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Gaetz & Greene Take Road Show To Arizona, Ground Zero For Big Lie; Interview With Arizona Secretary Of State Katie Hobbs (D); Former Daughter-In-Law Believes Weisselberg Will Flip On Trump; Former Navy Pilot Reveals Daily Sightings Of UFOs; European Union To Reopen Its Borders To Vaccinated Travelers; Joe Rogan Claims Woke Culture Silencing Straight White Men. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired May 22, 2021 - 17:00   ET



JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington.

The 2020 election lie simply refuses to die or rather a lot of Republicans refuse to let it. Two of the party's most controversial members of Congress, Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Green, have joined forces taking their American first dog-and-pony show on the road.

They're trying to resurrect the energy of former President Donald Trump's rallies with raised voices, tired talking points and brash language, all while promoting the big lie in a city near you.

Their latest stop, Maricopa County, Arizona, ground zero for false claims of election fraud where a controversial audit of that county's 2020 election ballots is set to resume.


REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): They're trying to stop you. They do not want you to do this audit. The Democrats are trying to stop you. The department of justice is trying to stop you.

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): They just think, oh, these are a bunch of resentful people. They can't take the truth. They're just in a state of denial.

Well, you know what? We are working to make elections better.


ACOSTA: Of course, Joe Biden won the state of Arizona and the presidential election. The GOP-controlled Arizona state Senate pushed this independent audit in Maricopa County despite the fact two prior publicly funded audits found zero evidence of wrongdoing.

And consider the message here. Greene was stripped of her committee assignments earlier this year in part over her support with conspiracy theories and she's kept up with the crazy rhetoric in recent days, and Gaetz is the subject of a federal sex trafficking investigation. But if you need further proof that the Arizona election audit is

nonsense, well, CNN's Kyung Lah is here to show you. Here is what she is reporting.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you're wondering what chickens have to do with ballots, you're as bewildered as the Maricopa County recorder and board supervisor. But chickens have everything to do with the conspiracies swirling around Arizona's votes in the 2020 election.

STEPHEN RICHER, MARICOPA COUNTY RECORDER: I mean, you have to be an imbecile to not be aware that lots of people have doubts about the election.

BILL GATES, VICE CHAIR OF MARICOPA BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: People are questioning the democracy, questioning whether their vote is counted.

LAH: Both lifelong Republicans, Bill Gates and Stephen Richer, say the war within their party is fact versus fantasy. The battleground is here. A third audit of Maricopa County's approximately 2.1 million ballots. But this review is unlike the others in just about every other way, including that it's been run by the Republican-controlled Arizona Senate and its contractor, Cyber Ninjas.

Over the last few weeks, we've seen them have to move all the ballots to make way for scheduled high school graduations. They say they've counted about 500,000 so far since they started late last month. During the count workers have used U.V. lights on ballots, chasing a QAnon conspiracy about a secret watermark. Cameras hunting for bamboo fibers and ballots supposedly proving they were flown in from Asia.

This unorthodox review has been backed by Arizona Republican senators.

GATES: There's this blood thirstiness that's going on in our party right now that I don't understand, but we have to stop it. This is tearing at the foundations of democracy to act in this way, to treat one another this way.

RICHER: I think it's a proxy war for this playing out at a national level. So, I guess, yes, we are the experiment in democracy here in Arizona.

LAH: Are you guys the Petri dish for what's going to be the playbook?

GATES: Yeah, absolutely, and I'm very concerned about that. I mean, we now see the videos from other states where they're demanding an Arizona-style audit. We have drawn a line in the sand because the fight was brought to us. And now that it has been I think it's incumbent upon us to raise our voices.


LAH: They're battling the Republican-controlled Senate and its president, Karen Fann, who has continued to defend the partisan audit. KAREN FANN (R), PRESIDENT, ARIZONA STATE SENATE: I've had senators and

speakers from other states that have contacted me. This is what's going to lay the groundwork as to what is the future of how do we audit our elections if need be?

LAH: All the doors are locked. We can't even get in.

We've asked six times for an interview with Senator Fann. She has avoided all media.

We're just trying to see if we could chat with Senator Fann.

