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At This Hour

Justice Department Announces Collaborative Review Of Memphis PD; New Documents Made Public In Dominion Lawsuit Against Fox; Crews Working To Rescue California Residents Trapped By Snow. Aired 11:30a- 12p ET

Aired March 08, 2023 - 11:30   ET



EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: The other person sitting in the police car, essentially trying to make sure that the police -- the practices of policing in the city change for the better.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Now, Shimmy, this is an important moment to also bring you in because the Justice Department also today just announced that it's launching a comprehensive review of the Memphis Police Department in the wake of the beating death of Tyre Nichols. Tell us about this.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME & JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right. And all of this coming as we await the video that's supposed to be released today by the city of Memphis.


PROKUPECZ: So, it's kind of coinciding with that today. The Department of Justice announcing that they're going to review the use of force policy, de-escalation policies of the Memphis Police Department. This is something that the community there has been asking for, something that the Tyre Nichols family has been asking for. They've been asking for the DOJ to commit it.

It's different than what we're seeing being announced there by Merrick Garland in terms of a pattern and practice investigation. So, that could happen here too. So, that's what DOJ is doing right now in Memphis. They're reviewing the policy -- some of the policies.

The other thing is significant. You know, we keep hearing about these specialized units. And you hear the Attorney General talk about the Louisville Police Department specialized unit and the problems that they had there and the community complaints about it, this Viper unit.

Well, now the DOJ is saying that they're going to review the specialized units all across the country -- all across the country. They say that police chiefs across the country reached out to them looking for guidance and assistance. So, they're going to review that as well all across the country, which is, of course, significant as these police reviews get underway.

As for Memphis, look, you know what you heard there from Merrick Garland. I was just in Memphis last week. We spoke with sources, we went and met with people, and some of the very similar complaints that Merrick Garland was just talking about there in Louisville is happening in Memphis. People have raised issues. Police officers have raised issues with the way the specialized unit there, this Scorpion unit was operating. So, we could see something very similar happened eventually in Memphis.

But for now, what's happening in Memphis is he going to have this DOJ review, but also this video. A video that's going to come out new information that the city is expected to release in connection to the death of Tyre Nichols.

BOLDUAN: Yes, hours and hours of additional footage that could be released will be released this afternoon. Guys, thank you for jumping on. I really appreciate it.

PEREZ: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Let's turn now to the Federal Reserve. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. He is back on Capitol Hill today. This is -- we're looking at live pictures of part two of his testimony before Congress. He is offering up his latest assessment on the economy and where it's headed and making it pretty clear the central bank is going to need to continue pushing up interest rates even higher than previously expected in order to curb stubborn inflation.

Joining me now for more on this and key perspective is Diane Swonk. She's the Chief Economist for the global financial services firm KPMG. It's good to see you again, Diane. So, Jerome Powell, he's back on the Hill. He's suggesting rates are going to be -- going to go up higher and faster. I want to play something a key part of what he said yesterday that gets to the heart of this. Listen to this.


JEROME POWELL, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: The latest economic data have come in stronger than expected, which suggests that the ultimate level of interest rates is likely to play -- to be higher than previously anticipated. If the totality of the data were to indicate that faster tightening is warranted, we'd be prepared to increase the pace of rate hikes.


BOLDUAN: Diane, what should people at home take from this?

DIANE SWONK, CHIEF ECONOMIST, KPMG: You know, really, the important issue is the Fed sees fighting inflation as a marathon, not a sprint. And we've yet to hit the hardest mile, let alone cross the finish line. What the Fed is hedging against is a higher more entrenched inflation taking root.

And although that may mean much higher rates and a slowdown in growth, even an increase in unemployment, the alternative is a much more corrosive bout of inflation that would take a much more severe rise in unemployment down the road to correct. That is a hard choice to make but that is where the Fed is currently at.

BOLDUAN: Yes. And there's a lot of data that's going to be -- additional data kind of giving us more -- maybe more clarity in this murky picture of the economy coming this week. The next thing up is going to be the big February jobs report to be released on flat -- Friday. I saw that you wrote that it -- that it could be wacky, which I think is a perfect economics term for the state of the economy today. What are you watching for?

SWONK: You know, we're looking at around 200,000. But the bottom line is, it's just very hard for us to not only measure an economy that's moving so rapidly but also to seasonally adjust data that's coming out of a pandemic with extreme weather events like the fifth warmest January on record and now February is more normal weather and actually had some cold snaps across the country.


