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CNN Tonight

Disney Sues Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Over "Targeted Campaign"; Manhunt Underway After Inmates Escape From Mississippi Jail; E. Jean Carroll Will Be Back On The Stand After An Emotional Testimony; President Biden Addresses Big Voter Concern: His Age; "CNN Tonight" Presents "On The Lookout." Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired April 26, 2023 - 23:00   ET




ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Hi, everybody. Thanks for tuning in to this hour where we bring you "Tomorrow's News Tonight." We have our great lineup of reporters to share their scoops. So, here with me is Priscilla Alvarez, Vanessa Yurkevich, Ryan Young, and Kara Scannell. Great to have you, guys, tonight. Really looking forward to hearing about the stories that you are working on.

So, the feud between Disney and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is heating up. Today, Disney launched a lawsuit against DeSantis and his handpicked oversight board after they voted to nullify Disney's special taxing district.

Disney alleges -- quote -- "a targeted campaign of government retaliation -- orchestrated at every step by Governor DeSantis as punishment for Disney's protected speech -- now threatens Disney's business operations, jeopardizes its economic future in the region, and violates its constitutional rights."

Vanessa Yurkevich is on this story. So, Vanessa, this is a plot twist because up until now, it has been DeSantis against Disney. But now, Disney is firing back. So, what happens next?

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: This is like round 25 of this saga between Disney and DeSantis. And really, this is going to be a long, drawn-out legal battle between essentially DeSantis and the state of Florida and Disney.

Disney is suing DeSantis and the newly-appointed board members after he ousted the old board members that were basically talking to Disney about how they will continue to work with this huge corporation. But what we are seeing now is this fight playing out in real time.

This all happened essentially in the same moment. You have this board appointed by DeSantis coming in to try to undo a lot of what Disney has done with the previous board and that at that same time, boom, you have this lawsuit dropped from Disney essentially saying, DeSantis, everything you're trying to do is completely unconstitutional and is completely politically-driven. CAMEROTA: And how is he responding?

YURKEVICH: DeSantis is basically saying, Disney, you don't get any special treatment here in Florida. You are just like every other business. And DeSantis is essentially threatening to potentially raise taxes on Disney. But that has a ripple effect. Not only would taxes go up on Disney but other land owners that are protected under this district. So, DeSantis really putting his foot down but could basically cause some harm along the way.

CAMEROTA: That's what I was wondering. Is this good for Florida? Don't Floridians like having Disney in their backyard?

YURKEVICH: I think so because if it wasn't for Disney, Orlando would essentially be a big swamp. I mean, Disney -- Disney is what basically put Orlando on the map in the 1960s. It draws in so many visitors. It draws in billions of dollars in revenue.

Many Floridians love Disney exactly for that reason. But a lot of Floridians also like that DeSantis is taking a stand on basically what he thinks is an overstep of Disney basically going into the political sphere and --

CAMEROTA: They're wokeness.

YURKEVICH: They're wokeness essentially over the fact that Disney came out and said that they do not support Florida's "don't say gay" bill, and that's what kind of started this all a year ago.

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: And we've been talking this week about the fact that Republicans weren't necessarily all on board with DeSantis going up against Disney. So, an escalation like this also adds more of a wrinkle for DeSantis when it comes to coalescing his own party members to support him for a potential candidacy.

But I will say, when I saw this news, the first thing that came to mind was the flights that DeSantis orchestrated of migrants from Texas to Martha's Vineyard. That many critics called a political stunt as he tried to get immigration out the forefront and criticize President Joe Biden, and it also ended up in a lawsuit.

CAMEROTA: And who won that one?

ALVAREZ: The judge ended up dismissing the lawsuit because the governor essentially added funds through the state legislator to continue to do these types of things.


ALVAREZ: So, it sorts of made the point moot, but it was a lawsuit all the same for something that he was going after.

CAMEROTA: Meanwhile, presidential candidate Nikki Haley seized on this today. So, what did she say? ALVAREZ: Well, what we have been hearing, right, like the Disney and this isn't -- this isn't the republican stance, right? This is a Republican going after business, getting involved in business. This is not what we normally see.

YURKEVICH: She capitalized on what DeSantis has been doing. She basically is saying, hey, if you don't want Disney, we will take Disney.

CAMEROTA: I think we have some soundbite (ph).

YURKEVICH: Yeah, let's listen to what she said.


