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Quest Means Business

Tense Protests Rock Major US Colleges Over Israel-Hamas War; US House Speaker Addresses Protests at Columbia University; Nobel Prize- Winning Economist Warns Of Growing Inequality; Nobel Prize-Winning Economist Warns Of Growing Inequality; Tensions Flare On U.S. College Campuses Over War In Gaza; Foreign Aid Package Includes Potential TikTok Ban; Hamas Releases Video Of Israeli-American Hostage. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired April 24, 2024 - 16:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, I'm Paula Newton in New York and I want to welcome you to CNN's continuing coverage as we monitor chaos

that is now breaking out across US universities as pro-Palestinian demonstrators continue to clash and some places clashing with campus

security, in other cases, clashing with police.

Now, at this hour, the US House speaker is expected to call for the resignation of Columbia University's president, that's after meeting with

Jewish students there. Mike Johnson is visiting the New York City campus along with some of the state's Republican lawmakers.

You'll remember, it has been the site of tents for pro-Palestinian demonstrations for eight straight day it is now. The school told students

on Wednesday that they will have the option of taking classes remotely for the rest of the semester, and that includes for all of their final exams.

Now, Columbia says it is holding constructive talks with protest organizers about ways to try and ease these tensions. Protests are also going out,

breaking out at other US universities. These images are from the University of Southern California, the police have been physically removing


Melanie Zanona is on Capitol Hill for us and Isabel Rosales is at Brown University.

Melanie, I want to start with you. In terms of the speaker actually being there and insinuating himself into this debate right now, what does he hope

to achieve? Because as you can see, things continue to be very tense on the Columbia campus and on other campuses right across the country, really.

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Yes, he did preview what he was going to say at this press conference earlier today. He said he is planning

to call and the university president to resign, and he is also going to be flanked by some New York Republicans who are part of this delegation,

including some members who are in vulnerable districts up for re-election in 2024, but some Democrats have already pushed back on Johnson's visit and

said he is trying to silence the anti-war and pro-Palestinian movement and are worried about a potential escalation here.

Now, as you notice, this press conference, it was supposed to start a little bit ago, it has not yet started, so we are watching to see when he

comes out, what exactly he all says here, but I would note that right now, calls are growing inside the GOP to restrict federal funding for

universities that they feel aren't fighting antisemitism enough.

So we could see that take the form of legislation in the coming days and weeks, and there you go, the Speaker starting right now.

NEWTON: And Melanie, standby for us as we go to Speaker Mike Johnson.

REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA): Several members of Congress here and we are here today at one of America's preeminent academic institutions on a very

important day and a very important time.

Throughout history, Columbia students have contributed to the great storybook of America's life and thought. Visionary American leaders like

Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, and the Jewish leader, Gershom Seixas knew the self-evident truth that was at the heart of this country and wants at

the heart of this university, and that is that we are in by our creator with certain unalienable rights. They should not be infringed.

The founders and the great leaders who had come through this institution in the past, believed in religious liberty. They believed in democracy, they

believed in morality and virtue and the dignity of every human person.

They believed in the free exchange of ideas and they detested mob rule.

We are standing here right now in the steps of the Lowe Library. In this very building right behind us, Columbia University once awarded Winston

Churchill an honorary degree and it was Churchill who said, it is manifestly right that Jews should have a national home where they may be


We believe in that principle and today I am here to proclaim to all those who gnash their teeth and demand to wipe the state of Israel off the map

and attack our innocent Jewish students, this simple truth, neither Israel nor these Jewish students on this campus will ever stand alone.

Today, Hamas issued an endorsement statement of the protesters on this campus. They called them the future leaders of America. It is detestable.

All of this has to be said because the cherished traditions of this university are being overtaken right now by radical and extreme ideologies.

They place a target on the backs of Jewish students in the United States and here on this campus, a growing number of students have chanted in

support of terrorists. They have chased down Jewish students, they have mocked them and reviled them, they have shouted racial epithets, they have

screamed at those who bear the Star of David.

Enjoy your free speech.


They've told Jewish students who wear the Star of David to leave the country and shamefully, some professors and faculty have joined the mob.

Things have gotten so out of control that the school has canceled in-person classes and now they've come up with this hybrid model where they will

discriminate against Jewish students. They are not allowed to come to class anymore for fear of their lives and it is detestable.

As Columbia has allowed these lawless agitators and radicals to take over, the virus of antisemitism is spread across other campuses. By some counts,

as many as 200 universities have a similar form of protest right now.

