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Bowman: Marjorie Taylor Greene Using "Bullhorn To Put A Target On My Back"; Feinstein Suffered From More Health Issues Than Disclosed; Fat Joe: Hospitals Ignoring Order To Reveal Costs To Patients. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired May 18, 2023 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SARA SIDNER, CNN HOST, CNN PRIMETIME: Thank you, Anderson.
Good evening. And thank you, for joining me.
Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, dismissing Donald Trump's presidential candidacy, days before he's set to make his own candidacy, official.
According to "The New York Times," DeSantis is pitching donors, by saying there are only three real contenders, in the presidential race, himself, Joe Biden, and Trump. But he says only two candidates have a chance, at winning the Presidency, and Donald Trump is not one of them.
Trump is, of course, the front-runner, so far, despite his election lies, and mountain of legal troubles, one of which ended, with a jury, finding him liable, for sexual abuse. DeSantis is driving home, his record, of turning culture war issues, into laws.
Then, there's Nikki Haley, and Senator Tim Scott, who are calling for a return, to what they call true conservatism, without directly attacking Donald Trump. Former Vice President Mike Pence, who worked in the Trump presidency, but also became a target of it, says he too, wants to return, back to the party's original roots.
And there are those presidential hopefuls, and potential candidates, who say Trump should never step foot in the Oval Office again. That is where former Arkansas governor, Asa Hutchinson, former New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, and New Hampshire governor, Chris Sununu land.
More candidates with less name recognition are also jumping in with various platforms.
For his part, DeSantis travels to another early nominating state, tomorrow, when he visits New Hampshire.
Here now, with his take, on the road to 2024, Michael Smerconish, host of "SMERCONISH," here on CNN, and of "The Michael Smerconish Program" on SiriusXM.
Michael, Governor DeSantis has said all of these things, saying Donald Trump can't win, but he and Joe Biden might. Do you buy it?
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR, "SMERCONISH": Ron DeSantis -- hi, Sara, first of all, thanks for having me.
Ron DeSantis would seemingly have a very strong hand, right? Florida governor, he's going to be very well-funded. He's got organizational support, and a lot of endorsements.
Oh, wait a minute. Maybe we've seen this movie before. Because all of those things were said about Jeb Bush, which I think just underscores, how hard it is, to handicap what's about to unfold.
The pitch seems to be you get Donald Trump's policies, without Donald Trump's values. But what I keep thinking is that those so-called values, of Donald Trump, the rough edges, the offensive statements that alienates so many are also what pack 5,000, 10,000 people, into an arena, for one of his rallies.
So, even though a number of Republicans, they say, "I'd love to have Trump's policies. I just didn't -- just don't wish I had the other aspects of Donald Trump," I don't know that that drives out a vote. And you got to drive out a vote to win.
SIDNER: So, other candidates could jump into this race. Do you think that that number, of three people, in this race, will change, and he will be more concerned about other contenders?
SMERCONISH: We talk a lot about the lanes, right? What are the differing lanes, and who can occupy them?
I look at this as like it's the 405 in L.A., an area I know you're familiar with. And it's like Donald Trump has all the lanes, and then there's an HOV lane. And maybe Ron DeSantis is in the HOV lane. And you know that if you've got an additional passenger, you get to go faster than everybody else, in those other lanes. But it's hard for me to see any room at the end, for anyone other than Trump or DeSantis.
And according to all the polls, it's not just a one-off. Donald Trump has like a 30-point lead, over Ron DeSantis, right now. Is that because DeSantis has not formally come out, because he hasn't responded to that which Trump has said about him? Or has Trump already defined him in a way that's going to limit the appeal that DeSantis can ever have?
I would love to sit here, and make a bold prediction, about what's about to unfold. But I really don't know. There are so many intangibles that none of us have a crystal ball.
SIDNER: OK. Here is something that could trip DeSantis up. Disney is scrapping plans for a $1 billion office complex, in Orlando, which would mean that 2,000 jobs that could have been in place in Florida will not be there, over this fight, with DeSantis.
Will this hurt him? And has this really given you the idea that the Republican Party has really changed? SMERCONISH: So, I think that Ron DeSantis is making a wager, here. If I want to look at this as a cold political calculus, he thinks there's more potency, in fighting the culture wars, right, because this was all retaliatory.
You remember what happened. Florida passes a law, with the support of Governor DeSantis that limits the ability of educators, to teach, about gender identity. And then, Disney comes out, a predecessor of Bob Iger's, and they're critical of it. And immediately comes, the retaliation, by Ron DeSantis, attaching, or attacking, I should say, their ability to self-govern. It's very simple what transpired.
I think what's happening is that Ron DeSantis is making a wager, and he's saying, "There's more political upside, for me, at least among Republicans, if I'm fighting the culture wars, even at the risk that I'm now no longer a pro-business GOP candidate," which traditionally has been where the Republican Party has stood. We are the party of business. We're for jobs. We're for cutting taxes.
