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Erin Burnett Outfront

DeSantis Announces 2024 White House Run After Twitter Glitches; U.S. Intel: Ukraine Was Likely Behind Drone Attack On Kremlin; Tina Turner, The "Queen of Rock And Roll," Dies at 83. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired May 24, 2023 - 19:00   ET




Ron DeSantis making it official. His unconventional announcement delayed by technical glitches. Joining DeSantis for his announcement was Elon Musk. All highly unorthodox. Will it matter? Does it win over voters?

Plus, breaking news, a fire has broken out at Russia's defense ministry in Moscow now. This is according to Russian U.S. intelligence tonight is pointing to Ukraine meantime as the likely culprit behind that drone attack on the Kremlin. We're live on the ground tonight.

And she was simply the best. Tonight, the legendary Tina Turner has died. Singer's Bryan Adams and Ruth Pointer of the Pointer Sisters will join me to remember their friend and a true musical icon.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, he's in. The Florida Governor Ron DeSantis officially kicking off his bid for the White House, and he did it on Twitter.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: There is no substitute for victory. We must end the culture of losing that has infected the Republican Party in recent years. The tired dogmas of the past are inadequate for a vibrant future. We must look forward, not backwards.


BURNETT: Now, during his appearance on Twitter, DeSantis went on to talk about his policies in Florida to brag about the ones that target education, books, race and gender. He owns them, he also repeatedly railed against the traditional media.

But this evening's rollout on Twitter did begin with a technical issue and a crash. The event was delayed with those technical issues. In fact, this is what people heard when they logged on at 6:00 p.m. Eastern, which was the advertised start of the announcement. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's see, so, yeah, I think so. Just to simplify.


BURNETT: Well, it kept getting cut off. By the time it started, DeSantis made a joke that he broke the Internet.

Biden's campaign made light of DeSantis's tech trouble, tweeting, this link works, and then the link went to a Biden fundraising page.

Meanwhile, Trump is watching DeSantis closely. He spent the day tearing into the Florida governor, posting polls, attacking DeSantis and his record.

Our Steve Contorno has spent years covering DeSantis from the House of Representative to now governor of Florida. And, of course, Steve, you know him better than many covering him. And you join me now from Miami.

So what more are you hearing, Steve, from the DeSantis announcement tonight and about, you know, why they did it in this way?

STEVE CONTORNO, CNN REPORTER: Well, Erin, they wanted to be unconventional and have an announcement unlike any before. They certainly got that. There was so much trouble just getting this event off the ground. For 25 minutes, the event was mired in glitches. They blamed the overwhelming interest in this, but, you know, this was Elon Musk's baby. This is his Twitter and yet they could not host it.

But even when DeSantis spoke, it was a very different speech that what we've heard from other candidates who have announced so far. He didn't really offer much of a vision for the country. Instead he really focused on the problems that he has seen with the country under Joe Biden and the problems he has seen in the Republican Party under Donald Trump, though he did not call out Trump by name. And then he issued a call for Republicans to get behind him in 2024.

Listen to what he said and how he put that call to them.


DESANTIS: To voters who are participating in this primary process, my pledge to you is this, if you nominate me, you can set your clock to January 20th, 2025, at high noon because on the west side of the U.S. Capitol, I will be taking the oath of office as the 47th president of the United States. No excuses. I will get the job done.


CONTORNO: Now, when I jumped on the air with you, the event was still going on but they were having a q and a between Elon Musk and Ron DeSantis and also David Sachs who was hosting the event. They were trying to explain the glitches to the audience, that's going to be the overwhelming take away of the event, overshadowed the announcement. DeSantis is a candidate for president. He'll be running in a

Republican primary against Donald Trump and several other candidates, and those candidates are starting to pile on and go after him. You've got to imagine that is going to continue after tonight's rollout.

BURNETT: It certainly is, right, and of course you know he was clearly going to be a candidate, right, but now it's formal. We're going to see whether things change in polling and otherwise. Steve, thank you very much, reporting from Miami.

I want to go now to Dan Eberhart, a DeSantis megadonor; David Urban, Trump 2020 senior campaign adviser; and Ashley Allison, former national coalition director for Biden/Harris 2020.


So, Dan, I mean, I know obviously you're going to have heard good things here, right? You're a major donor here.


BURNETT: What did you make of DeSantis doing this on Twitter? How do you think he did?

EBERHART: Well, I think he did well, and I think it shows, look, he's got everybody's attention, Biden, Trump, and all of these followers.


