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Trump, Biden Campaign In Georgia Ahead Of Tuesday's Primaries; Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) On House To Vote On TikTok Ban in United States; South Carolina Beats LSU For SEC Title After Scuffle, Ejections. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired March 11, 2024 - 05:30   ET




KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR: A live look at New York City on this Monday morning. Five-thirty on the nose here on the East Coast. Good morning. Thanks for being up with us. I'm Kasie Hunt.

Get ready for eight months of ugliness. With the Georgia primary set for tomorrow, President Biden and Donald Trump made appearances this weekend because this is also a critical battleground general election state.

This is the same state where Donald Trump is facing election subversion charges. Less than a year ago, he was being booked in the Fulton County Jail.

Over the weekend, he was taking his campaign to this new low -- watch.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: 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? Bring the country t-t-t-together?


HUNT: It's not the first time that Trump has mocked President Biden's stutter, so I guess it's not a new low, it's just the regular low.

For his part, the president seemed to stay on message. He repeatedly tried to draw clear character distinctions between himself and his Republican rival.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Donald Trump has a different constituency. Here's a guy who is kicking off his general election campaign on the road up with Marjorie Taylor Greene.


It can tell you a lot about a person with who he keeps coming with.


HUNT: All right, let's discuss now with Tyler Pager, White House reporter for The Washington Post. And Matt Brown, national race and politics reporter for the Associated Press. Gentlemen, good morning. Thank you so much for being here.


HUNT: Tyler, let me start with you. You cover Biden so closely at the White House. What did you make of his -- you know, he had quite an eventful weekend -- these campaign appearances, plus the interview on MSNBC where he talked about his illegal remarks? What stood out to you about the president's performance and the campaign at large?

TYLER PAGER, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yeah. I was with him in the Philadelphia suburbs and then I went with him to Atlanta, so I was at both of those events and saw firsthand the message that he is trying to send to the American people. And it is building off that State of the Union performance but taking a much tougher tone on Trump and naming him directly.

We saw in the State of the Union address he made it very clear who he was talking about without saying his name. But then, as he moved into these campaign events -- and we'll continue to see this week as he travels around the country to those additional battleground states -- New Hampshire, Michigan, and Wisconsin -- that the message is one of clear contrast and policy and on demeanor.

As you said there, he was trying to take aim at former President Trump's character, but he's also trying to draw policy differences between the two men. Obviously, a different approach from Trump, who went on a rambling, almost two-hour speech.

Biden's was very tight -- 21 minutes. And it was largely focused on his record and trying to make the case that he has an agenda for the second term. What are the specifics of that second agenda not so super-clear there, but really trying to draw those clear contrasts between him and his once-and-future opponent.

HUNT: Yeah.

Matt -- I mean, you lived in Georgia for a long time. You've covered the race there pretty closely. This is a place where what plays in rural Georgia is much different than what might play in the suburbs of Atlanta, right? But it's really going to be the Atlanta suburbs that are going to decide this election.

I mean, what did you hear in these two speeches? What stood out to you?

BROWN: Yeah. I think that this was a very interesting weekend for us in Georgia just because it was really the coming out, I guess, of battleground Georgia once again that we saw in 2020. I mean, we at the Associated Press, at the moment, are not calling either of them the presumptive nominee until they get the required number of delegates.

HUNT: Yes.

BROWN: That said, with anybody --

HUNT: I remember that well.

BROWN: Yeah. That said, with anybody --

HUNT: I think that's (INAUDIBLE).

BROWN: -- with one percent above a name I.D. recognition out of the race, this is basically what we're looking at here for the general election. A rematch --

HUNT: Right.

BROWN: -- of 2020 in this case.

And Georgia is one of the most politically contested states in the country in this regard. But as you said, there's a very small but pursuable number of voters in Georgia in these suburbs all around -- in and around Atlanta who are be -- are able to be persuaded.

We saw that in 2022 where many of them supported Republicans like Gov. Brian Kemp in Georgia, but then were not able to pull the lever all the way for Herschel Walker, for instance, for Senate. They ended up split-ticketing and voting for Sen. Raphael Warnock in a lot of cases.

