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U.S. Embassy In Haiti Evacuates Non-Essential Personnel; Biden And Trump Trade Jabs At Dueling Rallies In Georgia; Biden Campaign Releases Ad Addressing His Age; Gaza Health Officials: At Least 13 People Killed In Airstrikes; Biden Holds Out Hope For Gaza Ceasefire Before Ramadan; CENTCOM: First Ship En Route To Build Temporary Gaza Pier; Arraignment Of Senator Menendez And His Wife Tomorrow On New Allegations Of Obstruction And Bribery; Legislation To Ban TikTok In The U.S. Ready For A Vote In The House; Florida Cracks Down On Rowdy Crowds; Interview With Miami Beach Mayor Steven Meiner; Miraculous Buzzer-Beater Keeps South Carolina Undefeated; Unpleasant Incident Breaks Out During Duke-North Carolina Rivalry Game. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired March 10, 2024 - 07:00   ET




MEGHAN MARKLE, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: And you just think about that, and you -- it's really wrap your head around why people would be so hateful. It's not catty, it's cruel.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: She said she distanced herself from social media after those incidents. The duchess gave birth to son Archie. You see there with her husband, Prince Harry, in May of 2019. The couple then welcomed daughter, Lilibet, two years later.

ISABEL ROSALES, CNN HOST: Good morning and welcome to CNN this morning. It is Sunday, March 10th. I'm Isabel Rosales in for Amara Walker.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Thank you so much for joining us this morning.

We're following breaking news out of Haiti. The State Department says it's evacuating non-essential personnel from the U.S. Embassy because of heightened gang violence.

ROSALES: CNN's Patrick Oppmann is joining us live from the phone. Patrick, when did this start?

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, overnight, last night, we know a U.S. military helicopter did travel under the cover of darkness to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and evacuated. We don't know how many but U.S. diplomats -- we're told only U.S. diplomats were evacuated from the embassy because of the ongoing civil unrest in Haiti.

The gang violence that is essentially brought that country to a standstill has been too dangerous to have the embassy fully staffed. So they're not closing the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince certainly, but they are reducing the footprint, the number of staff there.

And really the only way to get people out of Haiti by air at this point is by helicopter. And of course, they had to do it at night because we've seen gang members of these powerful, well-armed gangs that now essentially rule the country shooting at airplanes.

They had the airport in Port-au-Prince closed down for the better part of a week now. And it just speaks to how dangerous the situation is that the U.S. Embassy located in the area of Port-au-Prince. That's really one of the safer areas because of all the armed guards and the heavy police presence under normal times that it does become so dangerous that the U.S. military, the U.S. government has had to take the step of evacuating U.S. diplomats under the cover of darkness in a U.S. military helicopter to just really reduce the number of personnel that are there and are currently at risk.

Patrick Oppmann for us there reporting on the evacuation at the U.S. Embassy. Thanks so much.

ROSALES: President Biden and former President Trump traded jab Saturday at dueling rallies in Georgia with both presumptive party nominees, giving us a glimpse into what the sequel to their 2020 election will look like. And judging by what we saw yesterday, that race could sound a lot of like, like the old one.

BLACKWELL: Yes, Biden kicked off his battleground state swing in Atlanta, where he acknowledged that his rival's rally was just 60 miles up the road in Rome. Trump did not hold back in his attacks on Biden. He called Biden's State of the Union address an angry, dark, hate filled rant, while Biden slammed Trump on who he keeps company with, pointing to Trump holding his rally with far-right representative Marjorie Taylor Greene.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Here's a guy who's kicking off his general election campaign on the road up with Marjorie Taylor Greene. He can tell you a lot about a person who he keeps company with.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What a presidency, what a president. The most incompetent president we've ever had. The worst president, the most incompetent, and the most corrupt. Other than that, I think he's doing actually quite a good job.


ROSALES: President Biden is also confronting two of his biggest political vulnerabilities, his age and his stance on Israel and Gaza.

