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Protecting Depositors Of Silicon Valley Bank; Two Migrant- Smuggling Boats Capsize Off San Diego Coast; Democratic Leaders Want Party To Stop Criticizing Kamala Harris; Interview With Rep. Josh Harder (D-CA); Judge Quietly Schedule Abortion Pill Hearing; Navalny Documentary Nominated At The Oscars. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired March 12, 2023 - 17:00   ET



JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: "The Washington Post" is reporting that federal officials are considering protecting all uninsured deposits at Silicon Valley Bank. But for now, that is just a possibility if the government can't find a buyer for the failed bank.

Meanwhile, the Treasury Department has briefed California lawmakers about the latest on the situation. Silicon Valley Bank was a critical financial resource for tech startups until its sudden collapse on Friday. And CNN's Arlette Saenz is live at the White House for us. So, Arlette, what are you hearing for the Biden administration in terms of what they might do and might not do in this situation?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, the Biden administration has been working around the clock this weekend trying to deal with the fallout of the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that she's been speaking with financial regulators.

The Treasury Department has also been hearing from depositors themselves for President Biden's part, he spoke with California governor, Gavin Newsom, about efforts to try and address regarding that California-based bank. But earlier today, one thing that Janet Yellin did completely rule out is that there will be any large-scale bailout for this bank in the way that that was seen back during the 2008 financial crisis.


JANET YELLIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: Let me be clear that during the financial crisis, there were investors and owners of systemic large banks that were bailed out and we're certainly not looking and the reforms that have been put in place means that we are not going to do that again. But we are concerned about depositors and are focused on trying to meet their needs.


SAENZ: And the fate of those depositors and the money that's been held in this bank is really one of the looming questions regarding this whole situation. The FDIC only ensures up to $250,000, leaving questions about how exactly those with uninsured deposits would be made whole, especially at a time when many will be trying to meet payrolls this coming week.

Now, as you noted, the "Washington Post" reported that the administration is considering options to try to protect all deposits overall. And one thing that is also playing out over the course of the weekend is bids are being taken to see whether they can find a buyer for this bank.

Now, throughout this process over the course of the past few days, the administration has tried to stress that the banking system is resilient. They have pointed to those reforms that were put in place back in 2008 as a reason for why people should have confidence in the resilience of the banking system.

But certainly, this is something the White House and the Biden administration is watching very closely as they are trying to stem any larger impacts that this could have on the banking system overall and also the U.S. economy.

ACOSTA: Yeah. There are a lot of investors on Wall Street that are going to be bracing for whatever the administration does between now and when the markets open tomorrow morning. That's also a critical part of this. Arlette Saenz, thank you very much.

There is bipartisan outrage and concern on Capitol Hill over whether this meltdown could have been prevented and what will happen next. Last hour I spoke with California Democratic Congressman Adam schiff and here's what he said he is most concerned about.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): The need first and foremost to protect people whose paychecks, workers that is for small businesses that, you know, completely unbeknownst to them had their payrolls handled by SVB and therefore may not get a check, may not get, you know, income that they need to rely on. So, we want to make sure that we underscore just how important it is that people get those paychecks that are depending on it for their living.

I don't think any of us are particularly concerned about what happens with the bank executives or even investors. We do want to make sure that people who made deposits are protected up to 250,000 and beyond that, that the risk of contagion that is runs on other banks is mitigated.


ACOSTA: And CNN's Alayna Treene joins me now. Elena what are you hearing from lawmakers?

ALAYNA TREENE, CNN REPORTER: Well, Jim, as Schiff just said, the California delegation was briefed this morning by the Treasury Department and I think something that's really interesting that I know came up on the call from people I spoke with who were on the call is that the Republicans, Democrats and the Treasury Department are aligned on not wanting the government to bail out the Silicon Valley Bank.

And I do think, as he also said, one of the main concerns as well is making sure people can meet payroll, making sure that depositors are taken care of. And I am told that the Treasury Department and some of the representatives sat on the call this morning, that they are prepared to step in and help do that. The question is when.

And this is also something that many lawmakers across the board on the Sunday shows really seeing statements have discussed as well as Josh Gottheimer. I mean, he sent a letter today to the Treasury Department, to the FDIC, to the Federal Reserve, laying out a list of things that demands a wat that he thinks need to be done.