We can't get to this public official's office door.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The best option is contact her office directly, see what her schedule is.

LAH: Meanwhile these voters despite the previous two audits that found no widespread fraud remain hungry for results they're convinced will be revealed.

Do you think Donald Trump won the election?

DONALD BROWN, REPUBLICAN VOTER: Yes, I do. I would say do.


LAH: And when you say do it to 'em, what do you mean?

LISAC: I want an answer. I feel we as a general public deserve an answer what's going on down there.

LAH: But this table believes the war inside the GOP will expedite the demographic and political change in Arizona, a once red state now a battleground.

JIM PELLICCIOTTI, INDEPENDENT VOTER: Well, I think it's going to help the Democrats.

We think it's crazy, you know. I mean, how can people still be questioning this election? What are they -- you can't fix stupid, I guess.


ACOSTA: And thanks to Kyung for that great report.

Joining me now is the Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.

Secretary, thanks for joining us.

I want to show our viewers the website for Cyber Ninjas. This is the company hired by Republicans to perform this audit, if you want to call it that.

Can the people of Arizona trust these findings? And what do you make of some of the voters in your state featured in Kyung's piece who appear to be led astray in all this?

KATIE HOBBS (D), ARIZONA SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, led astray is a very good way to put it. They -- I heard someone say in the previous report that they want answers. Well, we've provided all the answers. The answers are there. There was no fraud in this election. The results we certified were accurate. And the election was over.

There was a period where people could bring challenges, and they did, nine of them. There was no evidence for any of the claims that were made. And so, there are no remaining questions about this election and the only reason there are is because elected leaders like Senate President Karen Fann has refused to stop it and say, no.

Look, we passed the laws our elections are conducted according to, and our elections work. And so it's -- yeah, it's just -- it's so frustrating I can't even -- I'm at a loss for words at this point of how frustrating it is.

ACOSTA: And a national expert on post-election audits was allowed to observe some of this audit process and wrote about what she saw.

She says, quote, I was stunned to see spinning conveyer wheels whizzing hundreds of ballots past counters who struggled to mark, on a tally sheet, each voter selection for the presidential and Senate races. They had only a few seconds to record what they saw. At one point, I overheard some volunteers excitedly discuss a stain on a ballot. It looks like a Cheeto finger, one said, like someone touched it with cheese dust. That had to be suspicious, their teammate agreed.

Let me just ask you. What is going on here? This sounds like it's just making a mockery of the process.

HOBBS: Well, that's exactly right, and I've said that many times that it is making a mockery of the process. The folks at Cyber Ninjas and their contractors that are conducting this exercise, I very much hesitate to call it an audit, they don't know what they're doing. They have no election experience. They have no auditing experience.

And the procedures that are in place, you mentioned the spinning tables, that looks really fancy and official. It is -- it is just for show. And they're not following any type of best practices for any type of audit, and there are very specific best practices you'd want to have in place in terms of procedures for an election audit, and they're not following any of those.

And really the procedures that they're using are making a situation that is prime for cooking the books. And so, we know already at this point from what we've seen that we're not going to be able to trust the results that come out of this.

ACOSTA: Yeah, I was going to say, what if they come out and they say, we found, a-ha, we found all this fraud, what do you see happening in your state?

HOBBS: Well, in any type of audit, I -- you know, you should be able to replicate your findings. And the procedures that they're utilizing or lack of procedures, I should say, really, are making it impossible to do so. You're not going to be able to replicate for whatever findings they come up.

And at the end of the day, this is really an exercise to continue the big lie as has been said, and to continue to undermine people's confidence in our elections. And I fear laying the groundwork for -- in 2024, setting up a situation where the presidential electors are rejected by a Republican majority Congress if that's the case. And this is why it's so critical that we put a stop to this now.

ACOSTA: But it looks like you're powerless to stop it, and it looks like they're going to come out with these results, and -- I couldn't there -- I suppose there's the potential for these results to be announced, for them to be called into question by your office, and then you're left with a massive problem in your state.

Can you trust these ballots or these machines again? I've seen some comments about how these machines may be useless after this.