EBERHART: From my understanding, look, DeSantis said he broke the Internet. What happened tonight is he laid a corner stone for a new conservative movement and brought new people into the process by doing it on this platform, and he showed that he's a bold leader and he's not just going to do things the same old way the other candidates are doing when they announce.

BURNETT: David, what do you think? I mean, Steve saying the focus, he's talked about what he he's done in Florida. He talked less about his kind of future projection for the country but emphasized, you know, it sort of seems he can get things done.

DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, so listen, I live here in Florida. I think Ron DeSantis has been an incredible governor, great leader, he's done a great job. I don't know what political equivalent for rapid unscheduled disassembly would be, but I think that's what we just witnessed on this launch. If Governor DeSantis would have gone to the ballroom there and done an announcement, he would have had every major network covering it.

It would have been, you know, it would have accomplished a much bigger objective than doing what he did, and it just seems like now no one is going to focus on the message or what he said. It's going to be all about this bumbled launch, which deprives him of a real opportunity.

BURNETT: Right. So, obviously, he could have done that, and then you post it on twitter. Ashley, tonight's event was called the first in social media history

by the moderator, and it was, indeed, that, there were all of those technical issues that you heard David talked about. How they may have overshadowed the message, the audio going in and out, took a while to get it started.

Elon Musk, though, still singing its praises, here he is.


MUSK: There's only so much you can actually put in the newspaper or magazine, and there's only one thing you can really put on the cover of magazines, so whoever is deciding that is deciding to not talk about other things whereas with a public digital town square like we have here, it's possible for the public to choose the narrative.


BURNETT: Was that worth it, Ashley?

ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Maybe for Elon. I think what I saw or heard tonight was what felt like a commercial for twitter. Even from Ron DeSantis, he went on and on about how much he loves Twitter, and one of the congressmen was talking about Tesla, and I was at that point, just saying, what is happening, I thought this was a DeSantis campaign launch.

I think it's interesting that Elon Musk is saying that this is the virtual town square when we know the algorithm on Twitter, and once he has now been the CEO is biased to making sure that you're only seating certain type of feed.

Now, he's not going to say that, and I don't expect him to. Folks who are on Twitter are experiencing that, including myself and many other people.

So if -- I hope Ron DeSantis gets a huge campaign contribution after doing this from Elon Musk. He surely did promote twitter, and, I mean, it failed, and I think that will last for a couple of days, but I will pay attention to what Ron DeSantis is saying, and once you get past Twitter and the launch, it was some of the same stuff you hear from Ron DeSantis, questioning the validity of masks during COVID, talking about overcensorship when he's the governor who is trying to censor what students and people can read in the state of Florida.

So, I can look past the kerfuffle of the failed launch in terms of Twitter and I am really paying to the policies that DeSantis is talking about because it is a totally different direction he's trying to take the country and I don't think it's one the overwhelming population wants it to go.

BURNETT: So, let me ask you, Dan, one thing that he did. You know, we talked about things in Florida. So, he -- I don't know what it is, at this point, you know, quadruple, quintuple, way more than that, down on Disney, and let me play what he said about that.


DESANTIS: Florida stands for the protection of children. We believe jamming gender ideology in elementary school is wrong. Disney obviously supported injecting gender ideology in elementary school. They did oppose our parents' rights legislation, and the fact is when they opposed it, that was a big deal because for 50 years, anytime Disney wanted something in Florida politics, they pretty much got it, but not this time.


BURNETT: Dan, look, he's clearly making this Disney thing part of the core of his message and what he thinks is going to be his appeal, right? It obviously is not a traditionally conservative message. That would be leave companies alone if you're a governor. He's not doing that, and making it a center piece of his campaign.

Is that smart?

EBERHART: I think it is for two reasons, Erin. One, I will tell you that, you know, voters in Florida know Ron DeSantis best. He had already started this feud with Disney when he was reelected by 20 points in the fall. And I would say, broader, it shows in the White House and as governor of Florida that Ron DeSantis is willing to stand up to big corporations and fight for, you know, anti-woke policies, and fight for conservative values.


And I think that voters rewarded him in the fall, and I think that primary voters will see this fight, and will see his ability to stand up to folks, including big companies, and voters will support that vision.

BURENTT: So, David, let me look at polls here, right, coming into this, DeSantis had really fallen in the polls. This is early polling, he wasn't a declared candidate. He had fallen, right? You got Trump gained 13 points in just the past two months. DeSantis lost ten. You've got a 23-point spread there.

