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Jailed Kremlin Critic Alexei Navalny Says He Faces New Terrorism Charges; ISIS-K Leader Behind 2021 Kabul Airport Bombing Killed By Taliban; Actor, Singer, Activist Harry Belafonte Dead At 96. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired April 27, 2023 - 08:00   ET



KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Millions of times now on Twitter as we are learning new details about why FOX got rid of its highest rated star. "The New York Times" now reporting that the breaking point came on the eve of that Dominion defamation trial when FOX executives found out the highly offensive things he had said in text messages. We don't know what it was. It's redacted. I should note that Carlson did not mention any of that or FOX by name in the video.


TUCKER CARLSON, FORMER FOX HOST, TUCKER CARLSON TONIGHT: When honest people say what's true calmly and without embarrassment, they become powerful. At the same time, the liars who have been trying to silence them shrink and they become weaker. That's the iron law of the universe. True things prevail.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: "The New York Times" reports Carlson's redacted text messages were even worse than ones which were revealed in those court filings, and there was one message that was particularly offensive which added to the concern at the top of the company. That's from "The Times" reporting this morning. We don't know what the message was, but just yesterday "The Wall Street Journal" reported that Carlson had called a senior FOX News executive the C word. It's the same word obscene word that he used to describe Sidney Powell, the Trump connected attorney and election conspiracy theorist who was a regular guest on FOX News.

COLLINS: Here is how one of Carlson's former producers, who, we should note, is now suing FOX News, described the culture of that show behind the scenes.


ABBY GROSSBERG, FORMER FOX NEWS PRODUCER: Woman were objectified. It was a game. It was a sport. Female politicians who came on the show were mocked. There were debates about who they'd rather sleep with. C word all the time.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COLLINS: Joining us now, CNN senior media reporter Oliver Darcy. Oliver, obviously, the reason this reporting is so interesting is because people raise the question of how they could just get rid of their most popular host in primetime so abruptly.

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: And we still really don't entirely know. Now we are hearing about these text messages that might be redacted in these Dominion Voting Systems legal filings. And I think the bottom line is it's something related to this Dominion lawsuit. Something emerged from these documents that resulted in Carlson ultimately losing his show. It could be, I still think, a variety of things. It could be a combination of factors. But it does stem from this lawsuit. So at the end of the day, Dominion's lawsuit against FOX News resulted in the ouster of their popular 8:00 p.m. host.

HARLOW: And the ratings have really, really suffered in that slot with their competitor gaining in that slot.

DARCY: The ratings are at historic lows right now in the 8:00 p.m. hour. It's only been a couple of nights that we have we have the ratings data. But on Tuesday night, which is the latest night we have data ratings for, FOX News delivered in the advertiser 25 to 54 demo, that's the important demographic, they delivered the worst ratings since the pre-9/11 era, before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, in that demo. So it's a really stunning decline for FOX News in the ratings.

And I should note what's the most interesting is their competitor, Newsmax, they are gaining in the 8:00 p.m. hour. They are posting numbers four to five times higher than they were before Tucker Carlson was fired. And these are the exact same -- this is the exact same trend that set off alarm bells before -- or after the 2020 election, which resulted ultimately in this Dominion lawsuit.

COLLINS: Right, and that was something they were concerned about. I'm struck by this reporting from Sarah Ellison and Jeremy Barr in "The Washington Post." They say two weeks ago Tucker had dinner with Rupert Murdoch in L.A., and now he was fired on Monday. They say that the 92- year-old billionaire had grown increasingly weary of some of his far right commentary on his show as well as his behind-the-scenes attitude and was disturbed by his stance on Ukraine.

DARCY: It's hard to make sense of all of this, because the Murdochs stood by Carlson as he promoted all sorts of deranged conspiracy theories and white nationalist rhetoric on the air for years. And they were called out by groups like the Anti-Defamation League. They were fact checked. And they stood by Carlson. They said that he was the 8:00 p.m. host and they stood by him.

So now that there is some reporting that maybe Rupert Murdoch was concerned about Ukraine rhetoric from Carlson, I'm perhaps he was, but it's still to me doesn't add up. Why do you ouster the 8:00 p.m. host who you have stood by through all these controversies because of recent Ukraine rhetoric? It just doesn't add up.

