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CNN Tonight

President Biden Makes Surprise Visit To Ukraine War Zone; CNN Gives An Update On Ohio Train Derailment; Alabama Man Allegedly Freezes To Death In Police Custody; Winnie The Pooh Gets Horror Movie Treatment; A.I. Turns All 46 Presidents Into Cartoon Characters. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired February 20, 2023 - 23:00   ET



DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: I mean, Eisenhower would go to Korea and said we're getting out of Korea. But you had in recent years, you know, Obama going to Afghanistan or the Bushes visiting the troops.

This was a clandestine in middle of the wee hours, eight-hour secret train trip to go to Kyiv and meet Zelenskyy there. What it mainly is, as of tonight, is deeply symbolic of how much political capital we -- the Biden administration is putting on uniting the country on Ukraine. Mitch McConnell's back in. He's got 60 some percent of the American people. But there is a conservative world of people wondering whether it is financially sustainable to support Ukraine over the coming years.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: That's why the complaints about it. So, Mike, let me read some others.



CAMEROTA: I was. Somehow you're -- there you were right there, ready to tackle this. So, this is Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, says this is incredibly insulting. Today, on our President's Day, Joe Biden, the president of the U.S. chose Ukraine over America while forcing the American people to pay for Ukraine's government at war. I can't express how much the American people hate Joe Biden.

Then this next one from Scott -- Congressman Scott Perry, breathtaking that President Biden then show up in Ukraine to ensure their border is secure. He cannot do the same for America. And then Congressman Greg Murphy, so it takes two years for Joe Biden to visit the war zone he created at our southern border but -- then he goes to see another war zone he created in Ukraine.

So, I don't think they're the majority. But how loud of a following and voice do you think they have?

BROOMHEAD: Well, it is a loud voice. I think part of the issue is that people are upset about the border. I live in a border state. So, I think a lot of that spills over. I think you're right about the significance of what happened there. And we -- you know, if we're gonna support Ukraine, we should be in for a penny in for a pound. That is my opinion.

But I understand people's frustration with some things. I just don't think we should be mixing them together. It's not an either or game. But I understand the frustration of people saying, you know, you're over there when we have issues over here. I don't necessarily agree that we should have -- this visit was so important. I think we should look at it for what it is.

CAMEROTA: Yeah. And in fact, there are other Republicans who say the same thing. Here is Mitch McConnell today. He says my party's leaders' overwhelmingly support a strong involved America, a robust transatlantic alliance. Don't look at Twitter. Look at people in power. Look at me and Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Though this could be a pickle for Kevin McCarthy because everything is a pickle for Kevin McCarthy.

MOLLY JONG-FAST, HOST, "FAST POLITICS" PODCAST: Oh, he doesn't really have the votes, right? I mean think this is a good -- you know, look, NATO -- a strong NATO is good for peace, right? It has historically always been good for peace. And this is a lot of good political capital for Biden. The -- you know, it's worked so far, right? You know, Ukraine has continued to fight back. I think that's a really good thing. I think ultimately, you know, there are -- Kevin McCarthy has a caucus he can't control. And so, sooner or later that's going to come after him. It's just a question of when.

CAMEROTA: That was for Friday, I should mention, not today from Mitch McConnell. Ron DeSantis today did talk about what his, I guess, concern is about Ukraine. So, here he is this morning.


RON DESANTIS, FLORIDA GOVERNOR: And I don't think it's in our interest to be getting into proxy war with China getting involved over things like the borderlands or over Crimea. So, I think it would be who of them to identify what is the strategic objective that they are trying to achieve. But just saying it's an open-ended blank check that is not acceptable.


CAMEROTA: So, I mean, he may be getting ahead of himself with a proxy war in China.

NATASHA ALFORD, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yeah. I think what's interesting is this is maybe the one rare moment around Ron DeSantis is getting at something that I could kind of agree with. And that is the American people understanding of when this is going to end. There is overwhelming support for Ukraine and this understanding that, you know, whatever is happening in Ukraine is something that is part of our obligation to democracy. But the same time, I think, when I look at my readers at "TheGrio" and they comment, there is a communication issue, right? The Biden administration has not effectively communicated why and why money going over there can't be spent hair at home for things that affect them every day, that disconnect.

CAMEROTA: I mean that's just basically what Mike is saying about his callers in terms of the border. You're just saying it about the money being spent.

