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CNN This Morning

Millions Under Flood Warnings As Parade Of Storms Pound California; Three Texas Women Believed To Be Missing In Mexico; Pence Takes Aim At Trump Over January Sixth; Real Concerns Over Artificial Intelligence; Storm Breaches California River's Levee, Thousands Forced To Evacuate; About 1,700 Under Mandatory Evacuations After Levee Breached; Another Atmospheric River System To Hit California Early Next Week; More Than 15 Million Under Flood Watches In California And Nevada; Two Americans Survive Deadly Mexico Kidnapping; Power Fully Restored To Kharkiv After Russian Bombardment; Drone Hunters Defend The Skies Over Ukraine; Biden To Focus On Reducing Gun Violence During Western Trip; Biden To Meet With Leaders Of The U.K. And Australia; Biden To Visit Site Of Monterey Park Mass Shooting; Pence: "History Will Hold Donald Trump Accountable For January 6"; Manhattan Prosecutors Weighing Trump Charges As Stormy Daniels Hush Money Probe Winds Down; New Bipartisan Bill Would Allow Nationwide Ban Of TikTok. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired March 12, 2023 - 06:00   ET



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Buenos dias. Welcome to a new week and welcome to CNN THIS MORNING. I'm Boris Sanchez.

KRISTIN FISHER, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Kristin Fisher in for Amara Walker. Thank you so much for spending some time with us this morning. And, Boris, it's good to be back with you. It has been a while.

SANCHEZ: It has been a while. It's great to anchor together. We're glad that the alarm clocks -- both of our alarm clocks went off as they should.

FISHER: Amazing. We're here.

SANCHEZ: Even though we lost that one hour of sleep we appreciate you being up bright and early with us, Kristin. Here is just some of what we're watching this morning.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We really didn't expect it to happen but here we are now.


SANCHEZ: Parts of California are just under water. Homes and businesses flooded. Levees pushed to the brink and if it wasn't enough rain already we're tracking another big atmospheric river on the way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHIEF ROEL BERMEAV, PENITAS POLICE: This is the first time something like this was reported to us. I mean, we really haven't had any other incidents that I can recall.


FISHER: Three Texas women are believed to be missing in Mexico after crossing the border more than two weeks ago. What we know about the case.

SANCHEZ: Plus, former Vice President Mike Pence not mincing words. His harshest statements yet about President Trump's role on January 6th and the Republicans who are now trying to downplay the Capitol attack.


HANY FARID, DIGITAL FORENSIC EXPERT: Hear this thing Anderson said.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): I have been doing this a long time. I have to say, Donie O'Sullivan is probably the best in the business.


FARID: Very good.

O'SULLIVAN: That's very kind of him to say that as well.

FARID: You should be honored, really.


FISHER: But Anderson didn't say that. The online tool that can mimic almost anyone's voice and the very real concerns that it's raising, coming up on CNN THIS MORNING.

But we begin with a break in the storms that battering California. The torrential rain has moved out of the northern and central parts of the state for now but it's leaving in its wake flooded towns, washed out roads and thousands of people out of their homes. In Monterey County the Pajaro River is surging after relentless rain and the levee just couldn't keep up. It broker early Saturday morning sending floodwaters into the small town and forcing about 1,700 hundred residents to evacuate. Some had no place to go.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It's fear of where do we go with the kids? Because we don't have anywhere to go. We came to check our home but they won't let us in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We wanted to go to a hotel. But at the moment we don't even have work so it's hard to decide on what to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SANCHEZ: Meantime, many couldn't actually make it out on their own as you can see in this footage. The California National Guard had to rescue dozens of people in the early hours of Saturday morning. Including this one person who was stranded in their cars submerged by flood water. And with more rain on the way, CNN's Mike Valerio explains why there's an even bigger concern now for the town of Pajaro.

MIKE VALERIO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Boris and Kristin, good morning. This is still the center of the flood response area. And we're here downtown Pajaro with all of this water because we had the levee about three and a half miles away from us the water breached the very top of that levee and send all of this water down to the lower elevations. Of course, we have so many families and we've seen since the dawn hours on Saturday National Guard vehicles going up and down the main drag here of Pajaro rescuing couples, families, dogs, trying to get as many people out of here as possible.