CNN White House Correspondent Camila DeChalus joins us now from Wilmington, Delaware. Camila, Biden spoke about his Israel policy in an interview released yesterday. What did he have to say about it? CAMILA DECHALUS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, one of the biggest things that came out of this interview was that Biden made it clear that he still believes it's possible for Israel and Hamas to broker a temporary ceasefire deal. But so far, those talks have stalled.

Now, he also made it clear that he wants Israel to put more procedures and steps in place to protect innocent civilian lives in Gaza while it continues out its military operations.

Take a quick listen of what Biden had to say in the interview yesterday.


Well, one of the things that Biden really emphasized is that even though that they want -- Israel to protect innocent civilian lives, he also remained firm that he's going to support Israel. Now, Biden is still facing a lot of backlash over how he's handling the Israel and Hamas conflict. And so that is going to be one of the big challenges he's going to face as he runs for reelection.

Isabel, Victor?

ROSALES: Camila, thank you very much for your time.

And Trump's first rally since emerging as a presumptive Republican presidential nominee, he wasted no time criticizing Biden's State of the Union address, calling it partisan and angry.

BLACKWELL: Trump also attacked Biden's response to the murder of 22- year-old nursing student Laken Riley. Trump met with Riley's parents backstage before his rally.

CNN's Steve Contorno is in Rome, Georgia with more for us.

STEVE CONTORNO, CNN REPORTER: Former President Donald Trump held a rally Saturday in Rome, Georgia. His first is becoming the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. He wasted little time in his remarks going after Joe Biden. In fact, he also made fun of Biden's delivery of his speech at the State of the Union.


TRUMP: Two nights ago, we all heard crooked Joe's angry, dark, hate filled rant of a State of the Union Address, wasn't it? Didn't it bring us together? Emerging border, bring the country together. Joe Biden should not be shouting angrily at America. America should be shouting angrily at Joe Biden.


CONTORNO: A major focus of Trump's remarks was on the situation at the U.S. southern border. And ahead of his remarks, he met with the family of Laken Riley. That is the 22-year-old nursing student who was killed in Georgia, allegedly by an undocumented man. Trump also criticized President Biden for saying that he shouldn't have used the word on illegal to describe that individual.


TRUMP: And I say he was an illegal alien. He was an illegal immigrant. He was an illegal migrant. And he shouldn't have been in our country, and he never would have been under the Trump policy.

Biden should be apologizing for apologizing to this killer.


CONTORNO: Trump's visit to Georgia is the first of many expected in the coming months. The Peach State is going to be one of the top battlegrounds in the 2024 election. It's one Trump lost by less than 12,000 votes four years ago, and his team knows it's going to be close this go around.

Steve Contorno, Rome, Georgia, CNN.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Steve.

Let's bring in Tia Mitchell, Washington Correspondent for the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Tia, good morning to you. Let's stay with Trump right after Steve's report there. And the former president made an appeal to Democrats. Here, watch a portion of that.


TRUMP: But if you're a disillusioned Democrat, of which there are many today, I extend an open hand and open invitation, and I ask you to join us on the noble quest of saving our country, saving our country.


BLACKWELL: He made a play for Democrats, didn't really make a play for Haley voters. More than this, what is the campaign doing to you to try to get those potential Democrats on side?

TIA MITCHELL, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION: Well, you ask a good point. And I think that Trump's campaign would say that they're trying to appeal to disaffected Democrats, particularly black males and Hispanic males as well, to say that the party has left them in the lurch things like illegal immigration, quite frankly, have taken jobs and taken opportunities away from people, whether they're Latino immigrants who are here now legally, or black males.

And so, I think a lot of it is in the way Trump and Trump's campaign speaks to different segments of particularly traditional democratic voters that they know are looking for other outlets to vote, quite frankly. Now, whether that's going to work in the end, of course, that's a different conversation, but Trump is clearly making that play in polls show it is paying off, at least in -- so far.

