Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Trump Says He'll Be Arrested Tuesday, Call For Protests; Putin Makes First Visit to Occupied Ukraine Since War Began; 11-Week Of Protests Against Plan To Overhaul Legal System; Family Questions Army's Findings After Death of Soldier; Istanbul Residents Fear the Worst if Massive Quake Hits; Malawi Confirms More Than 430 Deaths from Storm. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired March 19, 2023 - 05:00   ET




KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to all of you watching us here in the United States, Canada, and all around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. Ahead on CNN Newsroom, as a possible indictment for Donald Trump looms in Manhattan, the former President is calling for protest. We'll look at the security preparations that might go into such an unprecedented moment.

Plus, Vladimir Putin makes a surprise visit to Ukraine, his first since the war began just a day after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for his war crimes.

And another upset in March Madness officially sets countless hopes and dreams of a perfect bracket on fire. CNN Sports Coy Wire joins me live to break down the NCAA Tournament.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN Newsroom with Kim Brunhuber.

BRUNHUBER: We begin this hour in the U.S. where former President Donald Trump is trying to rile up his base as he faces a possible indictment in New York. The drama began Saturday when Trump declared on social media that he would be arrested on Tuesday. And just as did before the 2021 insurrection, the former President urged supporters to protest and, "take our nation back." Hours later, Trump also used the potential indictment to motivate voters to donate to his presidential campaign.

Meanwhile, in New York, authorities are preparing for large rallies by Trump supporters, who are expected to march against the potential indictment. The case is related to a hush money payment made to an adult film star. It's one of several investigations Trump faces during his latest presidential run.

All right, we're covering this story from multiple angles. Our Polo Sandoval is in New York with a look at how law enforcement agencies are preparing for the possible indictment. But first, we get more details on the investigation from CNN's Katelyn Polantz.


KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Donald Trump says on social media on Saturday that he expects to be arrested on Tuesday in this ongoing financial crimes investigation out of Manhattan. But at this point in time, he doesn't actually know.

His spokesperson for Donald Trump this morning said that there has been no notification from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's office that Trump is going to be indicted in the coming days, although everything we know about this investigation signals that it is in its very last days.

Last week, Trump was invited to come in and testify to the grand jury that has been investigating this for many, many months, as would he be his right as a target of the investigation in New York. He declined to do that.

We have learned that there is another witness scheduled for Monday to go before the grand jury. But right now, the grand jury is finishing up its work. This investigation is about a $130,000 payment that Donald Trump's attorney at the time in 2016, this was Michael Cohen paid to Stormy Daniels, who was alleging that she had an affair with Donald Trump. And they wanted to keep her quiet before that campaign or as that campaign was ongoing.

There also is clearly an investigation around just general financial issues related to the Trump Organization possible financial falsification of records connecting back to the Stormy Daniels payment.

But at this point in time, we don't know when this indictment will come or what exactly the charges would be, if and when the grand jury in Manhattan is asked to approve them. Katelyn Polantz, CNN, Washington.



POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Law enforcement officials who are actively engaged in these behind-the-scenes conversations, saying that they do have several concerns. Should we get to the point where those charges are filed against former President Donald Trump, one of which is Courthouse security here in Lower Manhattan if Donald Trump has to travel here to answer to these charges, that's mainly because of the potential for demonstrations or rallies by Trump supporters that they could possibly be galvanized into taking action beyond just peaceful protests in light of what we heard from Donald Trump over the weekend in his message calling for protest.

Also the idea of any possible counter demonstrations. And that's why local, state and federal law enforcement here in New York City are coming together and having those conversations about how they would respond. Another fascinating angle in all this is what one federal law

enforcement source told CNN's John Miller that the Secret Service detail in charge of protecting the former President is also actively engaged in conversations with agents here in New York City about the logistics that would come in transporting Trump to the Manhattan District Attorney to answer to these charges.


This is a process that is typically quite routine. That would include a full booking process, including fingerprinting and a mug shot being taken before an eventual arraignment, and it's safe to assume an eventual release.

And however, given the publicity of this case, multiple sources saying that that process, if we reach that point, would likely happen away from the crowds and cameras, it just speaks to the unprecedented nature of everything that's happening behind the scenes, as many wait for what the next step will be from a grand jury.

Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.


BRUNHUBER: For more on this, I'm joined by Political Analyst Michael Genovese. He's the President of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University.

Thanks for being here with us. And I should just also mention, because this is relevant to what we're talking about, you're the author of The Modern Presidency: Six Debates That Define the Institution. Listen, we knew, you know, the day might come, but it still seems hard to wrap one's head around it the idea of a former President potentially facing arrest. As I just mentioned, you study the presidency. So just how unprecedented is this?

MICHAEL GENOVESE, POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you know, we came close back in the 1970s with Richard Nixon, and had he not been pardoned by Gerald Ford, there's a chance that this might have occurred. This is unique. It is strange, but it's not surprising given the circumstances and given what we know of Donald Trump. I mean, he's been dodging legal bullets for a number of years now, and it looks like several strands are starting to come together. And they may all connect, really within a matter of just a few weeks or months.

The first one, we all thought, was going to be Georgia. But there were several different possibilities. We're on untrodden territory. This is new for us. And so we're going to probably trade it pretty carefully, especially given the circumstances that Donald Trump is a declared candidate for 2024.

BRUNHUBER: Well, exactly. And given what's gone on before, I mean, already Donald Trump's reaction, calling for his supporters to protest, and maybe more significantly, in his words, to take back the country. I mean, that all sounds familiar. How troubling is that? GENOVESE: It's troubling because we know what happened on January 6,

and that's when he did a similar call for his supporters to march on the Capitol. And we know what happened. We know that law breaking took place. We know violence occurred. And we know, you know, the "Hang Mike Pence" and "Nancy, We're Coming for You." It was an ugly mob. And it was a series of lawbreakers. Many of whom have been convicted already. And so Donald Trump saying, I want my protesters to be ready. We're going to take back the country. He knows better. He knows what the result of those kinds of comments are. You egg on people who are probably likely to respond to him the way they did on January 6. And so that's an irresponsible use of his platform. And one that is likely to lead to violence.

BRUNHUBER: Well, so that's my question. I mean, your read from the political environment right now. You think there will be violence, or do you think that -- I mean you mentioned, you know, many of the people involved in January 6, you know, were prosecuted. This was supposed to stop January 6 from happening again. Do you think it will?

Well, I think Donald Trump keeps playing the role of the match and trying to light the kindling. And if he does that, and he keeps encouraging his people to protest, to take back the country, it simply increases the likelihood that some people out there who are not very stable or not very grounded might very well take that as a call to violence.

It may very well be that folks think that January 6 was the prelude to the bigger event. And so, a responsible leader would insist that his followers follow the law, that they be peaceful. Donald Trump is not like that. He does not play the game that way. He has his own rules. And because of that, that's why people in his base like him. But it's also what makes him dangerous and kind of an inflammatory figure, especially given that there are several strands of indictments that may come down in the next few weeks.

BRUNHUBER: Yeah. I'm wondering, what this might mean for his 2024 campaign, will it help him or hurt him? You know, potentially it might make him a martyr figure that might unite Republican voters. And we've seen already he's sending fundraising emails on the back of this?

GENOVESE: Well again, he never misses the chance to raise money. But Donald Trump, it's an odd situation in that I think it will help in her -- it will help him within his party, within his base. It will strengthen the bonds between Donald Trump and his base. And he will say, they're doing this to me, but they're doing it to you.


And so that'll likely rev up the support within his base, but not necessarily within the party in a broader sense, and certainly not within the nation. Anytime a president or presidential candidate is indicted, it's going to raise some questions. I mean, we've had circumstances like this in the past, very rarely when Eugene Debs running as a Socialist candidate from prison.

So it's possible to run while indicted, it's possible to run while on trial, it's possible to run while in prison. But that certainly doesn't speak well to the ultimate electability in the general election.

BRUNHUBER: Michael Genovese, thanks so much for being here with us.

GENOVESE: Thank you very much.

BRUNHUBER: An attorney for the former President claims the media is likely to blame for Trump's assertion that he'll be arrested on Tuesday. In a statement to CNN, he said, "no one tells us anything, which is very frustrating. President Biden -- President Trump, rather, is basing his response on press reports and the fact that this is a political prosecution and the DA leaks things to the press instead of communicating to the lawyers as they should."

