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CNN This Morning

Putin Arrest Warrant Issued Over War Crime Allegations; Fairleigh Dickinson Stuns Number 1 Seed Purdue In March Madness; U.S. Stock-Wall Street Ends Sharply Lower On Bank Contagion Fears; Biden Administration's Response To Bank Failures Draws Scrutiny; Wyoming Outlaws Abortion Pills; Actor Lance Reddick Dies At Age 60. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired March 18, 2023 - 06:00   ET



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, buenos dias, and welcome to CNN This Morning. It is Saturday, March 18. We're thrilled to start the weekend with you. I'm Boris Sanchez.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ACHOR: Also be with you, Boris. I'm Amara Walker. Thank you so much for joining us. And here's what we're watching this morning.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you believe it's possible that one day we will see President Vladimir Putin in the dark?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think those things impossible. Fail to understand history.


WALKER: The International Criminal Court issuing an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for alleged war crimes. Putin's response to that and what the odds actually are that he gets arrested.

SANCHEZ: Plus a $30 billion lifeline how big banks are stepping in to save a smaller one from financial ruin, and helping to stabilize the U.S. economy.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's thick in the summertime builds up and smells terrible.


WALKER: Yes, it's headed right for the U.S. what we know about the 5,000 mile long mass of seaweed making its way to the east coast and the impacts that will have on Florida's beaches and tourism industry.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For just a second time ever. A 16 beats a one.


SANCHEZ: Plus, another stunning upset in the NCAA Tournament, a huge underdog 16 seed knocking out a number one in the first round of the tournament, our Andy Scholes is standing by with your highlights.

WALKER: All right up first, the President of Russia is now a wanted man. The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for Vladimir Putin and the country's Children's Rights Commissioner in an alleged scheme to deport Ukrainian children thousands of them to Russia. Of course, Moscow rejects those allegations.

SANCHEZ: Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov tweeted this quote, Russia, like a number of states does not recognize the jurisdiction of this court and accordingly any decisions of this kind are null and void for the Russian Federation from the point of view of law, but the President of the ICC says the charges against Putin will have an impact. Listen.


JUDGE PIOTR HOFMANSKI, PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT: Well, obviously, the arrest warrants are not the magic wands. This is not the case that the violence will stop now, but we believe for the deterrence effect of the arrest warrants in our proceedings, issue denial proceedings, and we believe that is a very important signal for the world that we are doing our job that the victims are not left alone. We are not forgotten.


WALKER: Well, Ukraine's Minister of Foreign Affairs says the wheels of justice are turning and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked the ICC for its historic decision.

SANCHEZ: Let's take you to Ukraine now and CNN senior international correspondent David McKenzie who joins us live from Kyiv. David, what's the reaction on the ground to these war crime charges against Putin?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Boris, Amara, good morning. You know the reaction that there is quiet celebration and a vindication I think of the prosecutor's office here in Ukraine that have been working doggedly for many months to try and gather evidence of ongoing allegations of war crimes.

The prosecutor's office at The Hague really outlines what they say an outrageous crime against humanity, transferring kids, particularly orphans, forcibly, from state run institutions in occupied areas of Ukraine into Russia, in some cases, having them being adopted by Russian parents and given Russian citizenship.

But the point is, is that these were done forcibly often and separating in some cases, mothers from their children. Now, President Zelenskyy spoke about the scale of these alleged atrocities.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): This is a historic decision that will lead to historic responsibility. More than 16,000 cases of forced deportation of Ukrainian children by the occupier have already been recorded. But the real full number of deportees may be much higher. Such a criminal operation would have been impossible without the order of the highest leader of the terrorist state.


MCKENZIE: Now getting Putin to court is another matter entirely, but it's a very significant symbolic move at the very least. Boris, Amara.

WALKER: Yes, let's talk about that point about getting Putin to court. Yes, symbolic, but in reality, what is the likelihood that Putin will ever face justice?

