Return to Transcripts main page

Isa Soares Tonight

Ukraine Claims It Countered All 18 Of Russia's Missile Attack On Kyiv; ChatGPT Creator Sam Altman Testifies Before U.S. Lawmakers; Joe Biden To Host Critical U.S. Debt Ceiling Talks; Special Counsel Questions FBI Decision To Launch Full Investigation Into Trump-Russia Connections; Martha Stewart, Cover Model; Ecuador Impeachment Trial. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired May 16, 2023 - 14:00   ET



LYNDA KINKADE, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Lynda Kinkade, in for Isa Soares. Tonight, a major attack

shakes Kyiv, as Russia claims a major victory against a U.S.-made defense system. We're live on the ground with more. Then, ChatGPT creator Sam

Altman testifies before U.S. lawmakers, saying he is concerned A.I. could be used to compromise elections. We'll have more on that hearing.

Plus, President Biden gets ready for critical U.S. debt-ceiling talks next hour. As the treasury warns the clock is ticking. The Ukraine's capital

Kyiv has just survived a Russian air attack, which the city says was exceptional in its intensity. Ukraine's military says air defense

successfully intercepted all 18 Russian missiles launched earlier today, including six hypersonic Kinzhal missiles.

Despite that, Russia claims it destroyed a U.S.-made Patriot air defense system in Kyiv. A U.S. official says that system was likely damage but not

destroyed. Meanwhile, on the frontlines, Ukraine says it's making more progress around Bakhmut, liberating territory in suburbs north and south of

the city. But the boss of the Russian private military company, Wagner, says his mercenaries are advancing in the west of that city.

He also posted this video on social media, claiming to have found a U.S. citizen who died fighting for Ukraine in Bakhmut. CNN cannot confirm its

authenticity. Our Nic Robertson is covering the developments and joins us now from eastern Ukraine. Good to have you with us Nic. So, 18 missiles

launched by Russia, and thankfully all shot down, according to Ukraine, although Russia disputes that.

What can you tell us about this onslaught, and how does it compare to previous attacks on the capital?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, a sophisticated onslaught. And the mayor of Kyiv has said that this was an attempt by the

Russians to try to penetrate the air defenses and actually disable the air defenses. Over the past few months, Ukraine has been given more and more

complex and sophisticated air defense systems.

And it has a very effective shield around Kyiv, and that was what was in effect, and that's why Ukrainian officials say they shot down everything

that was incoming. Those hypersonic, ten times the speed of sound, Kinzhal missiles fired from the north, from aircrafts, six different aircrafts

firing those nine cruise missiles, fired from the Black Sea to the south as incoming on a different trajectory.

And more missiles, initially they had said just three of the Iskander and the S-400 land-based missiles, but now, Ukrainian officials are saying that

was ten different missiles. So a very sophisticated attempt, Ukrainian officials say, to disable these air defense systems. But the air defense

system, by its nature, has improved and strengthened.

Why does Russia want to announce that it has damaged the Patriots system? Because it wants to show that it's scoring a success. Ukrainian officials

say that they won't comment on it, and the analysis that's been done in the United States at the moment is, does the damage warrant repair on site or

is it something that's going to have to be removed and repaired somewhere else?

So, it's not clear how this affects the air defenses going forward for Kyiv, but it did show that the systems are effective around the capital.

Less so, because they can't deploy -- didn't have the -- enough air defense systems, they deployed them around the sort of confrontation areas, close

to where we are in the east of Ukraine. Obviously, trajectories of missiles are different. But it's the capital that gets the most protection, and this

very sophisticated attack held off.

KINKADE: And Nic, the leader of Russia's paramilitary company, Wagner say they have recovered the body of a U.S. citizen. Have they provided any


ROBERTSON: They provided evidence, but it hasn't been verified. We know that in Bakhmut at the moment, it's a very intense fight in the center of

the city where Prigozhin and his Wagner fighters are. And they claim to be making gains in the center. But it's around the sites of the town of

Bakhmut where Ukrainian forces are making gains.


Now, that firefighting in the center has been deadly for both Russians and Ukrainians, and we know that there were international volunteers, among

them, U.S. citizens in the past who have gone to fight for Ukrainian forces, and some of them ending up in and around Bakhmut. So there is a

possibility what Wagner is saying could be correct.

However, he is given to making outlandish, sometimes untruthful and quite often propagandists statements. Although, he has said, in this case, he

will respect this apparent -- what he's calling a fallen soldier, essentially, respect him and repatriate him back to the United States or

help in that process, at least.