At Yale, a Jewish student was stabbed in the eye with a Palestinian flag and 45 students were arrested. At NYU, pro-Hamas protesters were shouting

from the river to the sea, anti-Israel encampments are popping up in universities all across this country.


The madness has to stop. The madness has to stop.

We just left a meeting with students -- Jewish students who told us of the heinous acts of bigotry that they have experienced simply because of their

faith. Their bravery is inspiring much more inspiring than some of the activities we are seeing here. And they should never have to confront such

hate on an American college campus, in such a revered institution.

Antisemitism has been growing in America, and it is clear why. Powerful people have refused to condemn it and some have even peddled it themselves.

From university professors to public officials, people in positions of authority have denied the horrific facts of September 11, 2001, the attacks

on the United States that happened right here in New York City and they've attempted to excuse or to ignore the barbaric attack of Hamas in Israel on

October 7, 2023 where Israeli women and children were savagely raped and murdered, and infants were cooked in ovens.

(PROTESTERS chanting)

Crowds of radical activists have chanted "Death to America," and on our own streets in this country, and some public officials have refused to condemn

them. Others have openly defended these acts on campus and the harassing and the intimidation, and the threatening of innocent Jewish students

simply because of who they are. They called that peaceful protests and some have even gone as far as calling for the state of Israel to be eliminated.

These are words we expect from ayatollahs in Iran, not American lawmakers, and not American students. And unsurprisingly, it has given way to threats

and violence in a generation of students who feel safe in their own classrooms -- who don't feel safe in their own classrooms or where they

live, or where they worship.

Let me say this very simply, no American of any color or creed should ever have to live under those kinds of threats. That is not who we are in this


(PROTESTERS shouting)

Sadly, Columbia's administrators have chosen to let threats .


. The fear and the intimidation of the mob rule to overtake American principles like free speech and the free exchange of ideas, and the free

exercise of religion. They have co-opted First Amendment arguments to protect genocide and to elevate the voices of antisemitism. They have

proven themselves to be incapable of achieving their basic responsibility, which is keeping students safe.

We just can't allow this kind of hatred and antisemitism to flourish on our campuses and it must be stopped in its tracks. Those who are perpetrating

this violence should be arrested, and I am here today -- I am here today joining my colleagues and calling on President Shafik to resign if she

cannot immediately bring order to this chaos.


As Speaker of the House, I am committing today that the Congress will not be silent as Jewish students are expected to run for their lives and stay

home from their classes, hiding in fear.

In the House of Representatives, we have already acted to address antisemitism on campuses. We have passed a number of statutes to address

this matter, and we call upon the US Senate to act upon our legislation.

I have a couple of my colleagues here that I'd like to share a few words. I'll turn it over first to the chair of the House Education and Workforce

Commission, Virginia Foxx.

Congresswoman Virginia Foxx from North Carolina -- Virginia.

REP. VIRGINIA FOXX (R-NC): Thank, Mr. Speaker. Columbia University --

NEWTON: Now, you were just listening to Speaker Mike Johnson there , give a speech at the Columbia campus. He basically characterize what was going on

there at the campus as mob rule. He said that neither Israel nor the Jewish students on campus would stand alone. He also called for the resignation of

the president of that university.

What is interesting here is throughout his speech, he was certainly -- you would hear lots of chants and booing, but he continued on with his speech


I want to go to Melanie Zanona right now. She is with us on Capitol Hill.


Melanie, are you with us?

ZANONA: Yes, yes, I am here.

NEWTON: I am sure you were listening in there. This is a speaker who was determined to speak with Jewish students who I am sure had very heartfelt

fear that they expressed to him. And yet the Speaker there not really seeming to want to bring down the temperature, even as he appeared on


I will point out that so many people who are close to this campus want de- escalation, that they in no way want to see anything, any side of this, and any of the supporters here incited in any way.

ZANONA: Yes, that's exactly right. And you heard the Speaker there stop in the middle of his speech at one point and say, "Enjoy your free speech" as

he was being booed, a very tense environment right now up there.

Of course, he wanted to expressed support for the Jewish students. He did meet with them earlier prior to the press conference. He did call on the

university president to resign as we had expected, and he delivered a forceful speech, pushing back on antisemitism and condemning how many

college campuses have dealt with this issue.

Now, I will say that this increasingly has become a focus of the House Republican agenda. There have been multiple congressional hearings here on

Capitol Hill focused on that exact issue. There were some university presidents who were grilled by Elise Stefanik, the House Republican

conference here, who is also from New York and they ended up resigning in the wake of that hearing because they struggled to answer how they planned

to combat antisemitism on their campuses.