BROOMHEAD: But isn't -- also, when the president says we're running -- we may be running low on what we might need to defend ourselves and then the fear that China may invade Taiwan when we're at a time when we don't have enough ammunitions. I think you're right. If we are not explaining -- the (inaudible) is not explaining to the American people, it gives doubt. Even if they support what we're doing in Ukraine, they want some answers and some reassurance.

CAMEROTA: What would that look like, Doug?

BRINKELEY: Well, I think, look, FDR gave us the core (ph) freedoms. That's we're fighting for in the world. And there's nothing more primary than the NATO alliance.


After World War II, there was a Greek revolution. Harry Truman came in. He did the Truman Doctrine. We save Greece from Russian interference, communist government. Greece is NATO. Turkey is NATO. Every president, except Donald Trump, has but the NATO alliance first.

So, Joe Biden isn't just president of the United States. He's also the leader now of NATO, 30 countries. And if you lose Ukraine, and that -- and we just turn our back on that democratic movement there, what does it say? It's -- again, we are effective in 1991. The Soviet Union broke up because United States contained soviet expansionism.

Democrats and Republicans, Reagan and Carter, we can name them all. So, we must now stand forward for Zelenskyy and Ukraine, and I think most Americans agree with that. But Biden does have to sell that better. And I think this mission was an advancement of that cause and he has skin in the game by going over there with sirens running off as if it was Edward Moreau (ph) in London.

CAMEROTA: And tomorrow, he'll have that opportunity. I mean, he's giving a speech in Poland. Now, I don't know if the people who followed Marjorie Taylor Greene and the world would be listening to a speech in Poland, but he'll have that opportunity when -- what do you want him to say?

BROOMHEAD: I just look at people my side the aisle and it's as diverse as any other political party. There are extremes. But if -- I think a strong America is good for NATO. I think that's the best part of the strong America -- the stronger we are, the stronger NATO is.

If we are telling the world that we are running low on ammunition, we might need to defend ourselves. That's a concern. So, we've got to defeat that concern. If we're going to support Ukraine, I think we should, but then why aren't we giving jets? Why are we doing things in dribs and drabs? Explain a little that book giving away the strategy. But the American people need to know that. And I think that -- to the people that will -- there are people that will be never satisfied. But to the people will be, that will go a long way.

CAMEROTA: I just want to bring up Marjorie Taylor Greene one more time because she's -- because --

BROOMHEAD: You're really trying to pull us in --

CAMEROTA: I don't -- I normally don't, but she is -- she is calling for divorce. So let me just read this right now. Impeach Biden or give us a national divorce. We don't pay taxes to fund foreign countries wards who are not even NATO allies. We aren't sending our sons and daughters to die for foreign borders and foreign democracies, in quotation, she says, "America is broke. Criminal cartels reign and you're a fool."

JOONG-FAST: First of all, America's not broke. And a lot of the states have huge surpluses. We also -- they were very careful to Ukraine that no American soldiers are fighting there. So, all that is hyperbolic at best. I would say, look, this generation doesn't promote endless war. And I think it's a pushback. And Biden needs to address that.

Look, if -- you know, if Ukraine falls, Russia will be out of control and they will take, you know, whatever else they can. And I think that most of the international community knows that. But this -- you know, this generation, my generation, the generation after us, we don't like war. And you know, a lot of us grew up during the Gulf War which really seen it a huge waste of life and money and it killed a lot of really innocent Iraqi's. And so, I think a lot of us feel like war is really bad. And so, he's got to tell us why this makes sense.

CAMEROTA: Yeah. I hear you. And I think that, obviously, nobody likes endless war, but how can you ever tell somebody when a war is going to end?

BRINKLEY: Well, there's wars of necessity. World War II, Japan declared war on us. Germany declared war on us. So, we're all in it together. Now, is the Ukraine a war of choice and what does it mean? I mean, and they -- we have proxy wars during the cold war. I mean, some people argue what Korea was and Vietnam was, maybe Korea came out okay, Vietnam not so okay.

So, Biden's got to make the American public understands that this is a war of necessity that if we don't defend Western Europe at its time of need, and we don't -- and Ukraine now as part of the west. Unfortunately, it's not a NATO. Bill Clinton did our country a great service, in my view, by NATO enlargement when he was president when the Soviet Union collapsed.

But we cannot leave, you know, the Ukraine dither and bleed and die while we're just doing slogan airing here like the Georgia congresswoman on, you know, American first. We have to defend the Ukraine, I think, at all costs. And if not, we'll see what the consequences are. But China is a concern and how are they going to -- what they're going to do. And it's dangerous games going on in Europe right now.

