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Switzerland's Biggest Bank UBS Buying Rival Credit Suisse; Interview With Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-MA); Trump Lawyer Reacts To Saturday Social Media Posts; Putin Makes Surprise Visit To Ukraine's War-Torn City Of Mariupol; Los Angeles School Workers Union Announces Plan For Three-Day Strike; Second Round Of The Men's NCAA Tournament Ends Tonight; Cast Of "Ted Lasso" To Visit The White House To Talk Mental Health. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired March 19, 2023 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA REID, CNN HOST: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Paula Reid in Washington. Jim Acosta is off.
We begin this hour with the latest emergency action aimed at halting what has become a global banking crisis. Switzerland's biggest bank UBS is buying its rival Credit Suisse. The deal comes after shares of the ailing bank lost 25 percent of their value over the past week as major depositors fled in droves, even as an emergency loan from the Swiss National Bank failed to shore up confidence. That bank says the take-over of UBS should, quote, "secure financial stability and protect the Swiss economy."
Joining us is CNN economics and political commentator Catherine Rampell. First, though, I want to go CNN's Anna Stewart on the phone.
Anna, put this in perspective for us, how big of an announcement is this?
ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via phone): This is huge. This -- well, it was for the time one of the biggest banks in the world and is definitely a major bank in Europe. It's been in the midst of a huge sort of restructure over the last couple of years, so it was already under pressure and seen all the pressures on the banking sector following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. And effectively you could say this was one of the weak link and it just started to buckle last week.
We saw share price tanked. On Wednesday we saw the Swiss Central Bank offered huge loan of over $50 billion to try and support it in terms of liquidity and largely confidence, it didn't work. So what we're seeing here is UBS, the rival bank in Switzerland, do a huge takeover. It's essentially paying just over $3 billion worth. It sounds like a lot. It's actually taking Credit Suisse at 6 percent less than what the bank is worth on the closing price of the shares on Friday night.
Now, just listen to an analyst call with the CEO of UBS about this deal. So we're getting a little bit more detail now. Annual cost saving he's saying of $8 billion by 2027, that means probably a lot of job cuts for Credit Suisse, and an amalgamation of the various units. More I think people will be talking a lot about in the next 24 hours, was this a bailout or was it a bail-in? What was this takeover deal?
It was a private sector deal. Regulators very clearly say it wasn't a bailout. However, there are some interventions here. We have the Swiss National Bank, the central bank, providing a loan of over $100 billion to UBS and Credit Suisse at this stage, plus the federal government saying they will guarantee UBS an amount of $9.7 billion for any potential losses. Plus, on the bail-in side, we've got some bond holders. People that held a very specific type of bond in Credit Suisse, their holdings have been wiped out. So $17 billion worth of bonds investments held in Credit Suisse have just disappeared.
So the big question is, what will this do to the banking sector, what will it do to the market tomorrow? Will there be confidence that this has been dealt with or will there be nerves about what happened here with some investors holding?
REID: Anna Stewart, thank you.
Catherine, I want to turn back to you. How much of an impact will the UBS-Credit Suisse deal have on the fallout here in the U.S.?
CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN ECONOMICS AND POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, what happened with Credit Suisse is pretty distinct from the problems that we've seen with the regional banks here in the United States. In the United States, the issue was banks taking on a bunch of risks related to not anticipating, for example, the fact that interest rates were going to go up, and how that would affect their holdings, taking a lot of risks in accepting deposits that were not fully insured, things like that.
Credit Suisse, it's interesting, Credit Suisse exited the 2008 financial crisis better, in better shape than many of its peers and then never really adapted in ways that it needed to because it thought it was doing OK. And then the subsequent decade the bank was mired in scandal, financial losses, there were reports recently about some dodgy financial reporting, et cetera.
So basically Credit Suisse has been kind of the problem child of Europe for a little while now in ways that are completely unrelated to what's going on in the U.S. That said, presumably some of the angst about the health of the financial system in the United States may have amped up those preexisting worries, even if they were completely, you know, generated by different causes relating to Credit Suisse.
So the question now is whether you'll see the same kind of feedback washing back over to the United States. Again, problems there are very different from those here, but you can imagine there are enough jitters in the market right now that people will still be anxious and this intervention like the other intervention we've seen this week, this past week with the other banks may not be sufficient. We hope it is. REID: The Federal Reserve of course meets this week on interest rates.