MCKENZIE: I think it's important to explain on a practical level how this works, you know, the ICC Court in The Hague, it doesn't have a police force. It is dependent on countries to operate with it.


So in a theoretical sense, what would need to happen is Vladimir Putin travels outside of Russia to a country, which is part of that, which doesn't include, of course, the U.S. and he is arrested. The track record is not good here with previous heads of state that have faced these kind of war crimes, accusations and warrant.

The Kremlin for its part put these accusations and the warrant outrageous and unacceptable. They reminded people that Russia is not party to the treaty that governs this court. But I think what it does is applies pressure on Vladimir Putin further isolates him.

And importantly, I think this is the first step when it comes to international justice relating to this conflict. There could be more cases brought by The Hague court, from here in Ukraine and even possibly a special tribunal.

So, it's the first step an important one, and it's important even if it's symbolic, to not lose sight of the awful crimes that allegedly Putin and his deputies have been responsible for. Boris, Amara.

SANCHEZ: Yes, important to remember the ICC just announced that they were going to investigate Russia's actions in Ukraine just a few days ago. So this could be one of many steps to come. David McKenzie live from Kyiv, thank you so much.

The United States is going to be closely watching a meeting next week between Vladimir Putin and China's President Xi Jinping. The two leaders are set for meetings in Moscow beginning on Monday and lasting through Wednesday. It's going to be Xi's first visit to Russia since the invasion of Ukraine and since he secured an unprecedented third term as China's leader.

The meeting is seen as a strong show of Beijing's support for the Kremlin. And China's foreign ministry says the war in Ukraine will be obviously a major issue in their conversation.

WALKER: Yes, of course, trying to try to frame this as at peace making mission. Let's get some perspective on all of this. Joining me now is CNN military analyst retired Major General James "Spider" Marks and former CNN Moscow bureau chief Jill Dougherty, adjunct professor at Georgetown University. Good morning to you both. And thank you so much for joining us this morning.

Look, no one, I'm sure is holding their breath that we're going to see Putin in handcuffs, at least anytime soon, although it does make it harder for Putin to travel internationally. Jill, what impact do you believe the ICC arrest warrants will have at least on how the war is carried out and perhaps deterring any further alleged war crimes?

JILL DOUGHERTY, FORMER CNN MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF: Well, that is certainly the hope of the ICC that by doing this, at this particular point, they might avert some of those crimes that are being carried out and children being taken from Ukraine. But it's unclear whether that actually directly would happen.

You know, as you just heard the Russians dismiss this. They say they're, number one, not a member of the court, and that it's essentially all political. And domestically, Russia and Putin are depicting this as saving children, bringing them out of a war zone and bringing them to Russia.

But what in reality is going on is that these children are being turned into little Russians. They are Ukrainian children, who are whose language is now being changed. And their, you know, filiation, their country is being changed, and sometimes taken from parents who don't know where they are. So these are definitely war crimes.

But I'd have to say, you know, Russia, and President Putin pretty much doubles down on anything when confronted. So, I'm a little concerned that he may just go full steam ahead with this, how it plays out in the field? I'm not quite sure.

WALKER: Yes, I mean, really is unconscionable. You know, you there are thousands of children. And I think I saw some reports as young as six months old who had been forcibly deported. And of course, you know, are they lost forever? And as they are sent to these reeducation camps, I mean, what happens to their futures?

And to you General Spider Marks, I mean, look, we've seen, we've heard these horrible stories about the children being forcibly deported horrific images and anecdotes of what's been happening there on the ground. I mean, do you expect and hope that there will be more charges filed war crimes charges filed against Putin?

MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, the ICC is doing its job, which is what it is what we would expect it to do. I'm pessimistic as is jail that anything will happen as a result of these indictments and this arrest warrant.

I think the ICC probably will continue to do what it's supposed to do and will continue to do investigate, but the practical matter is, is very little if anything will happen as a result of this.