NIKKI HALEY, FORMER SOUTH CAROLINA GOVERNOR, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS, 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: South Carolina was a very anti-woke state. It still is. And if Disney would like to move their hundreds of thousands of jobs to South Carolina and bring the billions of dollars with them, I will let them know I will be happy to meet them in South Carolina.


YURKEVICH: And essentially, she is pointing out just how lucrative Disney is to the state of Florida and any state that would have a part of Disney. And obviously, DeSantis is potentially revving up for an announcement to run for president.


Nikki Haley, he will obviously be up against. Same with Donald Trump. Donald Trump, by the way, is actually more on Nikki Haley's side than Ron DeSantis's side. He is saying that what DeSantis is doing is anti- business, that is actually not good for the state of Florida and, you know, the president is now living in the state of Florida.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I mean, I grew up in Florida. So, when you think about someone trying to go after Disney, you're like, wait, that is like the 800-pound gorilla. Right? They make a lot of money. People from all around the world want to come to Florida to go to Disney. It's a dream.

UNKNOWN: Oh, yeah. Get married there.

YOUNG: Absolutely.

UNKNOWN: Ron DeSantis got married there!


YOUNG: I had a friend get engaged there. Right? That -- that is what you want to do. The other side of this, though, we have to start talking about this, there is this idea that people like seeing DeSantis fight. And so, there is another part of people who are like, wow, he is taking these people, he is taking this wokeness on, he is attacking it from the front. But at the same time, you look at all the jobs, you look at the impact that Disney has on Florida economy, I mean, that feels like a big fight to take on.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely. Can we imagine them actually -- is Disney capable of leaving Florida and going to South Carolina? Can they up and move that entire operation?

YURKEVICH: That is a moving company's dream, I am sure --


-- but they employ -- Disney employs 75,000 people. They pay over a billion dollars in taxes every single year. And their 10-year plan is an additional 13,000 people of employees and billions of more dollars in revenue that they plan to bring in to the state.

So, it is certainly not going to be easy to get Disney to leave. I don't think that is what anybody wants. But it is certainly also not going to be easy for them to sort of lay down and say, we are not going to fight for what we believe in, both on a cultural level, but also on the level of basically not having to answer to anyone but Disney.

YOUNG: But isn't Disney like the auto industry? Like we can think about Disney itself but it is everything around Disney.


YOUNG: You got every hotel, you got every shop, you got every outlet, you got the airport. That is all set up for you to come and have a good time at Disney. The entire platform is. It is one of the fastest growing places in the state of Florida. So, what would you do if that all of a sudden was evacuated?

CAMEROTA: That's what confuses me, that Ron DeSantis is picking this fight because it is so lucrative for Florida.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I mean, I have never been to Disney, don't tell anyone.


Also, he is talking about putting possibly a prison --


SCANNELL: -- next door. So, really it seems to like just want to drop some controversy here, too.

YURKEVICH: Yeah. And that is part of his play, that he feels like now he has some power over Disney. He wants to put a prison in. He wants to raise taxes on things that Disney essentially pays for to support the entire infrastructure. He is getting a little bit of power as he has moved to change over this board to basically install people that he knows very well that are lawyers. But this fight from Disney, they have so much firepower, so much financial power behind them to step up against the state that, you know, it could go Disney's way.

CAMEROTA: But all that said, should they be in this tax-exempt status or whatever they are? I mean, if this is -- if he is going to change how they, I guess, pay their taxes to the state, are people interested? Are Floridians supportive of that?

YURKEVICH: I think Floridians are supportive of not having to pay more taxes themselves. So essentially, though, if he is going to make it harder for Disney to operate there, I don't know, could that have a ripple effect on Floridians?

Floridians, as Ryan was saying, they love Disney. Even if they don't go every week, every weekend, they love having it in their backyard. It is such an institution to the state, this anonymous state. I think that most people would say they support Disney. But also, maybe to your point, some people support what DeSantis is doing, taking on a big corporation.

YOUNG: For that question, what would every other state in the union do to get Disney? Right?

YURKEVICH: Anything.


YURKEVICH: Everything.

YOUNG: What tax rate will they provide? So, you know, it is interesting as we watch so many big businesses open a chip plant or open a manufacturing place, and we have the success of Disney like there is -- everyone wants to have a piece of that Disney. I mean, it is unbelievable. You think about the property. You should be thinking about all that. So, when you put that all together, not bad.