Before the Silicon Valley Bank meltdown, it seemed of course all but certain that the Fed would raise rates. But now it seems like it's anyone's guess what they will do. So what do you think is going on with their decision?
RAMPELL: Well. the Fed is in a really difficult position right now. Almost anything it does to solve one major problem that it faces, i.e., inflation, could potentially aggravate another major problem it faces, which is fragility in the financial system. So, yes, before all of this recent banking sector turmoil, it was widely expected that the Fed would raise rates at about half a percentage point most likely at this coming meeting.
Now I think it's anybody's guess, some people are predicting a small hike not as big as had been the case before or had been expected before, rather. 25 basis points, you know, quarter of a percentage point, some are expecting a full-on pause, I think the challenge is for the Fed if they decide to pause, which I think would be reasonable given that maybe they want to see how the dusts settles with all of this, you know, financial turmoil, if they decide to pause, they need to be able to message saying this is a temporary pause.
This is not a full-blown terminal stop. We are still, you know, hell bent on crushing inflation and nobody should interpret any pause right now that's in response to these recent events as they're giving up on the fight against inflation. So it will be interesting to see not only what action they take but how they communicate the -- you know, the objectives behind that action and their longer-term trajectory.
REID: Catherine Rampell, thank you.
RAMPELL: Thank you.
REID: And joining me now is Democratic Congressman Jake Auchincloss from Massachusetts.
Congressman, how concerned are you about the state of the U.S. banking sector right now?
REP. JAKE AUCHINCLOSS (D-MA): I'm concerned, as everybody paying attention is, and Silicon Valley Bank had almost half of its branches in Massachusetts which I represent, including their headquarters in my home town. They banked not just our start-up economy, the life sciences and the high-tech firms, but also affordable housing developers and nonprofits focused on early education.
This was a cross-section of our economy and the FDIC and the Fed were right to come in strong and clear on Sunday night. But now we are seeing that nationally, midsize regional banks are under a lot of strain. And for that reason, amongst others, I do think that Congress should raise the FDIC insurance limit through a higher special assessment on banks, so that we give depositors and these regional banks more confidence that those deposits will be there. And also so that we stem some of the contagion of fear that has rippled through our banking sector. REID: How concerns should everyday Americans be about this?
AUCHINCLOSS: This is not 2008 rerun. The banking sector is much better capitalized, much more liquid than it was then. This is about interest rate risk management, not about credit risk management as it was in 2008. And so we do not need to fear, I think, a meltdown of the banking sector as happened so disastrously then.
Having said that, Americans should expect regulators from the Feds, the FDIC, to the Treasury to be firm and forceful in how they oversee these banks, and there should be some tough questions asked in congressional hearings about whether the Feds and particularly the San Francisco branch of the Fed fell down on the job in overseeing SVB's disastrous interest rate risk management.
REID: Goldman Sachs updated its projected odds of a recession in the next year to 35 percent, and that's up from 25 percent. So what do you say to people who are already struggling to make ends meet?
AUCHINCLOSS: Over the last two years I have heard from some very smart people the whole litany of confident predictions about what's going to happen in the next six months to one year. We don't know what's going to happen. We do know that financial instability threatens what has been a very strong economic recovery and for that reason, we need to act forcefully, and with clear communication to prevent any contagion in our financial sector.
But we also know that many of the answers to a strong and fair economic recovery are in our hands. We need to build more housing in this country by reforming our local zoning laws. We need to build on the success of the Inflation Reduction Act to permit more clean energy generation and transmission. We need to continue to go after lowering drug prices by taking on the PBMs.
So many things that we can do in Congress and elsewhere to lower costs for working families don't require a crystal ball about what's going to happen in the next year. They're just good policy and they help everyday Americans.
REID: I want to turn now to China. This week Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. Of course, these two leaders will discuss Ukraine as China continues to try to portray itself as a neutral party that could be an honest peace broker. Now you sit on House Committee on China. What strategy do you think Xi is trying to implement here?
AUCHINCLOSS: For the last 70 years, the triangle between China, Russia and the United States has been the most important set of international relationships in the world. And clearly right now Xi Jinping is saddling up to Russia as it compares to compete with the United States in the 21st century. If Xi Jinping decides to send weapons to Russia for its brutal unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, that would be the most significant development in that war since the invasion itself on February 24th. And United States and its allies need to be prepared to respond with
severe sanctions and international condemnation. Whether those arm sales happen overtly or covertly because China does have a long track record of covert arms shipment over the last 30 years. But it really just reminds us that we can't rely on the good will or the good judgment of Xi Jinping. He is bent on a world order in which China is at the top of a hierarchy.