Former Vice President Mike Pence is another member of Trump's orbit who's harshly criticizing the possibility of an indictment. He discussed the situation Saturday in an interview on Sirius XM radio. And again in a pre-taped interview with ABC News, Pence said he believed the investigation is politically motivated, but added that any protests should be peaceful. Here he is.


MIKE PENCE, (R) FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: The frustration the American people feel about what they sense is a two-tier justice system in this country, I think is well founded. But I -- and I believe that people understand that if they give voice to this, if this occurs on Tuesday, that they need to do so peacefully and in a lawful manner that the violence that occurred on January 6, the violence that occurred in cities throughout this country in the summer of 2020 was a disgrace. The American people won't tolerate it. And those that engage in that kind of violence should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.


BRUNHUBER: And we'll have more legal perspective on this major story later in the hour.

Russia's President travels to a Ukrainian city that took a defiant stand against his aggression. Still ahead, Vladimir Putin's trip to Mariupol and the message he's trying to send.

And mass protests against a plan to curb the power of Israel's judiciary. Why some people believe the proposal is a distraction created by Prime Minister Netanyahu. Stay with us.



BRUNHUBER: Ukraine says two people are dead after a cluster bomb attack in the city of Kramatorsk. Ten others were wounded on Saturday, including three who were in serious condition. Dozens of residential buildings were damaged in the attack, and residents say there was nothing of military value to strike there.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): They were shelling, shelling on civilians houses. And Putin's saying they're not killing civilians? That they don't shoot at peaceful people? We don't have anything here. No soldiers, no positions. And they're shooting at us. They're killing us, our children, our elderly. They're destroying our houses. Take a look at what they do.


BRUNHUBER: Ukraine says Russia has launched more than 350 artillery strikes across the eastern front of the past 24 hours. That includes more than 50 attacks in Bakhmut. Now, this all comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin went to occupy Ukraine for the first time since his invasion began.

Clare Sebastian is monitoring that story, and she joins us from London. So, Clare, with these recent trips to Crimea, now Mariupol, what message is Putin trying to send?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Kim, I think in some ways, the trip in particular to Mariupol was an obvious PR exercise for Putin. This is the biggest prize so far for Russia in this war. The only major strategic city that they've managed to hold on to after occupying. Of course, they had to retreat from Kherson in November. Look, I think it's clear that he's sending, in some ways, a message of defiance to the west.

The visit coming just a day after the arrest warrant was issued by the International Criminal Court. Pretty extraordinary optics of this if this is an act of defiance, visiting essentially some of the scenes of some of the worst alleged war crimes in this war. Mariupol almost a year ago to the day, was when that drama theater was bombed, killing -- it's believed, hundreds of civilians in what was perhaps the worst mass casualty event for civilians in this war.

But Putin, you see there behind the wheel, projecting authority, projecting that he is in charge. It was interesting to see him. He was also outside an apartment block where he greeted fairly starstruck residents, including one pretty tearful woman, who told him that the apartment block that they had apparently received this year, perhaps after their own homes were destroyed, was a little piece of heaven.

So it seems that this is a pretty choreographed visit here, but I think to the Russian, this also shows that he is heavily focused on rebuilding and integrating these illegally occupied parts of Ukraine into Russia, normalizing the idea that they are part of Russia, something that Russia, of course, have, of course, been doing with Crimea since 2014. Kim.

BRUNHUBER: All right, Clare Sebastian in London, thanks so much for being here with us.

Now, as we just mentioned, Putin made the trip as he became a wanted man facing an arrest warrant over alleged war crimes in Ukraine. The International Criminal Court issued the warrant on Friday accusing Putin in a suspected scheme to deport Ukrainian children to Russia. So, about an hour ago, I spoke with international human rights lawyer Wayne Jordash, and I asked him what evidence the prosecutors could have. Here he is.


WAYNE JORDASH, INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER: The evidence really consists of two or three main points. Firstly, his public appearances, where he are clearly accepts, along with the Commissioner for Children's Rights, who's also subject to an arrest warrant, that they are involved in a scheme of so-called adoption. So there's the public admissions from Putin.


Secondly, there's a presidential decree, which, again, implicates Putin and the government in relation to these adoptions. And then, of course, there's the evidence from the ground that is thousands of children going missing from Russian occupied territory, many of them with children -- with parents, and disappearing into Russia.