Look, the global condemnation of Putin is very, very clear and as synchronous. I don't think that's changing. And again, As Jill pointed out, so correctly, Putin has created this challenge for himself. Look, it's not fair for us to say we painted him into the corner. He painted himself into the corner here. And when a man has no options and nothing to lose, then you can anticipate that he's going to lash out.

So I don't know that there's going to be some direct causality between this ICC indictment and actions on the ground. Again, there are real challenges that Russia is encountering in confronting the Ukrainians in this battle, they're losing every tactical fight they get into.

They can continue to mobilize but they're putting young men that are not trained, and in many cases are completely ill-equipped against an incredibly creative Ukrainian force. Both sides are getting worn down. So there are limits to what Russia can do against Ukraine, irrespective of the ICC.

WALKER: Yes. And just to get back to the ICC's announcement, you know, a lot of historians have pointed out, look, no one ever thought that the Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, whatever, you know, get or see the day of justice. And you know, he obviously did, so he went on trial for war crimes.

Look, let's go to this meeting between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Putin that's supposed to happen next week, it'll be his first trip to Moscow since Russia invaded Ukraine. And as I said, the Chinese have been trying to frame this as luck, you know, we're trying to find a way, a peaceful way out of this.

We know, it's very one sided. And we know China's very biased in terms of its support for Russia. What will you be watching for Jill, in terms of, you know, what may come out of this meeting?

DOUGHERTY: Well, I think there are many, many levels. As usual, when Russia and China get together, it's very complicated. So, you know, we're going to see a big show, I'm sure of, you know, Hey, glad handing and champagne toasts, and to this friendship, you know, no limits partnership, as they call it.

But beneath the surface, there are other things, you know, primarily, as we have been reporting, the Chinese -- the Russians definitely would like weapons, lethal weapons from China. China has been playing really a balancing act, because it would like to support Russia. But on the other hand, if it does support Russia, it creates huge difficulties with the United States, with sanctions, et cetera.

And so they're not willing, at least to this point, to give up the markets in the United States and in Europe for Russia's economy, which is faltering at this point. So there's a lot of balancing going on.

That peace deal that is a proposal that Xi Jinping brings, it's a 12- point plan is very, very vague, it probably is going nowhere. So, you know, I'm sure we'll hear words from him about peace, but there won't be much substance behind that.

It's really they're talking about economics, Russia needs, the high tech products that China creates right now, because the sanctions are cutting off high priced, high tech products from other places, especially in the West. So, again, a lot of levels going on here.

WALKER: And in the meantime, the war there on the ground drags on. General Marks, you know, what's your assessment on where things stand? I mean, I heard from a Ukrainian soldier and report saying that, you know, Russian forces have been quote, unquote, partially exhausted in some parts of Bakhmut. Where are things headed right now?

MARKS: Yes, both sides are exhausted. This is the 16th round of a boxing match. You know, the gloves are down hanging around your knees. Both opponents are having a very tough time. And I think it's representative of what's taking place in Bakhmut right now.

Look, Bakhmut has become kind of the centerpiece. It's the narrative of how this fight is going. Ukraine is having a very difficult time. Russia is just overwhelming the Ukrainians in that particular piece of terrain, with overwhelming firepower and personnel being added into the fight. The Wagner group is getting bloodied.

But the point is, is that Russia's intent clearly is to wear down the Ukrainian will to resist. And that's clearly what we're seeing. There are some legitimate fractures in the Ukrainian military, no loss of spirit, no loss of desire, but it's a matter of sheer numbers.

And I think we're really at the kind of the end of the beginning of what we're going to see throughout this year, which are these tactics, engagements that are going to be very, very difficult and will reveal the bloodiness to this incredible fight, yet there will be no operational strategic movements that will take place.


WALKER: Sounds quite ominous and it looks like it will be a pivotal year Major General James "Spider" Marks and Jill Dougherty really appreciate the conversation. Thank you so much.

MARKS: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: We got to shift gears this morning to talk about the NCAA men's tournament because one of the biggest upsets in March Madness history officially set all our collective hopes and dreams of a perfect bracket on fire. Andy Scholes is here to break it down for us.

