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CNN Tonight

E. Jean Carroll Asks Judge To Amend Lawsuit To Seek Further Damages For What Trump Said At CNN Town Hall; Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), The Only Black Republican In The Senate, Enters The 2024 GOP Primary; Daniel Penny Tells New York Post That Race Had Nothing To Do With His Fatal Chokehold Of Jordan Neely On Subway. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired May 22, 2023 - 22:00   ET



ABBY PHILLIP, CNN ANCHOR: Well, you're going to have to find out because a source tells CNN that billionaire Jeff Bezos is engaged to his longtime partner, philanthropist and journalist Lauren Sanchez.

The couple went public with their relationship back in 2019. And he is the billionaire owner of Amazon. He was previously married to MacKenzie Scott. So, there's no word yet on when Bezos and Sanchez will tie the knot, but best of luck to the happy couple.

And thank you for joining us. CNN Tonight with Alisyn Camerota is starting right now. Alisyn, hi.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Abby. I'm thinking just a nice greeting card. I mean, really.

PHILLIP: I think that's all you can do, basically.

CAMEROTA: I think it's the thought that counts. So, thank you very much, Abby, great to see you.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Alisyn Camerota. Welcome to CNN Tonight. New legal trouble for Donald Trump, E. Jean Carroll seeking more damage is in the form of more money above and beyond the first $5 million because of what Donald Trump said in the CNN town hall.

And then there's the case of all those classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago. Apparently Donald Trump's attorney took highly detailed notes about them, notes that are now in the hands of the special counsel. Our panel dives into what those reveal.

Plus, Senator Tim Scott wants to be president. Will he break with Donald Trump or will Trump tried to make Scott his running mate?

And this image exploded on Twitter this morning. It sent shockwaves through the stock market, but it's fake. There was no explosion near the Pentagon. The real world danger of artificial intelligence is not a distant worry, it's already here.

But let's begin with new legal trouble for Donald Trump. E. Jean Carroll's attorney today added this statement to their legal complaint, quote, Trump, undeterred by the jury's verdict, persisted in maliciously defaming Carroll yet again. She was talking about this moment in the CNN town hall.




COLLINS: Can I ask you because --

TRUMP: And I swear on my children, which I'd never do. I have no idea who this woman is. This is a fake story, made-up story. I have no idea who the hell -- she is a whack job.

COLLINS: Mr. President --


CAMEROTA: All right. Let's bring in my our panel. Here tonight, we have a man who knows about presidents and legal trouble, Jon Sale, who was an assistant special Watergate prosecutor, we also have our law enforcement maven, John Miller, former Republican Senate Candidate Joe Pinion and Reporter Sarah Ellison of The Washington Post. Also with us is CNN's Sara Murray. Sara Murray, let me start with you.

So, this is what E. Jean Carroll threatened to do after the CNN town hall. And, today, she did it.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I mean, she and her attorneys are saying she deserves very substantial punitive damages. And as you pointed out, they already went to trial as part of a civil case and she was awarded $5 million when the jury found that Donald Trump sexually abused and defamed her.

But there was this other defamation suit that is sort of been caught in a legal long jam. So, she is trying to go back, asking the judge if she can amend that original complaint and seek additional damages.

And she pointed out, as you said, that Trump was undeterred by the jury's verdict in this last civil case, that he's still maliciously defaming her. And she pointed to moments in that town hall, like when he says, I never saw this woman, even though, of course, we've seen a photo of them together. He says this is a fake, made-up story and calls for a whack job, to say he's continuing to defame me.

CAMEROTA: So, Sara, what is going to happen next? I mean, if the judge allows this amendment to go through, what does this mean?

MURRAY: Well, this is another procedural step in a case that has been more delayed than what we saw in the other defamation case because her original -- she originally took issue with statements when Donald Trump was president, and that has set off a raft of appeals. So, again, this one step in the legal process but there are some other legal issues that they need to sort out when it comes to this particular defamation suit. CAMEROTA: Okay. Sara Murray, thank you very much. Stand by, we have more questions for you. I will bring in Sarah Ellison.

It is just -- basically what the argument is that E. Jean's lawyer is making is that Donald Trump needs to be deterred from reckless talk. So, $5 million didn't deter him from publicly defaming E. Jean, I guess they will go back to the well and try again.

