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CNN This Morning

At Least 21 Killed As Powerful Storms Rip Through Mississippi; Banking Fears Re-emerge As Deutsche Bank Struggles; Fed Hikes Interest Rates A Quarter-Point Amid Banking Turmoil; Bipartisan Group Of Senators Wants War Crimes Evidence Shared. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired March 25, 2023 - 07:00   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: So good to be back with you at this hour. It's Saturday, March 25th, I'm Victor Blackwell.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Nothing can bring me down. I'm so happy you are with us even though like you're not physically next to me anymore, we had a few issues with the, you know, the air conditioning, so --

BLACKWELL: It was 80 degrees.

WALKER: It was --

BLACKWELL: We can do a show with 80 degrees in the studio and the lights will be dripping on ourselves.

WALKER: Somebody was trying to keep us apart but we're going to be back together soon, right?

BLACK: We'll get it fixed. We will get it fixed. Here's what we're watching this morning.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard her on the phone and told her to get down and, and she, she was staying down, but I can -- you could hear the tornado in that, you could hear the roar in the background.


BLACKWELL: Look at this. Severe storms rip through parts of the South. More than 20 people are dead, more than 100,000 customers without power. A town in Mississippi is described as "gone." That single word -- our Isabel Rosales is there.

WALKER: And another legal blow for former President Trump as some of his closest advisors are forced to testify in two Justice Department investigations. Why a judge says Trump cannot claim executive privilege to keep them from testifying.

BLACKWELL: Ukrainian defense forces say more than 16 civilians have been killed by Russian airstrikes over the past 24 hours and the battle for the key city of Bakhmut, that is continuing. CNN's Ivan Watson is standing by live with a look and why this city is so important to both sides.


GWYNETH PALTROW, ACTRESS: I was skiing and looking downhill as you do and I was skied directly into by Mr. Sanderson.


WALKER: Actress Gwyneth Paltrow takes a standard in her civil trial stemming from a 2016 skiing accident. The reason she says she's not responsible for the collision just ahead.

And we begin this morning with breaking news. In the South, powerful and deadly storms have reportedly spawned multiple tornadoes, killing at least 21 people in Mississippi.

BLACKWELL: The National Weather Service has confirmed a large tornado caused significant damage in several towns. Now search and rescue teams and first responders, they are there in the area. This is northwest of Jackson. Look at this, I mean they're just there's nothing there -- structure that hasn't been destroyed. The storm has flattened homes and buildings, knocked out power to more than 100,000 customers across Alabama, and Mississippi, and Tennessee.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When it came through it sounded like helicopter real, real fast; and they came so fast and quick. We can do (INAUDIBLE) --


WALKER: Well, now, those storms are moving east with severe thunderstorm warnings are up several across several parts of the southeast. CNN's Isabel Rosales, she is live on the ground there in Rolling Fork. Isabel, we've been saying this all along that look. We see a lot of damage there behind you now, but we won't know the full extent of it until daylight breaks.

ISABEL ROSALES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, and this is going to be really important when the sun comes out, getting a full grasp of just the devastation of this tornado. And from first responders that I've spoken with to volunteers, to people who live here in Rolling Fork, they keep telling me the same words, Amara, which is this is bad, this is really bad, we need some help here. This tornado was on the ground for quite a bit of time approximately two hours, and what it left behind is just mind boggling.

If I step right over here, you can take a closer look as we zoom in, it has just twisted metal power lines all over the place. Buildings, homes, there's a trailer park in the background over there that has been just torn into pieces. Now, look at that car, that silver car on top of that debris pile. That is what is left of this restaurant called Chuck's Dairy Bar. This is the spot where people in town would come to get you know breakfast, lunch and dinner, and would chat it out.

Now, as they're walking by, they don't even recognize this area anymore. This tornado absolutely tore through here. We've also seen cars that have been overturned, numerous cars to the point that we every now and while get whiffs, strong whiffs of the smell of gasoline too. Now, when it comes to search and rescue, it's really been a frenzy, even heavy machinery brought in.

