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CNN This Morning

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Visit G7 Summit to Meet with President Biden; Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO) Interviewed on Pentagon Misreporting on Funds Spent in Aid to Ukraine; President Biden Cutting Short Foreign Trip to Return to U.S. to Negotiate Raising of U.S. Debt Ceiling; Air National Guardsman Accused of Leaking Classified Military Documents Online Set to Appear in Court; Soon: Pentagon Leak Suspect To Appear In Court; Cancer Patients At Risk Due To Nationwide Drug Shortage; Clues Suggest Children Survived Plane Crash In Amazon Jungle. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired May 19, 2023 - 08:00   ET



BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Trade off now as we think about living in this new world. Lower Manhattan, obviously the financial center of the universe in many places, so protecting that with engineering in our lifetimes is going to be new, very expensive reality.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. That's one way to start your Friday morning. Manhattan is sinking. Good morning to everyone. Bill Weir, thank you.


WEIR: So make the most of your day.

COLLINS: Yes, TGIF has a whole new meaning.

CNN THIS MORNING continues right now.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. Manhattan may be sinking but we are still here with you this morning.

And we have got some headlines, global headlines for you. Let's begin here. Big news this morning. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy heading in person the G7 summit in Japan to meet face-to-face with President Biden and other world leaders.

COLLINS: Also, that accused Pentagon leaker is going appear in court just a few hours from now as former and current defense officials are expressing alarm that the young airman kept his job even after he had been reported multiple times to commanders for mishandling classified intelligence.

HARLOW: Disney just delivered a huge $1 billion blow to Ron DeSantis's Florida right before he is expected to announce a run for president. This hour of CNN THIS MORNING starts right now. COLLINS: And we have been tracking developments really all morning

out of Japan this morning, where White House now says President Biden left dinner early with world leaders at the G7 summit there to get an update on what is happening back in Washington on those debt limit talks. The crisis in D.C. has overshadowed, really just loomed over this crucial foreign trip during a critical moment in Russia's invasion of Ukraine. This a photo of the president receiving that virtual briefing that he got earlier this morning from his negotiators in D.C., late at night in Japan, as we are now learning that Ukrainian President Zelenskyy himself is going to be meeting with President Biden and the other world leaders at the summit on Sunday.

Right now, Zelenskyy has just landed in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to meet with the Arab League. You're seeing him right now address the leaders in that room when it comes to what is happening in his home country. He has been on all whirlwind diplomacy tour, making several stops across Europe to meet with allies in recent days. Zelenskyy is pleading with them for more weapons as his own forces are preparing for a major counteroffensive. We are now told that one of those top things that is going to be discussed at the G7 summit where President Biden is, is whether or not to send F-16 fighter jets to help Ukraine's air force.

CNN's chief White House correspondent Phil Mattingly is live in Hiroshima. Phil, obviously a lot going on for the president at all time, but right now especially as he is meeting with these world leaders. F-16s are on the table, but he is also going back and getting an update from Washington on what is happening with these debt limit talks.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the convergence of enormously consequential issues on the world stage. As you noted, the president leaving that working dinner of G7 leaders earlier this evening, arrived at his hotel about 10 minutes ago, where he is expected to be briefed by his senior staff and negotiating team on those ongoing debt limit talks for the second time in the course of this day, and that all coming after a day that was very centrally focused on a major issue of geopolitical consequence, the war in Ukraine. Russia's invasion now more than a year old, and the G7 has really been the cornerstone of the western democracy's alliance to support Ukraine, and it has been steadfast support, durable support, and support President Biden and his national security team plan to utilize this summit here in Hiroshima to try and maintain. It will get some help in that effort when President Zelenskyy arrives in person.

