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YouTube Restores Donald Trump's Account After More Than 2 Years; Dozens Of Trump's Mar-a-Largo Staff Subpoenaed; Ongoing Investigation Of Trump Attorney Corcoran Over Testifying On Conversations With Trump; Trump Communications Aide Margo Martin Appears Before Grand Jury. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired March 17, 2023 - 13:30   ET




ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: As of right now, former President Donald Trump can post videos on YouTube again. The platform announced today Trump's channel is no longer restricted and he is free to upload any new content that he wants.

Axios' senior media reporter, Sara Fischer, is joining us to explain this.

Sara, YouTube is joining the party of Meta and Twitter in bringing Trump back on to the platform. Explain why he was banned in the first place and what YouTube is saying about why he is allowed back on.

SARA FISCHER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That is a great question, Abby. Following the January 6th insurrection, YouTube banned Donald Trump from uploading new videos and doing a variety of other things, like buying ads on the platform, in response to violating its policies around incitement to violence.

YouTube wasn't the only platform to point to that type of policy to ban him. Meta pointed to a similar rule.

What it means he is coming back on is twofold. One, it means he can now upload videos again. He hasn't been able to do that in over two years. Two, he can buy ads again. That is a really big deal.

Even though Donald Trump has Truth Social, his new social media platform where he can spew whatever he wants to say, there is no real mechanism for him to reach a lot of people through advertising like he had on YouTube and now on Meta as well.

PHILLIP: That is such an important point. Because when you are talking about Meta, as well as Facebook, Instagram, huge source of fundraising for the Trump campaign.

Those companies, Twitter and Meta, have restored his accounts. Trump has said he is not going on there because he has his own platform. But what do you expect? Do you think that will stick as we go into 2024? FISCHER: It is an interesting question because Truth Social has

guidelines that essentially bar him from posting on other platforms.

First, in order to incentivize the president to use Truth. It was also a mechanism to assure investors that this platform would be successful.

I think, going into his 2024 campaign, you'll definitely see him use the platforms for advertising.

In terms of posting, maybe if he can strike some sort of deal with Twitter - I know Elon Musk now owns it, it is a different kind of platform - to integrate some things with Truth Social. Maybe he would post there.

I'm not quite sure if he sees a lot of value in posting organically, right now, on Facebook, Meta and Instagram. But I do think he'll buy ads on those platforms.

PHILLIP: The money spigot is the real issue here as it relates to his campaign.

Sara Fischer, thank you for all of that.

Dozens of people who work at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida have been subpoenaed now to testify before a federal grand jury, The list ranges from the housekeeper and restaurant servers to close aides and advisers.

The special counsel investigating Trump's handling of the classified documents case wants to know what the staffers might have seen or heard at that resort.

Let's bring in CNN's legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, Elliot Williams.

Elliot, what does this suggest to you about what stage in this investigation we might be in right now?

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Abby, above all else, it is important to note the special counsel investigation is ongoing.

So many of the headlines surrounding the former president and the law have centered on investigations in New York and Fulton County, Georgia. But the Justice Department special counsel investigation is still ongoing.

What does it mean that these individuals are being interviewed? Everything or much of what happens in criminal law comes down to intent.

And when you talk about the possession of classified documents, a major question is going to be, did the person intend to hold them in violation of the law? Was it an accident or not?

People who worked at Mar-a-Lago are particularly able to answer questions like that because they can speak to what they witnessed, conversations they overheard, or conversations they were part of that might have touched on documents.

PHILLIP: What does it say to you that the net is so wide at this moment? There's been a suggestion that, in some ways, this is sort of just standard practice, cover all of your bases. Is that how you see it?

WILLIAMS: It absolutely is how I see it. Nets have to be wide when conducting criminal investigations.

The obvious answer right there is not every piece of evidence is going to get into court.

Take the evidence of a housekeeper or a butler at Mar-a-Lago. They might be testifying as to conversations they heard but weren't part of. That is hearsay under the law. Maybe that won't even get into court if a matter were to come to trial.


