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Special Counsel's Report Claims FBI Had No Real Evidence Of Collusion Before Launching Trump-Russia Probe; Congressional Attack Suspect Allegedly Caught On Video Chasing Woman With A Bat; Panel Discusses Pennsylvania Politics; Social Media Firms Hit With Lawsuit One Year After Buffalo Massacre; Panel Discusses The Debt Ceiling Stakes; "CNN Tonight" Presents "On the Lookout." Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired May 15, 2023 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Hi, everyone. Thanks for tuning in to this hour where we bring you "Tomorrow's News Tonight." We have our great lineup of reporters here with me. We have Vanessa Yurkevich, Danny Freeman, Omar Jimenez, and Jessica Dean. Also joining us, especially parachuting in for this, is Evan Perez. Evan, thanks so much for being here.
Okay, Special Counsel John Durham released his final report tonight, more than 300 pages concluding that the FBI should never have launched a full investigation into connections between Donald Trump's campaign and Russia during the 2016 election, but no recommendations for any new charges or wholesale changes in how the FBI handles politically- charged investigations.
So, Jessica is here with that story but also, as we said, Evan Perez is joining us from Washington. Okay, Evan, just walk us through the bottom line of this report.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the bottom line, after four years, Alisyn, this is all we got from John Durham. There's a lot less here than certainly Donald Trump was promising us. For many months, remember, he was out there saying Durham is coming, and he was expecting people to go to prison. And, as you pointed out, Durham does not make any new prosecutions at the end of this report.
But, you know, he did find a lot of mistakes by the FBI in the way they conducted this investigation back in 2016, and he believes that a lot of it has to do with confirmation bias, not political bias. Again, a finding that I think the former president would not be very happy with.
I will read you just a part of what the report says. It says that based on the review of Crossfire Hurricane and related intelligence activities, we conclude that the Justice Department and FBI failed to uphold their important mission of strict fidelity to the law in connection with certain events and activities described in this report. It goes on -- he goes on to say that, you know, the FBI discounted or willfully ignored material information that did not support the narrative of a collusive relationship between Trump and Russia.
A lot of criticism, again, for the FBI, but I'll just, you know, throw some numbers at you. Six million pages is what he said he went through -- there were 480 interviews, 190 grand jury subpoenas. He spent a lot of time on this investigation and there is not much to show for it.
CAMEROTA: Okay. Well, that sounds incredibly thorough. Evan, there was also this 2019 report from the DOJ inspector general --
CAMEROTA: -- that had other findings. It found that the FBI investigation was justified and unbiased. So, how does that report square with the new one?
PEREZ: Yeah. Look, there's a lot of differences between the two reports, but, you know, we will highlight just one of them here. One of them has to do with Lisa Page who was a former FBI lawyer and Peter Strzok who was leading counterintelligence activities there at the FBI. In the Durham port, he says that Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were directly involved in matters relating to opening Crossfire Hurricane.
And then, of course, if you compare that to what the Horowitz report says, he says that Lisa Page attended some of the discussions regarding opening of this investigation. She did not play a role in the decision to open Crossfire Hurricane or the four individual investigations.
These two became certainly a fixation for the former president, for Republicans, because they were having an affair and a lot the text messages came out in the middle of the Mueller investigation and was used really to discredit the work that was being done to investigate these very, very suspicious ties between people associated with Trump and, of course, the Russians.
And so, that is one reason why, you know, highlighting that difference of opinion there, these two investigative teams, Alisyn, looked at all of the same things and they came away with completely different conclusions.
CAMEROTA: Really interesting. Evan Perez, thank you very much. Okay, so, Jessica, um, you know, obviously, former President Trump has invested interest in all of this. Has he talked about the findings from today?
JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is not going to surprise anyone. Yes, he has had some comments on this. And in a way that we would expect him to is that he's going to shade this as a big victory. We just heard Evan lay out what was there, these two contrasting reports.
But Trump -- and look, at the end of this investigation, Trump was saying people are going to go to prison. He was really hanging a lot on this, right, and talking about it a lot. And now we have at the end of this investigation and it really -- there wasn't any -- no one -- there were not wholesale large groups going to prison.
CAMEROTA: Three people were charged, right?
CAMEROTA: Three people were charged. Two of them are acquitted by juries.
