Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

CNN International: Florida's DeSantis to Kick Off Campaign on Twitter with Musk; Trump Hush Money Trial to Start March 25, 2024; New Warnings in Guam ss Typhoon Mawar Nears Landfall; U.S. Surgeon General: Social Media Presents Profound Risk for Kids; Police Return to Reservoir in McCann Search. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired May 24, 2023 - 04:00   ET



BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and a very warm welcome to our viewers joining us in the United States and all around the world. I'm Bianca Nobilo.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Max Foster joining you live from London. Just ahead on CNN NEWSROOM.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: DeSantis is planning an unconventional campaign that is going to surprise and leave people unexpected at every turn.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Trump team is aggressively waiting for him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Prosecutors told the judge that they wanted the judge to put limits on what the former president could say publicly about this case.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These investigations are going to be very much tied into the Trump 2024 candidacy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Typhoon Mawar continues to bring the triple threat to the Mariana Islands and Guam. Torrential rains, catastrophic winds and life-threatening storm surge.


ANNOUNCER: Live from London this is CNN NEWSROOM with Max Foster and Bianca Nobilo.

FOSTER: It's Wednesday May the 24th, 9:00 a.m. here in London, 4:00 a.m. in Miami, Florida. Were despite some recent stumbles Ron DeSantis is just hours away now from making the biggest political announcement of his career.

NOBILO: The Republican governor is set to enter the 2024 race for the White House in unusual fashion on the virtual stage. During a conversation on Twitter with owner and tech giant Elon Musk, CNN's Jessica Dean explains.


JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: News coming on Tuesday that makes it official. Something that has been talked about for months and months. Florida governor Ron DeSantis will announce that he is running for the Republican nomination for president in the 2024 race.

What is unique about his announcement we're told by his political team is that he will be sitting down to do so with the owner of Twitter, Elon Musk. He'll be doing that on Wednesday night. That is certainly not typical and not typically how someone would announce their candidacy.

But it goes with what we have been told about what this likely campaign would look like. Which is that it won't be typical. It won't be traditional. They want to really push the envelope and do things in a unique and different way. And it certainly fits the bill and that situation.

We also know that DeSantis will be gathering his biggest donors and bundlers here in Miami on Thursday to really amp up that fundraising game and make sure that they turn in big numbers right out of the gate. He's really going to set all of them loose to raise as much money as they possibly can to really give him big numbers right out of the gate.

And also, on Tuesday night, we saw this video from the Florida first lady Casey who was re-tweeted by her husband. It's essentially a hype video. And then at the end it has a code for people to text to the word launch.

So again, all of these pieces coming together for something that we know has been in the works for months now. That has been talked about so much. But now Florida Governor Ron DeSantis officially getting in the 2024 race and we'll start to see how that shapes up with both his Republican rivals -- chiefly among them, former President Donald Trump and the sitting president, Joe Biden.

Jessica Dean, CNN Miami, Florida.


NOBILO: Because Ron DeSantis has been a distant second now for some time. I suppose he has less to lose. So, he needs to go for stunts that will increase his name recognition, make a splash.

FOSTER: And Twitter of course was what Trump used to get elected, I mean, obviously Facebook as well. But Twitter and stepping on to that. It seems to be a message to Trump or sort of a challenge to Trump?

NOBILO: Yes, he doesn't seem to want to shy away from a fight with Donald Trump. Also, I think Twitter clearly works as a playbook to attract the Republican base and Donald Trump is still at the moment using his platform Truth Social. So, the space is wide open.

FOSTER: Trump and his allies have already spent $13 million in recent weeks attacking DeSantis on the airwaves and they're now launching a coordinated efforts to undercut his campaign. Which includes mocking the choice of venue for DeSantis's announcement.

NOBILO: Trump's superPAC or political action committee called the party at the elite Four Seasons Resort in Miami, quote, the only thing less relatable than a niche campaign on Twitter. CNN's Kristen Holmes has further details.


KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Trump advisers have been waiting for this. They have been bracing for this. And it's been described to me as a full court press. They are going to release videos around DeSantis's announcement. That will include one video of Donald Trump addressing the camera directly talking about DeSantis's candidacy. We're also looking at a social media blitz.


Now one of the things that the Trump team has taken very seriously is actually courting these high-profile conservative commentators. Bring them down to Mar-a-Lago. Getting them on board with former President Donald Trump. That will be in full effect tomorrow. We're going to see these surrogates as well as these conservative commentators going after DeSantis for a number of different policies that he held while in Washington.