KINKADE: All right, we'll see what more comes from that. Our international -- senior international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson in eastern Ukraine,

thank you. Well, soon U.S. congressional leaders will head back to the White House, the debt-ceiling negotiations. This second round of talks is

said to happen in less than an hour from now.

And the pressure is on as the Treasury Secretary warns again that time is running out. Janet Yellen says the U.S. government could default on its

obligations as soon as June 1st. One major sticking point that's emerged in these negotiations, work requirements to receive federal benefits.

President Biden has indicated he may be willing to budge on that, but progressive Democrats aren't on board.

I want to go to our congressional reporter, Lauren Fox on more on this story. Good to have you with us, Lauren. So the U.S. has never defaulted

before, neither party wants this, it wouldn't be good for anyone. Is this all a lot of scaremongering to push the needle on this compromise?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, the reality is, they aren't close to a deal at this moment. In fact, this high stakes negotiation that

will happen at the White House in just a little under an hour is critical to ensuring whether or not Republicans and Democrats, Kevin McCarthy; the

House Speaker, and the President of the United States, will be able to reach at least an idea of what they are negotiating on, when it comes to

increasing this debt ceiling.

Like you noted, the sticking points right now aren't just about whether or not to require additional work requirements on social safety net programs,

like welfare, food stamps or Medicaid. But also, how Republicans and Democrats are going to agree on cutting spending for months. The White

House has suggested they were not going to negotiate on cutting any spending as part of the debt ceiling negotiations.

But that all has started to shift in the wake of Kevin McCarthy being able to corral his Republican members around one debt ceiling plan. Now, the

question of course, how do lawmakers and the president, respond following this high stakes meeting? Do they come out more optimistic than they have


Over the last several weeks -- the house speaker told me this morning at the U.S. Capitol, when I asked him if he thought there'd be an outcome to

this meeting, that he wasn't optimistic unless something changed.

KINKADE: Yes, exactly. And I think that's what we are waiting to see, whether there is any sort of optimism, because as you clearly pointed out,

the U.S. President said from the get-go, that he wouldn't compromise when it came to cuts in spending. But it seems that there is a little bit of

room to move it, it's a matter of the Democrats coming together on this side it seems, to have some sort of agreement to push these negotiations


FOX: Yes, that's exactly right. I mean, one of the disagreements like you noted is whether or not to require additional work requirements on some of

those social programs, namely Medicaid. Something that the White House and the president have said is a -- something they would not back. Meanwhile,

Republicans are arguing that could become a red line for them. So that gives you just a glimpse into these negotiations, and like I noted, that's

just one small part.

KINKADE: All right, Lauren Fox for us at Capitol Hill, good to have you with us. And we are going to get more on that hearing in the Capitol, on

the A.I. Looking at regulation for artificial intelligence in just a moment. First, I want to go to a story about the CIA trying to recruit

disgruntled Russians. Now, officials at the agency are trying to take advantage of a unique opportunity to get information from anyone that's

affected by the war in Ukraine with a simply-produced recruitment video that just dropped on the CIA's new telegram channel. CNN's senior national

security correspondent Alex Marquardt reports.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Lynda, we did get an early look at this new video by the CIA, and it's clear from

speaking with officials at the CIA, that they believe this is an unprecedented moment to try to recruit new Russian spies who are

disaffected because of the war in Ukraine and the oppression in Russia.

So they are ramping up their efforts to recruit Russian assets through this video, telling them, we understand what you're going through, and the

information you have is valuable, even quoting Tolstoy and Dostoevsky to get them to speak with the CIA.




MARQUARDT (voice-over): Questions being asked in Russian in a new dramatic video by the CIA just released to try to recruit more Russian spies by

appealing to Russians patriotism, frustrations and the oppression they face under the Putin regime.


CIA officials told CNN in an exclusive interview that the war in Ukraine has created an unprecedented opportunity that they want to capitalize on to

recruit new Russian assets.

WILLIAM BURNS, DIRECTOR, CIA: Disaffection with the war will continue to gnaw away at the Russian leadership. Beneath the steady diet of state

propaganda and practiced repression.

MARQUARDT: In the past year of the war, the CIA has been encouraging Russians with valuable information to contact them quietly, securely, and

anonymously through a portal on the dark web.

