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CNN International: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Announces White House Bid; Microsoft: Chines Hackers Air to Disrupt Crisis Communications; Negotiations Ongoing, But no Tangible Progress in Debt Ceiling Agreement; Russia Launches Wave of Air Attacks Using Drones; Remembering the Great Tina Turner. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired May 25, 2023 - 04:00   ET



BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, good morning 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.


RON DESANTIS, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, FLORIDA GOVERNOR: I'm Ron DeSantis and I'm running for president to lead our great American comeback.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It came off almost like he was a talk radio host not a future leader of the free world.

TINA TURNER, SINGER: Big wheel keep on turning And the proud Mary keep on burning Rolling, rolling, rolling on the river

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was a gift to so many songwriters and just so many songs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There'll be nobody like Tina.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is going to continue to be a significant storm.


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

FOSTER: It is Thursday, May 25th, 9:00 a.m. in London, 4:00 a.m. in Miami, Florida, where Governor Ron DeSantis will meet today with donors backing his newly launched 2024 presidential candidacy. He is also looking to recover from a disappointing campaign rollout on Twitter on Wednesday night, marred by delays and glitches. NOBILO: The governor's team try to put a positive spin on things

saying more than half a million people logged on to the chat. And Twitter's infrastructure simply couldn't handle that overwhelming response. DeSantis appeared on Fox News a short time after.


DESANTIS: We had a huge audience. It did. It was the biggest they'd ever had. It did break the Twitter space. And so, we're really excited with the enthusiasm.


FOSTER: Well, Republican front runner Donald Trump trolled DeSantis on his Truth Social platform saying: The "DeSanctus" Twitter launch is a disaster! His whole campaign will be a disaster.

Even President Joe Biden piled on with a fundraising tweet for his reelection campaign saying this link works.

NOBILO: Once things were finally working on Twitter, DeSantis struck a confident and optimistic tone.


DESANTIS: To voters who are participating in the primary process, my pledge to you is this -- if you nominate me, you can set your clock to January 20th, 2025, at high noon because on the west side of the U.S. Capitol I'll be taking the oath of office.


FOSTER: More now from CNN's Jessica Dean.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Do you go with the crowd? Or do you look at the data yourself and cut against the grain and I chose to do the latter.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' attempt to declare his candidacy for president in a unique way with Twitter owner Elon Musk on Twitter Spaces, an audio-only platform plagued by technical issues at the start.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It just keeps crashing, huh?

ELON MUSK, OWNER, TWITTER: I think we've got just a massive number of people online so it's -- servers are straining somewhat.

DEAN (voice over): But server issues caused the rollout to be plagued with problems with Team DeSantis tweeting: It seems we broke the internet with so much excitement. While you're waiting, donate now.

DESANTIS: We must look forward, not backwards. We need the courage to lead and we must have the strength to win. DEAN (voice over): DeSantis also asked about the NAACP issuing a travel advisory against his state claiming Florida is not safe for minorities to visit.

DESANTIS: Claiming that Florida is unsafe is a total farce. I mean, are you kidding me?

DEAN (voice over): Wednesday's Twitter event, the latest move in DeSantis's presidential campaign rollout. He filed paperwork earlier Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission. On Tuesday, DeSantis' wife Casey tweeted a hype video encouraging supporters to sign up for campaign updates.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: America has been worth it, every single time.

DEAN (voice over): DeSantis jumps in the Republican primary following months of speculation about the Florida governor's political future, fueled by a national book tour and visits to key early nominating states.

DESANTIS: I have only begun to fight.

DEAN (voice over): As the Republican primary fight intensifies, a new CNN poll shows former President Donald Trump leading the GOP field with roughly double the support of DeSantis and no other candidate in double figures.

But the survey also finds the Republican field to be far from settled. More than eight in 10 of those polled said they either support or say they're open to considering either Trump or DeSantis.

DESANTIS: We have to reject the culture of losing that has infected our party in recent years. We have no more time for excuses.


DEAN (voice over): DeSantis and Trump have appeared to be on a collision course for months with the former president launching repeated attacks against the Florida governor.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: DeSantis is very low and crashing. He's crashing and burning.

DEAN (voice over): But DeSantis has been intentional in not directly attacking Trump. Instead using his speeches around the country to draw a contrast.

DESANTIS: I don't have time for drama. I don't have time for palace intrigue. I want to make sure that we're executing the agenda. And you know what's happened over the last four years, we don't have leaks, we don't have drama. All we do is get the job done day after day.

