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CNN This Morning

Twitter Glitches Overshadow DeSantis Campaign Launch; McCarthy: Negotiators Made Progress at White House Meeting; U.S. Intel Indicates Ukrainians May Have Launched Kremlin Drone Attack; Remembering Tina Turner, Queen of Rock 'n' Roll. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired May 25, 2023 - 06:00   ET




Just an icon, right?

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

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. Happy Thursday. We are so glad you're with us.


HARLOW: Happy Thursday. We've got a lot to get to. Let's start with five things to know. Ron DeSantis officially a presidential candidate. The big launch on Twitter Spaces was, as predicted by some, overshadowed by technical glitches, and his opponents pounced.

COLLINS: Also new overnight, America's credit rating is at risk. A key ratings agency has now put the U.S. on watch, with one week to go until a possible default. And House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is set to send House members home for the weekend with no deal.

Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence is now indicating that a Ukrainian group may have been behind that recent drone attack on the Kremlin. U.S. officials picking up chatter of Ukrainians blaming one another.

HARLOW: An anti-LGBTQ campaign takes on corporate America again. Target now removing some of its pride merchandise after some of its employees were threatened.

COLLINS: And fans around the world agree. She was simply the best. The Queen of Rock 'n' Roll, Tina Turner, has died at age 83. We're going to remember her life and her legacy on CNN THIS MORNING, which starts right now.


COLLINS: She was the queen.

HARLOW: The queen. Simply the best. She really was. We're going to remember her today. We're going to

honor her throughout the program this morning. You're going to hear a lot of Tina Turner this morning. So get ready.

But we do begin with politics, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis's presidential campaign is officially under way after a rough start full of technical difficulties.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Sorry about that. We -- we've got so many people here that I think we are -- we are kind of melting the servers, which is a good sign.


HARLOW: I don't know. Is it a good sign for the launch of a presidential campaign? A lot of people were interested, certainly, logging on.

The live stream of his big announcement on Twitter with Elon Musk crashed multiple times. It is making headlines for the wrong reasons this morning, including in his home state. "The Sarasota Herald- Tribune's" headline reads, "DeSantis' Launch Failure."

But his campaign is powering forward today. Top fundraisers are gathered at a hotel in Miami to strategize, raise cash to take on Donald Trump and other GOP contenders.

So let's begin with our Jessica Dean. She is live in Miami.

Good morning, Jessica. A lot of hype about this launch. I think we're all surprised. Unique way to do it. Didn't go off as expected.


This was such an anticipated moment. Of course, Ron DeSantis' entrance into this race has been talked about and analyzed for months and months now. So for him to finally get in was a big moment.

And his people, his campaign, his team, they wanted to do this in an unconventional way. They want his campaign to be unconventional. But the -- the downside to that, or the potential issue is that you can run into technical glitches.


DEAN (voice-over): Technical glitches plaguing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' presidential announcement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It just keeps crashing, huh?

ELON MUSK, TWITTER CEO: I think we've got a -- just a massive number of people online, so it's -- servers are straining somewhat.

DEAN (voice-over): The start of the audio-only event only on Twitter Spaces suffered disrupted audio and repeatedly kicked users out.

TREY GOWDY, FOX NEWS SUBSTITUTE HOST: FOX News will not crash during this interview.

DEAN (voice-over): DeSantis afterward going on FOX News, spinning the glitchy rollout this way.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We had a huge audience. It did. It was the biggest they'd ever had. It did break the Twitter Space.

DEAN (voice-over): Former President Donald Trump slamming it on Truth Social, posting, quote, "Is the DeSantis launch FATAL? Yes."

It took some 20 minutes for Elon Musk and team to sort out the glitches.

DESANTIS: I am running for president of the United States to lead our great American comeback.

DEAN (voice-over): While not mentioning him by name, DeSantis also took a veiled jab at Donald Trump.

DESANTIS: We must end the culture of losing that has infected the Republican Party in recent years.

DEAN (voice-over): Back on FOX, DeSantis announced his day-one plan if elected president: firing the FBI director.

DESANTIS: I would not keep Chris Wray as director.

I think the DOJ and FBI lost their way. I think that they've been weaponized against Americans who think like me and you.

