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Lawmakers Clash Over Gun Reform After Tennessee School Shooting; Russia Arrests American Journalist, Accuses Him Of Espionage; Sam Bankman-Fried Pleads Not Guilty To Fraud, Bribery Charges; Jury Deliberations Underway In Gwyneth Paltrow Civil Trial; Baseball Season Gets Underway With New Clock Rules. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired March 30, 2023 - 15:30   ET



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: On Capitol Hill the blame game is on. Lawmakers just going at each other over what led to a shooting at a Nashville elementary school that killed six people, including three children. Listen to this.


REP. JARED MOSKOWITZ (D-FL): We want to talk about crime and murder. Let's have a hearing on murder in schools. It's murder. Is there any questions? I'll yield to anyone on this committee who disagrees that murder in schools is not murder. I yield.


MOSKOWITZ: Oh, I'll yield, yes, please.

GREENE: If you want to have a good talk about schools and protecting children. We need to talk about protecting our children the same way we protect our president.

MOSKOWITZ: There are six people that are dead in that school, including three children, because you guys got rid of the assault weapons ban. You guys are worried about banning books, dead kids can't read.


BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN HOST: CNN Capitol Hill reporter Melanie Zanona is here. And Melanie, unfortunately, these scenes have become evergreen really in Washington, every time we have a school shooting or a mass shooting in this country. What are you hearing about this one in particular?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Yes, well tensions are really starting to spill over into the hallways of Congress. In fact, just yesterday there was a heated confrontation between a Democrat and Republican lawmaker right outside of the House floor. The two of them got into an exchange.

It was Jamal Bowman. He is a progressive. He's a Democrat. He's a former principal. And he started by talking to reporters and saying, why aren't you pressing Republicans over their inaction on gun control and on gun laws? And Thomas Massie, a Republican, then stepped in and said, if you want to protect children, you should sign my legislation that would end a federal ban on schools -- on guns in school zones. And that is when things turned heated. Take a listen to that exchange.

REP. THOMAS MASSIE (R-KY): -- allow teachers to carry.

REP. JAMAAL BOWMAN (D-NY): Carry guns. You think -- more guns lead to more deaths.

MASSIE: Would you calm down a bit.

BOWMAN: More guns lead to more deaths. More guns lead to more deaths. Look at the data. (INAUDIBLE) You're not looking at any data. More guns lead to more deaths.

MASSIE: There has never been a --

BOWMAN: Five more deaths.

MASSIE: Have you ever been --


BOWMAN: Are you listening to what I'm saying.

MASSIE: Yes, calm down.

BOWMAN: Calm down? Children are dying!

MASSIE: In every school that is allowed --

BOWMAN: I was teacher. I was as school counselor. I was a middle school principal. I was in cafeterias protecting kids every day of my career.

MASSIE: Every school that allows teacher to carry there's never been a shooting.


ZANONA: Now we caught up with Bowman earlier today. He said he's received an outpouring of support ever since that heated confrontation went viral. He said, this is a deeply personal issue for him. He is a former educator, and he continued to rip Republicans for refusing to do anything in the wake of this school shooting. He said everyone around here is, quote, too damn comfortable.

And based on our reporting, there is little appetite in the Republican Party to do anything on guns. In fact, there was a press conference earlier today where our Manu Raju asked Speaker Kevin McCarthy, what is the GOP plan to address gun violence? And he said, there is no single piece of legislation to solve this problem -- Boris and Bianna.

SANCHEZ: Melanie Zanona reporting live from Capitol Hill. Melanie, thank you.

GOLODRYGA: Outrage is pouring in over Russia's arrested of an American "Wall Street Journal" reporter. What the paper's editor saying about it, that's ahead.



GOLODRYGA: Returning to our top story now. A U.S. State Department spokesman says that the department is trying to establish some sort of connection or even a visit with American Evan Gershkovich. He is the "Wall Street Journal" reporter now under arrest in Russia accused of spying.

SANCHEZ: Pam Brown is with us now. She's filling in for Jake Tapper at the top of the hour. Pam, great to see you as always. Evan's arrest is bringing renewed attention to the longstanding detention of Paul Whelan, another American who has been charged with committing espionage in Russia.

PAM BROWN, CNN CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT AND ANCHOR: Right, and we heard the State Department today, saying that the two cases should not be compared. Saying that Paul Whelan's case a former Marine, U.S. citizen, he's been imprisoned in Russia since 2018, should not be compared to this case of this "Wall Street Journal" reporter Evan Gershkovich.

