Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Coast Guard: Six People Missing Now Presumed Dead in Baltimore Bridge Collapse; Combs' Lawyer: Rapper Innocent, Investigation a 'Witch Hunt'; Airdrops of Aid in Gaza Turn Deadly, Sparking Calls for a New Approach; Questions Arise Over the Valuation of Donald Trump's New Media Company Amid Stock Surge; Supreme Court Appears Skeptical of Nationwide Ban on Widely Used Abortion Pill; Judge Imposes Gag Order on Donald Trump Ahead of Hush Money Trial; Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Announces Independent White House Bid with Silicon Valley Entrepreneur as Running Mate. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired March 27, 2024 - 00:00   ET



JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, ahead here on CNN Newsroom.


REAR ADM. SHANNON GILREATH, U.S. COAST GUARD: We do not believe that we're going to find any of these individuals still alive.

VAUSE: The U.S. Coast Guard suspends rescue efforts for six missing construction workers who fell from the Francis Scott Key Bridge after being brought down by a collision with a massive cargo ship.

UNKNOWN: This is what survival in Gaza has come to.

VAUSE: How airdrops of life-saving aid for starving Palestinians have now turned deadly.

UNKNOWN: This is a stock that is not trading on fundamentals.

VAUSE: Also how the stock price of Donald Trump's new media company is divorced from reality, much like his supporters turned investors.


VAUSE: Search and rescue efforts for six construction workers missing after the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore have been suspended. Prepare crews were working overnight fixing potholes on the bridge when it came crashing down around 1.30 a.m. local time, hit by a massive cargo container which had lost power. Eight workers fell to the freezing water below. Two were rescued, one unhurt, the second in a serious condition. The other six now presumed dead. Before the collision, the ship's lights were flickering on and off. It was billowing black smoke. Maritime officials say the ship's pilot did everything possible to avoid a collision, including dropping anchor.

A Mayday call from the ship before the accident gave authorities enough time to stop traffic from crossing the bridge. It was not enough time, though, for the construction workers to make it to safety. The Coast Guard says conditions in the water are just too dangerous for divers, but a search for bodies will resume in the coming hours.


GILREATH: Based on the length of time that we've gone in this search, the extensive search efforts that we've put into it, the water temperature, that at this point we do not believe that we're going to find any of these individuals still alive.


VAUSE: State and federal officials say early indications are this was simply an accident. Investigators are expected to board the ship in the day ahead to speak with crew and recover the voyage data recorder. CNN's Pete Muntean brings our coverage.


PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): A runaway cargo ship taking down an iconic Baltimore bridge is being described as a scene from a movie. Now investigators have new questions about the final moments before the crippled MV Dolly veered off course and into the key bridge. The 911 calls frantic as steel and concrete plunged into the Patapsco River below.

UNKNOWN: The bridge collapsed into the water and there are unknown amounts of people and or vehicles in the water, the entire Key Bridge in the harbor. I advise to hold all traffic from committing to the bridge. I advise, again, the entire Key Bridge has fallen into the harbor.

MUNTEAN (voiceover): Officials say the dolly set sail at 12:28 a.m. under the command of a Port of Baltimore pilot who boards large ships as they navigate the 700-foot-wide channel. Security video shows minutes before the impact, the lights on board the dolly shut off twice. Then the bow swung right. Briefed by the Coast Guard, Maryland Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger says the crew experienced power issues and a loss of propulsion with alarms on the bridge blaring.

GOV. WES MOORE (D-MD): The preliminary investigation points to an accident. We haven't seen any credible evidence of a terrorist attack.

MUNTEAN (voiceover): Key to investigators will be the ship's black box mandated by international law. A voyage data recorder captures parameters like heading, speed, and water depth as well as the condition of the engines, thrusters and rudder. The recorder also captures crew conversations on the bridge, key to investigators probing what caused the crew to apparently lose control.

JENNIFER HOMENDY, U.S. NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD CHAIR: It will be critical. It's a critical piece of our investigation, which is why we have a recorder's team here. MUNTEAN (voiceover): The latest data shows the dolly was traveling at

a speed of eight knots, roughly nine miles per hour, fast enough to trigger a disaster that could have been much worse.

