Return to Transcripts main page

CNN This Morning

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) Debt Ceiling Negotiations; IRS Veteran Goes Public As Whistleblower In Hunter Biden Probe; Music Legend Tina Turner Dies At 83. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired May 25, 2023 - 07:30   ET




REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): You know the challenge here. Democrats continue to want to spend more. I've been very clear I will not put a bill on the floor that spends more money next year than this year.

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: For starters, this is a manufactured crisis, plain and simple. And let's be clear this is not about cutting wasteful spending for Republicans and it never has been.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Senior Republican sources tell CNN this morning that the prospects for raising the debt limit by June first -- one week from today -- are grim, though House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says there is progress. The two sides though we know still very far apart on any deal. The negotiations will continue today. Pressure i only intensifying -- as I said, one week away from a potential default -- and even getting close to it would likely trigger a global economic catastrophe.

Joining us now is Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of Washington. She is the chair of the House Progressive Caucus. Good morning, Congresswoman.

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): Good morning, Poppy.

HARLOW: I thought it was striking that your Republican colleague, Congressman Patrick McHenry -- who has, by the way, been very complimentary of Janet Yellen, saying listen to her on this deadline -- that he told Punchbowl News he's not optimistic that there will be a deal in time. He also said, quote, "We are, in my view, past what is a reasonable deadline and that's why when the speaker said let's figure it out in February he meant it."

Are you as concerned as he is that we are past a reasonable deadline already?

JAYAPAL: Well, I am concerned, Poppy, and I think that if we default -- if we come close to default there is only one person to blame and it's Speaker McCarthy.

You know, he says Speaker McCarthy wanted to talk back in February but don't forget that it wasn't until the end of April that the Republicans even passed a bill off the floor. And let's not be fooled into thinking that was a budget. It was not a budget.

In fact, they pulled back all of their appropriations bills this week because there is no way to square for the American people what they're saying in terms of they want to increase Pentagon spending. They want to hold veterans harmless even as they are pulling money away from veterans for the Burn Pit fund, which helps people who were injured in war.

And if you do all of that, Poppy, there's no way to not have significant cuts to health care, to school and education, to people's childcare, Social Security. All of these things will be affected and they don't want people to know that --

HARLOW: You --

JAYAPAL: -- but that's what would happen. Cuts of between 20 and 30 percent to all of these different categories that people rely on.

HARLOW: Congresswoman, you say there would be only one person to blame if there's no deal and that's Kevin McCarthy, but not even all of your Democratic colleagues in Congress feel that way. And I'm quoting Democratic Rep. Ritchie Torres who told CNN -- he told our Manu Raju yesterday that the Democratic Party really miscalculated here and he said that they should have done this unilaterally when Democrats controlled both chambers back in December.

Our reporting is that you actually spoke with then-House Speaker Pelosi about doing that. Is that right? And is he right?

JAYAPAL: Well, that's correct and we did -- I did speak to the speaker at the time and we actually put it out on our important executive actions to take place -- or lame duck session actions to take place back in the late fall.

You know, I think the challenge at the time was that we would need 50 Democrats in the Senate to do that. And so I understand there were concerns. I don't think we tried hard enough to make sure we got that done.

At the same time, I still don't think that negates where the blame lies for this. Because don't forget Poppy, we've raised the debt ceiling 78 times in recent history and we -- Democrats did it three times under Donald Trump even though that was at the same time that Donald Trump --


JAYAPAL: -- and Republicans passed $7.8 trillion additional that was added to the deficit.

HARLOW: CNN has a new poll out. I'm sure you've seen it in just the last two days. And what it shows really interestingly is that 60 percent of Americans say Congress should only raise the debt ceiling if it comes with spending cuts at the same time, and that includes 58 percent of Independents.

Is your position out of step now, Congresswoman, with the majority of the American people?

JAYAPAL: I'm so glad you raised that poll because I think it's really important to look at what that poll says. If you just say to people should we cut spending they will probably say yes. However, if you say would you rather cut spending and reduce the deficit by cutting the tax breaks to the wealthiest corporations and wealthiest individuals or would you like to cut your own health care, education, care for veterans, et cetera, I guarantee you that you would have even higher numbers that say let's make sure that we're making the wealthy pay their fair share.


HARLOW: But Congresswoman, that's not what the --

JAYAPAL: And that's the other thing we've been saying to the Republicans.

HARLOW: But that's not what the poll says. This is the exact question that was asked of voters. "What should Congress do on the debt ceiling?" Raise only if spending cuts, 60 percent. Raise no matter what, 24 percent. Not raise and let U.S. default, 15 percent.


HARLOW: These are -- these are what they are saying to this critical question.

JAYAPAL: Yes, but --

HARLOW: Go ahead.

