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Soon, Trump in Federal Court in Florida for Critical Hearing; Student Pilot Accused of Trying to Open Cockpit Door During Flight; Today, V.P. Harris to Tour Planned Parenthood Clinic in Historic Visit. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired March 14, 2024 - 07:00   ET



KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR: Okay, no officers or animals were injured in these encounters. I've never tried to talk to the turkeys, but I'm imagining that police report that says the turkey did not respond to commands. Turkey has been resisting, is resisting arrest.

All right, guys, thank you very much. We're a little all over the place today. The news has been fun. Thanks for joining us. Thanks to all of you for being with us. I am Kasie Hunt.

CNN News Central starts right now.

SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening very soon, former President Trump back in court. The big question, will Trump be able to run out the clock in his classified documents trial. And any moment a judge could rule on whether Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis is kicked off the Georgia election subversion case.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: For the first time in history, a sitting vice president is visiting an abortion clinic. What this tells us about the huge political shifts on this issue.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: And it's a go as of now, the countdown to a major test for the world's most powerful rocket also known as NASA's best bet to sending people back to the moon.

I'm Kate Bolduan with John Berman and Sara Sidner. This is CNN New Central.

SIDNER: We begin with legal battles galore in Georgia with the D.A. in his Georgia case. Will she get the boot in Trump's Georgia case? We could get that answer any moment.

But in an entirely different case, will Donald Trump be on trial this summer? The former president will soon leave Mar-a-Lago for a critical hearing inside a Florida federal court. This morning, the judge overseeing his classified documents case will hear arguments from Trump's team to dismiss charges or delay the trial.

The trial was initially scheduled for May. Prosecutors now want July. But if Trump wins his delay, which has been a winning strategy so far, the trial might not start until after the election. And if he wins the presidency, he could then order the DOJ to drop his charges.

CNN's Katelyn Polantz is outside the courthouse in Florida. I guess in the coming hours, what are we expecting to happen here just in light of this hearing that is going to be happening and the ask to throw the case out?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: This is going to be several hours of arguments in court today before Judge Aileen Cannon. Criminal defendants that are going to trial always get to make attempts to tell the judge, this case should be totally dismissed. And that's what Donald Trump's lawyers are doing today.

There's a series of argument that they're going to need to over probably a serious of hearings. But today, Donald is not just any criminal defendant. And the argument his lawyers are going to be making is he was president, he took documents out of the White House, that's because he wanted to say they are his and they were not the presidential records that should belong in the federal government because he had the power as the president to say they we're personal records. That's the argument. We're going to hear from Trump's side today.

But the Justice Department has been very clear since the very beginning, the National Archives has been clear, that is not how it works. The Presidential Records Act, which is what's going to be talked about in court today, that says that records just can't be deemed personal by the president if he sees fit. There are certain records that are the property of the U.S. government.

And in a situation like this where their national security records, the Justice Department says it's criminally problematic for someone to take records even if they were the president while they was still in the White House if they where national security records because they could jeopardize the entire country and those records belong to the government and the people of America.

So, that is what's at stake today. We're going to be watching to see what Judge Aileen Cannon does. There is quite a bit at stake for her. She previously is a judge who had ruled in favor of Trump, giving him a lot of deference as the former president.

So, we'll see where she's leaning today. We don't expect a decision from her on this argument today and whether to dismiss the case. But it is quite a critical hearing where Trump is expected to be in court.

SIDNER: All right. Katelyn Polantz, I know you'll be there watching all things. Thank you so much. We'll come back to you if you've got some news.

Kate, you know what, I think there is nothing that is truer than so many cases so little time.

BOLDUAN: Yes, lots of things.

SIDNER: Yes. BOLDUAN: Lots of things. From Florida to Georgia now, where multiple things are happening, Trump and co-defendants are waiting to hear if the judge is going to keep or disqualify the Fulton County district attorney from the election subversion case there.


That decision could drop anytime now.

And Trump and his co-defendants are also waking up to facing fewer charges there. The judge dismissed six charges of the 41-count indictment in the state's criminal case. Trump is now down three charges because of this.

CNN's Kristen Holmes tracking this for us, she joins us now. Kristen, what are you hearing about all of this?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, you talk about, let's start with Georgia. You talk about these six charges being dropped. Obviously, yes, this is a good thing for Donald Trump. But when you're talking to his team, they're really just waiting to see what happens with the district attorney. They are obviously happy that there are less charges, but they would like no charges at all. They would like to see Fani Willis pulled off the case. They would like to see a way for them to get out of that case all together.

Now, when you look at the broader picture, we have seen Donald Trump now wanting to participate in these various legal trials, one today going to Fort Pierce. Keep in mind, there are no cameras. There are no speaking engagements. There is no opportunity to see the former president, yet he is still going.

This is obviously not one of his traditional campaign stops in the courtroom. Instead, we are told that he wants to participate, that he has told people he wants to be there for every single day, every single hearing, up until this potential trial, partly because, and this is Katelyn Polantz who was just reporting this, that they want the judge to see him, and he wants the judge to see him, to show him as a willing participant in this trial.

