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Father of Michigan Shooter Back in Court; Menendez and Wife in Court; Biden Says Trump is about Revenge, Retribution and Resentment; Trump; Comments on TikTok; Academy Award Highlights. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired March 11, 2024 - 09:30   ET



JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He was a counselor that was in charge of the well-being of students. And he just testified that it was as early as May of 2021, so this is months before the mass shooting happened, that he does not remember it, but he got an email from the English teachers saying that Ethan Crumbley was failing English and was sleeping throughout the course of the English class continually. Says he doesn't remember the email. He was asked to meet with him. He doesn't remember meeting with him. But he believes that he followed through with that.

Now, the thing that is so important, this piece of evidence so important that prosecutors have put into evidence is the substation interview with James Crumbley and his wife. It was shortly after the mass shooting. It was videotaped via surveillance video. They -- there is audio. The jury is actually going to get a transcript. The reason this is so important is that James Crumbley talks a lot. And if he doesn't testify, this is what both sides can use to hear what comes out of James Crumbley's mouth.

James Crumbley says and that meeting that he had hid the gun in the armoire, in their master bedroom, and that he had hit the gun in one area and then he hid the bullets in another area under some jeans. No mention at all of a cable lock.

Now, here's what the defense countered that video with in their cross- examination.

All right, it looks like that we don't have time for that. But the testimony continues. This trial is proceeding very quickly. The judge has told the jury they could have this case by the end of the week.


Jean, thank you so much for being there. We'll stick close to this.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, later this morning, New Jersey Democratic Senator Bob Menendez and his wife will be in court to be arraigned on new charges in the federal bribery case against them. CNN's Jason Carroll is outside the courthouse.

Jason, what are you learning?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, prosecutors are alleging, John, that Senator Menendez and his wife basically obstructed justice and tried to cover up their crimes. All of these new details outlined in this superseding indictment. They are now facing 18 additional charges, including conspiracy, acting as a foreign agent, bribery, extortion, and wire fraud.

Now, the senator and his wife and two other associates were already facing bribery charges, but what prosecutors are alleging now is that they tried to cover all that up once they found out that they were under investigation, basically saying that those bribes weren't bribes at all, they were basically trying to say that instead that they were loans. So, in other words, money that Nadine Menendez had received for a mortgage, she says that wasn't a bribe, that was a loan. Also money that she had received to buy a brand-new Mercedes. Again, wasn't a bribe, that was a loan. Prosecutors say not true. Prosecutors also alleging that they gave false information to their attorneys and that their attorneys, in turn, gave misleading information to the U.S. attorney's office when they had meetings with them last year.

Now, Senator Menendez and his wife have already pleaded not guilty to those bribery charges. They deny all wrongdoing. And Senator Menendez released a statement about these new charges, saying in part, "it says that the prosecutors are afraid of the facts, scared to subject their charges to a fair-minded scrutiny of a jury. It says once and for all that they will stop at nothing in their zeal to get me."

And, John, the arraignment is scheduled to get underway just about a little more than an hour from now.


BERMAN: The charges just the keep growing.

Jason Carroll, thank you so much for being there.


SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, ready, set, rematch. What tomorrow's primary will mean to the 2024 race.

Plus, hold on to your bags. Tote bag bonanza. Nope. White Trader Joes is now limiting how many bags a customer can buy.



SIDNER: The battle for the White House kicking off a week that will see voters in four states casting ballots as President Biden soon drops his brand new budget plan. Biden will take his message on the economy and health care to three states this week as Donald Trump this morning gives his take on TikTok. More on that in just a bit.

But because what happens in Georgia tomorrow is on a lot of minds, the peach state voters head to the polls after dueling divisive rallies.

CNN's Priscilla Alvarez and Alayna Treene are joining us now.

Priscilla, I'm going to start with you this morning.

You were at his Atlanta rally. What message was he trying to drive home?

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Look, Sara, this weekend really provided a window into what we're expecting to see in the months to come as this election season heats up. And while in Atlanta the president really leaned on one of the defining themes of his campaign, and that's protecting democracy. And he used that to draw a stark contrast from his Republican rival, Donald Trump, and what he called his coziness with authoritarian regimes.



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My lifetime has taught me to embrace the future of freedom and democracy. And Trump and I have a very different value set, if it isn't obvious already. Mine is based on core values that have defined America, and the rest of the world looks at us that way. Decency, honesty, fairness, equality. But we all know Donald Trump sees a different America. An American story of resentment, revenge and retribution.

That's not me. That's not you.


ALVAREZ: Now, of course, Georgia is a crucial state for President Biden. It's a state he only narrowly won in 2020, and voter outreach and mobilization is going to be key for - for him to notch another victory in the state this November. That according to Democratic strategists.

