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The Lead with Jake Tapper

NY & DC Ramp Up Security Ahead Of Potential Trump Indictment; Speaker McCarthy Downplays Trump's Hush Money Payments; Legal Pressure Mounts As Trump Ahead Of Possible Charges In NY Probe; 30,000 Workers Walk Off Job, L.A. Schools Shut Down; Grand Jury Indicts 10 People Charged In Otieno's Death; Fed To Decide On Interest Rates Amid Banking Concerns. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired March 21, 2023 - 16:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Donald Trump said he would be arrested today. That has not yet happened.

THE LEAD starts are right now.

Republican officials rushing to defend Trump with a variety of claims and excuses as the former president faces a possible indictment.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I think in your heart of hearts, you know, too, that you think this is just political.


TAPPER: Is this all firing up the MAGA base? We'll talk to two former Trump insiders.

Plus, meeting with a menacing message, leaders of Russia and China coming out of their second day of talks and offering deliberate proposals about a future collaboration.

And, a Colorado dentist accused of killing his wife by lacing her protein shakes with arsenic. How his internet searches became evidence.


TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

And we start today with our politics lead and a high alert day for New York City police bracing for possible unrest if Donald Trump is indicted. An internal memo shared with CNN shows that all NYPD officers are expected to be in uniform and ready for deployment today, although law enforcement officials also say there are no credible threats in New York City.

Protesters against Trump and some of his supporters gathered in Manhattan today, the day Trump predicted he would be arrested in that hush money case involving former porn actress and director Stormy Daniels, prosecutors are weighing whether to charge Trump with crimes related to his allegedly falsifying business records to hide that payment from voters before the election in 2016 and who knows, perhaps even hiding it from his wife.

Here in Washington, D.C., police are similarly preparing. Bike racks have gone up along the U.S. Capitol. Lawmakers have been told they might see extra police presence around the area.

And in Orlando, Florida, House Republicans at their annual retreat are doing everything they can to belittle the potential charges and potential prosecution before they even see the evidence.


TAPPER: This is personal money. Wasn't trying to hide, this is seven years ago statute of limitations, and I think in your heart of hearts you know too that you think this is just political, and I think that's what the rest of the country thinks and we're kind of tired of that.


TAPPER: Kevin McCarthy there presuming to speak for the entire country.

CNN's Paula Reid starts off our coverage from New York where prosecutors are facing a deadline to make any decisions on any charges.


PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This was the day former President Trump claimed he would be arrested on charges related to a hush money probe, but there is no sign yet of an arrest or even an indictment.

Still, law enforcement continues to prepare for possible protests. In Washington, D.C., barriers erected around the capital. In New York, police officers told to be in uniform and ready for deployment.

So far, officials say there are no credible threats despite online chatter calling for civil war if Trump is indicted. Today, small groups gathered outside Trump Tower and Mar-a-Lago.

There has been no word from the Manhattan district attorney after a last ditch effort by Trump to avoid charges.

Attorney Robert Costello appearing before the grand jury Monday to attack the witness at the center of the investigation, Michael Cohen.

ROBERT COSTELLO, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL COHEN: My obligation is to bring the truth to both the district attorneys and to Trump's lawyers, that's exactly what I did.

REID: Costello previously represented Cohen.

COSTELLO: If they want to go after Donald Trump and they have solid evidence, so be it but Michael Cohen is far from solid evidence.

REID: It is unclear whether the grand jury will hear from more witnesses as it investigates a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels to silence her about an alleged affair with Trump. She was paid by Cohen in the final days of the 2016 campaign.

REPORTER: Mr. President, did you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels?


REID: Now seven years on, the D.A. is looking at whether Trump may have falsified business records when reimbursing Cohen for the payment.

MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: This case is not going to be predicated on any one individual, but rather it's going to be predicated on the documents, the evidence, the text messages, the emails.


REID: Cohen has made countless public statements about the investigation.

COHEN: The D.A.'s team are spectacular. They are well-versed. They are well-informed, and we just will continue to cooperate each and every time that they ask.

