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Mexican Cartel Apologized For Kidnapping, Killing Americans; Cartel Apology Is Cold Comfort To Families Of Slain Americans; Economy Added 311,000 Jobs In February, Crushing Expectations, Fueling Fears Of More Aggressive Rate Hikes; Yellen Warns of "Catastrophe" If Debt Ceiling Isn't Raised; World's First 3-D Printed Rocket Set To Launch Tomorrow. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired March 10, 2023 - 13:30   ET




KRISTIN FISHER, CNN HOST: One week after four Americans were kidnapped in Mexico, two of them killed, the cartel behind the deadly attack has apparently issued an apology.

The notorious Gulf Cartel confirms its involvement in a letter and they say they're sorry to the families of the American victims and the Mexico bystander who was killed. They also handed over five members who they claim were responsible.

CNN's Carlos Suarez joins us live from South Carolina where the victims are from.

Carlos, I imagine an apology from a cartel is probably pretty rare. What exactly does this letter say, and how are the victims' families reacting to it?

CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Kristin. Now we have gotten some reaction from at least one of the family members of the four that were in that van that crossed from Texas into Mexico.


Shaeed Woodard's father, we spoke to him yesterday, and he said he had not heard about this letter that the Mexican cartel released to the Mexican government. He said he was not aware of it. He hadn't read it and he did not have much of a reaction to it.

Let's go ahead and show you part of that letter that was sent by the cartel.

In it, it says, in part, quote, "The Gulf Cartel apologizes to the society of Matamoros - that's where all of this happened - the relatives of the Mexican woman who died during that kidnapping and the affected American people and families."

"The Gulf Cartel Scorpion Group strongly condemn the events of last Friday. For this reason, we decided to hand over those directly involved and responsible for the acts.

Now, just a few minutes ago, it is our understanding that officials in Mexico have announced that they have made the arrests -- they made an arrest, rather, in this investigation. They have arrested five people in connection with all of this.

Now, what is unclear at this moment is whether the five people that have been taken into custody were the five people that the cartel said they were going to turn over.

Again, in our conversation with Woodard's father yesterday, he said he had not yet heard about this.

The family is still trying to sort all of this out. They are still trying to come to grips with what happened here. They are still in the process of figuring out how they're going to get their son's body back here to South Carolina.

Here's what he told us.


JAMES WOODARD, SHAEED WOODARD'S FATHER: I just been trying to make sense out of it for a whole week. Just restless, couldn't sleep, couldn't eat. Just crazy to see your own child taken from you in such a way. In a violent way like that.


SUAREZ: And so on the sincerity of that apology from the cartel, a source in the U.S. close to this investigation says that they don't -- they don't believe the sincerity of that apology. They're still, of course, taking a look at that letter.

But late word at this hour is that it does appear that the Mexican government has arrested five people in connection with this kidnapping.

That brings the total number of folks taken into custody to six. One was taken, detained shortly after all of this happened earlier this week - Kristin?

FISHER: Six people in custody and one apology.

Carlos Suarez, thank you so much.

A suspect is also in custody after allegedly driving onto the tarmac and then smashing into a terminal at a North Carolina airport.

Authorities say the driver of that small white car broke through an airport fence and then drove around the tarmac at Wilmington International Airport.

The car then crashed through the doors and windows of the terminal. The driver faces, as you can imagine, both state and federal charges.

No bystanders, nobody in the public was injured. And the airport did remain open. But goodness, look at what happened to that car.

Well, the inflation fight, apparently, far from over after a hotter- than-expected jobs report for February. Renewed fears that the Fed is going to stick with aggressive rate hikes. And what this means for all of us, next.



FISHER: A new jobs report is out today and it's a big one. Employers added 311,000 jobs in February, crushing expectations of 205,000. And that's normally always a good thing, right? But these are not normal times.

So joining me now, Economist Diane Swonk.

Diane, thanks for being with us.

Excellent job numbers. But we're in this weird world where good news isn't always good because it gives the Fed more ammo to aggressively hike rates, which, of course, has its own consequences.

So what do you make of this report that came out today?

DIANE SWONK, CHIEF ECONOMIST, KPMG: Well, what we saw in the report, there was good news in terms of it slowed down on wage growth so that should be some cooling of inflation.

The problem the Fed has is just the sheer magnitude of demand. We've generated 815,000 paychecks since the beginning of the year and that's great. But that's holding up aggregate demand at a time when inflation looks like it's becoming more sticky.

They're setting too high of a floor on inflation with all this demand out there.

And on top of it, we also had very strong increase, which many people needed, in Social Security payments. It was the largest on record, 8.7 percent increases in January for 66 million people.

What it's resulted in, which I think we'll see also next week, is somewhat hotter inflation and hotter spending. We saw retail sales surge in the month of January.

And I think we're going to see another stronger-than-expected number in February, particularly in those areas that we saw strength in employment as well. And that was in the retail sector.

It was actually retail workers didn't get laid off like they usually do. They're hoarding some workers, and in traditional department stores, which until recently have really been hit hard.

