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Memphis Braces For Arrest Video Of Man Who Died Days Later; Jury Selection Underway In Double Murder Trial Of Alex Murdaugh; Prosecutors: Snapchat Video From Victim Crucial To Murdaugh Case; Ex- FBI Official Charged With Laundering Money For Russian Oligarch; Ex- FBI Official Charged With Concealing $225,000 Foreign Payment; Poland Says It Will Send Tanks To Ukraine If Others Do The Same; Kremlin Warns Ukrainians "Will Pay" If Germany Sends Tanks; Tax Filing Season Arrives As Experts Warn Of "Refund Shock"; GOP Bill Would Eliminate IRS, Impose National Sales Tax; Key Economic Indicator Warns A Recession Could Come Soon. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired January 23, 2023 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As of about an hour and 30 minutes ago, we understand they were meeting with the district attorney's office to see the video for the first time. And there are now a lot of agencies involved now in this investigation.
We should mention also, Brianna, the family and their attorney, Benjamin Crump, are planning a press conference in about an hour from now -- Brianna?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: It's always significant when the police department does not stand behind the officers. In this case, all five officers have been fired.
Do you get the sense that charges are coming?
VALENCIA: Shelby County district attorney's office said they are considering charges. And if they do announce any charges, those will be announced later in the week.
And I mentioned the multiple agencies involved in this, Brianna. The U.S. attorney's office involved. And so is the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. They're looking at this potentially through a civil rights lens.
So there's a lot to go forward, a lot of details we don't know. Hopefully, we'll find out more at this press conference later today -- Brianna?
KEILAR: Nick, we'll be awaiting this video as well.
Nick Valencia, we appreciate it.
VALENCIA: You bet.
KEILAR: Right now, in a New Mexico courtroom, prosecutors are arguing that Solomon Pena should stay in jail until his trial. Pena is accused of masterminding attacks on the homes of his political rivals after he lost his race for the state legislature in November.
Authorities believe he hired four men to shoot at the homes of two legislators and two county commissioners, all of them Democrats. Prosecutors say Pena is a danger to the community and should not be released.
Today, we're also learning about a critical piece of evidence in the double murder trial of Alex Murdaugh. The ex-attorney is accused of killing his wife and son back in the summer of 2021.
Jury selection is getting underway in Walterboro, South Carolina.
And CNN's Dianne Gallagher is outside of the courthouse on this story.
Dianne, we know the evidence the prosecutors are talking about is a Snapchat video. How significant is this?
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, they call it a critical piece to the state's case. They said, amongst the things critical to the case, is a video sent out to several friends at approximately 7:56 p.m. on the night of the murders.
The contents of this video is important to proving the state's case in chief. They say that video was sent by Alex Murdaugh's son, Paul Murdaugh, who was shot and killed along with his mother, Maggie, on that night in June 2021. Alex Murdaugh has been charged in their murders.
Today is the first day of jury selection. I can tell that they sent a juror questionnaire out to around 900 people here in Colleton County.
This has been a case, all the other twists and turns that surrounded Alex Murdaugh, that has really captured sort of this "true crime" fascination across the country.
But even here, the Murdaugh family existed for a century, sort of this legal scion that dominated the legal community. So they were well- known before this.
Since then, that interest and that knowledge has exploded. There was a moment where they asked the jurors -- there's no cameras in the courtroom for jury selection, for the jurors only protection. And they asked them if they'd heard of it.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE CLIFTON NEWMAN, SOUTH CAROLINA SUPREME COURT (voice-over): If you have heard about this case, read about this case, or know anything about this case, please, stand.
(END VIDEO CLIP) GALLAGHER: I'm going to tell you, a few moments after counting through and asking those jurors questions, the judge noted, oh, everybody stood.
I just spoke with our colleague, Randi Jaye. She was inside when that happened. She said it was absolutely wild, Brianna, that literally every single juror, potential juror, stood up.
I can tell you, doing this in waves here, trying to find, and speaking to other attorneys watching this case closely, and represent others who maybe are victims of some of the financial crimes that Alex Murdaugh is accused of as well, separate from these murders.
They said it's not necessarily going to be about finding a juror who doesn't know of Alex Murdaugh or the Murdaugh murders or any of the other crimes and deceits that surround the case.
It's going to be about finding people who think that they can approach this from an unbiased viewpoint, who think that they can take away biases or come into it without any sort of biases.
But, again, this is something that they haven't seen in a small town like this, small county like this.
And there are people who have feelings about all of the media being here, and all the attention this case has brought to their community already, Brianna.
We're expecting jury selection to take at least two to three days, at minimum here. And of course, that leaves three weeks for this trial.
KEILAR: Leaves three weeks.
Dianne Gallagher will be following all of this for us in South Carolina.
Thank you, Dianne.