My goal is to allow Alvin Bragg and his team to do what they need to do.

At the end, the grand jurors, have an opportunity to ask me some questions as well, and I'm looking forward to that.

REID: While he usually says he cannot talk about what happens in the grand jury room, he has been advised to stop talking about the case on TV, after drawing the ire of prosecutors for appearing on TV Monday night to rebut Costello's testimony.

COHEN: If in fact, that I waived attorney/client privilege, I'd like to know when, how, where, I don't recall waiving anything, but again, this is -- I don't know -- I don't know what he's talking about.


REID (on camera): Here in Manhattan, prosecutors are facing a deadline, the statute of limitations expires for this case in May. So it's clearly now or never for the district attorney -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Paula Reid in Manhattan, thanks so much.

Let's bring in CNN's Shimon Prokupecz.

Shimon, what kinds of conversations about security are happening behind the scenes as law enforcement prepares for whatever reaction happens for whatever charges happen.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right, yeah, so the reaction certainly from his supporters is something that law enforcement is of course concerned about, but the other thing that they're really worried about here, certainly for the Secret Service, is how to get the former president into the courthouse, through New York City safely because there is also a lot of concern for his safety.

So that is something that is really going on in discussions behind the scenes between the Secret Service, the NYPD, the FBI is involved for any intelligence purposes and other law enforcement officials from all across this state that are involved in these conversations because once they get word that, in fact, he has been indicted, there's going to have to be a court appearance by the former president and it's going to be in Manhattan.

Right now, Jake, and this is important, that there's no indication that any of this is supposed to take place this week. All the conversations right now are talking about next week, sometime next week, that if he was to be indicted, that is when we would see the former president appearing in court, and that's when we'll see more security, certainly the Secret Service taking a lead on making sure that the former president entering that courtroom and leaving that courtroom will happen safely.

TAPPER: Yeah, Shimon Prokupecz, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Joining us now to discuss, conservative attorney George Conway.

George, Trump could be the first former president in American history to be arrested.

Do you think this case, what we know of it involving Stormy Daniels and the falsification of business records, do you think it really rises to the magnitude of such an unprecedented step?

GEORGE CONWAY, CONSERVATIVE ATTORNEY: You know, this wouldn't be the first case I would bring against him if I were the director of a movie trying to figure out how to properly organize this, but the fact of the matter is it's a real case, and the thing to remember about it, particularly when you hear the gaslighting commentary of speaker -- of Speaker McCarthy, this case was originally a federal case brought against Michael Cohen for campaign finance violations, failure to report basically a straw donors -- you know, the reimbursement. This was a case brought by the Trump Justice Department, the Southern District of New York brought this case and told the sentencing judge, again, the Trump administration, told the sentencing judge for Michael Cohen that Cohen's crimes were committed at the behest of and the direction for and the benefit for Donald Trump.

And so these are -- this is serious -- these are serious offenses. The thing about Trump is he's committed so many others, that it kind of looks less serious than, say, trying to overturn the election and trying to overturn the Constitution and so on and so forth. So, that's the only reason, if this case has any flaws it's that it should have been brought as a federal case at noon on January 20th, 2021.

TAPPER: So that's interesting. So you think anyone protesting this case theoretically in order to be intellectually consistent, if they weren't protesting the prosecution of Michael Cohen by, I believe it was then U.S. Attorney Michael Berman, is that right, who Donald Trump had appointed.

CONWAY: Geoffrey Berman, yeah.

TAPPER: Geoffrey Berman, I'm sorry. If they didn't protest that they shouldn't be protesting this. It's entirely inconsistent intellectually.

CONWAY: Well, it's consistent to say that this was -- this was a political prosecution.


I mean, these are real potential campaign finance violations when you're doing something, and look, let's not -- they say, oh, it was because he was afraid of Melania. This happened days before a presidential election, and that was, frankly, Stormy's leverage. That was Stormy and her lawyer had leverage over Trump because of the possibility of a last-minute disclosure, and the reason why the money was paid was to keep her quiet before the election.

