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Six Presumed Dead After Ship Destroys Baltimore Bridge; U.S. Supreme Court Hears Arguments In Abortion Pill Case; Gazans Drown Trying To Reach Aid That Fell Into The Sea; Israeli Attacks Intensify In Gaza despite UNSC Ceasefire Resolution; RFK Jr. Announces Nicole Shanahan As VP Pick; Ship's Voyage Data Recorder Will be Critical; Truth Social Stock Soars During First Day of Nasdaq Trading; President Milei Calls Central "Mechanism of Fraud"; London High Court Delays U.S. Extradition for Assange. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired March 27, 2024 - 01:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Ahead this on hour on CNN.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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 the six missing construction workers who fell from the Francis Scott Key Bridge brought down by a collision with a massive cargo ship.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is what survival in Gaza has come to.


VAUSE: How airdrops over Gaza of life saving aid for starving Palestinians have turned deadly. And she may not bring the buzz, but she does bring the bucks. Independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announces his running mate in his losing campaign for the White House.

UNDIENTIFIED MALE: Live from Atlanta. This is CNN Newsroom with John Vause.

VAUSE: Search and rescue efforts for the six construction workers missing after the collapse of the Francisco Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore have been suspended. Repair crews working overnight fixing potholes on the bridge when it came crashing down around 1:30 a.m. local time. It was 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 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, though, say the ship's pilot did everything possible to avoid a collision, including dropping anchor. Mayday call from the ship before the accident gave authorities enough time to stop traffic from crossing the bridge. But it was not enough time for the construction workers to make it to safety.

The coast guard says conditions in the water are just too dangerous at the moment for divers, but a search for bodies will resume in the coming hours.


REAR ADM. SHANNON GILREATH, U.S. COAST GUARD: Based on the length of time that we've gone in this search, the extensive search efforts that we 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. More details now from CNN's Brian Todd.


WES MOORE, MARYLAND GOVERNOR: This is not just unprecedented. From what we're seeing and what we're looking at today, it's heartbreaking.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPDONTENT (voice-over): The middle of the one and a half mile long Francis Scott Key Bridge plunged 185ft into Baltimore's Patapsco River early Tuesday morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Be advised, the entire bridge, the entire key bridge in the harbor.

UNDIENTIFIED MALE: I can't get to the other side, sir. The bridge is down. We're going to have to get somebody on the other side. The Anne Arundel County MSP to get up here and stop traffic. Coming northbound on the t bridge.

TODD (voice-over): A container ship billowing dark smoke was moving at about eight knots near the bridge when the ship lost power, according to Maryland's governor. Before the bridge collapsed at 127 in the morning, the ship's crew called in a mayday when it became clear there'd be a collision despite having dropped its anchor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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.

TODD (voice-over): A move officials say saved lives.

MOORE: We're thankful that between the Mayday and the collapse that we had officials who were able to begin to stop the flow of traffic so more cars would not end up on the bridge. Many of the vehicles were stopped before they got onto the bridge, which saved lives.

TODD (voice-over): National Transportation Safety Board and FBI teams are on the scene.

JENNIFER HOMENDY, U.S. NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD CHAIR: We are standing back to allow the coast guard and search and rescue to continue their search and rescue operations.

TODD (voice-over): Authorities on the ground say they have a tough task ahead.

CHIEF JAMES WALLACE, BALTIMORE CITY FIRE DEPARTMENT: The bridge itself, it does present a challenge. It presents a challenge as we navigate on the surface. But more likely a greater challenge is subsurface and underwater.

TODD (voice-over): In addition to a search from the air, officials had about 50 divers operating in the harbor hours after the bridge came down.

JAMES: The water is frigid here right now. We believe this to be about a 60 foot dive. Makes this an extraordinarily difficult challenge for our teams.

TODD: Officials have said they have tracked a few vehicles that they believe fell into the water from the bridge, and you can see the distance that they might have dropped from the height of the bridge there into the water. It's going to take days just to get floating cranes and other heavy equipment here in order to start the salvaging operations and in order to remove some of the remnants of the bridge here.

