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Grand Jury voted to Indict Former President Donald Trump; New York Times reporter Arrested in Russia; Volunteers Deliver Clean Water to Ukrainian Town; Sources: Trump Expected To Appear In Court Tuesday; Gwyneth Paltrow Not Liable In Ski Collision Trial; Officials Release Some Emergency Calls Of Deadly Rampage. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired March 31, 2023 - 02:00   ET




KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR: Live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, welcome to all of you watching us all around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber.

Coming up this hour, Donald Trump indicted on criminal charges. The case against the former U.S. president sets a new precedent on what it means for his reelection campaign and the country.

Russia arrests an American journalist accused of being a spy, it's a move not seen since the Cold War.

And later, the ski crash trial watched around the world, Hollywood actress, Gwyneth Paltrow, cleared of wrongdoing.

The first and only time in American history, a former U.S. President is facing criminal charges. A New York grand jury has voted to indict Donald Trump. Sources tell CNN, Trump faces more than 30 counts related to business fraud. He's expected to appear in a Manhattan courtroom on Tuesday.

The grand jury has been hearing evidence about payments to adult film star, Stormy Daniels, to keep quiet about alleged sexual encounters with Trump. The Former President is lashing out at the Manhattan district attorney, Democrats and President Joe Biden.

He posted on Truth social, this is an attack on our country, the likes of which has never been seen before, is likewise a continuing attack on our once free and fair elections.

Trump has previously called for protests if he's indicted. A small crowd of supporters gathered outside his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

I want to go live now to Washington and CNN's Katelyn Polantz. First Katelyn, take us through exactly what happened here.

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, Kim, this is the combination of seven years of investigation being done by federal investigators and then finally the Manhattan District Attorney taking this case about Donald Trump, his business empire and financial payments made to a porn star who was accusing him of an affair right before he was elected president in 2016. All of that came together today for this grand jury in Manhattan to approve the unprecedented indictment of a former president, President Donald Trump.

What happened today were two things, one the grand jury did vote at the very end of the day to approve these charges. Our reporters have learned that it is more than 30 charges, which they are specifically, we don't yet know yet neither does Donald Trump. But we do know that the grand jury has returned this massive indictment.

Also, what happened was the district attorney in Manhattan, got in touch with Donald Trump's lawyers and wanted to coordinate him getting to New York and being treated like any other person who is charged with a crime in that district, contacting him so that he can make arrangements to fly from Florida to New York city so that he can appear in court be arrested, be fingerprinted, be photographed, and go before a judge, enter his initial plea, which we expect to be not guilty whenever he does appear on Tuesday.

So that's what happened today. That is what's going forward. And now what we are looking for in the coming days is how hectic of a scene this will be, and exactly how Donald Trump behaves, and how he is treated when he enters that Manhattan courthouse next week.

BRUNHUBER: Yeah. That's the big question. And then, of course, Katelyn, that's far from the last of Donald Trump's legal trouble. He's facing, what, four different criminal investigations by three levels of government. So, quickly run through what else he's facing.

POLANTZ: Indeed. And that doesn't even include any of the many lawsuits he's facing trials that he's had to go to even. But in criminal investigations, there is this Manhattan investigation into the financial empire and the 2016 payments to Stormy Daniels.

There's also the investigation, two investigations, around January 6th, what happened at the end of the Trump presidency after he lost the 2020 election. It is being investigated by investigators. In Georgia, that would be a state case potentially if charges are brought, and they are looking at potentially pretty complex charges against him and many others.

And then there is also a federal criminal investigation is being conducted out of Washington, D.C. by a special counsel around January 6th possible political interference into the certification of Joe Biden's presidency after Donald Trump's loss in 2020.


And then on top of that, there's another federal criminal investigation that appears to be pretty far along very mature at this stage where criminal investigators and the grand jury in Washington are also looking into the handling of classified documents after Trump left the presidency, so over the last two years or so. We know that his defense attorney was previously, just in the last couple of days, forced to testify against him.

No charges have been brought in Georgia or in the federal court system. But we do know that Donald Trump is facing a lot of legal risk and has a long road ahead of him, even if it ends up just being this New York case. Kim?

BRUNHUBER: Yeah, so much. It hard to process, thanks so much for walking us through it.

CNN's Kately Polantz in Washington, appreciate it.

So we're getting reaction to the Trump indictment from across the political spectrum. Former Vice President Mike Pence spoke exclusively with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, calling the move an outrage areas (ph).


MIKE PENCE, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: No one is above the law, including former presidents. Let me be clear on that point. And the American people know this. But in this case and controversy over campaign finance, I can't speak to the merits of this case at all. But I could speak to the issue emanating out of the question over campaign finance should never have risen to the level to bring and unprecedented and historic prosecution against the former president.


BRUNHUBER: Democratic congressman Adam Schiff, tweeted, quote, "The indictment of a former president is unprecedented. But so too is the unlawful conduct in which Trump has been engaged. A nation of laws must hold the rich and powerful accountable, even when they hold high office, especially when they do to do otherwise is not democracy."

Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen went to prison for tax fraud and campaign finance violations related to the hush money payment. He says the law should be applied the same way to Trump. Listen to this.


MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: No one is above the law. This is also about that whatever laws that sent me to prison, should send him to prison. We're all supposed to be looked at in the eyes of the law, the same, right? Lady Justice wears the blindfold. It's not who's the matter if you know about your race, religion, creed, color, whether your Former President, or not. If you break the law, you have to be held accountable.


BRUNHUBER: Alright. Joining me now from Washington, CNN Political Commentators, Democratic strategist, Maria Cardona, and Republican strategist Alice Stewart.

Thanks so much for being here with us, both of you. So to start with you, Alice, I mean, what's the mood right now in Republican circles? ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Republicans are furious,

Kim. They're furious. And it's across the board and many who support Donald Trump and those who have been ready to turn their backs on him.

Look, based on what we know right now, Kim, the information that we have, it does not appear as though this is a strong enough case to move forward, and Republicans are looking at this fact. And they're saying this district attorney, Alvin Bragg overreached, and they went after Donald Trump because he is a political enemy. He is that someone that he does not like and he campaigned on putting a high priority on taking down Donald Trump. And that's exactly what he did.

Look, next Tuesday, when they go to court, he might have documents. He might have the receipts. He might have everything, every question that people have about these charges will be put to rest next Tuesday when we go to court.

But based on this, Donald Trump, I believe, has a right to say, why is he going after me? What is the reason for such an overreach in these particular charges because, as has been reported in the past, the charges that are before the courts right now or this grand jury, the Federal Election Commission passed the opportunity to proceed on these charges, as well as the Department of Justice. And now, the Manhattan D.A. is going after this.

And what Donald Trump is saying is that this is a witch hunt. It can happen to me. It can happen to you. And turning over to the other Fox News channel where they are the mouthpiece for Donald Trump, that has all Republicans are hearing that this is unjust and unfair, and that's their takeaway, as we move forward. That might change Tuesday, if we hear more information, but that's the -- that's the feeling.

BRUNHUBER: Maria, I imagine, folks, I mean on both sides of the aisle must feel a little unsettled by this. How did Democrats handle this?

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Oh, absolutely. Look, it is a sad day for the country. The fact that we have never had a former president of the United States receiving indictment, it speaks volumes as to the level of what Donald Trump did.


And with all due respect to my dear friend, Alice, and every Republican who seems to be so outraged by this, even though they are supposedly the party of law enforcement, this -- we don't know what's in the indictment. The indictment is sealed, and we won't know what's in it until Tuesday.

But from other reports that we have seen, there are over 30 charges in this indictment. And the other thing that we have to remember is this was not an indictment that came down by D.A. Alvin Bragg.

This was an indictment that came down by a grand jury of Donald Trump's peers, not Democrats, not Liberals, not anti-Trumper's, everyday Americans, who were presented with all of these charges with all of the evidence, and they said, yes, there is enough here to move forward.

That is how our justice system works, and what is beauty of what happened today, Kim, is that it proved that no one is above the law, even a former president of the United States.

BRUNHUBER: Yeah, that's certainly the message being sent by Democrats. But you know on Tuesday, when he is expected to surrender, I mean, what will that look like and feel like politically and, you know, beyond the political spectrum. I mean, are you expecting violence, Maria?

CARDONA: I hope not. And you know what is disconcerting to me is all of these Republicans who are supposedly so outraged, right, I think they are feeding into what exactly Donald Trump called for protests, and violence, and fire and fury. He talked about all that death and destruction, the same kind of language leading up to the January 6th insurrection.

And so, I think Republicans are overstepping here when they are seemingly so outraged, seemingly so ready to let Donald Trump off the hook, even though we don't know what's in the indictment, even though there are reports that there are -- there's plenty there even though Michael Cohen went to jail under Donald Trump's Department of Justice around the same exact types of issues, but they believe that Donald Trump is above the law.

And so, I think it's a dangerous president the kind of language that Republicans are using because they are putting him above the law. They don't think that he should be charged even though they have no idea what's in this indictment.

BRUNHUBER: Yeah. Alice, I mean, let me brought this out a bit for you know, for Donald Trump. I mean, he's already, you know, fundraising on this. The conventional wisdom, I guess is that this might help him possibly when the primary but it won't win any new voters. It might even turn off swing voters so it might help Donald Trump but hurt the party. Is that -- is that right?

STEWART: Kim, you're exactly right. And that's what many Republicans fear. Look, Donald Trump could not get out of the political arena any faster to suit my needs and my desires because he is toxic. And he is going to take this as an opportunity to portray himself as a martyr, as a victim, and somehow or other he has managed to convince his base that if this happens to me your next.

Well, I can't imagine a lot of people in this country are going around paying money to porn stars to keep them quiet while they're running for president. He did the underlying issue here. The actual underlying issue that's at the core of all of this is this -- is what he did.

