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Fed's Preferred Inflation Gauge Ticks Higher; Poll: Americans More Confident About Economy In March; Fed Judge: Trump's Attack Against NY Judge "Very Disconcerting"; Actor Louis Gossett Jr. Dies At 87. Beyonce Drops New Album "Act II: Cowboy Carter". Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired March 29, 2024 - 09:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: All right, a federal judge speaks exclusively to CNN in a rare interview after Donald Trump went after the daughter of the judge presiding over his hush money case. And then one on one with comedian Larry David as he unleashes his sharpest attack yet on Donald Trump.


SARA SIDNER, CNN HOST: New this morning, Fed inflation number show inflation going vote wrong direction. It's just up a hair, but in line with what was expected, but consumer sentiment did the opposite making a jump, the highest in nearly three years.


CNN Senior Political Data Reporter Harry Enten joining us now. What's going on here? Consumers are spending big.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL DATA REPORTER: Yes, consumers are spending. And I think let's just take a look at the view of the economy. Say the economy is excellent or good. Folks, we've reached 30 percent. We've done it. 30 percent, that is the -- there hasn't been a higher level since December of 2020. Look at where we were a year ago.

SIDNER: Look at that. That's an incredibly low number.

ENTEN: That is a very low number. You don't have to be a statistician to know that 16 percent not a very good number. Look, we have been low since basically the beginning of the pandemic, or certainly during the Joe Biden presidency.

We're up to 30 percent now, but I still should note that more Americans say that the economy is poor than say it's excellent or good. But still, positive news for a change.

SIDNER: And it's interesting that people are spending the way they are. What about the future? When you look into the future, look into your crystal ball there, Harry. ENTEN: Look into the crystal ball. So, you know, you're talking about that consumer sentiment and they're basically two elements to that. One is the current economic conditions and one is what is expected down the line. So this is consumer sentiment expected index.

And, look, again, 77.4, that's basically in line with the average since 1978, 77.6. It's up significantly from where we were a year ago when it was just 59.2. Very much up significantly from this low point back two years ago when it was just 54.3.

But, again, it's only now getting to the levels that we were back in March of 2021. So it's an average economy looking forward, not a good economy looking forward.

SIDNER: But we've had such an extraordinary hit to the economy during the pandemic --


SIDNER: -- that it is interesting to see how it's jumping up.


SIDNER: I do want to ask you about whether or not Biden's getting a bump from this. I mean, he is the president. The economy is doing better.

ENTEN: Yes. You would think, you know, they always say it's the economy. Stupid, right?

SIDNER: Right.

ENTEN: That was James Carville. But here, approve of Biden economy. They made -- voters and Americans may be feeling better about the economy overall, but it is not touching Joe Biden yet. Look, look at his approval rating on the economy, just 38 percent.

That is not different very much within the margin of where we were a year ago, within the margin of where we were two years ago, and not anywhere close to where we were back three years ago in April of 2021. So in the voters' minds, they may think the economy is doing better. That's a Joe Biden whose economic approval rating still is closer to the basement than the ceiling.

SIDNER: That we now know who -- the two presidential candidates are.

ENTEN: We do.

SIDNER: What is the trust factor there between the two of them?

ENTEN: Yes, you know, this is an issue that Joe Biden does not want this election to be decided on, at least the way voters are currently feeling. Donald Trump loves the idea of this election being decided on the economy.

Look, trust Biden or Trump, more on the economy. In April of 2020, Trump was up five. Look at where we were just last month. Trump up 20 points. Another issue on which Donald Trump is in a significantly better position than he was four years ago.

SIDNER: Harry Enten, thank you for breaking it all down for us as usual.

ENTEN: Thank you, my friend.

SIDNER: I appreciate it.

Fred, he's got all the numbers.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: I see, you got all the goods there, but --

ENTEN: Ask me about the lottery later and I'll try and figure it out for you.

WHITFIELD: I do want that, I want those numbers. I'm going to have to buy a ticket.

ENTEN: Sounds good.

WHITFIELD: All right, well if it's not about the economy, then what is it? And what is it about Donald Trump, once again, on the attack? Slamming the daughter of the judge overseeing his New York hush money trial. The former president calling her quote, "a rabid Trump hater."

Those attacks are prompting rare and striking comments from a federal judge who says he is very concerned. Here's what Judge Reggie Walton told CNN's Kaitlan Collins.


JUDGE REGGIE WALTON, U.S. DISTRICT COURT OF DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: It's very disconcerting to have someone making comments about a judge and it's particularly problematic when those comments are in the form of a threat, especially if they're directed at one's family.

