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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Trump Says He Would Have To Hold "Fire Sale" Of His Properties To Post $464M Bond In Civil Fraud Case; Ex-Trump White House Aide Peter Navarro Reports To Prison; Video Appears To Show Kate Shopping Amid Speculation; Supreme Court Lets Texas Enforce Controversial Immigration Law; Ohio Race Could Determine Which Party Controls U.S. Senate; Georgia Could Face Crop Issues For Second Year In A Row. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired March 19, 2024 - 16:00   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Yeah, these were stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in 2005, and just a little trivia for you here, only four pairs of this slippers used in the film are still known to exist. The attorney representing a 76-year-old man charged in connection with this theft tells CNN his client is innocent. For now, these shoes are going to go on a whirlwind tour around the world.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: I too have mistakenly taken by dazzled choose like that before, it could happen anybody?

KEILAR: Yeah, I can happen to anyone, yeah.

THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Donald Trump might have come up with the perfect plan to put up that $464 million bond.

THE LEAD starts right now.

Will it be a fire sale for the former president? Trump himself floats the idea as his team struggles to come up with a pay -- come up with a way to pay New York state for his financial fraud and the multibillion dollar -- multimillion dollars bond growing interest by the day.

CNN is also at the prison where a senior aide to Trump now sits behind bars.

Plus, new royal drama for Princess Kate, wife of Prince William, next in line to be king. This time it is a doctored photo that she allegedly took of the late Queen Elizabeth. What is really going on behind the palace walls? What officials are saying and not saying as the princess makes her first public appearance since the photo uproar began.

And sentencing day for members of Mississippi's so-called "Goon Squad". Six law enforcement officers who prosecutors say brutally tortured two Black men.


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

And we start today with our law and justice lead. It is time to pay the piper. Donald Trump and team are starting to realize how high that price, who could truly be?

First, literally, in his New York civil fraud case, where the former president now claims he would have to hold a fire sale of his most popular properties unless the court grants him a delay in paying the massive penalty he owes the Empire State. That penalty for his fraud, you may recall, exceeds $450 million ordered by a judge after it was proven in court that Trump and his company lied to lenders about the value of his property.

If Trump cannot find a company to help with his bond in New York attorney general has already hinted she will seize Trump properties and begin to sell them off.

And then in terms of paying the piper, there is this stark new reality for former Trump White House aide Peter Navarro. Navarro reporting to prison today in Miami, becoming the first former White House official in history to be imprisoned specifically for a contempt of Congress conviction. He, of course, refused to testify in the House Select Committee's investigation into January 6.

Let's bring in CNN senior crime and justice reporter Katelyn Polantz.

And, Katelyn, let's start with the massive financial penalty Trump's facing in New York. Is there a real possibility that Letitia James or he will have to sell off his properties?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Jake, he lost this lawsuit and something has got to give here. We are going to still have to wait and see. There's still awesome time before the deadline comes when that judgment would settle and Trump would either have to post the bonds so he could continue to appeal or his properties could be seized from the attorney general in New York or by the attorney general in New York.

But right now, Donald Trump is yet again at the appeals court, and that is why he's talking about his inability to get any insurer to underwrite his bond of $464 million, nearly half $1 billion. He says that's because none of these companies will give a bond of more than $100 million and that, you know, it's one of those things where he cant post real estate.

So if you really want wanted to have the collateral to secure the bonds so he could continue appealing what happened in this case, his loss here on these civil fraud accusations, that he would have to be forced to pay off or to sell his assets, all of his real estate empire or large portion of it, and that would be a fire sale where he wouldn't get as much for the properties as he deserved. So that's what he's arguing to the appeals court to try and get more

grace out of the court system as this continues on, as he tries to keep the appeals going. But we are going to have to see exactly what he does in order to either post the bond or have the attorney generals office come in and seize things. He just wants the courts to say, let me be. I have the real estate, acknowledged that. Just let me be and allow me to keep appealing this.

TAPPER: Katelyn, there's a hearing next week in Trump's other New York case, the hush money case, from D.A. Alvin Bragg.

Ahead of that hearing, the judge has ruled against some requests by Trump's team?