So I expect to see more of those hearing brings in the coming days. We could also see some legislation trying to restrict federal funding for

college campuses that aren't doing enough in the eyes of members here to combat antisemitism, but we should also note the political moment right now

for Speaker Johnson. He is delivering this press conference at Columbia University just days after he helps deliver this package of foreign aid

bills, which included money, billions of dollars for Israel.

NEWTON: Melanie, I am just going to -- sorry to interrupt. I just want to interrupt for one moment just so we can let viewers in so that they

understand what is going on right now. That is, I believe live video that you're seeing from one of our affiliates in Austin, Texas, that is at the

University of Texas.

We have been monitoring, certainly some kind of a confrontation between campus security, police, and students there. You can see you on the ground

the students who appears to be under arrest now.

Now, earlier they had also arrested other students and you could hear the chants and you might still be able to see them there in the background.

They are students who are basically yelling "Let them go." Again in an effort to try and clear these campuses and obviously make it a safe space

for everyone. There does seem to be a good deal of escalation going on there, both at the University of Texas, but also where for our Nick Watt


And our Nick Watt is, I believe at the University of Southern California now where there was also an incident, Nick, I am not sure how long ago you

got there. Can you just fill us in on what transpired there?

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Paula. We've been here for a few hours and when we arrived, it was pretty calm. There were speeches,

protesters had pitched tents on this little square here. It was pretty chilled, but they were violating campus policies.

So campus purity decided to move in to try to clear this area and that's when things got very ugly, very fast. Cussing at these officers, pushing,

shoving -- it was physical. One person was then arrested, one protester taken to a squad car. The squad car was surrounded by protesters, chanting,

"Let him go, let him go, let him go."

After a few minutes of that, an LAPD detective decided to let him go. We spoke to that detective clear that really the juice wasn't worth the

squeeze. It was a minor infraction and that arrest was creating so much chaos, so that protester was released.

Now the LAPD has been planning to come in to complete lately, clear this area. There are dozens of LAPD vehicles waiting just off campus to do that.

Now, if that happens, the temperature may very well rise once again. For now, it is a passionate protest. It is a protest they say is in solidarity

with what is happening at Columbia, and elsewhere across this country.

Back to you, Paula.

NEWTON: Nick, I don't know if you can stay with us here. I am glad that you got a full sense of what has gone on there and you've been able to see it.

I mean, how many people would you say are there right now?

WATT: Well, strangely the numbers have actually grown since it got more peaceful. When it got ugly, there were maybe 200 protesters and maybe a

dozen officers. Now, the crowd has grown significantly, but it is just a lot of shouting, a lot of chanting. There is no violence right now. There

is not an LAPD officer in sight.

Campus security very much taking a back seat right now, keeping out of the way because they saw what happened when they waded in, it was not pretty.


It was not helpful to anyone. But listen, they are trying to balance here. You know, this is essentially not allowed and they have to keep the campus

safe for everybody, but they also can inflame this. I mean, it was a really, really unpleasant scene.

So right now, I would call this a lull. This is the lull and obviously, everybody, well, most people hoping it stays that way -- Paula.

NEWTON: Yes, absolutely. Nick Watt, we will continue to check in with you, depending on what happens there. I want to thank you for your insights. We

will continue to cover all of these protests now happening in several locations right across the United States.

We are going to take a quick break and be back in a moment.


NEWTON: And we do return to our top story: Right now, pro-Palestinian protests are breaking out right across major US universities.

You are seeing there live video right now in Austin, Texas and it shows a line of heavily armed police who are now confronting demonstrators.

We were also keeping an eye on protests here in New York at Columbia University and also at the University of Southern California.

Keith Taylor is an adjunct assistant professor at John Jay College. He joins me now. I want to thank you for joining us.

You know, your college obviously deals with criminal justice. A lot of these protesters would say at this point in time, they are trying to be

heard. They are trying to exercise their First Amendment rights, whatever they want to say, they want to say it.

How do you deescalate in this situation? It is a question we've been asking for days and as we can see from our screens, it is incredibly difficult at

this hour on many campuses across the country.

KEITH TAYLOR, ADJUNCT ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, JOHN JAY COLLEGE: Indeed, and so I think the first part of this is what the protests, what the leaders of

the protests are doing to negotiate with the colleges that they are dealing with, and this is course, a national protest, so you have different

colleges with different rules that they allow in terms of First Amendment protests on campus.

When it gets to the point where the normal procedures or policies of those colleges get violated, then they go first of course, to their campus

security and if it goes beyond the ability of this campus security, then the local law enforcement will be engaged.


