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U.S. Economy Grew 2.9 Percent In Last Quarter, More Than Expected; New Audio Of Traffic Stop Involving Tyre Nichols; Source: Charges To Be Announced In Tyre Nichols Case. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired January 26, 2023 - 11:30   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: To the latest checkup on how the U.S. economy is doing is out and it's better than expected. The GDP grew nearly 3 percent in the last quarter of 2022, higher than economists had forecasted. Let's get over Christine Romans. She's here. Make sense of it, Christine, what do you see in this checkup?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: All right, Kate. Well, look, it's the latest in the yes but economy. Yes, inflation is too high, and yes, there are worries about a recession, but the economy ended last year strong. This is GDP gross domestic product, the sum of all goods and services produced in the world's largest economy. GDP bounced back from a stall in the first half of the year to register a solid fall and winter. For the year overall, 2.1 percent growth, that follows a blockbuster 2021. That was the strongest economy since Ronald Reagan was president.

Now the U.S. economy has now recovered all the lost output from the COVID crash and has returned to its growth potential. That's a milestone. Now, yes, you've heard about big tech names unwinding their red-hot pandemic hiring, those layoffs in the news every day, but overall layoffs remain low. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 6000 to just 186,000. Kate, that's the lowest since April. No one knows for sure what will happen this year as the Fed's tough medicine works its way through the economy, of course, but it will happen from a strong base for jobs and the overall economy, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Just keeps chugging along. All right, Christine is going to join us here at the table. And also joining us is CNN global economic analyst Rana Forrohar for more on this. Rana, let me start with you. If this is -- we call it a checkup. But if this is a report card of sorts on the health of the economy right now, what does this checkup tell you?

RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: You know, it tells me that we're in a pretty darn good place. You know one of the things we've been trying to do, the Fed has been trying to do, and the Biden administration has been trying to do is figure out how to take a little bit of the heat out of the economy without crashing it, right? That's the difference between a soft landing and a hard landing. And what these figures say to me is, yes, growth has slowed a little bit, in part because the Fed has been jacking up interest rates. And that's appropriate. That's what we wanted. We haven't had a major slowdown with these -- aside from the COVID blip, which was, you know, its own thing, in a very long time.

In fact, the business cycle has been stretched out. We've had easy money for a long time. We're due for a softening. But you don't want to crash the economy as you're trying to deflate that bubble a little bit. So, what this says to me is that the administration and the Fed is doing a pretty good job so far.


Now, I'm going to be watching really carefully though, in the next couple of quarters, as that stimulus money that -- you know, that $2 trillion money dump that we got following the pandemic begins to wear off, our consumers still going to be spending, how many more job cuts are we going to see outside of the technology sector, which you know, probably needed to make some. These are the big-picture questions, but so far, so good.

BOLDUAN: Yes. I mean, consumers are spending is one thing that we've definitely seen. And kind of putting this all together and looking forward, our colleague Matt Egan spoke with Goldman Sachs' chief economist who's been forecasting continued GDP growth and now says he doesn't think a recession is coming. How does this data support that?

ROMANS: This data fits right in with that picture, quite honestly. I mean, this shows you that the economy is strong but slowing a little bit from the quarter before. This shows the job market is still strong. Maybe I'm guessing early this year it's going to start to show less strength than it used to and that's what the Fed wants to see.

BOLDUAN: Right, that's what we want.

ROMANS: But I think -- I mean, the -- what I've been getting from my sources all morning is this all feeds into the soft landing camp. The most recent data all fit in the -- in the camp of people who think a soft landing is possible if Washington doesn't screw it up with the debt ceiling.

BOLDUAN: Well, you like to throw that in as like it's just a little bit of a thing.

FOROOHAR: Right. That's what we're worried about.

BOLDUAN: We can -- we -- the Washington's going to screw it up.

ROMANS: Exactly.

BOLDUAN: We just don't know what the ripple effects are going to be around -- be around it. It's good to see you, Christine. Thanks for sticking around. Great to see you, Rana. Thank you.