SARAH ELLISON, STAFF WRITER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Exactly. And you have to remember that $3 million of those $5 million were for defamation, $2 million were for sexual abuse. So, more of the damages were actually for defamation, the first time around, and it did not deter him at all. And so we can bring in our lawyers later.

But thank goodness for the legal system because we are no longer in a moment where Donald Trump says what he wants and there is no repercussion. The legal system has sort of caught up with him in this case and E. Jean Carroll is herself deterred and is going to -- I mean, he obviously was sort of goading the process even further by doubling down in that town hall.

And everybody watched that town hall. Some people were horrified but people were watching it on a different level and saying this is going to be a bonanza for prosecutors and other people who are watching Donald Trump sort of have enough rope to hang himself with.


CAMEROTA: Let's turn to our lawyer. Jon, is that how you see it?

JON SALE, FORMER ASSISTANT SPECIAL WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: With all due respect to E. Jean Carroll, this is the least of former President Trump's problems. I think it's a question of control and he wants to control the narrative. And he sort of calls her things like a whack job, which is outrageous.

But with the Manhattan D.A.'s case, he was able to be ahead of the curve to control public relations, put out false stories. It's not going to happen with Jack Smith's cases. The walls are going to close in on him. And let me tell you, it is not fun to be indicted.

CAMEROTA: So, when you say that this is the least of his problems, what's the biggest of Donald Trump's legal problem?

SALE: Well, I think the biggest problem is the documents case because, ultimately, it's the Attorney General who has to decide whether or not to approve an indictment. And when you have a former president, this is a big, big deal.

And public opinion does matter. And people are going to say, hey, Biden did it with documents, Pence did it. But the obstruction is different. And the obstruction, I think, is what's going to take him down.

And it's hard to believe that I'm sitting here and we're talking about the former president of the United States, the likely candidate of the Republican Party, who is going to maybe run under two or three indictments. I mean, is this real? Are we really talking about this?

CAMEROTA: I think it is, yes. But let me be the first to break it to you. This is reality, what's happening right now.

John, how do you see it?

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I am still a holder of the minority opinion that he's not going to be charged in the documents case because you have the Biden documents problem, not just presidential documents, going back to the Senate. You have the Pence problem. You have other people, other offices, other locations.

CAMEROTA: But doesn't the obstruction element make it different?

MILLER: So, it should, and maybe it does. But Merrick Garland has a philosophy on you can't charge resisting arrest without charging what the arrest was for. You have trouble charging an ancillary crime, the obstruction of justice, if you're not charging the original crime, which was the documents.

And if you're charging the original crime, why aren't you charging everybody else with the original crime? And I say that in the context that there are other things that that special prosecutor has on his plate and other prosecutors that are less complex.

CAMEROTA: Before we go too far down this road, let me bring Sara Murray back, because we have new reporting on this, including the documents that Trump's own attorney has. Well, somehow these documents have ended up in the hands of special counsel.

MURRAY: Yes. I mean, look, these are interesting because they're notes taken by Trump Attorney Evan Corcoran, and they're at a critical point. I mean, Donald Trump has received this subpoena in May of 2022. The government is saying, you have to give us back any documents with classified markings.

And sources are telling us that Donald Trump then goes to his attorney and says, is there any way we can push back on this? Essentially, what kind of recourse do we have here? And this is memorialized in these notes that Evan Corcoran took at the time.

People can look at this and say, look, this is the former president just speaking to his attorney and trying to figure out what his options are moving forward. But, obviously, we've seen Donald Trump offer a number of shifting explanations for why he kept and retained these documents for so long.

He said in that CNN town hall that he had the absolute right to keep them. And we know that prosecutors are looking at a potential obstruction case. And as part of this, they have dozens of pages of these notes from Evan Corcoran memorializing his conversations with the former president.

CAMEROTA: But, Sara, isn't there attorney/client privilege? I mean, isn't this simply Donald Trump talking to his attorney? MURRAY: There is attorney client privilege. But what happened here is there was this court fight, this sealed court fight behind closed doors, in which prosecutors said, look, we need access to these notes, and convinced a judge that there is sufficient evidence that Donald Trump used his attorney in furtherance of a crime.

And so it kind of allows you to pierce that attorney/client privilege shield. That's why we saw Evan Corcoran have to hand over these notes, and they do have some significant redactions in them, and also to speak to prosecutors, and so prosecutors were able to convince at least a judge that there was enough there.

