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Police: Angela Chao Intoxicated at Time of Fatal Accident; White House: 10 Percent of U.S. Jobs at Risk of AI Disruption; Escaped Inmate and Accomplice on the Run After Hospital Ambush. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired March 21, 2024 - 15:30   ET



We're learning new details about the tragic fatal car crash involving Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's sister-in-law Angela Chao. A new toxicology report says that Chao was drunk when she mistakenly backed her car into a pond on the family's ranch in Texas.

CNN's Gabe Cohen joins us now with the latest. Gabe, what more are we learning about this incident?

GABE COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, Boris, Angela Chao was the CEO of a major shipping company, as well as the sister of Elaine Chao, transportation secretary under the Trump administration, who's married to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. She died the night of February 10th, but CNN has just obtained this long sheriff's office report that offers a really harrowing and tragic account of how this all unfolded.

It says Angela Chao had gathered for the weekend with a group of old friends. They were having dinner and drinks at her family ranch outside Austin. And as the night was winding down, a camera on the property caught her walking unsteadily toward her car with a phone in her hand.

She then starts to drive the car. She gets in, starts to drive, according to the report, and very quickly reverses and goes over the top of a wall and into a lake on the property. And the scene described after that was frantic.


She called her friend for help as water was filling the car. They were on the phone for eight minutes, according to this report. And during that time, Chao said her goodbyes over the phone as her friends were desperately trying to help her.

One of them grabbed a kayak and paddled out to her. Another swam out and climbed on top of the car but they just could not reach her. And ultimately, first responders pulled Chow's body from the car 21 minutes later.

Chow was intoxicated, according to the report, nearly three times the legal limit. The sheriff's office calling all of this just an unfortunate accident. And Boris, obviously, this horrible tragedy has impacted Mitch McConnell's life and his family.

He noted his sister-in-law's death when he announced his plans to step down from his leadership role last month.

He said at the time, quote: As some of you may know, this has been a particularly difficult time for my family. We tragically lost Elaine's younger sister, Angela, just a few weeks ago. And when you lose a loved one, particularly at a young age, there's a certain introspection that accompanies the grieving process. Perhaps it's God's way of reminding you of your own life's journey to reprioritize the impact of the world that we will all inevitably leave behind.

So, Boris, clearly and understandably, this has been very difficult, very tough for McConnell and for his family, especially as these new details are coming out.

SANCHEZ: Gabe Cohen, thanks so much for those details.

Still ahead, is artificial intelligence coming for your job? A brand new White House report reveals who is most at risk.


ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: A troubling warning from the White House about AI's potential impact on the U.S. workforce, noting about 10 percent of employees are in jobs that face the greatest risk of being disrupted by this rapidly evolving technology.

CNN's Matt Egan joining us now with more. So Matt, which jobs specifically are most at risk here and why?

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Well, Erica, I don't know how much you've played around with some of these AI chatbots, but they can already do pretty incredible things, right? Things that we thought only humans could do. They can generate artwork and craft song lyrics. They can even write news articles like the one I wrote on this very topic.

So it's awe-inspiring, but from the perspective of an employee, 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. And for good reason because like all technologies, AI is going to help some workers and it's going to hurt some others.

And what they found is that 20 percent of U.S. workers are in jobs right now that have high exposure to AI. These are the ones who are going to have the biggest impact, either positive or negative. Now, to drill down further about who's really vulnerable though, they look to see how complex those tasks are.

With the thinking that the more complex the job is, the harder it is for a robot to replace a human. And they found that 10 percent of U.S. workers are in jobs that have both high AI exposure and low complexity. So these are the ones really most at risk here.

And I talked to Jared Bernstein, the White House economist, and he rejected the notion that all of those jobs are going to go away because of AI. He said, that's just not the way technology or automation work. A White House economist, they point out that humans still fly planes, even though we've had autopilot for a century now.

Still though, Erica, I think it's clear that some jobs are going to be negatively impacted by AI.

HILL: Yes, it does. I mean, listen, it raises a lot of concerns.

There have also been concerns about the risk that AI poses when it comes to equality, or rather inequality.

EGAN: Yes, absolutely. And there were some interesting findings on that front.

First on education. Researchers found that workers with less education are more negatively exposed to some of these AI risks. You see 14 percent of workers who have a high school graduation and a diploma, no more than that, they're most exposed.

That compares to 6 percent of workers who have a bachelor's degree or more. Similarly, workers in the lower middle income brackets, they are more exposed here as well. And so that does raise some inequality concerns.

The report they wrote quote: AI could exacerbate aggregate income inequality if it substitutes for employment in lower wage jobs and complements higher wage jobs.

We've heard a similar warning from the IMF recently, as well. Another White House stresses, it's too early to say that AI is definitely going to worsen inequality, in part because that very risk should inform policy.

And Jared Bernstein, he told me, listen, the Biden administration is not going to let technology worsen inequality. But Erica, I would just stress that AI, it's moving fast, really fast. And at the end of the day, I don't really think anyone truly knows how this is going to play out, not even Chad GPT.

