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Russia Makes Nearly Three Times More Artillery Shells; Jens Stoltenberg is Interviewed about NATO; 50 Injured in Midair Chaos; Erin Vanderhoof is Interviewed about the Princess of Wales Photo; Crumbley Trial Resumes. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired March 11, 2024 - 09:00   ET



REP. DEBBIE DINGELL (D-MI): My understanding is we may be moving that forward in the Energy and Commerce Committee as well. I know that the chairman of the - Republican chairwoman of Energy and Commerce shares those concerns. We need to be asking the Republican leadership in the House and Senate about moving that privacy legislation as well.

I only learned we were voting on this TikTok legislation last Wednesday. Spent a lot of time talking to people. The classified briefing impacted me. You don't see votes of 50 to nothing in our committee ever. So, obviously, the data or the -- what -- the information we were provided show that this was a potential serious security threat to the U.S.

But, on the other hand, kids should be able to use TikTok, just not have their data used to threaten the security of our country. And, by the way, themselves as they grow older, the kind of data that's being collected, or the kind of algorithms that are being developed in controlling what they're seeing on TikTok, the information that they're seeing, the messages that are being sent.

SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: The president says that he will sign it if you all are able to pass it. But I guess the big question a lot of people are talking about is, should his campaign be using TikTok? Your thoughts?

DINGELL: You know, it's - it's very complicated. I think that's one of the reasons why we're working to have TikTok not have the People's Communists of China own TikTok because it is a popular form of communication for young people. But - and for a lot of people. It's not just young people. Other seasoned people, like the president's campaign, are using it, because it's a form of communication. But that's why the People's Republic of China wants control of it.

If this bill passes, and - and they don't disinvest from TikTok, then I think none of us are going to be -- I - I don't use TikTok right now. I was looking at doing it. Now I'm clearly not until this all gets resolved. But it is a very popular form of communication, which is why people need to think about what they're putting on there is being used and being used in various ways and why they need to worry about it.

SIDNER: Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, thank you so much for joining us this morning from Washington, D.C.

A new hour of CNN NEWS CENTRAL begins right now.

A CNN exclusive, Russia's war machine is in full throttle, leaving Ukraine in a dire situation. Russia is producing nearly three times more artillery munitions than the U.S. and Europe combined are producing for Ukraine.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So, turbulence so violent passengers were thrown around the cabin, breaking parts of the plane's ceiling, leaving people bloody. We are getting new details just in.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: The Oscars was bursting with kenergy (ph) and the Barbenheimer (ph) rivalry finally put to rest.

I'm Kate Bolduan, with John Berman and Sara Sidner. This is CNN NEWS CENTRAL.

SIDNER: New CNN exclusive reporting this morning. NATO intelligence assessments show Russia is producing nearly three times more artillery shells than the U.S. and Europe are making for Ukraine combined. It's a key advantage ahead of what is expected to be another Russian offensive later this year.

CNN's Katie Bo Lillis joins us now with her exclusive reporting.

What are you learning as you look at what is happening here? Obviously a dire situation for Ukraine.

KATIE BO LILLIS, CNN REPORTER: Yes, Sara, what I'm - I'm learning are some pretty staggering figures that really illustrate how much more quickly Russia has been able to ramp up its defense production in ways that have really kind of left behind the U.S. and the west. And the most important number here is artillery shells/ A senior NATO official told me that Russia is producing on the order of about 250,000 artillery shells per month. That adds up to about a total of around 3 million a year. Compare that to just 1.2 million that the U.S. and the west is on track to make in a year.

What this has meant on the battlefield, of course, is that Ukraine is having to ration its artillery fire, firing somewhere on the order of 2,000 shells a day, compared to 10,000 a day that the Russians are firing in. And in places along this 650 mile front, the ratio is even worse.

And look, Sara, this is important because artillery is the number one metric that U.S. and western officials are looking at when they try to access Ukraine's chances here. This is a conflict that is really expected to be won or lost on simple artillery being fired back and forth across that front line. So, the math really matters here. And officials are telling us that Russia has been able to ramp up its defense production so much more quickly than the Democratic west, in large part because it's basically acting as a managed economy. Putin can essentially order factories to just get on with it and produce more shells.


