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DA Fani Willis To Trump: The Train Is Coming; Russia Death Toll In Terror Attack In Concert Hall Rises To 137; Inside The Dangerous Journey To Escape Haiti. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired March 24, 2024 - 15:00   ET



FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

All right, the clock is ticking for Donald Trump, the former president is just hours away from two major legal threats colliding in New York. Tomorrow is the deadline for him to post nearly half billion-dollar bond in his New York civil fraud case. His attorneys have asked an Appeals Court to allow him to post a smaller bond or none at all, but the court has not reached a decision yet.

On Friday, Trump claimed he has the cash to cover the bill, but his lawyer later told CNN that Trump does not actually have that cash on hand.

Meanwhile, New York's attorney general has already filed judgments in Westchester County and New York City, where Trump owns properties, the first indication the state is prepared to seize his assets if he can't pay up.

It is all playing out as Trump is expected to appear in a New York courtroom tomorrow, where a judge may set a date for his hush money trial involving a $130,000.00 payment to adult film star, Stormy Daniels.

All right, and now to a CNN exclusive reporting on yet another Trump case, the Georgia election subversion matter.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is speaking to CNN about the timeline in that major trial and efforts by the former president to get it delayed.

CNN's Zach Cohen joining us right now. Zach, what is Willis saying?

ZACHARY COHEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Yes, Fred, Fani Willis insisting that the case against Donald Trump and his remaining co- defendants in Georgia remains on track despite the fact that she spent the last two months trying to avoid being disqualified from that case.

And look, we spoke exclusively to Fani Willis yesterday. We caught up with her at an Easter event just south of Atlanta, and she called the last two months and the allegations against her and her top prosecutor, Nathan Wade, who has since resigned, a distraction and she says that despite that, the case itself has not been slowed down.

Take a listen to what Fani Willis said when we asked her about the state of the case in Georgia.


FANI WILLIS, FULTON COUNTY, GEORGIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: No, my team has been continuing to work it and I think the media and especially organizations like your own have been paying attention, all while that was going on, we were writing responsive briefs. We were still doing the case in the way that it needed to be done.

I don't feel like we've been slowed down at all. I do think that there are efforts to slow down this train, but the train is coming.


COHEN: So Willis is really trying to shift attention back to the case, back to the criminal charges against Donald Trump and his co- defendants there, and the biggest question that still hangs over this entire case like Trump's other criminal cases is when could we see a trial in Georgia?

Fani Willis has previously asked the judge to set a trial date for August 5th, 2024. I reported last week that Fani Willis is still trying to push for a trial date to be set and set before the 2024 election. She could ask the judge again to set a trial date for as soon as this summer and in the meantime, though, the work continues as Willis said and as Judge Scott McAfee has also indicated that the work is still progressing and that he intends to continue moving forward.

One source told me last week that McAfee has seemed to roll up his sleeves, trying to address these outstanding issues that have to be addressed before this case can go to trial.

Ultimately, we are going to see that there is a lot of different factors that play, a lot of legal challenges still facing Willis and her team.

There is also some scheduling matters as to how the scheduling could be impacted by some of the other criminal cases. So we are going to wait and see, it is a long road from asking for a trial date to actually getting to a trial.

WHITFIELD: All right, Zach Cohen, thanks so much.

Let's talk about all of this now. I am joined now by Harry Litman, he is a former federal prosecutor and a former deputy assistant attorney general.

Harry, great to see you.

So, will it be your view that Judge McAfee in the Georgia case, will set a trial date anyway knowing that there is an appellate process. Trump's attorneys have said they want to appeal the decision, his decision to not remove Fani Willis from the case, but for the sake of keeping things on track, as Willis puts it, would he set a date anyway or adhere to the August requested trial date?

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER US ATTORNEY: I think he will set a date. There are proposals before him from both parties, and that's the kind of judge he is, but that date will get dislodged if the Georgia Court of Appeals decides to take 45 days to decide whether or not to take up the appeal that Trump and his eight other defendants have brought to McAfee's decision not to disqualify Willis.

Now, if that happens, and my best guess is it won't, but if it did, that certainly would take everything off track. But pending it, I think McAfee will go business as usual.