And once they get here, they have to chop these remnants of the bridge into smaller pieces just to remove them.


TODD (voice-over): President Biden says he's directing federal resources to help with recovery and rebuilding.

JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: I've directed my team move heaven and earth, reopen the port and rebuild the bridge as soon as humanly possible.

TODD: All major ship traffic coming into and out of Baltimore harbor has now been halted indefinitely, and that's going to cause significant economic options. One example over here, there's a vessel that carries cars and light trucks into the port of Baltimore. That vessel now cannot move.

Baltimore is a major harbor for handling the transport of cars and light trucks into the United States. This processed about 850,000 vehicles last year. That's all come to a sudden stop. Brian Todd, CNN, in Baltimore Harbor.


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


BIDEN: 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 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 can't just 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 by piece by piece. So that process could take months and months because the forensic 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, a half a year of that. But now other bridges have been up in 18 months if 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, 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 is 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 the other side of it is to secure the materials. I mean, you can imagine the tremendous amount of materials they're 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: I don't really have an idea, but I'm going to say on the order of probably $500 million.

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


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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 got to stop all traffic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole bridge just fell down. Start whoever -- everybody 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 domino effect because 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 a progressive collapse of that.

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 be 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.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PETE BUTTIGIEG, U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: 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 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 -- 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 2,700 bridges were hit in a 10-year period, but they just weren't as catastrophic as this -- 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 being with us. We really appreciate your time and your insights. Thank you, sir.

ROBLEZ: Thank you very much.

VAUSE: Another major abortion decision looms for the U.S. Supreme Court after hearing arguments in the case over Mifepristone, a pill used for medically induced abortions. While a ruling isn't expected for months, a majority of justices already appear skeptical of a nationwide ban or new limits on the drug. CNN's Paula Reid has details.


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.

UNDENTIFIED FEMALE: We will ban them. Yes, we will.

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

NEIL GORSUCH, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE U.S. SUPREME COURT: We've had one might call it 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 mifepristone. And the case now focuses on FDA approval of expanded access to the drug.


REID (voice-over): But during the hearing, justices from across the ideological spectrum press 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. Hawey, 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, ASSOCIATE 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 had 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 over broad 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: Hamas is calling for an end to airdrops of humanitarian aid over Gaza after a dozen people drowned off the coast Tuesday when, according to Palestinian paramedics, they were trying to recover the aid packages from the sea.

With access by road into Gaza severely limited by the Israeli military, many countries have resorted to air drops as the only way to get aid into Gaza. The U.S. confirms a parachute malfunctioned during its most recent air drop. Even so, the supplies are dropped over water intentionally to avoid injuries on land.

Earlier this month, the aid packages killed at least five people and wounded several others after being dropped near residential areas. It seems increased international criticism even a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza has done little to slow Israeli forces which continue to strike across the Palestinian territory. CNN's Jeremy Diamond has details.


JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: 24 hours after the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire and the release of all hostages in Gaza, the Israeli military continuing to carry out its military campaign in Gaza and Hamas refusing to release the hostages that it is holding captive.

81 people were killed over the last 24 hours or so in Gaza, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, as the Israeli military says that it has struck over 60 targets over roughly that same time period. 18 of those people were killed in an attack that the Israeli military mounted in Rafah, according to health officials and Israeli troops continuing to operate in and around Khan Younis. That includes the Al- Amal Hospital, which health officials say has now been besieged by the Israeli military, putting it out of service.

The Israeli military also continuing to operate in Al-Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza where it says that it has captured hundreds of suspected terrorists and killed some 170 militants. As all of this was unfolding, the Israeli defense minister Yoav Gallant was in Washington on Tuesday meeting with the U.S. defense secretary who urged his Israeli counterpart to dramatically and urgently ease the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, talking about the fact that the number of civilian casualties remains far too high and the amount of humanitarian aid getting into Gaza far too low.

