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Biden, McCarthy Call Debt Meeting "Productive" As Clock Ticks; Trump Praises Tim Scott's Bid: "Big Step Up" From FL Gov. DeSantis; Uber Diversity Chief On Leave Over "Don't Call Me Karen" Panel. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired May 22, 2023 - 21:00   ET



HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: --number two, vanilla was three, strawberry at four. But chocolate's my favorite. So, this is a poll that even I really do believe in.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: You're man of the people.

ENTEN: I am.

COOPER: Harry Enten, thank you very much.

ENTEN: Thank you.

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

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: Anderson, thank you very much.

And good evening, everyone.

Tonight, two notable developments, in the Special Counsel's investigation, of Donald Trump, including word of yet another subpoena, involving the former President's finances.

According to notes that Evan Corcoran took, of his conversations, with his client, Donald Trump, the former President, wanted to fight the subpoena that demanded that he return classified documents that he had no right to have, after his time in office.

Now, these notes, taken by Corcoran, are providing more insight, into Trump's thinking, and his actions, around the time the criminal investigation was launched. And now, they sit in the hands, of the Special Counsel, Jack Smith.

Joining us now is John Dean. He was the White House Counsel, for Richard Nixon.

And just like Evan Corcoran, John, you testified, about your conversations, with President Nixon.

So, as you listen to what has been reported, here, in your mind, why would there even be dozens of pages of documents, notes, about what to do, with a lawful subpoena? Shouldn't that conversation between attorney and client be pretty short?

JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I know Mr. Trump, in the past, has said, he was surprised, when his White House Counsel, were keeping notes.

I didn't keep notes, when I was White House Counsel. And I didn't know there was a taping system, which fortunately, it was there.

But the immediate problem, for Evan Corcoran, is that he, I think, did suspect his client was a little squirrely, and he didn't know how things were going to turn out. So, he kept very detailed notes, apparently, down to, as reported, such things, as his facial expressions, during conversation.

PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, it does seem to suggest that Corcoran had a sense that something was potentially going to come back and needed to be documented. One of the sources described Corcoran's notes as, quote, "Overly detailed." Another source said that some were surprised at that level of detail.

Do you think that Corcoran could have also been trying to perhaps protect himself?

DEAN: There's a good reason to suspect that's the case.

I think there's a -- we don't know what's in the notes, at this point. We know they were valuable enough to the prosecutors that they went to court, and got a judge, to say that "Look, it appears there is certainly evidence to indicate that Mr. Corcoran's client, the president -- or the former President, was taking advantage of that counsel, to commit a crime."

And that's the exception, which is breaching the privilege, which judges don't like to do. That's a very sacred privilege. So, judges are very aware of it.

And it's an -- but it's very telling to us, as spectators, in this, at this point, that we are seeing a case that is being built. And there's judges, who are looking at this evidence, see evidence of criminal behavior, by Mr. Trump.

PHILLIP: Yes, that crime-fraud exception was found by the judge, in this case, which is a very high bar, typically.

Here's what sources close to former President Trump are saying. They're saying that he was just asking his lawyer, Corcoran, for legal advice, whether -- when he asked about whether or not they could fight the subpoena.

So, if you're a prosecutor, and you're examining these notes, how do you determine, what is the line, between perhaps Trump trying to obstruct justice, asking how to get out of a subpoena?

And Trump -- lets us play devil's advocate. Trump could have been playing devil's advocate in that moment. I think that is what his aides are suggesting here. DEAN: Well listen, I pieced together, the reporting. It appears what might have happened is he might have legitimately probed his lawyer.

But the lawyer -- but he took the advice his lawyer gave him, and turned around it, and shared it with somebody else. And they appear to have moved documents, and things of that nature, once the subpoena arrived, to try to avoid it being fully uncovered and discovered.

So, that's the sort of thing that these notes could tell us, and lead us to have a better understanding of, and that would show his criminal intent. Whether or not it's just a willful use of this material, or whether it's an obstruction, it appears the obstruction case is most prominent, and strongest, at this point.


PHILLIP: So, there's another detail that is very interesting that we're learning from "The New York Times." They're reporting that Prosecutors have also issued a subpoena, about Trump's foreign businesses, in seven very specific countries, in China, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates, and also Oman.

What does it say to you that they are looking at these deals, deals that date back to 2017, meaning while Trump was still President of the United States?

DEAN: Well, it's -- the fact that it goes back throughout his presidency is very telling, that they're looking to see, what he might have shared. And I think there's good reason to do that, what he shared of Intelligence nature.