Now, we spoke with one of the representatives leading the rescue efforts here, CAL FIRE. Take a listen of when he told us they realized the levee had a breach and how many rescues they have accomplished in the early hours of their operations.


CURTIS RHODES, CAPTAIN, CAL FIRE: We were notified of the levee breach at midnight last night. So, we deployed down here 3:00 a.m. this morning. We did have the high-water team with us. That's part of the emergency operation center. They've been county-wide this week. They have their high-water vehicles and have been successful in nine high- water rescue situations this morning.


VALERIO: So, it's a little bit of a quiescent period right now, Boris and Kristin. You can see the sun is out but the concern is that, of course, we have an 11th atmospheric river of this season coming up Tuesday into Wednesday. If the levee still is not fixed and there are not going to be any major repairs, that will be able to happen in time by Tuesday, the concern is that we could have even more water here in the middle of Pajaro.


Boris and Kristin, back to you.

SANCHEZ: We want to get you an update on the forecast for the region. Mike Valerio, thank you so much for that.

Let's head over to the CNN Weather Center with CNN's Britley Ritz right now. Britley, as Mike just pointed out, we're talking about an 11th atmospheric river, and it's coming early next week.

BRITLEY RITZ, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely, Monday and Tuesday. And unfortunately many are still dealing with the river's rising. And then we add on any bit of moisture on top of that, it's just not a good situation overall.

Fifteen million under some sort of flood advisory, watch, warning or flash flood warning, which you see there in red. Not a good situation at all with that still westerly wind, scattered showers are possible yet again especially across northern California and the Pacific Northwest. That next system slowly starting to work its way closer to us.

A lot of that rain will start in the Pacific Northwest then slowly ride as that low pushes further south down into northern California. So, rainfall accumulations through Tuesday. Expect two to four inches of rain on average. Higher amounts are possible especially across the northern parts.

You'll see the areas highlighted in red. That's a moderate risk for flooding especially along the western foothills as we roll into Tuesday, and then pushing down into the southern coastline going into Tuesday evening.

FISHER: Yes, just an incredible amount of precipitation. Britley Ritz, thank you so much.

So this morning three women who live in Texas are believed to be missing in Mexico after crossing the U.S. border more than two weeks ago. Texas authorities say on February 24th the women crossed into Mexico to sell some clothes at a flea market in the city of Matamoros, a roughly three-hour drive from the border. Let's go to CNN's Polo Sandoval for more on this investigation.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kristin and Boris, good morning to you. These three women are believed to have left the small south Texas town just over two weeks ago, crossed into Mexico and they haven't been seen or heard from since. And now police in Texas are calling on the public on both sides of the border for any help in tracking them down.

I spoke to the Penitas police chief who tells me that these three women, Marina Perez Rios, her sister, Maritza Trinidad Perez Rios, and their friend, Dora Alicia Cervantes, that they drove across the border to just south of Mission, Texas, back on February 24th, Friday, with the husband of one of those sisters then turned to investigators the following Monday when he was unable to contact them by phone. He told investigators that the three women were heading to the city of Montemorelos in the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, which is some three hours drive south of the border.

The husband telling investigators they planned to travel there to a flea market to sell clothes. The U.S. State Department telling CNN that they are aware of reports of three U.S. citizens missing in Mexico but they wouldn't go into great detail. So, local police there in Penitas then calling the FBI as they basically tried to hand over that investigation to federal authorities as you are about to hear from the police chief in his conversation with local affiliate KRGV. Now, turning to the community for any help.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BERMEAV: We are just concerned if anybody has any information. I mean, they can contact us or contact the FBI and see what information they can provide for us.

This is the first time something like this was reported to us. I mean, we really haven't had any other incidents that I can recall on something like this happening in our country.


SANDOVAL: Again, into Montemorelos, Mexico, from south Texas by land you should require driving through part of the Mexican city of Tamaulipas, which if you look on the State Department's Web site it's a region that's classified as a do not travel regional because of increase of violence there. Meanwhile, we have reached out to the FBI for more on these three missing women and we are still waiting to hear back. Boris, Kristin, back to you.