Now, you've got a Florida governor, at odds, with one of the most beloved, I still think, companies, corporations, in the United States. That's a short-term play. Maybe that wins, in a primary, among some voters. I find it hard to believe that it wins in a general.
SIDNER: It's interesting, because I don't think you'll find any governor, mayor, or politician, anywhere that will tout something that lost them, thousands, potentially, of jobs. But we will have to see how this goes forward, because certainly he is concentrating, on the culture wars, very, very harshly.
Michael Smerconish, thank you so much. You always give some really interesting insight.
You can catch Michael's show, Saturday morning, here on CNN.
SMERCONISH: Thank you, Sara.
SIDNER: Now, to another political fight, this one far uglier, than the run for president, at the moment. Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene is being accused of veiled racism, after a shouting match, with Democrat, Jamaal Bowman. The argument was over the potential expulsion, of indicted Republican congressman, George Santos.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JAMAAL BOWMAN (D-NY): The party has to kick him out.
REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): Look, you guys --
BOWMAN: He's embarrassing you all.
The party's hanging by a thread.
TAYLOR GREENE: Now, we got to -- we got to get rid of Bidens. BOWMAN: The party's hanging --
TAYLOR GREENE: To save the country.
BOWMAN: The party's hanging by a thread.
TAYLOR GREENE: To save the country. Impeach Biden.
BOWMAN: You got to save the party
TAYLOR GREENE: Impeach Biden.
BOWMAN: Listen, no more QAnon.
TAYLOR GREENE: Impeach Biden.
BOWMAN: I need you to save the party.
TAYLOR GREENE: Not very smart. Pay attention.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: The Congresswoman suggested she felt physically threatened, by Bowman, because he was a -- had a, quote, "History of aggression."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAYLOR GREENE: What concerns me about Jamaal Bowman is he has a history of aggression.
What's on video is Jamaal Bowman, shouting, at the top of his lungs, cursing, calling me a horrible -- calling me a White supremacist, which I take great offense to. That is like calling a person of color, the N-word, which should never happen. Calling me a White supremacist is equal to that.
And I am concerned about it. I feel threatened by him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: She was likely harkening back to this incident, last month.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOWMAN: Any rhetoric that uplifts White supremacy, we are pushing back against that in all its forms. Marjorie Taylor Greene needs to take her ass back to Washington.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: This was Congressman Bowman's response, to what Greene has said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BOWMAN: Unfortunately, this country has a history, of characterizing Black men, who are outspoken, who stand their ground, and who push back, as being threatening, or intimidating. So, she's not even using a dog whistle. She's using a bullhorn to put a target on my back.
I never invaded her personal space. I was laughing, and gregarious, the entire time. How is that intimidating?
Unfortunately, White supremacists, historically, this is what they do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: Here's why he's saying that. This is some important context, you should know.
Greene is the same person, who chased down a teenage survivor, of Florida's deadliest school shooting, who was on the Hill, advocating for gun control.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAYLOR GREENE: You don't have anything to say for yourself? You can't defend your stance? How did you get over 30 appointments with senators? How did you do that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: And, this February, Greene spoke, at a White nationalist conference, organized by well-known White supremacist, Nick Fuentes.
All right. Let's bring in the table. Eric Deggans, TV and media analyst, for NPR; CNN's Alayna Treene; Jamal Simmons, former Communications Director to Vice President Harris; and Rina Shah, a Republican strategist.
All right, I'm going to start with you, Jamal.
There is, can we just call out the hypocrisy, here? When you saw that, what did you see between the two of them? Because we can all watch it. It's not like it's something that happened in the dark, and nobody saw it, but the two of them. You can see what's going on there.
JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes. Listen, it wasn't the most sophisticated debate, one ever saw, on Capitol Hill, right? We can all stipulate that, right?
ERIC DEGGANS, TV CRITIC AND MEDIA ANALYST, NPR: Yes, right.
SIMMONS: But what was concerning was that Congresswoman Taylor Greene would say that she felt threatened, by someone who, as you said, was laughing, was sort of gesturing, was in the middle of a crowd of people.
She also said he's not smart. Jamaal Bowman has a doctorate in education, founded a school, led a school, for 10 years. It all, as he said, goes back to not just dog whistles, but these pretty loud clarion calls to racism.
And the thing about Marjorie Taylor Greene, unlike George Santos, right, who this was all kind of staged, because of the George Santos debate, that was happening on the Hill, today? George Santos is a fraud. I mean, everybody can sort of see that he's not really who it is he pretends to be.
Marjorie Taylor Greene is not a fraud. She's exactly who it is, she pretends to be. And she's scary. She's a Christian nationalist. She says that. About 10 percent of Americans, according to PRRI, believe that America should be a Christian nation only.