It's going to be the COVID response that was in Florida, of course. But as well as his entitlement, his stance on entitlement, which we've seen before. We also know that they're going to go after him for being a quote, unquote swamp creature. Pointing at the fact that he spent so many years in Washington.

So again, this is going to bracket around this announcement. Something they've been waiting for. And the thing to keep in mind here is that even with these poll numbers, even with the fact that Trump continues to tout these higher numbers, they are concerned. They know there is Trump fatigue. And they're concerned about him actually getting in the race -- DeSantis getting in the race and what that will look like.


NOBILO: Meanwhile, Trump's legal teams is requesting a meeting with the U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to discuss what they call the ongoing injustice being perpetrated by the special counsel.

FOSTER: CNN has learned that Jack Smith is close to wrapping up his investigation into Trump's handling of classified documents and possible obstruction. He's also looking into the former president's role in the January 6th Capitol insurrection.

NOBILO: In a separate matter, legally speaking, Trump appeared by video link in a New York courtroom on Tuesday and the judge may have created a major roadblock for his presidential campaign.

FOSTER: Trump's criminal trial for allegedly falsifying business records in the Stormy Daniels case is set to begin right in the middle of next year's primary season. CNN's Kara Scannell reports.


KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A New York judge set a trial date of March 25th of next year for former President Donald Trump's criminal case involving hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels. The trial will fall in the middle of the Republican 2024 presidential primary season. During a brief hearing Tuesday, the judge told Trump and his lawyers, that they can't accept any commitments personal or professional that could prevent them from appearing for the duration of the trial. Putting a potential snag in Trump's campaign events or fundraisers.

Trump appeared by video conference sitting next to his attorney. It was his first visit to this courtroom after pleading not guilty last month to 34 counts of falsifying business records. The judge explained to Trump the protective order barring him and his defense team from sharing evidence turned over by prosecutors on social media. Prosecutors' requests that the hearing to ensure Trump is aware of the new rules against, him and the consequences he could face if he violates the court order.

But the judge making it clear that he is not imposing a gag order in this case. Saying he has no intention in any way of impeding in Trump's ability to campaign or to publicly defend himself as he makes another run for the White House.

Kara Scannell CNN New York.


FOSTER: Well, despite another day of supposedly productive talks on raising the U.S. debt ceiling, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has told fellow Republicans they are still nowhere near a deal with the White House. Republicans and Democrats alike are getting restless and more vocal as June 1, the deadline for a potential default draws closer.

NOBILO: Federal Reserve Chairman, Jerome Powell, spoke to House Democrats on Tuesday. Saying once the current impasse is over, he'll share his own ideas on how to prevent the same problem in the future.

But a new wrinkle in the negotiations is growing. It's the growing group of Republicans who don't believe the Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen or her June 1st default deadline.


REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): I don't believe that the first of the month is a real deadline. I don't understand why we're not making Janet Yellen show her work.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Aren't you concerned that this could be a roll of the dice?

GAETZ: I do not believe that to be the case.

REP. RALPH NORMAN (R-SC): She'll extended but right now she's using June 1st -- everybody knows that's false.

REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): The fact is we passed a bill that will raise the debt ceiling. The fact is we're going to have cash in June. The fact is we're not going to default on our debt. That's just completely false. We've got the money to do it. So, everybody just needs to be patient.


NOBILO: Americans are sharing their thoughts. The CNN poll finds that 60 percent, only want the debt ceiling raised if federal spending is cut as well. 45 percent of Americans also believe that not raising the debt ceiling will result in major problems for the country. Yet some still believe nothing will happen if Congress and the White House fail to reach a deal.

FOSTER: Here's a look at the U.S. features as we await the opening bell on Wall Street. They are down but only slightly. Not too shaken about the prospects of not reaching that deal yet. The markets closed low on Tuesday with fears slowly creeping in about their debt ceiling impasse though. The Dow dropped more than 230, until recently, Wall Street had been seemingly unaffected by Washington dealmaking on the debt ceiling. But that could start to change, the closer we get to that potential default.

NOBILO: Inflation in the U.K. is not below 10 percent for the first time since last August. New government figures put the April inflation rate of 8.7 percent.


FOSTER: Still economists have expected more -- in more significant drop and widely expect more interest rate hikes from the central bank to bring inflation under control. The drop was driven in part by lower gas and energy prices, but food prices continued to rise last month.

