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A.I. Exec: Worst Fear Is We "Cause Significant Harm To The World;" Obama: My Biggest Worry Is "Divided Media" With "Different Realities"; Biden To Cut Foreign Trip Short As U.S. Inches Closer To Default. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired May 16, 2023 - 21:00   ET



FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And, Anderson, one of the pieces that's still missing, is a very rare diamond, known as the "White Saxon," almost as the police, in that area, have now come out and said, they're actually searching for another possible suspect, who they believe may have aided the group, in the heist.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Fred Pleitgen, appreciate it.

The news continues. "CNN PRIMETIME" with Sara Sidner, starts now.

SARA SIDNER, CNN HOST: Thank you, Anderson Cooper.

And good evening to you.

All right, we begin tonight, with another scare, involving the safety, of a United States government official.

An intruder, said to be drunk, somehow got into the home, of President Biden's National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan. We're told that no one was hurt, and the suspect got away, without Secret Service, even knowing.

But the news comes, after a string of attacks, or threats of violence, against lawmakers, and federal workers.

Just yesterday, a man, waving a bat, assaulted staffers, at the office, of Democratic congressman, Gerry Connolly. His father says, the suspect's father, says he was suffering, from schizophrenia.

In March, one of Republican senator Rand Paul's staffers was stabbed in Washington.

In February, Democratic congresswoman, Angie Craig, was assaulted, in the elevator, of her apartment building.

And the most severe attack so far occurred in October, a man demanding to see then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, broke into her home, and attacked her husband, with a hammer. Joining me now, CNN Congressional Correspondent, Jessica Dean, along with L.A. Times Columnist, LZ Granderson; and Jason Osborne, a Republican strategist, and former Trump campaign adviser.

All right, thank you all for being here.

Jessica, I want to start with you. How did this happen? That Secret Service didn't notice this, when it was going on?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's the big question, right? Because he gets 24-hour protection, at his home.

And so, to wake up, and there's this person, wandering around the home, and Secret Service was unaware, seems like a real breach, in the protocol, there. And it's quite surprising. And so, now, as you would imagine, Secret Service is trying to get to the bottom of this, to figure out exactly how this happened.

I think it's important to note too, that we're not sure that this intruder even knew that it was Jake Sullivan's house?

SIDNER: Jake Sullivan.

DEAN: And when we're talking about these different incidents, I think we have to kind of appreciate that they're on a spectrum, right?


DEAN: Some people may have known exactly who they were targeting. And, in other cases, as it appears, at this moment, perhaps this was what they thought maybe just an intoxicated person, running around.

SIDNER: Right.

DEAN: But again, how did they get in the house, without Secret Service noticing, is the big question.

SIDNER: It's terrifying.

DEAN: Right.

SIDNER: And in so doing, is there a movement, towards getting more security, for some of these lawmakers, and potentially even their offices, in their specific States, even?

DEAN: Right. So, that's where we are, at this moment in time. And I do think that that really underscores where we are in.

And it takes you back to October, with Paul Pelosi, being attacked, in his home, with that man that was looking for, then-House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi. And there is some members of Congress, who, like House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi. You're going to have 24-hour security, because of where they rank, in leadership, that sort of thing.

But what we are seeing more and more now, like, for example, members of the January 6 committee -- SIDNER: Right.

DEAN: -- started having details.

SIDNER: Right.

DEAN: Different members are now having details, for different reasons. And that should tell us all something, right?

SIDNER: Yes. Federal judges, Supreme Court judges.


SIDNER: Jason?

DEAN: Yes.


SIDNER: Where do you land on this?

DEAN: Right.

OSBORNE: I'm glad that you brought that up. I mean, it was Supreme Court justices, right?

DEAN: Right, right, right.

OSBORNE: I mean, and then even before that, you had folks that were not necessarily attacking physically, but verbally attacking members of Congress.

SIDNER: Right.

OSBORNE: In restaurants.

And calls to action to go, and tweets out saying, "Hey, go, Ted Cruz happens to be at this restaurant," or "Nancy Pelosi is over at this restaurant." I mean, "Go and demonstrate." I mean, it's a scary time.

I mean, we had, I was in D.C., for 30 years. And I remember, when I first moved to D.C., there was somebody, two blocks off the Capitol that had been, I think, it was Senator Richard Shelby's staffer that had been killed, at the time.

And so, it's not necessarily something new in that regard. I mean, there's crime everywhere. But when it's targeting members of Congress, elected officials, or non-elected officials, judges, et cetera, I think, it's pretty bad.


I remember, covering out 2020. And one of the things that came up was, during the protest, protesters are showing up, at the homes of elected officials, like the district attorney. And what ended up happening was that the husband of the district attorney was very, very scared, and came out with the weapon.

SIDNER: Right.

GRANDERSON: And so, when you start thinking, about the political violence, and the temperature, it isn't just about elected officials, or even people, who are, appointed. Sometimes, it could be someone, who's on a municipal level, who's also being targeted, by political virus.

And so, we really need to be careful, in terms of not making this a black or red, or a blue or red or black or white. We're all vulnerable, to this, because the temperature of the country has been risen so much.

OSBORNE: Absolutely.

