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Companies Release Earnings Reports; Steve Zissou is Interviewed about the Possible Prisoner Swap with Russia; C.J. Farley is Interviewed about Bill Russell and Nichelle Nichols; Josina Anderson is Interviewed about DeShaun Watson. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired August 01, 2022 - 08:30   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Raising concerns about a recession.

Joining us now, CNN business editor at large Richard Quest.

OK, what are we expecting here?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR AT LARGE: I think you're going to get a very good idea of the landscape going into whatever is coming next. Because the results we're going to see from companies like Starbucks, and we've seen from Caterpillar, it gives us a broad range of the strength of the economy at the moment. But this is before the Fed's interest rates have really kicked in. So, you're not going to see the effect of that for many, many more months. But what you will get is a really good idea of how strong the consumer is going into this tightening cycle. And that will tell us, for example, if numbers from CVS, from Starbucks, from - from those companies, Airbnb, from Marriott, if they show weakness going into this interest rate cycle, then we know it's going to be a much more difficult and potentially recessionary time.

JOHN AVLON, CNN ANCHOR: One thing we've seen is gas prices beginning to go down. They're at $4.21 today.


AVLON: That's down from $4.84 a month ago.


AVLON: Still, a lot higher they were than a year ago. Same time we're seeing record profits from a lot of oil and gas companies on a quarterly basis.

How do you see those dynamics playing out in terms of the people's perceptions of the pain they are feeling every day when they try to pay for things?

QUEST: It's horrible because you're going to see inflation continue to rise for the foreseeable future. It might slow down a bit, but prices are going to continue to rise for the foreseeable future. That is going to happen. Oil and gas is designated and driven by external factors. So you're going to be looking at Ukraine. You're going to be looking at Saudi. You're going to be looking at the ability of the -- of the - of Texas and North Dakota and South Dakota to generate more oil and gas. Those are the factors.

But we are -- the medicine that the Fed is delivering has only just started. This, I think, is crucial. People see rates going up by three-quarters of a percent twice and they think, oh, it's all going to happen. We're talking about later this year, early into next meeting (ph) to next.

KEILAR: I have to ask you about this very bizarre plane/pilot mystery out of North Carolina.

QUEST: Yes. Yes.

KEILAR: So this plane, it's - as I was calling it a small plane in the break. You said it's not totally small. It's like a 10-seater. Makes an emergency landing.

QUEST: Lost a wheel.

KEILAR: Lost a wheel. That's not the bizarre thing.


KEILAR: It lands with one pilot. Well, it had taken off with two.


KEILAR: And about 20 or so miles from the airport, what happens? Either the -

QUEST: No one knows.

KEILAR: The co-pilot is found dead. He's - he's - so -- so, what - what has happened?

QUEST: Right. There are only three ways you leave an airplane -- four ways, you walk off a plane, you get pushed off a plane, you jump off a plane or you fall from a plane. Which one is it? We don't know.

AVLON: OK. But how often do people fall out of planes?

Almost never unless they're stowaways in the wheel of a - in the - in the wheel well --

KEILAR: He was not. So, next option.

QUEST: Well, all I can say - you're pushing me down a road here.

KEILAR: I'm just saying. OK, when you're in these planes, though - but what's the -

QUEST: He was the co-pilot. It wasn't like he was a toddler playing around. AVLON: Right.

KEILAR: Because wouldn't it be -- it would also be very hard to push someone out of one of these planes, right?

QUEST: No, let's not go down there because we don't know.

KEILAR: I'm saying that would be difficult.

QUEST: What we do know is that the pilot, thank goodness, or the main pilot, the captain, is well. Well, he's injured, but, I mean, he is OK.

KEILAR: Yes, he's alive.

QUEST: He will be able to tell us what happened. Because what we don't -- because any idea that this sort of pilot - this co-pilot jumped out hoping he was going to jump before the thing crashed, this happened 30 miles away from the airport.

KEILAR: So far away.

QUEST: We don't know. I don't know.

KEILAR: Yes, the family says this guy loved his life, which raises even more questions. We don't know. I know you'll be waiting (INAUDIBLE).

AVLON: We will find out.

QUEST: I'd love -- I'm not going to. I'd love to take a poll between the two of you on what you think happened, but I'm not.

KEILAR: I have no idea.

AVLON: I just wanted to know how often people fall out of planes.

QUEST: They don't.

AVLON: And you gave me a fairly definitive no on that one.

KEILAR: Richard Quest, we love seeing you.

AVLON: Thank you, Richard. Always.

KEILAR: Thank you.


KEILAR: So, the Russian government wants convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout and another person, a convicted murderer, in a prisoner swap with the U.S. Bout's attorney joining us next on those talks.