But Republicans are not looking at that, they are -- they are looking at the overall narrative and not the details. They're looking at the narrative that Liberal D.A. in a liberal city and a liberal state has brought these charges before a grand jury and the liberal justice system is going after the American people. He will take Tuesday as an opportunity to take advantage of this media opportunity, whether or not he is in handcuffs are walking down the street remains to be seen.

I'd like to think that they will allow him to do a lot of this in private, but he is going to use this to his advantage. Quite frankly, he has spent his entire life skirting the legal consequences for his actions. And now, this has come home to roost. But he is going to, as he always does, find a way to make this benefit him and he is going to raise so much money off of this.

It breaks my heart. People that have not money to spare are giving money to this ban to pay his legal bills and it is certainly going to energize his base and a large segment of the Republican Party in the Republican Primary. But as you said, Kim, no one is going to be persuaded to vote for him that as an independent, certainly not a Democrat, and the disaffected Republicans that have left the party and left voting for conservative candidates because they want the policies that Donald Trump stands for, but they are sick and tired of the chaos and confusion vision that he brings to the party.


BRUNHUBER: Yeah. Listen, we'll have to leave it there with the monumental development. Appreciate both of your perspectives on this. Alice Stewart and Maria Cardona, thank you so much for being here with us.

CARDONA: Thanks so much, Kim.

STEWART: Thank you, Kim.

BRUNHUBER: Russia ramps up its campaign against foreign news media and the U.S. by arresting an American journalist while details on the allegations coming up after the break. Please stay with us.


BRUNHUBER: Outrage is growing in the U.S. after Russia took an American journalist into custody on espionage charges. That's the first time this has happened since the cold war. Evan Gershkovich is a correspondent for "The Wall Street Journal", and the newspaper is demanding his immediate release.

CNN's Alexander Marquardt has the details.


ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): This video from Russian media appears to show American "Wall Street Journal" reporter, Evan Gershkovich, arriving at a Moscow court today. The Russian security services arrested Gershkovich while he was on a reporting trip for suspicions of espionage, something the White House called absolutely unacceptable.

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This espionage charges are ridiculous. The targeting of American citizens by the Russian government is unacceptable. We condemn the detention of Mr. Gershkovich in the strongest -- in the strongest terms. MARQUARDT (voice-over): The court announced that the Moscow-based journalist will be held until May 29th detained in a pretrial center. His lawyer was not allowed to attend the hearing.

I can only guess what position has been taken, his lawyer said. Evan was taken away from here with the decision to hold him in custody. "The Wall Street Journal" vehemently denied the espionage accusations and said the paper is deeply concerned for the safety of Mr. Gershkovich and seeks the immediate release of our trusted and dedicated reporter.

Gershkovich is a U.S. citizen who grew up in Princeton, New Jersey, speaking Russian at home with parents who emigrated from the Soviet Union like journalist Julia Ioffe.

JULIA IOFFEE, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, PUCK NEWS: There is a sense in Moscow, especially in the foreign ministry and in the Kremlin, that people of this kind of background like my background, they're particularly sensitive to and they're particularly sensitive to our criticism. And I think that certainly does not help Evans case

MARQUARDT (voice-over): Kremlin claims Gershkovich was caught red handed in the city of Yekaterinburg, trying to collect state secrets on a military complex.

Spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry said that what he was doing in Yekaterinburg was not journalism. Gershkovich recently published hard- hitting stories on Russia's economy as Vladimir Putin wages war in Ukraine, artillery shortages and the Wagner mercenary group. He's also appeared on CNN.


EVAN GERSHKOVICH, REPORTER, WALL STREET JOURNAL: I think what Vladimir Putin just showed last week is what he's done throughout his 22-year and counting rule of Russia is that, he's always ready to escalate.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): Many journalists left Russia last year after the Kremlin threatened to imprison reporters for publishing stories contradicting Putin's false narrative about the war.

VEDANT PATEL, PRINCIPAL DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT: I want to say clearly and unequivocally in the strongest terms we condemn the Kremlin's continued attempts to intimidate, repress and punish journalists and civil society voices. It is not safe for U.S. citizens to be in the Russian federation. Any U.S. citizen residing or traveling in Russia should depart immediately.

MARQUARDT (on-camera): There is some speculation about whether this arrest is a tit-for-tat response by Russia for the indictment by the U.S. Justice Department just a few days ago of an alleged Russian spy who was then arrested by Brazil.

Other observers believe it is part of a bigger campaign by Russia to capture or bank in the words of one expert. I spoke with more Americans who they can then trade for people who Russia wants. Alex Marquardt, CNN, Washington.


BRUNHUBER: Alright. I want to bring in Alexander Gabuev from Berlin, who is the director of the Carnegie Russia Eurasia Center.