CAMEROTA: Understood. Let's see what the president says tomorrow. All right. Meanwhile, back here, imagine if a toxic train derailment left you wondering whether your town and your family has been poisoned. The people in East Palestine are outrage and they are afraid and they don't know what's going to happen. And they don't know if they can trust anyone in the government. We will talk about all that.



CAMEROTA: The people of East Palestine, Ohio are scared. They are afraid to return to their homes even though officials say it is safe to go back. It has been more than two weeks that train carrying hazardous chemicals derailed.

Now, a health clinic is opening there to help address residents' by the concerns. Is that enough?

Back with me now Mike Broomhead, Molly Jong-Fast, Natasha Alford, and Harry Litman. Here's -- I mean, we have had so many people on our air talk about how their kids are throwing up. Their kids have rashes. They , themselves, taste battery in their mouth all day long. Here is one -- just another resident from East Palestine today.


BEN RATNER, RESIDENT, EAST PALESTINE, OHIO: I did go little too close to the area apparently on Thursday. I was down there with the news crew kind of taking pictures with cleanup and doing some video work. And we actually did get nauseous and got firsthand experience here. I was sick. I had a headache for about eight hours. I got sick after that. So, it is definitely a little more -- trying to exercise more caution and not go near the area again right now.


CAMEROTA: Officials tell them it is safe to go home, Natasha.


ALFORD: Right. And doubt is everywhere, right? If you look at the response to actual officials' tweets, the National Transportation Board director, people are saying this is not our reality. We don't trust you. And this is happening at a time when trust in government institutions is actually waning, right? So, you have people who are going to question, you know, just how sincere the official statements are and whether there is looking out for the profits.

Again, this is happening at the context of deregulation. We know that, you know, although the Obama era law that Trump rolled back would have prevented this particular disaster. It's still this idea that, you know, the American people are not being protected, that it's really about money and profit.

CAMEROTA: Although that (inaudible) if they did have breaks, these breaks in every single train car instead of just at the front after with a train car of 126 cars, it could've slowed this down.

ALFORD: Yes, yes.

CAMEROTA: I mean, that's one of the things that they rolled back and it's -- they are seeing more derailments now. Harry?

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: Suddenly, it's deeply wrong there and we just don't know what it is. I don't think the government is purposely misleading them. It might have to do with the water checking up and something terrible in the air. The animals are dying. People are -- it's obvious. There have been six class action suit filed, by the way, and it's going to be enormous.

But I don't blame the people. I mean, it's the words of the government versus their actual feeling sick. Something is really, really wrong. It's still a mystery, but I wouldn't go back there, let me put it that way.

CAMEROTA: Yeah. And by the way -- I mean, that is where your home is.


CAMEROTA: It's like it -- you have to go back to your home at some point. And your friends will only take you and your kids in for some long. I don't know what the people who are supposed to do.

BROOMHEAD: I agree with you. But let's throw a monkey wrench in this. We know we went through COVID and the question about the vaccines and the efficacy and the arguments with the American people and the doubt in the CDC, and the doubt with Dr. Fauci, this is just the same thing.

Again, you're hearing from the government, and they're telling you one thing and then you're finding out later that maybe that's not true. And then, in this case, it's your children that are getting sick right now. And I don't think they believe what they're being told. That doesn't mean they can't be convinced. But they are obviously skeptical. And they need answers, and I don't blame them.

JONG-FAST: But I would push back about the vaccines. It's like -- I would say, you're not seeing people -- I mean, I think a closer parallel was 9/11. I lived near there in New York during 9/11. We were all told it was totally fine. There were a lot -- there have been many, many lawsuits. People have died of mesothelioma, all sorts of cancers. I think that's a closer parallel because we haven't seen really the same kind of the thing with the vaccine, but I do know there is -- people do not trust the government right now.

CAMEROTA: Yes. And I mean, obviously, everybody has -- I take all of your points because you can have government say, we are testing and the air and the water seems completely safe, and then you are sick, and you have a sore throat and your kids are tearing up. Here is what Senator Sherrod Brown said today about people feeling skeptical.


SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D-OH): They are right to be skeptical. The EPA administrator, when I was there, both the state and the federal EPA administrators said that -- but when you return to your home, we think the water is safe. But when you return to your home, it should be tested again for your water and your soil and your air, not to mention those that have their own wells.


CAMEROTA: I mean, okay, everybody has to test all the time. How are we supposed to do that?