CAMEROTA: That make sense. All right, thank you all very much for that. Now, we need to talk about something that is happening right now. Police are on the trail of three fugitives who escaped from a Mississippi jail over the weekend. A fourth one has been identified after being killed. He was found in a burned home after a gun battle with police. So, Ryan Young has all the details on this manhunt, next.




CAMEROTA: There are dramatic developments tonight in the manhunt for four prison escapees in Mississippi. Authorities say that Dylan Arrington, Casey Grayson, Corey Harrison, and Jerry Raynes, they're on your screens right now, take a good look at them, they escaped from the Raymond Detention Center late Saturday night. One of the four men is dead after a fire broke out in a home where he was allegedly shooting at police.

Ryan is on this story. Okay, do police have new leads on where they think these guys are?

YOUNG: That is really the big question tonight. That is why putting those photos up on the screen is a big deal, right, because it's an active manhunt even as we are talking right now.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Let me just say, as somebody who has worked in America's most -- who worked in America's most wanted for five years, it works. The viewers find people. If you see anybody matching this, just call 9-1-1. You don't need to know the number in Mississippi. You can just call 9-1-1 and they will connect you if you know where those guys are.

YOUNG: That is important to say because when you talk to law enforcement, we are the force multiplier for them.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely.

YOUNG: All the eyes and ears. You see someone when they report a stolen vehicle or something, that is what helps move them forward.


But when you think about this case and how people have already been impacted by the public, the one guy that you talked about, Dylan Arrington, the one who is dead right now, he is actually somebody, according to police, who when he stole someone's motorcycle, he crashed the motorcycle, a reverend went over to help him, and he shot and killed that reverend --


YOUNG: -- according to police.

CAMEROTA: It's awful.

YOUNG: And then he ended up in a shootout with police, shot a deputy, and that is who they found in a burning home later today.

So, when you see the pieces of all of this and you know that three others are still on the loose, there are so many questions not only about how did they escape, why did it take so long before America found out that they were still on the run.

This almost plays out like a movie. They escaped from inside that facility by going to the roof, they stole a public utility vehicle and crashed it through a fence, and then the men have all split up now, so you have three on the run. They believe three of them could be in Texas and, of course, this other guy who has already been killed. But there are so many questions now about just how long it took the sheriff's deputy to figure out.

The sheriff's department even said themselves, look, they take this on for themselves. They made a big mistake. In fact, take a listen to the sheriff and what he said a little earlier today.


TYREE JONES, SHERIFF, HINDS COUNTY: Like I said, these three individuals escaped. This is one of the (INAUDIBLE) recently renovated. Door is locked in this particular pod. The pod is secure. The breach that they created was located within a (INAUDIBLE). So, he was in a secure area.



YOUNG: Right. So, that's -- that is part of the investigation now. So, like, you think once you close those doors, we've all covered jails before, once those doors closed, they are not going to get out. What is the (INAUDIBLE) redemption there? They are calling themselves out? Apparently, that is what they did. And they all left at different times. Apparently, they were able to get in that car and take off.

The weird thing about this, Jerry Raynes actually escaped from the same facility in 2021.


YOUNG: So, there are issues here that are big then that we all have to sort of talk about.

ALVAREZ: I was about to ask, what do we know about this facility and also this department? Is it a small department? I mean, you know, were there are enough people to monitor?

YOUNG: That is a -- that is a great question. And today, the sheriff even said they're 50 deputies short.

UNKNOWN: Yeah, there is a shortage of prison workers.

YOUNG: We are starting to see that across the country, not only in prisons but in law enforcement in general. There is a massive amount of retirements that are going on, especially after COVID, especially in law enforcement. We see this in other industries.

But people are not signing up for these jobs like they used to. The economy has something to do with it because you are not getting paid as much and you are also dealing with people who sometimes are mentally ill, and there is a lot of responsibilities at these facilities have.

When you add all that together, we are in a particular time in this country where everyone wants to feel safe, so you almost feel like you have to pay law enforcement more if you want some of these services.

But at this point, no one is going to talk about that because you got three guys who are still on the loose, who may be in Texas, who may be on the run, and maybe tonight, someone looks up and sees that screen. But at the same time, this has been since Saturday. CAMEROTA: This is crazy because this is the upshot of not having enough deputies. Sometimes, we just hear, oh, there are 58 deputies down, but you don't know what the real-life consequences. But go ahead, Kara.

SCANNELL: Three of these guys are in their 20s. One is in his 50s. Do we know anything about the relationship between them?