And got a lot of lawmakers to sign onto it. And payroll was one of the things that he mentioned, if you want to pull up the statement now. The letter reads, "To be clear, we do not believe it regulators should assist SVB shareholders. Right now, we are concerned about the depositors at SVB and at banks across the country, suddenly unnerved by SVB's catastrophic failure that unfolded in just 48 hours, accelerated, in part by, social media and pack mentality withdrawals."

And one other thing, Jim. I'll just mention that, again, Republicans and Democrats are bringing up here is how can we prevent this from happening again? And also, how can we prevent this a massive freak out over what's happening here? We know that when there's more uncertainty, the market gets rattled, people get rattled. They want to start taking their money out of different banks. And that's really what a lot of congress wants to avoid right now.

ACOSTA: Yes, they want to settle things down right now. All right, Alayna Treeve, thank you very much. For more on the bank collapse and its impact on small business, Lindsey Michaelides joins us now. She is the cofounder and CEO of Strongsuit, a Columbus, Ohio-based company appearing personal assistance with working parents. Lindsey, you've been clarifying that your team is not big tech. You have 15 employees No one lives in Silicon Valley. I guess you're not tech bros, is that what you're saying? But you did use Silicon Valley Bank. Tell us about what you're going through now.

LNDSEY MICHAELIDES, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, STRONGSUIT: Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, at this point, fortunately for us, and frankly, we're one of the lucky ones. We had payday on Friday for my team and when I found out on Friday morning that SVB had collapsed and was taken over by the government, I spent the entirety of my day and into the weekend ensuring that the funds that were removed from my account or that I believe were removed from account on Thursday actually hit the accounts of my employees.

And fortunately for us they did, but there's a lot of other -- all the other small, medium businesses that are out there that are worried about making payroll on Monday and Tuesday and have no access to their cash. So, it's pretty tough times right now.

ACOSTA: And have you heard from anyone yet, bank officials, federal officials? Is it just silence?

MICHAELIDES: There is no direct communication -- yeah. No, direct communication from anyone at this point. So, you know, I'm in close communication with a lot of other founders and business owners. And we are trying to share all the information that we can find, doing our own research and piecing it together. And frankly, you know, I've been deep in this and mired in it since Thursday of last week. And at this point, still have a lot more questions and I have answers.

ACOSTA: And how did you assure your team that they would be paid?

MICHAELIDES: So, fortunately for us, I do have -- maintain one account or Strongsuit that sits outside of Silicon Valley Bank. And so, between the (inaudible) that we had on Friday and some of the funds that are in that other account, we are good for probably for the next month. But beyond that, all of our working capital is tied up the Silicon Valley Bank.

ACOSTA: And you've tweeted, "Please refuse to accept the convenient narrative that bailing out SVB or allowing it to be purchased by a larger bank is the handout to the tech-elite." Why is this an important message to get out there? Because, you know, I think a lot of folks have already come to this conclusion that, oh, these are just the tech guys out in California. We don't want to bail them out. They got themselves into trouble with all of these things they do out there. You know, they shouldn't get bail out in their sweat pants on the and that sort of thing. But they're folks like yourself caught up in the middle of this.

MICHAELIDES: Absolutely. And just to be clear, I'm not looking for a bailout for my company and definitely, the ideal outcome is not that taxpayer's foot the bill for what is happening with Silicon Valley Bank. That is not what I want by any means. But ultimately, I started Strongsuit to meet the needs of working families.

And the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank puts the livelihoods of families at risk. This is about jobs and families being able to put food on the table for their kids. And my team is a small team of 15, but no one is in Silicon Valley as you mentioned. We are in Ohio, Tennessee, Minnesota, Utah. And the impact of SVB's the collapse is families all over the country are not going to be getting their paychecks and the impact is going to be far-reaching and far beyond the Silicon Valley itself.

ACOSTA: And what are you hoping federal regulators will do? And I guess when you hear the Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen kind of ruling out a bailout at this point. I know people are, you know, sort of a loaded attachment to term bailout. But at the end of the day, it means helping people out so, you know, they don't get taken to the cleaners, so they don't lose everything.

