Return to Transcripts main page
Donald Trump's Legal Problems Are Mounting; Miami-Dade School Moves Biden Inaugural Poem Out Of Elementary Section Of Library After Complaint: Debt Ceiling Talks At An Impasse As Default Deadline Looms; Russian Court Extends Detention Of WSJ Reporter Evan Gershkovich; CNN TONIGHT Presents "On the Lookout." Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired May 23, 2023 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, I mean, so the crux of this protective order is the judge saying to the former president, any information you get from prosecutors as part of the evidence in this case, that could be witness statement, grand jury testimony, financial record, you can't go and post these on social media, and if you do, there are consequences for this.
And among those consequences, you know, include, he said, sanctions, including everything that could be up to contempt, which he said would be punishable, although he didn't get into exactly what that punishment would be.
But in addition to that, Trump was also restrained from looking at a lot of materials without his lawyers there. And certain materials, including like a forensic copy of Michael Cohen's cellphone, if he looks and said he can't copy, he can't transcribe notes, they're really trying to minimize how much of this can leak into the public ahead of the trial.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: And we all remember that Donald Trump does post things on his social media --
-- particularly when he is displeased with an investigation into him. So, how do we get here to the point where the judge felt the need to do this?
SCANNELL: Right. So, this is all from the prosecutors. If you remember at the arraignment, they brought up Trump's post because all leading up to the charges, he was criticizing the district attorney, Alvin Bragg. He was, you know, putting out some pretty inflammatory posts and even was criticizing the judge in this case.
So, the prosecutor said, you know, look, he keeps saying all this stuff on social media, you know, can we reign this in? And the judge was very even-handed. He said, I've been telling both sides, prosecution, you control your witnesses. You know, defense, you control your client. Don't put anything on social media that could be construed as inciting violence or attacking anyone individually.
Fast forward, you know, more posts happened. The prosecutors come in and asked for this protective order because they're saying, look, Trump has an extensive history of inflammatory comments on social media. You know, they're really trying to protect this case.
CAMEROTA: Okay. So, yeah, take us inside. Take us first inside the courtroom, um, and what Trump's reaction was.
SCANNELL: Yes. So, there are video screens. There were four video screens. And as you can see from that sketch, it's actually a pretty good one, it's Trump sitting next to his lawyer. It's --
CAMEROTA: That is a real picture.
SCANNELL: Yeah. That's the real picture, yes. So, he is sitting next to his attorney. There is a table and, you know, what appears to be American flags behind. They were trying to guess where in Mar-a-Lago this could possibly be.
UNKNOWN: Did you come up with anything?
SCANNELL: No. I'm, like, it is the bedroom that they just construct?
But, you know, he only spoke once. Asked if he has a copy of the protective order. He said, yes, I do. And then for the rest of it, he was basically on mute. And when the judge is talking about the trial date, March 25th, and saying to everyone here, you can't make any personal professional plans, no commitments that can interfere with this trial --
SCANNELL: -- Trump became very agitated and was like looking toward his attorney. He, like, was grumpy, did, like, an arm crossed thing. And we were, like, unmute. You know, we don't --
UNKNOWN: -- want to hear it.
SCANNELL: And the judge never asked. But, you know, he was definitely very emotive during it, but actually only said a handful of words.
ZAIN ASHER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: You know, I'm actually interested in how this is going to affect him politically, because you think that a trial right in the middle of primary campaign season would be a bad thing, but it could actually be one of the best things ever for Donald Trump. Obviously, he is going to use it to raise so much money, millions of dollars.
I think, even more importantly, he's going to make sure that every single Republican candidate who is running defense him publicly against the so-called Trump top charges just like we've seen Mike Pence do, just like we've seen Ron DeSantis do and Nikki Haley do as well.
He is going to frame it as, look, you know, this is not -- it's not me on trial. This is the GOP on trial. These aren't charges against just me. These are charges against every single one of us. And I think that it's going to be interesting to see. obviously, a lot can happen between now and March. It's going to be interesting to see how it plays out.
SCANNELL: Yeah, especially, where will his standing be at that point in the primaries? Will he be the runaway leader or will things not shake out that way? And then, how does that affect this? He won't be able to -- you know, he can do things virtually, but he will have to travel across the country for how long this trial lasts, do fundraisers, to do rallies. That really constrains him although, you know, he is prolific on sending videos on social media.
