A.I. Goes To D.C. | Crooked Media
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May 16, 2023
What A Day
A.I. Goes To D.C.

In This Episode

  • A former aide to Rudy Giuliani has sued him for alleged sexual assault, harassment, wage theft, and other misconduct. In a 70 page lawsuit filed Monday, Noelle Dunphy says she has recordings of the former Donald Trump attorney making sexist, racist and anti-semitic remarks, and claims he tried to sell off presidential pardons for $2 million a piece.
  • Sam Altman, the CEO of ChatGPT creator OpenAI, made his debut on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. During his testimony before  a Senate Judiciary subcommittee, he acknowledged the many ways that AI could cause “significant harm to the world,” and agreed with other witnesses that government regulation is necessary for the emerging technology.
  • And in headlines: North Carolina’s Republican-led General Assembly narrowly voted to override Governor Roy Cooper’s veto of a 12-week abortion ban, the Secret Service is investigating how an intruder got into the home of a top national security aide, and the first stripper’s union in a decade is expected to form this week.


Show Notes:



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Priyanka Aribindi: It’s Wednesday, May 17th. I’m Priyanka Aribindi. 


Juanita Tolliver: And I’m Juanita Tolliver. And this is What A Day where all of us are training for next year’s Boston Marathon. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. We’re not trying to set a PR. We just want to run fast enough to be right behind Kyrsten Sinema the whole time so she can hear us raz her just the entire time she’s running. 


Juanita Tolliver: I mean, the best part is we don’t even need to spend thousands of dollars to do it. I mean, go figure. [music break]


Priyanka Aribindi: On today’s show, there’s a little hope, but not much else in the works to reach a deal to raise the nation’s borrowing limit. Plus, after a long battle, the first strippers union in a decade is expected to form this week. 


Juanita Tolliver: But first, as if we needed additional confirmation that Rudy Giuliani is an all around, disgusting dude. A new 70 page lawsuit filed by Noelle Dunphy, one of Giuliani’s former employees who worked for him during the last two years of the Trump administration, claims that Giuliani sexually assaulted and harassed her, refused to pay her, made sexist, racist and anti-Semitic remarks, and attempted to sell off pardons at $2 million dollars a piece. The lawsuit also notes conversations Giuliani had with Dunphy about intentions to overturn the election as he told her, quote, “that Trump’s team would claim that there was voter fraud and that Trump had actually won the election.” According to a statement by Giuliani’s spokesperson, he quote, “unequivocally denies the allegations raised by Ms. Dunphy,” and he will, quote, “pursue all available remedies and counterclaims.” Let’s be real. Am I shocked by any of these allegations? Absolutely not. Am I giving DOJ special counsel Jack Smith 24 hours to respond? I most certainly am. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Rudy Giuliani is a disgusting human being with no moral compass. So I– 


Juanita Tolliver: Zero. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –can’t say this shocks me either, but it is pretty crazy. So please tell us more. [laugh]


Juanita Tolliver: I feel like the part about all this that takes the cake, though, is that according to reports, Dunphy recorded numerous conversations with Rudy Giuliani. Like– 


Priyanka Aribindi: Okay. 


Juanita Tolliver: It’s not clear what’s included in the recordings, but it is clear that she knew she needed to record this man. Like, I want to hear those tapes immediately. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. And the I’m not going to quote James Comey here, but like, just lordy, is all I’ll say. [laughter]


Juanita Tolliver: Okay. Let’s get serious. I’ll spare you all the absolutely horrid details about sexual assault, but I will dig in to the part of the lawsuit that implicates Trump. In her filing, Dunphy states that Giuliani asked her if she knew anyone who needed a pardon, telling her that he would sell pardons for $2 million dollars, which he and Trump would split. He also told her to submit referrals, but not to submit them through the, quote unquote, “normal” channels of the Office of the Pardon Attorney. It’s giving corruption, it’s giving follow the money. It’s giving abuse of power and abuse of office. And it’s important that we keep in mind the timing of when all of this allegedly went down. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, it’s giving corruption, but it’s giving corruption in the absolute like least sophisticated– 


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Dumbest way possible. Like these are just the world’s most idiotic criminals. Like, it is crazy. [laughing] But anyways, you mentioned timing. Why is that important? 