It was a contribution. It was something that Michael Cohen put up his own money, borrowed from his home equity loan, and then he was reimbursed and both the making of that illegal contribution and the bookkeeping in the reimbursement were illegal. And the only question under New York law is whether it would be a misdemeanor or a felony.

TAPPER: You tweeted that Donald Trump's best defense would be to plead insanity. Were you just being cheeky, or do you mean that?

CONWAY: I was being a little bit cheeky. An insanity defense is actually pretty hard under most jurisdictions law, you have to show that a person is incapable of determining right from wrong, in order -- and acting on that basis, and Trump, you know, he always -- almost always does the wrong thing, but he knows the difference between right and wrong and the reason he knows the difference between right and wrong is he's always denying things when people say he did something wrong, and he's always accusing people of doing the things that he did.

So he knows what the difference between right and wrong is, and so an insanity defense really wouldn't work. That said, he is clearly compensating in some sense, if you look at the social media tweets that he has put out over the last few days, I mean, this is not -- this is not a man who -- he's not a man in full command of his faculties.

TAPPER: I want to get your reaction to one of the many claims we're hearing from Republican congressmen, this one from Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota earlier today.


REP. KELLY ARMSTRONG (R-ND): Everybody's going to have their own -- their own opinion on these things, but I can tell you from my experience if the defendant wasn't Donald Trump, this wouldn't be brought by a D.A. That's just the truth.


TAPPER: Now, I keep hearing that, and yet, I remember -- I don't know how similar a case it is, but I remember the prosecution of former Senator John Edwards, and that was during the Obama administration, and that was for not exactly the same thing, but it was about fund- raisers and donations, and a girlfriend, an extramarital girlfriend. Were they similar?

CONWAY: Right. They found a rich woman, a rich old lady to give money to Edwards' baby momma in essence to keep her out of sight and help the campaign, and I think the problem in that case wasn't a legal problem. It was just that by the time of trial, the woman who gave the money was really not in a position to testify because of hers her physical condition.

But that said, it's a perfectly -- it's a valid federal legal theory. It should have been brought. The fact of the matter is this case isn't being brought because he's Donald Trump. This case wasn't brought by the U.S. government during Trump's administration when Trump's administration was investigating it and told federal courts that this was a crime.

He was not prosecuted because he was president, so it's actually the exact opposite of what this congressman is saying.

TAPPER: Interesting. George Conway, thanks so much. Enjoy the slopes behind you, I'm jealous.

CONWAY: I'll try.

TAPPER: Kevin McCarthy called the hush money investigation an opportunity to unite the country. Hear why next.

And why the latest banking troubles are nothing like the 2008 financial crisis, according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, let's hope she's right.

Also, how long the nation's second largest school district may stay shut down as thousands of workers go on strike. What do they want? That's coming up.


TAPPER: House Republicans are using their newfound power to try to down play the potential criminal charges against Donald Trump, despite none of us having seen any of the evidence, nor know what the potential charges are. CNN's Manu Raju just returned from the House Republican retreat in Orlando, Florida, and joins us now live from Capitol Hill. And, Manu, you caught up with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and you

asked him about these possible charges. What did he have to say?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, he really down played these possible charges. I asked him directly, do you have any concerns that former President Trump may have falsified his business records to hide hush money payments to an adult film actress whom he allegedly was having an extramarital affair. He didn't say he was concerned. In fact, he said that it's Donald Trump's personal money.

He went to argue that perhaps this falls outside the statue of limitations. There's some questions about that. And he also contended that Trump did not try to hide these payments even though there's evidence to the contrary.

Now, McCarthy has all along also defended the investigations that his committees have already launched into the New York district attorney, even as they don't know what these charges are, they don't have a sense of what the evidence is, still demanding him to come to Capitol Hill and saying that McCarthy telling me they just have simple questions they want to ask the district attorney, and he argued that Democrats in his view are treated differently by prosecutors than Republicans.


MCCARTHY: I do get concerned when I look out there and I see justice not being equal to others, especially in the history of where we are. And the tough part is with a local D.A. playing in presidential politics, if that starts right there, don't you think it will happen across the country? I think it's a place the country can unite. They want equal justice. They just think it's wrong.