So, at the end of the day, anything between a hundred and 250,000, that's still going to be solid enough for the Federal Reserve to feel it has to probably raise rates by a half percent at its March meeting. It's keeping that optionality out there of being able to react to the data as it comes in. But the bottom line is, all the data we've seen suggests, although the economy in some parts may be cooling, it certainly is not chilled. And it's not cool enough to be tepid, which is where we need to be with inflation.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Also, while on the Hill, Powell is sounding the alarm, understandably, about the country hitting the debt -- hitting the debt ceiling, surpassing the debt limit in the coming months as lawmakers play politics with this once again. I've heard more than one expert say that playing around with this now is more dangerous than ever before when we've had this debate over the debt ceiling. Do you agree?

SWONK: Absolutely. It shouldn't be a political pinata. The math on getting our deficits under control is both revenues and spending side. You have to look at both sides of the equation. Math seems to be lost in translation when we get to elected officials. And you know, that is an issue.

But to use this -- sorry, but it's true. And I'm an equal opportunity offender on that front. But I think you know, what's really important is to use the debt ceiling, which is really obligations we've already spent. It's paying our debt on stuff we've already spent.


SWINK: It really is ridiculous. And at this stage of the game when we've already seen the bond market is not tolerating reckless politicians as we saw in the UK, and we've got higher rates, and we're in an inflation cycle, this is not the time at all times because the consequences of even bringing to the brink of default could be much larger than they were even in 2011.


SWONK: And in 2011, it was highly disruptive.

BOLDUAN: Yes, it absolutely was. So, it is International Women's Day and so much has been made, Diane, about how the pandemic hit women particularly hard. Women dropping out of the workforce, unable to return because of what life has presented, pay gaps widening. Where does that stand? How much ground is there to make up? What do you say?

SWONK: You know, it's really an interesting question, Kate. And it's really hard for me sitting here today on International Women's Day and seeing the lack of progress we made. The United States was once the leader in women's participation in the labor market among what we call prime-age women, 25 to 54. We're now the laggard. We not only are the laggard, we're not even back to the previous peak we were at in 1999.

We've come back to February 2020 levels after the recession, this she- session, as you pointed out. But the bottom line is, we like all of other developed countries and are developing competitors in the G20, which is really the G19 because Russia is not in anymore, but that's ridiculous. Even our neighbors to the north in Canada have a 12 percent higher participation rate among prime-age women than we do in the United States.

And the biggest penalty women face is having children. That is part of biology. Other parents face that penalty as well. It really gets to the issue of the childcare crisis and parental leave in this country.

And we need all hands on deck. We can't afford to lead people not participating in the labor force when women are also the ones out attaining men now on education. 60 percent of college grads are now women. Even higher percentage now entering into colleges.

We have to worry about men too. This is not a zero-sum game. And I think that is the wrong framing. But it is really hard to be standing here today and seeing where the United States sits relative to the rest of the world and how little ground we've made up given how hard I've worked to try to change the equation.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. But, Diane, laying out the facts and just given the data, it speaks volumes, volumes. Thank you for being here.

All right, so new revelations from the latest batch of private text messages and e-mails in the $1.6 billion lawsuit against Fox News. How these messages really expose and reveal some of the network's biggest stars? How they promoted election fraud conspiracies on air are ripping those claims apart in private?



BOLDUAN: So, the hits keep coming in the $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems. against Fox News. Overnight, a new batch of text messages and e-mails were released and exposed the clearest picture yet of how the network allowed baseless conspiracy theories to flourish on air after the 2020 Election despite executives and hosts expressing serious doubts off-air. Joining me right now for more on this is CNN chief congressional correspondent Manu Raju and CNN senior media reporter, Oliver Darcy.

Oliver, let's start there. You've been combing through the material that was -- has been released all of it, especially this new batch. Some of what sticks out is how some of Donald Trump's biggest promoters on-air talked about Donald Trump behind the scenes. Tucker Carlson, for example, you will see in this material that was released in these filings referring to Trump.


Carlson says I hate him passionately. I can't handle much more of this. And also saying we are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights. That's quite something.

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Yes. I mean, this just exposes people like Tucker Carlson as complete frauds. They will behind the scenes were saying totally different things than they were saying on camera to viewers. I mean, that's just one message, Kate.

There are so many messages where he describes Trump's behavior in the worst harshest terms. Terms that he was criticizing others who are going on-air and have the courage to say these things for describing. I mean, it's almost like these people were just -- this -- these documents expose them as basically actors. They're paid actors going on air and lavishing praise on Donald Trump. But behind the scenes, it's clear they don't believe any of it.

BOLDUAN: And it could also be in -- how that played out is obviously now could be landed them in serious legal trouble as a network.

