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U.S. Abstains in U.N. Vote on Gaza Ceasefire, Straining Israel Relations; Putin Blames Radical Islamists for Moscow Concert Hall Massacre, Accuses Ukraine; Trump Boasts Financial Prosperity After Bond Reduction in Civil Fraud Case; MLB Star Shohei Ohtani Defends Integrity Amid Former Interpreter's Scandal; U.S., U.K. Accuse Chinese Hackers of Major Cyber Espionage Campaign; Russian Using Starlink Satellites Despite Sanctions; Social Media Fills the Rumor Void the Tabloids Leave Behind. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired March 26, 2024 - 00:00   ET





JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Coming up here on CNN. Unconditional support no more. The U.S. abstains at the Security Council, allowing a U.N. resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza to pass.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: But there are really a lot of questions.

VAUSE: Questions like, why does the Russian president keep blaming Ukraine without evidence of being behind Friday's massacre at a concert hall outside Moscow?


VAUSE: From rags to riches. Last week, Team Trump couldn't pay the $464 million bond to a New York court. Now Trump says he's swimming in cash.


UNKNOWN: Live from Atlanta, this is CNN Newsroom with John Vause.

VAUSE: Relations between the United States and Israel, already badly strained over the war in Gaza, appear to have hit a new low after the U.S. did not use its veto power at the U.N. Security Council and allowed a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza to pass. The Israeli prime minister criticized that decision by the U.S. to abstain from the vote, saying it was a change in policy, and in protest canceled a visit to Washington by an Israeli delegation. White House officials say they were perplexed by what they described as a major overreaction by Prime Minister Netanyahu. Here's the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. explaining why the U.S. abstained. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: We did not agree with everything in the resolution. For that reason, we were unfortunately not able to vote yes. However, as I've said before, we fully support some of the critical objectives in this non-binding resolution. And we believe it was important for the council, to speak out and make clear that our ceasefire must, any ceasefire must come with the release of all hostages.


VAUSE: Still, the Israeli defense minister, Yoav Gallant, is in Washington for meetings with senior U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, on Monday. Blinken once again explained U.S. objections to a major ground offensive in Rafah and insisted there were alternatives which would achieve the same military results. The delegation, which was heading to Washington, at the request of President Biden, included two senior aides, both close to Netanyahu.

Biden wanted to discuss Rafah and present military alternatives to a major ground offensive. While the overall impact of canceling that visit by Israel may be limited, it was still a very stark and public rebuke by Israel to one of its most important allies. CNN's MJ Lee has more.

MJ LEE, CNN SENIOR WHOTE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Tensions are running incredibly high between President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Remember, it was about a week ago that the two leaders spoke on the phone. President Biden had personally asked the Prime Minister to send an Israeli delegation to here in Washington to discuss all things related to the war, including the imminent incursion into Rafah that Israeli officials continue to talk about. The Prime Minister abruptly cancelling that delegation's trip here to Washington after the U.S. abstained, rather than vetoed, a U.N. Security Council resolution essentially allowing that to pass. Now, U.S. officials on Monday saying that they were perplexed by this reaction and saying that it was an overreaction by the Israelis. Take a listen.


JOHN KIRBY, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COMMUNICATIONS ADVISER: We're kind of perplexed by this. It does not represent a change at all in our policy. It's very consistent with everything that we've been saying we want to get done here. And we get to decide what our policy is. The Prime Minister's office seems to be indicating through public statements that we somehow changed here. We haven't.


LEE: The White House is essentially saying that it's too bad that U.S. officials now don't have this opportunity to meet in person with some of their Israeli counterparts. But they are also making clear that Ron Dermer, who is somebody who would have been a part of that delegation who is no longer coming to Washington later this week, that he is somebody that U.S. officials are in constant touch with, including on Monday, and that those conversations are going to continue. One U.S. official also suggested that domestic politics might have been in play and may have been a factor in Prime Minister Netanyahu's decision to cancel that delegation's trip. MJ LEE CNN, at the White House.