Again, we don't know if all the evidence they got, if what they got from these notes backs up the theory, backs up what they were able to put before a judge to get her to grant them access to all of this. We'll have to wait and see.

CAMEROTA: Okay. Sara, standby, if you would. Joe, how do you see all of this?

JOE PINION, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, look, there are clearly brilliant legal minds at the table who can help you deal with the legal minutiae of this. I just think that when we're dealing with these issues, it's clearly more than just the letter of the law. It's also the spirit of the law and as it relates to public opinion.

I tend to agree with you that the documents case is booby trapped. It is booby trapped because of the issues that are presented to President Biden, not just when he was the vice president, but also when he was in the Senate.

CAMEROTA: So you don't draw the distinction between the obstruction?


You think just because that Vice President Pence and Biden had documents, it's booby trapped?

PINION: I don't think that we should be poo-pooing obstruction of justice, certainly not from the individual who occupied the Oval Office. So, let me just begin there. But I will say that if we're going to have a conversation about how do these things proceed, it's going to be a very difficult day within the legal corridors, if we end up in a situation where, by virtue of piercing client privilege for the president of the United States, they're able to bring a case against him. At that point, no one is safe.

And so I just think that we should tread lightly here. Yes, we should be vigorous in our pursuit of the truth and trying to figure out exactly what transpired here. But I think the notion that we would completely put to the side the type of precedent that could potentially set in the minds of the American people, again, America more than just words on paper, a promise we make to our citizens and to the world. I think that that's something we should not take lightly.


SALE: The very Constitution that Mr. Trump wanted to suspend will protect him. But attorney/client privilege is sacred. When a client talks to me, I don't want anybody to know about that. I want to be candid.

But the crime fraud exception, which means you cannot use attorney/client privilege to perpetrate a crime or a fraud. And in a rare case, where a judge finds that that's the case, then it's pierced. And the notes, the conversations can be told to the grand jury.

But one important thing we lose sight of, that testimony can just as likely exonerate the president as it could convict him. Like the Watergate tapes, they could have cleared President Nixon as well as incriminate him.

CAMEROTA: But how in this case could it exonerate Donald Trump?

SALE: If the President says, which he's allowed to do to his lawyer, hey, look, what are my options? And if the lawyer says, well, Mr. President, you were the executive branch, you have all sorts of powers, you can declassify, he has what's called an advice of counsel defense. He doesn't have the criminal intent that you need to commit a crime.

But from the other hand, if those notes reveal, hey, Mr. President, once you have a subpoena, you're not above the law. Like everyone else in this country, you must turn over everything. Well, then there is a case there which, if Jack Smith recommends, you go on that case, I don't think the attorney general is going to overrule that recommendation.

CAMEROTA: Okay, friends, thank you very much for all the expertise, really great to have this conversation.

All right, next, Senator Tim Scott is diving into the presidential candidate pool. Our panel has a lot of thoughts, next.



CAMEROTA: Senator Tim Scott kicking off his presidential campaign today, taking aim at what he calls the radical left.


SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): Joe Biden and the radical left are attacking every single rung of the ladder that helped me climb. And that's why I'm announcing today that I'm running for president of the United States of America.


CAMEROTA: My panel is back with me. Also joining us is Kierna Mayo, former editor in chief of Ebony Magazine.

So, Kierna, I listened to his announcement speech. We'll play a little bit more a bit later. It sounds like he is running as an alternative to Donald Trump if you like the conservative policies but don't want the baggage. How do you see it?

KIERNA MAYO, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, ONE WORLD/ ROC LIT 101: Perhaps. I mean, I think he's a decent guy, which makes him an outlier at this point. But when someone says that they are going to go from cotton to Congress, that's cringy.

There's a piece about him that, for me, I'm not a black Republican, we can talk to the black Republican at the table and get his take, but I have to say, trading on the thing that you say you don't trade on is fraudulent. This is what the race card is. So, when you come out and you make the case about how poor, how much poverty, your single black mother --

CAMEROTA: Well, why can't that just be his life story?

MAYOR: That is his life story, but he traffics it. He trades in that. So, that's the beginning and the end. That's how you must know me. But don't call a thing a thing. Don't name a thing by its name. I think that's what the big problem is, really, most times, when certainly black people en masse are critical of black Republicans, specifically, many times it has to do with not the politic but the unwillingness to name white supremacy, the unwillingness to name the legacy that created the cotton situation.

