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Testimony Sought in Dominion Defamation Trial; Paul Vallas is Interviewed about his Run for Mayor; Faux Band Hits Number One. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired March 29, 2023 - 08:30   ET




KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: We have new insight this morning about who might be called to testify in Dominion Voting Systems right now $1.6 billion lawsuit against Fox News over their coverage of the 2020 election and what they said about Dominion. There is some overlap in who both sides would actually like to hear from, including hosts like Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Maria Bartiromo. If the trial goes ahead, that's a big if, it would begin soon, April 13th.

Joining us now is CNN's senior media reporter Oliver Darcy.

Obviously, a big question about what they would hope to get out of these high-profile witnesses. And, you know, the likelihood that they actually will be taking the stand.

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Yes, I mean this is -- this is going to be -- it's shaping up to be a very high-profile trial. You have some of the biggest stars over at Fox News who Dominion Voting Systems wants to call to the stand, and Fox News has said they want to put on the stand. And those people include Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott, the president of the network, Jay Wallace, and then hosts like Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Maria Bartiromo, Brett Baier, on and on and it goes. I mean basically anyone who's anyone at Fox News could get called to the stand in this trial.

Dominion, obviously, has very tough questions for them. I think you're going to see them really rehash a lot of the questions that they presented to these commentators and journalists during the depositions. And Fox, obviously, wants to call them for different reasons. They probably want to put someone like Bret Baier on the stand to say, you know, weren't you calling out the election lies? And so it'll be interesting to see how this legal strategy plays out, but it's shaping up to be a really high profile trial.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: It's interesting because Dominion had previously asked a judge to force Fox Corporation's chairman, Rupert Murdoch, to testy during this trial.


LEMON: What did the judge say about that?

DARCY: Fox Corporation does not want Rupert Murdoch to testify in this trial, probably for obvious reasons. But the judges is not buying the excuses that have been presented to him. And he said yesterday in court -- I'll read to you actually what he said. He said, Mr. Murdoch has claimed that he's traveling and that it's an inconvenience, but I also have people telling me that it's hard -- he's hardly infirmed and is able to travel around. I think he recently got engaged on St. Patrick's Day, and he said he looks forward to traveling between his various residences in Montana, New York, and London.

And, of course, we just saw him at the Super Bowl with Elon Musk. So, he is able to travel around. The judges is not buying this excuse. He's saying it looks like he can travel from New York, or wherever he is, too Wilmington, Delaware, for this trial.


LEMON: That was pretty harsh from the judge.


LEMON: I think we know what the - how the judge feels about that.

COLLINS: Yes, we'll see if the trial goes forward.

Oliver -

DARCY: Yes. And if it does, again, happening in just a few weeks.


LEMON: Thank you, Oliver.

So, it is a runoff race that is amplifying the divide among Democrats on crime. We are speaking to the candidates vying to be Chicago's mayor. Up next, Paul Vallas is going to join me live.



LEMON: OK, so this is a live look at the city of Chicago waking up right now from our -- that's our affiliate WLS in Chicago. A beautiful shot of the lake there.

So, we're less than a week away from the city's mayoral runoff as concerns about crime and public safety have rattled the nation's third biggest city. The two candidates, both Democrats, defeated Mayor Lori Lightfoot in her re-election bid in February. Paul Vallas is a longtime public schools chief who ran on a tough on crime message. He is facing Brandon Johnson, a Cook County commissioner backed by progressives and the Chicago Teachers Union. I spoke with Johnson yesterday. This is what he had to say about his opponent. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRANDON JOHNSON (D), CHICAGO MAYORAL CANDIDATE: Look, 21 of funders for my opponent come right from the Trump camp. And so I get it that there are Democrats who behave as Republicans. And this is not a moderate.

Even the Chicago Police Department, the former chief of staff, indicated that my opponent's plan is just -- it's - it's naive and its misleading.


LEMON: So, we wanted to give his opponent an opportunity to respond. Paul Vallas joins me now.

Paul, hello to you.


LEMON: Thank you so much.

VALLAS: My pleasure.

LEMON: Listen, I do want to get you to respond to what -- what Brandon Johnson said yesterday, but first I need to say that you led Chicago Public Schools from 1995-2001 before leaving to run the school system in Philadelphia and New Orleans. What's your reaction to the school shooting in Nashville?

VALLAS: Well, you know, it's -- these school shootings, it's - it is just so tragic. And when I was running the school system in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Sandy Hook was our neighboring school district. And, of course, I remember vividly when that shooting occurred because I had a teacher who had a first -- who had a child in their first grade classroom.

