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CNN International: Major Storms Se to Hit Eastern and Wester U.S.; Biden: Banking System is Safe; Australia, U.K. and U.S. Seal Submarine Deal to Counter China; Biden Administration Approves Willow Oil Project in Alaska; Migrants Blame Faulty App for Asylum Woes; ICC Investigating Possible War Crimes against Russia's Invasion of Ukraine. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired March 14, 2023 - 04:00   ET



BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and a warm welcome to our viewers joining us in the United States and all around the world. I'm Bianca Nobilo.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Max Foster joining you live from London. Just ahead on CNN NEWSROOM.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The administration's top finance officials triggered a dramatic show of dual pronged government force.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Every American should feel confident that their deposits will be there if and when they need them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Heavy snowfall already coming down and that that going to be continuing throughout the day on Tuesday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to cry about this. What's crying going to do, you know. It's just bad.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The historic decision of whether to charge a former president is expected soon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He speaks in a code and I understand the code because I've been around him for a decade.


ANNOUNCER: Live from London, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Max Foster and Bianca Nobilo.

FOSTER: It is Tuesday, March 14, 8:00 a.m. here in London, 4:00 a.m. on the U.S. East Coast. And 1:00 a.m. in California where at least 50 million Americans are bracing for two separate storm systems. Much of New England and parts of New York will be hit by a major nor'easter. And another atmospheric river storm is expected to drench already battered California. One of the worst hit areas is Monterey County. A levee breech has

added to the flooding there and some 5,000 residents were under evacuation alerts as of Monday. Residents are worried about when and -- or if they'll be able to return home. And one local official says the flood will impact jobs and the food supply as well.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to cry about this. What's crying going to do, you know. It's just bad. So sad. Just wait for the water to go down and start rebuilding. That is all we can do. Stay positive. And just not think of negative things. Hope for the best.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now we all have to find somewhere else to stay at. Because we won't be able to come back home anytime soon.

LUIS ALEJO, MONTEREY COUNTY, CALIFORNIA SUPERVISOR: Most are low income Latino farm workers, many immigrants. And this is the worse thing that could have happened to them at this time. This should have been the beginning of the harvest season. Now this is going to have an impact on our food supply. Beyond that, the impact jobs is going to be enormous. It's going to be severe because these farmworkers are now going to be out of work for a very long period of time.


NOBILO: Meanwhile officials are warning that floodwaters could cut off the Monterey Peninsula from the rest of the state. On the other side of the country, governors of New York and New Jersey have declared a state of emergency in several counties. Heavy snows could impact road conditions and officials are urging residents to stay off the roads.


PHIL MURRAY (D) NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: This could be a foot of snow, so this is a meaningful storm. Of course it's coming in March which the good news is we have a short runway until we know the weather will get better and that's good. But that doesn't mean tonight and tomorrow won't be tough events for a lot of folks out there. So please, please, please be careful. I reiterate if you don't have to go out, don't go out.


FOSTER: Meteorologist Britley Ritz has the latest forecast for us. Is your advice the same, to stay in if you can in those areas?

BRITLEY RITZ, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, absolutely. We've got quite a bit to talk about. We'll start off in California where the rain is still coming down. It's light and moderate so there's some hope there. But it is expected to get heavier throughout the morning and into the afternoon. So, there's scattered light to moderate rain now. Expect roughly 1 to 2 inches widespread. Isolated higher amounts are possible, 2 to 4 inches through Wednesday on top of what we've already dealt with. So, through the overnight hours, a moderate risk through the northern coastline of California. But Tuesday through the morning and afternoon, down through the

southern foothills of Sierra Nevada and along the southern coastline, we have a high risk for flooding. Areas above a thousand feet, above sea level here and then right on down to the shoreline where we have that fresh water coming down and it melts the snow so then we wind up with catastrophic flooding. Hence why we're highlighted in fuchsia.

There's the heaviest rain coming in Tuesday morning -- 6:00 local time. Heavy rain continues through the afternoon hours, and then finally starting to taper back as we get into Wednesday and the moisture continues to track further east.