AVLON: And, just in to CNN, we're learning about some of the youngest victims of the horrific flooding in Kentucky. It breaks your heart.



AVLON: Russian government officials have requested a convicted murderer be added to a prisoner swap the Biden administration first proposed for the release of Americans Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan. Now, multiple stories. Sources telling CNN that in addition to convicted Russians arms dealer Viktor Bout, Russian officials are asking that Vadim Krasikov be added to the swap. Krasikov is a former colonel to Russian's domestic spy agency. In December he was sentenced to life in prison for the 2019 murder of a former Chechen fighter in Berlin. Now, the request raises problems because among other things Krasikov is in a German prison.

Here's how the White House's John Kirby responded to the counteroffer.


JOHN KIRBY, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS: Holding two Americans, who have been wrongfully detained, hostage for a convicted murderer in a third country is just -- we don't consider that a serious counteroffer at all. It's nothing more than a bad faith attempt by the Russians publicly to avoid what is a serious proposal. One we aren't making detailed in public and has been on the books for several weeks.


AVLON: Joining me now is Viktor Bout's attorney, Steve Zissou.

Steve, thank you for joining us.

First, I've got to ask, have you been kept in the loop about these negotiations, either by the Russian government or the U.S. government?

STEVE ZISSOU, ATTORNEY FOR VIKTOR BOUT: Well, first of all, thanks for having me. Happy to be here today.

Kept in the loop is kind of a broad question. Let's just say, I do have some information about the progress of how things are going.


I'm just not share -- I'm not free to share it with you. But that information comes from the Russian side as opposed to the American side.

AVLON: That information is coming from the Russian side.

ZISSOU: Correct.

AVLON: And you do believe that progress is being made?

ZISSOU: I do, yes. I'm confident that this is going to get done.

AVLON: OK, confident. So, what do you make of the Russian government adding Krasikov's

freedom to this prisoner swap? I mean is it in good faith or does it actually complicate things for your client?

ZISSOU: Well, look, I don't know that that has actually happened. I do - I know that there's a lot of chatter out there. The thing that you have to understand about this kind of negotiation is, there is always going to be some names put on the table, back and forth, who we want, who we don't want. Look, it's part of any prisoner exchange negotiation.

The worst thing that happens here is there's just too much -- what I call megaphone diplomacy on the U.S. side. The Russians are very quiet about it. The American side, for whatever reason, a lot of folks are talking about it. And I don't mean you folks. I just mean folks on the government side really should not be discussing it.

AVLON: So, given that, do you think that the Russians would make the trade solely for your client, Viktor Bout?

ZISSOU: Do I think so? Am I hopeful so? Absolutely, yes.

Look, it's no secret they've been wanting him back for several years now. They've been trying to get him back for decades. That's not something they've ever kept secret.

AVLON: Why? I mean, you know, your client is a notorious international arms dealer. He's known as the merchant of death. Why do you think he is such a priority for the Russian regime to get him back?

ZISSOU: Well, look, the easy answer to that is the most obvious one, and that is, at the time the U.S. government targeted Viktor Bout back in 2005, 2006. He was retired, living in Moscow. No longer in the transportation business.

AVLON: Transportation business, that's your story.

ZISSOU: Correct. Yes. What do you mean that's my story? It's true.

AVLON: I mean he's an arms dealer, correct?

ZISSOU: Well, he transports a lot of things. He transported for the U.S. government, as a matter of fact, back in the 2000s and the 1990s.

AVLON: It's just a - it's a very delicate euphemism for arms trading.

ZISSOU: Well, it's no worse than this merchant of death moniker that you folks in the media have continued to use on him. It's really not so. Frankly, in this country, we have more arms dealers who contribute to mass violence and mass killings in this country and are responsible for more deaths in the U.S. than Viktor Bout ever was.

AVLON: Well, we'll get you in on that other topic on another day.

But, specifically on this issue, I mean, on the one hand an international arms dealer, priority for the Kremlin, in exchange for a WNBA player and an American citizen. Does that seem equal to you? Does that seem balanced? As an American.

ZISSOU: Well, I'm not here as an American, I'm here as Viktor Bout's lawyer.

AVLON: You're both.

ZISSOU: Well, I am, but I'm - but I -- my primary responsibility - you know, in my practice, the clients come first. That's just the way it is. And while I am a patriotic American, I have security clearance. I have had it for almost 20 years. Highest level civilian security clearance an American can have. But I'm here on behalf of Viktor Bout.

And do I think it's a fair trade? Yes. Because Viktor Bout's been in jail for 15 years, almost 15 years. He's been thousands and thousands of miles away from his family. It's time for him to go home.

