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Baltimore Crews Attempting to Create Improvised Port Channel; Workers Start Pulling Wreckage from the River of Fallen Key Bridge; Interview with Foreign Relations Committee, Appropriations Committee and Budget Committee Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD); Biden's Promise to Provide Funding for Bridge Reconstruction Criticized by Certain Republicans; AT&T Says Date from 73M Customer Accounts Leaked to Dark Web; Straight Into the Final Four: UConn, Alabama, NC State, and Purdue; NCAA Women's Tournament had Uneven 3-Point Lines. Aired 10:30- 11a ET

Aired April 01, 2024 - 10:30   ET




JIM ACOSTA, CNN NEWSROOM ANCHOR: In Baltimore, demolition crews are removing wreckage of the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge. Their work is the first up in a massive cleanup operation to open up a temporary channel around the wreckage for commercially essential ships. And there are a lot of them in that area.

CNN's Gabe Cohen joins us. Gabe, a busy morning. And they've got to get that wreckage out of the way that local economy really depends on it.

GABE COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jim, that's absolutely right. And those crews are dealing with a lot of rain and wind and cold this morning as they try to work on the river. And now the focus has turned toward opening this alternate channel that they're trying to create in the river at some point soon for commercially essential vessels, with the hope being that it's the first step toward reopening the port of Baltimore.

As you mentioned, thousands of jobs are at stake right now with work basically shut down on the port, potentially millions of dollars in impact to the local economy. But at this point, it's unclear what the timeline is to actually get that alternate vessel -- that alternate channel open and what vessels are going to be able to use it, whether or not it will be able to handle larger ships at some point soon.

I can tell you, I just spoke with the Joint Information Center that told me at this point, in the short term, the only vessels that are going to be using that channel are the ones directly involved in this salvage operation actually getting the bridge out of the water.

ACOSTA: And Gabe, you just spoke with a man who was one of the last people who crossed the bridge before it's collapsed. That must be some kind of story. What can you tell us? COHEN: Yes, a remarkable story. Jim. I spoke with Larry DeSantis. He was on his way to work that morning, driving the Key Bridge as he did every morning at that same time, just seconds over the bridge. He saw those construction workers, cleared the edge of the bridge, and seconds later got a phone call about the collapse. Here's what he told me. Take a listen.



LARRY DESANTIS, ONE OF LAST DRIVERS ON KEY BRIDGE: It's really -- it's hard to believe. I just -- and I -- I feel sorry for those workers, I really do. I mean, they're doing their job, you know, they lost their lives. So, it's hard to, you know -- I mean, I drove right by them. You know, I saw all of them, you know, just a minute before they probably died.


COHEN: Jim, you can hear the emotion in his voice. Something so many people here in Baltimore are still feeling.

ACOSTA: Yes, unbelievable. Wow. What a story. Our Gabe Cohen, thank you very much.

Joining me now, Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland Senator. I mean, you just heard what Gabe Cohen was reporting there a few moments ago. This is just a critically important part of the Baltimore economy. Are you satisfied with the pace of the efforts to reopen this channel and get things going?

SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD): Well, Jim, I am. And first, let me just say about the six that we lost in this terrible tragedy. We are working very hard to support their families and their kids. I am satisfied. The Army Corps of Engineers was on the job immediately, as has the Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy. They're working 24/7 as you just heard. They're trying to open a portion of the sort of, passageway on the Patapsco River under the bridge. This will be for vessels that don't draw as much water. So, about 11 feet.

As work goes on at the same time to clear the main channel, that's 50 feet. And that's the channel we have to clear to get more container ships back into the port of Baltimore. As you say, it is a credible -- critical economic hub. I'm going to be going very shortly to meet with some of the longshoremen, who, on a regular -- you know, on a regular day would be unloading and offloading cargo from these ships.

So, we -- we've got to get this up and running. And I thank the president for dispatching the Army Corps of Engineers immediately. And they're on the job.

ACOSTA: Yes, I've been out there boating on the Chesapeake Bay. I mean, you see those cargo ships going through. It's just a vital part of this entire region's economy. And Senator, I mean, are you hearing from administration officials as to how quickly we could see this channel getting reopened? And what about the bridge itself? I know that's a long way off, but any new estimates in terms of timing there?

