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Suspect On Loose After Shooting Two Staff Member At Denver HS; Trump, Advisers Await Possible Indictment At Mar-A-Lago; Federal Reserve Signals The End Of Interest Rate Hikes Is In Sight. Aired 3- 3:30p ET

Aired March 22, 2023 - 15:00   ET




JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Top of the hour to you. I'm Jessica Dean here in Washington, D.C. Great to be with you this afternoon.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Great to be with you, Jessica. I'm Boris Sanchez. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

And we start with breaking news out of Denver. A high school student who's suspected of shooting two faculty members today is still at large. Police are now asking the public for help in finding the student who the mayor describes as armed and dangerous.

Just moments ago, we got an update from Colorado governor, Jared Polis, who says the State Bureau of Investigations is assisting local officials in their response.

DEAN: CNN's Whitney Wild joins us now live.

And officials have released some details about this suspect, Whitney, what else can you tell us?

WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: So what we know is that he is under 18 years old. We don't know his name. We don't know his age. That's because police are hyper aware of protecting juveniles' information. What we do know is that every day this student had to undergo a safety plan and Denver - or Denver Public Schools was reluctant to give any detail about why this particular student would undergo a safety plan every day.

But what we know is that that was true, that every day the student would get a pat down. The student had never produced a firearm before, never - according to police produced a weapon before, but today was different. Today, the student produced a firearm and shot two members of the faculty.

In this moment, it just so happened that there were paramedics who were responding to another incident inside the school, so fortunately, paramedics who were there just through happenstance were able to respond to the shooting, able to administer what officials hope and what we all hope are life saving measures for these two faculty members.

Meanwhile, the suspect fled on foot. The weapon has not been recovered, the student has not been brought into custody. What we know about the faculty at this moment is that one of those faculty members as of at least a couple of hours ago was in surgery in critical condition. Another member of the faculty was injured but in stable condition and alert enough to give a description of what happened.

Police know a lot about this student. They went to his home immediately. They executed a search warrant. We're still waiting to find out perhaps what that search warrant would have recovered. But the big questions moving forward are how did this student, who's under 18 years old, get a firearm. That's going to be the big question for law enforcement as they move forward.

And then further, the other broader questions for the public school system is was the safety plan adequate to protect faculty and students. What we know about the safety plan, again, is that it was an everyday thing that it happened in an area away from students. And so at the time, apparently Denver Public Schools thought that that was a robust response enough for the student.

Now they say that school will be canceled for the rest of the week and when the school resumes, two armed police officers will be on scene to protect those students. Back to you.

SANCHEZ: Yes, it's so fortunate that those paramedics were coincidentally there at the right time and the right place to help those faculty members after the shooting took place.

Whitney Wild please keep us posted on the very latest out of Denver, thank you.

DEAN: And joining us to talk a little bit more about this, CNN National Security Analyst, Juliette Kayyem.

Juliette, great to see you.

As Whitney just laid out, we know this suspect is still on the run, walk us through what police and authorities are likely doing right now to track him down.

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, it should be relatively easy. They know who he is and they know what kind of transportation was available to him. They certainly know who the parents or guardians are at this stage.


It's clear from the safety plan that we're talking about, which is a very familiar thing in a lot of large school districts that there are particular children - not children - particular students who are either because of an outside incident or because they've encountered law enforcement will have additional screening before they go into the schools. So it's not as unusual as it may sound (inaudible) familiar to it. So

there's a lot of nexus between the guardians, the school, law enforcement and whoever this student is that I would anticipate that (inaudible) a sophisticated exit plan that (inaudible) ...

DEAN: Juliette - hey, Juliet, we - unfortunately we can't hear you very clearly. So I'm going to have to interrupt you. Hopefully we can get back to you in just a little bit. That's Juliette Kayyem and unfortunately, we just had a bit of an audio issue, but we'll try to get back to her a little bit later,

SANCHEZ: I hate it when that sort of thing happens.

DEAN: I know.

SANCHEZ: Yes. The other big thing that we're talking about this afternoon, the waiting game, the indictment watch whether a former president will be arrested in an unprecedented event in U.S. history. And the wait and see may be longer than initially thought.