And also the idea that they don't know he was sort of crude behind the scenes is a bit silly. I think anyone who has spoken to Tucker Carlson privately would know the language he uses. And so I just think at the end of the day this doesn't entirely add up, but perhaps it has to do something with his entire demeanor, that he thought he was bigger than the network, and that's really a cardinal sin in Rupert Murdoch's empire.

COLLINS: I think a lot of people thought that, including Republican lawmakers. Oliver Darcy, if you see these text messages, let us know.

HARLOW: Thanks, Oliver.

Just hours from now the Air National Guardsman accused of leaking classified military documents will appear in court in Massachusetts.


Prosecutors there are asking the judge to keep 21-year-old Jack Teixeira behind bars as he awaits his trial. The court filing released overnight shows that Teixeira took far from material from the U.S. government than previously reported, made violent threats, and showed a willingness to destroy evidence. Jason Carroll joins us live outside the courthouse. This is his second appearance, and boy, did we learn a lot from the prosecutors.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Oh, yes, a lot of new information. And new allegations, including that Teixeira viewed hundreds of classified documents, something that was not reported before. Prosecutors are now worried that if he were to get out that he might still have access to some of those classified documents, which is why they say he needs to remain behind bars.


CARROLL: Court documents filed by the U.S. attorney's office argue the alleged leaker of classified documents, Jack Teixeira, should not be released on bail while he awaits trial, claiming he poses a serious flight risk, writing "He could take refuge with a foreign adversary to avoid the reach of U.S. law."

Prosecutors claim that the information Teixeira allegedly accessed far exceeds what has been disclosed on the Internet, and, therefore, he poses an ongoing risk both to the national security of the United States and to the community.

Included in the filing are chilling pictures from the search warrant executed on Teixeira's bedroom showing a gun locker next to his bed containing multiple weapons, including an AK-style high-capacity weapon, handguns, shotguns, rifles, and a gas mask. Prosecutors say law enforcement also found a smashed tablet, laptop, and a gaming console in a dumpster at the house.

The alleged leaker has also obstructed justice, according to prosecutors, by telling those he was communicating with online to delete all messages and, if anyone comes looking, don't tell them -- expletive. Also alleging he, quote, deleted the social media server where he posted government information and procured a new phone number and email address. Prosecutors say his history surrounding guns raises questions as to why he was a candidate for the Air National Guard. The court document states in 2018 Teixeira was suspended while still in high school after a classmate allegedly overheard him make remarks about guns and make racial threats. That same year, prosecutors say, he applied for a firearms I.D. card but was denied due to the concerns of the local police department over the defendant's remarks at his high school.

Court documents mention his social media posts reviewed by the FBI. One post from last November reads, "I hope ISIS goes through with their attack plan and creates a massacre at the World Cup," further writing, "If I had my way, I'd kill a ton of people. Seriously, I would be forcibly culling the weak-minded." Prosecutors say the defense is indicating they may ask the judge to release Teixeira to his father's home, warning the defendant has been proven to be nothing short of deceptive and coercive, exposing others to peril in pursuit of his own freedom.


CARROLL (on camera): And Poppy, as we were looking through the court filing from late last night, this is something else that we found. Another disturbing allegation. Apparently, back in February when Teixeira was speaking with a Discord user he talked about converting a minivan into what he called an assassination van where he talked about wanting to carry out a mass shooting in an urban area or in a suburb. These are just some of the things that will be taken under conversation when this detention hearing gets underway at 1:00. Poppy?

HARLOW: Incredibly disturbing. Jason Carroll, thank you very much.

COLLINS: Meanwhile, in Washington House Republicans are taking a victory lap as they got -- and passed Kevin McCarthy's debt limit increase by the narrowest possible margin.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeas are 217, the nays 215. The bill is passed.



CARROLL: All House Democrats and four Republican holdouts voted against the bill, which is almost certainly going to be rejected by the Democrat-led Senate. Schumer has said as much. McCarthy conveyed that the ball he believes is now in President Biden and the Democrats' court.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY, (R-CA) HOUSE SPEAKER: We just passed a bill. It's not our job to modify it. We are the only ones to lift the debt limit to make sure this economy is not in jeopardy.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COLLINS: Included in this bill that was passed yesterday, blocking student loan forgiveness, rescinding new funding for the IRS, work requirements for safety net programs like Medicare -- or Medicaid, I should note, repealing green energy tax credits, and rescinding unspent COVID-19 money. The government could default on its debt if a bipartisan deal is not reached as soon as early June.