And so it makes sense for prosecutors and investigators always to gather as much evidence as they can from people who witnessed, people who saw, and sometimes even people who were being investigated themselves.

PHILLIP: There are some other members of Trump's inner circle who have been subpoenaed. The White House deputy chief of staff, Dan Scavino. We're talking about Trump Adviser Kash Patel.

But there is an ongoing proceeding involving Trump's Attorney Evan Corcoran on this issue of whether he ought to testify about his conversations with Trump.

We could get answers on that as soon as today. Do you have any expectation how that might turn out?

WILLIAMS: Sure. Certainly. Now look, we've all heard of the term attorney-client privilege. Conversations an attorney has with his or her client cannot be brought into court or compelled out of an attorney, right?

Now there is something called the crime fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege.

If someone is advising a client to commit a crime or overhears about crimes that might be committed in the future, they can waive the attorney-client privilege and ask that person to come in and testify.

I think a judge is going to look at the conversations between Mr. Corcoran and the former president and say, look, where was he actually providing genuine legal advice to the former president?

And where might they have been talking about or providing information that would be relevant to a criminal investigation? You have to go statement by statement. There is no blanket way to

answer it. But look, merely being an attorney won't always get you out of coming in to testify.

PHILLIP: Yes, it's a good point.

One last thing, Elliot. The Trump aide, Margo Martin, appeared before a grand jury yesterday. She's is a Trump communications aide from the White House, who actually, significantly, continued with him as he went over to Mar-a-Lago.

What did we learn about what she might have been testifying to at the grand jury yesterday?

WILLIAMS: It is hard to know. But one thing is for certain. Conversations she has with the former president after her time in the White House will be subject to a lot less protection than the one she would have had with the president when he was president.

We've talked about the idea of executive privilege. Sometimes the president is entitled to have statements and conversations he has with his staff protected under the law. That is not the case here.

As someone who was here both before and during and after the presidency, she could have a tremendous amount of information that might be useful to prosecutors or investigators.

PHILLIP: Elliot Williams, thanks as always for all of that analysis.

You may want to hold your nose for this one. It is huge, it stinks, and it can be seen all the way from space. Now it is headed toward Florida. We are tracking a 5,000-mile seaweed blob. It could mean a rotten summer for beach goers and tourism.



PHILLIP: Is your March Madness bracket already busted? You've got plenty of company. Unless, of course, you knew ahead of time that the heavy favorites, Arizona and Virginia, were going down early.

CNN's sports anchor, Andy Scholes, has more on all of the early upsets.


ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Abby, what a start we had to the NCAA tournament on Thursday.

If you're one of the unfortunate people who had Arizona in your final four or you are like President Biden and had them winning the championship, you got a bunch of big "X"s all over your bracket already heading into the second day of the tournament.

You, like, have no chance of winning at this point. Filling out the bracket is hard and no one will have a perfect bracket. According to, out of the tens of millions filled out this year, only 787 remain perfect.

Messing up a lot of the brackets from the get-go yesterday were the Furman Paladins, who pulled off an all timer.


SPORTS ANNOUNCER: Clark gets it in. Gets it back with 10.


SPORTS ANNOUNCER: Clark double teamed along the baseline. Throws it up the floor. Intercepted by Haynes. For three. And the win. He got it!


SPORTS ANNOUNCER: With 2.2 to go!


SCHOLES: Virginia fans were shocked at what they witnessed.

Look at this Furman fan. She was praying so hard. Every prayer she knew that they would hold on and win the game. They did just that, beating Virginia, 68-67.

Furman, the smallest school in the tournament field with less than 2,700 students. Cavaliers eliminated in the first round three times in their last four NCAA tournaments.

The Paladins, meanwhile, from Greenville, South Carolina, making their most of their first trip to March Madness in 43 years.

Furman wasn't even the biggest upset of the day. Fifteen seed Princeton taking the lead against Arizona with 2:00 to go. And Arizona couldn't even buy a basket late in this game.