And the voters I talked to on the ground, they - they -- this message of protecting democracy really resonated with them, but so did lowering healthcare costs. And the president is headed to New Hampshire today where he's going you talk more about that and attack Republicans on health care, of course a state that has one of the country's oldest populations.

All of this as the White House is preparing here to release its fiscal 2025 budget blueprint. It's an aspirational budget, but it's also a messaging event to appeal to voters who are sour on the economy. Some of those proposals include to lower costs for families, increase manufacturing, strengthen - strengthen Social Security and Medicare, and also reduce the deficit. So, the president hitting the trail as they try to build on that momentum from the State of the Union in those battleground states. Sara.

SIDNER: All right, thank you so much, Priscilla.

Let's go now to Alayna Treene.

Donald Trump hitting below the belt, making fun of Joe Biden's stutter during one of his speeches over the weekend, but he's also got things to say this morning. What are you hearing?

ALAYNA TREENE, CNN REPORTER: Well, that's right, Sara, the former president was on CNBC this morning railing against social media companies, and namely Facebook, arguing that a ban on TikTok would benefit Facebook, while calling the social media company an enemy of the people.

Now, I'm just going to read for you some of what he told CNBC. He said, quote, "the thing I don't like is that without TikTok you can make Facebook bigger. And I consider Facebook to be an enemy of the people, along with a lot of the media."

Now, Sara, his comments come as the House is preparing to consider a bipartisan bill that would force the sale of TikTok by Bytedance, the company that owns it, or face a ban in the United States. But then last week we saw Donald Trump post on Truth Social. And again I just want to point out that while President Donald Trump had repeatedly himself pushed for a TikTok ban or sale to a U.S. company as president, but he weighed in online saying, quote, "if you get rid of TikTok, Facebook and Zuckerschmuck will double their business." And that's, of course, referring to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

But these comments from Donald Trump on Truth Social came after the former president met with Jeff Yass at Mar-a-Lago last week. Yass is a hedge fund manager and a huge Republican donor with a stake in TikTok worth more than $30 billion.

But I also just have to point out here, Sara, that some of this is clearly political. TikTok is hugely popular in the United States, especially with young voters who Donald Trump and his campaign are eager to pull away from Joe Biden as they prepare for a general election rematch in November. But this could also create headaches for those on Capitol Hill who have long worked to try and find a solution to the national security risks that the app poses.


SIDNER: Alayna Treene and Priscilla Alvarez, thank you both for that.


BERMAN: All right, Ryan Gosling proves there is life after the Mickey Mouse Club.


RYAN GOSLING, ACTOR (singing): I'm just Ken. Where I see love, she sees a friend. What will it take for her to see the man behind the tan and fight for me?




BOLDUAN: On our radar this morning, we're learning new details about the tragic death of a billionaire CEO who's also a family member of Senator Mitch McConnell. According to "The Wall Street Journal," Angela Chao drove her Tesla into a pond on her property. She was leaving, according to the reports, leaving a dinner party. And according to "The Wall Street Journal," mistakenly put her car into reverse instead of drive when she was trying to turn around, which became a fatal mistake. As her car was sinking, Chao made a frantic call to a friend for help, but those friends and first responders were not able to pull her from the car in time. In announcing his retirement from leadership, Mitch McConnell cited the tragic death of his sister-in-law as a factor.

This morning, E. Jean Carroll has until 11:00 a.m. to object to the $91 million bond posted by Donald Trump. A federal jury awarded Carroll, you'll remember, more than $83 million in damages as a result of the defamation suit that she brought against Trump. If she opposes the terms now, the judge has said that she and Trump will have to appear in court at 3:00 this afternoon. So, we'll find out soon.

So, it seems Stanley Cups are yesterday's news. Now, a Trader Joe's tote bag as taken over social media as the next must have item. The grocery store's mini canvas bag, don't go for the big one, it has to be mini, it sells for $2.99, is in such demand the Trader Joe's is now slapping a limit on how many one person can buy at a time.


At some locations this mini wonder is even back ordered until September. And in a classic only in America move, people are now reselling the bags on eBay and the like for as much as $500.

SIDNER: Wait, I can sell my Trader Joe's bag for $500?

BOLDUAN: No, only -

SIDNER: I'm getting on the internet.

BOLDUAN: Only the mini one.


BOLDUAN: And clear -- I mean it's quite mini. It's just for like treats and snacks. You're not going full grocery shop with that one.

SIDNER: Perfect. Just for treats and snacks.

BOLDUAN: Just treats and snackies.

SIDNER: Thank you, Kate.

And the winter is "Oppenheimer." The film dominated the Academy Awards, taking home seven golden statues, including for best picture, best actor, best supporting actor, and best director. But performances on stage last night gave the blockbusters or run for their money. First it was kenuff (ph).


RYAN GOSLING, ACTOR (singing): I'm just Ken. Where I see love, she sees a friend. What will it take for her to see the man behind the tan and fight for me?


