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CNN Tonight

What's Next for FOX Following $787 Million Dominion Settlement; Long Road of Recovery for Ralph Yarl After Shooting; Trump Racks Up Hill Endorsements, DeSantis Faces Headwinds; Supreme Court Temporarily Extends Access to Abortion Drug. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired April 19, 2023 - 23:00   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Dean, Omar Jimenez and Alayna Treene. Great to have all of you.

But I want to start with what's next for FOX in the wake of that $787 million settlement in a Dominion defamation lawsuit. FOX has to write that big check, but it does not have to issue a correction on air for its viewers. But now the network faces another major lawsuit that could cost them even more. Smartmatic, which is another voting tech company, is seeking $2.7 billion in damages.

So, Sara, you've been covering this for a long time. What's next?

SARA FISCHER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: So FOX put out a statement today that they expect this to be litigated in 2025, so there's still a lot of time --

CAMEROTA: Why so long?

FISCHER: Because legal processes take a long time. You have to go through a bunch of pretrial depositions, hearings, all that kind of stuff. This trial also will be held in New York, different from the Dominion trial, which was held in Delaware. New York tends to move a little bit slower in terms of their legal system, so that could be part of the holdup. But this is going to be a huge case for FOX. And a lot of us were watching the outcome of the Dominion case because it has big implications for how FOX is going to litigate the Smartmatic case.

But another thing to note that that's not the only lawsuit that they face. You'll recall they face a lawsuit from one of their former producers. She is suing the company alleging that FOX tried to sort of meddle with her testimony pretrial. And then in addition to FOX, you have a slew of other companies that Dominion is actually suing. So Dominions lawyer yesterday who appeared on CNN, Justin Nelson, said that it's not just FOX. They have lawsuits out against Newsmax, One American News, Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell. There's a whole slew of them.

And so for the next year or two, we're going to be seeing a ton of litigation come out around the 2020 election lies. And it's just amazing to think that it's had such an impact, still today that we're talking about this and litigating it.

CAMEROTA: So I had this great opportunity, this afternoon, to sit down with four I would call them dedicated FOX viewers. They watch virtually every night whenever they can, they said, but they said that they also get their news from other -- a variety of other sources. But they really do like some of FOX's primetime programs. And I got to talk to them about, you know, this lawsuit and if it changes their mind and what they think about FOX settling. So here's a piece of that.


CAMEROTA: Show of hands. How many of you have heard about this two- year legal battle between Dominion and FOX before our producer called you? Two of you have heard about it and two of you -- OK, so tell me about that.

IAN WEEKS, FOX NEWS VIEWER: I would say it wasn't a surprise when I heard about it. It's just that I hadn't heard about it. You know, I was aware of the claims that it made against Dominion and you know the allegations of voter fraud. More broadly, I just wasn't aware that Dominion had filed essentially a defamation suit against FOX. So when your producer had reached out and said, hey, this is going on and it's what we'd like you to come on and discuss, you know, I guess I just sort of looked at it and thought, well, I guess that makes sense.

You know what I came away from the court filing with was a lot of this is a matter of opinion. We've seen things for the last several years, I would say going back to 2016. There's a certain level of willful blindness, but people see what they want to see. And that's true on the left, and it's true on the right. And we just, you know, I mean, I don't want to go down the rabbit holes. But you know, with the Trump- Russia dossier, with the Hunter Biden laptop, with COVID policy and reaction, people see what they want to see.

And you know, I don't begrudge, I mean, look. Like I've seen things on your network. I've seen things on MSNBC that I take extreme issue with, but I don't look to any of the networks, including FOX, as the ultimate arbiter of truth.

CAMEROTA: Shelby, let me let me get to you. I mean, when you hear that, you know, Carlson and Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity, saying, I didn't believe any of it. But they were still putting them on. As a viewer, what does that make you feel?

SHELBY BUNCH, FOX NEWS VIEWER: Well, I lost trust in them prior to that anyway. When FOX was calling out the election. I know a lot of people felt this way they were calling out the election, I know a lot of people felt this way. They were calling out the election prematurely for Arizona. And then after that, you know, there's been a lot of talking out both sides of their mouth.

RYAN LOUCKS, FOX NEWS VIEWER: I think they're going to learn a lesson. This lesson has happened to cost them $787 million, which is a number I can hardly imagine.

CAMEROTA: And what is that lesson, Ryan? I mean, but what is that lesson?

