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Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) Zelenskyy's Washington Visit As GOP Opposition To Ukraine Aid Grows; Mother Of Cancer Survivor Works To End Drug Shortages; New Book Details How AI Will Transform The World. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired September 20, 2023 - 07:30   ET





VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: Of course, everybody -- close families -- it doesn't matter where you lost it. In New York -- in the center of New York or in Kramatorsk, it doesn't matter. You lost and that's it, and you never will hear your children. Of course, when you lost your family you hate Russians or another terrorist.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: The starkest of terms from Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. That was in an interview he did with our colleague Wolf Blitzer about how Russia's war is impacting Ukrainian civilians. Zelenskyy sat down with Wolf following his speech yesterday at the United Nations General Assembly. Next, the Ukrainian leader heads to Washington, D.C. today where he is expected to meet with President Biden and also visit Capitol Hill.

His trip comes as additional aid for Ukraine is being held up as part of the House Republicans' broader fight over funding the government. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says he has questions for Zelenskyy over aid Ukraine has already received from the United States.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Is Zelenskyy elected to Congress? Is he our president? I don't think I have to commit anything.

I have questions for him. Where is the accountability in the money we already spent? What is the plan for victory?


HARLOW: Joining us now, Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut. He, of course, sits on the Foreign Relations Committee. He will attend an all-senators meeting with Zelenskyy tomorrow. Senator, good morning, and thank you. It's not just Kevin McCarthy and House Republicans, it's senators like

Mike Braun, Republican. Quote, "Why should we be paying all the bills for something, especially in a powder keg area like that? We can't afford to do it in the long run."


Senator Josh Hawley. "We just need to level with our European allies and say we need you to take the lead in the conventional defense of Europe. We'll take the lead on China."

Why are they wrong, in your mind?

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): Because this matters to the United States. It doesn't just matter to Europe. The United States has benefited from the post-World War II order in which big countries like Russia and China don't use their military mite to invade smaller countries. That stability has allowed American economic and political power to grow. So this isn't just a European problem; this is an American problem.

And as we saw in World War I and World War II, when the United States takes the position at first that invasions of Europe are European problems --

HARLOW: Um-hum.

MURPHY: -- they very quickly become American problems. And so we're learning from history by stopping this invasion early rather than letting Putin take all of Ukraine and then perhaps move further into Europe.

So I just don't agree with my colleagues that a) Europe can handle this by themselves. There are capabilities that only the United States has that we can --

HARLOW: Um-hum.

MURPHY: -- transfer to Ukraine nor do I agree that it isn't a priority for the United States.

Ukraine isn't asking American soldiers to die to protect Ukraine; they're just asking us to help pay some of the bills. We're still paying less than half the bills for military support and I think it's a wise investment.

HARLOW: Do you -- is it your belief now 10 days out Ukraine is part of the issue here -- that there are a whole host of issues -- that we are headed -- I know it's the other chamber -- that we are headed toward a government shutdown, though?

MURPHY: I mean, listening to the --


MURPHY: -- House of Representatives in the last week, I really worry that we are headed to a shutdown. They have no path to passing a continuing resolution with Republican votes. Right now, McCarthy doesn't seem to have any interest in doing a bipartisan continuing resolution, which is really the only continuing resolution that can pass.

And just yesterday, they couldn't even move the defense bill to the floor, translating that they can't even get pay raises for the troops passed. So the House Republicans seem like a total chaotic mess right now.

In the Senate, we have bipartisan support for the appropriations bills and we would have bipartisan support for a continuing resolution. But the dysfunction of the House Republicans seems pretty cataclysmic right now and I worry unless they change course and decide to start cooperating with Democrats that we are headed for a --


MURPHY: -- really damaging shutdown for this country.

HARLOW: Given your position on global affairs and your particular interest in Saudi Arabia and the United States, I do want to ask you -- as the president, by the way, gets ready to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today -- what The New York Times is reporting this morning. Quote, "The United States is discussing the terms of a mutual defense treaty with Saudi Arabia that would resemble military pacts with Japan and South Korea."

And Tom Freedman framed it interestingly this morning. He says, "Netanyahu has formed the most extreme government in Israel's history and yet Biden's administration is considering forging a complex partnership with his coalition and Saudi Arabia. There are enormous potential benefits and risks for the United States."

It is -- is it your view, Senator, that the potential benefits are worth the risks of doing something like this? We'll all remember candidate Biden said he would make Saudi a pariah.