Andy, this is just the second time ever, and the men's NCAA tournament that a number 16 -- number 16 seed stuns the world?

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Yes, Boris, Fairleigh Dickinson pulling off just an all-time great upset last night beating one seed Perdue. FDU, it's actually the shortest team in the tournament and Purdue was the tallest so this really was David versus Goliath and 16 seed they were one and 150 against one seeds coming into this game but the Knights hang in tough the entire time and it was Sean Moore coming through in the final moments off the steal.

He gets it back to the layup there to put the Knights up five. Moments later, Moore hit three to put them up five again with just a minute to go. Fairleigh Dickinson out of Teaneck, New Jersey getting their first ever first round when knocking out Purdue 63 to 58.


TOBIN ANDERSON, FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON HEAD COACH: That's an unbelievable. We'll have you we just did something there, that's unbelievable. We just shock the world and couldn't have a better bunch of guys a better bunch of fans, my family the whole thing so we are ecstatic. Unbelievable. We're going to stay in Columbus, I love it.

SEAN MOORE, FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON FORWARD: And it's still great to get this though. Show people that we can be here and people didn't think we belong to be here. We showing people that we could do we could do in this tournament with the big dogs, so we don't grant right now. On to the next dub, man.


SCHOLES: Yes, so the nights were 23 and a half point underdogs for this game. It made this the biggest upset NCAA tournament history since the bracket went to 64 teams. And Boris, get this, Fairleigh Dickinson shouldn't even have been in the tournament. They lost their conference title game to Merrimack but Merrimack is still transitioning from Division II. So it wasn't eligible to go to the tournament this year.

So the Knights actually get in on a technicality, but they certainly made the most of their tournament appearance and hey, survive in advance and now they get to play again tomorrow.

SANCHEZ: It is incredible. I'm still trying to catch my breath from that postgame interview with a coach. He didn't breathe. He just rattled it off. He was so pumped. He probably still smells like champagne this morning. Andy Scholes, thank you so much for that.

Still ahead on CNN This Morning, a major bailout for a troubled bank the billions of dollars coming to First Republic from larger banks, why the Feds believe the rescue is going to ward off a larger financial crisis. But why some argue this could cause long term damage.

WALKER: Plus, it's a few 1,000 miles wide it smells terrible. And it's headed right toward the U.S., where did that rotting mass of seaweed slowly drifting at us come from, that's coming up.



WALKER: U.S. markets ended the week down with the Dow slipping nearly 400 points as the ongoing banking crisis continues to send shockwaves down Wall Street. Last night, Moody's downgraded First Republic's credit rating, just a day after the embattled bank landed a $30 billion lifeline from lenders.

SANCHEZ: The Investors also remain worried about European Bank Credit Suisse despite a $54 billion loan from Switzerland Central Bank to keep it afloat. Markets are still skeptical about its long term prospects. And now all eyes are going to be on next week's Federal Reserve meeting as fears of a recession grow. CNN's Christine Romans has this report.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Boris and Amara, a remarkable effort from big American banks to save another bank from ruin. 11 banks $30 billion. That's how much money and how many lenders it took to shore up First Republic preventing another Silicon Valley Bank.

5 billion each from Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan, Chase and Citi. Two and a half billion from Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, 1 billion from U.S. Bank BNY Mellon, Truest, State Street and PNC.

The megadeal from the mega banks included behind closed door talks between the Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the Fed Chair Jerome Powell, JP Morgan Chase chief Jamie Dimon and the chairman of the FDIC.

The goal for the rescue returns the markets to normal and convinces you at home your money is in safe hands. It kept a fast moving week of efforts by the Federal Reserve, the Treasury Department and bank executives trying to inject confidence and capital back into the financial system. Amara, Boris?


SANCHEZ: Christine, thank you so much. President Biden is also calling for accountability. He's seeking that Congress tighten laws and claw back at banking executives by imposing tougher sanctions for banks that fail.