So it's the scheme plus the admission. And I'd also say this Putin is subject to an arrest warrant on the basis of superior responsibility, which basically means that he has not prevented those crimes or punished them. And that's why his admissions publicly are so important. He's essentially approving of these crimes when he's giving these public comments and therefore admitting to failing to exercise his superior responsibility, which is a really serious issue.


BRUNHUBER: In a significant breakthrough, Serbia and Kosovo have reached a deal to normalize relations. The decision was announced by the European Union's top diplomat in a tweet after he met recently with leaders from both countries.

Kosovo and Serbia have been in E.U. backed talks for nearly ten years, this after Kosovo declared independence in 2008. Now, Serbia doesn't recognize Kosovo's independence, seeing it as a breakaway province instead. The E.U. says the deal will be an integral and binding part of the two nations path, the bloc's membership.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is getting no relief from weeks of outrage over his plan to revamp the country's judicial system. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis took to the streets Saturday for the 11th week of protests over the proposal. Netanyahu and his supporters say there must be a check on the power of the country's unelected judges.

Some critics say the plan would undermine Israel's democracy, while others say the whole thing is Netanyahu's way of distracting from his legal troubles. Elliott Gotkine is in Jerusalem and joins me now.

So Elliott, first of all, what is the latest on those protests? ELLIOTT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST: Kim, this was a Saturday night protest,

as it has been the last -- for the last eleven weeks. Of course, we've been seeing Midweek protests as well, but this is just becoming a regular thing now, to see hundreds of thousands of people out on the streets, rain or shine, to express their opposition to this government's radical judicial overhaul. As you say, they are concerned that it will erode pretty much all checks and balances, remove pretty much all checks and balances on the government by allowing it to appoint Supreme Court judges and by preventing the Supreme Court from striking down laws passed by Israel's parliament or Knesset, except in very narrow circumstances.

Now, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who leads this right wing and religiously conservative government, the most right wing and religiously conservative in Israel's history, he maintains that this judicial overhaul is necessary in order to restore the proper balance between the judiciary and the government.

He thinks that the Supreme Court has too much power and therefore he's simply restoring the balance. However, the protesters do not buy this. They are concerned about this overhaul, eroding Israel's claim to be a liberal Jewish democracy, that it's going to be to the detriment of the economy and people's individual freedoms.

Now, we heard earlier in the week from President Isaac Herzog it's a ceremonial role, but he still has influence. And he presented a proposal to find some kind of compromise that would give the government some of what it wanted, but not everything.

But this proposal, amid warnings from the President himself of the potential for civil war, really striking language from him. But the government rejected these proposals outright. The result of which is that this judicial overhaul remains alive. It is still winding its way through Israel's Parliament or Knesset. The government says it wants to have it in place by the time of the Jewish Festival of Passover, which starts at the beginning of next month.

And so long as that process remains on track, these protests will also continue as well. Kim.

BRUNHUBER: All right, and Elliott pivoting now, senior officials from the U.S., Jordan, Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian Authority, they're expected to hold another regional security meeting ahead of Ramadan. So what might come of that?

GOTKINE: I suppose the hope is that everyone will be able to get some kind of progress in terms of trying to de-escalate the situation. We've seen a lot of Israeli security forces raids into the West Bank, into the occupied West Bank to target militants who have either committed or they say are planning to commit violent acts against Israelis.

And at the same time, we've seen attacks by militants against Israelis inside Israel as well. So I suppose this is just another way to try to calm the situation before Ramadan. But we've seen already, when we had this meeting in the Jordanian Red Sea Port of Aqaba that was supposed to make some progress towards de-escalation that that didn't really work.


And I suppose the fear is that this kind of meeting won't really work either, and that the current tensions, which are sky high between Israel and the Palestinians will simply continue.

BRUNHUBER: All right, we'll be keeping an eye on both stories. Elliott Gotkine, thanks so much for being here.

In Pakistan, there was another dramatic standoff as former Prime Minister Imran Khan appeared in court on Saturday. Clashes broke out between his supporters and the police as he was attempting to enter the high court in Islamabad. It comes just hours after the police storm Khan's house in Lahore with bulldozers removing camps that had been set up by his supporters. Khan says the recent events are an attempt to keep him from returning to power. Here he is.


