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Levee Breach Triggers Evacuations In Monterey, California; California Governor: Working With White House To Stabilize Silicon Valley Bank; New Video Shows Kidnapped U.S. Victims In Mexico Before Attack; Mikaela Shiffrin Sets All-Time Skiing Record With 87th World Cup Win; MLB's New Pitch Clock Facing Mixed Reviews During Spring Training; Republicans Introduce Bills Across U.S. To Limit, Ban Drag Shows. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired March 11, 2023 - 18:00   ET



JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in New York.

It is six o'clock here in the Big Apple, 3:00 PM in California, which is likely to be a long sleepless night and soggy weekend lying ahead for much of Monterey County. The county is the epicenter of catastrophic flooding in that State. These are new images of the levee that failed around midnight local time. Mandatory evacuations are now underway in parts of that county.

A string of deadly storms has unleashed massive flooding across the central and northern portions of the State. At least two people have died in this most recent storm.

This week's atmospheric river is the 10th to hit the State this winter. It's dropped more than a foot of rain in some areas and several feet of snow in others.

Let's begin in Monterey County and the site of that levee breach.

CNN's Mike Valerio is there.

Mike, the state of that breach? Could this continue to dump more flooding into that area? What can you tell us?

MIKE VALERIO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. It's going to be the biggest problem leading into the next event, round two, Jim, you're exactly right with that and we want to start on that point.

Round two: We have new information, Jim on the next flood watch which has been posted by the National Weather Service Monday evening through Wednesday morning.

Jim, the next major impulsive moisture is going to come through the Central and Northern Coast of California. Tuesday, Tuesday morning, that would be the 11th atmospheric river system to hit across the State of California this year. But in terms, Jim, of how the situation has changed today, we want to show you a video that our intrepid producer, Sarah Moon shot off of her iPhone as people here in our backdrop were being rescued after dawn today for hours.

You're going to be looking at a couple, Sierra (ph) and Freddy (ph) with their dog, Zeus, rescued by the National Guard. They were woken up at 8:00 AM, realized that there was so much water around them that had poured in from that levee breach, they couldn't get anywhere, called 9-1-1 and were rescued, they told us in minutes by the National Guard after they call 9-1-1.

Now, Jim, we did have a chance to speak with a County Supervisor talking to us about how this is nothing new, but this is certainly a worst case scenario for this area of Monterey County.

Listen to him talking about the resiliency, Jim, of this area.


LUIS A. ALEJO, MONTEREY COUNTY SUPERVISOR: Even before the storms hit, there was a lot of courageous work happening, for example, on these levees to try to add additional protection.

A lot of community volunteers came through this community because they care. These are our friends, these are our neighbors, these business owners have struggled so much in this community.

But I think that what I've seen is this community is resilient. It is strong. When these waters recede, Pajaro is going to rise and that's why we're out here trying to give this community all the support that they need.

This is such a great hardship on this community, but we know that we will get through this.


VALERIO: While we have to be focused in the immediate term, Jim, that levee, there's not enough time to wage a sizeable fix to this breach, this levee incursion that happened around midnight yesterday. So there are plenty of people who are trying to put sandbags around that area that's been weakened by this flooding.

But officials can see, Jim, it's not going to be enough by the time we reach that next impulse of moisture on Tuesday morning with this levee already weakened sending all this water around us -- Jim.

ACOSTA: All right, Mike Valerio, stay safe. Thanks so much for that update. We appreciate it.

California's Governor says he is in touch with the White House and the Treasury Secretary about the sudden collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. It's the second largest bank failure in US history. Federal regulators are now in control of the once go-to funding source for the tech startup industry. Governor Gavin Newsom of California said in his statement: "Everyone is working with FDIC to stabilize the situation as quickly as possible to protect jobs, people's livelihoods, and the entire innovation ecosystem."

And Jeanna Smialek joins us now. She's an economy reporter for "The New York Times" and author of "Limitless: The Federal Reserve Takes On A New Age Of Crisis." Thank you so much for being with us.

You wrote that glimmers of stress are surfacing in the banking system. Could it become more than a glimmer?


JEANNA SMIALEK, ECONOMY REPORTER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": I think that is the trillion dollar question at the moment. And, you know, I think that we don't actually know the answer yet, unfortunately.

It is pretty clear that the challenges we are seeing, you know, the failure we just saw was the result of rising interest rates and so there are real questions, you know, is this happening in other banks? Could this be bigger? And you know, most people are saying they're hoping it's going to be contained. This bank had a weird business model, and it could be a one off, but I think we're still waiting to see whether that's the case.