LOUCKS: Well, I think that lesson is that the news, it should be based wholly on truth, and I understand that, you know, CNN and MSNBC and FOX all going to shade that truth in one way or the other, and there's a value to that. But there also is a line to be crossed.


BUNCH: I know this, we're talking about FOX not being forthright. I don't believe they were forthright. I think it was about getting views. And I think that's what all media does. I think just a lot of the American citizens have woken up and they've decided if we're going to find out what's going on, and we want the real facts, we're going to have to find them ourselves.

LOUCKS: The audience is not looking to be lied to. It's looking to give context to something that we know is true from a certain perspective, and that's got a value. But there is a line not to cross and once you know that something is not true, you need to let them know.


CAMEROTA: So I'm going to have a lot more of that tomorrow. We'll play much more of that interview, but I just -- it's so instructive for me when I talk to these folks. I really appreciate them coming on, because basically what I heard them saying was we all seek confirmation bias. We know that we're in different echo chambers. We go to we go seeking what we want to hear back. But even with that, even if we accept that there is bias, we want to be told the truth.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Right. It is really fascinating to hear them talk about this. Can you tell us a little bit about how you found them? Because they're not CNN interviewers, obviously.

CAMEROTA: They're not CNN viewers, but, I mean, obviously all of us know people who are very dedicated to FOX and we know people in our -- maybe even our own families and everything. So it's not hard to find, but it is hard to find people who were willing to come on. I mean, one of the reasons we want to talk to them was to find out, did they know about it? And the truth is they may have heard about it, but they hadn't done a deep dive.

They certainly didn't hear about it on FOX. They didn't know much about the Dominion lawsuit until our producers sent them the court documents, sent them some "Wall Street Journal" articles and then they read it and got back to her, and were, you know, that they were, I mean, I don't want to say gob smacked, but they were -- they had to read through the documents, and it gave them pause. And now they've had a few days to marinate on it and talk to us about it.

DEAN: I mean, I respect them for doing that, for coming on, for talking to you. Yes, and I think, look, it's always good when you're willing to open your mind and read other things, and you know, it's all -- it's all there, and I think at the heart of it, and you've talked about this so much, we know that they're not going to have to apologize, the hosts.

CAMEROTA: Or correct their falsehoods.

DEAN: Or correct. But they lied to their viewers. Just truly lied, which is -- but these people think everybody lies? That's the key takeaway, and we're at a time if you take a look at polls from Gallup, from Pew, that trust in media is at an all-time low, my biggest takeaway is what can we do as the journalist in the room to regain some of that trust, because clearly there's a trust gap that needs to be addressed.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, and there's one thing, too, that I think, especially with the way a lot of people see these stories is online, through social media, through whatever it may be, and we're all sort of trapped in our own algorithms. If you've been on TikTok, if you've been on Twitter for you, whatever it might be, you are getting a reflection of what you're interested in.

CAMEROTA: And that's no fault of your own. They're feeding you --

JIMENEZ: Exactly. And so even with this, obviously we're very locked into this. Even some of these viewers themselves. You know, they're trying to deal with it after being essentially approached with this information outside of the algorithm that they may have had. For a majority of folks, they might know that this happened. But if that apology, if that transparency isn't pushed through those same channels with the same ferocity and that magnitude that what they got before was then I don't know how much is actually changing in their minds outside of the legal venue, which, of course, is incredibly important point.

CAMEROTA: Fair point. I mean, I found that out, too.

ALAYNA TREENE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. And I also think it's going to take a lot of time. I mean, it is disheartening to hear people saying we just assume that the media stretches the truth, distorts facts and we -- regardless of what network or where you're reading it, that's just the assumption. And I think that is something that we've obviously seen, as Sara pointed out, increase exponentially. Excuse me exceptionally over the last several years.

And I don't know what the answer is to gaining back that trust. I mean, I know that CNN is very committed obviously to doing really good fact-based journalism. I know Axios where Sara works is committed to the same thing, my former employers. And at the same time, though, I think that those are also like people just view no matter what it is, and I think it's going to be really difficult to gain back that trust.

CAMEROTA: Well, I agree. That was eye-opening and disheartening to hear them talk about that. One of the things that I realized is that, you know, unless you take a journalism class in college or high school, you don't really know the tenants of journalism that there are rules and how much we have to adhere to those rules at CNN and how, you know, committed we are to that. And so they do paint with a broad brush because they call it the media. We call it the press. FISCHER: Yes. And this is a key point. You talk to any academic about

what we can do to rebuild trust. And the answer is transparency. Explain to your viewers, explain to your readers how you got to this information.


