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Stocks Tumble on Coronavirus Fears; Weinstein Jury Resumes Deliberations; Memorial for Bryant and Other Crash Victims; New Public Charge Rule Allowed. Aired 9:30-10a

Aired February 24, 2020 - 09:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[09:30:35]

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: The breaking news this hour, look at that, nearly 1,000 points down on the Dow Jones Industrial average, close to 3.5 percent. This as concerns about the economic effect of the spreading coronavirus take on the world economy.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Our business correspondent Alison Kosik at down at the stock exchange. We'll get there in a moment once the numbers settle out.

But let me begin with CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans here.

A thousand points wiped out, it looks like --

SCIUTTO: Yes.

HARLOW: Just this morning. This is the beginning of it.

What's going on?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, and Friday where you had 200 and some points gone to, so 1,000 points off the top, the years gains -- the 2020 gains in the stock market are now gone.

And I just want to give you some perspective here. A 3 percent move is a big move in markets. And around the world you saw 3 percent, 4 percent, in Italy a 5 percent move for stocks.

The new thing here is four of the top 12 major economies in the world are grappling with the coronavirus. You have new cases in Italy, new cases in South Korea. China still trying to get control of the situation there. But new cases outside of China really spooking investors.

And the idea here, guys, is basically that this is a reckoning. I mean the market had been up from the first reports of coronavirus a month or so ago and that's just not sustainable when you don't know how deep this will go and how it will hurt the global economy.

Look, I'm looking at crude prices down almost 5 percent. That's telling us that investors think the global economy is going to need less oil because it's not going to be growing very robustly because of coronavirus. And so that's what we're watching, all kinds of markets moving very violently this morning.

SCIUTTO: Yes, oil prices, a very direct indicator of the economy's direction, because you need oil for everything, if that's slowing down.

Alison, you're on the floor. And there have been some talks for really weeks that the markets had been overly confident, not pricing in the effects of an enormous slowdown in the Chinese economy, as Christine was saying earlier, you know, close to a fifth of the world economic activity now. What are traders on the floor saying now? Are they saying that this was a longtime coming to some degree?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: That's pretty much what they are saying, Jim, that there's a realization now among investors that the coronavirus will hit the global economy, the world economy. So we're not just talking about China. We're talking about India. We're talking about even the U.S. And Goldman Sachs warned that the coronavirus could shave about a half a percent of GDP because of the virus's impact.

You look at these losses today, just with the Dow, the Dow meaning we're seeing the gains for the Dow being wiped out for the year. And we're seeing really all sectors getting hit hard. But especially getting pummeled, airlines, leisure, technology, those are really getting hit hard. We're seeing gold surge, which is totally a safety play for investors to go to.

And as, Jim, you referred to, oil is plunging because there's an expectation that demand will slow.

You know, if you want to look at it this way, if the U.S.-China trade war was the wildcard for 2018 and 2019, I think that the coronavirus is going to become the "x factor" for 2020. The problem with this virus, though, versus the trade war is the virus is really unpredictable. We don't know how this is going to wind up. So maybe you can think of the coronavirus, the x factor that it is. It's kind of like a -- the trade war on steroids.

HARLOW: Yes. I wonder, Romans --

ROMANS: Yes.

HARLOW: "The New York Times" is quoting an executive -- a high-ranking executive at a Chinese bank this morning saying, look, the worse that the outbreak gets, the better chance that they will release more money, meaning the central government in China will step in to prop things up more in addition to those rate cuts we've seen.

ROMANS: You'll see stimulus. And you've already seen the Chinese sort of signaling that they're going to do whatever it takes to keep liquidity in play here.

HARLOW: Yes.

ROMANS: Well, that means basically stimulating its economy.

But, you know, I've got to tell you, we talked about this a little bit earlier. This is already bigger than SARS. SARS was in 2003. At that time China was 4 percent of the global economy. The globalization that has happened over the past 20 years has been remarkable. Supply chains around the world depend on China.

And now we're talking about other problem areas. Italy, South Korea. So there's the China factor and then there's the worry about the spread. So this is -- you know, markets hate uncertainty, investors hate uncertainty. This is a really uncertain moment in terms of what the coronavirus will look like.

SCIUTTO: Listen, and China has enormous financial resources to kind of buy its way out of these things, but it has fewer today than it had several months ago --

[09:35:00]

HARLOW: That's true.

SCIUTTO: Because of the trade war. It doesn't have as much cash in the bank.

Christine Romans, Alison Kosik on the floor, thanks to both of you. We'll, of course, be following this throughout the morning.

Another story we're following this morning, jurors in the Harvey Weinstein case, they're back at work after appearing to be deadlocked on the most serious charges against him. Coming up, why the jury may be having a tough time reaching a verdict.

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HARLOW: It is day five of jury deliberations in the case of Harvey Weinstein, the sexual assault trial of the disgraced Hollywood producer.