If you go back in time, 2007, Hillary Clinton, her lead against Barack Obama was growing. They were both declared candidates. Obviously we know who ended up winning, and it is true, Harry Enten points out, if you go back to 1972, people who are in DeSantis' positions, I'm not talk about the fact that he's poll numbers are dropping, that may matter, but the fact that he's, in, you know, not the lead, right, he's not the leader. They've won the primary about 20 percent of the time.

Can DeSantis do this, David?

URBAN: Yeah, look, I think the governor can do it. I think he's a very capable governor. He's done a great job. I think, look, I disagree with Dan's earlier statement about the Disney point.

And I think, to Ashley, you know, she doesn't understand that maybe here in Florida that the governor put together an incredible coalition that hasn't really been stitched together in this state, and I think that he did that based upon a more of a libertarian streak, no masks, getting the government out of people's lives, and let people just live. Let corporations, you know, untethered them from regulations, deregulate. I think that's a success story here in Florida.

I think he would be best served by telling that story, and not necessarily getting, you know, continuing this quadruple down, as you said, with the Disney fight. I think there's a path for him, yeah.

BURNETT: Once I got past quint, I started to lose my ability to think on the fly there.

Ashley, let me ask you, though, are Democrats at this point, I know the stereotypical, they would be more afraid of DeSantis because he isn't Trump and he's young, and that's a contrast. Is that the case? Are Democrats more afraid of a DeSantis nominee than a Trump nominee?

ALLISON: I think Democrats should be prepared for any nominee. They're all different candidates. Even though they have similar policies, Tim Scott, Nikki Haley, Donald Trump or a Ron DeSantis, and you would need to run a different campaign against each of them.

And any advice to Democrats, and I think the conversation that I have been hearing from senior officials on the Biden campaign and other Democratic operatives is that, yes, right now we are paying attention to Donald Trump, but we are not losing sight that any of these candidates can win, and we can beat them because it's about what they are standing for, and the vision for what we want America to be.

And I just don't think it's -- I don't think any candidate will be an easy race against Joe Biden, and I don't think it's smart for anyone to compare this '24 race to the 2020 race because it's a totally different time period.

I do think when you really look at the values that these candidates on the Republican Party are presenting, there is a strong case for why Joe Biden deserves to be reelected. And that's what I have been hearing from Democratic strategists.

BURNETT: All right. And we are, we are -- of course, now off to the races. You've got a full field. It could still grow, but it's a full field now.

Thank you all very much.

And next, breaking news, new pictures of what appears to be a fire at Russia's ministry of defense. As I said, we're just learning about this now, just coming in in the past few moments as this program began. And it comes as U.S. intelligence is now pointing to Ukraine as the likely culprit behind that drone attack. You remember the one that the Russians said was targeting Putin with assassination at the Kremlin? We're live in Ukraine next.

Plus, the debt ceiling talks stalling, eight days to go, a Democrat tonight is offering Speaker Kevin McCarthy a lifeline, you heard me, I didn't misspeak. A Democrat. And Congressman Dean Phillips will be OUTFRONT with that offer.

And remembering Tina Turner, an icon who sold 100 million records, winning eight Grammys. Tonight, superstars Bryan Adams and Ruth Pointer of the Pointer Sisters are OUTFRONT to pay tribute to their dear friend, Tina Turner.



BURNETT: Breaking news, a fire has broken out at Russia's Ministry of Defense building in Central Moscow, according to Russian state media. It's unclear what caused the fire but emergency services currently working at the scene to contain it.

This development comes as U.S. intelligence is now pointing to Ukraine as the likely culprit behind the drone attack on the Kremlin that we reported on earlier this month. A drone attacked the Russian government called an assassination attempt on Vladimir Putin. The new assessment is based on intercepts of Ukrainian officials suspecting that their forces were behind the attack.

Of course, that's speculation. That's why they're saying likely, but U.S. officials believe that President Zelenskyy who has denied Ukrainian involvement was not aware of the attack before it happened.

Fred Pleitgen is OUTFRONT.

And, Fred, so we've got that latest, but now, there's this fire. What do you know about the fire at Russia's defense ministry?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, we're actually monitoring that very closely. As you can imagine, that is causing a lot of concern for the folks in Moscow. One thing we have to keep in mind about this, Erin, is the defense ministry of Russia is right in the center of the city of Moscow. It's right across from Gorky Park, in a place called the Pushkinskaya Embankment.