WHITFIELD: Do you feel like McAfee's decision was appeal proof?

I've heard it described that way by many because he offered so much information in addition to his opinion about whether she should proceed, that that made it appeal proof. Do you see it that way?

LITMAN: Well, there were two parts to this decision of course, Fredricka. One was saying there is no financial conflict of interests. I think that's appeal proof just because it was so plainly the case.

There was no possible scenario that she was actually doing this case in order to get commercial plane travel from Wade paid for in cash, that never really had any purchase.

And the other half of it actually where he found more or less against her. She is not appealing. So in that sense, I don't see any reversal. The more controversial part of it, in other words, was the appearance of conflict and Wade being forced to step off and they are not appealing that.

So I don't see a different result here.

WHITFIELD: Okay, let's move on to what could potentially happen tomorrow or not, Trump's half billion dollar bond that he has to meet tomorrow. Do you expect that Trump will somehow find the money at the last-minute?

LITMAN: That's my best guess. Look, it involves all kinds of financial complications, but I think first and foremost, he is very concerned about not looking like a loser and he came out to his lawyers' dismay and said he had it on Friday.

I am thinking that this initial public offering of Truth Social, which really does involve some kind of funny money business, a little bit like turning lead into gold. But he may be able to do it temporarily enough to secure. He would still need a guardian angel to accept it as collateral and that is of course something we need to worry about because why would a billionaire step in in that instance?

But that I think is a likely scenario and the others, I think the most likely is anything at all before letting AG James basically seize his properties. Though that process will take a long time as Adam was just saying.

But in any event, yes, if I had to guess, it is that somehow he comes up with it.


And then say, he doesn't come up with the bond money tomorrow, and the New York attorney general decides to start freezing bank accounts, seizing assets. Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said to CNN this morning that Trump should not be treated or rather should be treated like any other citizen.


REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): I actually think that there is risk in not seizing these assets and the open window that exists in him trying to secure these funds through other means.

We've seen a lot of interesting transactions happening with Truth Social and other means and there is a very real risk of political corruption.


WHITFIELD: All right, so does she have a point about possible political corruption if Trump gets the money from alternative sources well?

LITMAN: Well, sure if what she means is that some billionaire, foreign or domestic, kind of funds it and really is acting in order to have influence with Trump as he would. But you know, the process I just want to repeat, there is some low hanging fruit she can get. Everything else like, but buildings are complicated and he would still have some legal maneuvering after she makes the move.

WHITFIELD: All right, it is going to be a fascinating day and week. That's for sure.

Harry Litman, either way it goes, right, Harry Litman, thanks so much.

LITMAN: You're right. Thanks.

WHITFIELD: All right, after years of deflecting on the issue, former Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel calling the January 6 Capitol attack unacceptable.

McDaniel made those comments this morning on NBC, where she recently joined as a political analyst after leaving the RNC earlier this month. Take a listen.


RONNA MCDANIEL, FORMER CHAIRWOMAN, RNC: I want to be very clear. The violence that happened on January 6 is unacceptable. It doesn't represent our country. It certainly does not represent my party. We should not be attacking the Capitol. We should not be having violence. I said it that day, I put a statement that day that this is not acceptable. If you attacked our Capitol and you have been -- and you've been convicted, then that should stay.

KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS: So the, to the question though, do you disagree with Trump saying he is going to free those who have been charged and convicted?

MCDANIEL: I do not think people who committed violent acts on January 6 should be freed.

WELKER: So, you disagree with that. He's been saying that for months. Ronna, why not speak out earlier? Why just speak out about that now?

MCDANIEL: When you're the RNC chair, you kind of take one for the whole team, right? Now, I get to be a little bit more of myself, right? This is what I believe.

I don't think violence should be in our political discourse.



WHITFIELD: All right, so she went on to say that while her role with the RNC required her to stay neutral on Republican candidates, tensions with Trump's campaign emerged when the former president decided to skip the primary debates. McDaniel also acknowledged that Biden won the 2020 election, fair and square.

All right, coming up, new details on the suspects in custody for that terror attack at the concert hall near Moscow, as Russia observes a day of mourning to acknowledge the lives lost.