If Washington doesn't. All right, we have some new developments we need to get to actually. There are some new developments just coming in from Memphis. We are learning more about what happened before Tyre Nichols was arrested. There's new audio just in to CNN, and a new warning ahead of potential protests. We'll be right back.



BOLDUAN: With this just into CNN. For the first time, we are hearing some audio from Memphis police scanners of the traffic stop involving Tyre Nichols. Now, this is separate from the videos that everyone is waiting for to be released, videos capturing how Tyre Nichols was beaten by police. Those videos have yet to come out.

Let's get back to Memphis. Sara Sidner is standing by once again. Sara, tell us about these police scanner recordings.

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kate, we just have a section of it that we were able to hear. Some of it is inaudible. There does seem to be some distress at some point. But we want to let the audience here at themselves.

You know, as you know, Tyre Nichols was killed. He died on January 10 after being pulled over on the seventh for what police at the time said was reckless driving and somehow ended up getting beaten. And so, we have now heard from the police chief, and we have now heard from the family that that beating was absolutely inhumane. Five police officers have been fired. We are awaiting the potential charges. We expect to hear from the DA at two.

But what we have now is this dispatch audio, which is between the dispatcher and the police on the ground. I'd like you to listen to a section of it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got one male fleeing around.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I set up the perimeter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, the scorpion car from overseas (INAUDIBLE) roles, we have one running on (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, run it -- run that tag and see what's the address.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's fighting at this time. (INAUDIBLE)


SIDNER: What stands out to me here is you hear what sounds like distress, then you hear the dispatcher sounds like saying he's fighting at this time. But you also hear the officer saying, run that tag and see what's the address. The question is did they not run the tag when they first pulled him over -- pulled him over which often officers do especially if they are coming up onto a car? And so, it is a question as to the sequence of things here.

What we do know is that we are -- everybody here is on tenterhooks waiting to see the video and we know that that video is supposed to be released. We just don't know exactly when. Kate.

BOLDUAN: Yes. All right standing by for that and also standing by for that three o'clock update from the district attorney. Thank you so much, Sara.

So, CNN has also just learned that law enforcement agencies across the country are being told to prepare for the potential violent protests after the video is released of the police beating of Tyre Nichols. Whitney Wild has these new details for us from Washington. Whitney, what are you learning?

WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, law enforcement agencies nationwide are bracing for potential protests, bracing for potential unrest which could include violence following the release of that brutal beating video of Tyre Nichols by Memphis police officers. This is according to multiple sources who are familiar with a nationwide coordination here.

What we're told is that the major cities Chiefs Association, this is one of the leading professional law enforcement organizations across the country. They have 77 agencies who are members of that organization. They've convened several calls this week with member agencies to try to loop everyone in and ensure that the information that's coming out of the Memphis Police Department is reaching relevant agencies across the country. Because as we know, Kate, the major concern here will be in what way protests and potential unrest will pop up across the country.

A law enforcement source familiar with the national coordination tells CNN that at least one of those calls, Memphis police-led that call shared information with the member agencies. And the -- basically the big message here was that yes, there's a potential for unrest. Yes, you must be prepared for that. Although whether or not there was any operational suggestion, it sounds like that would that did not come out of much -- the Memphis Police Department.


Here in Washington, there was an additional call among law enforcement agencies surrounding the Metropolitan Washington area because as we know, Kate, a lot of times these nationwide themes converge right here in Washington, DC. We're told that the Metropolitan Police Department as well as Capitol Police are ramping up staffing, preparing for any potential fallout from this very brutal video, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Yes, absolutely. OK. Whitney, thank you so much for that. I need to get back down to Memphis. I'm being told there's some new news coming in. Sara, what are you learning?

SIDNER: Kate, this has just come to us. Our Nick Valencia got this information from his sources that the Shelby County district attorney is going to announce charges this afternoon. Tyre Nichols as you know was beaten, according to police. There is video of it. He died after three days in the hospital after there was a traffic stop and an attempt to arrest him.

And so, we are in the position now because of Nick Valencia's sources to say that we do believe that we will get this update on this particular case. And we will hear it from the district attorney who is the person that is responsible for charges in the case. We also know that two of the attorneys for the five officers who have already been fired and who could face charges are also going to be having a press conference not long after we hear from the district attorney. We're expecting that in the next couple of hours or so. And so, we will let you know what they said.

