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U.S. Senate Passes the Crucial Debt Ceiling Bill; Donald Trump Responds to a CNN Exclusive Report on his Audio Recording on Classified Documents; 30 Drones and Missiles Shot Down Kyiv; White House: Biden Fine After Fall Over Sandbag; Sherpa Saves Climber In Mount Everest Rescue; Some Pride Events Canceled Over New Florida Law. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired June 02, 2023 - 02:00   ET




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

Ahead on "CNN Newsroom." Back from the brink, the U.S. Congress passes a compromise deal suspending the federal government's debt ceiling for two years.

A son sleeps on the ground outside a collapsed building, waiting for answers about his missing father as officials reveal a deadly mistake made by an inspector days before the accident.

And a sherpa forgoes summiting Mount Everest to save a missing climber will show you this epic rescue.

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

NEWTON: And so President Biden's signature is the only thing needed now to suspend the U.S. debt ceiling and avoid an economic meltdown that could have impacted the entire world.

After weeks of talks that ran hot and cold, well, mostly hot, the U.S. Senate on Thursday voted 63 to 36 to pass the critical legislation after it cleared the U.S. House the day before. Now that was following the vote, the president issued a statement thanking lawmakers, saying tonight, senators from both parties voted to protect the hard-earned economic progress we have made and prevent a first-ever default by the United States. Together, they demonstrated once more that America is the nation that pays its bills and meets its obligations and always will be.

CNN's Melanie Zanona was on hand for those votes and she has the latest now from Capitol Hill.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, after weeks of intense negotiations and with just days to go before the default deadline, Congress has averted an economic disaster. The Senate on Thursday night passed a bill that would raise the debt ceiling until 2025 and also limit future spending. And the final vote tally in the Senate was 63 to 36. They needed 60 Republicans and Democrats to come together to pass this bill. And they did. Take a listen to Chuck Schumer talking about this bill after the vote.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), U.S. SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Default was the giant sword hanging over America's head. But because of the good work of President Biden, as well as Democrats in the House and Democrats in the Senate, we are not defaulting.

Democrats said from the start, we must take default off the table. For a long time Republicans, many Republicans in the House resisted. House Republicans were ready to take default hostage in order to pass a radical, hard-right agenda that never could have passed with the American people. So tonight's outcome is very welcome news for our economy and for American families.

ZANONA: And the bill now heads to President Biden's desk for his signature. But it was not always an easy road to get here. First of all, they had to hammer out the deal, which took weeks. Usually they try to do these things in a matter of months. It was a very complicated fiscal agreement. There were blowups. There were points where it looked like it was gonna go completely off the rails.

And then the other half of the battle is that they had to sell this deal to their members and there was opposition from both Republicans and Democrats. Democrats don't like the stricter work requirements for food stamp recipients, they don't like some of the energy permitting reforms, and Republicans thought the bill does not go far enough to cut spending.

They also don't like that it's gonna hike the debt ceiling for two years until after the next presidential election, but ultimately a coalition of members came together in the middle to get this done and avoid what would have been the first ever default.

Melanie Zanona, CNN, Capitol Hill.


NEWTON: With us from Los Angeles is CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein, who is also senior editor at "The Atlantic." It's done, Ron. Crisis averted.


NEWTON: Now, what I want to know from you, what does this deal tell us about the state of American politics? And really, it's to preview, right, those battles to come.

BROWNSTEIN: Yeah, I mean, as we've said, it was extraordinary that we were in this position to begin with, given how really relatively peripheral and minor the policies that we were debating were. I mean, the mismatch between the ends and the means, the means, you know, precipitating potentially a global financial catastrophe to get a small change in one-sixth of the federal budget, which is domestic discretionary spending. That's all that we were talking about, to get changes in work requirements that essentially have no impact on the budget and some minor changes in permitting. It was all kind of crazy that it came to this, but it is at least somewhat reassuring that there was enough kind of critical mass in the center to prevent the U.S. from going off the cliff in an unprecedented way.