Thanks so much for being here with us. So, as I mentioned in the opening, I mean, the first time an American journalist was detained on accusations of Moscow spying since the cold war. What do you make of his arrest?

ALEXANDER GABUEV, DIRECTOR, CARNEGIE RUSSIA EURASIA CENTER: I think that's a terrible departure and setting a very dangerous president. The last time an American journalist was arrested in Soviet Russia was 1986.

And that shows how powerful the counter intelligence bureaucracy is nowadays when Mr. Putin is setting his country on forever war footing. Any accusation, anything will fly in the Kremlin, and get the approval. And I think that arrest of Evan Gershkovich was approved by most senior leadership in Moscow given how coordinated the messaging of the Kremlin's spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, and the MFA spokesperson Maria Zakharova is.

And also that's very worrying because there are a lot of people that Russia ones who are captured the illegals, various agents that SVR and GRU2 major intelligence services have, so the pool of people that Russia wants to swap for dire guys needs to be bigger.

BRUNHUBER: Well, that's just it. I mean, it comes a week after U.S. authorities arrested a Russian who they accused of being a spy. So, is this a tit-for-tat, do you think?

GABUEV: It's not only in the U.S. Russia wants their gunmen who killed Chechen, a field commander, in a (inaudible) in Germany. A couple was recently arrested in Slovenia who are allegedly Russian spies as well.

So it's not only what the U.S. does what allies of the U.S. do in order to expose these networks and disrupt them. So Russia wants all of these people back. Right now, there was only Paul Weiland, who is behind the bars in Russia. And obviously, in order to trade with all of their people, Russians definitely need more people. So, most likely, the Evan Gershkovich case belongs to that category.

BRUNHUBER: What other message do you think Putin is trying to send here? I mean, is this sort of a chilling effect for journalists, not that they needed another reminder of how precarious it can be reporting on Russia?

GABUEV: It's part of that. I think that the counter intelligence considerations and they need to swap Russian spies is the primary driver here. But definitely it's a message for everybody to get out of the country.

People believe that an American passport and not having a Russian passport is a form of protection. So Evan and some other journalist did terrific reporting out of Russia. Now, it's no longer the case.

BRUNHUBER: So looking at this from the U.S. point of view, I mean, how should the U.S. respond to this, do you think?

GABUEV: Well, see, there is a policy to not negotiate with a terrorist state. But at the same time, the Cold War practices showed that swamps are the way forward, but they can be painful and politically challenging, particularly since other countries are involved.

The U.S. doesn't own Krasikov (ph), who is in German custody. They don't own people who are captured in Slovenia. So, it's a painful, lengthy negotiation between the U.S. and its allies and then Putin's Russia.

BRUNHUBER: Alright. We'll have to keep following this important story, but appreciate your perspective. Alexander Gabuev in Berlin. Thanks so much for being here.


In Ukraine, there has been a new barrage of rocket strikes on Zaporizhzhya but no reports of casualties. Officials say the rock has caused a fire and damaged residential buildings just a little while ago. First responders are on the scene. The east officials say Ukrainians repelled nearly 50 ground attacks across the Donetsk region on Thursday, but there were far fewer air and missile strikes than usual.

In Bakhmut, a local Ukrainian unit says Russian troops were pushed further away from a key access road but still under Russian fire.

Now, some of that resilience is in full display in a frontline town in eastern Ukraine ravaged by Russian attacks. Drinking water has been come -- become hard to get.

But as Ben Wedeman reports, residents can still carry on with some help from the outside.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Without water, there is no life and the clean water pouring into the plastic jugs is a vital lifeline for people in the battered eastern Ukrainian town of Siversk, just six miles from Russian lines.

Retired building contractor Andrea Anderson from Oregon is an unlikely carrier of water.

ANDREA ANDERSON, VOLUNTEER, AQUEDUCKS.ORG: It was just a calling that I couldn't refuse to do. I can't sit at home and allow this to happen without helping the people who need help.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): He's part of the volunteer group called Aqueducks, there is routine simple but essential.

ANDERSON: We turn up, they turn up with their little jugs, and we just fill up their jugs or the buckets or the cow pails. And they go away happy and we empty our tank, we drive home. And then we come back in the afternoon. We do the same thing and we repeat on every day.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): The few remaining in Sieversk tell the usual story, dogged attachment to their land and no other options.

How can I leave, asked Tanya. My son is buried here. And where would I go with my small pension?

Andre's colleague, Sylvia Pavesi from Austria was a tour guide.

Why are you doing this?

SYLVIA PACESI, VOLUNTEER, AQUEDUCKS.ORG: To help. Just the right thing to do.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): 73-year old Nicola appreciates the water but thirsts for quiet.

I'm fed up with his shelling. Nobody needs it, he says. What passes for daily life ended long ago. The center of Sieversk is a

wasteland. The early spring snow softens, but can't hide the jagged edges.

Andre shouts out water, voda in Ukrainian. Soon residents emerged from their basements, their bomb shelters.