We are continuing to see signs of the absolute desperation in northern Gaza, which is now on the brink of famine. Powerful video of Gazans who rushed into the sea on Monday trying to retrieve humanitarian aid packages that fed fell into the sea. 12 Gazans drowned, according to paramedics. Video of some of those trying to be resuscitated by people on the beaches. But 12 people unfortunately killed in the latest sign of the starvation in Gaza. Jeremy Diamond, CNN, Jerusalem.


VAUSE: Another Israeli hostage has died in Gaza, leaving 96 Israelis still alive, being held by Hamas 35-year-old Uriel Baruch, a father of two, was taken while he was at the Nova music festival October 7, according to the Hostage and Missing Families Forum. They say his body is among 34 still being held by Hamas.

Still to come, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announces his running mate in his losing bid for the White House. For which candidate will the self- described political spoiler impact the most? Will it be Trump or Biden?



VAUSE: U.S. independent presidential candidate and self-described spoiler Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has announced his running mate, Nicole Shanahan, relatively unknown and new to politics, but may have just what RFK needs the most, money. CNN's Ava McKend has details.


EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A political newcomer propelled into the spotlight as part of Robert F. Kennedy Jr's independent bid for the White House.


MCKEND (voice-over): At just 38 years old, Nicole Shanahan is a wealthy Silicon Valley lawyer and investor who was once married to a billionaire Google co-founder.

SHANAHAN: For the first time in a long time, I felt hope for our democracy again. We can do this.

MCKEND (voice-over): Earlier this year, putting her considerable wealth behind Kennedy, helping fund this $7 million Super Bowl ad that drew inspiration from his uncle's 1960 campaign. Shanahan has long been a large donor to democratic candidates and causes, giving the $25,000 individual maximum to Biden's election effort in 2020. But now, she says, the party has lost its way.

SHANAHAN: In this moment, I am leaving the Democratic Party.

MCKEND (voice-over): And was drawn to Kennedy after listening to him speak.

SHANAHAN: Chronic disease, addiction, poverty, depression, this is where Americans are hurting the most. It is time for politicians to listen.

MCKEND (voice-over): The Oakland native is largely unknown to the public outside of elite tech circles. Her marriage to Google co- founder Sergey Brin ending in divorce last year. The Wall Street Journal reporting she had an affair with Elon Musk, something she and Musk both strongly denied.

Shanahan writing in people last year, I can't think of anything worse for a professional woman's career than publicly shaming her for a sexual act. Shanahan rose from a difficult upbringing. SHANAHAN: I don't think we would have made it without food stamps and

government help.

MCKEND (voice-over): To become the founder and president of her own foundation, focusing on climate change, reproductive health, social justice and finding a cure for autism, an issue close to her as her daughter with Brin has autism.

SHANAHAN: Conditions like autism used to be one in 10,000. Now, here in the state of California, it is one in 22.

MCKEND (voice-over): And she now shares a presidential ticket with someone who has repeatedly pushed misinformation about the efficacy and risks of vaccines, including the discredited link between vaccines and autism.

ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR., U.S. INDEPENDENT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I do believe that autism does come from vaccines.

MCKEND: Shanahan saying it's only RFK Jr. really taking the issue of chronic health seriously.

SHANAHAN: I will be his ally in making our nation healthy again.

MCKEND: And it's clear Democrats view Kennedy as a real threat. Prior to the rally, the DNC had a mobile billboard linking Kennedy to Trump. And during a press conference, Democrats characterizing Kennedy as a tinfoil hat conspiracy theorist that could lead Trump to getting reelected. Eva McKend, CNN, Oakland, California.


VAUSE: Caroline Heldman is a Democrat, strategist, political scientist, and professor of critical theory and social justice. She joins us now live from Los Angeles. It is good to see you. It's been a while.


