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Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Announces Nicole Shanahan As Running Mate; VP Harris Comments On Bridge Collapse; Officials Update Search & Rescue After Bridge Collapse; Judge Imposes Gag Order On Trump In NY Hush Money Trial. Aired 3:30-4 p ET

Aired March 26, 2024 - 15:30   ET



ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR., INDEPENDENT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Are very, very American journey took her to a career as a patent attorney and as a Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur, and as a Stanford University fellow, like many of us, Nicole assumed our government was working for our people. That our defense and intelligence agencies wanted peace. That public health agencies wanted us to be healthy. That the USDA supported wholesome foods and family farms. That the EPA would stand up for clean air and clean water. That the Fed wanted prosperous America. That the Democratic Party was on the side of the middle class, the working poor, and Main Street small businesses. That scientists were incorruptible. And that science was a search for -- an exalted search for the truth.

And that the President of the United States could always be counted on to defend free speech. I, too, used to believe those things. Do you remember those days? And she'll tell you that she now understands that the defense agencies work for the military industrial complex. That health agencies work for Big Pharma. That the USDA works for Big Ag and the processed food cartels. That the EPA is in cahoots with the polluters. That scientists can be mercenaries, that government officials sometimes act as censors.

And that the Fed works for Wall Street and allows millionaire bankers to prey upon Main Street and the American worker. And that's why Nicole and I both left the Democratic Party.


KENNEDY: Our values didn't change, but the Democratic Party did. The things that we love are still the same. We love our families, our children, and our faith. We love clean air and clean water and productive soils and good food.

We love the wilderness and our Purple Mountains majesty. And above all, we love our country.


KENNEDY: We want America to live up to her highest ideals. We want her to be an exemplary nation again. A global leader in freedom, opportunity, and responsible government. We want America to be a peacemaker, a moral authority. We want our children to grow up as I did in a country for which they feel love and pride. We want them to feel safe and to have every opportunity for dignity, prosperity, and community.

We want them to have confidence in their futures. We want them to have the best education. We want America to be friendly to farmers and entrepreneurs. We want America to honor its veterans and its teachers. We want scientists to stand up for science and for truth. And we want our government to defend our right to free speech.


KENNEDY: Nicole and I share all of these values. And you know what? Despite the artificially orchestrated divisions, nearly all Americans share the same values that we do.

And I'm grateful that Nicole has put her self-interest aside and made the momentous and very, very difficult decision to embark with me on this extraordinary crusade to win back our country.


KENNEDY: And I was most importantly looking for --

JESSICA DEAN, CNN HOST: You're listening to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. announcing his running mate, Nicole Shanahan. He is there in Oakland, California, where Shanahan grew up.

He is, Boris, trying to get on the ballot in 23 states where it is mandatory that he has a vice presidential candidate. So as they try to collect signatures and get on those ballots, that is -- that is why he's announcing so early. This is typically early in the veepstakes process.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Yeah, absolutely. He mentioned that he was looking for someone who had a passion for health, for healthy food, good soils, someone who had indignation that he shares against big tech, a passion for freedom of speech, as he spouted several dubious claims during his speech, specifically about federal agencies. Others sprinkled in there as well.


No mention of the fact that he needs a vice president to get on the ballot in November. And also her very deep pockets. She spent about four million dollars helping him to get the Super Bowl ad on the air that was evocative of his family, of JFK, when he ran in the 1960s.

He did mention his father, giving a story about the importance of listening and in enacting public policy. Nevertheless, RFK Jr. there making his announcement as Nicole Shanahan becomes his running mate, a third-party candidate who has gathered significant support in some key states. A CNN poll had him in the mid-teens in the battleground States of Pennsylvania and Michigan last week. So something to watch for there. We do want to pivot because back to that breaking news, we've been

following the massive collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore. The Vice President, Kamala Harris, just spoke about the incident. Here is some of what she shared this afternoon.


KAMALA HARRIS, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: Oh, it's good to be back. It's good to be back. Please have a seat, everyone. Please have a seat. So before I begin, I will say a few words on the terrible accident in Baltimore. This morning, I know we are all praying for the families of those who are missing and all those who have been touched by this.

