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Trump Says He'll Hold Rallies in Battleground States This Summer; Cuomo Calls Question About $5 Million COVID Book Deal "Stupid"; Texas Family Fights to Save Land from Federal Eminent Domain Order; "Charlie Bit Me" Video to Be Scrubbed from YouTube, Sold as NFT. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired May 21, 2021 - 15:30   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: OK, let's get to Two to Four Things to Know, political edition.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: All right. So Donald Trump says that he will soon hold more of his campaign-style rallies in several battleground states. Listen.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Relatively soon we'll be doing one in Florida. We're going to do one in Ohio. We're going to do one in Georgia. We're going to do one in North Carolina.

We'll be announcing first one very soon, over the next week or two. And I think we'll probably start in Florida and Ohio. And we'll be announcing the rallies very shortly.


BLACKWELL: Yes, the announcement's coming in a week or two. The list of things that former President Trump is going to announce in a week or two is very long. For more let's bring in now CNN senior White House correspondent John Harwood. John, so what's this mean for the potential run for president again or is this just ego?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it may be something else as well. Remember, Victor, we have a long way to go before 2024. Former President Trump has very big legal problems. We learned more about those this week. The criminal investigation involving both the New York Attorney General and the Manhattan District Attorney. And I think you have got to view this announcement in that context.

Remember, when the president's gotten in hot water lately, the facts have not been his friend. They weren't in either of the two impeachment trials that he went through, but what was his friend was partisan support from Republicans.


He plainly still has a grip on the Republican Party and doing things to whip up Republican fervor for him could be seen as part of his defense strategy. In effect, to paint the attempt to pursue him by prosecutors as a partisan vendetta. I think that's the lens through which we've got to consider what the president said about those rallies.

CAMEROTA: OK, John, number two, political headline. Florida's governor also fueling speculation about his own possible presidential bid. He made these comments on Thursday.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): In the state of Florida with me as governor, I have only begun to fight. Thank you all. God bless you. Thank you.


CAMEROTA (on camera): He should trademark that expression.

HARWOOD: That's right. Well, look, Alisyn, Ron DeSantis has impressed a lot of Republicans. He has got a positive mid-50s job approval rating in Florida, which is a critical state for a Republican presidential candidate.

He's conveyed this sense of defiance that Donald Trump often has. But we have got to remember here that, you know, Victor was asking about 2024 before. Ron DeSantis' hopes entirely depend on Donald Trump not being involved at least at this stage.

There is a poll that came out this week that showed Donald Trump getting nearly half of the Republican vote, 48 percent. Ron DeSantis was in single digits at 7 percent. And guess who he was behind? Not just Donald Trump, but Donald Trump Jr. as well.

BLACKWELL: Wow. OK, so last one here, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, he's getting some criticism for the millions of dollars he made off his book on the pandemic. Listen to this exchange between the governor and a reporter.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The book deal I should say was worth more than $5 million and the allegations out there that you made that money on the backs of the deaths of New Yorkers. How do you respond to that?

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): That's stupid. Next question.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why would that be stupid?

CUOMO: I thought your question was stupid and offensive. I wrote a book saying, this is what we should learn from what has happened so far in COVID because we're not done and it's going to continue. And if we don't learn the lessons, we're going to continue to make the same mistakes.


BLACKWELL: Governor Cuomo not one to mince words in these exchanges.

HARWOOD: Well, Victor, in fairness to Cuomo, suggesting that he was doing this on the back of dead New Yorkers is a bit of a cheap shot. It's not as if Governor Cuomo set out to injure any New Yorkers and profit from it.

What is fair, though, is to question the quality of his coronavirus response, whether he made the right decisions both early in the pandemic as well as later on. And it's also fair to raise the question of whether he was a little -- fell a little bit too much in love with his own celebrity and got distracted from the fight by an enterprise like writing a book for a very large paycheck.

Now, he says he's going to give some of that money away. But, nevertheless, there's reason to question why Governor Cuomo should be signing a contract for a $5 million book while he's in the middle of dealing with a pandemic.

CAMEROTA: I'm not sure he would like those questions either. But, John Harwood, thank you very much for helping us with Two to Four Things.

HARWOOD: You bet.

CAMEROTA: OK, next, President Biden promised not to build another foot of the border wall when he took office, but CNN has spoken to families who are still set to lose their land to the federal government through eminent domain. We have their stories just ahead.



BLACKWELL: So a family in Texas is battling the Biden administration over plans to take part of their land through an eminent domain order.

CAMEROTA: The fight actually began last year with the Trump administration and the family fears the government will use the land to build a border wall. Something they do not want to see. CNN's Nick Valencia has the story.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, this letter is from the government telling you that they're probably going to build a wall here?


VALENCIA (voice over): Fred Cavazos and his cousin, Rey Anzaldua, don't want a border wall. For years under the Trump administration, they fought in court to stop their family land from being seized by eminent domain to build one.

There's already a portion of the wall east of their property and another portion of the wall to the west. Now this roughly one-mile stretch on their family's land in between is about to be filled up by even more border wall.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There will not be another foot of wall constructed in my administration.

VALENCIA (voice over): Joe Biden ran to be president in part on his promise to stop a wall from being built along the U.S./Mexico border, but Cavazos and his family say Biden lied.

REY ANZALDUA, LAND SEIZED BY BIDEN ADMINISTRATION: At first, he said, no, no, not one more foot. Now he's thinking about miles.

