Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Live Event/Special

NYT: DOJ Secures Cooperation From Mar-A-Lago Insider In Docs Case; Friend Of NYC Subway Chokehold Victim Speaks Out On CNN; Ed Sheeran Wins Copyright Trial Over "Thinking Out Loud" Hit. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired May 04, 2023 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Decades later, here is William's oldest son, Prince George, at the same ceremony, looking kind of like his grandfather, in 1953.

And many will remember William's youngest son, Louis, then 4, at the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, last June, covering his ears, during the flyover. He shushed his mother, Princess Catherine, and made other funny faces, during the Jubilee Concert.

We'll see if any young Royals do anything similar, this time.

In any case, be sure to watch our special coverage of King Charles' Coronation, starting at 5 AM, Eastern Time, Saturday, here on CNN.

The news continues. CNN PRIMETIME with Abby Phillip, starts now.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: All right, Anderson, thank you so much.

And good evening, everyone. I'm Abby Phillip.

We begin, tonight, with a significant turn, in the investigation, involving Donald Trump's handling of classified documents.

"The New York Times" reporting, tonight, that federal prosecutors have secured the confidential cooperation, of a person, who has worked, at Mar-a-Lago, an insider whose identity is not known. The DOJ is looking at whether Trump ordered boxes of sensitive materials, out of a storage room. And this insider, according to the "Times" has provided a picture.

Now, keep in mind this is coming, after CNN's exclusive reporting yesterday, that prosecutors are asking witnesses, about the handling of surveillance footage, at Trump's resort.

So, let's begin with CNN's Sara Sidner; former Bush counsel, Jamil Jaffer; and former Obama and Biden adviser, Ashley Allison.

But first, let's get straight to CNN's Senior Legal Analyst, Elie Honig.

Elie, this is a significant development, it seems. What does it mean, when we say cooperation? And how significant is it that this person is on the inside?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: So Abby, this is a big deal, because the real life -- lifeblood, of federal prosecution is cooperators. As we used to argue to juries, the only person who can really take you, inside a criminal organization, is another criminal.

Now, we don't know exactly whether this is a person, who's pled guilty, to crimes, relating to Mar-a-Lago? If so, that's a big deal. We also don't know exactly how much information this cooperator has. We sometimes say there are cooperators, and then there are cooperators!

So, it's possible this person will help prosecutors, make some specific points, or connect some dots. It's also possible this is -- this person has sort of the key, to the whole question here, and will be able to walk prosecutors through everything they need to know.

PHILLIP: And here's another nugget that was tucked into this story that is very interesting. It seems that according to this report, prosecutors have also subpoenaed records that pertain to Trump's dealings, with the Saudi-backed LIV Golf tournament.

What does that say to you?

HONIG: Yes, that jumped off the page to me from Maggie Haberman's reporting. I mean, the LIV Golf organization has nothing to do, with classified documents, at Mar-a-Lago, or how they are stored, or how the people, down at Mar-a-Lago, responded to subpoenas. So, that tells me that this investigation has expanded in its scope.

And we know that the LIV Golf organization did do business, with the Trump Organization, held some golf tournaments, at Trump property. So, it tells me that this investigation has grown.

PHILLIP: And Jamil, what is your reaction to all of this? What does it signify to you?


We now know, not only that there may have been classified documents there. The documents may have been moved at times. But there may have been video of this, and something may have happened with that video. Was that video tampered with? Was it modified? Was it not all that provided to the Justice Department?

We know the President has gone on TV, talking about his provision, of those records, to the FBI. But the question is did he provide everything? And if not, what's missing from those tapes?

PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, I'm also curious about what did it take to obtain the cooperation, of this witness, which is a big part of the picture?

But standby, everyone.

Also today, a jury convicting more far-right extremists, of sedition, for plotting, to attack the United States Government, on January 6. The guilty-four are all members of the Proud Boys, a militia group. And it included the leader of that group, Enrique Tarrio. The Justice Department, again, successful in proving a conspiracy to stop the peaceful transfer of presidential power.

So, when you take this all into consideration, this brings the number of guilty verdicts, or guilty pleas, of seditious conspiracy, so far, to 14. Now, that proves it seems that it was an insurrection, but that is something that many people, on the right, at one point, tried to downplay.


TUCKER CARLSON, FORMER FOX NEWS HOST: "Oh, it was an insurrection!" So, how many of the participants in that insurrection had been charged with insurrecting, with sedition, with treason? Zero.

WILL CAIN, FOX & FRIENDS WEEKEND HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: But you know what? No one has been charged with sedition.

GREG GUTFELD, FOX NEWS HOST: No one has been charged with sedition or insurrection. Most have been hit with charges like parading! Parading!


GUTFELD: Who knew that was a crime!

