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North Carolina Republicans Override Governor's Abortion Ban Veto; Trump-backed Cameron Defeats DeSantis Ally in Kentucky Governor's Primary; Biden Leaves for Shortened Overseas Trip Amid Debt Drama; Parents Protest as NYC Uses School Gyms as Migrant Shelters. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired May 17, 2023 - 06:00   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: That's the volcano mystery "Katla," set in Iceland.


And No. 3.


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RUFUS SEWELL, ACTOR: Call me Hal. I'm the ambassador's wife.


ROMANS: "The Diplomat," the excellent "Diplomat," starring Keri Russell. That's a really good show.

All right. Thanks for joining me this morning. I'm Christine Romans. CNN THIS MORNING starts right now.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. It is Wednesday, which apparently, you're not a fan of the phrase "hump day."

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm fine with Wednesday.

HARLOW: The crew just said, "Happy hump day."

Happy hump day, everyone.

COLLINS: Thanks for telling everyone what I was saying.

HARLOW: Sorry.

COLLINS: It's before air.

HARLOW: All right. Let's get started with "Five Things go Know" for this Wednesday, May 17.

North Carolina Republicans overriding the governor's veto and banning abortions after 12 weeks. This deciding vote cast by a former Democratic -- a former Democratic state representative, who actually campaigned on abortion rights before switching parties last month.

COLLINS: Also in Washington, the White House and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy are both touting some progress on the debt ceiling talks. McCarthy is warning that all sides are still a long way apart, as President Biden is cutting down a trip abroad.

Also, an Illinois girl missing for six years found in North Carolina, all thanks to the Netflix show, "Unsolved Mysteries." An employee at a store recognized the now 15-year-old and called the police. The gurl is safe this morning, and her mother has been arrested for the alleged kidnapping.

HARLOW: The Secret Service is investigating how an intruder made his way into U.S. national security advisor Jake Sullivan's home, despite it being under 24/7 Secret Service protection. A source tells CNN Sullivan confronted the man and believed he was drunk. No one was harmed, thankfully, in this incident.

COLLINS: Also, a French superstar set to cowboy up. The San Antonio Spurs won the NBA's draft lottery, and the big prize, 7'4" Victor Wembanyama, the man that many believe is going to be the future of basketball.

CNN THIS MORNING starts right now.

COLLINS: Well, developing overnight, the battle over abortion rights is really playing out in both North Carolina and South Carolina. Republicans in North Carolina overriding the governor's veto and forcing through an abortion ban.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Having passed by the requisite three-fifths vote, the House has overridden the governor's veto, and the bill becomes law, notwithstanding the governor's objections. So be notified.



HARLOW: Part of the yelling you're hearing in the state House there is protesters yelling, "Shame" from the balcony above. You see that they're under this abortion ban. Most abortions in that state will be illegal after 12 weeks of pregnancy.

North Carolina has been a refuge for women seeking abortions in the South.

COLLINS: And next door in South Carolina, Democrats are trying to stop a bill that would ban most abortions even earlier than that, around six weeks when early cardiac activity is detected. That's before most women even know they are pregnant.

Democrats proposed more than 1,000 amendments to drag out the process as long as they could.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To me, every minute we're in here fighting this is a minute women can get healthcare across our state.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is an issue, while it may be futile, is worth fighting for. We know, and that's why we're not letting it go to a ballot, is most people in this state and in the United States want abortion access.


COLLINS: Those lawmakers you see there were forced to debate until almost 2 a.m. this morning. They'll be back at it just a few hours from now. It's unclear, of course, how long the entire thing will drag on.

Dianne Gallagher is live outside the state capital in neighboring Raleigh, North Carolina. Dianne, obviously, we're waiting to see what happens once lawmakers are back in session in South Carolina this morning. But North Carolina is where the news was made overnight as they overrode that veto that had been issued by the Democratic governor there.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Kaitlan. And Democrats acknowledging at this point they were out of options when it comes to this bill, which is now law here in the state of North Carolina.

Instead, Democrats saying they're looking toward 2024. They will use this, they say, to energize people in the state of North Carolina.

