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CNN Internaitonal: Source: Judge Convinced Trump May Have Committed Crime; Fed Struggles To Fight Inflation, Protect Banks; Study: Americans Ditch premium Goods For Cheaper Choices; California Battered By Heavy Rain And High Winds; Latest On $1.6B Defamation Case Against Fox News; Mother of Irvo Otieno: Indictments Are Just The Beginning; Police: Stephen Smith's Death Was Not A Hit-And-Run; Colorado Dentist Accused Of Fatally Poisoning His Wife; Gwyneth Paltrow Fighting Injury Lawsuit. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired March 22, 2023 - 04:00   ET



BIANCA NOBILO, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello and a warm welcome to our viewers joining us in the United States and all around the world. I'm Bianca Nobilo live from London. Max Foster is out on assignment.

Just ahead on CNN NEWSROOM.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: The DOJ has evidence Donald Trump intentionally misled his own lawyers during the Mar-a-Lago document's investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is significant because it zeroes in on Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Fed finds itself in kind of a no-win situation here. They do nothing. It looks like they're scared.

JANET YELLEN, UNITED STATES TREASURY SECRETARY: The situation is stabilizing. And the U.S. banking system remains sound.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Heavy rain and hurricane force wind gusts came ashore with the latest atmospheric river to impact the state of California.


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

NOBILO: It is Wednesday, March 22nd 8:00 A.M. here in London, 4:00 A.M. in Washington and New York.

While Donald Trump's mounting legal troubles have the former president and his team on edge, as they wait for the indictment in Manhattan, we are now learning new details in the classified documents investigation. Sources tell CNN, the Justice Department has evidence that Trump may have committed a crime and used his own attorney to cover it up. CNN's Evan Perez reports.


EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR U.S. JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: A federal judge has ruled that former President Donald Trump use one of his defense attorneys in furtherance of a crime or fraud related to existence of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.

Sources tell CNN that the ruling from Judge Beryl Howell makes clear for the first time that the Justice Department is arguing that Trump himself may have committed a crime. And Judge Howell believes that prosecutors have met the burden to require Trump's attorney, Evan Corcoran, to testify to a grand jury, meaning, he can't claim attorney-client privilege to broadly decline to answer questions from prosecutors. Sources say how in her sealed ruling determined that prosecutors were able to show Corcoran's illegal services were used in furtherance of a crime.

The Justice Department is still seeking Corcoran's testimony after he cited attorney-client privilege, as well as testimony from another Trump lawyer, Jennifer Little, CNN has learned. Trump's lawyers have sought emergency intervention from the appeals court. Three judges from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals have moved very quickly to respond, as they're still considering whether to put the decision from Howell on hold.

Evan Perez, CNN, Washington


NOBILO: Now to a CNN exclusive. Stormy Daniels' attorney says communications between his client and a Trump lawyer had been turned over to the Manhattan district attorney. The exchange has raised the possibility that Trump's counsel, Joe Tacopina, may be sidelined from the case. Tacopina denies any confidential information was shared with his office. The district attorney is investigating Trump's alleged hush money payment to Daniels just before the 2016 election. An indictment on charges of falsifying business records is expected any day now.

Wall Street and global markets are closely watching the Federal Reserve today for another possible interest rate hike. High inflation and the banking crisis have consumers and investors concerned that another increase could hit hard, but most economists are predicting a quarter point hike.

Here's a look at how U.S. Futures are trending ahead of that decision. As you can see, they're not feeling optimistic. All three major U.S. indices closed higher. On Tuesday, the NASDAQ fed best, gaining more than one and a half percent.

CNN's Anna Stewart joins me now with the latest who better to discuss this with. So all eyes on the Fed's decision, and they're in a bit of a dilemma.

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: There's always a balancing act with these big decisions, with interest rates and they're a really blunt tool. Let's be fair about that. They're great and effective at tackling inflation, but there's almost always collateral damage. And often, we talk about, well, if they raise rates too far, too fast, you could push an economy into recession. That's kind of a major risk.