DAVID MARLOWE, DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS, CIA: We're looking around the world for Russians who are as disgusted with that as we are, because we are

open for business.

MARQUARDT: Instructions have been posted on the CIA's social media accounts, and this new video, after making an emotional pitch to Russian

viewers, details how to do that, using the dark web browser called Tor. "You are not powerless", it says, "contact us in a safe way". The CIA

recruitment video was first posted Monday evening on Telegram, the social media app that is highly popular among Russians who can't easily access

unfiltered news or other social media sites.

JAMES OLSON, FORMER CHIEF OF COUNTERINTELLIGENCE, CIA: I call it hanging out the shingle, and spreading the word far and wide that U.S.'

counterintelligence is open for business and we have deep pockets. If you want to strike back against this man you hate, Vladimir Putin, you have an

opportunity now to do it safely.

MARQUARDT: CIA officials told CNN, they hope the video will resonate beyond intelligence and security officials with people who may not realize that

they have sensitive information to share, working for example, in cyber, tech, finance and other fields. They may think contacting the CIA is too

difficult or too dangerous. The CIA telling CNN they want to demystify that.

OLSON: We need people all through the Russian economy to cooperate with us. We need to know what's going on in this adversary country.

MARQUARDT: There is no direct mention of Putin or Ukraine, nor CIA officials insist, isn't meant to fuel unrest in Russia, rather, they tell

CNN, these are timeless themes that they hope will drive Russians into the arms of the CIA.



MARQUARDT: In terms of the success that the CIA has seen over the past year in trying to recruit Russian spies, they do say that, they have been

successful, they won't say how many they have recruited or what fields these people work in, but a CIA official told me that they wouldn't be

rolling out this new video had they not seen some success in the words of that official. There is contact coming in. Lynda?

KINKADE: Our thanks very much to that -- for that report. Well, still ahead, why one of Silicon Valley's biggest names is on Capitol Hill asking

U.S. lawmakers to regulate artificial intelligence. Plus, passengers in Austria are left shocked after a speech by Adolf Hitler was played on a

train's speakers. What we're learning about that disturbing incident when we come back.



KINKADE: Welcome back, I'm Lynda Kinkade, good to have you with us. The head of the company behind ChatGPT is pushing lawmakers to regulate

artificial intelligence. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is one of several tech leaders testifying on Capitol Hill today, as lawmakers consider what

safeguards are needed. Their testimony comes amid growing concerns about the long-term risks posed by A.I.


SAM ALTMAN, CEO, OPENAI: I think if this technology goes wrong, it can go quite wrong, and we want to be vocal about that. We want to work with the

government to prevent that from happening. But we try to be very clear-eyed about what the downside cases and the work that we have to do to mitigate



KINKADE: Well, the growing list of tech companies have deployed A.I. tools with the potential to change how we work, shop and interact with each

other. But these same tools have drawn criticism for their potential to disrupt millions of jobs, spread misinformation and perpetuate bias. CNN's

Jon Sarlin joins us now from Los Angeles, good to have you with us, Jon.

Mitigate risks without hindering innovation. That was the plea from a lawmaker during this A.I. hearing today on Capitol Hill. This is not a

simple task when it comes to the sheer number of companies, big and small rapidly developing artificial intelligence, right?

JON SARLIN, CNN PRODUCER: Right, exactly. How do you put the toothpaste back in the tube especially when there's a toothpaste factory working

overtime, right? So --


SARLIN: There was, interestingly, bipartisan consensus, that some kind of regulation needs to happen. But this is the beginning of a long process,

right? The devil is in the details of exactly what that would look like. Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, which is behind ChatGPT 4, the most powerful

LOM out on the market right now, said that his industry needs to be regulated.

He suggested that there should be some kind of licensing for A.I., where government regulators could examine A.I. technology and withdraw a license

if it wasn't doing exactly what it was being told. But you mentioned the global aspect to this, and that's really fascinating as well. Sam Altman

said, this isn't something that will just be solved in Congress.

It's something that's going to require global cooperation. And he likened it to the IAEA, the nuclear body, right? This is something -- this is his

technology. He is the president, you know, he is the head of OpenAI which creates A.I., and he is likening his own technology to nuclear power. And

it gives you a sense of just how significant this technology is.

KINKADE: And how frightening, right? And we heard from the former Google CEO, Eric Schmidt earlier, talking to CNN. I just want to play some of that



ERIC SCHMIDT, FORMER CEO OF GOOGLE: The whole system has to get ready for an onslaught of immoral, illegal or manipulative images. Social media

companies need to police this, and if not, the government will have to regulate this.