Kind of like the first AR, the first atmospheric river that we dealt with and now that moisture is tying in with the nor'easter that's already bringing in low visibilities and treacherous travel to interior New England, places like the Berkshires have very low visibility as the really big snowflakes have already come down. And this is going to be an ongoing process through the day Tuesday and into Wednesday morning. Yes, the snow will taper back, but we're still dealing with terrible travel conditions.

Higher elevations through the Catskills and the Adirondacks, you'll see the darker pinks here -- 2 plus inches -- or 2 plus feet, rather, of snowfall expected 2 to 3 inches per hour in some of the higher elevations across the interior new England. And it's a heavy wet snow. And when you tie that in with wind gusts of 40 to 65 miles per hour, we're talking about widespread power outages. It starts in parts of Washington up into Philadelphia and New York and then the stronger winds will start to push up into northern New England going into Wednesday.

That onshore flow starts today. So, we have flooding as well. Talking about storm surge of 2 to 4 feet on some of these coastlines -- Max, Bianca.

FOSTER: OK, meteorologist Britley Ritz, thank you very much indeed.

NOBILO: And again, after the Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank's collapse, the U.S. Treasury Department says they're that seeing positive signs that deposit outflows from smaller and midsize lenders have now slowed. And they say that signals the federal emergency backstop has had an effect.

FOSTER: And Monday was a volatile day on Wall Street as shares of dozens of regional banks plunged to record lows following the collapse of the two banks. But President Joe Biden is assuring Americans that he will to whatever is needed to protect the U.S. banking system.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Americans can have confidence that the banking system is safe. Your deposits will be there when you need them. Let me also assure you, we will not stop at this, we'll do whatever is needed. Investors in the banks will not be protected. They knowingly took a risk and when the risk didn't pay off, investors lose their money. That's how capitalism works.


CNN's Phil Mattingly has the latest from the White House.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Behind the scenes I'm told that we're seeing some positive signs as it relates to deposits. Obviously, depositors and the risks that they face were a critical concern here mostly on the rationale of panic. They were concerned that there would be significant and dramatic depositor outflows from some of these banks. They have seen those outflows start to slow, which they view is a positive signal.

The other key element here is access to credit, ensuring that these banks can stay liquid even if they're getting hit by the market long enough to maintain some level of durability and sustainability going forward. They've seen some of that as well, tied to the Federal Reserve's credit lending facility. So, some positive signs going forward on that front.

The other obviously is messaging. The president making very clear that he wanted to reassure individuals, reassure small businesses trying to make clear what his regulators and finance officials are saying, that the market on the whole is stable and well-capitalized. They need that to be believed obviously, to ensure there's no panic that carries out through it.


FOSTER: Well, amid the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, February's inflation report will be out today. U.S. federal officials will be closely monitoring the Consumer Price Index data is expected to show that prices cooled off slightly last month. It could be good news and steer officials away from another rate hike.


MARK ZANDI, CHIEF ECONOMIST, MOODY'S ANALYTICS: Those rate hikes are putting pressure on the system and when you're in that kind of environment things can happen. But I don't think that this is going to spread anywhere. Certainly not at this point given all the things that the administration, Federal Reserve and Treasury has done.


NOBILO: CNN's Clare Sebastian is here. Clare, how are the marketing reacting?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We just opened up here in Europe. It looks like it steadied a little bit. Yesterday we saw some pretty big losses, particularly in the banks. You can see that they've actually started coming up a little bit. The FTSE was wavering. Obviously, here In the U.K. we did actually have a branch of the Silicon Valley Bank which HSBC of course bought for one pound. And so there was fallout there in the banking sector -- we saw some pullouts. Asia there we did see continued contagion particularly in Japan where

they are the biggest holdings of U.S. treasuries actually, they are the biggest holder of U.S. outside the U.S. -- taking over from China as the top there. So, there's some scrutiny of the bank's balance sheets there as well. Some of the biggest banks saw some pretty heavy losses in Japan.

U.S. futures though look pretty steady as well. They're coming up a little bit. I think there is a sense that perhaps those words and that quick action from the Biden administration has sort of put out that initial fire. But of course, there are now much bigger questions over regulations supervision, risk management at the banks and what will happen to that sort of small/medium size sector in the U.S. banking system, those regional banks.

NOBILO: And how do they begin to tackle that?


