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Ukraine's Zelenskyy to Attend G7 Summit In-Person; Israelis Marched through Old City to Celebrate Jerusalem Day; Default doomsday May Avert if the Debt-Ceiling Bill May Finally Pass; Three Whistleblowers Testified at the House Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing on FBI Bias Allegations; Bernard Arnault May Soon Succeed in Leading LVMH; Rafael Nadal Skips French Open, Retires Next Year. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired May 19, 2023 - 03:00   ET




PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR: And a warm welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Paula Newton.

Ahead right here on "CNN Newsroom," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will attend the G7 talks in person this weekend. We'll go live to Hiroshima and London for the latest.

Congress and the White House could be close to a deal to avert a default on the United States debt, but will there be a cost for Democrats?

And Disney cancels plans for a billion dollar campus in Florida, but makes no mention if this is related to the House of Mouse's ongoing spat with Governor Ron DeSantis, as he is expected to make a big announcement of his own.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Live from CNN Center, this is "CNN Newsroom" with Paula Newton.

NEWTON: So it is 4 p.m. in Hiroshima, Japan, where the annual G7 Summit is now underway, and soon they'll be adding a special guest. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Now he's due to attend the gathering after first stopping in Saudi Arabia to attend today's Arab League Summit. That's according to CNN sources. And that meeting will also be significant.

Now already, Ukraine is top of mind in Japan. The U.K. and the European Union have already announced new sanctions targeting Russia's diamond trade. And in a key development, sources tell CNN the U.S. will not stand in the way of allies sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, something Kyiv has been requesting for months.

CNN's White House reporter Kevin Liptak is live this hour in Hiroshima and our correspondent Salma Abdelaziz is standing by for us in London. Kevin, to you first, a surprise visit from Zelenskyy, it's interesting here that as much as China may be top of mind for these leaders still, Ukraine is the task ahead. How significant do you think it is that he'll be there in person?

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, I think it's highly significant. Certainly, he wouldn't make that journey if he didn't hope to exact some commitments from these leaders who are at the G7. And it's almost certain that he will use this appearance to appeal for more advanced weaponry, of course, as Ukraine prepares for this counteroffensive. The real hope among world leaders here, including President Joe Biden, is that Ukraine will be able to regain some territory that will help Zelenskyy eventually gain some leverage at a negotiating table with Russia, of course when that happens, where that happens all remains to be seen.

But the leaders are behind closed doors at this hour talking about Ukraine specifically at a very specific special session dedicated to that topic they are expected to emerge with a significant new sanctions against Russia including from the United States sanctioning 300 individuals, entities really trying to close some loopholes in the existing sanctions regime that had allowed Russian entities to evade those punishments going forward. The hope, really, is to clamp down on the Kremlin's war machine.

You also heard from the United Kingdom earlier today banning imports of Russian diamonds. That had been sort of one of the remaining untapped industries in Russia that Western sanctions hadn't been applied to yet.

So certainly, Ukraine really looming very large over these talks. And it was hard to ignore the symbolism of the leaders earlier today laying wreaths at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, certainly the threat of nuclear attack, really the backdrop this week in Japan.

NEWTON: Yeah, we are certainly warned unfortunately enough times throughout this conflict the risk there given what's happening in Zaporizhia and elsewhere.

Salma Abdelaziz is going to join us now from London. When we talk about the people around the table they see mostly eye-to-eye on Ukraine but there is a split at times over what kind of weapons to be exported whether or not it's going to include jets. In terms of the actual front line now in Eastern Front near Bakhmut, is there a discrepancy really here between what the E.U. allies want to see and what the United States is willing to give?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In a discrepancy, let's say, between President Zelenskyy's wish list and what allies are willing to give. There's been this constant calculation, this constant balance, Paula, between providing the weapons that President Zelenskyy wants to see on those front lines that he says his forces need and not escalating the conflict by providing weapons that might be seen as too offensive, if you will.


But that calculation is constantly changing at the beginning of this conflict when the nuclear threat from Russia seemed much larger in the West's eyes. They were less willing to provide weapons such as tanks for example that are now on those front lines.

But for President Zelenskyy, this is why it's important to show up in person. This is why it's important for him to come to Japan, shake hands, look his partners in the eye. This is his diplomatic strategy, if you will, because time and time again, that has resulted in him getting more from his allies. I will give you the example of just a few days ago, earlier this week.

