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CNN This Morning

The Biden-Trump Rematch Comes Into View With Dueling Visits To Georgia; RNC Installs New Leadership As Trump Tightens Hold On GOP; Senate Passes Government Funding Bills Ahead of Shutdown Deadline; Two Soldiers, Border Patrol Agent Killed in Helicopter Crash. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired March 09, 2024 - 06:00   ET




VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome to CNN This Morning. It's Saturday, March 9. I'm Victor Blackwell.

ISABEL ROSALES, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Isabel Rosales in for Amara Walker. Thanks for joining us. And you look refreshed, coming back from vacation.

BLACKWELL: Thank you very much. I'm a couple of shades darker, got a little red tone under there. I'm going to beat feel better. All right.


BLACKWELL: Here's what we're watching for you this weekend. We'll get a preview of what to expect in a head to head rematch between President Biden and former President Trump as the two hold dueling rallies here in Georgia today. Plus, we'll discuss the Biden campaign strategy to try to seize on momentum from the State of the Union address.

ROSALES: Tornado watches are in effect across parts of the southeast this morning with several major cities at risk for tornadoes and dangerous hail. We're also tracking a significant flood threat.

BLACKWELL: CNN got exclusive access to one of the first ship set to bring crucial humanitarian supplies to Gaza. We'll show you what's being delivered and how the U.S. is helping in the relief effort.

ROSALES: Testimony began this week in the trial of James Crumbley, the father of the Oxford school shooter, the charges he's facing and why he's no longer allowed to make phone calls to anyone except his attorney.

BLACKWELL: Plus the military is developing a UFO detection system. Why? How does it work? And what have they seen so far? We're getting some answers to those questions ahead on CNN This Morning.

The Biden-Trump rematch is underway. Now fresh off his State of the Union Address, President Biden is set to hit the road on a battleground state swing that includes a visit to Georgia. Biden, former President Trump expected to make appearances today in Georgia with Biden holding an event in Atlanta. Trump holds a rally in Rome, Georgia that's in the northwest part of the state.

ROSALES: The Biden campaign hopes to continue the President's momentum coming out of the State of the Union speech. While Trump hopes to win over Nikki Haley voters after she dropped out of the race. Georgia was a key battleground state that Biden won in 2020 by less than a percentage point.

It is the biggest delegate prize and the only swing state among primary contests taking place on Tuesday. Super Tuesday put both Biden and Trump on the brink of having enough delegates to cinch their party's presidential nominations.

BLACKWELL: CNN White House correspondent Camila DeChalus is in Wilmington. That's where the President is starting his day. Camila, so what are the messages that the President is trying to highlight in this first wing after the big address?

CAMILA DECHALUS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor, Isabel, one of the things that Biden really wants to highlight is what he has done while he's been in office when it comes to the economy, like investing in thousands of jobs, or investing in public safety, or his efforts to try to lower the high cost of prescription drugs. He wants to remind the voters of what he's done, but also lay out what he wants to do if he gets reelected into office.

And one of the things that we saw last night in his speech in Philadelphia, is he's going to talk about what's at stake in this election cycle and talk about his former predecessor, Donald Trump. He mentioned him by name, and about him about eight times yesterday. And a lot of that is that he really wanted to stress that he believes that Donald Trump poses a threat to democracy. And so those are some of the biggest things he's going to highlight and Atlanta and in the months ahead.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: We arrived down the street and there was a Trump banner with a F.U. on it and a little at a six-year-old kid putting up his middle finger. Did you ever sit -- no, I'm serious. There's ever thinking hear people talk the way they do. Look at demeans -- it demeans who we are. That's not who America. That's not America.


DECHALUS: So, as you saw Victor, Isabel, Biden is really just going to highlight what's at stake in this election cycle and really just stress how he believes that Donald Trump poses a threat to democracy.