We know he did it while in the Oval Office, and they had to rush and declassify information, when he gave Ambassador Lavrov, clearly, sources and methods, which was a troublesome thing.

But here, I thought -- my immediate reaction, when Kaitlan asked him, at the Town Hall, "Have you ever shared any of this information with anybody?" The answer that most people would have given was, "Of course, I didn't. This was national security information." Trump's answer was, "I don't recall." That just doesn't fit.

It's not surprising that the Special Counsel is trying to find out well, who in the world was this man dealing with? And what might have been an occasion that he could have shared this information? Or what motive might have been for the information?

PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, I think this speaks to a major question that we still have, which is the why of it all? Why would he want to keep the documents, what is the motive, as you just said?

But turning to one of the other legal cases that the former President has been embroiled in, this is dealing with E. Jean Carroll's defamation and sexual assault case, against him. It's seems now that she is wanting to amend this case, based on his comments, in that CNN Town Hall. I want you to take a listen to this.




TRUMP: And I didn't do anything else either. You know what? Because I have no idea who the hell she is.


COLLINS: But, Mr. President, can I--

TRUMP: I don't know who this woman is.

COLLINS: --can I add--

TRUMP: They said, "Sir, don't do it. This is a fake story and you don't want to give it credibility."

COLLINS: One thing you--

TRUMP: That's why I didn't go.

COLLINS: One thing you did do in this--


TRUMP: And I swear and I've never done that, and I swear to -- I have no idea who the hell -- she's a whack-job.

COLLINS: Mr. President.


PHILLIP: "She's a whack-job."

So, what do you make of today's filings? Are you surprised at all?

DEAN: Not at all. I think that what was done was very thoughtful. Wasn't a new case that was filed.

It was filed against the original complaint that was done, back in November of 2019 that has been bouncing around, the courts, over who can represent Trump, whether because he was President, when he said that, the Department of Justice should be involved in this. And that has not been -- it's gone up to two Court of Appeals. And now, it's back down in the District Court. That's where she amended it.

It's back there. And it shows punitive damages. And many of these issues, in the original case have already been tried. It's the same judge. He's very savvy. He knows what's going on. It was a brilliant move. And I think Trump could end up paying another $5 million or more million dollars, as a result of his loose lips.

PHILLIP: Not the only comment that he made in that Town Hall that could end up having some real legal repercussions, for him.

John Dean, thank you very much for all of that.

DEAN: Thank you, Abby.

PHILLIP: And, in just 10 days, the United States will run out of cash, and won't be able to pay its bills. And tonight, it seems that both sides are finally getting serious, as the U.S. Treasury Secretary ramps up her warnings that the U.S. is still on track, to default, for the first time, in history.

So, after a week of staff-level negotiations, President Biden, and House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, they picked up the baton, at the White House, today. But there is still no deal after that 90-minute meeting. Still, there are some signs of progress.

Before we get to their comments, keep in mind that the nation's economy is sitting on a ticking time bomb. If the nation defaults, 401(k)s, nest eggs, college savings, they will all drop. Social Security and Medicare benefits will disappear. And everything, from Military checks, to food stamp payments, they just won't arrive.

So, here is President Biden, before the meeting.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We both talked about the need for a bipartisan agreement. We have to be in a position where we can sell it to our constituencies. We're pretty well divided in the House, almost down the middle, and it's not any different in the Senate. So we got to get something we can sell to both sides.


PHILLIP: And here is Speaker Kevin McCarthy, after the meeting.



REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I felt we had a productive discussion. We don't have an agreement yet. But I did feel the discussion was productive in areas that we have differences of opinion. We're going to have the staffs continue to get back together and work on based on some of the things that we had talked about.


PHILLIP: And joining me now is Entrepreneur, and "Shark Tank" host, Kevin O'Leary.

So, Kevin, you have said, repeatedly, that you believe there is a 100 percent chance that a debt deal gets done. I have to wonder, I mean, are you and the markets maybe putting too much faith, in Washington's ability, to get its act together, here?

KEVIN O'LEARY, HOST, SHARK TANK, FOUNDER, O'LEARY FINANCIAL GROUP, ENTREPRENEUR: No, because the markets globally have seen this movie, multiple times, before.

There are some signs that you can actually tell what the deal is going to look like, because we're getting so close to the deadline. This will be a short-term fix. It won't go past the election.

And I think, probably you think about it, from a political point of view, you want to keep roasting Biden, right through the election cycle, on this philosophy, between holding the line, on tax increases, and cutting spending. That's really what's at stake here, on this deal, as we start to think about what's being negotiated.

