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The Situation Room
Dominion Lawyer Says, Fox Agreed To $787.5 Million Settlement; U.S. Reporter Arrested By Russia Seen For First Time In Weeks; Man Charged With Shooting Teen Now Out On Bail After Surrendering; Trump Slams DeSantis Over His Fight With Disney; Wolf At Scene Of Nazi Death Camp At Auschwitz-Birkenau. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired April 18, 2023 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Cutting this thing short, he left way too many things unanswered here.
This is too important, we have to work our way through it and Credit Suisse has agreed now, yes, they'll go back to work on this with --
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. Well, if it's between these bankers and Neil Barofksy, I know who I trust.
FOREMAN: I think a lot of people in the Senate as well.
TAPPER: Yes. Tom Foreman, thank you so much.
You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @jaketapper. You can tweet the show @theleadcnn. Our coverage continues now with one Mr. Alex Marquardt in for Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. Thanks for watching.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, Fox News agrees to a huge last-minute settlement with Dominion Voting Systems as it was about to face trial. The network acknowledging it made false on air claims. We will get reaction this hour from Dominion's lead lawyer.
Also tonight, the 84-year-old Kansas City man charged with shooting a black teenager was just released on bail after turning himself in. Court documents say he wordlessly opened fire within seconds of seeing the 16-year-old who mistakenly wound up on his doorstep.
And for the first time in weeks, we are getting a glimpse of the American journalist jailed in Russia on spying charges. We will discuss his case in an exclusive joint interview with the chairman and ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee.
Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. Wolf Blitzer is on assignment. I'm Alex Marquardt, and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Let's get right to the major news on the Fox settlement, the lawyer for Dominion voting systems revealing that it totals more than $787 million. CNN Senior Media Reporter Oliver Darcy is live in Wilmington, Delaware, for us, where the settlement was announced just a short time ago as the trial, we should note, was just about to begin. So, Oliver, how much more do we know about how this settlement came about?
OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: That's right, Alex. Donald Trump hasn't had to pay for his election lies but Fox News is going to have to pay and pay big. More than $787 million was the settlement reached between Dominion Voting Systems and Fox News on the brink of trial. We were in the court waiting for opening statements to begin and the judge -- there was an unexplained delay, about two hours, and then the judge came out and announced that the parties had reached an out of court settlement.
This, of course, averts a very agonizing trial that was in store for Fox News, where some of its top hosts, like Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, were going to have to appear just behind me in Wilmington and testify about how the network promoted election lies about Dominion Voting Systems and just in general about Donald Trump's election lies in the wake of the 2020 election.
Rupert Murdoch, the Fox chairman, was also set to testify, so this is going to be averting a very excruciating process for Fox News. But Dominion Voting Systems, they're happy. The lawyers came out outside the courtroom earlier today, and they celebrated the settlement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUSTIN NELSON, LEAD COUNSEL, DOMINION VOTING SYSTEMS: The truth matters. Lies have consequences. Over two years ago, a torrent of lies swept Dominion and election officials across America into an alternative universe of conspiracy theories causing grievous harm to Dominion and the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DARCY: And Fox News also coming out with a statement. They say, I'll read to you, we are pleased to have reached a settlement of our dispute with Dominion Voting Systems. We acknowledge the court's ruling's finding certain claims about Dominion to be false. This settlement reflects Fox's continued commitment to the highest journalistic standards, says we are hopeful that our decision to resolve the dispute with Dominion amicably instead of acrimony of divisive trial allows the country to move forward from these issues.
I should note that I'm all so told by sources that Fox News hosts will not have to go on air and acknowledge the lies they told about the election in the aftermath of the of the election as a result of the settlement. So, that statement from Dominion -- or from Fox, acknowledging the lies, that's probably all we're going to see from Fox about this.
MARQUARDT: Yes, very little coverage of this whole process on Fox News. Oliver Darcy there in Wilmington, Delaware, thank you very much.