POLANTZ: He has. So Trump's team was trying to have certain witnesses not testify. People like Stormy Daniels, people like Michael Cohen, that isn't going to fly. The judge said that those witnesses can testify. Those are the rulings in place. They are doing a table setting that happens before the trial will start, right now as they head into this Monday hearing, it's a lot is going to be not just about that table setting, but about when the trial will take place.


There's hundreds of thousands of pages of documents that the Trump team just got out of the Justice Department about an early part of this investigation. They're going to use that as much as they can to argue to the judge, we need more time. We need more time.

The case now is set to go to trial April 15th. The D.A.'s office says that should be good. We'll see what the judge does on Monday.

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

Now, we go to Miami where people Peter Navarro is spending his first hours behind bars after surrendering to authorities earlier today.

CNN's Randi Kaye is outside the prison in Miami.

And, Randi, Navarro spoke to reporters before surrendering. What did he have to say and tell me what kind of prison is this?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, it is a minimum security prison, but that doesn't mean that Peter Navarro was any less angry about being here. He spoke to reporters for about 30 minutes before officially turning himself in.

And he used the word hits to describe how he is feeling. He said that the road to the prison, really what took him here were people who are Trump haters. He said that he's really blaming the judge, the Democrats, the January 6 committee.

And as you know, he has been arguing that he did not come why with the subpoena from the House Select Committee who was investigating January 6 because he said he was bound by executive privilege. Well, the courts have rejected that idea, but when he was speaking

with reporters today, he did take some questions and I asked him specifically about that. Listen to what he said.


KAYE: Do you wish you had shown up for testimony and asserted privilege in-person?

PETER NAVARRO, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: My mission is to defend the constitutional separation of powers and executive privilege. And if I had gone to Congress and played the piecemeal game with them, I would have done damage to the separation of powers and I would not have been doing my duty. I would not have been obeying my oath of office


KAYE: And Jake, he also said he was not nervous about going to prison as well, but let me just give you an idea of the conditions here, this minimum security prison for him. He is going to be in an air condition dormitory with about 80 men, elderly inmates. He is 74 years old. They will be in bunk beds.

He will have to get a job. They'll have to take classes. One of the jobs you may get as a library clerk, which are keep him inside and the air conditioning instead of in the hot sun here in Florida. But on the inside, he will be able to make phone calls. You can use email, he can watch TV. So, very likely, Jake, he will be keeping up on the 2024 campaign as well.

And I should also note, Jake, that this minimum security prison camp is right next to a zoo. And I'm told that the lions at the zoo can be heard by the prison inmates on a daily basis -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Randi Kaye, thanks so much.

Let's bring in the political panel. We have with us, Kate Bedingfield and Mike Dubke.

Mike, let me start by saying welcome to THE LEAD. Good to have you.


TAPPER: So lawyers for former President Trump say he's unable to post the $450 million bond in the New York fraud case, conservative radio host Mark Levin, pitched to a novel form of crowd funding to help Trump. He posed this question on X. It says, quote, why are there no Republican multibillionaires offering to lend President Trump the funds to file his appeal and the outrageous case in New York state. Are none of them liquid enough to help are join with others to help? This is an outrage.

Are you outraged?

DUBKE: Well, I'm not a billionaire, so I'm guess I'm not outraged.

TAPPER: No, but are you outrage that no billionaires have stepped up to help Donald Trump this way?

DUBKE: I'm not particularly outraged that no billionaires had stepped up to help President Trump on this. I think there's -- I think there's -- amongst Republicans. I think there's outrage at the number of cases that have been brought. I think there's outraged, frankly, and in the public when you look at -- what, how many cases are we up to now?

TAPPER: Five, I think.

DUBKE: Five, six. I mean, it seems --

TAPPER: Six if you include Jean Carroll.

DUBKE: -- a little bit of piling on and I think there's some outrage with the Republicans and independents and other Americans about what looks to be a bit of a witch-hunt. But no, I'm not sure I'm outraged that billionaires aren't stepping up to help.

TAPPER: So, Kate, Trump has dismantled and rebuilt the Republican National Committee. He's gutted the leadership, much of the staff. He's handpicked the new chair, Michael Whatley, a former Republican chair of North Carolina, believe and the co-chair is, of course, his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump. They're going to run the RNC.

Yesterday, former Congresswoman Liz Cheney wrote on X, quote, is it just a coincidence that Donald Trump took over the RNC, fired most of its Republican staff and installed his daughter-in-law as co-chair. At the same time, he's become desperate for money and can't post bond.