PHILLIP: But isn't--

O'LEARY: But the chance that there's no deal is zero.

PHILLIP: But isn't that a pretty disastrous outcome, for the country, to have a short-term deal that maybe lasts a couple months, and puts us right back, where we were, all over again?

O'LEARY: No, because we've seen that movie before too. This is pure politics.

The reason you know with certainty that this is going to get worked out, is the market itself. You can look at the 2-year, the 10-year, the 30-year bond. And if anybody thought that there was not going to be a deal, they'd be trading at double-digit deals. Market would have already felt it out and have figured out that this is going to be a very bad outcome.

That's not the case. You have the NASDAQ hitting new highs almost. And the people are very optimistic that we're full employment. So, this is a bump in the road, politics at its best, it's the classic Washington, D.C.

Don't watch the sausage being made. Just eat the sausage. And we'll get the sausage, in about 36 hours, probably. You're not going to like this deal, because it's going to be so short-term. But I guarantee you we're going to get one. It would be political suicide not to get a deal. And everybody knows that.

PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, that's probably true.

But you do have a lot of lawmakers, in the Congress, suggesting that maybe the deadline's not real. Maybe they don't have to pay all the debts at once. They could just do the interest. You had Senator Bill Cassidy saying yesterday, maybe the date is not June 1, it's June 15.

So, the fuzzy deadlines, and the uncertainty does that weigh on the markets? Will they start to worry, as we get closer and closer to that deadline?

O'LEARY: That is a really bad idea. Yellen has been out in the markets, globally, every 48 hours, saying

June 1 is the drop-dead date.

Now, if you want to start talking about a date after that, it's like two teenagers and 66 Chevrolets playing chicken. That's a really bad idea. Very bad. And so, that won't happen either.

Everybody knows when Yellen keeps saying it, every 48 hours, it's June 1, that's the target. They're going to get this thing done, and you're going to see some real motion, and movement, in the next 48 hours. It'll happen.

But it's not going to be a long-term deal. This is going to become an election issue. And that's OK. I think it's a great idea to debate the heart and soul of spending versus tax increases.

PHILLIP: All right, Kevin, we have no time left. But if you don't see a deal, in the next, let's say, 48 hours, would you start to worry?

O'LEARY: No. No. Seen this movie. Seen the ending. Not worried.

PHILLIP: All right.

O'LEARY: Not at all.

PHILLIP: All right. Hope springs eternal. We'll take your word for it.

Kevin O'Leary, thank you very much.

And coming up next for us, the field for the Republican nomination, for President, expands, yet again, as South Carolina senator, Tim Scott, announces his run for the White House. But can he break Trump's hold on the party?


SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): Thank you. Wow.




PHILLIP: Tonight, the Republican presidential field is a little more crowded, with Senator Tim Scott, a Republican, from South Carolina, making his bid, for the presidency, official.


SCOTT: I'm announcing today--


SCOTT: --that I'm running--


SCOTT: --for president--


SCOTT: --of the United States--


SCOTT: --of America.



PHILLIP: Senator Scott promised to take on the so-called Radical Left, in his announcement, while also highlighting his life story, and Christian faith. But notably absent, from his speech, was any mention, of his opponents, including former President, Donald Trump.

Joining me now at the table is CNN Political Commentators, Errol Louis and Ana Navarro, Alyssa Farah Griffin; and "Philadelphia Inquirer" Columnist, Solomon Jones.

So, here we are. As expected, Tim Scott is in. But Errol, we're talking about lanes again. What's his lane? Is there one for him?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Well, the lane I heard him talking to, and about today, was the evangelical base, of the Republican Party that we know is a big part, of his support, in South Carolina. If he wants to get beyond the 1 percent, where he's polling, right now, nationally, he's going to have to obviously expand it.

But he, like so many others, I think, seems to imagine that there is some way, to sort of take that conservative -- that social conservative base, build it, take it away, from Donald Trump, and then somehow add to it. It is maybe a bridge too far. But that's sort of the three-step path to victory that he seems to be suggesting that he's going to try for.

PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, the thing about Tim Scott that is usually the first thing, if you work in Washington, he's a likable guy. People in the halls of Congress like him quite a lot. And--

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Which, we should note, does not happen with everybody.

PHILLIP: Which does not--


PHILLIP: Right. The unspoken truth is that that does not happen with everybody.

Some of it is this life story that really is very inspiring. He's the child of a single parent, grew up, basically with not very much. How'd a nice guy really succeed in today's Republican Party?

NAVARRO: I'm not sure that that's the question. Well, first of all, he's succeeded in South Carolina.