IMRAN KHAN, FORMER PAKISTANI PRIME MINISTER: The powerful people are behind it, and, you know, I am -- my life is even more a threat than it was then because these people are worried, all sitting in powerful positions, that if I come back into power, which they know in elections, we will win, they're trying to, you know, make sure that I don't get there.


BRUNHUBER: The former prime minister is facing a spate of legal challenges that have sparked weeklong clashes between his supporters and the police.

South Korea's military says North Korea conducted another launch on Sunday. This time, a short-range ballistic missile. Japan's defense ministry says it reached an altitude of about 31 miles and flew nearly 500 miles. It fell into the sea between Japan and the Korean peninsula.

Now, this follows multiple recent tests by Pyongyang, including an intercontinental ballistic missile launched last Thursday. The tests coincide with ongoing military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea.

Protests wept across France for a third day after the government pushed through a pension reform to increase the retirement age from 62 to 64.

Thousands of demonstrators marched through a Paris train station and a shopping center, chanting Macron go away. There were clashes with police who responded with tear gas and some protesters called for a general strike, shouting, Paris, stand up, rise up.

All right. Still ahead, much more on the possible indictment of Donald Trump. Will the former President face a trial and could it result in a conviction? More of a legal analyst weighing in. And the families pushing the military to do more as it invest the death of a soldier at a Texas Army base. They say there is more to the situation than investigators are revealing. Stay with us.



BRUNHUBER: Welcome back to all of you watching us here in the United States, Canada, and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. This is CNN Newsroom.

Let's get back to our top story this hour. Former U.S. President Donald Trump says he expects to be arrested on Tuesday as he faces a grand jury investigation in New York.

On social media, he urged supporters to protest, echoing the rhetoric he used before the 21 insurrection. Authorities in New York are now preparing for large rallies during his expected indictment. The case is related to a hush money payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels over an alleged affair which Trump denies.

Elie Honig is a former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and a CNN Senior Legal Analyst, and he discussed the case earlier with our Paula Reid. Honig said he believes the case will go to trial if Trump is indicted, but he warns that the case is far from a slam dunk since it may rely on a witness whose credibility isn't above reproach. Here he is.


ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I think it's highly likely that if there's an indictment, it goes to trial, because Donald Trump does not strike me as the pleading guilty type. In order to plead guilty, he'd have to go into court and say, yes, I committed a crime.

How likely is it to result in a conviction? That will depend, of course, on the strength of the evidence and the witnesses. Based on what we know, though, Paula, I think it's an absolute mistake to say this is some sort of slam dunk or smoking gun.

We know there are checks, we know that money was paid. But it's important to understand paying hush money is not a crime, and it would not be the crime here. The crime is in how Donald Trump's people, his campaign, logged that payment.

If they falsely claimed it was attorney's fees, which they did, that could be a crime. But you have to tie that to Donald Trump himself directly. And really, as far as we know, the only person who directly does that is Michael Cohen, who has all sorts of credibility issues.


BRUNHUBER: In Texas, the circumstances surrounding a soldier's death at Fort Hood continues to be a point of contention between the military and the soldier's family. Army investigators say foul play isn't suspected in the death of Private Ana Basaldua Ruiz, but her family wants the military to expand their investigation, saying the late soldier spoke of sexual harassment on the base. CNN's Camila Bernal reports.


CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is a tragic case, and the family of Private Ana Fernanda Basaldua Ruiz, through their attorney, is now calling for a full and open investigation into this case. The army says they are looking at all of the facts and everything that happened here, and they also say that this is all being handled by the Criminal Investigation Division at the army, which is independent from the chain of command at Fort Hood.

And investigators say that they do not believe foul play was a factor in this case. They also say they will continue to look at harassment allegations. All of this after the mother of the soldier went on Spanish speaking TV and gave very emotional interviews to her affiliate Univision and to Telemundo News saying that the army had told her, her daughter had committed suicide. She questions that suicide and said her daughter spoke about sexual harassment allegations at the base.

Now, the army says that they are looking into all of this. They held a press conference. And here's part of what they said.

