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Blinken: Negotiations On Ceasefire, Hostage Release "Getting Closer"; White House Releases In-Depth Analysis Of AI Risks To U.S. Workforce; Arizona Lawmaker Shares Plans To Get Abortion In Floor Speech. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired March 21, 2024 - 07:30   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: So, get this. A man was arrested Sunday after boarding a Delta flight with a boarding pass that was not his own. How he pulled it off is this -- by surreptitiously taking a photo of someone else's boarding pass waiting for the flight. Investigators say he took pictures of several people's boarding passes, actually, at the Salt Lake City Airport. He then used one of those photos to board a flight to Austin, Texas.

He made it past the gate agent and then tried to hide in the plane's bathroom since he really didn't actually have a seat. The plane was taxiing when flight attendants realized what was happening and realized this.

And now, the man claims that he did this because he'd been bumped from another flight on another airline and just really wanted to get home.

A new toxicology report about Mitch McConnell's sister-in-law who died in a tragic accident shows that her blood alcohol level was .233, well over the legal limit, when this happened. The Blanco County Sheriff's Office says Angela Chao mistakenly backed into a pond at her home after dinner with friends on her family's ranch last month. Despite efforts to save her, she died after being submerged in the car for more than 20 minutes.

And Sen. McConnell has cited this family tragedy is one of the reasons that he is stepping down from his leadership post.

The longtime friend and interpreter of Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Shohei Ohtani has been fired. The reason why is wild. According to reporting from the L.A. Times, Ohtani's attorneys now accuse the man of massive theft after he allegedly used Ohtani's bank account to fund his gambling to the tune of millions of dollars -- bets he allegedly made with an illegal bookmaking operation.

The now-former interpreter told ESPN though he did bet on sports, he never bet on Major League Baseball and said that Ohtani was not involved.

Ohtani is the highest-paid athlete in North American sports history with his $700 million contract with the Dodgers -- John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: You know, it's interesting -- the 'did not bet on baseball' and 'Ohtani not involved.' The reason they're saying that is the one rule in baseball that every player knows if you bet on baseball, banned for life. Think of Pete Rose there. So these are stunning allegations. Ohtani not directly involved as far as we know, at least not yet, but it bears watching.

So, Donald Trump has until Monday to solve a $450 million problem, but how exactly did he get here and how could it play out?

CNN senior legal analyst and former federal and state prosecutor Elie Honig is right here with us.

Well, what are we talking about, where did this start, and where does this dollar figure come from?


This case is the civil lawsuit filed by the New York State Attorney General Letitia James against Donald Trump and his companies, alleging and now having proved that they overinflated their assets and then used that in order to get loans from banks.

Now, the judge returned a verdict for Donald Trump. The verdict was in the amount of $355 million, plus interest. You somehow did the math and backed it out is what gets us to that 450-plus million-dollar figure. Now, the attorney general can start collecting on that as of Monday unless Donald Trump posts a bond with the court.


Now, let's understand exactly what that means. There's sort of a two- step calculation going on here.

First of all, a bonding company. Usually, this is going to be a private company, an insurance company, or a bank. They certify to the court that if Donald Trump does not pay the total amount that he's owed after his appeal, we are good for it. We will cover him.

Now, in order for them to make that promise, Donald Trump has to post collateral with the bonding company. That can be cash. That could be other assets. Now, Donald Trump has been unable to do that so far and, hence, if we get to Monday and he's not posted a bond, Letitia James can start collecting.

BERMAN: To be clear, the bonding companies won't give him the money because at some degree, they don't think he's good for it or they don't like the collateral he's putting up, correct?

HONIG: It's a loan, essentially, yes.

BERMAN: OK. So if Trump cannot pay --

HONIG: Right.

BERMAN: -- this or post this by Monday, what happens?

HONIG: So, a couple of things.

First of all, he does still get to appeal. I've heard it said that he cannot appeal unless he posts a bond. Not true. He can still appeal.

The verdict against him came from the trial court, which, confusingly, in New York State, is called the Supreme Court. Don't ask me why.

BERMAN: Leave it to New York.

HONIG: Right.

He can still appeal the case to the appellate division and perhaps to the Court of Appeals. But the problem, if he fails to post a bond, is while he is appealing here, Letitia James, the attorney general -- she can start collecting. She can seize his bank accounts. She can start the process of trying to seize and then liquidate or sell off his properties.

