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Pope Presides Over Easter Mass At St. Peter's Basilica; Trump Posts Video Showing Image Of Biden Hog-Tied On A Truck; Quinnipiac Poll Shows Support For Third Party Candidates; Anti-Netanyahu Protesters Call For Release Of Hostages; Ukraine Marks Second Anniversary Of Bucha Liberation; King Charles Attending Easter Service At Windsor Castle. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired March 31, 2024 - 05:00   ET




KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome to all of you watching us here in the United States, Canada and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. This is "CNN Newsroom."

Christians around the world are marking Easter today. You're looking at live celebrations at the Vatican where the Pope is presiding over Easter mass.

And later this hour, we're live in Windsor where some members of the royal family are expected to attend holiday services.

Plus, Donald Trump igniting a wave of new criticism after sharing a new post to his followers on "Truth Social." We'll look at how both presidential campaigns are sounding off about the controversy and this all comes on the heels of a new Quinnipiac Poll, showing third-party candidates might have an impact in November's presidential election.

ANNOUNCER: Live from Atlanta, this is "CNN Newsroom" with Kim Brunhuber.

BRUNHUBER: We begin with celebrations at the Vatican marking the holiest day on the Christian calendar when the faithful believe Jesus rose from the dead. Have a look here. You're looking at live pictures of Easter mass at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

Pope Francis presiding over the service just days after cancelling his participation in Good Friday events. The Vatican called that a bid to preserve his health ahead of other holy week events.

Later today, he'll deliver the Urbi et Orbi blessing from the main balcony of the Vatican. We'll go live now to our CNN Vatican Correspondent Christopher Lamb in London.

So Christopher, obviously plenty of concern over the Pope's health. Take us through what we're seeing right now? What we know about how he's doing? And his message that he's delivering today. CHRISTOPHER LAMB, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, yes. Good morning Kim. What you're seeing now is the conclusion of the Easter Sunday mass. It's coming to an end. Pope Francis has been presiding at that service which is attended by thousands from across the world. It's a day of great celebration and festivities and you can see that there are -- St. Peter is decked out with greenery and flowers, flowers that are transported in from Holland each year to really give a celebratory feel to the Easter Sunday mass.

Francis has been taking part in virtually all of the Holy Week services apart from the Good Friday Service at the Colosseum, which he pulled out for the last minute in order to preserve his health, but last night he presided the liturgy, the Easter vigil liturgy in St. Peter's Basilica. And later today, he will give his Urbi et Orbi Easter message, whereas he expected to address the various conflicts that are going on in the world. Kim.

BRUNHUBER: Christopher, I want to widen this out with so many people of different faiths celebrating at this time of the year. A recent Gallup poll has found a decline in Americans attending religious services, only 3 in 10 Americans say that they attend religious services every week. What do you make of this?

LAMB: Well, I think this underlines the trend that we've seen towards the growth and what's called the nones, those who don't have a religious affiliation particularly we see that amongst Gen Z's and Millennials. Of course it comes at a time at Easter this research where the church receives new members. And, you know, this is I think a moment when people obviously join the church.

Although, there has been a decline in -- in people going to services. Those who do go are perhaps more committed. So I think we might see a smaller church, but one that has more committed members.

Pope Francis has addressed this issue many times. He said that the church can't lament the fact that people don't go to church in the same way but that the church must go out to listen and accompany those and to understand why they may not be going to church to run, rebuild trust. Obviously, the abuse scandals have had a major effect why some Catholics don't attend church.

So whilst this research does I think throw up certain challenge there's also an opportunity there for the church to repurpose itself and that's something that Francis has -- has tried to -- try to underline, to repurpose its message and mission for the contemporary world. Kim.


BRUNHUBER: All right, thanks so much as we see the ending of the Easter services at St. Peter's Basilica. Christopher Lamb in London, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

All right here in the U.S., former President Donald Trump is facing criticism after he posted on social media a controversial video showing an image of President Joe Biden tied up in the back of a pickup truck. Biden's campaign has condemned the post saying Trump is inciting political violence. CNN's Steve Contorno has more.


STEVE CONTORNO, CNN REPORTER: Former President Donald Trump once again drawing accusations that he is encouraging violence against a political opponent, this time for a social media post involving President Joe Biden.

