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First Republic Bank To Slash 20-25 Percent Of Its Workforce; Asa Hutchinson To Formally Roll Out his Presidential Bid Tomorrow; Prosecutor In Closing Arguments: Proud Boys Were "Donald Trump's Army." Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired April 25, 2023 - 07:30   ET




POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Drama on the Montana House floor. Police arrested seven people yesterday accused of interrupting proceedings. Protesters were there in support of Democratic State Rep. Zooey Zephyr after Republican leaders continued to forbid her in taking part on the debate on the floor for the second week.

Zephyr, who is transgender, has not been allowed to speak on the floor since Thursday after she said her Republican colleagues would have, quote, "blood on their hands," close quote, if they banned gender- affirming care for transgender minors.

Her supporters chanting in the gallery "Let her speak." Watch this.


MATT REGIER, HOUSE SPEAKER (R-KALISPELL) Sergeant of arms, will you please clear the gallery? Members, will you please go to the side of the chambers? Members, please go to the side of the chambers.

SUPPORTERS: Let her speak! Let her speak! Let her speak!


HARLOW: The Montana House Freedom Caucus is demanding that Zephyr be censured for using "inappropriate and uncalled for language" -- that is their quote -- on the floor of the House. We'll keep following this.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: That's happening there.

Also, this morning, two Bud Light executives are now reportedly being placed on leave after backlash over the brand's partnership with a popular transgender influencer. The sponsorship includes two Instagram posts that have been seen by almost everyone now. This is from Dylan Mulvaney. She has more than a million followers.

The beermaker also sent her a can of beer with her face on it. That caused fallout that went from calls for a boycott to actual physical danger when Anheuser-Busch facilities began receiving threats.

It's unclear how the controversy is going to affect their bottom line -- if it will affect their bottom line. The company does report first- quarter earnings on May 4.

HARLOW: First Republic Bank -- their deposits tumbled some 41 percent in the first quarter. We just learned that yesterday from their earnings report. And the numbers show the sheer magnitude of the banking crisis impact on that and some other regional banks.

Our chief business correspondent Christine Romans is with us now. I mean, there were -- there were questions, what, six weeks ago that --


HARLOW: -- First Republic was going to make it.


HARLOW: All the big guys -- big banks and big male leaders --

ROMANS: Right.

HARLOW: -- largely, except for Jane at Citi, came in to try to rescue the bank.

ROMANS: Yes, and now the company says it has stabilized. Executives are looking to do some serious cost-cutting. Twenty to 25 percent of their workforce could be facing pink slips here -- but just revealing the magnitude of those losses.

When you look at it, it looks like $100 billion walked out the door. Those two big banks failed that week. There was this just panic in the banking sector briefly. It has stabilized. One hundred billion dollars people took out of their bank accounts and moved them elsewhere, and that has been a real problem for First Republic to stabilize. So they're cost-cutting their -- they're changing the makeup of their balance sheet.


The stock is down sharply here this morning. We'll watch all of the other regional bank stocks to see if they can remain stable here. But just really a very good look at what happened to First Republic during that banking run.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: But also while we're keeping an eye on them, we saw a total massacre at Disney yesterday when it came to layoffs.


COLLINS: Now, 3M, which is this massive American company that I think a lot of people became familiar with during the pandemic and the role that they played -- ROMANS: Sure.

COLLINS: -- in that -- now they're also having new layoffs. What's that going to look like?

ROMANS: So we heard this morning from 3M that they are cutting some jobs here, and this is on top of jobs they cut -- 2,500 jobs in January. Now they're cutting another 6,000 positions. They're calling this a restructuring.

They want to simplify their supply chains. I've heard this from a lot of different companies, especially manufacturers. They want to reduce layers of management. We've heard that from media companies, manufacturing companies, tech companies collapsing layers of management.

So this is this mode we're in -- this cost-cutting mode.

We heard from Disney. They've got probably 4,000 job cuts this week. They had announced, you'll remember, 7,000 jobs cut overall. This will be a tough week for Disney folks. On Monday through Thursday is when we're expecting those announcements. Bob Iger there wants to cut $5.5 billion in costs and job cuts are part of that.

