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NY Grand Jury Won't Hear Trump Case Again This Week; Thousands March In Tel Aviv Despite Prime Minister Pausing Judicial Overhaul; Inside The Back-Channel Talks Between Trump And House GOP; Nashville Police Department Releases Bodycam Of Officers Who Killed Shooter. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired March 28, 2023 - 15:30   ET



KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Boris and Bianna, sources tell my colleague Lauren del Valle that the grand jury hearing this testimony about the hush money probe will not be meeting again this week. So, the next time that they will take up -- but will not be hearing evidence on the Trump related case this week. The next time they will take that up will be Monday.

So, the grand jury, which normally meets Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, we know they were in yesterday. They heard from David Pecker, the former chairman of "The National Enquirer." They're not meeting on Wednesday and they will be in on Thursday, but they won't be hearing any Trump-related investigations. So, the next time that there will be an opportunity for them to either hear additional evidence or potentially if the DA Alvin Bragg decides to go forward to seek charges, they could be hearing evidence related to then be asked to take a vote on the indictment as soon as Monday.

So, at this point, we're not expecting any other activity related to the Trump investigation by the grand jury this week -- Boris, Bianna.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: An important development outside of that courthouse. Kara Scannell thank you so much for watching that for us.

Meantime, we want to focus on another big international story. This time in Israel were thousands of protesters took to the streets of Tel Aviv today despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to halt the overhaul of the judicial system.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN HOST: Thousands went on strike yesterday, which prompted the Prime Minister to delay votes on the overhaul and allow time for debate. But one thing Netanyahu made clear is that this pause is only temporary.

Meantime the country's largest labor union is threatening to strike again if the legislation is revived.

Dennis Ross is a former U.S. envoy to the Middle East, and he's a counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Dennis, it's great to have you on. So, a pause from Netanyahu, but he also made clear yesterday that he believes this overhaul is in fact necessary and he only got the sign off from the far right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, when he was promised the role of really essentially controlling the country's National Guard. So given that do you think that this will be something that protesters will accept?

DENNIS ROSS, FORMER U.S. ENVOY TO THE MIDDLE EAST: I think the protesters are going to watch and see what actually happens right now. And by that I mean, is there a dialogue a serious dialogue that takes place today? President Herzog posted both the government and the opposition together for the first time directly. There were indirect talks before under his aegis, never direct talks.

I think you're going to find those who've been leading the protests, they want to see how real is this dialogue. Many question whether it will be real. I suspect actually, it will be. And I think the reason I say that is because, you know, we are seeing unprecedented action like we've never seen before.

Reservists won't report for duty. You're looking at the largest labor federation, the Histadrut, agreeing with the leaders of the banking and the business sector for the first time ever to have a general strike. Universities shut down. All this came together and I think that's one of the reasons I think that Netanyahu made the decision to do a pause.

I think so long as people perceive this to be a genuine dialogue, they may not stop demonstrations generally because they're going to want to keep some leverage. But I think they're going to wait and see what happens.

GOLODRYGA: Dennis for those that aren't as read in, can you explain what this judicial overhaul really entails? Because it's worth noting that Israel does not have a constitution and that it's its Supreme Court had up until now the authority to weigh in and overrule legislative decisions.

ROSS: Right. Look there are several provisions, but there are really two that are critical here. One is the idea of the Knesset -- which is the parliament of Israel -- would have the right to override the judiciary. And Israel is a parliamentary system, which means the executive branch and the parliament are one the same. It's a majority coalition that effectively elects the government.

So if there isn't a judicial arm that's independent, and it can be overridden by the Knesset that means you have no separation of powers whatsoever. A lot of focus was on that issue because initially that provision was going to allow a narrow majority of 61 out of 120 to be able to determine override. That is a provision that has been put on hold even before the pause that we've met that Prime Minister Netanyahu announced.

The other provisions that was going to be enacted into law and actually went through three readings -- which means it was right on the brink of being enacted into law -- was going to change how judges were selected. And instead of having what is basically a nonpartisan judiciary elected by judges, you're going to have the government control the selection of judges. That was the provision that was simply going to be imposed, and that's what really triggered the reaction that we've seen.


It's what led to the Minister of Defense Gallant saying that there needed to be a pause. He wasn't going to be a party to what was in effect, not just tearing apart the country but tearing apart the military. And that's why he called for a pause. What -- when he was fired that produces a spontaneous outpouring of more than 100,000 people late in the evening in Tel Aviv and produced these calls for a general strike.

That's when the Prime Minister made the decision to back off. He said to Ben Gvir that we will proceed if we don't reach an agreement. But he's also said that all right, there's a pause. We're going to have a dialogue. Let's see if we can come up with an agreement.

I think it'll be very difficult if you were simply to try to impose what was agreed upon before as a law. I think that that'll be very difficult not to produce a reaction. I suspect there's a good chance that we'll see some kind of adjustment. Whether that adjustment to the law is going to be sufficient for the protests that remains to be seen. Because these took on a life of their own.

Think about it. I mean, you're talking about 12 weeks in a role of 3 to 4 percent of the entire population out there protesting, including people who never ever would have dreamed of going to the street.

GOLODRYGA: It's unprecedented. You had reservists refusing to serve calling this the end to democracy if this legislation went through. We have the United States, President Biden urging both sides for compromise. Of course, we will continue to follow this story out of Israel. Dennis Ross, thank you so much for your expertise.

ROSS: My pleasure.

