Return to Transcripts main page

CNN News Central

Migrants Arrested After Breach Of Razor Wire Fence; Asa Hutchinson: Trump "Disqualified" Himself On Jan. 6, 2021; MIT Researchers Create Suitcase-Sized Devices To Make Seawater Drinkable. Aired 8:30-9p ET

Aired March 22, 2024 - 08:30   ET





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, hey, get the -- up. Get the -- up


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: A chaotic scene at a crossing, a border crossing between Mexico and El Paso, Texas. Hundreds of migrants were arrested by Border Patrol after a group rushed past razor wire and the National Guard. Now it is unclear what led to this incident. CNN senior national correspondent Ed Lavandera is in El Paso. What do we know this morning, Ed, about what happened before and what the consequences have been?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, border patrol officials have been telling us that there hasn't -- had not been any kind of sense of tension or escalating tension among those areas between the ports of entry where so many migrants have crossed in recent months. And this happened just before noon yesterday in El Paso when what is described to us by Customs and Border Protection officials as a large group of my migrants.

We've also been told it was several hundred people essentially pushed through this area where the Texas National Guard has set up razor wire and chain link fences along the northern edge of the Rio Grande there. Of course, this is, you know, one of these areas that has been the hotspot of the tension between Texas authorities and the Biden administration over how to enforce immigration enforcement along the border here.

So that area where you're seeing those migrants bust through the razor wire there and overwhelm the National Guard soldiers, that is just on the northern edge of the river. So those migrants were already in U.S. territory. Then they ran toward the massive border wall that has been in place there for years. And that is where they were taken into custody. They turn themselves in to Border Patrol officials there.

[08:35:17] So Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection officials say all of those migrants were taken into custody. They've been in the process of being processed through the immigration and documentation that they go through when they're taken into Border Patrol custody. That usually takes several days before many of these people are either allowed to request asylum and given papers to continue on into the U.S. Some of them we're told will be deported, hard to say with a group this large exactly what the overwhelming sense of the outcome will be in this particular situation, John?

BERMAN: All right. Ed Lavandera, good to have you in El Paso. Thanks so much for being with us this morning. Kate?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: So new details this morning about the joint fundraising agreement struck between Donald Trump and the RNC. CNN has learned who is getting priority when it comes to donor dollars. And here's how it breaks down. His campaign gets paid first, then the PAC that's funding his legal fees gets paid next. And then after that, the RNC then gets their share, third billing.

Joining us right now to talk about this and much more as a former Republican governor and former Republican presidential candidate, Asa Hutchinson. Governor, thank you for coming in. The RNC being the third priority behind Donald Trump and his legal fees when it comes to donor dollars. Are you OK with that?

ASA HUTCHINSON (R), FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: No, I'm not OK with it. The RNC represents all of the candidates that are running on the Republican ticket. They're raising money for all of the party operations. And now we see it funneled into entity that will help pay Donald Trump's legal fees. This is something I warned against some time ago. I think I'm glad it's being disclosed so people will know this. But this is why the RNC is short on cash is because people see it siphoned off to help Donald Trump in his legal fees.

BOLDUAN: Governor, you wrote an entire piece this week explaining how you are a Republican who will not be supporting the presumptive -- the Republican Party's presumptive nominee and I want to read a part of it of what your words back to you for our viewers. Regretfully, Donald Trump has redefined the GOP in his image and has put personal ego above the common good. He has made the GOP the party that likes Russian President Vladimir Putin over the freedom fighters in Ukraine. He's transfigured conservatism into isolationism, by abandoning NATO and U.S. leadership among the nations of the world. And you go on to say, these and more are not Republican principles. Are you -- do you think, do you accept that you are shouting or screaming into the void right now, though?

HUTCHINSON: Well, sure. I'm, you know, on the minority side of this, even though there is a vast number of Republicans that agree with me believe in the traditional principles of the party, and believe that we should not be a pro Putin party. And Trump has converted our party into something that we hardly recognize. And so I'm swimming upstream. But it's important battle this year, that we continue to fight for what we believe is important for our country and for our party. We're doomed to lose if we just simply become the Trump entity that's going to be following whatever latest craziness that he advocates. And that's a concern to me. That's why I'm raising my voice. January 6th is a part of it. He's morally responsible, we'll find out whether he's legally responsible.

BOLDUAN: Let me ask you about January 6th, because you write about this as well. You wrote about it. When I saw the attack on law enforcement, the rule of law in Congress itself, I said that he should never again lead our country in our party. Remarkably, many Republican leaders made the same point publicly, but later made peace with the disgraced former president. To this day, he continues to undermine our democracy by defending the actions of that dark day.