Don't use as many anonymous sources. Explain if you can. Describe who those sources are. They are senior official, is it somebody in the room? Explain what a dateline means. This was jarring to me. If you ask young people who's really good at news, a lot of times they'd say Vice because they can visually see, and Vice does great news. They can visually see that they're out in the field, right? But if you're reading the "New York Times," you don't know that somebody is out in the field just because it says Bangkok before the first paragraph, so we need to do a better job of explaining, especially to the new generation, what are ethics are, what our policies are.

And if we can do that we can rebuild trust for sure, but you mentioned a good point. FOX is not required as a part of the settlement to issue a correction and you know the thing about it is viewers don't care if you get things wrong. They don't -- they understand that you're human. Same thing with readers. Same thing with any person who is a news consumer. But in order to gain trust, you have to be honest with them.

When you get something wrong, you have to show up, you have to correct it, and you have to own it, and that's not going to happen in this situation.

CAMEROTA: That's such a great point. And obviously none of them liked being duped. Nobody likes being duped or feeling that they're duped. But, I mean, now I'll just spoiler alert for tomorrow because we'll have much more for tomorrow. But basically the ending was, I said, will you still watch FOX, and three of them said yes, they would, because they're still getting what they want. That's a product that they like. And so that's, you know, there it is. We were wondering about that just last night, you know.

Stay with me, everybody, because the homeowner accused of shooting 16- year-old Ralph Yarl after he rang the wrong doorbell in Kansas City pleaded not guilty today. Omar has been covering this story for us, and we'll tell -- he'll tell us what the next legal strategy is in this case.



CAMEROTA: The new photo out today shows 16-year-old Ralph Yarl home and recovering almost a week after the Kansas City teenager was shot in the head, allegedly by an 84-year-old homeowner after ringing the wrong doorbell. Andrew Lester, the suspect, pleading not guilty in court today. He's currently out on $200,000 bond.

Omar Jimenez has been covering this story for us.

So, Omar, what have you been learning?

JIMENEZ: Well, you said the latest that he pleaded not guilty, so he's out on bail, but that that's part of the thing. That's enraging for some people that obviously this happens. It's a reality of our legal system that he paid his bill. He's at home. He's OK. There are conditions, you know, passport revoked can't leave the state, that sort of thing. Then the other side Ralph Yarl, the 16-year-old who was actually shot, he has made a lot of great strides. You saw him in that picture there that he actually is wake, having conversations.

CAMEROTA: I mean, it's just a miracle.

DEAN: No, it's incredible.

CAMEROTA: It's a miracle. And I'm so glad. We're all so glad. I was talking to, you know, one of the attorneys, he was shot in the head than a week ago.

JIMENEZ: And his family said, if the bullet was just a few inches, one way or another, we wouldn't be, we would be talking about Yarl in the past tense at this point, so they feel very thankful that he is at this point. But obviously it's a really long road to go both physically and mentally. And we heard that from none other than his mom who spoke about it a little bit earlier. Take a listen.


CLEO NAGBE, RALPH YARL'S MOTHER: He's able to communicate mostly when he feels like it. But mostly he just sits there and stares in the buckets of tears just rolls down his eyes. You can see that he's just replaying the situation over and over again.


JIMENEZ: It's hard to imagine, but you can't imagine what that's like.

CAMEROTA: I didn't expect her to say that.


CAMEROTA: I mean, we thought from that smiling photo, well, he's recovered. That's fantastic. Great. It's a miracle.


CAMEROTA: So I didn't expect her to say that he's just crying buckets of tears.

JIMENEZ: Well, and it's part of why obviously he's surrounded by a lot of medical professionals right now recovering at home, but it's why they have made an effort to lock down a psychologist and a therapist because they know that it's -- he's going to have a tough time processing this and I think for any 16-year-old it's tough to process the world around you and then when the world comes at you in the way that it did right here, I think it's really going to be a long journey ahead for him. CAMEROTA: How's the community responding to this? Because obviously

we've seen in other apparently unwarranted shootings, there's often a lot of community unrest. So what's happening there?

JIMENEZ: Well, a lot of them have gotten behind him. I mean his school in particular, they organized the unity walk, where over 1,000 of the students and folks were out on the street. Over $3 million have been raised for his GoFundMe. You can see some of the folks that have been out walking. So it seems like they've really tried to send the message that this is not OK in our community that we don't stand behind this, regardless of any race, regardless of age, whatever it may have been.