It's in direct competition to the rules based international order, where might does not make right that the United States helped to put together after World War II, and we've got to defend it forcefully on the world stage. Economic alliances, initiatives to strengthen democracy, diplomacy and security initiatives. We need to do all of this with countries like Nigeria, India, Brazil, Mexico. The rising nations of the global south to build a web of alliances against the Chinese Communist Party.
REID: Well, on the topic, you were recently part of the U.S. delegation that traveled to Taiwan. So what are the geopolitical implications of Xi and China potentially trying to get more involved in the Ukraine war?
AUCHINCLOSS: Taiwan crystalizes the threat from the Chinese Communist Party and the United States, one, needs to continue to send arms to Taiwan as it prepares its strategy, defense in-depth against a potential Chinese invasion. We should also work with Taiwan on their energy security. Right now they have two to three weeks of energy reserve. That's not a good place to be in when you're on an island faced with a dubious invasion or a blockade for that matter.
And finally, and this really applies to Taiwan but everywhere else in the world especially in democracies, we have got to do a better job of countering disinformation and propaganda. We should be supporting local journalism efforts. We should be holding social media companies to account for how they allow disinformation and deep fakes to propagate because the Chinese are watching concerted propaganda efforts throughout the world.
REID: Congressman Jake Auchincloss, thank you for joining us.
AUCHINCLOSS: Good to be with you.
REID: Coming up, in New York there is a last-minute legal maneuver that the district attorney is weighing as he considers whether to indict the former president. What I'm learning about who could appear before the grand jury tomorrow.
And the nation's second largest school system could shut down this week as a school workers union is planning a three-day strike. What that could mean for students.
And later, March Madness is truly living up to its name. The defending champs have fallen and a number 16 seed is still going strong.
You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
REID: New reporting tonight in the Manhattan D.A. hush money probe involving former President Trump. I've learned that Robert Costello, a former attorney for Donald Trump's one-time fixer Michael Cohen is said to appear before the Manhattan grand jury tomorrow at the request of Trump's defense team. Team Trump apparently believes Costello has information regarding Cohen's credibility.
Now a source tells CNN that Costello reached out to both Trump's legal team and the DA's office to offer evidence that contradicts what Cohen has previously said about payments made to the former adult film star. Now Trump's attorneys then asked the D.A. to have Costello appear before the grand jury.
Now Michael Cohen is of course the chief witness for the prosecution in this case. He was disbarred and jailed after admitting he used campaign funds days before the 2016 election to play Daniels and a former "Playbook" model to keep quiet about alleged affairs. Cohen says he did so at Trump's request. Trump denies any affair with Daniels and his lawyer has said Trump agreed to the payments only at Cohen's recommendation.
Now I spoke earlier with former federal prosecutor Shan Wu about what kind of testimony Costello might be able to offer in court tomorrow.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHAN WU, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: It sounds like he's going to be a surrogate for Trump testifying in New York. They invite someone who's possibly or likely been indicted to have a chance to make a pitch to the grand jury. Trump is apparently not going to do that which is why I guess this is the substitute. What's particularly odd about it, though, is he had at one point spoken with Cohen and he says that he was not formally retained by him.
He also told "New York Times" that Cohen had waived attorney-client privilege. But it's a very dicey ethical situation if he gave Cohen at one point any kind of confidential advice, whether or not Cohen had waived the privilege. One, he might reassert it, but two, you still as a lawyer can't use confidential information to do something adverse to your client. He is obviously going in to be adverse to him to try and undercut his credibility. So it's a very odd situation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Last hour, I also spoke with Alena Habba, an attorney for former President Trump, although she is not representing him in this case or the Manhattan district attorney. I did ask her to comment on his social media post from Saturday. Here's part of our conversation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REID: Yesterday the former president's social media post, in one post he said he expects to be arrested. Now his spokesperson then came out and said they haven't been informed of any arrest date. Our reporting suggests that is true. So why is your client going out and saying he's going to be arrested on Tuesday?