We've seen first responders with flashlights going into these buildings, checking to see if anyone is trapped underneath that debris. But they have major challenges from all these hazardous materials around that they have to carefully navigate to those power lines. And the fact that it's pitch black; this is not very helpful for finding anyone who might need help. I want you to now listen to a resident of Rolling Fork as she describes what she heard overnight.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I called my grandmother and I heard her on the phone, and you told her to get down and she, she was staying down but I can -- you could hear the tornado in the, you could hear the roar in the background as she started screaming for help and she said that she wants it stopped roaring her. She said it's raining through my roof. It's raining through my roof. So, we rushed down to evacuate her immediately.



ROSALES: And she says that most of the trees around her grandmother's house have been uprooted, including a tree that her grandfather actually planted 50 years ago. Um, she also tells us that the neighbors around her grandmother's home, some of them are still trapped inside of their home. So, this is clearly going to be a big journey here. We're not even at the stage of rebuilding or cleaning up.

This is a search and rescue mission underway right now to find people who are still trapped to the point that the Governor, Tate Reeves, has activated medical service to get in more ambulances, to get in this medical health for anyone who needs it. Meanwhile, the National Weather Service, they are coming out here during the daylight hours to survey the damage to get an understanding of this tornado. Was this a single long track tornado or did the storm system spawn multiple tornadoes? All of that knowledge will be important to connect the pieces here, guys.

BLACKWELL: Isabel Rosales with some of the first reports of what's happening there in Mississippi. Thank you so much. Let's go now to CNN Meteorologist Allison Chinchar. And, and Isabel's right, that, that it will take some time to know if these 11 reports, or 11 tornadoes or if it's just the reports of this single storm. So, some questions, what do we know about what happened thus far?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Right. So, just in the last 24 hours, we know it was a very active evening. 11 total tornado reports -- and again, as we mentioned, those could be several of the same tornado that either went up and back down again, or for prolonged periods, or it could end up being 11 separate tornadoes. That's what the storm surveys will go out and determine later today.

But also, more than 60 damaging wind reports, lots of trees and power lines down. Even if you didn't have a tornado, there's other damage elsewhere. But the system is not over yet. I would like to emphasize that on the northern side, you've got the hazards of snow and ice. But even down to the south, we still have some very strong thunderstorms making their way through southern states, even some severe thunderstorm warnings at the moment, lots of cloud to ground, lightning too, not only for the Carolinas, but stretching all the way back into Alabama.

Going forward today, the main areas of concern are going to be these two sections here. So, you have the northern tier, including areas of portions of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Virginia. And then that southern region, same thing where we still have the potential, albeit much weaker than le -- than yesterday, we still have the potential for an isolated tornado and some damaging winds.

The good news is by late this afternoon, and especially by this evening, the bulk of this system moves offshore, and we get a little bit of a break. But it's short lived because the front here becomes almost stationary and it allows for more rain to develop once again as we go into Sunday. The concern here, Amara and Victor, is that it's over some of the exact same places that were hit just in the last few hours, making the recovery and the cleanup much more difficult.

BLACKWELL: Still more work to do. Allison Chinchar, thanks so much.

WALKER: All right, let's turn now to the latest on the investigations into Donald Trump. On Friday, a federal judge ordered some of the former President's closest aides to testify before a grand jury investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

BLACKWELL: The ruling paves the way for officials like former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to answer questions after Trump's legal team tried to invoke executive privilege to block the testimony. Here's CNNs Evan Perez. Evan.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor and Amara, a federal judge is ordering former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and a number of other senior aides to former, the former president, to testify before a grand jury and Special Counsel Jack Smith's investigation.


PEREZ (voiceover): Judge Beryl Howell rejected Trump's claim that his former chief of staff and other close aides were protected by executive privilege. It's a claim that the former president keeps making and he keeps losing. also ordered to provide testimony our former White House aides Stephen Miller and Dan Scavino, former National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien and Ken Cuccinelli, a former Homeland Security Official.