I mean, we do these jobs because we're committed to the rule of law, and we believe in the rule of law. And the rule of law can only function effectively when we have judges who are prepared to carry out their duties without the threat of potential physical harm.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR & CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Have you been on the receiving end of more threats since you've had the January 6th defendants in your court?

WALTON: Yes, I've had more threats than what used to be the case. Yes, I have received a greater number of threats as a result of that incident. And the fact that cases arising out of that incident have appeared before me. I mean, it was rare.

I've been a judge for over 40 years, and this is a new phenomenon. I'm not saying that it didn't happen before, but it was very rare that I would ever receive any type of a threat, regardless of what type of cases I was handling. And unfortunately, that is no longer the case.

I know the marshal service has seen a significant increase in the number of threats against judges. And I think obviously that's very, very concerning.


COLLINS: You know, it's rare that we get to hear from a sitting federal judge, but obviously, this is a gravely important issue. I wonder what made you speak out.

WALTON: Well, you know, I am concerned because, like I say, we have had judges who've lost their lives or family members have lost their lives as a result of individuals who have been litigants in their courtroom. And I think it's important in order to preserve our democracy that we maintain the rule of law.


WHITFIELD: Judge Reggie Walton has presided over several cases related to the January 6th insurrection and said both he and his daughter have also received threats. John?

BERMAN: Something to hear that from a sitting federal judge.

Shifting gears now to a remarkable and very candid interview. You know, Larry David from "Curb Your Enthusiasm," and of course, "Seinfeld." Well, he's got a lot of opinions about a lot of things, and he shares them in great detail with our Chris Wallace, anchor and host of "Who's Talking to Chris Wallace." The new episode airs today on Max. Let's listen to some of it.


CHRIS WALLACE, CNN ANCHOR: You and I went to dinner with your lovely wife, Ashley --


WALLACE: -- last fall. And you very nicely picked up the check. And the next day, I wrote you. I thought a very gracious thank you note. And you then responded, and I have saved this, and I literally quoted this. You wrote back to me and you said, keep in mind, next time when you pick up the check, you will not be getting a next day thanks.


WALLACE: What's so objectionable about it?

DAVID: How many thank yous do we have to give out?

WALLACE: I gave one.

DAVID: No, I understand. But if you take me out to dinner, and I say, Hey, Chris, thank you so much. Why do I have to do -- where does it say I have to send something the next day? WALLACE: But --


WALLACE: I'm not --

DAVID: Why -- everybody's sending all these next day thank you texts. You thank somebody when you leave. That's enough.

WALLACE: So, tell me something else.


WALLACE: In everyday social interaction that, you know, kind of greases the wheels of humanity that you think is stupid.

DAVID: Like the Happy New Year? I don't understand why anybody would say Happy New Year to me. I can't even respond to it on a text Happy New Year. Why? Why are you sending that to me? I don't care. I don't care about a new year. What's the difference? What's the difference? It's Happy New Year. What does it even mean?

WALLACE: Well, there's even a better question, which I think is actually one of your episodes. How long after January 1st --


WALLACE: -- do you have to keep saying, have, in other words --

DAVID: Yes, I was nice and said January 7th, but even -- now I'm revising that to January 3rd.

WALLACE: So, January 3rd --

DAVID: I'm changing it to January 3rd, yes. Don't wish me Happy New Year. I don't even care if you wish me Happy Birthday. What do you think about that?


BERMAN: Chris Wallace is here. Happy New Year to you, Mr. Wallace. And also let me just preemptively say thank you for being on with us this morning on CNN News Central here.

WALLACE: No, no, no, don't do that. No, because then I'm going to have to say you're welcome and it's going to be an outrage. No, the happy birthday thing was very interesting. We got into a long conversation about this because he said, it becomes a job.

And I have to say, I kind of agree with him, and particularly, God forbid, you should have a big birthday, like he and I had last year. You know, you get dozens of thank you notes, and you can't not answer them. You've got to say, incidentally, you did not wish me a happy birthday last year. And you've got to answer them.

But I have a postscript to the story. Larry David is in Washington, D.C. We had dinner last night. I fully anticipated that I was going to pick up the check, but he pulled that thing where he had talked to the waiter ahead of time, and he got the check and the credit card, so he picked up dinner again.

And you know what I did this morning? I wrote him a thank you note, and I -- there's going to be hell to pay. I know it.

BERMAN: You did it just to piss him off, which is actually probably the right thing to do. I mean, it's more material for him next time.

WALLACE: No, he views -- I mean, look, if anybody -- if you're a Larry David fan, if you watch "Seinfeld," if you watch "Curb Your Enthusiasm" especially, you know that there are everyday things like, happy new year, happy birthday, a thank you note after, that he finds enormously annoying and he makes enormously entertaining.