DEAN: Correct. That's exactly right.
CAMEROTA: So, one person, I don't think that person (INAUDIBLE).
DEAN: He did not. That's right. That's exactly right. And so, here's what he said, just so everybody out there knows what the former president is saying, he did post on Truth Social and he really tries to frame this. I think we can put it up for everybody. There it is right there.
Wow, after extensive research, Special Counsel John Durham concludes the FBI should have never launched the Trump-Russia probe. In other words, the American public was scammed just like it's being scammed right now by those who don't want to see greatness for America.
So, that is what the former president is saying. I would expect we hear more about this on the campaign trail.
CAMEROTA: I mean, they -- he didn't actually conclude that they should never have launched it. They should not have done a full investigation. There is different gradation in investigations.
DEAN: That's right. Well, there is nuance to it. Right? And that can be complicated.
Nuance can be hard for people.
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The one thing that strikes to me is whenever you do, you know, these types of investigations, I think all of us reading are waiting for this big -- whether it's, you know, a recommendation of charges, whether it's a recommendation of, sure, maybe shouldn't have launch a full-scale investigation, but here's what you should run differently, it does not seem like there is any full scale changing of the FBI that is recommended or obviously no indictments recommended.
So, what does this report actually do as -- outside of, you know, just a slap on the wrist?
DEAN: I think that is such a great point.
JIMENEZ: Yeah. DEAN: And it really comes down to Congress and his allies in the House that really want to push this, right, and use it. you know, we've heard since they took -- since they took over the House in January, you know, they have this special investigation going on about the alleged politicization of the FBI, DOJ, that Jim Jordan has been leading, and that is something that they have gone back and back to -- back to over and over again, really trying to make this point and trying to make this case.
And, of course, this was really kind of a president of sorts for Jim Jordan and his committee. They now -- Jordan has now requested that Durham come and testify on the Hill next Thursday.
CAMEROTA: So, they're happy with it?
DEAN: They are thrilled.
CAMEROTA: They are pleased --
DEAN: They are so happy.
CAMEROTA: After four years, they are pleased with this outcome?
DEAN: Yes. And they want to use this, right, as a way to continue to drive forward their message and to continue to kind of push their agenda that they believe that there has been a weaponization of these law enforcement agencies against Americans, specifically Republicans.
I think -- I want to play this clip for you. My colleague, Melanie Zanona, actually caught up with Jim Jordan earlier today and we have that. I think it's important to listen to.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): I think it almost more than confirms (INAUDIBLE). But it more than confirms all the things that we've been saying now for (INAUDIBLE).
MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: And what kind of questions do you want to ask him?
JORDAN: I think it's important to come and say it. So, the country (INAUDIBLE) hear from the guy who obviously did a thorough job (INAUDIBLE) long time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEAN: And again, you hear Jim Jordan there saying this confirms everything we've been trying to say. So again, really politicizing this report and using it to further the agenda of that investigative committee. And so, it remains to be seen if Durham will actually come and testify next week.
But Jordan has requested that in addition to coming, that he be prepared to answer questions from various members on that committee and also to kind of give short, concise report on the report essentially and walk them through all of it.
And it is worth noting, too, that we are hearing from other House members that are now calling for consequences for the FBI --
CAMEROTA: Like what?
DEAN: Well, is that defunding? We have heard defund them, you know. I mean, look, these are extreme positions and I think you got to remember that these are people really on the far right. But that is kind of the talk right now.
CAMEROTA: I mean, what I understood was that Director Wray had made changes. There were things that they uncovered during the course of all of these years that the FBI did wrong, particularly as it came to the FISA warrants and the FISA court. I think that Director Wray had already testified or said that he had made some changes to the process in terms of a full investigation. But, obviously, it would be interesting to see what they are going to do next.
DEAN: What they are going to do next. Important to remember, it is a divided Congress. We have -- on the Senate side, the Democrats do have the majority there. The House has, you know, Kevin McCarthy. The House speaker (INAUDIBLE) very small majority.
So, it is not like there is going to be some sweeping new changes that Congress passes through. It is more -- what this boils down to is it is talking points. They are able to raise money off of this.
VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: It's a victory lap for president trump. I think to your point, we are going to hear him out on the campaign trail talking about this time, and time again.