SCANNELL: It is not the same thing as the glad-handing he has done.
UNKNOWN: How long this last?
SCANNELL: They haven't said yet, which is fascinating because it is a fairly straightforward case. But sometimes, even the most straightforward cases end up taking a lot longer than you think.
KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: And to Zain's point, I mean, to -- up until now, we have seen most of his political opponents pretty much dismissed these charges.
So, it will be fascinating to see if we are in the thick of the presidential primary if they still feel like that is the best thing for them to do. If there are states ahead where they still want Trump voters to side with them, and so they're going to defend Trump.
But you have to imagine that perhaps some of them, if it's a close contest, are going to see that --
UNKNOWN: Oh, yeah.
ATWOOD: -- as a moment --
ATWOOD: -- to distinguish themselves from him. And even if in the past, they have dismissed these charges and gone after Bragg as being politically motivated, maybe, in March, it's a time for them to change their attack.
ASHER: It's interesting because Ron DeSantis did, in a very sarcastic way, he obviously, you know, went after Bragg, but he sorts of said, you know, paying porn stars, I can't speak to that.
(LAUGHTER) You know, I just can't speak to that. And that's what we're going to see more.
SCANNELL: I think we don't even know what is going to happen with these other investigations if there are going to be more indictments between now and March. I mean, it's just -- it's very hard to anticipate how that will rock the candidacy or if it doesn't at all and it's only a booster.
CAMEROTA: It does feel like things are heating up, particularly with our reporting that special counsel, in terms of the classified documents case, that he may be reaching some sort of -- there was a flurry of activity and he may be reaching some sort of conclusion.
SCANNELL: Yeah. I mean, there has been. So many witnesses have gone on. Trump's attorneys have said they've uncovered every stone, what more could they possibly look for? We reported yesterday that they've asked the Trump Org for any records. So, it is simply related to foreign business deals of who could have maybe been interested in this classified information.
And now, we're learning that Trump's attorneys have asked DOJ for a meeting. That is something that lawyers often do when they want to get ahead of a potential indictment. They want to try to convince the government, don't charge my client.
CAMEROTA: That's interesting. How will they do that? What's the process? They asked for this meeting, that just broke tonight. And what -- did they bring in evidence? How do they convince the DOJ not to do it?
SCANNELL: Every lawyer is different. I think this is a case where it's really like a legal argument here of, you know, were these documents classified, were they declassified, what can they do to counter the evidence that they know the government has, including some of the testimony that they know that they have.
You know, some lawyers will do like presentations, you know, but a lot of it is going to be a legal argument of, you know, why this shouldn't be a criminal case, and also some of just the optics of, like, is this really the criminal case you want to bring.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR AND NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: But it's also, to your point, part of that is going to be their discovery, right? They're going in there to try to get a better sense of what the special counsel has uncovered that they don't know about.
SCANNELL: Exactly. I mean, I think that's really key. They'll try to assess (ph), you know, what kinds of charges they might actually -- remember the search warrants, everything that we learned, it was everything.
You know, from, you know, obstruction of justice and then the issues of these classified documents, not necessarily that you would have to even have these, you know, the removal of records, but just obstruction which has been this issue that his attorneys have been kind of caught in the middle of two and having to go before the grand jury, which is very unusual.
ATWOOD: The operating assumption the DOJ will accept this meeting, there's no reason that they wouldn't?
SCANNELL: I mean, in the past, they have. They have just accepted a meeting with Hunter Biden's lawyers in the exact same parallel thing. His lawyers wanted to come in, hey, where is this investigation going? It has been going on for a long time. And given the high-profile nature of this, you would expect that they would, but they don't have to.
CAMEROTA: And do they open the kimono and show them what evidence they have?
CAMEROTA: Okay, that makes sense.
SCANNELL: Yeah. I mean, like, they're not going to give up their grand jury material or the information that they have. You know, it's usually like a chest game. Everyone is trying to read each other to get a feel for how serious they are, if they're going to bring a case.
Sometimes, there are moments where -- when they're about to charge, the prosecutors will say, these are the charges we are going to bring, you tell us why we shouldn't bring them. I mean, that does happen for sure. Sometimes, that's when DOJ is, like, you know, here is your last chance type of meeting at the request of Trump. I don't know at this stage in this investigation that they will be willing to reveal that.