DEAN: Up next DeSantis will gather here in Miami with some of his biggest donors and bundlers as they hope to make the most of this announcement. They're already working with an unprecedented $100 million in his war chest, but they are seeking to amplify this -- amplify that number out of this announcement. So, we are expecting that number to grow in the days to come. We're also expecting to see him hit the campaign trail early and aggressively. We are expecting to see him in those early states in the coming days where he will rally with supporters all across the country.

Jessica Dean, CNN, Miami, Florida.


FOSTER: Well, we are all talking about it, that's what has come out about it. CNN's political commentators were split on the DeSantis campaign launched. Some called it a total miscalculation; others praised the governor for taking a risk with a unique approach.


SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The launch today is another tactic in his quest to completely and totally bypass the traditional political media. He hates them. They hate him. And he wants nothing to do with them. And so, he goes all the way to Twitter Spaces to have his campaign announcement because he just doesn't want to do it with the mainstream media.

I don't know if this is going to work or not. No one's ever tried this before. Traditionally when you run for president, you're desperate for media attention. And so -- but he's dedicated to the proposition that Republicans hate the media, they don't trust the media so we'll communicate with you in a way that totally bypasses them.

ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It came off almost like he was a talk radio host not a future leader of the free world. I think it was a total miscalculation by his team. Listen, is remarks off the top were perfectly decent. He could have given them in an arena with a crowd and I think that would have been much stronger than this what was frankly a debacle.

I felt like the conversation that was happening was what people on Twitter talk about. Only 20 percent of Americans are on Twitter. A fraction of that is Republican primary voters. They're talking about speech, arguing about platform itself. They weren't talking about kitchen table issues. And I'd also remind DeSantis and his team, the average Republican primary voter is on the older side. They're largely 50 plus, and that is not a audience in Twitter spaces talking about tech policy and Elon Musk's latest grievances. So overall, I think they need to recalibrate. They need to get back to kitchen table issues. They need to get back to economic policy. Because this was not a winning campaign launch.


NOBILO: Alyssa makes a strong point. Because by launching on Twitter space, he denied himself that atmosphere, the cheers from supporters that positions you in the minds of people watching as someone who can win, who can electrify proud.

FOSTER: And also, just audio only, it's difficult when things go wrong because with visuals you can somehow deal with and make -- you know, with the crowd as well you can make a little joke about it or something. They were just on their own.

NOBILO: And possibly the worst thing to have come out of this for him is the new nickname that President Trump is probably envious of those who invented it, which is disaster. Hopefully he doesn't do too much thinking.

Chinese hackers are laying the groundwork in cyberspace for a possible future crisis between Washington and Beijing -- that's according to tech giant Microsoft. The effort is likely focused on disrupting critical communications between the U.S. and its allies in Asia.

FOSTER: Western security agencies are also concerned that China could apply the same formula worldwide. For more Kristie Lu Stout joins us now from Hong Kong. Give us some more details about this -- Kristie.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, sure, listen, dig into this report from Microsoft and this group that's known as "Volt Typhoon." This is a state sponsored Chinese hacking group that Microsoft says has been spying on American critical infrastructure. In this report that just came out, it was released on Wednesday, Microsoft says that the group is out to disrupt critical communications between the U.S. and Asia in the event of a crisis.

Microsoft says that this group Volt Typhoon has been active since mid 2021 and has targeted critical infrastructure in parts of the U.S. including the U.S. territory of Guam. Now Guam is home to strategic U.S. military installations. It's also the site of a major communications hub between the U.S. and the Asia-Pacific region.

Now I want you to look at this full screen graphic of sectors -- according to Microsoft --that are targeted by this Chinese hacking group. They include construction, education, government, IT, manufacturing, maritime, telecom, transport and utility.


And Microsoft published details of the code online. You can find it there so users can find and remove the code but also added that it's going to be tough detecting and mitigating the attack, it says could be challenging.

Now China has responded to the report. It has slammed it. In fact, in the last hour at a ministry of foreign affairs briefing we heard from a spokesperson -- let's bring up the statement. This we heard from Mao Ning, who said this.

Quote: This is a collective disinformation campaign of the Five Eyes coalition countries by the U.S. for geopolitical purposes, unquote.

Of course, this report comes as tensions continue to similar between China and U.S., over a whole slew of issues from Taiwan, from tech and of course territorial disputes in the Asia-Pacific region. Back to you guys.

FOSTER: Kristie in Hong Kong, thank you.

NOBILO: Donald Trump's legal team wants to meet with the U.S. Attorney General to talk about the ongoing special counsel investigations.