And essentially, I think he's going to say, look, they -- in the simplest terms, look, they found nothing. And then he's going to try to potentially use that to kind of oversimplify other investigations that might be happening.
And I think it's going to probably play very well with his subordinates.
CAMEROTA: Danny, hold that thought for a second because we're just getting in some new video, I'm told. So, we are about to all look at this for the first time. It's disturbing. We want to warn you, this is the man who allegedly attacked congressional staffers at Congressman Gerry Connolly's office in Virginia with a baseball bat this morning.
He was identified by neighbors as a person captured on their home security camera this morning wielding a bat, chasing a woman in the neighborhood. This is security video. It was provided to CNN by a homeowner who lives near the suspect and it shows a woman screaming as she flees from a man with a bat. This was timestamped as occurring at 10:34 a.m. That is before the attack at congressional office. And again, it is disturbing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: What are you doing? Call the police.
UNKNOWN: Hey! Hey, take a picture.
UNKNOWN: They're coming.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Now, two neighbors said that the man you just saw in the video was allegedly the same person who was arrested following the attack at Congressman Connolly's office in Fairfax, Virginia. Obviously, we will keep following that. Well, that is terrifying.
YURKEVICH: Oh, it's horrific.
DEAN: 10:30 in the morning, you are getting your coffee, your morning paper, and this happens. It's absolutely terrifying.
JIMENEZ: I think it also -- you know, if -- you know, as the neighbors alleges it is the same person, I think it gives you an insight to the mindset that this person was clearly in from before the attack even happened, you know, at the office itself.
This was clearly something that, just based on that video, had been bubbling up from the beginning, the morning. He's already aggressive with people around him in the neighborhood.
And so, obviously, there's an investigation that plays out and, you know, we move forward with whatever is charged. But I think that gives very good insight into what type of person we are dealing with.
DANNY FREEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What is also scary is, obviously, you can hear the terror in her voice.
FREEMAN: But there's something about, you know, it's not a gun, right? It is someone carrying something, approaching you, and then there's that moment where this could be a normal interaction. It's a person holding a bat that you're playing with kids. But then to come after someone, I mean, that -- that -- I can't imagine the fear that was going on in that woman and, of course, allegedly, that office's mindset earlier.
CAMEROTA: Yeah, that does give us insight into what it must have been like for the staffers as well.
FREEMAN: Yeah. DEAN: Can I just say quickly, too, you know, I spent most my days on Capitol Hill after the January 6. There is just a general hum of anxiety that still pulses through that building, when it comes to potential violence coming into that building or exactly what we saw today going into offices or attacking somebody.
CAMEROTA: Do you go through magnetometers?
DEAN: Every day.
CAMEROTA: You go through them but even when you're in the building, you feel like as though there could be something that will happen?
DEAN: Yeah. And I think -- I think that's the general feeling from a lot of people who work there: Staffers, media, members. I think there's a real -- there still a sensitivity to it. Obviously, everyone is doing their work and trying to, you know, get through the day. But there is such a sensitivity to this sort of thing.
And to see this happen, to see these two staffers who were attacked with a metal baseball bat, one of them an intern, first day on the job, it is just a very scary thing and it simply underscores where we are in this country right now, that this sort of thing just happens.
CAMEROTA: Yeah. Thank you for sharing that.
Okay, coming up, Danny is going to preview the big election day in Pennsylvania tomorrow, including a race that is so big President Biden is weighing in. How big is it? Dan is going to tell us.
FREEMAN: So big.
CAMEROTA: That big?
FREEMAN: So big.
CAMEROTA: That big.
CAMEROTA: So, there is a special election in Pennsylvania tomorrow and it will determine likely if Democrats maintain control of the state house or if Republicans take the majority. And in Philadelphia, the race is on for who will become the city's next mayor.
So, Danny, you are all over this.
FREEMAN: All over it.
CAMEROTA: And today, President Biden even endorsing -- explain this. He was endorsing a state house candidate in Pennsylvania, Heather Boyd.
FREEMAN: That's right.
CAMEROTA: She is running to fill an empty seat. Why is that House race so important to him?
FREEMAN: Okay. So, let's back up for a second, right? Republicans have been in control of the state house in Pennsylvania for over a decade now. And with a combination of November's election and a few other special elections that came through after, Democrats took control. It was a huge deal. But after the dust settled, it was a one seat margin. They have control of the state House of Representatives by one seat.
