rescue the people. We took a closer look at some of these amazing rescues.
NADEAU (voice-over): Roads turned to rivers, as rain many hoped would alleviate drought conditions, now a serious threat in the central Italian region of Emilia-Romagna. There are already victims, and rescuers are searching for the missing.
Hundreds of people were rescued from flooded homes, many brought to safety in rubber dinghies on flooded streets. More than 5,000 people are under evacuation, according to the Civil Protection. Among them, a four-month-old baby and an elderly handicapped man.
The region had been undergoing severe drought. In 2022, low rainfall and extreme heat depleted the River Po, a crucial waterway for transport and irrigation. A winter with very little snow did little to help. And as bad as these floods are, they're only a drop in the bucket for what is needed to reverse the drought. Earlier this month, a downpour swelled the Po by five feet. This deluge of water will raise it even more, but it is still well below average.
Extreme weather events are threatening other Italian regions, from Venice, where the Moseve floodgates have been raised to protect the city from high water, to Sicily, where heavy storms downed trees and flooded homes.
NADEAU: And you know Rosemary, we've had more evacuations overnight, they're expecting more rain in the next 24 hours and the latest climate prediction shows that this is just the beginning, the next four years are set to be very, very difficult indeed. Rosemary?
CHURCH: That is very worrying. Barbie Nadeau, joining us live from Rome, many thanks.
And still to come, celebrations for Manchester City, a stunning upset of Real Madrid earns the team a spot in the Champions League final. Back with that in just a moment.
CHURCH: Manchester City is on the verge of its first ever Champions League trophy, with only Inter Milan standing in the way. City stunned powerhouse Real Madrid, four-nil on Wednesday, securing a spot in the final next month. Fernando Silva scored two goals in the first half. It was a tough day for Real Madrid, whose coach said City played better and deserved to win. The final is set for June 10th in Istanbul.
Well now to the NBA and no mystery for the Miami Heat on the court in Boston. The Butler did it. Jimmy Butler scored 35 points to lead the Heat to a game one victory. Celtics led throughout the first half, Jason Tatum scored 30 points, Jaylen Brown added 22, and the Heat managed to hold off a late game surge to win 123 to 116. Game Two is in the Best of Seven series set for Friday night in Boston.
And before we go, the world of reality dating shows is about to get a bit bigger. The U.S. Dating Show "The Bachelor" usually looks a lot like this.
But now the crews are out to prove that love is timeless with a new edition of the show, "The Golden Bachelor." Set to debut later this year, the new show will focus on men and women in their golden years looking for love. It's the latest spin-off of "The Bachelor" one of ABC's most popular shows in prime time. So make sure you watch that. Thanks for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. Have yourselves a
wonderful day. CNN Newsroom continues with Bianca Nobilo, next.