I guess, what do you say in response to the treasury secretary saying no bailouts? What are you hoping they do here in Washington?

MICHAELIDES: yeah, absolutely. And I think any person wouldn't understand what is a bailout because I think there is a lot of parties involved here.


But personally, for me, what I'm hoping is that the government will work swiftly with potential acquirers and be able to come to a resolution where depositors can be made whole for the cash deposits that they put into the bank. I'm not talking about shareholders in the bank, executives in the bank or anything like that, but strictly the depositors here who entrusted the bank to hold those funds for them and keep them safe.

ACOSTA: All right, Lindsey Michaelides, thank you so much for joining us. Very far away from Silicon Valley, California, in Columbus, Ohio. Thanks for your time. We appreciate it.

MICHAELIDES: Thank you so much for having me, Jim.

ACOSTA: All right. You bet. Turning back to some breaking news. A developing story out of California, at least eight people are dead after two smuggling boats capsized. It happened off of the San Diego coast. Officials are calling this one of the worst disasters stemming from human trafficking that they have ever seen. And CNN's Camila Bernal joins us now with the latest. What more do we know?

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, this was a tragedy. We know that authorities got a 911 call last night at around 11:30 midnight. But by the time officials got to Black's Beach in San Diego, they did not find any survivors. They did not find this 911 caller who reported two capsized boats, one with eight people in it, the other with 15 people in it.

Authorities say this was a very difficult search. It was pitch black. Not even nighttime goggles were helpful for officials at the time. And they say that the water had a lot of currents. They believe that there are these sandbars in the area which likely led people to think that they -- it would be okay to walk out of the water, but there are these holes in the sand and once you step into these holes the current essentially pull you back into the water. So, that's what they believe happened yesterday.

They also say that they are still searching today. But so far, they've only found eight bodies. They say that these bodies were not or did not have any lifejackets on, but they did recover a number of lifejackets that washed up on shore. And officials say that the people responsible for all of this, they are not necessarily thinking about the safety of these people. Here is what authorities are saying.


JAMES SPITLER, SAN DIEGO SECTOR COMMANDER, U.S. COAST GUARD: This is not necessarily people trying to find a better life. This is part of a transnational criminal organization effort to smuggle people into United States. These people are often labor trafficked and sex trafficked when they arrive.

JAMES GARTLAND, CHIEF OF LIFEGUARD DIVISION, SAN DIEGO: This is one of the worst maritime smuggling tragedies that I can think of in California, certainly here in the city of San Diego.


BERNAL: And Border Patrol also speaking out today saying they are looking into this incident as well, working with Mexican officials, trying to figure out exactly who is behind all of this. But it is going to be difficult. As of now, there are no survivors that police can talk too. All of these people left the beach area, left this area in general before they could be interviewed by police. But again, they continue to search for any bodies because at this point they say it is a recovery operation, Jim.

ACOSTA: All right, Camila Bernal, thank you very much.

We have new CNN reporting; top Democrats worry the repeated snubs Vice President Kamala Harris has been facing could hurt their chances to hold on to the White House in 2024.

Plus, a Texas judge takes unusual steps to try to delay public awareness of a hearing that could lead to a ban on a drug used in medication abortion.

And later, as Russian shelling continues in Ukraine, investigators from the U.S., U.K. and that European Union search for evidence of war crimes. I'll talk to one of those investigators coming up. You're live in the "CNN Newsroom."



ACOSTA: Democratic leaders are trying to tamp down some backstage party drama over Vice President Kamala Harris before it becomes a story for the 2024 campaign. In January, Senator Elizabeth Warren raised some eyebrows during a local Boston radio interview while enthusiastic about President Joe Biden running for re-election. She stopped short of saying Kamala Harris should stay on the ticket.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): I really want to defer to what makes Biden comfortable on his team.


ACOSTA: CNN's Isaac Dovere are with more on this interparty intrigue. Isaac, you know, Warren, I guess, your reporting has tried calling the vice president personally to apologize for this.


ACOSTA: And what's happened?