MURPHY: So, I think the United States should be in the room to try to help facilitate an agreement between Saudi Arabia and Israel that normalizes relations between those two countries. It is good for the United States if there is peace between the Gulf and, in particular, between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

The question is what price should the United States pay for that? And I would be very wary of committing the United States through a treaty to the defense of Saudi Arabia. I will wait until I see all of the aspects of this deal. I trust the Biden administration inherently when it comes to foreign policy, especially in this region that Biden knows so well.

But this Saudi government chopped up an American journalist. There is just recently reports that they have been executing and torturing immigrants as they cross the border.

HARLOW: Um-hum. MURPHY: The question is, is this the kind of stable regime that we should commit American blood to defending? I think that's going to be a --


MURPHY: -- really high bar for the administration to step over. But all of the administration's allies are very interested in seeing the details of an agreement if it comes to fruition.

HARLOW: And we should note just so people understand, the reporting is the U.S. and Saudi, if they agree to this, would pledge to provide military support if the other countries attacked in the region or on Saudi territory.


But before you go, I'm really interested in your thoughts on -- you know, we -- the Biden administration is no longer sending people to Detroit to try to help reach an agreement with the United Auto Workers and the Big Three. Trump is going to go there on debate night instead of debating.

Is it your view that President Biden should be there? I mean, he is the, right, self-proclaimed union guy -- union Joe. Should he have a more forceful presence there when obviously, Trump and the Republicans are trying to pick up these union votes?

MURPHY: Listen, I think all of us should just say one simple thing: we stand with the union. Obviously, we want this strike to end as quickly as possible. But you know what? Sometimes you need to make a fight. I mean, these greedy corporate CEOs have been keeping worker pay down for way too long. You're talking about a 150 percent increase in CEO pay in the last 10 years when the minimum wage hasn't gone up at all. This is a really important fight not just for the autoworkers but for workers all around this country.

And so, I think everybody in the Democratic Party should be just making it clear that we stand with the workers. The administration has to play a unique role to try to help end this crisis. But I think we all should just make it clear that the workers are right. The company is wrong. And when right and wrong is at stake, you know, I call balls and strikes --

HARLOW: On all their demands? Senator, on all their demands, 40 workweek included?

MURPHY: They're -- listen, they're asking for a pay increase that is identical to what the CEO has gotten. And so, if the CEO doesn't want to pay the workers a nine percent increase every year then the CEOs shouldn't be taking 10 percent increases every year.

HARLOW: Senator Chris Murphy, thanks very much.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: Well, this morning, President Biden will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. Poppy was just asking about that relationship and where it stands. How the president will address Netanyahu's controversial judicial reform plan. That's ahead.

And after a long struggle to find the lifesaving drugs for her 9-year- old daughter with cancer, this champion for change launched an organization with a mission to end drug shortages entirely. Her amazing story, next.



MATTINGLY: It's time for my favorite part -- Poppy's (INAUDIBLE).

HARLOW: My favorite part.

MATTINGLY: -- of every day this week -- Champions for Change. All this week, we are bringing you stories about everyday people who are making big changes and lifting humanity up. People like Lara Bray.

HARLOW: She fought to get lifesaving medicine for her daughter and now she's striving to change the American pharmaceutical business completely.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta has more on this amazing champion for change. We're lucky enough to be joined by him in studio. I can't wait to see this.


HARLOW: Good morning.

GUPTA: You know, we all have kids. And imagine that you get a terrible diagnosis for one of your children and you're told this is the medication that is necessary to help them -- to save them -- but that medication is in shortage. I mean, that happens all the time in this country. Cancer meds are likely to go into shortage. What do you do?

I mean, I think it's part of the DNA of all of our champions is sort of take on big establishments, but if it's the entire healthcare industry it can be a real challenge.

Here is what Laura Bray did.


LAURA BRAY, FOUNDER, ANGELS FOR CHANGE: Four years ago, my husband Mike and I were sitting in a hospital room when our child, Abby, was diagnosed with leukemia.

I think anybody who has been in a life-threatening diagnosis will remember those moments. We go in. She's going to be able to have her chemos but she's not going to have Erwinaze today. How come? It's on shortage.

Obvious, clever. Nothing gets past her. And she just said what does this mean? Does this mean I die?

GUPTA (on camera): She asked you that question?

BRAY: Yeah. It's hard enough that my 9-year-old had to contemplate her mortality when she was diagnosed with cancer and also then wonder if she was going to survive because not enough drug was made.