NEWTON: Yeah, and I take your point that perhaps the bar has been set much lower these days. I'm all passes for a huge victory in D. C. Okay, Ron, I'm going to ask you to choose though now because I know you have said that both Speaker McCarthy and President Biden, you know, can both count this as a win. But really, politically, will it help one more than the other, do you think right now?

BROWNSTEIN: No, I mean, I think it helps Biden probably in the sense that the alternative would have been potentially very risky to him. Obviously, you know, you could look at polling and where people might or might not say that Republicans were more to blame. But he's the president. And if the domestic and global economy collapse into catastrophe, you know, there's no way he walks out of that blast radius.

I mean, it affects him. So I think avoiding that was worth it to Biden to essentially renounce what he had originally set out, which is that he was not going to negotiate around the debt ceiling. And Paula, I think it was a very revealing kind of measure of the way Biden has approached this presidency. He has criticized Republicans, he's called out the MAGA faction and so forth.

But in the end, he chooses to try to make the system work rather than going to war against the other side on the grounds that it is, you know, pursuing a radical agenda.

He was very measured throughout this whole process. And that did allow him to bring this into shore with relatively minor concessions to Republicans, certainly not many more concessions that he would have to make in the budget process anyway later this year, given the Republicans have announced.

NEWTON: Yeah, he certainly wasn't spiking the ball in the end zone of the White House in the last few days. We'll see what he says. He is expected to speak on Friday. I want to ask you, has this process, do you think, served to tame or embolden the flanks of either party? And I ask because if we go to Congressman Chip Roy, right, Freedom Caucus?

If you look at what he tweeted, the enemy foretold by our founders is a government and corporate crony so powerful that they crush freedom. I refuse that path. Defund tyranny. Live free. Not to be outdone, right? The Democratic progressive wing, you know, AOC, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez saying you are cutting food assistance, you are pushing through a disastrous pipeline, you are causing harm to the environment and you're holding the entire U.S. economy hostage.

Ron, what do you think? Does it embolden them or do you think it really does weaken them with this bipartisan deal, which actually the votes came out, they weren't squeakers at all?

BROWNSTEIN: Yeah. Yeah. No, look, I don't think it tames them in the sense of them lowering their ambitions, but it does kind of underscore the limits of their influence. You know, Republicans, House Republicans don't have a comparable lever to demand changes from Biden.

Again, I mean, even this deal has measures to kind of reduce the potential threat of a government shutdown later this year and the freeze in domestic discretionary spending, which again is only one- sixth of the federal budget and is way too small a lever to meaningfully affect the long-term deficit trajectory, that's already agreed to.

So there isn't that much more I think they can do. They'll hold a lot of hearings to try to embarrass the administration or you know, score points against them. But the right in the Republican Party are not going to have many more options like this, where they have something where Biden clearly has to deal with them.

If anything, don't forget in 2025, the next big fiscal fight is going to be the expiration of the Trump tax cuts when the leverage will switch back to Democrats if they have even one chamber of Congress, much less the White House.

So I do think, you know, probably from this point forward, we're going to see fairly modest legislative achievement, you know, in the remainder of this Congress. And I think the left and the right will be out there banging, you know, their gongs and making their case for bigger change. But it's going to be very hard to find a vehicle where they can do that.

Yeah, it certainly, as you said, that you already see them already in electoral mode. In fact, Chip Roy immediately went and campaigned off of his no vote. Ron, I got to thank you for holding our hands through the last few weeks certainly give us a lot of political insights. I appreciate it.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you for having me.

Donald Trump now says he doesn't know anything about a new report on his handling of classified documents. CNN has learned federal prosecutors have an audio recording of the former president talking about a classified plan to invade Iran.



DONALD TRUMP, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, you know, everything I did was right. We have the Presidential Records Act, which I abided by 100 percent. It's a continuation of the greatest witch hunt of all time. It's a hoax. And it has to do --


-- and it has to do more than anything else with trying to interfere with the election.


Okay, we have more now from CNN Senior Legal Affairs correspondent Paula Reid.


PAULA REID, CNN SR. LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Former president Donald Trump today campaigning in Iowa, refusing to take questions on the bombshell revelation he was recorded discussing classified information.