SANCHEZ: Polo Sandoval, thank you so much. There is no indication that these two incidents are related. But we do want to point out those three women disappeared just a week before four Americans were kidnapped at gunpoint in the Mexican border city of Matamoros. The group was attacked while traveling from South Carolina to Mexico, so that one of them, Latavia Washington McGee, could undergo a medical procedure.

FISHER: But unfortunately, they never made it. Two of the men she travelled with were killed while she and a third man were found alive Tuesday. CNN's Carlos Suarez has the story.

CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Boris and Kristin, good morning. The Facebook live video that CNN was able to obtain captures a group driving in Mexico before the kidnappings. CNN was able to geolocate the video to a street in the northern most section of Matamoros located near an off ramp from the bridge the group used to cross into Mexico from Texas.


A timeline from Mexican officials indicated that about two hours after the group drove into Mexico a car began following them. Now, it's unclear what happened after the group crossed the border. We know they were supposed to be going to a medical appointment for one of the surviving victims, Latavia Washington McGee. McGee's friend, Cheryl Orange, said she made the trip to Texas but did not cross the border because she did not have the proper identification. According to Orange, the trip from Brownsville to the clinic was only supposed to take 15 minutes.

On Friday, Mexican officials announced the arrest of five men. It's unclear if the men are the same group. The drug cartel believed to be responsible for the kidnappings said they were going to hand over to authorities. Later in the day, officials released some more information on just how they took custody of the men.

In a tweet Mexican officials said in part -- quote -- "due to the conditions in which five men were found in Matamoros along with the car and a letter, they were initially treat as victims of crime but this changed to suspects when they began to report their participation in the events of March 3rd."

Here in South Carolina where the four victims lived, McGee told us that she is glad to be back home, that she is back with her family and that she's doing OK. The other survivor, Eric Williams, he was shot several times and is still recovering at a hospital in Texas. The bodies of Shaeed Woodard and Zindell Brown have been turned over to U.S. authorities and the Woodard family hopes to bring his body back here to South Carolina on Wednesday. Boris and Kristin.

FISHER: Carlos Suarez, thank you so much. Now, to the war in Ukraine where the lights are back on in Kharkiv. Where just bombardment of the city left thousands without electricity, but regional officials say the power has been fully restored in that city, in the surrounding region.

SANCHEZ: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says more than 40 missiles have hit Kharkiv since the beginning of the year. CNN correspondent Melissa Bell is following developments in that region. She joins us now live. Melissa, just this week across Ukraine Russia bombarded some 90 missiles headed in that direction and Kharkiv was one of the main targets.

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Boris. In fact, you could hear the air sirens are just setting off again. This is one of those bordering regions of Russia that has been so hard hit by that aerial campaign, of aerial bombardments that we've seen over the course of the last year.

You can see behind me despite the air sirens, life certainly getting back to normal. This was a city in a wider region that for more than 48 hours was entirely without electricity after those 15 S-300 surface air missiles came from across the border on the night from Wednesday to Thursday. Another severe testing of this country's air defense system that have had to do so much over the course of the last year to adapt constantly to what has been an ever changing threat.


BELL (voice-over): Every missile taken down means lives saved. Here with a German short-range Gepard or here one missile taken down with a machine gun.

SERHIY, UKRAINIAN SOLDIER (through translator): It's a pity that I didn't shoot down three. It's a shame that two got through. They hit civilian targets or critical infrastructure facilities and people work there.

BELL (voice-over): These are Ukrainian drone hunters and day and night they scan the skies, eyes in the backs of their heads. Their machine gun loaded on to an armored vehicle trading warmth for agility.

SERHIY, UKRAINIAN SOLDIER (through translator): The trajectories of the missiles and drones are constantly changing which means that stationary units were not enough, so we created mobile ones.

BELL (voice-over): Most nights this is what the skies above Ukraine look and sound like. And more than a year into the war all that western equipment is helping. On Wednesday night, over 90 missiles and eight Shahed drones were detected. Of those, more than 30 missiles and four Shaheds were intercepted says the Ukrainian military.

(On camera): Here in the front line town of Kupiansk you can see what more than a year of heavy artillery and mortar fire have done. It was again the case on Wednesday night. There is not much air defense can do about that. On the whole, what the Ukrainian military says is that with western help its air defense systems have actually been remarkably efficient and from the very start of the invasion.