YOUNG: And that's -- and that's what is fascinating. Of course, when I watched the news conference today, you wondered, are they pod mates? Where they hanging out? Did one of them had a plan?

You got to think about the guy who is 51. He has escaped before. Did he go to them and say, hey, I got you? I know how to get out of here. There's a weakness. Maybe he figured that part out. Maybe he is the one guy who was able to guide everyone out.

Then you have the one who is obviously a little more violent. He goes on his own spree after this. And you think about a reverend stopping to help a man who crashed a motorcycle and ends up getting shot and killed. It's almost a full stop because you understand the pain in terms of everybody who is dealing with it. He was doing the right thing.


YOUNG: And then he lost his life.

CAMEROTA: It is awful. But to they -- do police think that the other three are armed?

YOUNG: That is a great question. I think at this point, it is like what you said earlier, if you see them, you have to call 9-1-1 because if you are willing to do an escape, you know your picture is going to be on television.

If you're in Texas, I mean, I think the question that we asked before we went to break, are they trying to head to Mexico? And when you think about the shortages on the border, which you cover all the time, are they trying to get to a place where they can kind of escape across the border?

I mean, these are all questions. You don't think they really played this out all the way. But if you are already heading towards Texas, what is your next step?

YURKEVICH: What does law enforcement telling people to do? I mean, if you see them, obviously, call the authorities. But there are people on -- there are these three gentlemen on the lose right now. They could be armed. Are they saying, lock your doors, stay inside? I mean, one of them entered a home. It is pretty scary if you are just a home alone or it is dark. It is dark right now in many parts of the country.

YOUNG: You know, you think about all of this. When I covered Casey White in Alabama when he made the escape with the help of someone from inside the jail, it was interesting to watch how, when they figured out certain blocks of where they were, they would put out small bursts of, like, hey, lock your doors, be on the lookout for it.


But one of the things about this is that this group is -- if they are still together, they are such a sort of mispatch (ph) of guys. Maybe you would notice something weird. I have covered stories before where my producer and I fit the description of the people they are looking for and got pulled over, which is always a funny story.

CAMEROTA: Is that right?

YOUNG: It has happened before.

CAMEROTA: So, you've been pulled over because you look like a fugitive?

YOUNG: It has happened. It has happened.

CAMEROTA: And then what happened?

YOUNG: It has happened. You show the press pass (ph). You just keep moving. But at the same time, you understand, if you -- if you -- look, you've got one Black guy, you got two white guys, and you see three guys in the car, you are probably going to get pulled over tonight. Right? So, it all makes sense.

But when you think about it, they don't have credit cards, so you can't do a digital tracking like you do. Right? The last car they were seen in, maybe it has already been dumped and they moved to another one. And then you saw the gas station picture that they had at one point of one of the guys at the convenience store. So, it's that kind of thing where someone is going to say, hey, I saw this guy here.


YOUNG: You can go back and look but --

ALVAREZ: It is in part of the question, too, do they have connections to the outside? Is there someone who is assisting them? I'm sure these are part of the questions that law enforcement --

CAMEROTA: Here's how it normally works, Ryan, as I'm sure you know. They will split up. The 21-year-olds will go home immediately to their connections and their family. They will immediately be arrested like tomorrow. I mean, they are not -- often, these guys, the young ones, at least, are not long for the outside world.

YOUNG: And you're right in that sense, but what -- what is scary about it is we now have a pattern where people seemed desperate. And did they find out that their friend has already been killed in a shootout? And do they now feel the pressure to do more to stay out there?

So, I'm always considering, like, what's the motive behind the crimes sometimes? And so, these other three guys might be, like, we didn't sign up for that part of it. Right? Clearly, Arrington went on his own way.

But what I would also wonder about is how much pressure is on law enforcement, especially in that small community, because now you have an entire detention facility that people are probably like, all right, you are 50 deputy short, and you have other people who are in there, so what happens next?

CAMEROTA: Yeah. All right, obviously, we will stay on this. And everybody, just make sure you call your local law enforcement if you know any of those guys.

Okay, up next, E. Jean Carroll back on the witness stand tomorrow in her battery and defamation trial against Donald Trump after a first day of very emotional testimony. So, Kara is going to fill us in.




CAMEROTA: An emotional day at a New York courtroom where E. Jean Carroll took the stand in her lawsuit against former President Trump. She testified -- quote -- "I'm here because Donald Trump raped me and when I wrote about, he said he didn't, it didn't happen. He lied and shattered my reputation and I'm here to try and get my life back."