And a new report on a US proposal that could exchange Palestinian prisoners for hostages held by Hamas, next.



WHITFIELD: We are getting new details in that horrific terror attack on a Russian concert hall.

Today, we got our first look at some of the suspects arrested by police. New video shows the suspects blindfolded and brought into Russia's Investigative Committee for questioning.

It comes after ISIS posted a graphic video purportedly showing its members' ruthless rampage. CNN is choosing not to show that video. Russia says the death toll has now risen to 137, including three children.

Today is a national day of mourning across the country.

CNN's Matthew Chance is in Moscow. So Mathew, you visited a memorial set up near the scene of the attack. What are people there saying?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CHIEF GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, as you say, a national day of mourning, and I can tell you that at that scene outside the Crocus City Hall, where the attack took place on Friday night, thousands of people have gathered to put flowers down as close as they can get to the building. The building itself has been sealed off because investigators and emergency teams are still in there.

It was set on fire by the attackers with incendiary bombs, petrol bombs, or something like that. And so it essentially burned to the ground. But what that means is that investigators are now having to pick through the debris, make their way towards the sort of areas that have been most devastated where they say they are finding more bodies, which is why the death toll has been increasing since Friday. Also, there are more than 140 people who are injured in hospital and some of those people are in a critical condition as well.

In terms of the investigation, look, I mean, the Russians have said they've already detained 11 people associated with this attack, including the four suspected gunmen who went on that shooting rampage on Friday night through that concert venue, which is just outside the city limits of the Russian capital.

Russian television has shown some pretty grisly images of the suspects being interrogated. They're cuffed, they are bloodied, they are looking pretty bad shape. One of them is shown sort of confessing to carrying out the attack, saying he did it for money, but of course, as we all know, it is ISIS or a branch of ISIS that has said that its people, its members carried out this attack.

Part of what it says is its war against countries who fight Islam. Russia has been engaged in numerous confrontations with ISIS, including in Syria, where Russian forces continued to back Bashar Al- Assad in a civil war there, which is in some ways opposed to ISIS, and so it may be related to that.

Vladimir Putin, the Russian president though has tried to connect this attack to Ukraine, because obviously Russia is fighting that war in Ukraine as well. And he said that the perpetrators of this were trying to head towards Ukraine when they were detained by the Russian Security Services.

Now, the implication that they were involved is something that the Ukrainian government have categorically denied. They are saying literally this has nothing to do with us -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, Matthew Chance, we will leave it there. Thank you so much.

Coming up, in a new CNN exclusive, our team takes you inside the dangerous journey to escape the gang violence in Haiti.



WHITFIELD: The State Department has evacuated more than 230 Americans from Haiti, while the capital city Port-au-Prince faces mounting chaos and gang violence. Many Americans are struggling to escape due to safety concerns while others are choosing to stay behind with their loved ones.

CNN's David Culver has this exclusive look at the difficult escapes.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The challenge for US citizens trying to leave Port-au-Prince begins as soon as they start driving to the US embassy. Getting there involves driving through either gang controlled or gang contested territories. It is dangerous and it is unpredictable.

In armored vehicles, we saw that firsthand, and yet this is the only way out for some. The airport is shut down and many feel trapped.

In recent days, the US embassy began evacuating citizens who could make it to the embassy. Managing the safety of those evacuations is regional security officer, Steve Strickland.

How does Haiti, how does Port-au-Prince today compare to your past 19 years?

STEVE STRICKLAND, US DIPLOMATIC SECURITY SERVICE, SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: There is nothing like Port-au-Prince. The security situations here are nothing like anything I have experienced before. I've spent time in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, in Africa, and the unique circumstances here, I've not seen a parallel to those in any other security environment that I've served.

CULVER: Amid these challenges, there are some who fear Americans are being abandoned in this gang field war zone.

STRICKLAND: The truth of the matter is, literally on a daily basis, there are phone calls that we are engaged with at the highest levels of US government, where the number one topic is safety and security. How do we help get our US citizens out of the country to a safe place?


CULVER: Launching these evacuation flights from the capital is a critical first step.