YURII IGNAT, UKRAINIAN AIR FORCE SPOKESMAN (through translator): If this hadn't happened, we probably not be talking to you now and there would be no such country as Ukraine. Thanks to the air force we really managed to hold the keys to the sky.

BELL: This is a rare close-up look at Iran's technology of death. A Shahed drone relatively intact for having been fished out of the Black Sea. At its head it would have carried 50 kilograms worth of explosives. This is what 20 kilograms looks like.

(Voice-over): And this is what that looks like on the ground. Part of Russia's devastating war of attrition with civilian casualties on most nights way beyond the front lines of the east.


BELL: Now, that air siren that we're hearing now is more of a regional one we understand and that could mean that there is more of those cross-border missiles coming to the Kharkiv region. This is a part of Ukraine that has been so hard hit precisely because it's on the border and that aerial campaign such an important part of Russia's long-term war of attrition. It's about (INAUDIBLE) adviser to the Ukrainian president said on Thursday morning, it is about reminding Ukrainians all the time that you are safe nowhere. And whether it is direct casualties or power outages, that life in Ukraine cannot go back to normal.

SANCHEZ: Melissa Bell reporting live from Kharkiv. Thank you so much for that, Melissa Former Vice President Mike Pence taking direct aim at former President Donald Trump. What he is now saying about his ex- boss and how he is going to be remembered. Plus, he has got a message for Republicans downplaying the attack on the Capitol.

FISHER: Also, can you believe it? It has been three years since COVID- 19 was officially declared a pandemic. What has changed in that time and what it means for how we are learning to live with the virus going forward.



SANCHEZ: As he gears up for a potential re-election bid, President Biden is heading west this week. He is set to hold some fundraisers to meet with his counterparts from the United Kingdom and Australia and also to visit the site of a recent mass shooting.

FISHER: CNN White House reporter Jasmine Wright joins us live. So, Jasmine, what more can you tell us about the president's trip and in particular his expected focus on gun violence?

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, Kristin and Boris. Well, it's a big trip out west for the president that focuses on both foreign policy and domestic. First up will be foreign policy where the president meets with his counterparts of the United Kingdom, in Australia to talk about their growing alliance which is widely seen as a way for them to counter China's military ambitions in the Pacific Ocean.

Now, on the ticket of their discussions CNN has reported is expected to be nuclear powered submarines. We reported earlier this week that Australia is set to buy four nuclear powered submarines, Virginia submarines, from the U.S. so that will be likely something that they discuss on Monday. And then the president will hold bilaterals with each party, both the U.K. and Australia.

Now, on Tuesday the president focuses on domestic issues. He will be in Monterey Park, the site of that tragic mass shooting in January, where he will deliver remarks on how his administration is trying to curb gun violence. It's an issue that President Biden is passionate about. He is talking about repeatedly over the course of the last two years while in office. And so we will hear him talking about it again on Tuesday.

Now, on Wednesday the president heads to the battleground state of Nevada. There he will be talking about official business, of course, when he talks about how his administration has tried to lower prescription drugs. But of course, Nevada is an important state on the way to the White House as we are potentially expecting the president to launch a re-election bid in the next few months. Kristin, Boris.

SANCHEZ: We will be watching for that. We are actually going to talk to someone about the timing of the announcement in just moments. Jasmine Wright, live traveling with the president in Delaware, thank you so much.

Let's dig deeper on all the day's top political headlines with "Politico" White House reporter Daniel Lippman. Daniel, let's start there with the timing of President

Biden's potential re-election announcement. The indications are from the trip that Jasmine just outlined but he's going to be fundraising when he's on the West Coast. When can we expect that announcement?

DANIEL LIPPMAN, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, POLITICO: So, we are expecting that announcement to come in April. They don't feel in a particular rush because they want to make the president seem as presidential as possible. And once he announces, he is going to be seen as a candidate by the American people. And so then it becomes a full-fledged political fight because only 37 percent of Democrats, according to a recent poll, want Biden to run for re-election.