BROOMHEAD: Why would you go back if you weren't certain it was safe?

JONG-FAST: That's right.

BROOMHEAD: That's the other question. Would you take your kids back and drink the water and they say you start to test the water again?

ALFORD: What concerns me about this is that someone who is going to exploit the situation, and it's Donald Trump.


ALFORD: He has a trip planned. And you know exactly when he gets there he's going to go off the cuff. He's not gonna follow anything on any cue cards and use this as a moment to, I think, blast the Biden administration.

JONG-FAST: And -- but I just think Donald Trump runs on deregulation. This whole thing was like every day we take another useless deregulation. Well, if we had a super regulated, you know, transit system, which we should have, and remember, this company has had a lot of lobbyists. There was a lot of reporting today about the millions of dollars that they spent on lobbyist. So if we had more legislation --

LITMAN: Exactly the (inaudible) safety regime. Yes, so, that, you know, is all true and it is one thing to say what the government might be doing. Obviously, the railroad is, you know, not to be trusted but, you know, just something has to -- has to give here.

I think the flip side of Trump, someone's gonna die or somebody is going to get really sick. And then the whole situation, I think, in this past time will just change. So, they'll really be deep distrust and people will, what --- you know, will try to leave.

CAMEROTA: Well, we're staying on it every day with updates because this is not going away.

Meanwhile, this story, an Alabama man allegedly freezes to death inside of the county jail. How does that happen? His family is demanding answers and filing lawsuits. So, up next, we're gonna talk to that man's sister. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)



CAMEROTA: How did a 33-year-old Alabama end up allegedly frozen to death inside of a county jail last month? The family of Anthony Mitchell accuses the Walker County Sheriff's office of allegedly committing one of the most appalling cases of jail abuse the country has ever seen.

In a lawsuit, the family said that Mitchell died, quote, "likely by being placed in a restrained chair in the jails kitchen walk-in freezer or similar frigid environment and left there for hours," end quote.

Initially, police said that Anthony Mitchell was taken to a hospital for further evaluation, and that he was, quote, "alert and conscious when he left the jail." But then whistleblower video tells a different story. We warn you, this video we're about to play is graphic and disturbing.


You could see two correction officers here carrying Mitchell's limp, possibly lifeless body as it comes out of the door here to their police car. Walker County Sheriff's Office is now under investigation as a result of this.


In a statement to WI80, a lawyer for the sheriff's office says, quote, "as his routine, the Walker County Sheriff's Office immediately contacted the State Bureau of Investigation to investigate and independently determine the facts surrounding Mr. Mitchell's death. This investigation is in its early stages and expected to continue for some time. The Sherriff's Office is fully cooperating with the investigation in order to present a fact-driven response. The Sheriff's Office will await the conclusion of the investigation."

Karen Kelly, the whistleblower and former corrections officer who released that clip, filing her own lawsuit. She alleged that she was fired for sharing the video of the incident.

Joining me now is Anthony Mitchell's sister, Maranda Mitchell-Gutzmer, along with the attorneys for the Mitchell family, John Goldfar and Will Smith.

Folks, thank you very much for being here. We're sorry that you're going through all of this, Maranda. Maranda, can you just tell us what did the Sheriff's Office and the jail originally tell you about what happened to your brother?

MARANDA MITCHELL-GUTZMER, SISTER OF ANTHONY MITCHELL: They, honestly, didn't give a lot of information to our family. One of the officers, I believe, T.J. Armstrong, called my cousin, not even my mother, and told her to go to the hospital because his organs were shutting down. And so, when my mother arrived there, she was told, oh, he looked a little off this morning, and we thought that he needed some fluids. And by the time, she arrived, he was pretty much gone.

CAMEROTA: Maranda, I am sorry. I'm sorry how hard this is for you and the whole family. Had do you seen that video before that we just played?

MITCHELL-GUTZMER: I had, um, and it does not get easier each I've seen it. Even though I have watched it several times trying to reason as to why someone would do that, it doesn't make any sense. It just does not make any sense why any human being would be treated that way.

CAMEROTA: How did you find out that that video existed after they told you some story about, oh, he seemed to be in distress. His organs may be shutting down. How did you find out that this video of the truth of the situation existed?

MITCHELL-GUTZMER: I was just sitting at home about a week after my brother had passed. And I received Facebook message from someone. I won't share her name for her privacy. And she said that we think you need to see this and she sent me the video.