And so we know now from this senior intelligence -- or the senior NATO official that Russian factories operating 24-7 in 12 hour shifts. Not something the west is doing, Sara.

SIDNER: Wow, if that's the number one metric, artillery, and its three-to-one, we've got a real problem. Ukraine is in a really bad spot.

Katie Bo Lillis, thank you so much for that exclusive reporting. Appreciate it.


BOLDUAN: And an historic moment this morning. Sweden's flag raised at NATO headquarters for the first time.


BOLDUAN: The ceremony held justice this morning. Sweden now the 32nd country to join the NATO alliance. The secretary general saying this move makes NATO stronger, Sweden safer, and the whole alliance more secure.

And joining us now is the secretary general of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg.

Secretary General, thank you for coming on.

It's the 32nd member of the NATO alliance with Sweden. What does this mean for the alliance and the world?

JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: It makes Sweden safer because they're now fully covered by our collective defense clause, Article Five, saying, an attack on one ally will be an attack on all. It also makes NATO stronger because Sweden invests more than 2 percent of GDP in defense and they bring in high-end capabilities and well- trained and well-equipped forces.

But perhaps most importantly, it demonstrates to President Putin that NATO's store is open. He doesn't decide who can become a NATO member or not. NATO allies decided who's going to become a NATO ally. And this is demonstrated by allowing Sweden to become a member today.

BOLDUAN: And we do know that one of Putin's goals has been to make NATO less strong. They -- definitely seeing more NATO -- more members joining NATO is the exact opposite of that.

Poland's foreign minister said Friday that the presence of NATO troops in Ukraine is not unthinkable. And late last month, the French president said that sending western troops to Ukraine cannot be ruled out.

I know that -- to this that you've said that there are no plans for NATO combat troops on the ground in Ukraine. All of these statements can be true at the same time.

But the fact that these leaders are talking about this publicly, does this signal a shift?

STOLTENBERG: All out allies agree that NATO should not be a party to the conflict. And there are no plans to send NATO troops and combat troops on the ground in Ukraine. About what all NATO allies also agree on is that we need to step up and provide more military support to Ukraine, ammunition, weapons, because we need to remember what this is. This is a war of aggression. Russia has attacked a sovereign, independent nation in Europe, Ukraine, and Ukraine has the right to defend themselves, and we have the right to help them in upholding that right. And that's exactly what we are doing by sending military support.

BOLDUAN: No plans for NATO combat troops to be on the ground, but when Emmanuel Macron says it cannot be ruled out, do you think it is dangerous that -- when the French president is raising this publicly?

STOLTENBERG: I think it's important that we coordinate closely among NATO allies because at the end of the day in -- this matters for the whole alliance because we are a collective defense alliance. An attack on one will be an attack on all. One for all, all for one. That's the core of NATO. And that's why this is important that we ensure that we stand together, that we are united. And that's also reason why I strongly believe that NATO is an important platform for all allies to coordinate their positions, how we support Ukraine, and what type of support that we should provide to Ukraine.

Let - let us also remember that NATO allies have supported Ukraine for many years. It started - started actually back in 2014 when Russia illegally annexed Crimea. And since then allies have provided military support, but also significant training of the Ukrainian armed forces.

BOLDUAN: I ask you about that support because CNN has this new reporting, that Katie Bo Lillis just brought to us, that Russia appears to be on track to produce nearly three times -- three times more artillery munitions than the combined capacity that the United States in Europe are able to send to Ukraine right now. Can Ukraine win if that shortfall remains? What can NATO do about it?

STOLTENBERG: Ramp up our own production. We take this very seriously. This is now a war of attrition. And a war of attrition is a battle of logistics, not least about which country and which - which side has the strongest production capacity.


And the Russian economy's on a war footing and they have significantly increased the production of ammunition. NATO allies have addressed this now for some months, and we have seen important decisions, increasing the production capacity, both in North America and in Europe, but we need to do more. We actually have meet - we'll have meetings in the coming days and weeks among NATO allies on how to further speed up the increase of production within the NATO alliance.