PETE BUTTIGIEG, U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: This is a unique circumstance. I do not know of a bridge that has been constructed to withstand a direct impact from a vessel of this size.

MUNTEAN: The head of the National Transportation Safety Board, Jennifer Homendy, tells me that it seems that Wednesday will be the first time the NTSB will be able to board the MV Dolly. They will also, she says, be looking for any piece of electronic equipment to be able to aid in their investigation. And investigators right now are identifying who they want to interview as part of this investigation. Pete Muntean. CNN. Dundock, Maryland.



VAUSE: Matthew Roblez is a structural engineer with decades of experience. He joins us this hour now from Sandy, Utah. Matthew, thank you for being with us.

MATTHEW ROBLEZ, LICENSED STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Oh, thank you very much. It's my pleasure.

VAUSE: Okay, so in the hours after the collapse of this bridge, President Biden made this promise. Listen to this. Here he is.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: We're going to send all the federal resources they need as we respond to this emergency. And I mean all the federal resources. And we're going to rebuild that port together. It's my intention that the federal government will pay for the entire cost of reconstructing that bridge. And I expect the Congress to support my effort.


VAUSE: It's quite the promise. So let's just look at the basics. How long will it take to simply clear the debris so construction can then start? And once it does start, how long will it be until construction is completed? And what happens until then?

ROBLEZ: So one thing we've got to realize is when they're clearing the debris, It's almost like a crime scene. We've got to figure out what happened, why it happened, how it happened. I mean, it's very obvious a vessel hit the column. It failed. But we don't know why it had that progressive or domino collapse. So they don't--they can't just, you know, scrape the bottom of the ocean for the debris. They have to do it like it's a crime scene. They have to take out each piece, piece by piece by piece.

So that process could take months and months because the forensic engineers, the engineers have to do their job and figure out why there was a progressive collapse. And not just why, but how we can prevent something like this from happening in the future. So you're going to have at least, I'm going to say, half a year of that. But now other bridges have been up in 18 months. If, you know, you've got the full force of the federal government behind you. And when you have something that is such an important thoroughfare to the United States economy, I'm going to guess that within two years it's going to be completely reconstructed.

VAUSE: And in the meantime, what do they do?

ROBLEZ: Well, basically, they start, I bet you there's a team right now starting to design the new bridge that's going on there. I mean, that's kind of how it happened with the I-40 bridge 20 years ago. And I believe that's exactly what's happening now. People are compiling their teams and they're getting ready, especially when you have that endorsement. It's like people know the money's there. People know what has to be done. And so they're compiling their teams. They're getting everything ready to do the design. And then they're going to have to start, you know, I mean, you can imagine the tremendous amount of materials that are going to have to be secured to make that bridge go. And if they do decide to do something temporary, secure the materials for that.

VAUSE: Any idea what this will cost?

ROBLEZ: Oh, I don't really have an idea, but I'm going to say on the order of probably $500 million.

VAUSE: Okay. So I want you to listen to part of the radio chatter between authorities leading up to the moment of impact and the collapse of the bridge. Here it is.


UNKNOWN: One of you guys on the south side, one of you guys on the north side, hold all traffic on the Key Bridge. There's a ship approaching. It just lost their steering. So until you get that under control, we've got to stop all traffic. The whole bridge just fell down. Start, start, whoever, everybody. The whole bridge just collapsed.


VAUSE: It was a fairly astounding moment, and this is when it happened. Somehow the ship without steering managed to hit what appears to be the most vulnerable part of the bridge. And that's what led to that that domino effect with every other part of the bridge coming down. If it had collided with any other area, would the damage have been so extensive as what we've seen happen?

ROBLEZ: No, I don't believe so. The pier that was there, four concrete columns, and concrete, as we know, even though they're reinforced, is not as ductile and yielding as steel. I believe that if it hit somewhere on the archway, there wouldn't have been as much damage or progressive collapse. But then again, you've got to understand, you've got like the Chrysler building going 20 miles an hour into a static structure. So maybe there's nothing that could have prevented it. I will say this. In my opinion, it hit it in the worst possible place. Had it hit it somewhere in the archway, I really don't believe it would have been as bad.

VAUSE: I want you to listen to the Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttigieg, describing just how important this bridge is in the terms of American infrastructure. Here he is.