And joining me now is that lead lawyer for Dominion Voting Systems, Justin Nelson. Mr. Nelson, thank you so much for joining us on such a busy day.
This was -- there was in that courtroom and unexpected two-hour delay where you were privately huddling with those lawyers on the other side, the Fox lawyers. So, what conversations were you having to hash out this deal and why did it take so long to settle?
NELSON: Well, really, from our perspective, this case has always been about accountability and trying to make right by Dominion.
And in the courthouse, we were preparing for trial, Mr. Webb and I both, so we might have been the last ones to know. But what we thought really at the end of the day was that the payment of three quarters of a billion dollars, more than three quarters of a billion dollars, was a strong message of accountability, along with their statement, acknowledging the court's order that these were false. And this has been all along about those two goals for us, which is accountability and trying to make Dominion whole.
MARQUARDT: So, why do you see this as a victory if that $800 million is just around half of what you had been asking for, and knowing that Fox News' anchors will not have to acknowledge on the air that they lied?
NELSON: Well, again, from our perspective, first on the damages, we had our base case damages number that was actually a little bit less than what they have paid. There was a growth case damages number that did bring us up. But at the end of the day, from our client's perspective, this is more than three quarters of a billion dollars, and it really is important to the employees. It's a strong message of accountability.
This is really the first time that anyone has paid a price for telling the lies of the 2020 election and we're very proud about that.
MARQUARDT: There is now legal accountability, financial accountability, but do you believe that this will actually have consequences for Fox News?
NELSON: I think it already has had consequences. I mean, just look at where we are. And I think that the message that was sent today was that you can't just tell lies and that the truth does not come in shades of red or blue, that what we really have here, especially as misinformation is going to continue and continue to grow, it is so vital to our democracy that we have this shared vision of facts. We can disagree on issues, absolutely, but we have to have the shared facts together.
MARQUARDT: And do you think that there will be actually, and I don't know if the settlement includes this, but will there be any tangible changes, concrete changes that are enforceable in some way, perhaps, to Fox News' practices?
NELSON: Well, this is a civil litigation. Our goals in the civil litigation are to have accountability and to do that in part through the damages process. I think that what this litigation has shown is it has exposed a lot of those texts and emails that you have seen and reported on. And what today has shown is that you have to pay a price if you're telling lies.
MARQUARDT: But at the same time, it is not possible unsay what Fox News said about the 2020 election, the lies that they perpetuated, the viewers that -- the millions of viewers that they had every single day, they cannot only hear what they heard on the air. So, how do you balance this settlement with the fact that irreversible damage has been done?
NELSON: Well, it's always a tricky balance and litigation. And what we saw, what we thought about for the employees, what the CEO, John Polous, I think, really, at the end of the day was making a decision about how to make this right.
And this is certainly a step. We obviously have other cases about accountability as well. And will there be people who still believe in election lies? I think that's certainly true. But I think what this message today since is that people will be held accountable and that Dominion will continue to hold accountable people who are telling election lines and have told them.
MARQUARDT: And how do you believe that that will prevent something like this happening again in the future, whether with Fox News or any other networks or anybody who has undertaken the journalistic, you know, promises and ethos to tell the truth?
NELSON: Well, because I think when there is a publicly announced settlement of $787.5 million, when there is an acknowledgement that the summary judgment opinion from this court that the claims against Dominion were false, that what it shows is that there will be accountability that you can tell lies but they will catch up to you. And, really, it's a lot of what we teach our kids, which is that the truth does indeed matter. And if you are a lying, eventually, there's going to be consequences to that. And that's what happened today.
MARQUARDT: And as you just noted, this is not the only ongoing case that you have.
You have cases against other far-right media outlets. How do you think today's result, today's settlement is going to impact those?
NELSON: I think it sends a strong message. I think it shows that we're not going to stop holding people accountable for these election lines, and to be clear, are continuing to cause tremendous damage Dominion and to our country.