We can talk about Congress, but why aren't we talking about the cotton? Where are your politics? Where is the legislation? Where is he when it comes to the books that are being banned, to the abortions? That like we talk about him in this kind of hopefully optimistic space. If I need an abortion tomorrow in South Carolina, I don't feel very optimistic. So, there's some fundamental issues that I have with him, although he seems like a lovely person.


PINION: well, look, I think, obviously, we start off by recognizing that President Trump has a stranglehold on the base. We start off with the realization that the poll numbers indicate that most people don't have a snowball chance in trying to secure the nomination. So, I think --

CAMEROTA: But it's early days.

PINION: I think that this is far from your typical primary proceeding. So, when you look at where they have to go, they have to, even with Ron DeSantis, close a 30-point national gap, right? Even on a state by state basis, many people are lagging.

So, if we're talking specifically about Tim Scott, I think that, again, he has tried to kind of thread this needle. I would remind people that he had put forth a Justice Act that Democrats summarily dismissed. I'll remind people that he has tried to talk about his own experiences as a black man being a member of the United States Senate, being called on T.V. everything but a child of God, one person actually saying that he would be the slave that Harriet Tubman left behind on a major network.

CAMEROTA: Who said that?


CAMEROTA: A different network. I see what you're saying.

PINION: Right.

CAMEROTA: So, I wanted to make sure it wasn't just like Twitter.


MAYO: He also campaigned for Trump.


PINION: Look, I'll say this, right? I think that at the end of the day, there is such a thing as, can the man meet moment. I think that what gets left off often is the third M, which is the message, right? And I think that sometimes you can have the man that is right for the moment and the message that is not right for the moment.

And I think in this particular time, when we have such really divisive fisticuffs happening in our national body politics, I don't know if there is a lane for him to win the nomination. And I don't think that there is enough oxygen in the room for us to have that type of conversation.

But I do think I think to your point, look, we've listened to Barack Obama talking about we don't have a white America or a black America, we have the United States of America. We've listened to people say, whether we're talking about Jesse Jackson or Barack Obama, that hands that pick cotton will pick this election.

So, I think it's not the actual message. It is the legacy of the party some people have a difficult time wrestling with, which makes the message dead on arrival, which I think brings us back to that main point. It is man, it is the moment, but it's also the message, and how all three of those things work together.


ELLISON: I thought it was interesting how Donald Trump welcomed him into the race. He sort of very warmly welcomed him into it and then trashed Ron DeSantis again. So, he clearly doesn't see him as a threat.

CAMEROTA: Does he see him as a possible running mate?

ELLISON: I mean --

CAMEROTA: Is that how you interpret it? ELLISON: I think that it's a potential. I think that that is something that he is sort of leaving that as an opening. I don't think he's decided anything at this point, but it certainly is not somebody that is threatening to Donald Trump and he would like to have that as an option. It would certainly be a way for him to sort of widen, maybe broaden some of his appeal, which was really pretty burnt at the end of this.

PINION: I would behoove President Trump, if he is a nominee, to pick a woman. He needs to pick a woman. The biggest problem Republicans are going to have up and down the ballot, particularly as it relates to the proliferation of some of the laws that we've seen across this country related to abortion, is with women, suburban women in particular.

So, if we're looking at the trends here, yes, we do have black men who are trending towards the Republican Party. Certainly, black women are stepping aside and waiting that out, but certainly we see movement with black men. But that's not going to be why President Trump gets re-elected. That's not going to be why the Republican nominee gets elected as the 47th president. It will happen if we find more oxygen with female voters.

CAMEROTA: Here's to Joe's point. Donald Trump did better, Jon, with black voters in 2020 than he did in 2016. And when you compare him to other Republican candidates, for instance, Mitt Romney got 6 percent of black voters to Donald Trump's 12 in 2020. John McCain got 4 percent. George W. Bush got 11 percent. Let's listen just to a little bit more of what Tim Scott said today in his announcement.


SCOTT: That's why I'm the candidate the far left fears the most. You see, when I cut your taxes, they called me a prop. When I refunded the police, they called me a token. When I pushed back on President Biden, they even called me the N word. I disrupt their narrative. I threaten their control. The truth of my life disrupts their lives.