People have returned to traditional department stores and big-box discounters in the last couple of months. And that - those things are helping to hold inflation up. This is at the same time that February was the second-largest month on

record for people on vacation. That's great news to see people on a vacation.


More people are on vacation than were home and unable to work because they were sick. That's a major pivotal point in the pandemic and great news. But again, adding to inflation in the service sector.

We know that people going through airports, the TSA throughput data showed that we also had many days during the month of February that exceeded 2019 levels.

All these things are good news but at a price, and that price is inflation.

FISHER: Yes. Diane, also hanging over the economy, the debt ceiling. Today, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called on Congress to raise the debt ceiling without conditions, warning that a default would cause an economic and financial catastrophe.

How concerned are you that Congress is going to sometimes do what Congress does and mess this up?

SWONK: It is really concerning. I think the issue of the debt ceiling should not be a political pinata. I'm very concerned about what is going on.

I am a deficit hawk by nature. I've been worried about the deficit for a long time, especially in a world with rising interest rates.

That said, you don't use the debt ceiling, which is obligations we've already spent and just owe people, the debt that the debt ceiling would affect, we've already made that spending. That doesn't change the spending trajectory going forward.

I think it's very important for us to think, at this stage of the game, the bond market has gotten jittery already. We don't want to have some kind of additional shock to the bond market that affects it in a very different way in an inflationary environment that we're in.

That could cause the Fed to stop and have to reverse course and then leave us with more residual inflation than we'd like for much longer.

FISHER: All right, Diane Swonk, thank you so much for helping us understand this report and the economy as it stands today. Thanks so much.

So this gives a whole new meaning to the term "model rocket." A company is preparing to launch the world's first 3-D printed rocket. Yes. We'll talk to the man behind the Terran 1 Project, next.


[13:51:46] FISHER: It could be a big milestone for the space industry. The launch of the world's first 3-D printed rocket set for tomorrow.

The company, Relativity Space, tried to launch the rocket, called Terran 1, for the first time on Wednesday, but the launch was scrubbed at the last minute.

If it works, it will determine if 3-D printing can really be an alternative to the traditional rocket building method.

Joining me now is the co-founder and CEO of Relativity Space, Tim Ellis, live from Cape Canaveral, just steps from the launch pad.

Tim, I noticed a big step that your company has been building towards for many years now. First, I would like you to explain why you believe the world needs 3-D printed rockets. I believe you once called it the holy grail for automation in aerospace.

TIM ELLIS, CEO & CO-FOUNDER, RELATIVITY SPACE: Yes, Kristin, happy to share.

I started my career as a propulsion engineer working for Jeff Bezos' company, Blue Origin, where I designed and developed rocket engines, starting from a blank sheet of paper to the 3-point conversion.

As part of that process, I ended up doing the first model 3-D printing at Blue Origin and then working with Jeff and the senior executives to start the 3-D division.

But very quickly, when I started Relativity seven years ago, I realized instead of printing bits and parts of a rocket, 3-D printing was a completely new approach to many constructions.

That could actually replace the traditional factory, the design process and the development process, and result in rockets that have far fewer parts and are much faster and cheaper to build.

That's what we've been pioneering at Relativity is this new large- scale 3-D printing approach. Seven years later, we have a rocket that is 85 percent metal 3-D printed sitting on the launch pad, ready to go, and be the first of many historic milestones for our industry.

FISHER: Tim, when I think of 3-D printing, a lot of people think of 3- D printed plastic and whatnot. This is 3-D printed metals. Can you explain how this is possible and how you do this?

ELLIS: Yes, of course. So 3-D printed metal, we have two different printing technologies. One uses a laser that melts metal powder, so eventually laying layer and layer of metal powder and melting the image over the process of several days.

And that results in complex, detailed parts that are functional.


ELLIS: So rocket engines, turbo pumps, valves, other parts. Then we have our own proprietary printing process that's very large scale. We've made the largest metal 3-D printers in the world at Relativity Space.

The Terran rocket is 110 feet tall, seven and a half feet diameter. And these large-scale printers our team invented and they use an aluminum material that we created ourselves in order to build the structure for rockets.

FISHER: They're so cool.

Sorry to cut you off. We're running out of time. I want to make sure, Tim, we get to the launch of Terran 1 tomorrow.

I should point out for our viewers, this thing is 110 feet tall, eight feet wide. It's massive. The first launch attempt was scrubbed.


Break this down. What went wrong Wednesday? And are you confident you fixed it in time for the second attempt tomorrow?

ELLIS: Yes, of course. Winds on Wednesday at the cape were blowing quite hard. That certainly caused some complications with weather.

Then the second piece is the liquid oxygen and liquid methane propellants that we have on the rocket have to be cold enough to fly. They're both very cold already. They have to be cold enough.

We're the first company in the U.S. to have an orbital launch attempt using liquid methane as a rocket propellant. We needed to tweak the temperatures. We made fixes to the ground system to load propellants -

FISHER: All right.

ELLIS: - for our test tomorrow. And that's how we're going to do it.

FISHER: I have to leave it there.

Tim Ellis, thank you so much. Good luck. God speed tomorrow.

And thank you so much for watching.