ACOSTA: Yes, we had Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, whose district includes this bank and she was telling us in the last hour that she wants to see more clarity from the FDIC in all of this. Is that an issue that is coming up now that the FDIC really needs to sort of flex its muscles here and reassure people?

SMIALEK: Yes. I think, you know, this is a very much developing story. We still don't know what is going to happen here. I imagine that Federal regulators are working frantically behind the scenes, trying to figure out what to do, trying to figure out if somebody is going to buy some of the deposits that are sort of up in the air.

And I think we're going to have a lot of sort of soul searching over the next couple of days about what went wrong here from a regulatory perspective.

I imagine we're going to get more clarity on all of those issues, but like I said, you know, this is early hours, this is just happening right now. And so I think we're going to just have to wait and see what happens.

ACOSTA: And some analysts are directly blaming the Fed for causing this bank run with its steep rate hikes. Help explain that for our viewers and what are your thoughts on this blame game, I guess, that's already starting to emerge?

SMIALEK: Yes, so it is absolutely the case that part of the reason that this bank got squeezed so badly is that it had invested in long run Treasury securities and those became much less valuable as interest rates increased. They basically made a bet that interest rates were going to stay low, and then interest rates didn't stay low.

I think that, you know, the Federal Reserve is operating to control inflation that is why it is raising interest rates. It had nothing to do with the banking system, per se.

But I think there are real questions about whether there should have been better oversight of this institution as it was growing very rapidly, as it was pursuing this business model, which was a semi risky one in this kind of environment, and the Fed was actually also the primary regulator of this entity.

And so I think we're going to have a lot of sort of, you know, second guessing, and thinking about what happened there, why regulators didn't flag this, why supervisors didn't stop it earlier, and I mentioned that's only just starting today.

You know, I think we're going to hear a lot about this in the coming weeks.

ACOSTA: And does this call into question or add to the conversation of the Federal Reserve strategy of controlling inflation by raising interest rates?

SMIALEK: I think this potentially throws a real wrench in the process of controlling inflation by raising interest rates. You know, I think the Federal Reserve is going to be very highly conscious that it is going to have trouble controlling inflation, if we're in the middle of a financial crisis.

You know, it has a goal and a necessity to protect financial stability and that can come into direct contradiction with its goal of controlling inflation.

And so I think this is a very challenging world for them to operate in, it's probably going to make it hard for them to be as aggressive as they had been planning on being and I think, you know, we're going to have to wait and see if this is bigger than just this bank, it's going to be a real problem for them.

ACOSTA: Right. Because on Friday, the Jobs Numbers came out and there was talk that well, the Fed is going to ramp things up. The US added 311,000 jobs in February, outpacing expectations, but the unemployment rate rose to 3.6 percent and Wall Street really didn't like that. I mean, they thought, well, this means that the Fed is going to start raising rates and not good for us.

SMIALEK: Yes. Absolutely. So the economy looks very strong across a whole range of measures. The job market is just kind of firing on all cylinders. We've really seem a pick back up in consumer spending early in 2023, which was pretty unexpected and we've seen a pretty resilient, you know, housing market, car market, a lot of the markets that are very interest rate sensitive seem to sort of not be doing fantastic, given how much the Fed has raised interest rates.

But I think, it has have retained a little more strength than anybody expected, and so, there have been real questions. You know, the Fed signaled that it could do a bigger rate increase in March, I think that has to be -- and markets certainly suggest that that is being called into question now because can they go by, you know, can they make a bigger adjustment? Can they take that chance in a world where we're worried about some sort of banking crisis?

ACOSTA: Right. Unintended consequences.

All right, Jeanna Smialek, I hope I pronounced your name correctly. Thanks very much for your time. We appreciate it.

SMIALEK: Thank you.

ACOSTA: New video showing the moments before four Americans were attacked and kidnapped by a drug cartel in Mexico. This Facebook Live stream was taken by one of the victims just after the group crossed into Matamoros in from Brownsville, Texas. They were traveling to a medical procedure appointment, but never made it.

CNN's Carlos Suarez is with us now.

Carlos, I understand you spoke with Latavia Washington shortly after she got back home to South Carolina. What a scary experience. How is she doing?


CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jim. We caught up with Latavia earlier today, and she told us that she is grateful to be home. She is with her family and that she is doing okay.

And as you can imagine, the family right now is asking for some privacy as they try to process everything that has happened in the past week.

As for the Facebook Live video that CNN was able to obtain, that video was taken when the group was driving in Mexico. They had crossed the border.