Jenny Gilliam (ph) and her five-year-old son, Conrad registered a few days ago. She has had to leave behind her mom and other loved ones so as to get back to their home in New York.

Getting to the embassy is terrifying. It is a potentially deadly commute. Some who had confirmed their spots canceled last-minute either emotionally unable to leave behind loved ones or just unable to get to the embassy safely.

So is there an option to go from here and go pick them up? Is that even in reality?

STRICKLAND: It just really isn't unfortunately. The security resources that we have are stretched so thin, the ability to do that is really a non-starter. We just don't have that capacity to do it.

We'd love to do it. It is just simply an impossibility, unfortunately.

CULVER: With some seats unclaimed at the last minute, our team as US citizens is able to travel out with them and chronicle their journey.

We board in gang-controlled territory on a patch of land that's secured and surrounded by a robust and reassuring American military presence. We take off for the Dominican Republic.

There are a lot of mixed emotions for those who get out: Gratitude and relief for getting here safely, as well as guilt and fear for those still in Port-au-Prince, knowing that what is happening on the other side of this border is getting worse with each passing hour.

David Culver, CNN, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.


WHITFIELD: Very sad and deteriorating situation.

All right, Israel has agreed to a US proposal on the number of Palestinian prisoners that it would release for every hostage released by Hamas, that's according to CNN analyst, Barak Ravid who says the US and Israel are now waiting for a response from Hamas.

CNN's Paula Hancocks is joining me live from Doha.

So Paula, what else do we know about the status of this offer?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fredricka, we know that at this point, the technical teams of all sides are still here in Doha, even though the intelligence chiefs have left the city.

We know that at this point, a source familiar with these talks said that they had made steady progress, but also pointed out that there are still gaps that remain between the two sides. So it is an ongoing situation at this point.

What we heard from Hamas just 10 days ago was that they wanted between 700 and a thousand Palestinian prisoners released in return for around 40 hostages, the female hostages including IDF soldiers. The sick, the elderly, and the wounded.

So this is potentially in the ballpark of what we are looking at, at this point, although we don't have the exact details.

But this is really what we have seen over recent weeks of these proposals followed by the counterproposals, trying to find out where the middle ground is for both Hamas and Israel in these indirect talks to be able to agree with each other.

We've heard from the Secretary of State Blinken say the gaps are narrowing. They are pointing out that there still are very much gaps.

WHITFIELD: And Paula, the Palestinian Red Crescent is saying that Israeli forces are surrounding two hospitals in Southern Gaza. What is being said by Israel about that?

HANCOCKS: So what we've heard from the Israeli military is that they are working in the vicinity of Al Amal Hospital. This is in the southern part of Gaza, as you say. They said they haven't gone into the hospital at this point, but they say that Hamas and other groups are using civilian infrastructure in order to carry out attacks.

Now what we've heard from the Palestinian Red Crescent is that the majority of those who were inside the building, in fact, all of those who were able to move independently have now been evacuated out of that building towards the area of Mawasi just west of Khan Younis, which the Israeli military calls a humanitarian zone. We don't know what sort of humanitarian support, if any, is actually there for those evacuated there though.

But what we are hearing is there are still medical staff inside, patients inside, and it comes at the same time as the Israeli military is still surrounding and working inside the Al-Shifa Hospital as well.

They say they have arrested hundreds of what they call Hamas terrorists and other operatives. They say more than 150 have been killed and there have been many calls from the medics, from the patients inside without food, without water, without medical supplies for help to come to them.


We had the head of the World Health Organization just on Friday saying an end to the siege of Al-Shifa Hospital must happen, and we have heard some harrowing tales and accounts from eyewitnesses and from those who managed to escape that area about the operation that is ongoing -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: And then, Paula, it has already been difficult trying to get aid into Gaza, and now the head of the main United Nations agency working in the region says Israel will block some of its food deliveries in Gaza. What more do we know about that?

HANCOCKS: So this is from Philippe Lazzarini. He is the head of UNRWA, which is the main body, as you say, of all UN bodies within Gaza. They are the ones that for many years have been distributing aid across the Gaza Strip.