So, of course, on a spring evening, a lot of people have been strolling around there, a lot of people very concerned. The latest we had is that the fire seemed to have broken out on a balcony, and there were fire crews on the way, as you said, tried to contain, but literally just as we were going to air, there was a wire that crossed on the TASS news agency, the Russian news agency, saying there was no fire detected. So, it's still unclear what's going on there.

But, of course, it is a cause of great concern because of some of those incidents that have been happening in Russia recently that the Russians have been linking to the Ukrainians. At the same time here in Ukraine on the battlefield, there could be some big changes coming up, in a couple of hours from now, the Wagner private military company is pulling out of Bakhmut.


Here's what we're learning. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PLEITGEN (voice-over): After months of ferocious fighting in Bakhmut, the chief of Russia's private army, Wagner, is saying his fighters are exhausted and will withdrawal.

YEVGENY PRIGOZHIN, WAGNER CHIEF (through translator): We will be leaving Bakhmut and the Russian defense ministry will be responsible for it. We're leaving to field camps to train and rest.

PLEITGEN: Prigozhin claims to control all of Bakhmut which the Ukrainians dispute. He also acknowledges losing around 20,000 fighters in the brutal month's long campaign, even as the U.S. and Ukraine say the figures are much higher, possibly up to 100,000.

Despite the alleged victory in Bakhmut, in a bold comment, Prigozhin says Vladimir Putin's war is not achieving its core objective of weakening Ukraine.

PRIGOZHIN (through translator): How did we demilitarize it? Now it turns out that we on the contrary have militarized Ukraine. I think that the Ukrainians today are one of the strongest armies.

PLEITGEN: Prigozhin has long been attacking Russia's elites, accusing them of being corrupt, lazy and not involved in the war.

Now he fears continuing losses on the battlefield could lead to a revolution in Russia.

PRIGOZHIN (through translator): All of this can end like in 1917 with a revolution when first the soldiers rise up and after that, their loved ones rise up.

PLEITGEN: All this as the war is increasingly affecting Russia's homeland. Russia's defense ministry today releasing video of what it says was a failed attack on a Russian warship using unmanned speedboats. Ukraine has not commented on the incident.

And after the brazen cross border raid, by anti-Putin Russian fighters, which Ukraine says it was not involved in, but Russia blames on Kyiv, vowing revenge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We will continue to respond to such actions by Ukrainian militants promptly, and extremely harshly.

PLEITGEN: But Prigozhin says the attack shows the Russian military is incapable of protecting the country's borders.

PRIGOZHIN (through translator): Sabotage and reconnaissance forces calmly enter Russia and march, uploading videos, driving their tanks, armored infantry vehicles, where's the safeguard that they will not enter Moscow?


PLEITGEN (on camera): And, of course, Erin, we have been reporting about the ongoing feud between Yevgeny Prigozhin and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. So, it certainly no surprise to have Prigozhin criticize Shoigu, but he also called for Shoigu to be replaced.

However, also, in light of the incident in Belgrade, there are a lot of people who are asking in Russia how exactly it was possible that the military was not on scene as that cross border raid was taking place, and of course, now with the fire that we have been learning about in Moscow, you can feel that there is some nervousness creeping in as to whether security is guaranteed, Erin.

BURNETT: Yeah. It certainly feels that way. It's got to be some sort of nervousness. Thank you so much, Fred, from Kyiv tonight.

And next, one Democrat is offering Speaker McCarthy a lifeline, saying he'll back him for speaker. He'll back him for speaker if he bucks his own party on the debt ceiling.

That Democrat, Congressman Dean Phillips is OUTFRONT next.

And we remember the legend, Tina Turner, rock and roll trailblazer. Tonight, Bryan Adams and Ruth Pointer of the Pointer Sisters who both performed with Tina Turner will join me.



BURNETT: Tonight, you're looking at live pictures of the growing memorial to legendary singer Tina Turner who died earlier at the age of 83. Mourners gathering to pay tribute to the queen of rock 'n' roll at her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and her family released a statement saying she died peacefully at home after, quote, a long illness. They did not provide more details.

But tonight, Stephanie Elam begins our coverage OUTFRONT looking at the incredible life of this true icon.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "Proud Mary" was one of Tina Turner's signatures, showcasing her unique sound, look, and moves.

TINA TURNER, MUSIC LEGEND: That's my style. I take great songs and turn into rock 'n' roll songs on stage.

ELAM: Icon, survivor, a queen of rock 'n' roll.

Tina Turner began life as Anna Mae Bullock in rural Tennessee. As a teenager, she moved to St. Louis where she met rocker Ike Turner.