Donors better beware.

And yet, we should -- we should also note, Democrats do have a substantial fundraising advantage as of right now.

KATE BEDINGFIELD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, they do. And the newly installed leadership of the RNC is talking openly about raising money for Donald Trump's defense. I mean, you know, sort of Mike's point. I mean, this is an argument that they make to Republican voters. This is something that with the Republican base is apparently compelling, the idea that Donald Trump is -- somehow Donald Trump being in legal trouble indicates that he's a fighter for them.

This is not an argument that is persuasive to general election voters. And I think if you're looking after the Trump campaign and you're looking at the financial advantage the Biden campaign has right now, which is quite significant. And you're seeing get some of this money is going to go to his legal -- to Trump's legal defense fund, I mean, that's not an effective use of dollars if you're trying to win a presidential campaign.

So, you know, again, just a -- once again, a reminder that for Donald Trump, this entire -- this entire effort of running for president is really about him, his own personal needs and not about the people that he's claiming to want to get elected to represent.

TAPPER: You can understand how a donor might balk at wanted to give money to the RNC when -- I mean, normally, the -- obviously, the RNC would use that money for all sorts of campaigns. Theoretically, and party building enterprises, no?

DUBKE: Yes. You know, I mean, look, this is a -- this -- this happens sooner than they usually does, but this is the normal course of business. Mitt Romney, who I don't think anyone is going to say, is part of the Trump base or a Trump Republican won. He was the nominee in 2012. He brought in his people to work with the RNC.

Now, that it generally happens closer to conventions because we don't have a presidential nominee this far out.

TAPPER: Right, but he wasn't -- he wasn't in court.

BEDINGFIELD: He's raising money for his legal defense.

TAPPER: Right. I mean, that's -- that's -- that's the thing. I'm not talking about the taking over. I'm talking about people might be concerned. Do I --

DUBKE: The people -- the people, I would hear what you're having to say, but they've brought in adults like Sean Cairncross to help run the organization. Chris LaCivita who's running the Trump campaign in a very professional way.


DUBKE: More professional, frankly, than in 2016. These folks understand what the importance is of the RNC. It is message, it is ground troops and it is -- it is pulling together all of the units of the -- of their communications tools to get out there.


DUBKE: That's what they're doing. I -- look, the money -- the money to go to the legal defense I highly doubt that that is where RNC money is going to go. That is what we have super PACs for, right?

TAPPER: I just want to play this sound. This is what Peter Navarro said before he reported to prison to start his four-month jail sentence for contempt of Congress.


NAVARRO: I would gather strength from this. Donald John Trump is the nominee for the Republican presidential campaign.


TAPPER: Now, he's in jail or prison now, but he's not the first person associated with Trump to go to prison. Paul Manafort who spent close to two years of a 7-1/2-year sentence imprisoned for bank and tax fraud and illegal foreign lobbying before he was pardoned by Trump. CNN is reporting that Trump's team is in discussions with him to help with the RNC convention.

BEDINGFIELD: I mean, you know, we talk about people are tired of Trump, they're tired, they're fatigued. And you got them bringing back in people who have -- were central to his 2016 campaign. Paul Manafort is somebody who was I believe charge. You can correct me if that's not right, but I believe charged with passing information to the Russians.

I mean, this is somebody who has been -- has been unapologetically clear that Donald Trump's political interests is -- first and foremost, his primary interest. And he's not looking to put together a campaign that's going to be about serving the American people. So --

TAPPER: But, Kate, even if that -- even if that were -- all that being true, let me just posit it, if the election were held today, Donald Trump would win more than 300 electoral votes.

BEDINGFIELD: Well, we don't actually know that. We know that the polling -- we know the polling --

TAPPER: But the polls suggest that he would win Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada.

BEDINGFIELD: We know the polling shows its going to be a very close race.

TAPPER: I'm not sure that bringing somebody back into the fold who has contributed to putting Russia's interests ahead of the United States is really the winning message that the Trump campaign wants to be putting out there. So --

DUBKE: Just quickly, let me -- let's just go to the polls that have already been cast. If the people were tired of Donald Trump, he wouldn't have won election after election after election --

TAPPER: The primaries.


DUBKE: -- in the Republican primaries.