REPORTER: Mr. President, why didn't you take classified documents?

REID (voice-over): But continued to claim he's a victim of federal investigators.

TRUMP: I'm a victim of it. They've come after me. They've come after me on many things.

REID (voice-over): This after CNN's exclusive reporting that prosecutors now have an audio recording of Trump talking about a classified plan to invade Iran while he was at his Bedminster golf club months after he left the White House.

Among those attending the meeting, several Trump aides and two people working on an autobiography for former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. None of them had security clearances.

During this time, Trump had aides record his conversation with journalists and writers.

TRUMP: They become automatically declassified when I took them.

REID (voice-over): Trump, under investigation for his handling of national security secrets, has previously insisted that he declassified any sensitive material in his possession.

TRUMP: If you're the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying it's declassified, even by thinking about it.

REID (voice-over): But sources tell CNN, on this recording Trump claims to still be in possession of a Pentagon document, suggests he would like to share it, and then acknowledges the limits of his ability to declassify it.

All of this undercutting his own defense. Asked if he had ever shared any information at CNN's town hall.

TRUMP: Not really. I would have the right to. By the way, they were declassified after...

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN TOWN HALL HOST: What do you mean, not really?

TRUMP: Not that I can think of. Let me just tell you I have the absolute right to do whatever I want with them.

REID (voice-over): The summer 2021 recording comes out of Trump's New Jersey golf club. It's now the second confirmed state where he has had classified information after the FBI walked out of his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida with boxes of top secret documents.

The Trump campaign saying, the DOJ's continued interference in the presidential election is shameful and this meritless investigation should cease wasting the American taxpayers' money on Democrat political objectives.

TIM PARLATORE, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: When we searched Bedminster, there were no classified documents or marked documents there.

REID (voice-over): Former Trump lawyer Tim Parlatore, who left Trump's legal team in recent weeks, says the classification status of the document Trump is heard talking about is irrelevant based on the laws that are cited in the search warrant that was executed in summer 2022.

PARLATORE: Really, what DOJ is investigating, is willful retention of national defense information. Whether it's classified or declassified is not an element of that offense.


NEWTON: Our thanks to Paula Reid for that report.

Now officials in Iowa are expected to give a news conference in the coming hours about the latest on that building that collapsed there on Sunday. On Thursday search teams and cadaver dogs arrived at the site and entered the building. Now, police say two people who were previously unaccounted for, have now thankfully been found safe. Three others remain missing. Plans to demolish the building are now on hold. Officials say repair work had begun just days before the apartment building collapsed.


RICH OSWALD, DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT AND NEIGHBORHOOD SERVICES, CITY OF DAVENPORT: The permit originally was issued to start the repair work. And when that permit was issued, it was issued with a passing mark on it. When that permit was moved from past to incomplete, we have a system error that on the outward facing program, and I think we're pulling that up, it showed failed. The inspection never failed. It was that it was incomplete. So basically the work was still in progress.


NEWTON: Now, as officials grapple with how to proceed, families of the missing are waiting in absolute agony. Brandon Colvin Jr. has been sleeping on the pavement outside the building where his father may be trapped under the rubble. He's desperate for rescuers to find his father, but there's a risk the rest of the building could come crashing down at any moment.

The 18-year-old would be getting ready for his high school graduation on Saturday, but he says he can't pull himself away from the scene.


BRANDEN COLVIN JR., SON OF BUILDING RESIDENT: I haven't slept. I've been out here for three days, at night, all night, just waiting for anything.


UNKNOWN: What's happening for you this weekend?

COLVIN JR.: I'm supposed to be graduating in three days. Walk across the stage. We have finals this week. I tried to go Tuesday to school and as soon as I walked in, I just broke down and I was just crying. I couldn't do it. Being around all the people, my friends and stuff, just seeing me like that. So I don't know if I'm gonna be able to, to go to the graduation.


NEWTON; Colvin's family hasn't given up hope though and they continue to urge officials to keep searching.