KINKADE: So he also spoke about the overwhelming risk of amplifying misinformation. Already seen on social media, saying A.I. will target

people and make you believe things that are completely and utterly false. So what sort of regulation will address that? You spoke about global

cooperation. Will it ultimately come down to governments or the private sector or both?

SARLIN: Right, it's a really fascinating question, because the technology has improved at such a rapid pace that, right now, you can mimic someone's

voice almost perfectly. Richard Blumenthal, the senator demonstrated that during the hearing, you can create disinformation en masse. So this is a

problem that will certainly come up in this election, but as the technology develops, it will come up in subsequent elections as the technology only


So whether this will be a government or a private sector question, is the big concern. You know, you have Sam Altman; the head of OpenAI, saying

please, regulate my industry.


That gives you some sense that he thinks that the private sector isn't fully capable of doing this on their own.

KINKADE: Yes, exactly. Much more to come on this, we will be discussing this quite often I imagine. Jon Sarlin, good to have you with us, thank

you. Well, the two finalists in Turkey's presidential election are looking to rally supporters ahead of a May 28th runoff. President Recep Tayyip

Erdogan says he expects to win against rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu after falling just short of the 50 percent threshold to win outright on Sunday.

Pre-election polls had shown Mr. Erdogan's opponent in the lead, so Sundays results defied expectations. This election is largely seen as a referendum

on Mr. Erdogan's policies and his autocratic government. A tragic scene is playing out right now in Myanmar. Aid workers say they are finding bodies

in the streets after Cyclone Mocha tore through the impoverished-wrecking state on Sunday.

"AFP" news agency reports at least, 81 people are dead, dozens more are missing. We get more now from CNN's Vedika Sud.


VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER (on camera): Rescue groups are bracing for large- scale loss of life in Rohingya camps and villages new Sittwe in western Myanmar after a Tropical Cyclone Mocha struck Sunday, one of the strongest

to ever hit the country. The widespread destruction evident in these satellite images released by Maxar, compared to images from February this


The storm destroyed homes, damaged roofs and submerged a bridge. According to locals, aid agencies and journalists CNN has spoken to, the poorly

constructed Rohingya camps in Rakhine State have been hit the hardest. The isolated and poverty-stricken region has been rocked by political violence

in recent years.

And hundreds of thousands of the persecuted Rohingya minority group are confined to camps there. According to a resident, 90 percent of the

shelters at a Rohingya camp near Sittwe have been destroyed.

AUNG ZAW HEIN, CYCLONE SURVIVOR: We have been refugees for almost 11 years now since the virus happened in 2012. And this storm makes us refugees

again by destroying the shelters. For this reason, we are not able to access healthcare, and not able to take a rest, we don't have a place --

behind me, this is the same thing you are seeing now. So, we don't have a place to take a rest. And we are not able to support our family members,

which, you know, basic needs like a food.

SUD: The biggest challenge aid agencies are facing at this moment is poor connectivity. Phone networks remain unstable and roads remain blocked. It

may take days to understand the real damage to life and property in Rakhine State. The last storm with similar strength to make landfall was Tropical

Cyclone Garry in 2010. It killed more than 150 people and destroyed more than 15,000 homes in Rakhine State. Vedika Sud, CNN, New Delhi.


KINKADE: Well, in Austria, police are investigating after recordings of Adolf Hitler were played over a train's loudspeakers. Vienna-bound

passengers feared the train had been hijacked as a Hitler speech and Nazi slogans were repeated over the intercom on Sunday. A rabbi on that train

sending a tweet that he was shocked and disturbed.

There are questions about whether the train was hijacked or hacked. Officials say two people who were allegedly involved in that incident were

identified on the train's video surveillance. Well, CNN senior international correspondent Frederik Pleitgen joins us now from Berlin. So

Fred, this passenger plane -- passenger train was en route to Vienna when this speech, this Hitler speech started playing.

At first, it seemed -- one passenger thought that the train had been hijacked. What more can you tell us about it?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, at the very least, Lynda, from what we've heard from passengers who were on board

that train. A lot of people obviously were very uneasy by some of the things that they heard. And they really said that in total, it was an

absolutely bizarre episode that played out there.