ALINA HABBA, ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: I think it's a very important thing that he does that, quite honestly. We've got Hunter Biden who we've seen has ties to China. We've got his dead brother's, you know, wife who's now we've heard this week has been funneling money from China as well, and is on payroll. S what happens is the Democrats now have to pull the wool over our heads and you've seen memes, I'm sure, that say, OK, arrest Donald Trump. Well, that's exactly what this is.
So my client is getting ahead of it, frankly, and he's smart to do so. I think that when you hear a lot of noise like this, we have to pull the curtains back and say this a problem for Democrats. They're losing in the polls. He's ahead and we've got major crisis happening in New York. We've got people dying. This is what a state D.A. is doing after a failed federal D.A. couldn't do it. So I'm glad that he's doing it and getting ahead of it.
Let's see if they arrest him. But I'll tell you what, if they choose to do so for a misdemeanor, which frankly he didn't even do, it is going to cause mayhem, Paula. I mean, it's just a very scary time in our right now.
REID: Well, he says in his Truth Social post, quote, "Former president of the United States of American will be arrested on Tuesday of next week. Protest. Take our nation back."
Is your client speculating about an arrest to incite political violence?
HABBA: I don't think he's speculating at all. I think that's the reason your covering it at the top of the hour, right? I mean, we're all hearing it and we're all hearing leaks from the D.A. which is very typical. So to not address something like that would be irresponsible. He's a candidate for the presidency, he is a former president. Somebody is leaking that he is getting arrested.
We're hearing about memes. We're heating about people going into the grand jury with information. We actually heard a lie about somebody saying they went into the grand jury and they didn't.
How can he not address it? He's a key political figure if not the political figure. So I think it's not speculation, it's something that we're hearing, and I'm glad he's addressing it because if it is true, he needs to get ahead of it.
REID: In the wake of his post, the Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg, he sent out a note to his staff, saying, quote, "We do not tolerate attempts to intimidate our office or threaten the rule of law in New York." What is your reaction to that?
HABBA: We're not going to tolerate your attempts to threaten the rule of law and we're not going to tolerate your attempts to try and take away the Republican vote and take away people's right to vote against or for Donald Trump. That's my reaction. This is intimidation. This is intimidation and my client is actually the victim. So that is absolutely my reaction. It works both ways. Works both ways.
REID: So let's say if there is an indictment, will your client negotiate a peaceful surrender?
HABBA: I do not see Donald Trump as a person that would ever hide under the covers. I don't think anybody could say that he would do that. He would absolutely face anything head on especially when he's done nothing wrong.
REID: And we've reported that there have been meetings among law enforcement agencies in New York and the U.S. Secret Service about security concerns for him appearing at that courthouse for his initial appearance. What is his legal team telling him about the security risks here?
HABBA: That would be privileged. I can't discuss any conversations that I've had between legal team and a client. I can say that if there are concerns, it's rightfully so. This would be historically groundbreaking moves for a misdemeanor to try and bring it up to a charge when you're arraigning a former president, and I do think security should be in place if that is what they choose to do.
I would never want to see anybody get hurt. I know the president wouldn't neither. And if this is what we're doing in this country you better secure the premises because it's dangerous. You know, people are going to get upset. I've had people come to me in the past couple of days and say how upsetting this is to them, Paula.
No one wants anyone to ever get hurt. And at the end of the day, First Amendment is very important.
The right to protest is very important. But people have to be safe, they have to be cautious, and we have to make sure that nobody is ever put in jeopardy. I truly do stand by that. So hopefully they do it in a peaceful way and this is done appropriately if it's done. But frankly nothing about it is appropriate. So if they choose to do this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Well, up next, just one day after the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest, Russian President Vladimir Putin drove through the bombed-out Ukrainian city of Mariupol, defiant as the war drags on.
You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[18:30:09] REID: A stunning visit inside Ukraine. Here's Vladimir Putin in the Donbas region for the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine. He touted the Russian controlled city of Mariupol and surveyed reconstruction programs after the damage inflicted by his own military. His visit comes just days after the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest for his role in an alleged scheme to deport thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia.
For more let's bring in CNN military analyst Lieutenant General Mark Hertling.
Colonel Hertling, Putin spent Saturday touring the streets he helped destroy in a country still deeply entrenched in war. What kind of message does that send both to his troops and the Ukrainians?
LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: He's trying to send a message, Paula, but he's having some real difficulties doing that. As you see in these pictures he was going through the one apartment building that has been rebuilt, sort of as a Potemkin village, and I don't use that term loosely, in the city of Mariupol. Now remember, as you just said, that city was utterly devastated by his shelling of civilian apartments and hospitals and schools, and now he's going back to take a look around.
