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Trump Legal Battles; Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun To Step Down. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired March 25, 2024 - 09:00   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. At any moment, Donald Trump is expected to arrive at a New York City courthouse. He faces quite a day.


BERMAN: One case that could land him behind bars, the other that puts his fortune, his properties, and honestly maybe his pride, at risk. Trump will appear in front of a judge for a hearing in his criminal hush money case. This involves adult film star Stormy Daniels and his former fixer Michael Cohen. The judge today could set a trial date. We do expect Trump to speak before he goes into court. Now, this is a location he has been known to rant.

SIDNER: But that's not even the most pressing issue today for Trump. The deadline has arrived today for the former president to pay the $464 million bond in his New York civil fraud case. If he is unable to do that, New York's AG is set to go after his bank accounts and business properties.

CNN's Kaitlan Collins is outside the court in New York City for us. Kaitlan, what are you expecting today? How is it going to play out?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: I mean, that is a great question, Sara. It could really be anything that we are witnessing today as these two crises are facing Trump and confronting him both here happening in the same city because -- at this courthouse here behind us where we are seated here in New York, where Trump could soon find out when exactly he could be the first former president to go on criminal trial.

But as we were waiting to figure out what is happening with that case, of course, Trump is facing something that is consuming him much more. And that is this bond that he has been unable to have a giant -- any kind of insurance giant underwrite it. His attorneys have not said in the last several days whether or not he's unable to find any solution to that. And we know today is when that 30 day grace period lapses, which means that the attorney general could move here to enforce that suit.

And you can see that this is what Trump is much more concerned about when you just look at his own social media, on Truth Social posting just in the last half hour about this, saying that he could be forced to sell his "babies," obviously a reference there to his assets that could be on the line as he is now trying to figure out how to handle this solution. But right now, his legal team and the former president himself are preparing to enter this courthouse behind us. We have CNN's Paula Reid and Kristen Holmes here with me as we are often always so out here in front of the courthouse.

And, Paula, obviously, will talk about what's happening with the bond. But what's happening behind us is remarkable in and of itself, because today is just to be the first day that Trump is going on trial. And instead now, his team is trying to get it dismissed. At least we know there is going to be a delay until April 15th. What is going to happen inside that courthouse today?

PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: So this morning, Trump's lawyers, instead of beginning the first criminal trial against former President Trump, they're going to argue for why this should be postponed even further. They want 90 days or dismissed outright. Because just a few weeks ago, the federal government, so the Justice Department, handed over 100,000 documents, new pieces of evidence.

Now this is a state case, and this new evidence came from the Justice Department related to its investigation and prosecution of Michael Cohen, who is at the heart of this hush money case, where they allege Trump paid hush money to Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election to help his chances, they say, in that race. And then they charged him with falsifying business records to cover up why he was paying Michael Cohen back.

So Cohen is a key part of this. And Trump's lawyers argue, look, we need 90 days to go through all of this. We believe that some of this is exculpatory or helpful to our client. The district attorney though says no, actually only a small portion of this is irrelevant. And if it helps anyone, it helps us.

So we think it's a long shot bid for them to dismiss this case. But what we are looking for today is if they set a new trial date, and if so, is it 30, 60 or even 90 days out?

COLLINS: And if it's delayed, I mean, that's the question, but they are ultimately seeking to have it dismissed. But does Trump's legal team really think that that could be what they walk out of this courthouse today with?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I have not heard that. I mean, when I'm talking to the legal team, they think that, again, we know that they'll throw anything at the wall. And that's what they should do, right? They are exhausting every avenue. That's what Donald Trump pays them to do, is to try and delay each of these cases to go down every single pathway that they can. And there's a lot of stuff, even when you talk about the immunity case in the Supreme Court that they don't believe is actually going to be successful.

But one of the things they are hoping for here is more and more delays, particularly butting this up against that November election. When they're talking about heading into November, they already feel like this case of the multiple criminal trials or cases that he is facing is the most easy for them to paint as political. So particularly the closer they get to the election, that for them is a win.

COLLINS: Can we talk about what's actually in these documents? Because I know all of it relates back is -- it seems to always with this case is to Michael Cohen. And Michael Cohen himself has said, you know, these are his texts, his phone calls, all of these documents. They were unable to get their hands on before.


I mean, clearly the prosecution here realizes that were -- there was a bit of a mistake with that because they agreed to at least a 30 day delay, and so they could sort through it. Do we know if it actually would be anything that's exculpatory for Donald Trump?

REID: Well, again, there's fingers being pointed both ways, right, for why there is a delay and for who actually benefit here. It's our understanding that most of these documents are related to the search warrants that were executed into the Cohen investigation. So these are things going back years about his investigation for campaign finance violations and tax violations. It's unclear who this would exactly help in this case.