WALKER: CNN White House reporter Jasmine Wright is live with more details on this. Good morning to you, Jasmine. So what else did the White House say Congress needs to do about this?

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, Boris and Amara. Well, you're right. The President does want accountability. And after we saw this week, his administration taking those dramatic emergency efforts. He is calling on Congress to step in and do more to expand his authorities.

Now in a statement released Friday, President Biden he said no one is above the law. Congress must act to impose tougher penalties for senior bank executives whose mismanagement contributed to their institution's failings.

So he's really asking for about three things. First, he wants Congress to expand the FDIC's authority to clawback compensation including gates for stock sales from executives that failed banks like Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank.


Next, he wants Congress to do -- to strengthen the FDIC's authority to borrow executives from holding jobs in the banking industry when making their bank when their banks into receivership. And lastly, he's called on Congress to expand the FDIC's authority to bring fines against executives of failed banks.

Now, earlier in the week, as Christine just laid out, we saw the administration really taking that massive effort led by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen trying to contain the fallout from Silicon Valley Banks to really backstop depositors at no cost, they say to the taxpayers, and then we saw that $30 billion infusion on Thursday by those 11 major banks a deal really blessed by the U.S. government.

But of course, concerns still remain not only on the practical fallout, whether or not more banks will continue to fall, of course, as that recession potentially looms, but also on the political factor for President Biden what he would do in response if more banks failed.

We know that bailouts have really become a political liability since 2008. So, President Biden right now is really on a tight rope, as his administration tries to continue to convince Americans really that the U.S. banking system is safe. Boris, Amara.

SANCHEZ: And as he is potentially just weeks, as has been reported from the announcement of a reelection campaign, as well, Jasmine Wright reporting live. Thank you so much, Jasmine.

Though some have lauded the Biden administration's attempt to prevent a nationwide banking crisis by saving Silicon Valley Bank, others argue that that was not the best approach, including our next guest, Nicolas Veron. He's a senior fellow at the Policy Research Organization Bruegel and also at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

We should point out for transparency, that Nicolas has investments in Silicon Valley companies, and he shared his thoughts on the federal government's latest moves, and a new opinion piece on that you can find on our website.

Nicolas, good morning. And thank you so much for sharing part of your weekend with us. Let's start where Jasmine left off, President Biden urging Congress to enact laws that would punish the executives at banks that fail. Do you think that kind of legislation is a good idea?

NICOLAS VERON, SENIOR FELLOW, PETERSON INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICS: I don't have a strong view on this. I think it's a bit of a sideshow, the punitive approach will not really change the incentives in banking, it's not a matter of just, you know, malpractice. It's actually a matter of poor risk management, poor risk controls. And I doubt that you can encapsulate this in a punitive or lateral and criminal approach.

The problem at Silicon Valley Bank and other banks has not just been mismanagement is being poor supervision. And I think the supervisory failure, frankly, of the Federal Reserve is pretty much the central piece of what we're talking about, so that's something I say with a heavy heart, I used to say, of the Fed as a very credible supervisor. But I think there's no denying that there are lots of questions to be answered here.

SANCHEZ: So would you make the case that Congress should reinstall some of those provisions on smaller banks that were rolled back from Dodd Frank during the Trump administration in 2018?

VERON: Yes, Congress should certainly do that, in retrospect, and even without the benefit of hindsight at the time, but it's pretty clear that those relaxations of capital requirements and also requirements on medium sized banks by the Trump administration were a very bad idea and actually the regulations that were adopted by the relevant agencies (ph), the Federal Reserve's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency that Federal Deposit Insurance corporations in 2019 and 2020 were also pretty bad.

But I think this is not the core of the issue. The really big question is why is it that the Fed was able to lets Silicon Valley Bank triple its balance sheet in two years, has this enviable business model and not take action? And this is a more difficult, more painful question.

So said to its credit has reacted it has asked its Vice Chairman Michael Barr, to come up with a post mortem and a report to understand what happened and such will be published in early May. But I think loss of stature of the Fed as a banking supervisor is really a big issue right now.