And it's a photo-op as you see him in this film right now in the middle of an apartment building where he's trying to relocate some of the Ukrainian citizens. It's sending a signal, too, because it's still very far to the west behind enemy lines. It's in the province -- the Oblast of Donetsk, the Russians have control of that province right now. But I think we're going to see in the coming months that that will be a targeted area for the Ukrainian counteroffensive to take back their sovereign territory.
REID: Tomorrow Chinese President Xi is traveling to Moscow to meet with Putin. Beijing is framing this as a peacemaking missions. But U.S. officials warned that any proposal that comes out of these talks would likely favor the Russians. I mean, do you think China could change the dynamics of this war?
HERTLING: I do not, Paula. The peace proposal, the draft peace proposal that the Chinese have already petitioned is all behind the Russian attempts at gaining a cease-fire, a freeze on the territory, which would create another frozen conflict. There are currently five frozen conflicts within Europe that Russia has created. And I don't believe that certainly President Zelenskyy or the Ukrainian people are going to abide by any kind of proposal that China gives in coordination with Russia.
And what's interesting, though, too, is, as you said, President Xi is going to Moscow. He'll be shaking hands with the president, President Putin, a few days after Putin was named by the Hague as a war criminal and there was a warrant issued for his arrest. I don't think that's good optics at all for the Chinese president.
REID: Well, shifting gear as bit, tomorrow marks the 20th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. You not only served but commanded army forces throughout that war. What lessons have we learned in the years since 2003?
HERTLING: Well, it's great because it's sort of the same lesson that Ukraine is learning truthfully. And not denigrating the soldiers who I fought with, who did masterfully in Iraq, but the mission set itself was a bit convoluted and complex. I think there's a lot of people reflecting on that 20 years later and saying what was our strategy? What were we attempting to do? The intelligence was flawed going into Iraq and there wasn't a very good end state other than to depose Sadam Hussein as a dictator.
So the biggest lesson that I think a lot of people -- if they haven't learned they should -- is don't go to war unless you have a very good strategy for what you're attempting to do and you have a very good preliminary end state for what you want to accomplish. Neither one of those things were done in Iraq, and just like the Russians, also, I would harken back as I was the war planner in the Pentagon when that war was planned, and actually stood up and said, there are not enough forces for this kind of operation and our end state, our objectives are not very clear.
So truthfully, I think we've learned a lot from that. But our soldiers also fought valiantly and I think we have to separate the war from the warriors.
REID: Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, thank you.
HERTLING: Pleasure, Paula. Thank you.
REID: And coming up, the nation's second largest school system could be shut down as school workers union in Los Angeles plans to strike this week. What they're demanding and what this means for students there, next.
You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
REID: Los Angeles County schools are bracing for a three-day strike this week that the district superintendent says could make it virtually impossible to keep schools open. A union representing thousands of L.A. school employees say they plan to walk out after nearly a year of negotiations over better pay and working conditions. About 30,000 unionized teachers will join them.
Camila Bernal is following this from Los Angeles.
CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The signs Jose Tovar is making will be used Tuesday when a three-day strike is expected to force school closures in the second largest district in the nation.
JOSE TOVAR, L.A. UNITED SCHOOL DISTRICT CUSTODIAN: We're not asking for the world, but just, you know, to live above water.
BERNAL: Tovar, a custodian with a full-time job at an early education center, says he makes about $25,000 a year.
TOVAR: I love my job, especially I deal with a lot of 5-year-old, 4- year-old kids and make sure I keep it clean for them. But sometimes you don't feel appreciated, no respect.
BERNAL: And respect is what his union says this strike is about. While asking for more money, some members have reported harassment for doing so.
MAX ARIAS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF SEIU LOCAL 99: Some have been harassed to the point where they've lost their job, they've lost income or they generally just some are intimidated.
BERNAL: SEIU Local 99 is the union representing thousands of cafeteria workers, bus drivers, custodians, and other school workers. But the teachers' union is also joining the strike in solidarity.
ALBERTO M. CARVALHO, L.A. UNITED SCHOOL DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT: Let's go to the table.
BERNAL: LAUSD superintendent Alberto Carvalho is hopeful that the two sides will come to a monetary agreement and says harassment claims are being reviewed.