CNN's Kara Scannell was at the courthouse and is here to fill us in. So, okay, Kara, so, tell us the headlines from today and what happens next.

SCANNELL: Right. I mean, so, in this case, I mean, E. Jean Carroll was on the stand for most of the day today. And, you know, this is her lawsuit against the former president. So, she testified in emotional testimony. At times, you know, saying that -- actually, describing the scene -- taking the jury into this moment.

She said that she believed it was a Thursday night in the spring of 1996. She could not pinpoint it any sooner than that, but she said she had gone to Bergdorf Goodman's New York department store after work, was leaving just as Donald Trump, who was then, you know, a fixture of the tabloids, 90s, New York City, was coming in.

And she said, he said to her, hey, you are that advice columnist, and she said, hey, you're that real estate tycoon. He was like come with me, I need to get a gift for a friend. So, they look at handbags, they looked at hats.

Then she said they took the escalator up to the sixth floor. That is where the lingerie was. She kept thinking, this is going to be a great story to tell my friends. Here, I run into Donald Trump and we are going shopping.

But then she said, this is when things turned violent. That, you know, they were joking over a piece of lingerie. You try it on. No, you try it on. Then they ended up in the dressing room. This is when she -- her allegation is that Trump shoved here up against the wall, hard enough that her head hit the wall, he closed the doors, which automatically locked, he pulled down her tights and he raped her.

And then she said, from there, she was able to get her knee up and pushed him off, left the department store, called a friend immediately. That friend is also going to testify. And then she also spoke to another friend.

She was saying that the problem here for her was that she has not been able to have a romantic relationship since because she says it was the sense of flirting with someone and having it turned violent, and she has not been able to replicate that.

She also said, then when Trump came out and denied this -- when she wrote her book and came public with the story, he denied it. He said she was a liar, that she made it up. She said she received nasty emails. She got fired from her job as a columnist at Elle. She is saying that these were the ramifications of this.

Now, she's on the stand again tomorrow. She has a little bit more direct testimony from her lawyer. But then there is going to be cross- examination by Trump's team. And out of the gate, in opening statements, they said this never happened. Full stop. And they have said they are going to make their case through the plaintiff's witnesses.

So, there has been a lot of time on cross examination of Carroll. They are going to try to poke holes in this. Where is the evidence? It's a he said, she said. There are no eyewitnesses --

CAMEROTA: What does she need to prove? So, this is a defamation and battery case. So, does she need to prove that she was raped in order to prove defamation or does she just need to prove that he defamed her and it hurt her reputation?

SCANNELL: So, this is what is so interesting. On the battery charge, the judge explained this to the jury just after he swore them in, to kind of set them up so they can absorb and hear the evidence in this case.


And he said what battery is in a civil context is unjustified touching without the consent of another person that a reasonable person would find offensive. And he said that in this civil context, it does not discriminate between, you know, violence of the touch.

So, if they find that he shoved he up against the dressing room wall, that could be enough. It does not have to be rape. So, that leaves a very big window here for the jury to look at.

And then on defamation, you know, it is more complicated, but he told them he is going -- just from the outset, this is -- saying something that you know is false to harm someone's reputation. So, that is the parameters of what they are going to be looking at here. And this is the civil case. So, again, it's the preponderance of evidence. It's not the same standard as a criminal case. So, it's really just like 51%. There are nine jurors. It's six men, three women. And we will see how they taken all this evidence.

YURKEVICH: Are we going to hear from Trump at all on this case or is that not happening?

SCANNELL: So, he sat for a video deposition in October. And so, they have already said they are going to play portions of that. But this has been a looming question. And the judge is pressing Trump's attorney. He said he needs to know by this week if Trump is going to come into court either to testify or just to observe the trial.

He is on trial. And there is an empty seat in the courtroom right now because he is not there. He's not required to be there. But the judge is also saying, look, this is a security concern. We have got extra marshals here. We've got a magnetometer before anyone can put him into the courtroom just in case the former president shows up.

YURKEVICH: At the same time, he would have to come to New York City to testify.

SCANNELL: I mean, yeah, second time in like two weeks, I was -- remember the last time I was outside --

YURKEVICH: Yeah, for hours and hours.

CAMEROTA: That is why you can't go to Disney World.


And what does E. Jean want? What does she get if she wins?