We've talked a lot just in public about how some Republican leaders said very publicly, Mitch McConnell being one after January 6th, speaking out in breaking from Trump and then have since now said that they will endorse and support him. How do you explain the cognitive dissonance that those two things can be true to Republican leaders?

HUTCHINSON: Well, that's exactly the reason I wrote the op-ed, because I saw Republican leaders that no better that have stated previously, after January 6th, what a terrible day it was and that Donald Trump was responsible. And all of a sudden they're backpedaling from that, they're embracing Donald Trump, not necessarily excited about it but they're doing the party thing and endorsing him.


And this really reflects a lack of courage, a lack of commitment to what we have fought for in the Republican Party for decades. And so I've -- I raised the alarm bell, and I'll continue to do so. And I hope that -- and this is, whenever you see leaders following Donald Trump's path, then you see the base buying into it. What was a dark day now becomes a patriotic day. That is wrong. And that doesn't make sense is the big lie.

And so we've got to call it the way it is. And hopefully that will make a difference with those that are considering who's going to be our next president, but also the direction of the Republican Party.

BOLDUAN: When you're when you're saying called the way it is, that I don't know, appeasement that acquiescence, if you will, I mean, this helps Donald Trump when these Republican leaders even though they said that they would -- they -- that they were breaking from Trump after January 6th now saying they're supporting him, that does help Donald Trump. If that is what they're doing with their acquiescence on this, should they be disqualified?

HUTCHINSON: Well, no, I can't think of why they should be disqualified.

BOLDUAN: I'm just -- I'm not obviously not like, I'm just saying, like what should the -- what consequence should people should people have like, what does that say? You said, it says shows a lack of courage. But what do you think that should mean for those who can't stand up and have courage?

HUTCHINSON: Well, it's frustration. And that's why many people and particularly young people are actually moving away from the party. I was on a college campus yesterday. And they embrace the principles of economic freedom and opportunity, and a strong border and the role of the United States. But whenever they see the Trumpism and the party, and the lack of courage to stand up to that, they say, where are we supposed to go? That was the big question. Where do we go when we don't identify with the Democrat expanding and, you know, their big government philosophy? They want to be a Republican, but the leadership is saying, a redefining who the Republican Party is.

That's troublesome to me. But more importantly, it's troublesome to those voters that we need to get if we're going to win. They asked me well, how are we going to change this? Well, you got to fight the battle. Hopefully you can change in the course of that battle. But you're also heading to lose if you're simply giving in and empowering Donald Trump, who's taken us over a cliff right now.

BOLDUAN: And you don't win the battle near term or long term if you sit by silently and you are not doing that. So it's good to have your voice in the conversation, governor. Thank you so much. John?

HUTCHINSON: Thank you Kate.

BERMAN: Huge upsets on day one of March Madness and no one is more upset than I am. CNN's Andy Scholes on what happened and what happened next. I don't want to blame you. But I feel like I had Kentucky in the final four and it was because of you.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Oh no, that's absolutely not my fault because I said on Monday don't put Kentucky in there because according to Kenpom they cannot win the national title. And John, yesterday I told you to pick the 11 seeds and guess what happened? All three of them won and upsets over the six seeds. So you should -- listen to me your bracket would be doing actually a little bit better.

We'll see if New Mexico can keep that complete sweep of those elevens going today. The biggest upset of day one it actually belong to 14 seed Oakland who took down three seed Kentucky. And you know every year we love meeting new heroes from small schools and what a night this was for Jack Gohlke, the senior for the Golden Grizzlies. He made 10 threes. Gohlke scored 32 points. This is the most ever in the tournament for a player who did not make a two point shot.

Oakland bought (ph) the upset over the Wildcats, 80-76. Greg Kampe, he has been the head coach at Oakland for 40 years. Now he's into the round of 32 for the first time ever. Congrats to him. Kentucky now one in four in the last five tournament games. But here was Gohlke after that big upset.


JACK GOHLKE, OAKLAND GUARD: I know they have draft picks and I know I'm not going to the NBA. But I know on any given night I can compete with those type of guys and our team can compete with those type of guys. And that's why I was so confident going into it and that's why I say we're not a Cinderella because when we play our A game, we can be the best team on the floor.


SCHOLES: Yes, so Dayton meanwhile, look like they were just toast against the Nevada. They were down like 17 with 7:14 to go. But they staged an epic comeback. The flyers finishing the game on a 24-4 run. Nate Santos here with the big bucket put Dayton up by one with 38 seconds. Nevada, their last second three was no good. Dayton moves on after that incredible comeback winning 63 to 60.