The biggest question right now, though, is why the Justice Department took so long to hand this over. We know the Trump team subpoenaed this information in January. The Trump team has suggested that somehow the district attorney, the state level prosecutors, have delayed them receiving this evidence. But the district attorney points to them and says no, you intentionally delayed this. You waited till January to subpoena this as part of your delay, delay, delay strategy.

So right now, there's a lot of confusion about exactly what is in these documents, who will help and why it took so long. I talked to former Justice Department officials, folks who have worked in the Southern District of New York, and they agree this is very unusual. And it has already had the effect of delaying what was expected to be the first and possibly the only criminal case to go before the election.

COLLINS: And we know we're going to see Donald Trump. He's expected to leave Trump Tower shortly. We're preparing for him to arrive here. Obviously, this is a courthouse he's become intimately familiar with. But it's clear, Kristen, what's bothering him much more is what's happening with this bond that is only growing by $100,000 a day with the interest. His team so far has not said that they have found someone, you know, magically to be able to help that after saying that they had approached 30 different places and not been able to find anything.

What have you heard from people about what they expect to happen today?

HOLMES: Yes. Almost entirely radio silence in terms of whether or not he's going to be able to post that bond and how he would get that money or get those assets. Now, obviously, you've heard from Donald Trump. I mean, this goes to the core of who he is. This essentially for him is an embarrassment, because you're talking about seizing assets, you're talking about not having the money and to the point where he's posting online. Actually, I do have the cash but it's really hard. I was going to put towards my campaign. And then you have lawyers be like, no, no, no. He doesn't actually have the cash.

COLLINS: And we should note he hasn't spent money on his own campaign since 2006--

HOLMES: Since 2006, yes, exactly. And there's been no indication also from his campaign since early on that he was going to spend any of his own money. In fact, at one point, I was told that he offered very early on when there was very little money to give a little bit, and they told him not to because they didn't want to go down that pathway. So no indication at all that he was going to give this kind of cash to his own campaign.

But again, him claiming the habit because here we are talking about the fact that Donald Trump does not have the assets he needs, does not have the money to post the bond. And that to him, it hits him at his core because he wants to be portrayed as a successful wealthy businessman.

COLLINS: Well, and I think what everyone wants to know is what the attorney general is going to do today. Because today, she can freeze bank accounts, she could start seizing assets, but it's much more complicated than that. It's not as simple as just going up to Trump Tower for the sheriff, and then she has the deed because Donald Trump has structured his ownership. It's something that would take a complicated process to actually unwind that.

What's our sense of what the AG is going to do?

REID: So there's a legal and then there's political. Legally, we know she is laying the groundwork to possibly seize assets in Westchester County outside Manhattan. She has filed certain pieces of paper that would allow her to go after assets there. But like you said, it's a process and seizing property is much more complicated than trying to seize cash assets within banks.

But this is a legal avenue she can pursue. It's a process. Like you said, we don't expect it to happen today. But there's also the optics, there's the political. I mean, there's an argument to be made that if you start seizing some of Trump's buildings, particularly the more iconic ones that politically that could help him, because the idea of seizing personal property in a case that they have tried so hard to paint as politically-motivated. That's something that could really not sit well, potentially, with certain groups of voters.

So she has a lot of options if he can't post this bond. Cash is easier to get with the proper paperwork than it is to seize property. But she's clearly laying the groundwork and it appears that she's eyeing his properties in Westchester County if she has to go that way. COLLINS: Yes. And even if it's politically beneficial, it's still something that has clearly struck a nerve to say the least with the former president. Kristen and Paula, we hear all morning, John, of course talking about this waiting to see when the former president himself arrives here.

One thing to note, John, he has filed an appeal or is trying to an appeals court to either waive that he has to put up that entire bond. We have not heard from them yet, John, they typically only rule on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

BERMAN: Yes. It isn't clear when or if, or how they would rule today but nothing on the schedule. It's also not exactly clear when or how we're aware the attorney general of New York, Letitia James, would actually start to begin seizing assets or even money. So we're watching that very closely too as the day continues. Kaitlan, we'll come back to you in just a second.


In the meantime, there is the breaking news. We got word that the CEO of Boeing, Dave Calhoun, says he is going to step down by the end of the year. In a letter to employees, Calhoun called the Alaska Airlines door plug incident a "watershed moment for Boeing." He said he intends to leave by the end of the year, so to will the company's chairman and the head of the commercial aviation unit.