CAMEROTA: Kara, thank you very much for all of that reporting. Really interesting to see where we are with this.
Okay, there is also a new entry in the culture wars. It is now Amanda Gorman's poem, the one for President Biden's inauguration. That's what is caught up in this. Erica is going to tell us why it is being moved out of the elementary section of a public school library in Florida. That's next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANDA GORMAN, PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURAL POET: When day comes, we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade? The loss we carry, a sea we must wade. We've braved the belly of the beast, we've learned that quiet isn't always peace and the norms and notions of what just is, isn't always justice. And yet, the dawn is ours before we knew it. Somehow, we do it. Somehow, we weathered and witnessed a nation that isn't broken but simply unfinished.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: We all remember Amanda Gorman's eloquence as she read her poem, "The Hill We Climb," at President Biden's inauguration. Now, one Miami-Dade County public school is moving that same poem out of the elementary section of the library.
Erica Hill is on the story. So, what is offensive about that poem?
HILL: I'm still trying to figure it out. I'll be quite honest with you. I went back and I re-read it a couple of times. We see the moment there. It's unclear exactly what is offensive. So, this is a complaint from one single parent. We have a complaint. We can put it up for you. This is a parent at this K through eight school in Miami Lakes who said it is -- quote -- "not educational and have" -- these are the exact words here. This is not my poor grammar -- " and have indirectly hate messages."
Also went onto say that -- this parent felt the poem could cause confusion and indoctrinate students. Again, no specifics as to what it was in the poem that made the parent feel this way but, as you noted, the book has now been moved out of the elementary school library into the middle school section for 6 to 8 graders.
Amanda Gorman responded to this, putting out a statement on Instagram. She says, I'm gutted.
She went on to say, and I think we can put her statement up there, going on to say, in addition, I wrote "The Hill We Climb" so that all young people could see themselves in a historical moment. Robbing children of the chance to find their voices in literature is a violation of their right to free thought and free speech. What can we do? She said, we must speak out and have our voices heard."
It was interesting, too, it is a caption to the statement on her Instagram. She also noted -- so on that complaint that we just showed you, a couple of things that we highlighted, we highlighted the fact that this parent also claimed that the poem, "The Hill We Climb," was written by Oprah Winfrey.
HILL: So, Amanda Gorman called that out saying, so they banned my book. She also went on to say, you know, this parent, misidentified the author as Oprah Winfrey, just pointing out all of the issues here.
CAMEROTA: So, one erroneous parents --
HILL: One parent.
CAMEROTA: -- one parent --
HILL: No details. CAMEROTA: No details -- with an erroneous complaint can have them pull
the book off the shelves?
HILL: This is what happened. In reaching out, here is what we heard from the district. So, from -- scrolling in my phone, Miami-Dade County Public School, spokesperson saying to CNN, no literature -- this was the response to us -- no literature books or poem have been banned or removed, saying it was determined at the school that "The Hill We Climb" is better suited for middle school students, and so it was shelved in the middle school section of the media center, but went on to say the book remains available in the media.
CAMEROTA: Okay, so maybe (INAUDIBLE). Maybe it is --
HILL: So, it's still in the library. We know it's still in the library, but it's in the middle school section.
HILL: And the concern is that and what you're hearing from other parents, so this is also not the first book or poem that this same parent has had issue with. There are four other books as well. Two of them are about Cuba. One is the ABCs of Black history, and also "Leaving Langston," which is about Black poet. Of course, Langston Hughes.
What you are hearing though, and I think -- look, we know this as parents. A lot of parents are saying, if my kid finds a book that interests them, I want them to find the book that interests them. Maybe they do want to read up. If it is for middle school kids, maybe you have a really advanced reader. All of this can come into play and can come into discussion. And again, I encourage everybody to read "The Hill We Climb." It is a beautiful poem.
HILL: I remember being in awe listening to her as I watch --
ASHER: And I have to say, as a person of color, I'm really sitting here, listening to you, trying so hard not to be triggered by this. Because, of course, I mean, it just feeds into this idea of just this constant alienation of Black and brown people in this country. And so --
CAMEROTA: Again, what Erica is saying -- so, okay, middle school, elementary school, you can make the argument. Okay? You can make the argument. I don't know where it belongs. But the fact that one parent --
ASHER: What is it in that poem? What is so upsetting in that poem?