I spoke with the Governor of Maryland this morning, and we have directed the federal government to use all the resources that are available to assist with the search and rescue, to reopen the port, and to rebuild the bridge as quickly as possible. And, of course, I know we all will stand and continue to stand with the people of Maryland.

And now I will discuss the reason why we are here today. So, again, it is good to be back --


DEAN: And there is Vice President Kamala Harris in Raleigh, North Carolina, echoing what we heard from President Biden earlier today, saying the full resources of the federal government will be behind the efforts there to get that bridge rebuilt as quickly as possible. But, again, still six people missing at this moment in time, no word on their whereabouts. And that bridge is going to take a very, very long time, no timeline on how long to get that rebuilt.

We're going to take a short break. We'll be right back.


SANCHEZ: We want to get straight back to Baltimore. We're listening to Maryland Governor Wes Moore as he's updating the press on the search and recovery effort. Let's listen.

GOV. WES MOORE, (D) MARYLAND: And the strength of these families is absolutely remarkable. And we want to let them know that we are here with you every single step of the way. We are praying for you now and always, and we always will.

We've also had the chance to spend time with a lot of our first responders, who we mentioned before, the work that they have done since early in the morning, and they have not stopped since, is truly -- is truly remarkable.

These are individuals who, in the middle of the night, jumped into some very challenging environments, some very challenging territories, and have not stopped in their quest to making sure that each and every person is seen and supported and lifted up. And so to our first responders, today and always, we just want to say from the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

We've also had a chance to speak with both the President and the Vice President, who have been full-throated in their support of everything that we're doing here in Maryland, and we just want to say how grateful we are to them, how grateful we are to the Secretary of Transportation and the Department of Transportation, who, within hours of this happening, I was on the phone with the Secretary of Transportation. I think Secretary Buttigieg had been calling me at 3.30 in the morning.


And now he and his entire team have been down here this afternoon, spending time looking at the efforts, looking at the damage, and also identifying what they can do to support and help.

I can't tell you enough how much we appreciate that, Mr. Secretary. And also, please -- please let the President and the Vice President know from the bottom of our hearts how much we appreciate it as well.

We've also had a chance to be here with our remarkable congressional delegation. From the earliest parts of the morning, our congressional delegation has been there throughout. And I always say I'm grateful that I've got such a remarkable congressional delegation. And today, I just have another example as to why I am -- I am a very lucky governor to have the congressional delegation that I have.

And also our state, our local elected officials, Mayor Scott, who literally got a call from the very first thing in the morning, I know you have had no rest in a very long time, sir. And so I want to say how much we appreciate you. But also it's to the members of the philanthropic community who have been reaching out and offering support.

It's the members of the private sector who have been reaching out and offering support. It's the sandwich companies who have said we're going to shut down because we just want to make sure that the first responders are getting meals. Everybody has stepped up. Everybody has raised their hands to serve. And I can tell you it is so deeply appreciated. It's so deeply felt.

And for everyone who is offering prayers and supports, I can tell you those prayers are working and we are grateful. And the thing that I would ask for people to remember is this. The first, this is very much still a search and rescue mission.

We are still actively looking for survivors. We know, and that's the pledge we've made to these families, and this is still very much an active search and rescue mission. And there is not a single resource that we will hold off on deploying.

I have already authorized the deployment of everything from air, land, and sea resources to make sure that this search and rescue operation is carried out to its fullest intent. The second thing I want to remind people is that this will not be short. There's going to be a long road. There's going to be a long road not just as we go from search and rescue. There will be a long road as we talk about what does the future of this region, the future of the area look like. And we're going to need each and every one of you.

We're thankful to have partners like what we have in the Biden-Harris administration. We're thankful for the partners that we have in our federal delegation. We're thankful for the partners we have in our state and local leadership. We're thankful for the partners that we have in the private sector and the philanthropic community. We're thankful for the partners that we have within the Moore-Miller administration. We're thankful for each and every one of you, both Marylanders and non-Marylanders, who have reached out and offered support. We feel it. We need it. And we are truly grateful for it.

And I think just in this time, this state has been able to show what it means to be Maryland tough and Baltimore strong. And this state and this city will continue to show exactly that. And so with that, I want to turn it over to our Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, with a deep sense of thanks and appreciation.


MOORE: Oh, I apologize. Before I turn it over to Secretary Buttigieg, I want to turn it over to the dean of our -- of our delegation and someone who has been leading from the front this entire time. And we are deeply grateful for the leadership of Senator Ben Cardin.