I will tell you what the family has said. The family has said -- his mother in particular, Nichols' Mother has said I do not want to see anything less than murder charges. And so, it depends on what happens here, how the family will feel about this. It depends on what happens here, how the community will respond to this. And it certainly depends on what the video shows to the community, how people will feel about this, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Sara, can you remind folks, because we now know -- I mean, from our reporting, I'm also saying this is also coming from CNN's Don Lemon as well, that it's going to include an announcement of criminal charges when the district attorney is going to be speaking this afternoon in this update at three o'clock. And also is it -- as it said, as the source also tells CNN, authorities are expecting to release police video of the stop on Friday.


BOLDUAN: So, what I think is also critical in this moment, is not only we're going to see the video on Friday, we're going to hear about charges before then. Can -- what do -- what is known about the five officers that we know have been fired?

SIDNER: So, there are a few things that have been given to the public for -- from police. One is that they had a duty to help they did it, that there was excessive force used. And so there's -- those are two major things that we heard from the police department, and a duty to intervene, apparently that didn't happen.

Remember, this is five officers and one person who they told in their report they pulled over for reckless driving. We have, of course, no evidence of anything yet because we haven't seen the video ourselves.


SIDNER: But they were certainly fired for violating policy of the police department. That is what the police department would have to use to fire these officers. But I think the reason why you are getting charges before the video is put out, video expected to put -- be put out on Friday and charges coming today, is to give the community what they've been asking for, which is transparency and action. They wanted to see charges in this case. They believe that they should see charged in this case, especially because the police chief herself has said what she saw from her own officers was inhumane. So, you know right there that something is very, very, very wrong with what happened in what was allegedly just the traffic stop. So -- and now we've heard that dispatch audio, a bit of it, as to what happened. But we are all waiting to see for ourselves what happened.


SIDNER: The family has already seen it and are completely and utterly disturbed by it. The family attorneys have said that it looked like police were treating Tyre Nichols as a pinata. And we heard from Benjamin Crump, one of the family attorneys who said, this beating looks very much like or is akin to the 1991 police beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles.


Now, you'll remember what happened after that in Los Angeles. There was a huge uprising that turned violent. There is a question about whether that is going to happen not only in this community but across the country once this video is released. Everyone is bracing themselves for that, but they are also trying to quell this. And the way to help the community get through this is to be transparent and to put forth immediate action once they see if laws were broken to charge the officers.

That seems to be what is happening now. We talked to a community leader, a pastor from the Mississippi Boulevard Christian church who told us that, you know, he is very concerned about things blowing up. But if the transparency is there, if there is the ability of people to be able to talk to the authorities, including the district attorney from this community, that hopefully, that will have a big effect on the way that people respond once they see this really horrific video, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Yes. I mean, things are moving quickly now. I mean, this is really important to reporting of what we're going to be learning at three -- at three o'clock.


BOLDUAN: I think we also have just told I think Don Lemon is joining us on the phone. Don, this is your reporting. What more are you learning?

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR (voiceover): Well, what we're learning again, what you're reporting, is that charges are expected to be announced today at two o'clock against these officers. I spoke to a source saying listen if my -- if someone I knew or was representing was involved in this, a source close to the investigation is saying that somebody will be charged and somebody should be expected to go to jail. And when that happens, first, there's an indictment. Then that indictment will trigger there has to be an arrest warrant issued. And that will trigger a surrendering or an apprehension, anything to come after that.

So, if you're logically thinking about this, Kate, the charges would be announced. After the charges are announced, there would be this process that triggers this, either a surrendering or an apprehension, and that thus the press conference after the press conference that is going to happen from the district attorney. So, the officers' representative -- the officers and their representatives are awaiting a word from the district attorney. Once the district attorney has said what he is going to say at this press conference, then they will react accordingly to whatever is announced. And so, those charges are expected to be announced and then that will trigger what happens next in this investigation.