Now according to the timeline that is being offered by the Mexican government, the group was in Mexico for about two hours when members of the cartel began following them.

And so right now, it is still unclear exactly what happened from the moment they crossed over from Texas into Mexico, and they were being followed by the cartel.

Now on Friday, the Mexican government announced the arrest of five individuals. It is equally unclear whether the five folks that they took into custody are the same five men that the cartel said they were going to turn over to authorities.

On Thursday, they had released this letter where they apologized for the incident and they told the Mexican government that the people that were responsible for it were going to be handed over.

Now, we did get a little bit more information from Mexican officials late Friday night. They released some information about the initial encounter with the group of men that they arrested. We translated some of that information and it reads in part: "Due to the conditions in which five men were found in Matamoros along with a car and a letter, they were initially treated as victims of crime. But this changed to suspects when they began to report their participation in the events of March 3rd."

Coming back out here in South Carolina, McGee and her family again, they are back together again after all of this happened. She is doing okay. But right now the family is asking for some privacy.

Shaeed Woodard's family, says they expect to get his body hopefully on Wednesday and then Eric Williams, the other American that was shot, he is still recovering in a hospital in Texas -- Jim.

ACOSTA: All right, Carlos Suarez, thanks very much for that update. We appreciate it.

Former President Donald Trump meets with his legal team this weekend to discuss whether he will accept an invitation to speak to a New York grand jury. Could we soon see criminal charges brought against him?

And still ahead, we are more than 600 days from the presidential election, but the early GOP contenders are stumping in the State that could make or break a campaign.

Plus --




NOREEN O'SULLIVAN: Hi, Donie. How are you?

AI DONIE O'SULLIVAN: Does my voice sound different to you?

NOREEN O'SULLIVAN: Yes. I just said that to Sinead. I said, Donie sounds so American.


ACOSTA: That sounds like CNN's Donie O'Sullivan, but is it? We will explain coming up.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



ACOSTA: Today, fear and loathing if you're one of Donald Trump's lawyers. It appears Manhattan prosecutors are inching closer to asking a grand jury to criminally charge the former President of the United States. Here is what we know. Prosecutors have invited Trump to testify, a step that may well signal the jury is about to return an indictment. The case centers around that $130,000.00 payment to keep adult film star, Stormy Daniels quiet about an alleged affair.

Trump's former fixer, Michael Cohen is likely to be an integral witness to the prosecutor's case and CNN national security reporter Zachary Cohen joins us now.

Zachary, it looks like it's moving in the direction of an indictment. I suppose we just don't know yet, but there are signals that it may be coming soon.


We have reached a point where it's pretty clear that the Manhattan DA has moved into a phase of his investigation where he is close to making a decision on whether or not he is going to indict former President Donald Trump. And obviously this invitation for Trump to come in and testify before the grand jury set off alarm bells within Trump's own camp.

We have a source saying that Trump is huddling with his legal advisers at Mar-a-Lago this weekend to really go over options of how to respond. Now, I don't think really anybody thinks there's a great chance that Trump is going to take up the DA on his invitation to come in and testify before the grand jury, but it is clear that we've reached a different phase of this investigation that's gone on for about five years, and really raises the potential question of whether or not we could see a former President, for the first time be indicted.

And more importantly, as we look ahead to the presidential election in 2024, there is a scenario where Trump could be under indictment and still running for President as the top Republican candidate in that moment, which has also never happened before.

So really some interesting developments here on the investigation front, and really some potential things to look out for going forward.

ACOSTA: All right, Zachary Cohen, thank you very much.

Turning to the debate over immigration in this country. Immigration advocates say President Biden's border policies look and feel just like the ones under Donald Trump.

CNN's Rosa Flores takes a closer look at how this is playing out at one small school.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In a deep canyon in Tijuana, Mexico just south of San Diego, the dreams of children like Arthur Salazar, a nine-year-old from Guatemala.

FLORES (on camera): What's your biggest, biggest dream? (ARTHUR SALAZAR speaking in foreign language.)

FLORES: To arrive to the US.

FLORES (voice over): And the flaws of the broken US immigration system come into focus.

I see little hands and bigger hands.

LINDSAY WEISSERT, COFOUNDER AT CHILDREN'S ACTION COALITION: Yes, yes. So we serve preschool age and elementary age children.

FLORES (voice over): Lindsay Wiessert opened the school for migrant children three years ago and says the current border policies have migrants waiting in Mexico to seek asylum in the US.

WIESSERT: My biggest concern is the toll that these policies are going to take on children.

FLORES (on camera): Do you like science?