And that actually extends to the trial that we know is going to happen later this month in New York. I am told that Donald Trump is still planning and his team for how exactly it's going to look between a general campaign election trail and going to court every single day.

Now, remember, in New York, this is a criminal case. He does have to be in court every day, but early on, there are some procedural days that he wouldn't have to be there, including jury selection. I am told that he wants to be there for every single part of this.

So what this is going to look like is how a campaign goes on the trail, actually campaigns in these critical swing states, and then also, on the other hand, is in court every day. Trump himself saying, oh, I'll go to court in the morning, I'll campaign at night.

When you're talking to his advisers, they acknowledge that this is likely not possible. So instead, they're looking at ways around that. Can they campaign on Wednesdays? That's the one day in New York where they're not in court, as well as Saturdays, obviously, no court on the weekends. Can they send surrogates into these critical battleground states?

This is all being figured out now, but we are really in unprecedented times as we head towards this actual trial date. And as you see, Donald Trump gearing up to run for president, gearing up to try to go back into the White House with all of these impending trials and legal issues.

BOLDUAN: And while unprecedented, you seem to be setting up exactly how it's going to play out, because it's all campaigning, as you've been reporting for a long time now. If Wednesday and Saturday are the days they're not in court, just call that. Those are the days he's actually physically out on the campaign trail, while the courtroom is also the campaign forum as well. I think we see the strategy playing out very quickly before our eyes.

It's great to see you, great reporting, as always, Kristen. Thank you. John?

BERMAN: All right. A man is arrested for trying to enter the cockpit of a flight several times mid-flight, the strange explanation he gave for why he did it.

And never has a sitting president nor vice president toured an abortion clinic while in office until today. Vice President Harris makes history, the significance of this moment.

And a college student goes missing from a bar. New video just released that could provide clues as to what happened.



BERMAN: All right. We are getting new information this morning about the charges against a man for allegedly trying to open a cockpit door repeatedly in mid-flight. This happened on Alaska Airlines flight from San Diego to Washington D.C.

Now, the man is a student pilot and told flight attendants he was testing them.

CNN's Tom Foreman is with us now. Testing them, I can't imagine that was reassuring for the people on the plane, Tom.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No. This whole thing is unsettling and extremely odd. Listen to what Alaska Airlines says about it. They say a passenger who appeared confused attempted to access the flight deck in a non-violent manner. The passenger was non-compliant, which prompted our flight crew to enlist off-duty law enforcement officers to help restrain him.

But if you look at the sort of the bullet points of this, it is even more confusing. Essentially, what happened is this guy tried to open the flight deck door three times apparently sort of in rapid succession. Eventually, they used a beverage cart to block the cockpit. He was restrained in flex cuffs and these officers sat on either side of him for the remainder of the fight.

And the issue of mental health concerns have been raised here. That's important because an attorney representing this young man, Nathan Jones, for the family said they are gravely concerned about his mental health at this point. The behavior described in the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint are inconsistent with this young man's life. We've requested he undergo a court ordered competency evaluation.

So, exactly how all of this unfolded at this, it's not clear how aggressive it was. It's not what intent was involved here. But anytime, anyone tries to get into a cockpit for any reason, even if it turns out that they were having some kind of mental health crisis, well, that's a big, big concern, because that can be a big problem.


It doesn't matter whether or not they meant it in a malevolent way, John.

BERMAN: Yes, you have no idea what's going to happen if he gets in, if gets through that cockpit door.

FOREMAN: Sure. Well, in the times we live in, so many questions about things like that among passengers and crews. So, I will have to learn a lot more about this as we move on. And, of course, they found in his notes, in his bag, all sorts of things about how to take off a plane, land a plan, things like that? What does that mean? We don't really know.

BERMAN: All right, clearly a lot more to learn here.

Tom Foreman. Thank you so much for helping us understand what we do know so far. Sara?

SIDNER: John. Yes, behind me is a human in a fox fur suit. No, it is not a furry. What it's time for is some good stuff for you this morning out foxing instinct. How do you keep an abandoned newborn animal from imprinting on its caretakers? One wildlife center in Virginia found that dressing in their likeness can do the trick.

The Richmond Wildlife Center said it took in the female kit, the term for a baby fox, when her eyes were still sealed shut. Thanks to a donor who provided a fox head mask, the newborn won't see a human when it looks around. The risk of animals becoming too comfortable around us means making them susceptible to being trapped and killed.

I'm sorry, that's wild. That's cute.

BOLDUAN: Cute or a little bit scary, a little bit scary, right?

BERMAN: No, the person did just want to wear the outfit. BOLDUAN: There is a whole story about it.

SIDNER: It's complex.

BOLDUAN: The whole story about people wearing costumes. I mean, if I was that baby fox, I'd be a little bit scary. We've been scared. John had to come back stage to talk about this.

SIDNER: John left.

