Return to Transcripts main page

CNN News Central

CNN Poll Shows Close Race Playing Out in Battleground States Pennsylvania and Michigan; Trump Cries Foul as New York Attorney General Takes First Steps to Seize Assets; Congress Sprints to Pass Government Spending Bill and Avoid Shutdown. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired March 22, 2024 - 07:00   ET



KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR: You know what? It's not new in the U.S. President Biden has been photographed. But it really doesn't really compare, honestly, to shirtless Vladimir Putin. But here's President Bide riding a bicycle.

Donald Trump always played golf when he was in the Oval Office. Barack Obama famously got on a basketball court and saw it at the White House. And if French President Macron needs a sparring partner, I might suggest outgoing Senator -- Utah Senator Mitt Romney. Here he is, boxing former heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield for charity. If Romney's busy, I'm only a phone call away, Mr. Macron. I think he'd honestly win, but what are you going to do?

All right, thanks everybody for being with us today. Thanks for joining us. Happy Friday. I am Kasie Hunt.

Don't go anywhere. CNN NEWS CENTRAL starts right now.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: The blue wall and the cracks in the blue wall, a new look at what voters are saying and how voters feeling in Michigan and Pennsylvania right. The CNN polls just out.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So, Donald Trump could get news of a multibillion dollar windfall today for a company that, by some accounts, is floundering. Is this just what he needs to avoid the seizure of some of his real estate empire?

And were you on that Alaska Airlines plane where the door plug blew out mid-flight? Well, the FBI just sent out letters saying you could be the victim of a crime.

Sara is out. I'm John Berman with Kate Bolduan. It's Friday, and this is CNN NEWS CENTRAL.

BOLDUAN: So, we have new CNN polling out this morning and the state of the race today is staring directly at the blue wall, Michigan and Pennsylvania, two battleground states that Joe Biden flipped in 2020, two battleground states where voters right now do not appear happy with their choices.

Less than half say they're satisfied with a Biden-Trump rematch. And when you dive in, you see in Pennsylvania there's a dead heat between the president and former president, both with 46 percent support.

The good sign for the Biden campaign, Biden appears to be holding advantage there with women voters, voters of color and independents.

The Biden campaign is likely feeling quite differently about the view in Michigan right now. Among registered voters there, Donald Trump has an eight-point advantage and seems to be gaining ground with younger voters and independents.

CNN's David Chalian has much more for us. David, a smart man named David Chalian flagged this morning that roughly a quarter of voters in both of these states say that they are not locked in to their vote quite yet. Why is that so important to talk to us?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Which makes sense, right, because we are still seven plus months away from the election.

So, it's important because, A, as we know with polls, this is a snapshot in time. But when voters tell you, yes, I could change my mind, it kind of proves the point that there is work to be done here for both the Trump and the Biden campaigns with all these months ahead of them to seal the deal.

But I want to go inside a little bit some of the demographic slices underneath those horse race numbers that you just provided. Look here in Pennsylvania. If you look among independents, you see that Biden is at 46 percent, Trump at 36 percent. He's plus ten among independents. Back in 2020, according to the exit polls, Biden was plus eight in P.A. among indies, so within range.

Women, he's plus eight with women. Back in 2020 in the exit polls, Biden was plus 11 in Pennsylvania among women, again, within-range.

So, as you noted, pieces of the Biden coalition here seem to be coming back to him in Pennsylvania. That is a different story when you look at Michigan.

Michigan, again look at these same demographics slices, Biden is minus ten to Trump among independents. Well, back in the 2020 exits, Biden won independents in Michigan by six. Women, it's roughly even here given the margin of error. I would call that a three-point split, 48- 45, roughly, even split among women between Trump and Biden.

Biden, won women in Pennsylvania by 14 percentage points in 2020 in the exit. So, there is clearly pieces of the Biden coalition in Michigan that are not yet sort of returning to the norm of where they were in 2020.

BOLDUAN: And what about the continuing question about a third party, David?

CHALIAN: Kate, I find this fascinating. Look here at the horse races again among registered voters. We're not in the season of looking at likely voters just yet, but you see here in Pennsylvania, Trump gets 40 percent to Biden's 38 percent, to RFK Jr.'s 16 percent, to Cornell's 4 percent.

The first thing I want to just note here, because I think this is the biggest factor of the third party support at this moment, it lowers Trump's win number, right? He's winning that race, basically, if you will, with no clear leader, but he's numerically ahead with 14 percent of the vote.


That's all he needs to be getting the most support there.

Same thing in Michigan, if you look at the third party factor there, you see that Donald Trump's number to come out on top, his win number here also at 40 percent. It's just dramatically lower for Trump to get over the hurdle of winning the state with the third party there.

Now, when we look inside, we see that those Kennedy voters, they're sort of pulling -- he's pulling from Republicans and Democrats near equally. So, it's not entirely clear in terms of the support, where it's totally pulling from in terms of advantage for Biden or Trump, but it is clear that it lowers the threshold needed to win a state.