NAVARRO: So, I think you've got to give him that.

You ask me what his lane is?

PHILLIP: For the presidency, specifically?


NAVARRO: Well, what his lane is, I think, it's the senator lane, right? I mean, practically--


NAVARRO: --every senator serving, imagines himself president, one day. And we haven't seen any of them get in.

I, you know, I'm a -- I'm like a renegade Republican, right now, who barely likes any Republican. I happen to like Tim Scott. And I happen to find him unifying, optimistic, a happy person. And it's probably the reason I like him.

And I like the idea of him coming into this race, is because I compare him, to the Godzilla, and King Kong, who are going to be there, Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, both of whom are full of anti-everything, grievances, anger, conspiracy theories, the fights against LGBTQ, and AP history, Black history. And, I mean, the NAACP is issuing--


NAVARRO: --travel advisories, against going to Florida.

So, the idea of having somebody, who actually wants to offer an optimistic solution, for America, is really appealing to me, even if he has zero chance of winning.

PHILLIP: Does he have zero chance of winning?


Listen, today was a great day for Tim Scott. But the announcement day is always the best day for a candidate.


FARAH GRIFFIN: It's going to be a challenge from here. Right now, you cannot get into the race and ignore Donald Trump. He's polling near -- more than double digits ahead, the next person behind him, Governor DeSantis. Now, to your point, the evangelical lane was the stronghold, in Republican politics. You would carry that, win Iowa, and go on. That changed under Donald Trump. I don't know that I think that's the strongest voting bloc.

And, by the way, someone who won Iowa, which is somewhere I expect Tim Scott will fare very well, has not gone on to win the Republican presidency, since George Bush, in 2000. So, you kind of have to think about how much the party has changed, to this nationalist Populist Party that is very, very different than the lane he's running in.

I see Pence and Tim Scott, in very similar lanes, both men, who I have a lot of respect for, I think, are likable, nice, kind people. It's a good juxtaposition. But it's going to be hard to get steam without taking on the elephant in the room.

PHILLIP: Yes. I also noted that -- first of all, Tim Scott is not running this sort of like hard anti-Trump candidacy. And Trump, in turn, is praising Tim Scott.

He put on Truth Social, "Good luck to Senator Tim Scott in entering the Republican Presidential Primary Race. It is rapidly loading up with lots of people, and Tim is a big step up from Ron DeSanctimonious, who is totally unelectable. I got Opportunity Zones done with Tim, a big deal that has been highly successful. Good luck."

Not only Opportunity Zones, but, the sort of criminal justice reform, was also led by Tim Scott. Trump doesn't want to talk about that for other reasons. But what do you make of Trump really kind of saying nice things here?

SOLOMON JONES, RADIO HOST, COLUMNIST, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: I don't think he sees him as a threat. I don't think he sees him as somebody who can win. And that's why he's saying nice things about him. I mean, it also goes to what Tim Scott is saying, about Donald Trump, which is nothing. But I think that he doesn't see him as a threat.

And Tim Scott is coming into the race with $22 million in his war chest. That's more than any presidential candidate has ever started with. And so, that's a plus. But you can't win with just money.

PHILLIP: That's only for a few more days--


PHILLIP: --until Ron DeSantis gets in the race.

JONES: Well?

PHILLIP: He'll have a lot more.

JONES: Well, he's not having people call other people. He's already got the money, is sitting there. And so, we'll see what happens. You can't win with just money. He can try to get that evangelical base. But I don't think Donald Trump believes he can. And quite frankly, I don't either. PHILLIP: Well, here's the thing. So, speaking of money, Tim Scott also has, what I like to call, a billionaire sugar daddy, in Larry Ellison, who has pledged to spend a lot of money, like $30 million, maybe, to support him.

But the question is not about how valuable is that money. But does that actually make it harder, for the GOP field, to narrow, which it would eventually have to do, if they want -- if there are people, like Alyssa, who don't want Donald Trump, to be the nominee?

LOUIS: The field will narrow when people start losing primaries. I mean, it's much too difficult of an endeavor to engage in just as a lark, although at this point, I would say for Tim Scott, because it's a free ride for him, right?

He just won reelection. He's got this big fat war chest. He's got senior members, of his Conference, who are supporting him. If he wants to be sort of a big shot, play on the national stage, be a more senior senator, so to speak, or set himself up for 2028? All of that is available to him, if and as he runs, with the help of the Oracle fortune, from Larry Ellison.

PHILLIP: Or a VP potential?

FARAH GRIFFIN: So, I think that's what you can't forget, in this argument.