DOVERE: Well, the way that people close to Senator Warren had put (inaudible) is that she did not mean to imply that there is any problem here, any lack of support. She called twice to the vice president meaning to convey that directly. So far, Vice President Harris hasn't called her back. And what our reporting shows is that this not just about this one incident but that it is a larger feeling from the vice president, from a lot of people around the vice president, that she is just constantly not getting the respect that she deserves.

She is getting snubbed all the time. And it is feeding a feeling that goes much beyond that to a lot of top Democrats who say listen, whatever you think of her, we have to make her strong, we have to stop the negativity around here because we're going into re-election campaign time here in it looks like. And it's a bigger question for a president who will be 82 years old running to stay in office until his 86, if that's where we are headed, who the running mate is? People would need politically, Democrats tells us, to feel better about Kamala Harris.

ACOSTA: And what is going on there do you think with the vice president inside the Democratic Party? Why is that it just sort of seems to be kind of a steady, may be a low drumbeat, but sort of a steady drumbeat amongst some in the party -- we have to caution -- among some of the party.


That there is just -- there is some uneasiness there or uncertainty there. I'm sure the Kamala Harris people would push back on that hard.

DOVERE: They would say, first of all, there are issues about racism and sexism that come there with the first black, first Asian, first woman vice president. They would also say like there were issues earlier in her vice presidency that they have worked to clean up, that they have made better. That she's gotten better at the job, but that she is sort of stuck in the caricature from them.

But then there are things that continue -- when she fumbles answers sometimes, it puts Democrats really ill at ease. There was a phone call, a Zoom call that we reported on in the story with a bunch of Hollywood donors and actors and celebrities who were saying to Barbara Boxer the senator from California whom Harris succeeded in the senate, what we do? How do we get Biden to replace her? She's going to be a liability. And even Barbara Boxer said, well, you know, I think you should talk to Joe Biden about that. Not saying, hey let's make sure we stand firm behind Kamala Harris.

ACOSTA: Well, listen. Some of this unfair to the vice president. I mean, Joe Biden picked her for a reason. He beat Donald Trump. He beat a sitting president with Kamala Harris on the ticket. Do you think some of the party are just being unfair to her?

DOVERE: Look, I think that what you hear from the vice president's office for sure is that you hear from the president people and we spoke to a number of them is, that they are a team. They are a package is the way they put it to me. Jen O'Malley Dillon, one of Biden's top advisers said to me, no one knows better what it is to -- how important it is to have a strong vice president both in governing, but also out on the campaign trail and to show that and be a leader of the ticket than Joe Biden who was of course himself in 2012 a vice president running on a ticket for re-election.

ACOSTA: All right. And with all the questions about when is the president going to make this announcement that he is running for reelection, of course, these kinds of stories are going to continue.

DOVERE: Sure. And I -- far be it for me to know exactly when the president will make a decision one way or the other. But this is one of the things that is very much in the air as the Democrats start thinking for what that might look like.

ACOSTA: Interesting. All right, Isaac, thank you so much. Great to see you.

DOVERE: Thank you.

ACOSTA: Appreciate it. All right, speaking of interparty intrigue, former Vice President Mike Pence is speaking out against his former boss, Donald Trump in some of his most pointed remarks yet at last night's Gridiron Club dinner here in Washington. Pence said this, "President Trump was wrong. I had no right to overturn the election and his reckless words endangered my family and everyone at the Capitol that day, and I know that history will hold Donald Trump accountable.

CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein joins us now with more. Hey, Ron, you know, I was talking to George Conway in the last hour. And, you know, I think George made a very good point, and that is, you know, Mike Pence, you can admire what he did on January 6. He did the right thing. But in the weeks, and I remember covering this at the White House, in the weeks leading up to January 6.

It's not like the vice president, Mike Pence, was out there every day saying we lost the election, do the right thing Donald Trump, concede, this thing is over. He didn't do that. So, what do you make of Mike Pence ramping up this kind of rhetoric now?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, I mean, it is -- as you say, he did the right on January 6. That's important that he's saying what he is saying now. But it's a little convenient for him to say that its history going to hold Donald Trump accountable when Mike Pence is pretty much doing everything, he can to assure Donald Trump does not face accountability in the here and now. I mean, he wouldn't talk to the January 6 committee. He is fighting the subpoena from the grand jury.