HILL: Yes, certainly not. And that is, I think, the general concern for a lot of people. Matt, really appreciate it. Thank you.

Well, a dangerous inmate and the man accused of helping him escape are both the targets of an urgent manhunt this hour, where they could be. That's next.



SANCHEZ: In Idaho, an urgent manhunt is underway for an escaped inmate and a man accused of ambushing corrections officers to free him. Skylar Meade was being discharged from a hospital in Boise early Wednesday morning, said to be transferred back to a maximum security prison where he's been doing time for aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer with a gun. As he was leaving, Mead's alleged accomplice, Nicholas Umphenour, opened fire, striking officers. The pair then took off in a gray 2020 Honda Civic.

We're joined now by CNN's Natasha Chen with the details. Natasha, what's the latest on the search?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Boris, just before I came on the air here, I got a phone call telling us that there will be a police press conference updating us on this investigation just before 5 o'clock Eastern Time today.


So hopefully we learn more about where they are in this investigation. Because as of now, we still have these two, what they call armed and dangerous men out on the loose here.

Let's go over the timeline of events that you were just discussing. Corrections officers say that Skylar Meade had injured himself, and that's why he was taken to the hospital to begin with at 9.35 p.m., got there just before 10 p.m., was about to be discharged around 2 a.m., and that's when police say that the accomplice fired shots at the hospital, hitting two corrections officers.

The hospital staff made a 911 call, and Boise police came, fired a shot at an armed person, they said, who turned out to be another corrections officer. So that's three corrections officers who were injured here. Luckily, they will recover from those injuries.

Here's the police chief talking about the whole ordeal.


CHIEF RON WINEGAR, BOISE, IDAHO POLICE: We believe that this was a coordinated attack, an ambush on the Department of Corrections officers and certainly a planned endeavor to free him from custody. They are dangerous, they are armed, and they have shown a propensity for violence.


CHEN: And let's take a look at what we know about these two people. The escaped inmate Skylar Meade, he was serving time for aggravated battery on a law enforcement with a firearm. He's got known ties to a prison gang, a white nationalist prison gang. The police had actually described tattoos on him, a 1 and an 11. The 1 stands for the first letter of the alphabet, that's A. The 11th letter is K, Aryan Knights.

And that he was taken to the hospital, as we said, for self injuries. They escaped together in a gray Honda Civic, a 2020 gray Honda Civic.

And about his alleged accomplice, there is now a warrant out for Nicholas Umphenour, a warrant of $2 million bond, and that is for aggravated battery against law enforcement and aiding and abetting an escape. He's a known associate of Skylar Meade. Again, considered armed and dangerous. And we are waiting to hear more information in that press conference coming up -- Boris.

SANCHEZ: Yes, we look forward to details from that. Natasha Chen, thanks so much -- Erica.

HILL: Let's get you caught up on some of the other headlines that we're following at this hour.

A man in Florida is suing the city of St. Petersburg and two police officers claiming he was paralyzed and needed both his legs amputated after an encounter with police. According to that lawsuit, the man was wrongly arrested for trespassing.

And I do want to warn you, the video we're about to show may be disturbing to you to watch.

So the surveillance video from inside the police van shows the handcuffed man fall over, as you see here, hit his head. He then appears unconscious as an officer pulls him. Look at that. Pulls him from the van. The lawsuit alleges the officer was driving recklessly and accuses him of using excessive force.

A second officer is accused of false arrest and malicious prosecution. St. Peter's Police Department is denying all claims here.

A NASA astronaut and two other crew members are safe after their scheduled launch to the International Space Station was abruptly canceled just 20 seconds before liftoff. NASA says an automatic abort was triggered after the service towers next to the Soyuz rocket failed to initiate an engine sequence start. Engineers are still looking into why that happened. The next opportunity for launch is on Saturday.

And a new report finds people with darker skin are 32 percent more likely than white patients to have pulse oximeter readings that overestimate their oxygen levels. And researchers warn this could lead to a delay in potentially lifesaving treatment. And they are urging the FDA now to implement new regulations.

Still to come, five generations of one family gathering to welcome the newest member. And we've got the moment. The 102-year-old matriarch of this family met her great-great-great-daughter.



SANCHEZ: Finally today, there's so much to celebrate for one family in the Rochester, New York area. Not only were they overjoyed with the birth of a new child, they're also able to share that joy with five, that's right, five generations of family. Josephine Campanella is 102 years old.

HILL: She was receiving care in the same hospital as her great- granddaughter, Allison, when Allison delivered her baby. So Campanella got a chance to meet her brand-new great-great-granddaughter, who is also her namesake. That little bundle of joy right there is Macy Josephine Heller. Officials at Unity Hospital say she's going to be known as Macy Jo.

Not a special moment. SANCHEZ: That's crazy, five generations of one family in one hospital.

Congratulations to all of them.

And congratulations to Erica Hill, completing her first set of hours, her first appearance here on CNN "NEW CENTRAL," anchoring the show alongside her.

HILL: Thanks for making it such a joy, my friend.