TURNER: Ike was very good to me when I first started my career, started to sing weekend with him. And we were close friends.

ELAM: The Ike and Tina Turner review's first hit came in 1960 with "A Fool in Love". A song they performed on shindig. They married in 1962 and in 1966, recorded "River Deep, Mountain High".

It was a hit overseas but flopped in the U.S.

Off stage, Ike's drug abuse fueled violent outbursts.

TURNER: I had had a lot of violence. Houses burned. Cars shot into. The lowest that you think of in terms of violence.

ELAM: After years of physical and emotional abuse, Tina left Ike in the mid '70s with nothing but her name, at one point, relying on food stamps to survive.

In the early '80s, Turner's cover of "Let's Stay Together" reignited her career.

"Private Dancer" followed in 1984, a runaway critical and commercial success. The album featured her only number one song.

Though she wasn't a fan.

TURNER: I didn't like it. I wasn't accustomed to singing those kinds of songs.

ELAM: It was also the title of a 1993 film starring Angela Basset based on Tina's autobiography.

LARRY KING, FORMER CNN HOST: Did the picture do it justice?

TURNER: Yes, I think in a way I would have liked for them to have more truth, but according to Disney, it's impossible. People would not have believed the truth.

ELAM: Turner herself appeared in movies such as The Who's "Tommy" and "Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome".


She sang its theme song.

As well as the theme to the James Bond film, "Golden Eye".

One major role she turned down would go to Oprah Winfrey in "The Color Purple".

TURNER: It was too close to my personal life. I had just left such a life, and it was too soon to be reminded of.

ELAM: The "What's Love Got to Do It" soundtrack gave Turner another hit. Her personal favorite --

TURNER: It's very special because at the time when I got it, no one believed in it but me.

ELAM: Turner continued recording and touring into her 80s.

She was honored by the Kennedy Center in 2005 and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo act in 2021, 30 years after her first induction as part of a duo with Ike Turner.

All the while, her Buddhist faith kept her going.

TURNER: Because you make this lifetime can be the effect of a better life the next lifetime. It will be better and gets better and better.


ELAM (on camera): And she really did find the positive in life despite how her life began. She did focus on that. You see people out here still bringing flowers, playing her music out here now, live, really truly, when you look at her music, how she lived, how she paved the way for so many female artists and Black performers.

She did not want to be siloed, would not be siloed for the kind of music she wanted to sing, and out here, you can see this American icon is truly being loved today and remembered for all that she brought to the world -- Erin.

BURNETT: Stephanie, thank you very much. It's poignant to see that.

I want to go now to two music legends who knew and worked with Tina Turner, Grammy award winner Ruth Pointer, the last surviving members of the Pointer Sisters whose first album turns 50 this month. I know that is something on a sad day, though, to think about an incredible, to celebrate. Your many hits including "I'm So Excited" and "Jump".

And Grammy Award winner Bryan Adams, whose songs you all know include "Everything I Do, I Do It for You" and "Run to You".

I'm so grateful to have both of you on to talk about a woman that you admire, that you performed with, who you consider a friend.

Ruth, what did you think when you first heard that Tina Turner had passed away today?

RUTH POINTER, GRAMMY-WINNING MUSICIAN, THE POINTER SISTERS: Oh, my God, I just started weeping, you know. I loved her so much. In my opinion, she was my queen in the music industry. She was my queen.

I wanted to be her. You know, I tried to be her with my sisters, and I saw her several times. I actually saw her with Ike in Oakland, right after I graduated high school at a little joint there in Oakland, a sportsman club, and we used to go to with the eye cats (ph), and I was never the same after that.

You know, but I'd seen her concerts, and I saw her musical, and we did the world together, and she's watched us perform at clubs. I remember once her standing on the side of the stage. We didn't even know she was there, and they came and told us that you got a guest that's watching you perform, and it was Tina.

And we just fell apart, and she said, you guys look like four Tina Turners up there on the stage because we were tearing it up.

BURNETT: I can only imagine what that moment must have been like. You know, you both worked with her and performed with her.

Bryan, you recorded a duet with her, "It's Only Love", and that was released in 1985. You know, a lot of people have seen this, but I just want to play it.


BURNETT: And you worked together again, Bryan, when you wrote the song "Back Where You Started", and you wrote that for her. Here's part of that.


BURNETT: And that song, she won a Grammy in 1987 for best female rock vocal performance.

What memories can you share, Bryan, of working with her?