BOLDUAN: Yes, because three times more. I mean the -- speedup is definitely what's needed to be able to catch up, especially when the need is so great right now. You talked about the all for one, one for all, the collective - the collective defense. It is the heart of -- at the heart of the NATO alliance. It's become part of the political debate here in the United States right now. We have President Biden calling out Donald Trump at the State of the Union Address last week for suggesting that he would not come to the aid of a NATO nation in the face of a Russia attack if they weren't contributing enough to the alliance.

Let me play this.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want.


BOLDUAN: That was Donald Trump at a campaign rally. What's your reaction to that language? I mean are you concerned about the direction the political debate is headed in the United States regarding NATO?

STOLTENBERG: I expect the United States to be -- continue to be a staunch NATO ally, also after the elections in November, because it is in the U.S. interest to have a strong NATO. NATO's a good deal for United States because together we represent 50 percent of the world's military and economic might. It makes also the United States safer.

Second, it is broad. Political support for NATO in the U.S. Congress. I visited the - the Washington - Washington just a couple of weeks ago, and that was the message from both the Republican and the Democrat -- Democratic side.

And thirdly, the criticism has not mainly been against NATO, but the criticism coming from former President Trump has been against NATO allies not spending enough on NATO. An there things have really changed. Now, more and more NATO allies are spending at least 2 percent, the NATO guideline, of GDP on defense. And now Sweden joined today. They are spending more than 2 percent. So - so - so European allies and Canada are really making difference now by significant increasing what they spend on defense.

BOLDUAN: Well, what you're saying is that concern should not be even on the table then for Donald Trump should he be president again.

Secretary General, thank you so much for coming on, especially on this historic day of the 32nd member of the NATO alliance joining. Thank you.

STOLTENBERG: Thank you so much for having me.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

John. BERMAN: People flying through the air, blood on the ceiling. That is how passengers describe a flight the injured at least 50 people after what experts are calling a technical event.

And the photo controversy becomes a royal mess. Why the princess of Wales just issued an apology over a picture this morning.

And a naked John Cena has millions of men across America concerned about just how cold it might have been on the Oscar stage.



SIDNER: A violent and chaotic scene midflight on a LATAM Airlines flight. Passengers say people went flying through the air and there was blood on the ceiling at 41,000 feet. The plane was traveling from Sydney, Australia, to Auckland, New Zealand, when it experienced what the airline is calling a technical event. In all 50 people on that flight were injured.

CNN's Pete Muntean is learning more about this.

When - when they say "technical event," can we translate that to severe turbulence or is it too early to say?

PTE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, passengers are describing this violent drop, but there's some real mystery here as to the cause. But this was initially described as severe turbulence, the kind of incident that keeps making headlines.

But I want to read you this statement from LATAM. It was operating this flight between Sydney and Auckland, New Zealand. And it says there was a "technical event during the flight which caused a strong movement."

"Technical event" leaves a lot of room for interpretation. And investigators will want to know if something happened in the cockpit of this Boeing 787. Not a 737 Max, like we saw during the Alaska Airlines door plug blowout two months ago.

Even still, Boeing says it's working to gather more information about this incident and is standing by to support an investigation.

This plane was to go on to Santiago, Chile. And the latest data from FlightAware shows that the plane remains in Auckland.

Technical event or not, passengers are describing this like a severe turbulence incident. One telling Radio New Zealand that blood was on the ceiling and people flew and broke the ceiling of the plane. First responders treated 50 people in total on board this flight, 12 taken to the hospital, one patient in serious condition. So, regardless of the cause, Sara, the bottom line here is that you should keep your seat belt on all of the time, even if the seatbelt sign is off. This only underscores the need to stay buckled up because the National Transportation Safety Board says the number one cause of incident on commercial airliners in the U.S. is turbulence.


We will see as this investigation unfolds. We've reached out to the civil aviation authority of New Zealand to see where their investigation stands.

SIDNER: Yes, that - terrifying, the details of that. People crashing through the ceiling, leaving holes in the ceiling, with blood on the ceiling.

Pete Muntean, thank you so much for bringing that to us.


BERMAN: All right, new this morning, Catherine, the princess of Wales, is apologizing for what seemed like a wholesome family photo released for Mother's Day in the United Kingdom. Why? Because she now says she edited the photo. Several news agencies pulled the image because it had been manipulated. It was the first picture manipulated or otherwise we have seen of the princess since her surgery.