BLACKWELL: Camila DeChalus for us there in Wilmington, thanks so much. Joining me now is Michelle Price. She's the national politics reporter for the Associated Press. Good morning to you. All right. So, Camila talked a lot about policy. Let's talk about tone. During

the State of the Union address, President Biden referred to former President Trump as my predecessor.


But in this address in Pennsylvania, this rally, he called Trump out by name regularly, what does that tell us aside from policy, the tonal, the tone that the President in the campaign will use moving forward?

MICHELLE PRICE, NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER, ASSOCIATED PRESS: Yes, I mean, remember that the State of the Union is still a speech he gives, as President it's more on the on the government side there, certainly politics plays a central role. But naming Trump when he's out explicitly on the campaign trail is a little bit of a shift to make it more of a direct contrast.

But that speech on Thursday was still very fiery. And I think we can expect Joe Biden to continue that, you see that that's something that some of the folks in Trump world were kind of taken aback by. They've been kind of casting Joe Biden as kind of sleepy and not fully on top of his faculties.

And the way he came off in that speech is something that kind of shuts some of that down, to think we're going to expect him to continue to do that. But this -- the way he's been taking on Trump directly shows this is the matchup he's ready for. He wants to draw those contrasts. He wants to draw contrast on democracy on tone.

You know, you mentioned the little child who was holding up a middle finger. That's a coarsening of society. That's all something that Joe Biden is expected to probably talk about today.

BLACKWELL: Yes, that narrative of the soul of the country fighting for the soul of the nation. So, you talk about what they're talking about today. They are both in Georgia. Obviously, a swing state, Georgia primary is Tuesday. No suspense there, they're each going to win their respective primaries. But what do we know about what the voters want to hear from these two men?

PRICE: Well, each of these folks, you know, today, they're going to be speaking to people who are probably inclined to support them, and who are physically in front of them, because they're coming out to these rallies. But these messages that they're brought up, they're each going to be trying to reach some of these swing voters, and these independents and some of the people who were hoping to support Nikki Haley. You're going to see Joe Biden tried to reach some of those folks, and he already has started trying to reach out to some of those folks.

You know, Donald Trump -- the thing that Donald Trump struggles with is when he gets before a rally crowd like he will today, he tends to speak to his base. So what we're going to try to see today is whether he continues that and he will be in a very heavily Republican part of the state. He's in Georgia, where, you know, there's still fresh memory of what happened at the University of Georgia student Laken Riley, something he has been speaking about a lot. Immigration has been central to him.

So whether he can leans into his hard immigration policies or whether he kind of cast a wider message that brings people into something to see, but we're going to see a stark contrast between these two laying out what is going to feel like a very long general election stretching out before us.

BLACKWELL: Yes, the former President Trump will be in Marjorie Taylor Greene's district today in Georgia. And of course, she wants more the MAGA hat and buttons calling out the President at the State of the Union. So let's talk about the RNC now. The new team is in place. You've got at the top of Michael Whatley as the chair, Laura Trump is the new co-chair, Chris Lavacita (ph) -- LaCivita, I should say as the Chief of Staff.

What does this portend? What does this new leadership mean for the RNC as we contrast it to the organization under Rhonda McDaniel?

PRICE: So the biggest thing that this symbolizes is that Donald Trump is the, you know, he's the perceived nominee by those in his party. He has fully asserted his grip on the party. These are his handpick people, but it's also a merging of the RNC with his campaign.

Chris LaCivita is going to be running a lot of the day-to-day operations at the RNC, but also at his campaign. So whatever the Republican Party is active in elections this year with guys, they're campaigning for not only Donald Trump, but for down ticket races. That is all going to be coming and filtered through the Trump campaign. So you're going to see him fully commanding that political apparatus now.

You know what is interesting is some of the things that they're talking about this new leadership. They want to focus on fundraising, which was struggling with the RNC. But one of the biggest things that they talked about as a new priority, one of the reasons that Michael Whatley was chosen this chair is because of the emphasis he keeps putting on election integrity measures.