HILL: That's what I can't figure out. This is why -- this is why I went back and I said, wait a minute, was there something in this poem? I remember texting my mom afterwards and saying, oh, that was amazing, then buying her books and thinking, oh, this is so great for my kids to see, this one moment to see this young woman, a young Black woman doing this poem. This is so powerful. I'm missing something, clearly. I don't see anything in this poem.
ASHER: The words were designed to unite.
ASHER: They were designed to bring Americans together. I was listening to it again there. I know that poem quite well. There was nothing in there that alienated anyone in the population. I don't think.
HILL: To your point, she says -- I shouldn't say she. This parent says that it could have indirectly have hate messages, that it could cause confusion, that it could indoctrinate students. I'm not following any of that.
CAMEROTA: Her complaint causes confusion. Let me tell you that.
CAMEROTA: But we don't know -- you don't know if it's a mother or a father.
HILL: We're just saying a single school parent, yes.
HILL: Right now.
ATWOOD: That one line that we just played, too, from it, quiet isn't always peace. You just think about that, right? I mean, what they're essentially trying to do now is keep this poem more quiet, you know, in a section of the library where not everyone can keep it, to create some peace.
But it is creating this issue right now. I mean, just allow these children to have access to books. And I do think it is worth tapping into the greater conversation in this country about the rights of parents in schools right now, and how that is such a politically- sensitive topic.
We are seeing it in all the states right now. And it's important to give the parents' rights, but it's also important to not take away the rights from the rest of the children in schools. I think that's the argument on the other side of it, which this is kind of starting to reveal.
HILL: And for educators and for librarians, I think something that was certainly reinforced during the pandemic, anybody who had a school aged child at home, it was such an important reminder of how difficult it is to be a teacher. You try to teach a kid to read, let alone math about fifth grade. Think about how difficult it is.
There was a reason that people go to school for years to become educators. There's a reason you go to school to become a librarian. It's not easy. But they have a level of expertise. And all of a sudden, there seems to be a movement to just ignore that completely.
How could you possibly know what you are talking about, you and your 30 or 40 years of teaching? Clearly, you're clueless.
ASHER: This is the thing, these are just sort of wedge issues designed to energize the base, you know. Right now, we are just in a situation whereby public school education is now the frontline in America's culture war. It is not just this. It is everything from, you know, so- called critical race theory, learning about race and racism, African- American studies, defunding diversity, equity, inclusion, the list goes on, transgender bathroom bills, for example.
And it's really just a wedge issue. It doesn't really affect that many people. It's just designed to energize the base for 2024 because they tried abortion, essentially. That didn't really work. That backfired in the midterms. So now they have found another issue to generate, to animate voters, and that is what it is designed for.
CAMEROTA: And when you say it doesn't affect that many people, it's one parent.
ASHER: One parent.
CAMEROTA: This is what is so frustrating. It's hard not to see it as the tyranny of the minority. So, if one parent can launch these multiple complaints against books that he or she are not comfortable with and that the library responds or the school response, that doesn't feel right.
HILL: It also plays into, too, as we are seeing -- I think across the country, you are seeing how school boards have become so political, and that there are people who were fearful and were getting threats because they were on the school board and people in town didn't like the way they were voting on certain issues and it could be something like this.
All of, to your point, is really tied together. And what a sad state of affairs that this -- this is where we are and this is the model that we are setting for our children.
ASHER: And I think it's going to backfire. I think it will help, you know, certain people in the primaries, but I think in general, I don't think -- I think it's going to backfire completely, especially among educated suburban voters.
HILL: The question is -- it may backfire in some place, but how much damage has already been done in different areas? I mean --
HILL: You know, they weren't saying Rosa Parks -- part of the reason Rosa Parks -- we all know about Rosa Parks and what she did is because she was a Black woman. The fact that there was recently an issue, we are talking about Rosa Parks' race and the role that that played in history, that's a problem. We can have an accurate discussion about history.
CAMEROTA: Thank you for bringing us the story. Obviously --
HILL: I'm not sorry about it at all (ph).
ASHER: Neither am I. Neither am I. Just (INAUDIBLE) story.
CAMEROTA: Thank you both very much.
All right, still no agreement on raising the debt ceiling as we move closer to default. Where do things stand at this hour with the White House and Republicans? Zain has answers for us, next.