HOBBS: Yeah, and actually, that notice came from our office to the American county board of supervisors on Thursday. But this was not new information to them. We shared this concern from the very beginning. And we encouraged them to appeal the ruling that upheld the subpoena so that we wouldn't be in this situation now.

It's too late to do anything about that. But the Maricopa County board did indicate that they are potentially going to take some legal action. I don't know what that looks like but they gave notice for preservation of documents on Friday. So I hope that means they are trying to go to court and we'll see what happens there.

ACOSTA: And I'm sure you're hearing Secretary Hobbs, in other states this is happening in Georgia. In Fulton County, Georgia, they're talking about a similar so-called audit. What advice do you have for these other secretaries of state who are dealing with this?

HOBBS: Well, we certainly then having conversation --

ACOSTA: Should they stop -- I guess the question is, should they stop this before it happens? Should they go to court and say this cannot -- this audit cannot take place and try to do it through the courts?

HOBBS: Oh, 100 percent. I mean, whichever entity would have legal standing. And in Arizona's case, we would have done that. But we weren't the ones with legal standing. It was Maricopa County. And so, really, yes, our advice is whatever you can do to stop it, you should because this is just not -- this is not how we audit elections or respond when you lose and just don't like the results.

ACOSTA: Absolutely. And as you were saying earlier, Secretary Hobbs, I mean, you could have a situation where just in every state across the country, people -- whoever is in power at this particular moment say, we're just going to count the ballots over and over again until we get the results we want. That's not how it works in this country. That's not democracy. It's a recipe for disaster.

All right. Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, thanks so much for your time. We appreciate it.

HOBBS: Thank you.

ACOSTA: And next, we've learned a long time aide to former President Donald Trump is under criminal investigation. And the man's ex- daughter-in-law says he'll do whatever it takes to stay out of prison. Can Trump count on him to stay quiet? We'll talk about that next.


ACOSTA: A long time aid to former President Donald Trump is now under criminal investigation over tax issues. Sources tell CNN the New York State Attorney General Letitia James has been looking into Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization CFO, for months. That's on top of her office's criminal investigation into the Trump family business. Weisselberg has been working for the Trump Organization for more than 40 years, starting as an accountant under Donald Trump's father.

He eventually rose to the highest levels of the Trump businesses, managing the organization with Trump's sons after their father's transition from reality television star to president. And this week, Weisselberg's former daughter-in-law predicted he will do, as in Weisselberg, whatever it takes to stay out of prison.


JENNIFER WEISSELBERG, ALLEN WEISSELBERG'S FORMER DAUGHTER IN LAW: As far as I'm concerned, there's been nothing legal going on in the past 21 years.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Will Allen Weisselberg flip on Trump?



ACOSTA: All right. Joining me now, Trump biographer and author of the book "The Truth about Trump", Michael D'Antonio.

Michael, great to see you as always.

What do you make of what we just heard there? You also believe if Trump is relying on Weisselberg to stay quiet, that might not work out for him.


I do think Mr. Weisselberg is under a lot of pressure, and we have to consider that it also includes pressure on his sons. Both of his sons have had extensive dealings with the Trump organization. One of them worked directly for Trump, managing the amusements in Central Park, the ice rink and the carousel they had the concession to run. And the other was involved with a financial company that lent hundreds of millions of dollars to the Trump Organization.

So if you consider all the moving parts here, Allen Weisselberg, does have concern for himself. He's a 73-year-old guy. I don't think he wants to go to prison, and he must have concern for his children and grand grandchildren.

So there are a lot of moving parts here, and it doesn't add up well for Donald right now, but that's no assurance that he'll ever be indicted or brought to trial.

ACOSTA: Right. And what should people know about Allen Weisselberg and how he's operated in the past? Even back when he was working with Trump's father?

D'ANTONIO: Well, this is a fascinating thing. He's almost at the 50- year mark with his engagement with the Trump Organization.



D'ANTONIO: He and Donald actually became full-time employees there at about the same time. And they both learned at the knee of Fred. And Fred's reputation even in the 1950s and '60s was as a very slick operator.

His business activity was the development of apartments. But I think just as important was avoiding taxes, abusing government programs.

He once got in so much trouble with the state of New York that he was banned from participating in a major housing program the state ran and never allowed back into it. He even got in trouble with Dwight Eisenhower back in the '50s because he was abusing a federal program for the veterans.