Then in March, a Democratic state representative resigns because of harassment scandal, and then a seat is open. And this one seat that is open, Delaware County, suburb of Philadelphia, this could determine control of the state House of Representatives.
That's what we're talking about it tonight and that's why tomorrow as Pennsylvanians go to the polls, that is maybe the race that everyone across the state truly, across the commonwealth, is watching.
CAMEROTA: Got it. That makes a lot of sense. Okay, now, tell us about the mayor's race. What's going to happen in Philly?
FREEMAN: Well, so, the mayor's race is a totally different beast. Okay, so, Philadelphia mayor's race, tomorrow is election day across Pennsylvania. But in Philadelphia, it is a democratic primary, right? And why that matter is because Philadelphia Democrats have such a large registration advantage over Republicans. Whoever wins tomorrow and the Democrats is almost assured to win in November at the general election in Philadelphia.
DEAN: I was going to say, it's election day tomorrow in Philadelphia.
FREEMAN: Exactly. Exactly. There are actually cases of Republicans who feel disenfranchised and they then switch their voter registration to just have a say in who might be their next mayor in the city of Philadelphia.
So that is the stage set there and, Alisyn, it is anyone's race. It is a toss-up. I think we have a poll actually right now. There is a -- you can see right there. The top four --
CAMEROTA: A lot of people running.
FREEMAN: Ton of people running. And the top four really are all within that margin of error, that 21, 18, 14, and then Jeff Brown, you see that candidate at 10. So, any of those people truly at this point can win.
UNKNOWN: Undecided, 15%.
UNKNOWN: I know. I was looking at that, too.
JIMENEZ: A lot of choices.
FREEMAN: And that's why you're seeing a lot of people in these past, you know, 48, 24 hours really -- they're out, they're knocking on doors. It feels like election day in Philadelphia tomorrow.
DEAN: I am curious, too, with that mayor's race because we had so much focus, remember, on the Chicago mayor's race --
DEAN: -- and what that meant. And to a lesser extent, still some pretty good attention on the Los Angeles mayor's race and what that meant. These big American cities post-COVID with the more liberal part of the Democratic Party versus either a Republican or someone who is more of a conservative Democrat --
DEAN: -- and, you know, we kind of try to extrapolate. We, the political media, from time to time have been guilty of trying to extrapolate big sweeping conclusions from these races. But it doesn't seem like Philly has gotten as much attention as, say, Chicago's race did.
FREEMAN: I think there are couple of different reasons why. I think one of the main reasons is, for Chicago, for example, you know, you cover it as well on the ground, Omar, that this is an incumbent leaving.
Coming this term, he's not running anymore, Mayor Jim Kenney. He had a lower profile in the past few years than perhaps Lori Lightfoot, right, in Chicago. Also, that's not an incumbent at risk of losing their job as well.
However, I do think that whoever becomes mayor of this group, especially if it's one of those five of top right there, I think you will hear their names a lot more after tomorrow because there is a lot of different directions the city could go based on a lot of these candidates.
There is some intense progressive change of folks. There are some folks who are very intent on holding the past administration accountable for some of the actions in policing, some of the actions in crime. And in others who are actually known faces, they've been in city hall for a long time, they have been in Harrisburg for a while. There are a lot of options here.
JIMENEZ: And one thing that I think about, yeah, we thought about the Chicago mayor's race and beyond. Okay, so, they say local politics is national and vice versa, local story and national story. And, you know, as we head towards 2024, we're going to have a big presidential side on Republicans. And are there any messages that people could, in theory, extrapolate from this that could make a difference in 2024?
For example, in Chicago, it was when you look at the more moderate Democrat in (INAUDIBLE) versus the more liberal brand in Johnson --
JIMENEZ: -- they looked at how they were going to handle public safety in a city like Chicago where public safety was a big deal.
Some said, all right, well, based on what was decided here, it sends a message to other Democrats and other potentially Republicans that public safety -- maybe a message just on public safety isn't the way to go. Are there any types of messages like that that could play a factor and beyond just this mayor's race?
FREEMAN: There definitely are. I mean, in the most recent polling that (INAUDIBLE) was from earlier, there were also a lot of issues that are the most important to Philadelphians. And crime, far and away, was the number one issue. It is something like 41%. So, that is definitely on peoples' minds.