Now, it's not as simple as sheriffs just storm in and put up a sign and say this is ours now because there is other entities that have interests in these real estate holdings. There is mortgages on them. There's other shareholders. But, Letitia James can start the process if there's no bond or other intervention, as of Monday, of seizing these properties.

BERMAN: You say or other interventions.

HONIG: Yeah.

BERMAN: So what ways could Donald Trump get out of this?

HONIG: So, he's hoping or looking for any of two things to happen.

First of all, Donald Trump has gone to the appellate division -- the appeals court in New York -- and asked them to either delay the bond or to reduce the amount. He writes in his brief that he has tried -- he has tried 30 different companies and he writes that posting a full bond here is, quote, "a practical impossibility."

Now, the A.G. filed a response last night and said we disagree. He needs to try different ways to do it.

Appeals courts do, sometimes, come in and reduce the amounts of bonds -- sometimes, substantially.

The other potential development that could bail Donald Trump out here is he could get a cash infusion. Someone could come along and give him -- loan him cash. We won't necessarily know who that is. That's a private transaction. Of course, journalists are going to press on figuring out who it is. So maybe he'll get a cash infusion.

People have said well, how about his real estate? That's not going to work. He's not going to be able to sell off real estate between now and Monday. And I talked to bonding companies yesterday. They don't want real estate. It's too encumbered. It's too difficult. Not going to bail him out.

The third thing -- keep an eye on this. Truth Social, Donald Trump's social media company -- they are likely going to go public tomorrow based on a shareholder vote. If that happens, Donald Trump owns somewhere between $2 billion and $4 billion -- with a "b" -- dollars of Truth Social stock. The problem is there's some skepticism about whether it's really worth that, and he can't sell it off for six months unless he gets a special waiver. So, maybe something about Truth Social can help him.

Bankruptcy is a possibility. Now, bankruptcy -- people need to understand it's not a magic wand that makes every debt go away, but it would buy him time. Because if he declares bankruptcy, whatever the political embarrassment might be, it would put a stay -- a pause on all this collection.

BERMAN: The reporting is the political embarrassment of it might be too --

HONIG: Yeah.

BERMAN: -- much for him.

HONIG: I wouldn't bank on that.

BERMAN: No, I would not bet on that.

HONIG: I think he'd be too embarrassed.

BERMAN: All right, Kate.

BOLDUAN: But still, that's an option.


BOLDUAN: It may eventually be the only option is quite something.

So, other news we're following.

Secretary of State Tony Blinken is in Egypt today meeting with the Egyptian president. The State Department described the meeting this way today. That they discuss negotiations to secure an immediate ceasefire for at least six weeks, and also the release of all hostages.

CNN's Jennifer Hansler has much more on the trip and the negotiations -- the long negotiations that they have been working on for quite some time, Jennifer.

Blinken said yesterday that the sides are getting close to securing -- closer, if you will, to securing a ceasefire and the release of hostages. How close is closer? JENNIFER HANSLER, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT REPORTER: Well, Kate, Blinken said yesterday that the gaps are narrowing and he believes an agreement is, quote, "very much possible." He said they are continuing to work with Egypt, with Qatar, and with Israel on what he described as a very strong proposal to secure the release of the hostages in exchange for what you described -- at least a six-week ceasefire.

Now, we should note that Hamas did not accept that initial proposal and Blinken said they have come forward with new requests and new demands. Blinken did not go into details about what these new requests are nor did he say where the gaps remain.


In the past, some of these sticking points have included the fact that Hamas won't give the names of the hostages that they plan to release, which Israel said is a no-go -- as well as the fact that Hamas is calling for Israel to eventually agree to a permanent ceasefire and the withdrawal of all of their forces from Gaza -- which, again, Israel has said that is not an option for them.

So a lot still needs to be worked out but there is this sense of cautious optimism not only from Blinken but from national security adviser Jake Sullivan, as well as some Qatari officials.

Now, Blinken discussed these matters with the Egyptian president. He is meeting with the Egyptian foreign minister, as well as the intel chief from Egypt who has been involved in these negotiations.

And, of course, there is the aspect of this humanitarian catastrophe that is happening in Gaza that is lending even more urgency to these talks. Blinken has said that this underscores the need to release -- to gain this ceasefire. And this is going to be a key topic of his conversations later today with Arab ministers in Cairo -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Yeah, and even just the sense that there is even a little bit of optimism, that is a shift from just the last time that you and I have been speaking. Because things were not going in a positive direction for quite some time.

It's great to see you. Thanks, Jen -- John.