So, this is company with a tradition of abusing the law, a tradition of playing fast and loose with the numbers. And I think Weisselberg became one of the magicians in the suite of offices. He would make the numbers do whatever Donald wanted them to do and minimize their exposure to Uncle Sam.

ACOSTA: I can only imagine. Switching gears here, Trump says he plans to revive his signature MAGA rallies this summer. And during an interview with the wacky OAN network, he gave us a preview some of the lines we could hear. Let's listen.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: Twelve people ask me, they say what's going on in Arizona? They want to talk about the election fraud.

The weak Republicans don't want to talk about it. The weak or stupid or RINOs or call them whatever you want, and yet the vote, the Republican voter, that's what they want to hear. They want to hear about 2020.

They want to find out, is that something that should be turned over? When they rob a jewelry store of all the diamonds and they get caught, you have to return the diamonds. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: Michael, he's always talking about the family jewels for some reason, but I'll put that to side. My brain is starting to hurt every time I hear Donald Trump talk about this. I mean, this is just unbelievable.

When are -- when are we going to hear the end of this from Donald Trump, do you think?

D'ANTONIO: Well, it's pathetic. It's really disruptive. You can -- in your previous interview with the secretary of state from Arizona, I think she was alluding to how Trump is destroying confidence in our election system, which is really just the same thing as destroying confidence in democracy. So this man has no commitment to the United States of America. He really just has commitment to himself.

And he's desperate for attention. So right now, he's getting attention for the legal troubles he's in, and he wants to shift that to these rallies, but I don't know it's going to work. I think people have enjoyed him being offstage, and I'm not sure that beyond the MAGA faithful, anybody's going to pay attention to him.

ACOSTA: Yeah, I think you're right about that. But as we know there are plenty of those folks out there still. And, you know, holding great story over the Republican Party.

Let me ask you about this. "The Washington Post" reporting this week that since leaving office, Trump has charged the U.S. Secret Service more than $40,000 for agents to use a room at his Mar-a-Lago resort while protecting him. It breaks down to nearly 400 bucks a night for a single room. They use the workspace.

I mean that's not a whole lot of money I get, but, you know, he has left office. And he's still charging the American taxpayers money for this? I mean, it's just -- it's just unbelievable.

D'ANTONIO: Well, what's meaningful is the choice to do it. So this is a guy who's never embarrassed to be grubbing for dollars. And he feels no compunction when it comes to taking money from the taxpayers for something that he could be magnanimous about. He could say, well, here's a room you could use and, you know, don't worry about it, I'm glad to have the protection of the Secret Service.

His family is also still using the Secret Service very aggressively for their travel. So they're running up bills. I think they like the look of going around with guys with earpieces in. And so, we shouldn't expect anything better of the Trumps. These are people who are always looking to grift and never going to be generous to the American people.

ACOSTA: Well, and it's also outrageous because he tried to overturn the election results, he incited an insurrection and he's still charging the American taxpayers for his protection down at Mar-a-Lago. It's just shameful and outrageous. But what else can we expect?

Michael, thanks as always for talking to us.


We appreciate it.

D'ANTONIO: Thanks, Jim.

ACOSTA: I'm sorry sometimes that you're an expert in this field, but we appreciate your insights. Thanks as -- thanks as always.

Coming up, President Biden dodges a question on UFOs. What's really out there?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a whole fleet of them. Look on my ASA (ph) --





REPORTER: President Obama says that there is footage and records of objects in the skies, these unidentified aerial phenomenon.


And he says we don't know exactly what they are. What do you think?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would ask him again. Thank you.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: UFOs, ask President Obama. President Biden ducking a question about comments from his old boss and that Obama made earlier this week about unexplained objects flying in the sky.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The truth is that when I came into office I asked, right? I was like, all right, is there the lab somewhere where we're keeping the alien specimens and spaceships? They did a little bit of research and the answer was no.


ACOSTA: Obama also acknowledged something that the government has denied for decades up until recently.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: What is true, and I'm actually being serious here is that there are -- there's footage and records of objects in the skies that we don't know exactly what they are. We can't explain how they move, their trajectory. They did not have an easily explainable pattern.