But we are going to speak to the brother of Paul Whelan, David Whelan and ask him what he thinks about that. What does he think about the State Department and what has been saying about this? What is his reaction to the fact that there is another American that has been detained in Russia on espionage charges.

As you know, Paul Whelan has maintained his innocence. He has said he was framed by Russian intelligence. His family has been trying over many years to try to get him out of Russia, unsuccessfully. And so, we're going to ask him about whether he thinks this might complicate their efforts to release their brother. And also give us a window into what this reporter Evan Gershkovich, might be experiencing in a Russian prison.

Of course we know the family, David Whelan has been speaking to his brother from time to time while he's been behind bars in Russia. So we're going to talk to him about what Evan might be experiencing, and his thoughts on this whole matter.

GOLODRYGA: And it's believed that Evan Gershkovich is going to be held at Lefortovo Prison that notorious prison. The same prison where Paul Whelan has been detained as well. Pamela brown, thank you.

And be sure to join Pam at the top of the hour for "THE LEAD."

SANCHEZ: Closing arguments are underway in Gwyneth Paltrow's ski collision trial. Have you been watching it? It's getting intense. We have details straight ahead. [15:45:00]


SANCHEZ: Disgraced FDX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was in court today and pled not guilty to multiple financial charges. CNN's Kara Scannell joins us now live from outside the courthouse. Kara, 13 count indictment and one of these has to do with a $40 million bribe.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Boris, that's right. So, Bankman-Fried, the founder of FTX was back in court today. He entered a plea of not guilty to these new charges and among those charges include securities fraud, commodities fraud, but also conspiracy to commit foreign bribery. That's what prosecutors say that he allegedly had helped transfer $40 million in cryptocurrency to at least one Chinese government officials so that they would unfreeze an account holding as much as a billion dollars in digital assets.

Now Bankman-Fried's attorney said that they do intend to challenge these new sets of charges that came after he was extradited from the Bahamas. That's because Bankman-Fried agreed to the extradition on the initial eight charges, so they're signaling today that they're going to legally contest these additional charges. And

Bankman-Fried is charged in what prosecutors say is one of the largest financial frauds in U.S. history. He is released on bail at his parents' home in Palo Alto, California. And the judge has set a date in June for him to return so they can go over some additional pretrial motions before his trial later this year -- Boris.

SANCHEZ: Another busy day at that Manhattan courthouse. Kara Scannell, thank you so much.

GOLODRYGA: Well, this just in. Closing arguments have wrapped up in the Gwyneth Paltrow civil trial stemming from a 2016 ski collision. A man is accusing the actress of crashing into him and inflicting both physical and neurological damage. She is countersuing, claiming that he's the one who hit her.

CNN's Jean Casarez is here with me. So, Jean, what comes next?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The case is just about to go to the jury. The evidence is in, closing arguments are finished, and there could be a verdict at any time after they start deliberating. But you know, in closing arguments that just finished the focus really was on credibility all the way around. Because this is a, he said, she said. There is no video of this collision and the facts are basically very simple.

Gwyneth Paltrow in 2016 was with her kids. They were also skiing with their skiing instructor, and they were skiing down the mountain and all of a sudden there was this collision between Gwyneth Paltrow and Terry Sanderson, who is a retired optometrist. And so, there were injuries -- according to terry Sanderson.

[15:50:04] Some are very documented and -- but the issue is he is saying that Gwyneth slammed into his back. She is saying no, I was skiing and you slammed into my back. And so that's the issue. The issue is negligence.

Now one of the things he is alleging is traumatic brain injury. He did break four ribs, so that was quite a hit right, right. But he's claiming traumatic brain injury, severe traumatic brain injury and he is saying that it will be there for the rest of his life. Her medical experts said MRIs from before the collision and after the collision showed the same white matter damage in your brain. This didn't cause anything.

And then her attorney on -- before closing arguments -- some of their last witnesses, they went -- called Terry Sanderson and asked him, you love to post pictures on Facebook, don't you. Watch this.


BOB SYKES, TERRY SANDERSON'S ATTORNEY: She said, Terry hit me in the van. And she believes it. It's a sincere belief. She's not a liar. A sincere belief doesn't make it so.

STEPHEN OWENS, GWYNETH PALTROW'S ATTORNEY: He hit her. He hit her. He hurt her. And then he asked her for $3 million for the pleasure. That is not fair.


CASAREZ: And today it was almost $3.3 million that the plaintiff asked for. And as far as those Facebook pictures, what the -- what the defendant did, which was Gwyneth Paltrow, is they showed all the trips he'd taken. The whitewater rafting that he has done. Being on a camel. So, many things after the collision. And they're saying with brain damage you did this. But now it is in the hands of the jury, and they will decide exactly where the damages are. Who they should be allotted to and we'll see what they decide.