SIMMONS: And she said that January 6, would be our 1776 moment. So, somebody, who before, and when we had the violence, of January 6, saw that as a moment, for a new kind of America, to be founded? I think she's the scary one, out of the exchange that we saw today.
SIDNER: I want to ask you, Rina, what you made of that.
And you can all jump in, when -- this is a conversation. I want you to feel comfortable.
ALAYNA TREENE, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes.
SIDNER: But we know, from reporting, from CNN, and everyone else's reporting that Greene repeatedly indicated support, for executing prominent Democratic politicians, in 2016, and 2019 -- sorry, 2018, 2019, before she was elected to Congress. And now, she's making this accusation that just doesn't seem credible.
RINA SHAH, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yes, there's a lot to unpack here, for someone, who's sitting in a member of Congress' post. It's almost shocking to me. I'm a two-time former senior congressional staffer, and over a decade ago.
But I'll tell you, this was fast, how we got here, to see this kind of extremism, and to see, again, a sitting member of Congress, weaponize her words, on the regular. But when she thinks somebody else is doing? The tactic she employs, are not just nonsensical, they're dangerous, because it's whataboutism, and then it's wrapped up in racism. It's plain and simple.
She doesn't reflect the vast majority of White conservative women, in this country. She doesn't reflect their views. She doesn't even reflect the views of the vast majority of conservative women.
And I submit to you that the more she continues this, we'll be able to see her real ambition. And I think we already see some of it. She does these incidents. She goes at them alone, because she fundraises off of them. You don't see any of her colleagues, the ones, who look like her, women in the GOP, in the House chamber, rushing to her defense, because what I saw in that incident was a heated discussion, between two colleagues.
Was it civil? I think it was. But what it indicated is that she, and many others, also on the other side of the aisle? I'm not going to say it's equal amounts, or in the same way. But I want to say that we do see it, this declining civility, in the body of Congress. And that is most dangerous for us, because that indicates higher levels of dissatisfaction -- I'm sorry, they're going to get less done and higher levels --
SHAH: -- of dissatisfaction, with Congress.
SIDNER: With Congress, that's right.
SHAH: That's it.
SIDNER: Jamal, what do you make of this, when you look at the tropes -- or sorry, Eric, what do you make of the tropes that --
SIMMONS: "Jamal" is a popular name, today.
SIMMONS: I remember when it was rare. Now, it's kind of common. So, I'll take it.
SIDNER: Eric and I have hung out on TV.
DEGGANS: It's really, a way cooler name than Eric. So, I'm going to do it.
But, one of the things that struck me is that -- one of the things that we see with White supremacists is that they do try to take on the mantle of issues that have worked, for civil rights advocates, right?
So, this idea that trying to find a term that's supposedly as offensive as the N-word?
SIDNER: Right, got it.
DEGGANS: -- and saying, "Well, they used that word against me," that was something that was really troubling, because the N-word, there's a reason why we don't say that word.
DEGGANS: I mean, there's a -- you can tell that that phrase, White supremacist isn't the same as the N-word, because we say White supremacy, we do not say the N-word.
And the N-word has a certain history that's wrapped up in the legacy of slavery. And that's also something that a lot of White supremacists want to avoid. They don't want to talk about the impact of hundreds of years of chattel slavery, involving Black people, and the modern legacy of that.
And so, it's so odd, to see her, in one breath, want to bat away, the hypocrisy, of criticizing someone, who uses the same tack that she does. And then also trying to bat away the legacy of slavery, and the weight of the N-word, by trying to compare, calling her a white supremacist, which is, arguably --
SIDNER: She's flown at a White nationalist conference.
DEGGANS: Yes, which is arguably something you could accuse her of, and comparing it to something as terrible as the N-word -- this.
And then, finally, we're in a situation, where I do feel like, the problem is that people like her, and her tactics, it can pull other people, down to that level.
And it really bothers me that a legislator, who seems, as you said, really intelligent and accomplished, would be drawn, into a shouting match, with someone like that, anyway.
SIDNER: Yes, yes.
DEGGANS: I think one of the things you have to realize is that you can't fight that same fight, because all it does is bring you down to their level.
SIDNER: Well, what else it does, Alayna? It sometimes is used in a different way. How much of this do you see, when you see something like that will be turned around, and used, for fundraising? Because I certainly get the things, from a whole bunch of different folks, who will use that --
SIDNER: -- Ms. Greene herself, to raise money.
TREENE: Oh absolutely, absolutely. I think that's something that, to give Marjorie Taylor Greene credit, she knows how to message, on these things, effectively. And she knows that it plays very well with the Trump base, and her base, and the MAGA voters. And it's definitely something I think we could likely see, in some fundraising appeals.
