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Regulators Questioned by House Lawmakers Regarding SVB Collapse; Howard Schultz Questioned by Senators About Starbucks' Employment Policies; Interim FAA Chief Relates Pandemic to Runway Near-Misses; Blinken Subpoenaed over Afghanistan withdrawal; Joint Major Military Exercises by South Korean and U.S.; FDA Approves Over- the-Counter Opioid Overdose Antidote Narcan; Adnan Syed's Murder Conviction in "Serial" Case is Reinstated by Court. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired March 29, 2023 - 10:30   ET




JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right now, U.S. banking concerns are back in the spotlight on Capitol Hill, House lawmakers now getting their chance to question officials after yesterday's fiery Senate hearing.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: These hearings taking place as members of Congress make it their mission to hold people accountable for the sudden collapse of two major U.S. banks, make sure -- trying to make sure it doesn't happen again. CNN's Matt Egan closely following all of this.

Matt, you know, a lot of the attention focused on bank leadership. There are also questions about how regulators acted here. What are you watching for today?

MATT EGAN, CNN BUSINESS AND ECONOMY REPORTER: Well, Jim, we are watching for this blame game to continue. And let's be honest, nobody plays that game better than Washington. There's a lot of finger pointing over exactly why Silicon Valley Bank failed. During yesterday's hearing, regulators point -- they pointed the finger at bank management. Some lawmakers, they blamed regulators, accusing them of being asleep at the wall -- at the wheel. And then progressives, they cited deregulation in 2018, the rollback of Dodd-Frank.

Now, no matter the cause, Senator Jon Tester the moderate Democrat from Montana, he really demanded that regulators get to the bottom of this so that it doesn't happen again. Listen to Tester.


SEN. JON TESTER (D-MT): I am not a banker. I ain't even close to being a banker. I'm a dirt farmer. And I'm going to tell you, when they laid out what this bank had happened over the last two years, you did not have to be an accountant to figure out what the hell was going on here. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I agree.

TESTER: And all I've got to say is, as you do your look back into what transpired it better be fixed.


EGAN: Now, we are also learning more about the scale of this historic bank run. Regulators say that on March 10th alone, panicked bank customers, they tried to withdraw $100 billion from Silicon Valley Bank, that is on top of the $42 billion that they did withdraw the day before. These numbers are massive, and I think a stark reminder just how fast bank runs can happen in today's age of mobile banking and social media rumors.

DEAN: Yes, no question about.

SCIUTTO: Yes, I mean, the role of social media here where folks are like tweeting about this and, you know, all of a sudden, you know, the snowball gets a lot bigger. Matt Egan, thanks so much for covering.

DEAN: Also testifying on the Hill right now, Starbucks Interim CEO Howard Schultz, he's appearing before a Senate committee to face what's expected to be very intense questioning over labor practices.

SCIUTTO: Schultz had previously refused calls to testify amid scrutiny over his belief that Starbucks workers should not unionized, despite that more Starbucks stores have voted to do just that. The coffee company has now filed more than 100 charges against the union with the National Labor Relations Board. Lawmakers, such as Senator Bernie Sanders today, hoping to press Schultz on what Sanders calls his anti-union stance.

DEAN: The acting head of the Federal Aviation Administration says, a string of close calls might be linked to fallout from the pandemic.

SCIUTTO: Yes, a little lot of people go then. Acting Administrator Billy Nolen says, fewer flights during the pandemic may have led to a drop in technical skills, forced a lot of professionals into retirement, hard to get them back and recertified. CNN Aviation Correspondent Pete Mountain has more.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Jim, Jessica, we're talking about complacency caused by the pandemic. It's something we've heard about from pilots, from labor groups, from Captain Sully Sullenberger during our prime time special on aviation safety earlier this month. And now, we're hearing about it from the acting head of the FAA.

He says, essentially, that the air travel rebound is happening faster than aviation workers can handle. Billy Nolen, the acting head of the FAA, made these remarks during an internal FAA meeting in Baltimore just yesterday. But what's interesting here is that this was also echoed by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg during my exclusive interview with him earlier this month.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PETE BUTTIGIEG, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: It would be one thing if we found a certain piece of technology in the cockpit or a certain control tower where there were a lot of issues. But instead, what we're finding is that pilots, ground crews and controllers alike seem to be experiencing this uptick. Some have described it as a kind of rust. But that needs to turn into a very concrete diagnosis and specific action steps. We're not going to wait for something worse to happen to act now.


MUNTEAN: The other element here that no one points at is that retirements accelerated during the pandemic among pilots and air traffic controllers, and that may be contributing to these problems as well.


Although the six dramatic runway incursions at airports are still under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board a final cause in each of those incidents could take more than a year. Jim, Jessica.

DEAN: Yes, a lot of loss of institutional knowledge with all those retirements. Pete Muntean for us. Thanks so much.

SCIUTTO: Coming up. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is now facing a subpoena to turnover sensitive communications related to the administration's chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. What information specifically that a Republican-led House committee is seeking coming up?