(on-camera): Basic humanitarian services like this are critical. There hasn't been any running water or electricity since the beginning of the war.

(voice-over): With no end to this war in sight, they're resigned to a fate bleak.

It's fine, says Valentina. We put up with everything. What can we do?

Yet, 70-year old Nina despairs what has become of her town? What do we feel, she asked, pain, pain. When you see something destroyed you tear up we cry, we cry.

Battles now for they returned through streets cold, muddy and ravaged to their shelters.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Sieversk, Eastern Ukraine.


BRUNHUBER: The Pentagon says six U.S. servicemembers have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries after attacks by Iranian- backed groups in Syria. The spokesperson says all six are in stable condition to have returned to duty. The drone attacks killed an American contractor in Syria last week. The U.S. launched retaliatory airstrikes, which the Pentagon says killed eight militants.

Much more on the historic indictment of Donald Trump coming up after the break. Just ahead. We'll hear what some of Trump's republican allies are saying in his defense. Stay with us.




KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to all of you watching us around the world, I'm Kim Brunhuber, this is CNN NEWSROOM.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to surrender next Tuesday in New York City after he was indicted on what sources say are more than 30 counts related to business fraud. A few dozen supporters gathered outside Trump's Florida home after the indictment was handed down late Thursday. The details of the charges remain sealed.

Now, at the heart of the matter is $130,000 in hush money to adult film star Stormy Daniels in 2016 just days before the presidential election. Now, Trump has denied knowing anything about the payment. But Trump is blasting the indictment is political persecution and claims he's the first innocent person it's ever happened to. And former Vice President Mike Pence, who has had his own issues with Trump had this to say about his former boss's defense. Listen to this.


MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think the unprecedented indictment of a former president of the United States on a campaign finance issue is an outrage.


BRUNHUBER: Trump's former aide, Michael Cohen, who facilitated the hush money payment to Stormy Daniels testified numerous times before the grand jury. Cohen's attorney, Lanny Davis, says Americans will be surprised when details about the case are made public. Here he is.


LANNY DAVIS, ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL COHEN: He's going to be faced in American public opinion, right, left, Trump or not, are going to be faced with a lot of evidence that will surprise them. A lot of witnesses. A lot of documents. It's not just about one person's testimony. And I think everyone who is out there talking about this being a political case or a witch hunt are going to be sorry when they actually read the substance of what these prosecutors have developed in several criminal charges.


BRUNHUBER: And CNN's Alayna Treene joins us live from Washington. So, first, just take us through exactly what happened here.

ALAYNA TREENE, CNN REPORTER: Right. Well, so around 5:20 p.m. Thursday evening, Eastern Time, the news broke that Trump was going to be indicted. And this actually came -- you know, Trump's team was alerted and his prosecutors were alerted after many in the media had already been reporting it. And so, already we're looking at OK, what do these charges look like?

And there's a lot that we don't know. So, the indictment has been announced, but those charges in the 30-plus counts of business fraud that we're hearing have not been unsealed yet. And so, everyone of waiting in the coming days to see what exactly is in -- as part -- is part of this indictment.

We also are told that Tuesday is the day that we should expect Donald Trump and his attorneys to surrender him over in New York and begin the arraignment process. And that will include -- an arrest will include fingerprinting, things that I know that Donald Trump and his team are very wary of. Despite them, projecting a lot of confidence publicly. I know that this is something that's very jarring for Donald Trump just as covering him for a long time and speaking with his team tonight.

I will also say that this is unprecedented. We have never before in United States history had a former president and the 2024 presidential contender be indicted on criminal charges. And so, of course, this news just shaking the nation on Thursday night and into today. And really, we're all waiting to see exactly what is in this indictment.

BRUNHBER: Yes, absolutely. And you touched on this one. I'm curious to get a bit more insight into what the reaction has been within Donald Trump's orbit.

TREENE: Well, they were blindsided. And so, from speaking to a lot of people within his orbit and on his team shortly after the indictment was announced, they were scrambling. They were trying to figure out how to deal with this.


They had expected that potentially an indictment could be coming in the next coming days or even later this month, but they were not expecting it to drop last evening. And so, a lot of you know, running around and trying to figure out how to respond to this. I will say, though, we did see a ton of his supporters, including people in Congress, people like House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Some of his potential 2024 rivals people like Governor Ron DeSantis coming out and issuing support for him.

And really, this has been something that Donald Trump's team has said, but also people across the spectrum that if he were indicted, it -- there -- it could potentially be politically beneficial for him. And we're seeing a lot of support from people even who aren't supporters of him issuing kind of statements of support from him in light of the indictment. We saw Governor Asa Hutchinson, also a potential 2024 rival say that even though he doesn't think that Donald Trump should be president, he does think that this investigation is politically motivated.

And I think that we're seeing -- we saw this past week a bump in the post for Donald Trump in light of the news that there could be an indictment. And I think we're going to continue to see that. So, at the same time, you have someone who is very worried about an indictment.