Remember, his crime was a talk crime. No weapons were ever exchanged. No money was ever exchanged. It was a created crime created by the DEA solely so he could be charged in the district in this very city. And then they asked for a life without parole sentence for a talk crime. Remember, nothing ever got exchanged.

AVLON: Let me ask you this. Given that you're in contact with your client, presumably -


AVLON: Do you know if he supports Russia's invasion of Ukraine?

ZISSOU: Well, I have no - it's - look, that has nothing to do with my representation of him.

AVLON: But do you know?

ZISSOU: Look, I -- you know, Viktor Bout is a Russian citizen. Whether he's in favor of it or not, look, there's lots of viewpoints over in Russia. Lots of people in Russia are opposed to it. Lots of folks in Russia are in favor of it. I don't - I have no idea which direction --

AVLON: But it matters if a convicted arms dealer is going back to Russia in the middle of a war, correct?

ZISSOU: I don't - I don't think it matters. He has not been in that business for 25 years. That just didn't exist at the time that he started.

AVLON: So, you say he's reformed. He's renounced international arms trading?

ZISSOU: It's not a matter of reforming. His transportation business is over. The Russian government, like the U.S., controls arm sales. The U.S. government is an arms dealer of the world. Our European allies are arms dealers of the world. Russia is arms dealers of the world. That's no longer an individual enterprise.

AVLON: Well, I want to thank you for joining us. I think it's important not to engage in what-about-ism, but I want to thank you for joining us, Steve Zissou.

ZISSOU: It's my pleasure to be here today. Thank you.

KEILAR: So more on the news first reported on CNN. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to visit Taiwan despite China's stern warnings not to. We'll have the reaction this morning.

And America loses two icons who each carved a path for black Americans during the height of the civil rights movement.



KEILAR: America has lost two icons in pop culture who used their talent and fame to fight for civil rights. NBA legend Bill Russell was an 11-time champion with the Boston Celtics and the first black head coach in the league. He passed away yesterday at the age of 88. Actress and singer Nichelle Nichols, best known for her groundbreaking role of Lieutenant Uhura in "Star Trek's" original television series passed away at age 89.

Joining us now is cultural commentator, author of the book "Zero O:Clock," C.J. Farley.

What beautiful long lives they both lived, but what a loss.

C.J. FARLEY, CULTURAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. It is a loss. You know, Bill Russell, this guy is -- we were just talking about it, he is the winningest winner ever to win in the NBA. I mean 11 championships in 13 seasons. That's an incredible record. Plus, two college championships and an Olympic gold medal. He literally changed the game because he -- before him, the game was really more horizontal. He made it vertical. He was a guy that rebounded like crazy, used his smarts to create fast breaks and outlet passes and made the game faster. He really changed what the game was about on and off the court.

You know, when he joined the league, there were only 15 black players in the NBA.


It was mostly a white league. By the time he left, that had totally shifted where every team really had more and more black players. And, of course, he was the first black head coach.

So, he changed what the game was about. He made it blacker. He made it faster. He made it vertical. Really an incredible, incredible talent for the NBA.

AVLON: I mean the stats are all so stunning. I mean 11 championships out of 13 years, two as player/coach, possibly, and we're checking this, the winningest player/coach of all time.

But, you know, it -- what also is so striking is the role he played in Boston as the civil rights movement was going on and really preceding it. And, at the same time, the role of Nichelle Nichols. I mean, you know, Lieutenant Uhura on air in a pioneering way. These people occupied a place in pop culture that helped change hearts and minds.

FARLEY: Yes. So important. And, also, we've got to - we've got to set the stage of what things were like when Bill Russell became a player. I mean, at the time, in '55, right before he became an NBA player in 1956, and Rosa Parks was, you know, making her stand on the bus and helping to launch the bus boycott. Emmitt Till had just been murdered. That was the America that Bill Russell was stepping into.

With Lieutenant Uhura, with Nichelle Nichols, she was stepping into a TV world where black women were mostly playing maids and domestics. Nothing wrong with that but, you know, you've got to broaden out what people are allowed to play. And here she was. She was fourth in command on the Enterprise. I mean the only people above her were Spock, Kirk and Sulu. That's it. That's an incredible, incredible (INAUDIBLE).

AVLON: We can skip over Sulu. I think, you know -

KEILAR: I love this scene. I love this that we're watching -- my mom was a huge Treky, so I got a lot of her on "Star Trek," and loved it.

But one of the most fascinating things about her was that NASA noted that she partnered with them to recruit some of the first women and minority astronauts. Amazing.