Kaitlan, you know this very well. President Zelenskyy has appeared at all of these summits, NATO, G7 over the course of the last couple of years virtually. He started traveling out of the country last year, heading to the White House in December. As you noted, he has been on a European capital tour of sorts, France, the U.K., Italy, Germany, and each stop he is making very clear at a very critical moment for this conflict, one in which the Ukrainian military is expected to start a counteroffensive soon, they need more of just about everything, but most importantly, defensive and weapons capabilities.

And that is a message he plans to deliver here. As you noted, the debate over F-16s and what the process is for that is still ongoing. But as the U.S. and its allies are set to launch a new round of sanctions, try and tighten the screws economically, defense assistance and the message that will be delivered by President Zelenskyy when he arrives here Saturday night to meet with these leaders on Sunday is an absolutely critical component of a war that shows no sign of ending any time soon. But certainly, western allies need to see and want to see progress in that conflict given the scale of the support and the necessity of that support continuing, guys.

COLLINS: Yes, and just to speak to what he is up against, the meeting he is in right now in Saudi Arabia, Syria's president is also in the room. That's one of Putin's closest allies. Just fascinating to see him on the world stage. Phil Mattingly, thank you.


HARLOW: So let's talk about this and a lot more with Colorado Congressman Jason Crow. He's a former U.S. Army Ranger, served in Afghanistan. He's also a member of the House Foreign Affairs and the House Intelligence Committee, so perfect person to talk to this morning about all of this. Good morning, Congressman.


HARLOW: What is the significance, we have all learned this morning that the Ukrainian president will go in person to the G7? We know a key thing he is going to ask for, again, is those F-16s, which you have been urging the administration for months to send or allow to be sent. How key that Zelenskyy is going in person for this?

CROW: It's very important. We all know an in-person appeal is much better than a written one or a remote appeal. And Zelenskyy is an incredible messenger. He's a very charismatic leader when he makes those personal connections, they are very powerful. I've had the opportunity to sit down with him in person during an extended period at least once, and spoke with him over the phone, and Zoom, and a couple of other occasions. So he knows what he is talking about. He knows what his country needs, and he's going to make that appeal.

And like you said, I have long been pushing for F-16s or fourth- generation fighters. It could be another type of fourth-generation fighter, doesn't have to be an F-16. But they need that capability to establish air superiority and to support ground operations is really essential right now.

COLLINS: Congressman, we pay attention to what the White House is saying about this. We had John Kirby from the National Security Council on yesterday. He did not say they are against sending the F- 16s. He kind of said it's a constantly evolving conversation. It seemed like you're reading between the lines, they may be expressing openness to this. If the U.S. does not allow the F-16s to go to Ukraine, do you think that's a mistake?

CROW: Well, John Kirby is right in that they have been pushing hard, they've been doing a remarkable job providing support for Ukraine. the United States has been leading this coalition, a coalition of over 50 countries to provide support. And I have been pushing the administration, I do disagree with them about the provision of fourth generation fighters or the F-16s, or working with allies to do something else, because what we need to do is actually equip Ukraine with a full complement of weapons and equipment to conduct what's called combined arms warfare.

We are actually training them and helping them conduct a different style of warfare. The Russians are still using the old Soviet Union style tactics where they just pound the other side with artillery. The Ukrainians have been used to doing that. That's what they were trained on. We are training them to do it differently where you actually coordinate aircraft with the ground forces with intelligence with modern communications, and all of those work in synchronicity with one another. But you can't do that unless you have all those pieces, those battle tanks, those long-range artillery fire, those aircraft. So no one piece decisive in and of itself. HIMARS alone won't do it. Aircraft alone won't do it. Tanks alone won't do it. But all together, when you have that entire puzzle, it's extremely powerful.

HARLOW: Staying on Ukraine and funding and aid, this is pretty stunning that the Pentagon has now made public -- we know something that they apparently knew two months ago, and that is that they've miscalculated the amount of aid they had given by $3 billion in terms of weapons valuation. That has come to major concern some of your fellow colleagues on your committees but also in the House more broadly, including Mike McCaul and Mike Rogers who said this is extremely problematic to say the least. These funds could have been used for extra supplies and weapons for the upcoming counteroffensive.