Let's get right to seen as Pete Muntean who's got all the latest here. Pete, what have you learned?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the irony here is that Dave Calhoun came into power after the Max8 incidents of 2018 and 2019 that killed 346 people abroad. Now, he is leaving as a result of another incident on the Max line, the January 5 Alaska Airlines door plug blowout.

The NTSB found in its preliminary report that Boeing forgot to reinsert the four critical bolts at the Renton Washington factory, something that Calhoun himself described as a quality escape. The irony here is very significant. Also the surprise that Calhoun is not leaving immediately and did not leave any earlier after he made this personal plea on Capitol Hill to the top senators overseeing aviation, that Boeing airplanes are safe, and that he's made pleas to airline CEOs that have apparently lost faith in Calhoun, leading to his departure at the end of 2024.

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby says, it is in question about whether or not the airline will follow through with its orders of the Max 10 plane. Also, there's been a lot of questions from Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci. They want $150 million in repayments from Boeing and damages following the door plug blow out they had to cancel a few hundred flights each day as a result of those issues.

There's also some big questions here about whether or not this should have happened a lot earlier. There's been so much criticism of the workers on the factory floor and they did a safety stand down and we're reminded by Boeing to make sure that every part is in place. Also leaving with Calhoun are Stan Deal, the head of Commercial Airplanes Division for Boeing, also Larry Kellner, the board chair at Boeing.

The only other person to leave Boeing ahead of this was a relative no name to people at home, that man who led the Mac's program. This is really significant here, John, and the fact that Calhoun is out now is really underscoring the fact the trouble that Boeing is in.

BERMAN: Yes. Really shows you how seriously they are taking it, though, there are still questions about how he'll manage to stick around for the remaining weeks and months that he says he will. Pete Muntean, thanks so much for this information. Sara?

SIDNER: All right. Former President Donald Trump we are seeing now leaving Trump Tower heading to face off in two cases, one which could be the very first criminal trial he faces if there are no more delays, and the other that big bond hearing where he has to pay $464 million or else the AG may start trying to seize his assets.

Also, the former president lashing out on Truth Social this morning, more of our special coverage of head as you see Donald Trump heading to that court, we may hear from him even in the next few minutes.



SIDNER: Just moments ago, we showed you Donald Trump leaving Trump Tower and we expect to see him arrive any moment at a New York courthouse for a hearing in the hush money case against him. Also today, he is supposed to secure 600 -- 400, excuse me, $464 million for the bond and the civil fraud judgment case that is now pending against him.

BERMAN: Yes. He's got until today to come up with that money or else. Although isn't exactly clear what or else is right now. With us now, former Manhattan prosecutor Jeremy Saland, former federal prosecutor Jennifer Rodgers.

And I do want to be transparent here. One of the things we're watching for is to see if Donald Trump talks at the courthouse where he is right now in a hearing the criminal case. Why? Because I suppose it's possible he announces, you know what, we're not coming up with a bond conclusively today. We don't have the money, which means that Attorney General Letitia James is in your court. And then, Jennifer, then was?

JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the problem here is their assets all over the place, right? So Letitia James has to decide where to go first. Do you go to a bank and you issue a judgment with a bank and try to seize -- freeze and then seize a bank account. The real estate takes more time. So it's not even like just one thing where she walks into a clerk's office and plunks down the piece of paper and says we've done it, right?

So what she would do, I suppose, is disperser people around to the assets she's decided to prioritize, which are going to be I think, the bank accounts, and they'll start filing the papers. So I think we'll probably hear from her. She'll probably make a statement when she does that. If she does it today, tomorrow, whenever.

SIDNER: Jeremy, this case, also, though, is pending because there is an appeal. And they're asking either to just throw it out and say, look, trust him. He's the guy that's got a lot of properties and money, you don't have to worry about this, or to knock down the number. Will the judge or will she wait to see what happens there? Or do you think that this is something that she's like we're going for this, this is the 30 day mark. We've already put -- she's already putting up a plan to try to seize at least one property.

JEREMY SALAND, FORMER MANHATTAN PROSECUTOR: Absolutely. I think it would be smarter move to wait if we think of judgment -- pardon me, the appeal is going to be decided in this week or soon there after because you don't want to start that process only to roll it back. So I think though that she will go to the banks first because that's easy. You've identified that asset, you can see that asset. You send in New York City, will be a sheriff, or you can send a marshal. They take a piece of that pie and the rest of it goes to the state of New York.

It's fairly simple, but I think she waits. It would be the smarter move, though, certainly, politically, it would be a big statement if she did it just now.

BERMAN: Jennifer, again, we are waiting to see if Donald Trump chooses to speak as he heads into the criminal court right now. He has said some things over the last several days that raised eyebrows. Number one, he has said he has the money before. I'm wondering when he speaks out loud, what he could say that would be a problem going forward.