The president wants the debt ceiling discussion to be separate from spending talks. He said this about a potential meeting with McCarthy.


JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm happy to meet with McCarthy but not on whether or not the debt limit gets extended. That's not negotiable.


COLLINS: Joining us now is House Majority Whip Tom Emmer of Minnesota. Good morning, Congressman, thank you for being here. Republicans cheering last night as this passed by a very slim margin, but I think the question everyone at home has is, what happens now?

REP. TOM EMMER (R-MN): Well, thanks for having me. First off. Remember, Republicans have a very slim majority in the House. Everybody matters. And it passed the house yesterday with overwhelming support. We had four members who wanted more, had other things that they were interested in, but they are not against the policy. Look, Republicans have provided a solution to the debt ceiling. It's over in the Senate. And if the president is being sincere, which he said he was going to veto things so far in the first three months that he reversed himself on, maybe he will do that on this one. But bottom line is, if he is sincere, then Chuck Schumer and the Democrats leading the Senate have a solution to the debt ceiling problem with some historic spending reforms, almost $4.8 trillion in savings over the next 10 years. And I suggest they take it up and pass it.

COLLINS: Well, it doesn't seem like they will. Schumer has said it's dead on arrival. So is the question, is the nation closer to a default this morning?

EMMER: Well, it shouldn't be. Actually, the solution has been provided. Kevin McCarthy and House Republicans have once again led. The president, Chuck Schumer, all they have been doing is spouting rhetoric for three months. They want to play with American families' financial security and with the future, the financial future of this country. That's unacceptable.

So I commend Kevin McCarthy, our speaker. I commend all our members, because this bill was built from the bottom up. This was a collective process. We would have loved to have had the White House, the Senate, Democrats participating, but they have chosen to play with our financial future for political reasons rather than get to the table and work it out. So guess what. The solution is over in the Senate. If you don't want

to negotiate or you don't like it, then come to the table. If you are not going to come to the table, pass it.

COLLINS: Congressman, I'm sure you also would have loved to have those four Republican holdouts vote for this, but you saw they did not. We saw them vote against it yesterday with the Democrats. You have a difficult job, which is navigating the Republicans. You are the whip for the Republicans in the House. You have to make sure all the votes are there. Was there ever a moment you thought this may not get passed?

EMMER: No. As I said for the last couple of weeks, we are going pass this bill. No question. And again, you have got all kinds of perspectives, all kinds of personalities. I think it's a testament to Speaker McCarthy's leadership and our membership that they recognize what the challenges are for this country and for American families. And without any participation from the White House or the Senate, they had to take action. And yesterday they did. Historic, historic bill that, quite frankly, they should take a serious look at in the Senate, and I would suggest if you don't want to talk about it any further, then pass the bill and protect Americans' futures.

COLLINS: Regardless, something does have to happen here. And if McCarthy does negotiate a deal with Senator Schumer, with President Biden, are you confident that you can whip the votes to get that passed?

EMMER: Well, you've got to see, first off, the solution is there. It's already over in the Senate. They can take that up and pass it if they don't want to talk about it further. If they have problems with it, I expect somebody will call Speaker McCarthy and they'll sit down with him and they'll have a discussion. And if there are any additions, any subtractions, if they want to go forward with something else at some point, we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

COLLINS: But can McCarthy get the same support if the cuts that you just passed aren't in whatever is the agreement?

EMMER: Well, what if there are more? And you keep calling them cuts.

COLLINS: But there's not going to be more.

EMMER: Look, we did this, $4.8 trillion in savings, and we not only protected things like Social Security and Medicare, we actually protected them and improved them. By bringing people back into the workforce, you are actually going to provide these programs that people rely on with the resources to continue going forward. The only party that is showing leadership on this right now, quite frankly, is the Republican Party. And, hopefully, hopefully, if there are differences, different points of view, we start to get that from our colleagues in the Senate and the White House.

COLLINS: I understand that's your point about the work requirements when it comes to Medicaid that was passed. That was the part of the changes that actually Republicans made after McCarthy said he wasn't going to change it. But they idea that there would be more cuts, the White House has said that's not going to happen. Senator Schumer has said that's not going to happen. You do have to come to some kind of agreement with them, right?


EMMER: Actually, your statement about this was part of what was negotiated after it's not correct. The work requirements --

COLLINS: There were changes made.