Now a U.S. judge has approved a settlement agreement for the family of Helen Hutchins. She is the cinematographer who was fatally shot by actor Alec Baldwin on a movie set in 2021.

Hutchins' family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Baldwin and producers of the film "Rust" last year. It alleged numerous industry standard violations. A settlement was reached in October and was formally approved on Thursday. Hutchins died after a prop gun held by Baldwin fired a live round of ammunition. Financial details of the settlement have not been made public.

Kyiv, under attack for the 6th straight day. Still ahead, the heartbreaking story of a mother and daughter killed by missile debris as they tried to get into a locked bomb shelter.



NEWTON: Air Raid sirens are sounding once again in Ukraine with Kyiv's mayor reporting explosions in the capital. The city's military administrator says air defenses have downed 30 missiles and drones in the last few hours alone.

Now, across the border in Russia's Belgorod region, the governor claims Ukraine's military has carried out dozens of artillery and mortar strikes over the past day. Twelve people were wounded, but no one was killed.

NATO foreign ministers in Norway meantime agreed Ukraine will join the alliance eventually. But now, and for now, the secretary-general insists Kyiv has the right to defend itself. Listen.


JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: We don't know when the war ends, but we must ensure that when it does, we have credible arrangements in place to guarantee Ukraine's security in the future, and to break Russia's cycle of aggression.


NEWTON: In Kyiv, meantime, there's outrage over the deaths of three people including a nine-year-old girl and her mother both killed by missile debris as they tried to get into a locked bomb shelter.

CNN's senior international correspondent Sam Kiley reports.


SAM KILEY, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Grief has struck again in Kyiv. Overwhelming grief when a loved one is taken. Three people killed here in Russia's latest attack on Ukraine's capital.

At 3 a.m. civilians ran for cover. The bunker was inexplicably locked.

Debris from a downed missile killed two women and a child. A fatal accident in an all too deliberate attack.

Such events are driving support for Ukraine from NATO, Europe and beyond.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: That is why every European country that borders Russia and that does not want Russia to tear them apart should be a full member of the EU and NATO. And there are only two alternatives to this, either an open war or creeping Russian occupation.

KILEY (voice-over): NATO's weapons are already in use in Ukraine's east.

And now Ukraine has launched a campaign inside Russian territory. At least eight people have been injured and hundreds evacuated from what are now frontline villages in Russia.

(on-camera): The original sin of Russia's invasion of Ukraine compounded as it is by their continued targeting of civilians. The absolute brutality of their occupation has seeded Ukraine an unassailable position on the moral high ground. But they've got to hold on to that even as they prosecute their own campaigns inside Russian territory.

VYACHESLAV GLADKOV, BELGOROD GOVERNOR (through translator): A massive attack is ongoing. The lives of local people, primarily in Shebekino and nearby villages, are in danger.

KILEY (voice-over): Anti-Putin Russians in Ukraine's forces claim to have raided his province a second time and broadcast these warnings.

UNKNOWN (through translator): Stay in your homes. Don't worry. Soldiers of the Russian Volunteer Corps are not at war with civilians.

KILEY (voice-over): They claim to have hit Russian ammunition dumps and other military targets.

But Russia says the raiders were driven out with heavy casualties.

Still, Ukraine now holds the initiative on this front.

Russia continues to rain misery from the sky. Yaroslav lost his wife and nine-year-old daughter in this raid on Kyiv.

Nothing matters anymore, he says. There are no more people left.

Sam Kiley, CNN in Kharkiv.


NEWTON: As many of us have found out the hard way, tripping and falling in front of a crowd can be a very embarrassing moment. Coming up, we'll have President Biden's great quip after his trip.




NEWTON: Republican presidential hopefuls are ramping up their efforts to take the spotlight off former President Donald Trump, who has so far dominated the polls. But as more candidates enter the race to try and stop Trump, well, analysts say that's exactly the scenario that could help them win the nomination.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny explains.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF U.S. NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): So far, Donald Trump is getting most everything he wanted from the Republican presidential campaign.

TRUMP: There's no way I can lose Iowa. Let's see what happens. I don't think so. We'd have to really bad things to lose at this point.