CARVALHO: We have not been presented with compelling evidence that there's widespread abuses. Are there issues? Yes. Each one of them is vigorously investigated and consequences are applied on the basis of the merit of the allegation.
BERNAL: The union says avoiding a strike is unlikely. Instead they want to shine a light on minorities and low-income workers who keep the schools running.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I like what you did.
BERNAL: They see this as a wake-up call for other districts in the U.S. to fund education.
ARIAS: Elected officials throughout the country, federal and state, should see what's going on here and think this is happening just over every district in this country.
BERNAL: The superintendent also believes that when they come to an agreement, the rest of the nation will use it as an example.
CARVALHO: I believe that it will be precedent setting for the country, and I will take pride in it, as will the union. For these are some of the lowest wage earners in our community.
BERNAL: Both sides worry about the students who may suffer greatly from school closures. CARVALHO: Once you're forced to shut down a school, you eliminate some
of the protections and rights that children have. The right to food, the right to health, the right to social and emotional support, the right to mental support, the right to have their disabilities addressed in an adequate way.
BERNAL: But the union believes people like Jose Tovar need to make more money.
TOVAR: It's a struggle. It's hard. You know, sometimes like I'm thinking to myself, Lord, am I going to make another day, you know, like this?
BERNAL: Because in the end they say higher salaries for school workers will lead to better schools and better education.
BERNAL: And salary negotiations are going to take place behind the scenes, but if they don't come to an agreement the union says that because this strike is not about the money, then there could be more strikes in the future. They say, look, we do not want to end up in another strike but they say they're going to continue to push until they get what they believe is fair.
In the meantime you have thousands of parents who have a headache right now because they're trying to plan exactly what they're going to do with their children this week -- Paula.
REID: Camila Bernal, thank you.
And still to come, there's a reason it's called March Madness. The Cinderella stories and the massive upsets dominating NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.
You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
REID: Oh, the madness. The second round of the Men's NCAA tournament ends tonight and if your bracket wasn't already broken this weekend very likely ruined it for you. Warner Brothers Discovery sports commentator and play-by-play announcer Brian Anderson joins us now.
All right, let's start with one of the big upsets of the weekend. Arkansas's defeat of Kansas Saturday night. You called the game. Did you expect that outcome?
BRIAN ANDERSON, WARNER BROS. DISCOVERY SPORTS COMMENTATOR: Well, you never know. I mean, a team like Arkansas has a lot of talent, and it didn't surprise me that they advanced, but you know, they -- you're talking about the reigning national champion in the Kansas Jay Hawks, so I think that was the element of surprise. But, Paula, this tournament is crazy as you know, and anything can
happen. FDU is a 16-seed. That was one of the, you know, biggest surprises of all time and as they beat Purdue, so Arkansas felt doable a day after that happened.
REID: Doable. I like it. All right, 15-seeded Princeton also advanced to the Sweet 16 Saturday, beating Missouri, 78-63. And first time Princeton made it to the Sweet 16. It's a first time they've done it since 1967. So what's special about this team? What are they doing differently?
ANDERSON: Well, again, I think, you know, the state of college basketball is really interesting right now, and you're seeing a lot of older players. It's called the transfer portal, and so players were able to move freely from one program to the other. Then you also add in the COVID year, so because of the pandemic, players didn't lose eligibility. You can remain with your program. Some players can even grab an extra year up to six years of eligibility.
That used to be four because they didn't want to punish players who are going through COVID or maybe had illnesses, so this is kind of the carry-over from three years ago when the NCAA tournament was shut down. So a team like Princeton, to answer your question, has great experience and they've got a lot of older guys that have been together for a long time, and you get into the tournament and this one and done situation, where it's just -- it's one game and if you can just hold it together for one game, that puts a lot of pressure on those better seeds as the game goes on. So we're starting to see a little bit more of this.
We've never had a 16 beat a one. We have very few 15's beat 2's, like Princeton, but we've had a significant uptick in those numbers here in the last few years. So it's been really interesting to watch the sun pull Princeton just -- they found it at the right moment and they've got enough experience on their team where they're not going to rattled by the moment. The scene, the big crowds, the high major teams that they're facing.
So all of that put together it creates a lot of drama this year. There's been great pop to this tournament this year. More than I've seen, and I've been doing it since 2012.