You know, there have been debates in Philadelphia about potentially bringing back a kind of stop and frisk. That has been ping-ponged around these candidates over the course of many forums. That is one idea that has been out there. I think that there is the real potential that whoever becomes mayor might want to change things up in the police department as well in terms of that senior leadership, which is something that we are all looking at.
I actually want to say, Omar, the race that I think might even have more national implications to go back for a second is that state House of Representative race.
YURKEVICH: I have a question. How does that determine the policy of the state? You think that's what will have the impact on a national level?
FREEMAN: I think you can take -- I don't know if it is a chicken or egg thing. I think that race is definitely taking more leads from the national level because that race has basically been all about abortion.
FREEMAN: And if Republicans take over the state house, there is a concern by Democrats. That's why Biden endorsed in that race. That's why Josh Shapiro (INAUDIBLE) in that race primarily. That's what they said. If Republicans take control of the state house, there is a concern from Democrats that they might push a referendum, basically, to amend the Constitution to limit abortion rights.
So. that's what all the ads are about in terms of that particular race and that is why that race has garnered so much attention. Abortion issue, that is not something that is really playing in Philadelphia mayor's race. And remember, everyone that is in this democratic primary, a lot of things they are on the same page and it is finding the gradation there. I think we may know more about the national significance post this election tomorrow.
CAMEROTA: Well, Danny, thank you for explaining the intrigue --
FREEMAN: Of course.
CAMEROTA: -- of everything that is going on in Pennsylvania.
We will be watching closely tomorrow. All right, meanwhile, giant social media companies hit with a wrongful death lawsuit by the families of three victims as well as a survivor of last year's Buffalo supermarket massacre. Up next, Omar explains what the suit is all about.
CAMEROTA: One year after 10 people were killed in a mass shooting at a Buffalo grocery store, the families of three of the victims as well as a survivor have filed a wrongful death suit against various social media companies, including YouTube and the parent of Facebook.
The suit alleges that the shooter was radicalized by racist, antisemitic, white supremacist propaganda that he found on social media. Okay, Omar, tell us about this lawsuit.
JIMENEZ: Yeah. So, you hit the highlights of it. The lawsuit alleges that social media companies helped radicalize the gunman who shot and killed 10 people at the Top Supermarket in Buffalo just about this time last year.
And partly, it goes even further to say that the lawsuit says that he wasn't raised by racist parents, that he had no known documented history of negative interactions with Black people, and so they are basically pointing the microscope at social media.
In particular, one part of this lawsuit says that he explicitly has acknowledged that the racist, antisemitic, and violence promoting material he encountered on social media caused his radicalization, motivated him to commit racial violence, and provided the training, equipment, and expertise to plan and implement the massacre on May 14, 2022.
Part of all this and really the crux of their argument is that, look, this content doesn't just exist on social media. It is part of an algorithm in many cases. The lawsuit alleges that some of these things were promoted and/or reacting to his engagement to show him more of that.
And again, the crux of this lawsuit is that, were these social media companies tagging on that dark thread in the back of this person's mind until it became front of mind and then translated to violence?
CAMEROTA: And what did the social media companies say?
JIMENEZ: Well, they are saying that they have taken steps in many regards to try and find these types of extremist posts, take them down, make sure they do not go any further. We've heard a variation of that from a lot of different companies. But specifically, Snapchat has said, we have a zero-tolerance policy for hate speech and discrimination of any kind.
Google, the owner of YouTube, through the years, YouTube has invested in technology teams and policies to identify and remove extremist content. Twitch and Meta, which owns Facebook, took steps pretty quickly to try and take this down because this shooting was livestreamed on Twitch immediately as it was happening.
But obviously, the challenge that all of these social media companies have, no matter how well-intentioned they are, is speed with which these things spread on social media, the ease that they are uploaded, and the sheer amount of content that you are having to try and moderate at any given moment because there are people constantly trying to upload things that fall into this category online.
CAMEROTA: What about the gun seller? What about the gun manufacturer? What about 4chan, which is one of the, you know, really sort of dark, extremist places? What about other places beyond those that you just named?