ZELENY (voice-over): Including a list of rivals that's growing by the week, with anyone but Trump lane of the race becoming remarkably crowded.

JULIE MARLEY, IOWA REPUBLICAN VOTER: I think it's advantageous to Trump. I don't like that. ZELENY (voice-over): Julie Marley is a loyal Republican who came to

see Florida Governor Ron DeSantis the other night and is sizing up several contenders. But she offered pointed words of advice for those entering the race.

MARLEY: Stay for a while, see what happens, but then don't stay too long, because we need -- we need to beat the Democrats.

ZELENY (voice-over): As summer approaches, the Republican field is starting to burst at the seams, with former Vice President Mike Pence and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie set to jump in next week, joining former Governor Nikki Haley and Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswami, who are already in the race.

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum is also poised to announce next week, and New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu promises a decision soon.

And Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin is not ruling out a run later this year, if some contenders flame out.

BOB VANDER PLAATS, PRESIDENT, THE FAMILY LEADER; Well, if that many candidates stay in the race, that benefits Trump. Trump will win by the power of division. And that's why we'll see if we learned our lesson, learned our lesson well.

ZELENY (voice-over): Bob Vander Plaats, an influential evangelical leader in Iowa, said the party should not repeat the mistakes of 2016 when Trump claimed the nomination with a divided Republican electorate, rather than facing a head-to-head match with one strong opponent.

VANDER PLAATS: Well, my concern is, so how many get in? It's when do they get out, and when do they give America a clear choice between the former president and an alternative?

ZELENY (voice-over): A big field is precisely Trump is banking on and basking in as he shook hands and took questions at a series of small events in Iowa while making clear he's fixated on one rival above all.



ZELENY (voiceover): The former president seized upon a leading argument DeSantis made to voters here this week.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): We could bring back George Washington. I don't know that he would be able to get it done in just four years.

ZELENY (voiceover): And sought to mock the Florida governor's pitch that he's eligible for two terms, not simply one more like Trump.

TRUMP: You don't need eight years. You need six months. We can turn this thing around so quickly. Who the hell wants to wait eight years? You don't need eight years.

ZELENY (voiceover): And in New Hampshire, Thursday, DeSantis hitting back at Trump.

DESANTIS: Why didn't he do it his first four years?

ZELENY (voiceover): As the campaign intensifies, signs are emerging that it's far too early to pursue him it's a two-man contest as candidates begin blanketing the state that begins the Republican nomination battle early next year. Lorri Hartson also believes the field is cluttered. In her mind, it's already a one-man race.

LORRI HARTSON, IOWA VOTER: President Trump already made America great. Now, we need him back to fix it.

ZELENY (voiceover): She drove four hours to catch a glimpse of the former president outside one of his Iowa stops.

ZELENY: Do you think that others should step aside and let him run and focus on President Biden, or do you think a competitive Republican primary is fine?

HARTSON: I wish they would step aside but they won't. And I don't know if it's Eagle. They won't and more keep coming in. It's like come on, Mike Pence. Really, Mike? Give it up.


NEWTON: OK. We thank Jeff Zeleny for that report from Iowa. Now, the White House says President Joe Biden is fine after he tripped and fell at the Air Force Academy, Thursday. The president was returning to his seat.

Now, you're seeing him go down after delivering the commencement address in Colorado when he stumbled over what apparently was a sandbag on the stage. CNN's Phil Mattingly picks up the story from there.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: For several hours on Thursday, President Biden's address and efforts at the Air Force Academy commencement address were very much like what has been a tradition over the course of several presidencies -- several administrations. The president attending a service academy commencement, giving those remarks, and then standing oftentimes for hours to hand diplomas, shake hands, and salute every single Cadet that is in the graduating class.

The president, President Biden, was no different. For more than 95 minutes standing there and handing out every single diploma, exchanging salutes, and shaking hands. Everything was normal until the president finished. Very last cadet receiving his diploma, the president turning around to walk back to his seat and tripping over a sandbag. Now, you can see in the video itself, the president pointing to the sandbag that was not necessarily in the most opportune spot to some degree. And White House officials very quickly taking to Twitter making clear to reporters that the president was OK. The president himself upon returning to the White House, well, he added a little more evocative of the matter.