And I never would've guessed what it was going to be when I opened it. And then I saw, what we believe my brother's lifeless body being carried, just like a piece of trash set on the concrete ground with so little care and then thrown into the back of a police cruiser. And it was nothing like he had told us. He wasn't alert nor conscious.

CAMEROTA: Yeah. It's -- we wouldn't -- you wouldn't know what the truth was of how he left the county jail nor would any of us had that video -- had the whistleblower not released that video.

Mr. Goldfar, the doctor who examined Tony said that he died of hypothermia. His body was apparently 72 degrees at the hospital. How did the Sherriff's Office explain that?

JOHN GOLDFAR, ATTORNEY FOR THE MITCHELL FAMILY: They haven't commented on it yet. And there is only one way that his body temperature could reach that. It's either being placed in a freezer or in a cooler. There are other locations that are -- that has -- have coolers there.

We also know he was left on the cement floor for five hours, the wet cold cement floor, naked. So, I don't think his body could've gotten there by just being naked on the floor. So, that's why we speculate that it was the freezer, and we heard many other people tell us that they have also been placed in a cooler or a freezer in that jail. Apparently, it's some type of torture device that they would use.

CAMEROTA: Mr. Smith, what about that? Why are -- I mean, I don't even want to call them inmates in this county jail because they are not yet adjudicated. They are not yet convicted. Why would they be placed in a freezer? WILL SMITH, ATTORNEY FOR THE MITCHELL FAMILY: There's no reasonable explanation for that. The only thing that we can say looking at it is hearsay.


And we have, unfortunately, not direct evidence of him being put in the future. What we do have are videos taken (inaudible) five hours from 4.00 a.m. to 9.00 a.m. of him lying on the floor, dying, and his chances of living is slipping away and those guards kind of looked and they laughed. And that's what's really shocking. It's like so many of these situations recently where you're watching and you want to shout, help him, (inaudible)

CAMEROTA: Maranda, all of this started because of a mental health wellness check from police. As I understand, one of your relatives was worried about your brother. They called the police for help and this is what ended up happening. What was going on with your brother before this?

MITCHELL- GUTZMAN: So, my brother has struggled with addiction in the pass and it really took a turn after my father passed away in August. You know, my dad was my brother's best friend and his biggest supporter. He was always there for him. He lost him, and that was really hard for my brother.

And so, his addiction really took hold of him, and he spiraled, and we tried to help so much as we could, offering him, you know, rehab, giving him whatever resources we could. And anyone who's a reluctant addict knows how complicated and hard that is because you can only do so much. They have to accept the help.

And then it got to this point where my cousin, Steve, said that he was just completely in a stage of psychosis and wasn't speaking, you know, clearly. He didn't seem tethered to reality. And that's when he made the call to try to get him help. Initially, he called the investigator's office directly in hopes to avoid a 911 call. And then he was left with no option and they didn't answer. And it was the only thing that seemed like a chance to get him help before he might hurt himself or others. Who else do you call in an emergency?

CAMEROTA: Of course. I mean, of course, that's what we all would do and nobody would expect their loved one who's struggling with addiction to end up somehow with a body temperature of 72 degrees and dying in the county jail as a result of all of that.

Well, Maranda, gentlemen, thank you very much for sharing the story we know that you will get to the bottom of this. We will continue to follow it. And please, keep us posted on what happens next with this story.

SMITH: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Take care, Maranda.

MITCHELL-GUTZMER: Thank you. CAMEROTA: And we'll be right back.




CAMEROTA: Once upon a time, there was a beloved bear named "Winnie the Pooh.: Children loved him so much they introduced him to their own children. But then, deep in the woods, something went very, very wrong, and a bloody slasher film was born. Brace yourself, here is a clip.


UNKNOWN: Christopher, we need to leave, now!

UNKNOWN: I really need to find out what's happening, okay?

(ON SCREEN TEXT): Have been abandoned by Christopher Robin.

And have turned wild.


CAMEROTA: Yep, that's the new movie "Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey." I'm choking on it.


Joining me now, writer, executive producer, director Rhys Frake- Waterfield and executive producer Scott Jeffrey. Which one of you is the deranged, sick mind that thought this was going to be a great idea?





CAMEROTA: You both liked the idea, Rhys, of turning "Winnie the Pooh" into a homicidal maniac.

FRAKE-WATERFIELD: Yeah, when we saw the rights, which came out in approximately January 2022, we got really excited. We had a glimmer --


FRAKE-WATERFIELD: -- glimmer in our eyes.