And I don't want to be cynical here, but I'm going to be, for a minute. Both Nikki Haley, and Tim Scott, the statements that Donald Trump put out, after they announced, were not hitting them. It was not criticizing them. Or is a tiny little dig, at Nikki Haley.


I think these are people, who see themselves, as if they're not able to get where they need to, they're top of the list for potential VP picks.

PHILLIP: Not just for Trump.

NAVARRO: Look, I think, Donald Trump is incredibly irritated by Ron DeSantis. And he should be, because but -- I am a Floridian.

But for Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis would have never won the Republican primary, the first time he ran. And so, I think Donald Trump sees him, as an ungrateful wimp, who has ridden his coattails, and is now biting the hand that bit him.

He is not wrong. And that I don't think he's got that same issue, with the rest of them.

PHILLIP: Yes. I think, I mean, clearly Trump sees DeSantis as the one, and maybe the only significant threat, in the field, right now.

But stay with us. Coming up next, a dangerous new turn, in the war, on Ukraine. Now, an attack, inside of Russia. Find out who is being blamed for that.

Plus, yet another mysterious death, of a Russian official, who has been critical of the war.

Christiane Amanpour is here, live in the studio. She'll join us next.



PHILLIP: Tonight, the war in Ukraine is officially being fought, on Russian territory.

Two groups of Russian nationals, aligned with Ukraine, claimed responsibility, for attacks, in Russia's southwestern region of Belgorod. At least eight people were injured in those attacks. And Russia has accused the so-called sabotage groups of crossing over, from Ukraine, into Russia, to carry out more combat missions.

Unlike recent attacks, on Russian soil, Ukraine acknowledged the cross-border operation, this time, insisting only that the groups acted, of their own volition. But this is notable. It's a notable change, in tune, as Ukrainians try to counter Russia's claims of victory, in Bakhmut, the site of this war's deadliest battle. And as intrigue grows over the death of yet another Russian official, who died suddenly, after reportedly criticizing the Kremlin.

CNN's Chief International Anchor, Christiane Amanpour, is joining me, now.

And Christiane, we're going to get to the death of that Russian official, in a moment.

But I want to start with this attacks, in Belgorod. The fact that these groups were able to get over the border, into mainland Russia, and carry out these attacks, tells you what about Russia's ability, to, police its own boundaries?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, it's classic sabotage. It's classic counteroffensive, by insurgents, right? The Ukrainians are not claiming that they're part of the Ukrainian army.

And we've seen several attacks, inside Russia, over the last many months. I mean, let's take the drone attack, on the Kremlin.


AMANPOUR: I spoke, to a former Russian MP, who defected, and went to Ukraine, Ilya Ponomarev. And he told me that he believed that was an act of sabotage, by Russian partisans, in other words, anti-Kremlin Russian partisans.


AMANPOUR: And there have been a number of attacks. There was the pro- Russian Military blogger, who was killed in Saint Petersburg. There was another high official, early on, who was killed, in the Kremlin, the daughter, of a friend of Putin's. And this clearly is ramping up. And that is what they're claiming to be, anti-Kremlin Russian partisans.

PHILLIP: The other part of this that the Ukrainian government, sort of acknowledging some kind of affinity here, but also, these attackers were carrying Ukrainian gear, and Ukrainian weaponry.

Historically, in this conflict, there's been a concern about escalation that might cause the war to get out of hand. Is that concern waning?

AMANPOUR: I don't know about waning. But you can tell that the U.S. government, the Biden administration, has always invoked the slogan, "World War III." I'm not going to do anything, that's going to lead to World War III.

And most particularly, they started by saying, "Well, we're not going to give long-range missiles, to the Ukrainians, because we don't wanted to, you know, we don't want them to attack, inside Russia, with any of the weaponry that NATO gives."

And you've seen, as the war has progressed, and as the battlefield changes, NATO, and most particularly, the United States, ups the ante, in terms of what weaponry they're giving.

So, first, it was "No, no, no," on long-range missiles. Then it was -- and then they got them. Then it was "No, no, no," on the anti-aircraft defense. And then, they got the Patriots. And then, it was "No, no, no," on the fighter jets. And now, the U.S., this weekend--

PHILLIP: They're going to get the training.

AMANPOUR: Yes. They're going to get the training.

And the U.S. apparently is waiving any sort of prohibition on its allies, giving Ukraine, those fighter jets. It's very important that if the United States policy, is for Ukraine to win, which it keeps saying that then they need the actual weaponry to do it.

And even I spoke to one of the top generals, a year ago, a year ago, in April. And they said what we need is anti-aircraft defense. We need long-range missiles. And we need aircraft, as well as all the other things.