LT. GEN. SEAN C. BERNABE, COMMANDING GENERAL, III ARMORED CORPS AND FORT HOOD: We take any allegations of harassment very seriously. And we do have many avenues through which soldiers can report such harassment. Any leader on this installation has a responsibility to take action if they find out about such harassment through a report, formal or informal, and they will take action.

BERNAL: Now, the army did not confirm whether the cause of death was suicide. Again, they say they will continue to investigate this case. The mother in these very emotional interviews saying that her daughter had asked to leave the base, had asked her to hug her the way she used to hug her when she was a child. This mother was heartbroken and saying that she sent her daughter to the United States alive and was going to bring her body back to Mexico.


Their attorney releasing a statement saying in part, we will be watching closely to ensure that military leadership conducts a thorough investigation for the sake of Ana's family and all of those currently serving in our U.S. military. That mother asking for a special visa to come to the U.S. She says she wants to be here to receive her daughter's body. Camila Bernal, CNN, Los Angeles.


BRUNHUBER: California has a new initiative to produce affordable insulin. Governor Gavin Newsom says the state will cut the drugs price for users by 90%. His office says they've secured a contract with drug manufacturer at Civica RX to make $30 insulin available to all who need it. Brand name insulin is often sold for nearly $300 per file. The high cost has forced many people with diabetes to ration or skip the drug, which helps the body manage sugar.

A rare strain of bacteria found in recalled eye drops in the US is being linked to dozens of infections, vision loss and even one death. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control is urging consumers to stop using EzriCare Artificial Tears, which was first recalled last month. The agency says it has identified 68 patients with infections in 16 states. It also says that anyone with signs or symptoms of an eye infection should seek medical care immediately.

And a popular baby formula brand is recalling some of its product due to contamination concerns. Perego Company is recalling some lots of its Gerber, Good Start, SoothePro powdered formula. The company says the product may be contaminated with a bacteria that can lead to serious, even fatal infections. Perego hasn't received any reports of illnesses. Still, it says customers shouldn't use the product and contact them for a refund.

Hundreds of people dead, injured or missing after a deadly storm strikes Malawi. The government's calling for as it deals with the aftermath of Cyclone Freddy.

Plus --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I ran from the house. We realized that an explosion sounded from the ground and it moved very hard. The electric cables were already moving and the windows people were in the streets praying.


BRUNHUBER: An earthquake strikes Ecuador, killing more than a dozen people and damaging a historic city. We'll give you an update on the latest coming up. Stay with us.



BRUNHUBER: That was a terrifying scene at a supermarket in Guayaquil, Ecuador, when a magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck on Saturday. At least 16 people are dead and more than 380 injured. The quake's epicenter was in Ecuador's southern coast, near the border with Peru. Dozens of homes, schools and medical centers were damaged or destroyed. Multiple roads were blocked by landslides. And a CNN affiliate report structural damage in Cuenca, which is a U.N. world heritage city.

The death toll in the giant earthquake that rocked Turkey and Syria has now surpassed 55,000 people. And that's as parts of Turkey are still feeling aftershocks more than a month later. And while Turkey's largest city, Istanbul, is far from those tremors, it faces its own grave earthquake dangers. Nada Bashir reports.


NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: The sound of concrete crumbling into rubble, this time by design. This demolition part of a grand regeneration project. The city of Istanbul preparing for, experts warn, is an inevitable earthquake. Tens of thousands of homes are currently in the process of being evaluated for their safety. As residents grow increasingly concerned.

Honestly, I'm afraid Moosdah (ph) tells me. I think residents would feel more relieved if precautions were taken immediately. This is one of what officials say is more than 800,000 buildings in Istanbul built before earthquake regulations were brought into force in the year 2000.

And authority's say at least half of all buildings assessed so far have been placed under high-risk categories. According to the damage estimation studies we held we foresee that approximately 90,000 structures will be subject to heavy and very heavy damage. Ozlem (ph) tells me.

BASHIR (on camera): Well, in this vast city of around 16 million people, the threat of a major earthquake looms large. A fault line beneath the Sea of Marmara, just 20 kilometers from the city at its closest point winds could cause untold damage if it were to break.

(Voice over): And while experts predict the magnitude of such an earthquake could be anywhere between 7.2 and 7.8, there is no telling when the earthquake might strike.