So, on the one hand, you know, he is positioning himself as someone saying, Trump was wrong, which is an interesting decision heading potentially to Republican primary, but he is also -- and literally at the same time doing everything he can to prevent the accountability that he talks about from descending on Donald Trump while he is still among us.

ACOSTA: Right. And, I mean, you do have to give Pence some credit in that. He is going after Donald Trump. We saw Nikki Haley and Mike Pompeo were tiptoeing around saying the former president staying at CPAC. But, you know, Ron, meantime im Iowa, another potential Trump rival, Ron DeSantis, he tried to court the crowd with a rant against what he described as woke-ocracy. Let's listen to that.


RON DESANTIS, GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA: I think it's all because of the woke mind virus it is a warping people. We've got to fight. If we see it in medicine or the universities or the corporations. You can't just say let it go because then we are going to be living under an oppressive woke-ocracy.

We will never ever surrender to the woke mob. Our state is were woke goes to die.


ACOSTA: And today, DeSantis expanded on that theme, suggesting the collapse of SVB in California, sort of near where you are, a little bit up the coast -- is because of its emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion programs. At least DeSantis, I guess, is being consistent on this. I mean, this is something he hits just about every day.

BROWNSTEIN: Look, this is a -- that is a 22nd encapsulation of the fundamental bet he is placing as he moves toward a potential candidacy.


He is betting that the Republican electorate wants Trump-ism without Trump. It wants an unrelenting cultural warrior who is fighting the, you know, what they perceive as the left across all of these fronts who is not simultaneously facing potential charges, you know, for paying off a porn star.

And he may be right that that is the mix, the formula that can win a Republican primary. But there is the risk that he is going so far in a Trumpian direction of igniting these culture wars and betraying himself as such a, you know, belligerent cultural warrior that he could face some of the same electoral problems Trump does, both in the primary, failing to consolidate enough of the white-collar voters, the college-educated Republicans who have to be, Jim, the foundation of any coalition that beats Trump in a Republican primary, but even more so, in a general election.

I mean, this is an agenda that played very well in Florida. Similar agendas played well in other red states like Texas and Tennessee. But I think it is a really open question whether you can go into the suburbs of Detroit and Philadelphia and Phoenix and even Atlanta, places Republicans have to win back and sell an agenda about banning books, censoring teachers and banning abortion after six weeks, which is what may happen in the next few weeks in Florida.

ACOSTA: And Ron, in a new article for "The Atlantic," you write that with the exception of abortion rights, President Biden (inaudible) avoided almost all cultural war battles. That's a great point, instead focusing on these tangible economic issues. And I guess with this SVB collapse, I suppose that is going to keep the president very much focused on the economy and the financial system here in the coming days. But what do you make of how the president has been handling that issue?

BROWNSTEIN: You know, as I've written many ways, Joe Biden is a pre- 1970s Democrat. You know, he looks -- generally looks to minimize, defuse or downplay cultural divides and he is not confronting the Republicans like DeSantis as directly as some Democrats want on what they are doing on classroom censorship or LGBTQ rights.

And in other fronts like crime and immigration, he's taken some steps to move toward the center or even the center right, you know, for example indicating he would not veto the overwrite of the D.C. crime bill. And what he wants to do is shape the battlefield where he is -- his public communication is centered overwhelmingly on providing kitchen table benefits for working families, the blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America. The jobs that will come out of the three big investment bills that he passed in his first term, defending social security and Medicare, lowering insulin cost, lowering the price of other drugs, fighting junk fees.

And then again in this budget, resurfacing, reviving a lot of those proposals to provide more help for working families with childcare, universal pre-K, healthcare. That is the ground on which he wants to fight. You know, as I've said before in many ways, Joe Biden never seems happier than when he is around freshly poured concrete. The question is whether he can really win back enough working-class voters who have moved toward the Republicans around these cultural issues with a fundamentally economic message.

And is there a risk that by not confronting the Republicans more directly he risks dividing or de-spiriting the actual coalition Democrats have today, which is held together primarily by the view that Republicans represent a threat to their values, their rights, and to democracy itself.

ACOSTA: All right. Ron Brownstein, great stuff as always. Great to see you. Thank you so much.