JAYAPAL: No, I understand. But Poppy, you can't take tax cuts out of spending. You know, tax cuts for the wealthiest are spending. Don't think that isn't spending when under Donald Trump they added almost $2 trillion to the deficit because they gave tax cuts to the wealthiest. That is spending.

And I think the American people understand that that's what needs to change -- is we need to roll back those tax cuts and we need to actually make sure that we are reducing the deficit by making the wealthiest pay their fair share --

HARLOW: Very --

JAYAPAL: -- not by cutting working people's benefits.

HARLOW: Very well aware of what those 2017 tax cuts did.

And to your point, you pointed out yesterday the policies proposed by the White House and all of this that the Republicans have rejected, which included ending some of those tax cuts, oil subsidies, et cetera.

Let me just end on this because you've been a big voice and the progressive caucus has in urging the Biden administration to invoke the 14th Amendment here to essentially ignore the debt limit, raise it -- saying look, they have that constitutional authority.

Janet Yellen has said that's legally questionable. The Biden administration has viewed it as problematic just with the timeframe we're in.

And I thought it was interesting that Senate majority whip Dick Durbin warned, quote, "Inserting it into the process now tosses this into the courts and God knows where it ends."

And then, Republican Sen. John Cornyn said, "It's a way to avoid responsibility," which I think is basically saying isn't it your job as Congress to do hard things and make hard decisions like this?

JAYAPAL: Yes, absolutely, it is our job. It's our constitutional obligation to raise the debt ceiling, which Republicans are refusing to do. So again, let's make it clear that anyone who thinks that this is normal, it's not normal. Republicans are using this as a hostage- taking move because they couldn't get these cuts that they're trying to get in during the regular negotiations and appropriations session. I think the American people have to understand that is what is happening.

So is it our preference to use the 14th Amendment? Of course, not. We think Republicans should raise the debt ceiling. That can happen today, Poppy, if five Republicans who are responsible to their constitutional obligation get out there and sign the discharge petition for a clean debt ceiling raise with Democrats.

So I don't want to use the 14th Amendment but what I am saying is that if it's a choice between a catastrophic deal for the American people either through default or through these awful spending cuts, then I think the president would have to go to using his unilateral authority to raise the debt ceiling.

HARLOW: Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, thank you. It's good to have your voice in this conversation. I appreciate you joining us.

JAYAPAL: Thank you, Poppy. Great to be with you.

HARLOW: Thanks.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: And we'll see what the White House says about that. They have been pushing back on those unilateral options. We'll see if it's --


COLLINS: -- something they're willing to pursue. Also this morning in Washington, the IRS whistleblower who said that there was political interference in the probe of Hunter Biden is now speaking out publicly.

HARLOW: And weight loss drugs like Ozempic -- you've heard a lot of about that, right? Well, now they could be a whole lot more accessible. We'll tell you why after this.



COLLINS: This morning, a 14-year veteran of the IRS is revealing himself as the whistleblower who claims there was political interference surrounding that probe into Hunter Biden's finances. Gary Shapley was recently removed from the Justice Department investigation.

This is what he told CBS.


GARY SHAPLEY, WHISTLEBLOWER IN HUNTER BIDEN PROBE: There was multiple steps that were slow-walked at the direction of the Department of Justice.


SHAPLEY: I have not, no.


COLLINS: CNN's Evan Perez joins us now. Evan, one, what's the extent of his allegations? And two, what is the IRS saying about all of this?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the extent of the allegations are still pretty minimal. We don't know exactly what specific allegations of wrongdoing this whistleblower is making because he hasn't even yet met with the congressional committees that are doing this investigation.

We know publicly now for the first time his name, Gary Shapley. We know that he has some concerns that date back to 2020. Now, this would be during the Trump administration where he said he started noticing that there were deviations from the normal course of the way these types of investigations are done. We know that he believes that there were -- that there were some political or some partisan interference here by someone beginning in 2020 but also continued into the Biden administration.

And not a lot of specifics in what he is saying but he does describe this October 2022 meeting where he says everything came to a head. He and other investigators were very frustrated and believed that there were things being done that were, again, being done for partisan reasons. Now, we expect that he is going to meet with the House investigators

on the -- investigators on the House side, Republicans and Democrats, on Friday. And then he's going to also meet with Senate investigators -- again, to describe what he says is some political interference in this investigation.

The IRS, for its part, says that he -- they have made sure that this whistleblower's complaints are being investigated by its inspector general, and they say that there has been nothing done on the IRS side, especially, to interfere with what he is saying.

COLLINS: All right, Evan Perez. Thank you.


PEREZ: Thanks.

HARLOW: Well this morning, a remarkable medical breakthrough. A man is now walking more than a decade after suffering a paralyzing spinal cord injury. Forty-year-old Gert-Jan Oskam was injured in a motorcycle accident more than a decade ago. It prevented him from taking a single step. But now doctors in Switzerland have helped him regain his ability to walk through his thoughts.