VAUSE: David Sanger joins us this hour. He's a CNN political and national security analyst as well as New York Times White House and national security correspondent. Good to see you, welcome back.


VAUSE: Okay so here's more from the state department on why the U.S. decided to abstain on this U.N. resolution.



MATTHEW MILLER, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: The reason we didn't veto it is because there were also things in that resolution that were consistent with our long-term position. Most importantly, that there should be a ceasefire and that there should be a release of hostages, which is what we understood also to be the government of Israel's position.


VAUSE: But does this also reflect what Senator Chuck Schumer warned Israel about last week? It's a shift in policy towards Israel. The days of unconditional support are now over.

SANGER: Well, the shift is certainly underway, and I think that you could say that the Israelis, by defying President Biden so many times, John, and moving ahead with this military operation, ended up alienating some of their strongest supporters in Washington. Now, the State Department and the White House went out of their way today to say nothing had changed, but something really had, because they abstained on this resolution, which meant the resolution went ahead. They didn't veto it. Whereas a few months ago, I think they would have vetoed it. And the reason they would have vetoed it is that it was completely missing any condemnation of Hamas for the original attack that started all of this.

VAUSE: So I want you to listen to the response to the ceasefire resolution from Israel's defense minister. Here he is.


YOAV GALLANT, ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER: We have no moral right to stop the war while there are still hostages held in Gaza. The lack of a decisive victory in Gaza may bring us closer to a war in the north.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: So it seems likely Israel will not abide by the ceasefire. They've said just as much. So what are the consequences if they do, in fact, defy the resolution?

SANGER: Well, they may not abide by the resolution. The ceasefire is being negotiated separately, and we think there's been some progress on that. It would be temporary. The deal that we understand is taking shape. Would involve the release of 40 hostages, a very high number of Palestinians released for each Israeli. But we think the Israeli government has now agreed to that. We don't know about whether there are other conditions and whether Hamas will be willing to go live with them.

But what is clear here right now is that the Israelis, the Israelis continue to say that they will move ahead with the military action in Rafah. And President Biden and his aides continue to say that would be a mistake. But no one is laying out what the consequences for that mistake would be.

VAUSE: So in protest to all this, Israel has now canceled a trip to Washington by two senior advisers to the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. They were meant to discuss alternatives to that ground offensive on Rafah, among other issues. And one of the reasons why the U.S. President hugged Israel so closely in those days after October seven, it was in the hope of having some influence over the Israelis and how they conducted this war. That seems to have backfired badly on Joe Biden, both in relations with Israel, also domestically as well at home.

SANGER: Well, he was taking a bet, which was that you did not get anywhere with the Israelis by publicly criticizing them. So he hugged them in public, did the mild warning. Don't make the same mistake we made in- after 9-11 and then hope this would work out. And it has not. Now, there's a little bit of theater underway here, John, in canceling that trip because the defense minister, Defense Minister Gallant, is in Washington today. And he's been meeting with Secretary of State Blinken, with Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser. He's going to meet with Lloyd Austin, the defense minister. There's no message that the administration isn't conveying to him that they wouldn't also also conveyed to this this canceled delegation.

VAUSE: David, thank you for being with us. Really appreciate your insights as always.

SANGER: Great to be with you, John.

VAUSE: Three days after a massacre at a concert hall just outside Moscow, the Russian president finally acknowledged the attack was carried out by radical Islamists. For days, the U.S. and other countries had said ISIS was to blame and ISIS has claimed responsibility. But Vladimir Putin was quick to add, without offering any evidence, the gunmen were acting on orders from Kiev and Ukraine was still ultimately responsible. Putin held a conference call with government officials Monday, telling them the attack fit into a series of attacks by Ukraine on Russia.


PUTIN: And the question immediately arises, who benefits from this? This atrocity may be only a link in a whole series of attempts by those who have been fighting our country since 2014 at the hands of the neo-Nazi Kiev regime.