Now, Lazzarini in a tweet saying that Israel has informed them that they will no longer be facilitating them, able to go to Northern Gaza to distribute the UN aid. They said that they haven't been able to get to that area for about two months now.

This is an area that the UN and others have warned is facing imminent famine between now and mid-May if it doesn't get more food, water, and aid, that it so desperately needs. Israel has accused UNRWA of being affiliated with Hamas saying 12 of its members were part of the October 7th attack. Now, UNRWA did fire those 12 and has said it would have an investigation. But Israel is now calling on countries around the world to stop their funding to UNRWA, something which many NGOs and some countries have pushed against, saying that UNRWA is uniquely placed to be able to distribute the aid that is so desperately needed around the Gaza Strip at this point -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Paula Hancocks, thanks so much, in Doha.

All right, coming up, Kensington Palace issuing its first statement following Kate Middleton's emotional cancer announcement. Details on that, next.



WHITFIELD: All right, Kensington Palace is speaking out on behalf of the Prince and Princess of Wales after receiving a flood of support and well-wishes following Princess Kate's announcement of her cancer diagnosis, Friday. A spokesperson from Kensington Palace says the couple is enormously touched by the kind messages that they've received from around the world and they are extremely moved by the public's warmth and support.

And in the Princess' video post, Kate said, one of her biggest priorities was finding the right way to tell her children.


CATHERINE, PRINCESS OF WALES: As you can imagine, this has taken time -- it has taken me time to recover from a major surgery in order to start my treatment. But most importantly, it has taken us time to explain everything to George, Charlotte, and Louis in a way that's appropriate for them and to reassure them that I am going to be okay.


WHITFIELD: So how can families talk to kids about tough topics like cancer? I want to discuss this with my next guest, Dr. Gail Saltz, psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and host of the IHeartRadio podcast "How Can I Help?"

Dr. Saltz, great to see you.

DR. GAIL SALTZ, PSYCHIATRIST: Nice to be with you.

WHITFIELD: So the instinct for so many might be, I want to protect my kids from big feelings, but even dissecting what the Princess said there, they really wanted time to figure out the best way in which to talk to their kids that's appropriate.

So how does a family find what is appropriate? How do you share without, I guess, frightening kids, but then comforting them? SALTZ: All right, there are some general guidelines with this kind of news. First of all, you do want to tell them soon because kids have great radar and they can tell when you are concerned about something, whether you think you're showing them or not, and they'll worry about what that is and it is better for them to have the information, so you want to tell them soon, you want to tell them in a calm way and you might need to wait until you can be calm in telling them.

That doesn't mean you're not sad or anxious, but overall, calm because again, they are reading your demeanor and then you want to tell them the specifics and facts as they are age appropriate. So saying you know, mom has been diagnosed with a disease called cancer. What is that? It is a growth where there isn't supposed to be one.

If they are very young, like their youngest, maybe you show them on a stuffed animal. If they are older and they can understand where in the body, you want to explain, you need treatment. Treatment might be, I will need certain surgery or I will need a medication called chemotherapy to treat and try to get rid of this growth.

And you want to explain things to kids that they might not understand, like cancer is not contagious. They can't get it. Nobody else in the family can get it.


You want to explain to them things like side effects they may see. Mom might look tired or mom might lose her hair because it is less scary for a child if they know what is coming and it is part of the deal.

And then, you want to let your child ask questions and express their feelings and that as she alludes to, as Kate alludes to, might take some time. You might want to give them some time to see like, what are their questions? What are their emotional reactions?

WHITFIELD: You're right, kids are very astute and perhaps one of the first question a kid is going to ask, I mean, are you going to die?

SALTZ: Absolutely.

WHITFIELD: You know, kids will ask you -- they want to know how -- you know, how this is going to impact me? Are you still going to be in my life? And of course, in a situation like this, you really don't know, but I do remember hearing Princess Kate saying in her statement, I let them know that I am going to be okay.

I mean, they want to hear that, but then we also know with cancer or a lot of illnesses, we really don't know. We don't always know the outcome. So how do you generally handle that?

