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China's President Arrives in Russia; Miami Beach Sets Curfew; Chris Walker is Interviewed about March Madness. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired March 20, 2023 - 06:30   ET




POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Just moments ago, Chinese Leader Xi Jinping arrived in Moscow for a three-day state visit. This is his first visit to Russia since Russia invaded Ukraine. And later this morning he will hold a one-on-one meeting with Vladimir Putin. This as western leaders grow very wary of the two nations' deepening cooperation.

Ivan Watson joins us live from Kharkiv Ukraine.

Ivan, thank you very much for being with us.

This is such a significant meeting. And it comes just on the heels of President Putin going to Mariupol right after he visited Crimea and Rostov-on-Don. There is so much at stake here. And the west, obviously, very concerned, even though China is billing this as a mission of peace.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. And the Ukrainians watching this very nervously. And that's because Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, they keep talking about their friendship with no limits, this incredible -- basically alliance between Russia and China. Xi Jinping sent a letter to Russian-state media before this trip. He says this is the tenth time he's visiting Russia since he became president. It will be his 40th meeting with Vladimir Putin.

He had some digs in his letter, thinly veiled at the U.S., complaining about hegemony and calling for a more democratic multi-polar world.

What he did not mention at all was Russia's invasion of Ukraine a year ago and the ongoing war. Instead, Xi Jinping referred to this as the Ukraine crisis, and claimed that Beijing is neutral in this, that he wants peace negotiations and dialogue. He has yet to speak directly with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy since Russia's invasion a year ago.

And when it comes to the International Criminal Court issuing an arrest warrant on Friday against Vladimir Putin for alleged war crimes, well, the Chinese foreign ministry has weighed in on that. It is calling for the ICC to be objective and impartial, to respect the jurisdictional immunity enjoyed by a head of state, and to avoid politicalization and double standards. So, take that into context when you discuss China's claimed neutrality in that war. HARLOW: And China has at no point throughout this war condemned

Russia's invasion of Ukraine. They remain a huge buyer of Russian oil, helping finance all of this. And one of the things that the west, John Kirby here in the U.S. at the White House, has been warning against is, if China were to come out after this visit, Ivan, and say, well, there should be a peace deal right now, that would not be palatable by Ukraine and the west given that Russia has taken more territory than when this all began.


WATSON: Sure. And has declared that it is annexing Ukrainian territory seized since the invasion of last year.

HARLOW: Right.

WATSON: And to underscore that, you had Vladimir Putin, on Saturday, fresh from this ICC arrest warrant, visiting the Russian-occupied Ukrainian city of Mariupol. The Kremlin says he landed by helicopter. He drove himself into the outskirts of that shattered city and visited an apartment building that the Russian government just built.

While he's meeting with some of the residents there, Poppy, you hear a voice off camera that our linguists say, someone was yelling, this is all a show, it's not true.

This time last, the Russian military had encircled that city and was bombing it from land, sea and air, destroying much of it. And I was interviewing residents who were fleeing, who describe spending weeks under bombardment, terrified, hiding in basements, burying neighbors who got killed by Russian artillery in the front yards of their apartment buildings. And I spoke to one of the women I met a year ago who escaped. She's living - she's a refugee overseas. She said, seeing Vladimir Putin in her hometown is like seeing a serial killer return to the scene of the crime.

HARLOW: Wow. Yes, of course it is. And that really says it all.

Ivan Watson, thank you for the reporting from Kharkiv.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: I want to bring in now our CNN political and national security analyst, and "New York Times" correspondent, David Sanger, for all the perspective on this.

David, good morning to you.

And what are you going to be watching for today? Do you think there will be any tangible agreements coming out of this summit between Putin and Xi?

DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Kaitlan, my suspicion is that President Xi is going to be fairly cautious here because while he was able to negotiate an agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia just a few weeks ago, this is a lot more complex. And he doesn't want to do anything that's going to threaten his very important relationship with Putin. I think there are two things to look for --


COLLINS: I think we're having a bit of trouble with David's shot. We'll see if we can get him back.

Obviously, we want to know those two things that David Sanger is going to be looking for because this is such a - such a critical meeting.


COLLINS: And also, you know, one thing I wanted to talk to David about, we'll see if we can get him back, was the respective op-eds we saw from Xi Jinping and from Vladimir Putin. They were each published in each other's basically state media. And Putin said in his that they would not accept an agreement that did not grant Russia control of the land that it's already taken in Ukraine, which Ukraine has ruled out.

LEMON: Yes. And there - there you see him getting off the plane there.

But also it would be interesting to speak to him as well about Vladimir Putin visiting Mariupol and driving his own car. It's the first time, really, at this point, so close to the front lines in this war.


LEMON: So, to get what's happening with both of them would be an interesting perspective from David. We'll try, but we'll see.