CAMEROTA: You have heard this before, but it bears repeating. We're running out of time before the June 1st default deadline. And GOP negotiators say that a significant gap still exists between the two sides.
Zain, I thought we are getting closer.
ASHER: I think we have to be realistic at this point, right? I don't see any sort of scenario where we can get a real, real deal at this point. We've only had eight days left. The best we can hope for is a deal to make a deal.
You think about all the different things and all the different sort of levels of arm twisting that would have to be done for there to be a deal before June 1st, and for Biden to reach a deal with McCarthy, for McCarthy to sell it to the House Freedom Caucus, for it to go through the House and the Senate and on the president's desk, all that needs to happen, I mean, it's unrealistic.
I think that June 1st, you know, we wake up. If there is no deal, that will be a very stressful day for Janet Yellen, obviously. I think that what is tough about it, we have heard it before, that she, of course, has to decide who to pay first. Do you pay the international bond holders or do you people who are expecting social security checks and need that money to buy food and to pay the rent?
And, of course, even if those payments are late, it can have a really devastating ripple effect because people don't receive their checks and they're late to sending out other checks. And those people who don't get those checks and late to sending out other checks that they owe, that does have a ripple effect. I think what is really interesting is this idea of just how sort of hazy of a deadline June 1st actually is. The U.S. government is receiving money every day. They are also sending out money every single day. And on top of that, the June 1st, early June deadline is when some big bills are due when it comes to paying the military, veterans, sending out social security checks, et cetera.
On June 15th, I think this is the silver lining, on June 15th, the U.S. government is expecting billions of dollars incoming in revenue from corporate tax receipts that come every quarter. So --
ASHER: -- that's what they're expecting. So, there's this idea of, can they finagle it somehow to sort of, you know, move money around to somehow stretch --
CAMEROTA: Does she have tricks up her sleeve?
ASHER: I think it is really hard to tell at this point. It's really difficult to know. I think that, you know, when I speak to experts, they say that yes, the June 15th deadline for money that is coming into the U.S. government's coffers does buy some time but they didn't say how much. People say different things. So, it does give some reading room.
But it is not clear -- obviously, the main decision is that they will, of course, pay bondholders, right, because you don't want to trigger an economic catastrophe.
If you sort of delay making certain payments on social security, I mean, that will have some consequences but nothing as bad as not paying bond holders. In terms of whether or not she can stretch things out, maybe to a certain extent, but maybe not. And who knows?
I think that what will happen is that come June 1st, if there is no deal, this is what -- this is my guess, by the way. Come June 1st, if there is no deal, we will see the stock market start to really react and really react aggressively.
When we see stocks sort of plummet like they will, they will drop like a stone the closer we get, I think that will pressure Congress to come up with something. That's what I think. That's my crystal ball, guys. Yeah, that's it.
SCANNELL: I was reading today that even once a deal is struck, we can expect the markets to go down because now the treasury has to shore up its accounts again. And I don't know. I mean, is that something that you think would happen?
ASHER: I think -- I think what's really interesting is that a lot of people are talking about this idea of just how sanguine markets have been, at least up until this point. We haven't seen this sort of huge reaction that we would have anticipated at all. I mean, you know, the Dow today was down, what, 200 points, which is nothing in the grand scheme of things.
I think that for a lot of investors, the reason why there is some hesitation is that the last thing you want as an investor is to sell and then wake up tomorrow morning and it's a deal, and then you sort of missed out on, A, you sold prematurely, and B, you have also missed out on a significant value. I do anticipate -- I don't know how much of a value that will be once there is a deal, but I do anticipate some kind of value.
And also, markets just -- listen, we stared down the barrel before. We know how this game goes. You know, we know the ending to this movie. That is, of course, going to be a deal.
And when you think about all the different sort of, as you call it, tricks that Janet Yellen might have up her sleeve, some people say, look, if she can go through McCarthy, they can't go through McCarthy. Biden can't go through McCarthy, rather. Maybe there's a way to go around him, for example. That's tricky.
But just in terms of, you know, a deal to make a deal and some kind of short-term way to sort of kick the can down the road a little but longer, and then on top of that not defaulting in terms of not paying bond holders, avoiding that scenario, people believe that, you know, nothing catastrophic is going to happen just yet. But who knows, right? Who knows?
CAMEROTA: I think great at kicking the can down the road like they always do.