SEBASTIAN: So, the Federal Reserve has already launched a review of its supervision of Silicon Valley Bank. I think, you know, Biden talked about more regulations, stiffer regulation. There are questions around whether that is the issue or whether it was the enforcement of the regulation, the actual supervision of the bank. Why they were allowed to amass that huge interest rate hedge at the same time was having more than 90 percent of their deposits above that FDIC cap of $250,000. At the point of which they said that they were going to insure deposits. Obviously they have now come out and said they're going to insure all deposits essentially. Sending a message to the entire system.

So that obviously invites scrutiny as well. What's the point of having a cap if you're just going to ensure everything. So, they're going to take a look at regulation. They're going to take a look at how this particular bank was supervised. But for now, the message they sent to the system is, if this happens again, the federal government will step in.

FOSTER: Don't panic basically.


FOSTER: Clare, thank you.

More than $10 billion was reported lost from online fraud last year as crypto investment scams surged. That's according to the FBI. It's a $3 billion jump from 2021. The highest level in the last five years. Complaints range from marketing schemes to ransomware phishing. People under 30 filed the most complaints but people older than 60 were the group reporting the most money lost.

NOBILO: Not long ago the Chinese foreign ministry slammed a plan by the U.S., U.K. and Australia to create a new Indo Pacific submarine fleet. China says that three countries are going down a dangerous road. FOSTER: On Monday their leaders met in San Diego and unveiled details

of the deal to supply Australia with nuclear powered submarines to counter Chinese's ambitions in the region. The U.S. president says the agreement is going to be a game-changer.


BIDEN: AUKUS has one overriding objective, to enhance the stability of the Indo-Pacific amid rapidly shifting global dynamics. In this first project. This first project is only the beginning. More partnerships and more potential, more peace and security in the region lies ahead.


FOSTER: It needs to be clear, these are nuclear powered, not nuclear- armed, submarines. They won't be arriving anytime soon either. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout is following all of this live from Hong Kong. A very contentious issue isn't it, for different parts of the world. But China is Australia's biggest trade partner so this is a real statement.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and we heard just more pushback from China ministry of foreign affairs at a briefing that just wrapped up in the last hour or so. China, you know, once again reiterated its firm opposition to this AUKUS submarine deal. A deal widely seen as a move to counter China in its military ambitions in the Pacific.

On Monday we saw and heard from these three AUKUS alliance leaders. The leaders of Australia, U.K. and U.S., as they unveil this very, you know, ambitious plan involving this new advanced nuclear powered submarine fleet. And under this deal by the early part of the next decade, Australia will receive at least three advanced submarines. And in the meantime, American advanced submarines including the USS Missouri will be able to rotate through, to transit through Australian ports. Now earlier from San Diego we heard from the Prime Minister of Australia who commented on the historic nature of this deal. Take a listen to this.


ANTHONY ALBANESE, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: The AUKUS agreement we confirm here in San Diego represents the biggest single investment in Australia's defense capability in all of our history.


STOUT: Now AUKUS officials have emphasize that these are nuclear powered submarines, they will not carry nuclear weapons. And today once again we heard from Beijing, China once again reiterated its opposition to this deal.

We heard from China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin who said the three are for their own geopolitical self interests, completely ignored the concerns of the international community and go further and further down the wrong and dangerous path. Unquote. Now this deal is likely to inflame tensions with China. Australia said it did offer a briefing to the Chinese to tell them about the details of the AUKUS submarine deal. Just no word whether China accepted that offer. And we also heard from U.S. President Joe Biden, whether he was asked -- he was asked whether he would be worried that China would interrupt the AUKUS submarine deal as an act of aggression and his response was, no, he is not worried. Back to you.

FOSTER: OK, Kristie, thank you for bringing us that.

NOBILO: North Korea has fired two short range ballistic missiles into the sea off its east coast. South Korea military strongly condemned the launches calling them a grave provocation, threatening the regions peace and security.

FOSTER: The U.S. says the missiles didn't pose an immediate threat to its territory or allies. According to Seoul, they traveled about 620 kilometers or 385 miles.

The Biden administration approving a controversial new oil venture in Alaska that's been a point of contention for years now.


NOBILO: The so-called Willow project would open up drilling sites near the edge of the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve. But environmental groups plan to fight it in court arguing that President Biden has broken his promises on attacking climate change. CNN's Rene Marsh reports.