As you know, there are a ton of people who still falsely believe it. And so a lot of what this litigation has been about, not just against Fox, but against the others, Newsmax, One America News, Sidney Powell, Mike Lindell, Rudy Giuliani and Patrick Byrne, are to hold people accountable who have helped spread these lies. MARQUARDT: All right. Well, Justin Nelson, this is the end of a one very long road for you, and as you just noted, there is much more to come. Thank you so much for joining us this evening.
NELSON: Thanks for having me.
MARQUARDT: And we should note that we did reach out to Fox News for an interview, and they referred us to their statement on the settlement that we reported with earlier with our reporter, Oliver Darcy.
Now, let's discuss this with our legal, political and media experts. Norm, I want to go to you first. What stands out to you from what we just heard from Justin Nelson, the lead counsel for Dominion?
NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's a gigantic number for a settlement of a case of this kind, Alex, a total of $787.5 million. And that sends a message. Fox has also had to acknowledge the false statements that they made that were found by the court here and those other six cases that are coming. Even if Fox doesn't report on this, it's such a big news story. It's going to penetrate to every part of our country, very important day in the fight for truth and journalism.
MARQUARDT: And, Shan, you did hear Nelson there saying that they do consider this a victory on the financial front. They consider it a victory on the accountability front. Do you agree?
SHAN WU, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I do. I think it's sort of pierces this invulnerability shield that Fox has had around where they try to play it off as, oh, we're being entertainers, but we're also being newscasters as well. So, I think it sets the precedent, not a legal precedent for it, but it shows that they can be taken on and they can be held accountable.
I know that for a lot of people looking at the original damages claim, this seems disappointing because it's lower. I think one thing that the lawyer was talking about, this growth concept on the damages, that, from a legal standpoint, it's a smart move to take this amount.
As Norm said, it's a lot of money, first of all, but also the growth aspect of it, I suspect, would have involved a lot of expert testimony as to just how fast, how big Dominion's business was going to grow, and that could have been subject, you know, to a lot of fighting in court, so they weren't necessarily assured of getting that larger amount. So, legally, it makes sense to do for the client.
MARQUARDT: And, Sara, news consumers are so siloed these days. To what extent do you think Fox News' own viewers will learn about what just happened will realize that they were being lied to? And do you think anything will actually change at Fox now?
SARA FISCHER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Probably very little, and I don't think that Fox News viewers are going to realize this in part because a source tells Axios that Fox is a part of this deal is not going to be required to apologize on its air, nor will it be required to do any retractions. Reporters earlier were asking dominions lawyers and press people about that. They did not answer, but a source tells us that's the case.
And I think that even though this is major headlines, and this is going to be such a huge story, at the end of the day, I don't think this is going to fundamentally change the way that Fox News operates. Perhaps they're going to be a little bit more careful when they're bringing election deniers into interviews and things like that, but I don't expect to see fundamental changes from this network despite the fact that this is a historic defamation lawsuit at $700 million being settled.
MARQUARDT: Yes. We will certainly be watching those airwaves.
Gloria, we did here in this statement that Fox put out after the settlement that they have this commitment, they say, to the highest journalistic standards. Do you think the public will see it that way or perhaps exactly the opposite?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it depends on what public you're talking about. I think Fox viewers might see it that way, although they're not going to learn much about this settlement from Fox.
But I will tell you that I thought that the statement from Fox News was about as milk toast as it could possibly negotiate. It said, we acknowledge the court's rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false, not all, just certain claims to be false. And the reason we settled, according to Fox, is because we have a commitment to good journalism and we don't want to divide the country, you know, going along in the future.
So, we'll have to see how Fox behaves.
The one thing, of course, that is so important is that these anchors do not have to go on the air now and tell people what they really believed at the time. And that maybe would have changed certain people's minds, but now they don't have to do it.
MARQUARDT: And they don't have to show up in court either.
MARQUARDT: Everyone, thank you so much for joining me on this major breaking story for helping us break that down.