CAMEROTA: Your thoughts?

MILLER: So confusing. I mean, we start with he is most definitely an outlier because he's the single black member of the U.S Senate that could run for president, but when you listen to his message between the visual cues and the words him invoking the cadence, at one point, of Martin Luther King talking about whether it's going to be grievance or greatness, talking about the Republican Party as the complainers or make America great again.

At the same time, he's talking about a party who, far and away, according to polls, favors a guy who is literally having dinners at Mar a Lago with an avowed white supremacist who's pushing the Proud Boys, who's friends with the Oath Keepers.

So, you're looking at this event today and you're literally trying to figure out who's talking and what's going on. As Mr. Pinion said, it will take some message decoding for people or it could just turn into an alibi for Donald Trump as a running mate.

CAMEROTA: Thank you all, really great to get all of your perspectives.

All right, next, the man charged in the subway chokehold death of Jordan Neely is speaking out. He says he would do it over again.



CAMEROTA: The man charged with second-degree manslaughter in the chokehold death of Jordan Neely on the New York subway is speaking out. Daniel Penny tells the New York Post that race was not a factor in his decision to put Jordan Neely in a fatal chokehold.

He says, quote, this had nothing to do with race. I judge a person based on their character. I am not a white supremacist. I mean, it's a little bit comical. Everybody who's ever met me can tell you I love all people. I love all cultures. You can tell by my past and all my travels and adventures around the world. I was actually planning a road trip through Africa before this happened.

I'm back with my panel. Okay. Sarah, your thoughts on listening to him speaking out publicly and trying to defend himself.

ELLISON: My first impression of that was that you are not serving your client well by giving this interview to the New York Post. If you want your client to get a full hearing, you go to. CNN, you go to The New York Times, you go to The Washington Post.


The New York Post is, I think, what you choose if you want to play into the culture war that this. case has become. You're sort of trying to turn him a relatively, I think, naive person into a sort of totem against -- in a sort of fake race war about this case. It was just a tragic case of someone being killed on the subway.

And I don't think that his attorneys are naive, and I think they know what they're doing. And I think that giving this interview to the "New York Post" of all places spoke volumes.

CAMEROTA: It's really interesting because you said that he's a fairly naive person and I think the reason that you're saying that is because we -- I think he has said he doesn't watch T.V., he's not on social media, he doesn't sort of have his finger on the pulse of some of this is what he's trying to say, I think.

ELLISON: He doesn't know who Al Sharpton is. He says he was going to go on a road trip through Africa before this started. This is not somebody who is like plugged into the current conversation about what's happening around him.

CAMEROTA: Kierna, here's what his attorney has said regarding the incident itself. "Danny was protecting himself and everyone on that train, but what gets lost is that at the time he acted to defend those people, he put his own life and well-being on the line. He had no way of knowing if he would be hurt or killed.

He acted anyway by putting the well-being of everyone in that train above his own. It didn't matter what race or religion, he acted to protect them all." That's his attorney. I guess we just don't have enough information.

MAYO: We don't. We don't. It's certainly not enough to presume that he's naive. I don't know what we've really fully base that on. What we do know is that an unarmed black man was in a chokehold for 15 minutes from behind. And it just reeks of this kind of extrajudicial killing that happens whenever white people feel like they have to be a hero and save the day.

We don't know. We will find out, theoretically, once this trial happens what really went down. But for anyone that's been on the subway in New York, I grew up here my whole life and riding train since I was 10 years old, there's always that guy. There's always the Michael Jackson impersonator. There's always someone who is off.

I'm not saying that this person wasn't threatening in any way, but there are so many options that most New Yorkers make, millions of us every single day when we encounter someone who is off on the subway.

So, this was a leap that this guy made. This is someone who's coming from the Marines. This is someone who, according to the "New York Post," lives in Long Island and surfs in the -- like I can, not to profile, but to profile, I can tell you that this is shady.

CAMEROTA: What do you mean? You mean that -- what part is shady?

MAYO: Because there is a "New York Post" Long Island surfer person who actually does see that person as a black person. I really do wonder would this person's faith have been the same if they weren't in a black body? We'll never know the answer. It's just me as a black person, I have to ask that question. It doesn't feel right. It doesn't add up.

CAMEROTA: Here's what his -- here's what Jordan Neely's family says about this attorney statement. Quote, "This is an advertisement to soften the public's view of Daniel Penny who choked Jordan Neely to death. We never called him a white supremacist. We called him a killer.