RENE MARSH, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: On Monday the Biden administration approved a major oil project led by Conoco-Phillips. It's located on remote land in northwest Alaska and the federal government owns the land. The site holds up to 600 million barrels of oil but it would take years before it gets to market. Mainly because the infrastructure for the project has not yet been constructed.

Now the administration estimates that drilling here would release the same amount of planet-warming greenhouse gases as 2 million gas powered cars. This project has really divided Alaska natives. Some see it as victory because of the revenue it will bring to the state. Others, especially those who are closest to the site call it an environmental disaster in the making. Calling the project a carbon bomb that will exacerbate global warming and have a negative health impact on the surrounding communities.

But beyond Alaska, climate activists including young Gen Zers who took to social media in an aggressive campaign to urge the president to block the project, they are using words like betrayal. And at the same time that the administration has come out to approve this project, they are also offering an olive branch to climate activists.

The Biden administration also on Monday announced sweeping new protections for federal land and waters in Alaska making the entire U.S. Arctic Ocean off-limits to future oil and gas leasing. In all the administration says it will protect up to 16 million acres from future fossil fuel leasing. Of course this is all happening as the Arctic is warming faster than any other place on the planet.

Rene Marsh, CNN, Washington.


FOSTER: The U.S. government suing the Rite Aid pharmacy chain accusing it of missing red flags as it illegally filled prescriptions for controlled substances including opioids.

NOBILO: The Justice Department five says that over five years they filled prescriptions that were medically unnecessary for off label use or not issued in the usual course of professional practice. Rite Aid also is accused of intentionally deleting some pharmacists' internal warnings about suspicious prescribers.

The Governor of Illinois signed a new bill that ensures all employees will get 40 hours of paid leave. This will be during the 12-month period and will start next year.

FOSTER: The leave will cover time off for things like sick days, child care, medical appointments or mental health reasons. The law excludes independent contractors. Illinois becomes the third state in the U.S. to have this type of law joining Maine and Nevada.

Still ahead, the International Criminal Court is reportedly plan to open two war crime cases related to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

NOBILO: And later, a lawyer for Donald Trump says the former president does not plan to testify in a New York grand jury investigation.

FOSTER: Plus, we're hearing from migrants who stormed a bridge from Mexico into the U.S., why they say the Biden administration is failing to deal with the border crisis.



FOSTER: Texas authorities warning Americans not to travel to Mexico during spring break because of the risk of cartel violence.


LT. CHRISTOPHER OLIVAREZ, TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY SPOKESPERSON: We have a strong message about to avoid any portion of Mexico. Now we do know that many Americans have traveled to these resorts such as Cancun and many have traveled without incident. But we can't ignore the risks especially now with the cartels having a heavy influence in Mexico, even in the resorts there is cartel presence in the resorts. But again, now those that do want to travel to those specific locations, all we can say and all we can strongly urge is to contact the U.S. consulate, traveling groups, be aware of your surroundings, be vigilant and just always keep track of updated potential threats in those specific areas that you do think about traveling to those particular resorts.


NOBILO: But Mexico's president claims the warnings are part of a campaign by conservative politicians in the U.S. to keep his country from developing.


ANDRES MANUEL LOPEZ OBRADOR, MEXICAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Mexico is safer than the U.S. and there is no problem with traveling safely across Mexico. That's something U.S. citizens know and something our fellow countrymen know.


FOSTER: The president trying to ease fears after four Americans were abducted in the border town of Matamoros earlier this month, two where killed, the other two were released and returned to the U.S.

NOBILO: Meanwhile border officials are working around the clock to keep undocumented migrants from crossing the Mexican border into the United States. But many migrants say that a new app designed to make the asylum process easier isn't working. CNN's Rosa Flores reports.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A large group of migrants rushing the International Bridge towards El Paso, Texas, Sunday, and in a standoff with U.S. authorities for hours.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (translated text): Please, we want answers.

FLORES (voice-over): This woman begging officials.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (translated text): We're robbed. We're extorted.

FLORES (voice-over): Saying she is being robbed and extorted in Mexico while trying to navigate a frustrating and cumbersome U.S. asylum process.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (translated text): The app doesn't work.