BEDINGFIELD: Well, the Republican base is clearly not tired of Donald Trump. I certainly wouldn't -- I wouldn't -- the Republican base absolutely not tired of Donald Trump. I do not dispute that.

TAPPER: You're exempting them.

Both of you stick around. We got -- I got more -- I got more questions for you. I want you both to stick around.

President Biden has a new response to Donald Trump's recent rhetoric on immigrants. I'm going to play his comments from an interview released today. Plus, the ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court today, clearing the way for Texas to arrest and detain people suspected of entering the country illegally.

Coming up, how soon might we see this new Texas law or newly sanctioned Texas law enforced?



TAPPER: Time for our 2024. Lead. Come on, folks, cue the music.


TAPPER: Nice. It's my jam. That's the election. We know it.

Today, President Biden is swinging through the critical western battleground states of Nevada and Arizona in an effort to shore up support among Latino voters. It's a group that has been shifting Republican and shifting towards Trump in recent polling and such.

Still with me, Kate Bedingfield and Mike Dubke.

So, let us start there. This morning, President Biden gave two interviews to Spanish radio stations and said some rather strong things, trying to draw a stark contrast with his predecessor. Let's roll the tape.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Here's what he said about immigrants, poisoning the blood of the country. He separated kids and parents at the border and caged children.

This guy despises Latinos. I understand Latino values. You know, like the kind -- we just celebrated St. Patrick's Day. Hope you're not offended by my saying this, but you know, the thing about the Irish that came here, they're about family, about faith, about decency. And that's exactly what the Latino community is all about.



TAPPER: This guy despises Latinos? Kate, that's --


TAPPER: That's quite an accusation.

BEDINGFIELD: He used his own words to paint that picture. I mean, Donald Trump, somebody who says that immigrants are poisoning the blood of this country. He calls them vermin.

So I don't think it's -- I don't think it's a leap to suggest that Donald Trump is not going to be the best president for Latinos.

TAPPER: Well --

BEDINGFIELD: Which is what Joe Biden was saying there.

TAPPER: OK, now --

BEDINGFIELD: And he's drawing -- he's drawing a really, really clear contrast that I think is going to benefit him. His posture, Joe Biden's posture today, the campaign's posture was, we have work to do. We have to earn your vote.

And so, part of that is talking about what he's done for Latinos, what his second -- second-term agenda will look like for the Latino community. And part of it is being crystal-clear about the stakes of a second term of a Trump presidency.

TAPPER: This is not a defense, but when he said poisoning the blood, he was referring to immigrants from Latin America and Africa and Asia.

So, just to be precise about what he said.

BEDINGFIELD: So, in what way is not that --

TAPPER: I said it's not a defense.

BEDINGFIELD: In what way is that not hateful --

TAPPER: And then -- I said it's not -- but I think vermin was just about all of his opponents out there writ large.

DUBKE: Again, again --


DUBKE: Here's a defense of it. Not every Latino, in fact, a vast majority of Latinos that will be voting in the election, the -- and not just voting in the election. But that these politicians should be speaking to, are not coming across the border.

There are long traditions of Latino communities in this country that look at the Democratic Party and say they talk a good game. They take us for granted. And when push it comes to shove, were ignored.

The Republicans are finally starting to pay attention to Latino voters, to Black voters, to Asian voters. And that makes a difference.


BEDINGFIELD: Well, I think what you're seeing --

TAPPER: But you wouldn't use the language Trump used.

DUBKE: Absolutely not. But I'm not Donald Trump.

TAPPER: True, fact check true. DUBKE: Yes, thank you.

BEDINGFIELD: Correct. Accurate.

But, yes, I mean, look, the Biden campaign is absolutely acknowledging they have work to do. Part of what they talked about today as they started making both the organizational investment in an organizing Latino community, also a big advertising investment. We were talking about money in the last segment. I mean, that's where the advantage comes from when you -- that's really, you see that advantage we have money. You can do that targeted advertising.

You know, but they're saying -- we're not showing up two weeks before the election and asking for your vote, we are going to spend the next seven months talking about everything we've done in the first term, and making sure that were reaching out to your community and that's important.

TAPPER: So quick, why do you think that Latinos still devote Democratic in general, capital D Democratic?

DUBKE: Yeah.

TAPPER: Why do you think that some of them are trending towards the Republican Party and then quickly and then quickly.

