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Lawmakers Grill TikTok CEO Over China And Privacy Concerns; Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) On Drone Killing U.S. Contractor And Wounding Five Service Members In Syria; "Eva Longoria: Searching for Mexico" Premieres Sunday At 10 PM ET. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired March 24, 2023 - 07:30   ET



POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: For the American people and national security yesterday?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, ANCHOR, "INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY": I don't know that they got answers. I don't know that they got close to solutions. But that was a really key moment because I think it highlights the core of the problem.

Moving forward, TikTok is saying they're going to fix this by housing the data here in the United States, but they can't really say that in the past or even right now that data is not vulnerable. So I think that is at the heart of the issue here and it's why that hearing got so contentious.

But when I talked to -- I mean, we had some TikTok influencers on last night but we also had a lot of experts on who say that this is not just TikTok's problem.

HARLOW: That's right.

PHILLIP: It's a bigger problem than that and Congress really did nothing to explore that.

HARLOW: They're the poster child for it now.


HARLOW: But what is Congress going to do?

PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, they're going to deal with TikTok but they're not going to deal with the rest of the industry where this is an issue.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. But the bottom line is we spoke with one senator yesterday who said it -- the difference here between TikTok and others, as you know --


HARLOW: Yes, is China. LEMON: -- is that it is the Chinese communist government. The possibility of them having access to --

PHILLIP: Absolutely, but we should be clear China is a state actor. If they want access to data that belongs to TikTok or to Facebook --


HARLOW: Any coming that operates in China.

PHILLIP: -- or to any company, there are ways that they can get it. So I'm not downplaying that risk but there is risk all around here --


PHILLIP: -- all around.

HARLOW: Abby, thank you very much.

LEMON: Thank you, Abby. Good to see you.

HARLOW: Good to see you.

PHILLIP: Good to see you guys.

HARLOW: Have a good weekend.

Starting this Sunday, by the way -- we were just chatting about this -- Abby gets to sleep a little bit longer. "INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY" moves to 11:00 a.m. eastern time. We always watched it at 8:00 a.m. and now it's going to be 11:00 a.m. eastern time, three hours later. Same network --

LEMON: We'll watch it regardless.

HARLOW: -- same great anchor.

LEMON: Whatever time it's on we're going to watch Abby.

HARLOW: Thanks, Abby.

LEMON: So, straight ahead, new video of the drone strike in Syria that killed a U.S. contractor and left five service members hurt. What we're learning this morning about the U.S. response.



LEMON: So, brand-new video just into CNN. Take a look at your screen right there. It appears to show the aftermath of a U.S. airstrike in eastern Syria against facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran. Now, the strike comes after an Iranian-made drone attacked a coalition base in northeast Syria killing one U.S. contractor and injuring five U.S. service members and another American. In response, the U.S. carried out this precision airstrike in eastern Syria. That is according to the Pentagon.

So joining us right now Democratic Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill. She's on the Armed Services Committee and is a former Navy helicopter pilot, and we're so happy to have her this morning. Good morning to you. Thank you very much.

First of all, what is your reaction to these airstrikes?

REP. MIKIE SHERRILL (D-NJ): Well, I sit on, as you said, the House Armed Services Committee and we just heard testimony yesterday from CENTCOM about the Iranian threat. So to see these drone strikes was really concerning given what we've seen Iran doing with their drones across the world, not just in Syria but certainly supplying Russia in the Ukraine war.

And so, I think what we saw with the response by the United States as promised from the president and the secretary of Defense -- it was measured. It was not meant to be escalatory. But certainly, you cannot attack U.S. service members and have -- and U.S. contractors and have that go unmet with equal force.

LEMON: Thank you for responding to that, Congresswoman.

HARLOW: Yes, and if we could also talk to you about your significant hearing last night on the Chinese continued treatment of the Uyghur Muslim minority population in Xinjiang province that the U.N. has now called crime -- a crime against humanity. Both the Trump and Biden administrations deem it genocide though China denies this treatment of more than a million of these ethnic minorities.

It became -- it came -- obviously, you had a hearing focusing on it. It also came up yesterday, significantly, in the TikTok CEO hearing given that they are owned by Chinese company ByteDance.

I want your response to this exchange -- listen.


REP. DEBBIE LESKO (R-AZ): Do you agree that the Chinese government has persecuted the Uyghur population?