And so, he is facing some headwinds from people who say, what about a new generation of leaders? And if it is not Trump on the ballot as his Republican opponent, then are his chances less so against someone like Ron DeSantis? Would DeSantis have a -- would Democrats have a better chance against DeSantis by picking someone like Gavin Newsom or J.B. Pritzker, Phil Murphy, people who are in that generation of leaders to face off against DeSantis?

SANCHEZ: Notably, DeSantis was in Nevada this weekend as well. It underscores the importance of that state early on in the caucus and primary process. Let's look at one Republican contender specifically, Daniel.

Mike Pence made some of his most blistering remarks about his former boss last night at the Gridiron Dinner in Washington, D.C. He said -- quote -- "President Trump was wrong. I had no right to overturn the election and his reckless words endangered my family and everyone at the Capitol that day, and I know that history will hold Donald Trump accountable."


Now, Daniel, a Gridiron is typically a place for jokes and roasting and songs. It doesn't sound like Mike Pence is joking here.

LIPPMAN: No, he is not. He did make some jokes in another part of his speech. But I think he wanted to make it very clear for the history books themselves that he wanted to get away from that role where he was the most loyal vice president to Trump and he wants indicate that what he did in terms of jeopardizing him and his family was completely wrong.

The problem with -- for Pence politically is that the Republican base is not with him. They are largely in the Tucker Carlson/Trump world prospective that January 6th, while regrettable, was not the big day that we all think it was. And so there is not -- you know, the Republican base is not made up of historians. And so, that makes it tougher for Pence. And also, he is running in a -- or he is likely to run in a campaign that's going to features a lot of Republicans which could split the field and make it easier for someone he says is kind of a danger to the constitution like Donald Trump to waltz in and win the primary again.

SANCHEZ: Daniel, quickly, the Manhattan D.A. has invited Donald Trump to testify this week before a grand jury investigating hush-money payments allegedly made to adult film star Stormy Daniels. Does a potential indictment help or hurt Trump in his bid for president?

LIPPMAN: It's unclear fully, but I think, you know, he will use this opportunity to rail against liberal prosecutors. He is going to portray himself as a victim and hope that gets him some votes from people who view themselves as victims in their own lives in terms of being left behind by globalization and by what people in some parts of the red state consider coastal elites looking down them, those deplorables that Hillary Clinton talked about.

SANCHEZ: Right. And, Daniel, one last question about your reporting regarding TikTok. Apparently the company hiring D.C. consulting firm as a bipartisan group of lawmakers are pushing a new bill to restrict access to the app. Tell us about your reporting.

LIPPMAN: Sure. So I scooped a few days ago that TikTok has hired SKDK, which is a Democratic powerhouse public affairs and political consulting firm to do some communications support for the company. They have hired, you know, dozens of lobbyists. They have spent $13 million in lobbying in the last few years.

While this is not technically lobbying, it's still -- is going to give some Democrats in Washington some sweats because SKDK worked on the Biden campaign. Their founding partner, Anita Dunn, is a senior advisor to Biden. And so some people in Washington are viewing this as a potential bad look for the firm because TikTok is throwing money all around Washington to try to prevent it from being banned.

SANCHEZ: Excellent reporting. Daniel Lippman, got to leave the conversation there. Thanks for sharing part of your weekend with us.

LIPPMAN: Thanks, Boris.

FISHER: Still to come, three years ago the world turned on its head. Where we are now with the COVID-19 pandemic and how we should look at, coming up.



FISHER: This weekend, the world marks three years since the world health organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Since then, nearly 7 million people worldwide have died from the virus, including more than a million Americans. On Friday, the House unanimously passed a bill to declassify U.S. intelligence information on the origins of the coronavirus.

The Senate passed it earlier and the legislation now goes straight to President Biden's desk. A theory that the virus could have escaped from a lab in China has been a heated issue of debate since early on in the pandemic, but often science took a back seat to partisan politics. Dr. Anthony Fauci says such a mistake leaves us exposed to threats in the future.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, FORMER DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: That is really unacceptable to take a political view on a public health problem. They should be completely separated and we all should be in unanimity the fact that we have a common enemy and we have got to do everything we can to counter that, not only what we are going through now, but to do everything we can to prevent it from happening in the future. (END VIDEO CLIP)

FISHER: Joining me to discuss, Dr. Saju Mathew, a primary care physician and public health specialist. Doctor, thank you so much for joining us early this Sunday morning.