And you're absolutely right, this was a train that was traveling from Bregenz to Vienna, to the Austrian capital, they said about 25 minutes

before it was set to arrive in Vienna, was when strange noises started coming from the intercom system of the train. Now first of all, they were

unpolitical to begin with. They said that there were just weird noises and at some point, also some strange music that played over the intercom.

But then, at some point, this speech by Adolf Hitler started speaking. And they said that it got louder and louder. It was at least 20 seconds of that

Adolf Hitler speech that were played. And then after what it culminated at the end of that speech in the chants of "sieg heil" and "heil Hitler" at

the end of that speech, obviously making a lot of people very uneasy on that train.


And one of the ones you were mentioning was the Vienna rabbi who, at the beginning, thought that there was some sort of bad joke, but then did fear

that the train may have been hijacked, or that there was something larger at play. We also spoke to some eyewitnesses who said that even the

personnel from the railway company didn't know what was going on, and clearly had trouble dealing with that situation. Lynda.

KINKADE: And so Fred, police believe two people were responsible for this. If they are caught, what sort of charges could they face for spreading Nazi


PLEITGEN: Yes, well, first of all, we've heard that they have been identified now, and apparently, a criminal complaint was filed against

them. What we've heard is they were identified on CCTV video on surveillance camera video from inside that train. So, certainly, it seems

as though that criminal complaint has been filed. The latest that we have is that apparently, they haven't been detained.

But of course, it is a crime in Austria, as it is in Germany, to display Nazi propaganda, to display symbols, but then also speeches of Adolf Hitler

as well. That is also considered spreading Nazi propaganda, and that is something that is a crime. In this case, would probably carry some major

fine or some sort of suspended sentencing, depending on someone's record that they might have had before.

However, the railway company is also saying, those people who were identified there, do not work for the railway company, and therefore they

illegally gained access to the intercom system of that train. They said, all that happened on the train, that somehow they got hold of some sort of

key that allows you to access that intercom system.

And that in itself, of course, is vandalism and illegally accessing that as well. So, right now, what we're hearing is that there could be a flurry of

charges. Certainly, the railway company are saying that they are shocked, and they hope that these individuals are punished, Lynda.

KINKADE: Yes, this is certainly disturbing on so many levels, Frederick Pleitgen in Berlin, thank you. Well, an infamous jewel has more than a $100

million worth of artifacts lost, and now the thieves are facing justice. Five men are convicted of a robbery from Dresden, Germany's historic Green

Vault. It was a heist that captured the world's attention in just a few short minutes back in November of 2019.

Some of the world's most culturally important jewels vanished. Some of the defendants received a lighter sentence because they partially confessed and

some of the treasures were returned. But they say they do not know whether remaining missing jewels are.

Still to come tonight, a new report about Donald Trump, Russia and the 2016 U.S. presidential election. When we come back, a look at how it could

impact the 2024 race. Plus, why this Florida teacher is under investigation for showing an animated PG Disney film with a gay character.




KINKADE: Welcome back.

A special counsel appointed in 2020 to look into the origins of the FBI's Trump-Russia probe has concluded its investigation.

John Durham criticized the agency and concluded that the FBI should never have launched a full-blown investigation into connections between Trump's

2016 campaign and Russia. The report fell short of confirming Trump's repeated claims that the FBI engaged in a political witch hunt. We get more

now from CNN's Paula Reid.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm waiting for the report, like everybody else.

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A nearly four-year investigation is over, Special Counsel John Durham releasing his


In a 300-plus-page report, he states that the FBI used "raw, unanalyzed and uncorroborated intelligence" to launch Crossfire Hurricane, the year-long

FBI investigation into former President Donald Trump's associates and Russian officials.

But when it came to weighing concerns about Hillary Clinton's campaign of alleged election interference, the FBI applied a different standard.

Durham determined there was no concrete proof of collusion between Trump's 2016 campaign and Russia before the start of that FBI investigation.

In his harshest criticism of the FBI, Durham says the agency didn't interview any essential witnesses and didn't do a significant review of its

own intelligence databases, adding, the FBI launched the investigation without "any of the standard analytical tools typically employed by the FBI

in evaluating raw intelligence."

He suggested that, if the FBI had followed those measures, they would have found no evidence linking Trump's 2016 campaign to Russian officials.

Although Durham identified flaws in the investigation, he did not suggest any changes to the FBI's policies.

Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe defended the agency's handling of the investigation.

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes. I vehemently disagree with Mr. Durham's characterizations of what we did in the report.