GLENN GREENWALD, INDEPENDENT JOURNALIST: You know, how many people have been charged with inciting insurrection, or sedition, or treason, or domestic terrorism--


GREENWALD: --as a result of anything? Zero!


MARK LEVIN, LAWYER, AUTHOR, & RADIO PERSONALITY: Has anybody been charged with sedition? Nobody. Has anybody been charged with treason? Nobody. So, why do they keep calling it an insurrection?

INGRAHAM: How many times do words like "Insurrection," "Sedition," or "Treason," appear in Biden's own DOJ indictments, against the January 6 rioters? The answer? Zero.


PHILLIP: Insurrecting.


PHILLIP: Well, they've been charged and now convicted. You've spent so much time, with some of these individuals, especially Enrique Tarrio, Sara. Does any of this kind of surprise?

SIDNER: Not at all, except for Enrique Tarrio.


SIDNER: And the only reason why I say that is because he was not there. He is the one defendant, of these five, who was not in D.C. He was not allowed to be in D.C. He had already gotten in trouble. A judge told him to stay out of D.C., because he had burned a Black Lives Matter flag, which he admitted, and had brought some illegal gun cartridges, to D.C. And so, he wasn't allowed to be there.

But this is a conspiracy charge. And so, this jury? And I was there, for some of the jury selection, and I watched some of this trial, as it was going forward. This jury is being asked to look at whether there was a plan, or a plot, not whether or not it actually happened.

And what they found, with a mountain of evidence? That can only be described as a mountain of evidence. This went on for 18 weeks, with five different defendants. They found that four of the five did commit seditious conspiracy.

The thing I found very interesting, and also somewhat surprising, is that Dominic Pezzola is the one person, they did not find guilty, of seditious conspiracy. But we have seen numerous pictures, and videos, of him, breaking into the Capitol, with a police officer's shield. He's been convicted in other things, and four other things, but not seditious conspiracy.

And I think that may be because the four of the five were leaders, they were in leadership, in the Proud Boys, including the former president, Enrique Tarrio.

PHILLIP: And when you are talking about plots? That matters,

Sara, I do want to play a little bit, of your conversation, with Tarrio, before all of this. Listen.


ENRIQUE TARRIO, CHAIRMAN, PROUD BOYS: I'm not going to cry about a group of people that don't give a crap about their constituents. I'm not going to -- I'm not going to sympathize with them.

I was celebrating, and I'll tell you, I'll celebrate the moment that the government does fear their people.

SIDNER: Do you wish that you--

TARRIO: But I think--

SIDNER: --that you didn't do that, now that you know--

TARRIO: No, I don't-- SIDNER: --what happened.

TARRIO: One -- another thing is I'll never regret something that I said.


PHILLIP: It's so significant, for the Justice Department. This is not just a moral victory. It's a really important legal one, one that hasn't really happened, since 1995. What does it say to you that they were able to win this one?

N. JAFFER: I mean it demonstrates that they were able to show a jury that there was an agreement, a means, and an end. An overt act was taken in furtherance of this conspiracy, to engage in sedition, to obstruct the operation of Congress. And then, the other charges we saw, as well, the destruction of federal property, the breaking of the window, the taking out offense.

They were able to put facts on the table that convinced a jury of their peers that in fact, these people were involved in sedition, against the United States, and had agreed to do so.

PHILLIP: Yes. And, I mean, for the political system, we just played that montage, of all the denials. I mean, there is no more denying, at this point, A, that it happened, and B, that it was seditious conspiracy. It was an insurrection.

ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, NATIONAL COALITIONS DIRECTOR FOR BIDEN-HARRIS 2020, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE STAFFER: Yes. And I think for so long, Donald Trump has talked about the folks, who were at the Capitol, on January 6, and defended them, and talked about like it was a witch-hunt by the DOJ.

Well, to your point, it was a jury of their peers, who said, "We have seen the evidence, and we actually know that you tried to overthrow our government." And so, it is, I think, to the American people, who have, for so long, been fed lies, by a part of elected officials, in the MAGA base that, "No, this happened. This was real. And justice must be served."

PHILLIP: All right, standby, everyone.

We're turning now, to another tragic and complex story, a portrait that is emerging of Jordan Neely.

The 30-year-old New York City man, who died, after a fellow subway rider, put him in a chokehold, sources tell CNN that Neely was homeless, and had a history of police encounters. That includes 42 arrests, from larceny, to attacks against women.

And on the day that he died, however, witnesses say that he acted erratically, on the train, but that he didn't harm anyone. And at least one witness says that the man, who had locked Neely came up from behind. Now, CNN has not independently confirmed, what exactly happened, leading up to this incident, how long, Neely was restrained, for, or whether he was armed.