That's because the New York grand jury did not meet today in the case investigating former President Donald Trump in his alleged hush money payments. However, expectations are high that the Manhattan DA, Alvin Bragg, is getting ready to make the call on that indictment any day now.

DEAN: Advisers say Donald Trump himself is at times resigned that an indictment will happen and may actually leverage the spectacle of his arrest. We're going to have more on the former president's mindset in just a moment.

But first, let's start with CNN's Kara Scannell who's outside the criminal courthouse in Manhattan where this is all unfolding. Kara, what are you learning about why the grand jury didn't meet today as planned.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Well, right. So sources told us the grand jury did not meet today and this grand jury has heard testimony from witnesses on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. So it's possible they could reconvene tomorrow.

But what we've learned is that the prosecutors, according to sources, are taking their time. They're considering the weight of this case. They're also evaluating how the case has played out so far, particularly from Monday when they heard from Bob Costello.

He was a witness who testified on behalf of the Trump team. He went into the grand jury and said that he contradicted Michael Cohen, the government's star witness - his testimony. And Cohen, of course, has said that he was directed by Trump to make these hush money payments, so Stormy Daniels wouldn't go public just days before the 2016 presidential election.

Now a source tells us that the DA in the past 24 hours has been in touch with an attorney for one witness saying that that witness may be asked to come back and testify before the grand jury. So it certainly gives a sense that this process is still deliberative, that a decision has not yet been made on whether or not to charge the former president.

But this is very much a situation that's in flux. So things are changing as we can see today, kind of on a dime. So we're still very much in a wait and see mode. Jess? Boris?

DEAN: No doubt about that. Kara Scannell for us outside the courthouse there in New York. And far away from Lower Manhattan where Kara is in his Mar-A-Lago compound in South Florida, the former President and his team are trying to plan for a variety of scenarios, with one of them saying the feeling is "this is happening, how do we deal with it," that's according to sources close to CNN.

SANCHEZ: CNN's Kristen Holmes is in West Palm Beach for us.

Kristen, walk us through their strategy. One source shared with you that this is essentially uncharted territory.

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, right now what they're considering is how to actually move forward if this indictment happens. And, of course, as you noted, they are all feeling resigned to the fact and that includes the former president himself that this is likely to happen.

So how do you enter this new normal, because this is completely unprecedented. Not only is it that a presidential candidate will be indicted, but also a former president of the United States. And they are operating on the same kind of wait and see basis that all of us are. And at times that has been somewhat frustrating to them, because they're trying to figure out how exactly to move forward.

One point in - one case in point would be this weekend. Former President Trump has his first campaign rally is going to Waco, Texas. It's supposed to be a big rally. And I had one aide telling me, okay, so if this indictment comes down on a Friday, do we just pick up and leave for Texas the next day.

There's a lot of communication going on, a lot of questions as to how exactly this would work. When you talk about the former president and his mindset, he has really spanned the entire spectrum of reaction. According to sources close to him, there are times that he has ranted about how unfair this is. He's been very upset. At times, he celebrated how this is going to help him politically and at times, he's ignored it altogether, which is leading for those aides to say that they think that he has resigned to the fact that this is likely going to happen.

But all of this again, taking place under this really unprecedented umbrella of a former U.S. president, a presidential candidate possibly being indicted for the first time.


SANCHEZ: And Kristen, I'm wondering from your sources as Trump is contemplating potentially turning this into a media spectacle, what exactly does that entail? Have they detailed that for you or is it something that they're still playing by ear and trying to see - trying to figure it out as it plays out?

HOLMES: Well, right now it would entail having as many cameras and access to as much media as possible. But the big question is whether or not that's even possible, given the fact that he is a former president of the United States. I mean, they are going to be bringing him into Manhattan trying to get him into this courthouse.

This is going to have a huge security component. So when we talk about what a media spectacle will look like, well, a lot of that is going to involve making sure that media outlets have access to the former president when I talked to several of his advisors who they told me that there's a lot that they can't control. But some of the stuff they can control is what he says, who he says it to and when he says it.