And the purpose is to prevent any injuries to people or things getting destroyed, and to the extent that they are able to allow protest while

maintaining safety, that is the goal.

NEWTON: Is there anything that you've seen so far as this has developed in the last few hours, in the last few days, that gives you pause that you

think there is a way out of it, out of this, and whether its campus security, campus administrators, that they need to get to a point where

this does de-escalate, because what we are seeing on our screens is obviously unnerving for many students as well who just want to study and


TAYLOR: So with protests of any kind, there is always a concern that there may be a small group that may try to take over the narrative of an

otherwise peaceful protest, and so to the point that law enforcement and the intelligence community and others can make sure that those who are

dealing with the issue on the ground have the best information to allow them to deal with anything, any potential threats that would derail this

opportunity for individuals to exercise their First Amendment right. They will actively look to both allow the protests while maintaining the safety

and security of all.

NEWTON: And I guess the question again though, is how to do that. You know, at Columbia University, we are dealing with a deadline that the students

have -- that the protesters, I should say, have been given up to midnight to clear out. I mean, is that helpful or do you think there should be a

different tact taken?

TAYLOR: Well, that is what we know about. We don't know of any additional conditions or additional circumstances that may be a part of this whole

negotiation, so I saw where there were some initial punishments that were in place for say, the students at Barnard and then those were relaxed to

allow the students an opportunity to not have to deal with difficult punishments as a result of their actions during the protests.

So, I would expect that most people who are involved with this would respect the deadlines that have been given, but for those that do not, then

the options well of course be a little more harsh.

NEWTON: But here is the question, whether it is campus police or Texas Police at the University of Texas or Southern California, at what point do

you say to yourself, are we being too lenient or are we being too harsh? How do you really tread that line?

TAYLOR: I think in terms of what law enforcement is looking at, is how do they maintain security and safety of all parties involved, including

innocent parties that have nothing to do with any of the protests. How do they make certain that no one is unduly threatened by the activities or

actions of individuals or groups that are involved in a protest.

So you can take this beyond this particular protest and look at any protest, and that is what the law enforcement sector is going to be looking

at. How do we protect everyone involved, including innocents that have nothing to do with the protest?

NEWTON: It is such a good point in terms of trying to ensure the safety of all on those campuses.

I thank you for your time, Professor. I really appreciate it.

TAYLOR: My pleasure.

NEWTON: Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize winning economist, says it is time to rethink the meaning of freedom and the role of the modern state. In his

new book, "The Road to Freedom," he lays out an argument that everyday Americans are being harmed by deregulation and a lack of protections.

He writes that meaningful democracy has been undermined and the term freedom needs to be reclaimed from market purists.

And Professor Joseph Stiglitz joins me now. And Professor, I am going to really pardon myself and I am going to ask your forgiveness because I am

going go to what would have been the last question first.

I've read your book. We will get to the very important points that you made.

I have to have you comment on what is going on, on our campuses. You have seen a generation of students go through the gates of Columbia University.

I have to ask you, from what you see now in your learned position, in your wise position, give us some words of wisdom here.

What do you want to see them do on your campus?

JOSEPH STIGLITZ, NOBEL PRIZE WINNING ECONOMIST: Well, I think I am actually pleased our students are engaged in what is going on in the world.


And let me say from what I've seen from Columbia, there has been no problem up in the part of the world that -- part of campus I am in, we are called

the Manhattanville Campus. From what I've heard, what is going on in the Main Campus is very peaceful. It is a reminder to me of what happened when

I was young.

Civil disobedience, protest over civil rights and it brought about some societal change and it rages for a hundred years that we hadn't recognized

fully the civil rights of African-Americans and those civil protest did have an effect.

NEWTON: Okay, so I just have to ask you quickly, are you concerned for the safety though of Jewish students on campus? And do you agree with Mike

Johnson and House Speaker that your president should resign.

STIGLITZ: I disagree with him strongly. What I think is that he should resign, that he is interfering in a fundamental way with a basic way in

which our society works.

Academic freedom is really important to the running not only of our universities, but of our society. Universities are an important critic of

what government does. And if we lose that academic freedom, our country I think is in very bad shape. I haven't seen anything like this since when I

was young, even before I went to college at HUAC, the House Un-American Activities Committee, an attack on universities of this kind is totally the


NEWTON: Okay. All right, and I thank you for weighing in on that for us given your position.

Okay. Neoliberalism, you argue there is nothing new about the current brand of free market capitalism. You argue in fact that it has given rise to

massive inequalities and it has been fertile ground in fact, for dangerous populace.