CNN's senior legal affairs correspondent Paula Reid has the details.


PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Attorneys for former President Trump are seeking a meeting with the Attorney General to air their alleged grievances over the special counsel's investigation. In a short one paragraph letter posted to social media, they espouse some of the concerns that the former president has repeatedly expressed in terms of all investigations that he has faced, saying that no president has ever faced anything like this and inferring that the process has been unfair. But there is no specific allegations against special counsel Jack Smith in terms of what he has done that has been improper.

Now it's unclear if the Attorney General or the Justice Department will grant the meeting request. It is not unusual for defense attorneys to meet with prosecutors if defense attorneys have been informed their client could potentially be charged with a crime. But sources tell CNN that the former president's attorneys have not received any such notification that the investigation has wrapped up or that any indictments are imminent. This is just their general request for a meeting. At this point, it's completely unclear if it will be granted.

Though recently the Justice Department did grant a similar request from attorneys for President Biden's son, Hunter Biden. They were allowed to go in, meet with prosecutors and present their case for why they don't believe their client should be charged. Now in that case they've met with Trump appointed U.S. attorney overseeing that probe, as well as career officials.

Here the Trump lawyers, they want to meet with the Attorney General which would truly be extraordinary. But since their investigation is being handled by a special counsel who is really only overseen by the Attorney General, it's unclear who, if anyone, they'll have a chance to meet with. At this point the Justice Department has no comment and it's unclear if they have actually received this letter from the Trump team.

Paula Reid, CNN, Washington.


FOSTER: A 40-year veteran of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service claims the Department of Justice mishandled the ongoing criminal probe into Hunter Biden. Gary Shapley has gone public as a whistleblower.

NOBILO: He was recently removed from the investigation after alleging political interference in the case. He told CBS news he saw deviations from the normal process.


GARY SHAPLEY, IRS EMPLOYEE: There was multiple steps that were slowly walked at the direction of the Department of Justice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Had you ever encountered that before?

SHAPELY: I have not, no.


FOSTER: So far, no charges have been filed against the president's son and he's denied wrongdoing. Lawyers for Shapley say he first raised concerns in the summer of 2020 during the Trump administration and continued to air his concerns under the Biden administration.

NOBILO: The political brinkmanship over raising the U.S. borrowing limit could cost the United States its perfect AAA credit rating. The rating agency Fitch signal that is prepared to issue a downgrade putting the U.S. on what it calls rating watch negative.

FOSTER: Just a week before the deadline, we keep hearing both sides claim progress has been made. But that deal remains far off. Wall Street clearly not happy with the uncertainty. All the major markets falling into the red on Wednesday. CNN's Phil Mattingly reports now from the White House.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It was eight days from potential default, everything is riding on just a small group of negotiators. Negotiators who met for more than four hours at the White House on Wednesday. And that venue is actually a shift. Negotiators had been meeting, White House officials and House Republican point people, who have been meeting on Capitol Hill trying to hammer out some kind of an agreement. And it had been a roller coaster up until today.

Today there's nothing. No comments, no attacks, no real sense of what's actually happening at the moment. And when you talk to official, they underscore that it's actually a good thing. One official told me, quote, we're working and that is all you need to know.

And that's kind of the reality at this moment because the timeline is exceedingly short. The path forward to try and prevent a default, given how far apart the two sides have been when it comes to raising the debt limit, to finding some kind of budget agreement. Well, it's exceedingly short and there's a lot of work to do. There's no question about that.


But there is also a very clear sense after the meetings throughout the day on Wednesday that there has been progress. Not a deal, not a final agreement -- and they certainly need one sooner rather than later. That progress was important and underscored what White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, why the meeting was ongoing. Take a listen.


KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: What I can say is that the negotiations have been productive. Which is what matters. The conversations continue. Which is what matters. And the focus is on what the leaders said themselves. What Speaker McCarthy and what the president said as well. Which is, default is off the table. We're going to continue to negotiate in good faith. And if that is what occurs, then we can get to a bipartisan reasonable negotiation or deal on budget -- on a budget deal.

MATTINGLY: So, the real question right now is, where do negotiators go from here? Now notably, one member of the Republican negotiating team, Patrick McHenry, a congressman from North Carolina, actually stayed after his colleagues left. He went into the White House, was working on several other issues that I'm told. Whether or not that actually got them closer to a final agreement remains an open question at this point time.