SIDNER: He stole the show.

Or did this dude, John Cena's performance. A lot of people cannot unsee or maybe they don't want to.

I'm joined now by the host of "Boston Globe Today," Segun Oduolowu.

Thank you so much for being here. Good to see you. I think the last time I saw you was in Los Angeles.

Who were you most excited to see on the stage last night?

SEGUN ODUOLOWU, HOST, "BOSTON GLOBE TODAY": Well, I think Ryan Gosling absolutely stole the show.

Sara, thank you for having me.

And look, we shouldn't be surprised. He's a Mickey Mouse Clubs veteran, OK. I've seen that brother sing (INAUDIBLE) and "La La Land." We shouldn't have been surprised. I thought that was an amazing performance. It's funny that the most amazing performance for "Barbie" was by Ken. I loved that. But as we know, the biggest shocker was Lily Gladstone not winning best actress and that going to Emma Stone. That, to me, was the shocker of all shockers just because it felt like -- it felt like it was going to be Lily's, I was pulling for her, and then Emma came out on top.

So, yes, a night - a night of - a night of fun and a night of shock.

SIDNER: Speaking of a night of fun, we just showed a little video of it, but you said your funniest moment had to do with a certain naked man on stage.

ODUOLOWU: Yes. Listen, for all of us who go to the gym and think we're doing somethings. When a professional athlete and like a Hollywood movie star, you know, action star walks across the stage, it's a real sobering reminder that whatever you're doing, weekend warrior style, is nothing compared to John Cena. Like, I - one, just going for it. I thought that it was the most laugh out loud moment that I can remember in an Oscars because it was also perfectly timed with the costume award that he was -- that he was announcing. So, it was brilliant, it was fun, and it was daring. So, John turned a lot of heads Oscar night.

SIDNER: Yes, he was so deadpan that it made it even more funny.

There were funny moments, not a whole lot, but there were a few, and that was one of the big ones. But there was also a really touching moment, Da'Vine Joy Randolph winning her Oscar. Tell us about that moment.

ODUOLOWU: Yes, just the whole initiation of it where you had former best supporting actress reading and giving these touching -- touching speeches to the nominees. And then Da'Vine gets up there and, I mean, I got misty-eyed. I'm not going to lie to you. When she talked, first, Lupita had me when Lupita mentioned that her grandmother's glasses that Da'Vine wore in the movie, "The Holdovers." And then when she wins and she says, I'm enough. Thank you for seeing me. Like, for people of color, people in media, that is the thing we fight for the most is to be seen as our actual selves, to be able to bring that to work, to our art, to the stage in all of its different forms. And she, I mean, she struck a nerve with me. I think she struck a nerve with women. I think she struck a nerve with women of color. And like she said, I hope that she gets to do this again because she's a fabulous actress who gave an incredibly touching speech.

SIDNER: Barring Da'Vine Randolph, do you think that the Oscars did what you would like them to do and were more diverse this year?

ODUOLOWU: I do think that the Oscars are trying to be more diverse. It's difficult. I will always say that judging art, you know, it's not - it's not something that you can do subject - you know, objectively. It's very subjective.

SIDNER: Yes, subjective.

ODUOLOWU: If you like this, someone like that. But by bringing in - by -- by showing at least the previous winners, you show at Academy that is - is looking for change. Has Asian winners, has black winters, has Latino winners, and they come back.


And I think that they have to keep coming back, past winters. They have to keep utilizing all of Hollywood's color - you know, color wheel so that people see themselves represented on that stage and in the movies that they're going to the theaters to watch.

SIDNER: He's on a color wheel, maybe not the color wheel you'd like, but Robert Downey Junior also won for the first time, right?

ODUOLOWU: Yes. Look, Robert Downey Junior, like -- like a Jeffrey Wright, is an actor's actor. Everyone who's been in a movie with him or crossed his path will tell you, like, he's arguably one of the best to do it. So, to get recognized for this movie, as he said, he needed it, right, coming off all of the superhero flicks as Iron Man, to remind people that this guy is a seriously talented actor. Anything he touches, it's memorable. Like, listen, from "Tropic Thunder," to "Oppenheimer," he gives

performances that are going to make you sit up and take note. So, I was happy for Robert Downey Junior. Well-deserved.

SIDNER: Segun Oduolowu, thank you so much for coming on and making us smile a little bit. Well, at least me, and Kate. But -

BOLDUAN: What, I was smiling.

SIDNER: He is smiling.

BERMAN: I was - John Cena's manscaping was making me smile.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely.

BERMAN: All right, thank you all for joining us. This has been CNN NEWS CENTRAL.

"NEWSROOM" with Jim Acosta up next.

BOLDUAN: Just - that is a great topic for 9:00 a.m.