But beyond the politics here is the changes that will happen in this state. Not just for North Carolinians but also, as you mentioned, from those around the region.

Now, look, we're talking about a slew of changes. Right now today, there are 20-week cutoff for abortions in the state of North Carolina. On July 1st, that will change to 12 weeks, with exceptions, some of those including rape and incest victims, as well as life-limiting fetal anomaly.


But those have date -- those have date cutoffs and exceptions, as well.

But there's a slew of other changes in this bill, including new regulations, reporting requirements, as well as stipulations and new cutoffs for medication abortion, requiring someone to have multiple in-person appointments.

It's those type of details that Democrats on the floor last night and the governor, for the past two weeks, since this bill was introduced, have said that perhaps North Carolinians were unaware of.

Republicans called this a compromise, though the Senate leader acknowledged to me last night that compromise was simply within the Republican caucus.

Democrats did not participate in the writing of this bill. And Democrats say that this will be dangerous, while Republicans say this is, in their words, quote, "mainstream."

HARLOW: Dianne, thank you very much for that really significant update from our affiliate. We'll keep watching South Carolina today, as well.

COLLINS: Yes. They'll be back in just a few hours.

Also this morning, a Trump-backed candidate is now the winner of the Republican primary in Kentucky when it comes to the governor's race there. The state attorney general, Daniel Cameron, that you see here on the left, beat his DeSantis-backed opponent in a very crowded Republican primary.

That's Kelly Craft on the right, who was backed by DeSantis. You'll remember, she served as an ambassador in the Trump administration. But she was ultimately endorsed by DeSantis, while Cameron was ultimately endorsed by Trump.

During his acceptance speech, Cameron made sure to thank Trump for his support.


DANIEL CAMERON (R), KENTUCKY GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: A big thank you to President Donald J. Trump for his support and his endorsement of this campaign. Let me just say, let me just say, the Trump culture of winning is alive and well in Kentucky.


COLLINS: Of course, that's a clear dig to DeSantis, who has been saying that there is a culture of losing which he blames on the former president.

Cameron's win sets up one of this year's most important elections, one of the biggest -- the biggest governor's race that we are going to be watching this year. It has implications for 2024.

CNN's Eva McKend is live in Louisville, Kentucky.

Eva, tell us, I mean, obviously, there were a lot of Republicans running to run up against the current Democratic governor, Andy Beshear. Tell us what happened last night.


This was a commanding victory early in the evening. So early we were at his watch party last night, that some of his supporters hadn't even shown up yet to the victory party by time the race was called.

And to be clear, there is a historic nature to this. If Daniel Cameron is elected governor, he would be the first black governor of Kentucky. He would be the first black Republican governor in America.

And this also showed the enduring influence of former President Donald Trump. Cameron secured the Trump endorsement early in this contest. It wasn't the only factor in this race. But Trump so popular in Kentucky -- he won by more than 20 points in 2020 -- that it really helped Cameron in this race.

COLLINS: And of course, why this matters is because it is going to be a bellwether, potentially, watching him go up against Andy Beshear, the governor of Kentucky that we just had on recently. You know, why is this such a race that people are going to be paying such close attention to going into 2024?

MCKEND: Yes. This will be the most watched governor's race in this year.

Governor Beshear is extremely popular in this state. Over the weekend, I met a Trump supporter, a Trump voter who told me he actually likes Governor Beshear. So that is something that Republicans are going to have to contend with.

Republican strategists describe Governor Beshear to me as a warm cup of coffee. He does have mass -- like a warm cup of coffee, he has mass appeal in this state.

But there are more registered Republicans in Kentucky than Democrats. This is a ruby-red state. And so, Republicans really view this has a prime pickup opportunity.

This race is going to receive national attention. Cameron viewed as a rising star in the Republican Party. He spoke at the 2020 Republican convention. He's beloved by Republicans in this state. But also across the country.

But he also earned the ire of Democrats for his response, and progressives and celebrities in California. We saw that response, too, for his response to the Breonna Taylor case in his capacity as attorney general. So lots of folks going to be watching this race, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Yes. And he previewed what his lines of attack on Beshear are going to look like: talking about crime, fentanyl, culture wars.