This is something that stems from Donald Trump's false claims in 2020, that he lost the election because of fraud. He's still bringing that up pretty much every time he speaks. And what he has kind of charged these folks with as they take over the RNC is to have a much more robust program in place to monitor the vote to file legal challenges to just be much more aggressive this time around than they were in 2020.

BLACKWELL: I was looking ahead to the potential debates. Former President Trump has said that he is ready to debate President Biden anytime, anywhere. Listen to what V.P. Harris and President Biden said when they were at asked about debating President Trump.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But given what you argue is at stake here, will you take the chance to show voters more of what they saw last night to take on Trump directly in debates?

KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRERSIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We'll get to that at some point, and we'll deal with that.

UNIDENATIFIED MALE: Mr. President, will you commit to a debate with former President Trump?

BIDEN: It depends on his behavior.


BLACKWELL: Now, is that Michelle just to appear not to be too eager? Or could we see an extension of what happened during the primaries? No debates?

PRICE: We could see no debates, you know, it seems like they're very non-committal right now. They're not saying no, but the way that Donald Trump handled his Republican primary where he didn't appear in any debates, the reason he gave was that if you're leading if you -- if you're winning, you don't need to debate.

They gave Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, that reason gave them -- a reason that they could take up on their own as a reason they don't feel like they need to debate. But you got to remember in 2020, when Joe Biden and Donald Trump debated, the first one was almost unwatchable, because Donald Trump was interrupting so much that the next time they got together, the Debate Commission actually kind of invented this mute button to cut off his microphone because they just couldn't hear anything when he was interrupting all the time.

So you know, we don't -- if we get to that again, well, I hope we will have the mute button because we might not be able to hear the answers. But we don't know whether it will get there or not in this general election this year.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Well, the American people certainly deserve debates. I hope we get them to. Michelle Price. Thanks so much.

ROSALES: Well, as we speak strong storms are sweeping through the south putting nearly 14 million people at risk for dangerous flooding. There's also the possibility of tornadoes as the system heads northeast. CNN meteorologist Elisa Raffa is in Atlanta, which saw flooding last night. And Elisa, this is an area pretty much already saturated. Right? They've seen rain.

ELISA RAFFA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, I mean, we got a month's worth of rain here in Atlanta in just a week. We got an inch and a half of rain here overnight, and then we got two and a half inches on Wednesday. We're at Peachtree Creek, which really had some problems on Wednesday. It flooded this entire walkway here we're on a part of the Beltline here in Atlanta.

And you can see the creek is still rushing fast and it's rising this morning after we got to get another inch and a half of rain overnight. There's some debris down here too. When you get that heavy rain, it picks up all of our plastic pollution and sends it right into the waters. And we've been watching it kind of roll down the creek this morning. Once the sun comes up, we'll be able to see it a little bit better.

But yes, rising here with another inch and a half of rain overnight. And we've got even more significant flooding just to the south of us in southern Georgia. I want to show you the radar because we've got this storm that's pretty expansive. We've got some showers stretching from upstate New York all the way down the east coast and that heaviest rain is in southern Georgia, where we've got all of the lightning strikes there.

Now we do also have a tornado watch that's in effect until 11 o'clock this morning along southern Georgia, the Florida Panhandle where we could have some spin up tornadoes as we go through the morning as well. Flash flooding has continued to be a risk. We've got flash flood warnings that continue through the morning here. Because we've got heavy rain. We've gotten two and a half inches of rain in spots. And we're piling on that some of these rainfall totals have been in excess of five to six inches over the last couple of days and the Southeast has been pretty saturated and inundated all of winter.

We've had some rainfall totals that have been well above average so far this year. So far this winter, it's just been well above average. And so that has led these ground conditions be pretty saturated and keeping the flooding risk there, right. When the ground is saturated, and you get more heavy rain on top, the ground really can't take that much more.

Now we do know that we find that these two-inch heavy rainfall days are increasing as our atmosphere becomes warmer, it can hold more moisture and we squeeze out more of these heavy rainfall days. We do have the rain that's wrapping up here in Atlanta, but all of that moisture heads up the east coast. So if you're watching from areas like New York to Maine brace for some showers, even some snow and interior New England. Guys.