The concern here is, and I wonder if you share it, Congressman, the fact that this wasn't disclosed months ago and the fact that the miscalculation was made means that spending that $3 billion now on more weaponry for Ukraine is going to come too late for this counteroffensive.

CROW: Well, let's not politicize this and actually look at the issue as a fact. So there is bad news here and there is good news here. The bad news is, is that the Department of Defense still can't pass an audit. In its entire history over many decades, it cannot account properly for what it owns, where those things are, and what those things cost. For decades it's been unable to do that because it is a massive sprawling organization. And as a lawmaker, I have been pushing hard to get the DOD in a position to be able to actually pass an audit like any American family has to, like any American business has to. So that is a systemic thing that remains unchanged, and that's in part what happened here.

The good news is, is it doesn't appear as though this is going to materially affect the provision of our aid to Ukraine, because we have been sending stuff very aggressively very fast for 16 months now to Ukraine and we'll continue to do that. So even if we are able to provide more, we have a supply chain issue and our partners have a supply chain issue, doesn't mean there is actually more to provide.

[08:10:03] We can only produce munitions, equipment, and weapons so fast. So having more money available -- and it's actually unclear how much more we have available -- doesn't mean we can actually do more at this point.

COLLINS: So are you saying that the Republicans are wrong when they say that these funds could have been used for extra supplies and weapons for the upcoming counteroffensive?

CROW: I am saying it's too early to tell. We just found out about this a couple of days ago. But we don't know. What we do know --

COLLINS: But do you think the Pentagon should have told Congress sooner? Because they say they found out, they discovered this two months ago.

CROW: Yes, it would have been nice to know about this sooner. And I have been pushing the administration to actually engage with Congress. And this is more of a White House issue than a Pentagon issue, to engage with us about a supplemental, because we know that funds are going to run out this year. We have known that for some time. So what we need to do is have that conversation now about what is necessary and what they are going to come and ask Congress for, and that would have been a good piece of information to have to jump start that conversation for sure.

But again, it doesn't mean that they haven't been aggressive about providing aid, that we haven't been doing everything possible. And there is a difference between the quantity of aid and the type of aid. So I have been pushing for a change in the type of aid, a policy change to provide ATACMS rockets, to provide fourth generation fighters, to expedite the provision of Abrams tanks. That's different from the massive historic effort that this administration has undergone to provide artillery, to provide munitions, to assist with the training of Ukrainians, which has gone superbly.

COLLINS: Yes, the argument is not being made that they haven't funded Ukraine. Obviously, we have seen it happen on a massive scale. Just a big question about that accounting figure.

HARLOW: Yes, and what could have been done two months ago had people been told.

Before you go, Kaitlan and I think it's very notable that President Biden is leaving a dinner at the G7 early to get on a call with leading members of Congress to deal with the debt ceiling as we are days away from a potential default. What is your read on if Washington is actually going to get this done before June 1st?

CROW: I don't think anybody really knows. But actually this illustrates the national security implications of this brinksmanship that the Republicans are playing about the debt ceiling, because the president actually has nixed a visit, he has ended a visit to Guinea, the island nation of Guinea, which is actually very strategically important for our competition against China in our expanded presence in the Asian Pacific region, actually went out of their way to get security, to set up an entire dignitary visit and to engage other island nations in that region. And he had to nix that trip to come back to these negotiations.

So some people refer to what the Republicans are doing as games. It's not a game because it's not fun, it's not funny, it's not entertaining, it's actually having real world implications for our engagement overseas with our partners encountering very world threats because they are playing -- they are doing brinksmanship with us, and it's not acceptable.

COLLINS: And you wanted a clean debt ceiling passed. That seems unlikely now as the White House is negotiating with Republicans on this. Are you willing to walk away from wanting a clean debt ceiling and vote for some of these Republican spending cuts that they are demanding if that's the agreement that comes out of this?