BLACKWELL: And Democrats will say that some of those black voters, especially will come back over the next eight months to the Democratic Party.

Let's talk about President Biden and for the Democrats who were pleased to see that fire and energy Thursday night in the State of the Union, Biden gave it to him again in Pennsylvania on Friday and then last night in Georgia. And going specifically to the question of his age and if he's up to the fight, the campaign released a new ad that's literally titled, not a young guy.

Here's a portion of it.


BIDEN: Look, I'm not a young guy. That's no secret, but here's the deal. I understand how to get things done for the American people. I led the country through the COVID crisis.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we do one more take?

BIDEN: Look, I'm very young, energetic, and handsome. What am I doing this for?


BLACKWELL: Yeah, so that's the start and the finish of this ad. They're talking policy in the middle of it, but I mean, you can't change it. He's 81. It is what voters are concerned about. What does this approach tell us about how the campaign is tackling the questions or concerns about age?

MITCHELL: Yes, I think the Biden campaign's approach is to take age as one kind of category in which to contrast Biden and Trump, but also say, ideals policy approach is another way to look at the contrast between Trump and Biden, and they believe that when they shift the conversation in that way, Biden is who comes across fresher with younger ideals, ideals that are appeal to a wider base of voters.

So Biden says things like, you know, his opponent has ideals that take us back to the dark ages that Trump's ideals represent an older way of thinking that no longer applies to modern day America. So that's how the Biden campaign is trying to frame this, not so much as an age and numbers issue, but an age in thinking, in politics, in the approach to campaigning.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about no labels. The organization has decided that they are going to move forward toward a third party ticket, a unity ticket. And one of the potential candidates that they're looking at is reported by the AJC is former Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan, who is a colleague here at CNN, as a political commentator.

Who does that hurt more? I mean, for the Republicans whom we're never considering Trump, this gives them a place to go instead of Biden. But would the Biden voters ever leave the president and potentially vote for a conservative Republican? MITCHELL: Ye. So number one, I think that Geoff Duncan's kind of built in constituency is very similar to the Nikki Haley voters. It's those Republicans who want to move on for Trump. He wrote a book called the "GOP 2.0." So he's very much in that line of saying we can be conservative. We can be the grand old party, but we've got to move on from Trump.

Now, in a state like Georgia where, you know, voters know Geoff Duncan, he represents those Republicans who stood up to Trump, refused to not only help him overturn the election, but they also refused to go along with his lies in the beginning that the election was stolen.

And so there could be some Democrats in Georgia and other swing states who say, you know, out of respect for their ability to stand up for Trump, that independent streak, would they give him a look? Some independent voters, some Democrats who are open to voting for Republicans as well. I think the big question will be if Geoff Duncan becomes the no labels candidate, what do they put out policy wise?


MITCHELL: Because there are a lot of voters who are going to say, you know, it's great for you the GOP 2.0, but if that GOP 2. 0 is still anti-abortion and still has, you know, life begins at conception in ways that jeopardize in vitro fertilization, and they're not willing to protect voting rights --


MITCHELL: -- that still may be something that some independents and Democrats couldn't support Geoff Duncan --


MITCHELL: -- even though they liked that he stood up to Trump.

BLACKWELL: Tia Mitchell -- and also be important to find out who that running mate would be. Tia Mitchell, thanks so much. Enjoy the Sunday.

ROSALES: President Biden faced criticism from Democrats following a State of the Union address. Some felt that he fell short in addressing the Israel-Hamas conflict and ceasefire. Additionally, his choice of using the term illegal in talking about a migrant accused of murdering a 22-year-old nursing student that sparked backlash.

Let's get to CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent and inside Politics Anchor Manu Raju. Manu, good morning.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Yes, you know, I spoke to a lot of Democrats about the aftermath of the speech. Most of them were heartened by what the president said. In fact, they were -- they thought he passed really a key test that can show the country that he can deliver such a fiery speech.