And again, not good news for anyone, but politically, it could play well for him. And we're seeing a lot of that play out in real time, in the hours after the indictment was announced.

BRUNHUBER: Yes, absolutely right. All right. Thanks so much, Alayna Treene. Appreciate that.

TREENE: Thank you.

BRUNHUBER: Joining me from Washington is Shan Wu, who's a defense attorney and former U.S. federal prosecutor. Thanks so much for being here with us. So, we don't know -- you know the charges yet, but broadly speaking, I mean how -- you know, given what we know so far, how strong is the case and might it relate beyond just Stormy Daniels but also to model, Karen McDougal as well?

SHAN WU, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes. Kim, from the reporting, it certainly seems that it may be beyond Stormy Daniels simply because we're hearing and maybe, like 34 counts. Now, some of those you know more than one could involve the Stormy Daniels' payments, but it sounds like it may have expanded some. And we don't know certainly it would be interesting to see if they're able to pair it with some of the other financial crimes that the Trump organization had been convicted for.

But we don't know that yet. And factually, this is actually a very strong, very simple case. I mean, it's a man who wanted to buy silence. It's been worked up extensively over the past years. And for all the criticism of Michael Cohen, he's been quite consistent. And it's not on him that the former justice department and even the current one did not pursue this case.

The facts are straightforward. There's documents to support it. There's Cohen's testimony. There's perhaps Stormy Daniels testimony as well.

I think where the challenge is going to be for Alvin Braggs team is the unprecedented amount of legal arguments are going to be thrown at them. They could range everything from a preemption argument, saying only federal campaign finance law can apply here if it's related to this, to other arguments about trump's former presidential status. That's where they're really going to try and challenge it. If the Bragg team fends those off and they get to the jury, I don't think factually it's very complicated. And I think the facts will prove quite strong in the long run.

BRUNHUBER: Well, they're just a challenge, something that Donald Trump was saying. I mean his reaction was that well the bar for evidence to get a grand jury indictment is very low. I mean, is that true?

WU: As compared to the standard for conviction, which is beyond a reasonable doubt, that is true. It's simply probable cause. And also in the grand jury, it doesn't have to be unanimous in the U.S. system. It just needs to be a simple majority.

But quite contrary to what Trump is trying to imply here. This case has been looked over by a lot of prosecutors, all of whom would have been very, very conscious of this would be a historic unprecedented kind of prosecution. They want to get it right. So, it's not as though they just put in something that they thought was a social case. Bragg is not going to bring this case unless he is pretty convinced that is strong.

And you saw that in the past, he had failed to charge Trump even after his predecessor had worked up the case for years about the financial crimes. So, it's not as though Bragg is just looking to bring something which you may not be sure of. He has to be feeling pretty certain in order to go this route.

BRUNHUBER: I want to build on something you touched on there and that that's the historic nature of this. I mean, what happens next for Trump in terms of procedure, and will it look at all different because he's a former president? And could we see a gag order, for instance?

WU: The procedure won't be different. He will have to appear in court. Sounds like he is going to self-surrender for that. He will be advised of the charges, and they will "book him."


Meaning, he'll be processed. There could be a mug shot. There could be the digital fingerprints which are taken.

Now, with this type of a crime, nonviolent, his lack of a criminal history at least one that he was convicted of, he'll certainly get out on personal recognizance at this point. The difference is going to be, of course, he has the 24/7 secret service protection so they'll have to be with him at every step of the processing here. So, that's going to look sort of different.

Now, as to the gag order, a very fascinating question. He obviously is already out there, you know, lashing out at Alvin Bragg, he posted that very rather threatening photo of him with the baseball bat. A judge certainly would be within their jurisdiction and authority to try to control that so that the case isn't jeopardized, witnesses aren't intimidated. But that does have to be balanced against the fact that Trump as a active campaigner is going to argue he has a right. He has a need to speak out.

So, I think something that's narrowly crafted could work here, but that's going to be subject to a lot of litigation, a lot of negotiations with the judge. If that happens, Trump's lawyers would certainly be telling him, you know, tone it down. I doubt they'll be able to control him. But in the end, it's really going to be up to the judge to make that decision.

BURNHUBER: Yes. All right, we will be watching, but appreciate your expert analysis. Shan Wu in Washington, thanks for being here with us.

WU: Good to see you. BRUNHUBER: Easter preparations are already underway at the Vatican but it's not clear if Pope Francis will be able to take part. We'll have an update on his health as he recovers from respiratory infection. Plus, a win for Gwyneth Paltrow. The trial about 2016 ski collision involving the actress concludes in her favor. We have that and more coming up. Stay with us.


BRUNHUBER: Local officials say at least 35 people are dead after falling into an intricate well at a Hindu temple in central India. Crowds were at the temple celebrating a religious holiday. Officials say the floor covering of the step well, which has stairs leading down to the water collapsed due to heavy load.

16 people were injured in the collapse, and one person is missing. Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences to the victims and their families. And officials said they would receive compensation.