And it's one of the reasons it's so much fun to be around him. In this interview, and it's -- you can watch it right now -- well, no, 10:00 when you guys are off the air - you can watch it at 10:00 on Max on "Who's Talking to Chris Wallace."


We talk about politics, he talks about Donald Trump. We talk about Barbara Walters. We -- I have the temerity to ask him how much he's worth. And that turns ugly, that conversation. Because on the internet -- he's going to be mad at me for saying this -- on the internet, it says that the over under is half a billion dollars. And when I bring that up, he gets very offended.

BERMAN: Well, good for you to bring it up. Can I just ask, how many dinners are there between you and Larry David? Because that's what I'm, you know, I'm understanding now that there may be like a regular dining pattern between the two of you?

WALLACE: No, there've only been two dinners. And, frankly, after my thank you note today, that could be the end of it. I could see that as a breach of the trust between the two of us. But I will say he is a lovely dinner companion. We talked some serious stuff. He was very funny.

And -- but the best part of it is his wife Ashley, who could -- is utterly charming, and frankly, I don't know what she sees in him.

BERMAN: Chris, just very quickly, what was it -- you know, if you're talking to him for your show for an extended interview, how prepared are you for the back and forth that you're going to have with one of the world's funniest guys? How do you approach that?

WALLACE: Well, you know, you do a certain amount, but you know, you got to roll with it. And the awful thing is that if you're in an extended conversation with Larry David, it feels like an episode of "Curb". You kind of get into that exaggerated back and forth.

And I have to tell you, my staff cannot wait for this week to be over because I've been coming out of my office like Larry David and doing shtick all this week. And I think it's annoying them a great deal.

BERMAN: Chris Wallace, great to have you on your inaugural appearance here on CNN News Central. The early edition thank you note will be coming.

And you can see more of the conversation between Chris Wallace and Larry David --

WALLACE: No, no, no. No thank you note. No thank you note. No, no thank you note.

BERMAN: It's coming. It's coming.

WALLACE: I don't want that. I've got to respond to it. It's endless.

BERMAN: Watch the whole episode streaming on Max. The minute that this show is over. Chris, great to see you this morning. Thank you. And the note is coming. Fred?

WALLACE: Thank you, John.

WHITFIELD: Well, Larry David is best when he's most irritated and now we know, maybe for Chris Wallace as well.

All right, hold your horses. Beyonce has officially gone country. Her new album, "Cowboy Carter" dropping overnight.




WHITFIELD: All right, this breaking news, very sad news. Actor Louis Gossett Jr. has died. Gossett is the first African-American to win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. He's known for films like "Roots," "An Officer and a Gentleman," and "Iron Eagle."

CNN's Stephanie Elam has a look at his life and the legacy that he leaves.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Louis Gossett Jr. played some of TV, stage, and film's most recognized characters. But behind the scenes, he was an activist with an audacious goal, ending racism.

Gossett debuted on stage as a teenager. A basketball injury had knocked him off the court. He signed up for an acting class and found his calling.

LOUIS GOSSETT JR., ACTOR: I grew up with this ability to seek anything I want without these shadows of my mind.

ELAM (voice-over): That first Broadway role was in a play aptly named "Take a Giant Step." Other parts followed like, "The Blacks" and "A Raisin in the Sun." Gossett continued to hone his craft with an eye toward Hollywood, taking classes alongside Marilyn Monroe and Martin Landau.

But as a black actor, it wasn't easy.

GOSSETT: I had to relearn the importance of what it takes to survive in this town. And I had to act as if I was second class. That to ingest the onus of being an African-American person in America.

ELAM (voice-over): In 1961, Gossett made his silver screen premiere in the film version of "A Raisin in the Sun." During the 70s, he appeared in several blaxploitation films, but struggled to land significant and good paying roles.

That all changed in 1977 when he played Fiddler in the groundbreaking TV miniseries, "Roots."

GOSSETT: Play me a song I want you to hear.

ELAM (voice-over): Gossett initially didn't want the part. He explained in this Television Academy Foundation interview.

GOSSETT: I started doing the research and I realized there's no such thing as an Uncle Tom. And those particular people, those Stepin Fetchits, those particular people, if they had not survived, I wouldn't be sitting here.

ELAM (voice-over): He earned an Emmy for his breakout performance in "Roots." But it was his 1982 portrayal of a marine drill instructor.

GOSSETT: You said you wanted to meet me in private?

ELAM (voice-over): And "An Officer and a Gentleman" that thrust Gossett into bona fide stardom.