PEREZ: Some of these witnesses have already provided testimony, but declined to answer some questions because of the former president's executive privilege claims that Trump's lawyers are already planning to appeal the judge's ruling. And a Trump spokesperson accused the Justice Department of "continuously stepping far outside the standard norms in attempting to destroy the long accepted, long held, constitutionally based standards of attorney client privilege and executive privilege." Victor, Amara.


BLACKWELL: All right, Evan, thank you. There's a new wave of economic fears as panic is growing about the stability of another bank. Germany's Deutsche Bank shares fell nearly nine percent, after the close of the European markets on Friday. E.U. officials insist, there is no reason to be concerned about the bank as investors still worry about the health of the global financial system.

And here, in the U.S., the Federal Reserve continues its attempts to fight inflation after this week to raise interest rates even higher by a quarter point. Let's get some perspective now from Harvard Economics and Public Policy Professor Ken Rogoff, he's also a former Chief Economist at the IMF. Ken, good to see you. First, a simple question, was a quarter point the right call?

KEN ROGOFF, HARVARD ECONOMICS AND PUBLIC POLICY PROFESSOR: Yes, I think they could have gone either way of pausing or a quarter point. But if they pause, the market might have thought, oh, maybe they know something's worse than we do. So, they decided to plow ahead.

BLACKWELL: What do you think about that theory, some have suggested this was before the decision by the Fed to there had been up to that point, eight increases, give it a second to see if what has already been, I hate to use the word imposed, but decided the interest rate, if that will be enough. Do you think that's a suitable theory?

ROGOFF: It's not crazy, but they had sort of said very clearly that they were still concerned about inflation. And it's still really high when you look at the core inflation, where it's probably not going to get down to their target event by the end of next year, much less of this year. So, they, they did so much two weekends ago for the banking sector, virtually guaranteeing every deposit.

I know, they've tried to walk that back, but it's hard. They felt that they had, you know, steal the economy that go ahead. But it's, it's very uncertain. There's a long lag between when you raise the interest rate and when it hits the, the overall economy. So, they're, you know, flying a little blind.

BLACKWELL: What do you think the Fed, the Treasury Department should be doing, if anything, to further reassure people of the strength of the global banking system?

ROGOFF: Well, the global banking system, they're limited because they back the U.S. banks.


ROGOFF: And the same problems we have are hitting the whole world, the hot -- interest rates are higher, and that's causing losses across the banking sector. One thing I don't think the Fed really controls ultimately, is that we we're in this era of ultra-low interest rates, the decade up through 2021. And I think we're headed into a decade where they're higher. And so, in other words, when inflation comes down, I don't think they're going to be able to bring interest rates down as much as people might have expected from the earlier decade.

BLACKWELL: You know, when people are deciding whether to buy a home now, and I recently did, they say, well, you'll just refinance in two or three years when interest rates go down. They're not, you're saying, going to go back to where they were in 2021 or last year?

ROGOFF: I don't think we're looking at getting those two and a half and three percent interest rates that people have. It's hard to predict, obviously, but yes, I think you know, when they come down, maybe four and a half or five percent, they're now around six. And congratulations on buying a home, it's a really hard, big step right now.

BLACKWELL: So, thank you for that, by the way. Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser said the bank, banking system is pretty sound, which is good. I mean, it's like saying something's pretty safe. It's like you want it to be absolute, that the that's better than the alternative, right? She says that it's pretty sound, but she also said that a mild recession is more likely than before, you agree with that?

ROGOFF: Oh, absolutely. It sort of depends on how far the Feds is willing to go. But I think that scope for getting inflation down by the end of next year, and not having a recession. Anything is possible, but it looks really, really tough. I'd have to say pretty safe; I hadn't heard that one before -- not that reassuring.

BLACKWELL: Yes, but it's better than saying it's, uh, you know, it's good news to say it's pretty sound but you want it to be a little stronger than that.

ROGOFF: I think your deposits are safe. I think whatever the fed and the Treasury Secretary Yellen says, I think they're safe, but getting a loan, that's getting harder.