I also think that as this plays out, I mean, her jumping, on this, holding a press conference, today --
TREENE: -- about the incident, and also distorting some of the facts? I mean, I spoke with some of my colleagues, who were on the steps of
the Capitol. And they said, they were there, they saw the entire interaction. They did not hear any of the words she described, about the nastiness of it, and calling her a White supremacist, in that moment. We obviously saw the video of him --
TREENE: -- doing it in New York. But that's something that her supporters love about her.
And I think also, at the same time, it's also going to -- she's not just, as much as she is a far-right member of Congress and a very fringe member of Congress, she also has a lot of sway, within the Republican Party.
SIDNER: She does now.
TREENE: She meets weekly, with Kevin McCarthy.
SHAH: I mean, as of January --
SHAH: -- she's got a direct line, with the Speaker.
TREENE: Right. She's had it before then, though. I mean, she's been meeting weekly, with the Speaker. And so, she has a lot of power. And so, it's fascinating, to watch how she can monopolize, on moments, like this.
DEGGANS: And that power flows directly, from these kinds of confrontations --
SIDNER: Well, right.
DEGGANS: -- the confrontations that --
SIDNER: Well because money is power.
DEGGANS: -- put her --
SIDNER: Yes. Of course.
DEGGANS: -- as the subject of a segment, on CNN.
SIDNER: Yes. Yes. And I guess the question is, I can't help, but ask this. I'm sorry, I'm going on.
But Rina, why doesn't the party take care of this, deal with her, in the way in which she should be dealt with, in a lot of people's minds?
SHAH: They can't do it because she's a celebrity, now. That's the thing. She represents this sort of growing --
SIDNER: OK. SHAH: -- iconic, right figure. And it's not right. But -- and it's not fair to the moderates, OK? I'll be very honest.
But it has everything to do with money, and stardom, and where she goes, she commands an audience, and she draws in those small donors, because she gets them excited, and she gets them fearful, about the future.
SIMMONS: And remember, she got Donald Trump on speed dial.
SIDNER: I know.
Thank you so much. Stay with us.
Next, a mysterious -- mystery is growing, tonight. Have four young children survived the deadly plane crash, in the Amazon jungle, after more than two weeks? New findings could give clues, to their whereabouts.
I'll speak to someone, who survived a similar plane crash, in this very area.
SIDNER: Did four children survive a deadly plane crash, in the Amazon jungle? The mystery and search is intensifying, tonight.
A small plane went down, 17 days ago, in Southern Colombia. The bodies of three adults, found on board, but no sign of the children. Their ages, a 11-months-old to 13-years-old.
Authorities initially claimed that they were alive. Even this morning, they were saying, so, after following a trail of clues. There were baby bottles, hair scrunchies, plastic wrappings, even an improvised shelter, built with sticks and leaves.
But today, confusion, when the Colombian President retracted the news, they were found alive, but insists that hope remains.
We do know that search efforts have been hurt, by storms, and the extremely difficult terrain.
My next guest knows all too well, what the conditions, are like. In 1995, Mercedes Ramirez Johnson was one of four passengers, who survived this crash that you're looking at, in the mountains of Colombia. 160 people were killed, including her parents. But she was found, about a day later.
Mercedes, thank you so much for joining me.
MERCEDES RAMIREZ JOHNSON, SURVIVOR OF 1995 COLOMBIA PLANE CRASH: Thank you for having me. SIDNER: All right, when you heard about this crash, and then subsequently that there were four children, alone, somewhere in the jungle, that may have made it out, alive, what did you think about what they're going through?
RAMIREZ JOHNSON: My thoughts were just completely overwhelmed with grief for them, knowing that they must be scared, knowing that they must be terrified.
But also with -- just my heart is just full of hope for them. To show -- the little clues that they've left behind just shows how resourceful, and how resilient they are. And if they're doing those things, to try to find help, on their own, that shows that they themselves have hope. And that's the most important thing, at this point.
SIDNER: Yes, and one of the children is only 11-months-old. So, if they are still alive, and doing all these things, and leaving these things behind, it means that the older children are taking care of that baby.
I want to go back, to your incident. In 1995, you were just 21-years- old, traveling with your parents, from the States, to see family, in Colombia. Can you take me back to that moment? I know that it's hard. But the moment, the plane went down, what you were experiencing, when you realized, "Hey, I actually survived this."
RAMIREZ JOHNSON: Yes, it's one of those moments that when it was happening, I didn't think that we were actually going to crash. The pilots, without any sort of warning, or announcement, suddenly pulled the nose of the plane, straight up into the air.
So, one moment we were flying, perfectly normal, and the next moment, our plane is flying straight up into the air, and our backs are pressed against the backs of our seat, and it was just pandemonium panic, everybody yelling, and screaming, and parents trying to calm down their children.
And I was sitting next to my father, holding on to his hand. And I could hear my mother in the row in front of me, praying. And so, hearing her praying, out loud, calmed me down. I was still terrified.
RAMIREZ JOHNSON: But just focusing on her voice made me think that "OK, if she's not losing it, I'm not going to lose it either. I'm just going to focus on her voice."