The Wildcats went the final 4:45 without scoring. Tigers pulling off the massive upset, 59-55. This is the third straight year and 11th time overall that a 15th seed has won a first-round game.

Here are games to keep an eye on later on today. Since 2010, 11 seeds actually have a winning record against six seeds. Watch out for Iowa State, Pitt, Kentucky, Providence. Could see excitement in those games.


And then Miami versus Drake, a five-12 matchup. Miami is a five seed. The odds makers have them a two-point favorite. That has upset potential as well.

And, Abby, here is hoping that day two of the tournament is just like day one because it was awesome.

PHILLIP: Rubbing it in there for everyone. A lot of brackets today.

From March Madness to smelly, rotting blobs. A 5,000-mile smelly, rotting mass of seaweed is headed straight toward the Florida coast.

For perspective, that is nearly twice the length of the United States. And parts of it are already washing ashore in the Florida Keys.

CNN's Leyla Santiago holding her breath in Key West, I presume.

So, Leyla, where in Florida is this blob headed? And what are people going to do when they come to the beach expecting beautiful sand and see that?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. Expecting that image you think of with Florida, the clean, pristine beaches. I got to tell you not too bad a day. It smells just fine.

But look, this is what the beach here matters. This is what is washing in. And I want to take you a little closer. Because in this, mixed in this is this right here.

I pulled this earlier. This is Sargassum. And that is a particular type of seaweed that we're talking about in this big body floating toward Florida.

And to be very specific and answer your question, we are looking at hitting over to the east coast of Florida. That's where it is expected to impact.

Yes. If just a portion of this hits the east coast, you're talking about a pretty different beach when folks come out to vacation, specifically those coming out during the summer.

We talked about how, right now, it is 5,000 miles long. Well, right now, it is also about six million tons of seaweed we're talking about.

And the scientist I talked to said that is not even peak yet. It could get up to 20 million pounds of this particular type of seaweed heading toward Florida.

Here in the Keys, in Monroe County, they've already allotted $200,000 for cleanup for what is to come.

What is the type of impact? You could probably - as you mentioned, a bit of a stinky seaweed, so you could see some respiratory issues for some folks.

But this stuff here is not toxic like we're seeing on the west side, which is the red tide. That does kill fish, cause respiratory illness. It is toxic.

Right now, Florida coasts, west side as well as east side, sort of dealing with a bit of a challenge, if you will.

And we haven't even really seen yet what will come from the east coast or, excuse me, onto the east coast from the sea. PHILLIP: That is really - I mean, for beach goers really tragic.

How much longer is it going to keep going?


PHILLIP: We're in March and I think a lot of people are going on spring break trips. Families are going out.


PHILLIP: What can they expect if they have vacations planned?

SANTIAGO: Yes. Excellent question, my friend. That is something I asked the scientist as well. How can we forecast? The answer to that, we don't really know yet.

This is something - this type of seaweed sort of crept up in the tropical Atlantic in 2011.

So while scientists do have a pretty good understanding about the current and how this moves, they don't really have a great grasp on, why do we see more of it this year versus last year. This year is expected to be record breaking.

So that is why a lot of the scientists are saying we need more funding to research this so, one day, they can forecast this kind of like you might expect to forecast a hurricane - Abby?

PHILLIP: Yes, it's like a seaweed hurricane, if you will.

Leyla Santiago, thank you so much for all of that.

SANTIAGO: Hitting the coast, yes.


PHILLIP: And still to come for us, artificial intelligence means real money, I guess. Could a bot turn a hundred bucks into a fortune? We'll talk to a guy who is giving it a try.



PHILLIP: You've probably been hearing a lot about ChatGPT. It's this powerful, artificial intelligence bot that can write papers for you and maybe even pass a bar exam.

What about having it just make you some money? I'm talking about real money.

This week, one person gave it a simple task. Explaining on Twitter, he said, "I gave ChatGPT4 a budget of $100 and I told it to make as much money as possible. I am acting as a human liaison buying anything it says to." That was Wednesday. Twenty-four hours later, the stakes were raised


"It is day two, you all. I've given HustleGPT a formal challenge to get to $100,000 cash on hand as quickly as possible."