President Zelenskyy was on this whistle-stop, four-country European tour. He visited Rome, Berlin, Paris, London. During that visit, he was able to get a $3 billion aid package from Germany. He was able to get air defense systems from France. He was able to get attack drones from the U.K. So he knows, President Zelenskyy knows that by showing up in Japan, he can push his allies further, further rather, and beyond the need for defense help.

Of course, along those very complex front lines where we're expecting that counteroffensive, he's also going to demand that his partners tighten that noose around Russia. He wants to see more sanctions. He wants to see economic consequences for Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

You'll remember that some of these countries, including Japan, the host country, continue to import goods from Russia. He wants to see an end to that and an increase on the pressure, the economic pressure, towards the Kremlin.

NEWTON: Yeah. And the time we have left, Kevin, we talked about Ukraine, and yet around that table, the G7, there's certainly talk of the U.S. debt crisis and the fact that it's going down to the wire, and those allies do know that it will also harm their economies if there's any wobbling over it.

LIPTAK: Yeah, that's right. For all the talk about Ukraine and China, really the biggest threat to global stability at this very moment is the risk of an American default that would have catastrophic effects, not just for the economy in the United States, but it would really send the global economy into tailspin. We did hear earlier this morning that the President received an update on the negotiations with House Republicans. The White House says they're making steady progress.

People close to the talks say that they're really quite far apart at the moment. We don't expect to see a deal in the making anytime, soon. But certainly, the world leaders who the President will encounter on this trip will want to gain some assurances from him that the U.S. is not headed to default. How much he can reassure them remains to be seen. And certainly, this dysfunction that you're seeing back in the United States does nothing to rebut the notion that you see and hear from European leaders that the U.S. just isn't a functional political system at the moment. The President will certainly want to talk to them about that when they continue meeting over the course of this weekend. Paula.

NEWTON: Yeah, a lot of reassurance is going to be needed, Kevin, especially as you point out there aren't many guarantees that the President can give them at this hour. Kevin Liptak for us in Hiroshima, Salma Abdelaziz for us in London, thank you both.

Bobby Ghosh is a Bloomberg opinion columnist covering foreign affairs. Good to see you Bobby, especially as the way this G7 meeting is unfolding. Arguably the stakes are high as ever for the G7, but it can't be a talk shop anymore, right? If Biden gets his wish, he needs to robustly mount a counterbalance to China's rise. What are the challenges for him to get there?

BOBBY GHOSH, COLUMNIST AND EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER BLOOMBERG: Well, the challenges are that unlike Russia, for instance, where all the G7 partners are more or less united in their position against Vladimir Putin, when it comes to Xi Jinping and China, there's not that same unity. Everybody recognizes that China poses a challenge, a threat, if you like, but they have different views on how they should respond.

The Europeans, for instance, Emmanuel Macron, Chancellor Scholz of Germany, don't want to go as far as the Americans do, as far as Biden does, in putting shackles on China, because Europe depends very greatly on trade with China and would like to expand that trade. So there is a, everybody feels that China is growing in influence at their expense, but the response, the adequate response, there's still quite a lot of daylight between the American position and that of some of its allies.

NEWTON: Yeah, and we have seen that recently in fact, but how do you think they come to that accommodation and militarily perhaps on a new strategy? And some would say even its confrontation right now between China and the United States and yet have those European allies try and get closer to China on trade. I mean, this is a really thin line really to try and walk here.


GHOSH: Yes, it is a very, it's a cliche, but it's a very delicate balancing act. Leading up to this summit, the Biden administration has been trying to ratchet down the sort of confrontation. We had sort of high-level meetings between Biden administration officials and Chinese officials to try and soften the tone a little bit. They're also using language like de-risking investments and de-risking economic relations with China. They're not saying decoupling, they're just saying expand the supply chains a little bit. Don't depend entirely on China. China is fine, we all need China, we want China to be part of the global economic system, but let's not depend entirely on it.

So, they're trying to find a language that will not get China's backup too much, will not cause too much anxiety among the European allies, but at the same time sends a message that we're all behind the United States, behind Biden, in recognizing that China needs to be, if not put in a box, then certainly needs its wings clipped a little bit.