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow has won her civil trial regarding 2016 ski collision. A jury in the U.S. state of Utah found she wasn't liable for the accident. Terry Sanderson sued the Oscar-winning actress over injuries.

He said she -- he suffered when the two collided at a ski resort. Paltrow countersued and was awarded $1 in damages plus attorney's fees. CNN's Veronica Miracle has the latest.


VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Gwyneth Paltrow was stoic when she found out that she won her case and that the jury was awarding her that symbolic $1 in damages that she was seeking.


The jury deliberated for less than three hours. And they found that the man who accused Paltrow of crashing into him and causing him a lasting brain injury was actually at fault. This case was really a, he said she said situations. Both sides completely argued two different stories.

The plaintiff, Terry Sanderson, said Paltrow skeet into him, causing lasting injuries, including brain damage and broken ribs and then skied off. He was suing her for $3.2 million in damages. Paltrow claimed Sanderson skied into her. She countersued for a symbolic $1 in damages and won.

After the verdict was read, the two had a brief interaction. Here's what Sanderson says unfolded.

TERRY SANDERSON, SUED GWYNETH PALTROW: In her exact words, I wish you well. Very kind in her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's all, she said? SANDERSON: That's all she said.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. And did you respond?

SANDERSON: I said, thank you, dear.

MIRACLE (voiceover): Paltrow said in a statement that "I felt that acquiescing to a false claim compromised my integrity." Her attorney said she is very happy with the outcome.

STEVE OWENS, GWYNETH PALTROW'S ATTORNEY: We're pleased with this outcome and appreciate the judge and jury's thoughtful handling of this case. Gwyneth has a history of advocating for what she believes in. This situation was no different. And she will continue to stand for what she believes is right.

MIRACLE: Local observers packed the courtroom today after many moments during the week-long plus trial went viral all over the world. Veronica Miracle, CNN, Park City, Utah.


BRUNHUBER: Vatican says that Pope Francis's health is improving that he could leave the hospital within the next few days. The pope is being treated for bronchitis after being admitted to the hospital on Wednesday. Prayers for the 86-year-old pontiff are coming in from every corner of the globe. CNN's Delia Gallagher reports.


DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): This was the pope on Wednesday morning, seemingly in good health at his general audience in St Peter Square. But by Wednesday afternoon, he was admitted to Rome's Gemelli hospital. The diagnosis, respiratory infection. The Vatican said he'd been complaining of breathing difficulties for the past few days.

On Thursday evening, more details from the Vatican, the pope has bronchitis and is receiving antibiotics intravenously with clear improvement in his health. If his recovery continues to progress, they say, he will be released in the next few days.

(on camera) Pope Francis is 86 years old. He has a certain vulnerability to respiratory issues because when he was 21, he had part of his right lung removed for a respiratory illness. He's also no stranger to this hospital. His rooms are here on the top floor, those five windows with the white shutters pulled down. He was last here in the summer of 2021 for 10 days when he was operated on for diverticulitis, and they removed part of his colon.

(voiceover) The Vatican said on Thursday that Francis was able to have breakfast, read the newspapers, and even do some work from his hospital rooms. He also managed to send a tweet saying I'm touched by the many messages received in these hours and I express my gratitude for the closeness and prayer. The pope's hospital stay has put into doubt whether he will be able to participate in Easter week events which begins this Sunday, Palm Sunday, one of the busiest times of the year at the Vatican.

Delia Gallagher, CNN, Rome.


BRUNHUBER: The United Kingdom is joining a major transpacific trade partnership. The British prime minister's office calls it the biggest trade deal since Brexit. The UK becomes the first new member of the comprehensive and progressive agreement for transpacific partnership since it was established in 2018.

As part of the deal, more than 99 percent of exports, the 11 member states would be eligible for zero tariffs. The UK says the deal would support jobs and economic growth in the country.

In the hours ahead. Taiwan's president will head to Guatemala after her brief trip to New York, the visit that has infuriated Beijing. The Chinese ministry of foreign affairs said Tsai Ing-wen's stopover in the U.S. seriously violated the one China principle and seriously damaged China's sovereignty. Listen to this.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: China firmly opposes any form of official interaction between the United States and the Taiwan region. We firmly oppose any visit by the leader of the Taiwan authorities to the U.S. in any name or under whatever pretext.


BRUNHUBER: Taiwan's president is also planning to stop in again to the U.S. after official visit to Central America.

Former President Jair Bolsonaro is back in Brazil for the first time since violent riots in the nation's capital. Bolsonaro has been in self-imposed exile in Florida for three months after losing last year's presidential election. Stefano Pozzebon reports.


STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: Hundreds of supporters waited since the early hours to see the former president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, making his return to the country on Thursday.