GOSSETT: I was the only black actor that went up for the "Officer and a Gentleman" part. And I got it.

ELAM (voice-over): Gossett won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

GOSSETT: Look at me when I talk to you.

ELAM (voice-over): He went on to play more tough military roles in the "Iron Eagle" movies, and the miniseries, "Sadat."

GOSSETT: I would go to Jerusalem.

ELAM (voice-over): Where he portrayed the late Egyptian leader.

GOSSETT: Speak up now --


ELAM (voice-over): In 1992, he won a Golden Globe playing civil rights activist Sidney Williams in HBO's "The Josephine Baker Story." But then, the actor's career fell flat. By the early 2000s, he was hooked on drugs and alcohol. Addictions, he said, were fueled by racism experienced throughout his career.

By 2006, Gossett was sober and eager to deal with racism head on. He started "Eracism," a non-profit foundation dedicated to ending racial prejudice, starting with youngsters. Early in 2010, Gossett announced he had prostate cancer, then went on to have a distinguished decade. Mostly in TV shows like "Madam Secretary."

GOSSETT: That is exactly what he would say.

ELAM (voice-over): And HBO's "Watchmen." Through it all, he continued to fight racism and set an example, as an actor, as an activist, and as a gentleman.


WHITFIELD: Wow, what a career, what a life.

Thank you so much to Stephanie Elam for pulling that all together.

Louis Gossett Jr. was 87. Sara?

SIDNER: All right. Brand new this morning, Queen Bey says, it's not a country album, it's a Beyonce album.


SIDNER: I know you recognize that one. The highly anticipated second act Beyonce's Renaissance trilogy, "Cowboy Carter" released today. The BeyHive is a buzz over its rich symbolism and hidden gems that Houston native's new music is being embraced as country and is expected to bring new eyes and ears to the genre while also making space for newer country artists of color, a classic move for Queen Bey.

With us now to discuss is Beyonce reporter for USA Today and a Tennessean, Cache McClay. Thank you so much. The fact that there has to be a Beyonce reporter tells you everything about her influence on culture and the economic juggernaut that she is. She was the really clear about what kind of pushed her to put this part of the album out when it comes to country music. It was born out of controversy, correct?

CACHE MCCLAY, BEYONCE REPORTER, USA TODAY/GANNETT: Absolutely. You know, a lot of people think that's in reference to her 2016 performance at the CMAs with the chicks of her 2016 hit, "Daddy Lessons" which kind of got some backlash. And so now Beyonce is sort of highlighting the irony of this because country music has a lot of invisible and black roots.

So she's very intentional with this album, "Cowboy Carter," about highlighting that, about including black artists past and present and country music vendors.

SIDNER: Can you give me some sense of the response so far? I know it just dropped last night, but already there is -- there was always buzz when something drops by Beyonce. What are you seeing? What are you hearing? And have you listened to it yourself?

MCCLAY: Oh, absolutely. I stayed up all night listening to the album and I started when the clock struck midnight. And I think that's the same for a lot of fans in the U.S. And I think this album is absolutely groundbreaking.

As I said, she was very intentional about featuring some country music legends, as well as boundary pushers like Post Malone, Miley Cyrus, and crossover artists like Willie Jones, and Shaboozey, and Tanner Adell, as well as paying homage to, sort of, country music titans like Linda Martell, who's considered the pioneer in so many ways for black artists in the genre, although she didn't always get her flowers.

SIDNER: When you look at this album, there's always sort of a deeper meaning, a personal journey that you go on. What's the sort of broader cultural meaning to this album as a whole? I mean, she had this huge hit that's all over every social media site you can possibly imagine.

Before this came out, this was sort of her first single. What are some of the things that she's championing here?

MCCLAY: Yes. Well, I think it's clear that this album has so many layers, so many messages from Beyonce, one of them being, you know, the invisible roots of country music and, you know, highlighting those black musicians and legends who did -- who weren't always highlighted within this genre.

As well as, you know, she said, this isn't a country music album, this is a Beyonce album. But I think she was really saying this isn't just a country music album. Her single "Texas Hold'em" has charted across multiple genres. And she's saying that, you know, she's not bound to these constraints that people so badly want to put her in. And she's showing that even within the collaborations and crossover artists in the album.

SIDNER: Cache McClay, thank you so much. Appreciate it. Thank you.

There's a Beyonce reporter. She is a reporter just on Beyonce. There's a lot to say. A lot to say.

BERMAN: And CNN's continuing coverage of Beyonce's new album will continue. This has been CNN News Central.

Thank you so much for being here, Fred, all week with us.

WHITFIELD: Thank you. Thank you.

BERMAN: Beyonce up next on CNN Newsroom.