Juanita Tolliver: While the lawsuit didn’t confirm if any pardons were actually sold, Giuliani would have been attempting to execute this scheme during the final weeks and months of the Trump administration. So while Trump was still the sitting president, his personal attorney was allegedly seeking out referrals and payments for pardon requests for him and Trump to split. And we have to put this conversation in the context of how Trump was handing out pardons like candy in his last weeks. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 


Juanita Tolliver: Including 74 pardons in his last hours in office, as well as the fact that the White House was getting requests for pardons from all directions, including from Republicans in Congress. Remember that absolutely wild testimony from Cassidy Hutchison last summer during the January 6th select committee hearings on the Hill. Well in her deposition, she went through all of the sitting Republican members of Congress who reached out to request a pardon. I’m talking about people like Representatives Gates, Taylor-Greene, Perry, Gohmert and others. So this pardon scheme, at first glance, aligns with the culture of the Trump White House. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, just a who’s who of like the ghouls. 


Juanita Tolliver: Truly. 


Priyanka Aribindi: That lined up behind Trump and followed him and now are terrorizing all of us. But what happens next with all of this? Like, obviously there is the sexual assault and harassment piece of that which is very personal to Noelle Dunphy. But then there’s this almost on a macro level, larger issue with these pardons and like this conduct in office. Like what comes of that? 


Juanita Tolliver: Look, Noelle Dunphy’s lawsuit is going to make its way through the court system. And, of course, when you talk about macro, Trump is still going to be running for president in 2024. And while I was being a little bit cheeky about special counsel Jack Smith having 24 hours to respond, I’m actually kind of serious. One can only hope that he expands his investigation if he hasn’t already, to dig into these allegations of selling pardons and review who was pardoned, their finances and their connections to Trump and Giuliani. I mean, it’s the least he could do. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. I mean, we will be watching very closely because this is not very good, especially for someone who is running for office once again. 


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Well, meanwhile, in Washington yesterday, OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman testified before members of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee. OpenAI of course, is the startup behind ChatGPT. The much talked about A.I. chat bot technology that has become extremely popular since its public release at the end of last year. And despite being at the helm of this like big tech company that has a bunch of risks associated with its technology, Altman’s appearance was quite a departure from the other times that tech CEOs have come to the Hill to testify before Congress members. It was much less combative, way more cooperative. Right out of the gate. Altman agreed that there is a need for government regulation of AI technology. He acknowledged the many ways that artificial intelligence could cause, quote, “significant harm to the world and wanted to work with lawmakers on how to respond.” 


Juanita Tolliver: Look, I’ve got trust issues, so I’m not buying that this was 1,000% genuine. But shout out to the team who prepped him because they did an immaculate job. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Truly. 


Juanita Tolliver: Before we get into the details. Can you explain some of the primary concerns surrounding AI technology at this point? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. So, I mean, this conversation has been growing for some time now as these tech companies pour tons of money and tons of resources into creating and deploying this technology, they’re talking about how amazing this is. Meanwhile, you know, many of us have had growing concerns about AI, first and foremost, eliminating a massive number of jobs. You know, that would be across pretty much every sector. It can also be used to fuel misinformation, especially going into the 2024 election cycle. So a lot of anxiety over knowing what to believe and how people can really believe what they see, because– 


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: It’s hard to with AI um and that’s just what we know to be afraid of at this point. There could be a ton of other things that just crop up as people continue to use this technology. But Altman appeared to be very aware of these risks. I mean, he still says that his company will continue to develop this technology despite the many dangers [laugh] that it poses. I mean, he’s not fully pumping the brakes, but he did seem to want the help of the law to mitigate some of the bigger risks associated with it. Like, how much of that is him being like, I don’t want to be the only person responsible or I don’t know. But like, he is very much welcoming [laugh] the help of Washington.


Juanita Tolliver: Girl. What I hear is, either way, I’m still doing it. So there. [laughing] Like that’s my take away. 