The goal, as I already said, is to sow panic in our society and at the same time show our own population that all is not lost for the Kiev regime.


VAUSE: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky responded to Putin's accusations, calling him sick and cynical. Ukraine has strongly denied any involvement in Friday's attack. Much of the concert hall is now rubble. The gunmen set it on fire. Russian officials say hundreds of specialists are now searching through the debris, looking for the remains of victims. Right now, death toll stands at 139. Four men accused of carrying out the attack have appeared in a Moscow court. All of them bloodied and bruised, one in a wheelchair. A new video recorded as they were taken into custody appears to show the men being beaten and possibly tortured. CNN chief global affairs correspondent Matthew Chance has the story. Comes with a warning. Some of the images are very disturbing.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CHIEF GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Bloodshed at the concert hall near Moscow. Gunmen running amok before setting the crowded building ablaze. Killing more than 130 people inside. Now the suspected attackers from Tajikistan in Central Asia have appeared in a Moscow court, looking battered amid reports of a brutal interrogation. The Kremlin is refusing to comment on allegations of torture. But disturbing video has emerged of the suspects being run down by Russian security forces and ruthlessly beaten. One appears to have had part of his ear cut off on camera during questioning. Electrocution and beatings have also been shown.

Meanwhile, eyewitnesses are recounting the terrifying ordeal they endured last week. They didn't scream or tell anyone to take cover, recalls Anastasia. They were just walking around and gunning everyone down, methodically and in silence, she says. It's an outrage that's left many here shocked and questioning just how safe in this country they really are. Well as Russians mourn the victims of this attack, the Kremlin is defending its own security services. Amid criticism, it failed to heed intelligence warnings from the United States and others. And while ISIS has repeatedly said it carried out the attack, the Kremlin is still trying to implicate Ukraine, raising concerns it may use this tragedy to rally support for its war. And divert attention from the fact that Russia these days feels deeply insecure. Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: Well on the day Donald Trump was ordered to make bond of almost half a billion dollars in a civil fraud judgement, money which his lawyer said he did not have, came a lifeline from a New York Appeals Court reducing that bond to $175 million and giving him ten days to pay. Surely before the ruling when the possible seizure of Trump properties seemed a very likely possibility, he complained on his platform, Truth social, about quote being forced to sell his babies. But it seems that was not necessary, at least not yet. The appeals court gave him essentially a 60% discount on the bond, which Trump said would be an honor to post. Despite that break, he baselessly accused President Joe Biden of orchestrating his trials for political gain.


TRUMP: So a lot of things happened today. This is all about election interference. This is all Biden run things, meaning Biden and his thugs, because I don't know if he knows he's alive. And its a shame. It's a shame what's happening to our country. This is election interference.


VAUSE: Also Monday, the first of Trump's criminal trials, the hush money case, we now know will get underway in three weeks. The judge set the trial date after dismissing the Trump's team motion to toss the indictment altogether. Norm Eisen is an expert on law, ethics and anti-corruption. He's also a CNN legal analyst and served as special counsel to the House Judiciary Committee for the first impeachment of Donald Trump. He joins us now from New York. Good to see you, Norm. Thanks for being with us.

NORMAN EISEN, CNN LEHAL ANALYST: Nice to be with you, John.

VAUSE: OK, so when it comes to Team Trump, the only consistency is total inconsistency. Listen to Donald Trump speaking on Monday about the appeals court decision to reduce that bond, which he could not raise money for last week.


TRUMP: I have a lot of cash. You know, I do, because you looked at my statements. I mean, you've been examining my statements for a long time and I have much more than that in cash. But I would also like to be able to use some of my cash to get elected. They don't want me to use my cash to get elected. They don't want that.



VAUSE: You know last week, the lawyers were saying they didn't have the money to cover the $464 million bond. Now, it's been reduced to $175 million. That's a 62 percent reduction. Is that usual in a bond? And did the court explain why it decided to reduce it? And has there been any attempt to explain where the money came from?