You can do his job, which had come under some serious question as of late. And they said that that was key. [07:15:02]

But some of his positions that drew some criticism from the left, including on the issue of Israel.


RAJU: Did he go far enough on Israel for you?

REP. JAMAAL BOWMAN (D), NEW YORK: No. I wish he would have called for an immediate ceasefire, an immediate bringing in of humanitarian aid. I'm happy though, he was very critical of Israel. I think that's the first time I've seen a president be that critical of Israel that directly and that publicly. So that was good. However, the situation is dire.

RAJU: Particularly, will that hurt him, do you think, by not calling for an immediate ceasefire?

BOWMAN: I think so. I think he has to do that. I think he has to do a lot more than that.

RAJU: This was a pretty political speech in there. He went after Trump directly. Do you think that was appropriate in this venue to --


RAJU: Why? This is a State of the Union, not a campaign speech.

DURBIN: Well, let me just tell you something. The campaign has begun. We know who the Republican nominee is going to be. We know the Democrat. And I think this notion of this old man who can't keep up with it, he blew that up today.


RAJU: And that had been the concern from so many Democrats that I've been speaking to in the run up to the State of the Union, that he needed to do more of what they saw on Thursday, even if it did anger some Republicans.

The job, number one, the Democrats say, is to ensure that the party is in line, try to rebuild that fraying coalition. So you're seeing the president, of course, take that same fiery rhetoric on the campaign trail. What will it do to his poll numbers? Will that reverse it in any way? Of course, that's another question in the weeks ahead, guys.

ROSALES: And Manu, what are Republicans saying about where the Trump campaign stands right now?

RAJU: Yes, a lot of Republicans are falling in line, but there are still several of them who are not. There are -- I talked to a number of Republicans who simply won't say if they will endorse the president. There are -- the former president to run again. There are those who say that even though he has been charged with 91 criminal charges and could possibly face a felony conviction before November, that will not change how they view this race, including Senator Marco Rubio, who made clear that he is on Trump's team.


RAJU: Trump's the nominee now. Do you worry about his viability as a candidate, especially if he's convicted in one of these cases?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: No. I'm -- he's not going to be convicted in these cases. And more importantly, we'll see how it will play out. But I'm not worried about his viability. I think Democrats should be more worried about Joe Biden's viability.

I mean --

RAJU: Would you support Trump if he's convicted.

RUBIO: I don't believe he should be convicted. I don't believe any of the things that they're alleging are legitimate. Bottom line is I'm supporting Donald Trump.


RAJU: And one of the big concerns, of course, for Republicans for some time has been Trump's impact down ticket, particularly as we see the Senate in -- within reach for the Republicans to take in this year's election. The House is still a furious battle between the two sides about which way it will go in November.

And how will Trump impact those members who serve in districts in which Joe Biden carried in 2020. Those are all big questions and Trump's strength at the top of the ticket, of course, will trickle down. Isabel?

ROSALES: Manu Raju with the best insider interviews. Thank you for your time.

All right, be sure to watch Inside Politics with Manu Raju at a new time, 8:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

BLACKWELL: Israeli airstrikes leveled residential buildings in Gaza and left more than a dozen people dead. Down to the wire negotiations to get an Israel Hamas ceasefire deal done before the Ramadan deadline. That's ahead in a live report.

Plus, targeting TikTok, the ultimatum Congress is giving the app and when it could be banned here in the U.S.



BLACKWELL: 13 people are dead in central Gaza after Israeli airstrikes Saturday on a hospital and nearby buildings. That's according to witnesses and Palestinian officials.

A warning for you, the video we're about to show, it is disturbing. This is video obtained by CNN. Children are wounded outside the Al Aqsa hospital. Two dead children were pulled from the rubble. Here you can see hospital workers treating several children in the aftermath of the strikes. CNN has reached out to the Israeli military for comment.