Priyanka Aribindi: A little bit of that in the most polite way possible. Yes. [laughter] He advocated for a number of regulations and interventions, including a new government agency that would issue licenses for the creation of large scale AI models and create standards and safety regulations that every company working in the space would have to adhere to and meet before releasing their models to the public. But this is pretty unheard of in terms of actually wanting government intervention and help. Sam Altman, we can think whatever we want about him, but I think it really speaks more to the scale of the risks here that, you know, he’s not seeing this as a hindrance. I don’t like necessarily think that we should be giving him, like all the credit here. It– 


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –really just goes to show how harmful and how dangerous AI can be if we just, like, let it go unchecked. But Altman has also been on a bit of a charm offensive lately with government officials. He had dinner with dozens of House members on Monday. He met privately with a bunch of senators before this hearing. Like, you know, someone did a great job prepping him, someone he really kind of took notes from all these other tech CEOs who have gotten on the wrong side of all of these officials and–


Juanita Tolliver: C’mon. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –actually was like, maybe I’ll try being nice to them and asking them for their help. And it seems like they are delighted, actually, by this. I don’t know how much credit we want to give him for that, but revolutionary tactics there. Obviously, he has a stake in wanting to keep his company open, not being on the wrong side of the government. But it really does seem like he welcomes the idea of regulation here. 


Juanita Tolliver: I mean, I’m kind of with my homegirl SZA. The Internet scares me. So regulate it. Proactively. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Big time. 


Juanita Tolliver: Pretty please. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Big time. 


Juanita Tolliver: Like I’m just asking nicely. And Priyanka, where do we go from here though?


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah I mean we will see what the Senate subcommittee does with this information. They were responding positively during the hearing, but Congress does have a pretty abysmal record when it comes to regulating tech. Between partisan fights and tech lobbying. Dozens of attempts at regulating privacy, speech and safety on social media platforms have failed over the past decade. But we will continue to follow this and continue having conversations around AI in the weeks and months to come. That is the latest for now. [music break]


Juanita Tolliver: Let’s get to some headlines. 


[sung] Headlines. 


Juanita Tolliver: If you don’t think one person can make a difference, consider the fact that ultimately one North Carolina lawmaker managed to wipe out abortion access for much of the southeastern United States. As we sat down to record the show Tuesday night, North Carolina’s Republican led General Assembly narrowly voted to override Governor Roy Cooper’s veto of a 12 week abortion ban. That means the new restrictions will take effect on July 1st to narrow the window for legal abortions in the state. As we’ve mentioned before, the measure will provide some exceptions in cases of rape, incest or if a termination is medically necessary to save the mother’s life. But the ban will also require people seeking the procedure to undergo multiple in-person examinations. So thanks a lot Tricia Cotham. We said your name so many times on this show. We’re surprised you haven’t appeared right next to us like Candy Man to rob us of our rights. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. Um. This woman should wear this like a stain for the rest of her life. Sis is–


Juanita Tolliver: Scarlet letter. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –truly a despicable human being. Now to the latest on debt limit negotiations, which we have been following closely for the past few weeks here on the show. Yesterday, President Biden reconvened with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and congressional leaders to discuss plans to avoid a government debt default. The talks at the Oval Office once again ended without a resolution. But McCarthy told reporters afterwards that he thinks it is possible that a deal could be reached by the end of this week. Like is possible, could be, going to need some more specifics– 


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –here, man. Like I’m sorry, this is too big of a deal to be like talking about it like this. 


Juanita Tolliver: Casual. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. Biden once again characterized Tuesday’s meeting as productive, saying there was, quote, “an overwhelming consensus that defaulting on the debt is simply not an option,” but noted that there is still work to do. No kidding. Meanwhile, Biden is making some last minute changes to his travel plans this week. He is cutting short his trip to the G7 leaders summit in Japan so he can return to the U.S. to continue negotiations before the June 1st default deadline, which is just a little over two weeks away. 