Ukraine President Zelenskyy is ripping on Germany. He says that they're taking too long to decide whether to send tanks to help fend off Russians. It's a critical ask as Ukrainian forces brace for a brutal spring.
KEILAR: It is an arrest straight out of an international crime thriller.
A former high-level FBI official -- his name is Charles McGonigal -- is facing several charges, including laundering money for this man, Oleg Deripaska, whose name you've probably heard. He is a Russian oligarch who has been sanctioned by the U.S.
CNN's Kara Scannell is following all of these developments. Kara, can you walk us through these charges here?
KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Brianna. Yes, there are two sets of charges announced against McGonigal, who was the former head of Counterintel at the FBI's New York field office. A very important top position.
This one set of charges announced by New York federal prosecutors relates to Deripaska.
They say that after he left the bureau and when he retired in 2018, he began working for Deripaska, who was already sanctioned by the U.S. authorities for his involvement with meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.
You can't work with someone who has been sanctioned. So he's being charged in that case for working with Deripaska, trying to dig up dirt on one of his rivals.
Then just a few hours later, he was charged by the U.S. attorney's office in Washington, D.C.
And in that case, charged with concealing $225,000 that he was paid while he held that top position at the FBI from someone who was a former employee of an Albanian intelligence agency.
Those charges say that they are charging him with failing to report, as required as an FBI agent at the time, on these federal foreign meetings and trips overseas and who he's meeting with.
What prosecutors allege is that he met and traveled with this former intel worker to Albania, to other countries. And he met with a number of foreign officials, including the Albanian prime minister.
He also then opened an investigation on a U.S. citizen for foreign lobbying based on material and intelligence he received from this contact of his.
So two serious sets of charges. His attorney told me, as it relates to New York charges, he will appear in court in just about -- in a few moments from now, where he will plead not guilty. And he hopes to be released today.
We have yet to get a comment on these newly unsealed charges - newly announced charges in Washington, D.C. -- Brianna?
KEILAR: This could be a case where truth is as strange as fiction.
Kara, thank you for all the details.
Poland is saying it is prepared to send German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine if some other countries agree to do the same. Germany is resisting sending tanks of its own but now says it won't stop others from sending them if they have them. The catch is that Poland can only send 14 of these tanks. Ukraine says
it desperately needs many more tanks and they need them now.
President Zelenskyy ripped into allies, saying he's grateful for the help but the "thank yous" aren't tanks.
And now the Kremlin is warning that Ukrainians will pay the price if other countries start supplying additional hardware.
Joining us now to discuss this, we have retired General Wesley Clark, who is a CNN military analyst and former NATO supreme allied commander.
Sir, thank you so much for walking us through this.
Tell us a little bit about this Leopard II tank, especially versus the U.S.-made Abrams tank, and all the drama surrounding the potential supply of it to Ukraine.
GEN. WESLEY CLARK, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, first, Brianna, the Leopard II is a good tank. It has the same gun the M1-A1 has on it. It has a good sighting system.
It's powered by diesel engines rather than a jet turban engine. So some people think this make it much more easy to repair and to service.
However, we've spent 20 years improving the air separation, air cleaners for the M1-A1. So I think there's a lot of exaggeration about the differences between these two tanks.
The M1-A1 may weigh slightly more but it depends what other armor you put on the German tank.
I think we'll get through this. The point is that Poland and these countries in Europe are the ones facing the Russian threat most directly. We're the ones leading the coalition.
We've asked Germany to step forward. Germany hasn't yet. But I do believe that they'll find a way to work this.
And I do believe that Poland will get -- that Ukraine will get the Polish tanks and the other tanks it needs, or some of that.
Here's the thing, Brianna. It's too slow and it won't be enough tanks. Ukraine's asking for some 300 tanks as a minimum. Probably needs 500.
We know the Russians are forming up for an offensive. We expect it to come sometime on or after the 24th of February.
We know they've even gotten their nuclear artillery pieces moved forward into Ukraine. We don't know if that's preparation, routine, or something else.
But we do know that, in Russian media, Russian government officials are continuing to drum up the thought that with the Russian people they may have to use nuclear weapons.
There's very serious combat coming in Ukraine. And Ukrainians need this heavy equipment as rapidly as possible.
KEILAR: And part of that saber rattling may have something to do with something we have just learned.
A senior U.S. military official general just told our Oren Liebermann, despite Russia haven sent all of these tens of thousands of reinforcements, they did so in such a hurried way, these forces weren't prepared and they really didn't make much of a difference in the past months.
What do you think about that and what it says about going forward with this offensive?
CLARK: I think it's true that they sent a lot of these people that were hastily mobilized in September, plus convicts, they sent them forward without much training.
But there was a second element of that mobilization. And there were people that were held back. They were formed into units. They units are going through training now.