Eva McKend, we'll continue to check back in with you. Thank you.

HARLOW: Yes. Schools, as well. Our kids, education.

Let's bring in CNN senior political commentator Scott Jennings, who knows Daniel Cameron well. They're friends. He advised him in his 2019 campaign for Kentucky A.G.

Scott, good to have you. Good morning.


SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hey, good morning. HARLOW: Hi. I know you're happy with this win. You called it a night

of momentum and unity. I just wonder, is it enough momentum to defeat incumbent Andy Beshear? It's going to be a tough road, no?

JENNINGS: Yes. It's going to be a really interesting race. I suspect that political handicappers will look at Kentucky early on as a " lean Dem."

But if you look at the voter registration shifts over the last four years, you look at Cameron's big win last night, and you just look at sort of the flow of the state right now, I think it will be folly to call it anything other than a tossup.

Because you do have Beshear, who maintains high personal image ratings. That's absolutely true. And you have his party, which maintains very low image ratings in the state. And Republicans here are ascendant, holding every other constitutional office in Frankfort.

So I agree with the assessment. It's going to be the most watched race of the year. And it's really two young candidates who I think the winner of this race are destined for -- for national stardom. If Beshear were to hold this, he would be, I think, a national star for the Democrats.

And if Cameron wins, people are going to start talking about his national future, as well.

COLLINS: Yes. And of course, Beshear's dad was a two-time governor.


CAMERON: Scott, what about the national implications of this, in the sense that Trump had endorsed Cameron. He had backed him. DeSantis had quietly backed Kelly Craft kind of late into this race. But it is also a proxy war between those two presidential frontrunners.

JENNINGS: I wouldn't overread that, actually. Trump was the central advertising element for Cameron. All of his ads, all of his super PAC ads, all talked about Trump. He ran this race as the Trump candidate.

For Craft, she got DeSantis to do an auto call, so an automated phone call, out to voters the night before the election and did a little social media on it the next day. He did not play, really, a central role in her campaign.

This race, in terms of endorsements, really came down to Trump. It was a 12-person race, and Daniel Cameron had Trump early on and really rode that to a huge victory last night on top of the fact that he's also well-liked by other corners of the Republican Party. But the dominating endorsement here was no question Donald Trump. And it was the only one that factored in, really, to advertising.

HARLOW: I wonder, just given that that he's been the attorney general and the rule of law, I would assume, is very important to him, is he going to run in lock step with -- with former President Trump when we hear Trump say things like he did to Kaitlan in the CNN town hall, you know, last week about pardoning many of the January 6 rioters, et cetera.

I mean, is he going to separate himself at all? Because what we heard him say last night is the Trump culture of winning is alive and well in Kentucky.

JENNINGS: Yes. I think he said that, obviously, because he's very grateful for Donald Trump for picking him early.

I mean, Trump coming in last year, you know, the governor's race wasn't really in cycle yet. And Trump delivering that endorsement early on was a huge lift right out of the gate for Daniel Cameron, who by the way, was massively outspent by Kelly Craft. So having Trump helped him fend off all that money.

That having been said, the other plank of Daniel Cameron's campaign was I support law enforcement.

HARLOW: Right.

JENNINGS: He is a pro-law enforcement candidate. And I suspect he's going to continue to do that. And I don't think he's going to peel off of that.

So I don't think he's going to make, you know, parsing out this or that position of Donald Trump part of his campaign. I do think he's going to continue to tout all the hundreds of law enforcement officers that have come to his side in his primary.

COLLINS: Well, and speaking of Trump and the national issues, you know, we're watching what's happening in North Carolina overnight. We're watching what's happening in South Carolina this morning. We're also seeing Trump, Pence, DeSantis all being asked questions about abortion.

I want you, Scott, to respond to what Governor DeSantis said about what Trump said on abortion and what former Vice President Mike Pence said about it, as well.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): He didn't give an answer about would you have signed the heartbeat law that Florida did, that had all the exceptions that people talk about?