Also according to a source, unless you catch you know a camera or video of these officers at their homes or in some other places, you will not see them going in to turn themselves over because of safety issues. And there are private entrances in order to get into the facilities. So, unless there is some chance meeting of these officers, you won't see that.

Also the release of the videotape, the plan as of now, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation is to release the videotape tomorrow on a Friday -- on Friday and not today. That is the plan as of now as they are meeting trying to coordinate, trying to figure it out, that could change but that is the plan as of now. So, you see this investigation now rolling, picking up steam, and so it will culminate now into the announcement of charges. We'll see exactly what those charges are. And then after those charges, the surrendering of the officers to either turn themselves in or the apprehension and then the following day, the plan is to release the videotape.

And if all goes as planned because this is more coordinated than any of the police involved, beatings or shootings, or any of the things that we cover, this has been a better coordinated than most. And they're hoping that this will stem to tamp down on the possibility of violence to handle it in this. They're going by the book with this.

The police chief is trying to do what she can in order to lower the temperature on this and do everything by the book. The police chief is not giving any interviews, releasing video statements, and putting any sort of reaction, or response. Statement out via their social media only.

If there's going to be any interview from the police chief that will happen much later. It's not going to happen now while tensions are high. And whether trying to figure out exactly what comes next when it comes to these officers. And also don't forget we have two members of the fire department as well who are involved in that.


BOLDUAN: That's right. Don, thank you so much for your great reporting. Thanks for jumping on. I really appreciate it. As you're working this through, stick with me.

CNN chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst John Miller is here as well. John, what do you make of -- what do you make of where we are right now and what we've learned?

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT & INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: I think what you're seeing is a plan coming together. A lot of -- a lot of that is because of what Sara said --


MILLER: Which is they're trying to figure out what can we do to choreograph this in a way to give us a chance to have the least chance of violence or disorder, the best chance at communicating. So, as Don laid out, there's a process. Grand jury is going to take grand jury action that would come in the form of indictments. The district attorney would announce those charges. This has been pushed back a little later in the day probably for the mechanics of the operation of those --

BOLDUAN: Are you sort of -- you -- would you -- would you describe this as fast? Are you surprised at the speed at all? Are you surprised at the coordination? Are you surprised that it's -- that criminal charges are going to be announced before the video is released? What do you think?

MILLER: So, I think there's a process here.


MILLER: And when you look at, they did a swift investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation outside the Memphis PD, handed that over to the PD, the chief very quickly fired all of the officers, that's usually something that takes a lot longer. That was a clear sign they have done a fairly rapid grand jury investigation that's unfolded just in a few weeks. But you have advantages here, which is, you have the advantage of probably multiple video angles, one from a pole camera, others from possibly body cameras, so a lot of --

BOLDUAN: Pole camera would give a really important view.

MILLER: It would -- it would give the overview. And it's -- this is a Memphis police pole camera that seems to be just in the right place at just the right time. I think when we see that, that will probably give us the clearest overview. But you'll have the officers' surrender. They'll be booked. There will be core things that have to follow with a deal.

BOLDUAN: Do you think they get bail? How do -- what do you think that looks like?

MILLER: So, bail is going to be complicated here and that, of course, they have roots in the community. And of course, they're going to be argued to be less of a flight risk. On the other hand, there's going to be a safety issue for them if they are put into custody. There's going to be safety issues for them if they are not in custody.


MILLER: So, this is given the seriousness of the charges, which could be murder one, could be murder two, could be involuntary manslaughter, could be a combination of the three, and that's the part we have to kind of wait to get through. But why are they doing this, this way? To get back to the core of your question.


MILLER: Announcing the charges sends this message to the general public that the wheels of justice are turning, turning fairly quickly for the system they operate in, and that these are going to be very serious charges. That gives them a whole day to do community outreach before they released that video.

BOLDUAN: It seems. Very interesting. John, thanks for running up. I really appreciate it.

We're going to have a very big moment coming up. Charges are going the announcement this afternoon with the District Attorney, Don Lemon is reporting, and will include an announcement of criminal charges. We're going to continue this. Our breaking news coverage continues on ''INSIDE POLITICS WITH JOHN KING'' after this break.