In this video that Trump posted at "Truth Social" on Friday, it shows two trucks driving on Long Island decked out in pro-Trump decals and flags and this image of President Joe Biden hogtied on the back of a truck.

Trump posted that video to his social media site, "Truth Social" on Friday. On Saturday his campaign defended it, telling CNN in a statement, quote, "That picture was on the back of a pickup truck that was traveling down the highway. Democrats and crazed lunatics have not only called for despicable violence against President Trump and his family, they are actually weaponizing the justice system against him."

The Biden campaign, meanwhile, wasted little time responding to this. They told CNN in a statement, quote, "This image from Donald Trump is the type of crap you post when you're calling for a "bloodbath" or when you tell the proud boys to stand back and stand by. Trump is regularly inciting political violence and it's time people take him seriously, just ask the Capitol Police officers who were attacked protecting our democracy on January 6."

These kinds of violent images are commonplace among some Trump supporters and you can find them often at his rallies certainly online and yes even on the back of vehicles. But it is still striking to see them coming from a former President and someone who is seeking the White House once again. Of course this has become commonplace for Trump going all the way back to his 2016 campaign for president and through this week when he has repeatedly attacked one of the judges who is overseeing his case in New York.

Steve Contorno, CNN St. Petersburg, Florida.


BRUNHUBER: Meanwhile, independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is downplaying suggestions that the fate of democracy is at stake in this year's election. Speaking at a campaign event in Los Angeles, he said the panic about threats to democracy is, quote, "Orchestrated to keep the voters" and what he calls a "state of fear." He urged voters to reject both President Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Here he is.


ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR., INDEPENDENT U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you want a change, you need to vote for somebody who's actually capable of changing that. And I don't believe either man is capable, though.

I don't think either of them acknowledges a problem and why is that? It's because they're both the products of a broken system.


BRUNHUBER: Third parties don't wield much power in the U.S. political system, you'd have to go back to Ross Perot in 1992 to find a candidate pulling in more than a tiny percentage of the vote in a general election. But parts of the electorate are telling pollsters, they're dissatisfied with their choices this year and a new survey from Quinnipiac University indicates third-party candidates might have an impact in November. It found that independent candidates peeled off support from a sizable chunk of respondents. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. got 13%. Cornel West 3%. And Jill Stein, 4%.

For more on this, I'm joined by a Bernard Tamas, a Professor at Valdosta State University. He's also an author of the book, "Demise and Rebirth of American Third Parties."

Thank you so much for being here with us. So, I just want to start with the -- the first point I made when I was talking about third parties, they're a relative lack of influence. Now these candidates, I mean, they know they're not going to win, right? But in many ways that's not really the point.

BERNARD TAMAS, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, VALDOSTA STATE UNIVERSITY: No, it's not really the point. It's -- it's -- it doesn't really matter actually if they're going to win because that's not really the purpose that they play in American Politics. I mean, their job actually is more to -- is not necessarily to spoil elections but to threaten basically it's to disrupt with a purpose. And so the way that we usually look at it is that -- that the third parties and independent candidates their strategy is something called sting like a bee.

So the idea is that they -- they force -- they push through some sort of a galvanizing issue, something that -- that appeals to a disaffected group that are unhappy with the major parties. And they use that to attack the party basically caused them pain.


And then, what would happen is when this is successful the major parties respond by actually co-opting those issues. And that's -- that's the other part of being a bee, is after you sting, you die.

Third parties in America have a bad tendency to die rapidly. But in the process, that's how they actually have influence over -- over policy.

BRUNHUBER: Interesting. So -- but in that respect, I mean Robert F. Kennedy Jr. a bit of an enigma. He doesn't seem to fit that mold in terms of having that galvanizing issue or, you know, that certain platform. It's kind of all over the place.

TAMAS: That's -- right, I would say that that's exactly the problem and is really the -- the weakness of his candidacy. Even though the numbers are high now, he's basically running a campaign with themes that seem to be contradicting themselves. He seems to be saying on the one hand that you can't trust scientists when it comes to vaccines but on the other hand you're supposed to trust scientists when they're telling you that climate change is a serious problem.

On the one hand, he's -- he's pro-reproductive rights which could help him in terms of attracting people far on the left. But on the other hand he's -- he's very pro-Israel in terms of the -- the Gaza conflict which could actually persuade them against him.