FRAKE-WATERFIELD: And, yeah, we had to give a nod (ph).



CAMEROTA: I mean, it's so scary, it's so gross and so -- I mean, just explain to me your thought process for a minute here. I'll start with you, Rhys. Like this is a beloved children's book. And so, who are you hoping the audience is?

FRAKE-WATERFIELD: So, yeah, this definitely isn't for kids. This is for adults. So, everyone who kind of grew up on "Winnie the Pooh" when they were younger and, you know, fast forward now 20 years, now you got this version.



CAMEROTA: And Scott, Piglet? You couldn't leave Piglet alone?

JEFFREY: I mean, like, he's up for grabs as well. And, you know, he's been so lovely and kind for so long, why not see him a bit deranged as well, you know?

CAMEROTA: Why not Tigger?

JEFFREY: He's not in the public dominion. Yeah.


CAMEROTA: But you have Tigger up your sleeve. Are you going to do something very bad to Tigger soon?

JEFFREY: Rhys, what do you reckon?

FRAKE-WATERFIELD: Well, I think it's coming. He's not in the public domain yet, but he will be, and we are already getting ideas on what to do with him.



JEFFREY: Yeah, yeah.

CAMEROTA: -- it's so creepy and it's so awful. I mean, part of it is hilarious because it is the juxtaposition of "Winnie the Pooh" and "The Slasher" film. But part of it is so disturbing. I mean, did you -- did it give you, Rhys, any pause that you were -- no pun intended -- did it give you any pause that you are going to, you know, ruin "Winnie the Pooh" for the next generation?


FRAKE-WATERFIELD: No, not a second. How about you, Scott?

JEFFREY: I think, you know, there's been that version of Winnie for so long, and now this is a different version of Winnie. The people just love horror movies. And if you don't like it, you don't need to watch it.


There is no gun to anyone's head. You know, it doesn't need to exist to you if you don't like horror. But if you do like horror, it very much exists.

CAMEROTA: There is no gun to anybody's head, but you are doing a lot of bloody things. Here is one more clip that I will play for the viewers.


UNKNOWN: Why are you doing this? We used to be friends. Why are you doing this? Please!

Piglet, I'm so sorry. I didn't know any of this would happen. I thought you'd be okay without me. Why are you doing this? We used to be friends? Why? Stop!



CAMEROTA: Scott, it is so creepy. And so, just tell us the process of making it. I mean, were you laughing? Were people freaked out? What was it like coming up with the costumes, all of that?

JEFFREY: When you are on set, Rhys is -- just sat behind the monitor (ph), giggling the entire time. And, Rhys, you had some crazy ideas with this, situations in the poll, for example?

FRAKE-WATERFIELD: Yes, we basically -- when we realized it went into the public domain in February 2022, we had like -- partly, we work with ITN Studios. And we both just got really excited and eager. We started brainstorming. And we wanted to make it a bit like Michael Myers, make it massive. Piglet has got a sledgehammer. And then they go on a huge rampage.

CAMEROTA: And so, guys, what else do you have obviously? What else is coming into the public domain that you are going to completely ruin for children, next?

FRAKE-WATERFIELD: Scott is next.

JEFFREY: Yes. So, I'm next. I'm directing "Bambi: The Reckoning." And that is shooting at the end of May. And Bambi is going to be a killing machine. So, yes, you can expect that to come. And then very shortly after, we got "Winnie the Pooh 2" It's got five times the budget. More friends might be saying hello. And then we got "Peter Pan's Neverland Nightmare." But we are just doing things related to Disney. We have other stuffs, too, that aren't just announced yet.

CAMEROTA: Well, you guys are sick and twisted, and we thank you for sharing all of that with us. Really appreciate it. Rhys and Scott, thank you very much.

Let's bring in the panel now. Again, Natasha, as our resident grade school teacher --


CAMEROTA: -- how disturbing is this?

ALFORD: I'm disturbed. I'm disgusted. I think we like seeing characters behaving badly like there is something about that in the culture that can be entertaining. I would've liked a comedy. Give me "Winnie the Pooh, you know, at Mardi Gras. You know, taking shots or something.

I'm not sure that I love the slush part (ph). My toddler will not be getting "Winnie the Pooh" like stuffed animal if -- if this is gong to be the new face of "Winnie the Pooh," I think I'm just going to cancel "Winnie the Pooh."