GERT-JAN OSKAM, PARALYZED MAN WHO NOW CAN WALK: Three years ago I got in contact with a team of scientists in Switzerland and I could participate in a clinical trial for a brain-spine device where they put implants in my brain and in my back to learn to walk again.


HARLOW: Amazing.

Here's how it works. The implants in the brain track intentions for movements, right? What he's thinking about moving. Those are wirelessly transferred to a processing unit that a person wears externally, like a backpack. You saw him wearing it there.

He says he can now walk about the length of a football field and stand without using his hands for a few minutes. He's even attempting to get up and down stairs on his own. And tomorrow, he and his doctor will join us live right here on CNN THIS MORNING.

COLLINS: I can't wait to watch that interview.

Also this morning, there is a big change that could soon be coming to a very popular weight loss drug that's on the market. Instead of once- a-week injections of drugs like Ozempic or Wegovy, people may be eventually able to just take a pill instead.

Joining us now with more on this is CNN's medical correspondent Meg Tirrell. This would be huge for a lot of people who don't want to have to do these injections on a weekly basis. MEG TIRRELL, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Right now, you've got to

give these to yourselves once a week as shots. And so we've seen in results, actually just published this week, both from Pfizer and from Novo Nordisk -- Novo, of course, makes Wegovy and Ozempic -- that they have pill versions of this and, so far, in trials the results look similar when it comes to weight loss -- up to 15 percent of body weight over more than a year of taking this.

And so these are still in trials right now. They are -- at least the Novo one -- they plan to file for FDA approval this year, potentially. Pfizer is going to choose which compound of two it's going to take into phase three next year. Eli Lily also has one of these. This could really change the way people look at taking this medicine.

HARLOW: What about the side effects? That's been one of the big questions of Ozempic. Is it worth it for people because of some of the side effects that people endure? Any difference in side effects from pills?

TIRRELL: No. They're basically the same. Whereas the efficacy looks the same, some of these side effects are the same, too. And they're things like nausea and vomiting.

And so when you're taking these injections you actually start with lower doses and you move up over time so you can try to tolerate these drugs better. Doctors do say about five to 10 percent of patients really can't tolerate these side effects and don't take them. If there was a pill, they say maybe the titration -- that gradual increase could be managed a little better and maybe that could lessen some of these side effects of it.

COLLINS: And the two names that I mentioned, Ozempic and Wegovy, are pretty well known. In fact, we've talked about them so much on this program. Is there another one, though, that is about to enter the market I believe?

TIRRELL: There is. So, Eli Lily has one already approved for type 2 diabetes called Mounjaro. That same compound --

HARLOW: Right.

TIRRELL: -- they're waiting on FDA approval for in obesity.

But even beyond that, we are seeing a huge pipeline full of drugs. Two dozen orals and more that are trying to increase the weight loss. So we're going to see a lot more coming.

HARLOW: We'll follow it. This is really fascinating.

Meg, thank you for the reporting.

TIRRELL: Thanks, guys.

HARLOW: So we're just a few days from Memorial Day and our very own Jake Tapper is live for us at the National Mall with a group of veterans. Jake, tell us what's happening this morning. JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR, "THE LEAD" AND "STATE OF THE UNION": Poppy,

I'm here with a bipartisan group of members of Congress -- Democrats and Republicans -- all of whom are veterans. And we're here right near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and they are about to do an annual tradition, which is before the Memorial Day weekend they are going to go to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and they are going to wash the Vietnam Veterans Memorial as a way of honoring those whom we lost right before Memorial Day.




TINA TURNER, SINGER: Singing "The Best."


HARLOW: She was simply the best. Showstopper, pop sensation, and to so many just the best there was. This morning, people around the world are mourning the death of the queen of rock and roll, Tina Turner.

Through her decades long career, she won 12 Grammys, sold over 100 million records, and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame not once but twice.

Her family said she died peacefully at her home in Switzerland after a long illness.

And here is a look back at her remarkable life.


TURNER: Singing "Proud Mary."

I just did what I wanted to do and what I felt like doing.

That's my style. I take great songs and turn them into rock and roll songs on stage. My performances and energy on stage.

Singing "What You Get Is What You See."

The crowd, the music, the whole atmosphere gets me going.

Welcome to another edition of Thunderdome.

It took a long time to get to Hollywood.


TURNER: Singing "What's Love Got To Do With It."

I had a lot of violence -- houses burnt, cars shot into -- the lowest that you can think of in terms of violence. But I felt that getting it out would not be suppressing it anymore and letting the world really know.