RODGERS: So we have this Appellate Division motion, right, where he says, please knock down the amount. We can't do it, it's impossible, his lawyers have said. But then he comes out and says I have the money. I just would rather spend it on my campaign.

So if you're an Appellate Division judge and you're sitting with this motion saying, it's impossible, we can't do it. That has to give you pause about the truth of that, right? So I think it does make it less likely that the court will intervene if he's saying I have the money, it's just that I want to use it for something else.

SIDNER: And to be clear, he has not put any money towards the campaign yet, so interesting wording there in his Truth Social. I do want to ask you about the case where he is going right now and he's headed there at this moment. We're watching his car coming up to the courthouse.

You know, this has been delayed already till April 15th. But there were 100,000 documents the DOJ sort of held on to. Last minute, hands them over. His attorneys say, hey, we have to have time to go through this, and they have. What else might cause this to be delayed? Because they're asking not only for delay, but they're asking for it to be thrown out as any defense attorney would? SALAND: Yes. I think the biggest issue is the timing. And I know there's going to be more documents that the 100,000 on its face seems like a lot. It may very well not be a lot, may not all be relevant, some of it maybe easy to parse through. But I think that's going to be the main thrust of his argument because you already have a decision. I believe it was March 18th, Merchan issued a decision. And it addressed what we call Molyneux about certain things coming into evidence.

So he's already addressed a lot of the substantive issues or underlying issues. So I think today, it's just what we've said many, many times that big D, not Donald delay, delay, delay.

BERMAN: But what have we learned from this judge so far, Jennifer, in terms of how he's approaching this case in general?

RODGERS: So he's working towards a trial. He issued a terse order when all of this kind of came to light about these documents saying, if necessary, I will set a trial date after this hearing. But since then, he's ruled on some motions and he seems to be moving towards a swift trial here.

But he's no nonsense, he's very experienced. I think he's a good choice for this trial. Not that he was chosen, it was wheeled out. But it's a good draw, like Judge Kaplan was in the E. Jean Carroll case. Because when you have a jury, you have to be very careful about controlling the courtroom and controlling this defendant in particular. I think Judge Merchan is going to be up to that.

BERMAN: Do you think we'll know by the end of the day the trial date?


BERMAN: All right. Jennifer Rodgers, Jeremy Saland, we are standing by for that. That will be big news when it happens.

Also big news, Donald Trump will arrive at that course shortly. We do expect him to speak he likes to talk/rants on the way in. And as you just heard from our esteemed law firm here, what he says could be potentially dangerous not for this case necessarily but for the huge civil judgment against him. So we are standing by to see how we approach it, stay with us.



COLLINS: All right. Now, we are seeing Donald Trump arrived here at the courthouse in Manhattan. In just moments, the door will open inside that courtroom for a hearing on his criminal hush money case. And we are expecting to potentially hear from the former president any moment as he exits his motorcade and is going to walk into that courtroom.

This is a critical morning, not just for that case, and as the judge is expected to decide when and whether that trial can begin next month, or whether or not it will be delayed again. But it also causes that 30 day grace period from the attorney general, for Trump to put up that bond in his civil case has now lapsed, meaning she could potentially move to enforce it as soon as today.

We have Paula Reid and Kristen Holmes back here with me. And honestly, Kristen, this is something that has been so sensitive for the former president because it speaks to this public perception that has always defined his identity, which is his wealth and how much money he has. And he was falsely claiming the other day that he had half a million dollars and that he was expecting to use it for his campaign, even though we know he doesn't have that much based on what he has personally testified.

REID: And his lawyers have said.

COLLINS: And his lawyers, and he wasn't expecting to use it for his campaign based on what we had seen. But talk about how he's been approaching this deadline himself personally.

REID: I mean, this has been a really big deal for him, because this idea that he doesn't have the funds, that he's going to show that he doesn't have the funds is something that to him is deep-seated and humiliating. It's embarrassing to think that he's not this wealthy businessman.

And as you've seen from Donald Trump for the last eight years, and really for the last several decades, one of Donald Trump's biggest parts of his brand is being a wealthy businessman, being the owner of Trump Tower, being the owner of Trump Force One now, the big plane, you know? He doesn't even do, by the way, press conferences on a tarmac unless he has his big plane that's branded so he can show off that he's flying in the big plane. This is all part of his identity.

So the idea that he's going to come up short on $500 million is embarrassing to him. And it goes to the point of why he then is lashing out on True Social in a way that actually impacts them by saying, I do have the cash now or I almost have the cash. Then you see his lawyer stepping in saying no, no, no, we don't have the cash.