VAUSE: So right now the latest polling shows there really is no clear front runner here. Trump leads Biden by a few points, with RFK sort of in the mid-teens there, they're the top three. And while Nicole Shanahan, a relatively unknown political novice, may not deliver any buzz or boost in poll numbers, it seems she can deliver some cash. According to USA Today,

Shanahan, who was formerly married to Google co-founder Sergey Brin, had donated about $4 million to Kennedy and helped pay for half of a $7 million commercial for a campaign ad during the Super Bowl.

That seems a lot of money to pay for the VP slot on a losing presidential ticket. Is that essentially what she brings or anything else?

HELDMAN: Well, she's got a really compelling backstory. It's always nice to see a woman, especially a woman of color, in a national political race. But you're right, John. It's a snowball's chance. I mean, third party candidates on occasion will determine the outcome of the election, but not by winning because they pull votes off of other candidates.


So, for example, in the 2000 election, we know that Ralph Nader pulled enough votes in Pennsylvania and Florida to throw the race to George W. Bush. So perhaps RFK with Shanahan on the ticket could be a spoiler. But her backstory is great. Deep pockets. She doesn't provide any further credibility for him, though, because she's a political neophyte. Interesting choice.

VAUSE: An interesting choice, yes. And also, if you look at just 2016, you know, the third party candidates and their role in helping Trump get elected back then. But anyway, why won't you listen to what RFK said during a recent interview about voting for him? Here he is.


KENNEDY: Listen, I'm not a fan of President Trump's. I'm running against him. I intend to beat him in this election. I want to beat him on a level playing field. I don't want to beat him because of a court case. I want to beat him because more Americans voted for me.


VAUSE: So there was a reference to getting Trump's name off the ballot. But the question here is, how can RFK beat anyone when his campaign is officially on the ballot so far in just one state, Utah. But it says, the campaign says it's collected enough signatures to also qualify in Nevada, Hawaii and New Hampshire. American values 2024, as pro-Kennedy super PAC says it's collected enough signatures to get him on the ballot in Michigan, South Carolina, Arizona and Georgia.

We'll talk about American values in a moment. But how can this be considered a serious run for the White House if he's not on the ballot in 40 something states?

HELDMAN: Well, I think the answer is Nicole Shanahan. What does she bring to the table? She brings very deep pockets, which means that they can now run a ground game in all of these states to get the signatures. As you know, John, it's a convoluted mess in terms of how you get on the ballot. It's 50 different states, 50 different rules, but it really comes down to resources, and that's precisely what RFK has just added to his ticket.

VAUSE: Yes, it's just interesting. If it was a serious campaign, it seems they would have sort of started, you know, a long time before now. Even so, here's one supporter explaining why he's backing RFK.


CHRIS CARLISLE, CALIFORNIA RESIDENT: Well, as he said, I hope they do spoil it for both the Democrats and the Republicans because the Republicans and Democrats are already so rotten, so spoiled. It would be fine. You know, they need to be out enough of them already.


VAUSE: You hear that a lot. But the reality is RFK's campaign is funded by some of Trump's wealthiest supporters, including the super PAC American Values. And that's because he's drawing more support from Democrats than Republicans. So at this point in the campaign, when Americans go to vote, a vote for RFK is essentially a vote for Trump?

HELDMAN: It is at this point in time. Early on, RFK was pulling from both Biden and Trump but recent polling from 538 shows he's primarily pulling from Biden that speech that Shanahan and RFK gave today announcing her vice presidential candidacy. The themes were all about young people and young voters, right? So it's about peace, which is about Gaza, and about poverty.

I mean, these are issues that I think Biden really needs to be worried about in terms of RFK siphoning votes from him. And it's clear that's the intention with the Trump voters. But it's actually what's happening in terms.

VAUSE: You know, in Democrat party law and tradition, you know, there are a few names which are revered, Roosevelt and Kennedy. To have Robert F. Kennedy Jr. essentially set the stage for a defeat of a Democrat president, possibly to someone like Donald Trump, seems to be an incredibly cruel blow in many ways.