Well, I think you're asking me if I have a word of advice to the upcomers, right? I think I can say if they plan to make a life of their career they will have to be patient and hold a very strong tenacity and endurance because the business is attractive but very hard.

I can't think of anything else that I want to do because it's all done now.

Singing "The Best."


COLLINS: Joining us now, the musician and former band leader of "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN," Paul Shaffer. And, of course, John Fogerty, who wrote one of Turner's most legendary songs, "Proud Mary" and is proud to have had her perform it, I know. Thank you both so much for being here.

Paul, I was just watching you as we were seeing that tribute of her and hearing those songs. I wonder what you're feeling this morning.

PAUL SHAFFER, COMPOSER AND MUSICIAN, FORMER BANDLEADER, "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": Oh, my goodness, a tremendous loss. That's all I can say. This is a major loss to the creative artistic community. What more can you say?

I mean, it's so significant what she represented for so many ways -- sociologically and, of course, musically that I'm just -- and I thought she would live forever. I never thought we would see this day. She was -- she was immortal, was she not?


HARLOW: Yes, she really, really was, Paul.

John, the song "Proud Mary" -- your song, your words, your creation. And you tweeted after her passing that you loved her version of "Proud Mary" so much and the fact that she chose it for her breakthrough record.

I wonder what it was like for you when you heard her perform it for the first time.

JOHN FOGERTY, MUSICIAN, WROTE TINA TURNER'S HIT SONG "PROUD MARY" (via Webex by Cisco): Oh, over the top. She knew what was best. And I've been rooting for her for years before she even recorded "Proud Mary" and was lucky enough to tour with her with my band Creedence back in about 1970 I believe it was -- '72 perhaps.

Anyway, she was amazing on stage and I was so proud that she -- that basically, "Proud Mary" was the song that catapulted her from sort of in the middle of rock and roll to the very heights of pop music at that time. And I was just thrilled that she had finally become a household name, you know. HARLOW: Yes, of course.

COLLINS: Yes, it is the song that kind of helps revive her, I think is the way she described it.

And Paul, John mentioned her electrifying stage presence. I mean, that is so much of her legacy. We were talking earlier about her adversity in her personal life but it was also just the way she was on stage and to see how she made people in the crowd feel.

SHAFFER: She was like a -- like a hurricane, like a tornado, like a dynamo. No one had ever seen anything like it. She -- as far as performers, I mean, you look back in history and you think about Sammy Davis Jr., for instance, known as the greatest. Tina Turner takes her place in that pantheon.

If you ever saw her -- and I got to see her when I was in college. I saw her in a club with Ike in the El Mocambo Toronto. I had never -- she levitated. The whole band really levitated under her direction and control, even though Ike was supposedly -- you know, in control. She was flying that airplane like I'd never seen it before.

HARLOW: John, what is also remarkable that Kaitlan and I have been talking about all morning is the fact that she overcame so much in her private life and her marriage -- all of that emotional and physical abuse for 16 years that the public largely didn't know about until she finally came out and talked about it.

But the fact that she was able to achieve all of this and be all of that on stage to everyone while enduring this at home -- I just wonder your thoughts on that.

FOGERTY: Well, I think actually, the stage is the place that you live for when you're in a situation like that. You take -- you take all the abuse, I guess because you're forced to, but you're free when you get out on stage --


FOGERTY: -- and it's just you and your audience and the music.

I know she was absolutely the best. Paul said levitate. I think that's really unstoppable energy.

I remember after she had recorded "Proud Mary" -- I mean, for just years and years we saw her on TV performing in that red dress with the girls in the background singing rolling on the river. Just a very iconic moment in rock and roll.

COLLINS: It's completely iconic.

Paul, I wonder of all the people you've played with is she one of your favorites?

SHAFFER: No question about it. And I got to play for her a number of times -- most notably that time she did David Letterman's show in the '90s and she did a song called "I Don't Really Want To Fight No More." And her great manager, Roger Davies, was with her right down in there in the trenches with us. And I got to be in her band for a second.

And I'm telling you when I thought back and remembered seeing her on "AMERICAN BANDSTAND" with Dick Clark doing "A Fool in Love" in about 1960 -- I don't know what, '69 -- I didn't even understand it then. It was so complex. Now I realize it was like Ornette Coleman. It was so complex and avant-garde -- her sound. And then getting to work with her -- unbelievable.

I can only imagine what John Fogerty -- what he feels like when he hears how she takes it slow first -- nice and easy -- and then she takes a song and does it nice and rough. Oh, my goodness. We all fell over when we heard that.

HARLOW: What about you, John?

FOGERTY: Absolutely. The first time I heard it on the radio I was just full of joy and pride, I'd guess you say, that she had chosen my song. And the fact that it was so different than the way I did it, you know, and she turned it into a little movement -- a little mini-opera, I suppose. And I liked both ways.