SCIUTTO: House Republicans investigating the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan have now subpoenaed U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. State Department officials tell CNN the month before that withdrawal, U.S. diplomats in Afghanistan wrote what's known as a dissent cable to the State Department. It warned the secretary of state that the country's government was on the verge of collapse. Of course, that's what we saw. Now, the House Foreign Affairs committee wants to get their hands on that document.

DEAN: CNN's Kylie Atwood joining us now from the State Department. Kylie, walk us through what exactly is a dissent cable and also what House Republicans are hoping to learn from it.

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so a dissent cable is an opportunity for diplomats to propose dissenting opinions, to express concern about the policy decisions that are being made in the department. And it is a cable that goes directly to the secretary of state and the top State Department officials here in foggy bottom.

If these diplomats are setting a dissent cable to the secretary of state, what it indicates is that their opinions, their views haven't been acknowledged in a real sense by their direct leadership. And we know in this situation from talking to U.S. diplomats who signed on to this specific dissent cable that they felt that their views were being labeled as alarmist by the diplomats in their direct line of leadership that they were bringing those opinions, too. So, they felt the need to bring those concerns to the secretary of state.

Now, this specific dissent cable was written in July of 2021, that's about six weeks before the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. What these diplomats were concerned about was a catastrophe when the U.S. withdrew because they didn't think that there were specific actions being undertaken by the State Department to actually prepare for that withdrawal. So, things like enrolling the Afghans who had worked with the U.S. in biometric data program so that they could easily get out of the country.

Now, of course, this is where the battle between the State Department and Chairman McCaul is unfolding right now because the secretary of state is saying that this is a channel that allows those diplomats to express their concerns in a confidential way. He doesn't want to give this dissent cable and all of those names of those diplomats who signed onto it to Capitol Hill because he's concerned about having a chilling effect on diplomats who would use this channel in the future. But the chairman of the committee is saying that he needs that information. He wants that information. Understand what the State Department wasn't doing to prepare for the withdrawal at that time, guys.

SCIUTTO: Yes, that dissent channel, it's open for a reason to allow just that kind of you to be expressed. Even if it's not the predominant view. It's helpful. Kylie Atwood, thanks so much for walking us throughout it.

DEAN: South Korea and the U.S. are demonstrating their firepower during major military exercises, and it's striking a nerve with North Korea. The two allies said the drills are defensive in nature.

SCIUTTO: And they're regular. But on Wednesday morning, they used thousands of troops and high-end weaponry to practice an amphibious invasion. North Korea sees that as an offensive, not defensive drill. CNN's Paula Hancocks was there as tanks and troops rolled onto the shores.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The U.S. and South Korean presidents pledged last year to expand joint military drills. They said to counter the increasing threat from North Korea. And that's exactly what they're doing.

HANCOCKS (voiceover): A ship to shore assault, grinding of fighting force and equipment while trying to maintain the element of surprise.

HANCOCKS (on camera): This is the drill that North Korea always reacts to. The idea of American and South Korean marines storming a beach on the Korean Peninsula. Pyongyang sees this as a dress rehearsal for an invasion. Now, the South Korean and American line has always been that this defensive in nature.

HANCOCKS (voiceover): 2,500 U.S. marines and sailors, 3,000, South Korean marines and sailors working together on one large scale joint drill. The U.S. landing craft air cushion or LCAC, bringing to shore all that's needed for the early stages of battle.

HANCOCKS (on camera): Now, we haven't seen this level of drills in the Korean Peninsula for five years. Multiple turn (ph) across the country of South Korea that's being held on land at sea and in the air.

HANCOCKS (voiceover): We gained rare access behind the scenes of this training flying out to the U.S. amphibious assault ship, the USS Makin Island. On the back of North Korean missile launches and disputed claims of simulated underwater nuclear weapons tests, this is a drill that will be watched carefully in Pyongyang.

HANCOCKS (on camera): We're about 13 nautical miles from shore at this point, and this is one of the LCACs that is being loaded up right now. Ready for an amphibious landing.


HANCOCKS (voiceover): The 13th marine expeditionary unit is meant for rapid response to any kind of crisis, military or humanitarian, self- sufficient and often the first to arrive in an emergency. But with the five-year gap in training due to COVID-19 and previous diplomatic efforts with North Korea, there is an element of catching up.

CAPT. TONY CHAVEZ, USS MAKIN ISLAND: We have had to start from the basics again. There are some things that we're relearning. I mean, the basic is just as communications between ships, between aircraft, and then a partner or an ally here in this region.

HANCOCKS (voiceover): North Korean military moves, it appears, are not the main focus here.

COL SAMUEL L. MEYER, 13TH MARINE EXPEDITIONARY UNIT: It's in an area of the world that's significant right now. But it is routine. It has been scheduled. We've done this many times. So, the fact that those things are happening around us, really, our focus is just only exercise.

HANCOCKS (voiceover): Interoperability is the most used term during this drill working on smooth American-Korean maneuvers.