SANCHEZ: And you you've also been critical of the fact that they intervened for depositors that held more than $250,000. Your argument was essentially that there could be long term damage from the Fed intervening with banks that are not systemically essential, right?

VERON: Well, basically the U.S. has been living for nearly 90 years, nine decades with a system of limited deposit insurance whereas there was an insurance of deposits up to a certain threshold, that's currently $250,000 per account. You can't have several accounts for example in a household, but not beyond. So if you have, say, $300 million as some depositors had at Silicon Valley Bank, you cannot have the guarantee, the public guarantee of that big a deposit.

So ordinary Americans, normal people don't have that much money in the bank, they don't have to monitor their bank. But the idea is that large depositors, corporate accounts and very wealthy individuals, they should be careful in which bank they put their money, and that contributes to market discipline and that makes the system more stable.

The decision that was made last Sunday, is to basically get rid of that limit. Deposits are unlimited, are insured to unlimited levels, and that's of course, being done just for Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. But of course, it will be done also for First Republic if necessary, and frankly, for any other bank going forward. So --


VERON: Secretary-General was really not able when she was in the Senate last Thursday to say anything else. And I think this is a loss of market discipline in the system, it's difficult to say exactly what consequences it will have, but probably they will not be very good.

SANCHEZ: Very quickly, Nicholas, essentially you're saying that this will make bankers even less risk-averse, and that could create more trouble in the future.

VERON: Exactly. So, the big question is, did they have to do that? I don't think they had to do that from a financial stability perspective, maybe they had to do that to rescue Silicon Valley, but then the question becomes, was it the best way to rescue Silicon Valley?

SANCHEZ: Oh, Nicolas Veron, we've got to leave the conversation there. Thank you so much for the time again.

VERON: Thank you for having me --

WALKER: Nice they come. A monumental ruling. A federal judge orders Trump attorney Evan Corcoran to provide additional testimony about the former president's handling of classified documents. We'll give you the details behind that decision next.



WALKER: All right. Now, to this morning's top stories. Starting tomorrow, abortion under most circumstances will be a felony in the state of Wyoming. The sweeping piece of legislation only makes exceptions for cases of incest, sexual assault, when the mother's life is in danger or when the unborn child has a lethal fetal anomaly.

Anyone found guilty of violating the law can face up to 5 years in prison and a possible $20,000 fine. Wyoming is also outlining the abortion pill, making it unlawful to quote, unquote, "prescribe, dispense, distribute, sell or use an abortion pill. The punishment if found guilty, up to 6 months behind bars and a fine up to $9,000. That law goes into effect, July 1st.

SANCHEZ: Sad to report this morning that actor Lance Reddick, best known for his work as Lieutenant Daniels on "The Wire" and in the "John Wick" franchise has passed away. He died suddenly Friday morning, according to his rep, apparently from natural causes. The Yale graduate stars in the fourth "John Wick" film, which is set to hit theaters next weekend. Lance Reddick was 60 years old.

First, on CNN, a key ruling in the special counsel's investigation into former President Donald Trump's handling of classified materials. A source telling CNN, the judge is ordering that Trump's attorney, Evan Corcoran answer more questions before a grand jury.

WALKER: This is a second round of testimony for him, making him potentially one of the most crucial witnesses. Katelyn Polantz with more.

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME & JUSTICE REPORTER: Boris and Amara, it's a monumental decision in special counsel Jack Smith's criminal investigation into Donald Trump and handling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, the type of decision that's going to be remembered for presidencies in the future.

The Justice Department had made this really significant argument in court that Donald Trump and his attorney Evan Corcoran, may have been having conversations about the planning of a crime, and that Evan Corcoran needed to share what was said in those discussions with the federal grand jury investigating Trump in Washington.

It's a really big decision now from the court, in that they are agreeing with the Justice Department that Corcoran is going to have to testify again. He has already spoken to the grand jury, but was saying he wasn't answering some questions because of attorney-client privilege, but there is a ruling under seal from Judge Beryl Howell in the D.C. district court.