DEAN (voice-over): DeSantis, who signed a six-week abortion ban in Florida earlier this year, offering this view on the issue.

DESANTIS: I think that there's a -- there's a role for both the federal and the states.

DEAN (voice-over): And while it remains to be seen if Trump will appear on the first two debate stages, DeSantis said count him in.

DESANTIS: I think we should debate. I think the people want to hear it.



DEAN (on camera): The campaign saying that they raised $1 million in the first hour after that announcement. And DeSantis is sitting on an unprecedented amount of cash. Some $100 million, Poppy.

As you mentioned, he has donors here in Miami. They're all getting together today to really try to maximize this moment and raise even more money as they launch him into this race.

And we do expect him to hit the campaign trail pretty quickly and pretty aggressively in those early states. So we're certainly keeping our eye on that.

And that's what's really going to matter. Right? We can talk about these glitches. We can talk about what that means and analyze it. But ultimately, it comes down to the voters and --

HARLOW: That's right.

DEAN (voice-over): And him getting out in the early states and how they're going to react to him. We'll see how that goes in the coming days.

HARLOW: That's 100 percent right. Jessica Dean, thanks for the reporting.

COLLINS: DeSantis' campaign tried to play off the glitchy live stream event -- Glitching might be putting it nicely -- as, quote, "breaking the Internet."

But the stumbling start gave his current and potential future rivals an opening to troll him.

Trump, still not choosing to use Twitter yet, said it was a disaster. Biden's campaign immediately using it to fundraise, writing, "This link works" and linking supporters to where they can donate to his campaign.

Even FOX News taking a swipe at DeSantis and Twitter overall, as the headline on their home page last night said, quote, "Amateur hour." And "Much-Hyped DeSantis presidential announcement a disaster."

FOX also boasted that you could actually see and hear DeSantis at 8 p.m. when he had an interview on their network.

Joining us now is the co-founder and editor in chief of "Semafor," Ben Smith.

A, this was entirely predictable. B, if this happened --

HARLOW: Kaitlan, by the way, predicted this yesterday.

COLLINS: Not because I'm so genius. It was just pretty obvious. And it was an audio-only event.

But if this had happened with a regular campaign launch, that staff would probably be fired if it went this poorly and the -- every headline talking about your launch was about the fact that it was not great.

BEN SMITH, EDITOR IN CHIEF, "SEMAFOR": Well, I think -- I mean, I think, you know, Elon Musk is a huge figure. Ron DeSantis, famously, is not heavily reliant on his staff. I don't think there was anyone to fire beyond the candidate himself. You know, talking to Elon Musk, making a decision like this.

An incredibly, incredibly strange thing to do. It does give you kind of renewed respect for what this is. Just putting on television. One thing about television, and I'm sort of an Internet person, so it pains me to say this.

HARLOW: It works.

SMITH: But you turn it on and it does work.

COLLINS: Most of the time. Don't jinx us.

SMITH: I mean, it's got -- strange new respect, right? It just turns on, and goes out there.

Though honestly, the strangest part of the whole thing is you have Rupert Murdoch, who remains the most powerful figure in Republican politics. And all he wants to do is help elect Ron DeSantis. I mean, this email came out where he said he wants to make Donald Trump a non- person.

And DeSantis just begins the campaign by sticking his finger in FOX News' eyes. And they're really trying to help him. And so they come out making fun of him. That, to me, was the strangest part of the whole thing.

HARLOW: What do you think it says sort of more broadly, though, about Elon Musk continuing to say, like, Tucker Carlson, launching a show on Twitter. You know, come here, we are the next, if you will. We will replace traditional media.

SMITH: I mean, I think they're making a real run at FOX News. They're not going to replace -- their space in the culture is broadly shrinking. But conservative media is a big place. FOX has huge problems. Twitter, other places like "The Daily Wire" are starting to fight for this space.

HARLOW: You've got to get it to work. I mean, if it couldn't work perfectly for this.

SMITH: Media is a weird, hard business. And I think they had this nice platform business, and they're trying to turn it into some broadcast thing that -- that really didn't work. Yes.

COLLINS: Also, the point of launching your presidential campaign is normally just straight down the middle, here's my pitch, here's my running.