DUBKE: Just quickly on social level, I think a lot of the family values of the Republican Party are very similar to the family values of some of these Latino communities.

TAPPER: Just more traditional, religious --

DUBKE: It's -- you said quickly, I'm giving you one.

TAPPER: Okay. Okay. Thank you.

BEDINGFIELD: Look, I think across the board, there certainly anxiety about the economy. Let's voters care about the economy the same way other voters do. And so I think that there's an opening there and that's where the Biden campaign has to really be aggressive and shore -- and go shore up that vote.

TAPPER: Thanks to both you. Good to have you here.

Coming up next, it turns out another photograph from the British royals was digitally enhanced. This one taken by Princess Kate allegedly.

And the news comes just as we did get some new video of her proof of life. She apparently looks healthy. Where has she been? Why so little info about the condition of this, you know, public official.

We're going to go live to London.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: Let us hop across the pond now for our world lead, where Princess Catherine has been spotted, Princess Kate. And video published by the British paper "The Sun", it appears to show the elusive royal on a brisk stroll on Saturday with her husband Prince William apparently near their home in Windsor, England. After months of intense speculation about her health and her whereabouts, fueled by scant details about what we were told was abdominal surgery for her in January, followed by a doctored proof of life photo earlier this month that was allegedly altered by Kate herself.

So, now, news agencies are taking a closer look at all the royal photos finding even more evidence that not everything is as it seems.

CNN's Max Foster spills the tea.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Smiling, happy, and seemingly healthy. New video not sanctioned by the palace, but reassuring royalists that the couple are well.

British tabloids also celebrating Kate's re-emergence, an apparent recovery from surgery.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So it's good to see that she's back and hopefully she's doing well.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sure that it'd be quite nice for her to walk around, do some shopping with her husband.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't really have any doubts. Just weird one, ain't it?

FOSTER: Weird because of the conspiracy theories that have swamped social media in recent weeks, filling a void of information from the palace.

And the video did nothing to quell them as it was accused of being fake, trusting any royal imagery undermined in part by Kensington Palace itself, after it sent out, not one but two doctored photos to the news media, both taken by the princess. Kate's edited Mother's Day photo manipulated in several places and now this one released last year, which Getty images is now labeled digitally enhanced.

CNN found inconsistencies in several spots, such as a misalignment on the queen's skirt and blanket, strands of Princess Charlotte's hair appear to have been cloned, and Prince Louis shoulder is blurred, overlapping the background.


Getty told CNN in a statement it's reviewing all so-called royal handout images and placing where relevant an editor's note saying it could have been digitally enhanced.

KATE WILLIAMS, CNN ROYAL COMMENTATOR: William and Kate, Kensington palace was so trusted, at Christmas, and now three months later, we have a situation in which whatever photo is put out, people don't believe it.

FOSTER: The lack of information coming from the palace about the princess has created conspiracy theories, often wild, which get worse when the palace has been found to be manipulating images.

WILLIAMS: Either they should have said nothing and kept with that just as they said, they were not going to say anything until there was significant updates or they should have put out a few little statements, perhaps a little statement from Kate's saying, thank you for the lovely cards, and kept people updated to a degree.

FOSTER: Seemingly unfazed and in good spirits, royals refusing to be distracted in public.

Prince William making a long planned visit to a homelessness project in Sheffield

No lack of support there, or from the papers as the rumors continue online.


FOSTER (on camera): Many, many questions, Jake, for the palace. We've been putting them to the palace, but all we get back is you get an update when there is one. So the next one were expecting is when Kate appears for the first time officially, which is around Easter, about two weeks away.

TAPPER: It's also odd to us here in America, Max. So I mean, William had a public appearance today. Why wouldn't the palace simply put this all the rest of the formal public appearance by Kate? I mean, she did look up and peppy in that video.

FOSTER: They're saying that they have this plan. I think the way I read it is when she went into hospital, they decided to have a plan. They would give significant updates. They felt that saying she was well was a significant update. And the next one was a bit of guidance about when should reappear. They're just not moving from that plan at all.

Meanwhile, the engagements like this one, which has been in for some time for Prince William carry on. So keep calm and carry on. I think it's so much calm, but there's certainly carrying on and he was absolutely determined on that event not to address any of the issues. There were people ask him questions. He wasn't going there.