SIDNER: And there is really -- I want to read you something, LZ, because you're speaking to something. I was looking through this, to try to figure out where we are.


SIDNER: Because it's hard to tell if we're in a worse place than we have been, in the past.


First, I want to show you what we have seen, according to the U.S. Capitol Police, on the threats, being made, threats of violence.

And those numbers are astronomical, compared to -- for example, 2017, there were 3,900-plus. And you look at this graph here. And yes, it's gone up and down. But look at the difference between 2017 and 2022. That is a huge jump, in the number of threats, against U.S. lawmakers.

But look at this. In 2019, two years, a full two years, before the 2021 attack, on the U.S. Capitol, a group of U.S. and international scholars, with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, who study politics, and violence, abroad, determined the U.S. was at serious risk of violence, again, this is 2019, because the country was showing all the signs of sparking.

And here's what they said. "We know that violence is more likely in countries where it's happened before. It thrives on polarization and begins with the dehumanization of opponents. Opportunistic politicians test the system, seeing how people react to violent language to determine the potential costs."

What have you seen, LZ? What have you seen that matches just right there?

GRANDERSON: I mean, listen, this may sound funny. But drag queens, right now, are being politically attacked. And violence is being attacked -- attached to the violence.

You're having members of organized organizations, showing up to drag queen performances, and threatening them. That's political violence, in my opinion, because when you attack, and you think about the reasons why they're there, and who's pointing them there? This is all part of the fabric.

So, you ask me, what am I seeing? What I'm seeing is not just the pressures, of being an elected official, and worrying about your safeties. I'm seeing the pressures of anyone, who has any public sort of presence that could be attached, to a political ideology, quite possibly being vulnerable, to someone, who may be mentally ill, or someone who has an opposing political viewpoint.

We're in a very, very dangerous time. When you can't have a drag queen, show up to a library, without guns, surrounding the building, because of politics? That reports seem to be pretty spot on.

DEAN: Well then, isn't it interesting that now we just see, especially with social media, that immediately if someone disagrees, with whomever, is making whatever statement?


DEAN: It's like, "I'm going to kill you."


DEAN: Or "I'm going to come for your family."


DEAN: I mean, it just escalates so quickly.


DEAN: And it seems like the default position is, is to go to violence, for a lot of people. Now, whether or not they actually follow through on that? But it's a real thing that is among us, right?

SIDNER: Yes. And you're seeing it in the --

OSBORNE: Yes. It's the --



SIDNER: -- you're seeing it now.

OSBORNE: I mean, I think, we've gone from the early 2000s, the politics of personal destruction. Now, we've taken it to another level, right? And so, to your point, I think there's -- I would also add in there, like school boards.

GRANDERSON: Exactly. OSBORNE: It was -- it was a --


OSBORNE: There was recently an investigation, in Northern Virginia, in Loudoun County, where staffers, or folks, affiliated with the members of the school board, in Loudoun County, were actually on a chat group, like targeting "How are we going to get this person, who spoke up, at the school board, this parent, how are we going to get them fired? How are we going to cancel them, and make them destitute, homeless, whatever else we can do to it?"

I mean, I think it's on both sides. I think it's tragic. I think, in some cases, some lawmakers bring it on, certainly, by their bravado, by, in what they're saying, and the --

GRANDERSON: And they speak of violence. They use --

SIDNER: They use the language.

OSBORNE: They do. I think it's unnecessary.

GRANDERSON: Yes. They use the language of violence.

SIDNER: Yes. They use the language of violence.

OSBORNE: I think it's unnecessary, right?

SIDNER: And everyone heard what Donald Trump said, on January 6. Everybody heard some of the rhetoric. And that has spread very, very far. And now, we're here, at this point.


SIDNER: Stay with me.

We are going to move on, in our next block, now to another threat that promises to have an impact of, on all of us, not just politicians, not just people, who are in the public eye.

Artificial intelligence, the technology is moving so fast, it can baffle even the people creating it. Its potential impact on everything from national security, to your job, has the heads of the industry, warning of the risk, of their own creations.

They're going so far as to ask Congress, to regulate them, before it's too late.


SAM ALTMAN, OPENAI CEO: My worst fears are that we cause significant -- we, the field, the technology, the industry -- cause significant harm to the world.

GARY MARCUS, EMERITUS PROFESSOR OF PSYCHOLOGY AND NEURAL SCIENCE, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY: We have built machines that are like bulls in a China shop, powerful, reckless and difficult to control.

CHRISTINA MONTGOMERY, IBM CHIEF PRIVACY OFFICER: We think that A.I. should be regulated, at the point of risk, essentially. And that's the point, at which technology meets society.


SIDNER: Pick whatever movie analogy, you'd like, the "Terminator," "Frankenstein," "I, Robot," "The Matrix," basically, any plot, where machines outsmart and outpace human beings. It is becoming a reality. Science fiction is actually turning into fact.

The discussion about A.I. went down, at a historic Senate hearing, today. The panel looked at the benefits, and serious risks, of this advanced technology, like image manipulation, or election disinformation that can potentially sway voters.


There are A.I. threats, to democracy, to the economy, to jobs, to privacy, social media, art, the justice system, even war. Lawmakers make very clear, they see the potential threat.