There's lack -- there really is lacking a clear theme from him. And while it might not be hurting him now, it seems like over time that's something that could really pull down his candidacy.

BRUNHUBER: So for the reasons that you outline there both parties have expressed worries that he might siphon critical voters. I mean, who -- who has more reason to be worried, Biden or Trump?

TAMAS: Well, let's start with the reasons why there is any reason for them to be concerned about any of these candidates? The Biggest problem for them is that this election is expected to be extremely close, I mean Americans have become very, very polarized. And also, with that they've become -- it's been something called negative partisanship where Republicans really distrust democratic politicians, democrats really distrust Republican politicians. And so nobody is really moving.

So there's this very small movement of the vote and since 2000 it has been very close. So that's your first issue. The -- the second issue, though, is that with RFK it's -- and with actually most of these other candidates, we don't know where those votes are going to come from. I mean even though taking even a small percentage of votes could shift the election. It's really not clear which of the candidates that they would -- would be pulling votes from. Because a lot of people who support third parties wind up being people who wouldn't vote at all in the first place.

BRUNHUBER: Polls show many Americans are disappointed that we're getting a 2020 rematch and -- and they say they want something else. But do they really? I mean would they vote for the right third-party candidate?

TAMAS: Well, here's the thing, the -- the support for third parties has actually been going up steadily over the last -- let's say, 50 years. And so we're seeing the -- both the libertarians and the green party gaining steady support. Now, we're not talking about anywhere near the levels with where third parties were maybe 100 years ago when Teddy Roosevelt completely, you know, crashed the political system in 1912.

But we're still seeing them moving their way up. And what we're especially seeing is -- is the republican party moving farther and farther to the right and in many ways abandoning the traditional moderate conservatives. And so, what you're seeing here is a -- is a gaping hole, a real problem that they're leaving for themselves. But at this point, there's no sign that the libertarians are actually going to grab hold of this or any other moderate party. So in a sense, it's not an issue so much with -- with the third-party

movement -- as a movement as it is a problem with the strategies right now that here is an ideal moment for -- for third parties and independent candidates. But the strategies aren't really consistent with what actually works for the them.

BRUNHUBER: It's fascinating. We'll have to see what influence these candidates might have especially considering how razor thin the margins might be. Bernard Tamas, thank you so much for your expertise. Really appreciate it.

TAMAS: Thank you.

BRUNHUBER: Voters in Turkey are going to the polls today casting ballots in the country's nationwide municipal elections. The election will determine who will lead Istanbul and other major cities.


The vote is seen as a referendum on President Erdogan's popularity after two decades in power. He's looking for his party to reclaim control of the city of Istanbul as a major rival Ekrem Imamoglu works to expand the power of the opposition five years after defeating Erdogan's AK party in Istanbul and Ankara. Our Scott McLean joins us now from Istanbul.

So Scott, take us through where you are exactly right now And then what's at stake here?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thank you. Yeah, good afternoon, good morning from Turkey here where Turks are going to the polls again. Of course, last year you had a presidential race, presidential runoff. And then now year later, you have these local elections taking place all across the country.

We are in the cultural and economic heart of Turkey. And I'll just show you out the window just to set the scene. So this is the Beyoglu district of Istanbul. And it's significant because this is actually where President Erdogan himself was born and grew up. And as you mentioned this is very much a referendum on the state of affairs in Turkey right now and on the president himself.

Inside this polling station, there's no one voting at the moment. But I'll just show you what will happen here. Each voter is going to get three of these very long ballots. One is blue, one's gold, and one is white, and the white one is the one that all eyes are on. This is the mayoral race for Istanbul.

There are 49 names on that, some from parties, some from Independent candidates, but really there are only two who are widely considered able to actually win. One from President Erdogan's more religious conservative AK Party and one from the opposition more secular leaning CHP Party, the party of the current, incumbent mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, you can see one person just stuffing their envelope with all the ballots into the -- into the box. And this could be a watershed election for turkey. Obviously, you don't normally say that about normal -- about local elections. But in this case, Imamoglu is one of the few maybe the only opposition party politicians who has the strength and the popularity to actually take on President Erdogan in a head-to-head presidential race. And so that is why Erdogan is pouring so much energy and money and attention on this race.