And in regards to the shooting itself, I mean, the homeowner has said that he thought or he was scared to death of the person who was on his front steps. Now obviously, we're talking about a black 16-year-old male, and that has a lot of connotations that people take very seriously and this part of Kansas City, just for context, is a little bit whiter than the lower county of Kansas City. So in theory, this could be a situation where they're not seeing as many black people. This is an older gentleman.

And so the district attorney of the county attorney has said that he believes race was a factor here. The mayor has said that he believes racial profiling was a factor here. And so these are all things that are now going to be investigated because clearly the way it looks is not good.

DEAN: And you know, I hear you talking about the therapist and what they're doing, you know, what you're just saying about what the mother is saying the bucket of tears, and it just reminds you that like these things happen and we keep seeing all of these shootings and especially these mistaken identity, whatever we want to call these horrific shootings, and we kind of go, OK? He's OK now. OK.


The trauma that you carry around from that, but I can only imagine how heavy that is. And it just, you know, I was thinking about it today. Like, how do you ever begin to make that right for somebody like Ralph Yarl who's 16 years old, has just nothing but runway ahead of him, and now he's just traumatized?

JIMENEZ: And you almost you think to yourself like obviously it's processing it mentally. But when you go back to doing some of those things, interactions again, maybe an interaction similar to how this one began, knocking on someone's door, not knowing who is going to open that door, and in this case, this homeowner told investigators there were no words exchanged before this shooting. So the only interaction he got after ringing that doorbell were bullets through a glass door.

CAMEROTA: Right. And how many times is he going to approach a door in his life? And so the idea that this -- that event is triggering, no pun intended, that he's going to approach a door and it's going to be brought back. I also heard his mother say, I think it was his mother, that he has to look -- he will have to look at the wound. He will be reminded every time he looks in the mirror of that event because he will carry the whole or the scar in his head.

TREENE: So horrifying, and it's also horrifying, I mean, to just put into context the other shootings we saw this week of the woman who was with her friends and her car pulled into the wrong driveway or the cheerleader whose friend opened the door and got -- she was getting into the wrong car. I mean, it's crazy to me, and it reminds me. I mean, I was on this panel last week with you. We were talking about the mass shootings and all the gun violence that has been happening, and these three cases, I mean, all very young people. 20, 16, 18. Their whole lives ahead of them, and these are very personal shootings.

It's horrific and it's hard because I feel like America is getting so not -- every week there's more. On Saturday, I was listening earlier, that there were 17 mass shootings on Saturday alone in the United States. It's crazy. And it's hard to know, I mean, I noticed from covering politics, Congress, you know, everyone's saying we have to have more laws. We have to have more laws on this. And right now there's just not because of the divide in our politics, the divisions in America right now. There's just no middle ground to reach on it, and it's really disheartening.

JIMENEZ: And I think dripping off that, when we talk about I think gun violence as a society, I think we tend to think mass shooters, criminal gang activity, whatever it may be, but I think what we're seeing in these cases is that there is another reality to this where there are people who are mistaken identities. There are people who may be a little trigger happy. There are people who are scared, maybe because they are internalizing what they may be consuming in their algorithms and on television.

And there are also domestic disputes where, of course, firearms are involved as well. And so I think that as much as we talk about mass shooters and crime and major cities in this country, I think this is an aspect that we need to think about that there is this culture within America that shoot first, we ask questions later.

CAMEROTA: Yes. I mean, that's certainly of these three, the bucket that these three fit into. And Sarah, it was interesting in the last hour we had John Miller, our phenomenal law enforcement expert, on and he was saying that he sees this in three buckets, the mass shooting, school shootings, the everyday gun violence, and now this trigger happy, whatever you want to call it here, trigger because people are scared and are firing before they ask questions, and that they probably all have different reasons, and we have to have a multipronged approach.

FISCHER: Yes. And I think that when these things happen in clusters our society's response is to draw a thread line that we can make sense of it. This past week we had three incidents. Alayna described all young people who did absolutely nothing wrong. Wrong place. Wrong time. Trigger happy and serious consequences. And so this is the thread that we're, you know, dealing with this week. Last week it was mass shootings. Next week it might be school shootings.

I mean, I feel like every week, every few months we're dealing with how do we mentally wrap our heads around what we're witnessing, and I think, you know, at Axios we do this summary at the end of every year of the news cycle, you have to look at it from a day, week, month, year, 10-year perspective all the time to understand how these trends work because for today we're talking about the trigger happy innocent kids. Tomorrow we might be talking about domestic disputes.