FLORES (voice over): Arthur arrived in December and says the weight is depressing and sad.


FLORES (on camera): Why is it sad?

(ARTHUR SALAZAR speaking in foreign language.)

FLORES (voice over): He says that it is sad because sometimes they don't have food to eat.

(JENNIFER speaking in foreign language.)

FLORES (voice over): His mom, Jennifer open this food stand in front of the school.

FLORES (on camera): What are you waiting for?

(JENNIFER speaking in foreign language.)

FLORES (on camera): She says that the migrants here are stuck because of the CBP 1 app.

FLORES (voice over): The new app launched by the Biden administration lets asylum seekers set up appointments so they can enter the US legally under an exception to Title 42, the pandemic rule used to return migrants to Mexico, but getting an appointment is a big challenge.

ENRIQUE LUCERO, HEAD OF THE MIGRANT AFFAIRS OFFICE IN TIJUANA: You need a cell phone, the first problem. FLORES (voice over): The head of Tijuana's Migrant Services says about 5,600 migrants live in shelters and the one port of entry nearby only takes 200 appointments a day.

LUCERO: It is not enough.

FLORES (voice over): Lucero says not one person has gotten an appointment in the largest shelter in town, where Jennifer wakes up at 3:00 AM or 4:00 AM to try the app.

(JENNIFER speaking in foreign language.)

FLORES (on camera): So it's error after error after error.

She took screengrabs. One is a wheel of death, the app asks for a selfie, but doesn't capture her face.

FLORES (on camera): This is another one. It says that she must be close to the border. You're in Tijuana and this is a border town.

FLORES (voice over): Then candidate Joe Biden said this during the final presidential debate in 2020.

JOE BIDEN, THEN CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This the first President in the history of the United States of America that has anybody seeking asylum has to do it in another country. That's never happened before in America. They're sitting in squalor on the other side of the river.

FLORES (voice over): The scene President Biden described then appears to be happening under his administration, too.

But light shines even in the deepest canyons.

Remember the hand prints?

WEISSERT: This is a migrant child who was here learning and they're most likely in the US now.

FLORES (voice over): Their hope that dreams come true.

FLORES (on camera): The White House pushes back on comparisons of current border policies to those from the Trump era, saying that the Biden administration has actually expanded legal pathways to come into the country.

About the app, CBP says that it is working as intended and that the criticism that it doesn't recognize darker faces is unfounded. CBP spokesperson telling me that "CBP has processed 40,000 appointments from over 85 countries since January. The top three are Haitian, Venezuelan, and Russian. The issue with facial detection is how the photos are being taken not on ethnicity," meaning that it could be bad lighting or the framing of the photo.

And about that huge demand, that means that these appointments are being taken in a matter of minutes. Rosa Flores, CNN, Los Angeles.


ACOSTA: Coming up with the rise of artificial intelligence, CNN's Donie O'Sullivan put AI generated voices to the ultimate test to show just how convincing they can be.




NOREEN O'SULLIVAN: Hi, Donie. How are you?

AI DONIE O'SULLIVAN: Just finished shooting our story here. I'm going to the airport in a while.

NOREEN O'SULLIVAN: There seems to be a delay in the phone, Donie.

AI DONIE O'SULLIVAN: Can I say a quick hello to dad?





ACOSTA: Could you spot the difference between the voices of your loved ones and a computer generated imitation? New artificial intelligence tools are making that a lot harder than you might think, and while there may be harmless ways to use the software like pranking your family, it's also raising concerns about fake audio clips and how they could be used.

CNN's Donie O'Sullivan tried out the software. Take a look.




NOREEN O'SULLIVAN: Hi, Donie. How are you?

AI DONIE O'SULLIVAN: Does my voice sound different to you?

NOREEN O'SULLIVAN: Yes, I just said that to Sinead. I said Donie sounds so American.

AI DONIE O'SULLIVAN: This is not actually me. This is a voice made by a computer.

NOREEN O'SULLIVAN: Oh my God. Are you serious?


There has been an explosion in fake audio and voices being generated through artificial intelligence technology.

AI WALTER WHITE: This is an AI cloned version of Walter White's voice.

AI LEONARDO DICAPRIO: This is an AI cloned version of Leonardo DiCaprio's voice.

DONIE O'SULLIVAN: All you need is a couple of minutes recording of anyone's voice and you can make it seem like they have said just about anything.

Even --

AI ANDERSON COOPER: Anderson Cooper. We've come here to UC Berkeley today to talk to Hany Farid, a digital forensic expert about just how easy it is to put words into other people's mouths.