There wasn't a ton of that in the Twitter Spaces once it did get started.


COLLINS: Of course, later was -- seemed like a more typical candidate. But there's a moment where we kind of pulled a highlight of what he was talking about last night. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DESANTIS: Biden's allowed woke ideology to drive his agenda. We will never surrender to the woke mob, and we will leave woke ideology in the dustbin of history.

And they're not going to be road kill in some type of woke Olympics. We did provide protection against this de-banking with the woke banking.

The woke mind virus is basically a form of cultural Marxism.

We have no choice but to wage a war on woke.


SMITH: It's -- this is the core that DeSantis is making, that talking about woke debanking, that those are ideas and words that will penetrate deeply enough into the elderly Iowa primary electorate. That that will pull people out for him.

I think that, you know, Donald Trump ran with the same level of sort of anger and energy, but the issue that he chose was immigration, which is not hard to explain.

And I do think the bigger bet here is that these things that people basically talk about on Twitter, that lots of Republicans don't know what these words mean.

Well, most Americans, if you say, are you concerned about woke debanking, are just going to look at you like you're crazy.

And so, I mean, the big bet is that these cultural battles that really live on Twitter, started on Twitter, are very hard to understand if you leave Twitter, are going to move a lot of people in places like Iowa, New Hampshire next winter.

COLLINS: Yes. We'll see what it looks like. Obviously, you know, the glitches were overshadowing the launch. But we'll see what the actual substance of the actual campaign looks like, now that he's a candidate.

SMITH: And there's a long way to go.

COLLINS: Yes. Ben Smith, thank you.

SMITH: Thank you.

HARLOW: So this. To the economy. The credit ratings agency Fitch has placed the United States on ratings watch negative. That's a bad thing, to be clear.

It reflects the uncertainty surrounding the current debt ceiling debate and the possibility of the country's first ever default.

The White House responded. The Treasury Department responded overnight. Here's what the White House said, in part, quote, "This is one more piece of evidence that default is not an option."

The Treasury saying, quote, "Tonight's warning underscores the need for swift bipartisan action by Congress to raise or suspend the debt limit."

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has been warning the U.S. could run out of money to pay its bills by the first of June. That's exactly a week from today.

And in just a couple hours, lawmakers are set to recess. Senior Republican officials tell CNN the prospect for passing a deal by next week are grim.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says negotiators did make some progress during a meeting at the White House. And he tells reporters he thinks -- he thinks they could reach a deal soon.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): There is a number of issues that are out there that we've been working on. I think we've been able to find some ways, and we could probably get to fruition on a couple of these. There's still a number of them out there. So I want to work as hard as we can and not stop.

HARLOW: Lauren Fox joins us on Capitol Hill this morning. Lawmakers will be back -- called back if negotiations do in fact reach, you know, a deal to vote. Is that right?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's exactly right, Poppy. There's some good news and bad news in the message that you are getting from Republican leadership right now.

On the positive side, they do feel like they made some gains yesterday in more than four hours of negotiations between the Republican side and the White House yesterday at the White House.

And one of the things that became increasingly clear is there is some agreement over resending some of those unspent funds for the COVID pandemic. Some of the money that went out to states and localities that just hasn't been spent yet.

Given the fact that it's now three years from the start of that pandemic, there's agreement from Republicans and Democrats that they should claw some of that money back.

Meanwhile, they are still trying to find a way forward on the huge question of how much money the government should be spending over the next several years.

The reality is, even if they can clinch a deal in the next 72 hours, which could happen, there is a possibility that that is not enough time to get you to the June 1st deadline.

That is because over and over again, Republican leaders insisted they are going to give their members 72 hours -- that's three days -- to read whatever bill and deal they come up with. Then you have to move this through the U.S. Senate, as well. That is going to be a heavy lift.

We should also note that there are some Democrats who are getting very nervous about the direction of these discussions. And you have to remember that Nancy Pelosi is no longer leading the House Democrats. They have a new leadership team. So a huge test for Hakeem Jeffries and Katherine Clark, who are going to be leading that charge, if a deal comes together, to get the votes on their side to pass it onto the House -- Poppy.

HARLOW: Lauren Fox. One week to go. Let's hope. Thanks very much.