SALTZ: Right. Well, obviously that is the most difficult -- mostly, it is the most difficult because adults know that they are afraid about that, because cancer has a certain brand to all of us, right? And sometimes we think about dying and death because people can die of cancer. But young kids don't necessarily think of it that same way. I think you don't want to promise your child something you can't promise them, but you do want to sound hopeful, and in this case, it sounds like she has every reason to express just that. They caught it early and the doctors think they are going to treat me and I am going to be okay.

Any form of that, you know, I may be sicker in the near term as they treat me, but then I am hopeful. The doctors say I am going to beat this.

In whatever way you want to put that, I think that's the best way to put it. It is pretty rare, it happens, but you're less likely to be diagnosed with no options where its believed you will die shortly. That is a different kind of scenario.

So for most young people who are diagnosed like a parent, you can say something hopeful, not I promise you, which isn't exactly what the child is asking anyway, but you can give them reassurance.

WHITFIELD: Yes, I mean, everybody always wants to be hopeful and optimistic. But these are tough conversations to have for a very tough journey that gets underway.

Dr. Gail Saltz, always appreciate you. Thank you so much.

SALTZ: Thanks for having me today.

WHITFIELD: All right, Baseball star, Shohei Ohtani is set to play at Dodger Stadium tonight amid a rather messy gambling scandal where his name is being tossed about. We will discuss.



WHITFIELD: All right, Major League Baseball is investigating its biggest star, the La Dodgers, Shohei Ohtani, over a multi-million- dollar gambling scandal.

As the story now goes, Ohtani's longtime interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara stole millions of dollars to pay off his gambling debts with a bookie in California where sports betting is still illegal, but that account came just days after Mizuhara claimed Ohtani knew about the payments and agreed to settle Mizuhara's debts as a favor.

Andy McCullough is a senior baseball writer for "The Athletic" and he is joining us right now.

So Andy, I mean, this is a big mystery, while the MLB is investigating, while Ohtani is going to play this evening, right? For the LA Dodgers and the interpreter has lost his job. We also understand that the IRS is investigating. So what is going on?

ANDY MCCULLOUGH, SENIOR BASEBALL WRITER, "THE ATHLETIC": That is a wonderful question I think a lot of people are trying to get to the bottom of. I mean, right now, right, the central issue is the two sort of competing narratives. The one put forth by Ippei Mizuhara in his initial so interview with ESPN, I believe was conducted on Tuesday and then the subsequent recanting from Mizuhara on Wednesday at which point, Ohtani's representatives accused him of massive theft of the four-and-a-half million dollars.

And so from there, it has now kind of have been turned over to Ohtani's camp has said they will be sort of pressing forward to press charges, I guess, against Mizuhara. Major League Baseball is entering an investigation, although it is kind of unclear how much they will be able to get to because they're not going to try and like trip over federal investigators.

So yes, I mean, there is just still so many questions that need to be answered.

WHITFIELD: Yes, well, do we believe that Ohtani is going to press charges against Mizuhara? Because, I mean, they are buds. They go way back, and while this is a very suspicious, weird sequence of events, I mean, is there a feeling that Ohtani is going to kind of turn on his guy?

MCCULLOUGH: Well, I mean, they certainly were buds. I mean, I've never had four-and-a-half million dollars, but I suspect if I had it taken from me by someone without my knowledge, I wouldn't be thrilled about it, but again, that gets into sort of --

WHITFIELD: Well, that's at the center of the investigation, is that really the story?

MCCULLOUGH: Yes, well, again like there is the competing narratives and I think there is going to have to be some sort of -- there is going to have to be further investigation to figure out what exactly is going on.

But, you know, Mizuhara has been fired by the Dodgers. You know, what Ohtani's camp is putting forth is that Ohtani was unaware of Mizuhara's gambling issues, that he was unaware of what Mizuhara told the team after the game, I believe on Wednesday in Seoul and it wasn't until Ohtani was basically told what Mizuhara said that he sort of said, well, that's not what's going on at all.


Again, you know, a lot of this stuff like when you sort of squint at it, you just have more questions, you know, why would someone who you're that close with, would you not be aware of, but there is just more stuff is coming out every day. I mean, there has been more investigation in to Mizuhara's background and found that he had some false things posted in his resume that he had for years.