SEN. BEN CARDIN, (D) MARYLAND: Governor Moore, first of all, thank you very much for getting our -- the whole team together to meet this challenge. And our prayers are with the families of those that are lost at sea at this moment. As the Governor said, it's still a search and rescue. So we are hopeful and we are with the families.

I also want to underscore our thanks to our first responders. They did an extraordinary job, acting very quickly and save lives. So we thank our first responders for everything that they have done.

I just really want to underscore a couple of points. Our first priority is the search and rescue for those that were on the bridge. We then need to make sure that the channel is reopened. It's critically important to our economy. It affects many, many jobs. It affects not only jobs here in Maryland but around the country and world.

So our next priority is to make sure we get that channel opened. And then we also need to fix and replace the bridge for the surface transportation. We're going to work together as a team. I am very impressed by all the partners that are with us today. We heard from them at the state level, at the local level, at the federal level.


I particularly want to acknowledge our federal partners. The Secretary of Transportation is with us. We have the Coast Guard. We have the Army Corps of Engineers. We have the investigators. We have the Small Business Administration. They're all here because of the commitment of the partners that work together. A special thanks to President Biden, who's made it very, very clear that he'll do everything in his power to make sure that we get the help we need to deal with this challenge. But as Secretary Buttigieg told us in our briefings, he's going to need the help of Congress in order to get things done. So I want to acknowledge our team, Senator Van Hollen, my partner in the United States Senate, on the Appropriations Committee and the work that he's doing.

Congressman Mfume is here. Congressman Trone is here. Team Maryland, our federal delegation, is committed to working together. Senator Van Hollen and I got calls from our leadership that said they're prepared. Secretary Buttigieg will do everything that we need to do in Congress to make sure you have the resources and the federal partners have the resources in order to get the job done.

So I want to thank Senator Schumer for his call and his comments. Senator Murray, Senator Carper, Chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, have all been in touch with us. It is a team effort, and we're going to make sure that we do everything we can to protect our economy and protect the people of our state. And with that, let me just turn it back to the governor or Secretary Buttigieg.

This guy woke all of us up early this morning, so thank you very much.

PETE BUTTIGIEG, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: Thank you. And I want to thank Senator Cardin and the entire delegation for their leadership. They have been on this from the first moments.

And as the Senator mentioned, and I'll say more about this in a moment, we'll be needing to work together to make sure that we render all of the support that is needed at the federal level.

I want to recognize the leadership of Governor Moore, who was already wide awake and hard at work when I reached him in the middle of the night. We just had a very informative briefing with his extraordinary leadership team.

And I was moved to see the partnership between state as well as county and city personnel, led by the county executive and the mayor, working hand-in-glove with us and with our sister federal agencies. And if there's one thing I have to say today, it is a note of gratitude for the extraordinary and courageous work of the first responders, some of whom are in that cold water right now, some of whom are from right here, some of whom have traveled in to render mutual aid, all of whom are responding with extraordinary professionalism and whose work has already saved lives. And to those state, county, and local responders, I would add the extraordinary work of the United States Coast Guard.

We should also recognize that this is an excruciating day for several families who went to bed last night, having it be a normal night, and woke up today to news that no one wants to receive. They are hoping and praying, and we are hoping and praying with them.

We are all putting our arms around the community of Baltimore, and that is true for all of this country. I've even heard from counterparts as far away as the United Kingdom reaching out to express their support to the people of Baltimore.

As has been mentioned, I've been in close contact with the governor, the mayor, county leadership, and the congressional delegation. And as President Biden has made clear, the federal government will provide all of the support that they need for as long as it takes.

This is no ordinary bridge. This is one of the cathedrals of American infrastructure. It has been part of the skyline of this region for longer than many of us have been alive. So the path to normalcy will not be easy. It will not be quick. It will not be inexpensive. But we will rebuild together.

In order to make sure that happens, the President's plan is to work with everyone here in order to rebuild this bridge and reopen this port, including our readiness as a department to approve emergency funding as soon as we receive that request.

Meanwhile, our Maritime Administration will help with port, harbor, and supply chain operations. Our Federal Highway Administration will assist when it comes to the bridge itself and any ways that we can help ease roadway congestion for residents and commuters who can no longer use this major thoroughfare.