BOLDUAN: How is President Biden's approval rating, which we track all the time, of course, how is his approval rating playing into any of this or not?

CHALIAN: It's such a good question. We do track it all the time, and it has been sort of a reliable indicator for decades in politics, especially for incumbents, right, who are running for re-election.

Look at Joe Biden's approval rating in Pennsylvania first. You see he's at 40 percent approval, 60 percent disapproval. That's basically where he's been nationally as well on average. But, again, in Michigan, we see something different. He's at 35 percent approval in Michigan, 64 percent disapproval.

It is a tougher electorate in Michigan for him now, and specifically in basically all the polling that we've seen after October 7th, and the Israel-Hamas issue, how it's particularly playing there.

But, Kate, the question is, is Biden the factor in this race? According to these polls in these two battleground states, Trump is the factor. Trump is the factor for both Biden voters and Trump voters. Look in Pennsylvania, you see Biden voters overwhelmingly say they're voting against his opponent. 61 percent say that of Biden supporters, not for Joe Biden. It's the complete reverse for Donald Trump.

We see a similar thing in Michigan. Donald Trump, whether you're a Biden supporter or a Trump supporter, is the driving force in this election, and that may be good news for Joe Biden, of course, who is trying to keep Donald Trump front and center in America's minds.

BOLDUAN: that's fascinating, David, just seeing those numbers up there on the grid together. It's great to see you, David. Thank you so much. You were just commenting. This is -- that's really cool.

BERMAN: I just think David did a great job laying that out. And the idea that Donald Trump is the central factor, it may be with both campaigns want?

BOLDUAN: That's what I'm thinking, right? Because that's what Biden is saying, don't compare me to that the Almighty, compare me to the alternative. That's basically in a nutshell.

BERMAN: By the way, seasons of likely voters, David Chalian's favorite song from Rent, a little known fact.

BOLDUAN: I expected that one. Well played. Well played, Well played.

BERMAN: So, this morning, Donald Trump is raging as he tries to prevent his real estate empire from being taken apart building by building. He is racing to secure a half billion dollar bond to appeal his civil fraud case in New York by Monday's deadline.

In the middle of the night, Trump wrote, quote, I did nothing wrong. This is simply taking much like what is done in communist countries and will leave an irreparable stain on New York State and its judicial system.

Now, the Trump Seven Springs estate in New York's Westchester County is one of the properties that New York Attorney General Letitia James may begin seizing if Trump cannot pay up.

CNN Senior Crime and Justice Reporter Katelyn Polantz is with us now. Tick tock, tick tock, Katelyn.

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: John, the question this morning is, will the appeals court in New York State throw Donald Trump a lifeline here? He has this Monday deadline. On Monday, that means the judgment, the win that New York Attorney General Letitia James has had in this civil fraud case would be solidified in court unless Donald Trump can find a way to put up this money for his appeal or the appeals court comes through with him.

He's hoping that the appeals court could say, yes, you're rich enough and you don't need to post a bond or make sure that the court knows that you have $464 million in cash available or they could reduce the amount that he would have to post in bond to something more palatable to any of those third party underwriters he's been trying and failing to get a loan from or help from.

So, if that comes through, then we will not be talking about this anymore, but if it doesn't and the appeals court doesn't allow him to continue to delay paying this money or having it seized by New York State, then the New York attorney general, they are already getting things in place to claim the victory here.

Letitia James, she is laying the groundwork by having her lawyers from the state of New York go to different counties where he has properties and letting them know, entering the judgment in them in Westchester County, where Seven Springs Estate and Golf Course is in New York City, where Trump Tower, a property on Wall Street, hotels, apartment buildings, where all of those properties are.


And then once that judgment comes in, if there is no additional way for Trump to continue appealing, if he's not posting the bond, then they get to go to court to claim those things, file liens, move for foreclosures, and elongate the process very likely because Trump will be fighting them each step of the way as they try to seize his assets, cash, real estate, bank accounts.

Donald Trump, he says this is all very expensive, and he has been railing about the New York attorney general and the judge saying that this is all about him being under attack politically. But, really, what this shows is that we are at the end of the road of a lawsuit that Donald Trump has lost, and there are very fewer options day by day going forward. And as the moments progress until Monday for Donald Trump, he has lost his lawsuit, and there is $464 million on the line for him.

BERMAN: Yes. Look, don't touch that dial because I don't think we're even sure about how or when we will know that this thing has blown up all together or whether he has a resolution, could happen any time in the next three days.

Katelyn Polantz, thank you very much for that. Kate?

BOLDUAN: And add into all that, a possible merger for Donald Trump's Truth Social, and that could be bring Trump a $3 billion windfall. Could that, will that save him from paying up for the fraud case he lost? There may be a catch.

And CNN is inside Haiti, where one person says it's kill or be killed right now. Mobs armed with machetes and people forced to walk past dead bodies lying on the street every day.

And lawmakers, they're still sprinting to the finish to avoid a government shutdown, a lapse in government funding. At least one key Republican has already though announced he's a no, as Speaker Johnson once again is counting every single vote.