NEWTON: Yeah, it's interesting too though that the Biden administration has backed away from that phrase of decoupling, right, and they have moved to more accommodation, perhaps with a, you know, a fairly shrewd eye as to what China's ambitions are militarily. Bobby, I want to talk about the debt ceiling crisis. You know, the

E.U. allies be as cynical as the rest of us is saying, look, there's going to be, you know, a lot of wrangling and in the end, the debt ceiling crisis will get managed. And yet, and yet, what is the risk here for those allies around the table when they say, look, our U.S. counterpart here is not reliable? They can never get their act together and it's at our expense, right? Because you know better than anyone that this will rattle financial markets even if it's resolved at the last minute.

GHOSH: Well, they will certainly be looking to the President to give them some sort of assurance that a deal will be made, the problems will be overcome. But you know, as you say, they've seen this movie before. They've seen debt crises like this, a confrontation between Congress and the President. Biden's not the first President to have this problem. And they know that, at the end of the day, the United States is good for its debts. There may be some wrangling on Capitol Hill. But there's no real risk that the United States will not pay its debts. At the worst, it'll get delayed a little bit, but the U.S. is good. The dollar is strong, and that, you know, the matter will get resolved.

NEWTON: Well, Bobby Ghosh, thanks so much.

GHOSH: Anytime.

Ukraine could eventually be getting those fighter jets it says it desperately needs. Sources tell CNN the U.S. has signaled it will not stand in the way if allies want to send F-16's to Kyiv. Now, the U.S. would have to sign off on any third-party transfer due to the sensitive technology on the planes. The U.K. and the Netherlands have indicated they're looking to form an international coalition to procure the jets and train Ukrainian pilots.

So, fears of violence did not materialize on Thursday as Israelis marked one of the most contentious anniversaries on their calendar. Known as Jerusalem Day, it commemorates Israel's seizure of East Jerusalem in the 1967 war. Palestinians mostly stayed out of sight as Israeli flags paraded through the mostly Muslim Old City, sometimes accompanied by harsh anti-Arab rhetoric.

CNN's Hadas Gold has our report.


HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): By the thousands they came, nearly all in white, waving Israeli flags. For these marchers, this is a celebration of when Israel took control of East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 war, giving Jews access to their holy sites in the Old City. For Palestinians, it marks the beginning of the occupation of East Jerusalem.

But in recent years, the march has also become more like a right-wing nationalist rally and a pretext for violence between Jewish Israelis and Palestinians, who make up most of the population in this part of the city.

While most marchers were peaceful, some groups sing songs about getting revenge on Palestinians, erasing their names. Others going even further, chanting Mayor Village Burn. They were emboldened by the presence of right-wing government ministers, like National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Vir, who marched alongside them through the Old City and to the Western Wall. Thousands of police showed how tense the situation was even before the marchers started.

Using heavy-handed tactics to clear the route, including our Senior CNN Correspondent Ben Wedeman.

The marchers too targeted the press, throwing rocks, bottles and cans at our position, forcing reporters to cower for cover.

But Jerusalem Day has seen much more serious violence than this. It was in 2021 as the thousands of Israelis made their way to the Old City that the Palestinian militant group Hamas fired rockets toward Jerusalem, setting off an 11-day war.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad threatened the march again if any of their unnamed red lines were crossed. But this year, most of the drama stayed on the ground in clashes and scuffles and not rockets in the sky.

Hadas Gold, CNN, Jerusalem.


NEWTON: Ten days before Turkey's runoff election, the President's rival vowed to send all migrants and refugees back to their home countries. Kemal Kilicdaroglu's bold promise is aimed at securing the support of a third candidate, far-right secularist Sinan Ogan, who netted just over 5 percent of the vote and is now poised to be kingmaker. Kilicdaroglu needs his backing to have any real chance of beating the incumbent President, who barely fell short of an outright majority.


KEMAL KILICDAROGLU, TURKISH OPPOSITION LEADER (through translator): I announce it to you here. I will send all the refugees home as soon as I come to power, period.


NEWTON: Now a programming note for our international viewers, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan joined CNN's Becky Anderson for an exclusive in-depth interview ahead of Turkey's first ever Presidential runoff. Here's a preview.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: Sir, up until last Sunday, you had comfortably won every election that you have competed in. That is a remarkable record over 20 years. Now your leadership is challenged and you are competing in the first-ever Presidential runoff in Turkish history. How confident are you, sir?

RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRESIDENT (through translator): The current competitor has been challenging us for 15 times now, and he was defeated each time that he challenged us. And the forthcoming runoff elections, which will be held next Sunday, I feel confident that my people will invest in a strong Turkish democracy, and I hope and pray that out of the runoff elections our people will not let us down.


NEWTON: Okay, our international viewers can watch the full interview with President Erdogan on "Connect the World" at 5 p.m. in Istanbul, 10 p.m. in Hong Kong. And head over to for more of that interview.

Still to come, the White House says steady progress is being made on the U.S. debt deal, more on where negotiations stand. That's next.

Plus, Dianne Feinstein's recent health problems were more serious than first believed. We'll tell you what her office is now saying as the senator returns from a month's long absence.




NEWTON: The White House says steady progress has been made in negotiations between the administration and Republicans on raising the debt ceiling. Now, U.S. President Joe Biden held a call with his top negotiators Thursday morning from Japan, where he's attending the G7 summit.

CNN's Manu Raju has more details.


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In a sharp shift, Kevin McCarthy, the House speaker, indicating new optimism that a deal to avoid the first ever debt default in American history could actually be reached for days. McCarthy has been pessimistic, has been critical of the White House, has questioned whether there could actually be a deal. But in a conversation that I had with him on Thursday morning, he indicated that they could get there. He believed that he sees a path to getting a deal. He believes that there's a structure to getting a deal. He even praised the White House negotiators who are in the room and thinks that a bill could be on the House floor as soon as next week.

That would mean they need to get a deal in principle over the next few days in order to get legislative text drafted and get it onto the floor of the House. Now there are still a lot of questions including what exactly is in there. Republicans have pushed for a slew of spending cuts. They have demanded work requirements on certain social safety net programs as well as caps on discretionary spending, domestic programs, and they want to ease the permitting process, for energy projects, all of which has caused pushback from a number of Democrats and particularly Liberals in the aftermath of the President's decision to negotiate with Kevin McCarthy after insisting for months that he would not negotiate the President and the White House reverse course. And now Progressives are concerned.


RAJU: You're referring to the work requirements. He said that it would be of no consequence. Can there be work requirements of no consequence?

JAYAPAL: Then don't give it. It's a consequence to my constituents.

REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D-MI): We're worried about the work requirements. We're worried about what's going on. Environmental justice communities are asking, hey, are we going to be sold out regarding the permitting process? I think the leadership of the Professional Progressive Caucus is, were moving very cautiously. We just don't want all of those communities being sold out because McCarthy wants to pay politics.

RAJU: Are you concerned the White House may give in too much to McCarthy in these negotiations?

REP. JAMAAL BOWMAN (D-NY): Yes, I'm concerned about that because again we shouldn't be negotiating.

RAJU: Now, that one comment from Pramila Jayapal, the chairwoman of the Progressive Caucus, was a response to President Biden saying that there would be no work requirements of consequence that would be added to the social safety net programs at issue as part of these discussions. They're saying those have significant consequences to her constituents.


But on the right, Kevin McCarthy faces pressures himself. A number of conservatives do not want him to water down the House-passed bill that included a wide range of spending cuts. They're saying that they will oppose it if it is watered down substantially.

So that means that McCarthy, if he is to get a deal with the White House, they'll have to get a coalition together that could lose significant support from the right and left wing of the House and the Senate. But can they get enough support to get it through both chambers of Congress, and get it done before the first ever default could occur in early June. All of that is still a question as we head into critical negotiating days, and to see if the two sides can reach a deal and raise the $31.4 trillion borrowing limit without any wreckage to the economy.

Manu Raju, CNN, Capitol Hill.

(END VIDEOTAPE) NEWTON: The office of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein now confirms her recent bout with shingles was more serious than she had first acknowledged. Now, Feinstein is back in Washington for the first time since February. On Thursday, she initially denied a "New York Times" report that she had developed encephalitis, that's a brain inflammation, while she was hospitalized.

Now, she told CNN it had actually been the flu, but a short time later, her office set the record straight. It confirmed the senator had encephalitis, but said she had recovered. Now, given the seriousness of the issue, many are now wondering whether Feinstein should step down for the sake of her health. Here's what some of her fellow senators had to say.


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Do you have confidence that she can continue to do this rigorous job?

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-NY): We're all human, and we all have health issues. And right now, she is performing as a United States Senator doing her job.