AMANPOUR: And munition and everything.

PHILLIP: And you saw the Ukrainian president, Zelenskyy, pressing that case--

AMANPOUR: Absolutely.

PHILLIP: --at the G7, over the weekend. We started by talking about this death, this mysterious death, on an airplane, of the Deputy Science Minister, Pyotr Kucherenko. He was critical of Putin.

And he recently told a journalist this. He said, "Save yourself and your family. Leave as soon as possible. It is no longer possible to [leave]. They take away our passports." They are taken -- they "are all taken hostage. Nobody can say anything. Otherwise, we are immediately crushed like bugs."

There are these partisan attacks, these separate, these anti-regime -- Putin-regime attacks, carrying out, in Russia, and this mysterious death.

AMANPOUR: It's one of the several.

PHILLIP: Does it all--

AMANPOUR: It's one of the several.

PHILLIP: And which is one of the several.

AMANPOUR: Yes, yes, that's happened over the last few months (ph).

PHILLIP: By our count, it's been at least a 11 Russian officials.

What does this all come together to mean for you--

AMANPOUR: Well, essentially--

PHILLIP: --about the resistance to Putin?

AMANPOUR: --we know that this is not resistance. This is basically people, who do not agree, with the war, and Putin has silenced, or they have met mysterious deaths.


AMANPOUR: Many, many of them whether they are journalists, whether they're officials, or whether they're private business people.


And, according to this journalist, who you're quoting, on a Telegram channel, he writes that this individual, this Deputy Minister, had urged him to leave, had said what we all know that no dissent is brooked by the Kremlin. Absolutely none whatsoever.

We also know there are divisions about this war, but those who oppose it, anywhere near Putin's circle are silenced. They're not allowed to express themselves. All the press, anything, even remotely, on social media, that's even vaguely critical, or mentions anything other than the pro-war propaganda, is silenced.

And I think that is, this is -- this is what's happening. We're not sure. We do not know how this man died. PHILLIP: Yes.

AMANPOUR: And he is -- he, by his own account, according to this journalist, because of his anxiety, over this war, not only did he leave, but he said he took handfuls of anti-depressants, and all sorts of pills. So, we don't know how he died.

PHILLIP: We don't know. But it's one of many mysterious deaths.

AMANPOUR: Yes. And there's no doubt that there's dissent, against Putin, although the vast majority are still hostage to his war.

PHILLIP: Yes, and afraid, rightfully so, for their lives.

Christiane Amanpour, thank you very much.

And coming up next for us, Uber suspends its Diversity Chief, for seminars, called "Don't Call Me Karen." Find out what happened there, and why minority employees are calling foul.

Plus, after being seen on a new $500 million yacht, Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sanchez have made an announcement, about their future. We'll tell you what it is.



PHILLIP: There's new fallout, tonight, for rideshare company, Uber, after it hosted a "Don't Call Me Karen" panel. The event left its employees irate. And now, the rideshare giant's Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is on leave.

Black and Hispanic employees say that the focus of the sessions, were insensitive to people of color.

According to "The New York Times," employees were concerned that the sessions were billed as diving into the spectrum of American White woman's experience and hearing from White women, who work at Uber, with a focus on the "Karen" persona.

The invitation said that the conversation was supposed to be open and honest.

And Uber responded, in a statement, writing, "We have heard that many of you are in pain and upset by yesterday's Moving Forward session. While it was meant to be a dialog, it's obvious that those who attended did not feel heard."

Let's bring back our panel.

And, for the uninitiated, "Karen" is a term that's popularized, on the internet, to basically mean a White woman, who calls the authorities, or the cops, or calls the managers, on a Black person, doing something that maybe they think is illegal, even if it may not be.

So, I mean, where do we even start with this? What did you make of it?

FARAH GRIFFIN: I mean, someone finally speaking up for the plight of the White woman. It was just so absurd. I couldn't--

PHILLIP: To be fair, I should not have gone to you, as--


FARAH GRIFFIN: No, no, no, it's totally fine. But I couldn't take it seriously and reading it. It's almost comical. And it's when you go so far, in trying to be inclusive, that you kind of lose the whole message behind it.

Maybe a step too far to put her on leave. She is an Asian-American woman, who I think just went overboard being entirely, trying to be so inclusive.

But I mean, it's absurd, you're talking about, a history of racism and things that we're still very much grappling with, in terms of social justice, and to equate that with the struggle of being a White woman. It's just not really equivalence.

PHILLIP: Is this the backlash to the backlash? I mean, companies are worried about maybe being too diverse, or getting hit, for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs. Is that what happened here?