VAN HOLLEN: So, we don't have a specific timeline on opening the channel which is essential to getting the port operations going. There are just so many variables. What I can say is I've been down there virtually every day, and they are working 24/7. So, even as they try to clear this one passageway under the bridge to make room for barges, they're at the same time doing all the engineering analysis to open the deeper channel.

As for the bridge, you know, we are determined to rebuild the Key Bridge. And again, the federal government has stepped up. Maryland has been included in the emergency relief. A program -- which is a federal program for these kinds of emergencies and we'll pick up -- the federal government will pick up 90 percent of the costs through that program.

And then Senator Cardin and myself and Congressman Mfume will be introducing legislation to make up that difference so that we meet the president's, you know, request and assistance that the federal government step in during this national emergency. And it is national given the scope of the port activities and the number of jobs impacted.

ACOSTA: Yes, but Senator, I mean, what do you have to say to the Republicans who have been blasting President Biden for pledging federal funding for the rebuilding? Congressman Jeff Duncan of South Carolina told Fox News, "While I mourn the lives lost in Baltimore, we cannot haphazardly spend over $1 billion as America is 34 trillion in debt. Before we spend one more dime for domestic infrastructure, we must build a domestic border wall." It goes on and on. What's your response to that?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, first of all, Jim, I -- I've got a long list of projects that other states have submitted and which have been accepted under the Emergency Relief Program. Red states, blue states, purple states, this is essentially what this program was designed to do. With respect to the remainder, if you go back to the time of the Minneapolis bridge collapse, Congress within a very short period of time, overwhelmingly, said the federal government should help a great American city in need.

That was the great city of Minneapolis. Baltimore is a great American city and has this thriving port. And so, we believe that we should come together again as Americans put aside, you know, party labels and get it done.


ACOSTA: All right. Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, thanks so much. Best of luck on those efforts to get the situation taken care of there in Baltimore. They sorely need some help as soon as possible. Senator, thanks so much for your time. We appreciate it.

VAN HOLLEN: Thank -- thank you, Jim.

ACOSTA: All right. Coming up, the personal information of 73 million AT&T customers now exposed on the dark web ahead. What the company is saying about who is behind the hack.


ACOSTA: Right now, AT&T is investigating a major security breach. The communications giant says the personal data of at least 73 million current and former customers were leaked onto the dark web.


CNN's Matt Egan joins me now. Matt, just what everybody wants to wake up to on a Monday morning. I mean, what do we do about this.

MATT EGAN, CNN BUSINESS AND ECONOMY REPORTER: Well, Jim, yes, this is very concerning. This is a massive data breach. It's impacted many, many Americans. We're talking about 7.6 million current customers of AT&T, and almost 10 times that many previous customers, 65.4 million former customers of AT&T have been caught up in this.

So, I know everyone's wondering, you know, have I been impacted? Well, AT&T says they have already reached out to and reset the passcodes of current customers who have been impacted. So, if you don't get an - email or a letter from AT&T in the coming days, you're likely in the clear. And the company says they're going to reach out to former customers as well.

Now, beyond the scope of this, what's concerning is what was actually taken, stolen. AT&T says it varies from case to case, but this includes full names, dates of birth, phone numbers, e-mail and mailing addresses, account numbers, passcodes, and most alarmingly, social security numbers.

Now, one cyber security research -- researcher told me that this is more than enough information for criminals to do everything from phishing campaigns to potentially even impersonating customers or even trying to steal their identity here.

One interesting element here is the timing. It was nearly three years ago that a well-known hacker claimed to have customer information on 70 million people from AT&T. And at the time, AT&T denied that its systems had been penetrated. Now, the company says that they realize that about two weeks ago, customer information was leaked on the dark web, but AT&T says they're investigating. They don't know yet if this was taken directly from the company or from a vendor.

Jim, there's a number of things that customers can do if they fear that they have been impacted, including changing their passcodes. They can freeze their credit accounts. They can also sign up for fraud alerts, Jim. So, this is a major, major leak here.

ACOSTA: Yes, I know what I'm going to be doing later today. All right. Matt Egan, it's like mowing the grass now. It's like going to the store. We just have to make this part of our lives. Updating passwords, making them more complicated. It's just what we do now.

EGAN: You're right, Jim. You're right.

ACOSTA: All right. Matt Egan, thanks a lot. Appreciate it.

EGAN: Thank you.