Senator Richard Blumenthal actually kicked off the hearing, with a deep-faked recording, of his own voice.


SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): And now, for some introductory remarks.


BLUMENTHAL: "Too often, we have seen what happens, when technology outpaces regulation, the unbridled exploitation of personal data, the proliferation of disinformation."

BLUMENTHAL: The remarks were written by ChatGPT, when it was asked how I would open this hearing.


SIDNER: Joining me now is former Google CEO, and Chairman, Eric Schmidt, who is now an investor, in an A.I. startup -- Istari? Is that how I say it?


SIDNER: Anthropic. My bad!

All right. OK. Let's start here. What are the risks? We just saw a Senator, using it for something that it seems innocuous. It's your own voice. And it -- but it was something nice. But what are the real risks here?

SCHMIDT: Well, first 15 seconds on, the extraordinary benefits of A.I., an A.I. tutor, an A.I. doctor, helping everyone get smarter, globally available, lifting people, from poverty, solving climate change, accelerating drug discovery. My industry is crazy, over this stuff.

The power and the innovation that will occur that's been unleashed, in this last round is phenomenal. At the same time, we're also very concerned about potential risks. As these models get larger? And "Larger" means in terms of the scale of training?

SIDNER: Right.

SCHMIDT: $100 million of cost of training? They take on properties that are concerning, the ability, for example, to change from one media to another, such as voice casting, and things like that. Imagine a situation, where you could ask it to do cyber-attacks.


SCHMIDT: It has learned how to do this, not because it was programmed to do it, but because it encountered the information. And what the industry does today is it put guards -- puts guardrails, on these systems. We're very concerned that those guardrails need to get set right. And they need to be applied everywhere.

SIDNER: All right. Let me ask you about the sort of potential of that. Because a lot of this sounds like science fiction, to a lot of people, when you start thinking about the possibilities. And you named a lot of the good things it can do.


SIDNER: Languages, it could probably --


SIDNER: -- help you pick up languages, very quickly.

SCHMIDT: Translate languages.

SIDNER: Translate, right?

SCHMIDT: All that.

SIDNER: But even if we don't get to these sort of science-fiction moments, in history, how much does this technology change the everyday landscape, our work, our home, everything?

SCHMIDT: Well, some of my friends write documents. And they say, "Edit this." They send the document, to GPT-4, in this case. And it produces a better version, right? That's an amplifier.

So, in most cases, this technology will make you quicker, more efficient, smarter, better -- a better communicator, whatever it is that you're doing. The same will be true for physicists, and chemists, and teachers, and poets and so forth. That's all good. The issue, of course, is that the same evil person, if they were evil, gets an amplification of their ability, to spread evil. A good example here would be that in 2016, the Russians used a series of people, to create fake identities, and flood the zone, right, in 2016, to try to affect the election. This has occurred over and over again, in other democracies.

We're going to have one heck of a year in 2024. Because today, that tool -- those tools are available to a single lone bad person, who can use that, to generate fake identities, fill an entire network, of false information that looks legit, right?

SIDNER: Right.

SCHMIDT: That spreads through social media, and off we go.

SIDNER: I do want to challenge you a little bit on just the idea of just an evil person. Here's the thing that a lot of people worry about, when I talk to just regular folks, who don't know a lot about A.I. Insurance companies, businesses, trying to use your information, against you, through A.I.'s brain, basically. And that is a huge concern.

You talked about the guardrails, and you feel like those need to be set in stone. But social media companies set rules, right? If they're the ones that are -- like, you set the rules, you know how this works? That didn't work so well with social media. That didn't work so well.


SIDNER: And the government comes in, and they're behind the eight ball. They're not sure how the technology works, themselves. And it's already taken off, and created a myriad of problems.

SCHMIDT: Well social media is largely not regulated.

SIDNER: That's right.

SCHMIDT: And you see the consequence. And I think most of us believe that we missed that opportunity. Some of the senators, today, in the hearing said the same thing.


There's an agreement, I think, between the industry and the government that we don't want to repeat some of those mistakes, but we want to get the good stuff. And what you're seeing now, in the U.S. government, is they're beginning to think about it. This is a good process. It's not obvious exactly how the regulation --

SIDNER: Right.

SCHMIDT: -- regulations will come. I have my own proposals. Sam has his. Other people have different ideas. This technology will be regulated, in some way, because of its potential dangers. Just don't regulate it out of existence, in which case we won't get the benefits. SIDNER: Can I just ask you, lastly, when it comes to war, because we talked about the fact that it can be used in war?


SIDNER: Is it more dangerous than, for example, a nuclear war, the way we think of conventional war, the worst-case scenario?

SCHMIDT: Well, nuclear war is horrific.


SCHMIDT: And any sort of large nuclear conflagration would destroy the world, as we know it.

You can imagine this technology, for example, active cyber-attacks, attack a whole country, do it until everybody's dead. And you can imagine that scenario.

You can also imagine the scenario, where you say, "I want to kill a million people. Show me a biological path to do it."

SIDNER: Oh my God!

SCHMIDT: These are the dangers that we have to make sure are not happening. We need to put guardrails and limits. People are working on these problems. We don't fully understand the solutions yet.