In the meantime - we'll get back to that -- Miami Beach cracking down on night life with a new curfew after a pair of deadly shootings during spring break. That's next.

COLLINS: Plus, Bruce Willis' wife is opening up about what it's like to care for her husband as he's living with dementia. Her very moving message for his birthday. We'll share that with you, ahead.



LEMON: Miami Beach issuing a state of emergency and setting a midnight curfew after a second fatal shooting this weekend during spring break. City officials say the crowds have been excessively large and unruly and plan to discuss even more restrictions.

CNN's Carlos Suarez joins us now live from Miami Beach.

Good morning to you, Carlos.

So, tell us what happened.

CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, good morning. So, the city of Miami Beach really finds itself in the very same

position it was this time last year. That is, they are trying to figure out how to handle the remaining weeks of spring break and the crowds that have taken over parts of Miami Beach.

As you mentioned, the city leaders, they are expected to meet later today to decide whether or not to bring back that curfew that went into effect last night at midnight and was lifted at 6:00 in the morning. The city is going to decide whether or not to bring that back through the end of the week, as well as the weekend here.

Now, there were two shootings here on Miami Beach. There was one on Friday night, and the other happened in the early morning hours on Sunday. Both of those shootings ended with one person dead.

Now, in the shooting from Sunday, Miami Beach Police say that a 24- year-old man from Ft. Lauderdale was arrested and charged with first- degree murder. That is something that we have seen take place in years past. That is to say that a number of the folks that are causing all of this trouble are really people that live in south Florida. They're from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach. And so a lot of this disorder is not being caused by folks that are coming in for spring break.

Now, we heard from a few folks that were out here enjoying some of the time off, as well as a business owner, and here's what they told us.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are a lot of policemen on bikes. There are way more security guards. And it's definitely more on lock down than it was yesterday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They need to shut it all off and take the party off the streets.


SUAREZ: Again, this is something that city leaders here on Miami Beach have been trying to figure out for several years. They're trying to strike a delicate balance between its police presence here to deter some of these bad, you know, these bad actors that might be out here, mostly from the south Florida area, while also still trying to be welcoming.

One other possible restriction that they might take into account later this week is the further restriction of alcohol.


Don, yesterday, businesses were not allowed to sell alcohol essentially off premises after 6:00.


LEMON: All right, we'll be watching.

Carlos Suarez, live for us in Miami Beach, thank you.

HARLOW: Well, this morning, we are wishing a very happy birthday to Bruce Willis. The actor turned 68 on Sunday.


CROWD (singing): Happy birthday dear dad.


HARLOW: Willis' family announced last month that he has been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia. There is no cure for that. His wife, Emma, said as she celebrates her husband's birthday, she is also grieving him.


EMMA HEMING WILLIS, BRUCE WILLIS' WIFE: So, today is my husband's birthday. I have started the morning by crying, as you can see by my swollen eyes and snotty nose. I just think it's important that you see all sides of this. I always get this message, or people always tell me that, oh, like, you're so strong. I don't know how you do it. I'm not given a choice.


HARLOW: She ended her message talking about how hard it was to put together this video of all these touching memories with him. But she said, as much as I do it for myself, I do it for you, meaning everyone, because I know how much you love my husband.

LEMON: Oh, as anyone who's ever been involved with either dementia or Alzheimer's, it is just painful. And I just -- listening to her, I just want to cry. I remember my grandmother, when dealing with that, and she just was not the person that she had been for her entire life. You mourn her, you mourn them when they're going through it, and then you mourn them after.


LEMON: It's like a double -- it's terrible. So, we're all thinking about her.

HARLOW: We are.

COLLINS: Absolutely.


HARLOW: We'll be right back.

LEMON: Right back.


[06:50:54] COLLINS: All right, March Madness has already delivered some epic Cinderella stories for the ages. The slipper still fits one team at least, Princeton University, still advancing. It was a 15 seed. They advance to the Sweet 16 after they beat second seed Arizona and seventh seed Missouri. It is the longest run that the Tigers have had since 1965.

Another Cinderella team from New Jersey, Fairleigh Dickinson, wasn't supposed to be in the tournament at all, but they got in on a technicality. They took full advantage. The sixteenth seeded Knights pulled what is being called the greatest upset in tournament history, upsetting number one seed Purdue before a tight second round loss to Florida Atlantic last night.

South Carolina's Furman University hit a game winning three-pointer with less than three seconds on the clock, leading the number 13 seed to upset Virginia, which was a number four seed, in just the first round.

The Paladins fell to San Diego State also over the weekend.

Joining us now is CBS Sports college basketball analyst, and former Texas Tech head coach, Chris Walker, who has been up just, you know, went to bed a few hours ago.


COLLINS: OK, I said Farley -- Fairleigh Dickinson. I don't even say the name right because they were so - my dad and I were talking about this yesterday, the fact that they got in on a technicality, and the way we saw them dash a lot of homes.