RAJU: So McCarthy would not weigh in further when I asked him is he aware of the charges? Has he seen these charges? Of course, he has not yet seen all of the evidence yet. Neither have the top Republicans who are running this investigation into the efforts by Alvin Bragg, the New York prosecutor, who is potentially going to bring charges against the former president.

Jim Jordan who is one of the three key chairman who has asked Bragg to come testify, asked for records himself telling me he doesn't know the full scope of this, simply he's relying on press reports but still Jordan and Bragg to come testify, asked for records Bragg to come testify, asked for records himself telling me he doesn't know the full scope of this, simply he's relying on press reports. But still Jordan and others believe that Donald Trump did not break the law, despite not having the full scope of evidence here.

But that is the way how the Republicans are coming down on this. McCarthy indicating he has not spoken to Donald Trump about this, hasn't spoken to him in a few weeks, but Elise Stefanik indicated she did speak with him yesterday and also talked to him, Trump, about the steps House Republicans are taking to defend him -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Manu Raju on Capitol Hill, thanks so much.

The hush money case, of course, is not the only legal specter haunting Donald Trump right now. Others include the Justice Department special counsel investigation of both Trump's involvement in January 6th and his alleged mishandling of classified documents. Plus, there's also the Fulton County grand jury probe into Trump and his allies' efforts to overturn the 2020 election in that state.

CNN's Katelyn Polantz is with us now.

Katelyn, have we seen any significant movement in these other cases involving Donald Trump?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yeah. Well, Jake, what we're hearing from our sources is that there is a lot bubbling under the surface in all of these criminal investigations, not just New York.

In Georgia, the prosecutors there, they are still at work. They reached out to someone in recent weeks that was a lawyer to Donald Trump wanting to talk with her voluntarily. They also are looking at potentially complicated multi-defendant cases. We just reported yesterday that there's the possibility they want to look at a racketeering charges related to what happened after the election is and Donald Trump in twenlt.2020.

And they're not going to be pushing that forward just because New York is ready to potentially bring a charge against the president. So, that's Georgia in the federal cases. I just got off the phone with sources that are telling me these are very active investigations. We might not be seeing necessarily charges at this time, but there are lots of people that investigators still want to talk with both on the January 6th side and on the Mar-a-Lago documents case, and we know that there are many court fights under seal related to, including the former defense lawyer for Donald Trump and the former vice president.

TAPPER: But the criminal investigations are not the only thing that's going on with Donald Trump, right? Aren't there other courtroom activities?

POLANTZ: Yes, lawsuits, many, many lawsuits, specifically Trump is opposite E. Jean Carroll, the columnist in a lawsuit -- two lawsuits that are going to be going to trial. There's a lot of litigation still around January 6th, who's liable for that attack of the Capitol, not just rioters, but cases against Trump himself.

And then even this morning I was just in court this morning, in federal court in Washington, Rudy Giuliani was appearing before a judge because he is being pushed in a defamation case brought by Georgia election workers -- he's being pushed to provide information to them. Has he scoured all of his phones, has he answered all of the questions under oath that he needs to there?

So, there's just a lot of different entities that are pushing for answers from Trump and the other people around him.

TAPPER: All right. Katelyn Polantz, thanks so much.

Let's discuss all of this with CNN political commentator and former Trump White House communications director, Alyssa Farah Griffin, and former Congressman Mick Mulvaney, who's also a former acting White House chief of staff for Donald Trump.

Alyssa, let me start with you. What do you think is going on in Donald Trump's mind right now as the walls appear to be closing in on him in this hush money investigation?

ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: From what I've been hearing, he's obviously very anxious about the potential pending indictment and any subsequent arrests that could come with that, but I'm also hearing from people around him, he feels a bit emboldened by this. I think there's a lot of Republicans like myself who want to see Trump held accountable for egregious things he had a role in, whether it's the Mar-a-Lago documents investigation, January 6th.