HARLOW: Is this a -- the great reckoning post-pandemic of companies reassessing those who over-hired and tech cut way back, and now 3M, Disney?

ROMANS: I think absolutely. And I think on the manufacturing side of that, part of that is a reckoning in supply chains.


ROMANS: I keep hearing about simplifying supply chains. Also, levels of management. You're seeing that also over at Disney where Bob Iger wants content to be directly tied into the financial part of the business so that you have a much more streamlined what you're making and how much it earns kind of structure over there.

And I think in these tech companies -- we're going to get a lot of tech earnings this week, guys, and we're going to hear how those layoffs have done and also how they're returning to profitability. The focus now is on profitability. The focus was on growth during the pandemic and they -- a lot of these places grew too fast and too much --


ROMANS: -- and now they're winding it back.

COLLINS: Yes, and we'll see what the cost of that looks like.


COLLINS: Christine Romans, thank you --

ROMANS: Nice to see you, guys.

COLLINS: -- as always.

ROMANS: Have a good morning.

COLLINS: All right. Also this morning, former President Trump has now sealed a big endorsement from a key Republican senator when some other Republicans have been quiet on his 2024 announcement. We're going to talk to someone who is challenging Trump for the Republican nomination, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson. He's here live and he'll join us next.

HARLOW: Before we got to break, though, a look at the over-200-year- old statute in England that was defaced earlier this month. The weapon -- those are blue crayons, folks. It happened on Easter Sunday when kids were given packs of crayons as part of an activity pack. The Conservation Society noted that the marks have now been removed. No word on the future of crayons on the ground.

COLLINS: OK, that's worse than drawing on the wall.

HARLOW: I mean, I'm just like I'm so glad it wasn't my child. Can you imagine?

ROMANS: That could easily have been anybody's kids, right?



COLLINS: Donald Trump has picked up a big endorsement in his bid to return to the White House with Montana Sen. Steve Daines who is throwing his support behind him now. Of course, Sen. Daines is the head of the Senate Republican's key arm. He's a key Republican fundraiser.


SEN. STEVE DAINES, (R-MT): The best four years I have had in the U.S. Senate is when President Trump was serving in the Oval Office. You talk about results, we passed and he signed into law the greatest tax cut in American history. We transformed the courts -- the Supreme Court, the circuit courts. We had a country that was respected and strong. For these reasons and many others I'm proud to endorse Donald J. Trump for President of the United States.


COLLINS: Notable to hear that from a key Senate Republican. His endorsement is just the latest in a list for the former president -- a list that now includes a number of Florida Republicans. Of course, Republicans in rival Ron DeSantis' home state -- potential rival, I should note.

Joining us now is another potential rival -- a Republican hoping to unseat Trump atop the GOP polls in 2024, former Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson. Good morning, Governor, and thank you for being here.

What do you make of this endorsement that Trump's getting from a key Republican fundraiser, but also the list of congressional endorsements he's gotten as well?

ASA HUTCHINSON, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: Well, there's a little bit of incumbency there. Even though Donald Trump lost the last election in 2020 he's still the former president, and so there's a lot of swag that goes with that. And so, that's not a surprise.

But I do think there is a significant number in the Republican Party who believe that we'll have a hard time winning against Joe Biden in a repeat race between Donald Trump and Joe Biden and that we're going to have to have a change if we're going to win, and we have some great alternatives.

I will be announcing in Bentonville, which I'm very excited about, and talking about really the future, and problem-solving, and the economy, and what we need to do about crime and border security. So to me, it's about solutions and problem-solving and that's what Americans are really interested in. That will actually be the test as to who wins the nomination.

COLLINS: And you're making that announcement formal tomorrow, as you noted, in Bentonville. How do you plan to take on Trump once you're officially in the race?

HUTCHINSON: You know, just like any other big challenge in life you take it a step at a time. The first step is Iowa. The second step is New Hampshire. And it is building that level of support.


Tomorrow is a big day for me because the nation gets to hear my story of growing up in a small town on a farm. The values that I learned and shaped my life, and how I fought against the establishment in Arkansas to build a Republican Party and the conservative voice.

So that's an exciting day when people get to know you and you get the opportunity to campaign retail-wise in Iowa and other places. You know, it makes a difference -- it grows. And so that's what we're going to do -- take a step at a time.