BUTTIGIEG: This is no ordinary bridge. This is one of the cathedrals of American infrastructure. It has been part of the skyline of this region for longer than many of us have been alive.


VAUSE: Let's be honest here. This is a country which does not invest in infrastructure, does not like spending the money. How many other cathedrals of American infrastructure are like this one vulnerable to collapse?

ROBLEZ: I think there's many. I think there's a lot. But we shouldn't press the panic button too soon. Because collapses like this, bridges are hit all the time. They really are. In fact, the United States Coast Guard did a study a few years ago and said that there were several.


I think it was 2700 bridges were hit in a 10-year period, but they just weren't as catastrophic as this. The chances of a bridge getting hit by a vessel and collapsing in like a 10,000 year return period, it might happen once. So yes, there's a lot of bridges that are vulnerable, but the probability of it happening again anytime soon is probably low.

VAUSE: Matthew Roblez, thank you so much for being with us. We really appreciate your time and your insights. Thank you, sir.

ROBLEZ: Thank you very much.

VAUSE: Hamas is calling for an end to international airdrops of humanitarian aid, saying a dozen people drowned off the coast of Gaza Tuesday trying to recover the packages from the sea. With access by road into Gaza severely limited by the Israeli military, many countries have resorted to airdrops as the only way to get aid into the territory. The U.S. confirms the parachute malfunctioned during its most recent airdrop and adds the packages were dropped over the water deliberately to try and avoid injuries on land. More details now from CNN's Jomana Karadsheh. But a warning, her report contains graphic images.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT(voiceover): As they spot a plane and the aid it begins to drop, they run as fast as they can. It's the rush of a people so desperate, so hungry, who would do anything to feed their children, now on the brink of starvation. This is what survival in Gaza has come to, fighting for food. That little bit of aid that makes it into the north, where manmade famine now looms. People chase parachutes that fell into these choppy waters. It is desperation that drives them into the sea. What you're about to see next is disturbing. It's the reality of a war growing more cruel by the day. The fastest, the fittest emerged with boxes of American issued and ready to eat. Others didn't make it out alive.

People gathered around the thin, frail body of a man who drowned trying to reach that aid. Twelve people drowned, according to paramedics. The parachutes fell into the water, Abu Hamad says, but people went to eat. They went into the water and drowned. The current was so strong, they didn't know how to swim. It's what you do when you have nothing left to lose.

A man goes in swimming to get food for his children. He returns dead, this man says. Bring us aid through the land crossings. Our children are dying. We are dying. What are you doing? Where is the world? The world has been piling up life-saving aid into trucks stuck at land crossings, seemingly powerless in the face of Israel that's accused of using starvation as a weapon in this war, a charge it denies. Forcing the international community to resort to dropping aid from the sky. Several countries carried out aid drops on this day, deliveries that have been criticized for being ineffective, insufficient and unsafe. Earlier this month, another airdrop disaster when a parachute failed and eight packages came crashing down, killing at least five people. It's a war that's testing humanity. And many say this is what failure looks like. Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, London.


VAUSE: An Israeli woman who spent 55 days as a hostage in Gaza is the first to say publicly that she was sexually abused by Hamas militants. In an interview with The New York Times, Amit Shusana said on Oct. 7 she was beaten and then dragged into Gaza. She was chained by her ankle in a child's bedroom there, where she was forced to commit a sexual act at gunpoint.

Shusana says later she was reunited with other hostages, severely beaten by several militants, and spent time in a tunnel. She was freed in November during a terrorist attack in Gaza. In a temporary truce between Israel and Hamas, earlier this month, the United Nations released a report saying there is clear and convincing evidence that Hamas militants have raped hostages in Gaza. The Israeli president, Isaac Herzog, is praising Shusana's courage, saying she speaks to all those who cannot speak.

The issue of abortion, back in front of the U.S. Supreme Court as justices now weigh a nationwide ban on a widely used abortion pill. Details on that after the break. Also, Trump media goes public, now meant to be worth billions and billions of dollars. My financial experts say that windfall will not last.


VAUSE: Another major abortion decision looms for the U.S. Supreme Court after hearing arguments in a case over access to the pill mefipristone, sorry, the primary drug used for medically induced abortions. Well, a ruling is not expected for months. A majority of justices already appear skeptical of a nationwide ban or new limits on the pill. CNN's Paula Reid has details from Washington.


PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hundreds of protesters gathered on the steps of the Supreme Court as the justices considered the most significant abortion case since they overturned Roe v. Wade.

UNKNOWN: We will ban them, yes we will.

REID (voice-over): This case focuses on expanded access to mefepristone, one of two drugs typically used in the process known as medication abortion, which accounts for roughly two-thirds of abortions in the U.S. But during Tuesday's arguments, a majority of the justices appeared likely to maintain the expanded access to the drug, which was first approved by the FDA in 2000.

NEIL GORSUCH, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE U.S. SUPREME COURT (voiceover) We've had what one might call a rash of universal injunctions or vacatures. And this case seems like a prime example of turning what could be a small lawsuit into a nationwide legislative assembly on an FDA rule or any other federal government action.

REID (voice-over): Shortly after Roe was overturned, a conservative group of anti-abortion doctors and advocates sued the FDA over its approval of mefipristone, and the case now focuses on FDA approval of expanded access to the drug.

UNKNOWN: Don't you agree?

REID (voice-over): But during the hearing, justices from across the ideological spectrum pressed the group challenging the drug as to whether it had standing or the right to bring the case, asking their lawyer about what harm the group faced.

ELENA KAGAN, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE U.S. SUPREME COURT: May I ask Ms. Holly about your basic theory of standing? I mean, you're just saying even FDA admits that there are going to be some adverse events. People are going to show up in emergency rooms. People are going to come face to face with one of our doctors who objects to some aspect of the treatment.

BRETT KAVANAUGH, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE U.S. SUPREME COURT: Just to confirm on the standing issue, under federal law, no doctors can be forced against their consciences to perform or assist in an abortion, correct?

REID (voice-over) : And Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson pressed on why the group believes restricting everyone's access to the drug is necessary given that doctors can raise religious objections under federal law.

KETANJI BROWN JACKSON, ASSOCIARE JUSTICE OF THE U.S. SUPREME COURT: I mean, it makes perfect sense for the individual doctors to seek an exemption, but as I understand it, they already have that. And so what they're asking for here is that in order to prevent them from possibly ever having to do these kinds of procedures, everyone else should be prevented from getting access to this medication. So why isn't that plainly overbroad scope of the remedy, the end of this case?


REID: We expect this decision to come in late June, which will, of course, be the heart of the presidential campaign season. Now, whatever the justices decide here could potentially be a factor in that critical race. Since Roe was overturned, Democrats have used the abortion issue to galvanize their supporters. Whereas former President Trump, who has taken credit for Roe being overturned, has also said, look, when it comes to Republicans, there need to be some concessions on this issue because, quote, we need to win elections. Paula Reid, CNN, Washington.


VAUSE: Less than three weeks before the start of Donald Trumps first criminal trial, the Hush Money Porn Star case, a judge has slapped a gag order on Trump preventing him from making statements about most of the people involved in the trial. Including Stormy Daniels, the porn star at the centre of the case as well as Micheal Cohen, Trumps former lawyer turned bad man (ph), both expected to be witnesses. The judge issued the order Tuesday knowing the former president has an history of verbal attacks on individuals at all levels of the justice system, even jurors.

Judge Juan Merchan said, quote, these extrajudicial statements went far beyond defending himself against attacks by public figures. Indeed, his statements were threatening, inflammatory and denigrating. Judges in other Trump cases have issued similar gag orders as well to varying degrees of effect. The stock price in Trump's media company, which includes Truth Social, off to a soaring start on the Nasdaq, hitting $78 a share the first day of trading before closing at $58. This marks the first time in decades that any part of Trump's business, has gone public. Experts warn the windfall will likely be short-lived.

Truth Social is hemorrhaging money and users, losing about $49 million over the nine months last year and less than half a million active users in February. Trump's companies also have a history of going bankrupt, to say the least. Rana Fruhar is CNN's global economic analyst, as well as a global business columnist and associate editor for the Financial Times. Welcome back.

RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ALANYST: Hey, thank you for having me. VAUSE: Always a pleasure. Now, there seems to be agreement on one thing from most everybody, this is absurd. Just looking at the basic numbers, the value of Trump media at $8 billion is completely and totally divorced from reality, especially given this, Trump media generated just $3.4 million of revenue through the first nine months of last year, according to filings. The company lost $49 million over that time period. Unlike Reddit, which was only valued at $6.4 billion at the IPO last week, even though it generated 160 times more revenue. Is it too simplistic to write this off as just a meme stock, which are overvalued shares driven to a higher price because there's some kind of popularity on social media? Is this just a reflection of Trump's popularity? What else is going on here?

FOROOHAR: Well, yes, yes and, you know, listen, the guy is a brand. He's always been a brand. And in some ways, this is just the extension, brand extension into the marketplace of Donald Trump. You know, like Donald Trump. He's always been a brand, you know, like him or loathe him. I think, though, there's something else interesting going on in this idea of the meme stock that you mentioned and the power of retail investors, which we've been seeing, you know, as platforms grow for individuals to trade stocks. I mean, I have to say, I got quite worried a few years ago when my 13 year old was online saying, hey, mom, you know, buy this. But it's as though it's become a sort of a sports gaming kind of casino.

That's dovetailing with the fact that Trump's base and the politics of his base is perfect for this sort of thing. I mean, this is what they love. The idea that, you know, you're going to go in, you're going to bid the stock up, you're going to show your support not just for the stock, but for the politics of this man. It's a sort of a diabolical collision.

VAUSE: Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich posted on X, we've reached an absurd and dangerous point where most of Trump's net worth will be tied up in a publicly traded media company, DJT. What foreign countries and funds will take shares in DJT? What kind of leverage will that grant them? You know, it's an interesting question, given Trump could actually win the November election, be president. Are there any oversight laws here? Because traditionally presidents have always put their assets into some kind of blind trust, but they're not required to do so. There's no law for that. It's tradition. Trump does not follow tradition.

FOROOHAR: That's right. I mean, you you're looking at the ultimate disruptor here. And I. I worry, frankly, that we are going to see absolutely no checks in this way. You know, there's just no precedent for this, John. We're really in uncharted territory. We already know that this is a man who is vulnerable to manipulation by overseas entities. You know, it's incredibly worrisome. And, you know, if you see a Republican Congress as well, you're not going to get a chance that a law is going to be passed to prevent this kind of thing.

VAUSE: You talked about the intersection of Trump's base and his politics, and this is the perfect stuff for them. Well, here it is again. Trump selling Bibles. Watch this.



DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESUMPTIVE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I'm proud to endorse and encourage you to get this Bible. We must make America pray again.


VAUSE: And as the order page on the books website urges us all order, yours today easy to read large print and slim design the Bible invites you to explore God's Word anywhere anytime just $59.99. You know this moment actually had to happen is that you're much like the stock price and the shares, this is sort of Trump's crash crunch. The politics and the hypocrisy all colliding at once.

FOROOHAR: It's amazing and religion in there too John. You can't make it up, you cannot make it up.

VAUSE: And this is perfect for his base. They are they are right wing Christians.


VAUSE: They believe in Trump, they don't actually even believe that Trump is religious but they're still willing to go along with all of this.

FOROOHAR: No (CROSSTALK). You know, I mean that's something actually a lot of overseas viewers might be interested to know that evangelical Americans actually believe that the devil can be used as a tool for good. You know if it's in God's service. So you don't have to think that that Trump's an angel to believe that he's doing God's work on Earth if you're an evangelical.

VAUSE: I never knew that, thank you Rana. Good to see you.

FOROOHAR: Nice to see you.

VAUSE: When it comes to the Democratic Party there are a few families more storied and revered than the Kennedys but now Kennedy is making a run for the White House as an independent candidate. And on Tuesday Robert F Kennedy Jr announced his running mate, Silicon Valley attorney and entrepreneur Nicole Shanahan. Shes first time candidate who isn't well known outside the tech sector as she first backed Kennedy during his stint in the Democratic Party but both are now running as independents.