We don't care how many vacations he's been on. We want to know why he didn't let go of that chokehold until Jordan was dead." John, that seems like the most pertinent question. Why was he in the chokehold for so long?

MILLER: Well, first of all, we don't so far, we don't really know how long it was because nobody has that time. We know --

CAMEROTA: Was there 15 minutes -- was there a 15-minute videotape? Why do we think it was 15 minutes? MILLER: The videotape starts at the minute and the videotapes gets, I

think, about four minutes of this. But what we don't have is an accurate time about was how long before the videotape -- the videotape starts outside the train through the window and then comes in and runs for the part of it that the person with a camera recorded. So, there is the time piece.

But I think -- I think there is also the irrelevant to the time piece which is in a world where -- I'm just reflecting on his statements about I'm not on social media, I don't pay -- but I mean, you have to be living under a rock not to have seen the George Floyd's death, which was entirely on videotape or to be a New Yorker who is unfamiliar with Eric Garner who was in a chokehold for far fewer, you know, minutes than George Floyd or in this case, to understand that people can die from that.

Now, the flipside is, as a Marine, he was trained in using a chokehold to render people unconscious. So, we have to figure out from him and testimony later what affect training had in it, but he thought was going to happen.


But the "New York Post" article, I agree was to soften his image, calculated. I don't think it was a giant miscalculation by going to the "Post" because what you calculate is, if only the "Post" has it, all the other media outlets will use the things that the "Post" used.

In "The New York Times," you might have a very different approach to the same story, maybe much less friendly. But clearly what they're anticipating is our clients is going before 23 people on a grand jury at some point, and we would like them to meet him earlier in the light that we can cast.

MAYO: Let's just note for the record that the trip to Africa means nothing. Why mention it?

CAMEROTA: Quickly, Joe.

PINION: I just think, again, one, I understand why the Neely family is frustrated, that Jordan Neely has become political football. That we have members of Congress screaming about a lynching before we had even known the name of the assailant.

So, I just think that, yes, cooler heads need to prevail. He has a right to try to defend himself, to try to say that I am not the hateful person that -- the Neely family hasn't said that, but other voices within our public discourse have suggested as it much so.

You can't ignore the racial component, the legacy of racism in this nation. The fact that New York City itself has that component from the case that we saw with Eric Garner, from the cases that we've seen all across this country.

So, yes, those are all things to consider. But at the end of the day, this is going to come down to the letter of the law. Was the hold justified for the length of time, which to your point, we still don't even know the full length of time at this juncture.

CAMEROTA: Okay. Thank you all very much. Next, we are shifting gears. What's up with our teenagers today? They're less likely to drink or have sex. They're also less likely to get their driver's licenses and a paid job. Is all this good or bad? My panel debates it next.





CAMEROTA: We'll talk about that. Montana latest state to tighten social media restrictions. The state's governor signing a bill that completely bans TikTok. TikTok is now suing Montana. So, what is social media doing to children and teenagers? Is it postponing them growing up? CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta recently spoke with a psychologist and author who says today's 12th graders are now more like eighth graders from previous generations.

My panel is back with me. John Miller, let me just tell you what's happening here. So, today's teenagers are less likely to get their driver's licenses, why bother? They can take Uber. They don't need it. They don't need that independence. They are less likely to go out with their friends.

They're less likely to drink alcohol and have sex. They're less likely to have a paid job. Is all this good or bad that they're delayed in these things than previous generations of teenagers who were not?

MILLER: So, the youth is clearly going to hell in a handbasket.

CAMEROTA: That's what I hear, yes.

MILLER: Well, I think you touched on it which is, you know, I couldn't wait to get my driver's license. You know, all my friends in high school, like on the stroke of midnight of their birthday drove to a DMV, you now, office to wait for the lights to come on. But, you know, everybody is riding an e-bike now, you know.

Everybody has got Uber. You know, city kids, particularly in, you know, Manhattan and Queens, you know, they hardly ever get around to a car because they've been riding the subway since they could walk.

CAMEROTA: That's true, but there's something about independence. There's something about independence or whether or not these kids are sort of fully launching (ph) this group of teenagers.