I'd love to see the data and talk like on the show about the data of what does this look like over the course of two years. Do we find that these types of trigger happy shootings are happening more and more? It could be the case, and if that's the case, our conversation needs to shift to more about racial tensions in America, to more about gun access in America, not just AK-47s.

CAMEROTA: Thank you all very much for that conversation.

Meanwhile, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis appears to be preparing to battle Donald Trump for the 2024 Republican nomination. But so far Donald Trump has the upper hand on Capitol Hill endorsement.


So up next, Alayna lays out the GOP landscape.


CAMEROTA: Florida governor and potential 2024 hopeful Ron DeSantis' trip to D.C. may not have gone exactly as he planned. He's trying to shore up support but so far is falling a little short.

Alayna Treene was covering the DeSantis event last night and is here to fill us in.

So what did the folks there, what was their reaction to him?

TREENE: So this event was really DeSantis, it was viewed very widely, especially by people in the room as an early kickoff event for his expected presidential campaign and a lot of these people were conservative leaders and Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill.


And they do great reception of him. I mean, I think they said he's a great governor, he touted what he's been doing in Florida, but they are being very careful not to endorse him. And I think that's something that's been really interesting to watch over the last few days because this was again was an event for him to come reconnect with members that he used to know. Former colleagues of his in the House. DeSantis was a House member previously.

And a lot of people coming in and out were saying I don't want to talk about who I'm going to endorse in 2024. He's a great guy, but we'll see what the field looks like. And lot of them even admitted more privately that they are afraid that if they come out for someone like DeSantis now they'll see the vengeance of Donald Trump later on. And around this event, the thing that I found that was fascinating was the Trump campaign saw this event and completely outmaneuvered Governor DeSantis.

I mean, they knew that he was looking to gain a lot of support, maybe secure some endorsements. And instead, a lot of people from DeSantis' backyard, Trump's as well, both of their home turf, went out -- excuse me, went out and endorsed Donald Trump in the 24 hours before and after this DeSantis event. I mean, one lawmaker Lance Gooden came out and left -- as he was leaving the DeSantis event tweeted that he was endorsing Donald Trump.

So it was a really interesting thing to watch. And I think it also just showed how specifically Trump's campaign is trying to focus on this, strategize on this, and really is focused on trying to throw DeSantis off guard and take the wind out of his sails.

CAMEROTA: So to be clear, it's not that they're waiting for more information or that they're waiting to endorse, they are choosing to endorse Trump right now.

TREENE: Yes, I mean, not all of them, but a lot of these people.


TREENE: Yes. Yes, and some of it, this reporting that I have, I spoke with a lot of people close to Donald Trump, people on his campaign, about this and they were saying really a lot of it is the strategy. Donald Trump calls all of these lawmakers all the time. He's endorsed many of them previously, helped them get elected, and any time that someone is about to endorse Donald Trump he gets on the phone with them and talks to them again right before their endorsement. So Trump has a very personal touch with this.

DeSantis, meanwhile, I spoke to many members on Capitol Hill, people like Tim Burchett, Greg Steube, they both were saying that they've never heard from DeSantis. They've been trying to get in contact with his campaign for months, and they have not been able to get the governor on the phone. Recently, however, his aides have been reaching out to people, a lot of these Republicans, and trying to get them, to potentially secure an endorsement, and that turned a lot of people off.

DEAN: You know, OK. It's so interesting because Alayna and I are both on Capitol Hill and in D.C., Sara is in D.C., too, and it can be so easy to kind of get sucked in, right, to this spot where it's like, who endorsed who. And then if you zoom out, and I have to remind myself of this all the time, like zoom out and remember Iowa, South Carolina, New Hampshire. What are people there hearing? What are they reading? Who are they listening to? Is it these lawmakers from Florida?

It is certainly a coup for Donald Trump in the sense that, like, it was good strategy, right? Like it made a big splash on the day when it throws him off his game, to Alayna's point, but what I'm curious about is what does it mean in the broader context and do these endorsements actually matter in the long run, short of just like ticking off kind of a, you know, we won on this round kind of thing, because, you know, again, like if you go through and think about all the endorsements we've seen in the past, let's say, two cycles, you know, the only one that kind of sticks out to me right now is Jim Clyburn, you know, in South Carolina --

CAMEROTA: Where it made a real difference.

DEAN: For Biden. Where it really tipped the scales. Yes.