HELDMAN: Well, John, the only reason we're even talking about Robert Kennedy Jr. is because his last name is Kennedy. That's why we're talking about Shanahan, because his last name is Kennedy. That's also another reason why he might pull more from Democrats and Republicans, because Kennedy name is more revered on the democratic side.

But it is an odd twist of fate, especially from someone, you know, who has. He's a conspiracist. So I think what will happen is as people get to know his positions, more support will drop off. I mean, this is a man who believes that Wi-Fi causes cancer, that chemicals in the water causes transgender kids, that vaccines cause autism, and the man is flip flopped on the national abortion ban. And I don't say this because I dislike him.

I say this because most Americans are way out of step with many of his conspiracy theory beliefs. But I still think he's going to have a significant impact in the election if he stays in long enough.

VAUSE: Caroline, thanks so much. Good to be with us. Thank you.

HELDMAN: Good to see you, John.

VAUSE: Cheers. Still ahead, much more on the deadly bridge collapse in Baltimore, including what we know about the crew of the cargo ship which hit that bridge.

Plus, short on cash and with mounting legal bills, Donald Trump now selling bibles. Yes, bibles on the Internet. 15.99 get yours today.



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

In the coming hours, the search for bodies will resume after a deadly bridge collapse in Baltimore. A massive cargo ships struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge early Tuesday. It 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 people were rescued, six others believed to be from a construction crew now presumed dead. Officials say they're concerned about the structural integrity of what's left of the bridge and the hazards posed by debris, as well as poor visibility in the water.

The ship's voyage data recorder will be critical for investigators and CNN's Tom Foreman looks at the chain of events leading up to the collision.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: One of the questions being asked right now is, was there something that could have been done to avert this accident. For example, could the tugboats that brought this ship into play here -- could they have stuck with it.

When we look at the tracking of what we can see that the tugboats represented here are the blue lines, the red one is the ship. You see that after they do the turn initially the tugboats split off, but that's normal.

Tugboats are there to guide a big ship like this when it has no momentum so its own steering mechanism doesn't really work. It's got to get a little speed going. By here, it was up to about eight miles an hour, approaching nine miles an hour down here so the tug boats split off.

Indeed, when it got into trouble down here, you see one of the tugboats came racing back to try to help when that call went out to say that it was in distress. So that's one thing.

Could that have helped? Yes, it would've been nice if it had, but it wasn't able to. Could it have stayed in the proper lane? Possibly, the idea being that when it came through here, the truth is, it would've kept going straight on this line instead of veering off the way it did and getting into trouble here.

The problem is we now know from video that there was some kind of a power issue or seemed to be.

Watch the lights go out on the ship. That could be the reason that it was unable to control itself. That's what we're hearing from witnesses who are saying, yes, this was having a problem with basic control of the ship. So that was an issue.

We also know that there is this plume of smoke. We don't really know why that came out of here and whether that was related to it. And we know that ultimately they couldn't do anything except go right into the bridge here.

Could there have been more protection for the bridge? There are systems that might protect a bridge like this in some circumstances, but you have to bear in mind this is a tremendous amount of power.

This ship end-to-end is almost as tall as the Chrysler building and carrying many, many tons of weight. Thats not to say these are definitive answers to any of this.

But these are some of the questions that are being raised right now. And that it could take a long time to sort out before authorities are satisfied with the answers



VAUSE: Our thanks to Tom Foreman there.

Let's go to CNN's Ivan following these developments from Hong Kong somewhere out there in the middle of nowhere in the water. So Ivan, what do we know about the crew and the ship itself, which we know had a Singapore flag and was heading for Sri Lanka. Not India, but Sri Lanka.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. This is -- John, this is the Dali is a container ship owned from Singapore, operated by a Singaporean company called Synergy. It's about just under 300 meters in length and I'm here in the port of Hong Kong to give our audience some context here of the scale of these gargantuan container ships.