TAPPER: And then, of course, King Charles is fighting cancer. We don't know what kind of cancer. He is still putting out official photos such as this one from an event with Korean War veterans today.

What do we know about the king's health? Have they disclosed anything more?

FOSTER: No updates at all. The pitchers do need to be released every so often because he's a very different story. He is the head of state. We have an absolute right to find out who's getting -- how he's getting on and he always looks fit in well in those pictures.

There was a large reception at Buckingham Palace. He didn't get involved in that, had a small group, the one that you see here is the only one who got involved with because he's not doing full public events, but they're very keen to show that is carrying out with the key official duties and we shouldn't worry.

So slightly different strategy, but then he's obviously the key member of the royal family.

TAPPER: Yeah. All right. Max Foster in London, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Coming up next, the major win today for Texas Governor Greg Abbott as the state tries to crack down on the overwhelming number of migrants coming across the U.S. border illegally. But will this attempt at a solution just create more problems?

Plus, the marquee race you'll want to watch as results of primaries come in tonight. This one has Donald Trump getting very involved. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our law and justice lead, the U.S. Supreme Court is clearing the way for the state of Texas to enforce its controversial immigration law that would allow state officials to arrest and detain anybody they suspect is entering the United States illegally.

The law known as S.B.4 is still being challenged in a federal appeals court, but the U.S. Supreme Courts decision means Texas can start enforcing the law now. The Supreme Court's three liberals dissented from the decision. Justices Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh, who joined the majority, wrote a concurring opinion saying they did not want to second guess or interfere with the appeals court that will be hearing the merits of the case next month.

Priscilla Alvarez is at the White House and Ed Lavandera is in Dallas for us.

So, Priscilla, how's the White House responding to the setback?

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, to put it simply, they say that they, quote, fundamentally disagree. Let me review part of the statement that was released moments ago by the White House press secretary.

It says: We fundamentally disagree with the Supreme Courts' order allowing Texas's harmful and unconstitutional law to go into effect. S.B.4 will not only make communities in Texas less safe, it will also burden law enforcement and sow chaos and confusion at our southern border.

Of course, Jake, this is a significant development in the ongoing feud between the White House and the Texas Governor Greg Abbott. The White House has repeatedly slammed multiple moves by Texas governor are to try to deter migration at the U.S. southern border, that includes busing migrants to Democratic-led cities, trying to block law, federal law enforcement from reaching parts of the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as setting up those floating barriers which have also been are sued by the administration.

Now, the Justice Department has said from the beginning, but this law violates the Constitution and also interferes with federal law enforcement operation. And so, this is going to cause an operational headache. And in talking to Homeland Security officials minutes after this was released, they were surprised and its unclear what is going to happen from here.

And this also comes as President Biden is on that western swing, or he is trying to appeal to voters, including Latino voters, who I have been talking to over the course of the day.


And they say that immigration is important to them. This is a key issue for them and they want to see solutions from President Biden. So this may come up while he is on his visits over the course of the day and tomorrow.

But again, Jake, a significant development in this feud between Texas and President Biden.

TAPPER: And, Ed, does this mean arrests can start to happen immediately?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In theory, it does mean that I can start happening, Jake, but in practicality, I think we're already getting indications, Jake, that there's some serious questions of exactly how this is going to unfold on a day-to-day basis. I've spoken with a law enforcement officers in El Paso, Eagle Pass and in San Antonio.

So far, as we're starting to get reaction from local law enforcement agents on the ground, and overwhelmingly, there's some really serious doubts but whether or not these local law enforcement agencies will essentially enforce these laws. The Eagle -- the Eagle Pass sheriff told me just moments ago that he doesn't have the manpower for this and that they're not going to be driving around town looking for migrants who entered Texas illegally, that they're focused on security.

The sheriff in San Antonio is saying that he is explaining to his deputies in the process of developing a policy, saying that they have to be aware that arresting people for this exposes the officer and the agency to liability and that they're going to go through an extensive report according process and supervisor approval, and the sheriff is essentially telling his deputies you have to ask yourself, is it worth going through that much trouble to enforce what is on the first arrest? A simple misdemeanor. On the second arrest for illegal entry that it rises to a felony.

But already, Jake, we're getting indications that there doesn't seem to be a lot of enthusiasm, among local law enforcement agencies in the state to want to kind of, they're very concerned about exactly how this is going to look in a practical day-to-day situation.