UNKNOWN: Are you worried about her ability to do her job?

SEN. JOHN NEELY KENNEDY (R-LA): I can't answer that. Well, because I don't know. I have confidence in her judgment, and her family's judgment, and her staff's judgment.


NEWTON: Now besides confirming the encephalitis, Feinstein's office also revealed that she is currently dealing with another complication of shingles known as Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, which can affect the facial muscles.

Okay, Florida's governor could be on the verge of finally joining the Republican race for President, but critics say he's bad for business and Disney seems to agree.

Plus House Republicans look to bolster their claims of FBI bias against conservatives with testimony from Self-described whistleblowers, the questions remain about their legitimacy




PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR: So the man who could be, maybe, Donald Trump's greatest Republican rival is expected to officially enter the U.S. presidential race next week. Sources familiar with the matter say Florida Governor Ron DeSantis could file his paperwork as early as Wednesday in a possible soft launch to his campaign, but the big announcement may not come until the following week. Now, over the past year, DeSantis has repeatedly targeted the Walt

Disney Company, Florida's highest taxpayer by the way, after Disney publicly criticized the state law limiting classroom discussions about gender identity and sexual orientation. And now, Disney upping the ante is scrapping plans to build a new billion-dollar campus outside of Orlando. That would have brought 2000 high-paying jobs to the state.

CNN's Natasha Chen has our details.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, in a memo written by the Disney Chairman of Parks, Experiences and Products, Josh Tamaro said that given the considerable changes that have occurred since the announcement of this project, including new leadership and changing business conditions, we have decided not to move forward with the construction of the campus. This was not an easy decision to make, but I believe it is the right one.

This memo did not mention Governor Ron DeSantis. This does refer to the Lake Nona Campus that was supposed to be the site of this office complex east of Walt Disney World. Now, 2000 people were supposed to move there, but now they are going to stay in Southern California.

Some people had already moved to Florida, and the chairman in that memo said they would work on an individual case-by-case basis on their options, including the possibility of returning to Burbank here in the Los Angeles area.

Governor Ron DeSantis' office, through a spokesperson, gave a statement to our colleague Steve Contorno that read, Disney announced the possibility of a Lake Nona campus nearly two years ago. Nothing ever came of the project and the state was unsure whether it would come to fruition.

Given the company's financial straits, falling market cap and declining stock price, it is unsurprising that they would restructure their business operations and cancel unsuccessful ventures.

Now, on the same day, Disney did announce that they are shutting down the Star Wars Galactic Star Cruiser at the Walt Disney World Resort. That is a premium experience for families paid thousands of dollars for a two-night voyage through the galaxy. That has only been open for about a year. Despite that announcement, Demaro in his memo did say that they are still going to invest $17 billion and add 13,000 jobs to that Florida resort in the next 10 years.

The Orange County mayor said that these 2000 jobs not moving to Florida was a result of Disney not having an inclusive and collaborative work environment. The Florida Democratic Party Chair said that this loss happened because of DeSantis unhinged personal vendetta against Disney.

Natasha Chen, CNN, Los Angeles.



NEWTON: Hours after Montana's total ban on TikTok was signed into law, a group of users is suing the state. They say the new law is unconstitutional and violates their right to free speech. Montana's ban goes far beyond restrictions enacted by other states, some of which have blocked the use of TikTok on official government devices. The new law goes into effect in January.

Now, three self-described FBI whistleblowers testified in the U.S. House committee hearing Thursday. Their testimonies are a key to Republican allegations that the nation's top law enforcement agency is weaponized and biased against conservatives. But their credentials as whistleblowers are not quite rock-solid.

CNN's Sara Murray has more now from Washington.


SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two FBI employees who were stripped of their security clearances.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH), HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: This is the kind of retaliation they have faced for coming forward and telling us the truth.

MURRAY (voice-over): Now, star witnesses for Republicans as the House Judiciary Subcommittee tries to drive home the GOP narrative that the FBI is unfairly targeting conservatives.

REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA): Activists in the FBI and the Department of Justice have weaponized the full weight of their agencies against everyday Americans.

MURRAY (voice-over): Democrats slam the premise of the hearing.

REP. STACEY PLASKETT (D-USVI): My colleagues on the far-right are on a mission to attack, discredit, and ultimately dismantle the FBI.