But we know that hours later Neely was pronounced dead, at a hospital. Friends say he struggled with homelessness, and hunger, mental illness and personal trauma.


His mom was murdered, when he was 14, her body, found days later, in a suitcase, in the Bronx. It was a brutal event that friends say he never recovered from, even as he tried to move on, as a dancer.

Video shows Neely performing, years ago, as Michael Jackson.





PHILLIP: And joining me now is Moses Harper, a fellow Michael Jackson tribute performer, and a friend of Jordan Neely's.

Moses, thank you so much for being here with us.

First, I want you to tell us, tell us about your friend, Jordan Neely.

MOSES HARPER, FRIEND OF JORDAN NEELY: I met Jordan, he was a teenager, and he was very excited, about celebrating Michael Jackson's legacy. It was refreshing, to see someone, so motivated, to celebrate something positive, even though some of Michael's music was way before his time.

Not only did he appreciate it. But he was able to connect, with different people, from all over the world, who are in mourning, in 2009, when Michael Jackson died, and connecting and being kind, and meek, and sweet, and open-minded. I loved watching him.

PHILLIP: What was it like for you, to hear about his death, to watch that video that we've all now seen?

HARPER: I heard about his death, in between doing outreach, with kids, in the Bronx. Someone, who I'd worked with, in the past, sent it -- sent me the story. And I was very disturbed, because I saw the name. And then when I saw his face, in one of the photos, I was crushed, you know? I was crushed.

And I did not watch the video, immediately. I waited hours and hours. And members of our community, the MJ Family, said, "Moses, please don't watch it." And I waited. And then, I said "I have to see. I need to see."

And I was disturbed. I was disgusted that such barbarism could take place. And my heart bleeds that our human species can still treat each other like that. PHILLIP: Help us understand how Jordan ended up where he was. According to this witness, he was saying he was hungry. He was thirsty. But he had had so many encounters with police, over the years. What did you know about him that can help us understand where he ended up?

HARPER: I know that him losing his mother, he never got over that. I know that he, from what he said, he didn't have a strong father figure, in his life. I know that the only joy that he really found was, in interacting with other members of the community, and performing.

I know that I did try to encourage him, to make sure that he got some things, in order, in terms of becoming educated, and getting a diploma, and that he was struggling with it. And struggling inside, because there was a lot of pain inside that was unresolved. And it makes a young person, really unstable, when they're not able to resolve and heal. And it disrupts that.

And while I did try to reach out to him, and he said, "I'm going to get it together," the last time I saw him, he said he was going to try to get it together. And he was in the street. And I told him I--

PHILLIP: When was that that you saw him?

HARPER: 2016. That's the last time I saw him. And he was homeless. And I'd never seen him like that. And he said, "I'm going to try to get it together."

I gave him money. I bought him something to eat. I gave him a big hug. And I said, "When you're ready to clean up, you just come to me, I have your back, brother. That's my blood going through your veins. I love you. Don't ever forget that. And don't ever think that you should be ashamed to come to me." You know?

He said, "I'm going to get it together." He said he was going to do that.

And you don't force that on somebody, you know? You do them the courtesy to do that.

PHILLIP: We only have a few moments left. But what do you want to see happen here?

HARPER: The same thing that happens that I've seen multiple times, when someone commits fare evasion, and they get arrested instantly. Well, someone murdered someone in the train station. They need to be arrested.

It's a murder. I can ask 5-year-olds, in a kindergarten class, "What do you think should happen?" And it's commonsense mathematics. You don't need a degree to figure out what needs to happen. Accountability! Accountability! Accountability!

PHILLIP: Well, yes. HARPER: And I've been in positions, where I'm amidst high-risk populations that are armed, and intending to do harm, and worse to each other. And have been able to de-escalate a situation by using compassion, reason, logic, and knowing how to approach a situation, responsibly.

I'll refuse to believe that the Marines are represented by people, who would do something like this. This is not how we treat. This is not how we're supposed to treat people, even when they're in the state, where they're having an episode. They're supposed to use intelligence, and compassion, and know how to talk to each other.

PHILLIP: Moses Harper, thank you so much, for joining us. I'm very sorry, about the loss, of your friend.

HARPER: Thank you for having me here.

PHILLIP: Thank you.


And coming up next, some lawmakers outraged that there are no charges, yet, despite not knowing all of the facts. We will speak to one of them, live.

Plus, a new revelation tonight, about Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas, and another gift, from a megadonor, when we return.








PHILLIP: Calls for accountability, after Jordan Neely's death, are growing, and being echoed, tonight, by New York Governor, Kathy Hochul, along with many other state and local leaders.

New York City Mayor, Eric Adams, however, is urging caution, as the Manhattan D.A. continues to investigate.