SCIUTTO: We've been following this case closely. And before leaving on Friday, the jurors sent a note suggesting they were deadlocked on the two most serious charges.

[09:40:03]

CNN's Jean Casarez, she's been following the trial from the beginning.

Jean, do we know the basis -- I don't know if confuse is the right word but possible disagreement here on those charges?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think confusion is a very good word. You know, I looked at the transcript over the weekend and everybody's speculating on what the note said. Let's go to the transcript, because this is the actual note that the

judge read to the jury, and I think it's fascinating just to look at it. It says, we, the jury, request to understand if we can be hung on counts one and/or three and unanimous on the rest.

All right, I think there's three points from this note. Number one, they want to understand. This is such a confusing verdict sheet that they have. Number two, they want to know if they can be hung on counts one and/or three. That's speculative right there. It's and/or three. So nothing is firm right there. And those are the two most serious counts, predatory sexual assault, life in prison is the maximum term.

And then they go on and be unanimous on the other charges, which would be the individual charges. Well, to be unanimous is a little ambiguous, too, because you always think guilt, right? We are unanimous, guilty. But if you're going to say that someone is not guilty, that also has to be unanimous in a criminal court of law. So I think that note itself just has so many nuances in it and the jury's going to be back at 9:30, they're going to be deliberating.

And, Jim and Poppy, this is what is so interesting to me also. This was the tenth note. And they had so many notes through the week wanting readbacks and communications of the accusations. But one of the main accusers is Jessica Mann.

She alleges that in 2013, in a hotel room right here in New York City, that she was violently raped. She had the longest quote/unquote relationship with Harvey Weinstein. She was on the stand for two and a half days. There has not been one question asking for anything, read back of testimony, e-mail communications, anything, nothing about her, and she is focused on the final three charges, count three, four, and five all involve Jessica Mann, and no questions on her at all.

SCIUTTO: Wow. That's remarkable.

HARLOW: Jean, it is. Thank you very much.

Again, day five. We'll see if there's a verdict today. We'll get back to you. Thank you.

Today, also, thousands of people are heading to the Staples Center in Los Angeles to honor, of course, Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter, along with the seven others tragically killed in the helicopter crash last month. We'll take a look next at Bryant's lasting legacy.

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[09:47:22]

SCIUTTO: Well, it's a big day in Los Angeles. Just a few hours from now, thousands of mourners will come together to pay tribute to basketball icon Kobe Bryant, of course his daughter as well. Here's a live look outside the Staples Center in Los Angeles. HARLOW: Yes, that's right. This afternoon, fans will gather to honor,

of course, Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and those seven other people you see on your screen, all killed in that tragic helicopter crash last month. Today's date, 2/24, of course, reflects the combination of Gianna's number 2, Kobe's number 24. A source close to the family says that Kobe's widow Vanessa will be at the memorial.

For more on all of this, we're so happy to be joined by "L.A. Times" sports and culture columnist LZ Granderson.

And, LZ, you've written so beautifully about the life that Kobe had and all the potential that he had. And you talk about the haunting of what would have been. What do you think about today?

LZ GRANDERSON, HOST, ESPN: Well, you know, we're focusing in on celebration of life. And, of course, that's all the wonderful accomplishments that Kobe had on the basketball court, as well as his "New York Times" bestselling children's book, as well as his Oscar winning short film.

But when I wrote that peace, it was about where he was headed in terms of content creation, in terms of the stories that he wanted to tell. You know, we look at a career like say, for instance, like Ben Affleck, for instance, right? He starts off as this Oscar winning screen writer but then he goes on to become like this brilliant actor and this brilliant director.

And that's where Kobe was headed. He started off with an animated short, but I wouldn't have been surprised at all if he had gone on to create some absolutely amazing Oscar worthy feature films as well, telling stories that he wanted to tell. That was the path he was heading in terms of content creation and that's some of the things that we're going to miss now that he's gone.

SCIUTTO: So we're hearing, as you heard Poppy say there, that Kobe's widow, Vanessa, may make an appearance today. Just tell us -- first of all, I can't imagine her loss, losing a husband and a child, but tell us what that would mean to folks there to have a chance to honor her, honor the family.

GRANDERSON: Well, as you can imagine, the city has been extremely emotional ever since the news broke that Sunday morning. You know, I've shed many tears. Everyone who has watched and loved Kobe have shed tears. But this really is also an opportunity to tell the widow, the children, the family, you know, we're with you. That we're not going to leave you now that Kobe's not here. That you're part of the extended family and that we love you just as much.

HARLOW: You talk about how he -- you know, he didn't bat 1,000 but he was never afraid to step up to the plate.

[09:50:00]

And it seems like that was really reflected in his daughter at 13 years old and all the skill that she was just showing and the joy that he took in watching her achieve that and follow in his footsteps in a way.