REID: We love that pop. We love that drama. You just mentioned this, one of the Cinderella stories of this tournament. Fairleigh Dickinson's stunning win Friday over number one seed Purdue. They're just, as you said, is the second 16-seed to beat a top seed since the men's bracket expanded to 64 teams back in '85. Fairleigh Dickinson is set to take on Florida Atlantic in about an hour. Can they do it again?
ANDERSON: Well, I don't see why not, and they certainly believe. You know, they've got a coach in Tobin Anderson who is -- you know, he's definitely playing that Cinderella card, and that's kind of what it takes. And I don't think anybody had these two teams in their bracket, maybe one of them, and you would have been bold to have one of them at this point of your bracket. But to have these two quite the shocker.
So I would just say, anything is possible, any team can beat any team right now, and you can win any game, you can lose any game. And it just really, if you can just get on a roll, and vice versa, if you start to struggle, it becomes a real mental battle with players and that rim gets smaller and smaller. And as these upsets start to unfold, you can kind of see that pressure build up and you certainly see it in the players' faces, you see it in their parents' faces in the stands, you see it in the fans' faces, our faces.
You don't see really see our faces when they're playing a game, but, you know, we get nervous when we called these games. And it gets really tense, and, you know, it just means so much. These players, like, this may be their biggest moment, maybe their -- we call it the one shining moment. But they may never have an experience like this the rest of their lives. Most teams and most players aren't going to make it to the NBA level or the professional level, so this is kind of it, and that can breed some really interesting factors out on the floor.
REID: Absolutely. I felt that as a viewer the secondhand stress for these kids. I mean, they're kids, they're so young, but the parents, they really get me.
All right, what or who should I say should we be watching as this tournament rolls on?
ANDERSON: You know, the team you mentioned it earlier, but the team that I had yesterday, and our crew was in Des Moines, Iowa, and we had six games in three days. And so we saw Arkansas, and you mentioned them to start this segment. They're a team that is really scary because they have incredible talent. They have not played well in the SCC this year. But they seem to have found a little something here in the NCAA tournament.
They've got a great coach in Eric Muscleman, so there are only two one-seeds remaining at this point. The Houston Cougars, they're a great bet. I'd say the Texas Longhorns would be a team if you're starting a new bracket, and that would be cheating, but if you're starting a new bracket, I would start with probably those three teams, and see where it goes. You never know.
REID: Everybody knows you can't start a new bracket.
All right. Brian Anderson, thank you so much.
ANDERSON: All right, Paula. Thanks for having me.
REID: You can catch the March Madness Men's Tournament action on our sister networks, TBS, TNT and TruTV, as well as on CBS.
And coming up, "Ted Lasso" is heading to the White House. Why the cast of the TV series is heading to Pennsylvania Avenue.
You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
REID: Tomorrow "Ted Lasso" is headed to the people's house. The cast of the TV series will meet with President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden to discuss mental health.
CNN's Arlette Saenz joins me now from the White House.
Arlette, this sounds fun. What more do we know about this visit?
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Paula, the White House will see a bit of that "Ted Lasso" spirit tomorrow as the president and First Lady Jill Biden host cast members for a discussion about mental health.
Jason Sudeikis, as well as other cast members like Hannah Waddingham and also Brett Goldstein will all be on hand for this meeting. Of course, mental health is a storyline that plays out throughout the "Ted Lasso's" episodes. I don't want to get -- offer too many spoilers for people who haven't seen the show, but it is something that the cast has addressed time and time again. And President Biden has sought to make mental health a key issue of his unity agenda.
Now the president teased ahead to the visit a short while ago posting a photo on Twitter with the sign that says "Believe" over a door heading into the Oval Office. That believe sign is something that is in the AFC Richmond locker room in the show. So tomorrow the president will be convening this discussion with the cast of "Ted Lasso" about mental health. It's unclear whether they will be partaking in biscuits with the boss as "Ted Lasso" often does that's in his show.
REID: Arlette Saenz, thank you.
And be sure to tune in to CNN next Sunday as some of Hollywood's biggest stars honor comedian Adam Sandler with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. The Kennedy Center event will feature several of Sandler's funniest friends including Drew Barrymore, Chris Rock, Conan O'Brien and Jennifer Aniston.
Now stars like Idina Menzel are walking the red carpet tonight before the ceremony. CNN will air it exclusively next Sunday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
And thank you for joining me this evening. I'm Paula Reid. Jim Acosta will be back next weekend. "Who's Talking to Chris Wallace" is up next.