We do have more news ahead on the Fox settlement. We will be joined by the attorney for a fired Fox producer who testified in the defamation case and now is suing Fox herself.
MARQUARDT: We are following all the latest developments on the multimillion dollar settlement, $787.5 million settlement, of the defamation lawsuit against Fox News, the network admitting to spreading false claims on air as it avoided a potentially damaging and embarrassing trial.
We're joined now by Gerry Filippatos, a lawyer for former Fox Producer Abby Grossberg, who has filed an explosive lawsuit against the network. Mr. Filippatos, thank you so much for joining us this evening. What is your client's response to this settlement from just a short time ago?
GERRY FILIPPATOS, ATTORNEY FOR FIRED FOX PRODUCER ABBY GROSSBERG: Thanks for having me on, Alex. It's truly a precedent-setting day. Abby Grossberg is gratified that her contribution to telling the truth doggedly over the course of the last few months has contributed to this settlement today, and we are proud of our colleagues at Dominion and Dominion itself for holding Fox to the standard of truth that it should have had held itself to.
We do believe that, from our perspective, although we understand the newsworthiness of today's events, for us, it's a little bit of the tail wagging the dog because Abby's case -- two cases actually, one in Delaware, that sounds and civil conspiracy where Fox and its attorneys essentially sought to scapegoat Abby and have her -- pressure her to tell Fox's lies in a court of law, which he wasn't willing to do and she stood up forcefully and courageously. And I think that's part of what brought up brought about the settlement today.
So, that suit is continuing and many of the issues in the Dominion suit prevail in that suit. And we also are gratified that the court saw fit to appoint a special master to address some of the improprieties in discovery that Fox and its attorneys engaged in that we brought to light in the last couple of weeks.
The other lawsuit, which is -- go ahead.
MARQUARDT: Well, I just want to ask you, in these two lawsuits, how do you believe that today's settlement impacts those? Do you think that Fox is going to be more likely to settle those as well?
FILIPPATOS: I really think it's a waste of energy to try to read Fox's mind. I think when there is an institution that, from our perspective, based on our investigation and the way that we allege, is an institution that is just an onion of arrogance that just has layer and layer of untruth and deceit to it. It's really a waste of time to try to figure out what they're doing.
What I do know is that Abby stands ready to continue her fight to make sure that her rights are vindicated, not only with respect the civil conspiracy in the Delaware lawsuit but also, frankly, even more importantly, from her perspective, the very, very troubling gender discrimination, hostile work environment case that that has in elements of, you know, glass ceiling and that she wasn't promoted to executive director while she was with Maria Bartiromo.
And then finally, just very quickly, the experience that she had on the Tucker Carlson show where there was such misogyny and such a toxic work environment. I mean, you know, the C word being bandied around as if it was hello.
And it's just -- Fox -- the last thing I'll say is that Fox has a history of engaging in very notorious large settlements, as it did in the era of, you know, the prior cases of sexual discrimination that that sort of petered out in 2015. And then continuing to do what it does, as we see now in Abby's case in the southern district. In fact, a year-and-a-half ago, um Fox was fined a million dollars by the New York City Commission of Human Rights for engaging having a hostile work environment against women, and yet we see what it's still did up until the day that Abby was fired.
MARQUARDT: All right. Gerry Filippatos, lawyer for former Fox News Producer Abby Grossberg, thank you so much for joining us tonight.
FILIPPATOS: Thanks so much.
MARQUARDT: And once again, we want to let you know that we did reach out to Fox for comment on those lawsuits as well. We did not get a response.
Coming up, new revelations about the leak of classified Pentagon documents. We will get the latest on the investigation from the leaders of the House Intelligence Committee. They will be joining us for an exclusive joint interview. That's coming up next.
MARQUARDT: The American journalists jailed in Russia on spying charges appeared today in a court in Moscow. Evan Gershkovich sought a change in the terms of his detention. And as CNN's Matthew Chance, Gershkovich's appeal was denied.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's the first glimpse of Evan Gershkovich for weeks, the U.S. reporter accused in Russia of espionage standing arms folded behind a glass courtroom cage, even manages a smile for the cameras.