The one that's over here is not run by the same Singaporean company. It is about 70 meters longer than the Dali loaded with 5 -- 6 storeys above the deck of containers.

The Dali was carrying at the time of the crash, according to the management company, more than 4,600 containers like those up there, the crew -- 22 crew members on board are all from India. Many of the seafarers working on cargo and container ships around the world come from India, the Philippines, China, Ukraine, Russia, Indonesia as well.

I want to give some more context. Over here, look, there's another container ship. This is also bigger than the Dali -- about 100 meters longer. And its right next to a suspension bridge that runs through Hong Kong here. So you can get a sense of how just enormous these ships are even next to a bridge like this.

And at the time of the construction of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, that was the late 70s. Shipping industry insiders tell me that container ships like this simply didn't exist. The size of these vessels have grown over the course of the past 50 years since that bridge was constructed.

A last bit of context, just last month -- just last month, up the Pearl River from where we're floating right now there was a smaller Chinese barge that slammed into a bridge in Guangzhou just before dawn colliding into that bridge. Now the whole thing did not collapse like the bridge in Baltimore. However, it killed at least five people. There were vehicles that fell off the bridge, either landed on the ship itself or in the water.

And the preliminary investigation by Chinese authorities said that this had been the fault of the crew members themselves.

The investigation going on right now, well, you've got a transport officials, maritime officials from Singapore who have rushed to Baltimore to assist U.S. authorities with the investigation. The management company itself has traveled there also to -- they say to try to assist with the investigation.

There are going to be a lot of questions because there had been deficiencies in some of the examinations of the ship.

In September of just last year, the U.S. Coast Guard examined the Dali and said there were no problems whatsoever. But if you go back to June of 2023, officials in Chile inspected that ship and did find a deficiency in the propulsion and auxiliary machinery gauges and thermometers.

So there are going to be big questions whether whatever was going wrong with that ship in June in Chile could have contributed to this deadly disaster in Baltimore this week, John.

VAUSE: Ivan, thank you. Ivan Watson there in Hong Kong. Appreciate it.

Well, the stock price in Trump's media company, which includes Truth Social is off to a soaring start on the Nasdaq, hitting $78 a share on its first day of trading before closing at $58. This marks the first time in decades that any part of Trump's business empire has gone public.

Experts are warning the windfall will likely be short-lived. Truth Social is hemorrhaging money as well as users lost about $49 million on its nine months last year and had less than half a million active users in February.

Trump's companies also have a history of going bankrupt.

Rana Foroohar is CNN's global economic analyst as well as a global business columnist and associate editor for "The Financial Times". Welcome back.


VAUSE: Always a pleasure. Now, there seems to be agreement on one thing from most -- almost

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 $6.4 billion at its IPO last week, even though it generated 160 times more revenue than Trump media.


VAUSE: Is it too simplistic to write this off as just a meme stock which are overvalued shares driven, you know, 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 him or loathe him.

I think though there's something else interesting going on and this idea of the meme stocks that you mentioned and the power of rich 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. 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 this stock up, you're going to show your support, not just for the stock, but for the politics of this man.

It's a -- 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 but 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: Yes. That's right. I mean you, you're looking at the ultimate disruptor here. And I worry frankly that we're 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 oversees 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, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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 book's Web site 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. Much like the stock price and the shares. This is sort of Trump's crash -- cash crunch. The politics and the hypocrisy all colliding at once. It's amazing.

It is amazing and religion in there too, John. You can't make it up. You cannot make it up.

VAUSE: This is perfect for his base, you know. They are right-wing Christians. They believe in Trump (INAUDIBLE), they actually even believe that Trump is religious. But they're still willing to go along with all of this.

FOROOHAR: No, 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 Trump's an angels 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: In a wide-ranging interview with CNN Espanol, Argentina's new president Javier Milei says he plans to shut down the central bank, calling it a mechanism of fraud prison.

The president also defended Israel saying its war with Hamas in Gaza was justified.

More details now from Stefano Pozzebon reporting in from Buenos Aires.


STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN JOURNALIST: The Argentinian president Javier Milei has been a staunch supporter of Israel since before taking office in December. And in a wide-ranging sit-down interview with CNN en Espanol on Tuesday, he reiterated his opinion.

JAVIER MILEI, ARGENTINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Israel was a target of a brutal attack. And this type of crime requires a response that sets the example.

In fact, everything Israel is doing is within the rule of law. I mean, Israel has not been excessive at all.

POZZEBON: In the interview Milei did not refer to the resolution by the United Nations Security Council voted on Monday that called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.


POZZEBON: But he repeated his interest or to convert into Judaism, and he described that the meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as one of the warmest he's had since taking office in December.

Milei also told CNN en Espanol that he believed Argentina is on track to defeat hyperinflation once and for all. And he repeated his intention to shut down the country's central bank.

Currently, the Argentinian inflation rate is one of the highest in the world at over 270 percent year-on-year.

But Milei claimed it was a success that the latest data in March show that high prices are stalling in the south American country.

The Milei government has operated at rigid austerity program since taking office. That led to the first fiscal surplus in Argentinian history in recent years at least. Poverty however, has also been on the rise and the latest figure from the Catholic University of Buenos Aires so that more than half of Argentinians are currently living below the poverty rate.

For CNN, this is Stefano Pozzebon -- Buenos Aires.

VAUSE: Next on CNN NEWSROOM, how an e-commerce company is using smart tech to support entrepreneurs in South Africa is bustling township.


VAUSE: Across Africa, township economies booming and in South Africa where approximately half of the population lives in townships, this informal market is integral to job creation and economic growth. This month's "Africa Insider" (INAUDIBLE) an e-commerce platform committed to supporting South African township entrepreneurs through smart tech.


JOSHUA MURIMA, HEAD OF ENGAGEMENT AND INVESTOR RELATIONS, BRITER BRIDGES: Trade in Africa is largely informal and this has created AN opportunity for digital innovation to build products and solutions to solve, say, you know, traders and consumers who are trying to access critical goods.

JESSICA BOONSTRA, FOUNDER, YEBO FRESH: What is unique about the Township market is that it is a very vibrant market. Filled with people who are doing amazing things with very, very little means. It is a very young market that is growing very quickly.

And for me it is actually the engine of the South African economy. We built our technology and our solutions around what the market needs. I believe that this is the future of the continents

My name is Jessica Boonstra. I'm the founder and CEO of Yebo Fresh. Yebo Fresh is a business-to-business marketplace operating in South African townships.

Yebo Fresh started about five years ago, literally in my garage. And it was born from observation that on one hand, the township market is absolutely massive and growing faster than the formal market.

On the other hand, is still severely underserved from an e-commerce perspective with many parties thinking that it is too poor, too dangerous, and too difficult to operate in.


BOONSTRA: So the problem that we're solving is that of a typical business owner like Suzie (ph) having to close her shop and travel to a wholesaler spending many hours shopping and then having to negotiate a deal with the driver, taking her back with her goods.

Instead, we offer a simple order-to-delivery solution that allows her to place her order via WhatsApp and get her goods delivered 24 hours later.

We've seen bursts of tremendous growth. So starting from literally a garage setup with 3 or 4 people to where we are now today, a fantastic team of about 50 people. We operate in 25 townships and we serve about 8,000 business owners.

So that for me is a testimony that there is a market for what we're doing. There's demand for what we're doing and we want to be growing much faster in the future.

We want to be the leading business-to-business marketplace in greater sub-Saharan African. What we're doing in South Africa, the problem that were solving here also exists in Botswana, Namibia and many, many other neighboring countries. And there's a massive, massive gap in service delivery there as well. So we have got ambitions to take our concept across the borders and

into many, many more areas. And most importantly, we see that, this digital revolution is happening right now and that the pool is there from the market.

And we want to Be the ones to give that revolution a little push.