CELAL SENGOR, PROFESSOR, ISTANBUL TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY: If a major earthquake doesn't happen in the next 20 years, we'd be really surprised. So it took, it's that close, there is no way to predict it, the sensible thing is to get prepared for it.

BASHIR (voice over): But it's not just about ensuring the buildings are able to withstand a major earthquake but also preparing for what is said to be an enormous humanitarian response effort, with experts estimating the loss of tens of thousands of lives and potentially millions of residents left homeless.

It is an immense challenge for this metropolis, particularly when it comes to communities like this one, with many homes here built without permissions and without structural guarantees.

Those who say that they trust their buildings are just consoling themselves, she tells me. Most buildings here are more than 30 years old, and most of them have had levels added to them. I don't think they're sturdy buildings. I want to move but in Turkey, rent prices are just too high. And with some of Turkey's most disadvantaged now struggling to even buy bread, many are left with no choice, but to continue living in high-risk buildings.

Seeing what happened over in the southeast, we became very afraid over here, Shukria (ph) tells me. What will happen to our house? What will happen to our children? What will happen to us? Questions many Istanbul residents are now asking themselves as

concerns mount over how much time is left for this historic city to prepare for the unimaginable? Nada Bashir, CNN Istanbul.


BRUNHUBER: In Southern Africa, the official death toll has climbed as Malawi faces the aftermath of Cyclone Freddy. This as a search for the missing continues. Michael Holmes reports.



MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: More than 400 people are dead after Cyclone Freddy tore through Malawi, entire villages swept away, many families still searching for loved ones.

This woman says her husband and child were washed away in the flooding. She is the only one left in her family.

AGATHA CHAONEKE, LOST HER FAMILY (through translator): It was raining for three days. On the third day, I saw what looked like fire coming from the mountain. It felt like a mountain was falling down. Then a huge splash of water and mud came. Those who could run, ran and survived. Those who could not were covered by mud. That's how I survived.

HOLMES: Another woman describes how her parents were holding on to each other when they were separated by a fallen tree.

DOREEN PIYASI, FLOOD SURVIVOR (through translator): My mother and father were holding hands, but a fallen tree came between them. So my father was not able to hold on. There was too much water, and my mother was taken by the water. My father survived, but he is very badly injured. To this day, my mother's body has not been found.

HOLMES: Across the country, officials say nearly 80,000 are displaced, more than 900 injured and nearly 300 missing. Malawi's president calling for urgent humanitarian aid. On Saturday, he visited primary schools in the east, handing out buckets, blankets and food.

Many schools will remain closed until the end of the month. Classrooms and toilets are unsafe. The cyclone first made landfall in late February, then circled back a second time this week. While the storm has finally passed, survivors are left trudging through the mud, searching for some sign of hope amid the destruction. Michael Holmes, CNN.


BRUNHUBER: There have been more reports of violence and voters being disenfranchised during Saturday's governorship elections in Nigeria. A Labor Party official said one of its agents were shot and killed in Lagos and at the Victoria Garden City gated complex also in Lagos, residents told CNN what happened when election officials made an unexpected change. Listen to this.


GIHAN MBELU, PRESIDENT, VICTORIA GARDEN CITY RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION: So people came out there today to find that the polling unit had been moved. Of course, as a community, we did not receive any formal communication to say that the polling unit was being moved. But course, I'm struggling as Chairman to tell people to vote because I'm uncertain of the legality of that polling unit, because you want to ensure that. People's votes actually count.


BRUNHUBER: Electoral Commission Spokesperson told CNN the polling unit was moved for safety reasons. We'll be right back.



BRUNHUBER: The phenomenon called March Madness has taken over the U.S. this weekend, and one of the country's most prestigious universities is at the center of it all. Princeton University's men's basketball team, a 15th seed in the NCAA tournament, pulled off its second massive ups Saturday night, while the University of Kansas, the reigning champion and one of the favorites to win it all again, lost in heartbreaking fashion. With me now is CNN Sports Cory Wire.

Bracket, busters, galore, this is what it's all about at this time of year, right?