It wasn't till the next morning, until I woke up in the wreckage, with no recollection what have happened the night before that it took me about 20 minutes to 30 minutes, to kind of piece all the things that had happened, the night before, together, in my brain, to realize that we had never made it, to the airport --
RAMIREZ JOHNSON: -- and that indeed I was in the wreckage of the flight that I was in, just a few hours before.
And when that realization came to me, it was like a movie, where everything was just tunnel vision. I didn't pay attention to anything, or anybody else, around me. And my main goal was just to get out of that plane, as quickly, and as safely, as I could.
And I was still scared, and I was terrified. But my number one goal was just survival at that point.
SIDNER: So, your survival instincts kicked in.
And I just want to say to you, I am so sorry, you went through that. That is absolutely horrific.
You finally realize that what's happened, and you're in this jungle area. Can you give us a sense of what these children are going through, the conditions that they are dealing with, at such a young age?
RAMIREZ JOHNSON: Well, at the altitude that they are, hopefully they're not cold. I know that in that region, it's, the weather is very fierce. There's heavy rains. There's heat and humidity.
But the good thing for them is that there's fresh water. There's tons of vegetation, all around them, fruits and flowers and things that are edible, that hopefully they're able to recognize, what they can and cannot eat. And, hopefully, they're just having faith in each other.
Obviously, they seem to be working, like a little team, together, which is just heartwarming, for me to even think about, if that would have happened to my children, how they would have reacted in that moment.
And, in my eyes, they're just heroes. And I'm thankful that they are being as resourceful as possible, to make themselves a little shelter, and that they're leaving little trails. It's like they are leading people, to find them. And that's what I'm praying for, at this moment.
SIDNER: Mercedes Ramirez Johnson, thank you so much. I'm so happy that you survived. And let us pray that those children do too. We appreciate your time here.
RAMIREZ JOHNSON: Thank you.
SIDNER: We are learning more tonight, about the health of longtime Senator, Dianne Feinstein. She's had more complications than previously disclosed. Why the secrecy? Next.
SIDNER: New tonight, Senator Dianne Feinstein suffered more complications, from shingles, than were publicly disclosed, apparently.
Earlier in the day, the 89-year-old lawmaker told CNN, it was a really bad flu.
But later, her office put out a statement, writing "The senator previously disclosed that she had several complications related to her shingles diagnosis... those complications included Ramsay Hunt syndrome and encephalitis. While the encephalitis resolved itself shortly after she was released from the hospital in March, she continues to have complications from Ramsay Hunt syndrome."
Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain, the new revelation raising more questions, about her mental fitness, and her ability to serve.
We are back with our fantastic panelists.
A lot of Democrats, and everyone, looking, relieved to see her back. But they are sidestepping questions, about whether or not they want her to step down. And they're just sort of not making that clear.
I'm going to start with you, Jamal.
SIMMONS: Listen, I think Dianne Feinstein is a giant, right? She's a big presence, in California politics. I remember, when she got elected, with Senator Boxer in 1982, I was in college. And I remember that being a big moment, the year of the women, it's a big, big deal. So, I think a lot of people like her a lot.
Also, the Senate has sort of been a home for geriatric care for a long time, right? I mean, I remember, when Strom Thurmond was there, and when Robert Byrd was there? And I remember, those guys, were President pro tempore of the Senate. They were in line to be President of the United States, if something had happened. And they were not doing very well, let's just put it like that, right?
SIMMONS: They weren't doing very well. So, when the men got in trouble, we sort of seem to give them a little bit of space.
Now, what's different about this moment --
SIMMONS: -- is the line, in the Senate is so narrow. The Democrats have such a narrow majority.
And so, people are worried, what happens to that Senate majority, if Dianne Feinstein can't show up. And we've already had some instances of that occur, judicial appointments, control of the Senate. So, there are some legitimate concerns. Her friends and allies are concerned. Last thing I'll say is I don't know what the recourse is.
SIMMONS: If she doesn't resign, they're going to expel her? I don't think they're going to get a majority of this United States Senate to go along with that.
SIMMONS: So what's the recourse?
SIMMONS: We don't really have one.
SIDNER: I have a question. Because I lived in the Bay Area for some time. I lived in San Francisco, for some time, and was back there, recently. And the whispering was happening, behind the cameras --
SIDNER: -- where you couldn't see people, who were saying, "We just hope that she can resign."
What is actually happening? The only person I know for sure that I remember coming out, was AOC, saying, "You know what? It's time."
TREENE: A couple other House members, I should say, not senators.
TREENE: Some Democratic House members, like Congressman Ro Khanna --
TREENE: -- also calling on her to resign.
Jamal made a very good point. The recourse here is very difficult.
TREENE: And I do think, I mean, this is not a new issue. It's definitely seen a lot more attention, because of her near three months out of the Senate, and the complications she's facing now.