SCANNELL: So, she is suing for a retraction of a statement that he made in October where he said this was a hoax, these allegations that she made this up, suggesting that she did it to boost sales of her book. And, you know, he said repeatedly, she's not my type.

She also wants compensatory and punitive damages. She has not put a firm number on that. That would be a question then for the jury.

ALVAREZ: It has been so many decades since this incident happened. How is that playing into this case? I mean, how do you try a case that happened so long ago? It is such a high-profile person, the former president of the United States.

SCANNELL: It happened so long ago and she only became -- went public with it in 2019. So, you know, that's a big gap here. There is not the physical evidence. There are no credit card receipts. There is no surveillance video. There are no phone records that anyone has suggested they are going to enter into evidence here.

So, it's really going to be based on Carroll, her credibility, the two friends that she talked to who are going to be called to testify. And this is what I think is really interesting. The judge has allowed two other women who are not friends with Carroll, did not know Carroll, but came forward in 2016 when some two dozen women have come forward with allegations of assault by Donald Trump.

So, two women, a former reporter for People magazine who said that she went to interview Trump on the one- year anniversary of his marriage to Melania, and that he forcibly kissed her. And then another woman who said in '79, she was sitting in a first-class seat next to Trump and that he groped her.

So, both of those women are allowed to come in. And the way that E. Jean Carroll's attorneys presented this in the opening statements is they said this was one man, this was one pattern, and three women that he, you know, in a semipublic place groped and grabbed them, assaulted them, and then when they went public about it, said they were too ugly for me to assault.

So, they laid this out pretty firmly. Of course, that's opening statements. But then this is where Trump's attorneys are going to attack the stories.

YOUNG: I think the big question a lot of people are going to have is, why are we not going to see this on television? Because everyone expects to see everything now laid out on television. So, I know you know why but, I mean, can we just explain why?

SCANNELL: Yeah. I mean, you know, this is the federal court system. Federal courts don't allow cameras in the courtroom. There are some very unique circumstances where they sometimes do it. But I cover the Southern District of New York all the time. They just don't allow it.

So, the only windows into this are through the reporters that are there. And, I mean, I find such a privilege to go and cover courts and trials. It's history in the making and it is drama you could never anticipate, and then the court sketch artists that give you that quick image of the scene inside the room.

YOUNG: We are all guilty of this now. We listen to people's voices when they testify, and we start trying to glean whether or not we believe them. We lose that by not seeing it.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely. I'm all for cameras in the courtroom, for sure. So, Kara, also, tell us about other developments in the special counsel, another investigation into Donald Trump.

SCANNELL: Yeah, the Jack Smith investigation led by the special counsel. So, he has been in contact with -- you may remember this former Fox producer, Abby Grossberg. She was fired from Fox after she sued them.


This all came out as part of the Dominion lawsuit.

CAMEROTA: She worked for Maria Bartiromo and then Tucker Carlson. SCANNELL: Right. And so, you know, Fox is sued by Dominion. They had given -- there have been depositions on a number of producers and some of these anchors and hosts themselves. So, Abby Grossberg, who worked for those two, was deposed. And then in the middle of this process, as they were heading into trial, she filed a lawsuit saying that Fox had pushed her testimony in one direction. Now, Fox has denied this completely.

But since then, she has gone public with some audio, including conversations that Maria Bartiromo had with Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell to -- pushing that the election was stolen, that there was potential fraud at Dominion. Either of those things were true. But she came forward with that.

Very silly, interestingly, I mean, Jack Smith has said to her lawyer, we want to hear your tapes. So, her lawyer was on CNN and said they have 90 audiotapes. But they're trying to work with Jack Smith. He doesn't even know what is in all of them. They are trying to work with the special counsel and work it out through some kind of subpoena for her to turn these tapes over.

CAMEROTA: Because Jack Smith is looking at it to see if Rudy Giuliani or Sidney Powell said something about January 6th? This is about the planning for January 6th, he thinks?

SCANNELL: The question that he is looking at is the interference in the transfer of power. Right? So, Giuliani and Sidney Powell, they were behind these lawsuits. But I think the question here is, what were they saying publicly and arguing and what were they saying privately? So, potentially, what were they even saying to the former president? Because the question is, what did he know? What was his intent when he was doing this.

And one rationalization people have said is, he might have really believed his attorneys because Rudy Giuliani was a U.S. attorney in New York. He was a very substantial lawyer. So, if Trump really believed them, that is one thing and that's a good defense for him. But if they knew and were having conversations that this was not true, that is a tougher defense for him.