Journalists call out their support, hold strong, one shouts. Everyone sends you a big hello, the voice says, before being hustled away. But the court rejected an appeal for bail for Gershkovich to be kept under house arrest instead of in prison.
Outside, his lawyers spoke of how he was holding up behind bars, reading classic Russian novels, one said, and watching cooking shows on T.V.
But the U.S. ambassador was far more critical, expressing her concerns at his confinement.
LYNNE TRACY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA: I can only say how troubling it was to see Evan, an innocent journalist, held in these circumstances. The charges against Evan are baseless and we call on the Russian Federation to immediately release him.
CHANCE: Amid its brutal invasion of Ukraine, Russia has been stepping up its crackdown on free speech and dissent using the war as cover to silence independent journalism or to jail longstanding critics, like Vladimir Kara-Murza, sentenced to 25 years for treason just this week after speaking out on the conflict.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The war crimes, these are war crimes.
CHANCE: And the pressure is maintained behind bars. Last month, supporters of Alexei Navalny, the jailed Russian anti-corruption campaigner, accused the authorities of poisoning the Kremlin critic again, this time at the penal colony. Now, his lawyers say he's been beaten up in his cell and faces new criminal charges.
It is against this backdrop, Evan Gershkovich remains detained in a Moscow prison, determined, say his lawyers, to defend himself but utterly at the mercy of an increasingly authoritarian Russian state.
CHANCE (on camera): Well, Alex, tonight, one senior U.S. official telling CNN that creative and sometimes quite challenging options are going to be looked at in an effort to try and bring Evan Gershkovich home, where they wouldn't be drawn on what exactly is being considered.
What the official did warn about, though, is that in the past, the Russians have insisted on the legal process being played out before they're prepared to engage in serious negotiations and that that process, unfortunately, for Evan Gershkovich, could take some time.
MARQUARDT: All right. Matthew Chance, thank you very much for that report.
And joining me now to discuss this and more, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Congressman Mike Turner, and the ranking member, Congressman Jim Himes. Gentlemen, thank you both so much for joining me this evening.
Congressman Himes, I want to ask you first. What leverage, if any, do you think the U.S. has to get Evan Gershkovich home?
REP. JIM HIMES (D-CT): Well, it's hard. These cases are always hard because, of course, we know why the Russians are doing this, where they're doing this, because they are losing a war. They're angry at the United States for leading the charge against their brutal invasion of Ukraine, and so they're just striking out.
At the end of the day, it's evidence of just the sheer desperation of the Kremlin. But it's hard because, of course, they'll want to negotiate the way they have in the past, and it's brutally hard to imagine that you're going to trade anything for an innocent journalist. So, look, we'll do -- the government will do everything it's supposed to do diplomatically. Russia will hopefully realize that if it starts kidnapping westerners, because that's what just happened, that business people, whatever remaining business people are in Russia are going to get out of there, and hopefully they'll rethink this brutal activity.
MARQUARDT: And, Chairman Turner, of course, Gershkovich is not the only American there. Paul Whelan, for example, has been in Russian prison for years, also on espionage charges. To what extent do you think the arrest, the wrongful detention, as U.S. is calling it, of this journalist has complicated efforts to get other Americans home?
REP. MIKE TURNER (R-OH): Well, as Jim was saying, it certainly is difficult. One thing that's great is it's great to see him, to know that Evan appears to be okay. This does, though, illustrate that this is an authoritarian regime. And that means that they don't allow dissent, they don't allow people to have opposing views, they don't have the freedoms that we have, and they're in a war that they're losing, and that has absolutely been identified as war crimes. They don't want the public discourse in their country because they know it certainly diminishes the authoritarians regime's grip on its populace. So, I think you'll see issues like this where they're trying to tamp down dissent, where they're arresting journalists and trying to prevent the truth from being told.