MATTINGLY: And as you've just saw there, and White House officials have continued to repeat throughout the course of the night, the president is fine. No ill effects of that fall. Obviously, walked on his own volition back to his seat, participated in the end of the ceremony, and then traveled back to Washington.

The real focus for the president and in this White House, watching the Senate vote for final votes on the debt ceiling agreement taking a major, major high stakes, and potentially economically catastrophic threat off of his plate. That, White House officials say is what the president was really focused on, on the way back to Washington, DC. Not the fall, but at least took some time to have a little fun with it in front of reporters before he walked into the White House.

Phil Mattingly, CNN, the White House.


NEWTON: So, imagine you're near the top of Mount Everest, but you pass up reaching the summit to save a missing climber. The epic rescue you all want to see, straight ahead.



NEWTON: One of Mount Everest's deadliest climbing seasons, in years in fact, is now over. 12 people died trying to reach the summit of the world's tallest mountain in the spring. Five are still missing.

But one Malaysian climber is not on either list, thanks to a Nepali Sherpa guide who found him clinging to a rope. Isa Soares picks up the story from there.


ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): At the ominously named Death Zone of Mount Everest, during one of the deadliest climbing seasons on record, Nepali guide Geljie Sherpa carried out a rare and almost impossible rescue mission. It was midnight when he saw a Malaysian climber clinging to a rope shivering in freezing temperatures just over 1100 feet away from the 29,000 feet high summit. The air too thin for humans to breathe, and for helicopters to land.

GELJIE SHERPA, EVEREST GUIDE (through translator): It was important for us to rescue him even from the summit. Money can be earned anytime. Left like that, he could have doubled. We have saved his life by quitting the summit.

SOARES (voiceover): Geljie convinced his client to abandon this summit climb attempt so they could save the Malaysian climber's life. Geljie wrapped to the stress climber sleeping mat and hold him down with another guide's help.

GELJIE (through translator): We had brought him down from Camp Four carrying him on our backs because dragging was impossible. It took me five to six hours to get from 8500 meters to 7900. It was very difficult.

SOARES (voiceover): From there, a helicopter lifted the climber down to Basecamp.


The favorable spring weather is gradually turning even more unpredictable due to climate change. 11 people died on Everest in 2019, a climbing season that saw unprecedented traffic and long delays in the same Death Zone near the summit.

This season, Nepal issued a record 478 climbing permits. So far, 12 people including an American have died, the highest number for eight years, and another five are missing. The unidentified climber was put on a flight back to Malaysia last week. Thanks to Geljie, his name was kept off the list of the mountain's victims.

Isa Soares, CNN.


NEWTON: I'm Paula Newton. For international viewers, "WORLD SPORT" is up next. For viewers here in North America, I'll be right back with more CNN NEWSROOM right after a break.



NEWTON: Across Florida, Thursday was dubbed A Day Without Immigrants. Activists and migrant workers went on strike to protest the state's new immigration law. Governor Ron DeSantis calls it the strongest anti-illegal immigration legislation in the country. It limits social services for undocumented immigrants that puts more requirements on their employers and requires certain hospitals to ask patients about their immigration status.

June marks Pride Month in many parts of the world. And it's a time dedicated to celebrating the LGBTQ community. But in Florida, some events are being scaled back or even canceled because of a new state law targeting drag performances. CNN's Victor Blackwell has our report.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voiceover): Pride across Florida will be noticeably less colorful this year. Festival organizers are making significant changes or canceling altogether some LGBTQ Plus celebrations. They fear potential consequences from Governor Ron DeSantis's new law that many believe targets public drag performances, a mainstay of pride events.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome. Welcome to St Cloud's first Pride event.