You see his face on banners everywhere. He has been around town at rallies in the waning days of this election to try to rally his voters. Because if Imamoglu wins, it means that Erdogan undoubtedly his grip on power will have loosened and he will have a strong challenger. If he loses, it's really back to the drawing board for the opposition parties.

There are some complicating factors in all of this, Kim. One is the fact that technically under the constitution Erdogan isn't allowed to run for another term in office, but there are plenty of pundits who figure that there are enough loopholes that could allow him to run one more time. And there are also criminal charges hanging over Imamoglu that stemmed back from the last election, the last local election in 2019 where he had this upset victory over Erdogan's party charges of insulting public officials widely viewed to be politically motivated but could still come back to bite him down the road as they are still yet unresolved. Kim.

BRUNHUBER: A fascinating litmus test will be following. Scott McLean in Istanbul, thanks so much.

All right after the break, heavy lifting in Baltimore harbor, how engineers are planning to remove some 5,000 tons of wreckage from the bridge disaster.

And later in the hour, Britain's King Charles is expected to attend Easter services, a rare appearance for the monarch as he battles cancer. Stay with us.



BRUNHUBER: Turning now to the Baltimore bridge collapse site where a massive cleanup operation is underway. Engineers and divers are carefully examining the wreckage. Although officials say reopening the disrupted port could take weeks. CNN's Gloria Pazmino has more.


GLORIA PAZMINO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're learning more about the first critical steps officials here will be taking in what is certain to be a long recovery process. They are expecting that they'll be able to lift every part of the north side of the bridge that remains. That is going to be a critical step because they are trying to reopen a part of the channel. So that boats and ship traffic can begin to start flowing once again at least around the wreckage of the dally which is going to take a much longer time to be removed from where it's been sitting since the bridge collapsed earlier this week.

The Governor has made it clear that this is going to be a multifaceted and complicated, dangerous operation that they have to go detail by detail to make sure that they can get it exactly right. There is several pieces of heavy equipment that have arrived in the area to help in that process. And there is more than a thousand engineers spread out across the entire country looking at the wreckage, trying to come up with the best plan to start lifting those heavy pieces of metal that are resting on top of the boat in order to begin the cleanup process. All of this -- all of this is going to be essential to make sure that divers can get back into the water and help search for the recovery of the bodies that have yet to be found.

We spoke with the U.S Army Corps of Engineers earlier trying to understand just how this process is going to play out. Take a listen.

SCOTT A. SPELLMON, COMMANDING GENERAL, U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS: That vessel looks small from where we're standing here on the -- the shore. That vessel weighs on the order of 95 thousand tons. The bridge span that's behind us, that the one I mentioned we're going to sever. That piece weighs 5, 000 tons alone. So that's a lot of downward pressure on that vessel already. The -- so you're correct, we have one of the largest cranes here on the eastern seaboard. It arrived 23, 11 p.m., two nights ago. And so, imagine we're going to have to cut those steel sections into much smaller components to lift them out safely and efficiently.


PAZMINO: So safety is certainly the first priority, the Governor making it clear that he is committed to making sure that divers get back into the water as soon as it is safe for them to do so, so the recovery mission can continue. There are four families that are waiting to hear and waiting to see if the bodies of their loved ones will be recovered. It's the last thing that they're hoping they can get so that they can hopefully get some -- some closure After this tragedy. Local officials here said that they are committed to making sure that happens. In Baltimore, Maryland, Gloria Pazmino, CNN.


BRUNHUBER: Ceasefire and hostage talks involving Israel and Hamas are expected to resume today. Ahead, the latest on the effort to pause the war that's already killed more than 32, 000 Palestinians.

Plus, Ukraine marks two years since the liberation of the town of Bucha and the discovery of horrific atrocities. We'll talk to a journalist who went there right after the Russian troops pulled out. Stay with us.


BRUNHUBER: And welcome back to all you watching us here in the United States, Canada, and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. This is "CNN Newsroom." As Israel fights Hamas in Gaza, thousands of protesters were on the

streets of Tel Aviv on Saturday. They chanted bring them home now, demanding that all hostages in Gaza be released and that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu be removed from office.