The human behind the bot is joining us now.

Jackson Greathouse Fall, briefly explain to us to how your HustleGPT, A.I. colleague, boss, co-founder launched this business from thin air.

JACKSON GREATHOUSE FALL, FOUNDING PARTNER, CIRCUSFISH: Hi, Abby Thank you so much for having me on.

To be completely honest, I've been using the ChatGPT since it came out on day one. And I've always enjoyed playing around with fun things to prompt it with and figuring out how to talk to it.

I was just sitting and I thought it would be a fun idea. I went on Twitter and it kind of blew up very quickly.

Now we have a community of 200 people all trying this HustleGPT challenge. About 30 people are starting their own projects. It's been pretty crazy.


PHILLIP: We checked out the Web site. It's called Green Gadget Guru. So far, it is a landing page.

I wonder, have you gotten any cash out of this yet? When do you think that you'll start bringing in some bucks?

GREATHOUSE FALL: I'll tell you exactly what is going on. It suggested this name, Green Gadget Guru. I asked ChatGPT, come up with a business idea, come up a name. I'll go out and buy the domain and I'm get everything set up.

It is you in the driver's seat. I am just the human liaison like you said.

Right now, we have - yesterday, it instructed me to go out and hire a freelance web designer to finish this Web site.

It also told me to hire a couple people to do content management to use it, use ChatGPT to make more content and then go and post it on that Web site.

So it is in progress is what's going on.

PHILLIP: Yes. So you have some homework assignments.

But it seems like ChatGPT or HustleGPT is doing a lot of the work. How many people - how many jobs do you think you eliminated in this process of using ChatGPT to do this process?

GREATHOUSE FALL: I eliminated, I would say, none at all. The truth is, it actually told me to go out and hire human beings.

Because it's not connected to the Internet. It can't navigate. It can't put up a Web site. It can't post content to the Internet. So it told me to go out and hire people.

I said, you know, what is your budget for a freelance writer to upload blog posts? It said $20 per post. I said, OK, you're the boss, $20 a post.

So we have a lot of people in the DMS now and very excited to work for the robot through me.

It is very, very exciting. So I would say no jobs. Making jobs.

PHILLIP: Yes. Well, that is a twist. Maybe ChatGPT is actually creating jobs for us.

I did note that you consulted with HustleGPT about this interview we are having right now. It gave you some talking points.

What do you think it'll say about how you did today?

GREATHOUSE FALL: Well, I'm eager to ask it immediately following this.

But if you have anything that you'd like me to share with HustleGPT, which is what I'm calling my version of ChatGPT, if you would like to share anything, I will definitely get back to you with what it says.

PHILLIP: So I also am curious - I mean, at some point, this is going to be off the ground and maybe you'll make some money. But it sounds like you have to spend maybe a little more than you originally budgeted for.

Do you think this is a reasonable side hustle venture for other people looking to make a few bucks on the side?

I guess, maybe it is not so passive an income stream since you have homework you are about to do as soon as you get off the call.

GREATHOUSE FALL: It is definitely some work to be done on the human side.

I think what makes this exciting is that my prompts, the way I figured out how to engineer and talk to ChatGPT in a way that makes it understand, you know, how to respond creatively is all out there in public. It's on my Twitter, @jacksonfall.

And you can see and follow along every day. I am posting a thread of tweets with new ideas for one way to prompt it and make it give more creative answers.

So anyone can go on this free Web site. You can go to chatgpt' and pull it up free. You can start talking to it and start this back and forth going.

But on my Twitter, is all my prompts I've been using that's been working pretty well for me.

It is exciting to see almost 200 people already, you know, starting to kind of riff off of that and create their own versions of it.

PHILLIP: All right. When you make it big, don't forget us little people over here who helped put you out there into the world.

Jackson Greathouse Fall, thank you so much for that.

That does it for me here on CNN NEWSROOM. Don't go anywhere just yet. There is much more news still ahead right here on CNN.