Now, after we learned of this ruling on Friday through our sources, a spokesperson from Donald Trump's team said, that he would be planning to fight this, that the former president was likely to appeal this decision from the trial of a court, and that the conversations between a defense attorney and their client, Trump and Evan Corcoran, those are the sorts of things that should be protected in order to protect the law and American citizens.

And they also said that the case must be weak. That does not appear to be what is happening here, though, because the judge has reviewed what the Justice Department argued and said, yes, she agrees at least, to some extent with the Justice Department the evidence that they've gathered so far in this criminal investigation. But the Trump team doesn't fully know at this time what is in her opinion.

That is still redacted, and they are going to be seeing some of that opinion in the coming days. And, of course, the public has not seen any of it because the grand jury proceeding is ongoing, and all of that is kept confidential. Boris and Amara?


SANCHEZ: Katelyn Polantz, thank you so much for wrapping that up for us. Coming up, 5,000 miles of blob ruining Spring break in the Caribbean, and it's headed to the coast of Florida. Now scientists are worried about the environmental and health impacts of this mass of seaweed. We'll discuss in just moments.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WALKER: An enormous mass of sticky seaweed is headed towards the

beaches of Florida, putting a damper on tourism and darkening the Sandy coastline.

SANCHEZ: Yes, the 5,000-mile mass is already in Barbados where reportedly more than a thousand dump trucks a day are being used to clean up their beaches. Now, scientists are worried about the potential environmental and health impacts as it invades the region's ecosystem.


CNN's Leyla Santiago has a closer look.


JOE KAPLAN, KEY WEST, FLORIDA RESIDENT: It's thick in the Summer time, builds up and smells terrible.

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Joe Kaplan captured these images about a week ago, massive amounts of seaweed washing up at Smathers Beach, a beach he knows well because he walks it several times a week.

KAPLAN: I was shocked when I saw that day where it wasn't even Spring yet, it's still Winter, which is very unusual. And this is about a 5,000-mile long.

SANTIAGO: Professor Chuanmin Hu is one of the leading experts on what many have referred to as a massive blob of seaweed heading to Florida's coast.

(on camera): Fair to call it a blob?


SANTIAGO: No, we can't call it a blob, OK --

HU: I would never call that a blob.


HU: At all -- because it's not.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): Satellite images he says show it's not one massive body of seaweed, rather a bunch of patchy clumps traveling from West Africa. It's called the Atlantic Sargassum Belt, and it's considered a natural phenomenon. Right now, it's twice the width of the U.S. carrying 6 million tons of seaweed and headed to the east coast.

HU: In June of this year, it may turn into 20 million tons.

SANTIAGO (on camera): So, let me get this straight, this, what we're seeing in the last month is 6 million tons and it's going to get bigger. HU: Yes. There's no way to stop that. This is nature. It's just like

no one can stop a hurricane.

SANTIAGO: Should we be worried about that?

HU: No.


HU: Reason is that Sargassum is not toxic.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): But it smells pretty bad, and it's a nuisance for those trying to keep beaches clean to attract tourists. Just a few years ago, here's what it looked like in Mexico. Officials in Monroe County, which includes the Florida Keys have set aside more than $200,000 to clean and remove Sargassum from its beaches.

DAN MATTHEWS, CAPTAIN, MISS CHIEF FISHING CHARTERS: Seaweed is a mixed blessing. We need it. Seaweed is a nursery for all these large Pelagic fish. The negative side to that seaweed is, if it comes in the concentrations that I believe we're going to see, our fishing grounds are going to be completely covered with it. There's almost no point to fishing because we're going to be spending the entire day cleaning weed off our lines.

SANTIAGO: And as the Sargassum Belt heads towards Florida, another natural phenomenon is already hitting its beaches on the west coast, ted tide. It can be toxic, kill fish and cause respiratory issues. This year's red tide concerns were enough to cancel at least one major event here in Indian Rocks where one family visiting told us --

MARGO SAGE, TOURIST FROM CANADA: And as soon as my son and my husband and I got out of our car, we all started coughing.