SIDNER: Eric Schmidt, you just terrified me. I hear the good things. But boy, that is a really scary scenario.

Thank you so much, for coming on, and being candid, about the good, bad and ugly of A.I.

All right, coming up next. What former President Obama says keeps him, up at night, about America, and what he worries about the most.

Plus, the battlefield, in Ukraine, is rapidly changing. New reporting tonight about how the Russians are trying to overwhelm and confuse Ukraine.




NATE BURLESON, CO-HOST OF "CBS MORNINGS," CBS: Post-presidency, what about this country keeps you up at night?

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The thing that I'm most worried about is the degree to which we've -- now have a divided conversation, in part because we have a divided media.

We almost occupied different realities. If something happens, in the past, everybody could say, "All right, we may disagree on how to solve it. But at least we all agree that yes, that's an issue." Now, people will say, "Well, that didn't happen," or "I don't believe that."


SIDNER: Former President Obama says he's worried most, about the rise of misinformation, and division, in the media, something we just talked about, with the rise of A.I.

Joining this panel, CNN's Zain Asher, the fabulous international anchor, and just all-around great person, and author.

We are going to talk a little bit about this. Zain, when you look at -- I know, you know a lot about A.I. We had this whole discussion. But you hear former President Obama talking about, we're all in -- basically, he's talking about silos --


SIDNER: -- and then misinformation. What do you see?

ASHER: I mean, this is the thing, and you touched on this with Eric Schmidt. It's not the technology. It's really how it's used.


ASHER: That's the issue here. When you think about how fragmented our society already is, and you combine that with A.I.? We are in trouble.

When it comes to facts, A.I. can't technically go out into the field, and verify, whether or not a news event actually happened. It can't witness a news event, but it can pretend that it can. And that is a scary thing.

So, it's not just about ChatGPT 4, and DALL-E, and the image generators. What scares me the most, just in terms of what Obama is talking about here, as we run up to an election, by the way, is videos. That's the issue.

One of the things I've seen Eric Schmidt say, in previous interviews, is that even if you label a video, as being fake, you have to understand that it still has an impact --

SIDNER: Right.

ASHER: -- on the belief system, and the behaviors, of people who consume that video. That is important to note.

Also, on the Hill, today, Senator Josh Hawley said something, I thought was really interesting. At the beginning, he said, "Look, this hearing could not have been possible, a year ago."

SIDNER: Right.

ASHER: Could not have happened a year ago, A, because obviously the technology hadn't yet been released to the public. But also the technology has just evolved so, so quickly, it's so easy to use. And it's evolving so quickly, and everybody watching this, at home, that should give them, pause for thought. If it could advance this quickly, from ChatGPT 3.5, to ChatGPT 4, in just one year, and you see how enormous the difference is between those two versions are?


ASHER: What's going to happen before the elections in about a year and a half from now?

SIDNER: It's a really good question. Let's talk about, Jason, misinformation.


SIDNER: And what we're seeing across the spectrum. It's huge, correct? How dangerous is it? And is it getting worse, in your mind?

OSBORNE: 100 percent. I mean, without a doubt, and I agree completely with what President Obama said, in that, there are so many diverse media outlets, out there, or quote-unquote, "Media outlets out there," with Twitter, and Instagram and TikTok, and people getting their news in 10- second to 15-second increments.

I mean, if you go back to the 80s, where you're talking about four- minute to five-minute news stories? And now, we're having to shovel it down into 10-seconds, 15-seconds, in order to grab their attention? It's almost like we're living in the National Enquirer pages, every single day. It's a new -- it's a new edition.

And it's scary, because I don't know, even on both sides, I don't know, unless you're educated, and follow politics, religiously, you're going to listen to things that are out there in, that on Twitter, or Facebook or whatever?

SIDNER: Right.

OSBORNE: And believe it as fact. And unless you could dive into it, and figure out that "Wait a minute, there's something -- untruths here," it's going to be a problem.

SIDNER: Sometimes the truth --

OSBORNE: And it's not just the videos.


OSBORNE: It's the memes too.

SIDNER: Absolutely.

ASHER: Oh, yes.

SIDNER: And sometimes though the truth doesn't matter, because it's already been shared --


SIDNER: -- 3 billion times, before people are told, "Oh, wait! No, this is fake." They don't see that part.

Are we ever going to agree? This is a hard one, LZ. So, I apologize. On a set of facts? We are in this post-truth world, even though we have access to more information than we have ever had.

GRANDERSON: Well, it's about digesting the news and information that already agrees with your sense of the world, right? And that's really the issue. It's about the fear of being challenged. It's about the fear of having to change your world view.

With all due respect to President Obama, these two realities have existed way longer than with technology.


GRANDERSON: I mean, if you remember back when, then-candidate Reagan talk about the "Shining City on the Hill?"

SIDNER: Yes, right.

GRANDERSON: What was the rebuttal? "There are other cities," right?


So, the realities, in this country, is there are always been very -- I think the difference is, and what he's talked about, which is really important is that the realities are different, but the facts were always true.


GRANDERSON: The facts were always the same. Your interpretations of the facts, or how you dealt with the facts, could vary. But the facts were always real.