BROWNSTEIN: Thanks for having me, Jim.

ACOSTA: All right, thank you. All eyes are on the stunning collapse of Silicon Valley Bank this evening and reports federal government is considering whether to back the billions of dollars in uninsured deposits in that bank. Coming up, I'll talk to a California congressman who was also a former venture capitalist, on some thoughts on the issue, coming up.



ACOSTA: Just into CNN, we're learning more about how the government is going to handle the ongoing crisis with Silicon Valley Bank. The FDIC is now prepared to operate, in their words, the bank. All eyes on federal regulators, meanwhile, to see if they can come up with a solution before the markets open tomorrow. And Congressman Josh Harder, a Democrat from California's at ninth

district joins us now. Congressman, is it you're understanding that sometime tonight there could be a plan for the bank and all of those folks who rely on it?

REP. JOSH HARDER (D-CA): That's our hope. I think when people hear about Silicon Valley Bank, they think this about Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk. That's not who is affected by this at all. This is, you know, the craft company (inaudible) that pays its mom-and-pop merchants all across the country through Silicon Valley Bank. This is farmworkers and the agricultural and wine making parts of my district who are affected by this.

I've heard from so many people who aren't sure if they're going to be able to pay rent next week. And so, we absolutely need more clarity and urgency on a solution tonight to make sure that folks have confidence going into Monday.

ACOSTA: I guess, because congressman, one of the problems is if you have the financial markets opens tomorrow morning and there isn't a plan in place, that you might have the potential for some panic out there among investors, among banking consumers and so on.

HARDER: I think that's right. I think this is a real inflection point for regional banking, possibly with even greater risk that we saw in the financial prices or the savings-and-loan crisis during the '80s. Silicon Valley Bank had $42 billion of withdrawal in a single day. The fastest bank run in history. This is not "It's a Wonderful Life" in the digital era. Confidence can disappear faster than a Snapchat message.


And so, if we're going to make sure that people have enough confidence who are, you know, folks that have uninsured deposits in regional banks across the country, then we're going to need a lot more clarity this evening going into tomorrow.

ACOSTA: And there are reports that the federal government may cover all of the uninsured deposits, that the FTIC may cover all the uninsured deposits from this failed bank. Your sense of that? Is that the right thing to do at this point? And what about what the treasury secretary said earlier today, Janet Yellen, saying that there will not be a bailout of SVB?

HARDER: I don't think there should be a bailout of bank managers or owners who made failed decisions to get ourselves into this mess to begin with. But we need to make sure that workers get paid and to make sure that this contagion doesn't spread to other regional banks. I think we need a three-part plan.

First, we need a timely sale of SVB's assets tonight, hopefully one that guarantees 100 percent of those deposits for innocent depositors who did absolutely nothing wrong. And then second, we need to immediately raise the insurance limits to make sure that more people have confidence and don't feel like they have to withdraw all their money going into tomorrow.

And third, I think we need some type of federal backstop, especially for the small and midsize regional banks to make sure that they have enough confidence and enough liquidity for people that are in that spot where they feel like they have to go and line up at their bank tomorrow.

ACOSTA: And I guess, what do you make of -- you used to be a venture capitalist. What do you make of the criticism out there, and I know you were saying at the top of this interview that this isn't -- you were essentially saying this isn't a bunch of tech bros who need a bailout here. But what about the criticism out there that this might be some folks in Silicon Valley who may need some help from the federal government and the taxpayers because of some poor decision- making that was going on when it came to running that bank. That is -- is that a valid criticism does you think?

HARDER: There absolutely needs to be accountability for the bank managers that got us into this situation. They paid themselves millions of dollars in bonuses the day before this bank collapsed. Many of them sold stock just a few days before Silicon Valley Bank went under. I think we should look at potentially (inaudible) some of that money back especially if depositors are not in a position to be made whole tomorrow.

And we need to look at regulators who should have been better able to stress test this bank and anticipate crisis moments like this well before. We're going to need some banking reform. But our number one and number two goals going in to tonight and tomorrow have to be protecting workers who did absolutely nothing wrong and need to be in a position to get paid.