BLACKWELL: All right. Ken, Professor Rogoff, I should call you, thanks so much for being with us.

ROGOFF: Thank you. Either way is fine.

BLACKWELL: All right.


WALKER: The assurance we all need. Thanks so much for that conversation. Well, President Biden says, the U.S. is not looking for conflict with Iran, but vows he will protect Americans at all costs. This after several service members are injured in a drone attack in Syria. How the White House is working to tamp down escalating tensions this morning?

Also, more than a dozen Ukrainian civilians are killed in Russian shelling, as the battle for the key city of Bakhmut continues. We're live with why the city is so strategically important. That's next


BLACKWELL: President Biden is back in the U.S. after his first visit to Canada since taking office. But tensions with Iran and airstrikes in Syria are the main focus for the White House right now. The president sent a message to Iran that the U.S. will do what's necessary to protect Americans in the region.

WALKER: Now, his comments followed a U.S. strike in Syria in retaliation for an attack by an Iranian backed group in the country. That strike killed an American contractor. CNN White House Reporter Jasmine Wright, she is traveling with the president in Wilmington, Delaware. Good morning, Jasmine. So, what are you hearing about all this from the President?


JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, Amara, you're right. The President is back stateside after a trip that was primarily focused on deepening the U.S.'s relationship with Canada. But of course, the Iranian back prox, proxies and that escalation, provided a critical backdrop to his trip.

We know that on the way to Ottawa, actually, the President was briefed about that initial attack that left the American contractor dead and other U.S. service members wounded and he was provided options on a response by the Pentagon and ultimately upon Air Force One is when he authorized that retaliatory strike.

Now, even yesterday, when we saw President Biden standing next to Prime Minister Trudeau on the press, in a press conference, we were learning in real time about a third attack from the Iranian back proxies that injured another service member. So, President Biden asked about that initial attack, he responded quite forcefully. Take a listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Make no mistake, the United States does not, does not emphasize, seek conflict with Iran, but be prepared to for us to act forcefully to protect our people.


WRIGHT: Now, the President also offered his heartfelt condolences and wish speedy recovery to those who were wounded. But of course, it's notable here that throughout the day, we heard the U.S. officials really parroting that same language that the President just gave -- that the U.S. does not seek escalation with Iran. It does not see conflicts, but it will respond if necessary.

So, the question going forward here is what actually defines if necessary. We know in the past that has been defined by Americans attacked, either killed or injured. So, the question is whether that fits the case now on whether these additional attacks by these Iranian backed proxies will draw a another response from the President. Amara and Victor.

WALKER: Yes, we'll be watching those next steps with you closely, Jasmine Wright. Thank you very much. Let's turn now to Russia's war on Ukraine. A bipartisan group of senators wants President Biden to share evidence of Russian war crimes. Now, the senators want the information shared with the International Criminal Court. The request comes about a week after the court issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin and a top aide on war crimes charges.

BLACKWELL: Let's turn now to the fighting in Ukraine. The commander in chief of Ukraine's Armed Forces says the situation in Bakhmut is the most difficult. CNN's Ivan Watson joins us now live from Central Ukraine. So, let's start with an update on the fighting in Bakhmut and why each side sees this as so important?

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, you know, Victor, just about that, the allegations of war crimes, the -- one of the two people that the International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants to for the alleged kidnapping of Ukrainian children to Russia. One is Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, the other is the Kremlin's Commissioner for Children's Rights, and that's Maria Lvova- Belova. I'm bringing this up because yesterday, she did say she conceded that there were Ukrainian children in Russian custody.

And she said there were like 56 in Russian occupied Crimea and Southern Russia that have been there since last year. And that the, there is a plan to return them to their families in Ukraine, that these children had been sent to summer camps last year to escape fighting with the parents' permission, and that they do need to be returned. But it's just kind of proof that there are children in Russian custody.

You can just imagine the anxiety that Ukrainian families are feeling not getting them back. So, that has to do, that's an update on that allegation of war crimes. To the fighting, it has been fierce; the Ukrainian military says that at least 16 civilians have been killed across Ukraine, across eight regions over the last 24 hours from 119 settlements that have been hit with long-range artillery rockets and missiles.