So there is a huge messaging and media component to this. But when it comes to what the spectacle will look like in New York. There's also a huge security component, what exactly a Secret Service going to allow them to do. Again, this is an unprecedented situation. You're not just having a high profile guests, you're having someone who has their own Secret Service detail and having to navigate that with security that's already in the city as well.

SANCHEZ: And no doubt, Kristen, that if he does make it to Waco, Texas this weekend, he will likely use all of these developments as fodder for his first big rally after announcing his third run for the White House.

Kristen Holmes from sunny West Palm Beach, thank you so much.

From the state criminal case against Donald Trump to this bombshell development in the federal investigation of the former president. This one is regarding the classified documents found at Mar-A-Lago. Remember, these are files with U.S. government secrets that are meant to be stored in a special secured facility.

DEAN: And source says the Justice Department has now convinced a judge that Trump used one of his defense attorneys in a possible crime. And we know that Trump lawyer, Evan Corcoran, has been ordered to testify before a federal grand jury. Trump's lawyers have appealed that.

CNN Political Correspondent Sara Murray has been tracking this story.

And Sara, there was a big deadline this morning in the appeals process and it happened pretty quickly.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this appeals briefing schedule was wild. A court had ruled that Evan Corcoran had to testify. He's the attorney before a grand jury. And the appeals court essentially said overnight, we want you guys to all brief this by morning. So we are waiting for them to weigh in on Evan - whether Evan Corcoran is actually going to have to testify for grand jury, that could come at every time - at any time. But this was really set into motion by the incredible ruling that was

under sealed by a judge last week who determined that former President Donald Trump may have committed crimes, may have used his attorney in the furtherance of those crimes. And essentially, that was her ruling saying prosecutors provided enough evidence to potentially reach that conclusion and pierce attorney client privilege.

Of course, normally, your attorney would not have to show up before a grand jury and answer questions about your conversations with him, but because of the evidence prosecutors put forward including surveillance tapes, the judge said this attorney-client privilege can't exist anymore.

Corcoran should have to go before a grand jury and answer questions. Corcoran is a key witness if prosecutors can get him in front of that grand jury and can get answers out of him. He was someone who helped conduct the search at Mar-A-Lago for these classified documents who helped craft the attestation that ended up going to the justice department saying here are all the classified documents left when we later found out that was, of course, not the case.

DEAN: More to come. All right. Sara Murray for us, thanks so much. We appreciate it.

MURRAY: Thanks.

DEAN: Still ahead. The Fed raises interest rates by a quarter point as banking turmoil complicates it's fight over inflation. Next, what it means for your money.

SANCHEZ: Plus new video showing the moment a heroic security guard in Tampa stopped an armed man in a devil mask from entering a strip club armed. Why police say it's likely dozens of lives were saved.



DEAN: Back now to our top story out of Denver this afternoon where a high school student who is suspected of shooting two faculty members today remains at large. Police are asking the public for help in finding that student who the mayor has described as armed and dangerous. And moments ago, Colorado's governor, Jared Polis, said the State Bureau of Investigations is assisting local officials in their response to this.

SANCHEZ: We want to bring back CNN National Security Analyst Juliette Kayyem.

And Juliette during this police press conference earlier, we learned this student had been deemed dangerous enough to require a safety plan. What exactly does that entail?

KAYYEM: Yes. Safety plans are not that uncommon if the student has encountered law enforcement outside the school. In other words, there would be no reason to expel them from the school. But there would be reason to believe that they are, in fact, violent or could be violent.

I don't think that this will be a long search. It's a - the student is a minor. They - the school clearly knows who the guardian or parents are. The law enforcement is - has had interaction with him. So I think the search is going to be less significant than, obviously, why - knowing that he would be searched, why did he still bring in a gun and that's the sort of scary part is the expectation that he was going to use it.

DEAN: Yes. There's no doubt about that. I'm curious if the school ...


DEAN: ... would face any potential liability, because it happened on campus, how does that work?

KAYYEM: So the - it's clear that the school did take it seriously and the state and the jurisdiction would have different levels of security depending on the threat to the school and, of course, the student.