JONES: No, I think that Black people were rightly offended. And I think that they were offended, because you're saying, "Don't Call Me Karen," as if this is this slur, right that is equivalent to the N- word, something that has this historic meaning, and trauma behind it, and all these things.

And "Karen" is something that just came out a couple of years ago. And it's not the same thing.

PHILLIP: On the internet. But it's absolutely not.

JONES: It's not the same thing.

And so, a Black woman, stood up in a meeting, after that first meeting, and said, "How are we going to stop having these tone-deaf conversations?"

And the way that the Diversity Officer responded was demeaning. She said, "Well, you're engaging in strategic ignorance."

And so, you have this Asian woman, telling this Black woman, how to respond to the problems of White women.


JONES: And after a while, it becomes comical.

LOUIS: "Strategic ignorance." That's a great phrase.

Look, this sounds in a lot of ways, like a company trying to do on the cheap, what so many other companies have tried to do on the cheap, which is, force people to go to a session. That's the first problem. And then, making them sort of go through a process that doesn't necessarily have a lot of science behind it.

So, if people aren't confident, in the process, and they feel like they're checking a box, and they're there against their will, and it's not clear what the outcome is supposed to be, you've set yourself up, for misunderstanding, which is what they achieved here, and not the diversity and inclusion that they sought to do.

You can't do it on the cheap. It takes years. There's plenty of examples of corporations that are out there that have had long- standing mentorship programs, deep kind of conversations, with the actual leadership, of the company, which is really where the change has to start.

And it takes a generation, before you -- you know, at Xerox, I remember writing about stuff, in the 80s. They had this great diversity program for mid-level managers. Years later, Ursula Burns, a product of that environment--


LOUIS: --who grew up, in the housing projects, in New York City, becomes the CEO, of a Fortune 500 company.


LOUIS: It can be done. But it's not done overnight. And it's not done in sort of cutesy sessions that don't have a lot of science behind it.

PHILLIP: But there are, I mean, part of this is that there are so many attacks, on what you're talking about, that those initiatives that were born out of years of research, born out of the fact that racism is real, in this country, are being devalued, as everybody's just being canceled, when actually, these companies do need to deal with racism.

NAVARRO: I'm seriously trying to avoid looking at you.

PHILLIP: Yes. So, before--


NAVARRO: Because you're a Black woman. I'm a Hispanic woman. How we talk about this without--

PHILLIP: Well let me--

NAVARRO: --diving into the spectrum of what a White woman's experience, in America. And you're asking a room of Hispanic and Black women, and they said that they felt that they were being scolded.


NAVARRO: So look, if that's what the Diversity Officer is doing, she's obviously got the formula wrong.

The negative here, and the tragedy here, is that I think it's really important that we have honest, open conversations, about race. We are not going to be sensitized, to other people's experience, unless we hear about them, unless we learn it. I don't know what the Black experience is, unless I'm hearing it from my friends, I'm hearing it from people I know. So, these conversations are absolutely essential.

Unfortunately, in places, like Florida, the ground zero, for all insanity, these days, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is one of the many things that Ron DeSantis has seen fit to ban, in state colleges and universities. And we must make sure that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is done authentically, seriously, and that these conversations are being had.

So, after you and I stop laughing about this, which is going to take me about a day or two, I think we really have to focus on how we get these conversations going.

PHILLIP: But, to play devil's advocate here, I mean, wouldn't -- isn't there an argument that what this Diversity, Equity, Inclusion officer was trying to do, was have a hard conversation, about how a lot of White people do feel like they are, unfairly called "Racists," that they are at risk of being put on the internet, and shamed, and fired. Maybe that's what she was trying to do?

JONES: Maybe that's what she was trying to do.

PHILLIP: But there's a way to do it?

JONES: You have to have a foundation of respect first. And I think that you have to have other people be heard other than you, right? And so, you can't have that conversation, without first having a real relationship. You can't have a real conversation with people that you don't know about topics that are this hurtful, in this series.

NAVARRO: And maybe she should have asked--

PHILLIP: Well here's--

NAVARRO: --the Black, and White, and Brown women in the room--

PHILLIP: Here's what--

NAVARRO: --to come up with how we talk about this.


NAVARRO: Because I think we have to talk about these things, and they're important. But let's just remember--


NAVARRO: --what the "Karen" persona is. The "Karen" persona is not about a White woman. It's about a privileged, racist, White woman--


NAVARRO: --that is doing things that discriminate against people of color.