So I ask you, why this book? Why now? And how are you hoping it resonates?

STIGLITZ: Well, the reason now is that there has become a capture of the term freedom by those on the right. What we need is to make sure that we

have the most freedom from most individuals and the way we achieve that is not stripping away regulations, lowering taxes, but by working together.

You know the Ten Commandments is itself a set of regulations. Thou shall not steal is a regulation against stealing, but it provides more equality,

more opportunity for the rest of our society because they are free from the fear of theft.

And that's true of pollution, that's true of market power, monopoly power. What we know since the era of neoliberalism began is that growth is slowed

by about two-thirds and what little growth we've had as gone almost entirely to the top.

Those who are bottom have less freedom, less ability to do what they live up to their -- to flourish, to live up to their capacities because they

aren't getting the investments in their education and health that they need.

NEWTON: And the quantitative analysis over the last few decades certainly bears out what you're saying, but I want to ask you again, we set out the

problem, right? We know what it is, but people in places like where you grew up, right? Gary, Indiana, they are living that right now.

Solutions are needed, right? We don't need a performative thesis that the damage of free markets has done. So how to reclaim that economic and

political freedom? How do we do it?

STIGLITZ: Well, there are two parts of this. We have to understand what the economic agenda is and that naturally, what I focus on. We need to

rebalance the role of the market and the government recognize that we need a rich civil society of free press, independent academic institutions.

We can't have government interfering on the one hand in academic freedom and the way that Speaker Johnson is doing today, but we also need

government to regulate the polluting companies from taking away our freedom to breathe.

So we need that and we need more public investments in education, health, technology -- just think of one thing, we wouldn't be here having this

discussion today if we didn't have the vaccines against COVID-19, but those vaccines depended on government investments in mRNA and the mRNA platform

that quickly vowed us to develop a vaccine.


So we need both government regulation, government investments. The hard part is the politics and that's where our young people getting engaged in

politics is so important. And it's so worrying to see this attempt to squash this kind of engagement.

NEWTON: Professor Joseph Stiglitz, we have to leave it there for now. The book is "The Road to Freedom," and I certainly appreciate you weighing in

especially in the topic of academic freedom. Thanks so much. Appreciate it.

STIGLITZ: Thank you.

NEWTON: Now, we continue to follow breaking news, of course, of those massive protests across U.S. campuses. Many of the pro-Palestinian

demonstrations have a heavy police presence at this hour. And we have seen several arrests and some tense confrontations.

Shimon Prokupecz is at Columbia University in New York.

Shimon, you've actually been there for several days. I'm not sure how the character and the mood of what's going on has changed. Speaker Mike Johnson

just finished his speech. It has by some respects really inflamed some of the crowd, it seemed. He got boos and chants. I mean, what are you seeing

right now?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, some supporters certainly. But a lot of boos, you know, we started hearing the

chants of free, free Palestine, and certainly, you know, as one would expect the majority of the people on this campus right now would not be

very receptive of him.

The thing is the one thing that I think is driving some of the energy here as some of the anger was what the university did last week in ordering the

NYPD to come in and clear and arrest those hundred students, those students who were part of the encampment. So I think that's what's driving some of

the energy right now. It seems to be a big focus from faculty members to other students along with the fact of their demands concerning the

university's divestment from Israel and any sort of relationship that the university has with businesses and companies that may be doing business or

earning money from the work with Israel.

So it's not entirely clear. But, Paula, I'll show you here. You can see this is where the encampment is. This is where all the tents that you're

hearing the distance. There's probably about 50 to 75 tents still remaining in the encampment. The university told students last night that it's

against regulations. Last time they did that, they had the NYPD come in and clear the tents.

We don't have any indication that that's what's going to happen because certainly I think for the university, if they were to do that again, it

would just be another escalation. And I think they're trying to handle in a sort of peaceful and calm way, and to avoid any kind of confrontation. The

one thing that's happening here is actually the school was getting ready for graduation. You can see the bleachers here over my shoulder. These blue


This is for graduation in just a few weeks, on May 15th is supposed to be graduation. So there's going to come a point where the university is going

to have to make a decision about what to do with the encampment because it's obvious that they would interfere in the graduation. The area on that

lawn that they're on is supposed to be for graduating students, and the seating, and they've already built out one of the platforms.

So that's what's going on. You know, we spent the day talking to more students today here. They don't care about graduation. You know, the

students that are in this encampment, they said they're going to stay here as long as they have to until they get their demands met.

NEWTON: Yes, understood when they say they don't care, obviously, with graduation, but as many have pointed out, it doesn't give them the right to

take away students who do care about graduation.