GRANDERSON: Yes, I mean, we can't forget that, you know, he was more than a basketball player. He was a husband and, more importantly, he was a father. And that a family lost its father.

And Kobe didn't spend a lot of time around Staples Center after retirement, but his daughter's love and passion for the game is what brought him back. The reason why you saw him more and more watching games courtside was because his daughter Gianna loved the game. And if you watch video of her playing, you can see a little bit of Mambacita in her for sure.

SCIUTTO: You know, we talk about his athletic accomplishments, all the all-star appearances, the championships. And you mentioned his budding ability, right, as a director, as a creator here. I just wonder, you know, in the city of Los Angeles, if you can describe to folks, who may not be familiar, just what he went -- meant beyond that, right, because, I mean, this is more than a sports legacy.

GRANDERSON: Absolutely. You know, one of the reasons why I said that he was an icon and not just a legend. Legends, you tend to reminisce about what they've done. Icons are continually pushing what can be achieved and what is possible. And that's what Kobe was doing off the court.

But on the court, I mean you're talking about someone who came to the city at 17, 18 years old and basically was a child star and grew up in front of everyone and achieved higher heights. I mean the amount of pressure to be a champion and in that uniform is immense.

Now imagine having that pressure at 17, 18, 19 years old. Now, I don't know about you guys, but I know when I was 17, 18, I couldn't handle the weight of my own life, let alone the weight of a franchise. But that's the sort of mentality he arrived with. And he achieved those things. Five time NBA champion. That cannot be understated. That's a tremendous career.

SCIUTTO: Yes.

HARLOW: What a career it was. And I'm so glad that we had the picture on the screen, obviously of his daughter and the seven others that died in that -- in that helicopter crash as well. I know the whole city and the country thinking about all of them today.

LZ, thank you for those memories. We appreciate it.

GRANDERSON: Thank you guys so much for having me.

HARLOW: You got it.

SCIUTTO: We'll be back.

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[09:56:35] HARLOW: All right, something very important happened out of this Supreme Court. Starting today, it is now more difficult for immigrants to get legal status if they have ever used public benefits. So that would be Medicaid or food stamps. Late Friday night, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to lift the final injunction on this rule. You've probably heard of it. It's called the Public Charge Rule.

So you're looking at Justice Sonia Sotomayor because she issued a blistering dissent after that vote, accusing her conservative colleagues on the court of being too willing to side with the White House.

SCIUTTO: This is -- it's a big case, but it's also reflective of several other cases before the court.

With us now, Supreme Court analyst Joan Biskupic.

So, Joan, you know, first of all, the Public Charge Rule is a pretty remarkable one, right? I mean explain that, if you can, for what it means for people applying for legal status. You can't have accepted any government help ever? Is that the idea?

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SUPREME COURT ANALYST: No, the rule is, you know, under federal immigration law, they look at, you know, your family status, your resources, your assets, and for years the government has said that if you're going to be almost entirely dependent on the federal government, you know, they're going to take that into consideration.

But what's happened is the test for financial dependency has so broadened that it's become a kind of wealth test that hurts low income immigrants. As Poppy just mentioned there, it would now cover many forms of Medicaid, food stamps, even modest reliance on federal benefits for short periods of time. So it's going to make it harder for, as I said, low income immigrants to qualify for green cards.

And this is a significant change that the Trump administration put into effect in August and is still in the middle of litigation, but the Supreme Court is letting it go into effect throughout the country. And that's what concerned Justice Sotomayor.

SCIUTTO: Well, and you connect it to other things, right? So that's a wealth test.

BISKUPIC: Right.

SCIUTTO: You already have hard questions about religion tests, right, when you looked at the travel ban.

BISKUPIC: Yes.

SCIUTTO: And now, with the expansion, the question of whether -- whether race is a role (ph). I mean it's a -- these are big picture changes.

BISKUPIC: It is. And what Justice Sotomayor was highlighting in her dissent on Friday is that we're at a stage of this litigation where the merits have not been tested. Several states and immigrant rights advocates have challenged this rule, and it has not been tested for its validity, but yet the Supreme Court is letting it take effect. And what she's saying is, this is part of a pattern where the conservative majority on the Supreme Court is putting its thumb on the scale in favor of the Trump administration.

HARLOW: Just before you go, quickly compare the amount of times that this solicitor general under President Trump, Noel Francisco (ph), has asked -- has asked the court to put on hold the lower court decision versus what history tells us.

BISKUPIC: Many more times, Poppy. Many more times. The Trump administration has come to the Supreme Court saying, this is an emergency, you have to intervene.

HARLOW: Yes.

BISKUPIC: And the court has sided more often than not with the Trump administration in these high profile cases. And what Justice Sotomayor is saying is, this is unusual, that the Trump administration is coming so quickly, but what is equally troubling, perhaps even more troubling, is that the conservative Roberts court majority is exceeding, and that has made the Trump administration only want more.

[10:00:08]

HARLOW: Understood.