TAPPER: All right. Ed Lavandera, and Priscilla Alvarez, with the latest on an important story -- thanks so much.

Back to our 2024 lead now, five states are holding primaries right now. Those states are Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, and Ohio, but it isn't the presidential race everyone's going can be watching closely tonight as Biden and Trump have already secured their parties nominations. Instead, political eyes will be on Ohio, where the Republican Senate primary is a major test for Trump's influence in the state.

As CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports for us now, this could shape control of the Senate this fall.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's one of the last Democrats standing in Ohio.

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D-OH): Thank you for the endorsement. Thank you all for being here.

ZELENY: Senator Sherrod Brown is one of the biggest Republican targets of the year, whose seat could determine control of the U.S. Senate. But that fall campaign may hinge on tonight's outcome of an acrimonious GOP primary, which in the closing days has revolved as much around Donald Trump as any of the rivals in the race.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT & 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Bernie, if these people all vote, which they will, you're going to win. Man!

ZELENY: The former president has taken sides and thrown elbows in a bruising three-way Republican contest. His candidate, Cleveland businessman Bernie Moreno --

BERNIE MORENO (R), OHIO SENATE CANDIDATE: How does Ohio feel about President Donald J. Trump?

ZELENY: -- is seen by some top Ohio Republicans as the party's weakest choice to win in November.

GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R), OHIO: The person clearly who has the best shot at winning in the fall, it's Matt Dolan. There's absolutely no doubt about it. ZELENY: Republican Governor Mike DeWine is backing State Senator Matt Dolan, whose family owns the Cleveland Guardians baseball franchise and has repeatedly drawn Trump's ire.

TRUMP: My attitude is anybody that changes the name of the Cleveland Indians to the Cleveland Guardians should not be a senator.

ZELENY: The campaign has been caustic and costly, with more than $40 million spent on TV and digital ads alone.

AD ANNOUNCER: MAGA alert, President Trump wants you to vote for outsider businessman Bernie Moreno

AD ANNOUNCER: Matt Dolan, out for himself, not you.

AD ANNOUNCER: Can you trust Frank LaRose?

ZELENY: Including by Democratic super PAC, with ties to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, promoting Moreno, Trump's candidate.

AD ANNOUNCER: Moreno would do Donald Trump's bidding.

ZELENY: Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, that third candidate in the race, told us it was a clear sign Democrats wanted to run against Moreno.

FRANK LAROSE (R), OHIO SENATE CANDIDATE: Why would they spend over $3 million to try to boost Bernie Moreno? It was pretty clear, Chuck Schumer believes that he's the weakest opponent to Sherrod Brown.

ZELENY: In an increasingly read Ohio where Trump won by eight points in 2020, the race has become a test for this style and substance of the Republican Party, in the age of Trump.

MATT DOLAN (R), OHIO SENATE CANDIDATE: Fighting is about results, okay? And it doesn't mean you go and shout and scream, you can respect the other side, but you fight for what you believe in.

ZELENY: Tonight, it will become clear whether more voters responded Dolan's attempts to lower the temperature or follow Trump's lead.


SCOTT SILVER, OHIO VOTER: Everybody's bashing everybody. I believe the Moreno commercials that he will support the Trump agenda.

ZELENY: For Brown, as he seeks a fourth term in the Senate, he acknowledges the challenge ahead, not only from Republicans.

BROWN: Maybe my toughest race.

ZELENY: How much of a weight is the Democratic Party and the Biden administration on you as a candidate?

BROWN: I always run my own race. I will continue to run my own race. I will try to analyze if Biden does well here, or Trump does well there. I've run ahead of our presidential candidates and I will now.


ZELENY (on camera): But the bottom line is Senator Brown realizes that he will have to get some Trump voters to support him in the fall if he is to win reelection to a fourth term. But long before that happens, Jake, it's the outcome of tonight's primary that will certainly indicate how competitive that race is going to be.

But look, Republicans only need to flip one or two seats depending on who wins the White House to win control of the Senate. That's why every seat does indeed matter.

A subtext of this election fight here, Jake, is also a fight between the old GOP establishment, represented by Governor Mike DeWine and the MAGA movement, of course, represented by the former president here.