GOLODRYGA: You'll be watching it for us. Thank you so much, Jean.

CASAREZ: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Some say baseball games take way too long. So, this year, Major League Baseball has adapted some rule changes to speed things up. We'll take you live to Houston for opening day in just moments.



SANCHEZ: Baseball is back. And for the first time since 1968 every single team is hitting the field on opening day. The league is also rolling out some of its biggest rule changes in history. All of which are designed to make the game more exciting and faster.

GOLODRYGA: CNN's Andy Scholes has more on the new rule changes. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN WORLD SPORT (voice-over): Baseball is back. This year it's a whole new ballgame.

ALEX BREGMAN, HOUSTON ASTROS THIRD BASEMAN: We're definitely in the entertainment industry. We want to put the best product on the field for the fans.

JUSTIN VERLANDER, NEW YORK METS PITCHER: If they want a faster paced game, they're going to get it.

SCHOLES (voice-over): In an effort to speed up the game for the first time ever, Major League Baseball will have a pitch clock.

SCHOLES: The pitchers now have 15 seconds with no runners on, 20 with runners on, to start their wind up before the clock hit zero or the batter gets a ball.

Hitters, meanwhile, I have to get in the box and be looking at the picture ready to go by eight seconds or they get a strike.

DOMINIC SMITH, WASHINGTON NATIONALS FIRST BASEMAN: There will be some freaky scenarios where games will be won and lost because of it, and it'll upset some people.

HUNTER BROWN, HOUSTON ASTROS PITCHER: You get a lot less of the batting glove fixing and stuff like that, and guys walking around the mound three times before they pitch. So yes, I'm in favor of it.

VERLANDER: I've been making sure that I'm on time, and I think if anything, I have a little more time than I thought.

BREGMAN: I've kind of changed my whole routine. I used to step out of the box and like, look for a sign or something like that. But now I'm in the box the whole time.

SCHOLES (voice-over): Major league baseball says they tested the clock and more than 8000 minor league games. And so far, spring training games have lasted an average of 25 minutes less than last year.

SCHOLES: What are you going to do with your extra 25 minutes? You get every night now.

BREGMAN: I don't know. I'm going to get to hang out with my own son. It's going to be nice.

SMITH: I get home quicker, so I get to spend some time with my family.

SCHOLES (voice-over): What else is new? The bases are all three inches bigger, which will give defenders more space and should lead to more stolen bases.

SCHOLES: Have you noticed any difference from the basis being bigger? And we see a lot of bang, bang plays at first base. Who's got the advantage now? SMITH: I think anytime you're shortening up the distance in between

bases, it's going to go to the runner.

DAVE MARTINEZ, WASHINGTON NATIONALS MANAGER: I actually practice picking it up so I can take it with me in case I have to get thrown out. So that's pretty big. Yes.

SCHOLES (voice-over): And gone is the shift. No longer will a shortstop or third baseman be able to play in right field against left handed batters. They now have to stay left of second base.

DUSTY BAKER, HOUSTON ASTROS MANAGER: It's going to cause teams to be more athletic. You don't be able to put just anybody here, anybody there and depend on the shift to make up for whatever deficiencies that they may have.

SCHOLES (voice-over): Fans we talked to say, so far, they're happy with what they've seen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Baseball is an investment of time. I like the way it was and I like the way it's going to be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Young kids aren't fans of baseball anymore, so I get it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE CHILD: It will make more fans come because before the game used to take too long, and people might have left early, either because of the heat, or just got boring.

BREGMAN: With young kids being able to watch a whole nine innings now that's one way to bring the younger generation into the game. Make sure more kids are going to the ballpark. There's a bunch of ways that we can make a difference and making a lot of kids love baseball and grow up wanting to be big leaguers.


SCHOLES (on camera): Yes, and here a Minute Maid Park in Houston, you can see the two pitch clocks out there in center field ready to go at 15 seconds. There's two more behind home plate. And, you know guys, as someone who has, you know, three boys who love watching and going to baseball games, 2.5 hour game, sign me up. Sounds awesome.


SANCHEZ: And if you notice, Andy smiles a bit extra wide because he's a Houston Astros fan and probably still reeks of the champagne popping from the World Series win. He was there that night in the in the room. Enjoy the game, Andy, appreciate the report.

GOLODRYGA: My hometown. I'm with you, Andy,

SCHOLES: All right.

GOLODRYGA: All right, "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER" starts right now.