MIKE PENCE (R), FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: For my part, I disagree with President Trump about the heartbeat bill. I certainly support what Florida passed.


COLLINS: How is this going to affect 2024 and where voters are coming down on Trump, on Pence, on DeSantis, on any of these candidates that are weighing in on this? JENNINGS: Yes. The -- I mean, obviously, pro-life activists and pro-

life voters play a huge role in determining Republican primaries, whether it's for president or dog catcher. Pro-life voters vote, and they really do matter to the party. That's No. 1.

No. 2, Trump has got his record of having appointed pro-life judges and Supreme Court justices, but at the same time, he's been a little squirrely about where he comes down in a post-Roe world.

You see DeSantis and Pence really leaning into the post-Roe world. And we're in the middle of the federalist experiment right now. The whole point of getting rid of Roe for a lot of people like Mike Pence and Ron DeSantis was it goes back to the states, and then the states can make decisions. And you're seeing varying kinds of laws passed depending on those states.

So they're going to lean into that. I think they're going to find favor in that inside the Republican Party.

And this is a central sort of, you know, conservative ideological question. Do you want there to be a national standard or do you want this to be a purely federalist argument that plays out over the next couple of years, where individual state legislatures have to act?


Obviously for Ron DeSantis as a governor, he just signed a bill. You're seeing bills passed in other states. That's where his heart is.

You can tell Trump's not quite comfortable with that. I think this is actually going to be a central part of how people go towards -- or go at Donald Trump in these debates, if he shows up for them in the fall.

COLLINS: Yes. We'll see if he does.


COLLINS: Scott Jennings. I know you were up late last night, watching this race. Thanks so much for getting up early for us.

JENNINGS: Thank you all. Good to be with you.

HARLOW: Good to be with you. All right.

We're tracking some other big races on a local level. A stunner in Jacksonville, Florida. Most populous -- Jacksonville, Florida, most populous city, a Democrat has flipped the mayor's office. Former journalist Donna Deegan will become the city's first female mayor.

This is only the second time in 30 years that a Democrat has won that office.

In Philadelphia, CNN projects Cherelle Parker will be the Democratic nominee for mayor. The former city council member will instantly emerge as an important national political player among Democrats. President Joe Biden is counting on Philly to deliver a big turnout as

he seeks reelection. Parker will face Republican David Oh. Parker win -- if Parker wins, I should say, she'll be the first woman to serve as mayor of Philadelphia, as well.

COLLINS: Yes. A lot of key races coming out of last night.

Also, in news in Washington, President Biden has just postponed the second part of his trip to Asia. He is scheduled to leave today. That comes after yesterday's meeting with Kevin McCarthy on the debt ceiling. We'll tell the latest on where those talks stand.

HARLOW: And a frustrating eruption in New York City as -- Frustration erupting in New York City as parents protest the city's sheltering of migrants in school gyms.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're not going to do this to us. You picked the wrong neighborhood and the wrong school.




JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Get a good picture of all of us. We're having a wonderful time. Everything's going well.


HARLOW: Manifesting --

COLLINS: To be a fly on the wall.

HARLOW: -- progress. He hopes. They hope.

This morning, President Biden heads to Japan for the G-7 summit. His overseas travel was supposed to be a week-long trip, with stops in Papua New Guinea and Australia. But now the president is cancelling those two visits, because he needs to get home to deal with the debt ceiling and those talks.

Arlette Saenz, live at the White House with more.

I'm just sad for you. You're not going to get to go on those legs of the trip.


HARLOW: But, hey, a national, you know, pending crisis calls.

COLLINS: She's like, thanks a lot.

HARLOW: Yes. SAENZ: Yes. I'll stay back to cover those talks that are expected to

continue throughout the coming week.

But President Biden yesterday really expressed some confidence that they would be able to make progress towards averting a default. But both sides emerged from that meeting yesterday without any clear path forward on how to avert a default for the first time in U.S. history.