COY WIRE, CNN WORLD SPORT: Yeah. I mean, no other sporting event captures America's hearts and minds from a sporting perspective like the NCAA Tournament. You have tens of millions of people, you mentioned those brackets, they don't even watch college basketball during the regular season. But this tournament comes around, you're filling them out at work. Billions of dollars are bet on this three- week tournament. It's quite the phenomenon. And there is a lot of madness and upsets and magic.

Here's one of them. Princeton Tigers men's basketball team. After pulling off one of the unlikeliest upsets in the tournament already in tournament history, on Thursday they come back to beat the University of Arizona as a 15 seed.

Princeton looked downright unstoppable Saturday night against Missouri. They hit twelve three pointers, jumping out early. They never looked back. They win 78/63. They're just the second Ivy League school in the past 43 years to ever reach the Sweet 16 or Final 16.

Coach Mitch Henderson was a member of the last Princeton team to even win a game at this tournament quarter century ago. He calls this a dream come true.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MITCH HENDERSON, PRINCETON HEAD COACH: We are so thrilled to be going to the Sweet 16. It is an absolute pleasure being around these guys. They just grit their teeth and they do it. I've always dreamed of playing deep into the tournament as a player. Got to the second round a couple of times, never -- never got beyond it. So I'm just -- I feel like these guys are unbelievable.


WIRE: All right, you have to see this One Seed and defending champion, Kansas. They're down two against Arkansas with just three seconds to go, their biggest star, Jalen Wilson was going to need to miss a free throw to try to get a quick rebound and then tie or win it. But that didn't happen. Well, watch this.

Arkansas, they pull off this upset, and their coach, Eric Musselman, shows off the muscles. Man, he rips his shirt off as the team goes crazy, pulling off this upset. Come on, coach. Where are you? They're trying to find them right now. Crowd, as you can see, look at this passion. Look at this emotion. The Razorbacks, they're headed to their third straight Sweet 16. I guess maybe hey, we couldn't show coach because maybe it was not safe for TV. So, let's assume.

BRUNHUBER: It's a family show.

WIRE: Yeah, it's a family show. All right we'll leave it at this, then. The biggest Cinderella of them all, Fairleigh Dickinson, they became just the second 16 Seed to ever win a game in March Madness. They beat number 1 seed Purdue. They're going to take on 9 seed Florida Atlantic Sunday night. A team that spent several weeks ranked in the top 25 this season. If Fairleigh Dickinson, which has only about 7800 students undergrad, they can pull it off. They'd be the first 16 seed to ever win two wins in this tournament.

And now, Kim, I asked you earlier growing up in Canada how to be a big hockey fan, right?

BRUNHUBER: Of course, yeah.

WIRE: You're like -- you're like the only Canadian --


BRUNHUBER: -- Canadian, right.

WIRE: But you appreciates the game, and you're going to appreciate this play of the day, University of Minnesota's Rhett Pitlick. Watch this puck handling clinic he puts on.

BRUNHUBER: Oh, sit down.

WIRE: Are you kidding me? Take a seat. That was Steven Holtz, the defenseman, who stood no chance in the big ten championship game. They're playing against Michigan here. Isn't that fun? And then the goalie didn't stand a chance. I mean, that's just incredible. And best part about this is Rhett Pitlick is actually a prospect for your beloved Montreal Canadian. So, yeah, had to show that because how many times can you deepen one maneuver there, so.

BRUNHUBER: Oh, man, that was sick.

WIRE: Yeah.

BRUNHUBER: Well, listen, I want to go back to the NCAA's, you know, with all the chaos that's going on now, you've had to sort of reconfigure your brackets. Who do you have winning?

WIRE: So there are no remaining perfect brackets, so none of us are perfect, even though we hope to. I have Texas going all the way. They're a two seed. And I actually have Marquette, another two seed meeting in the final. So I went for minor upsets.

BRUNHUBER: All right.

WIRE: My favorites are Houston and Alabama. Those are the two remaining number one seeds.

BRUNHUBER: All right, we'll see if it'll come to pass. We'll have you back on and explain how it all went wrong for you.

WIRE: Sport madness.

BRUNHUBER: CNN sports Coy Wire, thank you so much. Appreciate it. That wraps this hour of CNN Newsroom. I'm Kim Brunhuber. You can follow me on twitter @Kimbrunhuber. For viewers in North America, CNN This Morning is next, the rest to the world, it's Living Golf.