MAYOR ERIC ADAMS, (D) NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: Let's let the D.A., conduct his investigation, with the law enforcement officials. To really interfere with that is not the right thing to do. And I'm going to be responsible, and allow them to do their job, and allow them to determine, exactly what happened here. (END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIP: And joining me now is Democratic congressman, of New York, Jamaal Bowman.

Congressman Bowman, thank you for joining us here.

I do want to read your initial reaction that you posted, online, on Twitter. You said "Black men" always seem to "be choked to death. Jordan Neely did not have to die. It's as simple as that. Yet we have another Black man publicly executed."

That is clearly a very emotional reaction.


But you also heard what Mayor Adams said, which is we have to wait for the facts.

Is this premature?

REP. JAMAAL BOWMAN (D-NY): So, as a Black man, watching the video? And I have to force myself, to watch these videos, because each time there's a new video, there's more trauma that I feel. Eric Garner was choked to death. George Floyd had a knee on his neck. Philando Castile wasn't choked, but he was shot to death on video. And now, Mr. Neely.

And, I'm born and raised in New York. I rode the trains, my entire life, as a child. You often see people, who are un-housed, have episodes.

And I couldn't help but think of the like 10 other things that could have been done, before this person decided to wrap his arms around Mr. Neely's neck, and choke him to death.

The entire world saw it. The entire world saw him be choked to death. It's on video. So, let the D.A. do his investigation. But the investigation is going to include this video.

And I don't understand how the police, after questioning this gentleman, decided to let him go, when the person posed no threat. He was screaming for food and drink. He had no weapon. He didn't assault anyone. How did he end up dead?

PHILLIP: I do have to say, that we don't really know, all that transpired here. We don't know what happened even, that led to that moment. And that's a really critical gap, here, in our knowledge.

But on the question of vigilantism, right?


PHILLIP: There are some people, who on trains, when someone is becoming violent, who are Good Samaritans, and help.

But I asked Mayor Adams, about that, and I just want to play his response, to you, and have you respond.


ADAMS: Each situation is different.

We cannot just blanketly say -- blanketly say what a passenger should or should not do, in a situation like that.


PHILLIP: What do you make of that reaction, to this question, of whether vigilantes should take matters into their own hands?

BOWMAN: I mean, again, if you are trying to intervene, to keep people safe, there are ways to do it that don't lead to someone dying.

Mr. Neely is of a very slight build. I'm a former educator. We are trained to restrain in a way that keeps the person from being seriously hurt. There's a way to do that to keep someone from being seriously hurt. That was not -- that was not done here.

On the question of vigilantism, Ahmaud Arbery was murdered by vigilantes. Trayvon Martin was murdered by vigilantes. And now, we have another case, here, where this person--

PHILLIP: Does it--

BOWMAN: --seem to have gone too far.

PHILLIP: Does it matter to you, whether the person intended to harm him, or thought he was helping?

BOWMAN: Well, that's the question, right? The question is around intent.

PHILLIP: Motive is--

BOWMAN: Motive is the question.

PHILLIP: --incredibly important.

BOWMAN: Intent is the question.


BOWMAN: But again, my question is this. Again, I've been in these situations, with students, and adults, proximity, compassion, engagement, moving people to the other side of the car.

If you have to restrain, around the arms and chest area, like a bear hug, until the person calms down? There were two other people, in the video, who were helping. Why the pressure on the neck, until someone is no longer breathing? It doesn't make any sense to me.

PHILLIP: There's a lot more that we need to learn, about the story.


PHILLIP: Jamaal Bowman, Congressman from New York, thank you very much for being here.

BOWMAN: Thank you.

PHILLIP: And one Senator suggests that some House Republicans want the United States to default. We will talk to a Republican next.

Plus, Maria Menounos, she joins me, up next, as she reveals her battle, with pancreatic cancer, as she has a baby on the way. You don't want to miss this.



PHILLIP: New details, about the Texas billionaire, and GOP megadonor, Harlan Crow, and Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas.

According to ProPublica, Crow paid boarding school tuition, for Thomas' grandnephew. But Thomas didn't report that assistance, on his annual disclosures. ProPublica has already reported that for years, Thomas has accepted lavish trips, and gifts, from Crow, which have gone mostly unreported, on the Justice's financial disclosures.

Ethics concerns aren't limited to Thomas, however. Two justices did not recuse themselves, in cases, involving their book publisher. But the difference here is that both Sonia Sotomayor and Neil Gorsuch did disclose those earnings.

Joining me now, to discuss this, and more, is Republican congressman, Byron Donalds, of Florida.

Congressman Donalds, thank you, and welcome to the program.

So first, just to ask you, about Justice Thomas, and this arrangement in which Harlan Crow paid tuition, amounting to about $6,000 a month, for a couple of years, for his grandnephew's tuition, at private schools. Why is that something that is acceptable, for a Supreme Court justice, to do, without disclosing it specifically?