JIMENEZ: So, targeting a lot of these others, the gun manufacturers, the gun suppliers, armor builders, all of these people, this is part of what I would say is a relatively new movement from what is now a number -- too many victims of mass shootings of mass killings.
So, for example, I will say that based on what we've seen, it is an uphill battle, but not a battle that is completely lost every time. After the Sandy Hook shooting, I mean, it took years, but some of the families of those that were killed sued Remington gun manufacturer there, and they won a settlement over $70 million.
CAMEROTA: They said it could not happen and it happened. They figured it out.
CAMEROTA: Got a loophole to do it.
JIMENEZ: So, people see that and they go, you know what, maybe we can do that, sadly, in our mass shooting, in our shooting that affected our community. Also, on top of that, you talked about the uphill battle of potentially going after some of the parents, for example, where some look at a situation like this and say, what were the parents doing because this person is a young person?
In this case, it may not be the one that actually goes forward because by all accounts at this point, it does not seem they were especially negligent here. But, you know, we let the facts come out. But you contrast that to the shooting that happened at Oxford, Michigan at the high school there where the parents of that shooter were indicted because they were accused of being negligent about how they handled their weapon, so much so, the suit alleges, that it contributed to the shooting unfolding.
CAMEROTA: So, Vanessa, you have reported on this algorithm. Algorithms feed you stuff. It is not -- this is not just, you know, the perpetrator going on a wild goose chase.
YURKEVICH: Yeah. The algorithms are incredibly sticky. TikTok is actually not mentioned in the suit, I believe, but TikTok has one of the stickiest algorithms. So, if you're looking -- I'm just giving an example. If you're looking for, I don't know, a healthy salad recipe, you know, you are on TikTok for days, for weeks, for months, you could end up in a pro-anorexia situation where you are looking at that type of content.
And to your point, it is -- these social medias companies tried but it is nearly impossible to get all of the bad content off of the social media apps. They are not regulated in a way that would help someone who may already be struggling.
And if you have someone who is potentially predisposed to being interested in certain things, you could essentially fall down the social media rabbit hole. It can be incredibly dangerous. Exactly what happened, according to this lawsuit in the situation.
FREEMAN: That stickiness can happen so quickly, too --
YURKEVICH: Oh, yeah.
FREEMAN: -- where you can --
FREEMAN: It is addiction. But you can search something once. Even by accident, you can misspell something and your feed very quickly can give you the next thing, the next thing in the same category.
JIMENEZ: And we have seen examples of how quickly this proliferates across continents, across -- I mean, across different ends of the world as quickly as possible. I mean, there is a through line that you can actually trace explicitly because all these guns that were mentioned from 2011, there was a shooting in Norway where over 70 people were killed. It is an infamous shooting that happened there.
But then years later, the New Zealand shooter in Christchurch killed dozens of people there, cited that shooting in particular as part of his inspiration. Then the shooting here in Buffalo cited both the New Zealand and the Norway shootings as inspiration, and he even took something specific from New Zealand and actually livestreamed this.
And so, you do -- unfortunately, the power of the internet allows these what typically would be lone wolves, lone gunman, to find their packs in places across the globe and truly just because these stories and these manifestos, whatever they might be, are spread to them and share to them and even potentially promoted to them on social media platforms.
CAMEROTA: It will be fascinating to watch this case as it proceeds. Omar, thank you very much. So, there is still no deal between President Biden and congressional Republicans to raise the debt ceiling. Are they getting closer to a deal or to default? Vanessa is going to tell us, next. She knows everything. She knows. Oh, she knows.
CAMEROTA: The clock is ticking closer to what would be the first debt default in American history. Congressional leaders expected at the White House tomorrow, one day before the president leaves for the Asia Pacific region. And, of course, the clock is still ticking on default. President Biden is optimistic, Speaker McCarthy skeptical ahead of this meeting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I remain optimistic because I'm a congenital optimist. But I really think there is a desire on their part, as well as ours, to reach agreement. I think we'll be able to do it.
KEVIN MCCARTHY, SPEAKER, UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: We haven't made any. We have no agreements on anything. That's why I'm so concerned. Here we are sitting on a Monday, you really have to have this all done by the end of the week. You know how these things go. They blow up. They come down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh. Vanessa, just tell us what is going to happen. Is President Biden going to postpone his trip?