But these talks are starting to enter a new phase. President Biden has appointed two top aides here at the White House to start and lead those discussions with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's office. That includes the counselor to the president, Steve Ricchetti, a long-time aide. Also, the OMB director, Shalanda Young, who has a long history up on Capitol Hill, working in the appropriations sector, as well as Louisa Terrell, who has been the legislative affairs director here at the White House.

They will be negotiating with Congressman Garret Graves, a Republican who McCarthy has picked for these talks to play out.

This is something that many had hoped might be a next step in the formal talks, as they -- some were hoping that they would be able to shrink the room of those conversations.

But still, there are so many issues where the White House and McCarthy remain incredibly far apart.

They still need to figure out what exactly the length for a debt ceiling raise would be. How long they would agree to when it comes to spending caps.

And one of the key sticking points is that issue regarding work requirements for some social safety net programs. McCarthy says including those will be a red line for him, but the White House pushed back in a new statement last night, saying that President Biden will be fighting against any type of restrictions that would eliminate healthcare or push people into poverty. So that's one of the key areas to be watching in the coming days.

COLLINS: Definitely a key area. And interesting, because he had seemed open to it just over the weekend when he was talking.

HARLOW: That's right, and they had to sort of -- the White House came in to clarify.

COLLINS: Yes, because you saw progressive Democrats not happy about it.

As Poppy was noting, you're not going on -- he's not going on the second half of the trip, which was supposed to be to Australia. A historic first trip to Papua New Guinea. It's a critical area at a critical time as the U.S. is working to counter China's influence.

So what is the White House saying about the impact that these domestic issues at home are having on his foreign policy?

SAENZ: Well, this clearly is not the ideal situation for the White House.

But in just a few hours, President Biden will be departing, going as planned to Hiroshima, Japan, for the G-7 summit. But it's the back half of that trip, Papua New Guinea and Australia, that has been canceled.

Australia is where he was supposed to meet with the Quad leaders. The White House has said that many of those leaders will be on hand at the G-7 summit.

Of course, one of the issues that they had been hoping to discuss was countering China's influence in the region. And now, with this threat of a debt ceiling, that's also just not exactly a good look, especially as a potential default would not have just ramifications here in the United States but also on the world stage.

COLLINS: Yes. And he's going there without a deal. And we'll see what he says to those G-7 world leaders.

Arlette, thank you so much.

And we're also going to speak with the White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, about this and much more. She'll join us live in the next hour.

HARLOW: Also this, a young girl abducted nearly six years ago has been found thanks to a Netflix series. That's right. We'll tell you how.

COLLINS: Just an amazing story.

Also, parents here in New York City are trying to block officials from using school gyms to house migrants. We're going to talk to some of those parents next.



COLLINS: Angry parents protesting outside of New York City schools in an effort to try to block city officials here from using school gyms to house migrants.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No shelters on school grounds! No shelters on school grounds!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No shelters on school grounds! No shelters on school grounds!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No shelters on school grounds! No shelters on school grounds!


COLLINS: These parents say that they are worried about their students' safety and the living conditions for the migrants, as well.

These protests are coming as CNN has learned that hundreds of asylum seekers have already been placed in school gyms across the city. That's according to what a source told CNN, a source who's dealing with the planning process here.

CNN'S Polo Sandoval spoke to parents in New York City about why they're so frustrated.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want our gym back! We want our gym back! We want our gym back!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want our gym back! We want our gym back! We want our gym back!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want our gym back! We want our gym back! We want our gym back!

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Outrage, anger and frustration. Parents protesting outside a Brooklyn school in response to the city's plan to continue housing migrants inside current and former school gymnasiums.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're not going to do this to us. You picked the wrong neighborhood and the wrong school.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Some upset parents and grandparents refused to drop off their kids at school after learning of the situation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm taking them home. Why should they be in here with those adults? Those are men and women. We don't know where these people come from.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Mayor Eric Adams, who says New York City is in the middle of a humanitarian crisis, says the city is considering using 20 school gyms for migrants as New York City sees an increase in asylum seeker arrivals.

MAYOR ERIC ADAMS (D), NEW YORK CITY: None of us are comfortable with having to take these drastic steps.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Adams says all these gyms are separate buildings, and the migrants would not interact with schoolchildren.