President Biden says he's optimistic about a ceasefire deal in Gaza before Ramadan. On Saturday, he said CIA Director Bill Burns is holding last minute talks in Israel and that a deal could still be worked out before the Muslim holiday begins tonight. But Hamas member tells CNN there are no dates yet for negotiators to resume talks in Cairo.

ROSALES: And just a short time ago, more humanitarian aid was airdropped into Gaza after similar operations by the U.S. and Jordan yesterday. The U.N. has repeatedly warned of a looming famine there.

CNN's Nada Bashir joins us live from Cyprus. Nada, Gaza's civil defense said today that the use of aid drops into Gaza, quote, increased the number of victims and led to casualties and injuries. What's happening there?

NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Absolutely. We heard from the civil defense just earlier in the week saying that, of course, at least five people had been killed as a result of a malfunctioning air drop. And we have been hearing warnings from other aid organizations saying that while this is a perhaps temporary fix in terms of getting more aid into Gaza, it is not the optimal solution.


What they are pushing for, including U.N. agencies is for Israel to reduce the number of restrictions and obstacles in place for land crosses to allow more aid trucks in via Gaza's various crossings. We heard from the U.N. earlier in the week, saying some 40 percent of their aid missions on Gaza's borders were either denied or obstructed by Israel last month.

So they are calling for international leaders, including U.S. President Joe Biden to put more pressure on the Israeli government to allow more aid in via land. But, of course, what we're also seeing now is the inauguration of a new maritime corridor, which will see humanitarian aid ships departing this port in Cyprus, the port of Larnaca heading to Gaza's coast.

Now as we know, the U.S. military has been directed to prepare for the establishment of a temporary pier airport on Gaza's coast. We understand that the first batch of equipment needed to build this temporary pier is now on its way to the Middle East.

According to U.S. officials, this is set to take around a thousand U.S. personnel. There no boots on the ground, according to U.S. President Joe Biden. But this is a process that could take weeks, although European officials, including the president of Cyprus, have said that they do expect those aid ships to depart this weekend. We could potentially see the first ship departing in the next 24 hours, but there are certainly a lot of logistical challenges ahead. And of course, there is mounting pressure on the international community to get that aid into Gaza as soon as possible.

The U.N. says some half a million people inside Gaza are now facing the risk of starvation. We know of course that more than a dozen people so far have already died as a result of severe malnutrition and dehydration.

The youngest just a day old and aid agencies are telling us that that figure could be much, much higher, but they simply cannot assess the extent of the crisis because of those restricted -- because of restricted access to northern Gaza. So certainly a lot of concern, a lot of urgency around getting aid in.

Of course, a lot of questions around the ceasefire negotiations, whether we may see a pause in fighting. President Biden seems optimistic, but the situation on the ground is painting a very different picture. And of course, Hamas officials tell CNN that there is no date set yet for those negotiations to resume.

ROSALES: Yes. And access to safe, clean water on the ground also increasingly precarious.

Nada Bashir in Cyprus, thank you.

The fate of TikTok hangs in the balance this week. Details on the House vote, which could ban the popular social media app and the pushback from users.



BLACKWELL: Here's what to watch this week. New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez and his wife will be arraigned tomorrow on new charges that they tried to obstruct the federal investigation into bribery allegations. Menendez was indicted on 12 new felony charges last week. Prosecutors say, he caused his lawyers to provide false information during interviews with authorities, including claiming that the alleged bribe payments were loans. Menendez has maintained his innocence.

Four states, a U.S. territory and Democrats overseas will vote in primaries and caucuses on Tuesday. Former President Trump hopes to win enough delegates to officially clinch his party's 2024 nomination. On Thursday, the judge presiding over the classified documents case against Trump and his co-defendants will hear arguments on two motions from defense teams to dismiss charges brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith. And Trump's team has argued that he was legally allowed to take classified material to his Mar-a-Lago resort under the Presidential Records Act. Smith's team has forcefully opposed that argument.