DONIE O'SULLIVAN: It's a lot of fun.


DONIE O'SULLIVAN: But it is also really scary.

FARID: I think once you put aside that "gee whiz" factor I don't think it takes a long time to look at the risks.

AI WOLF BLITZER: This is Wolf Blitzer. Hany Farid, you're in "The Situation Room."

DONIE O'SULLIVAN: That sounds --

FARID: That's good.

DONIE O'SULLIVAN: That sounds pretty --

DONIE O'SULLIVAN (voice over): By uploading just a few minutes of me and some of my colleagues' voices to an AI audio service, I was able to create some convincing fakes including this one of Anderson Cooper.

AI ANDERSON COOPER: Donie O'Sullivan is a real piece of [bleep].


FARID: Was it really?


FARID: That's good.


Anderson's is really good. FARID: Man.

DONIE O'SULLIVAN: Because Anderson doesn't have a stupid Irish accent.

DONIE O'SULLIVAN (voice over): The technology did struggle with my Irish accent, but we decided to put it to the ultimate test with my parents.

I am about to try to call my mom back in Ireland and see if I can trick her with this voice.


DONIE O'SULLIVAN: You think I'm going to be successful?

FARID: I'm nervous. I'm like my hands are --




NOREEN O'SULLIVAN: Hi, Donie. How are you?

AI DONIE O'SULLIVAN: You just finished shooting our story here? I'm going to the airport in a while.


NOREEN O'SULLIVAN: There seems to be a delay in the phone, Donie.

A.I. O'SULLIVAN: Can I say a quick hello to dad?



A.I. O'SULLIVAN: Hi, dad.

D O'SULLIVAN: How are you doing?

A.I. O'SULLIVAN: How are you?

D O'SULLIVAN: Good, yourself?

A.I. O'SULLIVAN: Just finished shooting our story here. I am going to the airport in a while.

D O'SULLIVAN: Oh, you're going back again to New York?

A.I. O'SULLIVAN: Are Kerry playing this weekend?

D O'SULLIVAN: They're playing Tyrone on Sunday.

(END VIDEO CLIP) DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN REPORTER (voice over): My dad went on to have a conversation with the A.I. Donie about how Kerry, our home football team, had a game that weekend. Eventually, I had to come clean.


O'SULLIVAN (on camera): Dad, I will give you a call better later on. Can you just put me back to mom for a second?


O'SULLIVAN (voice over): My parents knew something was off, but ultimately, they still fell for it.


N O'SULLIVAN: Oh, yes, some of it don't be bad, but it was like your voice was a little tone lower and it sounded like very serious.

O'SULLIVAN (on camera): Yes.

N. O'SULLIVAN: Like you had something serious to say. Because I went, oh, jeez, my heart was hopping first.


D O'SULLIVAN: I thought the voice was very funny. Thought the voice was very funny, yes, I do.

O'SULLIVAN (on camera): All right.

D O'SULLIVAN: (Inaudible), Donie.

O'SULLIVAN: I'll call you later, dad.

D O'SULLIVAN: Okay, bye bye.

O'SULLIVAN: Okay, bye.

HANY FARID, DIGITAL FORENSIC EXPERT: This is not classic. The mom is like, something is wrong with my son. The dad is like, everything is fine.



A.I. BIDEN: I'd like to close out today's ceremony with a question. If you are given a choice, would you choose to have unlimited bacon but no more video games?


O'SULLIVAN (voice over): With fake Biden and Trump recordings going viral online, Farid says this could be something to be wary of going into the 2024 election. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FARID: When we enter this world where anything can be fake, any image, any audio, any video, any piece of text, nothing has to be real, we have what's called a liars' dividend, which is that anybody can deny reality.


O'SULLIVAN (voice over): With a flood of new A.I. tools releasing online, he says companies developing this powerful technology need to think of its potential negative effects.


FARID: There is no online and offline world. There is one world and it is fully integrated. When things happen on the internet, they have real implications for individuals, for communities, for societies, for democracies and I don't think we as a field have fully come to grips with our responsibility here.



ACOSTA: All right. Wild stuff.

Up next, shot clock but for baseball, the new pitch clock is causing confusion among fans, analysts and players. Legendary Bob Costas is going to break down whether or not any of this is working for the national pastime, that's coming up in a few moments.