But there are some concerns that this D.A. investigation is seven years old, it's not necessarily -- we don't know the details, but necessarily a rock solid case, and I think he sees this as an opportunity to get Republicans to rally around him and say, this is a witch hunt. This is, you know, a liberal judge wanting to undo the 2016 election results.

So I think he sees a lane of opportunity, even seeing people like Nikki Haley, a declared candidate running against him coming out and defending him. While he's anxious about what is going to happen in the coming days, he sees this as an opening.

TAPPER: And, former Congressman Mulvaney, today, Trump came out with a new campaign promise, his presidential campaign for 2024 continues untrammeled. He pledged to reissue an executive order that could make it easier to overhaul the federal government by firing anyone he deems corrupt.

He's leaning heavily into this deep state conspiracy theory, the idea that there's a whole bunch of people in the government working against him. I would suspect that you think that what's going on in New York kind of feeds into that in a way?

MICK MULVANEY, FORMER ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF, TRUMP ADMINISTRATION: It does in a roundabout sort of way. I also think they could easily be separate.


I'm one of the folks who thinks the president, any president should have a right to hire and fire a lot more people in the executive branch. That's not really the discussion here today.

I think Trump does see this. I think Alyssa is right, I think it's -- we're actually in one of those rare circumstances where the extreme left and right of this country want the same thing, which is for Donald Trump to get arrested. He sees this as a way to sort of build some sympathy because it is much easier to make this case out to be a political witch hunt than it does for something like January 6th and the interference in the election.

So, in a strange sort of way, I think the tweet on Tuesday was sort of telling people that he wants to be arrested because he wants this to be one of the battlegrounds, as supposed to one of those other charges he's facing.

TAPPER: Yeah. I mean, we heard George Conway say if he was directing this as a movie, this is not the first case he would bring.

Alyssa, Trump's allies did not thing that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was supportive enough of Trump's fight against the Manhattan district attorney, and Trump wrote on Truth Social, quote, Ron Desanctimonious will probably find out about false accusations and fake stories sometimes in the future as he gets older, wiser, and better known, when he's unfairly and illegal attacked by a woman, even classmates that are under age or possibly a man -- he's pushed some conspiracy theories about DeSantis that he's alluding to there.

That sounded vaguely like a threat to me. What did you think?

GRIFFIN: Yeah, it sounds like he's got some things in the oppo book he wants to drop on DeSantis. But, listen, this is what makes battling with Donald Trump so difficult for people who opposed him, is he doesn't go low, he goes to the earth's crust. He goes to an area that people don't talk about in polite company.

I thought DeSantis honestly had a good line to say something along the lines of, I don't have experience giving hush money to porn stars, to kind of just highlight the absurdity of this moment that we've been in for seven years with Donald Trump. But anyone who's going to take him on is going to have to be able to deal with the smears that come with going after Donald Trump, with him going the lowest of the low, and we have yet to see who's ready to deal with that.

TAPPER: What did you think, Congressman Mulvaney about how DeSantis handled this? He went after the prosecutor. He said he wasn't going to help the prosecutor, but then he said at least twice the phrases hush money, the clauses hush money and porn star.

MULVANEY: Sure, I think Ron's doing a nice job of sort of distancing himself from Trump personally while he's still sort of running on the same policies. Ron's pretty good at this. You don't get to be Florida governor and win by 20 points last tight without knowing something you're doing.

I disagree with Alyssa on one thing. I doubt very seriously that Trump has done opposition research or really has some stuff. I think -- that's the type of I guess it's called the truth, I don't Truth Social, that sort of doesn't have any basis. He just sort of -- he'll make that up in order to try and draw attention away from other stuff.

So I think DeSantis is doing a fine job. I also think the other folks who have backed the president are doing a fine job as well. It's a real strange situation where you might be running against somebody but having to back him like Nikki Haley did.

Look, DeSantis is in a tough position. Imagine the indictment comes down and Trump doesn't want to go to New York. What is Ron DeSantis as the governor of Florida going to do with effectively a fugitive in his state. It could get really interesting quickly.

TAPPER: I think he said he's not going to help the prosecutor. I think that that was what he was suggesting there, Ron DeSantis, so I guess he's not going to be sending the Florida National Guard to perp walk the president.