But again, to some degree the silence is actually a good sign particularly after the broad signs over the course of the last several days. Productive was one description a couple of days ago, then things went south, back up again, then south again. There is one sense when you talk to lawmakers and White House officials alike that they understand that there is no more time for posturing. There's no more time for hyperbole. They need to come together and figure something out. Whether or not they can figure out a way to reconcile two very different visions on spending. Two very different visions on other elements that should be in this deal, that remains an open question, one that they don't have much time to answer.

Phil Mattingly, CNN, the White House.


NOBILO: The parents of an Idaho murder suspect have been subpoenaed to testify before a Monroe County, Pennsylvania investigative grand jury.

FOSTER: According to a source, Bryan Kohberger's father is expected to testify in the coming hours, and his mother has already done so. Kohberger is accused of the murder of four University of Idaho students last November. He's from Pennsylvania and was arrested there in late December. It's not known what potential crimes the Pennsylvania grand jury could be investigating.

NOBILO: It will such, if convicted, such a violent crime for a first offense. So, sort of unsurprising that they might be investigating.

FOSTER: The man who was infamously photographed with his feet on the desk in Nancy Pelosi's office during the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has been sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison. A jury convicted Richard Barnett in January of eight charges including civil disorder and obstructing an official proceeding.

FOSTER: He's not shown remorse for his actions, which impacted his sentence. Court documents say he spent ten minutes in Pelosi's office -- who was House Speaker at the time. He wrote a note to Pelosi using a sexist expletive. He says he will appeal his case.

Virginia police say a man arrested at a preschool on Tuesday with an AK-47 appeared paranoid and irrational during his arrest. He was arraigned on Wednesday but hasn't entered a plea yet.

FOSTER: A court filing shows the man had eight loaded magazines and three boxes of ammunition for a pistol, in addition to other items. He also told officers he worked for the CIA. There's no indication that he actually did.

We are following developments in Ukraine where authorities say Russia launched a new wave of air attacks across the country using Iranian drones. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Russia used 36 drones but none reached their target.

NOBILO: CNN's Clare Sebastian is following this for us. Clare, it was July last year where Jake Sullivan first of all mentioned that Iran might be supplying drones to Russia. Iran continues to deny that they are. What information do we have?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, we know -- I mean, look, this is now assumed certainly by the U.S. -- John Kirby said it last week -- to be a full pledged military partnership. We think now that this is a sort of ongoing pipeline while Russia continues to take delivery of these drones.

And if you look at this war, I think in terms of sort of chapters, episodes, the month of May has been defined by these overnight aerial attacks that we continue to see. Another overnight, as you said 36 drones. Ukrainian air defenses though also I guess are part of this chapter in the war, have been really improving in their efficiency. They have managed to stop all of those drones hitting their targets -- according to President Zelenskyy. It included a massive attack on Kyiv, attacks also in the south in Mykolaiv and Odessa.

Apparently -- according to the Ukrainian Air Force -- Russia was trying to hit military objects, critical infrastructure installations. They have been stepping up those efforts as Ukraine take more and more delivery of Western weapons for obvious reasons.

This comes as we hear this morning also from Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Wagner, that he has started as of today -- he had already said that he was been a do this -- to pull his troops, his forces out of Bakhmut. Which they now claim to have taken in full.


He has this sort of staged video where he meets with his soldiers, thanks them, says he's going to leave his ammunition in rations, even for the Russian defense ministry troops. We don't know that that's true.

The Ukrainian spokesman for the Armed Forces in that area says that they can't confirm this. They think that this might be because of the enemy's exhaustion. And he says we will take advantage of this.

So, we don't know if this provides an opening for Ukraine to try to move back towards Bakhmut. And we still don't know why Prigozhin is doing this. Why this sense of sort of infighting and division within the Russian forces is being allowed to persist.

NOBILO: One element of Prigozhin's recent tirade, I found interesting him acknowledged that the invasion had backfired because it had militarized Ukraine and one of Putin's reasons for the special operation was to demilitarize Ukraine. It's interesting to see him make that admission. Clare Sebastian, thank you so much for joining us.

We're keeping a close eye on super typhoon Mawar as it moves through the western Pacific Ocean. It passed over Guam late Wednesday, ripping through the island with strong winds and heavy rain.

FOSTER: The category 4 storm is now just shy of strengthening to a category 5. Later this hour, we'll speak with a storm chaser in Guam to get the latest on how the island is faring.

These are pictures from Sydney, Australia, where authorities are working to contain a huge fire that broke out in a multistory building. CNN affiliate 9 news reports at least 50 people have been evacuated from there. The officials say the building has started to collapse.