YURKEVICH: Do you think that they were trying to get their hands on this tape before the Dominion lawsuit played out or do you think Dominion kind of opened things out for them to go in and say, hey, I want that, I want to hear, I want to hear that, knowing what was in this lawsuit?

SCANNELL: I mean, I can't imagine they would know that these tapes even existed before she went public with it. I mean, the fascinating thing about this is the special counsel has been moving at a rapid clip. They have been conducting a lot of interviews and subpoenaing a lot of records.

But you also -- this was such a massive -- it's the election. It touches so many different corners. These are things that you cannot even anticipate. What was so interesting was how swiftly they move to try to get these tapes because the attorneys are saying that they heard from them almost immediately after these tapes became public. So, definitely on the case here and moving quickly.

CAMEROTA: Kara, thank you very much for all of that information. Meanwhile, President Biden is addressing a big concern of a lot of voters, including Democrats. They had this concern as he re-launches his election campaign, and that, of course, is his age. So, Priscilla has that when we come back.




CAMEROTA: President Biden addressing concerns about his age as he kicks off his reelection campaign. And Priscilla has new reporting for us. Okay, so, today, President Biden answered the question about his age which he keeps getting differently, a little bit differently than he has been.

ALVAREZ: That's right. This was actually a critical moment because it's his first substantial response to this question, and he said that he took a hard look at it himself. So, I think we have the sound. We should play that.


UNKNOWN: You have said questions about your age are legitimate. And your response is always, just watch me. But the country is watching. And recent polling shows that 70% of Americans, including the majority of Democrats, believe you shouldn't run again. What do you say to them? What do you say to those Americans who are watching and aren't convinced?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: With regard to age, I can't even say I guess how old I am, I can't even say the number. It doesn't register with me. But the only thing I can say is that one of the things that people are going to find out, they are going to see the race and they're going to judge whether or not I have it or don't have it. I respect them taking a hard look at it. I'd take a hard look it, as well, and I took a hard look at it before I decided to run.


ALVAREZ: The other part of that that was interesting later on is he was asked, would you still have run if it wasn't against the former president, Donald Trump? And he said that he would have. Now, of course, we have been talking about this week how voters are concerned about how old he is. We shouldn't forget that Trump himself is in his late 70s.

But I have been reading some polls and surveys as we have considered this question over and over, and what I have found is that voters, they have concerns about age, but they still vote for those candidates. So, I mean, think about, for example, Congress, where we have many, many members, and a lot of them are older. People put them in that position of power.

And then there's also been polling to show that voters, when they think about this question, don't really know what the cap is. Right? We know the numbers, they get around in their 50s, maybe a max of 70. And yet, when you look at the Senate, the House, and now the president, which is yes, another position, a very important position of power, we have folks who are older.


So, anyways, Biden is addressing this today. He's going to keep getting this question. The White House framing has always been people questioned him in the 2020, look where he is now. We're probably going to hear more of that from him as he goes on these trips. But it is a busy few weeks ahead for the president where he is going to be out front quite a bit domestically and foreign.

CAMEROTA: One of the things he talks about is having the stamina for the job and the campaign, which requires an incredible amount of endurance and stamina. And, you know, if he can do it, he says watch him. But I think it is interesting, it depends upon how old you are, how old you think the president should be.

And in fact, CNN's KFile dug up a 29-year-old Joe Biden, who at that time thought that there was an expiration date for politicians. So, let's get in the time machine and look at that. Oh, we don't have sound to that? Let me see if -- oh, we don't have any sound of that.


ALVAREZ: I walk you through it. Let's go back to 1972. Biden was 29 years old. He was a local Delaware councilman, and he was running against a Republican senator, Caleb Boggs, 63 years old, and he put it simply in talking, he said that he lost the old twinkle in his eyes. Those are Biden's words. The KFile, as they looked into this, noticed that it was really prominent, the way that Biden was going after his opponent's age in this race.

CAMEROTA: Who was just 63.

ALVAREZ: Who was just 63. And in the end, Biden won that race. But even when he won, it was about -- the headlines were about defeating the old. I mean, it was just a really prominent moment. But to your point, he was 29, right? We look at age differently now. The way that we hear Biden talk about his age when he gets asked by reporters is, look at my experience and look at what that brings to the table.

So -- but it was interesting that, of course, our colleague would find that clip as he does. He finds in the archives.