ACOSTA: And more answers are expected from the government in a report that's out next month. In the meantime, a former Navy pilot told "60 Minutes" he saw UFOs off the Atlantic Coast every day for at least a couple of years in restricted airspace.

Check out some of this footage right here, just unbelievable stuff. What you're about to see stunned pilots as apparently there was a whole fleet of them. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My gosh. They're all going against the wind. The wind is 120 knots west. It's rotating. It's rotating.


ACOSTA: It's rotating, he said. So far no public explanation as to what these objects could be or where they came from, but the Pentagon has confirmed some witness accounts. One pilot said he is worried and considers whatever he saw a security threat.

And joining me now is former NASA astronaut and retired Navy captain, Scott Kelly.

Captain Kelly, thanks so much for joining us. He's an expert in all this. He has the astronaut's space suit in the background to prove all of this for us. Those are his bona fides right there.

Captain Kelly, Scott, you have a theory about what all of this is. Do you think there's a logical explanation here?

CAPTAIN SCOTT KELLY, RETIRED NASA ASTRONAUT: Well, Jim, first of all, I have no insight or information at all, but I do have a lifetime of experience of flying airplanes in all different types of weather conditions, flying spacecraft. And, you know, in my experience optical illusions are a big thing when you're flying airplanes in space. I mean, I've seen things at first I thought I really couldn't explain until I looked at them more and considered it.

So I think it's likely, you know, just, you know, some kind of optical illusion maybe combined with some, you know, military flight test of some unmanned aerial vehicles, some drone technology that maybe is state-of-the-art. But the idea that this is a, you know, UFOs or, you know, alien technology or even, you know, foreign military I'm somewhat of a skeptic.

ACOSTA: And so what do you make of the footage, though, that we're seeing? I know you would see things out there and you would chalk that up to optical illusions. But when you see footage like this what could some of these objects be?

S. KELLY: Well, you know, sometimes you're looking at a visual image, sometimes you're looking at the fleer, which is an infrared camera, and -- but what you're not seeing is the raw data. Like I've never seen any radar tracking data on these objects. So you can still have things that are, you know, hard to understand and explain when you're just looking at an image just like when you're look at it with your eye.

And I'm not trying to question the -- you know, the reliability or integrity of these pilots that have seen these things, but in my experience I've seen some pretty weird stuff that, you know, eventually always has an explanation.

ACOSTA: Interesting. And we heard former President Obama admit he was asking about aliens and UFOs. Former President Trump famously couldn't keep anything quiet. I know your best guess is these are top military projects. But could they really be so secret that the commander-in- chief doesn't know about it? Isn't this something that the president of the United States would know about?

S. KELLY: Well, maybe he does. Maybe he's just keeping it secret.

ACOSTA: Right. I suppose that could be the case. President Biden obviously ducked that question when it was asked of him.

I want to show you another leaked video, newly leaked video that was taken from aboard a Navy ship. It appears to show a UFO disappearing into the water. Now, when you see that what could that be, do you think? I don't know this is just a guessing game here.


S. KELLY: Yes, so I've seen that video. And from what I could tell I couldn't see anything disappearing into the water, but maybe other people see that in that video. But I think it's possible. You know, we launch missiles out of submarines that go through the water and up into the air.

You know, I would think it would be plausible that there would be technology that would go in the other direction, you know, some kind of, you know, UAV that could transition between, you know, flight in air to flying into the water, and becoming a submersible.

So, you know, there's that Ockham's razor, this idea that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. And for me I just -- you know, I'm just not believing that this could possibly be alien technology that is visiting the earth. It just seems more plausible, a more simple explanation is it's a combination of optical illusions with, you know, maybe some state-of-the-art, you know, military flight test.

It's interesting that much of this is off the coast of California often where we do a lot of flight tests out of California. Probably more than anywhere else in the world.

ACOSTA: All right, we'll put you in the skeptic column, but we'll bring you more evidence, Scott Kelly, and we'll see if we can change your mind or at least get a little bit of openness to this being a possibility in the future.

Scott Kelly, thanks so much. Great to see you as always. We appreciate it. Good talking to you.