PHILLIP: And specifically, what we're talking about, when the cops are called, on a Black person, right, in this situation, where they're not doing anything illegal, is that it potentially puts their life at risk.


PHILLIP: I mean, we've seen that happen.

I just want to read real quick, what one employee had to say. "I think when people are called Karens it's implied that this is someone that has little empathy to others or is bothered by minorities" other -- "minorities others that don't look like them. Like why can't bad behavior not be called out?" This was said in a Slack channel at Uber.

And I think that that's probably a fair point. I mean, bad behavior is bad behavior. It ought to be able to be called out, even in the context of tough conversations that need to be had.

But Errol, Ana, Solomon, and Alyssa, thank you all very much. Never a tough thing to have tough conversations with you all.

But coming up next for us, a crisis quietly deepens, across the United States. The nation is facing a historic drug shortage. We'll find out why, up next, and which ones are most at risk.



PHILLIP: Lawmakers, on Capitol Hill, are calling the growing drug shortage, a national security risk, for Americans.

The nationwide crisis worsened by nearly 30 percent, between 2021 and 2022, with last year seeing a record-breaking high of 295 active drug shortages. Cancer patients will be among the hardest hit with two dozen chemotherapy drugs, currently, in short supply. According to the FDA, consumers can expect that hundreds more shortages will come soon.

Joining me now to discuss this is Dr. Chris T. Pernell, Regent-at- Large for the American College of Preventive Medicine.

So, Dr. Pernell, why is this happening? What's your understanding of the source of this issue?

DR. CHRIS T. PERNELL, PUBLIC HEALTH PHYSICIAN, REGENT-AT-LARGE FOR THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF PREVENTIVE MEDICINE: So, whenever you have a drug shortage, you have to think about what are those root causes?

And traditionally, there are four root causes. Is it an issue around shipping? Is it an issue around manufacturing? Is there a problem with a raw material or raw ingredient? Or is there a regulatory issue? What we're finding to cause this historic like once-in-a-decade shortage is that we have too few manufacturers, who are responsible, for some desperately-needed drugs, whether they are cancer drugs, whether they are antibiotics, or even children's Tylenol.

PHILLIP: Was it affected by the Pandemic, in the sense that we've been seeing supply chain issues--


PHILLIP: --across a lot of different kinds of industries. Is that part of what's happening, here?

T. PERNELL: Definitely it is. And it goes back to those root causes that I was just describing.

If you think about manufacturing, what's been happening, with these very low-cost generic drugs? Either they have moved, to overseas production, or you only have one or two companies. And when that is happening, and on labeling, we don't know exactly which ingredients, are being produced, where, it's a route breakdown, right? You think of a bottleneck.

And during the Pandemic, we learned that our supply chain, not just for drugs, but for many things, was not as robust or as redundant as it needed to be.

PHILLIP: Is enough being done to fix this? I mean, we're talking about life-saving drugs, here, especially for people like cancer patients, who are really, I mean, they have very few options.

T. PERNELL: Right. There are too many temporal solutions, right? You're hearing it described as an all-of-government response, because this really is a very devastating shortage, to the public's health.


But my concern is there are too many workarounds. We're going to have to look at ways to subsidize the cost of these generic drugs. We're going to have to look at ways of understanding, why there's greater demand, and prescribing behavior changes. We have to look at how do we drive quality, and investments, in manufacturing, around load profit margin drugs? So there is more that needs to be done. But it's going to cost to do it.

PHILLIP: Yes. It's so important for so many people all around the country.

Dr. Chris Pernell, thank you so much.

T. PERNELL: Thank you.

PHILLIP: And ahead, on CNN, an AI-generated fake image, of an explosion, at the Pentagon, is making the rounds, on multiple verified Twitter accounts, and even caused a dip in the stock market.

Alisyn Camerota takes up the dangers of Generative AI, up next.


PHILLIP: What kind of wedding gift you get a couple who has everything?


Well, you're going to have to find out, because a source tells CNN that billionaire, Jeff Bezos, is engaged, to his longtime partner, philanthropist and journalist, Lauren Sanchez. The couple went public, with their relationship, back in 2019. And he is the billionaire owner of Amazon. He was previously married to MacKenzie Scott.

And there's no word yet on when Bezos and Sanchez will tie the knot. But best of luck to the happy couple.

And thank you for joining us.

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

Alisyn, hi?


I'm thinking just a nice greeting card.

PHILLIP: I think that--

CAMEROTA: I mean, really?

PHILLIP: --I think that's all you can do, basically.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I think it's the thought that counts.

So, thank you very much.

PHILLIP: I agree.

CAMEROTA: Abby, great to see you.