ROSALES: Well, the House could vote as early as this week on a bill that would ban TikTok in the U.S., and President Biden says he is prepared to sign it. The bill would give TikTok 165 days to separate from their China linked parent company, ByteDance, or else it will be dropped from U.S. app stores.

Platforms that don't comply face fines of $5,000 per download of the banned app. TikTok says, the bill is an attack on First Amendment rights and urged some of its 170 million followers to flood the phone lines of their representatives.

Let's discuss with senior media reporter for Axios, Sara Fischer, joining us on the phone. Sarah, why are lawmakers cracking down on TikTok? What's got them so worried?

SARA FISCHER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Well, that's a great question. One of the issues with attempts to ban TikTok in the past is that the government has not outlined a clear national security threat or evidence of one, rather, to encourage lawmakers and motivate them to really ban this.

Now, what they say, what federal agencies have alleged is that TikTok could access American data, meaning the Chinese Communist Party could access American data, such as biometrics data, location data, data about viewership, and leverage that in any sort of national security threat against the U.S. Whether that be issuing propaganda or using it to better target U.S. citizens in some way.

The problem is without concrete evidence it becomes very hard for lawmakers to vote to ban this thing because they have constituents that absolutely love it. And so, I'm actually a little bit bearish on this ultimately getting through Congress. And by the way, if it does, you best assume that TikTok is going to sue, bring it to court in order to get the government to show that it has that kind of evidence.

ROSALES: Right. But why not just keep it banned for government employees or the military? This app, as you mentioned, is so popular with young Americans. Why a blanket ban on everyone? Let's say their data is at risk, is it really that valuable?


I hear what you're saying about propaganda or potentially targeting citizens, but the U.S. Government has released no data saying that that has happened. No evidence.

FISCHER: I mean, that's the -- that's exactly right. That's the core question.

OK. So, let's do a few theories here. Yes, propaganda is a big deal. If you have big access to huge swaths of American viewership data. You know what types of issues are most likely to get under the public skin so that you can sow discord. This is largely like what Russia did with social media in 2016.

The other thing that you could do is, you know, if you have people's data, you could do a targeted attack. Meaning if there's a government official or somebody who's a private citizen but has a huge important in the U.S., and you understand they're very private viewership data. You could use that as blackmail and sort of manipulate that person.

And finally, having access to huge swaths of American data, it could be an interest for national security if they're -- for -- let's -- example, trying to plan some sort of attack on U.S. soil or anything like that. They know where people are logging in. They know what people are talking about. So, it does pose a risk.

The challenge is the government's going to have to be able to prove that it poses a risk. And while they've always had concerns and they've had suppositions about what the CCP could do with this data, until they're able to show concrete evidence that they're actually misusing it and they're accessing it and storing it, I think they're going to have a hard time getting enough public support for a ban that they wouldn't face so many floods of calls to Congress.

By the way, we've already seen that this past week. We have members of Congress saying that their phones are going off the hook because, you know, consumers are calling in and saying, please don't ban my app. You know, TikTok is already well ahead of this. They're waging huge, huge consumer campaigns. Urging people to call their congressman not to make this happen. I just ultimately don't think that the government's going to have enough firepower to do it.

ROSALES: Yes, and we'll see how this shakes out in Congress. Sara Fischer, thank you.

BLACKWELL: Miami Beach is breaking up with spring break. We've got the mayor of Miami Beach with us in a few minutes, and we'll have details on the state of Florida's crackdown on rowdy college students. It's a popular spring break destinations.



BLACKWELL: The city of Miami Beach is breaking up with spring breakers.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it's not us. It's you. We just want different things.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our idea of a good time is relaxing on the beach.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hitting up the spa.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Or checking out a new restaurant.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You just want to get drunk in public and ignore laws.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you even remember what happened last March?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That was our breaking point. So, we're breaking up with you. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Now, this comes after two deadly shootings on Miami Beach last year. Some are criticizing city officials for voting in a series of measures, they say, to enhance security. Including $100 parking and more DUI stops. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is supporting this effort. He deployed state troopers to help curb any violence.