S. KELLY: Thanks, Jim. Thanks for having me.

ACOSTA: All right. Coming up, the European Union set to welcome back Americans who are fully vaccinated. That's right. What you need to know before traveling abroad.

Brian Kelly, the points guy. You heard this before. He's a great guy, a great expert on all this. He joins me next.



ACOSTA: Grab your passport and your vaccination card. The European Union plans to open its borders to vaccinated travelers from countries with low infection rates. The date for when travel will be allowed again has yet to be announced. And while member states will likely have a final say on whether any additional testing measures will be needed, summer travel to Europe will likely soon be a reality.

And joining me now to talk about this is the points guy, he's known as the points guy, Brian Kelly.

Brian, great to see you. For Americans who have been itching to travel to the EU, where is it safe to travel right now?

BRIAN KELLY, FOUNDER OF THEPOINTSGUY.COM: Well, right now you can go to Italy, Greece and Iceland, and starting June 7th Spain and shortly thereafter France. The whole EU is expected to vote as early as this week on opening up its borders to vaccinated travelers.

But there's still a lot of questions in terms of what will allow you into the country because we don't have a -- you know, a vaccine database in the U.S. so there's a lot of questions, but vaccinated travelers should expect to get into Europe this summer.

ACOSTA: Yes, I mean, that's the question. The EU is also reaching an informal agreement to implement a COVID-19 vaccine passport that will likely be in effect beginning July 1st. What do Americans need to know before booking their European travel? Because I suppose it's possible, depending on what country that you go to travel to later on this summer, they're going to want to see some sort of proof of vaccination or the test result that shows you aren't infected. There might be a few extra lines when you arrive at your destination this summer.

B. KELLY: Yes, I mean I expect the EU to come out with their own app where you can upload a picture of your vaccine card. But in the case of Iceland you just show your CDC vaccination card upon arrival and they let you in. In the case of Italy which just opened up last week, you have to take a special COVID tested flight, meaning you get a COVID test 72 hours prior to departure, again at the airport on departure and then again on arrival. So each country will likely have its own set of rules.

ACOSTA: That's true. And Europe is likely looking for a booming travel season to make up for a pandemic shock to the tourism industry. Are there any deals out there to entice travelers to come there?

Brian, that's why we brought you here. You're the points guy. You know about the deals. What can you tell us?

B. KELLY: Absolutely. You know, Jim, the deals this summer are to Europe and Africa. You know, if you want to go to Hawaii or even Miami get ready to pay through the roof prices. That's where everyone has booked their trips. So, you know, we're seeing $2,000 round trip business class tickets on TAP Air Portugal.

And you know, using your frequent flier miles, there's a -- it's a great time to use them to go to Europe, and especially because using your frequent flier miles you can get your points back even if you want to cancel your trip altogether versus getting a voucher if you book a paid ticket.

ACOSTA: That's great advice. And also because those point programs, they're requiring more and more points as the years go on. And so it's sometimes a good idea to burn those earlier rather than later.

All right, Brian Kelly, thanks so much. Great talking to the points guy. We'll see you again here soon.

B. KELLY: Thanks for having me.

ACOSTA: Thanks.

He has millions of listeners all around the world so why is Joe Rogan worried that white men like him are being silenced? The latest controversy sparked over the airways.



ACOSTA: Take a look at this. A volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo is erupting. This is right outside the city of Goma. The last time this volcano erupted was nearly 20 years ago. So far it's not clear just how large this eruption is compared to that one, but we're told the lava appears to be flowing away from Goma this time. Still people there are not taking any chances. An evacuation plan has now been activated for the city which is home to 670,000 people. First -- so we'll be keeping tabs on that obviously as this story develops.

In the meantime, first, it was his comments about vaccines, now it's cancel culture. A popular podcast host Joe Rogan is facing new backlash this time for claiming woke culture is silencing straight white men to the point that pretty soon they won't even be able to go outside. At least that's what he's saying.

Here's Brian Stelter.


BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Joe Rogan has come a long way from eating roaches on "Fear Factor."


But he's still good at making people shriek.

JOE ROGAN, HOST, THE JOE ROGAN EXPERIENCE: You can never be woke enough. That's the problem.