ZAHIR SHAHAR MOR, NEPHEW OF HOSTAGE: Today, we declared that Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister Netanyahu, is the obstacle between us and getting our hostages back. And we will relentlessly fight, legally of course, to have him removed from power and get someone else that can do the job and worthy of the situation that can bring us -- bring our beloved ones back. Until then, Benjamin Netanyahu is the main obstacle.


BRUNHUBER: Police say a large number of protesters set fires and blocked roads. Officers used water cannons on some of them. Sixteen people were arrested. Protest organizers say that next weekend they plan to protest outside the Knesset in Jerusalem.

Egyptian state media are reporting that ceasefire and hostage talks involving Israel and Hamas are due to resume in Cairo today. The last round of talks happened in Doha earlier this month.

On Saturday, Jordan's Foreign Minister told reporters that Israel must allow more aid into Gaza to prevent famine. He was in Cairo meeting with the foreign ministers of Egypt and France.

And a short time ago, planes dropped more aid into Gaza. On this video, as you can see, the pallets of aid with parachutes attached falling to the ground. Several countries, including the U.S., have been flying airdrop missions. Earlier this week, Hamas asked countries to stop airdrops, calling them offensive, useless, and not the best way to bring in aid.

Nearly 400 tons of food is on its way right now to Gaza by sea. The group World Central Kitchen, which provides meals in crisis zones, is organizing the shipment. The aid should arrive in the coming days.

The World Health Organization says thousands of Palestinians urgently need to be evacuated from Gaza for medical reasons. CNN Senior International Correspondent Melissa Bell has more.


MELISSA BELL, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Another day of violence across the Gaza Strip with fierce fighting around the Shifa Hospital, now the subject of an Israeli siege for the last 13 days.

There's been fighting as well around the Gaza Strip elsewhere with huge medical needs, according to the head of the World Health Organization, who says that it is some 9,000 Palestinians who are now in need of urgent evacuation from the Strip in order to get the care they need, given that there are only now 10 minimally functioning hospitals across the territory.

It comes as an Israeli delegation prepares to head to Washington. It's possible that could happen as early as Monday in order to meet after the canceled trip last week with American officials.

What the United States is hoping to do is urge them to find ways of avoiding the full-scale assault, the ground offensive on Rafah that Israel's been threatening to carry out.

Shortly, we heard again from Benjamin Netanyahu this week explaining that it was necessary in order to flush out those last four Hamas battalions that are believed to be holding out there. It is the fate of the 1.2 million Gazans currently huddled in and around the city in desperate conditions, in tents, and what their fate would be should such an assault went ahead that weighs heavily on the minds of the outside world.

It comes, of course, as there is a glimmer of hope for the hostage negotiations. We understand that Israel will be sending its negotiators back both to Qatar and to Cairo in order to pick up those negotiations where they left off. The hope that Hamas can be convinced to make concessions on a couple of the most outstanding points, the most difficult points in these negotiations, the question of the return of civilians to the north of the Gaza Strip and the question of the continued presence of Israeli soldiers, and, of course, the question of the long-term fate of the territory beyond the six-week cease-fire at the heart of a potential deal.

Melissa Bell, CNN, Jerusalem.


BRUNHUBER: Two years ago to the day, the world began to see one of the most horrific episodes in Russia's invasion of Ukraine. That's when Ukraine liberated the town of Bucha, discovering signs of gruesome atrocities believed to be committed by Russian troops. Images showed dead bodies lying on the streets, while officials said they later found a mass grave and torture chambers.

Ukraine says 1,400 people were killed in the town and surrounding areas during a month-long Russian occupation. The Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe says evidence suggests the killings were targeted and organized and the amount to crimes against humanity.

Earlier I spoke with Illia Ponomarenko, a Ukrainian journalist who went to Bucha when those gruesome scenes just began to emerge, and he described part of that experience in the memoir, "I Will Show You How It Was." I asked him where the town is now in its recovery from the pain and the evil that was done there. Here he is.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ILLIA PONOMARENKO, AUTHOR, "I WILL SHOW YOU HOW IT WAS": There was this smell and really dark atmosphere of what had happened to there. It was really hard psychologically to see. And along with myself, many journalists, including foreigners, they had this feeling that Bucha is cursed forever because of this crime. You know, there'll always be this thing that pressures upon this name and upon the city.