Is that probably what they will --
ASHER: That is what -- that is what I imagine -- that's what I think they're going to do. I also think that, look, for President Biden, you have to think about how this is going to cost him politically if this goes pear-shaped, especially with the elections next year. I mean, there is so much at stake for him politically. If there is some kind of default, that open up a lot of roads for President Trump.
CAMEROTA: Because people will blame him and not the Republicans in Congress?
ASHER: I think -- I think that -- especially with the elections coming up next year, I just think that it would not be good for him. You know, his approval ratings have already suffered. It just doesn't look good. It opens up room for Donald Trump.
I think when you think about McCarthy, obviously, there is no wiggle room for him because he could lose his job, right? One person can call a vote, and he could lose his job.
So, I'm not entirely sure how it is going to play out politically, but from both sides, there is so much at stake here that you would think that -- although, I will say for the House Freedom Caucus, you know, there is that saying, don't play chicken with somebody who is not afraid to die.
When you think about the House Freedom Caucus -- Matt Gaetz was on TV basically saying, look, I don't believe in the June 1st deadline at all. And even though there might be some truth in terms of the wiggle room for June 1st, it's not for the reason that he thinks, right? He's just saying, I don't necessarily believe.
CAMEROTA: He says, I want Janet Yellen to show her work.
ASHER: That's what he said, I want her to show her work. And so, you know, when you sort of tell that to House Freedom Caucus, listen, this is what it's going to look like on June 1st, especially if we default, we lay out all the catastrophes, possible catastrophes, they just sort of don't seem to be bothered by it. They sort of don't seem to care. That is dangerous, I think.
ATWOOD: I think, realistically, they both have a lot to lose, Biden and McCarthy, right? That's the reality here. But you do see that there's a little bit more of a narrative backing up McCarthy right now in the sense that he has been making the case that he has been trying to negotiate with the White House on this for months now and the Biden administration officials didn't want to be seen negotiating on this because they thought it is a moot point.
We have to raise the debt ceiling. This isn't tied to our future spending. This is tied to money that has already gone out the door. So, why are we even having this conversation? But with McCarthy making that point that he has been trying to engage and it's the White House's fault for not engaging, they have that going for them.
And then the other thing is that there was a CNN poll just this week that looked at what the American public thinks of this. Sixty percent of Americans believe that you shouldn't raise the debt ceiling unless you also are going to decrease spending.
And so, he has the American public in agreement with him even though the realistic nature of the conversation right now is this is paying for what the United States has already done, right?
ASHER: You know what? Even if he has the American public sort of agreeing with him at this point in time, siding with McCarthy, when people stop receiving their checks --
CAMEROTA: Then they're not going to like it.
ATWOOD: Such a good point. Such a good point.
CAMEROTA: Theoretically, it makes sense to tighten your belt, but when you don't get your social security check and your military check, it's not going to be great. ASHER: And I think that -- I mean, I don't -- listen, in terms of this
sort of worst-case scenario the people have been talking about, you know, default where we see decline of 50% in the stock market, eight million jobs, I don't know if that's going to happen.
But I think the worst-case scenario in terms of what is realistic is people just don't get those checks on time. When that starts to happen, it is a different story in terms of who they blame.
CAMEROTA: All right, Zain, thank you very much for that. Really appreciate that.
All right, meanwhile, a court in Russia ruling that "The Wall Street Journal" reporter, Evan Gershkovich, must remain in pretrial detention until the end of August. Kylie has new reporting on this.
CAMEROTA: A Russian court extended the pretrial detention of American journalist Evan Gershkovich for three more months. That is until the end of August.
Evan Gershkovich is a reporter for "The Wall Street Journal." He was arrested in March and accused of espionage. The Biden ministration and the journal completely reject that accusation. The State Department designates Evan Gershkovich as wrongly detained.
Okay, so, Kylie, tell us what happened in court today.
ATWOOD: So, essentially, this was a win for the investigators who are trying to build a case against Evan Gershkovich. So, we know, obviously, that the is facing these charges of espionage, but they still have to build the case to present it in court. And so, they asked for a pre-trial detention to be extended and they were granted their wish today.
U.S. officials, obviously, are not thrilled about this because essentially what it means for Evan and U.S. officials who are watching this is that it's just kicking the can down the road. It means he remains in pretrial detention through the end of August. Presumably, he's not going to be back in court until then.