BERMAN: All right. New this morning, 10 percent of the U.S. workforce is facing a high risk of being wiped out by artificial intelligence. That's sobering and it's from a new report from the White House first shared with CNN.

CNN's Matt Egan joins us with the details. What are you learning here?

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Well, John, these AI tools -- they can do absolutely incredible things -- things that we thought only humans can do, right? They could write reports, craft PowerPoint presentations, come up with song lyrics. They could even generate movie-quality videos or write news articles like the one I wrote on this report today. And it's awe-inspiring, but from the perspective of a worker, it's also kind of scary. So this report shows that White House officials -- they are thinking

deeply about what AI means for the workforce, as they should, right? Because like any technology, this is going to help some workers by making them more efficient and it's going to hurt others.

And so, they found that 20 percent of U.S. -- they are in jobs right now with high exposure to AI. These are the ones who are going to be most affected, either positively or negatively. But they had to really drill down on who is most vulnerable. They looked at which of those jobs have the most complex tasks. The thinking is that the more complex the job is the harder it is to be replaced by a robot. And they found that 10 percent of U.S. workers are in jobs with high exposure but low complexity, and those are the ones who are most vulnerable.

And I talked to Jared Bernstein, the White House economist. He rejected the notion that all those jobs are going to go away. I mean, he pointed out that we still have humans flying planes even though autopilot has apparently been around for a century. But still, a large number of those 10 percent of those jobs, they're going to be vulnerable here.

BERMAN: What kind of jobs are we talking about in this 10 percent?

EGAN: This report did not break down the specifics here but there were some interesting findings around who is more vulnerable, especially around education.

It found that the risk here -- 14 percent of people who have no more than a high school diploma -- they are in that high-risk category. Compare that to six percent of people who have a bachelor's degree.

There's also some interesting findings around income. High earners -- they have high exposure to AI but those jobs tend to be more complex. So again, they tend to be safer. What they found was that it's really the lower and middle earners who are most vulnerable to AI.

And so, that's why this report found that there is the risk that AI could, quote, "exacerbate aggregate income inequality if it substitutes for employment in lower-wage jobs and complements higher- wage jobs. Now, that warning is not really coming out of left field. We've heard similar warnings from the IMF. And the White House says listen, it's too early to say that AI is definitely going to make inequality worse, in part because that risk should inform policy.

Jared Berstein -- he flat-out said we're not going to let technology worsen inequality.

But we should note AI is moving really, really fast and no one really knows exactly how this is going to play out -- not the Fed, not the White House. Not even ChatGTP knows.

BERMAN: How do we feel about news anchors?

EGAN: News anchors are safe -- especially you, John.

BERMAN: Thank you.

Now look, these are important issues and there needs to be some deep, deep thinking about all of this.

EGAN: It does.

BERMAN: Matt Egan, thank you very much --

EGAN: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: -- for this.

So, booking a flight is expensive. Are airlines making an extra profit, though, off your personal information? For the first time, the government asking the question what are -- what is being done with your data?

And I was down to eating one meal a day. There was nothing I can do. Oprah Winfrey reveals why she turned to weight loss drugs.



BOLDUAN: March Madness is here and today, 32 teams begin their road to glory or elsewhere. And the only certainty when it comes to March Madness -- as you, of course, know -- is that there will definitely, absolutely, certainly be upsets along the way.

CNN's Andy Scholes is here with what today is going to bring. Tell us.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Oh, hopefully, it brings us the madness, right, Kate? Because today and tomorrow, two of the best days in all of sports. Sixteen games on tap today and you've got 16 more tomorrow. And, hey, if you're procrastinating, make sure to get those brackets in before the first game tips off at 12:15 Eastern.


Now, last night, Grambling made some school history. Jimel Cofer coming through with the clutch layup to tie the game with 37 seconds left. We'd got to overtime in this one and in the extra period the Tigers would pull away from Montana to win 88-81.

And Grambling's coach Donte' Jackson -- he was all pumped up about making the first round.


DONTE' JACKSON, HEAD COACH, GRAMBLING STATE: Incredible. It's what March is made of, baby. You gotta find a way to fight, stay in the game, and have that one last run. So, hey, we let the chips fall where they may. They ain't expecting us to win this one.


SCHOLES: All right. Grambling now has a date with Purdue in the first round tomorrow.

Colorado, meanwhile, make -- taking care of business against Boise State. They won that one 60-53. The Buffs, a 10 seed and a trendy pick to upset Florida in the first round tomorrow.