BRYAN ADAMS, GRAMMY-WINNING MUSICIAN: Oh, my god, I don't even know where to start. I mean, incredibly sad all day since I heard the news, and it's taken a lot to actually even do this interview because, you know, she was not only really kind to me in the beginning, but just fabulous to work for.


And I -- I'll tell you one story which probably nobody knows, which is the story when I recorded back, when we started with her, she came into the studio, and we ran the song down quickly, and I just started talking to the engineer, and I said, okay, this and this, and I looked up and I said, Tina, can you -- and she left. And I went running down the hall. I said, Tina, you need to do it again. She said, no, no, no, honey, you got it.

And we didn't quite get it, but she did come back, and we did it, and she won a Grammy for her, and I was incredibly happy for her. But the thing about being with her on tour was unbelievable because as you can see this live video you're watching right now, she asked me to come and be her support act in Europe back in 1985.

And it changed everything for me as a solo performer. It really opened up everything and I will never ever be able to articulate how grateful I am to her for that. So --

BURNETT: Which is incredible in shows, the generosity of spirit and the ability to mentor, that people wouldn't know, unless you share that.

And, Ruth, you've worked with her and, of course, other music legends on "We Are the World" in 1985, which raised money for famine relief in Africa and truly was iconic. I mean, something I remember as one of the first kind of core musical memories of childhood.

Here's some of that iconic video.

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS) BURNETT: Ruth, do you have any memories with working with her on that?

POINTER: Oh, my god, my fondest memory of her that night, we had a break, and me, Tina, Latoya Jackson, and Bette Midler were huddled in a corner, just chatting like girls do about the guys and men. I think Bette Midler and I were dating the same guy. So we were just talking about men and their shenanigans and stuff.

And Tina was just standing there, and you know, we were just all sort of chatting about guys, but it was really special for me. Just being among those women.

BURNETT: Yeah, I mean, again, one of those things that none of us could even imagine being a fly on the wall, if that's when you found out you were dating the same guy, but I suppose that would be a tale for another conversation.

Bryan, let me play a bit more of what Tina Turner said her favorite song was, the best. Here's what she said.


BURNETT: Bryan, that was the song. Let me play what she told larry king about why that song is her favorite.


TURNER: It's very special because at the time when I got it, no one believed in it but me, and I organized writing the chorus, it was a really struggle with Roger, my manager and the record company, what are you going to do, but the whole thing was -- it was a freedom I felt. I felt just riding and that music in the back, and I felt it would be great for sport, and it ended up in many different countries for sport.


BURNETT: Bryan, do you have a favorite song, Tina Turner song?

ADAMS: A favorite, well, I mean, obviously the ones that, you know, we worked together on. But I love that song particularly because it was great live. The Al Green song, "Stay Together," beautiful.

And you know, it's funny, I was just thinking about Tina, and I just remembered that I -- she asked me to sing at her wedding with Erwin, and I -- it was in the back, in her backyard in her house, and it was an amazing moment to be singing for her. I kept thinking, are you going to come up and help me with this, you know.


ADAMS: That was a complete honor, and you know, this is the thing, I really have a hard time telling you everything that I know and the experiences I've had with her, you know, because she was a friend. And -- BURNETT: Well, look, I'm sorry for both of you for your loss. It's so

personal, and it's so hard to have a personal loss when everybody else also feels that they touch it because it's someone like her who touched so many.

So, thank you very much, both of you, for taking the time to share some of your memories and bring her even more alive as a human to all of us.



ADAMS: Thank you.

POINTER: You're welcome.

BURNETT: Thank you.


ADAMS: Love you, Ruth.

POINTER: Love you. Write me a song.

BURNETT: And next -- and there, there's a deal right there. We will look for that. Thank you.

All right. And next, nowhere near a deal tonight on the debt ceiling. There's eight days to go, but tonight one Democrat is offering McCarthy a lifeline. Congressman Dean Phillips will join me next with that offer.

And Ron DeSantis teaming up with Elon Musk. We talked a bit about that. But Elon Musk, of course, is not just a billionaire. He is a brilliant billionaire who recently has embraced some controversy and frankly, conspiracy theories.


BURNETT: Tonight, doubling down on Disney, oh, wait, quintuple, octuple, whatever it is. So Ron DeSantis firing back tonight on Republicans who have been critical of his feud. He defends his fight.


DESANTIS: What happened was Disney's posturing, some of the other statements that their executives were making, kind of the corporate culture had really been outed as trying to inject matters of sex into the programming for the youth, and I think a lot of parents including me look at that and say that's not appropriate. Some of these Republicans who are taking Disney's side, they're basically showing themselves to be corporatists.