YURKEVICH: It is up in the air. I think right now, I think they are proceeding as normal, but they are obviously talking about this because defaulting on our debt is so disastrous.
CAMEROTA: What would be the stakes for all of us?
YURKEVICH: Okay. So, start at the top. Let's talk about a potential recession. Potentially the market tanking. That impacts our 401Ks. Potentially unemployment spiking. Definitely, there will be a pause on social security checks, pause on Medicare payments. Veterans' benefits will be cut.
We don't know if we will be able to pay our military. Borrowing costs will go up, so student loans, mortgage rates, credit cards. Zillow put out there that if mortgage rates top 8%, housing costs are going to rise overall by 22%.
I mean, these are things that people are going to feel every single day. I mean, the list probably goes on. But here is a real catch. Because we have never defaulted ever, we don't actually know what the economic impacts will really be. And that's the scariest part about this.
We can kind of anticipate what may happen, what will happen, but we really do not know and that can be pretty terrifying for a lot of Americans.
CAMEROTA: Yes. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is certainly trying to sound the alarm. I mean, what more can she say? She keeps sending letters to congressional leaders.
YURKEVICH: This is their second letter in two weeks, and you could say it's a nudge, you could say it's a warning, you could say she's actually getting really nervous. She is essentially saying, reminder, guys, June 1st, this is the day that allegedly we are not going to able to pay our bills.
This is what she said in her letter most recently. She said, if Congress fails to increase the debt limit, it would cause severe hardship to American families, harm our global leadership position, and raise questions about our ability to defend our national security interests.
I mean, those are critical to the United States standing in the global economy. I mean, national security? This is because we don't know if we can pay our military. And that is going to be -- that is going to be catastrophic if this happens.
And up until now, she has been able to use what's called extraordinary measures, essentially just moving money around to try to stop gap bills right now. But come June 1st, if there is no deal, she has raised the alarm multiple times now. This is her second letter in two weeks. There is nothing she can do. Right?
It's up to the president, it is up to Congress to figure this out.
CAMEROTA: How about that split screen where you see President Biden being optimistic? As you said, he is a natural born optimist.
CAMEROTA: He says that a lot.
CAMEROTA: And then you see Speaker McCarthy. I don't know if he is just saying that to get people's attention. Because if he feels that strongly and it sounds like he does if you take it at face value, why are they at an impasse?
DEAN: That is a million-dollar question, right? Okay, a couple of things that I think people need to keep in mind. Number one, there is a lot of times that we all talk about, oh, you know, up on the Hill, Congress is at a loggerhead. This is a real situation. We are really at a point now that is very serious and very different. The closest thing you can compare it to is 2011.
And remember, we ended up raising the debt ceiling before the deadline but just because we got close to it. Moody has downgraded America's credit rating and that's just because we got close to it. We did not even go off the cliff. So, I think that is important for everyone to remember. This is not just our political standoff on Capitol Hill.
Secondly, we know that at the staff level, they have been meeting. And the big four -- so all the congressional leadership and President Biden were supposed to meet last week. They decided to kick that can on the road and let the staff keep going.
We do know that look, the White House and President Biden and even Senate Democrats have been very -- we will not negotiate, we cannot negotiate. The fact of the matter is they are now negotiating and they have to because they have got to get this done.
So, there are a few areas where they are kind of circling around that they think that perhaps they can get some --
CAMEROTA: I have a list of what we think is on the table.
CAMEROTA: You correct me if I'm wrong. Rescinding about $60 billion in unspent COVID-19 relief funds. Okay. I mean, who can argue with that? That is fine. They're unspent.
JIMENEZ: Unspent, yeah.
CAMEROTA: Take those back. Good. I'm going to solve this tonight, guys.
JIMENEZ: Here we go.
CAMEROTA: I'm going to solve this before the show is over.
JIMENEZ: This is it.
CAMEROTA: Okay, possible spending cuts. Well, that sounds like (INAUDIBLE).
CAMEROTA: Budget caps for the next several years. Also (INAUDIBLE). Adding work requirements to social programs. Okay.
CAMEROTA: Revisiting permitting process. These are the things taking place.
DEAN: Yeah. Permitting reform can be one where they can make some progress as well. Kevin McCarthy has said, remember, it takes a minute to get the stuff through the House. To get the stuff to through Senate is a logistical issue. He said that they need a deal in hand by this week to make it to the June 1 deadline.