MILLER: But I mean, there are -- all the other shifts. You know, if they're not drinking, are they smoking weed? Are they getting mixed messages that it's legal --

CAMEROTA: No, I have the answer, John.

MILLER: -- you know, and it' socially acceptable?

CAMEROTA: Okay, here we go. But this is just from 10 years ago. So, having sex, 10 years ago, 47 percent of high school students reported yes. Now, 10 years later, 2021, around 30 percent. Currently sexually active, 34 percent in 2011, now 21 percent. Currently drink alcohol, 39 percent, it was in 2011, 23 percent 10 years later. Currently using marijuana, 23 percent back then, 16 percent now. Never using illicit drugs, 19 percent back then, 13 percent now.

MILLER: So, it's not switch to alternatives. This is a downturn.

MAYO: It's because gathering spaces are virtual. The places where we meet now are not physical. You can't have sex if we're not in the same room. It's hard to smoke a joint and pass it if we're not together. So, I really do think that that speaks for a lot of what we are seeing here.

CAMEROTA: Is it good or bad?

MAYO: Well, but -- we we're talking about this earlier. I do think that that kind of arrested development is not bad. It's not a positive, not to be independent, not to crave independence, not to test independence. I think, you know, an eighth grader -- a 12th grader whose functioning like an eighth grader socially has some growing up to do.

And then there's life that's going to kick in real fast. And you don't want certain experiences to be the first time they happen at college where you have fully grown adults and other people. Like, I just -- I don't agree with what you were saying earlier that high school is the place to work up the kids. And it's unfortunate that kids aren't able to do it as much. Of course, we don't want them drinking and driving.

CAMEROTA: I mean, it's obviously the fun one.

MAYO: I'm not saying like, yeah. --

CAMEROTA: It's the fun one. At least they're under your roof in high school usually.

MAYO: Yeah.

CAMEROTA: Whereas in college, they're, you know, out on -- cast out on their own. You have teenagers are younger, Sarah?

ELLISON: Ten and 14.

CAMEROTA: Okay, thoughts?

ELLISON: My thought is that the important detail here is that there is -- there are these huge rates of depression and anxiety among teenagers. And especially we've been all reading the same CDC stats about that among girls, and I have two girls.

[02:44:59] And so, it would be fine if they were deciding to be like clean living and like walking everywhere and instead of getting in a car and happy, but it's not. It's sort of this -- the overlay of living on your screen and watching everybody else who is doing everything more interestingly than you are, on a better vacation, has more friends, all that kind of stuff that sort of like the negative feedback loop. I feel like I walk through lots of clouds of weed in my neighborhood and I feel like a lot of kids are smoking. I don't know, maybe on --

CAMEROTA: Are they kids or are they adults?

ELLISON: I mean, it's like --


ELLISON: I think I know if it's weed for sure.

CAMEROTA: Yeah. I don't want if they're less than teenagers.


PINION: I think that, you know, I worked in nonprofit health care for about 10 years. We started a grant program to give children more access to resources to be able to pay for college because we found that, yes, kids might be choosing the school that we thought were great, but in reality, they're only choosing it because they couldn't afford the comfort there. They couldn't afford the winter coats. And so, kids from the outside can look like they're making all the right decisions for the wrong reasons.

And so, when we ask ourselves, why are all these numbers going down? They are having less sex. Why? Because more and more of them don't want to have children, don't see the point in having children in this wild and crazy world that we are leaving for them.

CAMEROTA: Is that what teenagers are thinking or is that 20-something or 30-somethings?

PINION: I think it's kids as well. I think if you talk to those children, I thin also, to your point, what is up? The depression is up. The isolation is up. The epidemic of loneliness is sweeping across this nation. So, yes, some numbers that we previously thought were the greatest threat to their happiness are down, but there are new emerging threats to their happiness, to their well-being.

And not just their well-being, but the country that are the unaddressed residual -- residue of what happens in a second decade of a tech revolution which we have not actually addressed.

MILLER: I'm sorry, go ahead.

PINION: No, but I think to your point, also, again, the people that make the technology, they are the ones who are asking for less screen time for their own children even if they have trust in the families.

MILLER: I mean, look at the sheer irony of this, you know, they have all these devices, they are surrounded by them all day, they are in touch with everybody, and this is when loneliness is increasing? This is where bullying has been redefined, not being punched in the face, but being taken out of the flock or excluded from a group or talked about in front of a mass audience. It's very different.