GUPTA (voice-over): What she did next makes her a true champion for change. She put together a consortium of friends and family and they essentially created a phone bank, calling more than 220 children's hospitals around the country and asking all of them did they have the medication that could save Abby. Finally, someone said yes.

BRAY: It was a relief and a release of all the stress. And then I felt tremendous guilt and I was haunted by the knowledge that somewhere in the country some other mom and child was going to be going through the same hopeless conversation.

Hi, this is Laura.

We launched Angels for Change and almost immediately, people began to call.

So right now, we're on a 10-year high for drug shortages. There's more than 300 essential medicine shortages.

There's four key reasons why there's shortage. The lower the price of medicine the more likely it is to be in shortage. The more complicated the medicine, if there's a history of Q.A. event and all of it is made by one supplier or one area of the world, it's more likely to be in shortage.

GUPTA (on camera): I think we've gotten so used to thinking about things like Amazon. They can anticipate when you're running out of toilet paper. When you're running out of dog food. You think the same thing would happen with lifesaving medications but that's not the case.


BRAY: The entire supply chain has to be engaged.

So I thought what would it look like to partner with manufacturers and use prediction?

GUPTA (voice-over): She calls it Project Protect, anticipating which drugs could go into shortage and producing them with other companies before it's too late. Her first effort, a $100,000 grant for the for- profit STAQ Pharmaceutical to manufacture two specific drugs.

BRAY: Potassium chloride and sodium chloride, which newborns, NICU patients, and PICU patients need to survive.

JERROD MILTON, CHIEF CLINICAL OFFICER, CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL COLORADO: It's like salt and pepper. You never think you're going to run out of those very simple things. Well, don't take our supply chain for granted.

GUPTA (voice-over): Jerrod Milton oversees all pharmacy and clinical services at Children's Hospital Colorado.

GUPTA (on camera): What if Project Protect didn't exist? What would have happened in that situation?

MILTON: I shudder to think about what we would have had to do.

GUPTA (on camera): Potassium chloride -- one of the first drugs --

So you're able to anticipate this shortage basically, at risk, and create the medications. And they did go into shortage.

BRAY: They did go into shortage.

GUPTA (on camera): And --

BRAY: More than 700,000 treatments were accessed. And what we know --

GUPTA (on camera): Seven hundred thousand treatments?

BRAY: Yeah.

GUPTA (on camera): That's incredible.

BRAY: It is incredible.

GUPTA (on camera): When you see this now, all right -- you see this coming off the line, so to speak, what's that like for you?

BRAY: What I see here is each one of those that's being filled up, seven to nine NICU babies are going to get fed today.

GUPTA (on camera): How is Abby doing now?

BRAY: She is officially a survivor. She's doing great. She's a very normal, typical, bright, clever, fierce 13-year-old.


GUPTA: I've got to tell you, we've been reporting on drug shortages for a long time. I had no idea how bad it was. Three hundred drugs were in shortage at the end of 2022. The average shortages last about a year and a half. And for some reason, children's cancer meds are usually at the top of the list.

They were able to figure it out -- Laura -- and this is now her life's work. And like you heard, Abby is doing great.

But this is a problem. I mean, the policymakers have not been able to address this problem so private citizens have taken it upon themselves.

MATTINGLY: Remarkable private citizens.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a great piece. Thank you so much.

HARLOW: What a story.

MATTINGLY: And please be sure to tune in Saturday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern for "CHAMPIONS FOR CHANGE." The whole one-hour special -- you won't want to miss it.

HARLOW: That was wonderful.

President Biden calling on world leaders to better regulate artificial intelligence. Are we too late to this? We have one key AI expert with us, ahead.

MATTINGLY: And Attorney General Merrick Garland just hours away from publicly testifying in front of Congress. How he plans to defend the Justice Department. That's ahead.


HARLOW: Welcome back.


As Congress works to confront the rapid evolution of artificial intelligence, President Biden is calling on world leaders to take steps to ensure the technology is used for good.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We must also forge new partnerships and confront new challenges. Emerging technology such as artificial intelligence hold both enormous potential and enormous peril. We need to be sure they are used as tools of opportunity; not as weapons of oppression.


HARLOW: Our next guest just released a book that is getting a lot of acclaim and a lot of attention -- "The Coming Wave: Technology, Power, and the 21st Century's Greatest Dilemma." He writes, quote, "We urgently need watertight answers for how the coming wave can be controlled and contained, how the safeguards and affordances of the democratic nation-states can be maintained, but right now no one has such a plan."