I appreciate the 360 view you just gave us. We are approaching this deadline. Things seem pretty calm there right now. I mean, do you think the

government -- I'm sorry. Pardon me, the government, that the administrators in the university are just going to exhaust the protesters at this point

and say, OK, well, it's peaceful, we'll let you stay a little while?

PROKUPECZ: Yes. I mean, I think they're hoping. I mean, I think they're hoping, you know, that maybe they feel that time is on their side. Many of

the students will be returning home for summer break, jobs, internships, whatever it may be.


And perhaps that's one, you know, maybe some of the students will leave. I do think, though, what the university did last night in a statement saying

that the encampment, the tents were against regulation and that the school is weighing its option about whether or not to do something more forceful.

I actually think that did concern some of the students and some did leave. It is on the mind of some of these students.

They don't want to get arrested. There are the hardliners who will say we don't care, we'll get arrested for our cause. But I do think in seeing and

in talking to some of the students today they are concerned about getting arrested and they don't want to get arrested because they're concerned

about what that would mean for their future and their education potentially being suspended from the college.

So some of the messaging from the university is working. It's not entirely clear what they're going to do. I think they're in a really tough position

because of the response that they received over the escalation and having the NYPD respond to the college and remove students. You don't want to see

those pictures that we're seeing today. These universities are very sensitive to that. So, I mean, who knows what's going to happen at this


NEWTON: Yes. Absolutely, though, like you said, those pictures that we're getting from other campuses are a stark reminder of exactly what can go

wrong and no one wants to see it go there.

Shimon Prokupecz, really appreciate it. Thanks so much.

And we will be right back with more news in a moment.



NEWTON: U.S. President Joe Biden has signed into law a sweeping foreign aid package after months, you'll remember, of tense debate with Republican

lawmakers. It's worth $95 billion. Nearly two-thirds of that money will go to Ukraine for its fight against Russia. Israel will receive $26 billion of

military aid, and $8 billion will go to Taiwan and other allies in the region.

Now, Biden celebrated the legislative breakthrough and took a shot at hardline Republicans who fought it. Listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We don't walk away from our allies. We stand with them. We don't let tyrants win. We oppose them. We

don't really watch global events unfold. We shape them. That's what it means to be the indispensable nation. That's what it means to be the

world's superpower and the world's leading democracy. Some of our MAGA Republican friends reject that vision.


NEWTON: All right. Now to follow up on that, one of the laws also puts TikTok on notice. The platform could be banned in the United States unless

its Chinese owner, ByteDance, divest, sells its operations to an American company.

Now, TikTok says it plans to fight the, quote, "unconstitutional measure" in court. CEO Shou Chew says he believes it's a fight TikTok will win.



SHOU CHEW, CEO, TIKTOK: TikTok gives everyday Americans a powerful way to be seen and heard. And that's why so many people have made TikTok part of

their daily lives. Rest assured we aren't going anywhere. We are confident and we will keep fighting for your rights in the courts. The facts and the

Constitution are on our side and we expect to prevail again.


NEWTON: Adam Kovacevich is the founder and CEO of the tech trade group, Chamber of Progress. Its partners are Meta, Google, and Apple among other

tech companies.

Thanks so much for weighing in on this. You know, it's clear that this bill is now off the president's desk and headed straight to court. That's

TikTok's best defense, right, because the fact is most social media companies, including, you know, your partners, they rely on the First

Amendment, the right to free speech.

ADAM KOVACEVICH, FOUNDER AND CEO, CHAMBER OF PROGRESS: Yes. That's right. But I think that what we're going to see happen next is really three tracks

on the TikTok story kind of running in parallel. The first is you say will be this judicial track. TikTok will file suit against this law probably

relatively quickly. They'll go to court. That might even end up at the Supreme Court over the next couple of months, and they will assert that

this law violates their and their users' First Amendment rights.

Now I think that's an open question. There are people who feel strongly on both sides of that. It's worth noting that we have precedent for this, that

even under the Trump administration the gay dating app Grindr actually came under ownership by Chinese parent company. The Trump administration

demanded that it be sold. There was a concern that having that kind of user data in the hands of the Chinese government could lead to problems.

And, you know, also we've, you know, kicked out essentially companies like Huawei from the United States on national security grounds. So I think

you'll see the government making a national security argument. But at the same time, there'll be a debate about that -- we'll see a kind of a

conversation about who could afford to buy TikTok if it's sold and whether the Chinese government will even allow it.