SANCHEZ: Oh, it's a lot of fun. You get to stand a lot, so I hope you got your steps in.

HILL: I feel like I did get my steps in. I'm done. I don't have to go to the gym today. It's perfect.

SANCHEZ: Thank you, Erica. And thank you so much for joining us today. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts in just about five seconds.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: New York has started the process of seizing Donald Trump's assets.

THE LEAD starts right now.

The court filings are going in, starting the process, in case Donald Trump cannot meet the Monday deadline and come up with a $464 million bond in that civil fraud case penalty. Ahead, what Trump is saying in public while his campaign goes into panic mode behind the scenes.


Plus, outrage on Capitol Hill with Republicans furious over a last- minute release of a massive bill to fund the government through September.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is completely dysfunctional. But this is what Washington is devolved into. It's disgusting.

TAPPER: But will leaders get this bill passed despite the vocal disgust?

And CNN on the ground in Haiti, alongside police, see exactly what these officers are up against as violent gangs try to take over the few parts of the country they don't already control.

Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. And you hear the bell there. We're starting with breaking news in our Money Lead. The Dow closing right now at a record high.

39,780 points plus. Almost 40,000 for the first time in the Dow's 128- year history. The market soaring today after the Federal Reserve kept interest rates the same yesterday and signaled that the U.S. will get three rate cuts this year.

Let's get straight to CNN business anchor Julia Chatterley and Diane Swonk, the chief economist for KPMG. Good to see both of you. Julia, how significant is this milestone? JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR, FIRST MOVE: Well, this is

definitely going to be a Dow wow moment when we get to 40K.

I remember vividly sitting here, if you remember in March of 2020, when we were talking about the Dow flirting with 19,000. Now we're talking about 40K in the space of four years. So I will be enthusiastic about it, but I'll also curb that and say for investors, and that's 60 percent of Americans, by the way, it's the gains that got us here that's more important than the level, which arguably is symbolic.

But it is also a symbol of how we got here, and that's important, and it's a number of things. As you said, it's the fact that we're still expecting three cuts from the Federal Reserve this year, despite the fact that they raised their inflation forecast. It's better than expected growth in the resilience of the U.S. economy and beyond.

It's the strength of consumer spending, and it's all those things like technology and artificial intelligence that's driving us too. And you can see all of those things if you look at some of the best performers in the Dow, American Express, one of the big performers, Disney, Walmart, Microsoft, and IBM, the big tech players.

For those of you who have owned stocks, congratulations because you've made money this year. It's tougher, of course, Jake, for the 40 percent of Americans that don't and didn't benefit from these gains.

And finally, it's also symbolic for an incumbent president in an election year who's trying to illustrate a message about the strength of the economy, and of course, getting very little credit for it.

TAPPER: And Diane, what kind of impact will this have on families across the country? Could this signal good economic signs in other aspects of life?

DIANE SWONK, CHIEF ECONOMIST, KPMG: Well, I think the most important thing is that we are seeing, the reason the Fed is expecting three cuts but not more than that is because they are willing to no longer take a recession.

First of all, they see the resilience of the U.S. economy. The good news is that wages are now outpacing inflation. The bad news is, of course, price levels are still very high and we need time to really feel that regaining of purchasing power needed to feel better about the economy.

But the wealth effects tied to this, it is now a record-breaking nearly 60 percent of households up from 52 percent, 53 percent prior to the pandemic that do own stocks. Also, people have seen significant increases in the wealth in their homes as well.

So we've got about 12,000 millennials turning 35 each day, and they're out there waiting and nipping at the bit to buy homes as well. And that's keeping those prices buoyant in the housing market.

So I think this is going to be continued improvement in the U.S. economy, despite the fact that the Fed's not going to be cutting aggressively because we've proven to be remarkably resilient.

TAPPER: Yes, and Julia, why does there seem to be such a disconnect that this record, almost 40,000 Dow, is happening? So many polls show so many Americans are dissatisfied with the economy.

CHATTERLEY: Yes, the multi-trillion dollar question. I'd go to the point I made originally. 40 percent of Americans aren't stockholders, so they're not getting, as Diane said, that wealth effect.

And they're also probably the most likely to be squeezed by high inflation and by high interest rates, of course. And yes, inflation is slowing, but it's still high. And it's the same with interest rates.

I've got a stat on this. The annual interest cost increase for Americans and that they're paying on mortgages, on credit cards, and on debt has risen $420 billion. That's seriously painful, and who are you going to blame? You look around, you blame the government because they're supposed to help. And as Diane said, there's a catching up effect, and that takes time.

TAPPER: All right, Julia Chatterley and Diane Swonk, thanks so much to both of you.

The markets may be soaring, but our Law and Justice Lead, that rally is not solving Donald Trump's money problems.

The former president has just four days left to post a massive bond and stop his New York assets from being seized by the New York government. And at the same time, his campaign funds are also lacking. CNN's Kristen Holmes examines now how Trump is trying to get out of this mess.



KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With just four days to pay the at least $464 million bond, former president.