So, almost three hours left a voting here, low turnout. We're hearing anecdotally, but still time to get out the vote, Jake. We will -- all eyes will be on the race tonight, Democrats and indeed, Republicans as well.

TAPPER: All right. Jeff Zeleny in Columbus, Ohio -- thanks so much.

Coming up next, the cold snap tonight that might have you feeling the chill at the checkout counter in the days and weeks to come.

Stay with us



TAPPER: In our "Earth Matters" series, today, after weeks of spring- like weather, parts of the United States will plunge back to winter as below freezing temperatures could grip much of the eastern half of the United States. This wild swing in the weather could have a big impact on your grocery bill, sending produce -- produce prices even higher.

CNN's Elisa Raffa is at Jaemor farms in Alto, Georgia, where farmers are scrambling to safeguard their crops.

And, Elisa, the Peach State lost more than 90 percent of last year's peach crop to a late freeze. What are you seeing there now?

ELISA RAFFA, CNN WEATHER ANCHOR: Yeah. Thank goodness, this was a much safer event for them. The peaches are in much better shape because last year, you're right, it was devastating. They lost about 90 percent of their crop statewide.

And the reason was winter was too warm and that was the case today as well. We just wrapped up the warmest winter on record across the U.S. That sent things blooming early. So when you get a frieze, which can still happen this time of year in March. That puts anything that's blooming that's not protected, there you go, are at risk, and it could really cause some frost and freeze damage. So that's kind of the situation that we were in this morning, but the

good news is, is a lot of these peach blooms here, you see these petals. The farmer was telling me this morning that these petals can actually protect the peach. So the peaches actually in here is really cool that he was showing me what the inside of this looks like and this is it in its bloom stage. So it can be damaged.

But with the petals that really helps protect it. So that's why a lot of these trees were okay this morning. At this time last year, they had blue much farther than this and that's why a lot of their fruit was damaged.

Now, the strawberries actually bloomed about a week or two early. So that's why they have those covered. You see all of those white blankets there -- those are called row covers and they literally lay them on top of the strawberries. They're strawberry underneath there.

And what it does is it will keep the heat in. It can keep the heat in. It can protect it from frost developing as well. And that was something that they did this morning.

For the peach trees -- obviously, it's hard to put a big blanket over this. So what they did this morning was they had fans in the field and what those fans do is get to wind -- winds to kick. And when you have some winds, that helps keeps those temperatures afloat a little bit. They won't drop like rock as quickly as they would with calm winds.

So, they had fans going, we have the blankets and thankfully, things are doing okay here today, but we do know that the trend is that winters are getting warmer, the growing season is getting longer by two to four weeks and that puts these plants, these fruits at risk -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Elisa Rafah, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

The Trump campaign has a new response to the latest controversial remark by Donald Trump. Trump said, any American Jew who votes for Democrats, quote, hates their religion, and quote, hates everything about Israel. Who we're not hearing from might say a lot about the state of politics 2024. We're back in a moment.



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

This hour, President Biden on a campaign blitz out West. We expect to see him soon in Las Vegas. The pitch lowering costs for American families.

But as we hear all the time, voters will need a lot more than one speech to feel better about what's not in their wallets these days.

Plus, Oprah giving us '90s flashbacks from her talk show days. Last night, she hit the airwaves to discuss weight-loss, getting emotional about her own struggle with weight, diving into those popular weight loss drugs such as Ozempic. But did her special skim over the most important part about the dangers and side effects? We'll discuss.

And leading this hour, another shocker from Donald Trump, showing nothing, not even one's faith is off limits in 2024. If you're an American Jew who votes for Democrats, Donald Trump says, you hate your own religion, and you hate Israel, and you should be ashamed of yourself.

We should note, American Jews vote Democratic roughly 70 percent of the time. So, that's a lot of Jews that Donald Trump just attacked.

Monday, former Trump White House aide Sebastian Gorka asked Trump about criticism. The prominent Democrats, including President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, have aimed at Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Take a listen.


SEBASTIAN GORKA, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE AIDE: Why did the Democrats hate Bibi Netanyahu?

TRUMP: I actually think they hate Israel.


TRUMP: I don't think they hate him. I think they hate Israel. And the Democrat Party hates Israel.

Any Jewish person that votes for Democrats hates their religion, they hate everything about Israel, and they should be ashamed of themselves because Israel will be destroyed