But the far-right leader only made a brief appearance in front of his party's headquarters before heading in for a day of meetings. Bolsonaro said he does not need to lead the opposition against the current president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, but his presence in the country alone gave his supporters a figure to rally around.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking in a foreign language) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The right never had a political leader. The right was always fending for itself. And today, we have the best leader. And I believe it's the best international leader. I am in love with Trump as well, but Bolsonaro has surpassed trump now.

POZZEBON: While Bolsonaro's party commands an influential presence in congress, his political future remains in the balance. The former army captain faces a barrage of investigations spanning from his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic to his role in the events that led up to the riots on January 8 here in the Brazilian capital.

Just next week, Bolsonaro has been summoned by the police as part of an investigation into undeclared jewelry gift from Saudi Arabia during his presidency.

For CNN, this is Stefano Pozzebon, Brasilia.


BRUNHUBER: Still ahead. The city of Nashville is a grieving the deaths of three children and three adults in Monday's mass shooting in an elementary school. Coming up. New details have emerged in the investigation.


BRUNHBER: A team of U.S. military investigators has arrived at the site where two Blackhawk helicopters crashed in the state of Kentucky late Wednesday. Investigators continued to work the scene into the night on Thursday, trying to determine what may have caused the crash, which killed all nine soldiers on board the two choppers. Kentucky's governor says the state mourns the loss of the fallen soldiers and grieves with their families. Here he is.


GOV. ANDY BESHEAR, (D-KY): Their lost today is our loss. And we're going to stand with both those that are here today. And again, we're going to make sure that these families know that they are loved and that they are not alone.


BRUNHUBER: U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says his heart goes out to the families and division members of the fallen soldiers.

Nashville City officials have released some of the emergency calls from Monday's deadly mass shooting in a private elementary school. The audio captures some of the tense moments as the attack unfolded with colors, whispering as they hide from gunfire. CNN's Carlos Suarez has the latest from the investigation from Nashville.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We think we hear gunshots.

CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): New 911 calls released from inside the Covenant School as shots were being fired another.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I hear another shot.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm hearing more shots. Yes, please hurry up, I'm hearing more shots.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're coming. They're coming. Just try -- OK, just try to stay quiet. I don't know what's going on there.


SUAREZ: A Nashville City council member tells CNN he's been told the FBI will review a notebook that was left behind by 28-year-old Audrey Hale. And that once that review is complete, the writings should be made public. The development comes as we learn more about the efforts to prevent the tragedy. CNN obtained audio of a call made by Hale's former teammate calling for help.

AVERIANNA PATTON, AUDREY HALE'S FORMER TEAMMATE: I received a very, very weird message from a friend on Instagram. I think it was like a suicidal thing.

SUAREZ: Averianna Patton received messages on Instagram from Hale less than 20 minutes before the shooting.


According to Patton, at around 9:57 in the morning, Hale wrote "something bad is about to happen." During the call, Patton is heard saying she first called a suicide prevention hotline at 10:13 in the morning, was passed on to the sheriff's department, then to a nonemergency line before finally getting ahold of someone at 10:21 in the morning when the shooting was already underway.

PATTON: I'm just trying to see can anybody, I just don't want it on my conscience if can somebody check on her. Only thing I have is our Instagram.

SUAREZ: Between the first call of a shooter incident at about 10:13 in the morning to when the shooter was killed, 911 received 39 emergency calls, 23 of those related to the shooting, according to the Metro Nashville Department of Emergency Communications. We spoke with Hale's former teacher who said she noticed Hale appeared to be grieving the death of a friend over the last year.

MARIA COLOMY, HALE'S FORMER TEACHER AT NOSSI COLLEGE: And in the grieving process, there is a part of it that's anger and rage. And she may not have known that.

SUAREZ: Hale took six lives on Monday. three nine-year-old children, a substitute teacher, a custodian, and the head of the Covenant School, Katherine Koonce, who may have died trying to protect the children. A funeral for Evelyn Dieckhaus is set for Friday afternoon at Woodmont Christian church, according to the senior pastor, Clay Stauffer. Those attending are asked to wear pink or bright spring colors instead of black. Another funeral will be held on Saturday for Hallie Scruggs at Covenant Presbyterian Church, where her father is the lead pastor.

(on camera) At least three 911 calls were released on Thursday. We're told that the FBI is still going through the shooter's notebook and that any information related to a motive or the writings that were left behind by the shooter will not be released this week.

Carlos Suarez, CNN, Nashville, Tennessee.


BRUNHUBER: Federal authorities are on the scene of a train derailment in Raymond, Minnesota, which forced hundreds of residents to temporarily evacuate their homes. Several tanker cars carrying flammable ethanol carried fire and -- caught fire and continued to burn throughout the day after the train jumped the tracks early Thursday.

Officials are especially concerned that other cars carrying ethanol might also catch fire. Local fire crews will remain on the scene. Now, no injuries were reported in the accident. The mandatory evacuation order was eventually lifted about midday.

All right, thanks so much for watching. I'm Kim Brunhuber. Please stay with us. I'll be back with more CNN NEWSROOM after the break.