SHOU ZI CHEW, CEO, TIKTOK: Congresswoman, you -- if you use our app and you open it you will find our users who get all sorts of content on this app.

LESKO: That's not my question. My question is do you agree that the Chinese government has persecuted the Uyghur population?

CHEW: Well, it's definitely concerning to hear about all accounts of human rights abuse.

LESKO: It's a pretty easy question. Do you agree that the Chinese government has persecuted the Uyghur population?

CHEW: Congresswoman, I'm here to describe TikTok and what we do as a platform. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: Three opportunities to answer that and he didn't. What's your response?

SHERRILL: You know, this is something that we heard about last night from the Uyghurs that we had in our hearing. We heard horrific stories from victims of the Chinese genocide -- from women who -- you know, you could hear the Chinese had used the particular vulnerabilities of women against them -- rape, forced abortions, forced sterilization in the camps. Shots that were said to be vitamin shots but stopped women's periods. It was really horrific to hear one woman describe a young person bleeding out from the Chinese abuse. So it was really horrific.

And then we heard testimony that a lot of the surveillance architecture that the Chinese have used to commit this genocide was provided by platforms like the Chinese TikTok. And many of the Uyghurs inside the camps or arrested and don't even understand why they were arrested. And it was often because of the tracking data used on their travels or how they were speaking to and where they went.

So to hear then the CEO say he was there to talk about the TikTok platform and what they do -- well, I certainly think a larger discussion of what they do would include helping to perpetuate the genocide --



SHERRILL: -- going on against the Uyghur people in China.

HARLOW: Just to be clear, TikTok doesn't operate in China. They're a sort of Chinese counterpart, which is a separate company. But I know you understand that -- just for our viewers to understand.

SHERRILL: The -- right. The -- yes. The separate -- and that is the testimony we heard with this --


SHERRILL: -- separate Chinese TikTok company. But the concern then tied back here is the surveillance architecture that TikTok has and the ability for the Chinese government to utilize the data that the American TikTok company has to surveil Americans here at home. And that is what's so dangerous as we're understanding more and more about how they've utilized that within China and now seeing that they have those capabilities here.

And I think what we heard last -- yesterday from the CEO of TikTok was in no way reassuring.


Well, we'll continue to follow and we appreciate you joining us this morning. Thank you, Congresswoman Sherrill.

SHERRILL: Thank you. I appreciate it.

LEMON: Thank you.

And in our next half hour we're going to speak to the White House's John Kirby about the drone strike in Syria and much more.

HARLOW: Also, Eva Longoria is here showing us Mexico like we have not seen it before. We sat down with her ahead of her new CNN Original Series premiere. What she is saying about her work outside T.V. and ha -- would she ever run for office?

LEMON: Interesting.


HARLOW: You advised President Obama --


HARLOW: -- on immigration issues.

LONGORIA: Yes. I don't know -- I'm not that -- I'm not an adviser so much as I was --

HARLOW: Well, he asked you questions.

LONGORIA: -- I was bothering him. I was bothering him.

HARLOW: Well, he listened.





HARLOW: Actress, producer, director, and activist Eva Longoria is proud of her Mexican roots and deeply connected to the country that she calls her second home. Well now, in a new CNN Original Series "SEARCHING FOR MEXICO" Longoria is following in the footsteps of "STANLEY TUCCI: SEARCHING FOR ITALY" and she takes us across some of Mexico's 32 states to see how its people, its culture, its landscape, and history have shaped its diverse cuisine. Watch this.

LONGORIA (on camera): Ola.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ola. (Speaking foreign language).

LONGORIA (on camera): Gracias.

This is El Moro. It's an institution in Mexico City. It's -- you have to come here when you're in Mexico City.

LONGORIA (voice-over): Churros and chocolate are a dream come true for my 4-year-old son Santi.


LONGORIA (on camera): This one. Stop! Stop! Stop! Slow. This is the chilango in the family.

LONGORIA (voice-over): When it comes to food, we all have our guilty pleasures. For my son, it's chocolate and churros.

HARLOW: For every son it is chocolate -- chocolate -- made better --

LONGORIA: Chocolate.

HARLOW: -- by churros.


HARLOW: Eva Longoria, the host of "SEARCHING FOR MEXICO." Thank you for being here and congratulations.

LONGORIA: Thanks for having me. Thank you. It's a beautiful show.

Yes, that particular clip was like Santi on a sugar high for about three hours.

HARLOW: I bet. I bet.