You never know what the Russian judicial system. So, we should never say never. But it's unfortunate. And I think one thing that we continue to watch with his case is just when conversations can actually happen between the U.S. and Russia to try and secure a deal to get him out.
Typically, the Russian side does not like to engage in any of those substantive discussions until after the trial period is over, and this means that that is not going to happen for a lot longer.
CAMEROTA: Is this common where it's sort of just the Russians can often move trial dates? Is it sort of more willy-nilly than our system?
ATWOOD: Completely. Yeah. This is part of a Russian judicial system that U.S. officials say is a complete sham of a system, right? It's basically -- these are intelligence officers who are making these requests. They are the ones doing the investigation. Obviously, we know that intelligence apparatus is tied very closely to the Kremlin in Russia.
And in the case of Paul Whelan, who is another American who is still wrongfully detained in Russia after more than four and a half years, he was in pretrial detention for over a year. So, it's not altogether surprising that this is happening now too Evan Gershkovich. But, you know, it's unfortunate as they are trying to get this case to a place where they can actually engage with Russia on it.
CAMEROTA: You guys were talking earlier about his parents being there.
HILL: I was floored when I heard that. I thought to myself, did I hear it correctly? I was driving the car today when I herded it, that his parents actually -- they live here in the United States.
HILL: They left --
HILL: -- decades ago. And the fact that they were there, my first thought was for their safety.
HILL: Because the State Department has said, hey, by the way, don't go to Russia.
ATWOOD: Right. And the State Department said that they actually didn't provide any support for his parents to go to Russia for this hearing. They showed up at the court today with his lawyer. And it was a surprise to everyone. I mean, there was no indication that his parents were actually going to show up at this courtroom for this part of the trial.
I do think it is worth noting, as you said, that they fled the Soviet Union in 1979. They came to New York City, they settled in New Jersey, they raised their family there. But folks who flee the Soviet Union during that time are not viewed positively in the eyes of the Kremlin. They view them as folks who have deserted Russia, right?
So, even for Evan to have that as part of his family history, it is something that some folks have speculated could have actually been one of the driving factors for the Russian authorities to wrongfully detained him. SCANNELL: That has been one of my questions. It is part of the reason they got a lot of attention with Brittney Griner. Part of this is because he is also a journalist. And the perception, you know, they don't like how journalists refer to the war in Ukraine.
They want to control -- they obviously control their media. But as part of the interest in him and the value of him because he is a journalist?
ATWOOD: I think definitely. I mean, when you look at the stories that Evan Gershkovich was writing from Russia, they were not just stories written by an American journalist who was hanging out in his apartment in Moscow and not engaging and trying to get the truth of the Russian system. He was really getting out there. And he was reporting on Putin's inner circle.
I mean, these were stories that were really -- things that I know were passed around by U.S. officials because they thought that these stories were so good. So, it is about him, number one, being a reporter, and also being, you know, excuse me, but a hell of a reporter, someone that really got into the system and was revealing things that the Kremlin didn't want out there publicly.
CAMEROTA: Can U.S. Embassy do anything in Moscow? Are they helping?
ATWOOD: They are trying to do their best. I mean, their hands are tied because technically, the Russians are supposed to be allowing U.S. diplomats to have consular access to Evan while he is in jail. The last two times the U.S. officials had made that request, Russia has denied it.
And there is very little that they can actually do, very little recourse because they continue to push for it. But it's not like we have many tools at our disposal in that situation. That is what makes this hard.
And we do know that there were diplomats who attended the hearing today. We are kind of waiting to hear when Moscow wakes up tomorrow morning to get more of a readout because there weren't any journalists that were allowed into the courtroom today.
ASHER: So, the way out for Evan Gershkovich in all of this is, of course, a prisoner swap. When you think about what happened with Brittney Griner, she was swapped for Viktor Bout, who was the merchant of death. That is what they nicknamed him, the merchant of death.
ASHER: International arms dealer -- basketball player for an international arms dealer. When you think about this sort of notorious Russians who are right now in American prisons, is there anybody of that caliber, for lack of a better word, that can be swapped for Evan Gershkovich? ATWOOD: This is one thing that we actually talked about yesterday. The U.S. has Russian cyber criminals in custody. A lot of them. But the Kremlin doesn't really care about them --
ATWOOD: -- because they're sort of a dime a dozen. You know, you can develop cybercriminal very quickly. There are many of them in Russia. What the United States doesn't have in our custody right now are Russian spies. And that is what Russia wants in return for Paul Whelan, who has also been charged with espionage, and Evan Gershkovich.