NOBILO: Flames are also spreading to neighboring buildings and people have been told to avoid the area in central Sydney. We'll bring you the latest as we learn more about that.

And still to come, Target says it was forced to take action after it became the focus of a volatile anti-LGBTQ campaign. Details on that ahead.

FOSTER: And later, only one in ten Americans eat enough fruit and vegetables. Now a new study finds a distinct benefit of going vegetarian or even vegan.

NOBILO: Plus, remembering the one and only Tina Turner. Many called her the queen of rock and roll but to her fans she is much more than that.

TINA TURNER, SINGER: Big wheel keep on turning And the proud Mary keep on burning Rolling, rolling, rolling on the river Rolling, rolling, rolling on the river





TINA TURNER: What's love got to do, got to do with it? What's love but a secondhand emotion? What's love got to do, got to do with it? Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?


FOSTER: Music fans around the world mourning the death of Tina Turner, whose growling though caused electrifying shows, made her one of the most memorable performers of her generation. Even at a young age she seemed destined to stardom. Only to face one crushing setback after another.

NOBILO: But out of tragedy and adversity was born a musical legacy that will never die. CNN's Anderson Cooper has more on the incredible life of a true American original.


TINA TURNER: I left a good job in the city Working for the man every night and day And I never lost one minute of sleeping I was worrying 'bout the way the things might've been You know that big wheel keep on turning And the proud Mary keep on burning And we're rolling, rolling, rolling yeah Rolling on the river

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): She was known as the Queen of rock 'n' roll.

TINA TURNER: You're simply the best Better than all the rest Better than anyone Anyone I've ever met

COOPER (voice-over): And while she was most certainly music royalty, Tina Turner in her 83 years became so much more. Pioneer, icon, survivor.

TINA TURNER: Darling, aren't you going to ...

COOPER (voice-over): Born Anna Mae Bullock, she first performed at age 17 when she was passed the microphone at an Ike Turner concert. The two would go on to write hit singles and get married. It was Ike who suggested she change her stage name to Tina.

TINA TURNER: I see you

IKE TURNER: I see you

TINA TURNER: A preacher man

IKE TURNER: A preacher man

COOPER (voice-over): While the relationship soared professionally, privately it descended into physical and emotional abuse. Tina Turner spoke to Larry King about it in 1997.

TINA TURNER: I had had a lot of violence, houses burned, cars shot into but the lowest that you can think of in terms of violence.

COOPER (voice over): Finally in 1976, Tina left Ike and filed for divorce. A single mom in debt, she fought her way back into stardom.

TINA TURNER: What's love got to do, got to do with it? What's love but a secondhand emotion? What's love got to do, got to do with it? Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?

COOPER (voice over): In 1984, she released "What's Love Got To Do With It," which spent three weeks at number one and earned her three Grammys.

In 1985, she burst into Hollywood starring opposite Mel Gibson in "Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome."

TINA TURNER: You think I don't know the law.

COOPER (voice over): The movie soundtrack launched another hit for Turner, "We Don't Need Another Hero."

TINA TURNER: We don't need another hero We don't need to know the way home All we want is life beyond Thunderdome

COOPER (voice over): Throughout the 1980s and early 90s, came a slew of unforgettable songs that solidified Tina Turner's place in rock history.

TINA TURNER: I don't care who's wrong or right I don't really want to fight no more (too much talking babe)

COOPER (voice over): But it was her unflinching memoir, "I, Tina," which was made into the Academy Award nominated film, "What's Love Got To Do With It," that elevated Turner to a whole new level.

LARRY KING, TALK SHOW HOST: Do you realize that you are a feminist hero in America? Heroine?

TINA TURNER: Your wife just told me that.

KING; No, do you realize that?

TINA TURNER: I'm beginning to. You see, it wasn't something that I planned. But I kind of see it as a gift, because of the life I lived. It had a meaning. And I think that the meaning was all of what is happening now.

I think that if I not had the -- if I had not given the story to the world, maybe my life would not be as it is, I believe.

COOPER (voice over): Tina Turner continued to perform and write, continued to loved. In 2013, she married her longtime boyfriend, Erwin Bach. She spoke about meeting him the 2021 documentary, "Tina."

TINA TURNER: He was younger. He was 30 years old at the time, the prettiest face. I mean, you cannot -- it was like saying, where did he come from? He was really so good looking. My heart went, oh, oh, pop, pop. And it means that a soul has met.

COOPER (voice over): A soul has met. And Tina Turner's family released a statement that said she died peacefully after a long illness, and with her passing, the world loses a music legend.