But I must say that immediately following the liberation, that was springtime, a beautiful spring, I must say, that was coming on along with the war. And, you know, the spring came and, you know, mummies got back to the city, lots of people got back to the city, you know, the green grass got back to the city. And gradually life came back, you know, all these activities, you know, lots of houses being rebuilt, lots of local malls, for instance, being rebuilt and, you know, giving a new life.

So I would say that, you know, within even months of that, you know, life and the -- you know, life prevailing was really something to see, something to sense.


BRUNHUBER: Britain's King Charles is expected to arrive at Easter service very soon. It's a rare appearance for the sovereign as he battles cancer. We'll have that in moments. Stay with us.


BRUNHUBER: We are standing by, waiting for Britain's King Charles to arrive at an Easter service in Windsor. Now, this will be his most significant appearance since he was diagnosed with cancer. Those are live pictures here that we're showing you. And he will be accompanied by his wife, Queen Camilla.

Now, this appearance comes as the British royal family grapples with multiple illnesses. So I want to go now, while we wait, here to CNN's Max Foster, who joins us live from Windsor. And CNN Royal Historian Kate Williams is in London.


So we're seeing some cars now pull up. So we're going to wait and see who emerges from there. But, Max, we'll start with you. It is the king's most significant public appearance since his diagnosis. So take us through what we are seeing right now and whether this will be seen as an encouraging sign about his health?

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's quite well publicized, this event. It's not fully, you know, the public aren't in the castle. So I'm outside, quite a crowd here. But within the castle, it's quite a -- it's a closed-off area. It's a reduced service. The king has basically been told by his medical advisors not to do any public- facing work because of the treatment he's undergoing.

But at the same time, they're trying to balance that, you know, that privacy and to protect him with having to be seen in public to show that the monarchy is still up and running and is still secure and safe. So cameras are allowed in. We've got a camera in there, a reduced number of cameras.

But it's an opportunity for him to show that he's well, despite the fact he's receiving treatment. And then he's also the head of the Church of England. So this is, for many Christians, the key day of the year, celebrating the rise of Christ.

And I think that he wants to show that he's running the church, he's running the country in a way, away from government, but representing the country, and he's still active. So I think this is a reassurance exercise. I don't think we should overplay it, because he's not out there in public like he normally would be.

But it's certainly a message, I think, from the palace and the monarchy that continuity is still there and that he's still working. We're not going to see the Prince and Princess of Wales today. Of course, the princess also has cancer. But this is showing that the very top of the monarchy is still in place, still working, and still active here at Windsor Castle.

BRUNHUBER: Yeah, and we were just seeing a few of the royals showing up there. We saw Sarah, Duchess of York. Now another car is pulling up.

And just while we wait for them to emerge, that might be the king emerging there. They're a bit blocked by the car, but I think we can make them out there, the king and the queen just emerging from the car as they go to the Easter services there. So as he waves to the crowd and as the queen waves to the crowd, Max, what's the mood there? How close is the public? Would they be able to see what we're seeing now on our television pictures? Can they see the king?

FOSTER: So we haven't been told who's actually allowed in the castle. Usually, you know, it's staff that work in the castle and live in the castle. The public aren't allowed beyond the castle walls where I am.

I understand that they are going to be separated from the rest of the congregation. We shouldn't read too much into that. It's just the fact that they have separate seats as the most senior royals in the chapel. But they are being protected on doctor's advice.

I think, you know, he is well. He feels well. I've spoken to people around him recently, and they are telling me that he's incredibly frustrated that he isn't able to do his full duties at the moment. But on the advice of the people around him, he's just being held back from the public. This isn't a public-facing event, but it is well- publicized. Lots of cameras are allowed in there. Photographers are allowed in there. There are some reporters allowed in there.

This is just showing, you know, to people at home on their TVs that, you know, everything is still active. He hasn't felt unwell, as I understand it. He's just undergoing this treatment. You know, this cancer was discovered by chance, really, when he was having a separate medical operation. So he'll be in the service. I think he'll be sharing, you know, an Easter service with the public, effectively, on this Sunday.

It's a holiday here in the U.K. and in other parts of the Commonwealth. So I think it's an opportunity, really, for people to share an Easter service with a king. But they're not being allowed up close to him.