As you know, 20 students were killed and I've -- four adults. And there's been 225 shootings -- school shootings in the last 10 years, and that's triple the number of shootings the previous 10 years. So, clearly, public safety -- there has to be comprehensive public safety plans to protect schools, particularly in this age of free flowing guns. And I've always been a supporter of having police officers at the schools at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day at the very least, particularly in the high schools, to deter active shooters.

LEMON: Yes, listen, we -- there's a quote from "The New York Times" from the Kansas City -- the mayor there said, listen, they've been making the assumptions and they were talking about managing school shootings, making the assumption that they are inevitable in their communities.

When you were running schools, did you think that school shootings were inevitable? VALLAS: No, not at all. In fact, we had a 24-7 hotline. And, of

course, that was before social media. Now you can actually create social media platforms to gather intel. But just for that hotline alone, so many of these shootings are actually telegraph because people go on social media, they talk about it. It needs to be carefully monitored. And you can put a system in place where you can really provide students with access to, you know, if they hear rumors or if they hear concerns about just not only potential shooters, but young people are -- perhaps have chronic drug addictions. You'll be amazed at when young people will tell you if they can do it safely and securely and what they will tell each other if you're monitoring social media or if you're creating the right social media platform that that -- the entire school body can access.

So, there's - there are strategies in place, especially now, to closely monitor the intel. And then, obviously, be prepared to respond and to react to it.

LEMON: OK, so now I want to what - the response to Brandon Johnson, what he said on -- to me yesterday. And just to remind you, he said, look, 21 funders for my opponent come right from the Trump camp and I also - so, I get it, that they are Democrats who behave as Republicans, and it is not a moderate. Even the Chicago Public -- Police Department, the former chief of staff, indicated that his opponent's plan is just that it's naive and it's misleading. That's what he said. I'm paraphrasing there.

But what's your -- what's your response?

VALLAS: Well, you know, my response is, first of all, I'm supported by 26 labor unions, and I also have the endorsement of Senator Dick Durbin and Congressman Bobby Rush, who I know you know well, as well as countless other Democrats.

I was also -- I also ran for - as lieutenant governor when Governor Pat Quinn ran for re-election. Of course, that's Democratic Governor Pat Quinn.

Also let me point out that I'm getting support in the business community from the same supporters who have -- who -- many who supported Lori Lightfoot or, of course, Mayor Daley, of course, Rahm Emanuel. Obviously, all Democrats.

But, you know, look, my opponent is a - is a paid lobbyist for the Chicago Teachers Union, and he -- and 80 to 90 percent of his funding comes directly from the Chicago Teachers Union and his affiliates.


You know, as for my -- the differences between him -- him and I on public safety is real simple. He does not want to fill the 1,100 police vacancies. He doesn't believe we can fill those vacancies, which is absolutely incorrect. And his only strategy for addressing the violent crime in Chicago is to promote 200 officers from the street into the detective's bureau. What I have basically said is, let's fill the vacancies. And one of

the ways you fill the vacancies is you slow the exodus of officers. We've been losing 1,000 a year because of poor leadership, terrible strategy and really the mismanagement of personnel. And we can significantly slow that exodus.

LEMON: I want to get to this because you know crime is a big issue, right?

VALLAS: Yes, of course.

LEMON: Public safety the major issue really for voters in this election. Violence in the city - in your city spiked in 2020 and 2021 and shootings and murders have decreased since then. Other crimes including theft, carjacking, robberies, burglaries increased last year. Give me your strategy, please.

VALLAS: Well, you know, I think what you - well, first of all, you have to return to community based policing because right now half of the high priority 911 calls do not have cars available. So that means when a call comes in, it takes hours instead of minutes. And, of course, our public transit security is almost all privatized, unarmed guards. Half the -- half of those who ride public transit are afraid to ride public transit because of public safety issues. And the ridership is significantly down. So, clearly, we need to return to community based policing.

But what we also need to do, just a couple other things, is, we need to open our schools through (INAUDIBLE) on weekends, over the holidays and over the summer and bring community based and faith based programs to those schools so our young people, hundreds of thousands, can be fully engaged and occupied.

And the second thing we need to do is we need to have a strategy for dealing with returning citizens, those returning from incarceration, because we do very little to find them support.

LEMON: OK. Same as your opponent yesterday.


LEMON: I'm up against the clock here, but I also want to give some context of something that you said, and I did this with him yesterday because he talked about defunding the police. So, I want to ask you about -- this was a television interview that you did in 2009. You said that you consider yourself more of a Republican than a Democrat. What did you mean by that, and if that -- so why is the teachers union not supporting you?

VALLAS: Well, you know, let me point out that the past teachers union president is supporting me. And the question pertained to school choice, particularly to charter schools. And the question was asked about charter schools and about -- and about public school choice. Obviously, my opponent and I have fundamental differences.