WATSON (voiceover): Russia's war machine appears to be losing momentum in Bakhmut, where Ukrainian commanders now exhibit optimism. After hurling themselves for months against Ukrainian defenders in this city on Ukraine's eastern front, Russian troops and mercenaries have made only incremental games and suffered staggering losses. Russian forces in Bakhmut are depleted, says one of Kyiv's top generals, and the Ukrainian counter offensive could soon be launched. Harder to judge, the enormous sacrifice Ukrainians have made in their

costly defense of this embattled city. But while Russia's efforts have slowed, they haven't stalled. Ukraine claims the area has been hit with more than 200 strikes in the last day alone. And Russia is sending in backup to compensate for the growing losses of Wagner Private Mercenaries with Russian airborne troops now playing a greater role in the fighting around Bakhmut, according to the Ukrainian military.


ANDRIY BABYCHEV, SERVICEMAN OF UKRAINE'S 93RD BRIGADE (through translation): I want to say that the situation in the south has not improved in such a way we can talk about some kind of victory or anything like that. On the contrary, the enemy is applying even more pressure.

WATSON: President Volodymyr Zelenskyy earlier this week paid tribute to the defenders of Bakhmut, visiting Ukraine's eastern front to hand out awards. The deadly Grudge Match over Bakhmut is far from over. The Ukrainian military says it's using the front lines of Bakhmut to bleed and exhaust the Russian army. But how long can Ukraine afford to fight a bloody war of attrition against its much larger, stronger enemy?


WATSON: And Victor, you asked, the importance of this place. You know, the Russian troops have been pushed back in the north, in the east, and in the South after the invasion a little more than a year ago. And it just appears that Russian commanders decided to make Bakhmut a symbol a hopeful victory for them, but it just hasn't happened.

BLACKWELL: And thank you for the update also on the war crimes charges as well, and for the report on Bakhmut. Ivan Watson for us there in Central Ukraine. Coming up, U.S. lawmakers this morning are still convinced that TikTok is an urgent threat to national security after its CEO testified before Congress this week. We'll discuss, next.



BLACKWELL: Bottom of the hour. Let's take a look at some of the top stories. The L.A. school district has reached a tentative deal with the union representing 30,000 workers.

This is after a three-day strike this week cancelled classes for more than half a million students in the nation's second largest school district.

The deal increases salaries, expands health benefits and invest in professional development for bus drivers, janitors, cafeteria, special aid, and other support staff. Union members still need to vote on this agreement.

WALKER: And stay in California, a drought there, removing some of its -- the state removing some of its most stringent drought restrictions, I should say, after a wave of storms humbled the state over the last few months, boosting water in area reservoirs.

Governor Gavin Newsom has lifted some of those restrictions on outdoor watering and water usage. But the ban on watering ornamental grass on commercial grounds continues, as does the emergency order preserving groundwater.

BLACKWELL: Let's get you more now on the breaking news in Mississippi, where powerful storms are blamed for at least 21 deaths.

WALKER: The National Weather Service says a large tornado caused significant damage in several towns, including Rolling Fork and Silver City, leaving homes and buildings flattened, and trees and power lines down.

And, of course, as you saw there, some vehicles completely damaged as well. But there were reports of 11 tornadoes across Mississippi and Alabama.

Joining us now on the phone is Woodrow Johnson. He is a District Three supervisor in Humphreys County, one of the cities hard hit by that tornado.

Mr. Johnson, thank you so much for joining me on this terrible morning. I understand that you lost your house. Is that correct, sir?

WOODROW JOHNSON, DISTRICT THREE SUPERVISOR, HUMPHREYS COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI (via telephone): Yes, I lost my house. But let's say the most precious things all the gift to God, a life.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk first about life, since you brought that up. And it is a blessing that you survived this, considering the damage to your home.


BLACKWELL: What's the latest you know about injuries, about fatalities caused by the storm there where you are?