Extreme wind warnings are now in effect for northern Guam as typhoon Mawar edges closer to the U.S. Pacific territory. Its outer bands have been battering the island ahead of its expected landfall.

CNN meteorologist Britley Ritz is in the weather center for us. And CNN's Kristie Lu Stout joins us live from Hong Kong too. Britney let's begin with you. What impact are we expecting when this makes landfall?

BRITLEY RITZ, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, we're already seeing some of the worst conditions across Rota and Guam. But we once had an eye, it's since deteriorated. It's trying to regain its strength. You can't really see it. But the center of the low itself just north of Guam. So, some of the strongest winds will move right and right over the southern island of Rota, and the heaviest wind will sit right over Guam in this case. I think that's what's happening.

The center of the low, winds gusting over 160 miles per hour. It's starting to pick up speed a bit, moving northwest now at eight miles per hour, regardless, it still crawling. So, that's also a big factor in how much rain we're about to get and the damaging wind threat that's about to happen with the storm surge that'll likely pull in.

So, that northerly track, starting to take hold. Don't pay attention to the line. I want you to pay attention to the cone. There's still room for wobble. So that determines where landfall will likely be but once it moves past the islands, it'll restrengthen and become likely another super typhoon.

So, there's that wind, shifting now to more of the westerly side of the island. With that being the case, we'll likely have higher storm surge than what we originally thought would happen. So, the numbers now increased from 1 to 4 feet on the westerly side. Still dealing with over 20 feet of storm surge a possibility, worst-case scenario on the eastern side. Most likely 6 to 10, now that we've seen that shift more of the onshore flow to the westerly side.

We've already lost our data. Some of the centers, like Anderson Air Force Base, gone. I can't even give you wind reading. But gusts over 98 miles per hour, coming in to where the radar once was. We've also lost radar data as well.

But heavy rain is still expected to come here within the upcoming hours. It'll stay right over the southern part of the island. That's where we can pick up over 20 inches of rain. Isolated higher amounts are possible. Especially within the eyewall. We can have seven inches per hour within the eyewall as it starts to come on to shore. And that's within the next five days time.

So again, some of the heaviest of the rain starts to move in here within the upcoming hour. We do not have a landfall at the moment. We're waiting on the National Weather Service in Guam -- Max, Bianca.

FOSTER: OK, Britley thank you very much indeed.

Kristie, how are they preparing on the island?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they need to get prepared because, you know, conditions are getting worst and preparations have been in place as this storm is bearing down on the U.S. territory of Guam. And it is delivering a, quote, triple threat of devastation. That was the language being used by the U.S. National Weather Service of Guam. And that triple threat, it means torrential rain. It means extreme winds. It means storm surge is going to pose a major risk to life and property.

A flash flood warning is in effect for the entire island. Which is home to about 150,000 people. We're learning now that power supplies are dwindling. In fact, according to the Guam Power Authority on Facebook, it says it can provide energy to only 1,000 of its 52,000 customers. It also adds that the Guam Memorial Hospital is running on a generator.

Now, on Tuesday the island entered what's called a condition of readiness or COR 1. The governor of Guam, she urged the island's residents to stay indoors. The U.S. military personnel on the island, have also been instructed to shelter in place. We're also monitoring the situation at the international airport. The

airport, of course, has been affected. And you could just look at the website. Dozens of flights have already been canceled or delayed ahead of the landfall of this storm. A number of visitors and residents who perhaps had planned to travel, they cannot. They are stranded. They will have to wait and sit through this storm.

Now help is on standby. U.S. President Joe Biden already issued an emergency declaration for Guam. Also, before the storm's arrival, we heard this from the U.S. National Guard. They posted this on Twitter. Let's bring out the post for you along with the photograph.

Saying quote: Always ready, always there. Guam National Guard members are ready to respond to super typhoon Mawar.

Of course, the storm is no longer a super typhoon but it will remain very, very intense. Back to you -- Max and Bianca.

FOSTER: Kristie and Britley, thank you both very much indeed.

NOBILO: Another U.S. state has moved to restrict women's reproductive rights. South Carolina's Senate on Tuesday approved a bill that would ban most abortions in the state as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. And a passed by a vote of 27 to 19.


FOSTER: The controversial legislation now heads to Governor Henry McMaster's desk to be signed into law. McMaster tweeted he looks forward to signing it as soon as possible.