NEWTON: You know, I want to ask you, we talk about the security risks often, but let's face the facts, even the Biden-Harris campaign is on

TikTok. I just want you to listen for a second.


BIDEN: Donald Trump still thinks windmills cause cancer.


BIDEN: That's what he said.


NEWTON: You know, he's obviously using this to get to those viewers, those users, these very valuable young people that he's hoping to reach. And yet

we hear that it's a security risk. So given Meta, Google and many others have been taken to task as well, right? For privacy and data leaks, harms

to youth, election interference. What's the difference here? What's the distinction between the fact that this is Chinese-owned?

KOVACEVICH: That's exactly the distinction. And this is really almost unprecedented territory. We've never before seen an app, particularly

social media app, be as successful in the United States and be Chinese owned, and Congress clearly has two types of concern about that. One is

Chinese companies under Chinese law are required to turn over user data. The Chinese government doesn't have to go through due process.

They don't have to get subpoenas to do that. The company is really expected and conscripted to advance Chinese aims. But the second really has to do

with TikTok as a propaganda tool, a potential propaganda tool for the Chinese government and reflecting the content wishes preferences of the

Chinese government in terms of how much content is available on TikTok.


And that's also a concern. I think people -- you've seen Congress says things like we would have never let the Soviet Union own a U.S. television

station in the midst of the Cold War. And there's a similar type of concern about the Chinese ownership of TikTok.

NEWTON: Yes, we certainly wouldn't expect any reciprocity and there isn't, although perhaps companies like Apple, right, might be a little bit

concerned about the chill over Chinese retaliation on this, right?

KOVACEVICH: Well, in fact, we saw this last week. So China directed Apple to block WhatsApp and I think it was Facebook Messenger Threads from the

App Store as retaliation. But the thing is those apps aren't available in China to begin with. So it's a little bit of a false threat, a little bit

of posturing, which only really serves to highlight that America's leading social media networks and content services like Facebook and Instagram and

YouTube have been blocked in China forever.

The most of those services have never operated, been able to operate in China. And so there's also I think a belief by some in Congress that here

in the U.S. we maybe have been chumps a little bit. We've given access to the Chinese our market and they've denied us market access all along. And

that's been an undercurrent in the debate as well.

NEWTON: Could we bring this down to earth, though? I mean, this could be in court for years. TikTok could remain on millions of phones, really, five,

six, seven, eight years. It's a possibility, right?

KOVACEVICH: Well, the law says that App Stores & ISPs, so AT&T and Verizon, are prohibited from hosting it if -- unless it is sold to an American owner

within a year. And so I don't expect this will be a years-long question. I think the legal questions will probably be somewhat expedited as a result

of that. And so you'll see federal courts ruling on that. I believe somewhat quickly because of this year-long deadline.

Then the question really becomes, if the government succeeds in court and I think they probably will, though I think it'll be close call, then the key

question is, does the Chinese government allow TikTok to be sold? They've made a lot of posturing. They will not allow it to be sold. I think there

would be potential U.S. owners, potentially other companies, maybe investor groups, but there's a fair argument that the Chinese government might just

say, look, we're not going to allow this to be sold.

We actually view this as a national security asset in the first place. And if they don't allow it to be sold, candidly, I think it might end up

reaffirming the concerns that Congress had in the first place that drove this law.

NEWTON: And in fact, they've already put in -- Beijing has already put in those export controls, kind of anticipating what will happen.

Adam, thanks so much. Really appreciate your insights.

Now, when we return, we'll continue to follow the developments on campuses right across the country as students continue to protest. Stay with us.



NEWTON: And we continue to follow the breaking news of massive protests right across the United States, breaking out on college campuses. Pro-

Palestinian demonstrators are being met with a heavy police presence. We've seen several arrests and tense confrontations.

Now we want to go to Nick Watt, who's been at the scene of the University of Southern California for quite a few hours now.

Nick, has anything changed since we last checked in with you?

WATT: Well, the crowd is getting bigger for sure. It is still peaceful. A lot of chanting intifada, intifada, from the river to the sea. And college

officials have actually closed the gates of the campus and they're saying, if you're going to come on to campus expect to have to show ID. Of course,

the concern is that outside agitators, not college kids, are going to join in and might make things a little more confrontational.

We have, of course, seen some confrontation here already today when campus security tried to clear this area where we're now standing. That was

diffused after the one arrested protester was released, but the LAPD is standing by. There are dozens of squad cars just off campus and the LAPD

has told us that at some point they are planning to come in and clear this area. If that happens, I would expect that things might get little bit

confrontational again.