CAMEROTA: Right, but isn't that a bomber, like "Winnie the Pooh" will be ruined for future generations, right, Doug?

BRINKLEY: Well, if they watch this slasher film, which I urge them not to, I mean, "Winnie the Pooh" is sort of sacrosanct (ph). Anybody who has children knows what it is. But, you know, I am more disturbed, not about the film, but about the copyright law of 95 years. I mean, it suddenly allows somebody to hijack Bambi, hijack Tarzan.

CAMEROTA: But it's just designed that way, right? It inspires --


BRINKLEY: -- within the walls. So, people are waiting, you know, like vultures for when great classics are suddenly public domain and they grab it. They do with the music, too. But, you know, there's nothing to do. There is no legal recourse. And, as they said, just don't watch it. But I find it a waste of time, but that is just the way, you know, I'm wired.

JONG-FAST: It is not -- it is pretty arbitrary that 95 years shouldn't be when you stop having rights over your own work, especially in -- you know, for artists who have -- already have trouble keeping -- making money on their contact. It's pretty depressive.

CAMEROTA: First, you are saying it is kind of awesome.

JONG-FAST: Well, I was thinking --

ALFORD: That didn't count because --

JONG-FAST: Well, I was saying, as someone who manages other literary state relatives (ph), you know, you do spend a lot of time trying to see if you can get any cash out of the content. But this case, it is actually hurting the books --

CAMEROTA: Right, because it expires.


CAMEROTA: Instead of just (INAUDIBLE) to the family to say can we use this and buy it from you --


CAMEROTA: -- we understand why that would be a killing.


CAMEROTA: It is expired.

JONG-FAST: Right. And you cannot imagine the family is thrilled that they're making a slasher movie with this childhood.


BROOMHEAD: The most disturbing thing to me was he said people who grew up with this 20 years ago. That was 50 years ago.


BROOMHEAD: That disturbed me more than anything else about this. That was 50 years ago for me. You could see the generational difference. But, you know, again, I think culture reflects society. And there's gonna be some people that loved this. It would be a niche. But more to what you're saying about the work, that is more concern for people. And when you have a work like that, it's such a classic how they can change it, and maybe these kids will never see the original work.


CAMEROTA: Yeah. All right, thank you. Everyone, please stick with me. Presidents, next, as you've never seen them before. Artificial intelligence technology is going to turn off 46 American presidents into cartoon characters. We'll show you.


CAMEROTA: Okay, now, look at the latest developments in artificial intelligence technology holiday addition. Here are A.I.-generated cartoon presidents. All 46 presidents looking just like your favorite animated friends.

And joining me on the phone is the man who created these, Dan Szymborski. He is a senior writer at "FanGraphs." Dan, thank you so much for being here. Why did you want to do this of the presidents?

DAN SZYMBORSKI, SENIOR WRITER, FANGRAPHS (via telephone): Well, it happened kind of organically. I didn't have any kind of grand artistic vision.


I just like playing with photo algorithms with text predictions. And it was kind of a rewarding Saturday morning. And since (INAUDIBLE), I just thought I would try it out and see what happened.

CAMEROTA: Well, let's talk about that. Let's look at some specifically and look at some close up. Let's start with Joe Biden. How did you come up with -- well, first of all, what is happening on the upper left corner here where he is a blue monster? How did that happen?

SZYMBORSKI (via telephone): Well, these algorithms are still kind of (INAUDIBLE). And when you give them directions like make a (INAUDIBLE), make a Pixar character, it has different interpretations of how to do that. So sometimes you get Herbert Hoover and sometimes you get Herbert Hoover as a giant blue marshmallow. It's just kind of the look of the draw. And I did about 50 runs for each president to try and get one that at least looked sort up what I was -- sort of what I was going for.

CAMEROTA: I like the impressionistic take on President Biden there, the smiling blue monster there. Next, let's look at what it did for Bill Clinton. Maybe we could drop the banner so we can see all of the different -- okay, so, there are four very different-looking images. One looks like a Muppet. So, what did you plug in here?

SZYMBORSKI (via telephone): Well, I did ask for Pixar, but occasionally, it thinks Pixar is Muppet. And you had to give the photo A.I. some leeway since we're still kind of reinventing (ph). Just how far they came in the last couple of years is pretty amazing. When you look back at some of the early valley (ph) stuff, it is very, very just rough compared to what we have. Starting to get a Muppet for George W. Bush. I had a cyclops in one run for some reason.


CAMEROTA: Why? I mean, why does it give you a cyclops?