Let's welcome in the mayor of Miami Beach, Steven Meiner. Mr. Mayor, thank you so much for being with me. First, I just want to understand this. It's a really slick, beautiful ad. But are you saying that you do not want young students, college students coming to your city at all for spring break?

STEVEN MEINER, MAYOR OF MIAMI BEACH: We're saying if you want to come here, please enjoy our city, but do not come here looking for trouble. And by the way, a lot of the trouble is not college students, it's people in their late 20s, 30s coming here looking to take advantage of the situation and committing crimes during the month of March and we're done.

BLACKWELL: Yes, that ad ends with maybe we can talk when you're done with your spring break phase, but we're breaking up with spring break. So, you've made it clear about the people you do and do not want there. This is the first weekend of some of these stricter controls over the beach and parking and sidewalks. How's it gone the first couple of nights?

MEINER: Oh, incredible. It's actually been -- it's been -- we have people out here enjoying our city, but it's been quiet. I actually was out there last night for several hours. Visiting with our police department and other departments, thanking them for being out there. It's literally the quietest March we've had in years.

BLACKWELL: So, this is also a very busy time for the city, not just the spring breakers, but for people trying to get away from the cold weather. I want to walk through some of the criticism with you. And let's start with the Ocean Drive Association. This is made up of the businesses that are right there along that main drag.

They submitted a letter to the city council in which they wrote this, that the decision to remove Westside sidewalk seating -- and we can put the video up as we're talking. You're giving your answer of what we're talking about if you've never been to South Beach. During daylight hours, ignores the presence of substantial numbers of high paying guests in our properties who've come during the busiest month of the year to enjoy South Beach, generally and Ocean Drive, specifically.

To those people who are saying, look, I understand your controls, but this is when we make our money and people are flooding in. You say to those business owners, what?

MEINER: Well, we're busy all year round and certainly we're busy now too. I work very closely with the Ocean Drive Association. They are great business partners. But at the same time, we have literally six days out of the year that are causing us some issues to say the least.


And on a handful of blocks, we are putting in robust proactive measures to make sure we keep everyone safe. And yes, they're -- they've given us their opinion, but we're working closely with them. They understand as well. And really uniformly, for the most part, everyone is on board with the measures were taking and very pleased with what we're doing.

BLACKWELL: All right. So, let's talk about some of the criticism as it relates to race. You talk about the six days. These are weekends when historically black and brown spring breakers have come to Miami Beach. And I'm sure you're aware of the op-ed in the Miami Herald in which, I'll read a portion of it here.

Setting up DUI checkpoints to keep people from drinking and driving is valid. Maintaining a strong police presence as is done during other large-scale events, valid. Placing a curfew and limiting drinking hours after shooting and violence breakout, valid. But pricing out parking or closing public garages during two weekends that attract black and brown people is discriminatory. Your response.

MEINER: We're trying to keep people safe. Last year, we had two black males shot and killed in our streets. And I can tell you, I was a commissioner at the time. Now I'm mayor. It's painful. It's hurtful when anyone is hurt on your streets. And I feel I have a moral and ethical obligation to keep everyone safe in our city.

And I'll tell you when it happened last year, I said, what can we do more to keep people safe that are coming to our city? I have a responsibility when people come here, they leave here. And we are taking the measures to make sure that happens. I'm very comfortable with the measures we're taking, and I'm very proud of what we're doing.

BLACKWELL: So, as I understand it, there are some measures that are for every weekend in March and then some that are reserved for this weekend and next weekend, the heavy spring break weekends. There is, though, the following weekend, the ultra-music festival, 150,000 plus people typically come in for that festival, that's an electronic music festival.

And some of these $100 parking fees and the closed garages, they don't cover that electronic music festival weekend. Why not?

MEINER: Well, we look at the data -- this is not just from last year. We're looking at data over multiple years when we've had shootings. Where we've had increasing crowds. It's also a crowd control. It's also when we look at the number of arrests that we've had. And it's over a series of years, it's been the second and third weeks of March where we've had our biggest issues. And that's why we've put the more robust measures in place for the weeks two and three.