MARQUARDT: And I did meet earlier today with the British secretary of defense. And he was saying about these leaked documents that we now have seen many of, scores of, and we believe there are hundreds out there. He said, don't take them at face value. We also heard from John Kirby at the White House saying that they still don't know the full scope of what is out there. What are you being told by intelligence officials about the documents that we still don't know about this, that they don't know about, and the veracity of what we have seen?
TURNER: Sure. Well, one thing here, any leak is damaging, because, of course, you know, we keep things classified because we want don't want our adversaries to see them. And even when documents are altered or when they are used for inappropriate purposes, they undermine our national security and the national security of our allies.
So, that's why this is of such great concern.
I do think that we go through the review process, how did he find these documents, how did he have access to them, those are going to be important questions as we try to get the answers and how do we fix this so it doesn't happen again. But, certainly, there have been reports that some of these documents that had circulated did not have accurate information on them, some, you know, we don't know, but they still show exposure and are danger to United States.
MARQUARDT: Congressman, as far as we know, as Chairman Turner was just saying, these documents came from this 21-year-old airman. It came from the military side of the house, if you will. What do you believe in your role as someone who oversees the intelligence community, the intelligence that community needs to do to tighten things up, because in these documents, we did see some intelligence that purports to come from the CIA, the NSA and elsewhere in the I.C.?
HIMES: Yes. And this is the core question for Mike and I and for the other overseers of this whole operation, and it's a big deal. It's not just one 21-year-old airman. And, by the way, it's not his age that matters here. We rely on 21-year-olds to lead troops into combat. It's the fact that he had not just access to information he did not need to have in order to do his job. He was able to print it out, stick in his pocket and walk out of a secure facility. Mike and I, were we do our business, could not do that.
And so -- and, by the way, it's not just a young airman. It is the former president of the United States and two former vice presidents of the United States. So, here, you have, you know, maybe the most junior person in the federal government and the most senior people in the federal government and we see it time and time again.
So, we have a process problem that is going to require us to rethink the technology that is going to rethink who -- that's going to require us to rethink who has access and you've got a culture problem. I mean, I would like to understand the culture that lived in that Cape Cod National Guard unit where, you know, apparently, there was just not 100 percent commitment to preserving information.
And so Mike and I need to look at the technology, at the people and the culture because this has got to stop happening.
MARQUARDT: Reviews that are going to be happening for quite some time, lots of questions still to be asked, and, of course, an investigation by the DOJ that is still very much underway. Gentlemen, we need to leave it there. Ranking Member Jim Himes and Chairman Mike Turner of the House Intelligence Committee, thank you both for joining me this evening.
Now, just ahead, the elderly white homeowner charged in the shooting of a black teenager is free again after surrendering earlier today. We'll have all the new developments in that case. That's next.
MARQUARDT: In Kansas City, the 84-year-old white man charged with shooting a young black teenager who rang his doorbell has been released on bail after turning himself into authorities. Tonight, we are learning more about his response when the unarmed 16-year-old mistakenly wound up on his doorstep.
CNN's Lucy Kafanov is on the story.
LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Andrew Lester, the 84- year-old white homeowner charged with shooting Ralph Yarl, a 16-year- old black teenager turned himself into authorities today and was released on $200,000 bond and a prohibition on him possessing weapons five days after he allegedly opened fire on the teenager who rang the doorbell at the wrong address, shooting Yarl through a glass storm door with a .32 caliber revolver.
Yarl's mother spoke with CBS News about the events of that night when Yarl went to pick up his younger brothers from a friend's home.
CLEO NAGBE, RALPH YARL'S MOM: Why he was standing there, his brothers didn't run outside, but he got a couple of bullets in his body instead of a couple of twins coming up out and giving him a hug.
KAFANOV: Lester faces two felony charges in the shooting, assault in the first-degree and armed criminal action.