And LeBron James high school coach, Keith Dambrot and Duquesne, they're dancing into the second round. The Dukes taken down BYU 71-67 in one of those 11 seed upsets. And this was Duquesne's first tournament win since 1969. Now Dambrot already announced he's retiring after this run, but it's going to have to wait because now they're on to the second round to take on Illinois.



KEITH DAMBROT, DUQUESNE HEAD COACH: They just won't let me retire man, I'm trying to retire. But if we keep winning games, they're going to make me an old man.


SCHOLES: And LeBron having fun with his old coach winning, tweeting, Aye, first tournament win and 55 years. Keep it going. Now the Ducks Jermaine Couisnard meanwhile, he had a tournament opener for the ages against the Gamecocks. Couisnard spent three seasons at South Carolina before transferring to Oregon and he scored a career high in Oregon tournament record 40 yesterday against his former school. The 11 seeded Ducks beat South Carolina 87-73.

And finally, Samford fans not happy this morning. They were down one, 20 seconds to go Jayhawks, going for the dunk. A.J. Staton-McCray chased it down for the block but they called a foul. And you see there it was absolutely all ball. Kansas made both of those free throws and went hold on to win 93 to 89. So a lot of Bulldogs family fans not happy today.

We've got 60 more games coming your way today. You can watch them all across our sister networks TNT, TBS and True T.V. And the women's tournament also tips off today. Undefeated South Carolina they play it 2:00 Eastern against Presbyterian, the Gamecocks are favored by 54 in that one. So hey, hey, there's potential, John, for one of the biggest upsets in sports history if they could pull that one off.

And in case you're wondering Caitlin Clark, she plays tomorrow in Iowa Holy Cross.

BERMAN: Fifty-four, man, take the points on that with me. I do have to say I stand corrected you absolutely did tell us all of those things. I just heard it wrong. You said a lot about Kentucky and then when I was filling out my pool, I'm like, oh, Andy talked about Kentucky. But now that you say it, you told me not to take them. So I apologize.

SCHOLES: You got really take notes better there, John.

BERMAN: Yes, my wife says I'm not a good listener either.

BOLDUAN: No. He legitimately said all of that stuff yesterday.

BERMAN: He did. He did. I just heard it. I just heard it the way I wanted to hear it and, yes.

BOLDUAN: That is hilarious.


BOLDUAN: Andy, now that I mean, your standard is really high now. You got to meet the bar. You got to meet the bar.

SCHOLES: Well, you know, it was just day one you know, things could really go south in your bracket at any time. So, you know, don't hold your breath.

BOLDUAN: -- by the way.

BERMAN: I thought you pick all the right ones.

BOLDUAN: I told you. Cinderella story. Love the upsets. And I really like Oregon's uniforms, but I don't think I picked them so. OK, that's important stuff. I'm going to take it now.

Let's talk about news, back to the news. Coming up for us, it's being called the largest attack ever on Ukraine's energy system. We're following the breaking details there. We have more coming in.

And a drug that's become very popular for the side benefit of weight loss, now we'll get covered by Medicare for patients at risk of heart attacks. We'll be back.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking in Foreign Language).


BERMAN: At least three people are dead in Ukraine and what could be the largest attack ever on the country's energy system. And all, Ukrainian military says that Russia launched 151 missile and drone strikes overnight, power plants substations among the target. More than 1 million people are without working power this morning.

The FBI has a message for passengers who are on the Alaska Airlines flight where that door plug flew off in mid flight. They all might be victims of a crime. FBI Seattle sent a letter to the people who are on board noted the FBI is currently investigating the incident. CNN has reported that the Justice Department was looking into this and also looking into Boeing after the incident. Boeing has declined to comment.

And the drug, Wegovy, is going to get much cheaper for some people. Medicare could soon start covering it for certain senior citizens and people with heart disease. The FDA just approved the drug makers application to add cardiovascular benefits to the Wegovy label. Kate?

BOLDUAN: So nearly 8 billion people and Earth's fresh water supply is getting dirtier, saltier, and more scarce. But scientists are coming up with some new solutions for to address the water crisis. Bill Weir is here. And also to note, it is World Water Day.


BOLDUAN: You as well, dear.

WEIR: Which is kind of not a happy holiday when we realize that 2.2 billion people or one in four people don't have access to clean drinking water. So I like to look for solutions.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Thank God.