EISEN: The reduction in the bond is not usual, but nothing is normal when it comes to Trump world, John. This is still an enormous sum. We just heard Donald Trump say we know he has a lot of cash because that's in his statements. John, those are the same statements that were found to be fraudulent by the New York judge, Judge Ngoran, that led to this. Does he have the money, doesn't he have the money? $175 million is still a lot. We'll see if he can put it up. I suspect he will be able to post that bond, and it is normal to have variations by an appellate court if they think something is going to be punitive. If it's going to put the cart before the horse, and decide the case before they've had a chance to weigh in. But they are moving it on a rocket docket. Donald Trump's brief is due in July, so this is going to come to a head just a little later than we thought because his appellate grounds are very, very weak.

VAUSE: The other big trial, though, the really big one that also happened today, or Monday rather, was the 2016 election interference case, the hush money payment to the porn star. This is the trial which is now going ahead, which presents a lot of trouble, a potential legal peril for Donald Trump.

EISEN: It does, John. It's a serious case. The district attorney, Alvin Bragg, is going to argue to the court, to the jury, and to the court of opinion that this is a democracy case. That it's a case of campaign corruption, hiding information that voters were entitled to, and covering it up by falsifying documents. These 34 felonies that have been charged each carry a prison term of up to four years. So, you could see, I was in court today. You could see this weighing down on Donald Trump as he came into the courtroom, scowling as he dealt with the judge, and he was not pleased that his effort at delay failed. He is finally going to face accountability in the form of a criminal case with a jury of his peers and serious penalties.

VAUSE: And the judge actually scolded Trump and his lawyers who accused the district attorney of misconduct. Heres part of the courtroom transcript. You are literally accusing the Manhattan DA's office and the people assigned to this case of prosecutorial misconduct, and of trying to make me complicit in it, and you don't have a single site to support that position. You know, Trump has always made a lot of baseless allegations. This one seemed to hit a nerve. Why? And what could be the impact here?

EISEN: Well, the judge was clearly frustrated that Donald Trump and his lawyers made legal and factual claims that were unfounded. Actually, it wasn't even close to making out a case to postpone this trial, and he's fed up. Unlike others, he's not willing to tolerate Donald Trump's usual strategy of the delay game. John, I jotted down all of angry statements the judge made today. He said that what the reality was was not what he had been led to believe. That it was disconcerting what Trump was arguing. He warned Trump's lawyers, be careful where you go.

He said it was somewhat misleading. He demanded, why didn't you raise this sooner? So you could see, again, in court, the judge's anger was palpable. He stared Todd Blanch, Trump's lawyer, in the eye. Judge Mershon is a very mild-mannered judge, not today. And the danger for Trump is, this is the judge who is going to preside over the case. Trump and his team have used up their capital with the judge. And if Trump is convicted, this is the judge who will sentence him.

VAUSE: Yeah, and obviously, they're not on good terms right now. So we'll see what happens. Norm Eisen, thank you for being in court for us today. We appreciate it.

EISEN: Thanks, John.

VAUSE: Take care. Federal law enforcement raided the Miami and Los Angeles homes of musician Sean Diddy Combs Monday. It's unclear whether the rapper and producer is the target of the raid, but a source tells CNN the search is related to an ongoing sex trafficking investigation. Controversy has swirled around Diddy for months now.


He's been the subject of at least four lawsuits, which include allegations of rape and sex trafficking. All of which he has denied. A statement from the lawyer representing two of the rapper's accusers says, hopefully, this is the beginning of a process that will hold Mr. Combs responsible for his depraved conduct. Still ahead. The highest paid player in baseball breaks his silence, Shohei Ohtani, speaking out on criminal allegations facing his former interpreter. Also, the U.S. and U.K. accuse Chinese hackers of a vast, years-long cyber espionage campaign targeting millions, including lawmakers and government officials.


VAUSE: The highest-paid player in Major League Baseball, Shohei Ohtani, says he's never bet on baseball or any other sport. The LA Dodgers superstar, addressing the theft and gambling allegations against his former interpreter now for the first time. And CNN's Nick Watt has details.