And second, stopping this contagion from spreading. What happened in Silicon Valley Bank is that real potential to happen to other regional and midsized banks across the country, unless there's more decisive action in the next few hours.

ACOSTA: And just to put a fine point on this, I know you and other California lawmakers have briefed on this by Treasury, are you getting the sense? You said you hope that this the case, but are you getting a sense that there will be a plan in place by tomorrow morning by the time these financial markets open in the morning?

HARDER: That's what I've been told, that they are putting that together. I know that they are evaluating options for the bank's assets. I think sooner is much better in this situation. There is a big difference between a resolution and a clarity that happens over the next couple of hours than something that happens at 8:59 a.m. tomorrow just before markets open.

And so, my hope and my message to the Treasury Department and to the secretary has been let's get this done as soon as possible. And let's -- I believe that a sale of the bank assets tonight is going to solve this problem entirely. We also need to give certainty and confidence to folks and other midsize banks who are looking at their deposits that maybe uninsured and wondering what's going to happen to them. ACOSTA: Yeah. There is a lot fear out there right now. Congressman Josh Harder of California, thank you so much for your time. We appreciate it.

HARDER: Thank you.

ACOSTA: A hearing in Texas that's reportedly going to happen this coming week could affect access to a key abortion medication around the country. We'll explain next in the "CNN Newsroom."



ACOSTA: There are new developments in the battle over abortion access in this country. The "Washington Post" reports that a federal judge in Texas has quietly scheduled a hearing for Wednesday in a blockbuster case that could up and act as a key abortion drug across the country. The "Washington Post" Caroline Kitchener has been covering this in depth and broke this new reporting.

Caroline, I was just looking at the story on "The Post" website. This is interesting. Remind us what's at stake in this case and what is going on with his hearing that's coming up?

CAROLINE KITCHENER, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: This, Jim, is an incredibly consequential case for abortion access, not just in Republican-led sates, but really across the country everywhere. What's at stake is medication abortion. Mifepristone, that is more than 50 percent of all abortions that take place in this country.

And this judge is going to be deciding whether or not he can revoke FDA approval. So, there is a lot at stake in this case and we'll be hearing arguments on Wednesday.

ACOSTA: And apparently, the hearing wasn't that well-known in terms of when it was being scheduled, is that right?

KITCHENER: That's right. So, this was a highly unusual legal move. The judge quietly scheduled his hearing. He told lawyers that it was going to be on Wednesday, but he didn't want them to publicize it. He said that he was concerned that there would be protests.


Now, I think it's important for people to know just how unusual that is. Typically, when a hearing is scheduled, it's put on a public docket. People know about it so that they can come if they want too. That's the way courts work in this country. And so, this departure I think raised a lot of eyebrows. People were concerned that this information had not been shared.

ACOSTA: And I understand this judge was nominated by then president trump. Do we have any clues which way he's leaning in this case? KITCHENER: You know, it's impossible to predict what he could do. We

have done extensive reporting on his background. We have uncovered a long history of anti- abortion beliefs that goes back to his childhood, college, but you know, there are lots of legal experts that say that this case in particular really does not have any legal standing.

You're talking about revoking approval of a drug that has been approved in this country for 22 years. So, it really would be unprecedented if he was to revoke that FDA approval.

ACOSTA: All right. Well, Caroline Kitchener, we know you've been following this very closely and you'll be following it on Wednesday. We'll wait to see what the developments are in that case. Very important case. Thanks for all the reporting you do on this. We appreciate it.

KITCHENER: Thanks so much.

ACOSTA: All right. In other news, it's the big night for movie lovers. You're looking at live pictures right now at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, California. The Oscars are just a couple of hours away. CNN is live on the new champagne carpet. Yes, you heard that correctly. It's not a red carpet this year. It's a champagne carpet. We'll explain all of this coming up in just a few moments.



ACOSTA: Hollywood's biggest night is nearly here. The champagne carpet, yes, champagne not red carpet, is rolled out and the stars are arriving for the 95th Academy Awards. There you're seeing some video from just a short while ago. Brandon Frazer, star of "The Whale." He is up for the best actor honor. And he is going up against it sounds like Austin Butler, the other big favorite in that category for his portrayal of Elvis Presley.