CAMEROTA: What I'm hearing you say is it's a stylistic difference and Donald Trump wins that stylistic difference. He is a natural born extrovert. And he loves working the phone. I'm sure you've all been on receiving calls of his as have I, and he loves the phone and he likes having these phone conversations, and that might be the secret sauce to getting these.

JIMENEZ: Well, and I would just say, as the non-D.C. area up here, I feel like one thing that I think about is that very clearly all roads, the GOP nomination, seem to go through Trump right now, and that was a big question obviously coming in, how much support would he be able to get? Obviously, he's facing indictment. He's got investigations in multiple jurisdictions. How would that affect things? It seems like to this point he's been able to fundraise off of that. He's been able to use that politically.

And the announcement of Nikki Haley was drowned out in many ways by all the headlines that Trump's been generating. Ron DeSantis hasn't announced, but obviously still trying to make some national political inroads, and that seems to have been drowned out by Trump. And so no matter who tries to push through in the field as we get closer to 2024 which is going to come fast, I think it's clear right now that whoever pushes through is going to have to push through Trump and not be able to go around.


TREENE: Right. It is a key thing that I know the other campaigns, I mean, the big question is how do you define yourself apart from Donald Trump? So many of their policies are similar to Trump's policies when he was in the White House. The other key thing that I did pick up on and I just mention is that so many of these people are afraid that if they don't endorse Donald Trump, or if they come out for another candidate that it could be -- we've seen this in the past, that they get roasted by Donald Trump and his campaign.

And I did talk to some of these members who said, you know, if we endorse Trump now and then DeSantis or someone else wins the nomination, we have to switch support, that's probably the safer move, than going out for someone like Ron DeSantis and supporting him and then Donald Trump becomes the nominee, and you have to deal with that fallout. And that's definitely something that's weighing very heavily on members' minds.

FISCHER: Commercially, Alayna, Donald Trump obviously he has big donors, but he's been able to get a ton of small dollar fundraising in part because he gets how to speak to people like Alisyn was saying. He knows how to work it on Facebook. He's back on Facebook and YouTube. Does Ron DeSantis have that? Is he going to be able to fundraise and make a ton of money off of everyday people? Is he going to rely more on some of the rich donors now that are living in Palm Beach, Trump's turf? Like what's going to be his strategy to being able to compete with Trump financially?

TREENE: Right. Well, he does have a massive war chest. I know that when we were going through the first quarter fundraising numbers. He has about $110 million from his various committees that support him, but he does have a lot of these big wealthy donors as well, who are supporting him. A lot of -- I mean some of the donors who previously worked for Trump are actually now leaving Trump and going for DeSantis, which has been very interesting to watch.

But you make a really good point, Sara, and it's true that Ron DeSantis is notoriously bad at retail politicking, and he doesn't have that charm that people describe Donald Trump as, and it could, potentially, I mean, especially when it comes to small dollar donations, it's going to be interesting to see how that could affect him on the money front.

CAMEROTA: Thank you for all that reporting. Really interesting.

OK, now to this. Friday night at midnight, Eastern, that is the deadline that the Supreme Court has given itself to decide if it will rule on that lower court decision imposing restrictions on access to that abortion medication, and Jessica is going to fill us in on that, next.



CAMEROTA: The Supreme Court needs more time to consider a lower court decision restricting access to an abortion drug. Today, Justice Samuel Alito extended the hold on that lower court ruling until 11:59 Eastern Friday night. That gives the justices 48 more hours to consider this case while temporarily extending access to this drug.

So Jessica has been following all these developments.

What's going to happen tomorrow?

DEAN: Well, tomorrow we're going to wait. We're going to wait and see if they issue a ruling or it could come, you know, 11:59 on Friday is now the deadline. They could also extend to stay again. And I think what's important is as soon as you hear that they've extended this day, you start to think what does this mean? You try to read the tea leaves. It could mean a lot of things. The bottom line is they wanted more time to dig into this before they made their decision.

And again just to remind everyone at issue here is do they uphold this ruling from this Texas judge that would severely limit access to this abortion pill that has been on the market now for two decades, and it overturns this FDA, you know, ruling on this that it's a safe and effective drug.

CAMEROTA: And if they do that, and overturn the FDA, it has I understand all sorts of implications. Like what?

DEAN: Like, I mean, think about it. The FDA, right, we rely on them for so many things to be the arbiter of what is safe and effective medicine, and all the way down the line, right? So if one judge can overrule the FDA and remember to make their assessment, they're looking at all of this data. They're looking at scientific evidence, they're running -- you know, they're taking in tests. So what does that mean? We don't -- really it's a great question because it is pretty unprecedented for one judge to overrule the FDA or any agency like that.