REP. BYRON DONALDS (R-FL): Well, listen, first of all, this is, we're talking about a report from ProPublica.

And so, if there's going to be an investigation, and it's something where the court has to do that, let's let the court's investigation run its course. I think the unfortunate thing here is that we have too many people trying to jump to conclusions, off of a media report, instead of letting the actual process go forward.

What I can tell you is that even people, who are on the other ideological side of the court, have repeatedly said that Justice Thomas is a man of high integrity.

Justice Breyer has said that about Clarence Thomas. And you know, they don't agree, when it comes to politics, or even their views of the Constitution. But he's talking about the man that he served with, for many, many years, on the highest court, in the land.


So, before we go down this line, and try to pitch shots, at him, about what was going on, on Trip A, or Trip B, let the ethics investigation run its course, if that's what's going to occur. But we shouldn't be trying to impugn his character, based upon a report, from a couple of media sources.


DONALDS: We have seen, time and time again, through media sources, that these things typically don't pan out.

PHILLIP: And to be clear, the details of the report have been largely confirmed. Harlan Crow confirmed that he made these payments. And one of the interesting things is that Justice Thomas did disclose one of these payments, at one point, but not all of them.

So, I mean, under those circumstances, do you think that there is a need, here, for the court, to really be clear, about what their ethics rules are, around things, like this, so that it does not cast a shadow, over their ability, to be fair?

DONALDS: Look, let me be very clear on this one. The Supreme Court is a separate branch of government. Whatever they do over at the court, with respect to ethics, the court has to do that for themselves.

And we have instances, where there are justices, who have not disclosed things that should have been disclosed, in the past. That has also occurred.

To be perfectly blunt with you, I think the reason why this is coming up is simply because it's Clarence Thomas.

PHILLIP: Do you have an example of that?

DONALDS: And he has continuously been either A, the target, or the lightning rod, on the court, for many, many years.

PHILLIP: Do you have an example of other justices, who are not disclosing things, like this?

DONALDS: Oh, actually, I do. A report just came out that Justice Jackson -- Ketanji Brown Jackson, she didn't disclose consulting income that her husband had, and she failed to disclose that.

So again, if the court is going to have this process, about how they're going, to manage ethics, with respect to disclosures, and such, then the court has to manage that the same way members of Congress have to manage it, through their Ethics committee, through the legislative branch.

They're a separate branch of government. The court needs to do that. And Congress, we stay in our lane, and we handle it through our Ethics committee.

PHILLIP: So, let's pivot back to your lane, here, in Congress, because this is really important about the debt ceiling.


PHILLIP: We are now with just a few weeks left, before the debt limit will be breached. I want to play for you, what Montana senator, Jon Tester said, this morning, about the plan that you voted for, and that Republicans voted for, in the House.


SEN. JON TESTER (D-MT): I think there's another challenge here. And that is we all watched the show, to elect Speaker, in the House, three months ago.


TESTER: What did McCarthy promise?


TESTER: And I think that as another sidebar to this that makes it more difficult.


TESTER: Far more difficult, and changes the landscape.


PHILLIP: Are there too many promises that were made and perhaps kept, in the House budget bill that will make it difficult to get to a compromise on the debt limit at the end of this process?

DONALDS: Look, I think Jon Tester is trying to put that off on the House, when the problem is, and it's hurt his State of Montana, and every state in the country, is that this inflation that was unleashed, by the American Rescue Plan, which by the way, Jon Tester voted for? That plan actually unleashed inflation, in our country. It's crippling, every American.

And House Republicans have been very clear. We have to reduce our spending, so that we can actually get this inflation under control. That's the only way this is going to work coupling that with the interest rate increases from the Federal Reserve.

But if you do that it gets our country on track, it actually gives us an opportunity, to actually find some room, to begin to have strategies, to pay down our long-term debts. That's the only plan here.

Whether -- no matter what happened, in the Speaker's vote, is largely irrelevant. Jon Tester has been in the Senate a long time, along with a lot of people, in the United States Senate. They have voted for a lot of the spending that has brought us to where we are.

So, a lot of House Republicans, like myself, who were elected a couple of cycles ago, were saying "That was all well and good, when you had the vote. But now we have votes too. And the American people are telling us, it's time to cut back."

PHILLIP: I think it's only fair to say, though, that a lot of Republicans voted for the spending that got us to this point too. About a third of it was racked up during the Trump administration.

But lastly, before you go, can you give us an example of anything that you would be willing to compromise on, to get to a deal that will prevent the country, from going over the cliff of default?

DONALDS: Well, if we're going to be -- again, if we're going to be blunt, I can't give you that right now, because Chuck Schumer and Senate Democrats haven't even come up with an idea. They have no plan. They have no solution.