We don't know if the student was - had extra security for interactions with law enforcement, maybe mental health issues. And so generally that kind of pat down is viewed as sufficient for school districts. You don't want to - honestly, you don't want to kick every kid out that's been - had an interaction with law enforcement. You want to try to get them to stay in school, that's going to be the plan for their best future.

But, of course, the teachers in particular will be looking to the school district about what whether they did enough, should there have been security guards given that student and others. Look, we asked a lot - I mean, Boris was saying before we got interrupted by my sound that there happened to be another ambulance there that was because a student was having an asthma attack. We asked the school districts to deal with so much outside of the classroom, that courts do not look fondly to make them culpable for a whole bunch of societal ills that parents and society and legislatures can't seem to fix.

SANCHEZ: Well, Juliette, I mean, if a school safety plan isn't going to work to stop ...


SANCHEZ: ... a school shooting, what will. The school says that they're going to have these armed officers ...


SANCHEZ: ... through the rest of the semester, but is that enough?

KAYYEM: Sometimes it is, I mean, our - it's not always enough and as we certainly seen with Uvalde, a police presence isn't enough. Of course, it's a culture of gun safety, that we would hope would come from parents or guardians and different societies or different - I mean, different communities or different - we - we're not - it's not uncommon for us to be in Colorado in some of these instances and I think the Governor alluded to that, that guns in schools, starting with Columbine, have a very bad history in Colorado.

And then I think it begins to also look at the parents and guardians, you're starting to see courts look to the parents in some sort of negligence standard, why did a minor have access to a gun - was there a gun in the home that was accessible to the minor. You're starting to see some cases hold parents or guardians liable for the conduct of students under 18?

DEAN: All right. Juliette Kayyem, thanks for sticking around and we're glad we got back with you (inaudible) ...

KAYYEM: Well, thank you.

DEAN: Thanks so much.

SANCHEZ: Thanks, Juliette.

KAYYEM: (Inaudible) ...

SANCHEZ: The Federal Reserve is strongly signaling that its aggressive and historic interest rate hike regimen to battle inflation will soon come to an end. Today's quarter percent interest hike means that higher prices for everything from mortgages to credit cards to student loans will continue.

DEAN: CNN's Matt Egan is live at the Federal Reserve.

And we know, Matt, that the chairman of the Fed, Jerome Powell spoke just a few moments ago. Walk us through what he said.

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Well, Jerome Powell really faces this difficult balancing act. I mean, on the one hand, he is trying to make clear that the Fed is not satisfied with where inflation is yet, right. That's why they raised interest rates today for this ninth straight meeting to levels that we haven't seen since 2007.

But on the other hand, Powell is also acknowledging the stress in the banking system. These bank failures that even Powell concedes is actually going to do some of the Feds work for it when it comes to inflation. Now, Powell, during his press conference, he did point to some changes in the statement that do suggest the Fed could be nearing an end to this rate hiking campaign.

And Fed officials in their projections, they did pencil in just one more quarter point rate hike. But listening to Powell, it's clear that there's a lot of uncertainty here. I mean, Powell himself said he just doesn't know yet how much this banking crisis is going to slow down the economy. He doesn't know how much it's going to hurt the availability of credit and make it more expensive for all of us to borrow. So there is some uncertainty here. But what is clear is that US

officials, including Powell, they're doing everything they can to try to bolster confidence in the banking system. Listen to what he said about that topic.


JEROME POWELL, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: Our ranking system is sound and resilient with strong capital and liquidity. We will continue to closely monitor conditions in the banking system and are prepared to use all of our tools as needed to keep it safe and sound. We are committed to learning the lessons from this episode and to work to prevent episodes from - events like this from happening again.

EGAN: And so Powell also said that it does look as though posits have stabilized and he tried to make the point that this failure of Silicon Valley Bank looks more isolated than systemic. But clearly he is trying to make sure the public understands that their deposits in the bank are safe.

SANCHEZ: Matt Egan live from the Federal Reserve. Markets appearing to see saw so far after the news. We'll see where they are at four o'clock. Matt, thank you so much.


Meantime, over on Capitol Hill, negotiations between House Republicans and the White House over the debt ceiling are at a standstill. House Republican members have yet to produce a budget outlining their proposed cuts.