STELTER: The hugely popular podcast host causing days of chatter by saying that straight white men are the targets of woke culture.

ROGEN: It will eventually get to straight white men are not allowed to talk.


ROGAN: Because it's your privilege to express yourself when other people of color have been silenced throughout history.

STELTER: Queue another day of the woke wars. It's an awakening about racial and social justice to some, but an overreaction to others. What is consequence culture for some is cancel culture to others. Rogan blaming wokeness for altering the comedy landscape.

ROGAN: Can you make a good comedy movie anymore? Or have they -- have they made it so dangerous in terms of like being canceled that comedy movies are no longer something you can do?

STELTER: Then predicting more backlash toward straight white men in the future.

ROGAN: It will be you're not allowed to go outside because so many people were imprisoned.

STELTER: Think he's joking?

ROGAN: I'm not joking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I know. I know.

ROGAN: It really will get there. It's that crazy.

STELTER: Crazy indeed. But these arguments from the likes of Rogan, Bill Maher, and Tucker Carlson are worth analyzing because these issues sway voters.

Rogan's podcast draws millions of downloads and his deal with Spotify is reportedly worth $100 million plus. Yet --

ROGAN: I'm not a doctor, I'm a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) moron. STELTER: There last month Rogan basically said, don't listen to me,

after arguing that young, healthy people don't need the coronavirus vaccine. But millions do listen. He's been accused of spreading conspiracy theories, and Spotify has even pulled some of his old interviews due to controversies. But that's clearly part of his appeal. Along with unpredictability. Rogan has shown that he is not one to be pigeonholed into an ideology.

ROGAN: I think I'll probably vote for Bernie.

STELTER: Interviewing liberal figures along with those on the far- right and pushing back on conservative figures who might seem like his allies.

ROGAN: How much of that 18-year-old kid today deciding to pick up a gun and shoot somebody is based on him growing up in this (EXPLETIVE DELETED) environment where that's what he modeled?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The answer is there's only one way to break that chain.

ROGAN: What way is that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That way is to not pick up a gun and shoot somebody.

ROGAN: I think that's a simplistic way of looking at it if you're on the outside of that community.

STELTER: Leaving his millions of listeners to have to tune in for what he will say next.


ACOSTA: And May 22nd, 1992, was the end of an era. Johnny Carson said good-bye to late-night television, and the country welcomed a new generation of late-night hosts. Here's a preview of the new CNN original series "THE STORY OF LATE NIGHT."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were still a number of people within NBC who felt strongly that it was a mistake to let Dave Letterman leave.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They agonized over the loss of David Letterman.

BILL CARTER, ANCHOR, THE LATE SHOW: They still have Letterman under contracts for more than a year. And they said maybe we should reconsider the original decision not to give Dave the show.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And before Dave Letterman jumped ship from NBC --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They wanted to make one final move to try and get Dave.

CARTER: They offered him the "Tonight Show," but he's only going to get it in a year and a half when Jay's first contract is up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I said to Dave, we can't go near that offer. That's total bull -- because they'll get out of it. And Dave was really confused at that point.

CARTER: And Peter Lassally says, you know what, Dave, call Johnny.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Johnny said, if they treated me the way they're treating you, no, I would go to CBS.


ACOSTA: Should be great TV. "THE STORY OF LATE NIGHT" airs tomorrow at 9:00 right here on CNN.

And after a decade behind bars, this week's CNN Hero Hector Guadalupe built a successful career as a personal trainer. Now he's helping other formerly incarcerated men and women follow his path to reshape their lives.


HECTOR GUADALUPE, A SECOND U FOUNDATION: After surviving prison, you come home thinking you're able to start over. You want to be part of the society, but there's just so many layers of discrimination. Boxes. You have to get through just to get an opportunity. Society thinks 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, right back under.

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

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

Look at that belly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Almost there.

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


ACOSTA: Good stuff. Get the whole story about Hector's program and nominate someone you know to be a CNN Hero at

That's the news. Reporting from Washington, I'm Jim Acosta. I'll see you back here tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. Pamela Brown takes over the CNN NEWSROOM live after a quick break. Have a good night.