CAPT. AARON PADEN, OSPREY PILOT: We're used to this now. So, if we have to do this for real, we already done it. We've already worked with the republican (ph) screen and we know how to operate with them.

HANCOCKS (voiceover): A U.S. return to large-scale drills in a region of both allies and adversaries.

HANCOCKS (on camera): And it's not just about North Korea but also Russia. The commander of the USS Makin Island told us that during this drill, they actually had a Russian intelligence ship, shadowing them at a distance of some 50 nautical miles. He called it, "Pretty Routine". Paula Hancocks, CNN, Pohang, South Korea.


SCIUTTO: Yes, more and more Russian activity in that part of the world. Paula Hancocks, good to have you there. Thanks so much.

DEAN: Still ahead this morning, after 23 years in jail, he was finally a free man. But now Adnan Syed is facing a reinstated murder conviction for the killing of his ex-girlfriend. Details on that next.



SCIUTTO: For the very first time, the FDA has approved an over-the- counter version of the opioid antidote, Narcan, it comes as opioid overdoses in this country just skyrocketing, becoming the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S.

DEAN: Let's get right to CNN's Elizabeth Cohen. And Elizabeth, this will now be more widely available. Tell us how easy it is to use though.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Jessica, it's really very easy. It's a nose spray, just like you would take, say, for allergies. You tip someone's head back and you use the spray, and that's it. Now this Narcan, or the generic naloxone, has been available in drugstores, but it's behind the pharmacist's counter. You had to know it was there and you had to ask for it. You didn't need a prescription, but you had to know it was there and you had to ask for it.

Now, it will just be out there on the shelf with the shampoo and the toothpaste and the aspirin. Let's take a look at why this is so very, very important. This graph shows opioid overdose deaths since 1999. You can see how those numbers have just gone up so much to the point now where you look back at 2021 more than 80,000 people in this country died of opioid overdoses. That's nearly 9,000 children and adolescents from 1999 to 2016, nearly 9,000.

So, hopefully this will make a difference. It made a difference even when they just put it behind the pharmacist's counter in various in various places. And the one big unknown here is the cost. We don't know how much it's going to cost. If it's high, then well, none of this may work particularly well. Jim, Jessica.

DEAN: Yes, I mean, that's a good point, but hopefully this saves more lives. Elizabeth Cohen, thanks so much for that update.

An attorney for Adnan Syed is speaking out after an appellate court reinstated his murder conviction. Months after a judge vacated it. His attorney says there is no basis for what he said would retraumatize him. Syed spent more than two decades behind bars for the 1999 killing of his ex-girlfriend. And his case was featured in the podcast "Serial."

SCIUTTO: CNN's Brynn Gingras has been following the story. And Brynn, I wonder how did we get here again? It was vacated, now it's coming back, and does he have to go back to prison during another trial?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, it is a bit head spinning, Jim. He does not have to go back behind bars at the moment, but he certainly is in jeopardy of that happening to him again. Of course, his lawyers are going to be fighting that. But let's go back to that hearing that happened in September, where we eventually did see Adnan Syed walking out a free man.

And in that hearing the attorney -- I'm sorry, the district attorney at the time, the state's prosecutor, Marilyn Mosby, she argued that his conviction should be overturned on two factors, that evidence wasn't properly turned over to the defense at the time. And also, that two suspects were completely ruled out based on DNA, and the judges at that time, agreed. And so, that's why we saw him leave.

The problem was that the families of that victim, his ex-girlfriend, in this case, they weren't present at that hearing. They actually just were able to zoom in. They argued, they didn't even get enough notice that that hearing was actually going to be happening, and so they weren't able to present their own arguments of why he maybe should be behind bars. And that's what the appellate court here is agreeing with, with that family that they deserve that process.

And so, that's why now it's essentially a redo of that hearing is what the appellate court is calling for. And I want you to hear from the family's attorney of the victim. And of course, they're celebrating this. Take a listen. He was on CNN this morning.


STEVE KELLY, ATTORNEY FOR HAE MIN LEE'S FAMILY: Represents a step toward transparency and the rule of law. You know that you can't have a trial by podcast or trial by publicity.


This is a conviction that's 21 years old, that's been affirmed by every single court at every single level. And Ms. Mosby was able to use a law because she didn't like the conviction to essentially reverse it. And that's not how things are done.


GINGRAS: Now, of course, the attorneys for Syed, they are saying that this ensuring justice for Hae Min Lee does not require injustice for Adnan. The appeal was not about Adnan's innocence, but about notice and mootness. And of course, that's the argument that we can expect to hear as they take this to the State Supreme Court there, guys.

SCIUTTO: Brynn Gingras, thanks so much for following

GINGRAS: All right.

DEAN: Jim, it's been great to be with you today.


DEAN: Thank you to all of you for joining us as well. I'm Jessica Dean.

SCIUTTO: She'll be back tomorrow. So, will I. I'm Jim Sciutto. "At This Hour with Amara Walker" starts after a quick break.