The incident unfolded on the front porch of the home behind me, the homeowner telling police that Ralph Yarl came up to his front porch. He rang the doorbell. But Ralph had made a mistake. This home is located 115th Street. The home he was supposed to go to is one block away right there, 115th Terrace.
According to the probable cause statement, Lester told investigators he was in bed when he heard the doorbell ring, then picked up his gun before responding to answer the door. He said, after opening the main door, he saw a black male, approximately six feet tall and he believed someone was attempting to break into the house and shot twice within a few seconds of opening the main door. He also told investigators that no words were exchanged and is quoted as saying he was scared to death by the teenager's size and by his inability to defend himself.
LEE MERRITT, RALPH YARL'S ATTORNEY: He had to face an ugly reality here in the states, that the color of his skin is often seen as a threat in and of itself.
KAFANOV: According to prosecutors, there's no evidence Yarl ever crossed the threshold into Lester's home.
FAITH SPOONMORE, RALPH YARL'S AUNT: You just cannot wrap your head around it from being shot for doing absolutely nothing wrong.
KAFANOV: Yarl told investigators he fell to the ground after being shot in the head and was then shot in the arm. He said the man who shot him said, don't come around here and he ran away going to multiple homes asking for help.
NAGBE: Ralph was shot on top of his left eye, that, I would say, in the left frontal lobe, and then he was shot again in the upper right arm. He was shot. He had the bullet in the -- up here for about, let's say, up to 12 hours before it was taken out. So, that injury is extensive.
KAFANOV (on camera): The Clay County prosecutor, Zach Thompson, met with the family of Ralph Yarl this afternoon, this as protesters have taken to the streets for a second time today demanding justice and action. Alex?
KAFANOV: And great to hear that Yarl is on the road to recovery. Lucy Kafanov, thank you very much for that report.
Coming up, Ron DeSantis' fight with Disney is heating up again, as the Florida governor threatens retaliation. It's giving Donald Trump new ammunition against his potential 2024 rival.
MARQUARDT: Tonight, Donald Trump has a new line of attack against Ron DeSantis as the Florida governor battles with the Walt Disney Corporation.
Our Brian Todd is working the story.
Brian, DeSantis, he's under fire as he threatens new retaliation against Disney.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, Alex. Ron DeSantis is certainly not backing down in this war he has declared on Disney. It's a risky move to do that in Florida, and tonight, top Republicans are piling on the governor.
TODD (voice-over): Florida's powerful and popular governor, Ron DeSantis, under increasing pressure over his fight with Disney. Former President Donald Trump posting today on his social media website that DeSantis is being, quote, absolutely destroyed by Disney, and that DeSantis is engaging in a political stunt.
Trump joins other top Republicans like possible presidential candidate Chris Christie, who are slamming DeSantis for not being able to outmaneuver Disney's CEO.
CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), FORMER GOVERNOR OF NEW JERSEY: That's not the guy I want sitting across from President Xi and negotiating our next agreement with China. We're sitting across from Putin trying to resolve what's happening in Ukraine. If you can't see around the corner that Bob Iger created for you.
TODD: The heat turned up on DeSantis after his latest threat against Disney, to raise Disney's taxes or build something right near Disney's land near Orlando.
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: People have said, you know, maybe have another. Maybe create a state park. Maybe try to do more amusement parks. Someone even said, like, maybe you need another state prison. Who knows? I mean, I just think that the possibilities are endless. TODD: DeSantis' aides say he was joking, according to journalist Marc
Caputo, but the stakes are high in his battle against the Magic Kingdom. DeSantis is vowing to retaliate against Disney after the entertainment and theme park giant thwarted DeSantis' attempt for the state to take over power of Disney's special taxing district in that area of Florida.
MARC CAPUTO, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, THE MESSENGER: Disney is a big job generator. It's an incredibly popular place like people come to Florida to go to Disneyworld. Disney produces very popular films. How much is this going to be a benefit to Ron DeSantis in the long run?