So, why am I going to negotiate off of the plan that House Republicans spent two and a half months, working on, crafting, going over numbers, trying to find stuff that made sense that we could all live with, in the House, when the Senate Democrats, and frankly, the White House have done nothing? At this point, they need to come up with a plan. They need to come up with a strategy. And when that occurs, then there's something to negotiate.


But the American people need to understand, while House Republicans were having meetings, week after week after week, for a commonsense solution to this? The White House said they didn't want to negotiate. And Chuck Schumer, I don't know what he was doing, but they definitely weren't coming up with a strategy.

PHILLIP: Congressman?

DONALDS: So, I'm sorry, Laura (ph). But until then, they got to have a plan.

PHILLIP: Can I -- just a yes or no?

DONALDS: They got to have a plan!

PHILLIP: Just a yes or no answer to this one. Are you willing to compromise?

DONALDS: Of course. I'm willing to have a negotiation, and a conversation.

But let's be very clear. The rating agencies have said for many years, long before I got to Congress, it's partly Congress' ability to raise the debt ceiling. But it's also Congress' ability to show, they have a spending plan, to actually curtail their long-run debts and deficits.

And now that I'm a member of Congress, having been a former financial professional, I know exactly what the Treasury markets are saying. And Congress has to have a sensible plan, for curtailing spending, over the long-term. We have to do both.

So, I call on my colleagues, in the Senate, and frankly, President Biden, to come up with a plan, and a strategy, and let's get to work.

PHILLIP: All right, just to be clear, there are also very significant consequences, to default, as well, as I'm sure you know. So, that's what the financial markets are looking at, most significantly, right now. And they're it seems, pretty worried about it, just given how far apart the two sides are.

Congressman Byron Donalds, we appreciate you coming on, tonight.

DONALDS: Thank you.

PHILLIP: And he's one of the Pop's biggest stars. And today, a jury decided that Ed Sheeran did not steal, from Marvin Gaye. What this says about the future of music but especially now that AI is becoming a major factor?



So honey now Take me into your loving arms




PHILLIP: We've just witnessed the dramatic conclusion, in the music industry's highest-profile lawsuit, in years, one that featured a live performance, no less, a classic, by Motown Legend, and a very deep dive into the tiniest details, of copyright law.

And in the end, Ed Sheeran, he was all smiles, as he left the federal courtroom, in New York. The jury ruled that his 2014 hit, "Thinking Out Loud," did not in fact, rip off chords from Marvin Gaye's classic, "Let's Get It On."


ED SHEERAN, RECORDING ARTIST: These chords are common building blocks, which were used, to create music, long before "Let's Get It On" was written, and will be used to make music, long after we are all gone.


PHILLIP: CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich joins us, at the table.

So Vanessa, this is such a landmark case.


PHILLIP: Just like several others that came before it.

But it signifies it seems that the music industry maybe can breathe a little easier now that these kinds of copyright claims will be slightly harder to prove?

YURKEVICH: Absolutely. And this case was really a defining case, in terms of what it meant, for artists, going forward. A lot of the folks that I've spoken to, in the music industry, have said that if Ed Sheeran did not win this case, that would be a problem, for musicians, to come.

And this is not the first time that Ed Sheeran has been sued. This case was just extremely high-profile, because it involved Marvin Gaye's family. Marvin Gaye's family has also sued other artists, including Pharrell, who they actually ended up winning that case. But, in this instance, they did not. And for Ed Sheeran, and for a lot of people, in the music industry, they see this actually as a win for them.

PHILLIP: Yes, I mean, one of the things, at issue, here, is kind of melody or maybe even a resemblance, to a melody, end up being a copyright claim.

This is from the Katy Perry rulings. This is what the judge said. "Allowing a copyright over this material would essentially amount to allowing an improper monopoly over two-note pitch sequences or even the minor scale itself, especially in light of the limited number of expressive choices available, when it comes to an eight-note repeated musical figure."

I mean, if you know anything about music, it's not -- there're not that many notes available to you. Three Chords and the Truth anyone?

N. JAFFER: Well, look as somebody who's tone-deaf, I'm the last person to speak on musical chords. But here you have a question of sort of chord progression, right?


N. JAFFER: And the question is, are these building blocks? Is this a sequence put together in a way that creates a musical composition? And these are hard questions, right? These are hard questions, for juries, to figure out, hard questions, for lawyers, to figure out. And they have been debated.

And, I think, to Vanessa's point, what you don't want to do is prevent people, from building on prior forms of music. At the same time, you can't copy it, right? And where that line is, is a tough one.

PHILLIP: Yes. And we also love Marvin Gaye.