Now, the other issue here at USC, Paula, is that last week, the valedictorian, who was a young Muslim woman of Indian extraction, she was

told that she will actually not be allowed to speak at the commencement because of a link from her Instagram to some pro-Palestinian literature

that was very critical of Israel and seen by many Jews as racist against Israel. So she was told she wasn't likely to speak.

So tensions here were already a little bit high. Then these kids here saw what was happening at Columbia and they decided to do this in solidarity

with what is happening at Columbia and elsewhere in the country. So we're seeing a lot of kefirs, we're seeing a lot of Palestinian flags, a lot of

chanting. For now, it is peaceful right now. It is a peaceful demonstration. It wasn't earlier. But right now peaceful -- Paula.

NEWTON: Yes. And Nick, I appreciate the context because that was incredibly controversial. And in fact, they've changed the entire character of what

graduation will look like when it does happen. And I'm sure they are expecting more protests.

Nick Watt, for us there at the campus of University of Southern California in L.A., appreciate it.

Now, Hamas has released a video of Israeli-American hostage Hersch Goldberg-Polin. It's the first proof that he survived serious injuries he

sustained during his capture from the Nova Music Festival on October 7th. The clip is undated, but contains references suggesting it was filmed this


Jeremy Diamond is in Jerusalem and he's been following all of this for us.

Jeremy, first and foremost, and really most importantly, what has been his family's reaction? The parents have been so brave and they've spoken to CNN

several times, and yet this must have just been so startling for them.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they said that it was overwhelming for them to see their son alive, but obviously not well in this video. They

say they were concerned about his well-being. And in this video, they also issued a plea. As we know, this is all happening during these negotiations

between Israel and Hamas, mediated by the Egyptians, the Qataris, with help from the United States.

Those negotiations have really been at a standstill over the last couple of weeks. And so they are urging those negotiators to take a stand and take

this opportunity.


JON POLIN, FATHER OF AMERICAN-ISRAELI HOSTAGE HERSH GOLDBERG-POLIN: Were here today with a plea to all of the leaders of the parties who have been

negotiating to date. That includes Qatar, Egypt, the United States, Hamas and Israel. Be brave, lean in, seize this moment, and get a deal done to

reunite all of us with our loved ones and to end the suffering in this region.

RACHEL GOLDBERG-POLIN, MOTHER OF AMERICAN-ISRAELI HOSTAGE HERSH GOLDBERG- POLIN: And Hersch, if you can hear this, we heard your voice today for the first time in 201 days. And if you can hear us, I am telling you, we are

telling you, we love you. Stay strong. Survive.



DIAMOND: And Hersch Goldberg-Polin also had a message for his family in the video that Hamas released of him. He said, I love you very much. I miss you

very much, and I think of you every day that I'm here. Hersch Goldberg- Polin has now been held in Hamas captivity for 201 days. He was captured after attending that Nova Music Festival near the border with Gaza on

October 7th.

A video, the last video that we have seen of him was of him being taken hostage by Hamas militants on October 7th. His left hand severely injured.

And in this video, which we are choosing not to air at this moment because hostage videos, these hostages are considered under duress when they are

filming these videos, you can see that he is missing much of his left arm seemingly from that injury that he suffered on October 7th.

He was actually in a shelter with other Israelis on that day where Hamas militants were tossing grenade after grenade after grenade in there. One of

his friends successfully tossing several of those grenades out. But ultimately, he was seriously injured and he was taken hostage along with

several others on that day. And now of course, while we -- this is the first proof of life that we have seen, we don't know exactly when this

video was filmed, but at least for his family a sign of life and a call to action at the same time -- Paula.

NEWTON: Yes. Excruciating, and to hear his mother, you know, bluntly say, survive.

OK, Jeremy Diamond, for us in Jerusalem, appreciate it.

Coming up, we'll have a final look at the protests that are breaking out across those U.S. universities. Stay with us.


NEWTON: And we want to recap for you our breaking news this hour. Pro- Palestinian protests have broken out on campuses right across the United States. State police pushed back on demonstrators at the University of

Texas in Austin. Clashes broke out at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. And earlier this hour House Speaker Mike Johnson spoke at

Columbia University.

Tense protests there have pushed classes to a hybrid format for the entire end of the semester. Now, Johnson also called for the school's president to

resign if she fails to act swiftly. And all across the United States, in fact students are speaking out and universities are doing what they can to

protect their First Amendment rights to express themselves, but also trying to keep things from getting out of hand.

And you can see there some of the live pictures that we're still looking at and keeping an eye on for you as we continue to follow this story.

That is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for today. I'm Paula Newton in New York. "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER" starts now.