Look, the fact is we knew what the Russians were doing and had done in an effort to help Donald Trump. And if we had had any information, any -- any

intelligence or information that indicated that the Clinton campaign was colluding with the Russians, we would have investigated that, as well.

But that information doesn't exist. And to my knowledge was not happening.

REID (voice-over): Durham was appointed by Trump's former attorney general, Bill Barr, in 2019. The investigation cost at least $6.5 million. It led to

one minor conviction and two trial losses.

For years, Trump and his allies have claimed that the FBI's investigation was a political witch hunt.

Posting on social media, Trump claiming vindication: "Wow. After extensive research, Special Counsel John Durham concludes the FBI never should have

launched the Trump-Russia probe."


KINKADE: That was CNN's senior legal affairs correspondent Paula Reid.

What does this report about the 2016 mean for Trump's 2024 bid for the White House?

Welcome, CNN Politics senior reporter, Stephen Collinson.

Good to see you, Stephen. For four years, a Trump-appointed attorney investigated this FBI inquiry into whether Trump colluded with Russia.

After four years, didn't find any new flaws into the FBI investigation.

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, what Durham basically said was that the full-scale investigation should never have

taken place. So that is a fairly damning indictment of what the FBI and the Justice Department did.

At the same time, however, he didn't really create any new revelations about FBI misconduct that we haven't heard already, that were raised in a

watchdog report inside the Justice Department a number of years ago.


COLLINSON: And they were that -- there were some procedural problems with some of the FBI's steps but there wasn't evidence of systemic political

bias. What Durham basically found was that FBI agents saw evidence which they thought should lead them to investigate the Trump campaign over ties

with Russia.

But at the same time, they disregarded willfully evidence that would lead to another conclusion. So at the end of the day, to be honest, after four

years and $6 million and one conviction, this is far short of the crime of the century on behalf of the FBI that Donald Trump confidently predicted

would be overturned -- would be, sort of, exposed.

And it doesn't really back up most of Trump's and the conservative media's claims.

KINKADE: Just remarkable, $6 million to investigate this former investigation.

Just how unusual is it, though, for the FBI to proceed with an inquiry like this without evidence?

And how could this be used by Trump's base?

COLLINSON: Well, you saw Andrew McCabe, the former deputy director of the FBI, on that piece there basically saying there was plenty of evidence for

the FBI to move ahead, disagreeing with the grounds of special counsel Durham's investigation.

Basically saying that it was clear that the Russians were investigating or were trying to interfere in the 2016 election to hurt Hillary Clinton and

to help Trump. And there was evidence of contacts between Trump's campaign and the Russians.

So it makes sense from McCabe's point of view that the investigation went ahead. In terms of how Trump is going to use it, you know, nuance means

nothing to the former president. He's already saying that this is proof that there was a long-term conspiracy to keep him out of power in 2016.

That he has been politically persecuted ever since. And what he will do is try to push this forward, to say that this is evidence of a witch hunt and

it's exactly the same thing that's happening to him again.

In the two other investigations by another special counsel, Jack Smith, in his role after the 2020 election of a Capitol insurrection and his hoarding

of classified documents at his home in Florida.

So for the conservative media and for Trump, this is a powerful weapon to argue that he is a victim yet again. That's at the centerpiece of his 2024

campaign. It will help among conservative voters and among Trump's supporters. For everybody else, though, I think it will be largely


KINKADE: All, right Stephen Collinson, as always, good to have you with us. Thank you.

The state of Florida is investigating a fifth grade teacher, who showed her class a PG rated Disney movie featuring a gay character. A parent reported

this teacher, Jenna Barbee, saying "Strange World" was an inappropriate film to show her fifth grade students. Here's a clip of the film.


KINKADE: Florida's state education board prohibits the instruction of certain LGBTQ topics for students in kindergarten through to high school.

Teachers who violate the policy could be suspended or have their licenses revoked. Barbee spoke to CNN about the controversy.


JENNA BARBEE, TEACHER UNDER INVESTIGATION: They have questioned me and they have questioned students and now the DOE Is coming this week to caution

students more because -- I'm definitely under investigation from the school board and the DOE.

So it's two different things going on at the same time. It's just a mess. This was not even a topic that my students even noticed or cared about,

because it's already an accepted topic in the classroom, just like how Ms. Rodriguez said the doors, those doors are open. Those doors are not

something that is new in this public education system.