But it's also about the significant issues, and the issues that our country faces fit with my background in law enforcement, in border security, in balancing a budget as governor. So that's the message and I think it works.

COLLINS: Yes. The first step could also be some Truth Social posts where Trump has been attacking those who are challenging him.

I will note we did hear from President Biden this morning at 6:00 a.m. in that video announcing -- today, he is announcing he is running for reelection as well. With Biden running for reelection and Trump as the clear frontrunner

right now in the Republican Party, polls show though that a majority of Republicans and Democrats don't want either of them to be their party's nominee, but right now they are the frontrunners.

How do you reckon with something like that?

HUTCHINSON: Well, first of all, in Joe Biden's announcement today the president really focused on the past more and some of the divisions. I would hope and would think that he would be talking about the economy, and talking about America's position in the world, and strength. So I was a little disappointed in that but it shows the contrast.

But you're right. No one wants a Biden-Trump replay of 2020. It was painful then; it would be painful again. And so I think they're looking for new leadership.

And so you've just got to work it. How do you do it? You go in there day-by-day and fight that battle because I believe in it and I think it's important for our country's future.

COLLINS: The governor of North Dakota has just signed into law one of the strictest anti-abortion laws in the country. We recently saw Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis a six-week bill into law there. You, once as governor, also signed one of the strictest abortion laws as well.

Is this a message Republicans could win on in 2024?

HUTCHINSON: Well, it's a matter of conviction and belief as to what is right. And the answer is yes -- I believe that you win on standing with the unborn and making it clear as to how you want to help women in problem pregnancies as well.

This debate is going to continue but it's going to be also the debate about, again, the economy, inflation rates, high interest rates. And so this is just one layer of the issues that we have to face in the 2024 campaign.

I'm pro-life. I think it's important that right now the states have the prerogatives to determine their future, but it could shift to a national debate in Congress. The Democrats will go one way if they have control; Republicans will go a different direction.

And so it's naturally a big issue and an -- and an important one for many voters but likely, you're not going to get that consensus. You're going to have a split government and then it's going to be up to the states to make their determination, and that's how the political issues of our time are decided.

COLLINS: Governor, I'm glad you brought that up because I was looking at some past comments that you've made on abortion and whether it is a state or federal issue. I want to show them to our viewers.


HUTCHINSON: We wanted the Roe versus Wade reversed and the authority to return to the states. And I -- and so, as a matter of principle that's where it should be.

I don't believe that we ought to go back to saying there ought to be a national law that's passed. We've fought for 50 years to have this returned to the states. We've won that battle. It's back to the states. Let's let it be resolved there.

SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS HOST, "FOX NEWS SUNDAY": They're calling for a 15 minimum -- 15-week minimum. If you did have both houses of Congress and were President Hutchinson, would you sign it?

HUTCHINSON: The answer is I've always signed pro-life bills and if a pro-life bill comes to me that sets reasonable restrictions but also has the appropriate exceptions, yes, I would sign it.


COLLINS: Governor, if it's --

HUTCHINSON: We'll see --

COLLINS: -- if it's -- sorry, I think the clip was so plain there. If it is a state's issue, as you said before, why would you sign a federal abortion ban into law?

HUTCHINSON: Well, because I sign pro-life laws. I want to protect the unborn. I believe that it's most likely going to be resolved in the states. The United States Supreme Court said it's returned to our elected representatives. That could be our members of our Congress but it's also, first of all, our states -- and that's where I would prefer the issue to be resolved.


But if Congress -- you know, if the Democrats pass an abortion bill up to term, I would veto that. If the Republicans are in charge and they put reasonable exceptions in the bill we'll look at it. But yes, I would likely be signing that if it's going to protect the unborn and it has those exceptions that the American people want. And I think that's where we actually come together more is that if you have those exceptions -- the life of the mother, rape, and incest in there -- then reasonable restrictions are something the American people would accept.

COLLINS: Well, given that, Governor -- I understand you're saying that now but you could forgive some people for being skeptical of that because that's a position you've held before. But in Arkansas, you did sign a bill into law that did not have those exceptions. So how do people know that as president you would ensure those exceptions are in there?