FLORES (voice-over): Migrants pointing their anger at a new app launched by the Biden administration. Asylum-seekers use it to try to set up appointments to enter the U.S. legally under exception of Title 42, the rule invoked at the start of the pandemic to expel migrants. But getting an appointment is a big challenge. That comes into focus in this deep canyon in Tijuana, Mexico, just south of San Diego, where the dreams of children like Arthur Salazar, a 9-year-old from Guatemala.

FLORES: What's your biggest, biggest dream?

To arrive to the U.S.?

FLORES (voice-over): And the flaws of the broken U.S. immigration system co-exist.

FLORES: Do you like science?



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

FLORES: Why is it sad?

He says it's sad because sometimes they don't have food to eat.

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

FLORES: What are you waiting for?

She says that the migrants here are stuck because of the CBP 1 app.

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.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not enough.

FLORES (voice-over): Jennifer wakes up at 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. to try the app.

FLORES: So, it's error after error after error?

FLORES (voice-over): She took screen grabs.

FLORES: 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 U.S. DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is the first president in the history of the United States of America that's 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 tensions appear to be escalating. Migrants rushing a border crossing --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (translated text): To have a better future and help my family.

FLORES (voice-over): And some pleading with authorities, saying they just want a better life.

FLORES: According to an administration official, smuggler misinformation is to blame for the incident on the bridge leading to El Paso. Now, the White House has pushed back on comparisons of current policies to those policies from the Trump administration saying that President Biden has actually expanded legal pathways to come into the country.

About the app, Customs and Border Protection says that it's working as intended, that they have processed more than 40,000 applications since January from over 85 countries. Now about that huge demand, that's why these applications slots fill up in minutes.

Rosa Flores, CNN, Houston, Texas.


NOBILO: For the first time since the invasion of Ukraine began more than a year ago, Russian officials could be facing war crimes charges. "The New York Times" reports the International Criminal Court is planning to open two cases and issue arrest warrants for several people.

FOSTER: One will focus on Russia's unrelenting attacks on civilian infrastructure, including power stations and water supplies.

NOBILO: The ICC's chief prosecutor recently visited Ukraine to meet with President Zelenskyy and take a look at the damage.

FOSTER: And the second case will focus on the alleged abduction of Ukrainian children by Russia.

NOBILO: CNN's Salma Abdelaziz is here with more. Salma, tell us more about these two cases that have been opened and the significance of this happening for the first time in this conflict.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: so, two very poignant cases. The first centers around the alleged abduction of Ukrainian children. So, Ukraine says that hundreds of children, some 345 children have gone missing and they fear that many of those children have been forcibly deported to Russia. Put with other families, put into reeducation camps, used in propaganda videos. And the thing is Moscow doesn't really make a secret of this at all. They very openly use these children, their narrative, the Kremlin's narrative is that these children were saved from conflict, saved from Ukraine. We've even seen events with President Putin standing alongside these Ukrainian children believed to be abducted.

So, this is going to be an extremely important case for Ukrainians to see. The second case is around civilian infrastructure and we've seen plenty of that, right. These massive missile attacks that hit critical infrastructure from water supplies to electricity grids that make normal life, daily life, extremely difficult in cities like Kyiv that are not necessarily on the frontlines of course.

So, you have the chief prosecutor in Ukraine last month working on collecting evidence around these two cases. The first step in this process is that he's going to present that evidence to a pretrial panel of judges and then those judges will say, yes you have enough evidence for us to proceed and to issue potentially the search warrants or, no, we need you to go back and collect more information. So that's going to be the first step.

NOBILO: And the key question which naturally follows is what is the chance that these cases will be prosecuted.

ABDELAZIZ: This is something that Kyiv has been very intent on since the very beginning of the conflict. This collecting evidence to potentially prosecute what they see as Russian war criminals and to try and bring some justice one day to the families who have suffered so deeply in this conflict. I think Bucha, of course, that horrific mass grave that happened early on in the conflict is very emblematic of that.

Very quickly you saw Ukrainian investigators on the ground collecting evidence and they have done that rerepeated that throughout this conflict. But -- here's the big but -- ICC, the International Criminal Court has received huge criticism for largely being a symbolic way to receive justice. And that it is often the victor, if you will, that receives justice. And then it's very important to remember that it would have to be Russia that hands over.