But this has been a conversation that has been held -- I mean, I've been covering Capitol Hill for years now, among staff, and people, on Capitol Hill, just questions about her fitness for Office. And it's a very difficult subject.
And even this week, she returned, last week, to the Senate, we've had some conversations, with Senator Dick Durbin. He's the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who's facing a lot of these issues, with -- or had faced a lot of these issues, when she was absent. And even he's saying, "Listen, it has to be her decision," but recognizing that it's a tough one. And a lot of Republican senators are saying the same thing.
So, it's difficult to see what will happen. And I do think increasingly, we're hearing it'll most likely have to be her own decision, and come from her own office.
DEGGANS: One thing I'm wondering about is the politics that surround this, because if she resigns, then the Governor of California appoints her --
SIDNER: Yes, appoints, yes.
DEGGANS: -- replacement. And he has promised to appoint a Black woman, in that job. And we know that a well-known White politician, Schiff --
SIDNER: He's also running.
DEGGANS: -- wants to run --
DEGGANS: -- for that position.
DEGGANS: And so, I'm wondering how much of this is her abstinence, and how much of this is maybe some people don't want her to resign, maybe some Democrats don't want her to resign.
I think there's been not enough transparency, about all the different agendas, at work, here. And I'm concerned that a lot of this has been placed on her, when there may be -- there may be other powerful Democrats, who don't want her to resign, either.
SIDNER: Rina, how are the Republicans looking at this? And -- because, I'm sure -- I mean, is it hurting the party and hurting their power?
SHAH: For Republicans, look, they really don't have a leg to stand on here. Because if you look, and you see Grassley, you see McConnell, you don't see men, who are far behind the people, on the other side.
I must say we have a system that protects the incumbent. And Dianne Feinstein, we can do two things about her. We can applaud whatever she's accomplished. And I have serious policy differences with her. But I can applaud this long track record, of real success, for her constituents.
But my gosh, as a political strategist, I have advised numerous people, "Let's go out on top. Let's go out on a high note. Think about your legacy here." And she is not doing that. So, to criticize her, I don't think, is ageist or sexist. It's being practical. It's saying, "You tried to work from home for a long time. You can't do that. You're not in the private sector. You're representing people here."
And the other part of this that I'll be interested in, as we go on, as -- because we know we have a high life expectancy here, is how we look at women, in politics. Because look at Nancy Pelosi, looking all good over there, right?
SHAH: And look at Dianne Feinstein. When she doesn't look well, my gosh, we come right out with the knives.
SHAH: And for men, we don't do that. We don't remark on them looking as unwell. And we talk about Nancy, while we forget her age, not far behind Biden, in fact a year older than Biden, if I'm not mistaken.
So, this is a situation that is a tough one. But my gosh, she's got to go. It's not wrong to call for her, to say, "Hey, it's time. It's time."
SIDNER: All right. Thank you, to all of you, Eric, Alayna, Jamal, Rina. I am so happy that you're here with me today. No one wants to hear me talk all this time by myself.
SIDNER: All right.
SIMMONS: Thank you.
TREENE: Thank you.
SIDNER: Coming up next, Rapper Fat Joe is here, on the set, demanding laws be enforced. And he's demanding laws be enforced, after an order, from the Trump administration. We'll explain.
Plus, is New York City sinking? The warning from geologists is coming up.
SIDNER: It is a law, designed to help every American, who steps foot, in a hospital. So, why isn't it being enforced?
Hospitals are supposed to inform their patients, what procedures cost, before their treatment. The problem? Hospitals aren't being held accountable. The government agency, responsible, lists only four hospitals being fined, in 2022 and 2023, combined. Patients also don't know to ask for the information. One study found
only 9 percent of adults were aware that hospitals must disclose this information.
There's also a big disconnect, between government data, and private reviews. The official figures show 70 percent compliance. But a survey, by a patient rights group, found only about a quarter of hospitals are actually following the law.
One of the highest-profile people, demanding change, an unlikely advocate, he is known worldwide, for his dope rhymes, and memorable hooks, not patient advocacy.
I'm talking about this guy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(VIDEO - "LEAN BACK" - SONG BY FAT JOE, REMY MA, AND TERROR SQUAD)
Don't dance we just pull up our pants And do the rockaway, now lean back, lean back, lean back, lean back
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: It's hard not to bob to that. I'm just going to tell you that right now.
Fat Joe, thank you so much for being here.
FAT JOE, RAPPER, READ COLUMN AT CNN.COM: Thank you for having me. It's an honor.
SIDNER: So, I have a question. What is it that sparked your passion, because you are a straight passionate about this, to take on the hospitals, because of this law?
JOE: Well, I have a friend, Kevin Morra, for over 20 years. And he's part of Power to the Patients.