WEIR: And it turns out that a lot of them are bubbling out of the melting pot laboratories of Boston, specifically MIT, where let's start with this young man. He's from China, and he was teaching in rural China years ago and realized that the students were carrying water two hours a day. So he and his instructor there at MIT created a suitcase sized device that uses basically the circulation power of the oceans just shrunk down. It is solar powered, and they say could produce clean drinking water six liters an hour at a cost cheaper than tap.


WEIR: This is early on, the young man, Yang Zhong, behind this. He's still has to graduate. But meanwhile, there's another team from Korea at MIT. These young people came up with a similar desalination device. Again, desalination these days, you know, keeps countries like Saudi Arabia alive but it's hugely expensive, a lot of infrastructure. Another suitcase sized device. He has this now the prototype with the U.S. Army. He says it can do 10 liters an hour with a different kind of technology than the first --


BOLDUAN: Wait, that's really huge. Desalination plants are enormous. That's part of the problem.

WEIR: Enormous. And if make this accessible for people on coastal areas, we can scale them up to the village size. The potential area is huge. He has a startup is just getting the first few millions of investment. But get this, there was another pair of lab partners from India, one of which grew up carrying water in buckets. They decided to try to clean up the dirtiest of industrial wastewater like a pharmaceutical plant, which is used as millions of gallons a day. Their company, Gradient, which has a whole suite of cleaning solutions is the first clean water unicorn valued at a billion dollars.

So there are these huge ideas percolating out there. But we really live in the land that world of the haves and the have nots. I was like driving in this morning I looked at a story that Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia has announced a project where they're going to build a giant outdoor ski resort in the desert with a manmade lake, all of which will have to be desalinated from saltwater. There's no world in which that's sustainable. But the haves and have nots, but it's amazing to see these young people the solutions, people coming foreign students from developing lands where the problem is much more acute than it here in the United States and sort of mingling with that cutting edge science at MIT in Boston, so a few reasons for hope there.

BOLDUAN: I'm going to say on the tail end of lawyer like bad statistics and bad data everywhere we can actually say Happy World Water Day because that is promising.

WEIR: I think so.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Bill.

WEIR: You bet.

BOLDUAN: It's great to see you.

WEIR: Likewise.


BERMAN: All right, new details this morning about two fugitives captured in Idaho after a brazen prison break. These are men with ties to a white supremacist prison gang. In addition to three corrections officers who were injured in the original ambush and Boise. Now police say they are investigating the deaths of two men that are potentially tied to the escape. In two other counties, they were found several 100 miles away in Twin Falls. CNN's Camila Bernal is in Boise this morning. What's the very latest?

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, John, authorities saying that this was not an accident. They're making it very clear that this was a planned event. And what authorities say yesterday was that they believe these two suspects first went north, and they believe they killed two men in separate incidents, then got into a different car and drove south east about 130 miles southeast of where I am in Twin Falls, Idaho. And that's where police say there was a short chase and they were arrested.

But here's the thing, authorities saying not a single shot was fired during the arrest. So of course they say they were pleased with no one being injured during this incident in terms of the three officers that we know were injured during the escape. We were also told yesterday that one of them was released from the hospital. The other two are stable and improving. And we were also told that their spirits were lifted once they were informed that these two suspects had been arrested.

Now, authorities very focused on trying to figure out exactly how they did this. You know, they talked about possibly looking into contraband cell phones. They're also looking into the links between the two suspects. Here is the director of the state's Department of Correction.


JOSH TEWALT, DIRECTOR, IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION: In addition to having both having membership with the Area Knights, they also shared some acquaintances. They did have some housing overlap on and off from December 29th, 2022 to when Mr. Umphenour was released from our custody.


BERNAL: Now I also asked State Police how they linked the two murders to the two suspects and what I was told was that the shackles were left at the scene of one of the murders. So again, this is something that they're looking into and trying to figure out exactly what happened here. But they say this was definitely something that was planned. John?

BERMAN: Yes. A planned escape and now two more deaths that they have to investigate, obviously quite a situation in Idaho. Camila Bernal, thank you so much for your reporting.

And our CNN News Central starts right now.

BOLDUAN: $500 million, that is how much cash Donald Trump now suggests that he has on hand while he's facing the deadline to pony up when it comes to the civil fraud judgment against him.

And a historic vote just moments from now, the United Nations Security Council is set to decide on a Gaza ceasefire resolution authored by the United States for the first time.

The Biden administration rolling out new sanctions against Mexico's powerful Sinaloa Cartel, what they're doing now to stop the cartel from laundering millions and dirty drug money.

Sara is out today. I'm Kate Bolduan with John Berman. This is CNN News Central.


BERMAN: All right, breaking this morning, just a short time ago --