GOLODRYGA: Well, we're getting word of back-channel talks between former President Trump and top House Republicans about the investigations they're planning on Capitol Hill. We'll have details on those communications up next.



GOLODRYGA: Amid the swirl of investigations into former President Trump a number of top House GOP lawmakers have recently disclosed their efforts to keep him informed on the pace and the substance of Congressional committee probes.

SANCHEZ: And those back-channels are becoming a key part of Trump's ability to shape the Republican House majorities priorities. Let's take you to Capitol Hill now. And CNN reporter Melanie Zanona. She has more on how Trump continues to wield enormous amounts of power within the halls of Congress. And Melanie, this reporting indicates that he is either in constant direct communication or in constant communication through intermediaries.

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Yes, that's right. There has been regular communication between Trump world and these GOP investigative committees on Capitol Hill. In some cases, it is the former president himself who is speaking directly to members on these committees. That includes Elise Stefanik, a member of GOP leadership. Other times it's been his aides or advisers who are speaking with the lawmakers or their committee staff and the council to these committees.

And much of the conversation has been keeping him in the loop. Making sure that they're all on the same page and really briefing him on the pace and progress of their investigations.

But in other instances, we have seen examples where Trump world has tried to exert influence over these investigations. In fact, last month a Trump lawyer Joe Tacopina sent an email to House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordans and asked him to open an investigation into the Manhattan District Attorney's office over their investigation into Donald Trump in these hush money payments. And that as you know, is exactly what House Republicans ended up doing. So, that is just one example of how this back channeling on Capitol Hill really is influencing and shaping the GOP's investigative priorities.

And it really shows just how much influence the former president still has here on Capitol Hill, at least when it comes to the House Republican Conference. They are using their new majority and their new committee gavels to play defense for Trump. The Manhattan DA is only one of several examples here. They also dropped an investigation into Trump's finances.

They are pursuing an investigation into the January 6th Select Committee that investigated Trump over the attack on the Capitol. And so, you are seeing how Republicans are trying to curry favor with the former president. And of course, they see the political upsides to defending him as well.

They either are getting endorsements, increasing their fundraise abilities or in some cases, getting shoutouts at some of Trump's rallies -- Bianna and Boris.

All right, Melanie Zanona, thanks so much for your reporting.

Well, tonight on "CNN PRIMETIME" a former Trump attorney and former Manhattan assistant district attorney will debate the future of the hush money case. It's hosted by Pamela Brown and airs tonight at nine p.m. We'll be right back.



SANCHEZ: Circling back to where we started the hour. Investigators are still hunting down a potential motive after that shooting massacre at an elementary school in Nashville. Police released body camera footage from the officers who fatally shot the 28-year-old attacker identified as Audrey Hale.

GOLODRYGA: Authorities say Hale planned the attack and entered the campus carrying a handgun and two AR-style weapons. But they also say that Hale legally purchased all of them.

CNN chief White House correspondent Phil Mattingly is filling in for Jake Tapper on "THE LEAD." Phil, good to see you. I know that you will be speaking with the Republican Congressman from Colorado who has been very opposed to banning a AR-15s. A lot of questions once again, given yet another school shooting. We heard the president's take. Just curious as to the type of questions you're going to be asking him about his.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Bianna. Look, I think there's a moment right now that we've been in so many times where everybody watches the horror, deals with the horror. Says this can't happen again. And then there are no real ability to coalesce around some kind of solution.

Obviously, you heard the president earlier today. Once again call for reimplementing the ban on assault weapons. I'm going to be talking to Congressman Ken Buck from Colorado. He is a steadfast gun rights supporter.


He has been very unequivocal about his line on that issue, and in particular as it relates to the AR-15, as it relates to putting back into place the weapons ban that the president is calling for. And less about the kind of political dynamics -- which I think we are all very keenly aware of at this point -- but more about all right, fine. If that's where things stand, what is an option? What is on the table? There are always kind of the same talking points that get tossed out here. Where are there solutions or are there none at all?

And I think that's the concern when you get to these points right now is everybody feels somewhat numb to the fact that happens again and again. Is this just the reality that everybody has to accept? My hope is the answer is no. But what are the policy solutions.

Also going to be talking to a Nashville city councilwoman to get a sense of what's going on the ground with the horror in the last 24 hours.

SANCHEZ: Yes, and so hat's the fear from parents and the frustration. We were just talking to Manuel Oliver, who lost his son after Portland. His anger is that this has become too routine and that the public maybe becoming numb to what we're seeing these consistent atrocities. Phil Mattingly, thank you so much for that.

Be sure to tune into "THE LEAD." It starts at the top of the hour, right here on CNN.

GOLODRYGA: Well, we have new details involving the case of Adnan Syed, whose case captivated audiences in the popular podcast serial. That's up next. [15:55:00]


SANCHEZ: This just into CNN. A Maryland appellate court is now reinstated the murder conviction of Adnan Syed. This comes after all charges were dropped against the subject of that popular podcast "Serial." Syed spent 23 years in prison for killing his ex-girlfriend in 1999.

GOLODRYGA: Last year a Baltimore judge vacated the convictions, citing that there was material in the state investigation that was not properly turned over to defense attorneys. But the family of the victim filed an appeal, arguing that they were not properly notified of the efforts to release Syed. The appellate court ruled in their favor, and a hearing date has not yet been set.

SANCHEZ: Thank you so much for being with us this afternoon. "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER" starts after this short break.