But let me point out that in Chicago I actually only opened 15 charter schools, so that was within the context. But I've been a lifelong Democrat. And, of course, I then later ran as Pat Quinn's running mate for lieutenant governor and the Democratic ticket. So, I've always been a lifelong Democrat. I've always voted in the Democratic primary. And I'm supported by Chicago's leading Democrats.

LEMON: OK, that's -- because Chicago's heavily Democratic. To say you're more of a Republican in Chicago, I mean, that's saying a lot.

Thank you, Paul Vallas. I appreciate it.

VALLAS: My pleasure.

COLLINS: Yes, great to hear from both of them ahead of that election.

All right, the album from Amazon's new show "Daisy Jones and The Six" is actually topping music charts. What other made for TV bands did the same? Here's a slight clue. It's not Harry Enten's band, but he is here with this morning's number.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was just going to say that I love the sound of your voice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE AND UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): We unraveled a long time ago. We lost and we couldn't let it go.



COLLINS: That is from Amazon Prime's wildly popular series "Daisy Jones and The Six." It's an adaptation of the Taylor Jenkins Reid bestselling novel about a fictional '70s rock band. It has received very real accolades for the album that was created for the series titled "Aurora."

Our CNN's senior data reporter, Harry Enten, is here.

You've been looking at the numbers. I mean people love this.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Yes, they do. So, this morning's number is one because "Daisy Jones and The Six's" "Aurora" album, a fictional television band, hit number one on the iTunes charts earlier this March. And I will point out that on the billboard charts, look at this, for emerging artists, that album was number one, soundtrack number one, and perhaps my favorite, vinyl, of course, because that would make sense based upon when the show took place, it was number four. So, quite the popular band despite the fact that they ain't real, folks.

COLLINS: It must be hard to swallow if you are a real band and you're like, this other band for a TV show is number one.

LEMON: It does sound like, ah, gosh, what's her name? I can't think of the song, but it sounds like -- it's also -- it evokes Fleetwood Mac.

ENTEN: Correct.

COLLINS: Stevie Nicks

ENTEN: It -- that's exactly right. And, you know, I just want to talk about other fictional bands here and their big songs because this was a big discussion between Kaitlan, Don and myself because apparently I did not choose the correct fictional ones.


ENTEN: I chose "Alvin and The Chipmunks" "Christmas Don't Be Late," "The Archies" "Sugar, Sugar," "The Blues Brothers" "Soulman." All of them were top 20 songs in the Billboard Hot 100. But I'm told that there's some other favorites that I might have missed.

COLLINS: What's the top fictional band?

ENTEN: The top fictional band, how about "The Monkeys." How about "The Monkeys," right? They were -- I prefer them to The Beatles. They were a 1960s fictional TV show band that became real -

LEMON: And early '70s.

ENTEN: And early '70s.


ENTEN: Three number one songs, including "I'm a Believer," and four number one albums. But I didn't include Hannah Montana on here, which I'm told by one of our producers was a big thing that I didn't - didn't mention.

COLLINS: And "Almost Famous" "Stillwater."


ENTEN: I love them. I love them as well. I was watching "Almost Famous."

COLLINS: And, "A Star is Born," Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper.

ENTEN: Ah, yes, that was a good film as well. You can see that there's some massive disagreements between us on this.

LEMON: You know, I think - that's the song that it reminds me of. I know it's weird. I found love, love in the nick of time. What's her name? I love her. I can't -- I'm having a senior moment.

ENTEN: We - Don, you sometimes say the things and I don't -


LEMON: Scared to run out of time.

ENTEN: Oh, very nice.

LEMON: That's the song (ph).

ENTEN: Oh, you should sing at my wedding.


ENTEN: You're invited.


LEMON: As if you're ever going to get married.

ENTEN: Ah, we'll see. Miracles do occur.

COLLINS: That seemed to be an announcement maybe.

LEMON: That's - yes, do you want to tell us something?

ENTEN: No, I -

LEMON: I do - I did -- I love "The Monkeys," though. You have this debate about "The Monkeys" versus The Beatles.

ENTEN: Yes. I prefer them to The Beatles.

COLLINS: It's literally the title. It's so great.

ENTEN: Oh, it's - oh, maybe I should look.

COLLINS: All right, Harry Enten.

LEMON: Maybe I should wear my glasses.

COLLINS: Harry Enten, thank you.

ENTEN: Thank you.

LEMON: Thanks for watching, everybody.

CNN "NEWSROOM" starts right after this break.

We'll see you tomorrow.

COLLINS: I can't believe you put that in there.