ACOSTA: All right. Still ahead, the men's Final Four is set as North Carolina State -- NC State looks to make history with their Cinderella run in the tournament. The Wolfpack, they have just been unbelievable. We'll talk about that next.



ACOSTA: All right. After a nail-biting weekend of Marsh Madness, the Final Four in the men's NCAA tournament is set. 11th seed NC State will face off against top ranked Purdue. And defending champion UConn will take on 4th seed Alabama in Phoenix on Saturday.

CNN's Carolyn Manno joins us now. What do you think of these match- ups? I was at March Madness in Boston for some of these games and UConn is just unbelievable. I don't see anybody stopping UConn, but this run by NC State, it's unbelievable.

CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, UConn is looking unbeatable the way that they have handled this tournament. Alabama has a really potent offense. I think that's going to be a really compelling game. The Boilermakers have lived up to their billing, and now you've got the Wolfpack that have become the darlings of the tournament.

I mean, the teams that we expected to be there are there, and then we get a Cinderella of sorts in NC State. An 11 seed led by a pair of super seniors in DJ Burns and DJ Horne just pulling off another upset, this time against Duke. Burns just seemed to bully his way to a team high 29 points. Horne added 20 against the Blue Devils in the 76-64 comeback win.

And what's fascinating is that the Wolfpack needed to win five games in five days to win the ACC tournament just to get invited to be here. And now they have somehow managed to rattle off nine in a row, heading to the Final Four for the first time in 41 years.

You've got Purdue heading to the Final Four for the first time in 40 years. Matt Painter so deserving of this. Tennessee, All American Dalton Knecht was just brilliant in this game for the Vols. He had 37. But it was the Boilermakers' big man, Zach Edey, proving why he is the frontrunner to win his second straight National Player of the Year award.

He put up a career high 40. He did it at the free throw line. And then with the game on the line, he had this huge block to seal the six- point win. And I loved watching him after the game too, Jim, because he's seven four. So, he doesn't necessarily even need the ladder --

ACOSTA: Oh, my gosh.

MANNO: -- to cut down the net. I know, just grabbing the scissors -- ACOSTA: I love it.

MANNO: --- and going up there and taking it. But you know, he said a lot of people have doubted him over the course of his career, and this is really a redemptive moment for him. So, that was really fun to watch.

You can watch Saturday's Final Four as well as next Monday's national championship game on our sister channel, TBS and streaming on Max. I have to agree with you. UConn is looking so confident right now, but I hesitate to say anything. I don't know if Kaitlan Collins is close by in D.C.


MANNO: I don't want her calling me, but they look really good.

ACOSTA: Zach Edey, does he do odd jobs around the house? Changing light bulbs? I mean, he could really come in handy in these.

MANNO: I have a couple of things that I might like him to do around my house.

ACOSTA: Absolutely, those hard-to-reach places.

And the women's tournament has also been just insane. It's been terrific. Tell us about the three-point line discrepancy, though. I saw something about this. It is just -- I -- what is going on? How did this get mixed up?

MANNO: Yes, this is strange. I mean, the focus tonight is rightly on LSU and Iowa exactly where it should be. But the NCAA has faced a lot of criticism over the years for how it has failed to support women's sports. This is something that's just downright bizarre.


I mean, NC state and Texas were getting ready for their game in Portland, Oregon yesterday, and officials came onto the court with measuring tapes. They realized that the lines weren't adding up. And what's even wilder about that is that four had already been played without anybody noticing that the three-point lines were off. But rather than delay the game, both teams agreed to play and just kind of deal with the wonkiness of a miscalculation. In the end, it was NC State that toppled top seeded Texas 76 to 66 to reach their first Final Four since 1998.

But you know, you think about tonight's game, LSU in Iowa, this incredible opportunity for two huge superstars in Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese to go toe to toe with one another.


MANNO: They are both confident. They both talk trash. They both have swagger. They're both great teammates. And so, you know, to have this be must see primetime television later on this evening, it's just going to be so fun. This rematch of the national championship last year that everybody just cannot wait for and with good reason.

ACOSTA: Yes, that's going to be a huge matchup. I'll definitely be watching.

All right, Carolyn Minow, thank you so much. That was a great rundown of everything that took place over the weekend. Thanks so much.

MANNO: Sure.

ACOSTA: And our next hour of "Newsroom" continues after a short break. We'll be right back.