NOBILO: I was reading a study from the University of California and they conducted a recent survey and one in three women confirmed that pregnancies after six weeks and one in five after seven weeks, and the younger -- the young people were likely to confirm later as well as people of lower income.

FOSTER: So, they weren't aware.

NOBILO: Exactly, and also people of color. So, it does discriminate against marginalized groups.

In Texas, the Republican controlled state House failed to advance a controversial bill before a midnight deadline that would have require public schools to display the 10 Commandments in every classroom.

FOSTER: The bill had faced criticism from civil liberties and religious groups. It's unclear if legislators will try to bring up the bill again before the legislative session ends -- which is next week.

The Florida parent who reported a teacher for showing the Disney movie "Strange World: in classes, facing calls to resign.

NOBILO: A petition urging the removal of Shannon Rodriguez from the Hernando County School Board has more than 16,000 signatures. If Rodriguez refuses to resign, the petition asked Florida's governor to remove her from the position. Rodriguez has defended her actions. Saying that she supports teachers but believes the movie is inappropriate.

A school in Miami-Dade Florida, has removed a poem written for President Biden's inauguration from its library for younger children.

FOSTER: "The Hill We Climb" by Amanda Gorman was pulled after a single parent complained. Saying the poem was not educational and contained hateful messages. It was relocated to the middle school section of the library. Gorman gained national prominence after she recited her poem for the nation.


AMANDA GORMAN, NATIONAL YOUTH POET LAUREATE: We the successors of a country and a time where a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president, only to find herself reciting for one.

When the day comes, we ask ourselves where we can find ...


NOBILO: Writing on Instagram: Bobbing children of the chance to find their voices in literature, is a violation of their right to free thought and free speech.

This is interesting to see the trend. Because often the right-wing in politics uses culture wars and cancel culture as like a political weapon. But we are seeing in America increasingly the right-wing trying to curtail availability of books.

FOSTER: It's also confusing for children. Because speaking there are the ultimate mainstream event, and they can't have then have access to the book and they're part of the library.

China's new ambassador to the United States arrived in New York on Tuesday amid a tumultuous period for the relationship between Washington and Beijing. One of Ambassador Xie Feng's main goals is to improve those relations which he says are facing serious difficulties and challenges. He laid out Beijing's expectations.


XIE FENG, CHINESE AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: We hope that the United States will move in the same direction with China. We hope that the United States will work together which China to increase dialogue, to manage differences. And also, to expand our cooperation so that our relationship will be back to right track.


NOBILO: The U.S. China relationship has been increasingly strained over a range of issues, including Taiwan, the Chinese balloon shot down over the United States and China's ties with Russia. Still ahead on the show, a profound risk of harm to children and

teens. A new warning from the U.S. Surgeon General on the impact of social media on young minds and mental health.

FOSTER: Plus, new leads in the search for Madeleine McCann. Why police have returned to a reservoir in southern Portugal looking for clues.

NOBILO: A Russian court extends "Wall Street Journal" reporter Evan Gershkovich's pretrial detention. We'll have reaction to Tuesday's hearing in Moscow for you.



FOSTER: It's been a year since the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas where a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers. U.S. President Joe Biden will mark the somber day in the coming hours with remarks from the White House.

NOBILO: He will remember the victims and reiterate his call for Republican lawmakers to take action to stop gun violence. Meanwhile, Texas will hold a moment of silence and lower state flags to half staff in honor of the victims.

America's top medical official has given an unprecedented warning about social media and mental health. The U.S. Surgeon General says social media presents a, quote, profound risk of harm for kids. And he's putting pressure on lawmakers and big tech companies to do more to protect children.

FOSTER: The Surgeon General says in a new report there's no guarantee that social media is safe for kids of any age. And research points to negative impacts like depression, anxiety, body image issues, eating disorders, online bullying, low self-esteem. Here's more from the U.S. Surgeon General.


DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: Average teens are spending 3 1/2 hours a day on social media. That's on average. I mean, many kids are spending much longer than that. But the key point is that the data also shows when kids are sending more than three hours on average, that they face nearly double the risk, an increased risk of depression and anxiety symptoms. That's really profound. And you know, there are more concerning facets here. But we have to understand from all this, is that it is urgent that we take action to protect our kids and to make sure that their experience on social media is safe.


NOBILO: The report says 95 percent of 13 to 17-year-olds in the U.S. use social media. More than one third of them say they use it, quote, almost constantly. And despite age limits on most social media, nearly 40 percent -- 40 percent of 8- to 12-year-olds use it too.