If students have one-to-one devices, they also have access to all this information already. So this is a common theme that is talked about

already. So it was not thought anything of until it got brought this much light and this much tension.


KINKADE: The parent who reported the teacher also happens to be on the local school board.

Still to come tonight, this year's "Sports Illustrated" swimsuit cover is making history. We will talk to the editor of the magazine about its

surprising cover model.





KINKADE: Welcome back. I'm Lynda Kinkade.

The annual "Sports Illustrated" swimsuit issue has been revealed. One of the cover models is a familiar face to many, entrepreneur and lifestyle

guru, Martha Stewart. Stewart actually began her career as a model at the age of 15. Now at 81 years old, she is "Sports Illustrated's" oldest

swimsuit model.

The photo shoot features 10 different looks that were taken in the Dominican Republic. The magazine hits newsstands on Thursday.

So how did Martha Stewart become this year's cover model?


KINKADE: Joining us now is MJ Day, "Sports Illustrated" Swimsuit editor.

Good to have you with us.

MJ DAY, "SPORTS ILLUSTRATED" SWIMSUIT EDITOR: Hi, Lynda, thinks for having me.

KINKADE: This cover is sparking a lot of conversations. We were chatting about this in our team meeting earlier.

And one question that came up, we wondered what the goal was. Is "Sports Illustrated" trying to make a difference?

Or is this a publicity stunt?

DAY: Oh, we are trying to make a difference. The last 10 years we have really been consistently trying to broaden the conversation as it surrounds

women and how we think about ourselves and how others think about us. And Martha is the perfect person to keep that conversation going. She is


KINKADE: I did like what she said about age; she said age is nothing but a number. And I want to play a little bit of what she said.


MARTHA STEWART, SWIMSUIT MODEL: Usually I'm motivated by pay. But this time I was motivated by showing people that a woman my age can still look good,

feel good.


KINKADE: So how important was age when it came to deciding who the cover girl, the cover grandma, in this case, would be this year?

And were you considering any other octogenarians?

DAY: I mean, Martha was our only octogenarian in this year's issue. But age was definitely a part of the thought process behind including her in this

issue. But it's so much more than that.

It's about how Martha lives her life, what she's accomplished, what she still hopes to accomplish and sort of that unapologetic, fearless way which

she attacks things. And how that has served her and benefited her and I want that for all women.

KINKADE: Those photos look absolutely incredible. Historically, "Sports Illustrated" has featured athletes in swimsuit shoots but in recent years,

as you've mentioned, you have created headlines.

The first year, you kind of used someone who wasn't an athlete. Beyonce, back in 2007 and last year, you used Elon Musk's 74-year-old mother. And at

that stage, she was the oldest to date I believe.

So would you consider someone in their 90s next year?

DAY: Absolutely. Of course.


DAY: I mean, this is like the beauty of this brand. We want to continue to tell stories and bring awareness to women of all shapes, sizes, ages and

creeds. It's just important because we are very limited as women by the outside opinion of what we can or cannot do, should or should not do.

When you start to see people living differently and living outside of those constraints, I think you yourself, I know me and myself, as a woman, I need

to see that. So I feel more empowered to not listen to the outside noise, not feel the restrictions that society wants to try and impose on us.

And it opens up a whole new realm of possibilities. And it's not just about age. It's about so many different things. And, as women, we often limit

ourselves because of what we hear other people think and say. And what we are trying to do is block out that noise and show you examples of people

that are thriving in all stages of their life.

KINKADE: Exactly. And staying healthy and staying fit and eating well and all of that. We saw this year at the Oscars, a 61-year-old Michelle Yeoh,

winning Best Oscar (sic) -- and historically, since the 1920s, most best Oscar (sic) actor winners were aged over 40. But Best Actress winners were

under the age of 39.

During her Golden Globes speech, she said, "I think all of you women understand this. As the days, the years and the numbers get bigger, it

seems like opportunities start to get smaller as well."

Do you think we are at a turning point when it comes to ageism?

Are we seeing a new trend or at this point in time or are they just some exceptions?

Do you think this is a turning point?

DAY: I really hope so. It's important that more Michelle Yeohs win Oscars and more Martha Stewarts are on the covers and more women in outside of

that traditionally acceptable age keep forging paths for the rest of us because the inevitable thing about all of us is that we will age.

And it's up to us to decide if that means stopping and existing in a (INAUDIBLE) stasis or continuing forward and really taking life and making

it what you want it to be. And I just -- I want that for myself. I want that for my children's children. And I want that for all of us.