CNN Stephanie Elam is in Los Angeles for us. She is live the Dolby Theater. Stephanie, you have some of the nominees right there with you the right now. What can you tell us?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, from that documentary, "Navalny." And we just want to talk to him because obviously, this is something that has been very touching to the CNN family just watching this. As we get started, I think the first question is, Dasha, who is Alexei Navalny's daughter, how is your dad? Is there any update on your father?

DASHA NAVALNAYA, ALEXEI NAVALNY'S DAUGHTER: We can't really contact him that much. We're only allowed to write letters and the attorneys allowed to see him sometimes through a veil in his prison. He is doing alright. His health is slowly deteriorating which is quite concerning. But he wants us to have a good time and he is happy that we are here representing the story, representing the Russian people who are fighting for democracy and to work here to get him out of prison. ELAM: Daniel, I have to ask you, as you directed this, at what point

did you realize that you are onto something that could be even more massive than you thought it was going into it?

DANIEL ROHER, DIRECTOR, NAVALNY: You know, honestly, from the very first moment, in "Navalny" I found the most extraordinary charismatic documentary subject you could dream of. Every single day we were handed down a little golden nugget from the documentary gods. And it feels like this movie is just a manifestation of so many miracles.

But I never could have dreamed that we'd end up here. Being at the Oscars is extraordinary and I'm not losing sight of the fact that we are here because Alexei Navalny right now is languishing at Gulag, six and a half hours outside of Moscow and I'm thinking about him tonight.

ELAM: Sure. And I -- I can't get over watching Christo and Maria, your faces when you realize that you have the information that proved that this was in fact a set up to bring Alexei Navalny down. Can you speak to Christo, just seeing how much has happened since that moment when you're filming, that you had somebody just to prove what would have happened to Alexei?

CHRISTO GROZEV, BULGARIAN INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Well, first of all, I mean, the feeling of watching somebody or listening to somebody spill the beans is a completely different feeling than when you investigate something based on data because usually you just get the idea of what happened, but this guy was a participant. He was a wannabe killer and he told us everything in very mundane terms like as if he is going to a nine to five job.

And at the end of this long call, we had with him or Navalny had with him, which was a prank call essentially, we were concerned about this killer's own safety. So, for about a year after that movie and we're looking for him to find out that he has survived, then we found out he has survived.

But what has happened is that this whole unit of killers is disabled. I mean, they no longer can go to work because they know their faces thanks to the film and the investigation. And I think the little things we've done with this investigation, with this film, is we've taken out of commission 15 killers, at least 15 killers, and I feel good about it.

ELAM: I'm struck by the fact that you did find him because at the end of the film I wasn't sure if you had. And Maria, since you were working with Navalny's foundation, to know that this film has become something that around the world people continue to watch and they continue to learn about, what has it meant for the (inaudible) that you've been working for?

MARIA PEVCHIKH, RUSSIAN INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: I'll be honest, its mind blowing. This is our everyday job and all of a sudden, the whole world is interested in, as the whole world watches the film. I cannot complain. It's amazing. And I am so thankful for every single person who has spent wonderful 96 minutes watching that film. And I'm so happy that there is just more awareness now. [17:55:01]

That there is more knowledge about such an important part of our life that, you know, that is such a big country that could be different if one very narrowminded KGB man didn't take it over 20 years ago. So, I am so happy that millions of people can see an alternative for Russia right now, can see that Russia is not necessarily Vladimir Putin. It could be something else.

EALM: And really, quickly, because we have to go, how is your mom? How is Yulia?

NAVALNAYA: She is very excited to be here. She is with my brother and we are here and we are ready to represent the family and --

ELAM: I think you may have a very good night. And I'm so glad to meet all of you. Jim, back to you.

ACOSTA: Stephanie, that was a terrific, terrific interview. Please give our best of the entire Navalny family. Such courage displayed by Dasha and the entire family. And hats off to the crew there. There are so many of us here at CNN really pulling for Navalny to win that award tonight. Thank you so much. Stephanie Elam, we appreciate it.

In the meantime, right now the White House is working to make sure that one big bank failure does not lead to turmoil for the national economy. A major development in the story is just ahead. We're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.