ROSALES: Elisa, stay dry out there. Thank you. All right. We are just getting started here on CNN This Morning.

BLACKWELL: Straight ahead. CNN exclusive, we'll go inside the massive mission happening now to get life-saving humanitarian aid in the Gaza. Plus, where the talks for a ceasefire stay ahead of tomorrow's Ramadan deadline.

And former President Donald Trump pays a bond of more than $90 million in one case and then has a deadline to pay nearly a half billion- dollar judgment a few weeks from now. New questions on how he's going to pay for all that. Still ahead.

ROSALES: Plus, the Pentagon is rolling out you tools to track possible UFOs and it goes on the record about any evidence of alien technology that story a little later on CNN This Morning.



BLACKWELL: Secretary of State Antony Blinken has discussed efforts to achieve a six-week ceasefire in Gaza with the Egyptian foreign minister.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: And in this moment in this hour, we're also intensely focused on seeing if we can get a ceasefire with the release of hostages.


The expansion of humanitarian assistance and an environment for working on an enduring resolution. And there, the issue is Hamas. The issue is whether Hamas will decide or not to have a ceasefire that would benefit everyone. The ball is in their court. We're working intensively on it. And we'll see what -- we'll see what they do.


BLACKWELL: Well, President Biden casts a lot of doubt on the prospect of striking a deal that includes a temporary ceasefire paired with the release of hostages by the start of Ramadan.

ROSALES: In an exclusive interview with CNN, the European Union says it hopes to launch an emergency maritime aid corridor from Cyprus to Gaza this weekend, citing the dire humanitarian situation in the Enclave. CNN's Nada Bashir joins us live from Larnaca, Cyprus with more on this historic mission. Nada.

NADA BASHIR, CNN REPOTER: Well, we've had a first-hand look at preparations for what is said to be one of the first, if not the first ships heading to Gaza as part of this maritime effort to transport humanitarian aid and crucially food supplies to the Gaza Strip. This is a significant development as we've seen over the last few months getting aid in the proven extremely difficult for the amount of aid that we're seeing getting in at this point. It's just a drop in the ocean in comparison to what is needed in Gaza.

Yesterday, we were able to spend the day with volunteers and aid workers here at this port in Cyprus preparing for that first and was at the groundbreaking admission in hopes that they will get an uptick in humanitarian aid into Gaza. Take a look.


BASHIR (voice-over): At the port of Larnaca in Cyprus, preparations are underway. Vital food supplies carefully loaded onto this barge ready to be transported to Gaza. NGO workers at World Central Kitchen have been laying the groundwork for this mission for weeks, following difficult ground crossings along Gaza's obstructed borders, and limited air drops.

This is the latest effort to supplying crucial humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people.

BASHIR: Well these pallets are filled with rice and flour, these volunteers are preparing to carry them by this vessel behind me to Gaza. This could be one of the first if not the first aid missions transporting food humanitarian aid by sea.

BASHIR (voice-over): Aboard the open arms ship, volunteers and rescue workers assess the precarious route to Gaza's embattled coast. Their mission comes as the European Union, the UAE and other international partners announced the opening of a new maritime corridor, allowing ships to carry humanitarian supplies from Cyprus to the besieged strip.

URSULA VON DER LEYEN, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT: Today, we are facing a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza. And we stand by the innocent civilians in Palestine.

BASHIR (voice-over): Search and rescue coordinator Esther Camps is herself preparing to make the journey to walk on Gaza.

ESTGER CAMPS, SEARCH AND RESCUE COORDINATOR, OPEN ARMS: The worst part of the trip, it's 1.2 meters.

BASHIR (voice-over): This is a deeply complex mission, but one which is desperately needed as Gaza teeters on the brink of famine.

CAMPS: It's really important because we are like the pilot face. So if we get this foot inside, many other people can do the same. We are proving the world that we can do it so we must do more.