Still to come on CNN. He's been in the U.K. more than a decade. So what's a few more weeks. Why the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange had his exodus into the U.S. put on hold.


VAUSE: Attorney for embattled media mogul Sean Diddy Combs says his client is the target of a witch hunt. A law enforcement source says the raid in California and Florida on Monday were related to an ongoing sex traffic investigation. Combs is also accused of sexual assault in several civil lawsuits.

A second source told CNN agents were authorized to search for documents, phones, computers, any device that could hold data or video. The source tells CNN he and his twin daughters were in Miami preparing for a spring break vacation, that would be Combs. He was detained for a short time and then released. It's unclear where Combs is right now.

In a statement his attorney says this unprecedented ambush came with an advanced coordinated media presence leads to a premature rush to judgment or Mr. Combs and is nothing more than a witch hunt based on meritless accusations made in civil lawsuits. Mr. Combs is innocent and will continue to fight every single day to clear his name.

London's high court has paused extradition proceedings for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. He's been in the U.K. for more than a decade defending himself against charges in the U.S. for publishing classified documents starting back in 2010.

CNN's Nada Bashir has more on Tuesday's ruling.


NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this ruling potentially offers Julian Assange an extraordinary lifeline in what has been a year's long battle. It had been anticipated that today's ruling would decide whether or not Assange had exhausted all avenues to lodge an appeal within the British courts.

But instead the decision comes with a little more nuance and crucially, more of a delay to his potential extradition.

Now the high court in London on Tuesday ruled that the WikiLeaks founder cannot be immediately extradited to the United States. Instead American authorities must first offer assurances about his treatment including over his First Amendment rights and protection from the death penalty.

Now, they've been given three weeks to do so. If the U.S. fails to give these assurances, Assange would be allowed to appeal his extradition at a further hearing in May.


BASHIR: If however, the U.S. does provide the requested assurances, there will be a further hearing to decide if those assurances are satisfactory and to make a final decision (INAUDIBLE) to appeal.

Now, in the event that the appeal is denied, Assange's legal team has also vowed to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights which could also halt his removal to the U.S..

This is a battle which Assange has fought for the last five years from London's Belmarsh prison. And of course, for seven years before that, while being holed up as a political refugee at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

He is of course, being pursued by the U.S. authorities for what they say is the endangerment of lives by publishing confidential military records supplied by former army intelligence analyst, Chelsea Manning in 2010 and 2011.

Speaking outside the high court, Assange's wife, Stella described her husband as a political prisoner and also called on the Biden administration to drop the case entirely.

Nada Bashir, CNN -- in London.


VAUSE: Police in Australia, say the case is closed on allegations Taylor Swift's father punched a photographer last month. Scott Swift was leaving a yacht in Sydney when a photographer says he was assaulted. He also alleges security guards put an umbrella in his face.

Representatives for Taylor Swift told CNN two people were aggressively pushing their way towards the pop star, threatened to throw a female staff member into the water. Police say there'll be no charges.

Well, it's almost a case of life imitating art. Actor Hugh Grant says, once again, he's considering a career in politics. Grant has played politicians before in movies like "Love, Actually". Remember that one, he was a prime minister. Did a pretty good job actually.

Discussed the possibility with his mother-in-law, a former member of the Swedish parliament. He told "Entertainment Weekly", she advised him against it because politics is quote, "all horse trading and the incoming abuse is unthinkable." No kidding.

And finally, this. An ostrich on the run in South Korea. And when they run, boy, they really run. A four-year-old male ostrich escaped from a nearby zoo. Spent about an hour running in and out of the traffic but freedom for this ostrich wind in his hair, bitumen (ph) beneath his feet was short-lived when police and fire fighters used a net from a nearby parking lot to foil his escape bid.

The zoo owner says the ostrich has been returned safe and sound, maybe a little bit upset. Green net.

Thank you for watching. I'm John Vause.

CNN NEWSROOM continues with Rosemary Church in a moment.

See you tomorrow.