And so there is just, like I said, a lot more that needs to come out.

WHITFIELD: Yes, so we said MLB investigation, IRS investigation. Is there still -- is there an LA Dodgers investigation? MCCULLOUGH: No. I mean, the Dodgers are not going to be commenting on this, I don't think for quite some time. From their perspective, their player is alleging that he is a victim of theft, and so, Major League Baseball is investigating the situation, but they are not, they are saying they're not specifically investigating Ohtani, that may change if evidence changes, but there is no, as of right now, there is no evidence that Ohtani knew, I guess, of the payments to the illegal bookmaker.

But that again, I keep saying the same thing, more is going to come out of that.

WHITFIELD: Lots of question marks still. Yes.

MCCULLOUGH: Yes. Totally.

WHITFIELD: So investigation or this situation certainly harkens back to a lot of curiosities about just historically this tense relationship between baseball and gambling, and it has changed quite a bit in the years -- over the years with the emergence especially of all these online sports bookings, et cetera.

But this is still a league that banned Pete Rose for life and had the Black Sox scandal, so do you think it is being handled differently or will be handled differently, especially because you've got a star where so much money, you know, unprecedented amounts of money is invested?

MCCULLOUGH: Yes, well, the issue with both the Black Sox and Pete Rose is they were betting on baseball. There is no evidence yet that Mizuhara was betting on baseball. I think if that comes into play, if there is a way to prove that, then the severity of the sort of punishment or potential investigation becomes that much more significant.

But it also -- you know, just the appearance of impropriety is sort of kind of part of the slippery slope as sports leagues, not just baseball, but all across America have further and further deepened their relationship with gambling companies. You can't turn on a television and watch anything without getting hit by Draft Kings or whomever convincing you to try and bet.

And so it is an obvious source of revenue for these leagues. It is a source of revenue in the media world, and it is pretty prevalent.

And so the landscape is just very different than it was back, for example, in the 80s with Pete Rose. I mean it was such a clear like you can't bet on sports except for in certain jurisdictions.

And now, it is much more spread out. It is much more prevalent.

So, yes, it becomes -- it demonstrates sort of risk as sort of the sports world gets deeper and deeper into this.

WHITFIELD: Indeed. All right, Andy McCullough of "The Athletic." Thank you so much. MCCULLOUGH: Thanks for having me.

WHITFIELD: All right, Americans are expected to bet big on their favorite schools during March Madness. One gaming association says the number of bets on the NCAA tournament could exceed that of the Super Bowl, which drew 68 million wagers.

I'd like to bring in now and CNN's Nathaniel Meyersohn.

Nathaniel, great to see you, so this is where it is also confusing. Sometimes betting is celebrated and sometimes, it is not. So for this one, how much is expected to be a wagered on the NCAA tournament?

NATHANIEL MEYERSOHN, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: So Fred, you're going to be looking at about $2.7 billion legally wagered on March Madness on both the men's and the women's tournament. It is supposed to be the biggest gambling event of the year. And Fred, this isn't just your office pool bracket with your coworkers or your friends, this is you're going on your phone, you're betting on just about every play, an opportunity on Draft Kings and Fan Duel with the click of a button.

So the gambling landscape as Andy in the last segment was talking about, has completely changed with these sports gambling apps.

WHITFIELD: And so what is the NCAA saying about this whole gambling thing?

MEYERSOHN: So the NCAA is taking a different position, Fred, than the professional sports leagues like MLB and the NBA, which have gone all in on sports gambling. The NCAA is prohibiting gambling ads from being shown during the broadcast.


But still, we are looking at a flood of money coming into the tournament and question marks about how much is the NCAA really able to deter gambling, especially with the professional leagues going all in. And we are seeing the consequences of this explosion in sports gambling.

We have the Ohtani scandal and betting experts are concerned that the ease of gambling, just how easy it is with your phone is going to lead to a rise in gambling addiction.

So this space right now is a very interesting one to watch, and it is only going to grow.

WHITFIELD: Right. I mean, people are celebrating the gains, but there is a lot of debt associated with this kind of gambling as well.

All right, Nathaniel Meyersohn, thanks so much.

We'll be right back.