BASHIR (voice-over): The establishment of a new maritime corridor has been endorsed by the United States, President Biden himself directing the U.S. military to establish a temporary port on Gaza's coast to facilitate access for humanitarian supplies.

Israel, for its part says it welcomes the development, and will continue to coordinate with international allies. But U.N. experts have accused Israeli leaders of quote, intentionally starving the Palestinian people in Gaza, with over half a million, according to the UN's World Food Programme, now at risk of starvation.


BASHIR: And of course, while this is a positive development, there are still many questions around how this will actually work. In practical terms, there are still a lot of unknowns around how this humanitarian aid and this food supplies will actually be transported physically, once these vessels make it to Gaza.

And as we have heard from U.S. officials, efforts by the U.S. military to establish a temporary port or pier on Gaza is code could take up to two months. There's still a lot of questions as to how quickly this maritime corridor will be up and running. And of course, how much aid will be able to get into the Gaza Strip.

BLACKWELL: Nada, there had been some hope to broke the ceasefire by the start of Ramadan less than a day away. Very unlikely it's going to happen. What's the latest on the talks?

BASHIR: We've seen a lot of back and forth.

We've delegates from both Hamas and Israel as well as other regional international partners traveling to Cairo over the last few weeks taking part in these negotiations.


We've heard previously from the United States saying that there is some sort of broad agreement on the terms of a potential truce that would last around six weeks, it would be a pause in fighting Hamas hopes that this could lead to a gradual withdrawal of Israeli soldiers on the ground. And of course, Israel is still pushing for the full release of Israeli hostages held captive by Hamas in Gaza.

At this stage, as we know, it is looking unlikely that a deal will be struck before Ramadan. We've heard that from U.S .officials, including President Biden's are saying the situation at this stage is tough despite the fact that he said both he and his administration have been working tirelessly to broker some sort of truce agreement, or at least a temporary pause in fighting at this stage.

It is looking unlikely. The fear is that we could see perhaps an escalation in violence. We know of course, that Israel has previously warned that if there isn't any sort of agreement for Ramadan, and if the hostages aren't returned before Ramadan, then they could launch a ground incursion into Rafah, but of course, it's a 1.3 million people, mostly civilians are currently displaced.

ROSALES: And every day that goes by an increasingly dire situation for citizens there on the ground. Nada Bashir, thank you.

Donald Trump has posted bond in the appeal of his New York defamation case. Coming up, how he was able to finance the $92 million bond as he appeals that decision.



BLACKWELL: Today, President Biden is expected to sign a $460 billion funding package which prevented a government shutdown just hours before the deadline. It was bipartisan support for the Senate, in the Senate with 75-22 votes followed the House's approval there.

It secured resources for vital departments and federal programs, despite a verdict, a partial shutdown, legislators now have to address a second set of funding bills to meet the next deadline that's March 22nd.

ROSALES: An investigation is underway now for a U.S. military helicopter crash yesterday near the southern border. The crash claimed the lives of two National Guardsmen and a border patrol agent. The guardsmen were engaged in an aviation operation connected with the federal southwest border support mission when that incident took place.

The names of the dead have not yet been released because officials are still in the process of notifying their families.

BLACKWELL: U.S. forces say they shot down 15 drones over the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. The U.S. acted after Houthi forces supported by Iran launched a major drone attack that threatened ships from the U.S., its allies and commercial vessels.

The incident is after a recent Houthi missile strike on a Liberian- owned carrier in the Gulf of Aden killed three crew members. Former President Trump's cash crunch is coming into focus. He secured a nearly $92 million bond that will cover the damages awarded to writer E. Jean Carroll for defaming her in 2019 when he was president.

ROSALES: He is appealing that verdict even as he faces a deadline to put up a much larger bond in a separate fraud case. CNN's Kara Scannell has those details.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Victor and Isabel. This came down to the wire. Donald Trump posted at 91.6 million bond Friday morning to appeal the judgment in the E. Jean Carroll case. Now, Trump had been ordered to pay $83.3 million to Carroll in the defamation case.