BLACKWELL (voiceover): Christina Bozanich, the coordinator of Pride in St. Cloud, canceled the Orlando area event that was planned to include drag performers. According to the new laws signed by DeSantis just weeks ago, local governments are banned from issuing public permits for events that include some adult live performances. Venues risk steep fines and losing licensing if a child is present, knowingly admitting a child would be a first-degree misdemeanor.

BOZANICH: Once the bill was signed, I said we can restructure the event. We'll make sure it's only 18 and up for that portion. They went and talked with all the performers and came back to me and said we're really sorry, but we just don't feel safe.

BLACKWELL (voiceover): Organizers in Port St. Lucie canceled its annual Pride Parade. They reached an agreement with the city to host a slimmed-down festival. Drag performers were welcome but anyone under 21 was not.

STEPHANIE PEYMAN, STUDENT: I was in the club for so many years and I still face hatred and oppression. And I came up with my own Pride fest.

BLACKWELL (voiceover): Kissimmee Pride is on, but drag, indoors only.

STEPHANIE BECHARA, COMMUNICATIONS & PUBLIC AFFAIRS MANAGER, CITY OF KISSIMMEE: For example, drag bingo will be taking place inside of our civic center. And it will be an event where we will be requiring IDs and we're also asking folks to go ahead and pre-register online to participate.

BLACKWELL (voiceover): John Paonessa is Orlando restaurant Hamburger Mary's, who hosts drag shows most nights, he's filed a federal lawsuit against the state. He claims he's losing business because of the new law. DeSantis's office has not responded to a CNN request for comment on the lawsuit.

JOHN PAONESSA, OWNER, HAMBURGER MARY'S: We have a street party with a stage with its performers out front during Pride. We usually get three or 4000 people in the street watching. That's something we can't do.

BLACKWELL (voiceover): At the start of a month, that's in part a celebration of visibility. Some feel that the Sunshine State is shoving them back into darkness.

PAONESSA: Now, with the governor stepping in and the legislation that's going through, it's -- we're moving back in time. And it's unfortunate for us and everybody else in the state because what they're doing, it's heartbreaking.

BLACKWELL (voiceover): Victor Blackwell, CNN, Orlando.


NEWTON: So, Thursday was the first day of this year's Atlantic hurricane season. And if right on cue, a tropical storm, here it is, currently churning in the Gulf of Mexico. So, what are experts predicting for the season? CNN's Laura Aguirre reports.


RICK SPINRAD, NOAA ADMINISTRATOR: NOAA is predicting a near-normal 2023 Atlantic hurricane season.

LAURA AGUIRRE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR (voiceover): Near normal, which, depending on where you live may have a very different meaning.

MIKE BRENNAN, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER: There's nothing good about a near-normal hurricane season in terms of activity. We're expecting a busy season.

AGUIRRE (voiceover): Busy, indeed. Forecasters predict up to 17 named tropical storms could develop. Of those, five to nine could become hurricanes, and possibly four of those could become major hurricanes Cat-three or higher with sustained winds of up to 129 miles per hour or stronger.

BRENNAN: That raises the prospect for significant impacts.

AGUIRRE (voiceover): On day one of the seasons, the National Hurricane Center is already tracking a potential tropical system in the Gulf of Mexico. They say it could develop into the season's first named storm. If that happens, it'll be Arlene. The name topping the list for 2023.

In this case, the NHC says landfall is not expected. A major storm of any severity could be devastating for parts of Florida, where many are still trying to recover after the Category Four hurricane Ian hit last year.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're just hoping it doesn't happen again. It'd be really bad luck if it did, especially after we just opened up to the public again.

AGUIRRE (voiceover): Along with NOAA, the other major season forecast comes from Colorado State University. Researchers there say they expect a slightly below-average season, one that will last until November 30. I'm Laura Aguirre, reporting.


NEWTON: Meantime, severe weather in Western Texas caused major flooding to highways, Thursday. People had to be rescued as their vehicles became submerged. Heavy rain caused rose -- road closures meantime at several locations and officials warned against traveling. There were at least four collisions including a multi-vehicle crash. No injuries from those incidents have been reported so far.