CAMEROTA: How differently 29-year-olds feel.

YURKEVICH: I'm sure he looks back and he is like, oh, I was little naive then, wasn't I? Now, he's getting all these questions about it.

ALVAREZ: He is. And look, it's interesting because we have so many months ahead going into November of 2024.

And Republicans are going to mention this, but they are really going to focus on the issues because I went back again and looked at that RNC video, the one we talked about last night with A.I., and they go after the issues, they go after the economy, crime, the border, and they tick through all of those to say that President Biden is not someone who Americans would want for a second term.

So, are we going to keep hearing about this from voters? Probably, right, especially as he is out on these different trips. We're going to hear from Republicans. But the primary candidate for them is also in his late 70s. So, is age really going to play in that? I don't know.

CAMEROTA: Great point.

ALVAREZ: We're going to be hearing from voters the most, but really what we're seeing when it comes to attacks is the issues.

CAMEROTA: Okay, friends, thank you very much for all of that. Up next, we have "On the Lookout." Our reporters are going to tell us what stories they are looking out for on the horizon. We will be right back.




CAMEROTA: We are back with our fabulous panel of reporters to tell us what stories they are keeping an eye on. We call it "On the Lookout." Okay, Priscilla, you.

ALVAREZ: So, I have my eyes on the Hill for a different reason. That's not the debt ceiling. Julie Su, she is the acting Labor secretary, she was the deputy, and she has been filling and helming the department ever since Marty Walsh stepped down. Her nomination passed through Senate committee today. But now, the big challenge is, will she get passed in the Senate?

The reason this is important is, of course, because the White House is going to want to have their labor secretary confirmed. But she was narrowly confirmed when she went to the deputy while Republicans have voted against her. And now, they are trying to coalesce Democrats to get on board and the White House has been leading high-level efforts to get those votes to happen.

This is the highest ranking official, and if she does not get confirmed, it would be quite a failure for the administration, which has wanted to have every post confirmed at the cabinet level.

CAMEROTA: Okay, we will look out for that. Thank you. Okay, Vanessa?

YURKEVICH: I am keeping an eye on the looming writers' strike that could happen May 2nd. This is the Writers Guild of America. It is negotiating with big studios. And a strike could happen May 2nd if they don't come up with a new contract. So that means no late-night T.V, no SNL, all your favorite movies and T.V. shows paused --

CAMEROTA: But would that mean? We just see reruns?

YURKEVICH: Potentially or sometimes, we have seen in the past, just late-night hosts kind of going on the fly and making it up as they go along. But this could have severe economic impacts if it does happen, if there is a strike. Billions of dollars in losses, ultimately. The last strike was in 2007. Two billion dollars in economic losses. Lasted 100 days.

We're not there yet. The two sides are still talking. The worst-case scenario is May 2nd, we see a bunch of rioters around the city, California, on strike.

CAMEROTA: Okay, got it. Thank you for that. Ryan?

YOUNG: A lot of serious stories over there. I'm focused on the NBA. I can't wait.


YOUNG: I got to get away from this job every now and then. So, look, the Miami Heat are playing well. NBA, we got T&T. We got our folks. Charles is joining us. I love the idea of who's watching basketball this time of year.


But I said that because I feel like a lot of people haven't taken the mental breaks they need to take. So that's my way to escape the world that we're in right.

CAMEROTA: Yes, why not? I like that. We all need a little escape, for sure. Okay, Kara?

SCANNELL: So, I have two. Hunter Biden's lawyers met with the DOJ today. We all thought that this investigation was wrapping up last summer. So, I am just going to try to find out with my colleagues what happened at that meeting, if there's any sense of when DOJ will make decision in this case.

My other one, "Thinking Out Loud." Ed Sheeran is in court. Media again tomorrow for this copyright suit for his song "Thinking Out Loud" and whether it copied Marvin Gaye. So, he will be back on the stand, possibly. So, it will be very interesting. I saw him in the cafeteria today.



CAMEROTA: Very cool.

SCANNELL: He is just like the rest of us. (LAUGHTER)

Sitting there and eating lunch. I'm looking forward to see him on the stand.

CAMEROTA: I got it. You're stalking him even in the cafeteria. Okay, fantastic. Thank you all very much. Great to spent the night with you.

Tomorrow on "CNN This Morning," inside the craze around new weight loss drugs, how it is impacting diet culture and body acceptance. Tune in for that. Thanks so much for watching tonight. Our coverage continues now.