TODD: A risk that the man who won his last election in November by almost 20. Percentage points has seemed very willing to take. DeSantis' spat with Disney started last year when a Florida law was passed that he backed limiting instruction of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools. Disney spoke out against that bill.
Analysts say by declaring war on Disney, DeSantis is upending the Republican landscape, going against the traditional pro-business values of the party.
JONAH GOLDBERG, CO-FOUNDER & CHIEF EXECUTIVE EDITOR, THE DISPATCH: Historically, that's not something that the free market GOP has looked to do, but it does signal that we're in a different GOP now. It's sort of cultural wars all the way down.
TODD: And observers say his willingness to take on Disney is a measure of DeSantis' overall swagger.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As he has grown into the office and the exercise of power the likes of which we haven't seen in the state.
TODD (on camera): Ron DeSantis has been making the rounds here on Capitol Hill today, trying to win the endorsements of Republican lawmakers for his presidential bid. He's so far picked up the endorsements of three House Republicans, Donald Trump has gotten many more, including seven Republicans, just from Florida -- Alex.
MARQUARDT: Certainly heating up out there. Brian Todd, thank you very much for that report.
And this note to our viewers, coming up on "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT", right after THE SITUATION ROOM, Erin is going to be speaking with the wife of Russian activists, Vladimir Kara-Murza, who was just sentenced to 25 years in a Russian prison. That's coming up at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.
And we will have much more news ahead here in THE SITUATION ROOM. Wolf Blitzer reports from Poland on a commemoration of Holocaust victims and survivors. It is very personal for him.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [18:57:10]
MARQUARDT: This is a very important day for Holocaust survivors and for their families as they work to make sure that the world never forgets the millions slaughtered by the Nazis during World War II, including six million Jewish victims.
Our own Wolf Blitzer went to Poland to take part in what is known as the March of the Living.
He filed this report in Auschwitz-Birkenau with the notorious death camp right behind him.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We've been here all day at Auschwitz- Birkenau. Right now, we're at Birkenau. This is where the main death chamber was at Auschwitz, and we're here on what's called the March of the Living, where people from all over the world, especially a lot of young people come here to remember the six million Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust.
And for a lot of us, this is very, very personal for me, especially very personal, since all four of my grandparents Polish Jews were killed, during the Holocaust or obviously seeing the gas chambers, the crematorium, the railroad cars, the cattle cars that brought these Jews here from all over Europe. They brought him to Auschwitz-Birkenau where they were killed, most of them almost all of them were killed in the process.
It's really been special, especially to meet with some of the Holocaust survivors, and increasingly, there are fewer and fewer Holocaust survivors left. But you hear their stories and you hear their testimony of what they went through. It is so meaningful, especially at a time like right now where there has been increased antisemitism in the United States indeed, elsewhere around the world. And increased Holocaust denial where people think it was just made up 6 million Jews were murdered, and that sadly is increasing as we meet right now.
So this has been a powerful moment for so many people have gathered here at Auschwitz-Birkenau, and it's also coming at the same time of the 80th anniversary of the worst ghetto uprising. We were just in Warsaw. We'll be heading back to Warsaw were the Nazis rounded up Jews, sent him to this ghetto right in the middle of Warsaw, tens of thousands of them.
And then at some point, the Jews revolted. They managed to get ahold of some weapons, and they resisted. They fought back, and in the end, most of them were slaughtered most of them were eventually sent to camps, death camps not necessarily here at Auschwitz-Birkenau, but other death camps that the Nazis built all around Poland.
So we're remembering the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising as well, and it's just been a really, really emotional, very personal experience for me to see what was going on, to learn that my grandparents were -- two of them -- my father's parents were murdered here at Auschwitz-Birkenau and to get a better appreciation of this history.
This history that sadly is so powerful and so memorable.
MARQUARDT: Our thank -- our thanks to Wolf for that powerful report, and he will be filing more reports as he continues this very personal assignment in Poland.
I'm Alex Marquardt here in THE SITUATION ROOM. Thank you so much for watching this evening.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.