Juanita Tolliver: The Secret Service is investigating how an intruder got into the home of White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan late last month. The incident happened at about 3 a.m. on an unspecified date when the unidentified man, who was reportedly acting intoxicated and confused, got into Sullivan’s Washington, D.C., residence through an unlocked door. Though Sullivan has round the clock security stationed outside his house, the agents on duty at the time didn’t know about the intruder until Sullivan confronted him himself. I’m sick about this. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Excuse me. 


Juanita Tolliver: Like– 


Priyanka Aribindi: Crazy. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yikes. That’s all according to folks familiar with the situation who spoke to The Washington Post and the Associated Press. The Secret Service is now looking into how the intruder slipped past that security detail and whether or not it was intentional. While Sullivan was unharmed, the intrusion is especially alarming since threats to lawmakers and officials have increased in recent years. It also comes after the husband of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was attacked by an intruder who broke into their San Francisco home last October. Oh, my gosh. If I wake up and there’s someone in my house who I don’t know and wait a second, I have 24/7 security detail and it still happened? I have so many questions. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 


Juanita Tolliver: So many questions. I’m freaking out. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, this is terrifying, obviously. But this is also so embarrassing. Like, how does this happen on their watch? Like, what the hell is going on? 


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: It looks like the Tony Award ceremony will be televised this year after the Writers Guild of America said that it will not picket the prestigious award show. We told you earlier this week that the program would not air live because it would require striking guild members to script the program and in turn cross their own picket line. But the union announced yesterday that it came to an agreement with the Tonys to allow an altered version of the program to air on TV, saying, quote, “As they have stood by us, we stand with our fellow workers on Broadway who are impacted by our strike.” It’s not quite clear what those alterations will look like, but the move is a huge relief for the Broadway industry, which relies heavily on the Tonys to market upcoming shows amid low theater turnout. Audience numbers have yet to return to pre-pandemic levels. In fact, many of the shows that are up for Tonys this year haven’t made much profit and are hoping that winning a statue or two will help them boost sales. The Tonys are set to air on June 11th. You should watch them. And honestly, if you have the interest and ability to attend a show this summer, you should do it because supporting the performing arts is really important and also–


Juanita Tolliver: Yes. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –really fun. So it’s just a good activity if you want to, if you are able to do it. Look into it. It’s really fun. 


Juanita Tolliver: There’s no shortage of shows and I promise you you’ll have a good time. 


Priyanka Aribindi: You’ll have a good time. 


Juanita Tolliver: And in some amazing union news, after a long fight, dancers at the Star Garden Bar in North Hollywood, California, are finally set to form the first stripper’s union in the U.S. in a decade. They’ve been trying to unionize for over a year now. It began as a weekly strike over alleged compensation issues and unsafe working conditions, and they eventually decided to partner with the Actors Equity, which represents stage actors and managers. Ballots for their union election were supposed to be counted in November, but attorneys for Star Garden challenged the votes in court, delaying the organizing efforts. But in a surprise move yesterday, Star Garden attorneys withdrew their challenge, clearing the way for dancers to form their bargaining union. The National Labor Relations Board will hold a new election and ballot count tomorrow, where dancers are expected to vote in favor of forming a union and begin negotiating their first labor contract. A Star Garden union would pave the way for strippers across the country to take a seat at the table with their employers. And a Star Garden dancer who goes by the name Sinder told the Hollywood Reporter yesterday, quote, “This is a big day for us and dancers everywhere.” Okay. We’ve unionized in North Hollywood. Now, I need you to go to Vegas, Atlanta, like all– 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yes. 


Juanita Tolliver: –the hot spots. Let’s do this. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yes. 


Juanita Tolliver: Across the country. 


Priyanka Aribindi: What would be cooler than that? I don’t know. Like, that’s awesome. Very happy for these dancers. We on this show, as we said, just one headline ago, we support the performing arts so– 


Juanita Tolliver: 100%. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –hell yeah to this. 


Juanita Tolliver: Dancers, you rock. Keep it going. I can’t wait to see more of this. And those are the headlines. We’ll be back after some ads to address some unsettling news for junk food aficionados. 