Alyssa, Trump's allies have been using the House majority to demand that Alvin Bragg testifies, looking to stop his investigation. What do you think of that? I mean, is that also politicizing the justice system?

GRIFFIN: I mean, yes. I don't think this is a slam dunk case, but I also think, you know, the last midterm shows us anything, it's that voters want Congress to be forward-looking, and the role of oversight is to oversee the executive branch. Of course that's something that's a valid role, but this is really weeding into state politics. It's not really in any way what the oversight committee would be tasked with.

I think once again, Republicans are much better to be focused on actually what they said that they were going to run on.

TAPPER: Alyssa Farah Griffin, Mick Mulvaney, thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.

Coming up, the surveillance video released after prosecutors said a Virginia man in custody was smothered to death.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our national lead, the second largest school district in the country is shut down right now. Teachers there have joined support staff who are on strike including custodians, bus drivers, cafeteria workers in Los Angeles. The group says for the next three days, they will be off the job. They're demanding better working conditions and a raise. The strike means more than half a million students in Los Angeles are currently not in class.

CNN's Nick Watt is in L.A. for us.

Nick, how much money are those striking asking for, and what is the school district offering?

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, the strikers say that their main issue is respect and working conditions, but of course, there is money involved. The union wants a 30 percent raise for these workers, custodians, bus drivers, et cetera. Right now, the school district is at 23 percent, 30, 23 still a gap, and apparently they are not talking right now.

The union says, listen, the average wage for our workers here in L.A. is $25,000 a year, that puts them below poverty. We need more money for our people. You mentioned that there are a number of groups. So the people wearing purple, that is the union that represents these workers, the bus drivers, et cetera.


And the red, they are the teachers union. This isn't really their fight, but they are out here in solidarity. They say that their fight is the teacher's fight, and they are here demanding better conditions.

That right there is the district headquarters, the superintendent says he stayed in there all night waiting for the union to come back to the table, and now today since 4:30 this morning, these people have been at bus depots, schools, and now outside the headquarters of the district demanding more money and demanding respect -- Jake.

TAPPER: Is the school district helping families find child care and meal for all these students who have nowhere to go?

WATT: Yeah. Yeah, they are, listen, more than half a million kids in this district and many of them relay on schools not just for their education, but for food. The school district, the candy, the city, they are handing out boxed lunches. They've also set aside some schools with staff with volunteers and others where kids can go for adult supervision. Now, the district has a pretty good offer, he's waiting for them to come back.

Parents, of course, impacted by this. Many of the parents we spoke with are sympathetic with these protesters, with these strikers. But they say, a couple of days, two, three days we can manage. If it stretches beyond that, it's going to become a big problem for a lot of parents here in L.A. as well -- Jake.

WATT: All right. Nick Watt in Los Angeles, thanks so much.

Today, a Virginia grand jury formally indicted seven officers and three hospital employees charged with second degree murder in the death of Irvo Otieno. This comes as a Virginia prosecutor released new surveillance video capturing the final moments of the 28-year-old's life that shows sheriffs deputies and medical staff piling on him and appearing to smother him.

CNN's Brian Todd brings us the latest from Dinwiddie, Virginia. A warning, you might find this video disturbing.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Handcuffed and leg shackled, Irvo Otieno is brought into the intake area of Virginia's Central State Hospital with some difficulty. Within minutes, he is on the floor. For the next 12 or 13 minutes, he will be held down by deputies and staffers, sometimes with a deputy on top of him. At points, his position changes or the officers reposition their grip.

There is no audio, and for much of the video, Otieno is not in full view.

At least once a deputy seems to use his knee to restrain him. Later, he is turned on his side. A person appears to administer an injection, and then CPR.

It is not clear exactly when he died or his official cause of death.

Today, seven deputies were indicted by a grand jury for second degree murder as were three hospital staffers.

ANN BASKERVILL, DINWIDDIE COUNTY COMMONWEALTH ATTORNEY: The victim in this case was not fighting back or anything. There was no legitimate purpose for holding him down on the ground.