ALLISON: Yes! So, this is a little personal, you know? And I think I want to speak about it, from a more cultural perspective. It is not like we're talking about some no-name musical artists. We are talking about an icon that has probably influenced, Marvin Gaye, most of the folks who do R&B, and probably Ed Sheeran, whether he realizes it or not.

And so, I think, while the law may have gone in Ed Sheeran's favor, some of his comments, after the case, about music, to come after, "Let's Get It On?" look, I'll be honest. I was more connected to Ed Sheeran's age group than Marvin Gaye. But I had to look up what that song was. And I knew what "Let's Get It On" was.

PHILLIP: I do want to turn to AI, here.


PHILLIP: Because this is actually what's really looming, for the music industry.


PHILLIP: How AI can really throw a nuclear bomb, into this whole conversation.

YURKEVICH: Yes. And Ed Sheeran's case had nothing to do with AI. But it had everything to do with copyright, which is the issue that artists are worried about, when it comes to artificial intelligence.

Artists are worried that the AI is training on existing material. And so, does that mean that anybody, who uses AI, to create a new song, can copyright that? Well, the answer, right now, is no. The U.S. Copyright Office says that the art has to be created, by a human.

So, if I ask the AI, to say something like, "Create a song in the style of Marvin Gaye's, 'let's Get It On,'" I cannot copyright that work.

PHILLIP: I would hope not.

YURKEVICH: You cannot.

PHILLIP: I mean, that seems blatantly--

YURKEVICH: You can't.

PHILLIP: --to be off-limits, in terms of what real creativity is. It's not just literally kind of ripping it off and twist -- I mean, right? Or is it more complicated than that?

N. JAFFER: But here's the challenge, right? So, AI trains on these songs. What are all artists training on?

ALLISON: That's right.

N. JAFFER: They're training on songs. This is Marvin Gaye.

YURKEVICH: Those songs-- PHILLIP: Yes. But they also have brains.

N. JAFFER: Right?

PHILLIP: They have creativity. They have ideas of their own?

ALLISON: Well, I think, the other question though, just real quick, is that how are we going to ensure that a song isn't created, by AI, and then a human being, saying, "I've done it."

N. JAFFER: Right.

ALLISON: Because that's the big issue with like a ChatGPT--


ALLISON: --is that computers are doing the work, for humans, and then they may be saying, "This is my original work."


PHILLIP: All right, Vanessa, Jamil and Ashley, all of you, thank you. What a fun conversation!

But coming up next, for us, a public figure, fighting a very private battle. Maria Menounos is opening up about her diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, while she's expecting her first child.

She's here, on her incredible road to recovery, coming up next.


PHILLIP: Entertainment journalist, Maria Menounos, revealing that she is recovering, from a second serious health scare.

In 2017, she had surgery, to remove a brain tumor. And earlier, this year, she found out that she had Stage II pancreatic cancer. And while she underwent that treatment, she and her husband were also preparing, for their daughter, to be born, via surrogate. She's due, later this summer.

Maria Menounos joins me now. She's the host of "Heal Squad," a podcast, and a show that is focused, in part, on healing, from trauma.

Maria, it's great to see you. Thank you for joining us.

What are your doctors telling you, about your prognosis, and where you are in your treatment?


MARIA MENOUNOS, EMMY-WINNING JOURNALIST, ACTRESS, HOST, "HEAL SQUAD" PODCAST, RECOVERING FROM PANCREATIC CANCER: So, I'm super-blessed to say that they got everything out, in surgery, and all the pathology came back that the cancer didn't spread anywhere. Thank God. It's hard because there's a lot I'm still learning about pancreas cancer. But the way my doctor described it is there are two kinds. I hope I have this right. There are two kinds. And I had perhaps the one you would want.

If you could have one or the two, I had the one you want, which is a neuroendocrine tumor. And so, when it's caught early, you have a much better prognosis. And so, I'm just grateful that we caught it early.

Now, the prognosis, thank God, is I'm clear. I'm cancer-free. And I'll just have to do a scan, in six months. And then, from there on, it'll be every year, for five years, apparently.


MENOUNOS: And then, I'm done.

PHILLIP: That is incredibly good news to hear.

What was the process like, of even knowing that something was wrong? I mean, I imagine you're busy probably doing things all the time. How did you know that something was going on?

MENOUNOS: So, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, in June. So that was kind of the beginning of like, "Wait, there's no way I have this." But it's so easy to say I have it because my dad's Type 1. But at 43, to be diagnosed with this, it didn't really make sense to me.

I still have to put the pieces together. Honestly, I'm just fresh out of healing. So, I have to do some more investigative work, to see if this is related. Up till now, they told me they're not. I don't know how it could not be related, because it's a tumor on the pancreas, and the area that produces insulin. So, we shall see.