FISCHER: It's amazing, too, because as an everyday person, you hear all these headlines about different things happening with the abortion debate. OK, this state is outlawing this procedure. This state is outlawing this medicine. As a regular everyday person, it must be very confusing if you're in America to figure out what the lay of the law is because it's so different every day and in every state. Like what would you advise somebody who's trying to figure out what type of procedure they can or can't get? Where do they get the information?

DEAN: Right, I mean, I think and it is, it's a state by state, right? And so it depends on where you are. We have like the federal laws like this is obviously in the federal court now, but then you have different states. You know, we just saw Ron DeSantis signed this six- week abortion bill in Florida. That's going to be different than it would be in, say, Connecticut or go on and on and on. So you really need to look at state specific resources to figure out what is allowed within your state.

CAMEROTA: Right. And then there were those dueling, on the same night there was dueling judge decisions, Washington state and Texas, which is also very confusing to people.

DEAN: Right. Right.

CAMEROTA: So, Alayna, I know that you've been reporting on this, that this is one of these strange disconnects that the American people feel differently than their Republican elected leaders.

TREENE: Hundred percent. And this has been the issue really ever since the Supreme Court overturned Roe versus Wade last year, ever since the Dobbs decisions.


Republicans have not been able to figure out how they're going to message on this. It's been a very difficult path for them to navigate. And I know, I mean, take Donald Trump. Donald Trump is someone, I covered him throughout 2016 and into his 2020 campaign, and during 2016 one of the key reasons conservatives, evangelical voters, rallied around him and supported him was because of his stance on abortion.

This time, now, knowing that abortion is not the most popular issue in the country, and it's not faring as well with many voters, his campaign I know has been telling him to back away from that issue and not to talk as much about abortion. And we've seen him be virtually silent on the issue, whereas previously he has been very, very vocal, and that's something that Republicans across the board are trying to figure out how they're going to navigate.

DEAN: Yes, I mean, it is out of line, the polling on this is very out -- of Americans is very out of line of what we're seeing from the overturning of Roe v. Wade to this ruling from Texas. And it's interesting you say that, Alayna, I covered the Pennsylvania Senate race, and I remember I was in Bucks County, which is a key suburban county around Philadelphia, and I was talking to women there, kind of all ages. It's pretty purple but used to be red. And woman after woman after woman was abortion, abortion, abortion. I'm a single-issue voter.

And I found that really, I was actually genuinely surprised by that. I didn't know. It's hard for issues to really cut through actually out there. I mean, you know, Omar, you're covering the midterms.

JIMENEZ: Yes. I was going to say in Wisconsin and Michigan, we're seeing the same thing. And in Michigan abortion was quite literally on the ballot.

DEAN: Yes.

JIMENEZ: It was put to the voters and they voted it through. In Wisconsin it was a major issue as well, more figuratively on the ballot, worried that the state would revert back to its 1849 abortion law, which is under right now, but we've still seen momentum from this discussion where just recently we had a Supreme Court judge in Wisconsin, Janet Protasiewicz. I'm practicing her name.

CAMEROTA: Well done.

DEAN: It rolled right off the tongue.

JIMENEZ: You know, she's a Democratic state Supreme Court judge, won that seat there which is important because after the fall of Roe v. Wade, Wisconsin reverted back to again that 19th century abortion law, which is now being challenged in the courts, and so now people look there and say, well, this actually bodes well for Democrats or for abortion supporters, because now this is a chance to actually make a statement legally in this state, and set a very important precedent at the state level but to the point you all were making, it's just another fragment in what seems to be a fragmented country as far as what you can or you can't do. Yes.

DEAN: Can I just make one more point, too, about this abortion drug? I was reading -- we had a piece that I was reading on and studies have shown it is safer than Viagra, than penicillin, I mean, drugs that are very, very common. So it's worth kind of putting that into perspective. Look, there it is right there. There is the data.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I wonder why the Texas judge isn't banning Viagra.


CAMEROTA: So we'll have more on that. But thank you. Obviously we'll keep an eye on all of this as you point out because it's so important and it's happening in the next 48 hours.

OK, up next, on the lookout. Our reporters are going to tell us what stories they are looking out for on the horizon.



CAMEROTA: Our fantastic panel of reporters are going to tell us now what stories they are keeping an eye on. We call it "On the Lookout."