MURRAY (voice-over): And question the credibility of Republicans' so- called whistleblowers.

REP. GERRY CONNOLLY (D-VA): Y'all have employment grievances. That doesn't make you whistleblowers. The enumeration of grievances does not constitute whistleblower status.

MURRAY (voice-over): The hearing comes a day after the FBI said in a letter that certain FBI employees had their security clearances revoked after espousing alternate theories about the January 6 attack on the Capitol. The witnesses claim that's retaliation.

MARCUS ALLEN, SECURITY CLEARANCE REVOKED BY FBI: It appears that I was retaliated against because I forwarded information to my superiors and others that questioned the official narrative of the events of January 6. MURRAY (voice-over): Among the reasons FBI staff operations specialist

Marcus Allen had his security clearance pulled? Trying to hinder investigations into January 6 rioters, the FBI wrote.

ALLEN: The claim that I obstructed a lawful investigation is dubious. And I do not recall ever being admonished for such an infraction.

MURRAY (voice-over): His clearance was first suspended in January 2022, according to the FBI. In one email, Allen told colleagues to exercise extreme caution and discretion in pursuit of any investigative inquiries or leads pertaining to the events of January 6th. He also suggested federal law enforcement infiltrated the January 6th crowd.

The committee also heard today from former FBI agent Steve Friend. His clearance was suspended in September 2022 and later revoked. The FBI says Friend objected to a SWAT team arrest of a January 6th rioter. He used an unauthorized flash drive to download documents from FBI computer systems, and participated in unauthorized media interviews.

STEVE FRIEND, SECURITY CLEARANCE REVOKED BY FBI: My whistleblowing was apolitical and in the spirit of upholding my oath. Nonetheless, the FBI cynically elected to close ranks and attack the messenger.

MURRAY (voice-over): Republicans also featured FBI Special Agent Garret O'Boyle, who says he expressed concern about wrongdoing in the FBI only to see his security clearance suspended. That suspension, which began in September 2022, is still under review.

JORDAN: Mr. O'Boyle, why do you think they came down on you so darn hard?

GARRET O'BOYLE, SECURITY CLEARANCE SUSPENDED BY FBI: The agency as a whole wants to get rid of people who simply just don't toe the line that they want.

MURRAY (on-camera): Now, what Republicans are really trying to do with these witnesses is they're trying to convince Americans of this, let's call it a dubious claim, that the FBI, which has a history of being a pretty conservative law enforcement agency, is actually full of liberals who are out to get conservatives across the country. And you can bet this is not going to be the last hearing on this subject.

Sarah Murray, CNN, Washington.


NEWTON: You're going to want to see this, a real life story of succession worthy of its own TV drama. Just ahead, a look at how the founder of one of the world's most valuable luxury brands is grooming his children to take over.




NEWTON: The CEO and Founder of luxury brand LVMH, Bernard Arnault remains a driving force behind the nearly $500 billion company. Many wonder which of his five children will take the reins one day.

CNN's Melissa Bell takes a look at the family dynamic. And yeah, why it bears an uncanny resemblance to a certain hit TV show.



MELISA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A magnate and patriarch.


Preparing his succession as carefully as he built his empire. Not Logan Roy. But the real world's richest man.

A 74-year-old Bernard Arnault, worth more than $230 billion having built the world's biggest luxury goods company, all the while very personally raising, educating and evaluating his five potential successors.

BERNARD ARNAULT, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, LOUIS VUITTON MOET HENNESSY: I think my group is controlled by my family. So, instead of looking every day at the stock market, I look for the next 10 years.

BELL (voice-over): All five Arnault children work for their father. Forty-eight-year-old Delphine, the chair of Christian Dior,


Her brother, 45-year old Antoine who is CEO of the holding company of Christian Dior, and the three children from Arnault's second marriage, 31-year-old Alexander, who's an executive vice president of Tiffany's, 28-year-old Frederick, who runs Tag Heuer, and the youngest, 24-year- old Jean, the director of development and marketing at Louis Vuitton's Watches division.

RAPHAELLE BACQUE, AUTHOR, SUCCESSIONS: MONEY, BLOOD, AND TEARS (through translator): He is at once an attentive father, a good father, but also a merciless boss. So the children had to work hard. He has a fairly clear idea of their qualities and their weaknesses. And when the moment comes, we'll be able to choose.