VALENCIA (voice over): Two weeks ago, a federal judge ruled that 6 1/2 acres of the family's 60-acre property will be taken from them, and there's nothing they can do about it.

ANZALDUA: It makes you think, we know we're supposed to be living in a free country and makes me think, you know, are we that free?

This is where the wall would go.

VALENCIA (voice over): Eminent domain allows the government to acquire privately owned land for public use. For the Cavazos that means they'll lose a piece of their family history. What's worse, they say, is what the land will be used for.


According to the original order that was filed under the Trump administration, it's likely to be used to build a wall and add additional border infrastructure, like this Border Patrol surveillance tower and Border Patrol guard station that currently sits on their property.

CAVAZOS: What I want from President Biden is to stop the wall. You know, keep his word. He said, no more walls, not one foot of wall. And no more land confiscations. That's what we want to do is keep his word.

VALENCIA (voice over): In a statement, the Department of Justice said, it sought continuances and pending cases, including in this case, in which the government had previously filed motions for possession of land on the southwest border. But right before the rescheduled hearing in this case, the judge granted the DOJ's motion for possession that had been filed under the Trump administration. When asked if the Cavazos would be allowed to keep their land, despite the judge's ruling, the DOJ did not respond.

Roberto Lopez is part of the legal team representing the Cavazos family.

ROBERTO LOPEZ, TEXAS CIVIL RIGHTS PROJECT: This is one of 140 different cases across the state of Texas. Now, not everyone is in position like the Cavazos family is in, but they could very well be very soon.

CAVAZOS: I have an emotional attachment to this land because I worked it all through my youth. So this is something that we want to keep in the family. You know, we don't want to get rid of it. There's no amount of money they could give us for the land right now that would warrant us -- the people that own this land selling it.

VALENCIA (voice over): The family says the U.S. government offered around $347,000 in compensation, but to them, this land is priceless.


VALENCIA (on camera): The Cavazos family is one of an estimated 140 families along the U.S./Mexico border at risk of having their land seized by the U.S. government or has already had their land seized.

In the case of Fred Cavazos there is little that he can do to keep his land from being seized other than hoping that his story getting out will lead to the Department of Justice dropping the case -- Alisyn, Victor.

CAMEROTA: Yes, it sounds like we haven't heard the end of this. Nick Valencia, thank you very much for that story.

OK, next, the YouTube video that has been watched more times than any other clip ever. It is set to be deleted and sold off as an f -- no, an NFT.

BLACKWELL: Come on, come on.

CAMEROTA: What is an NFT, you ask? Victor is going to explain it to all of us.

BLACKWELL: I love this. I love this.

CAMEROTA: I know you do.



BLACKWELL: I love this story. The most-watched, the most-viewed viral video of all time may now turn into this huge cash windfall for the family that recorded it. This is the "Charlie bit my finger" clip that has been watched more than 880 million times. You've probably seen it. It came out in 2007.


UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Ouch. Ow! Ouch, Charlie. Ow! Charlie, that really hurts.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BLACKWELL: So the boys are now 15 and 17, and tomorrow the family is going to delete that video from YouTube and sell it as an NFT which stands for non-fungible token, it's basically -- think of it as a deed to digital content.

CAMEROTA: OK, and in case you're like me and have no clue what an NFT is or why you would need one here's a quick explainer from our team at CNN business.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: NFTs are unique digital tokens that can be traded on the block chain by associating infinitely copyable digital files with finite digital tokens. NFTs create scarcity and scarcity leads to value.


CAMEROTA: OK, now I understand it perfectly, Victor.

BLACKWELL: OK. Good. Good.

CAMEROTA: Now here's what I need to know. How much is that going to go for, that "Charlie bit my finger" video? How much will they get for that?

BLACKWELL: Oh my gosh, I think at least, this is a guess, at least seven figures, at least seven figures.

The highest selling NFT which is thousands of images, sold for $69 million. So we're not talking chump change. "Charlie bit my finger" is going to, you know, buy some vacation homes if that's what they get.

CAMEROTA: He's going to be able to get a lot of ointment for that finger.

BLACKWELL: Yes, yes. The finger is fine.

CAMEROTA: Or whatever he needs.

BLACKWELL: The finger's fine.


BLACKWELL: All right, any moment now we're expecting to see President Biden as he meets with the South Korean President Moon Jae-In. Stay with us. We've got more in a moment.



BLACKWELL: This week's CNN Hero is Hector Guadalupe. He is a successful personal trainer who spent a decade behind bars, but now he is helping others follow his path.


HECTOR GUADALUPE, CNN HERO: Society thinks, oh, you should just go get a job and it's not that easy. Once you have a record, nothing is set up for them to win.

And up one good, right back up under.

At a Second U Foundation we get formerly incarcerated men and women national certifications in job placements in boutique gyms and corporate health clubs throughout New York City.

You've got to be thinking outside the box. You can't give someone a mop and say this is your future. Take minimum wage and deal with it.

There you go, you got if.

When you provide people with livable wages, they are able to be productive members of society.

Look at that belly.

Oh, wow.

And that's why we are a Second U. We want to give you your second chance at life.


BLACKWELL: Well, if you would like to nominate someone to be a CNN Hero you can do it now at

CAMEROTA: They are all so inspirational. It will be hard to choose the best.

BLACKWELL: Yes. It is every year. All right, The Lead with Jake Tapper starts right now.