FARLEY: That's exactly true. And worked in -- Mae Jemison has testified that she was inspired by Nichelle Nichols. And, of course, Mae Jemison became the first black woman in space. So she had a real world effect on NASA.

AVLON: She did. And there's a great story about Martin Luther King telling her, you can't leave the show. I mean the role that she played, and George Takei played. I mean really just this quite groundbreaking in terms of expanding Americans ideas of race and ethnicity and responsibility and leadership, even though it's through the vehicle of pop culture and television at the time.

FARLEY: Yes. And one story I love is the story that Whoopi Goldberg tells. The fact that she used to watch science fiction and go, like, where are the black people? What happened to us in the future? We're all gone? In (ph) some terrible (ph) event (ph).

She saw Nichelle Nichols and said, oh, there we are. I can be like that. And, of course, she later joined "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and then "Generation." So she helped continue the path that Lieutenant Uhura, that Nichelle Nichols had laid for her. So, really, she had an effect on NASA, on integration in TV. She really helped integrate our imaginations. And that's an amazing, amazing accomplishment and legacy for Nichelle Nichols.


KEILAR: C.J., thank you for helping us honor these trail blazers. We appreciate it. FARLEY: Thank you.

KEILAR: Some devastating news just in to CNN. Four young siblings from Knott County, Kentucky, who died in last week's flooding, have been identified. Eight-year-old Madison, six-year-old Riley Jr., four-year- old Nevaeh and two-year-old Chance, there on the bottom right, were forced to shelter on the roof when their family's trailer became flooded with water. Their mother and her partner were holding onto the kids, but the water got so strong that it pulled them from their arms. That is according to their aunt who described the siblings as sweet, funny and loveable children.

We'll be right back.



KEILAR: Just in, ESPN is reporting that a retired judge acting as an arbitrator in the DeShaun Watson case has recommended that the quarterback be suspended for six games for violating the NFL's conduct policy. Six games. This as he faced sexual misconduct allegations from dozens of women and has settled many, many lawsuits. Keep in mind, the Cleveland Browns gave Watson one of the biggest contracts in history, guaranteed money, knowing full well about these allegations.

Watson has three days to appeal. And we should note, he has denied all wrongdoing, continues to deny all wrongdoing.

Back with us now, senior NFL insider at CBS Sports and host of "The Crew" and "Undefined with Josina Anderson," Josina Anderson with us.

So, he has three days to appeal, but his reps and the player's association have said they're not going to appeal. And, quite frankly, Josina, I mean, would you appeal six games if you are him? That's just not that much of a sentence, if you will.

JOSINA ANDERSON, SENIOR NFL INSIDER, CBS SPORTS: So, the current expectation for the announcement of the NFL today that DeShaun Watson will not appeal and that they will respect the decision from Sue Robinson, primarily from a philosophical standpoint of wanting to just underline that they feel that the final ruling should come from the neutral arbitrator, particularly when the NFLPA and the union did fight so hard to institute that aspect of the arbitration process relative to the new 2020 CBA because, as we discussed before on your show earlier, the previous process was just to have Roger Goodell be the judge and jury. But because she decided that there was some sort of violation of the conduct policy, the NFL does retain its right to go ahead and via Roger Goodell or a designee to assert additional punishment if they want to. So, at this point right now, as we speak, we are waiting for the NFL to make a determination if they will, in fact, appeal.

AVLON: Our colleague, Carolyn Manno, sort of set the expectation as being a year suspension. Six games, that is less than a quarter a game per accuser. What kind of message does that send? ANDERSON: Well, the thing about it is that I think the first thing

that it does underlines is that this decision comes from a neutral arbitrator. So, she doesn't have, you know, a side, you know, to pick with regards to this. And so even though 25 women did file civil lawsuits that ended up being 24, the NFL's investigation did focus on 12. And then from there at issue were four.

And so, you know, the fact that she came up with this ruling means that per her she did a thorough review of the four cases that were before her or (INAUDIBLE) at issue and this is her finding.

Now, obviously, this is a sensitive matter because it involves allegations of sexual misconduct. But, you know, for DeShaun Watson's end, he also has, for a long time, maintained that for him that there was no wrongdoing and also during that arbitration hearing they also presented their side, which included reputation of those allegations with their evidence.

KEILAR: Josina Anderson, thank you so much for being with us on this just in about DeShaun Watson.

That is not much.


I mean, look, she explained it very well with what the arbitrator had to work with there.

AVLON: She did.

KEILAR: But the message considering the accusations he's facing is that he's not suffering that much of a ramification.

AVLON: Especially with an historic contract.

KEILAR: Especially.

All right, CNN's coverage continues right now.