NICOLE SHANAHAN, U.S. INDEPENDENT VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is only one anti-war candidate today, and you won't find him in the Democratic Party or the Republican Party; he is an independent. He is an Independent, Robert F. Kennedy Jnr. Yes, It is his commitment to peace and to the welfare of hard-working people in America that draw me, as a person of compassion, to his candidacy. (END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: She may not bring much of a buzz to the campaign, but she certainly brings a lot of money. Shanahan reportedly gave four million dollars to a pro-Kennedy super PAC to help pay for a Super Bowl ad that ran this year. She could also play a key role in boosting fundraising in the future for the campaign. Do you think? Still ahead much more on that deadly bridge collapse in Baltimore, including what we know about the crew of the cargo ship which collided with the bridge.


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


In the coming hours, recovery efforts will resume for the crew -- we're told the construction crew which has been missing after a deadly bridge collapse in Baltimore. The massive cargo ship which struck the bridge, the Francis Scott Key Bridge, early Tuesday was leaving port when it lost power, careened into one of the bridge's support columns, sending people and vehicles into the frigid water below.

Two were rescued. As I say, six others believed to be from a construction crew, presumed dead.

Officials say they're concerned about the structural integrity of what's left of the bridge as it's posed by the debris. So there's poor visibility in the water.

It is just 12:30 a.m. there in Baltimore, Maryland. These are live images right now of the destruction of the bridge and the ship.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The changing conditions out there have made it dangerous for the first responders, the divers in the water. We will still have surface ships out overnight. At 0600 hours tomorrow, we're hoping to put divers in the water and begin a more detailed search to do our very best to recover those six missing people.


VAUSE: This was a Singapore flagged vessel. It was heading for India. We're also learning more about the crew members, as well.

CNN's Ivan Watson following developments from Hong Kong. And Ivan, I guess one of the big things that the authorities want to know about in Baltimore is why this Singapore-flagged vessel lost power and then careened into the bridge.

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And that's one of the big questions that the investigators are going to be looking at right now as they interview the crew and study the ship's logs and information.

Now, I'm coming to you from a boat approaching Victoria Harbour off the coast of Hong Kong next to a container ship. This is managed by a different company, but it's to help give our viewers a sense of the scale of these enormous cargo ships.

The Dali, which slammed into that bridge in Baltimore, was constructed in 2015. It was about 300 meters long. Now, I don't know the length of this particular ship, but it does give you this -- a bit of the sense of the size and the scale of these monster vessels.

The Dali could carry up to 10,000 containers like that. The ones that you see stacked up there, up to 4 and 5 containers high on that ship. At the time of the collision, the Dali had about 4,600 -- 4,679 containers like that on board.

And industry insiders and our ship is -- our boat is being pitched back and forth, as you can see by the wake from this enormous vessel. So try to imagine a ship of the size of the Dali slamming into a bridge.

Now, it was owned and managed by a company called Synergy, relatively new in the industry, an insider tells me from Singapore, which manages hundreds of other vessels.

But there are a whole host of different kinds of companies that were chartering the ship that actually own the ship. And then Synergy, which managed it.

There is a lot of regulation and inspection of the types of ships that take place, and the Dali is no exception to that. So as recently as, I believe, September, the Dali was respected by the U.S. Coast Guard and given a clean bill of health. Yes, that's right. September 9. That was in -- in U.S. waters.

And then it was also inspected in June of 2023, where it had a deficiency. This is at a port in Chile, in San Antonio, Chile, where there was a deficiency for propulsion and auxiliary machine gauges and thermometers. That's going to be a big question. That's within the last year. Could whatever have been seen to have been going wrong then have contributed to the apparent loss of power and the fact that the crew had to use anchors to try to slow the ship before it ultimately collided into the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore?

A final factor is that there are 22 Indian crew members on board. Now, imagine a ship of this size with only less than two dozen crew members on board. And that's how a lot of these container cargo ships are operating around the world right now. All of them are believed to be healthy right now.

Back to you, John.

VAUSE: Ivan Watson, somewhere out there in the middle of the ocean. I appreciate your time. Thank you.

Still to come, an attorney for Sean "Diddy" Combs is blasting the search of the rapper's two homes by federal agents. Details on the allegations surrounding him after a quick break.



VAUSE: London's high court has paused extradition proceedings for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. In a ruling Tuesday, the court gave the U.S. three weeks to make assurances concerning Assange's First Amendment rights and to confirm he would not receive the death penalty.

Assange has been in the U.K. for more than a decade. His wife remained supportive outside the hearing.