CROW: We have done a clean debt ceiling dozens of times. We did it a bunch under the Trump administration, so there is no reason why we shouldn't do it now. I am going to wait to see what they actually come out with negotiations. I never answer hypotheticals and I have no idea what that hypothetical will be. So I'm going to see what the president and Speaker McCarthy come up with, and then I'll make a decision.

COLLINS: All right, Congressman Jason Crow, thank you so much for your time this morning and as always.

CROW: Thank you.

COLLINS: All right, in just hours from now the Air National Guardsman who is accused of leaking classified military documents online is set to appear in court in Massachusetts. A federal judge is expected to decide whether or not the person you see here, 21-year-old Jack Teixeira, should be released to his parents' home as he is awaiting trial. Armed agents arrested him in a remarkable scene outside of his home last month. The feds have accused him of posting hundreds of pages of classified documents on Discord, which is a social media platform. It was revealed just days ago in new court documents that prosecutors said his own bosses had warned him multiple times about his mishandling of classified information.

CNN's Jason Carroll is live outside the federal courthouse and has been covering this closely. Jason, what are the arguments that are going to be made in court for why he should not be released to his parents' home?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kaitlan, as you can imagine, the judge in this case has a lot to consider, especially when you consider all of the new information, new evidence that comes to light, that has come to light, including that new video that's come to light showing Teixeira firing a weapon and using racial slurs.


Prosecutors are saying that, again, this is something that goes to his character. But also, this week, prosecutors filed new evidence with the court showing that once again, to share out on three different occasions and try to access classified information. Going back to October and September of last year, for example, they point to this example of where he access classified information, wrote a note about it, put it in his pocket.

His supervisors saw what happened told him not to do that, again, he was admonished by his supervisors, but then went on to brag about it online saying quote, "All of the expletive I've told you guys I'm not supposed to -- man how exploitive up is it? I can type out all of this and still be ready for more but can barely get through a two-page college paper." Prosecutors also wrote to the judge saying, "The weight of the evidence against the defendant has only grown stronger and the risks that defendant poses if released, have only come sharper into focus."

The Defense for its part, Kaitlan, also writing to the judge saying, look, this man does not pose a threat anymore. They also provided several examples of people in the past who were charged with the Espionage Act but were also released on bail with conditions. So, the judge again, much to consider with his hearing gets underway later this afternoon. Kaitlan?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, and all of this just raising questions about how time and time again, there were such clear concerns about what he was doing it, he continued to have access to this information. Jason Carroll, keep us updated on what the judge decides. Meanwhile, health care professionals are warning the nationwide drug shortage could mean life or death for some cancer patients. We're going to ask one expert what is being done to prevent the worst.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Also, Disney escalating its battle with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Cancelling plans to build a billion- dollar office complex there. Would impact, could this have on DeSantis's run when he's going to announce it next week?



COLLINS: Healthcare professionals and experts are warning now that a nationwide drug shortage could have dire consequences for some. The New York Times reporting that quote, "Thousands of patients are facing delays in getting treatments for cancer and other life-threatening diseases, with drug shortages in the U.S. approaching record levels." Right now, there's an active shortage of nearly two dozen chemotherapy drugs. Some experts say that the shortage could mean life or death for some of these patients. Joining us now is a professor of Gynecology, and the President elect of the Society for Gynecology -- Gynecologic Oncology, Doctor Amanda Fader, good thing, you are in charge of this adult view, Doctor. Obviously, this is a real concern. To see this, this is a really alarming study to say that these drug shortages could have such dire consequences.