But there are lots of implications along the side, and one has clearly been the impact on the banking sector on small and mid-sized banks, in particular, because they don't undergo annual stress tests. And many of the sort of long dated U.S. Treasuries, on their balance sheets, are worth less with each interest rate rise. So effectively, that's fine, unless, suddenly, depositors pull out all their money and they have to sell those bonds at a loss. And that's effectively what happened with Silicon Valley Bank.


So there has been a lot of focus on this decision. Should they hit pause? Should they decide this session not to raise rates? But then what about inflation? And inflation is such a big concern for the Federal Reserve. So this is a huge dilemma right now.

I suspect, and looking at Treasuries, I think what's priced in is a quarter of a percentage point increase, regardless of the situation of the banking sector. There are other tools. And we've seen the Federal Reserve, we've seen the U.S. Treasury, and actually 11 of the biggest banks in the U.S. all coordinate, and work together to try and bring back confidence to the banking sector.

Because while there is an issue of balance sheets and sort of all these long dated treasuries, there's also the issue of confidence. And as long as people don't pull their money out of the banks, there might not be a banking crisis at all.

NOBILO: And we've had some new figures, haven't you, from the United Kingdom today?

STEWART: Yes. We just had this that. So U.K. inflation posting actually disappointing for us, as far as rising inflation, 10.4 percent in February. That is more than was expected.

Now, this is interesting, and I certainly have a particular interest in this because I'm negotiating to my mortgage right now. This will impact what happens with the Bank of England and their interest rate rises. So we're actually further ahead in the U.K. in many ways in terms of the rate cycle, so there wasn't expectation that perhaps there would be a quarter of a percentage point rise tomorrow when they meet. And that might be the last.

If inflation keeps ticking higher, if they have not got a handle on that, rates could rise higher and longer. So that is not such good news for us.

NOBILO: Well, fingers crossed that it might stabilize for your mortgage and for everybody else.

STEWART: Thanks again.

NOBILO: Anna Stewart, thank you so much for joining us.

Now, the Fed's potential rate hike comes as many Americans are still concerned, as Anna was saying about inflation. New research from Adobe Analytics found that nearly two years of high inflation has caused many consumers to say goodbye to premium goods in favor of cheaper alternatives. CNN's Matt Egan has the details.

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Bianca, we've heard anecdotally about Americans moving away from pricey products in favor of cheaper ones. But these new online shopping numbers from Adobe, shared first with CNN, they really put an exclamation point on this trend.

Just look at what's happening with groceries. Adobe found that the cheapest quartile of online groceries held a 37 percent share of the market as of January 2019. You flash forward to today and the cheapest tier of online groceries now is 50 percent of the market. This can be the difference between buying organic fruit and non-organic fruit.

Now, all of this, of course, comes after a year of high prices at the supermarket on everything from fruit and meat to, of course, eggs. Now people are simultaneously moving away from the most expensive items at the grocery store. Adobe said high priced online groceries had about a quarter of the market in early 2019, today, less than 10 percent.

And a similar story is playing out for online shopping of personal care products. The market share of the cheapest goods has doubled, going from 27 percent to 54 percent today. Now, all of this shows how high inflation and more specifically, persistently high inflation has changed the way that we shop.

Americans have become much more price sensitive. And at the same time, experts say that high inflation has eroded the purchasing power of consumers, forcing them to dip into savings and rely more on credit cards.

The question now is, how long it will take for the Fed's warn inflation to get prices back to normal levels and whether that happens before consumers run through their savings?


NOBILO: Thanks, Matt.

In the coming hours, school workers across the second largest school district in the U.S. plan to hit the picket line for a second straight day after thousands turned out on Monday. Members of the Service Employees International Union are making it clear, enough is enough, as leaders call for more respect in a dignified wage from the Los Angeles Unified School District.

So far contract negotiations have failed to reach a resolution. Congressman Adam Schiff joined the workers on Monday and called their requests, eminently, reasonable.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): You're paying people $25,000, you know, you can't live on that [inaudible] in Los Angeles. They got to earn a decent wage. There are bus drivers, there are cafeteria workers. We wonder why so many people are homeless in Los Angeles and it's because we pay them a poverty wage. So they deserve better than this and I hope we can get them soon.