That is Monday night. They are meeting tomorrow. That's just not that much time. It is not to say it can't get done, but it is asking a lot, and they are still pretty far apart.
One more thing, I think, that's worth remembering is that Kevin McCarthy has a very small margin in the House, four votes. And anything that is going to be a compromise on what they have already passed out of their -- which is not anywhere close to what they are ultimately going to get, they are going to have to probably have help from Democrats here.
DEAN: And that's going to be a whole dance as well.
CAMEROTA: All right, thank you both very much for explaining that. We will see where we are tomorrow. Up next, "On the Lookout," our reporters tell us what stories they're looking out for on the horizon.
CAMEROTA: We are back with our fantastic panel of reporters to tell us what stories they are keeping an eye on. We call it "On the Lookout." Okay, Jessica?
DEAN: So, tomorrow, the Senate is going to vote on this bill that will block a D.C. bill that is about police reform. You will remember they did this a couple of months ago on kind of the crime code in D.C. and they ended up -- they ended up getting it passed. The GOP -- it was a GOP-led effort that passed the democratic-controlled Senate, and President Biden let it happen. Now, he said he is going to veto this one.
And so, what I am watching for is the senators, these Democrats who are up for reelection on this issue of crime, which we know Republicans continue to push. What do they do tomorrow? How does that all play out?
CAMEROTA: Okay. Fantastic. Thank you. Omar?
JIMENEZ: So, this goes back to a discussion we had earlier about proliferation of mass shooting motivations. This goes to the Nashville shooting at the covenant school, the unfortunate one there. A judge is now weighing whether to release a journal -- journal writing in a suicide note found inside the car of the shooter and some other documents as well after a complaint was filed by local resident and the National Police Association who say this will help us better understand what happened.
Of course, on the other side of the debate is, are you also unintentionally proliferating this? It's in the judge's hands to see if this goes through.
CAMEROTA: Yeah, that is a tough one. Okay, thank you very much for that. Danny?
FREEMAN: On a different note, I am excited for commencement season.
UNKNOWN: Oh, okay.
FREEMAN: I was in Philadelphia. I was at the University of Pennsylvania because President Biden was there celebrating his granddaughter who is graduating. (INAUDIBLE) spoke. And I was reporting on it. I had to listen. And she was great. I was, like, wow, this -- when they are good, they are great.
CAMEROTA: What was your takeaway? What did she say? Did she sing?
FREEMAN: She did sing quite a bit. And she said that when she first auditioned for her role in "Wicked," her voice cracked. And for you, young grads, it is okay that your voice cracks every once in a while. You should still use your voice.
JIMENEZ: It is okay if you let it go.
CAMEROTA: Oh, nice. That is inspiring. That is a good reporting gig.
FREEMAN: I thought so.
CAMEROTA: Yeah, that's great. Okay, go ahead.
YURKEVICH: I am looking forward to my first little league game tomorrow night. I am going in an official capacity as a reporter because --
CAMEROTA: Another great gig.
YURKEVICH: -- because I am working on a story about umpire shortages in youth sports because of parents behaving badly.
YURKEVICH: Parents are being so abusive to umpires that they are quitting.
DEAN: One just punched a guy in Florida.
YURKEVICH: There you go.
YURKEVICH: Send me that video. I'll use it in my piece.
Listen, I don't want to see any fights break out.
But we are going to watch the entire game and talk to the ump (ph) who's going to be there that evening and see what he has to say. But I've never been to a little league game. I'm excited to watch these cute little kids, you know.
JIMENEZ: You know, I remember running around not to the base but --
DEAN: They're looking for running.
YURKEVICH: They're looking for umps (ph) who want to quit their day job.
CAMEROTA: That's a great idea, guys. You should volunteer for the --
JIMENEZ: All of us should. You should be behind home plate. Come balls and strike.
CAMEROTA: Okay, if I knew the difference, I would.
Okay, Vanessa, thank you very much. Thank you, guys. It is really great to have you here tonight. Okay, tomorrow, on "CNN This Morning," why you should not use sugar substitutes. The WHO warning people trying to lose weight. That starts at 6 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.
Thanks so much for joining us tonight. Our coverage continues now.