COLLINS: Also this morning, new U.S. intelligence indicates that a Ukrainian group may have been responsible for that Kremlin drone attack that happened earlier this month.

Sources now say that U.S. officials have picked up some chatter from members of Ukraine's military, speculating that Ukraine special forces conducted that operation.

The U.S. hasn't reached a definitive conclusion, I should note, and right now, officials do say it's unlikely that the president, President Zelenskyy, is the one that ordered that attack.

CNN's Natasha Bertrand joins us now from the Pentagon. Natasha, what is Ukraine saying about this intelligence that the U.S. is picking up? Is there a sense that it will become definitive?

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kaitlan. Well, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has denied that the Ukrainians were behind this attack.

But what we're learning is that U.S. officials have picked up chatter among Ukrainian officials, discussing the possibility and kind of speculating that Ukrainian special operations forces were behind this attack.

Now that's not definitive. And U.S. intelligence officials only assess with low confidence at this point that any Ukrainian group was actually behind this attack.

However, they do believe it is highly unlikely that President Zelenskyy himself or any other senior Ukrainian government officials were either involved in this or even had knowledge of it before it actually happened.

Now, importantly, the Russians continue to blame the Ukrainians. But there's still no definitive proof of whether this was perhaps a pro- Ukrainian group based inside Russia that did this or even perhaps a group of Russians inside Russia who did this.

[06:15:09] The intelligence community is rally looking at a number of

possibilities here. And -- and it is, you know, not the first time, we should note, that the U.S. has suspected that the Ukrainians have been behind an attack on Russian soil.

There was a car bombing in Moscow, of course, that killed the daughter of a very prominent Russian political figure that was attributed by U.S. intelligence officials to Ukrainians.

There have been other instances of attacks on Russian soil that the U.S. believes were likely Ukrainian groups.

But look, there is still no proof here that anyone in the government had something to do with this. The U.S. is using this chatter. And you know, information about who would be motivated to do this, to inform their assessments.

COLLINS: And I guess the question would be, if they do assess eventually that it is someone within the Ukrainian government that was behind this, and the U.S. has been so out there talking about not wanting Ukraine to strike inside Russia, is this something that you think could -- Republicans could say would hinder aid to Ukraine? What is your sense of that?

BERTRAND: Well, it certainly has hindered aid to Ukraine in the sense that the administration has not wanted to give the Ukrainians long- range weapons that could potentially allow them to launch attacks inside Russia.

So for example, those long-range missiles that Ukraine has been begging for, that can reach hundreds and hundreds of miles. The U.S. has said no, that's kind of a red line for us at this point, because we don't want to give you the option of being able to strike deep inside Russia.

But when it comes to broader U.S. aid, you know, the U.S. has said that we don't want Ukraine to be attacking Russia in this way. We don't want them to use U.S. weapons to do that. But also, it's up to Ukraine how they wage this war, ultimately, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Yes. Natasha Bertrand, keep us updated if they do move that to a definitive conclusion.

HARLOW: Well, Donald Trump's legal team is now pushing Attorney General Merrick Garland to shut down federal investigations of the former president. We'll tell you the argument they're making about why. That's next.

And saying good-bye to a legend. A superstar. We'll have the latest tributes pouring in for the Queen of Rock 'n' Roll, Tina Turner.




HARLOW: What a voice, what a woman. And this morning, the world is mourning the death of the Queen of Rock 'n' Roll, Tina Turner.

Fans laying flowers by her Hollywood Walk of Fame star in Los Angeles and outside of her home in Switzerland. Turner's family says she died peacefully there on Tuesday after a long illness. She was 83 years old.

And tributes to her are pouring in from friends and fellow superstars. Mick Jagger calling her a friend who was "enormously talented." Mariah Carey describing her as "legendary, iconic and a diva superstar." And, of course, her friend Oprah calling her, fittingly, "simply the best."

Throughout her decades-long career, Tina Turner won 12 Grammys, sold over 100 million records, and was inducted into the Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame twice, once with her ex-husband and then again solo just two years ago.

She released hit after hit. But in 1997, she told Larry King which one was her favorite.


TINA TURNER, SINGER: I think "Simply the Best."