HUTCHINSON: Well, that's what I believe and I think it's important, and I think that you see across America that's what the American public expects. And so I think that Congress would respond with those exceptions in the legislation. And so, that's the legislative process. That can be worked through. But I've made it clear whenever I signed the legislation in Arkansas that I believe we ought to have those exceptions for rape and incest in addition to the life of the mother.

We also invested more in maternal health care and making sure our adoption services are enhanced. And so you've got to have all of that together when you're dealing with a challenge that moms face with unexpected pregnancies and needing help.

COLLINS: Yes, maternal health care is a major issue in your state of Arkansas and my home state of Alabama as well.

Governor, I know you're announcing your run officially tomorrow and you'll be back here on the program soon. Thanks so much for your time this morning.

HUTCHINSON: Good to be with you. Thank you.

HARLOW: A really, really important exchange there.

OK, ahead, thirsting for violence and organizing for action on January 6. Those are words from the Justice Department. What they said in their closing arguments in the case against the Proud Boys. We'll give you the latest from that trial.

And before we go to break -- seriously, there's a new health study about French fries and your mental health. This is what it says. A research team in China has found that frequently eating fried foods, especially fried potatoes, is linked to a 12 percent higher risk of anxiety, a seven percent higher risk of depression. That's compared to people who did not eat those fried foods. The study also found a link more pronounced among younger men and younger consumers in general.

Do not panic just yet. Experts say these results are only preliminary. It's not necessarily clear whether or not they are final.




Ready for a, quote, "all-out war." That is how prosecutors described the far-right extremist group Proud Boys during the sedition case involving five of its members. After months of legal battles and mistrial motions, the federal criminal trial has moved to its final stage. Both prosecutors and the defense gave closing arguments, which are expected to continue today.

The jury is going to decide whether the defendants are guilty of several federal crimes, including seditious conspiracy -- a high bar for that one -- for what they did during the Capitol attack on January 6, 2021. All five defendants have pleaded not guilty.

Sara Sidner is with us, our fellow CNN anchor and someone who has covered this so deeply -- not only what happened that day but so much about the group and the movement.

SARA SIDNER, CNN NEWS CENTRAL ANCHOR: Yes. I spent a lot of time talking with Enrique Tarrio who was, at the time, the leader of the Proud Boys. He has since stepped down. And now, him and four others are on trial and they've been on trial for weeks now.


SIDNER: A lot of people paid attention to the first trial about seditious conspiracy and that was the Oath Keepers. Now, the Proud Boys have five people on trial. Of course, each of them have attorneys so that's why this is very long. There's a lot of evidence that the prosecution is bringing.

The prosecution called them "Donald Trump's Army." That's how he put it out to the jury. And he said that the five men had been plotting for a long time -- for weeks and months before January 6.

Let me let you see exactly his words. He said, "The Capitol was the focus from the start." That "They made it plain as day that they were there. It was not to see Donald Trump's speech, it was not protect patriots, it was certainly not to protest peacefully. They were there to threaten and, if necessary, use force to stop the certification of the election."

So the defense has come out and said look, you may not like what these defendants have said -- because they've heard some of what the defendants have said. They've seen -- you saw Dominic Pezzola -- we just saw him. He was the one using the officer's shield to break into the Capitol -- literally, one of the first people to break through the window and then let everybody flood in.

But they said look, you may not like what they say. They may have said some things that are racist, they may have said some things that are sexist, and maybe that's who they are, but that doesn't make them seditious conspirators. And so, that's been a little bit of the defense's plan here.

But each of them have their own attorneys with their own defense and that is why this case has gone on and on and on.

COLLINS: But even in the interview that you did with Enrique Tarrio two years ago was it now, he acknowledged they should not have actually gone into the Capitol. Do you think that affects how this shakes out?

SIDNER: It's interesting. He was always very careful with his words when he was doing an interview with me or others, but then he would go online and there would be something very different. And they have used some of the things that he said online.

But here is the conversation we had not long after some of his members had been already charged. He had not been charged. And here is what he said when I asked him what he thought about what happened at the Capitol and the role that the Proud Boys may have played.


ENRIQUE TARRIO, PROUD BOYS LEADER: I'm not going to cry about.