The Federal Aviation Administration is even involved, working to keep the airspace above the bridge clear for emergency personnel. PHMSA, our Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is on the scene to help with any hazmat issues.


And our newly stood-up Freight Office is already at work preparing for supply chain impacts that we know are coming because of the importance of this port, not just to the Baltimore region, but really to the entire United States economy.

We're going to be working closely with the National Transportation Safety Board as they lead their independent investigation, and with the Coast Guard as they continue operations in the water. I've also spoken with Secretary Mayorkas, who's working to ensure that all DHS assets are integrated.

So in many ways, our work is just beginning to rebuild this bridge and deal with impacts in the meantime, to reopen this port and deal with supply chain impacts in the meantime.

But today, we are most acutely focused on the emergency operations underway and on the families that have been impacted.

I have no doubt that we will rebuild together and that Baltimore will come back stronger than ever before.

And with that, I will turn it back over to the Governor to lead the media questions. Governor?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor (OFF MIC). MOORE: There's no new information about the search efforts that we know. That we still have -- we still have the six individuals who are missing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor, when you talk about the investigative standpoint, how concerned are you if there were any safety violations on this ship or the track record of the owner-operator? And Mr. Secretary, if you could speak to that as well, do you have any concerns about that? Mayor Scott, we also didn't hear from you. What are your thoughts on this tragedy today?

MOORE: Well, I'll take it first, and then I can pass it off to you, Mr. Mayor.


MOORE: I know there's a thorough investigation that's going to be going on about everything that took place last night, the things that led up to it, and also the aftermath. And so I don't have any further comments about any concerns that we have about the companies that are involved, because there's still a thorough investigation that's going to take place.

SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. Governor. I think we all know this is an unspeakable tragedy. And while, as the Governor just said, the investigation is still underway, all of that can wait.

Right now, this is about the lives of those individuals that we are searching for and nothing else. Everything else, this team of folks will work together to make sure that we rebuild and do everything we need to do for our port. But right now, we need everyone to understand this is about the lives and those families who are deeply impacted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor -- Mr. Secretary, we've seen now several bridge collapses happen over the past couple of years. Obviously, this was a catastrophic event, but that bridge fell very quickly. How concerned should Americans be about the bridges that they're traversing every single day in this country?

BUTTIGIEG: This is a unique circumstance. I do not know of a bridge that has been constructed to withstand a direct impact from a vessel of this size. What I will say is anytime anything happens to any bridge, we as a country take that and learn from that.

Learning from incidents as diverse as what happened to I-95 in Philadelphia, what happened to I-10 in Los Angeles, or another case that we're learning a lot from here, which is the 2007 collapse of I- 35 West in Minnesota.

Let me emphasize that was a very different circumstance with very different causes, and the NTSB by design is independently leading the investigation into what those causes are. No question that we will take all of that information and apply it in our future work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Secretary, how long are you preparing for the shipping channel to be close? And you mentioned supply chain, what else are you doing to make sure other ports are prepared to maybe take on some of that?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, the port here in Baltimore does the most vehicle handling of any port at all, and that's just talking about the vehicle side. You also have container traffic. You have bulk traffic.

There is no question that this will be a major and protracted impact to supply chains. It's too soon to offer estimates on what it will take to clear the channel and reopen the port. There is one part of the facilities here, Trade Point, which is located at Sparrow Point, which is outside of the part that's blocked, but the main part of the Port of Baltimore is, of course, inside the channel that has been blocked.

This is part of why we're fortunate to have that newly stood-up freight office, which along with the Maritime Administration and all of our interagency and intergovernmental partners here, is we're going to make sure we coordinate. There is no central authority that directs maritime traffic the way you have with air traffic, so it's going to be important to have a number of dialogues established with ocean shippers, beneficial cargo owners, port operators, and everybody else who plays a role here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I'm sorry, Governor, just for clarity, a question from this morning. It was unclear if there were any vehicles on the bridge when the vessel hit it. Do you have an update now whether there were actually vehicles?

MOORE: There's still an investigation going on about which vehicles that we have that was on the bridge. The thing that we know that we also can verify, though, is the quick work of our public officials and law enforcement who kept more vehicles from coming onto the bridge. They undoubtedly saved a neuromodalized vessel (ph).