DR. SAJU MATHEW, PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN: Good morning, Kristin. I'm glad to be with you.

FISHER: Good morning! Nice to be with you. You know, hard to believe three years in. do you think that partisan politics has jeopardized our ability to respond as a society to the next pandemic or do you think we are better prepared after everything we have been through over the last three years?

MATHEWS: Those are the most important questions. You know, as a scientist, Kristin, what worries me the most is basically with you alluded to. Are we prepared for the next pandemic? You know, does it matter if this was lab leak theory or if this is transferred from an animal in a wet market in China to a human being?

What matters is that this does not happen again. Lab leaks happen actually more -- many more times than we'd like to believe. These are workers that are actually infected with the virus that they are studying in the laboratories. We need to make sure that we have really good standards so that if this did happen in Wuhan, it doesn't happen again, and that we should also re-evaluate our relationship with wild animals. And I think that those are the two big issues that we should deal with moving forward.


FISHER: So, just to be clear here, if we -- if the world did get it the bottom of the origin of COVID-19, you do think that would help us prepare better for the next pandemic?

MATHEW: I mean, of course. I think that getting to the bottom of what -- where the source of this virus was so key. What I'm suggesting is that I'm not 100 percent sure that China will be any more transparent than they have been. I mean, we have the World Health Organization with a team ready to go and evaluate the labs when that entire trip was canceled. It's almost like cleaning up the evidence at a scene. So, three years later, will China be any more transparent? I am not sure. But if this was a lab leak or if this did transferred in what we call a zoonotic way from an animal to a human being, the bottom line is attack those problems aggressively so moving forward this doesn't happen against because another pandemic, unfortunately, is around the corner.

FISHER: Johns Hopkins University which, as you know, has led the way on tracking COVID cases since the beginning pandemic. They officially stopped tracking case and death data on Friday. It feels like a milestone of sorts. Was this the right time for them to stop in your opinion?

MATHEW: You know, if you look around -- and somebody asked me, Dr. Mathew, what is the viral count in your state, in your county? I know what it is in our hospital. It's difficult to come by. Data is scarce. The CDC was reporting cases on a daily basis. Now, they have gone to once a week.

Johns Hopkins, that's the bible when it came to COVID-19 data. So, no, to answer your question, I don't think we should ever not know what's going on in our environment. I have always kind of joked around with other virologists saying we need a COVID weather map. People should be able to wake up in the morning and know what the viral count is so we can adjust our behaviors accordingly.

FISHER: One more topic I'd love to get to before we let you go, Doctor. Some doctors pushing back on some new FDA guidance for breast cancer screenings. The FDA saying that doctors should tell patients if they have dense breast tissues because it poses a higher risk for breast cancer. Some doctors say that confuse -- might confuse patients. What do you think? Where do you come down on this?

MATHEW: I am a primary care physician. I am constantly screening women for breast cancer. I think the FDA's guideline is a good move. You see, breast density -- increased breast density can increase your risk of cancer by, guess what, fourfold. And you can only detect that on mammograms. You can't detect it on a self-breast exam.

So, I think moving forward, if you have dense breast tissue, our women, our patients should know about that so you can have a discussion with your doctor. We can do an ultrasound. We can do an MRI. But I really think that this is a good move by the FDA. It will actually result in a misdiagnosis and early detection of breast cancer.

FISHER: All right, well, you sold me. Dr. Saju Mathew, thank you so much.

MATHEW: Thank you.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Up next, it is equal parts hilarious and terrifying. The latest A.I. capability computer generated voices that sound just like you or me. CNN's Donie O'Sullivan has been having fun -- maybe too much fun finding out how this can be exploited.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been doing this a long time. I have to say, Donie O'Sullivan is probably the best in the business.

O'SULLIVAN: Incredible. That's very kind of him to say that.

It's really -- you should be honored really.


[06:40:00] FISHER: Could you spot the difference between a loved one's voice and a computer-generated imitation? It may be harder than you think. A new artificial intelligence tool can impersonate almost anyone, even you, Boris.