ACOSTA: American skier, Mikaela Shiffrin, now sits alone atop the record books after winning her 87th World Cup race. She won a slalom event in Sweden Friday breaking the tie she was in for most career titles, athletes from across the country were quick to congratulate Shiffrin on her historic victory.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Mikaela. I just wanted to congratulate you on your record breaking win recently and I know you have some more races coming up, so I'll be cheering you on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to congratulate you on 87 becoming the greatest skier of all time. All that hard work has paid off.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are the true definition of a winner inside and out and we are so excited for all of the more that you're going to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're the best in the world. You're the best to ever do it.


ACOSTA: All right. And to baseball where new rules unveiled in spring training remain a bit of a work in progress. The biggest change is the new pitch clock designed to speed up a game that unlike football or basketball never had a clock before. It's a change that not everyone loves at this point.

And CNN Contributor and legendary sports broadcaster, Bob Costas, joins us now.

Bob, I can't think of anybody better in broadcasting to break this down for us. I know you're a student of the game. What is your take on the clock? How is it working so far during spring training? Is this working?

BOB COSTAS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It absolutely is working. I've been called a traditionalist by some and tradition matters in baseball more than in other sports, but it always has evolved historically. The question is do you do it thoughtfully.

And in this case, I think they have. They tested this out in the minor leagues. They did it very, very carefully. The pitch clock will take some getting used to. There will be a few incidents and now with everything on video and all kinds of highlight shows, even if they're rare, you'll see them. So there will be some occasions where a pitch is on the way and the guy hasn't quite beaten the pitch clock and it should be an automatic ball and the guy will swing at the pitch and hit it and put it in play and confusion will ensue.

A lot of this is a matter of rhythm, not so much the clock but the rhythm. Batters get into the batter's box, they take a few little swings, they go through their motions. The pitcher comes set, but the rhythm is already falling into place.

Spring training games on average about 25 minutes shorter than they had been a year ago. It worked in the minor leagues. And interestingly, Jim, when baseball doing its due diligence, superimpose the pitch clock, 20 seconds with a man on base, 15 seconds without one, on games from the past, famous games from the past where there was no clock almost always the pitchers and hitters beat the clock.

Now this may seem like ancient history, but it's so famous fans have seen it. I know you have. Kirk Gibson's famous at bat against Dennis Eckersley --

ACOSTA: Right.

COSTAS: -- when he hit the pinch hit home run at Dodger Stadium in the World Series in '88, I actually said to my colleague, Tom Verducci, you're not going to want the clock in a situation like that. They're the waiting and the anticipation as to the drama. And Tom said, yes, but he went and tested it and he put a clock on it, and there wasn't a single time, when Eckersley or Gibson wouldn't have beaten the clock, since by the present rule, you're allowed one timeout and Gibson did ask for timeout before the three two pitch.

Now as we've seen so far in spring training, there are more ground ball base hits, because they've outlawed the shift. There are more attempted stolen bases because the bases are a little bit larger, so it's a few inches closer.

ACOSTA: Right.

COSTAS: Either way, you can only throw - you can only throw two pickoffs to keep a runner close. And most importantly, the game is going back to the future in a sense.


Back not to ancient history but back to the '80s and '90s when it had its normal, leisurely pace and not the too lethargic, too often lethargic pace it's had in recent years.

Baseball is doing the right thing and I think it's going to work.

ACOSTA: And the large bases now, the pizza box-sized bases --


ACOSTA: -- doesn't look weird when you're looking at the field --

COSTAS: Right.

ACOSTA: -- you don't think?

COSTAS: Yes, it looks weird. It looks a little weird. On the other hand, the beauty and symmetry of the game is reestablished with two guys on either side of second base on the infield. But it's also going to be easier on broadcasters in the middle of the count, not just with each batter. The third baseman would sometimes run over to the second base side, who's who?

There's a ground ball and you think the second base - you're going to have to score at five to three, because the third base, but it was in short right field actually made the play. So you give a little, you take a little, the pizza boxes look weird, but it's going to maybe increase the number of stolen base attempts, fans want action. It isn't just --


COSTAS: -- the length of the game or the pace of the game, they want more action. And in all the surveys, fans say among their favorite plays are extra base hits and stolen bases, and they want to increase those.

ACOSTA: And we got to get our kids off of our phones and looking at the field during these games when we take our kids --


ACOSTA: -- and grandkids to these games. Bob, let's talk football.


ACOSTA: And our favorite pastime in Washington, which is talking about the drama surrounding the Washington Commanders' --

COSTAS: Right.

ACOSTA: -- football team. They announced in November that owner, Daniel Snyder, had hired a bank to explore selling the team. Since then, there's been a lot of drama since then, surprise, surprise --


ACOSTA: -- very little traction. Is this going to happen anytime soon? And I mean this is unprecedented because it almost seems as though the NFL is just trying to force --


ACOSTA: -- Daniel Snyder to go away.