JOHNSON: I cannot confirm how many fatality, but I've seen this bad. So, one resident did was on scene to see the trailer house frame went to a brick house and it injured the man and his wife, and I think he pass.


WALKER: Oh, God.

JOHNSON: Also, that young man, uncle, this works for me. So, it was hard to bear that.

WALKER: I'm so sorry to hear that. Can you tell us a little bit about what happened when the tornado hit your home? I mean, what were those moments like? JOHNSON: Well, it was like my wife, you know, she's pays attention too well, and she said, you got to get up, and put on some pants, because I was just ready for the night.

But anyway, she was in the hall. And I said, baby, you don't need to be in the hall. Come over here, this is the most prominent state balloon. And she did.

And moments after she did that, we were just, train is out. And she just laid on the floor, holy get Jesus is -- Jesus is not.

I just held him and looked up at sky. I mean, I don't know, it just in a matter of 45 seconds to a minute, it was always -- yes, that's how it was. But it was a very scary thing.

But most of all, my heart goes out to all those that lost everything. It is a small community and everyone knows everybody.

And -- excuse me, but everyone knows everybody and it just hard for me to see this communities. I was born and raised here and never lived anywhere else but here. And it's just hard to see but we, we're strong, and we are proud to be, and we'll come back.


BLACKWELL: You certainly will. We know that the governor has activated responders and teams to try to get to people that need to be rescued.

This is still a rescue situation. You say that this train sound lasted for about 45 seconds.


BLACKWELL: At the end of that, were you able to look outside? And what did you see? What do you see around what's left of your home?

JOHNSON: Well, first thing I did, I look next door to my neighbor's house which is a trailer house. it was completely gone.

I couldn't just saw it because I could see my flash, because he was told the dog. And I went, went down the hall and I see the whole back end of my house, down all the way up to where almost where we were. And it was just a scary moment. And I was just trying to get my wife settle down, and just a baby that's over with now that it's -- but she, she was in, and you know, phone call, kids calling and everything.

And I was just trying and -- trying to stay calm and keep her calm.

WALKER: What a terrifying moment. And I'm so sorry, because I know you're still processing your emotions. And again, we do thank you for talking with us, sir.

Could you just go back to what you were saying earlier about that gentleman you saw who was injured, perhaps passed away. You said that this was someone who had worked for you? JOHNSON: His, uncle works with me. And I called his uncle down to help me. And as he got there, we found these situations. That's what happened. I thank you.

So, mobile home, breaking through the wall, but it houses, you had to breakout. Mobile home and Frank, who (INAUDIBLE) and pinned him and his wife, and then, it took rescue teams.

It was just hard to get, getting it to him. And it was just terrifying to just sit there and witness. Couldn't get vehicles or anything in there, the kind of help because trees were down.


JOHNSON: All of the streets were blocked. We were using ATVs and four wheelers and things to try to get people in and out and kind of get paramedics and everything, where they need to be, it was just like a war zone.


BLACKWELL: Yes. And is so much work still once the sun comes up. We'll see the full scope of the damage. But Mr. Woodrow Johnson, we're sorry for the loss of your home, but grateful that you are alive, your wife is alive. And thank you for your time.

There is still danger in the wake of these storm.



BLACKWELL: So, continue to be safe. Thank you so much.

JOHNSON: Thank you for talking to me.

BLACKWELL: All right. We'll be right back.



WALKER: U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says the government is tracking a growing number of foreign-linked business transactions that could pose a threat to national security.

Now, Yellen told House member regulators -- House members that regulators charged with screening foreign investment deals for national security with risks have witnessed a rise in such cases.

Now, those remarks coincided with TikTok CEO showed choose testimony before the House, Energy, and Commerce Committee to struggle to convince hostile Democrats and Republicans that TikTok user data will be secure from Chinese government spying.

Joining me now is Amit Yoran, the chairman and CEO of cybersecurity company, Tenable. He was also the former director of the cybersecurity division at the Department of Homeland Security.