WALKER: You know what, Merrimack won the conference championship, the NEC conference championship. So we could technically call Fairleigh Dickinson, they call them FDU, the seventeenth seed. And they got in. They're the smallest team in the NCAA tournament, and they beat the biggest team, with Zach Edey. And it was an unbelievable game. It was the biggest upset spread wise in NCAA history.

HARLOW: History?

WALKER: History.


WALKER: Yes. So -

LEMON: So what should - what should we be looking for? What should we be watching, besides all of it? I know you're going to say that. But is it Princeton? Is - what's the deal?

WALKER: Listen, Princeton is shocking people. You know, they're smart guys. You know, they're playing very smart. They're playing very, very, very tough. And, you know, beating Arizona the way they did, and beating Missouri. I mean my bracket's busted, so I don't even want to show - I'm embarrassed to show my bracket.

LEMON: I don't even know what mine is, but, anyway.

WALKER: But, at the end of the day, Princeton did a great job. And some of the little story lines, you talk about the Paladins, the kid from Virginia throwing the pass away, and the kid that stole, JP Pegues, he hadn't made a shot of three in 15 consecutive attempts and he made the three to win the game. So, little stories are just unbelievable. But, at the end of the day, Kansas was another one everybody was, you know, was looking to win. And Kansas, six straight national championships, have never gone past the first weekend.


WALKER: And, obviously, Bill Self wasn't feeling well.


WALKER: And the last team to repeat was Florida in 2006 and 2007.

So, this is the greatest single elimination tournament in the world. And it is very difficult to win weekend by weekend.

LEMON: And Alabama's out, right?

WALKER: No. No, no, no. Alabama -

COLLINS: I wouldn't be here if they were.

WALKER: They're the number one overall seed. They are absolutely - you know, their juggernaut, Nate Oats has his team playing. Well, Brandon Miller is probably the best player in the country. So, Alabama, usually a football school, right, but they're doing (INAUDIBLE).

LEMON: I know you said (INAUDIBLE) like, we don't need Alabama to do - Alabama's a football school.

WALKER: Yes, they win in everything. They - you know, Nick Saban. You know. You know. Give somebody else a chance to win something else.

COLLINS: Global domination. OK, to be fair, we've lost a lot at basketball over the years, so this season feels really good.

But I've been texting Poppy in all caps all weekend about Princeton.


COLLINS: Because we talked about this when we made our brackets. We were like -- I was like, Poppy, you've got to put Princeton in next time because, I mean, they've surprised us. It's really fun to watch the upsets. That's the best part of March Madness.

HARLOW: No, I forgot.

LEMON: I thought you had Princeton in. WALKER: No, it certainly is fun. And that's why (INAUDIBLE) - again, you know, people, once it gets to a certain level, close to the Final Four, for programming, they want the blue bloods. But to start off, the excitement, they want, you know, Princeton. And, listen, there's something in the water in New Jersey because St. Peters -- everybody loved the Peacocks last year. Now it's Princeton. And I'm telling you, Princeton has a chance. So, people need to keep watching the Ivy League.

HARLOW: Has a chance to go how far?

WALKER: Maybe to sixteen (ph).

LEMON: Look at my bracket.

COLLINS: We need a dose of reality. That's good.

WALKER: Well, Creighton is a big play (ph).


WALKER: Creighton - so Creighton, they beat Baylor, which was my Final Four team. So -


WALKER: Yes, so I lost them as well. But Creighton is pretty -- really good. They have a great coach in Greg McDermott. But I -- this Princeton team has something special about them. Mitch Henderson has done an unbelievable job with this group. So, don't count them out, you know.


But at the end of the day, at the Cinderella, the shoe stops fitting at some point.

HARLOW: Guess who's coming on the show later?

WALKER: Who is that?

HARLOW: The guy you just named.

WALKER: Oh, really.



WALKER: Don't tell him I said that.

HARLOW: He's definitely watching.

LEMON: You might run into him in the hall.

Sorry, Mitch, I apologize. HARLOW: He just walked over (ph).

COLLINS: You're lucky you're not in my bracket, or you'd be setting up a lemonade stand.

WALKER: Listen, I lost Indiana. The only team I have left is Gonzaga. So, you know, it's not looking good for me, and I'm supposed to be the quote/unquote expert.

HARLOW: There you go. So much for experts.

LEMON: I'm going to have you look at my bracket, man.


HARLOW: Chris Walker, thank you very much.

COLLINS: Thank you.

WALKER: Thank you, guys, so much. All right.

HARLOW: Well, China's president, Xi Jinping, has arrived in Russia for a critical visit with Vladimir Putin. This is the first time they're meeting face-to-face since Russia invaded Ukraine. We'll take you live to Moscow next.