TURNER: Especially because, at the time when I got it, no one believed in it but me.


HARLOW: She skyrocketed to fame after partnering with the singer Ike Turner, who she later married. But after years of suffering physical and emotional abuse, she left him, and she started over with almost nothing.

She made her solo comeback a decade later. She was in her 40s and released a multiplatinum album that included her hit song, "What's Love Got to Do with It?"


COLLINS: Joining us with more on her iconic life and career is "Rolling Stone's" senior writer Brittany Spanos. Thank you so much. I mean, I think this reverberated everywhere when people heard the news yesterday.

BRITTANY SPANOS, SENIOR WRITER, "ROLLING STONE": Yes. I felt crushed when I read it. It was just so devastating. She's such an icon. She's someone that I think all of us have heard her music for so many years and grew up loving her. And she's fantastic. It's really devastating.

HARLOW: You are a senior writer at "Rolling Stone." She was the first black and female artist to be on the cover of "Rolling Stone." SPANOS: Yes.

HARLOW: We talked about how she was inducted into the Hall of Fame not once but twice. Talk about the impact she leaves on music.

SPANOS: Yes. She's also the second cover ever of "Rolling Stone," too. That's the other thing. Like, that's -- that is a pretty big impact, right? It's like she is the foundation of so much of rock 'n' roll --


SPANOS: -- and performance and all of that. You know, there's -- every great rock star, every great pop star is either directly or indirectly affected by Tina Turner's performance style. Her vocal performance is something that everyone has tried to imitate. Every great rock singer is trying to be like Tina Turner, the greatest rock singer of all time.

COLLINS: I'm always so impressed by someone who has had such struggles in their personal life --


COLLINS: -- and how they come back from that, how they still have -- maintain professional success.

We were just talking about her song, "What's Love Got to Do with It?" That was also the name of the movie. And she was once talking about -- about the abuse that she suffered and what it was like to come back from that in an interview with Larry King.


KING: Did the picture do it justice?

TURNER: Yes, I think in a way. I would have liked for them to have had more truth. But, according to Disney, it's impossible. The people would not have believed the truth.

KING: Do you realize that you are a feminist hero in America? Heroine?

TURNER: Your wife (ph) just told me that.

KING: No, do you realize that?

TURNER: I'm beginning to. You see, it wasn't something that I planned. I kind of see it as a gift because of the life I lived. It had a meaning. And I think that the meaning was all of what is happening now. I think that if I had not had -- if I had not given the story to the world, maybe my life would not be as it is.


COLLINS: The impact of those comments, February 1997.

SPANOS: Yes. I mean, she -- domestic abuse, domestic violence wasn't something that was talked about openly and publicly when she came forward. And she also came forward at a time before she even blew up like that, before she even had sort of the world at her fingertips.


And, so, that incredible bravery is something that is a big part of her legacy.

But also, you know, the trauma doesn't define her. By that point in her life, this is -- this is someone who is selling out stadiums around the world. You know, that she had usurped everything that she'd even done with Ike. It was all about what Tina was and is.

HARLOW: She suffered this abuse for 16 years, and when she finally -- she talked about the day she finally decided to leave him. He abused her again in the car from the airport to the hotel. And she said she left with 36 cents in her pocket and a Mobil credit card. But she said, "That day felt proud. I felt strong. I felt like Martin Luther King."


HARLOW: And it took her -- it was like a rebirth for her in a sense on her own with that strength.

SPANOS: Yes. I mean, she was so young when she started working with Ike and when she eventually married him. She had two young children. She was raising his previous two children as her own. She knew she needed to get out, and she knew she had to leave.

And I mean, to suffer that type of abuse on top of having that be someone that's also employing you; that was her livelihood.


SPANOS: That was her entire life. And to do that and to start over, she literally started from scratch. And it's incredible what she was able to achieve.

HARLOW: Brittany, thank you for helping us remember her, honor her. The Queen.

SPANOS: Thank you for having me.

HARLOW: Good to have you.

COLLINS: Also this morning, we're tracking this story from the South out of Mississippi where an 11-year-old boy called police. He needed help. He ended up being shot, though, by a responding officer. Hear the latest on his condition and how the police department is now responding.