BOLDUAN: Lawmakers are sprinting once again, but it's a question also again this morning as to where they are sprinting to. A photo finish to avoid -- to pass a government funding package to beat a midnight deadline, or are they sprinting toward a train wreck of political infighting among Republicans again that could stop this all in its tracks.

In less than two hours, House lawmakers are set to meet. They're set to vote on first on a trillion dollar deal, on this trillion dollar deal. Spending for six government agencies is on the line. So, where is this all going?

CNN's Sunlen Serfaty, she's back with us. She's been covering this for us. Sunlen, where do things stand this morning?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, Speaker Johnson, he really has to rely this morning on House Democrats to get this done. And he has an extremely high bar in the House who will vote on this bill first. They need to get two-thirds of the majority of those present to pass the bill. So, depending on how many members are here today, that's about in the 280, 290 range.

Now, there has certainly been a lot of grumbling on both sides. We heard it all day on Capitol Hill yesterday. Top Republicans, though, they do expect the votes. They will have the votes this morning to pass this bill in the House, but even they admit that it will be close.

And you heard this deep frustration from far-right members, Chip Roy, saying he -- describing the bill as a failure of leadership.

Now, when and if it passes in the House, and then it goes to the Senate, there it is going to face a tough slog. Any one member can object to passing the bill quickly, and that could slow things down and delay voting all day today.

And, of course, Kate, you know, time is not on their side. They have until midnight tonight to get this done, and certainly a lot of possibilities for it to get off track.

Now, all of this will kick off in just a few hours after huddling this morning. Republicans and Democrats then will go to the House to vote around 11:00, 11:30 A.M. Eastern. So, a lot up in the air this morning, Kate.

BLDUAN: Absolutely. We'll get some answers, though, by this afternoon, is one thing we will know. It's good to see you, Sunlen. Thank you. John?

SERFATY: Thanks.

BERMAN: All right. More than 150 Americans evacuated as gang violence sweeps over a nation. CNN is on the streets.

And why the FBI is telling a plane-load of passengers that they may have been the victim of a crime.



BERMAN: Now, one gang leader was killed in a shootout with police last night, but the carnage continues.

Now CNN's David Culver was one of the first U.S. television journalists to get to Port-au-Prince since the carnage started. His report is disturbing. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID CULVER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Oh, my God. You can see a body just sitting right in the middle of the street there. And people are trying to figure out the best way to get around it.

Across the streets, this family rushes into a truck, shielding their little one's eyes, an effort to preserve what innocents is left here in Haiti, the gruesome sight slowing, but not stopping the morning rush hour.

And you can even see here, look at this. A police car is just going right past, and it will continue on. It doesn't even stop.

A neighbor explains how an overnight gang attack ended in vigilante killings.

There's a gunfire shooting here.

This man says he and more than 50 others immediately set out to find those terrorizing their neighborhood. They surrounded a man they didn't recognize.

And you believe he was a gang member?

Carrying machetes, he tells me, they carried out justice as he sees it, the only way they know to defend themselves.

When they come in shooting all around, trying to scare us to flee, we won't just let them kill us. They have to die, he tells me.

The way you see this is kill or be killed?

Police don't condone the killings but they are overwhelmed and overrun and they don't have time to them.


There are daily gun battles in the capital, as police struggle to push the gangs back. The officers have willpower, but little else. We see that firsthand, as we patrol with Haiti's national police.

There are no frontlines in this war. The boundaries are blurred and they're constantly shifting. And these officers know, driving around in an armored vehicle like this, well, they expect to be shot at. They're moving targets.

They cruise through gang territory, revealing a city in ruins and on fire.

At this intersection, we find another gruesome scene, three bodies half eaten by dogs and still smoldering, people desperate for food and for shelter, even if it is in the shell of what was once a government building.

I mean, this is just a symbol of the state collapse here. More than 1,500 have now occupied this building and made it their home, mostly children from what we see.

And there are those who line up for hours trying to get visas to go anywhere but here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And not only there's no security, but there's no jobs, you know. And only there's no jobs, they're running after us wherever we are.

CULVER (voice over): The gangs are now targeting more affluent areas.

What's left of an ATM is still in there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're trying to show themselves as Robin Hoods or stuff, but they're just thieves. They're just thieves, they're criminals.

CULVER: For street vendors like this woman who still have fruits to sell, no customers to buy them.

Because folks can't afford most of these items.

More troubling for her, the horrors she witnesses on these streets. Many people have died, she tells me, and they have to make trips to pick them up. We see that for ourselves as we head back just before curfew.

Medics clearing the remains of that suspected gang member. They hurry not to save a life but to pick up two more bodies on this same street.

Here in Haiti, humanity has disintegrated into a brutal fight for survival.


BERMAN: What a report. Our thanks to David Culver for that.

So, the truth is out there, way, way out there. Could Donald Trump's beleaguered social media site, Truth Social, win him $3 billion today?

And then happening now, the secretary of state holding key meetings in Israel. Is a deal to release the hostages in Gaza moving closer?