SZYMBORSKI (via telephone): Well, a lot of these things are sarcastic. Sometimes you -- quote unquote -- "roll an odd image," depending on the parameter that you put in." There's a lot of randomness involved or you would get the same thing every time.


SZYMBORSKI (via telephone): So, you got a lot of Bill Clinton in usually a sweater. Occasionally, you get a Muppet Bill Clinton or a very strange angry Bill Clinton. You'll never know what's going to happen when you play with one of these things.

CAMEROTA: Let's look at Donald Trump who you also got a strange angry blue Donald Trump on the left side there in one of them. And then, my next favorite is Teddy Roosevelt because it actually thought you meant, as soon as it popped up, teddy bear.

SZYMBORSKI (via telephone): Yes. About 10% of the images for Teddy Roosevelt were Teddy Roosevelt as a teddy bear. I also got a lot of images of Teddy Roosevelt as a weightlifter with bursting muscles as if he was going to a street fight. So, I guess that is kind of how the computers feel about Teddy Roosevelt. It does make me want to learn more even about him.


CAMEROTA: That is interesting. So, that's how A.I. perceives him? Really interesting to hear that. Okay, so, Dad, you also did something fun for us. So, back with my panel, we have Mike Broomhead, Molly Jong-Fast, Natasha Alford, and Doug Brinkley.

So, Dan was nice enough to do this for us also. So, Mike, would you like to see your A.I. computer-generated cartoon?


CAMEROTA: I think you do. I think you do, too. So, let's show Mile Broomhead's picture right there. Isn't that -- that is kind of awesome. Now, Dan, he looks a little gruff and a little angry. Why did A.I. decide to this depiction of Mike?

BROOMHEAD: Give me more hair.


BRINKLEY: I think it came out pretty well.

CAMEROTA: Yeah. Not bad. Why do you think he made him sort of angry there?

SZYMBORSKI (via telephone): Well, generally speaking, these algorithms kind of take -- I wouldn't say unique but they take certain characteristics and they kind of homogenized everything else, and it's just really what the picture is, what the training they have because this particular model is trained on hundreds of millions of photos. So, it's trying to get an idea from what it is given, what I'm looking for. And you do have a lot of grumpiness. If you look --


SZYMBORSKI (via telephone): -- look very unhappy to be there.

CAMEROTA: This -- I think -- I now can't tell which is which. I mean, they're --


CAMEROTA: -- likely so phenomenal. Okay, let's look at what you did for Molly. Let's look at what A.I. did for Molly. Look right here, Molly. Look straight into this. Oh, my gosh. That's pretty awesome.

JONG-FAST: I love it. It's great.

CAMEROTA: Isn't that great?

JONG-FAST: I like that forever.

CAMEROTA: Yeah. Okay. Any thought -- very quickly, Dan, did you have any -- did you come up with any images that A.I. thought was just off- base?


SZYMBORSKI (via telephone): Well, a lot of them were off-base. You should see some of the outtakes for all of these.

CAMEROTA: Oh, really?

SZYMBORSKI (via telephone): Because again, it is not a human doing it. It is artificial intelligence. Kind of enable someone like me with no artistic skills because (INAUDIBLE). It is very, very sad.


SZYMBORSKI (via telephone): But to really get what you want, you have to consult an artist. But to have a little fun, you could use the A.I. for that.

CAMEROTA: No, it's fantastic. I think (INAUDIBLE). Let us look to Nastasha. Natasha, look into your -- look into your camera right here and let's look at Natasha's A.I. computer-generated image. Hold on. Look at that. This is really pretty.

ALFORD: Yeah. It looks like a young Michelle Obama, maybe? I'll take that.


CAMEROTA: Nice. Okay.

ALFORD: The hair -- the hair --

CAMEROTA: Yeah, the hair is different. Okay. Doug, let's look at yours. Oh, fantastic! Wow! Look at that, Doug. Oh, my gosh. Do you like it?

BRINKLEY: Yes, because I looked skinnier than I think I really am. So, I'm going to take it.

CAMEROTA: Okay. All right, one last one, let's see what you did with me. Okay, let me see. Oh, that is good. Look at that.

ALFORD: That's your new avatar for Twitter.

BRINKLEY: These are all good. I think it is good. CAMEROTA: I like it a lot. Dan, thank you. Really appreciate it. Thanks for all of that. Thank you, guys. Thanks for being here. That was fun. Great having you, guys. Thank you so much for watching. Our coverage continues.