BRUNHUBER: And, Kate, I want to turn to you. So, as we heard, a smaller service this year with the Princess of Wales and their children not attending as Catherine continues her recovery. For King Charles, you know, a good sign to see him now, but I imagine this doesn't mark the start of a return to full public duties, right?

KATE WILLIAMS, CNN ROYAL HISTORIAN: Yes, Kim. I mean, people out there are thrilled to see King Charles. He's, you know, obviously looking in, you know, really great form. He's walking. He's, you know, out there again. But we've been told that this isn't a return for public duties. What it is, is a sort of gentle return to the public eye. So, as Max was saying, this isn't a public facing. He's not shaking hands.

He would, we understand, be sitting separately in the actual church. So we're seeing Charles, you know, out and about, waving, you know, seeing people. But he's not going back to the full duties of kingship. And we don't yet have a timeline as to when that's going to be. We -- it probably will be sometime, I think, in maybe after late summer.


But, you know, there, you know, the pictures you're showing there, the queen smiling away, Charles smiling. He really does look in great form. And just as Max was saying, this is a reassurance exercise. He's not doing the role of a monarch out there shaking hands. But he is, you know, feeling good, getting good. And, you know, hopefully at some point returning to full public duties.

BRUNHUBER: Yeah. And, Kate, in the meantime, Queen Camilla playing a greater role. We saw her in the Maundy service, for instance. The king expressed how sad he was that he wasn't able to be there for that. But she's certainly stepping up in his place.

WILLIAMS: Yes, Queen Camilla is stepping up in his place. She really is. And we have a very slimmed-down royal family. And, indeed, you know, the king's mission was to make a slimmed-down royal family. But we don't have Harry, William and Kate. Kate is recovering. William is looking after her. So, really, a lot of the duties are falling on Camilla. And she is the lead royal at this point.

And this is a big job for her. And certainly I think Charles is very pleased to leave the duties in her hand. But we do understand that Charles is doing online duties. We've seen him meeting some ambassadors in personal meetings. So he's doing personal meetings. He's doing meetings at Buckingham Palace.

But I don't think we are very near seeing him out and about shaking hands at hospitals and schools. That, as you're showing in these pictures here, that's what Camilla is doing. BRUNHUBER: Exactly. And I want to go to you, Max. I mean, building on what we heard there, what does this suggest about, you know, future key dates in the royal calendar, like Trooping the Colour in June? I guess it's hard to predict, right?

FOSTER: Yeah, so it's all based on doctor's advice. I mean, we have had Trooping the Colour within Windsor Castle before, a slimmed-down event. It's currently planned for central London. I don't think, you know, based on what we're seeing today, I don't think he's going to be allowed out amongst big crowds, which you would expect to have in central London. But maybe he will, you know, Princess Anne may go in his position, for example.

I think it's a real challenge. I mean, what Kate was talking about there was a slimmed-down monarchy. We're just seeing the pressure, really, on the monarchy right now, with the Princess of Wales out of duties, public duties, and also the king out of public duties. The other two senior roles, the Queen and Prince William, are holding up the front line of the monarchy right now.

And they have partners, spouses, who have cancer, so they're having to care for them as well. So I think the big challenge for the palace right now is showing that the monarchy is strong, showing they're active, and reassuring the public that they are still able to carry out their roles, even if they're not allowed out to meet the general public.

But if you imagine that the monarchy is a brand in many ways. They don't say that much. They don't communicate that much. But the way they do portray themselves is through public events like this. So they're going to try and do as much as possible. William and Kate, without putting too much pressure on -- sorry, Camilla and William, without putting too much pressure on Charles and Kate.

BRUNHUBER: All right. I really appreciate having you both there, Max Foster in Windsor and Kate Williams in London. Thank you both.

All right, still ahead here on "CNN Newsroom," March Madness is living up to its name with one team making it to the final four for the first time ever. CNN Sports' Carolyn Manno joins me next as the final four take shape. Stay with us.



BRUNHUBER: The Alabama Crimson Tide rides a wave of three-pointers to reach the first Final Four in school history. CNN Sports Correspondent Carolyn Manno joins me now. So, Carolyn, we're used to seeing Alabama's football team getting to the postseason basketball. This is a new thing.

CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I guess so. You know, for Alabama, it just keeps going and going. They do actually, Kim, boast the nation's highest scoring offense. They are at their best when they're hot from three-point range. They've impressed a lot of people this season. It didn't look like that was going to happen early against Clemson.

Crimson Tide guard Mark Sears started out the game 0-for-7, including 0-for-4 from beyond the arc. He scored his first points of the game with just over four minutes left in the first half. But then in the second half, the floodgates really opened.

Sears draining shot after shot, finishing with a game-high 23 points with seven threes. Clemson had only allowed 14 threes in its first three NCAA tournament games combined. And 'bama coach Nate Oats cutting down the nets after the 89-82 win, sending the Tide to the Final Four for the very first time.


MARK SEARS, ALABAMA GUARD: The hard work always pays off. Hard work undefeated, man. Just -- I wouldn't be here without the hard work. I live for those moments, man. You know, this is what March Madness is about, you know. When you're a kid, you want to be in these moments. And it felt like my dream came true today. My dream definitely came true today.


MANNO: Alabama facing UConn next, who's on a mission to become the first repeat national champs in college basketball since Florida won back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2007. The top-seeded Huskies scored 30 straight to power their way back to the Final Four, steamrolling Illinois' 77-52. And that sets a March Madness record of 10 straight double-digit wins.

Here is a confident head coach Dan Hurley after the game.


DAN HURLEY, UCONN HEAD COACH: Our defense is elite. Our offense is elite. You know, we rebound the ball. These guys play every possession like it's the end of the world. We've got NBA-level players that, you know, are just willing to share. And, you know, they've created an unbelievable culture. We're, you know, going to be tough to beat.


MANNO: UConn going to face Alabama in the first matchup of the Final Four next Saturday in Glendale, Arizona. Two more tickets will be punched on Sunday afternoon. The action gets underway with second- seeded Tennessee taking on no. 1 Purdue at 2.20 Eastern. And then it's a battle of conference rivals this year. Cinderella team, the North Carolina State Wolfpack, facing no. 4 Duke just after 5 o'clock.

Now, in the women's tournament, Caitlin Clark and no. 1 Iowa advancing to the Elite Eight after an 89-68 win over Colorado on Saturday. Clark finishing with a game-high 29 points and 15 assists. She was subbed out with less than 2 minutes to go in the game, received a rousing ovation from the crowd as the Hawkeyes now get set to face no. 3 LSU in a rematch of last year's national championship game. Clark says the team is really excited to play the Tigers again after the loss last year.



CAITLIN CLARK, IOWA GUARD: It's so good for women's basketball. And to be honest, I watch a lot of LSU games and what they're doing for women's basketball and the way their fan support is tremendous. And it's been fun to watch, and they've had a great season.

So I know it's going to be a great game, and both teams are going to be ready to go. And it's just going to be great for our game. And, you know, we couldn't be more excited.


MANNO: Kim, that game was the catalyst for so much interest in women's basketball. That is going to be must-see TV.

BRUNHUBER: Yeah, absolutely right. Carolyn Manno in New York, thank you so much.

All right, before we go, Saturday Night Live's Cold Open swoops Donald Trump's sales pitch for Bibles ahead of Easter Sunday. Have a look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And if you think that this is a bad look, imagine how weird it would be if I started selling Bibles. Well, I'm selling Bibles. Look at this beautiful Bible made from 100% Bible. Sounds like a joke, and in many ways it is, but it's also very real. As you know, I love Bible. It's my favorite book. I've definitely read it. My favorite part is probably the ending. How it all wraps up. But this is a very special Bible, and it could be yours for the high, high price of $60. But I'm not doing this for the money. I'm doing this for the glory of God and for pandering and mostly for money. Moses --


BRUNHUBER: The sketch continued to mock Trump as he compared himself to Jesus and as portrayed in the Bible, he's selling as Adam in the Garden of Eden. Ending out the sketch, fake Trump went on to remark that he even has his own Judas, Ron DeSantis, and that he is better than the Messiah because he's a, quote, "self-made billionaire," and Jesus is a, quote, "nepo baby."

All right, that wraps this hour of "CNN Newsroom." I'm Kim Brunhuber. "CNN This Morning" is next.