His bond will cover that, plus interests. So, Trump was running at a time and there were questions about how he would cover the judgment, global insurer Chubb underwrote the bond which Trump signed on March 5th, this past Tuesday while he was still asking the judge for more time to put his financing together.

The judge has given Carroll until Monday morning to object to the bond, and if there are any issues, they all will be back in court that afternoon. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking on Trump's bigger judgment, the $454 million he was ordered to pay the New York Attorney General's Office from its civil fraud lawsuit.

Trump offered to post a $100 million bond, but that was rejected by a New York Appeals Court judge. Now, a panel of judges is weighing Trump's request to defer posting judgment until his appeal of the decision is over. The court is expected to rule by the end of this month, which is when the payment is due.

And as jury selection will be underway, in Trump's first criminal trial in New York, he was charged with falsifying business records to cover up hush money payments made before the 2016 presidential election. Trump has pleaded not guilty. Back to you guys.

BLACKWELL: Kara Scannell, thanks so much. Still to come, the father of a Michigan school shooter was caught making threatening statements on a jail phone. We have the latest from his manslaughter trial.


[06:35:00] BLACKWELL: James Crumbley; the father of the Oxford School shooter is

no longer allowed to make phone calls to anyone except his attorney after allegedly threatening someone while in jail. That's according to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office, they did not say who was on the receiving end of those messages.

Crumbley is facing a Michigan jury just weeks after his wife, Jennifer, was convicted on these same four charges of involuntary manslaughter.

ROSALES: Her guilty verdict marked the first time the parent of a mass shooter was ever convicted. James Crumbley is the parent who actually bought the gun for Ethan Crumbley, who used it to kill four people at a Michigan High School, Oxford High School.

CNN's Jean Casarez has those highlights from Friday's testimony.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor and Isabel, one of the prosecution's witnesses on Friday was detective Joe Brian. He heads up the special investigation unit, and he testified that once Ethan was in custody, he spoke to him and he asked him who his parents were? Who his father was?

He said James, and the detective called James and told him to get down to the substation because that's where Ethan was. So, he and Jennifer went down there -- I think you can see from this video, once they got there, they were ushered into this interview room.

There are two detectives, including detective Brian in there, and they started talking to the parents and James spoke a lot.


James said that they had gotten in an argument the night before with their son, Ethan, because of a geometry score, and that he had taken Ethan to school that morning, the morning of the mass shooting, and he really thought everything was calmed down, and he told his son, just do the best you can in school.

He also was asked about does he have any issues? And he said, well, he lost his best friend recently, he moved out of state, his dog died, my mother, his grandmother died in April. And then it went to, well, are there any disciplinary issues involving him? And he said he's never gotten in trouble with school.

But then on the cross examination, the defense, they honed in on a pivotal issue in this case. The safekeeping of that gun.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And 6 minutes and 45 seconds, James told you that he had a SIG Sauer handgun?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was -- at 6 minutes and 50 seconds, he said that it was hidden in an armor in a case.

BRIAN: Correct.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At six minutes and 58 seconds -- and these are approximate time-stamps, I'm not holding you to that time --

BRIAN: I really appreciate it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Six minutes and 58 seconds, that the bullets were hidden in a different spot under a jeans, he says.

BRIAN: Yes, ma'am.


CASAREZ: When the trial ended on Friday, the judge turned to the jury and said, we are really making time on this trial, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, we will work, and then she told the jury, and after that, you could be getting the case. So, obviously, this case is going at record speed and we'll see what next week holds. Victor, Isabel?

ROSALES: And that was Jean Casarez reporting. Joining us now to talk about this case is CNN's legal analyst, Joey Jackson. Joey, right off the bat. Do we know much more about the nature of those alleged threats that James Crumbley is accused of making, and then what are your thoughts on that?