Really appreciate you joining us this morning. Look, I'm sure you watch some of that. That five-hour hearing. It was quite combative. And you know, we heard over and over the TikTok CEO show too, you know, making these repeated denials that the Chinese government is using the app to spy on American users.

But of course, you also heard from the lawmakers, you know, saying, we just don't believe anything you're saying. Any takeaways from you regard from this hearing?

AMIT YORAN, CHAIRMAN AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, TENABLE: Yes. Well, if you look at social media companies, they are incredible data collection platforms. They're like massive vacuum cleaners collecting up all sorts of information about your phone, your network, the data, what you're doing on your phone, who you're communicating with, the contents of those communications.

They are -- they are hoovering up incredible amounts of data. And they're almost entirely unregulated. And so, their ability not only to collect data, but to use that data through algorithms to manipulate the user population are incredibly powerful.

We see it in the U.S., we've seen it when the divisiveness caused by social media. When you think about that kind of power in the hands of a strategic adversary, it's quite scary.

So, no, I don't think there is -- there is a whole lot of convincing that's going to be done in these hearings.

WALKER: Yes. Yes. It seems like, you know, at least a lawmakers' minds were totally made up on that.

You know, we did hear a lot about Project Texas, right? From the TikTok CEO, which is the company's $1.5 billion initiative to basically you know, move overall, the user data was at over 150 million users to a cloud server Oracle based in Austin, Texas. How much does that alleviate any national security concerns?

YORAN: Well, clearly having the data reside in the U.S., in Texas, where the U.S. company like Oracle, I think is a significant step forward.


You know, that said, these systems and the data would still be accessible to engineers. And what the CEO said was, the data would still be accessible to engineers in China, and, of course, whoever within the Chinese government, just providing instruction to those engineers to look at, modify, and adjust the algorithms and what they have access to.

WALKER: You know, I mean, because you were just mentioning this, you know, I mean, and showed you said this that -- in the hearing that TikTok doesn't collect more data on users than other social media companies like Facebook and Instagram and Twitter. So, remind us again, you know, what kind of information data -- what kind of data is being collected?

YORAN: Well, social media companies in the U.S. and globally, are almost entirely unregulated.

So, anything that is on your phone, whether it's within the Facebook app or whether it's in with -- within the TikTok app is fair game.

When you accept the terms of use of those applications, they frequently say, we want access to any and all information, any and all applications on your phone, any and all data on your phone, the microphone, the camera, and they can use those at will.

I think in TikTok's case, it also reserves the right to monitor communications with other systems that are -- that are out there.

So, these are incredibly powerful and incredibly threatening applications. And, by the way, it's true. it's not just TikTok, it's also social media applications in the U.S.

And, in fact, China does not allow western social media applications to be used by the Chinese people.


WALKER: Yes. Isn't that ironic.

YORAN: So, Facebook and Instagram, that they're all blocked.


WALKER: Yes. Yes, yes.

YORAN: They're --


WALKER: And obviously, you know, the Biden administration definitely sees TikTok as a threat and Secretary of State Antony Blinken says it needs to be ended in one way or another. Whatever you meant by that, we'll see what next steps are.

Amit Yoran, thank you very much for your time.

YORAN: Great. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Still ahead, actress Gwyneth Paltrow takes the stand in her skis crashed civil trial.



WALKER: Gwyneth Paltrow took the stand to deny that she caused a ski accident that left a man with serious injuries. BLACKWELL: She is being sued. She's also filed a countersuit. This happened in Park City, Utah in 2016.

A 76-year-old Terry Sanderson says Paltrow was skiing out of control, slammed into him, and caused serious injuries. CNN's Veronica Miracle has our report.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good afternoon.


VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Four days into her civil trial.

PALTROW: My legal name is Gwyneth Kate Paltrow Falchuk.

MIRACLE: Actress and entrepreneur Gwyneth Paltrow took the stand, accused of ploughing into 76-year-old Terry Sanderson on a Utah ski slope in 2016.

On the stand, Paltrow claimed she was the victim.

PALTROW: I was skiing and looking downhill as you do, and I was skied directly into by Mr. Sanderson.