OK, Jessica what?

DEAN: We talked a lot about the Republican 2024 and look, Biden still hasn't announced his reelection. You know, all signs point to yes, but no formal announcement yet, and what we did learn today is that a group of his biggest donors are headed to the White House next week, and it's not a formal event but that they're just kind of gathering them on this four-year anniversary of when he launched his original campaign in 2020.

And again, you know, that's kind of the other thing. I feel like in D.C. it's always like when is he going to announce? Is he actually running? And so here's a little mark on the -- here's a little data for everyone.

CAMEROTA: That's pretty good.

DEAN: Yes. Data point.

CAMEROTA: Because if it's the anniversary and all the mega donors are going to be there, that seems like it could be a good --

DEAN: Something to watch.

CAMEROTA: Something to watch. Excellent.

DEAN: Yes.

CAMEROTA: OK, Alayna, what are you watching?


JIMENEZ: Oh, yes.

TREENE: I know it's a really sexy headline, but unfortunately on its face, it's not. I mean, when you peel back the curtain, there's been a briefing. And I know the Pentagon is looking into this as well as Congress, which wants to do oversight, but the Pentagon has found more than 650 UFOs that they're tracking. And unfortunately again, it's not as sexy, but they haven't found any signs of alien activity. It's really all about monitoring what China and Russia and other foreign adversaries and other foreign countries might be doing, and particularly as it relates to emerging foreign technologies.

And so the Pentagon has been tracking this, and Congress is really eager to learn more about this. And the interesting thing that I heard there was a briefing and hearing today on Capitol Hill on this and they had one recently last year, and last year's was the first in several years that they've done any sort of hearing on UFOs and so clearly a lot of interest in ramping up into wanting to know what's in the air and what the Pentagon and the U.S. is doing to track these things.

CAMEROTA: I like that you're apologizing for no alien activity here.

TREENE: I know. Well, I feel like you hear UFOs and you get excited, but unfortunately --

CAMEROTA: Yes. We really want you to be able to deliver.

TREENE: Unfortunately no aliens that at least that they know of.

CAMEROTA: All right. Got it.

JIMENEZ: Yet. Yet.

CAMEROTA: OK, Sara, tell us.

FISCHER: I mean, it's hard to beat UFOs. But I might be able to do it because we're talking about Drake.


FISCHER: So in the past few days, a new song that sounds like it's from Drake and the Weekend has racked up a bajillion views on TikTok, on YouTube, on Spotify.


But there's just one problem. It's not real. Drake did not do this song. The Weekend did not do this song. Artificial intelligence created this song.


FISCHER: So Universal Music Group has urged these tech platforms to pull it down, arguing it's a copyright violation. The problem is copyright law in the U.S. only protects human works. And so this is not like their song that's been spoofed by AI. It's a completely new song. And so these are the types of questions that we're all grappling with as AI gets introduced into our daily lives. It's not just the music industry, but it's news, it's art, it's everything.

CAMEROTA: And it's getting out ahead of the laws and ahead of the ethics as you point out. Really fascinating.

JIMENEZ: And I heard that song and I'm almost sad to say, it was good. (LAUGHTER)

CAMEROTA: Well, there you said it.


CAMEROTA: He's one of those.

JIMENEZ: Yes, I'm actually keeping an eye on, it's a battle between a state government and local government down in Mississippi. So bottom line it is Jackson, Mississippi, is a majority black, majority Democratic city. The state of Mississippi, the legislature, majority white, majority Republican. Jackson has a public safety issue, and they have for a long time. In 2021 their murder rate was 12 times above the national average. And so everybody agrees something has to be done. We have to change something.

The issue is that the state legislature put forward their own plan, overruling all of the locally elected leaders because the state leader said you know what? We work here. We think Jackson should be safer. We're going to put forward this plan. So supporters like yes, we need this. We need to save capital city. Critics say sure, this might work, but we have all these locally elected leaders for a reason and one, they're almost a complete opposite of who you are. And so you are trouncing on our representation to impose something that you think we can't handle for ourselves.

CAMEROTA: Really interesting. Thank you for alerting us to that. That's great. Thanks to all of you. This was really great.

And tomorrow on "CNN THIS MORNING," you'll hear from the grandson of the 84-year-old man charged in the shooting of that Kansas City teenager Ralph Yarl. That starts at 6:00 a.m. Eastern. Make sure to tune in to that.

Thanks so much for watching us tonight. Our coverage continues now.