HARLOW: So look, you can do anything. You've shown us that. You really wanted to do this.


HARLOW: You call this the adventure of a lifetime.


HARLOW: Why did you want to take on this project because you pitched it to CNN?

LONGORIA: Well, yes. Well, they -- Stanley and Amy came to me and they were like we want to do a spinoff of --

HARLOW: Amy Entelis.



LONGORIA: -- of "SEARCHING FOR ITALY." And we want to do another country. And I was like you have to do Mexico. I was like Mexico is like a jewel of gastronomy. I mean, it really is -- HARLOW: Yes.

LONGORIA: -- so beautiful in its food culture and food is so rooted in everything in the country.

And so I pitched her on Mexico. Not so much me -- I was like you should do Mexico. Somebody should do it. But Mexico is like the place you should do next. And then they said yes, and I was like oh gosh, now I have to do it. But it was so fun, and I did it.

HARLOW: And you did it for four months --

LONGORIA: Four months.

HARLOW: -- straight.


HARLOW: You brought your 4-year-old --


HARLOW: -- which we got to see him eat.

LONGORIA: Yes. And my husband -- we live in Mexico City --


LONGORIA: -- and my husband is from Mexico City. And he went with me kind of on the six different states and even he was like where am I? Like, what is this? Like, he was introduced to a whole new Mexico.

HARLOW: Because you discovered a lot.


HARLOW: Searching is truly what you did. You --


HARLOW: -- discovered a lot. Even though you call it your second home --


HARLOW: -- there were so many things about it that you --


HARLOW: -- didn't know.

LONGORIA: No. And, you know, I think the identity of Mexican cuisine is like tacos, tequila, tacos, tequila --


LONGORIA: -- which they do very well and I'm all for it, but there's so much more and the country is so diverse.

HARLOW: What I was struck by in this is also the pride that you showed on full display in each of the states you went to.


HARLOW: It was important for you to highlight.

LONGORIA: One thousand percent.


LONGORIA: I don't think there was a day I didn't cry from somebody's storytelling. And the way they tell stories through their food is amazing and if you're talking about food that's the easiest entry point to any culture.

HARLOW: You call yourself a Texican -- born in Texas with Mexican roots -- but you've also talked about what's been a significant part of your life and also really difficult at times straddling the hyphen.

LONGORIA: Yes, because when I'm in here in the United States I'm -- they're like oh, you're Mexican. And then I'm in Mexico and they're like oh, you're the American. And I'm like well, I'm one of you, too -- especially being married to a Mexican national. It's really -- my household is very fun. Like, we argue about flour tortillas versus corn tortillas.

HARLOW: I'm flour all the way. What are you?

LONGORIA: Flour all the way.

HARLOW: All the way.

LONGORIA: But that's because we're Americans. That is truly not a true Mexican. We have this fight all the time.

And -- but it's really -- I love my heritage and my culture, and my roots --



LONGORIA: -- and this show really gave me a deeper appreciation for that side of my family. And I think it's going to give people a deep appreciation for the country.

HARLOW: So I want to talk even outside of the series about your evolution and your purpose because I think I came to know you from "DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES."


HARLOW: Just incredible. I didn't miss an episode, right? And you became this famous actress. At the same time on that journey, you became and continue to be a loud

voice for rights -- for what you believe in --


HARLOW: -- and also standing up for the voiceless many times.


HARLOW: Your sister Elizabeth, who was born with special needs --


HARLOW: -- has been a big inspiration to you.


HARLOW: How do you think about purpose at this stage in your life?

LONGORIA: Well, you know, I was lucky to grow up in a family that exposed me to volunteerism very early. My earliest memories are of Special Olympics. I remember my mom made us go and be huggers at the Special Olympics. She made us volunteer at the Salvation Army, at the Boys and Girls Club. Every Thanksgiving we had to go to the soup kitchen first before we had our Thanksgiving.

HARLOW: Good mom.

LONGORIA: She's great. I mean, an amazing mom.

So she didn't teach me how to be philanthropic or an advocate, she showed me. It was just part of who we were.

HARLOW: Expected.

LONGORIA: It was absolutely expected.

So before I was famous this was my work.


LONGORIA: This was my life's mission. And because I have a special needs sister, like our whole family was so selfless and everything revolved around her needs. What she needed. What was going to improve her quality of life. And that's a gift.

HARLOW: I love that you -- despite all the fame you then went back to school.