Boise State, meanwhile -- you've got to feel for them. They're no 0-10 in the tournaments. It's the worst record of any school ever.

All right, the action -- it's going to get started just after noon Eastern today. You can watch all the games across our sister networks TNT, TBS, and truTV.

Now, no coach in this year's March Madness has a more compelling story than Long Beach State's Dan Monson. So, he was fired by the school last week after 17 seasons on the sidelines, but he was allowed to remain with the team through the end of the postseason. Well, the 49ers then went on a run for the ages, winning the Big West Tournament to get an automatic berth into the NCAA Tourney.

And speaking with reporters yesterday, Monson -- well, he couldn't help but make light of his situation.


DAN MONSON, HEAD COACH, LONG BEACH STATE: It's like -- you guys see the "SEINFELD" when he -- when George Costanza was trying to get fired and couldn't get -- lose his job, and still going to work every day? And that's me. I'm a -- I'm a "SEINFELD" episode going on right now in real life.


SCHOLES: You've got to love it.

Long Beach State is going to take on Arizona today in the first round.

Now, if you're still panicking and have to fill out that bracket, I've got some final tips for you. Don't pick a 16-seed to beat a one. It did happen last year but it's only happened twice ever. But pick one of those 1-seeds to get upset by an 8- or 9-seed in the second round. That's happened 10 of the last 13 tournaments. So if you pick an 8- or a 9-seed -- you find one you like -- pick them to win a couple of games.

And since 2014, 11-seeds -- they've actually had a winning record over 6-seeds. They're 19 and 17 in that stretch. So believe in those 11 seeds.

And a good one today, Oregon, 11-seed, taking on 6-seed South Carolina. It's the Ducks who are actually favored, according to oddsmakers, in that game. They're favored by 1 1/2. So there's an upset for you right there. Put it in your bracket -- Oregon over South Carolina. If it doesn't work out though, Kate, you didn't hear it from me.

BOLDUAN: Well, I mean, honestly, that's so boring to not choose the 16 over -- the Cinderella stories of the 16 over one. Like, that's the fun of it. That's basically, I think, half my bracket, too, because I just like it.

SCHOLES: Well, if you don't want to have any chance of winning, Kate, go ahead and pick those 16s, OK?

BOLDUAN: Yeah. So, I mean, that basically ensures --

SCHOLES: Join the bracket pools I'm in.

BOLDUAN: That basically ensures I'm going to go further in my pool than you are because you just have to predict the impossible and then you're actually going to do quite well. That's my advice, which no one should take.

It's good to see you, Andy. Thank you so much.

SCHOLES: Good luck with that, Kate -- all right.

BOLDUAN: And, you know, we're a Cinderella story.

BERMAN: Yeah, Cinderella. I'm just thinking about Long Beach State.

BOLDUAN: Are we a "SEINFELD" episode or a Cinderella story?

BERMAN: The Long -- the Long Beach State coach says he's a "SEINFELD" episode. You might say he is the master of his domain, at least today. Am I getting that right -- that "SEINFELD" reference right? Maybe not.

BOLDUAN: I don't even know but you're very funny.

BERMAN: All right, this --

BOLDUAN: Now to this.

BERMAN: This morning, Oprah opens up. Oprah Winfrey delving into weight loss and the surging popularity of medications like Ozempic and Wegovy in ways she has not before. This was with Gayle King and Charles Barkley on "KING CHARLES."

CNN's Meg Tirrell is with us now. What did she have to say?

MEG TIRRELL, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, she talked a lot about why she did this special. You know, she's talked about how much shame she has experienced in her own career and life over her size. She said she really wanted to start reducing that shame and blame.

She also said she wanted to raise more awareness about the drugs themselves. She talked about a family member, she said, who contacted her about doing, like, a sugar fast for a month. And she was like no, no, no, no, no. I need to tell you about these medicines.

She said she also wanted to explain to more people how these drugs worked.

But one thing she told Gayle and Charles last night is about what she thinks the next part of the conversation for these medicines is. Here's what she said.


OPRAH WINFREY, ENTERTAINMENT MOGUL: The next big special or conversation is going to be about costs because --


WINFREY: -- I want to know why the people in Canada are paying $250 and people in the United States -- some parts are paying $1,000 a month. Some people are paying $2,000.


TIRRELL: Oprah and all of Congress, and pretty much all of the United States wants the answer to that question. I mean, this is a huge part of politics right now is drug pricing.