I am so concerned. I am so concerned. We still have millions of homes, trying to get WiFi.




GRANDERSON: Trying to get WiFi!

OSBORNE: Well, I mean, if you go back? I mean, we're old enough to remember the first, the invasion of Iraq. And you had, what is it, "Baghdad Bob," the guy, at the --

SIDNER: Right.

OSBORNE: -- the spokesperson, for Saddam Hussein? SIDNER: Yes.

OSBORNE: -- who's literally, with the runway, of the Baghdad airport, behind him, talking about "There's no bombing going on." I mean, "Everything's fine. We've taken control of everything."

SIDNER: We all agree. That's not true.

OSBORNE: We all sat there, here in the U.S., like laughing at him, like --

SIDNER: Right.

OSBORNE: -- "How ridiculous is this?"

Now, we're 30 years past that. And we're sitting there like, "Wait, is it true?" like is --


GRANDERSON: I mean, Trump's always telling us --

OSBORNE: "Is this A.I.-generated?"

GRANDERSON: -- "This is the largest crowd of all time."

ASHER: Right, right, right.

GRANDERSON: What if we spin, fast-forward that a decade, and he says "This is the loudest crowd ever," and A.I. is able to generate a false image, that people believe?

OSBORNE: 100 percent.



SIDNER: I think the one last thing, and I just want to say it, because it's something that we talked about, and that I talked about, with the former Google CEO, it is something that can be used by politicians as well. They say something that is racist or horrible. And they could say, "That wasn't me. That was A.I." And people won't know --


SIDNER: -- what is real, and what isn't.


SIDNER: I mean, that's scary.

ASHER: That's where regulation has to come in.

SIDNER: Yes. ASHER: And, as a society, we were so late, to the table, when it came to regulating, or trying to regulate social media companies. The first time Mark Zuckerberg actually appeared before Congress was in 2018.


ASHER: That is 14 years --



ASHER: -- after Facebook first launched, yes.


OSBORNE: But do we know what we're regulating?

ASHER: That's --

OSBORNE: That's the problem.

SIDNER: That is the problem.

ASHER: Like Pandora's Box.

SIDNER: That's --

ASHER: That's the issue.

SIDNER: Pandora's Box is the best way to end this segment.

Thank you to Jason, LZ, and of course, Zain.

Coming up next, we're going to head to Ukraine. New air raid sirens, sounding across Ukraine, tonight, after Russia steps up its attacks, on the capital, Kyiv. Missiles, shot down, by Ukraine's defenses. Why this may be an inflection point in the war.



SIDNER: Air raid sirens, sounding, in the capital, Kyiv, and across Ukraine, tonight, and earlier today, a major showdown between the American-made Patriot missile system, and Russian hypersonic missiles.

Ukraine claims to have intercepted a whopping 18 Russian missiles. But Russia claims that they actually destroyed a Patriot air defense system. The barrage of missiles came from three sides, all at once, north, south and east, across front lines, reaching deep, inside Ukraine.

And, on the Eastern Front, Ukraine says they have liberated substantial areas, north and south of Bakhmut, within the past few days. Joining me now, to make sense of all of this, the host of "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS," Fareed Zakaria himself.

All right. Let's talk about if Russia can keep up this pace? We heard from the head of the Wagner Group that there was a problem, with munitions. Are we going to continue to see these kinds of barrages, in places, like Bakhmut, and also, surprisingly, which hasn't happened, in quite some time, Kyiv, the capital?

FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, CNN'S FAREED ZAKARIA GPS: Well, what you see with Russia is the outward appearance of extraordinary force and power. It's a very big country. It's a relatively rich country, with a huge army. And so, there's a lot of shock and awe, in being able to do this kind of thing that in some ways dazzles.

But underneath it, think about what you just said. The head of the Wagner Group is openly feuding, with the Defense Minister, and the Defense Ministry, because he believes that they are -- the troops are insufficiently armed munitions of government. What is that all about? What that's about is the Russian army is flailing. It is doing badly, in areas, like Bakhmut.

What they thought they were going to be able to take, the Ukrainian forces, and beat them? They have not been able to, despite the fact that they overwhelm, and overpower Ukrainian forces.

Even if you look at these hypersonic missiles --


ZAKARIA: -- that they shot at Kyiv, which were meant to be -- this is -- Putin kept saying, "Russia is the world leader in hypersonic missiles."

Well, to me, the most interesting thing is the same day that those missiles were exploded, over Kyiv? And the Ukrainians seem to have intercepted all of them. That same day, Russian scientists put out a statement, an open letter, that didn't get as much attention, saying that the three Russian scientists, who developed these hypersonic missiles, have been arrested, on charges of treason --


ZAKARIA: -- because they are essentially giving interviews, and conferences, in the world.

So, you see what I mean? The problem for Russia? And this is its great long-term problem. It has become a closed society, isolated from the world --


ZAKARIA: -- unable to get the highest technology, unable to let its scientists go to conferences, for fear of being arrested for treason.

SIDNER: Right. ZAKARIA: That's not a good long-term sign, in what is increasingly becoming a high-tech war.

SIDNER: Yes, we saw an incredible pictures of the Military parade, where there was literally --

ZAKARIA: One tank.