NOBILO: The school workers want more full-time work opportunities and equitable wage increases. The union is seeking a 30 percent wage increase.

The U.S. State of California is in cleanup mode after yet another atmospheric river dumped heavy rain across the state. Los Angeles alone has received more than 24 inches of rain, nearly 200 percent of its average rainfall since October. Heavy rain paired with hurricane force winds have made the situation a recipe for disaster in many cities. And snow is still a concern with nearly whiteout conditions seen in some parts of the state.


CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam has the latest forecast.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I literally can't stop looking at this. It's actually one of the most mesmerizing visible satellite imageries I've ever seen. This is the coast of California. And I'm going to circle this area right here, what appears to be an eye wall, something meteorologists would look for in an Atlantic hurricane, for instance.

But this is San Francisco, so this is nowhere near the Atlantic. We're talking about the Pacific Ocean and this powerful deepening cyclone actually packed quite a punch on Tuesday. In fact, hurricane force wind gusts were noted in and around the San Francisco Bay region.

Look at this coming out of Lexington Hills, 75 miles per hour. There were reports of trees and branches, taken down plenty of power outages as well with this system, very powerful. And we continue to see the impacts from the wind as the system moves inland. We'll certainly notice the wind and across the four corners region for the day on Wednesday.

In fact, we have over 20 million Americans under some sort of high wind warning throughout the southwest from L.A. through Albuquerque and into the greater Phoenix region as well. Now unfortunately, the low pressure moves on shore and brings in more rounds of heavier rainfall through about the morning rush hour time.

So L.A. to San Francisco, or at least just south of San Francisco, that's where the Weather Prediction Center has a level two of four highlighted within that shading of yellow. That's for a slight risk of excessive rainfall that could lead to some flash flooding. And that does include central and southern portions of Arizona as well. Plenty of flood watches and alerts in effect across the Southwest as well.

And then when you start going up in elevation, you see that transition from rain to snow. And we'll be measuring that in feet for some locations, for instance, the San Juan Mountains of Southwestern Colorado up towards the Park City and Salt Lake City region.

And then just outside of Los Angeles, those high mountain peaks could see another one to two feet of additional snowfall on top of what has already taken. One last look at this incredible satellite imagery coming out of San Francisco. What a storm.

Bianca, back to you.

NOBILO: The U.S. is stepping up its support for Kyiv. American officials say they are dramatically accelerating the delivery of Abrams tanks and the Patriot missile defense system to Ukraine. The Pentagon will initially send older models of Americans -- America's main battle tank instead of the more modern version.

The switch will allow the tanks to arrive as early as the fall of this year, shaving months of the previous timeline that could have taken a year or longer. Defense Department officials have also been impressed by the Ukrainian soldiers training on the Patriot missile system in Oklahoma. The Pentagon says that the Ukrainian troops have been a quick study and their baseline knowledge of air defense systems has allowed the U.S. to significantly speed up this timeline.

Meantime, the White House is rejecting China's claim that it holds an impartial position in the war on Ukraine. Chinese President Xi Jinping made that claim during high stakes talk with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. The two leaders pledged to strengthen ties and touted a supposed peace plan put forward by Beijing to end the war, but the U.S. and Western allies have ridiculed that plan, saying, it's nothing more than a one sided deal that would give Putin cover to continue with his war of choice.

Our correspondents are tracking all of the developments. Kristie Lu Stout is standing by in Hong Kong and Clare Sebastian is with me here in London.

Kristie, let's go to you first. Obviously, this meeting was incredibly high stakes, it was symbolically significant because Xi Jinping chose to go to Moscow, the first visit of his unprecedented third term. What did both leaders tangibly get out of these two, three days?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTENTIONAL HOST: Yes, we're going to get to that in just a moment, Bianca. But, first, I just wanted to tell you that we have been monitoring the daily Ministry of Foreign Affairs briefing in Beijing. And we just heard from the spokesperson there who defended China's position on Ukraine saying that it was, quote, in line with other countries.