With us now is "Vanity Fair" staff writer and co-host of "Dynasty" podcast, Erin Vanderhoof.

Erin, thanks so much for being with us.

What's this about? Is this controversy about health or is it about transparency?

ERIN VANDERHOOF, STAFF WRITER, "VANITY FAIR": I think it's some combination of the two. You know, ever since January, Kensington Palace has been really balancing their, you know, desire to give Kate some deserve time off, you know, after a long hospitalization -- she was in hospital for about 12 days -- with the fact that, you know, the public has an interest and, in the case of the British taxpayer, they have a right to know. And I think that right now we're just kind of seeing them deal with an unprecedented situation. There's never been a time when so many royals have been facing so many health issues.

On one hand, they were really transparent in the beginning, but I think that on the other hand there's still a lot -- a lack of trust, I think, between the palace and the public just based on, you know, being -- everything that happened in the wake of Prince Harry and Meghan, the duchess of Sussex, leaving. Like, there's still a rift there and they haven't quite figured out how to peel it.

BERMAN: You know, you raise a really good point here when you talk about the fact this is British -- this family is British taxpayer funded here because in the United States it's hard for us to understand. If you're talking about King Charles, for instance, who is the head of state, we still don't know what kind of cancer he has. It hasn't been released yet.

Now, if that were the United States, if that were in the United States, and the head of state was not leveling with the American people about the condition of his or her health, that would be a huge scandal. So, how much privacy does this family deserve?

VANDERHOOF: Well, so, on the one hand, I think that, you know, that the idea was to give some information but not too much so that people could be like speculating too much on his prognosis. I think that that was kind of the idea behind that. But I'll note that he's been, you know, kind of joking that he's become like the first monarch who's also a content creator because he has been, you know, filming videos at -- in the palace. He's been showing pictures from his meetings. And I think that that -- what we've seen from Charles is actually a little bit different than what we are seeing from Kate, who has been totally out of the public eye other than one paparazzi shot. They arranged so that she could leave without any cameras, you know, watching when she left the hospital. And I think that that -- the difference between the way that Charles - I mean that the king and that Kate's illnesses have been handled is one thing that's causing the speculation.

The other thing that's causing speculation is that there just are still - you know, that we're used to seeing pictures of Kate all of the time.


VANDERHOOF: Being photographed is kind of her job in a sense. And we're not seeing much of that anymore. And I think that the royals are struggling with the fact that like some of their work really works because people have a parasocial relationship with them with the fact that it's not really what the work is and it's not, you know, legally required for them to be seen at any given point in time. So, it's a transitional moment that has just gotten out of hand partially because, you know, in a meaningful way we don't actually really know what is going through Kate's mind right now. We don't really know what she's been going through. And so that, I think, is when people rush in with speculation.

BERMAN: Erin Vanderhoof, thank you so much for being with us this morning. I appreciate it.


BOLDUAN: So the first witness of the day is on the stand right now as the trial of the Michigan school shooter's father resumes, and the judge says the jury may have the case in a matter of days. Why this seems to be moving so fast.

And soon New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez, his wife, are set to be arraigned on another round of charges.



SIDNER: All right, we have breaking news to share with you.

Ex-Trump adviser Peter Navarro has been ordered report to a Miami prison in March 19th according to Navarro's attorney who filed that information in a court filing. Navarro was handed a four month prison sentence for contempt of Congress in September. He was accused of not complying with a subpoena from the House Select Committee that investigated the January 6th insurrection. Navarro has been trying to avoid reporting to prison while his appeal plays out, but so far his efforts have failed.


BOLDUAN: Also right now, the father of the Michigan school shooter is back in court. Prosecutors saying that James Crumbley failed to do even the smallest of things, as they put it, that could have saved the lives of the four students his son killed.

CNN's Jean Casarez is outside the courthouse. She's been following this trial from the very beginning.

Jean, what's happening right now?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Sean Hopkins is on the stand. He was one of the counselors at Oxford High School.


He was the counsel for Ethan Crumbley. He was a counselor that was in charge of the well-being of students.