So, medications like Ozempic aren't just helping people shed those excess pounds. Some who use a drug say it's helped them curb addictive behaviors like drinking alcohol, smoking, and even nail-biting or online shopping. CNN Meg Tirrell explains.


MEG TIRRELL, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): These days, Cheri Ferguson has swapped her vape pen for an Ozempic pen.

CHERI FERGUSON, OZEMPIC PATIENT: I thought I'm not enjoying vaping, so I may as well just put this into the battery being at work. And I'll see how long I can go without it. And that was 54 days ago.

TIRRELL (voiceover): Fergusson started using Ozempic 11 weeks ago to combat weight gain during the pandemic, that she says was increasing her risk of diabetes. A smoker for much of her life, Ferguson switched to vaping last July. But after starting Ozempic, she says something changed.

FERGUSON: It's like someone's just come along and switch the light on, and you can see the room for what it is. And all of these vapes and cigarettes that you've had over the years, it just -- they don't look attractive anymore. It's very, very strange -- very strange.

TIRRELL (voiceover): Ferguson is one of many patients taking drugs like Ozempic for weight loss who say they've also lost interest in some addictive behaviors. Doctors told CNN that patients most commonly report an effect on alcohol use. It may be because these drugs in a class known as GLP-Ones have an effect not just in the gut, but also in the brain.

It's something being studied at the National Institutes of Health, where researchers just published a paper showing semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic, reduced what they call the binge-like alcohol drinking in rodents.

DR. LORENZO LEGGIO, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH RESEARCHER: We believe that at least the one of the mechanisms for how these drugs reduce alcohol drinking is by reducing the rewarding effects of alcohol, such as those related to a neurotransmitter in our brain, which is a dopamine. So, these medications are likely to make alcohol less rewarding.

TIRRELL (voiceover): And it's not just alcohol and nicotine, patients have even told the Atlantic it had effects on behaviors like nail biting and online shopping.

LEGGIO: There is a lot of overlap in the neurobiological mechanisms that regulate addictive behaviors in general. So, it's possible that medications like semaglutide, by acting on this specific mechanism in the brain, they may help people with a variety of addictive behaviors. TIRRELL (voiceover): Clinical trials in humans are needed to prove that. One set is underway at the University of North Carolina, looking at semaglutide's effect on alcohol and tobacco use. Cheri Ferguson says Ozempic has helped her lose 38 pounds. Even better, she says, is how it's made her feel.

FERGUSON: The weight that it takes off your mind is far greater than any pounds that can come off of your body.

TIRRELL: We reached out to the maker of Ozempic, Novo Nordisk, as well as Eli Lilly, which makes a similar medicine. Both companies said right now they're not running trials of their drugs for addiction. This traditionally hasn't been a market that's been appealing to pharmaceutical companies because drugs really haven't been successful in selling well.

Although doctors emphasize there is a huge unmet medical need here. Alcohol use disorder affects almost 30 million Americans and only five percent currently receive treatment. So, researchers are hoping that perhaps these promising early results will draw more interest into the field.


NEWTON: That was Meg Tirrell for us. Now, Mars is making its streaming debut. The European space agency is set to stream images on YouTube directly from the Red Planet.

While it's not truly live, the new images will in fact refresh every 50 seconds or so. Now. this event is an honor of the 20th anniversary of the launch of the ESA's Mars Express, which took three-dimensional images of the Mars surface. I remember it well. The stream will go live at 6:00 p.m. Central European Time or noon Eastern Time on Friday. I will be clicking and seeing that.

Now, can you spell psammophile? For one teenager, that was a $50,000 question. And he got it. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you say it for us?



SHAH: P-S-A-M-M-O-P-H-I-L-E, psammophile.




NEWTON: Look at them, (INAUDIBLE) we got it. That's how 14-year-old Dev Shah won the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday. The middle-schooler -- he's just a middle-schooler from Largo, Florida, took home the top prize of $50,000. He was the last one standing out of some 11 million students, think about that, who entered spelling competitions right around the world. And congratulations to him.

I'm Paula Newton. Thanks for your company. I'll be back with more CNN NEWSROOM in just a moment.