That is why they are going to allies around the world and trying to see if there are any allies who actually have Russian spies in their custody who they could offer up to the U.S. to be part of some sort of prisoner sway down the road.
CAMEROTA: Kylie, thank you very much for updating us on all of that.
All right, 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 the stories they are keeping an eye on. We call it "On the Lookout." Okay, Kara?
SCANNELL: "The Real Housewives of New Jersey."
CAMEROTA: Of course.
SCANNELL: It's candy to me. I have to watch it. It is the antidote to all the --
CAMEROTA: That is not what I would expect you to say.
HILL: That makes me so happy because sometimes I'm worried there is too much serious in your life, and I also worry you actually live at the courthouse. It makes me happy.
SCANNELL: I'm all in for the "housewives." I can't wait.
CAMEROTA: So, you like the New Jersey one (ph) best.
SCANNELL: I like them all.
CAMEROTA: People --
SCANNELL: I do like when they cross over into the courthouse, though, like Jen Shaw (ph) from Salt Lake City did. So, you know, I'd like to push those stories. But it's my candy. I can't wait.
CAMEROTA: That's fantastic. Thank you for alerting us to that.
HILL: We were just talking about spies in the break, so it turns out I'm watching this Germany foreign intelligence service. They're having a really hard time recruiting spies because it turns out they want to work remotely and they want to bring their personal phones to work. Those are sort of security issues.
And so, it's making it hard for them to recruit. So, it is a problem.
CAMEROTA: But don't spies work remotely? I mean, aren't they just like always out spying on things?
HILL: But they need to be in meetings and things. Even the CIA has said, look, it is a challenge for us, too, because if you have to be in a meeting, you really probably have to be in some sort of (INAUDIBLE). It is kind of a challenge for us, although at the end of last year, they -- the CIA added a chief well-being officer who is working on things like --apparently like flexible work options.
HILL: (INAUDIBLE) child care. So, that was exciting.
CAMEROTA: (INAUDIBLE) response. Good to know. Okay, thank you very much. Zain?
ASHER: Mine is much more serious. Sorry, guys. I've been really thinking about today, and I will continue to be. Madeleine McCann. You know, I grew up in London, and I remember when she went missing. I just graduated from college. We were all glued to the TV screen. And you just think about what her parents are going through. I think all of our thoughts should be with her parents.
Even to this day, that story has haunted me so much. Now that I am a mama, even just something as simple as just turning my back on my child for a split second at the supermarket, I remember Madeleine McCann.
CAMEROTA: Yeah, it is haunting.
ASHER: It is haunting. CAMEROTA: And so, they were going to do another search today. Do they get called off?
ASHER: Yeah. So, they're doing another search. They're doing another search around the reservoir. The parents have been speaking out, just talking about this idea that they still have hope that she is still alive. You know, that she is still alive after 16 years.
And obviously, that's really difficult for them. I completely understand it. As a parent, you don't ever want to give up hope. But, yeah, in limbo, 16 years later. Nobody wants it. I hope they will get answers.
CAMEROTA: Okay, Kylie.
ATWOOD: No tearjerkers and nothing too fun, but DeSantis is finally launching tomorrow. It's the moment we've all been waiting for. He's doing it in such a unique way. So, I'm just so curious to see how this plays out. He is launching in a conversation on Twitter with Elon Musk.
A lot of folks are being critical of this already. Obviously, his political opponents are saying it's an out of touch way of announcing a presidential campaign. But it is pretty unique and we'll have to see if it catches on.
I'm curious to see just how he paints himself to the American public because he has taken a lot of action as Florida governor, but who does he want to be? Who does he introduce himself as to American voters?
ASHER: Trump without the drama. That's what he was supposed to be. But I don't know if he has the charisma, actually.
CAMEROTA: We shall see you tomorrow.
All right, fantastic. Ladies, thank you so much. So great to have you, guys, here tonight. Tomorrow on "CNN This Morning," inside the long- awaited Netflix password sharing crackdown. How that is going to work and what it will cost you. We'll explain all of that.
Thanks so much for watching tonight. Our coverage continues now.