EMMER: The work requirements protect -- there was --

COLLINS: We saw you got the rules committee was still in session until five o'clock yesterday morning.

EMMER: There were two technical changes that were made. Essentially, what you've got that came to the floor yesterday was the original bill. The work requirements, quite frankly, are Clinton era work requirements that Joe Biden himself voted for. And you know what, this is not a Republican or Democrat thing. All this year is encouraging able bodied working age adults without dependents to get back into the workforce. And if you travel to this country, you know, we have a crisis when it comes to finding workers on Main Street all across this country. It will protect people who need the benefits, while at the same time providing an incentive for people to get back into workforce.

COLLINS: I understand that your position, I do want to ask you before you go about something you tweeted, you said, "Don't let Democrats fool you, there is no such thing as a clean debt limit increase." But repeatedly, when I covered President Trump when he was in office, we saw Republicans vote to raise it without any conditions.

EMMER: I there, quite frankly, there is no such thing as a clean debt increase, especially with this administration and this Senate. To give Chuck Schumer and Joe Biden a blank check, to do whatever they want more unrestricted, unnecessary spending, that is driving double digit inflation we hadn't seen in 40 years, that is creating, I mean, spiking cost at the grocery store at the gas pump. That would be the biggest mistake and people have to remember. The most important fiscal reforms that we've had in the last 30 years have come with these debt ceiling discussions. So, again, yesterday, Republicans and Kevin McCarthy lead in the house, the solution is there. If you don't have ideas, pass it. Protect the American people in this country's financial future. If you don't like something in it, please call our speaker, sit down with them and start talking about it.

COLLINS: So, when you say there's no such thing as a clean debt ceiling increase, you're saying it's not a practical outcome here, but not that it doesn't exist, because Republicans did repeatedly do that under Trump, you were there.

EMMER: Absolutely, the --

COLLINS: OK. EMMER: When it comes to the debt increase -- when it comes to the debt increase, we have always had spending reforms with a big debt increase. So, the idea that you're saying that there was some difference under the last administration, Nancy Pelosi, you might remember in 2019, said there will be no debt ceiling increase without strings attached. So, let's not try to rewrite history. This is always the way it's done, and, in this case, we got a White House and the Senate, they haven't put forth any ideas, they haven't put forth any solutions. So, guess what, Kevin McCarthy and House Republicans did that yesterday. If you don't have any solutions, let's all protect America's future and keep the Americans we represent in mind pass the bill. If you don't like something in it, call our speaker. Come on over, have a discussion with them. And let's see what we can do.

COLLINS: Yes, I'm not saying it doesn't, it hasn't happened before. I'm saying that Republicans have passed it before in this situation. Of course, a lot of questions about where this goes from here. And if President Biden does call Speaker McCarthy or vice versa, we'll see what happens. Tom Emmer, thank you so much for the whip. I appreciate you being here this morning.

EMMER: Thanks for having me.

HARLOW: E. Jean Carroll, the former magazine columnist suing former President Trump for battery and defamation, we'll return to the stand today. What you should expect inside that courtroom. That's next.



HARLOW: In just a short time from now, the woman accusing former President Donald Trump of rape is expected to take the stand again here in New York. Columnist E. Jean Carroll is set to face more questions from her own lawyer. And then, the former President's lawyer will cross examine her. Yesterday Carroll testified that in the mid- 1990s. Trump raped her in Bergdorf Goodman dressing room. He has previously denied that accusation. He's called that hoax.

But on the stand, Carroll said, quote, "I'm here because Donald Trump raped me and when I wrote about it, he said it didn't happen, he lied. He shattered my reputation, and I'm here to try to get my life back." Our Senior Legal Affairs correspondent Paula Reid is back with us. In terms of what we can expect today, right? Because they have to think hard about how they're going to cross examine her. Especially in a case like this.

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, any defense attorney will tell you that cross examining someone who alleges they have been sexually assaulted is a delicate task. And I would argue that this is probably the most important day of this entire trial, unless the former President decides to testify, of course, because yesterday was very powerful. We heard E. Jean Carroll speaking at times through tears recounting her story. But we had heard many of those details before. Now, though, her story is going to have to stand up to cross examination and we know how they're going to try to undermine her story. First, they argue that she made it up and that she did so for political purposes. There's also this larger question of well, why now? So, it's interesting yesterday, we saw her attorneys try to get ahead of some of these questions, or lay the foundation, for example, why now? Why did it take you so long? Well, she says that she was frightened, she was fearful of retaliation, and she was ashamed.