Priyanka Aribindi: It is Wednesday WAD squad. And for today’s temp check, we want to zero in on some important news for all the stress eaters out there. Juanita and I are feeling very seen right now. 


Juanita Tolliver: Beyond. [laughter]


Priyanka Aribindi: A little too seen, some might say. This week, California state lawmakers moved forward on a bill that would ban a handful of chemicals used to make many popular candies and other processed foods. We’re talking Skittles, nerds, red velvet cake mix, hot tamales, you name it. Peeps used to be on that list. They got the boot because we were like, no one likes those. [laughter] Anyways, that list includes red dye number three, titanium dioxide, potassium bromate, brominated vegetable oil, and propylparaben. In case you’re wondering what the heck that stuff is, as you should be, the first two are used as food colorings while the rest are essentially preservatives. However, all five have been linked to a wide range of serious health problems like behavioral issues and nerve damage. There is also conflicting evidence that some of those chemicals may cause certain cancers. So not great. Because of all of that these additives have already been banned in the European Union. And if the measure becomes law in California, it would be the first state in the U.S. to clamp down on these ingredients. And a quick fact check here. It wouldn’t necessarily ban classic candies like Skittles, but it would force manufacturers to change what they put into your favorite junk foods. So, Juanita, you are our resident foodie here. What do you make of all of this? 


Juanita Tolliver: I’m going to say this once and only once. I do not care. I’m going to eat my Skittles. I’m going to eat my red velvet cake mix and keep it moving. I really don’t care. Like, why are you trying to rob me of my last little bit of joy? This is called self-care. Why are they coming for this? Priyanka, where are you at on this? 


Priyanka Aribindi: [sigh] So little like candy stuff is not my stress food of choice. So–


Juanita Tolliver: Okay, so what is your stress eat that could come under attack? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Mashed potatoes, Cookies–


Juanita Tolliver: Are you that much of a healthy person? Did you just say mashed potatoes? [laughing]


Priyanka Aribindi: Mashed potatoes and chocolate chip cookies is what I said. 


Juanita Tolliver: Well, you know, I would have fully flipped out if Hot Cheetos was on the list, but I Googled it. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 


Juanita Tolliver: They have red dye 40, so stay away from it. Leave me and my hot Cheetos alone. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Different red dye, different red dye. You know what? I’m curious to see what like these alternative candies are. Like maybe we get some, can someone ship us some European candies so we can decide whether or not we’re cool with it? I feel like that would help me. 


Juanita Tolliver: C’mon. Let’s be real. Anything coming from Europe, they’re literally looking down on us and they’re like, you eat trash and garbage anyways so [laughing]– 


Priyanka Aribindi: They’re not wrong though. They aren’t. [laughing] They really aren’t. [laughter] Anyways, just like that, we have checked our temps. I don’t even know how they are. 


Juanita Tolliver: I’m boiling– 


Priyanka Aribindi: Juanita’s– 


Juanita Tolliver: –over this. 


Priyanka Aribindi: –boiling, Juanita’s boiling. I’m like a little lukewarm but we’ll, we’ll see. [music break]




Priyanka Aribindi: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Ask ChatGPT to write us a glowing review and tell your human friends to listen. 


Juanita Tolliver: And if you’re into reading, not just the list of ingredients for Hot Cheetos like me because I’m dedicated okay, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Juanita Tolliver. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I’m Priyanka Aribindi. 


[spoken together] And solidarity with strippers. 


Juanita Tolliver: Because they deserve rights, they deserve protections. They deserve fair wages because they be working. Do you know how hard it is to pole dance?


Priyanka Aribindi: I don’t. But I believe you. 


Juanita Tolliver: [laughing] I love the look on, Priyanka’s like nope. 


Priyanka Aribindi: I think it’s a little too advanced for me. [laughter] I’m sorry. I know I don’t have the upper body strength. I don’t have any of the strength. [laughter] [music break] What A Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Our show’s producer is Itxy Quintanilla and Raven Yamamoto is our associate producer. Jocey Coffman is our head writer and our senior producer is Lita Martinez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.