COSTAS: They pretty much are.


COSTAS: The owners' meeting takes place at the End of this month. Maybe something will happen there, but it's possible, it will drag on. Snyder has said he wants at least $6 billion - maybe $7 billion for the team.


COSTAS: The Denver Broncos, a more stable organization and really an organization with a national brand recently sold for less than 5 billion. Now, here's the thing, you have to have a three quarters vote of all the owners in order to force another owner to divest himself from his team.

And even though it's widely felt, but it's a dysfunctional organization and from a public relations standpoint, Dan Snyder is no help to the NFL. They can't get the three quarters vote likely because some owners - some may be friendly towards Snyder, but others may say, wait a minute, I don't want to get in a situation where I have a misstep --

ACOSTA: Right.

COSTAS: -- and I might arbitrarily be forced out.

Whatever their reasons are, I understand that Jerry Jones very influential around the league and a close ally through the years of Snyder, has been trying to convince him to sell.

Now, the name of Jeff Bezos has been thrown around.


COSTAS: Snyder is reluctant to sell to Bezos no matter how high the bid is because Bezos owns the Washington Post. And the Washington Post has been very, very hard on Dan Snyder and the Commanders. Now, there's talk that maybe Bezos, if he wants to own a team will sell the Washington Post if that's what it takes and then attempt to buy the Commanders and a little bit more drama here.

Snyder wants the league to indemnify him against --

ACOSTA: Right.

COSTAS: -- any legal action that postdates his selling of the team. And he also wants the results of the league's investigation of the Commanders' organization to remain confidential. So there are various --


COSTAS: -- negotiating points on both sides of the issue.

ACOSTA: Now, I remember growing up in the D.C. area, going --

COSTAS: You got all of that?

ACOSTA: -- I did - I remember growing up in the D.C. area going to Washington Redskin Super Bowl parade and I think I predict there will be a parade if Dan Snyder ultimately sells that team. But I have to ask you about the ESPN decision - or excuse me, Dick Vitale, over at ESPN, he is one of the most --


ACOSTA: -- legendary voices in college basketball despite his storied career. He's never called a March Madness game, is that correct, because his network doesn't host any tournament matches? And this year, CBS - that's what I meant to say - offered him a game, but he declined out of loyalty to ESPN.

I mean, are we ever going to see anybody like Dick Vitale ever again in broadcasting? Diaper dandy, the PTP, I mean all of those just --


ACOSTA: -- marvelous expressions from him.

COSTAS: For all the years, CBS has had the tournament and before that NBC and Billy Packer, just like Tim McCarver with baseball, the late Billy Packer and the late Tim McCarver almost seemed to come with a package when it came to college basketball, and then baseball in Tim's case.

I think we'll see other - and we see them still - other big characters, big personalities, but the primacy of any one outlet, ESPN is still important, but it once had a position of primacy, and the network's had positions of primacy. So Vin Scully calling the game of the week or Dick Enberg doing a big football game or Pat Summerall and John Madden --

ACOSTA: Right.

COSTAS: -- registered differently with the public than it does now. Could a Dick Vitale or someone like him come along? Yes, but he wouldn't be as front and center in the imaginations of sports fans.


It's always the person, but also part of the era of the circumstances that they come out of. So there'll never be another Dick Vitale, but neither will there ever be the circumstances that presented him to the public the way it did and for as long as it did.

ACOSTA: And we don't think of baseball without you or the Olympics without you, Bob. There are just certain broadcasters that we identify with sports and certain sports and Dick Vitale is one of them with college basketball.

COSTAS: Mm-hm. Yes.

ACOSTA: Just one in a million, a classic. Bob Costas, as always, thank you so much for your time. We appreciate it.

COSTAS: Thank you, Jim.

ACOSTA: All right. Thank you so much.

And make sure to tune in to CNN PRIMETIME as CNN's Chris Wallace kicks off March Madness with NCAA President - new NCAA President, Charlie Baker. Can the former Massachusetts governor transform college basketball. Catch CNN PRIMETIME: Inside The Madness live Tuesday night at 9 here on CNN.

Coming up, drag shows are becoming a lightning rod for GOP-controlled legislatures and state houses across the country why some performers say efforts to restrict them could have dangerous implications.


TIMOTHY SHERWOOD, DRAG PERFORMER: If these bills become law, my entire livelihood is at risk. I don't even want to imagine a life where I can't be the person that I've worked so hard to finally figure out who I am.