FOSTER: The one bit of killer research I think was simply that if children reduce their social media use their mental health improved.

NOBILO: And it's not surprising, is it? We know this anecdotally in terms of common sense. But it's interesting to have a deeper study into how it affects the development of the brain.



NOBILO: A new report from the Illinois Attorney General is shedding light on a long history of child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy. It says more than 450 adult Catholic clergymen abuse nearly 2,000 children in the state over a period of almost 90 years. More than a third of those were previously undisclosed.


KWAME RAOUL, ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL: It was the survivors of child sex abuse who gave purpose and drive to this investigation. Absent their courage and willingness to come forward and discuss their experience there would be no true investigative report.


NOBILO: The Attorney General's report recommends more coordinated investigations of abuse by clergy, greater care for survivors and for diocese to update the disclosures of alleged abuses.

FOSTER: Riots erupted in Wales after two teenage boys died in a crash as protesters reportedly accused the police of involvement in the crash. Officials insist the accident happened before officers arrived on the scene. But authorities now say they have received CCTV footage that shows a police vehicle following a bike ahead of a serious collision. Multiple arrests were made and more are expected. A police watchdog group is now investigating.

And this is not doing much to instill trust in the police. A very sort of underdeveloped poor area of Cardiff. They had suspicions of the police and now they appear to have lied after the crash.

NOBILO: This is where you went to investigate.

FOSTER: Yes, it was.

NOBILO: The search for new evidence in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann is expected to resume today. Heavy rain and wind forced investigators to postpone their work Tuesday in southern Portugal.

FOSTER: McCann vanished in 2007 during a family vacation in Portugal. She was just three years old at the time. And Scott's been looking at all this. I mean, they're obviously not giving us much information. This is a live investigation but there are lots of cameras following the search.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, exactly. So, we know that they're looking at this area at least in part because some of the photos that they found on the crime suspect Christian Bruckner's computer -- photos of this dam, of this reservoir area. Apparently when he lived in Portugal, he was there quite often. He called it his paradise.

But this is a pretty vast area. It seems like it's a needle in a haystack. Except for the fact our colleagues at CNN Portugal, say that the police are actually searching a very defined area. So, they're not just randomly searching, you know, this huge area. They're sort of concentrating --

FOSTER: These would be the areas in the photos perhaps?

MCLEAN: Perhaps. Yes, we don't know for certain. But the search method here is quite interesting. Because from what we've seen so far, with long lens cameras is, you know, there you see it. Maybe more than a dozen police officers in somewhat of a line. And they're sort of prodding the ground with sticks. This might tell us that whatever it is that they're looking for, is hard or buried under the surface. But we don't know for sure. They did actually find something they say, some material that will be analyzed by experts. But they wouldn't say precisely what. The prosecutor in this case in Germany insists that this search effort though is not in vain. Listen.


HANS CHRISTIAN WOLTERS, GERMAN PROSECUTOR (through translator): The measures in Portugal are relating to the Madeleine McCann case. This means that we are investigating there in Portugal on the basis of certain indications. I cannot disclose the background at the moment. Why we are searching there and what we hope to find. That is to remain our secret for the moment.


MCLEAN: So, police have never searched the reservoir itself before. But it has been searched by divers back in 2008, almost a year -- a little less than a year since Madeleine McCann went missing. This was actually funded by a private lawyer in Portugal who said that he got a tip from underworld sources, quote, unquote, that a body had been dumped there. What they ended up finding was animal bones, some cord, a sock, some plastic bags. They searched for at least seven days.

But this was not an exhaustive search. This is a massive reservoir. So, they concentrate there certain areas where -- is likely they were maybe to find something. But they also said there is virtually no visibility. And so, they had to just kind of rely on whatever they could feel under the water. This time around there are boats. There are divers on standby. But so far, they're still concentrating there searches on land.

FOSTER: And there's a drought. So, it's more shallow than usual.

MCLEAN: Yes, so perhaps that gives them an opportunity to just go on the shoreline rather than actually getting in the water.

FOSTER: OK, Scott, thank you. The head of Wagner says Russian troops aren't prepared to fight off

anti-Putin Russian fighters even in their own territory. His comments just ahead.

NOBILO: Plus, France passes a law to cut down on airline emissions, but critics say it's an empty move. We'll break down the changes.