SANTIAGO: But for Spring breakers like this group from Iowa, the concerns of massive amounts of seaweed or red tide were not enough to change vacation plans.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would rather it be red tide than raining every day.

SANTIAGO: Tourists noting friends back home --

SAGE: May be pretty jealous regardless of having a little bit of the red tide symptoms, they'd be pretty jealous that we're here and they're not.

SANTIAGO: Because the pristine beaches of the sunshine state are hard to resist for many, despite what may be looming offshore.


SANTIAGO: And while scientists say they have a pretty good grasp of how this moves with the current, they still need a better understanding as to why they see more of it in some years over others. They've actually only been tracking this since 2011 in the tropical Atlantic. And so, they want more funding to be able to research it and hopefully one day be able to forecast it. Amara, Boris?

WALKER: All right, Leyla Santiago, thank you. And still ahead, Stanford women's basketball coach Tara VanDerveer has led her team to a number one seed in this year's tournament, but off the court, it's her fight for gender equity that's making her a difference maker.



SANCHEZ: As Stanford's women's basketball team aims for its fourth national championship, their coach is also leading a charge for the advancement of other female coaches.

WALKER: Andy Scholes is back with more on a woman that's really making a difference off the court, Andy.

SCHOLES: Yes, Amara and Boris, hall of famer Tara VanDerveer, she has more wins than any other women's coach in college basketball history. Her Cardinal, a one seed on the court this year's March Madness, while she continues to be a leading champion for gender equity off the court. CNN's Coy Wire, a Stanford grad himself, he caught up with the three-time NCAA champ for this week's difference makers.


TARA VANDERVEER, WOMEN'S BASKETBALL COACH, STANFORD UNIVERSITY: It's both men and women valuing young girls and young women saying, you know, you're important, your opportunities are important. The whole idea of gender equity of celebrating our 50th year of Title IX is really important. You know, you all -- you have a mother, you might have sisters or daughters or aunts or female cousins, and they deserve the same opportunities that boys do.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: As of last year, 63 percent of women's college basketball coaches were women. Tell me how your Tara VanDerveer Fund for the advancement of women in coaching is working to change that.

VANDERVEER: The Tara VanDerveer kind of legacy fund is to help young women get into every sport. You know, a lot of times we hire people we know. If it's a male athletic director, he doesn't know a young woman. So we've got to get these young women opportunities. And what they can do is get internship through the women's sports foundation.

We've seen a lot of different coaches get jobs because of it, and we're trying to just, you know, bring more women into the pipeline.

WIRE: T-dog, this is the nickname your players have given to you. Where did that come from, coach?

VANDERVEER: The relationship of me being late 60s with 20-year-olds, the funniest thing, Coy, is not just the T-dog, but like doing a ropes course with them, you know, climbing up the stuff that I'm doing, and I'm like, you guys -- they're like, come on, come on, I'm like you guys, I could be your grandmother. [06:55:00]

You know, so I like the affection from our team and it's something that, you know, makes it fun when you have players that -- they get it. You know, they understand you as a -- that you're a person too, and that you want -- you're just doing -- you're trying to do the best you can for them.


SCHOLES: Yes, VanDerveer and the Stanford Cardinal advance to the second round of March Madness with a dominating 92-49 win over Sacred Heart yesterday. They'll take on Ole Miss tomorrow night. And guys, you got 16 more women's games today, eight more for the men in the second round NCAA tournament. There's always one of the best four days of the entire sports year calendar.

SANCHEZ: It is, absolutely. No upsets for Stanford. They are one of favorites. We'll be watching them closely. Andy Scholes, thank you --


SANCHEZ: So much for that.

WALKER: Thanks, Andy.

SANCHEZ: Still ahead, mega banks to the rescue. Some of the country's biggest financial institutions stepping up to save a regional bank on the brink of collapse.