And so I think the Russian military -- they're not stupid. They've made serious mistakes. They certainly weren't 10 feet tall like some of us thought they might be. But they do learn from their experiences.
And I think we're going to see a second Russian offensive. And I think the units that come forward are probably going to be better trained. Maybe not better equipped, but maybe better trained.
KEILAR: What are you expecting from this offensive?
CLARK: I'm expecting the push to come still in the -- in the east, with a secondary attack coming out of Belarus. It may not be a strong attack. Right now, we can't quite tell. There are Russian forces there. There's training going on there.
But their easiest method, the easiest avenue of approach for them is to try to do a breakthrough in Luhansk. And I think that is what's going on around Bakhmut. They just don't -- they haven't gotten a breakthrough yet.
They're talking about doing an offensive also from north into Zaporizhzhia and this could be combined with something coming south from Kharkiv to try to cut off the Ukrainian forces.
But, again, we've seen a lot of movement in the Zaporizhzhia area. We haven't seen the start of an offensive.
I think we have to keep our eyes in four directions, Zaporizhzhia, the east, the north around Kharkiv, and then what's going to happen in Belarus. The Ukrainian certainly are doing this. But as I've said, Brianna,
they don't have the essential equipment they need.
KEILAR: General Wesley Clark, thank you so much.
Tax season officially kicks off today. But before you bank on a hefty refund from the IRS -- wouldn't that be nice -- you might want to rein in your expectations. We'll explain why.
KEILAR: Today is the day that you can start filing your income tax returns. But your refund check might be smaller than you were expecting. Tax experts calling it "refund shock," in fact.
CNN's Matt Egan is here to break it all down.
Unfortunately, Matt, this is some bad news here. How much of a shock are taxpayers in for? And why is this happening this year?
MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Well, Brianna, if you were banking on a massive tax refund this year, I hate to tell you this, you may end up being disappointed.
Here is why. Some tax breaks have changed or gone away all together.
Let me show you what's happening here. OK. So on stimulus checks, some of the refund rebates that people were getting related to the recovery, those have gone away. So has the above-the-line deductions that people could take for charitable donations.
Now these changes are going to impact all of you parents out there. The enhanced child tax credit that was in effect for 2021, that has gone away, which is ironic because, obviously, the cost of raising kids has only gone up.
People can still claim a credit. It just won't be as big as it was. Same situation for the child dependent care credit. This is for working parents who are trying to defray the cost of childcare.
All of this is a big deal because most Americans, they overpay Uncle Sam. That sets them up for a nice refund every spring.
Look at this, nearly $3,200 was the average tax refund in 2022. That may go down this year.
Some key dates to be aware of. Today, as you mentioned, is the day that the IRS begins accepting tax returns for 2022. Employers, they have to get their W-2 in by the end of the month.
Here is the date that all of you procrastinators need to worry about, April 18th. The deadline for getting in your tax returns or requesting an extension.
KEILAR: April 18th. Marking it now.
OK. So as you're well aware, on the right side of the political spectrum, a lot of conspiracy theories have formed around the IRS. You have lawmakers in the Republican Party who have actually introduced a bill to abolish the agency.
How would that work?
EGAN: Well, that's a great question, Brianna. Some critics argue that it wouldn't work.
Here is what the proposal is here. They want to -- some Republicans are proposing to get rid of federal taxes paid by individuals and by businesses all together. Really just getting rid of the federal tax system. They would replace it with a 23 percent national sales tax.
So what does that mean? It means individuals, instead of paying taxes at the end of the year on their income, they would pay a tax on what they buy, on the televisions, air fare, other goods and services.
And some families, based on the poverty rate and also their family size, they could get a refund.
But critics argue that this would not be as simple as it sounds. And that most Americans, on average, would end up paying more in taxes, except for the superrich.
KEILAR: While I have you, Matt, tell us about this new recession warning we're hearing about today.
EGAN: This is a leading economic index. This is basically an early warning system for the economy.
It's an indicator that looks at 10 different signals on the economy, everything from jobless claims and wages to stocks and bonds and the financial markets.
And it is now down for 10 straight months. As you can see on this line chart, down pretty sharply.
In the past, when we have seen this index peak, we have had recessions often, but not always follow. These are the shaded areas. Those are the recessions.
Now, I think the truth is, though, this economy, there's a lot of -- it's a mixed picture, right? There's good things. There's bad thing going on.
On the negative side, consumer spending has slowed. Manufacturer service sector, they're in contraction. And housing is slumping because of the mortgage rate spike.
But there are positives. Inflation is cooling. Unemployment is historically low. And the Fed is no longer slamming the brakes -- Brianna?
KEILAR: All right, Matt Egan, thank you.
I'm Brianna Keilar. Thank you for watching. We have more news right after this.