He introduced me to a young lady, named Cynthia Fisher. And when she started breaking down to me, the disparities, and the people losing their homes, and the people losing their families, and people afraid to go to the hospitals? Something just hit me.
And I'm from the South Bronx. And my people championed me. And they pushed me to get to where I'm at. So, I always think of the voiceless. So, this was something that felt really, really dear to me.
Jay-Z and Meek Mill got justice reform, and Kim Kardashian do that.
JOE: I even saw Elizabeth Taylor, where HIV. So, I guess, health care transparency is the thing that -- the light bulb that went off, in my head. SIDNER: You went to Congress. You have. This is something that is actually one of the few things that has bipartisan support. So, what's going wrong? Tell people what's happening in hospitals, if they don't already know.
JOE: In the hip hop community is always the Black and Brown.
JOE: This is the one thing is the White, Asian, Amish, Native American, Black, Brown, whatever you call, this is bipartisan. And so, people are losing their homes, they're losing their families.
If you just went out to the street, right now, you'll see how many men are walking, hobbling across the street. There's a reason for that. They're afraid to go to the hospital, because the prices are too high.
And so, what they do is they don't go for checkups. They don't fix it. And before you know it, they have serious issues. They wind up losing their homes. Nobody wins, when the family feuds. When the family is arguing over money?
JOE: Some people don't know whether to do a hospital procedure, or send their kid to college. This is scary stuff.
I heard a story, about a young lady, in the Amish community. She was supposed to have a kidney transplant. But do you know that when you go to the hospitals, they make you sign a waiver that says if you don't pay the bill, they can take your property. So, her family were debating whether they get a kidney transplant, or they might be giving up the farm.
So, this is this is all over America. And this is a law, already. So, this is not -- you don't have to reinvent the wheel. The law is there. You just have to enforce it.
And we, saw when they enforced it, the first two hospitals, were compliant, immediately. So, we know that this works. And all they got to do, and I never thought Fat Joe, the rapper, would be saying, "Enforce the law." But I am, right here, on CNN.
SIDNER: I was going to ask you about --
JOE: It's crazy.
SIDNER: -- about that. You have gone, looking at what's happening.
And I want to give you a statistic, because I started looking at this as well. You sort of inspired me to, go, "OK, let me check this out."
In 2019, there was a study that was put out, and it was published in a medical journal. And it said, that bankruptcy that people are going bankrupt, it is the number one reason why people are going bankrupt is medical bills.
JOE: It's 100 million Americans in medical debt. The census says there's only 300 million Americans.
JOE: So, that's one in every three. Now, this is young, this is middle-aged, this is old, and, at the same time, if you just thought about how many people, in your family, or friends that you know that are going to medical procedures, now.
And so, to simplify it, we just want to know the prices. You got Burger King. You got McDonald's. You got Carvel. You got Baskin- Robbins. We just want to know, because there's some hospitals, charging people $300, for a MRI, and they're also charging, in the same hospital, $3,600, to other patients, price gouging.
I want to know what's the difference in the prices? Maybe I can shop here, and maybe the hospital down the road has a better price, for me. That's all we saying, is just bring transparency, to the prices, so that the people could feel comfortable, to go in there, in the first place.
Because people are not, you know, you got women avoiding going to the hospital. They work two, three jobs.
JOE: Then it turns into stage four breast cancer. These are facts. These ain't -- I'm just not throwing this out the sky. This is happening in America, to all Americans, out there.
SIDNER: You mentioned, I mean, you're from the South Bronx. And this is a place that is one of the poorest urban congressional districts, in the United States. And you talked about, this affects everybody. But it specifically hurts Black and Brown communities. It specifically hurts people, who don't have a lot of funds, who are making choices, between groceries and like going to get their medical care.
What do you want to say, to the hospitals, and to the patients, when it comes to enforcing this law? What do you want to see?
JOE: Well, I can tell the hospitals, I'm a capitalist. I like to make money. When is enough, enough? How much profit do you need? At whose expense? There's people in the hospitals, all over America, right now, watching, right now, sitting in the bed, getting taken advantage of.
So, something's going to happen. This ideal time has come. I believe that -- I believe in people power. I believe it's bigger than any ideology. And I'll just say, "Yo, enough's enough, man. Just let the people know what the prices are. Have a heart."
We started out talking about this behind-the-scenes. I loved your passion, during COVID, when you was just talking about what was going on, how many people were affected, in the hospitals, how many people were passing away. And we just got to have a heart. When isn't it about profit, and it's
about the people?
SIDNER: Wow. That's a really strong message. Thank you so much, Fat Joe.
JOE: Thank you so much.
SIDNER: I do want to say, I don't know, they might need to start calling you "Slim Joe." I see you.
JOE: Hey, I'm trying to stick around.
SIDNER: I appreciate you. Thank you.
JOE: Thank you so much.