SIDNER: -- one tank.


SIDNER: Does not bode well, for what's really happening.

I do want to ask you, again, about the Wagner Group, because they are the ones that seemingly at the forefront of everything, and sort of sending messages, to Putin. They claim that a U.S. citizen died, in the embattled city, of Bakhmut. And it's unverified. There's unverified video. What do you make of this? The U.S. has said, "Look, we can't verify this at this point."

ZAKARIA: Look, it's possible. There's no way to be able to tell. The Russians make claims that in the past have not been true.

SIDNER: Right.

ZAKARIA: U.S. government tends to be pretty scrupulous about wanting actual proof. But it's perfectly conceivable.

But to me, the most interesting thing here remains again, this open conflict, between Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Group --


ZAKARIA: -- and the Russian Military. The degree to which Putin is not able to silence one or the other, and it's letting this open.

Imagine if in the United States, you had open warfare -- during a war, you had open battle, between the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the head of the Army, or the head of the Navy, you know? I mean, it would be unthinkable!


ZAKARIA: And yet, this is going on, in what's supposed to be a highly disciplined dictatorship.


SIDNER: Yes, it's really interesting to see what is going on there, and the messaging that's happening, a lot of propaganda going on. But you can break through it when you see arguing between him and Putin.

Fareed Zakaria, you're always a wealth of information, thank you so much, for your insight there.

ZAKARIA: Pleasure.

SIDNER: And you can, of course, catch "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS," on Sundays, at 10 AM Eastern.

Coming up next, as the nation gets closer to default, liberals are worried President Biden is giving in to Republican demands.

Plus, we'll speak with the heckler, who interrupted the march of white supremacists, on Washington.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- of America to continue.

FLOOD: Your mom hates you.


FLOOD: Your friends hate you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- to fight for.

FLOOD: You were the losers of your high school class.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have gone out into this once-great country --

FLOOD: You're a bunch of incels.



SIDNER: President Biden expected to cut his overseas trip short, this weekend, as time runs out, to avoid a potential economic catastrophe.

Democrats called today's big White House meeting, between the President, and congressional leaders, quote, "Cordial," while Senator Mitch McConnell described it as most encouraging.


But the bottom line is still no deal, on raising the debt ceiling, and thereby avoiding a national default, that could trigger a recession, skyrocketing unemployment, missed paychecks, for millions of federal workers, Military service members, and suspension of Social Security benefits.

For his part, the House Speaker is insisting on work requirements, for things, like food stamps. He was asked today if that was a red line.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): So, the public wants it. Both parties want it. The idea that they want to put us into a default, because they will not work with on that is ludicrous to me.


SIDNER: Meanwhile, the leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus called that requirement a, quote, "Absolutely terrible idea," and "A non-starter."

I'm joined now by White House economic adviser, Gene Sperling (inaudible) coming on to the show.


SIDNER: Gene, is there any possibility that compromise will happen here, and that there will be a deal between Joe Biden, essentially, and the Speaker?

SPERLING: Well, the President's been very clear about two things from the start.

One, default is not an option. You just described why, quite well. No one can take a position, my way, or we put our country into default, for the first time, in our history, and risk, decimating retirement savings, a recession, millions of jobs.

But he's also been very clear, from the start, that once he put out his budget, on March 9, when the Republicans put out theirs, he was willing to sit down, and have a separate budget negotiation.

And as soon as they did, the President brought them together. People have been working. We've all been working, throughout the last week. The leaders met together, for the first time -- I mean, for the second time, within a week. And we're about to move to a new phase, where there'll be more direct communication, between the President's team, and the Speaker's team.

It is our view that there is room for common ground for a bipartisan deal that can get the support of both Democrats and Republicans, and reduce the deficit. But it's going to mean that both sides are not going to get everything they want. We understand that.

We wish they would support the President's effort, to reduce the deficit, by cutting subsidies, for Big Pharma, so we could lower prices, and the deficits, for more Americans, on prescription drugs. We wish they would support cutting subsidies, through the Tax Code, for private equity managers, for big crypto traders, for oil and gas.

But they won't. But they are also going have to -- they're not agreeing to that.

SIDNER: Right.

SPERLING: They're going to understand that we're not going to agree to things that we think are extreme and harsh, and would hurt Americans, or take away their health care. SIDNER: Mr. Sperling, let me ask you this, because you just laid out how far apart really, they are. But you talked about progress. So, what is the progress that we keep hearing about?

SPERLING: Well, I think that, for those of us, who are able to follow closely, what's happening, our team, working with the teams of the other four congressional leaders?

I think one can see where the room is, for common ground, for a bipartisan deal that could be supported, by both parties that would reduce the deficit, and -- but would probably not acquiesce, to the views, to some of the most contentious views.

SIDNER: But it sounds like, Mr. Sperling that the --

SPERLING: Again, we don't think it should be contentious that you have a billionaire's minimum tax.

SIDNER: It sounds like the views are --

SPERLING: Go ahead, I'm sorry.

SIDNER: -- the views are contentious, just all of them that there are some things that just don't -- they can't come together, to do. So, what are the things that they have agreed upon? Or that you see that they can agree upon to get this done for the American people?