BELL (voice-over): The $500 billion LVMH dominates the world of fashion with some of its biggest names, like Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton. It was built through ruthless acquisition, and (inaudible) star is diverse with vineyards, hotels, restaurants and newspapers.

But it is in the treatment of their children that the fictional and real characters diverge. Far from fostering discord, Arnault has ensured harmony, but with a cold eye on business nonetheless. The stakes are huge, the value of the company, but also the power that

it brings. Like Logan Roy, Bernard Arnault has cultivated his relationships with the powerful, acquiring a vast media empire and making LVMH a symbol in France, its headquarters stormed by protesters only last month. But while Arnault has sought to protect his children, he's also made it clear what he expects of them.

ANTOINE ARNAULT, CEO, CHRISTIAN DIOR SE: Of course, we understand the level of responsibility that is ours. The way we see things is that my father is super healthy. And, I'm going to work 10, 15, 20, 25 years. His five children are now working together in different parts of the group, but we're very close.

BELL (voice-over): An empire carefully built and ultimately soon up for grabs, but so far without the family drama.

Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.


NEWTON: Alright, still to come for us. Tennis star Rafa Nadal withdraws from the French Open due to injury and announces possible plans to retire. We'll let you know what that's about, coming up next.




NEWTON: So the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Andy Warhol violated copyright laws in his portraits of the singer Prince. Now the court ruled 7-2 that Warhol infringed on the copyright of celebrity photographer Lynn Goldsmith, rejecting the argument that the pop art pioneer had sufficiently transformed her original photo of the rock star. Now you see some of those Andy Warhol interpretations there. And in fact this is a significant step in the debate between what amounts to artistic freedom versus intellectual property. This is a case to continue to watch for, especially given the prominence of Andy Warhol's work.

I want to go now to those NBA playoffs, never a dull moment, where the Denver Nuggets have jumped out to a two-game lead on the Los Angeles Lakers. Jamel Murray had 37 points to lead all scorers. Now, I want you to watch him hit back to back to back, in the fourth quarter. Now I know you're wondering, LeBron James did lead the Lakers with 22 points but given the scores you see there it was not enough to stop Denver's late game surge. Final score: Nuggets 108, Lakers 103. The best of seven series now moves to Los Angeles for game three on Saturday night. That's a good series.

Tennis star Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the upcoming French Open, unfortunately due to injury. It's the first -- he'll miss the turn -- it's the first time he'll miss the tournament since his debut in 2005. The Spaniard also announced that he will likely retire next year.

CNN's Patrick Snell has our report.


PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT: Well, some big news from the world of tennis concerning one of the sport's all-time greats. On Thursday, Rafa Nadal amends record equaling 22-time Grand Slam champ and the undisputed king of the French Open announcing he won't compete, later on this month at Roland Garros for the first time since he debuted there, 18 years ago.

Nadal, who turns 37 early next month, withdrawing due to injury and then revealing that next year is likely his last in professional tennis and when that day does come, boy will it be a truly momentous one for the sports world and indeed beyond.

The Spaniard, who had been hoping to challenge for a record, extending 15-French Open crowns, suffering a hip injury during his second round Aussie Open-Exit, that was back in January this year, and initially saying he hoped to be fit again within six to eight weeks or so. Nadal admitting though he did give it everything he could to try and make it for the season's second Grand Slam.

RAFAEL NADAL, SPANISH TENNIS PLAYER: I'm not going to be able to play in Roland Garros, as you know. I was even working as much as possible every single day for the last four months. It has been very difficult months because we were not able to find the solution to the problem that I had in Australia. So today I'm still in a position that I'm not able to feel myself ready to compete at the standards that I need to be.


My ambition is to try to stop, to give myself an opportunity to enjoy next year, that's probably gonna be my last year in a professional tour.

SNELL: Well, definitely an emotional press conference there in Mallorca on Thursday. Now that'll burst onto the scene, winning his first Grand Slam crown in 2005, when he triumphed at the French Open, when he was just 19 years of age, the first of 14 Roland Garros titles to date. You know, his record in the French capital is just formidable. He's lost just three times in Paris since his 2005 victory, undoubtedly one of the most dominant records in all of sports.

I'll send it right back to you.


NEWTON: And thank you Patrick. I'm Paula Newton. Thanks for joining us. Bianca Nobilo picks up our coverage from here as "CNN Newsroom" continues. Stay with us.