And also, we have confirmed that the state visit to Russia is over. You're looking at video there of Xi Jinping boarding the plane to return back to China. According to CCTV, they reported that he is on route back to China after this visit.

But while in Moscow, what did they achieve? Now, these two leaders of Russia and China, they basically put themselves forward as peace brokers. They played up China's plan for peace in Ukraine. That plan that calls for a ceasefire, calls for talks, it calls for an end of sanctions, it doesn't include any calls for Russia to withdraw from occupied territory.

In fact, it was drawn up without any involvement from Ukraine, that's why this plan has been roundly criticized by the West. It was criticized again by the U.S. and NATO. And Vladimir Zelenskyy also added on Tuesday that a ceasefire was not in the interest of Ukraine.


Now in addition to the discussions about peace in Ukraine, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin in Moscow, they also emphasize their ever deepening relationship and that was certainly on full display.

At the start of the state dinner on Tuesday, the two leaders, they raised their glasses. They had a toast and put in proclaimed that Russia-Chinese relations are at the highest point ever. We also heard from Xi Jinping who touted their close economic ties. Take a listen to this.


XI JINPING, PRESIDENT OF CHINA (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): We have signed a joint statement to deepen our comprehensive partnership and strategic engagement as we enter a new era. And a joint statement on the development plan for key areas of Chinese-Russian economic cooperation for the period up to 2030.


LU STOUT: Ever since the invasion, China has been buying up Russian energy, softening the impact of Western sanctions. Putin says that Russia is ready to increase uninterrupted oil supplies to China. He points out that Russia is the fourth largest supplier of liquefied gas to China and those supplies will expand.

He also said that Moscow will support Chinese business in replacing Western enterprises that left Russia. There will likely be another meeting, Bianca. Xi Jinping invited Putin to make another return visit to China this year. Back to you.

NOBILO: Thanks, Kristie. And, Clare, now to you. Let's return to that story about the U.S. accelerating the delivery of these Patriot missiles and Abrams tanks. Why and what's the significance of that in terms of what Ukraine will be able to do on the battlefield as a result of that expedited delivery?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, that was really two pieces of good news for Ukraine, one, that they'll get Patriots within weeks, it looks like. And those main battle tanks, albeit slightly less sophisticated ones, but still American main battle tanks by the autumn, which is significantly earlier than expected.

Also that public accolade for the military saying that they were a quick study, they were able to learn fast enough that that helped accelerate the timeline. This is important. The U.S. believes John Kirby, the National Security Council spokesperson saying to Christiane Amanpour yesterday that he thinks Putin could be launching a new offensive in the coming weeks.

He thinks the upcoming weeks and months will be absolutely crucial for Ukraine, and the U.S. wants to give them everything possible to try to defend themselves. This is something that we're seeing clearly with the ongoing intense fighting in Bakhmut and several other areas along the eastern front line. That will be useful in terms of the tanks and the artillery shells which, you know, in -- on the E.U. side. They've just announced sort of joint procurement plan to get a million artillery shells to Ukraine.

Patriots also in sharp focus because, overnight, we did get another wave of Russian drone attacks. The Ukrainian Air Force saying 21 drones are fired at Ukraine. Sixteen, they say, was shut down. But according to the Kyiv region police chief, three people were killed that when a drone hit a dormitory. So this is something that we're continuing to see.

President Zelenskyy just out with a tweet on that, saying, over 20 Iranian murderous drones, he says, plus missiles, numerous shelling occasions, and that's just in one last night of Russian terror against Ukraine. Every time, he says, someone tries to hear the word peace in Moscow, another order is given there for such criminal strikes. Obviously, the talk of peace, the Chinese peace plan, all that rings pretty hollow in Ukraine.

NOBILO: It is interesting as well how restrained Ukraine have been though in their approach to China while Xi Jinping has been meeting with Vladimir Putin like an acknowledgment, I suppose, that however this conflict is resolved China probably will play a role.

Clare Sebastian and Kristie Lu Stout, thank you both so much.