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you're still looking for six people, and that's it as far as you know?

MOORE: That's -- that's -- our investigation has not changed on that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you all. Thank you all. Thank you. Thank you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- about the companies involved -- the companies involved here, the shippers, the owners, the insurance companies. Thank you.


SANCHEZ: We've been listening to officials describe the situation in Baltimore after the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge after being struck by a massive shipping vessel overnight.

The Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, describing the bridge as one of the cathedrals of American infrastructure, describing how long of a process it is going to be to not only clean up this scene but to rebuild, though the focus from officials there today, not only Secretary Buttigieg but also Senator Ben Cardin and Governor Wes Moore, is on the families of the six -- at least six people that are still unaccounted for. Secretary Buttigieg describing it as an excruciating day for those families who woke up to news that no one would ever want to hear.

DEAN: Yeah, and the Governor there emphasizing this is still an active search and rescue mission, underlining that it is still a rescue mission as they try to save anyone who might still be there, and they are actively looking for them. When we heard from the NTSB earlier today, they were emphatic that they did not want to do anything that would disrupt that search and rescue mission as they try to find those at least six people that remain missing after this bridge collapsed in the overnight hours. And that right there that you're looking at is what it looks like now.

You see the shipping -- or vessel there and just the mangled metal all around it, and we know that there are divers underneath that continue to look for any survivors, any cars, anything they can, so we will continue to keep an eye on that.

In the meantime, before we let you go today, we are following breaking news in former President Trump's hush money criminal trial in New York. The judge overseeing that case has just imposed a gag order on President Trump.

SANCHEZ: Let's go to CNN's Kara Scannell now. Cara, a significant ruling from Judge Juan Merchan. He basically says that Trump has overstepped his bounds in talking not only about court officials but other people involved in this case.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, so the judge overseeing this case that we've referred to as the hush money trial has imposed a gag order on the former president saying that he cannot make any statements about potential witnesses in this case, about any of the attorneys, the prosecutors in this case, court staff or the family members of attorneys and court staff because of the nature of the statements Trump has been making publicly. The gag order, though, does not apply to the district attorney Alvin Bragg. He is a public figure.

But the judge said that he reviewed a lot of Trump's statements. This was a request that prosecutors had made. They had submitted records showing that there was a spike in threats to the office, a spike in threats to prosecutors on the team.

The judge said he looked at that, and he also looked at some of Trump's statements, and he said Trump went far beyond just defending himself, but he said many of these statements were threatening and inflammatory, and he even singled out yesterday when Donald Trump spoke after the court hearing where the judge finalized the trial date, and Trump spoke at his property, 40 Wall Street, and he talked about one of the prosecutors on the case making claims that he was a Biden person. The judge pointed to that in his ruling, too, of saying, you know, this goes beyond what Trump should be doing. The judge said -- this, I thought, was an interesting piece of his saying. He said, given that the eve of trial is upon us, it is without question that the imminency of the risk of harm is now paramount.

So he's imposing these restrictions. He waited until just before the trial. This motion had been before him for several weeks, but now he is saying that Trump has gone too far, and he wants to protect the process here, in addition to restricting Trump from making any comments about witnesses, lawyers involved in the case, court staff members.

He's also restricting him from making any comments about any potential jurors or actual jurors on the case and saying that Trump cannot cause anyone else to make statements on his behalf, either. Boris, Jessica?

DEAN: Well, and Kara, I think the question, too, is can he appeal this at all, or is this the final say because it's coming from the judge?

SCANNELL: I mean, he could always make an effort to try to appeal this. We're about three weeks away from the trial. And in writing this order, the judge focused a lot on the order that went in the -- that was made in the D.C. case, the federal election case, where the judges there had imposed this gag order. And that one was appealed, and it was held up. And so the judge is pointing to that, saying, I am making this finding in line with another case that has already faced scrutiny. And so, you know, Trump could try to appeal it, but it looks like it will stand for now.

DEAN: All right, Kara Scannell, thanks so much.

SANCHEZ: Yeah, the judge also citing precedent multiple times. A lot of news we got through this afternoon. Jessica, thanks so much for being with us, and thank you for watching. We'll send it over to "The Lead" with Jake Tapper, which starts in just about eight seconds.