TODD: 911 calls show how a hospital staffer described the incident.

HOSPITAL STAFFER: Used to be aggressive, right? So they're trying to put them in restraints. Then eventually he didn't -- he's no longer breathing. They're doing CPR right now, and there's no pulse anymore.

TODD: Also just released, jail video that the prosecutor says shows Otieno before he was transported to the mental facility. It shows commotion around the slot in the door of his cell. The prosecutor alleges Otieno is handcuffed, yet even so pepper spray is sprayed through the door slot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was pepper sprayed while he was in the cell alone, not posing a danger to anyone.

TODD: Six officers then enter the cell and the prosecutor alleges blows are delivered. Nearly 15 minutes later, he is carried out in handcuffs and deputies load him in an SUV to drive him to the mental facility. An attorney for one charged deputy says the cause of death could have been something else like the injection, and says Otieno was violent, aggressive, and noncompliant.

CALEB KERSHNER, ATTORNEY FOR DEPUTY RANDY BOYER: The officers who were there had to hold him and constrain him given not only his resistance previously but out of concern for others given his mental state.

TODD: But Otieno's mother says that's not what the video shows.

CAROLINE OUKU, OTIENO'S MOTHER: My son was treated like a dog, worse than a dog. I saw it with my own eyes on the video.


TODD (on camera): Only a couple of the attorneys for the deputies and security guards charged have come out and spoken about the charges specifically denying that their clients committed wrongdoing. One attorney who represents Deputy Randy Boyer came out today and said it was the employees of Central State Hospital who were supposed to handle the intake and the restraint for Irvo Otieno that day and they failed. We have reached out to the Central State Hospital for a response to that, we have not heard back -- Jake.

TAPPER: Brian Todd in Dinwiddie, Virginia, thank you so much.

Coming up next, the consequential decision coming tomorrow that could impact every single American and speak volumes about the state of the U.S. economy.


Stay with us.


TAPPER: In our money lead, members of the Federal Reserve began meeting today, and their pending decision on raising interest rates is due tomorrow.

CNN's Matt Egan is in town for the Fed's meeting.

He joins us, what was once a fore gone conclusion about another increase appears up in the air because of the crisis involving bank failures.

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: That's right, Jake. You know, the Fed finds itself in kind of a no-win situation here. I mean, they do nothing, it looks like they're scared of the banking crisis, and they're accepting high inflation, but if they keep raising rates, they could actually make the pressure in the banking system even worse.

So this is a very difficult position for them. And there's been a lot of debate about what they're going to do. I mean, former FDIC chair Sheila Bair, she wants them to kind of do nothing, hold steady, look at the damage before keep raising interest rates. Goldman Sachs predicts that's actually what they're going to do. Keep rates steady.

But over on Wall Street, investors are starting to coalesce around the idea that they're going to raise interest rates.


At last, look, there's now an 87 percent chance priced into the market that the Fed raises rates by a quarter of a basis point. That figure has been growing all day and all week, for everyone at home, that means higher borrowing costs, mortgages, credit cards, car loans. It would also be a way for the Fed to show when it comes to fighting inflation, they really mean business.

TAPPER: But whatever they do, those nervous nellys on Wall Street, it could freak them out either way.

On related matter, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen today tried to again reassure everyone that everything's fine with the banking system. EGAN: Yeah, Yellen is trying her best to kind of talk the banking

industry out of this crisis, really emphasizing this is more of a confidence problem than a solvency one, and she said that, listen, you know, officials in Washington, they're willing to rescue uninsured depositors if that's what it takes.

Listen to what she said.


JANET YELLEN, TREASURY SECRETARY: By saying that our banking system is sound, even as it's come under some pressure, as I indicated, this is different than 2008. 2008 was a solvency crisis, rather what we're seeing are contagious bank runs. The situation is stabilizing, and the U.S. banking system remains sound.


EGAN: So regional bank stocks, they did race back to life today. More importantly in the share prices, U.S. officials are watching deposit flows and they are encouraged that the outflow from the small and mid--sized banks, that has stabilized and if that continues that will lower the risk of other banks collapsing.