BURNETT: Corporatists. This is going to be interesting to see how that plays out on the campaign trail.

But, you know, in that conversation, right, it happened on Twitter. It wasn't just DeSantis in the spotlight. It's Elon Musk, who, by the way, in addition, as I said to being brilliant and a billionaire, also has increasingly embraced some controversies and conspiracy theories on that very site.

Miguel Marquez is OUTOFRONT.


ELON MUSK, TWITTER OWNER: I'll say what I want to say and if the consequence of that is losing money, so be it.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Elon Musk, opinionated, sometimes libertarian, contrarian, serial controversialist, at times sounding conspiratorial. His wealth measured in the hundreds of billions among the richest in the world, now injecting himself into public debate, like never before.

MUSK: I wish we could have just a normal human being as president. That's what I want.

MARQUEZ: Musk on CNBC last week talking everything from Tesla to SpaceX to Twitter.

MUSK: My overall kind of vision for actual Twitter is to be a cybernetic collective mind for humanity.

MARQUEZ: Musk even addressing some of his more controversial takes on current events, via his Twitter platform. He tweeted then deleted about the attack last October on then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband Paul in their San Francisco home. The tweet helped the spread of disinformation about the attack.

He cast doubt on whether the shooter who killed eight and wounded seven at a Dallas area mall earlier this month held white supremacist believes, despite the Texas Department of Public Safety saying the shooter had Nazi patches, tattoos and a long history of supporting white supremacist views.

He tweeted his dislike for the billionaire and Democratic megadonor, George Soros, helping drive antisemitic views about the Holocaust survivor.

MUSK: He reminds me of Magneto. It's like calm down, people, this is not like a metaphorical case out of it.

INTERVIEWER: You said he wants to erode the very fabric of civilization and Soros hates humanity. Like when you do something like that, do you think about --

MUSK: Yeah, I think that's true. That's my opinion. MARQUEZ: On politics, Musk opaque at best. He supported Obama, says he

did not like Trump, voted for Biden and is now disappointed with his performance, and has indicated many times he would support Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, putting his choice for the next president this way to the "Wall Street Journal."

MUSK: I think someone that is representative of the moderate views that I think most of the country holds in reality.

MARQUEZ: Musk's own views often seem controversial for the sake of controversy. On COVID, Musk says he was vaccinated but late last year he tweeted, my pronouns are prosecute/Fauci. Hard core conservatives celebrated it. The medical community and many on the left were horrified.


MARQUEZ (on camera): So there are so many people that would disagree with the idea that Ron DeSantis is a moderate. That aside, when you start looking into everything Elon Musk says and he does, it is very hard to nail him down to any one category, left, right, center or anything else.

BURNETT: Right. Just find something appealing and sends it out. Does he really think George Soros wants to destroy all of humanity like he says he believes?

MARQUEZ: That's what he says. He's a billionaire. He can say what he wants.

BURNETT: Yeah. Now, he owns the site. All right. It is fascinating, though.

All right. Miguel, thank you very much.

And next, Washington deadlocked with just eight days before a default for America. One Democrat is offering Speaker Kevin McCarthy a lifeline.

Congressman Dean Phillips is OUTFRONT next.

Plus, a community coming together to remember the 19 students and two teachers who were killed a year ago during the mass shooting at Robb elementary in Uvalde, Texas.



BURNETT: New tonight, no deal. The deadline for that ceiling vote is just eight days away, and there is no sign of a deal. In fact, the House majority leader, Steve Scalise, just told members they can go home from a Memorial Day weekend, because the vote on the deal is nowhere in sight. And the public statements from both sides show exactly why.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: You know the challenge here. Democrats continue to want to spend more. I have been very clear. I will not put a bill on the floor that spends more money next year than this year.

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: For starters, this is a manufactured crisis, plain and simple. Let's be clear, this is not about cutting wasteful spending for Republicans and it never has been.


BURNETT: But one key moderate Democrat is offering a lifeline to Speaker McCarthy. It's Congressman Dean Phillips. He's telling McCarthy he would support him as speaker if he stands up to the right wing of his party and brokers a bipartisan deal to avoid a default.

Congressman Phillips is now OUTFRONT.

And, Congressman, I appreciate your time. I obviously want to talk to you about your offer to Speaker McCarthy. But, first, I want to just -- you know, here we are, they are being told, Steve Scalise is telling GOP they can go home for Memorial Day weekend, no vote in the offing.