HARLOW: You went to get your masters in Chicano studies.


HARLOW: And you had a deep desire to know more about issues you were speaking out on.


HARLOW: You advised President Obama on immigration issues.

LONGORIA: Yes. I don't know. I'm not that -- I'm not an adviser so much as I was bothering --

HARLOW: But he asked you questions.

LONGORIA: -- I was bothering him. I was bothering him.

HARLOW: Well, he listened. From all my research, he listened to you.

LONGORIA: What is happening with this thing?


LONGORIA: But I did go back because I am an activist and I -- and I wanted to have a deeper knowledge. I'm extremely curious about many issues and how policies affect people. And so I wanted to make the connection or connect the dots of, like -- but why -- I kept asking but why? But why is this like that? Why are these rights dismantled since the Civil Rights Movement? Why do we have to keep fighting for this or that?

HARLOW: One of your main causes has been on immigration and immigration reform in this country and so many failed attempts at it. You've called it mindboggling. That's the word you used.

LONGORIA: Oh, did I? I'm sure. I've called it worse --


LONGORIA: -- things because it's not -- it's a complicated issue and I get it. And there's many tenets of it. You know, we have -- we have many industries dependent upon migrant labor so we can't welcome that labor force but not treat them with humanity.

HARLOW: Do you ever think about running for office --


HARLOW: -- to actually do something about these?

LONGORIA: No. No, and I think the most powerful part of democracy is the citizen. I think the misconception is you have to be a politician to be political.

HARLOW: So let's end where we began on the show.


HARLOW: Tell us where you will take us this season. LONGORIA: Oh, we're going to six states. It's such a beautiful journey. Everybody's going to want to go to Mexico after watching this show, as you should, and visit all these places they went to.

But we go to Mexico City, which is really a microcosm of the rest of the country because everything is represented in Mexico City. We go to the Yucatan, Jalisco, Monterrey, Vera Cruz, and Oaxaca. And it was -- it was really a journey of a lifetime for me.

HARLOW: A phenomenal series, I can attest to that. Congratulations.

LONGORIA: Thank you.

HARLOW: We're glad you're here.

LONGORIA: Thank you.

HARLOW: Thanks, Eva.


HARLOW: You were just saying --

LEMON: I've been to the Hakiev (PH).

HARLOW: Gorgeous.

LEMON: This -- yes.

OK, I have a -- I take an issue with you, Poppy.


LEMON: I'm team corn tortilla.

HARLOW: Oh, ew. Dry, not -- but Eva said that's the real deal.


HARLOW: It's just because we're -- I'm American that I like flour tortillas. It's much better.

LEMON: She is a force.

HARLOW: She's a force I -- you know when you want people to be great because you love them on T.V. or in their public life --


HARLOW: -- and then they disappoint you?


HARLOW: She's the opposite.

LEMON: Never meet your heroes, they say, because --

HARLOW: But --

LEMON: -- you'll inevitably be disappointed -- but not her.

HARLOW: No. I was amazed by her. And the series -- I watched a few full episodes. It's incredible. So much fun. So heartwarming. I loved her. And I do think she should run for office, just saying.

LEMON: I'm neither a jealous nor an envious person except I love Eva.

HARLOW: Sorry -- next time.

LEMON: I would have loved to have done that interview.

HARLOW: Next time.

The CNN Original Series "EVA LONGORIA: SEARCHING FOR MEXICO" -- it premieres here Sunday, 10 p.m. eastern.

LEMON: Up next, the U.S. launching strikes in Syria after an American contractor was killed in a drone attack there. The White House's John Kirby standing by. He's going to join us and talk to us about America's response. There he is from Canada.



HARLOW: Welcome back.

The U.S. military striking back after a deadly drone attack killed an American contractor and wounded five U.S. troops in Syria. The Pentagon says an Iranian-made drone struck a base in northeastern Syria. An official tells CNN it was a one-way drone -- we've just learned -- that intentionally crashed into its target.

LEMON: And the President of the United States Joe Biden responding with airstrikes against groups affiliated with Iran's Revolutionary Guard in Syria.

This is a video circulating on social media that appears to show the flaming aftermath of the U.S. strikes. The U.S. still has roughly 900 troops on the ground in Syria to help fight what's left of ISIS. Just yesterday, their commander warned Congress that Iran has been using proxy militias to attack American soldiers with drones and rockets.

The White House national security spokesman John Kirby joins us now. He's in Ottawa traveling.