JOEY JACKSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, Isabel, good morning to you. So, we do not at this point, and then the critical issue obviously is how they play into this trial if at all, right? To this point, the judge is not admitting anything regarding these communications, only saying that his communications will be limited moving forward.

Now, if he testifies, Isabel and matters come up, it's possible he could be confronted with respect to the threats. But at this point, it's very murky as to that, and it should be because it could prejudice him in this case. He's got much more to worry about in terms of defending himself.

So, let's see moving forward whether we learn more and whether any of those threats come out in a court of law.

ROSALES: Joe, we have this clip from James Crumbley's defense attorney. Let's listen in real quick.


MARIELL LEHMAN, JAMES CRUMBLEY'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Ladies and gentlemen, you will not hear that James Crumbley knew what his son was going to do. You will not hear that James Crumbley even suspected that his son was a danger.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROSALES: All right, that was from the opening statements. What do you

think of this sort of defense? Can James Crumbley say he wasn't aware of the danger even though, Ethan, we know from text messages, asked him and his wife for help with his mental health and accused his parents of not listening to him.

JACKSON: Yes, so this is a critical issue, right? Because it falls on the matter of foreseeability, and it falls on the matter of negligence. What's that about? Well, first, in terms of foreseeability. In the event that you purchase your child a weapon, first of all, which was four days prior to this, and you have knowledge as to his mental health maladies, right?

That's problematic. And so, to what extent now were you negligent? Furthermore, you saw the clip there with respect to the defense asking about the hiding of the gun, did you hide it enough? Where was it in connection with, you know, where he would, that is Ethan Crumbley, the shooter himself convicted as we know, pled guilty, spending the rest of his life in jail such that he could have access to it.

So, all that's important. You're the father, you shot with him. This was your hobby. You have a responsibility will be the argument to make sure he doesn't get a hold of that gun. Next issue, what extent, if any, are you aware as to what your child is going through, and should you have been aware of that?

And so, when you saw the clip of the defense focusing on the issue of knowledge, it's important because the jury is going to say, what did you know about the son, and why would you got him -- why would you have gotten him a gun if you knew that?

And that's why you saw the defense focusing in on that. They have to separate that issue. Father had no knowledge, father secured the gun, and if they had any hopes of exonerating him in this case, Isabel.

ROSALES: And speaking of knowledge and precautions that were, were not taken, jurors heard from the person who sold James Crumbley the gun, and saw its unused cable-lock still in its packaging. How big is that for the prosecution, and could that impact the jury?

JACKSON: Yes, I mean, look, at the end of the day, going back to the issue of foreseeability. Foreseeability, right? Is it likely? Is it potentially possible that this could happen because you were negligent?


And so, they're going to hone in the prosecution on the gun. What was the nature of where was the gun hidden? When was it there? What did your child know about it? Did your child have access to it? Should he have as a parent? Did you take the proper precautions? Remember, Isabel, the father is not charged with shooting at all. The father is charged with setting the circumstances in motion such that the shooting can occur.

So, issues concerning the gun and anything related to the gun are very critical, and the jury's sense of what the father did, and whether he did it enough is very critical because it goes again to the issue of negligence. Were you negligent? Did you set this chain in motion? And was it foreseeable because of what you did not do or what you did do as a father, that this would happen. Those are the issues in contention at this trial?

ROSALES: So, let's talk about that emotional testimony from the school victims. How powerful is that for the jurors if James Crumbley was not the shooter?

JACKSON: Yes, you know, Isabel, the reality is this, obviously, you know, the issue of emotion is something that the jury has got to be instructed about. It's not about emotion, it's not about who you like, who you don't like. It's not about your personal feelings, it's about the evidence.

Having said that, people are people. Human nature is human nature. And as a result of that, it's hard not really to make a connection with the fact that there are four kids dead. Why? Who is accountable for that? Could it have been prevented? And so, when you hear this emotional testimony, when you hear the impact that it had on the school, the impact that it had on the community, the impact that it had on the families, you're looking to see why and who is responsible.