But the measures that we have are in totality for the month of March. We have some serious measures that cover the entire month. BLACKWELL: All right. Steven Meiner, Mayor of Miami Beach, thank you.

ROSALES: Emotions boil over in college basketball's most heated rivalry. Trash talking turned into trash throwing after the final Duke North Carolina game of the regular season. Coy Wire joins us next with details.



BLACKWELL: March Madness is upon us with an unlikely hero keeping the South Carolina women's basketball team undefeated.

ROSALES: Coy Wire joins us now with more details. They are on a roll, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Yes, on the roll. So, are we rolling on these fancy new couches?

ROSALES: You like it?



WIRE: I kind of like this.


WIRE: Listen, the number one South Carolina Gamecocks, the only undefeated D1 team. Perfect 30 and 0, and they're rolling into the conference semifinals and they found themselves down to number five Tennessee with 1.1 seconds to go.

Tennessee doesn't even cover. 6'7 Kamilla Cardoso, no way she can make these three, right? Wrong. Banks, it at the buzzer. That was the first three pointer that she's made in 118 games at South Carolina. The balls coach Kellie Harper, she wasn't wrong. It was only Cardoso's second ever three-point attempt. Kamilla said this was her favorite moment of her career. The Gamecocks will now face LSU in the title game today.


DAWN STALEY, SOUTH CAROLINA HEAD COACH: The last thing that came up my mouth was Kamilla. Shoot that, blank and blank.

KAMILLA CARDOSO, SOUTH CAROLINA CENTER: Well, coach want me to get the ball in the top of the key and hit it to foul. And then she taught me to shoot it and I was like, OK. I practiced them in practice, so I just stepped back and shot it.


WIRE: All right. Speaking of yellow, how about black and yellow? Iowa's Caitlin Clark making more history. She set the division one single season record for three pointers on Friday. And now Saturday against Michigan. Clark became the first D1 women's player to score a thousand points in two different seasons.

She scored or assisted on 60 points for Iowa. Michigan's own team finished with 68 points. She also broke the Big Ten Tournament scoring record. Here she is.


CAITLIN CLARK, IOWA GUARD: Obviously, I think breaking the Big Ten Tournament record is something really hard to do. These games are never guaranteed. You know, you can come here and just play one game and it can be over. So, obviously I'm really grateful to be able to play the maximum number of games every single season I've had at this tournament. That is probably the only reason I have this record.


WIRE: She's savage. She already declared for the WNBA draft, but her work in college is not over. She's facing Nebraska with her Hawkeyes in the conference title game today. Then she's going to turn her focus to, of course, trying to win that national title game.

And the men's regular season wrapping up on Saturday with one of the biggest rivalries in sports. Duke hosting North Carolina. This one was spiced in the first half. Duke's Kyle Filipowski and UNC's Harrison Ingram get tangled up, but watch this. Filipowski appeared to try to trip Ingram. He said afterwards that he didn't.

North Carolina, they weren't tripping though. They rallied for the 84- 79 win. But then watch what happens. They're celebrating. The Duke student section starts tossing stuff at them. Players are trying to make their way to the locker room. Drinks, bottles, and whatever else they could get their hands on apparently. Listen to this.



HARRISON INGRAM, NORTH CAROLINA FORWARD: I got hit with water ice. I got hit with a gumball. I was like, who has a gumball? But like, no, it was all --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did it feel good at all? Like refreshing that water?

INGRAM: Yes, it was lit. I was just talking -- we were talking crazy. It was fun.


WIRE: I mean, it's a good point that Ingram brings up. Who brings gumballs to a basketball game?

BLACKWELL: Right, right. ROSALES: Coy, you got to have one or two in your back pocket, you know.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Coy.

WIRE: You got it.

BLACKWELL: We'll be right back.