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Shohei Ohtani came out today and spoke hoping to lay to bed all the rumors and the stories that have been circulating since this story first broke nearly a week ago. Ohtani spoke through a new interpreter and basically said that his longtime interpreter and friend, Ipe Mizuhara, is basically a liar, a gambler, and a thief. Take a little listen to what he had to say through that interpreter.


TRANSLATOR FOR SHOHEI OHTANI, LOS ANGELES DODGERS DESIGNATED HITTER: I never bet on baseball or any other sports or never have asked somebody to do it on my behalf. And I have never went through a bookmaker to bet on sports. Up until a couple days ago, I didn't know that this was happening. Ipe has been stealing money from my account and has told lies.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WATT: Now, some suspicion had fallen on Ohtani because of dueling narratives and also because the bookmaker at the center of all this. He had apparently been telling people that Shohei Ohtani was his client, not Ipe Mizuhara, the interpreter. Now, I spoke to the lawyer for that bookie. The bookie is Matthew Boyer. The lawyer is Diane Bass. She said, listen, Boyer, sure, he might have said that, but he was just bragging, boasting. You know, it was a good marketing ploy to say that Shohei Ohtani, perhaps the greatest baseball player to ever live, was your client. But she reiterated that Ohtani and the bookie had zero direct contact whatsoever.

Now, why this is such a big story? Well, this is Shohei Ohtani. He's opening week here at the L.A. Dodgers. He came on a $700 million, 10- year contract. He's a two-way player. He pitches. He hits. He is spoken of in the same breaths as Babe Ruth. And, you know, there was a poll of MLB players asked who's the best player right now. Two-thirds of them said it was Ohtani. So Ohtani and the Dodgers clearly trying to put this to bed so that the focus can be on him at the Dodgers, an opening day Thursday. Nick Watt, CNN, inside Dodger Stadium.


VAUSE: A group of Chinese hackers has been sanctioned by the U.S. for a years-long cyber espionage campaign. Seven men were indicted in U.S. federal court Monday, accused of targeting critical infrastructure and government officials, including lawmakers, on behalf of China's top spy agency. Authorities say millions of Americans may have had their data compromised, and the U.K. says the same hacker group likely breached the British Electoral Commission, as well as spying on British MPs.


IAIN DUNCAN SMITH, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MP: The West has to wake up to the fact this is a challenge to the very way that we live our lives, to our belief in democracy, human rights, freedom of expression, freedom of worship.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: Live now at Hong Kong, CNN's Kristie Lu Stout is with us this hour. So, at the end of the day, what does this actually mean? What's the effect of this? And I guess Beijing is taking it well.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, as well as you can imagine John. Now, this is what we know. The U.S. and U.K. are taking action after accusing Beijing of malicious cyber activity against millions of targets from Washington to Westminster. On Monday, both U.S. and British officials, they filed charges, they imposed sanctions against Chinese state-linked hacking groups, and China has dismissed the allegations. Now, officials in both countries, they called out the hacking group. It's called Advanced Persistence Threat 31, or APT 31. Saying that it's an arm of China's Ministry of State Security.

And targets include White House staff, U.S. senators, British MPs, and officials around the world who are critical of China. And in an indictment that was unsealed on Monday against seven of the alleged Chinese hackers, U.S. prosecutors said that they targeted emails, they targeted online storage, and the phone call records of millions of Americans. We have a statement for you. Let's bring it up. This is from the FBI Director Christopher Wray, who said this, quote, todays announcement exposes China's continuous and brash efforts to undermine our nations cybersecurity and to target Americans and our innovation. Now, officials in the U.K. call this group, APT 31, accused them of hacking British lawmakers who are critical of China.