We're happy to be joined at the table this morning by Nustafa Suleyman. He is the co-founder and the CEO of Inflection AI, one of the world's pioneering AI entrepreneurs also. He led some of this work at Google. You know this inside and out. We're so glad you're here.

Your overall premise in this is essentially, we have to make sure not as America, as a world, that this ends well. It sounds simple but that's why you're doing this.

NUSTAFA SULEYMAN, CEO AND CO-FOUNDER, INFLECTION AI, AUTHOR, "THE COMING WAVE: TECHNOLOGY, POWER, AND THE 21ST CENTURY'S GREAT DILEMMA", FORMER HEAD OF AI AND CO-FOUNDER, DEEPMIND: Yeah. I think the most important thing is that we remember there are huge benefits to come from this so we shouldn't panic. I mean, all technologies that are new initially feel a little bit scary.

Like, aircraft felt really scary. Cars felt scary. And over the years, we did a pretty good of regulating them. I mean, cars, for example, have all kinds of regulations on roads, emissions, seat belts, airbags.

And it just takes time to kind of wrap our heads around the consequences and how to reduce the risks.

MATTINGLY: I think what's so striking is the upsides are I think significant, tremendous, and I think people acknowledge them. The downsides are catastrophic.

HARLOW: Huge, yeah.

MATTINGLY: And you focus on the idea of containment and I want to read some -- your definition in the book " the overarching ability to control, limit, and potentially, if need be, close down technologies at any stage of their development or deployment."

That's a problem at this point, which is it's kind of at the crux of your thesis here. Why?

SULEYMAN: This is a different moment in the history of invention, right? So for the last few centuries -- in fact, for as long as humans have been alive -- the great challenge has been in unleashing the power of technologies. We've been trying to invent things in order to make our lives happier and healthier, more efficient, cheaper.

In the next few decades, we're going to have the flip side of that challenge, which is actually trying to contain the power that we've unleashed and making sure that it always works for us.

HARLOW: So one of the questions is how you do that. And one of the suggestions you make is to literally manufacture the chips that can do this process in one plant, and you say in Taiwan, for example. And that obviously set alarm bells off in my head because I thought about China.

So is that the only way you can do it? And then what about the risk of something like China if you do it in Taiwan?

SULEYMAN: Well, the reality is today almost all of the AI models that are built in the world are trained on a single type of chip --


SULEYMAN: -- made by NVIDIA --


SULEYMAN: -- which is an American company. But they manufacture their chips in Taiwan -- TSMC -- when then use a single supplier, ASML in the Netherlands, to produce their equipment. And so, that chain is really good when it comes to containment because there are chokepoints that we can use to monitor who has access to these chips, what they're being used for, and how they can be regulated. And that's actually a sign to be optimistic because it can be controlled.

MATTINGLY: The -- a lot of times, AI came up during the U.N. General Assembly's speeches.

HARLOW: A lot.

MATTINGLY: It was almost jarring to some degree. These are very important speeches that every word I think is very calibrated. You heard it from President Biden but you also heard from President Zelenskyy mentioning it.

And in your book you note that President Vladimir Putin believes the leader in AI will become essentially the ruler of the world.

Listen to what Zelenskyy said about AI yesterday.


ZELENSKYY: We see the war of drones. We know the possible effects of spreading the war into the cyberspace. The artificial intelligence could be trained to combat well before it would learn to help the humanity.


MATTINGLY: There is a clear race between the U.S. Defense Department and every other kind of defense operation around the world.

What are the near-term risks related to what Zelenskyy is talking about?

SULEYMAN: AI is essentially a proliferation of power, right? So the ability to have influence, whether on the battlefield or in education and health care, is not going to get easier and cheaper so many, many people will get access. And that's quite different to technologies of the past.

The challenge when it comes to regulation is making sure that our adversaries play by the rules, and that's difficult when they are obviously facing real challenges on their own battle line of their -- of their own. And that's quite different to the challenge that we experience.

HARLOW: It's a fascinating read. You also talk about the good things that it can do. Thank you -- congratulations.

SULEYMAN: Thank you so much.

MATTINGLY: It's great to be with you -- appreciate it.

And CNN THIS MORNING continues right now.

HARLOW: Good morning, everyone. Top of the hour. We're so glad you're with us on this Wednesday.