BOLDUAN: John, go put your fox costume back on.

Coming up for us, SpaceX is about to give it another go in hoping this third test of its monster rocket won't end in an explosion this time, why NASA is also watching this oh so closely.

And also this, agreeing to take questions, after that Elon Musk doesn't seem to like the questions that he got from our old friend, Don Lemon, abruptly canceling a deal with Don Lemon right before Don Lemon's about to launch his new show on X.



SIDNER: Today, a historic visit, Vice President Kamala Harris will go to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Minnesota. It's believed to be the first time in history that a president or vice president has visited a clinic that provides abortions. This is part of the Biden campaign strategy to put a very sharp focus on abortion rights.

Also today, President Biden visits Saginaw, Michigan, a bit of a bellwether for the coming election. It went for Trump in 2016, but narrowly swung to Biden in 2020.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for us. Jeff, the vice president is on her sort of fight for reproduction freedoms tour, as they're calling it. But this is a very significant visit, is it not?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Sara. It absolutely is, and it's really been something that the vice president has been leading the charge on. In fact, she was just here last week in Milwaukee talking about abortion rights. She will be in Minnesota today, as you said.

And it's really part of the Biden-Harris campaign's plan to try and remind American voters that this election, in fact, is not the same. Yes, the same two candidates are at the top of the ticket, both Joe Biden and Donald Trump, but there are many different issues. Of course, first and foremost, is the Supreme Court overturning Roe versus Wade, and the fight for reproductive freedom is at the center of this campaign.

But with the vice president visiting this clinic in Minneapolis, it raises a couple points. One, that there is no state, really, in this part of the country, in the Upper Midwest, that is politically secure for this campaign. They realize that, so they're going there to campaign as well in a political context.

But conversations we are having with voters in the week after the State of the Union Address certainly is bringing up this point. We had a long conversation with a certified midwife here in Milwaukee who said abortion rights is one of the reasons that she, in fact, is supporting President Biden and Vice President Harris.

She also had this to say about what she thought of the president's address last week, a week ago today, and why that motivates her in this campaign.


LUVERDA MARTIN, WISCONSIN VOTER: I was actually quite motivated by what I saw. I felt relieved with the talking points and how he expressed himself and his energy level was quite impressive.

ZELENY: You sound surprised.

MARTIN: I was surprised, pleasantly surprised.

ZELENY: Is this something that excites you a rematch with Donald Trump?

MARTIN: Not at all. I'm that excited. I think there's a couple of words. It is what it is. Still being an independent person, looking at both sides, never really thinking of Donald Trump as an option for me. What I saw with State of the Union really motivated me to kind of lean back towards Biden.


ZELENY: So LuVerda Martin there really summing up the sentiment of several voters we've spoken to about why she now is focused on this presidential race. Maybe President Biden was on her first choice to run again, but she believes it is important.

But, Sara, as the president wakes up here in Milwaukee this morning and heads to Michigan, it certainly is a reminder of the tight nature of this campaign. We know the roadmap, the battlegrounds from 2020 will be similar, but a reminder the issues in this race, in fact, are quite different than they were in 2020.

SIDNER: Yes. LuVerda really making it clear that she was pleasantly surprised with his energy, something a lot of people have been talking about.


But in Michigan, there are still some really deep discontent and concern about the president from people who supported him in 2020.

ZELENY: There's no question, and we saw that at the Michigan primary just a few weeks ago, more than 100,000 people voted uncommitted.

But, Sara, important to point out, those views are certainly not contained to Michigan. In Minnesota, just a week ago, many voted uncommitted there as well. And here in Wisconsin, there's also a drive to really get the administration to change its policy in the Israel- Hamas War.

We had a conversation yesterday with a leader here in Milwaukee who volunteered for President Biden four years ago. Now she says she cannot support him.


JANAN NAJEEB, PRESIDENT OF MILWAUKEE MUSLIM WOMEN'S COALITION: No change in policy, he will be the reason that the Democrats lose. And Wisconsin is a swing state. Without the constituents that worked so hard to help him get elected last time, myself included, he definitely will not win.

I donated, I was knocking on doors, we were doing all types of things to help get him elected. But right now, we're dealing with a significant number of people that really don't see much different between him and Trump, unfortunately.


ZELENY: So, asking Janan Najeeb there what she plans to do, she said she will either vote third party or sit out this election unless there is a policy change.

So, again, Sara, a reminder that, yes, this election looks similar, but, in fact, the issues are so much different. Certainly, that will be something the president sees when he goes to Michigan later today. That is a central issue there as well. But policy mixing with politics makes this a very challenging re-election for President Biden. Sara?

SIDNER: Jeff Zeleny, thank you so much for all of that reporting. I appreciate it. John?

BERMAN: All right. It could come at any moment, the Georgia judge weighing the misconduct allegations against Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis could rule. Will she be pulled from the election subversion case in Georgia?

And I guess he is king of the world, the billionaire who wants to build a new Titanic. What could possibly go wrong?