SPERLING: Well, that's hard for me, because, no one, in my position, is going to negotiate in public. And it's never good to reveal, to try to, for me to try to, publicly say what the views are, of the people, we are negotiating with.

But I think what I would say is that these discussions have pointed to where there could be common ground, with the President sometimes says to us, as anchors of bipartisan agreement.

And so, I think the question now is, as we get into this new phase, is can we find those areas of bipartisan agreement, that will meet the President's values, which include not taking away anybody's health care, not pushing anybody into poverty, not doing extreme cuts that would hurt cancer research, or devastate education, for children with disabilities?

SIDNER: Is he willing to do any cuts because the --

SPERLING: But could be the type of thing that we could --

SIDNER: Is he willing to do any cuts?

SPERLING: Absolutely.


SPERLING: I just told you --

SIDNER: A few things. SPERLING: He absolutely is willing to engage, to talk about ways that we could cut the deficit, and cut spending.


And, in fact, I just said we're disappointed, they're not taking some of our suggestions, like cutting subsidies, to Big Pharma, to both lower the deficit, and lower prices.

So yes, there are areas that we strongly disagree with, what they're putting on the table. There's areas that we've put on the table that they've disagreed with.

I guess what I would say that gives me a bit more optimism, is that when I look at the discussions, I do see that there can be room, for common ground. And I think the goal now is for everyone to work together, to find that, and have a budget agreement that both sides could support, or has enough support to pass the House and Senate, with support from both Democrats and Republicans.

And I think the reason why you heard a bit more better tone --


SPERLING: -- from all of the people, including Speaker McCarthy, is that I think people can see where that common ground could be. Now, of course, the hard part is, can we get there? That's what the next phase of these discussions, are going to be about.

SIDNER: Senior Adviser, Gene Sperling, thank you so much, for running through that with me. A lot of people worried about the debt ceiling, and whether that's going to get done. Appreciate it.

SPERLING: Thank you so much.

SIDNER: Next, should a Walgreens security guard, face charges, for shooting an alleged shoplifter? See the video of the incident that has just been released, today, when we return.



SIDNER: No charges. Controversy growing tonight, over the San Francisco D.A.'s decision not to charge a security guard, for fatally shooting Banko Brown, a suspected shoplifter, at a Walgreens, last month.

The D.A. also released surveillance video, of the incident. I've got to warn you, the images are disturbing. Here they are.




SIDNER: You can see Brown, attempting to leave, by shoving a security guard, identified as Michael Anthony, which leads to a physical altercation. You can literally see them pummeling each other, there. Brown is held on the ground, but released after about a minute.

Brown then begins to leave, but appears to turn around, and move toward the guard. That is when Anthony fires his gun. We are not showing you that because it is too disturbing.

Anthony told Police that Brown repeatedly threatened to stab him, during that fight. Prosecutors ruled the guard's fear was reasonable. But Police have noted no knife was found in Brown's possession.

Joining me now is John Burris, the attorney representing Banko Brown's family.

Mr. Burris, thank you so much, for joining us, from the Bay Area, there.


SIDNER: John, you have also, of course, dissected this tape. You heard that the guard has said that he had a fear of being stabbed. How do you see this?

BURRIS: Well, the theory itself can't be subjective. It has to be objective. And so, what was the facts that will support his being feared? This officer was the aggressor. He's the one that attacked Banko. He's the one that beat him up, slugged him, tried to choke him, tossed him around, all over the place.

And Banko tried to leave. And he was going back. He was backing out. And his arm was raised. And then, he was backing up, and he gets shot. He was not the aggressor.

And so, that's why it's troubling to me, to have this view that the officer claims that he was the one that was in fear, when he was the one with the gun. He was the one that was assaulted -- physically assaulted Banko.

So, it's hard for me to understand how the subjective intent can be acknowledged, and be accepted. Where are the objective facts to support it, like everyone else has to have? You can have an honest but unreasonable belief. Here, there was no evidence to support that he was trying to be attacked, and the fact, and there's no knife. So, we don't know if this was true. No one else heard this.

SIDNER: Let me ask you this, Mr. Burris. When you consider this? There's a lot of people that look at this. And they've seen the videos over and over again, of people, stealing things, from stores.

We know -- I have looked at old cases that have happened in Walgreens, with security guards. And Walgreens, it says, "Look, lives are more important than property. But what is the security guard's job? What is he supposed to do?" Does that play into at all your determination here, and who you're going to sue?

BURRIS: Well, certainly you could stop the person. There's no doubt about that. But in this case, it was not only just to stop. It was an assault of a stop. He tossed him around. He beat him up. That's not an occasion that you get to do just because a person has committed a small petty theft.

So, the assault of conduct on part of the security officer was way beyond what was reasonable, and necessary. Stopping someone and talking to them is different than stopping them, and beating them up, and then ultimately killing them. There is no basis. Just because it's a petty theft, that didn't give you a right to use deadly force. And there's no weapon to support this notion.

So, to me, it means to me that this was a shooting that was woefully unnecessary. And it seems to me this officer was particularly excited, because he jumped -- jumped Banko, right at the beginning. He never gave him a chance to talk, and try to surrender. He just beat him up, tossed him around.