SANCHEZ: I don't know about that, especially after an early morning when I start slurring my English, and start -- my Spanish accent starts coming out. Anyway, they may be harmless ways of using the software like pranking your family, but this also raises concerns about how fake audio clips could be used. And CNN's Donie O'Sullivan shows us why.




N. O'SULLIVAN: How are you?

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: Does my voice sound different to you?

N. O'SULLIVAN: Yes, I just said that to Sinead. I said, Donie sounds so American.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: This is not actually me. This is a voice made by computer.

N. O'SULLIVAN: Oh, my god, are you serious?

DONIE O'SULLIVAN: Yes, mom, I'm sorry.

There has been an explosion in fake audio and voices being generated through artificial intelligence technology.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: This is an A.I. clone version of Walter White's voice.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: This is an A.I. cloned version of Leonardo DiCaprio's voice.

O'SULLIVAN: All you need is a couple of minutes recording of anyone's voice and you can make it seem like they have said just about anything. Even --

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: Anderson Cooper. We have come here to U.C. Berkeley today to talk to Hany Farid, a digital forensic expert about just how easy it is to put words in to other people's mouths.

O'SULLIVAN: It's a lot of fun.


O'SULLIVAN: It's also really scary.

FARID: I think once you put aside that gee-whiz factor, I don't think it takes a long time to look at the risks.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: This is Wolf Blitzer. Hany Farid, you are in "THE SITUATION ROOM."

FARID: That is good. That's good.

O'SULLIVAN: That's pretty good.

By uploading just a few minutes of me and some of my colleagues' voices to an A.I. audio service, I was able to create some convincing fakes including this one of Anderson Cooper.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: Donie O'Sullivan is a real piece of (BLEEP).

O'SULLIVAN: That's A.I. That's A.I.

FARID: That's good.

O'SULLIVAN: Yes, Anderson is really good.


O'SULLIVAN: Because Anderson doesn't have a stupid Irish accent.

The technology struggled with may Irish accent, but we decided to put it to the ultimate test with my parents.

I am about to try to call my mom back in Ireland and see if I can trick her with this voice.


O'SULLIVAN: You think I am going to be successful?

FARID: I'm nervous. I'm like, my hands are.




N. O'SULLIVAN: Hi, Donie. How are you?

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: Just finished shooting our story here. I am going to the airport in a while.

N. O'SULLIVAN: There seems to be a delay in the phone, Donie.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: Can I say a quick hello to dad?





DONAL O'SULLIVAN: Good, yourself?

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: Just finished shooting our story here. I am going to the airport in a while.

DONAL O'SULLIVAN: Oh, you are going back to New York?

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: Are Kerry playing this weekend?

DONAL O'SULLIVAN: They're playing Tyrone Sunday.

O'SULLIVAN: My dad went on to have a conversation with the A.I. Donie about how Kerry, our home football team had a game that weekend. Eventually, I had to come clean.

Dad, I'll give you a call back later on. Can you put me back on to mom for a second?

My parents knew something was off, but ultimately, they still fell for it.

N. O'SULLIVAN: Oh, yes, some of it don't be bad, but it was like -- it was like your voice was a little tone lower and it sounded like very serious. Like, you had something serious to say. Because I went, oh, jeez, my heart was hopping first.

O'SULLIVAN: I'm sorry.

DONAL O'SULLIVAN: I thought the voice was very funny. I thought the voice was very funny, yes.

O'SULLIVAN: All right, I'll call you later, dad.


FARID: This is not classic. The mom is like, something is wrong with my son. The dad is like, everything is fine.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: I'd like to close out today's ceremony with a question. If you were given a choice, would you choose to have unlimited bacon but no video games?

O'SULLIVAN: With fake Biden and Trump recordings going viral online, Farid says this could be something to be weary of going into the 2024 election.

FARID: When we enter this world, anything can be fake, any image, any audio, any video, any piece of text, nothing has to be real. We have the liar's dividend which is anybody can deny reality.

O'SULLIVAN: With a flood of A.I. tools releasing online, he says companies developing this powerful technology need to think of its potential negative effects.