We are eight days away from the first ever default for the U.S. President Biden, of course, will be president for, that if it occurs, and people go away from Memorial Day weekend by the time they get back, that's where we are.

So do you approve, right now, how Biden and the White House have handled the negotiations thus far?

REP. DEAN PHILLIPS (D-MN): Well, Erin, I think seven days from now, I expect there will be a deal. The same movie, same ending, and we watch once again, but I think people should keep the faith that we will resolve this.

And I think the appointees of the Biden ministration doing the negotiation, Shalanda Young and Steve Ricchetti, are capable, able, principled, and Speaker McCarthy had said the same. And I think the way the negotiation has been handled has been adequate.

But what I have done some things differently? Of course. I think it would have been an opportune time for the White House to demand universal background checks on gun purchases, something that 80 percent of the country wants. I just -- I am not terribly fond of negotiating strategy when the only outcome is concessions.

But I am a pragmatist. Here we are. We have to deal with what it is, not we had hoped would be. But I am optimistic, perhaps more so than most, but keep the faith. We're going to get this done.

BURNETT: All right. So, let's talk about McCarthy's issue here. He's got some folks who have no interest in doing the deal, a lot of them, right? We saw how he won the speakership, right? That was an embarrassment for the whole country, what the world saw in that, but that's what he's dealing with at the flank of this party.

If he can broker a deal on a debt ceiling, right, if he can do one, are you 100 percent committed to supporting him on the vote for speaker if that flank of his party, the right flank of his party, try to force him out because he made a deal?

PHILLIPS: Let me say this first -- I voted for Hakeem Jeffries for a speaker. I nominated him. I celebrate him as an exceptional leader. I can't wait to celebrate with him when he becomes speaker in January of 2025.

But right now, we have Speaker McCarthy in that seat, and I think this country and those who serve in Congress should reward courage no matter what side of the aisle it comes for.

I'm a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, Erin. We have a wonderful off-ramp for the White House and Speaker McCarthy that would eliminate the debt ceiling in the near term, suspend it, in return for appointing a bipartisan, bicameral commission that would actually navigate through this and make thoughtful recommendations on both revenue and cuts to ensure we reduce our deficits.

But if the speaker is in a position where we will default if he doesn't bring something to the floor that would result in a motion to vacate, meaning to recall him from the speaker position, I think some Democrats, including myself, should be thoughtful and considerate, relative to keeping him in the seat for now, because courage should be rewarded. And I am sick and tired of serving in an institution where we don't do so enough.


And I think the country demands, it particularly as we face a crisis of historic proportions.

BURNETT: So, two quick follows to that. I understand you're not me here hard commitment here, you I'm just making the point, i.e. mentioned some other Democrats. Have you had explicit conversations with other Democrats that you know you would have a group that would be willing to do this at the right moment, and also have you had any talks with Speaker McCarthy?

PHILLIPS: I've had talks with a number of Democrats. We are remarkably pragmatic group. We have to deal with what is.

We recognize that tens of millions of Americans would be affected in dramatic, horrific, and dangerous fashions if we default. So the answer is yes, I have had those conversations. I think there is a robust and thoughtful group that would consider that.

Now how you qualify courage is something different. I think there is going to be a deal struck in about a week or so that will be brought to the floor. We're going to lose some Democrats. We're going to lose, some Republicans, and frankly if that is what happens, that is probably in the best interest of the country. But if we face a predicament in which the speaker has to bring

something to the floor to avoid default that would result in a terrific, horrific backlash from his own conference, than, yes, there are Democrats that would do what is necessary to throw him a lifeline if he throws the United States one first.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Congressman. I appreciate your time.

And coming up on "AC360", the passing of music legend Tina Turner. Anderson will talk with her good friend and musical partner Herbie Hancock about her life and legacy. That's next on "360".

And we'll be right back.


BURNETT: And, finally tonight, it has been one year since the horrific shooting at that elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. It's impossible to forget the images of the children running for their lives.

And tonight, that community still in mourning. Those families forever in mourning. Flowers today laid in front of Robb elementary school. Butterflies released to remember those innocent victims.

Today, President Biden, again, renewing his unanswered call to ban assault weapons.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNTIED STATES: We still need to ban, in my view, AR-15 firearms, assault weapons once again. I know for a long time it is been hard to make progress. But there will come a point where our voices are so loud, our determination so clear, that we can no longer be stopped. We will act.


BURNETT: Nineteen fourth graders and two teachers lost their lives that day. And a year later, questions about the botched police response still remain unanswered.

Thanks for joining us.

It's time now for "AC360".