DAY: Because we know, we know that we don't stop just because the numbers go up. I mean, what a ridiculous thought, that because we are a certain

age, we can't continue to do things that excite and motivate and inspire.

That as we age, we have so much more to offer as women with experience and knowledge and life lessons and bringing that to people, I think, is very

important. It helps. It only hurts tucking that away and keeping that in.

So I really hope it's a turning point. We will continue to be consistent with it because I believe it is.


KINKADE: I still remember hearing 20 years ago, being told, what will you do when you turn 40?

That's your expiry date in this industry. And I feel like a lot has changed in the last few decades. And representation really does matter.

DAY: It really does, Lynda, and we've seen that from all angles of inclusion. When we talk about pointing out the wonderful differences and

uniquenesses that make all of us so special and interesting. I love surrounding myself with people of all ages. I learn things from younger

people, I learn things from older people.

There is so much that we can contribute as women with all of these experiences that we bring to the table. And we just have to keep on

cheering each other on, keep talking about it. We have to be consistent until this is normal.

You aren't asking me to come out and talk about this, oh, yes, she's 60, she's 50, she's 80, she's 90. It doesn't matter. If that's what you want

and your goal is to still be very present in whatever area you want to be in, that's what we need to strive for, I think, as women in general. And we

need our men to help us, too, and support us in that.

KINKADE: Yes, exactly. I did find, in my research for the story, an impressive grandmother, who is an influencer on Instagram, age 94. I might

send you her details for consideration next year.

DAY: Please do. I love hosting these conversations, it's really critical because, if we can affect one person and say, you know what?

Today's the day. Let me go for it. Everyone always told me no but I feel like this is a yes day.

Who knows what can happen?

If one person, if 100, if 1 million, it can be like it's such a step forward for us.


KINKADE: It's inspiring. MJ Day, good to have you with us, thanks so much.


DAY: Thank you, Lynda.


KINKADE: Still to come tonight, Ecuador's president faces an impeachment trial. But he could -- could he resort to a constitutional pause often

known as mutual death?

How would that help?

We will explain next.




KINKADE: Welcome back.

Political drama in Ecuador. The national assembly is launching an impeachment trial against the president, Guillermo Lasso. He stands accused

of embezzlement allegations he denies.

How is Ecuador's political drama likely to end?

Will the opposition find the votes to oust the president?

Or will he invoke the constitutional option known as the mutual death?

Stefano Pozzebon joins us live from Bogota, Colombia, to explain.

The mutual death sounds very daunting.

Just exactly how will this play out?

And take us through the allegations against the president.

STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the mutual death is a peculiar provision in the Ecuador constitution.

It grants the president the power to resign but also to dismiss congress at the same time, basically, in the way that the two powers, the legislative

and the executive power, need to check on each other in a functioning democracy.

The constitutionalists believe that if one power decided to dismiss the other one, like the president dismissing congress, he would also need to

step down. So it's a weapon in Lasso's arsenal to say, to tell congress, which is controlled by the opposition against his government, that if he is

shown the, door they might also fall.

And everybody goes back to snap elections before the end of the year. Lasso has begun his speech in Congress about half an hour ago. He came with,

clearly, a will to fight and put in just a few of the things he said.

He called this a baseless process, based on no witness and without any real charge. He called these accusations politically motivated. Lasso is accused

of profiting from the negotiations of shipping contracts related to the exports of crude oil products. Ecuador is a big exporter of oil. And there

is a lot of money to be made in what companies are --


POZZEBON: -- given the contracts to move the oil from Ecuador to international markets and mainly to the United States.

It's also interesting to see, the gravity and the seriousness of the situation. It's the first time in Ecuador's recent history that a president

is facing impeachment charges.

KINKADE: Certainly a lot at stake right now. We will speak to you again about this, Stefano Pozzebon, thank you very much.

Finally, NASA is gearing up for a major test of how humans will handle living on Mars. Starting next month, four volunteers will spend a year

locked inside the simulated habitat. It's actually in Texas. But it's meant to provide a glimpse into life on the Red Planet without the nine month

journey to get there.

The volunteers will encounter isolation, stressful situations and a limited diet. It's the first of three simulations to help prepare for the first

crewed missions to Mars, which NASA hopes to begin as early as the 2030s.

Thanks so much for watching tonight, I'm Lynda Kinkade. Great to have you with us. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.