You said it was a battle. It wasn't a battle. This was a situation, where he was tossing him around. He was beating him up. He was on his back. He was choking in. If anything, the kid was trying to protect himself. So, and then he tried to get away. If he was not trying to get away, he --

SIDNER: Mr. Burris?


SIDNER: Yes. And you talked about him, trying to get away.

Mr. Burris, can you just quickly tell me the people who you are bringing this suit against?

BURRIS: Well, we're obviously going to sue the security officer himself. We're going to sue the security company, or his employer.

And we're going to sue Walgreens as well, because they're the ones, who hired him. They're the ones that put together this policy of having guns, which is kind of shocking, they have guns, on the security guards, in a retail place, like this. You don't have guns, in security placed in the banks. So, to me, that is a policy question was made.

And then I understand, when I gather, there's been changes in the policy, over a period of time. So, the officers very well may not be clear about what their responsibilities are.

And were they properly trained? Were they given authority that you stop someone, if they don't respond, you kill them, you shoot them? Is that a policy? If so, that's a wrongheaded policy, and one should not be accepted. And I'm not going to accept it. We want to fight this all the way through. [21:55:00]

SIDNER: Mr. Burris, thank you so much for taking the time, tonight, to go through this case with us.

BURRIS: Thank you.

SIDNER: Coming up next, white supremacists marched, on the Capitol, to spread hate. But one cyclist stopped them, right in their tracks. That cyclist is joining us in just a bit.


FLOOD: You were the losers of your high school class.



SIDNER: He came. He saw. He heckled.

Over the weekend, Patriot Front, a white supremacy group that believes their ancestors conquered America, and bequeathed it to them, and no one else, marched along the National Mall, in downtown Washington D.C.

The Police escorted members, throughout the city, when one cyclist did this.


FLOOD: Wear Walmart Khakis.

Get a life.

Hi, Fascists!

FLOOD: No one likes you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- of America to continue.

FLOOD: Your mom hates you.


FLOOD: Your friends hate you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- to fight for.

FLOOD: You were the losers of your high school class.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have gone out into this once-great country --

FLOOD: You're a bunch of incels.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Americans are cast adrift.

FLOOD: You're sloppy. You are not even matching.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And crushed under foot.

FLOOD: You all have different types of pants on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The cities have turned --

FLOOD: Cargo pants are out.

Reclaim your virginity!


SIDNER: Let us still bring in that gentleman, who was on the bike there, Joe Flood, the writer and photographer, who heckled the group.

All right, I have to ask you, why this tactic? Some people would come out, blasting them, in a different way. You were sort of joking, but throwing barbs.

FLOOD: Yes. I've seen a lot of protests and counter-protests, in D.C. And yes, usually involves people yelling back and forth.

So, when I rolled up on the bike, I thought, and I would do something different. And they looked so ridiculous, lined up, in front of the Washington Monument, with their leader, giving this really boring speech.

It was just sort of the perfect moment for me, to roll up, and start hurling insults. And I tried to be as personal and direct as possible. Because I think that gets to people more than if you just start cursing at them.

SIDNER: Yes, at one point, I heard on the video, I heard you say, "Oh, I got into your head," when you made a joke that he -- one of them was a General Custer's illegitimate child.


SIDNER: I do want to ask you though about seeing this scene. These are white nationalists, white supremacists, who believe this country belongs to them, and them only, and only to people of European descent.

What did you think, when you saw this group, with no one else there, to sort of say, "Hey, this is not cool."

FLOOD: Well, they snuck into the city, without telling anyone.

And they've done this before. They sneak into the city. No notice, except for the Police, obviously. And they marched around, for like 20 minutes, and leave, to get their photo-ops. And that's why there's never been people counter-protesting them.

And so, when I saw on Twitter that they were marching around, and I was nearby, I decided that I had to go. And when I got there, there was no one else, yelling at them. So, I decided that I should yell at them.


SIDNER: Joe, did you hear anything from them? Did they say anything back? Was there any response?

FLOOD: Yes. When I -- the speaker, the leader, couldn't memorize his speech, and he kept looking at his notes, and he kept pulling out his speech, to read it, and then he put it back in, and started reading it again, and I yelled at him, like "Boring! Why can't you remember your speech -- why can't you memorize your speech?"

And he -- and, at one point, I'm like, "Boring! This is going on too long!" And he was like "You should get comfortable, this is going to be a while!"

SIDNER: Joe Flood, thank you.


SIDNER: And thank you for making us giggle --


SIDNER: -- about a very serious subject.

FLOOD: Thank you.

SIDNER: And thank you, for joining us, tonight.

"CNN TONIGHT" with Alisyn Camerota, starts, right now.

Hey, Alisyn?

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST, CNN TONIGHT: Sara, hold on a second. That was the best heckle, I've ever heard. "You were loser in high school!" That is, it's so good, it's priceless, really.


CAMEROTA: "You have reclaimed your virginity." That is so funny!

SIDNER: It's really funny!

CAMEROTA: I mean it's a serious topic!

SIDNER: I know.

CAMEROTA: But he's really making light of it, in an entertaining way.

SIDNER: Agreed.

CAMEROTA: That was fantastic. Thank you very much, for that, Sara.