Now, could be one of the most consequential defamation lawsuits in recent history. Dominion Voting Systems say that Fox News tossed the truth aside in pursuit of better ratings in the aftermath of the 2020 election. The latest on the billion dollar case, ahead.

Plus, Google pulls back the curtain on its new AI, but is it ready to take on other chatbots pushing the boundaries of technology?

And later, new developments in the 2015 death of a South Carolina teen. Why police say they're now investigating a homicide?



NOBILO: Welcome back. The Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit against Fox News returns to court today with both sides trying to convince the judge that their case is strong enough to avoid a full trial. Dominion says that Fox defame them by pushing false conspiracy theories that the 2020 election was rigged against Donald Trump because the lies were good for Fox's business.

Jessica Schneider reports.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Fraud is something that is real that just took place two weeks ago.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: The on-air words of Tucker Carlson and other Fox News hosts at the center of a $1.6 billion defamation case brought by Dominion Voting Systems. Lawyers for the voting machine and software maker telling a Delaware judge today, "The fix was in," arguing that Fox producers and hosts knew the claims that Dominion rigged the 2020 election were false.

Even when they continually booked guests like Sidney Powell, who perpetuated the falsehoods.

SIDNEY POWELL, FORMER DONALD TRUMP ATTORNEY: The Dominion Voting Systems, the Smartmatic technology software, and the software that goes in other computerized voting systems here as well, not just Dominion, were created in Venezuela, at the direction of Hugo Chavez, to make sure he never lost an election after one constitutional referendum came out the way he did not want it to come out.

SCHNEIDER: Fox News maintains it is proud of its 2020 election coverage and that it is fully protected by the First Amendment, arguing it can't be held liable for airing newsworthy allegations from public figures.

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NEW YORK MAYOR: And there are other aspects of this fraud that, at this point, I really can't reveal. This is really enough. It's enough to overturn any election.

SCHNEIDER: A judge will now determine whether to decide the case on the claims already presented to him or if the case will go to a jury trial next month.

The decision comes as a Fox News producer is suing the network for allegedly coercing her into giving misleading testimony during a deposition for the Dominion case. Abby Grossberg's lawyer saying, Fox News had its lawyers misleadingly coach, manipulate, and coerce Ms. Grossberg to deliver shaded and/or incomplete answers during her sworn deposition testimony. Fox News responding that attorney-client privilege prevents it from commenting on the claims. But the producer is now on administrative leave from the network.


If the defamation case goes to trial, Dominion wants to put Fox Corp Chairman, Rupert Murdoch, on the stand, as well as his CEO son Lachlan, both have already given depositions in the case with Rupert Murdoch acknowledging Fox News hosts endorsed election conspiracy theories and then saying, "I would have liked us to be stronger in denouncing it in hindsight."

SCHNEIDER: Fox News is resisting efforts to put Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch on the stand. They're saying it would create an undue hardship for both of them and would only result in a media circus. Both sides will be back in court on Wednesday. If this case does go to trial, that trial will likely start sometime next month.

Jessica Schneider, CNN Wilmington, Delaware.


NOBILO: U.S. officials say an airliner and emergency vehicle nearly collided on a runway at Baltimore's airport back in January. According to a report into the incident, the vehicle crossed the runway without authorization and came within 170 feet of the plane.

It's just the latest report of a close call on U.S. runways this year involving a commercial airliner. Six other runway incursions are currently being investigated, but the NTSB says that this incident isn't on the list.

Google has opened up access to its new artificial intelligence chatbot called Bard. On Tuesday, users could start adding themselves to a waitlist to experience this new tool which will be rolled out first in the U.S. and U.K.

Bard is meant to rival ChatGPT, but Google acknowledges that Bard still has a lot to learn, and says that continued feedback from experts and users will help the tool to improve its responses.

Just ahead, a Colorado dentist has been accused of his wife's murder. Details of the evidence that led to his arrest, coming up next.

Plus, the family of this Virginia man is demanding justice after he died while in police custody.


BEN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR OTIENO'S FAMILY: Irvo needed a helping hand. What he got was an overdose of excessive force.