But she is right. In the United States, these medicines, before insurance, cost about $1,000 per month. And we have heard stories about folks going to Canada and spending about $300 a month to get these medicines. They have a single-payer health care system. It's complicated but this is why we see prices a lot lower in other countries than in the United States.

Another huge issue with these medicines is actually something we heard from Charles Barkley. He said he has been taking Mounjaro, which is another medicine in this class. Here's what he told Gayle about his experience with that.


KING: You said you have trouble getting the drug. Oprah, when you said people can get it, you said your doctor said you can't get it.

CHARLES BARKLEY, CNN HOST, "KING CHARLES": I've had a -- well, I can't get it. Because I've actually --

KING: Did you say your name was Charles Barkley?

BARKLEY: I did. I was 285. I started at 355.

KING: Um-hum.

BARKLEY: I've actually gained 12 pounds back because I haven't had Mounjaro in, like, four months.

KING: Oh, wow.

BARKLEY: And I'm working out but gaining 12 pounds ain't the same as gaining 60.

KING: I agree.

BARKLEY: So I'm hoping at some point that I can get back on the drug because I want to get to 270.


TIRRELL: Guys, this is a problem we hear about with these medicines. They can be in shortage and hard to find. And if you stop taking them it can be hard to sustain the results, although 12 pounds not bad if you lost 60, guys.

BERMAN: No, that was a great discussion.

Meg Tirrell, thank you very much for that -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: So, in a speech on the Arizona State Senate floor on Monday, Democratic State Sen. Eva Burch shared a deeply personal story underscoring the real impact of abortion legislation on people's lives.

Senator Burch told her colleagues that she recently discovered she was pregnant -- a pregnancy that she wants -- her family wants. But after hearing -- after a recent checkup, she's learned that she has to get an abortion because of her health and because of the condition of the baby.


EVA BURCH, (D) ARIZONA STATE SENATOR: After numerous ultrasounds and blood draws, we have determined that my pregnancy is, once again, not progressing and is not viable. And, once again, I have scheduled an appointment to terminate my pregnancy.

I don't think people should have to justify their abortions but I'm choosing to talk about why I made this decision because I want us to be able to have meaningful conversations about the reality of how the work that we do in this body impacts people in the real world.


BOLDUAN: And that Arizona state senator, Eva Burch, joins me now. Senator, thank you so much for coming on.

It's hard to not --

BURCH (via Webex by Cisco): (INAUDIBLE). Thank you.

BOLDUAN: It's hard to not listen to this and be heartbroken and struck, and I'm also so impressed with your courage about talking about this so publicly while you're still in -- absolutely in the middle of it. So thank you for coming on.

You made very clear why you decided to speak out about this. That you're hoping to move this fight -- this debate around reproductive care and abortion into a conversation -- a more meaningful conversation than what you're seeing right now.

What have you heard from people since telling your story this week? BURCH: The response that I have had has been really overwhelming and honestly, it's been overwhelmingly positive. So many people who coming forward with their own stories and their own experiences.

And I think that the most important thing that we can really get out of all of this is what should we be doing different. What should we be doing better at. And how did we get where we are now? And how do we go somewhere that's a more honest and accurate picture so that patients are having the experiences that they need and deserve in the clinical setting instead of having this mandated rhetoric that is really souring the experience and leading to potentially worse outcomes and just worse quality of care?

BOLDUAN: In your remarks, when I was watching it over and over again, you said once again, you determined the pregnancy isn't viable and once again, you have to schedule an appointment to terminate the pregnancy.

Can you share a little bit more about your journey with trying to have children?

BURCH: Yes. I'm very comfortable having that conversation.

This is my fourth pregnancy loss. I have two children who I carried very safely to term. But for whatever reason, I have had some difficulty. I know a lot of it probably has to do with my age. I didn't meet my husband until a little bit later in life and we have tried. But we've decided we're not going to try anymore.

And I know people can be a little bit reluctant to ask about where I am in the process but I did have my procedure yesterday and I'm very comfortable talking about that if anybody has any questions about it. But that's something that -- it's the second time now that I felt like that was the right decision for me.

And I think that we have this stigma that certain individuals try to push about who the abortion patient is and we need to have a more honest and accurate conversation about the abortion patient.

BOLDUAN: You -- I mean, sharing that you had the procedure -- you had the abortion yesterday, how are you feeling? I mean, this is -- I mean, I mentioned that you are in the middle of it, but this is truly happening in real time.