MAYO: It is.

CAMEROTA: And troubling certainly to be living your life on social media instead of somebody's basement.

MILLER: And the idea of people --

MAYO: Alisyn, do tell.

CAMEROTA: All teenagers see.

MILLER: They did and they can't have a conversation to say, well, why don't you call her and talk to her. And they'll say, I'll text. So, that's not going to work.

CAMEROTA: Thank you friends very much. Much more to talk about on that. I'm sure we will. Meanwhile, an A.I.-generated fake image that seemed to show an explosion at the Pentagon appeared on multiple verified twitter accounts. It sparked a brief dip in the stock market. It wasn't true. This didn't happen. Is this what the future of A.I. holds? That's next.



CAMEROTA: A fake image making the rounds on Twitter this morning. It showed up on one account of that falsely claimed it was associated with "Bloomberg News." And then to add to the confusion, many of the accounts tweeting that this image had a verified blue check mark but those can now be bought with a monthly payment.

So, this was an image of an explosion or a fire at the Pentagon. And then the stock market took a brief dip, moments after this a fake image, let me be clear, fake, began circulating on Twitter. It even made its way on air at a major Indian T.V. network which eventually retracted that report.

I'm back with Sarah Ellison and John Miller. So, everything we've been fearing about A.I. or deepfakes or whatever is happening. It's already here, where we fear -- we thought maybe it would be in the future or the near future. No, it's happening right now and anybody can make these and they show up in, you know, on news counts.

ELLISON: It just happened, it's exactly right. I mean, I think that that's -- it's a call for human intelligence for people who are going to be able to vet images, for people to not, I mean, sort of goes against everything that we've been living, in which is like a news cycle that responds immediately. Obviously, this is something that you can't tell the difference if

you're seeing something on Twitter. We talk all the time about social media platforms. Every story is flattened. You can't tell where it comes from or who is producing it. This is a perfect case in point.

CAMEROTA: If we have to rely on critical thinking, we're in trouble.

MILLER: Wow. This harkens back to the old, you know, Chicago City news service model, which is that if your mother says she loves, you check it out. And, you know, what fooled us here were some of the things that news media synapses fire on, which is, okay it's on Twitter, everybody reacts. But where on Twitter? It's coming from, you know, "Reuters" or "Bloomberg" or something. It's coming from "Bloomberg."

But it's a verified Twitter account. So, verified, that means none of this stuff means anything anymore because Elon Musk, you know, got rid of most of those blue checks that say verified. It wasn't a real "Bloomberg" account. So, all of the things that gave people comfort, which is there's probably something here.

A close look at the photograph, you know, tells you that's not even the Pentagon. But, you know, the spread of these things is faster than the time it takes to check it out. You know, here at CNN and, you know, I often complain and tangle with these people, we have a very rigorous system --

CAMEROTA: Vetting process, yes, we do.

MILLER: Vetting process, you know.

CAMEROTA: Before anything goes on air.


MILLER: So, I mean, in this case that is our friend.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely, and I mean, I think that it's going to be -- it's sort of up to us to educate people that you have to go to a new source that has a vetting process, because it's now the wild west. It's always been the wild west, but truly on Twitter now you cannot distinguish.

ELLISON: I mean, the fear that I have about, you know, an A.I.- generated image is that people literally cannot believe what you see and people already are suffering from a massive crisis of trust in institutions, certainly in media. And this is the kind of moment where people will throw up their hands and say you can't trust anything, nothing matters. And it's painful to be a member of the news media and hear that already, and this is just going to exacerbate that.

CAMEROTA: That's right.

MILLER: Picture the extension of that, which is we're going into the political season --

ELLISON: Absolutely.

MILLER: -- where the deepfakes by political tricksters, but forget them, by foreign governments who we have seen dabble in election frauds before, are going to be out there and then, in cases where we, the legitimate news media, uncover some scandal, some tape, some moment caught on video, the first thing that the offender is going to say when it's real is that's a deep fake. That's A.I. That's a fraud. So, we are going through a very confusing time.

CAMEROTA: Yes, we are and it's up to us to continue to educate everybody about what our vetting process is and what the real rules are. Thank you, guys, very much. Coming up, some of our favorite reporters are here to talk about the stories they're working on for tomorrow, including the talks between President Biden and Republicans on the debt ceiling. Will they avert disaster this week?