And the U.K. also said a second group of Chinese spies targeted the U.K.'s electoral watchdog that separately compromised the data of millions more people across the U.K. This is what we heard from the British Home Secretary. James Cleverley, he said this, quote, it is reprehensible that China sought to target our democratic institutions. China's attempts at espionage did not give them the results they wanted unquote. The U.S. identified the hackers with the help of the Five Eyes. This is the intelligence-sharing alliance between the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

And we did hear China's response. We heard from the embassy in London, China's embassy, saying it strongly opposes these accusations. The question was raised on Monday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs briefing. We heard from Lin Jian, the spokesperson, saying sufficient and objective evidence are required when investigating a cyber incident and coming to a conclusion, as opposed to smearing other countries without facts or politicizing cybersecurity. But we do want to point out that China has also accused the West of hacking campaigns. Back to you.

VAUSE: Oh, we all hack each other at the end of the day, don't we? Anyway, Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. Thank you for being with us. Appreciate it. Coming up, how Moscow is using Elon Musk's Starlink terminals to attack Ukrainian forces. Details in a moment.


VAUSE: Welcome back, everyone. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.

No let up in Russian attacks targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure across Ukraine. New video from Ukraine's foreign ministers shows children in Kyiv running for cover as air raid sirens ring out. And a massive explosion from two Russian ballistic missiles sound out in the background.

Ukraine's air force says those missiles were intercepted, but the falling debris damaged some buildings, including an educational building. At least ten people were injured in the attack.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says once again, this highlights the need for more air defenses.

And despite sanctions, Russia appears to be using Starlink satellite communications terminals, the same technology which Ukraine relies on to guide its drone warfare.

Starlink, which is owned by Elon Musk's SpaceX company, is now giving Russian forces a battlefield advantage, as CNN's Nick Paton Walsh explains.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ukraine's newest target Is something they've long cherished themselves: small, white, rectangular satellite Internet terminals from Elon Musk's Starlink, apparently in Russian hands and hit by Ukrainian drones. They're not supposed to be there at all, according to Musk and U.S. sanctions.


WALSH (voice-over): Here, a Russian soldier explains frontline damage to one of their Starlink units, connecting attack drones and command centers.

While Russia has officially denied their use, their army of crowd funders openly flaunts Starlink purchases in third countries. There is one key supplier showing off store-bought drones and five Starlinks, too.


GRAPHIC: The next batch will be bigger, 30 pieces.

WALSH (voice-over): The look on their faces and does not suggest they're too confident in coming home.


GRAPHIC: Take care of yourself.

WALSH (voice-over): She has posted other images of Starlinks and drones bought.

Ukrainian troops we met across the East and South of the front line said Russia has near copied their system of attack drones, using Starlink's Internet signal to control dozens of single-use first- person view devices to swarm Ukrainian positions.

Here is even an intercepted signal one unit told us they had hacked from a Russian drone. You can see it maneuvering into a Ukrainian target.

Near the heavily contested village of Robotyne, down in the bunkers where the drone wars are fought, this change is huge and has come with an apparent complication for the Ukrainians, too.

Their Starlink speeds have been getting slower, said this commander.


GRAPHIC: Before New Year the speed was much higher. Now it decreased by half. I saw information about the Russians, though neutral countries, bringing Starlinks, and using them on the Zaporizhzhia front lines for their purposes.

WALSH (voice-over): Another operator in the same area reported problems in the last month.


GRAPHIC: What we really started to notice is a constant drop of speed and connection. We need to reboot the Starlinks all the time to make them work properly. But eventually speed starts to drop out and connection breaks.


GRAPHIC: And is it messing with your work?


GRAPHIC: Yes, it brings rather unpleasant complications.

ELON MUSK, CEO, SPACEX: Nine thousand active space lasers, so sort of vaguely reminds me of Dr. Evil.

WALSH (voice-over): A lot rests on Musk, while Ukrainian officials went public with their concerns six weeks ago. They've since gone silent. They're perhaps quietly pressuring Musk, who experts think can vet who uses terminals, even if that's trickier in contested areas.

OLEG KUTKOV, SOFTWARE ENGINEER AND STARLINK EXPERT: It's possible SpaceX can pinpoint each terminal, and they know who is who, but the problem is to define ([h) the owner of the account.