ACOSTA: Republican lawmakers and states across the U.S. are introducing bills that would limit or outright ban drag performances.

CNN's Lucy Kafanov spoke with some performers and business owners whose livelihoods would be affected.


SHERWOOD: Drag actually saved my life


LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Timothy Sherwood, drag is more than just a job.


SHERWOOD: I feel beautiful, I feel ethereal, I feel colorful, I feel bright.

And that is the last step.


KAFANOV (voice over): He left the teaching career in Dallas to perform full time as Kylee O'Hara Fatale.


SHERWOOD: Kylie, like, shown me who my true kind of self was, my true voice.


KAFANOV (voice over): But that voice could soon be silenced in Texas, which is considering at least four bills seeking to restrict drag performances.


SHERWOOD: If these bills become law, my entire livelihood is at risk. I don't even want to imagine a life where I can't be the person that I worked so hard to finally figure out who I am. To fully have all that just ripped away, that would be soul crushing.

REP. BRYAN SLATON, R, TEXAS STATE HOUSE: Grown men dancing in their underwear in front of children asking for money --


KAFANOV (voice over): Texas State Representative, Bryan Slaton, says the bills are designed to protect minors.


SLATON: I think it's important to protect children from any adult that wants to sexualize them. Right now, the only group of people that's trying to sexualize children are the drag performances.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KAFANOV (voice over): Drag has become a target amongst conservatives with shows and even literacy events like Drag Queen Story Hour sparking protests and targeted attacks from right-wing extremist groups in some states.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- book is called love the world by Todd Parr.


KAFANOV (voice over): Texas is just one of at least 18 States seeking to restrict drag.


ALL: Drag (inaudible) got to go.


KAFANOV (voice over): Rights groups say it's part of a broader attack on the queer community.


KELLEY ROBINSON, PRESIDENT, HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN: We're seeing states across this country in a race to the bottom in terms of attacking LGBTQ plus folks. Over 400 bills attacking our community have been introduced and it's only March of this year.


KAFANOV (voice over): Many of the proposed bills would make it illegal for an establishment to host a drag show unless it's classified as a sexually-oriented business.


JAY ANDERSON, OWNER, ANDERSON DISTILLERY AND GRILL: If somebody came in and said today you're a sexually-oriented business, that would be it.

KAFANOV (on camera): You'd have to close your doors.

ANDERSON: You got to close the doors. Yes, there's no way.


KAFANOV (voice over): Jay Anderson runs a distillery and grill near Fort Worth, Texas.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to keep the show (inaudible) --

(END VIDEO CLIP) KAFANOV (voice over): His business has already taken a hit when an attempt to host a family friendly drag brunch featuring his son as a performer resulted in protests.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm here to support people that don't indoctrinate and grooms little eight year old kids.

ANDERSON: This map tracks basically all the death threats that we receive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, guys, again.

ANDERSON: If this drag show causes me to close my business and I lose all the money I put into it but I save one kid who didn't kill himself, I don't care.


KAFANOV (voice over): Some critics say the bills are too broad and could target transgender people by defining drag as the act of appearing in public in a gender different than the one assigned at birth.


DAHLIA KNOWLES, POP VOCALIST: The problem is that a lot of the public, especially in Republican states isn't able to make the distinction between what a drag queen is and what a trans woman is, because I'm trans and can be perceived as a drag queen in a public space, like what does that mean for my gigs?


KAFANOV (voice over): Knowles is a Dallas-based pop singer who performs under the name Lorelei K.

She worries the broadly written legislation would categorize her as a drag performer simply because she's a transgender woman.


KNOWLES: I'm not impersonating a gender. This is my gender. The idea that I have to perform at sexually-oriented businesses whenever my act isn't sexually-oriented, it's just, like, absurd.

KAFANOV (on camera): So it's not just about drag.

KNOWLES: No, this is just the tip of the iceberg. They're trying to eradicate transgender people from the public eye. It's not a debate whether or not I exist. I do exist. Like I'm here and the message that I'm receiving is that I'm not wanted here.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KAFANOV (on camera): While these bills are part of an unprecedented effort to target members of the LGBTQ plus community, unprecedented in their sheer volume, the amped up rhetoric by far right commentators and these lawmakers is coming at a time of increasing violence against this community.


Even if these bills don't become law, the people we've spoken to say it's already creating a climate of fear, leaving them feeling like they're being pushed back into the closet.

Lucy Kafanov, CNN, Denver.


ACOSTA: Coming up next, inside the second largest bank failure in U.S. history, how Silicon Valley Bank collapsed in just 48 hours and what implications it could have across the economy. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.