DEAN: CNN's Manu Raju is live from Capitol Hill.

And Manu, now that we've had this banking instability, we've heard from the Fed today, House Republicans really just like tripling down on what they're saying. They're not getting scared off by a potential standoff or around this.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And look, there is - as this standoff has not eased since the Joe Biden met with Speaker McCarthy back on February 1st, and discussed the possibility of raising the debt limit, how to raise the debt limit, how to avoid the first ever default in this country's history. They said that it would talk more.

There have not been other negotiations since then and its pause caused a number of concerns on Capitol Hill about how exactly will they be able to avoid this. The two sides are in complete opposite ends on how to move ahead. The White House says the House Republicans should just raise the national debt limit without any conditions whatsoever, without any strings attached.

House Republicans say they're not going to do that. They say that instead, you need to sit down, try to hammer out an agreement with the White House. And then on the Senate side of the Capitol, Republicans are saying it is all up to the House Republicans and the White House to come to a deal.

But as the number two Senate Republican, John Thune, just told reporters earlier that the White House's position simply will not fly among the GOP.


SEN. JOHN THUNE (R-SD): The administration initially, as you know, their initial reaction was, we're not going to negotiate. That is not a realistic or viable approach to what is the major issue in front of this country.


RAJU: So the Senate Democrats are calling on House Republicans to lay out exactly the spending cuts that they are proposing. But Kevin McCarthy simply does not want to go there. The Speaker says instead, they got to get into a room hammer out a deal here. But they're not even getting in a room at this point, which is why all the concerns are growing, that we could see a serious economic problem if these two - if there's no - if the standoff does not ease in any way in the coming weeks, guys.

SANCHEZ: Yes. And that potential default is, at some point, this summer. We got to figure out exactly when that's going to be. Hopefully we'll know soon. Manu Raju from Capitol Hill. Thanks so much.

DEAN: And with us now is Harvard professor and former Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, Jason Furman.

Jason, it's great to see you. Thanks for making time.

Let's talk first more broadly, the Fed making this decision just a little bit ago they were kind of trying to do this delicate balance between banking instability and inflation. Do you think they made the right call here?

JASON FURMAN, FORMER WH COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS CHAIRMAN UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA:: Look, we can always quibble with how - around the edges. But broadly speaking, yes, I think they threaded the needle. And most important, they did it in a predictable and transparent way. They didn't really rock the markets in a huge way, but they told us they're really uncertain and that what they do next will depend on what happens in the economy and financial markets.

SANCHEZ: And Jason, just going back to some of what Manu was talking about a moment ago. Some of the discussion among Republicans on Capitol Hill has had to do with potentially having to prioritize what payments the federal government would make if they can't make an agreement on the debt ceiling. The Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has called that kind of thinking disastrous, she says it's a recipe for catastrophe. I'm wondering what you make of it.

FURMAN: Look, a month ago, I would have said disastrous and a recipe for catastrophe. Given what's happened in the banks, I'd upgrade that to very disastrous and a recipe for a big catastrophe. This is just not the time to be playing around with our economy with financial situation. And with the safe - what should be the safest assets in our country, which is the debts of the federal government.

DEAN: And Jason, yet we have House Republicans who seemed to be comfortable at this point with kind of taking this to the limit. And you have President Biden saying we're not going to negotiate. So as Manu just laid out, they're really at loggerheads over this and making zero progress.

If we even - let's say we don't even go off the cliff. Let's just say we get close to it and they just drag their feet as they most likely will do. What are the ramifications of just slow rolling this into the eventual deadline?

FURMAN: Look, the delays last time created a lot of risks for the economy. When all was told, it probably costs 10s of billions of dollars, relative to the size of the economy, that's not large. But if Congress wants to get 10s of billions of dollars, bring them to the National Mall and set it on fire. Don't think the American people would think that was a very good idea. We just shouldn't be playing around. We shouldn't be incurring these costs. The sooner they get it done, the better.

SANCHEZ: Jason, I want to ask you about this letter coming from Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, several other senators that CNN exclusively obtained.