Musk is a big child, so it's -- it's important to talk to him and to fan him here, because he might do some good decisions that might be not very good for everyone.

WALSH (voice-over): Musk's SpaceX and Starlink did not respond to requests for comment. They said previously they do no business with the Russian state or military. And if a sanctioned party uses Starlink, "we investigate the claim and take actions to deactivate the terminal, if confirmed."

But as Ukraine's other lifelines wobble or dry up, space-based Internet is one they cannot afford to see slow, lose to the Russians or lose a tool.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London.


VAUSE: Still to come here on CNN, when it comes to wild, baseless conspiracy theories about the royal family, move over Fleet Street. You've got nothing on social media, where the truth goes to die and the crazy, absurd, and outrageous run free.


VAUSE: Boeing's CEO says he'll leave the company by year's end. The announcement from Dave Calhoun comes amid a slew of safety problems at Boeing and several other high-profile resignations, as well.

The company has seen two fatal crashes of its 737 Max planes in 2018 and 2019. More recently, a door plug panel blowout on an Alaska Airlines flight back in January. Also, 737 MAX.

Calhoun called that incident a watershed moment in a memo to employees on Monday.

Well, given their toxic history seems almost hard to believe that, when it comes to the Princess of Wales and her health, the tabloids have been relatively tame, at least compared to social media. Rumors, lies, and conspiracy run amok like never before.

CNN royal correspondent Max Foster has details.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Since Princess Catherine's announcement of her cancer diagnosis and even in the run- up, there's been a markedly restrained response from the British newspapers, by and large, sticking to the facts, careful not to speculate. Lots of sympathy to Kate and her young family.

It's a departure from a past when the tabloids were accused of deep invasions of privacy, illegal tactics, and complete insensitivity. It's been a different story on parts of social media, which filled a vacuum of information with rumor and lies.

The palace found itself unable to control the narrative, and it twisted out of control. For three months, all Kensington Palace would confirm was that the princess had abdominal surgery, then recovered well and wouldn't be appearing again before Easter.

On social media, content creators filled the void, racking up millions of views and followers. No matter how wild and grotesque their claims were, they were cashing in.

When Kate finally came out and explained, they suddenly went quiet.


CATHERINE, PRINCESS OF WALES: In January, I underwent major abdominal surgery in London. And at the time, it was thought that my condition was non-cancerous. The surgery was successful.

However, tests after the operation found cancer had been present.

FOSTER (voice-over): Throughout the weekend, guilt-stricken social media users apologized for buying into the conspiracies. Others just carried on.

Mainstream media hit back at how social media provided a platform for unfounded conspiracy theories.

TikTok pointed us to their transparency center where they say, quote, "Like others in our industry, we do not prohibit people from sharing personal experiences, simply inaccurate myths, or misinformation that could cause reputational or commercial harm in order to balance creative expression with preventing harm."

For Instagram, Neta shared information about their existing third- party fact-checking process and how they deal with misinformation.

X forwarded a post from a senior business operations executive, criticizing the way mainstream media has covered the story, saying every news outlet should apologize.

There are chilling echoes of the way Kate's been dehumanized and commoditized with the way her husband's late mother was hounded by some newspapers.

In a 2017 documentary, Prince William shared an insight into the difficult and continuous dance with the U.K. press.

WILLIAM, PRINCE OF WALES: You've got to maintain a barrier and a boundary, because you cross it. Both sides cross it. A lot of pain and problems can come from it.

FOSTER (voice-over): Prince Harry has gone further, cutting ties with certain parts of the media and challenging tabloids in court. He doesn't have active official social media accounts.

We don't expect to see Kate or the King out in public for some time. It's down to William and Camilla now to do the more whilst caring for their spouses.

Max Foster, CNN, London.


VAUSE: Thanks for watching. I'm John Vause, back at the top of the hour with more CNN NEWSROOM. In the meantime, WORLD SPORT starts after the break.