But that was kind of the first thing. And then, I started having severe abdominal pain. I had two bouts that I remember, one that took me to the emergency room. They did a CAT scan, and they said everything was clear. I had done bloodwork. Bloodwork was fine. And then TMI. But there was a lot of loose stool happening, for like a month and a half.


MENOUNOS: So, we did all the stool tests. Nothing came back from there. And that's something that I feel like is hard, right? We're all embarrassed to talk about those things. And I think we normalize when that's going on a little bit too much. And it really should be a warning sign that something's happening.

PHILLIP: Yes. Pay attention to your body as well.

MENOUNOS: And I started looking into -- yes. So, I was listening, I was having some throbbing, swelling, in my left upper area of my abdomen. And I just knew something was wrong.

I'm somebody, who's very focused on their health, since everything that's gone on, in my health journey, and having a podcast that's dedicated to health and wellness. I always follow the breadcrumbs, now. I listen to my body. And I was just really blessed that an angel came through, and sent me, to get this outside scanner. We might not have found it in time.

PHILLIP: Yes. So, you are--

MENOUNOS: This -- because, here's the thing. This is the way -- the other thing that I didn't know, at first, and I think I'm glad I didn't, was this is what Steve Jobs had. And so, he apparently, again, I haven't gotten to read everything up on this, but, apparently waited a long time, to do any kind of treatment. And so, again, when you find it early, like we did, you can have a really good prognosis.

PHILLIP: Yes. Yes. It's so important to pay attention to that stuff.

You have a daughter coming, in just a few months. What is it like to have gone through what you just experienced, this really difficult health scare? But you're also anticipating something that for your family could be just a really beautiful moment that you guys have been waiting for, for so long.

MENOUNOS: It's hard. I'm not going to lie. I was really scared and shook, because it was, in the beginning, you don't know anything. You just know, you have a mass on your pancreas. That sounds horrible and gloomy.

And so, I was really scared. And we had some conversations, where I was like, "OK, I would start to say to my husband, what I would want him to do if something happened." And he's like, "Stop saying that. I don't want to say that. I don't want to hear that."


And so, at some point, I knew we had to shift the narrative, in our house, from that doom and gloom, and from the fear, to celebration. And that's why I went on "Live with Kelly," and I announced the pregnancy, because I knew we needed that love bomb more than people would ever know. And it really did help us a lot, because we needed to be excited for her, and we needed her to feel that energy, and not fear. And so, I've been motivated by that.

And since I knew we were pregnant, I really did focus in all of my meditations, on one thing. And that was her being born, being placed, on my chest. And I would envision her, knowing that I was super- healthy, and that her mom was going to go the distance, with her. I'm going to see her get married. I'm going to see her have babies. And that's all I want. And so, I'm going to get that now.

PHILLIP: You are. You are. And we are so happy, for your continued health, and happy for your family. And I'm personally really excited to see you, as a mama very, very soon.

Thank you so much, Maria, for joining us, tonight.

MENOUNOS: Thank you. PHILLIP: And we wish you all the best.

MENOUNOS: Thank you. Thank you guys for all the love.

PHILLIP: And ahead, on "CNN TONIGHT," Senator John Fetterman revealing why his mental health took a huge hit, and landed him, in the hospital. Alisyn Camerota has the latest on how he's describing the brutality, of the campaign, against Dr. Oz. That's next.


PHILLIP: And tonight, dramatic video shows the moment a Good Samaritan catches a runaway stroller, with a baby inside, just seconds, before it rolled into speeding traffic.

It happened northeast of Los Angeles. And strong winds and gusts had set the stroller, in the path, of those speeding cars, while also knocking the baby boy's great aunt, to the ground. So luckily, a man was sitting on a bench, outside of a nearby carwash, and saved the baby, just in the nick of time. Thank God for that!

Thank you for joining us tonight.

"CNN TONIGHT" with Alisyn Camerota, is starting, right now.

Hey, Alisyn?

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST, CNN TONIGHT: Hey, Abby? Thank God for Good Samaritans!

PHILLIP: Absolutely!

CAMEROTA: That is incredible video! Thank you very much. Great to see you.

PHILLIP: You too.

CAMEROTA: Good evening, everyone. I'm Alisyn Camerota. Welcome to "CNN TONIGHT".

We have quite a show, for you, this evening.

We're going to be talking about big ethical problems, for Clarence Thomas. "The Washington Post" reports that Justice Thomas' wife, Ginni Thomas, was paid roughly $100,000, by a conservative activist, who made sure that Ginni's name was not on any of the billing statements.

That's not all. We're going to bring you even more reporting, on more gifts, and perks, that Clarence Thomas took from that billionaire Republican donor. Wait until you hear what our panelists have to say about all of this.