She also insisted she's not doing this to settle political scores. She says that when she came out, with these accusations, he attacked her reputation and as a journalist, that's all she has. But it is going to be fascinating to see how they do this. And, of course, we expect that this cross examination will be done by the former President's lawyer Joe Tacopina. Now, I think even he would admit he is big, he is loud, he is brash, he's sort of a central casting for a very aggressive New York defense attorney. This is going to be a real challenge for him. It'll be interesting to see how he approaches this.


HARLOW: Paula Reid, thank you.

COLLINS: Also, the FDA say they are trying to speed up development for gene therapy. Researchers say the technique can help or even treat, help treat or even prevent disease. It could be a game changer for children and adults who suffer from rare Diseases. CNN's Elizabeth Cohen spoke to a little girl who's been waiting a long time for this therapy.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: What are you going to be this year for Halloween?


COHEN (voiceover): You don't know?

SEERSHA SULACK: I'll be a cheer leader.

COHEN (voiceover): You're going to be a cheerleader this year? Five- year-old Seersha Sulack loves costumes, but she doesn't go trick or treating like other children do. Any germ even a common cold could kill her because she was born with severe combined immunodeficiency or bubble boy disease. made famous by the 1976 John Travolta movie, The Boy in The Plastic Bubble. Seesha was born in Hawaii where her father was stationed as an Army helicopter pilot. When she was 6 days old, she was airlifted to UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital, where she spent nearly two months.


SHAYLA SULACK, SEERSHA'S MOTHER: For the first year of her life. She never left her bedroom.

COHEN (voiceover): Her first Christmas gifts, wiped clean and brought to her room, later medications helped.

SHAYLA SULACK: She's getting six to seven shots a month or needles on her legs.

COHEN (voiceover): And she could go outside but still not near anyone except her immediate family. Then Dr. Donald Kohn, who runs this lab at UCLA had some good news for the family. He said it looked like in the not-too-distant future, Seersha we be able to get a treatment called gene therapy. He's worked on it for nearly 40 years.

DR. DONALD KOHN, UCLA GENE THERAPY RESEARCHER: We can really fix the gene or replace the gene that's missing. It's really exciting.

COHEN (voiceover): At 2021 study showed, the therapy had stunning near perfect results.

KOHN: All the children we treated in the past are doing well. We barely hear from them anymore.

COHEN (voiceover): But then the company that owned the gene therapy decided not to pursue FDA approval. Instead, they invested money in treatments for more common diseases. That left Seersha and more than two dozen other families waiting to get the treatment.

SHAYLA SULACK: The longer that we waited, the higher chance of infection or her medication not working, or something happening outside of our control to make her severely sick.

COHEN (voiceover): Promising gene therapies for rare diseases have sometimes had trouble getting to market because the potential profits might be small.

KOHN: It's been very frustrating.

COHEN (voiceover): Thursday, the FDA is holding a meeting on gene therapy, one of a series of public meetings intended to help the development of these innovative treatments. Last week, the agency's leader testified to a Senate committee.

DR. ROBERT CALIFF, FDA COMMISSIONER: We agree that this is an area we've got to move along more quickly.

COHEN (voiceover): As for Seersha.

SEERSHA SULACK: Santa got it for me.

COHEN (voiceover): Santa got it for you. Next month, she'll bring her unicorn suitcase to the hospital to get the gene therapy. She had a preparatory visit earlier this month. Her family, looking forward to the day that she's like other five-year-olds.

SHAYLA SULACK: She's excited to go to school and she wants to go to a Dodger game and she's inviting everybody to Disney World for her.

COHEN (voiceover): After years of waiting, Seersha and her family thrilled for the day she can finally get out into the world. (END VIDEOTAPE)

COHEN (on camera): Now, Seersha's mom tells me that Seersha is aware that she's got a long hospital stay coming up filled with pokes and shots. But Seersha says she's ready because she knows that that's what's going to get her to Disney World to the Dodgers game and to kindergarten.

COLLINS: Yes, anything to get to Disneyworld, Elizabeth Cohen, thank you so much. Also, this morning Montana House Republicans have ban. Transgender lawmakers always defer from the House chamber for the remainder of their entire legislative session. The state representative is going to join us here live next with her perspective.