DR. AMANDA FADER, PROF. OF GYNECOLOGY & OBSTETRICS, JOHNS HOPKINS: Yes, good morning, Kaitlan, and thank you for having me. To put things into perspective, drug shortages are not new in the big existed in the U.S. for decades. But what is new and particularly problematic is the sheer number of drugs that are going, undergoing shortage and that's increasing year after year. And lifesaving chemotherapy drugs that we use as the backbone of cancer treatments for adults and children across a wide variety of cancers. Now, are in critical shortage and are often in the top five of drugs that are in shortage consistently. And so, this is quickly approaching the level of a public health crisis because at this moment in time, we have 12 indispensable chemotherapy drugs that are currently in shortage.

HARLOW: So, what are you telling patients, doctor? I mean, especially those in the most critical situations.

FADER: Yes, so, we at the Society of Gynecologic Oncology, we conducted a survey, a nationwide survey of all of our members to get the scope of the problem and understand what was happening. And over the last four weeks, in serving those 3,000 members, we found that initially, it was patients and smaller hospitals and infusion centers and rural centers that were most impacted. But over the course of the last four weeks, we've seen a just an explosion of responses from oncologists around the nation.

And we see now that large centers, cancer centers or urban centers, all centers are being affected in some way by the crisis. And so, one of our strategies both at Johns Hopkins and within the Society of Gynecologic Oncology is really, we have a singular focus on the health and wellbeing of our patients. And we are -- we are working with patients to help them as much as possible receive standard of care therapies that their institutions, putting them in contact with the oncologist at their centers, to mitigate and develop the best strategies, so that no patient is left behind. We should never be telling patients that they can't receive the lifesaving treatments that will keep them alive.

COLLINS: Yes, I think everyone would agree with that. You said you've never seen a drug shortage this bad. But this is the reality that we are dealing with now. And so, what's your guidance when it comes to ways that you could adjust treatments, adjust doses in order to basically stretch these out while the shortage is happening?

FADER: Yes, so, many medical societies like, the Society of Gynecologic Oncology, the American Society of Clinical Oncology Foundation, Women's Cancer GOG Foundation, we're all working together, to try to find best solutions here. And developing opportunities to preserve drug supply that we have and use it responsibly and minimize waste. And there's techniques we can use at the pharmacy level in order to do that. So, not a drop of chemo is wasted, and we can extend it, get more mileage out of it for more patients. But we're also issuing alternative drug guidelines. In situations where there's a scarcity of these drugs or a critical shortage.

We're using best available evidence from clinical trials to guide these recommendations. And we are in many cases, we do have excellent substitutes that will have similar efficacy as the standard of care drugs. In some cases, though, we do not have good substitutions and patients will receive inferior care. And so, we're working with National Regulatory Associations that help define the standards of care in the country and with insurance companies. So, we can help get approval for some of these really critical alternative drug regimens. So that we can keep patients on track with treatment and promote great survival outcomes for them.

HARLOW: It's a really great point, if it's not covered by their insurance or Medicaid, they're not going to be able to afford some of those more expensive alternatives. So, if you can get the insurance companies to change policy here that would make a huge difference, doctor. Thank you very much.

COLLINS: Thank you, doctor.

FADER: Thank you.


COLLINS: The search this morning for four children who range from 11 months to 13 years old. The officials do believe survived a plane crash in the Colombian jungle is still underway. It's a race to find them, we'll fill you in next.

HARLOW: Also, Salman Rushdie making a rare public appearance, the author accepted an award and still cracked a joke. If you can believe it about that attempt on his life just nine months ago.


SALMAN RUSHDIE, NOVELIST: It's nice to be back as opposed to not being back, which was also an option.



HARLOW: Welcome back. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is telling donors he told them on a call, that there are only three quote credible candidates for 2024 quote, "Biden, Trump and me." That is according to new reporting this morning in the New York Times. DeSantis adding quote, "I think of those three, two have a chance to get elected President Biden and me, based on all the data in the swing states, which is not great for the former president and probably insurmountable, because people aren't going to change their view of him." Now, Sources tell CNN, DeSantis will file the presidential campaign paperwork next week. His plan to defeat Donald Trump is to run to the right of the former president on a board.