STELLA ASSANGE, JULIAN ASSANGE'S WIFE: Julian is a political prisoner. He is a journalist, and he is being persecuted, because he exposed the true cost of war in human lives.


VAUSE: Assange faces an 18-count indictment in the U.S. dating back to 2010, when he began publishing large amounts of classified documents on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

An attorney for the embattled media mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs say his client -- or says his client is the target of a witch hunt. Combs has been facing civil -- civil lawsuits of allegations of sexual assault, now the target of a federal investigation.

But his attorney says Combs is innocent and will fight the allegations. CNN's Josh Campbell has our report.


JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sean "Diddy" Combs, music mogul --

SEAN "DIDDY" COMBS, RAP MOGUL (singing): I'm the definition of --

CAMPBELL (voice-over): -- now the target of a federal investigation carried out by a team that specializes in human trafficking crimes. Two homes belonging to Combs, one in Los Angeles and one in Miami Beach, were searched Monday, according to a law enforcement source briefed on the investigation.

A second law enforcement source familiar with the search warrants tells CNN agents were authorized to search his homes for documents, phones, computers, and other electronic devices.

Armed vehicles descended on the property simultaneously, a precaution related to armed private security teams employed by Combs.

His homes were searched by HSI, the principal investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, with personnel stationed across the globe, which specializes in countering human trafficking, focused both on rescuing victims and identifying and prosecuting suspected traffickers.

This investigation coming on the heels of several civil lawsuits.

ELIZABETH WAGMEISTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: All of them were incredibly graphic, accusing Diddy of rape, grooming, sexual assault, drugging women. There's a lot of similarities in these lawsuits.

CAMPBELL (voice-over): One of those from a former girlfriend, Cassandra Ventura, who goes by the stage name Cassie, alleging rape and physical abuse, was settled in November.

In a December statement, Combs responded to the claims and all the lawsuits, saying, "Sickening allegations have been made against me by individuals looking for a quick payday. Let me be absolutely clear: I did not do any of the awful things being alleged."

Cassie's attorney responding to Monday's searches and the investigation: "Hopefully, this is the beginning of a process that will hold Mr. Combs responsible for his depraved conduct."

Another lawsuit, filed in February by a former employee, producer Rodney Jones, who goes by the stage name Lil Rod, accusing Combs of, among other things, sexual assault.

The musician was not at either home at the time, his whereabouts still unknown.

WAGMEISTER: This is a huge stain on his reputation, to say the least, and this really feels like a fall from grace for one of the biggest stars and moguls in the music world.


CAMPBELL: Now we received a statement today from Combs's attorney, blasting the show of force by armed tactical federal agents outside both residences. The attorney calling this a witch hunt and a gross overuse of military-level force.

Still, he says that Combs is cooperating with investigators. He goes on to say in the statement that "Neither Mr. Combs nor any of his family members have been arrested; nor has their ability to travel been restricted in any way. There has been no finding of criminal or civil liability with any of these allegations. Mr. Combs is innocent and will continue to fight every single day to clear his name."

Of course, the big question still: what, if anything, did federal investigators find at those residences? And how might that information be used in any possible criminal investigation? As of right now, investigators aren't saying.

Josh Campbell, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE) VAUSE: In Sydney, Australia, police have closed the case on

allegations Taylor Swift's father punched a photographer last month. Never happened, they say.

Scott Swift was in -- was leaving a yacht in Sydney when a photographer says he was assaulted. He also alleged security guards put an umbrella in his face.

Representatives for Taylor Swift told CNN two people were aggressively pushing their way towards the star and threatened to throw a female staff member into the water.

The case is now closed.

Finally, the infamous Titanic door, which has sparked decades of cinematic debate has been auctioned for more than $700,000. You know the door, the one that made many of us question whether both Jack and Rose could have actually survived if it wasn't for the size of the floating door.


KATE WINSLETT, ACTRESS: Come back. I'll never let go, I promise.


VAUSE: So was Jack sacrificed in vain? "Titanic" director James Cameron conducted an experiment. Contrary to beliefs of many of the passionate movie fanatics, science proved Jack had to let go.

So the lucky auction winner will be able to challenge the theory, should they wish.

Poor Jack. If only there was more room.

John Vause, back at the top of the hour with more CNN NEWSROOM. But first, WORLD SPORT, after a short break.