FARID: There is no online and offline world. There is one world and it's fully integrated. When things happen on the internet, they got real implications for individuals, for communities, for societies, for democracies. And I don't think we as a field have fully come to grips with our responsibility here.


O'SULLIVAN (on camera): Obviously, we had some fun there with my parents and with Anderson Cooper. But, look, it's not hard to see how this can all get very, very serious, how tools like this could be weaponized and disinformation campaigns and scams and in fraud, particularly as we go, you know, in future election campaigns around the world and of course the 2024 election campaign just around the corner here in the U.S. This is something we are all going to have to be on the lookout for, on the listen out for, including, of course, my parents.

FISHER: Donie O'Sullivan, thank you so much. Can you imagine being his parents? I thought -- I thought the A.I. did pretty well with his thick Irish accent.

SANCHEZ: It was pretty fantastic even though it did sounded just a little bit American. Some of the things --

FISHER: It did.

SANCHEZ: Some of the things Donie says, they're very -- the flair of the Irish just comes out. I'm really impressed with that technology. But I got to tell you, it's terrifying. We already have so much trouble defining the truth and avoiding disinformation. This is pandora's box. Once it's out there, what are you going to do?

FISHER: Yes. And also, the implications for families, for parents. Can you imagine how kids, teenagers could use this against their mom and dads? I'm scared already.

All right, so coming up, it is the day college basketball fans have been waiting for. Time to find out which 68 teams will make it into your March Madness brackets. But some can rest easy knowing that they've already punched a ticket to the big dance.



FISHER: All right, it is almost time for March Madness. 136 teams from all over the country waiting to hear their names called tonight.

SANCHEZ: Let's bring in CNN's Coy Wire joining us live. Coy, it is Selection Sunday.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Yes. Thursday, men's tournament. Friday, women's tournament. That's when you have to have your brackets ready. So, get to studying, Kristin and Boris. Good morning to you. Many sports fans say this is the most wonderful time of the year. There are five remaining automatic bids on the line for the women today, five for the men.

But first, a huge Saturday. 24 tickets punched to the big dance highlighted by Duke duking it out with Virginia in the ACC tournament and the Blue Devils' seven-foot freshman. 19-year-old Kyle Filipowski gets the steal and the slam. Dukes win by ten with Duke alum Jon Scheyer becoming the first person to ever win the ACC men's tournament as a player and a coach. This is his first year replacing legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Now, every year, a Cinderella makes it to the big dance when no one gave them a chance. This year Kennesaw State is one of them. We caught up with coach Amir Abdur-Rahim who won just one game three years ago in his first year there, but he has inspired the Owls to 26 wins this season, a conference title, and a first-ever trip to the tournament.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That will do it! Kennesaw State floods the floor!

WIRE: Where were you when the magic moment happened?

AMIR ABDUR-RAHIM, COACH, KENNESAW STATE: When the ball got tipped, that was about it. The X right here shaking Coach McKay's hand, you know, trying to be -- trying to be professional, right?

WIRE: You remember it.

ABDUR-RAHIM: Yes, trying to hide the excitement, you know. But, man, what a -- what a day. What a time for our university. It was awesome.

WIRE: I want to play something for you and then hear your reaction to it.

ABDUR-RAHIM: I can remember four years ago we would run out and it literally was 150 people there. Man, most of them was family and friends, right? It was incredible.

WIRE: How did dad help you? What do you want him to know about what he means to you?

ABDUR-RAHIM: I just want him to know he raised a man. And when I say he raised a man, you know, someone that has character, someone that has integrity, somebody that cares about his community.


WIRE: Dad, William was always out in the community. Mom, Debra, always leading. Coach is one of 13 siblings. He knows how to rally some troops. And that's the type of story, why everybody gets excited about this time of year, March Madness. Anyone has a chance, even the underdogs. Like us trying to fill out our brackets, right, Boris and Kristin? Who knows? We may get lucky this year.

SANCHEZ: The bracket is not going to make it past day one. I knew as soon as you asked the question Coy -- and I heard the start of his response, I was like, you got him. He's getting emotional. He's getting emotional. Excellent work as always.

WIRE: Yes.

SANCHEZ: Coy Wire, thank you so much, man.

WIRE: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Hey, stay with CNN THIS MORNING. We'll be right back.