SIDNER: It is a sinking feeling. According to scientists, New York City is sinking. What's to blame? Apparently all those skyscrapers. Couple that with climate change? And the city could be in big trouble. So, what now?
SIDNER: Guess what? New York City, it's sinking. That alarming warning comes from a new geological study that says the weight of the Big Apple skyscrapers is to blame. The city has more than a million buildings, and they add up to about 1.7 trillion pounds, according to researchers, at the University of Rhode Island.
How fast are we sinking? About 1 millimeter to 2 millimeters a year, which for context, is about the width of a nickel. Doesn't sound like much, does it? But experts say the catastrophic effects, already underway. In fact, some climate experts estimate that Lower Manhattan, and parts of Long Island, of the coast there, could be underwater, in less than 80 years.
Chief Climate Correspondent, Bill Weir, is here.
Bill, I'm depressed.
BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Don't be.
SIDNER: I'm a little -- OK. I'm a little out of sorts here, I guess.
WEIR: I hear you. I understand a lot.
SIDNER: So, we hear about the skyscrapers, and we all go "Ooh, aah," like "1.7 trillion. That's a lot."
SIDNER: But what's the real issue here beyond them?
WEIR: Well, this is happening in the age of sea level rise.
WEIR: As a coastal city, that complicates things, if you're going down, while the water's coming up, right? And coastal cities, this is happening, around the world. And it happens for different reasons. It's the weight of the buildings. But it's where they're built.
WEIR: If it's built on fill dirt, like a lot of where the World Trade Center was originally built on that?
WEIR: The parts of Staten Island. It sinks. There's groundwater pumping that causes the ground to shrink as well. But sea level rise is accelerating, right now. And what is happening in cities means it could be up to four times more extreme. So, say it raises six inches in a stable area, that's two feet in a city.
WEIR: And when you've got all the infrastructure around that? They're already seeing sort of sunny day floods, these king tide floods in Miami.
WEIR: It's a huge headache. It's not the kind of thing, like you see at a devastating hurricane --
WEIR: -- where people are -- families are pushing their things. But slowly by slowly --
WEIR: -- it creeps.
SIDNER: It creeps.
SIDNER: All right. Last time I checked, there's a lot of construction. There's some video. That is not New York, right now.
WEIR: That might be the remnants of Superstorm Sandy.
SIDNER: That's -- that is from Sandy, yes.
SIDNER: I just wanted to let people know that's not happening right now. That's from Sandy. WEIR: Right, yes.
SIDNER: But there is no shortage of a construction going on, in the city --
SIDNER: -- as far as I can see. So, what are we going to see in the future? What might be done here?
WEIR: You can't imagine that something like this would stop development, especially in a dense place like this.
WEIR: But what we're already seeing, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working on a plan, to build sea walls, around New York City. They have different scenarios. It's sort of in the public comment phase. They got a couple years to figure out the plan.
But, in my neighborhood? I live down in Brooklyn. This is DUMBO.
WEIR: This is the -- all this was underwater, during Superstorm Sandy. And they are now raising and fortifying the East River Bank there, in case it floods again. This is one of the most haunting pictures of that.
SIDNER: Oh, yes.
WEIR: That's Jane's Carousel, which is right in that neighborhood there.
WEIR: But it's eerie to think that when my son is my age, and is old enough, for a mortgage, that our floodplain might be condemned, in that way. Now, it probably won't be. There's a lot of time, and there's a lot of space, to rebuild around.
But this is what yet had another conversation, to get us thinking about adaptation. The world we grew up in is gone, now. We got to get ready for the next one. And the more sort of adaptation and mitigation, we can put in it, the less pain there will be, long-term.
SIDNER: The Venetians did it, in a very different way. Maybe we need to take some lessons.
WEIR: We're really good at adapting. And it's time to start thinking about it.
SIDNER: Bill Weir, always a pleasure. Thank you so much.
WEIR: You too, Sara.
SIDNER: Next, on "CNN TONIGHT," Walgreens is paying San Francisco hundreds of millions of dollars. Alisyn will take you inside the major opioid settlement, with the pharmacy chain.
And President Biden, and world leaders, about to kick off the G7, in Hiroshima. His arrival is just moments away.
SIDNER: At this hour, President Biden, and world leaders, are kicking off the G7 summit, in Hiroshima, Japan, site of the world's first atomic bomb attack.
Crucial issues are on the table, including how to arm Ukraine, in its war against Russia. The Gathering comes under the shadow of a looming debt crisis, here, in the United States that could potentially send the global economy, into a tailspin. That is where we are, right now.
Thank you so much for joining us.
"CNN TONIGHT" with Alisyn Camerota, starts right now.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST, CNN TONIGHT: Yes, it does Sara. Thank you very much. Great to see you.
Good evening, everyone. I'm Alisyn Camerota. Welcome to CNN TONIGHT.
We're learning that Senator Dianne Feinstein has been sicker than we thought.