KRISTIN VANORMAN, PLAINTIFF'S ATTORNEY: And your 9-year-old son, you will admit was on your left and up bit.

PALTROW: To my recollection.

MIRACLE: Sanderson claims, Paltrow was distracted by her children and ran into him.

PALTROW: I was skiing, and two skis came between my skis, forcing my legs apart, and then, there was a body pressing against me, and there was a very strange grunting noise.

So, my brain was trying to make sense of what was happening.

VANORMAN: He was still on the ground, right?


VANORMAN: When you said, what are you doing?


VANORMAN: OK. Like, why did you do that?


VANORMAN: And he said, I think, you skied into me.

PALTROW: Yes. VANORMAN: And that's when you were furious, and said, you ski directly into my effing back, at the top of your lungs.



PALTROW: I apologize for my bad language.

MIRACLE: Before the 50-year-old star took the stand --

MARK HERATH, PLAINTIFF's FRIEND: It was like a day and night as far as before and after the accident.

MIRACLE: Plaintiff's attorneys claim Sanderson broke four ribs, suffered brain damage, and was vibrant before the collision. But after, his brain deteriorated.

SHAE HERATH, DAUGHTER OF TERRY SANDERSON: This is not my dad. This is an alternate version of my dad.

MIRACLE: Sandersons daughter recalled angry outbursts after the collision, like when he lashed out at his granddaughter while struggling to close a van door.

SANDERSON: She is just so belittled and made to feel like she is stupid and, and I just get this didn't have to happen if he just listened to her.

MIRACLE: The defense, claiming Sanderson's prior medical issues, including a stroke like event could have been a factor.

STEPHEN OWENS, ATTORNEY OF GWYNETH PALTROW: Do you agree that he adjusted his scheme to the right side of the slope, because of his -- because of his vision issues?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that was typical, he would. Yes.

MIRACLE: The only witness who testified to seeing the collusion, a friend of the plaintiff, said Paltrow was to blame.

CRAIG RAMON, ACQUAINTANCE OF TERRY SANDERSON: If she hits him right directly in the bag.

MIRACLE: Paltrow said on the stand. He got it wrong.

PALTROW: I did not believe his testimony.

VANORMAN: Do you believe that he saw the collusion?

PALTROW: No. I don't believe that he saw what he thinks he saw.


MIRACLE: Sanderson is suing, for more than $300,000 in damages, Paltrow is countersuing for its symbolic $1 and attorneys' fees. Victor? Amara?

WALKER: Veronica Miracle, thank you.

And a quick programming note, join actress and activist, Eva Longoria in the new CNN original series, "SEARCHING FOR MEXICO," as she takes us on a journey across the country to see how its people culture and history has shaped its diverse cuisine.

Here is a preview.


EVA LONGORIA, AMERICAN ACTRESS, PRODUCER, AND DIRECTOR: I don't know the secret to happiness. All I know is every time I eat Mexican food, I'm happy.



LONGORIA: I'm Eva Longoria, born and bred in Texas with Mexican American roots.

LONGORIA: I'm going to get a t shirt that says more salsa.

I'm exploring Mexico to see how the people, their lands, and their past have shaped a culinary tradition, AS diverse as its 32 states.

I'm here.

Today, we are going to be baking our food pilgrimage.

Look at that. I don't know if I've ever been this excited to eat anything.

LONGORIA (text): How do I do this? Cut it like --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (text): Like this.

LONGORIA: I was going to do this. That's why. UNIDENTIFIED MALE (text): You can also do that.

LONGORIA: The people here are so secure in who they are and where they come from.

LONGORIA (text): You are an artist.

LONGORIA: But you guys are amazing storyteller.


LONGORIA: Mexico is going through a major makeover to emerge as one of the world's greatest food destinations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know what brings people to Mexico? The food culture. I fell in love with it. LONGORIA (text) Long live Mexico!

ANNOUNCER: "EVA LONGORIA SEARCHING FOR MEXICO", premiers tomorrow at 10:00 on CNN.