Why are we even here? Who could have done something better? And father, if it was you because of your lack of hiding, concealing the gun or knowing how to treat your son when he needed help? Then, you know what? We may be more likely, the jury, to assess guilt in the event, right?

That, that's not the case, then perhaps not. But emotional components are always very difficult to overcome, even with the judge instructing the jury to overlook it.

ROSALES: And these are such uncharted waters, putting the parents under the legal spotlight, except I guess, Jennifer Crumbley, his wife. Joey Jackson. Thank you for your time.

BLACKWELL: So, the Pentagon says that it has no evidence of aliens among us. That's good news, but they will not stop looking. More on the new UFO kits developed by the military. That's coming up.



BLACKWELL: In a new report, the Pentagon says that the U.S. military has not found evidence of alien life or technology. So, that's the good news. Despite all the recent reports of unidentified aerial phenomena, we used to call these unidentified flying objects, UFOs.

ROSALES: UFOs, that's a terminology I like, but the U.S. military is developing a portable UFO detection kit to collect better data, you know, just in case. CNN's Kristin Fisher has more from Washington.


this portable UFO or UAP detection kit is called Gremlin. It's being developed by the U.S. military in an effort to respond faster to reported UFO sightings and to collect better data once they get there.

Timothy Phillips, who is the acting director of the Pentagon's All- Domain Anomaly Office, the Pentagon's office that investigates UAP sightings explained these Gremlin sensor kits like this, quote, "what we're doing is developing a deployable configurable sensor suite that we can put in pelican cases.

Since the UAP target, the signature is not clearly defined. We really have to do hyperspectral surveillance to really try to capture these incidents." Now, hyperspectral means across the entire electromagnetic spectrum. So, they're trying to collect everything from X-rays and ultraviolet rays to microwave and radio waves, things really outside the normal signatures of flying objects.

Most flying objects, things like jets, produce a big heat signature from their hot engines. Some of these UAPs do not. So, that's one thing that these Gremlin sensors are going to help try to do, collect better data, and they're currently being tested at a big range out in Texas.

And the Pentagon is especially interested in deploying them -- sensitive national security sites, places like U.S. military bases, Navy ships, places where a lot of these UAP sightings have been concentrated. Now, the Pentagon initially shared this news about the Gremlin sensor kits at a briefing with a select group of reporters, CNN's Oren Liebermann was one of them.

And at this briefing, the whole point of it was to kind of preview a report that dropped on Friday, and this was a report that the Pentagon put together, and it was mandated by Congress. And what this report concluded is that quote, "the AARO found no evidence that any U.S. government investigation, academic-sponsored research or official review panel has confirmed that any sighting of a UAP represented extra-terrestrial technology."

So, the report concluded that most sightings were ordinary objects and phenomena and the result of misidentification. But the report still does not explain the UAPs that were caught on camera by U.S. military pilots who testified under oath on Capitol Hill, that the UAPs that they saw were behaving in ways that defied the laws of physics.


So, still a lot of questions here, but the Pentagon is hoping that these Gremlin kits, these portable UFO, UAP detection kits will help them collect better data, which can then help them get some better answers. Kristin Fisher, CNN, Washington.


ROSALES: I don't know why I was anticipating like a metal detector of finding little green men -- BLACKWELL: That's what I thought the whole time. I thought --

ROSALES: Instead of a Pelican case?

BLACKWELL: Right, so, when she said kit, we were starting to talk about this. I was thinking kit in the sense of you could buy this --

ROSALES: Oh, yes, come on, yes --

BLACKWELL: And put this on your roof like a --


BLACKWELL: You know, a receiver, a dish or something --

ROSALES: My mom would love that. She's hardcore. I didn't know it was just for them. All right, thanks, Kristin. So, President Biden, former President Trump are holding a dueling campaign events in Georgia today, how President Biden is looking to keep the momentum after his State of the Union address. The next hour of CNN THIS MORNING WEEKEND starts after the break.