TAPPER: So, what does all of this mean for regular normal Americans out there, people with credit cards, trying to get a mortgage?

EGAN: Well, you know, Jake, it's really not about whether you're money is safe in the bank. We know it's safe up to $250,000 per borrower, per bank. That's what the FDIC insures.

I think the real risk is a credit crunch, right? Because the more nervous bankers are, the less credit they're going to give people. It's going to be more expensive to get a mortgage, carry a credit card balance, to finance a car loan. And the longer this banking crisis lasts, the greater the risk it slows the economy, maybe even so much that it causes a recession.

TAPPER: All right. Matt Egan, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Coming up next, the Colorado dentist under arrest accused of poisoning his wife with arsenic. The peculiar internet searches in the weeks leading up to her death. That's next.



TAPPER: A shocking story out of Colorado with the arrest of a dentist accused of poisoning his wife. James Toliver Craig is behind bars after his wife and the mother of six died after being hospitalized for severe headaches and dizziness.

CNN's Whitney Wild has the latest on this disturbing case.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Forty- three-year-old Angela Craig, a mother of six, was hospitalized for the third time in a month last week after complaining of a severe headache and dizziness. She was put on a ventilator, rapidly declined, and was declared brain dead soon after.

JIM CRAIG, COLORADO DENTIST: My name is Dr. Jim Craig, and I practice at Summerbrook Dental Group.

WILD: Now police say her husband, a Colorado dentist, killed her by poisoning her with toxic chemicals he bought online. Police in Aurora, Colorado, say 45-year-old James Toliver Craig showed intent to end his wife's life by searching for ways to kill someone undetected by giving her poisons that align with her hospitalized symptoms.

Investigators say Craig bought arsenic as well as potassium cyanide. Police laid out a chilling time line that began March 4th, when arsenic was delivered to the Craig's home. Two days later, Angela headed to the hospital complaining of dizziness and difficulty focusing her eyes, symptoms consistent with arsenic poisoning according to the police affidavit.

Angela texted her husband that day saying, I feel drugged. Her husband James texted back just for the record, I didn't drug you.

Investigators say Craig used a computer at his dental practice to research poisons. Police say his search history showed phrases such as how many grams of pure arsenic will kill a human, and top five undetectable poisons that show no signs of foul play.

Police say around the time Angela was hospitalized again from March 9th to March 14th, James Craig ordered potassium cyanide online, the highly lethal drug was delivered to his dental practice, so concerned a staff reported what they found.

Charges are set to be filed formally Thursday while the case has rocked their community.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just makes me sick.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Doesn't seem real.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Doesn't seem like something that he could ever do to her.


WILD (on camera): An absolutely shocking case. Jake. We have reached out to Craig's attorney, but we have not heard back -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Whitney Wild, thank you so much for that report.

Today, the U.S. accelerated its plans to deploy Patriot missiles to Ukraine. The activity happening at an Army post in Oklahoma that helped lead to that decision. We're going to go there live next.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

This hour, a warning about the combination making the deadliest drugs in the U.S. even deadlier, the animal tranquilizer xylazine that melts people's skin and is now being mixed with fentanyl.

Then watching and waiting, security is beefed up in New York City and Washington, D.C., as the world waits to see if Donald Trump will be indicted today as he claimed he would.

And leading this hour, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping toasting each other today in Moscow, the rest of the world is not raising a glass. Putin and Xi attended a state dinner capping off two days of talks where they vowed more collaboration in oil production and giving the Chinese government an opportunity to further prop up Russia's sanctioned suffering economy.

Vladimir Putin also said China proposed a plan that could be used for a, quote, peaceful settlement in Ukraine, unquote, but it will only be considered when the West, i.e., the United States and NATO countries and Kyiv are ready for it.

We've got a team of reporters covering the meeting around the world from Ukraine to the United States, but we're going to start with CNN's Selina Wang who is in Beijing where Chinese state media is in a frenzy to push positive propaganda about this China/Russia partnership.