And, Manu, at the very same time, there is also this latest issue for Fox News that Fox News needs to contend with involving Tucker Carlson and Kevin McCarthy, the 40,000 hours of January 6 security footage that McCarthy gate -- McCarthy gave to Tucker Carlson and how the show cherry-picked it to rewrite the history of that day on January 6. You spoke to more than one Republican yesterday who seems to be not happy with how Carlson and Fox News portrayed January 6. What are they telling you and what does this mean for Kevin McCarthy?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is actually a real sharp divide within the Republican Party over Donald Trump's role about January 6, and the aftermath of all of it in a largely between House Republicans and Senate Republicans over tactics, over strategy, over aligning themselves with Donald Trump. Mitch McConnell for one said that he disagreed with how Fox News portrayed it. He said he aligned himself with the concerns raised by the U.S. Capitol police chief saying that it was offensive, saying he was cherry-picked, and said they did not portray the true violence that happened that day.

Kevin McCarthy on the other hand -- other hand, defended it and said he did not regret the decision at all. I pressed him about the efforts by Carlson to whitewash this and whether or not he was OK with that. And he said that he's for transparency. That is in the view of McCarthy. He didn't explain why he chose Tucker Carlson, who was -- someone who has had a history of downplaying the deadly violence from January 6.

But there are some members of the House Republican conference who did push back on Carlson and on McCarthy's decision here. That includes Congressman Dan Newhouse, who's one of ten House Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump in the aftermath of January 6.


REP. DAN NEWHOUSE, (R-WA): It's a revisionist thing that I think is unfair to the American people. It needs to be broad and clear that it shows everything not just cherry-pick through however many hours.


RAJU: So, McCarthy contended that he would provide the roughly 40,000 hours of security footage to the rest of the media, but he did not give any sort of indication of time -- or timing about when that actually would occur. But that is really the sentiment among a lot of Republicans. Senate Republicans is that particularly saying let the public see everything here, not just to provide a slice to one person who provide an opinion about the matter. And Republicans themselves on the Senate side, in particular, offended by the way it was portrayed on Fox, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Real quick, I want to go back to the -- into the lawsuit as well. What does all of this mean? What could -- what does all of this mean for the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit that has been brought against Rupert Murdoch and the network? Quick -- add it all together because there's a whole lot of what you've learned.

DARCY: I think legal experts would just say that these messages are fairly damning because it shows that behind the scenes, they knew that they were pushing or promoting lies about the election, lies that Dominions has hurt its business, and they allow this to happen and seemingly in search of profit and viewership. So, I think viewers -- lawyers would say this is pretty damning stuff.

BOLDUAN: More to come on that. And clearly, more to come on Capitol Hill from what you're learning, Manu. Thank you so much, guys. I really appreciate it.

Let's turn to this. It is just the beginning of March. Yes, it is. Check your calendars. Cars are already covered in yellow eyes watering. How a record early start to pollen season could be a part of a new climate trend? We'll be right back.



BOLDUAN: Residents in California are now being near desperate to be rescued. The historic back-to-back snowstorms that they've been dealing with have left many trapped and also trapped for days in mountain communities. Meteorologist Chad Myers is live in the CNN Weather Center with much more on this. Chad, this is something you've been tracking so closely. They've been dealing with all of this snow.


BOLDUAN: And now parts of California being told to prepare for flooding?

MYERS: Correct. And even the people that are dealing with the snow will have to deal with rain on snow. And rain on snow on their roof. And if that rain doesn't wash away the snow, you're just going to pile up the weight on top of those buildings that already have in some spots over a hundred inches of snow and in some spots, more than that.

Flood watches have been posted for this next what we call atmospheric river. When I was a young kid about that bug grown to two colleges, we called it Pineapple Express because it actually is coming from Hawaii. Now, we call them atmospheric rivers because they don't need to come from Hawaii. They just come from the tropics or they come from the north, but they're grabbing so much moisture from the ocean, then they put that moisture down on land.

And this wouldn't be a problem at all if we didn't have hundreds of inches of snow for this to get washed away. And all of a sudden, that snow has to melt, some of it at least, and it's going to get washed down the rivers. And many of these rivers will begin to flood. Maybe not with the first one, but certainly with the second one. So much snow up there, Kate.


BOLDUAN: I also -- I almost didn't want to -- I definitely did not want to believe the headline when I saw it this morning about a record early start to pollen season.

MYERS: Oh, yes.

BOLDUAN: What is happening?

MYERS: Things have warmed up. We have had a record-warm part of the -- March, February, January in many, many spots. Many spots, the warmest ever. So, things that begin to grow, and in fact, I planted my garden over the weekend. But these areas have seen a significant lengthening of the growing season here.

Atlanta, 34 days longer from frost to frost across the summer to winter. Same story with Minneapolis. And this is the area that's going to see the pollen high. Things turn yellow here in Atlanta with the pollen. If you don't -- never seen it, it's pretty amazing.

BOLDUAN: It's definitely pretty amazing. It's good to see you, Chad. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

And thank you all so much for watching. I'm Kate Bolduan. "INSIDE POLITICS" starts after this break.