So that is -- those are the voters that I believe the Biden campaign is looking at very closely and is very keen on winning here in Georgia.

And you saw both Trump's message in Georgia over at his rally and Biden's message in Atlanta really focused on trying to appeal to voters in their own ways. The question is which message is going to prove more resonant in this state.


HUNT: Yeah.

So one of the other key ways we can kind of gauge where campaigns are is by what they choose to spend money on. And we did get a taste, Tyler, of what -- the first campaign ad from the Biden campaign came out over the weekend. We don't usually show campaign ads in full but this one's interesting since it's the sitting president -- it's his first ad for -- in his reelection campaign in the general. Let's watch it and we'll talk about it.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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 the hell am I doing this for?


HUNT: All right. So those were a couple of snippets of the ad. But you saw that joke at the end. I mean, they're clearly -- I -- they've clearly decided they have to put this age thing in the -- in the stuff that they're pushing to voters.

PAGER: Yeah. It's a contrast from what we've been seeing the president say on age in the past.

I was at that press conference he did after the special counsel's report came out and I asked him, "What do you say to voters that are concerned about your age?" And he was very defensive and said, "Only you care about that," saying the media is the only ones that really are picking up on this.

HUNT: In polls, it says that's not true.

PAGER: Right. And polls say it's definitely not true.

HUNT: Yeah.

PAGER: Voters -- Democrats, Republicans, Independents -- everyone is saying that they are concerned about his age. And clearly, they are taking that issue head-on, trying to diffuse it with humor but also trying to talk about wisdom and experience, and making this contrast about the age of ideas between him and Trump.

But I think Democrats were excited to see this ad over the weekend. They feel that he's taking it head-on and doing it in a way that is effective. We'll see what voters say.

I talked to some voters of the weekend -- one at his event outside of Philadelphia -- and she said she did not watch the State of the Union because she was so stressed that he might stumble or show his age. She read about it the next morning and felt that he did a good job and she was excited about that. But couldn't bring herself to watch it, which I thought was interesting.

HUNT: Oh my gosh. That is -- yeah. That's a very on-the-nose anecdote right there.

All right, let's take one quick pause because I do want to switch gears just a little bit. Because Republican Sen. Katie Britt is now acknowledging critics who have criticized her State of the Union response.

Britt used, in that speech, an anecdote about a woman who was sex trafficked by cartels. It was an attempt to highlight the border crisis under President Biden's watch. While Britt did meet that woman during a trip to the border, she left out the fact that the events that she described happened in Mexico more than a decade before Biden took office.


SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR, "FOX NEWS SUNDAY": To be clear, the story that you relayed is not something that's happened under the Biden administration -- that particular person.

SEN. KATIE BRITT (R-AL): Um, well, I very -- I very clearly said I spoke to a woman who told me about when she was trafficked when she was 12. So I didn't say a teenager. I didn't say a young woman. A grown woman -- a woman when she was trafficked when she was 12.


HUNT: Matt, I mean, this is -- this is far from the only piece of the speech that's being criticized. I mean, it's being kind of broadly -- in fact, here, let's just show a little bit of what -- of how "SNL" handled the Katie Britt response -- watch.


SCARLETTE JOHANSSON, ACTRESS, PLAYING KATIE BRITT ON "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": Good evening, America. My name is Katie Britt. Tonight, I'll be auditioning for the part of scary mom and I'll be performing an original monologue called "This Country Is Hell." You see, I'm not just a senator, I am a wife, a mother, and the craziest (bleep) in the Target parking lot.


HUNT: Scarlette Johansson, ladies and gentlemen.

Matt, she's clearly having her time in the barrel but this was a significant thing, right? Like, a significant piece of her speech was aimed at immigration and she was trying to make a point about President Biden and the basic sort of facts of that anecdote just don't line up.

BROWN: Yeah. This was a very interesting moment for her just because so much of the speech was focused on this issue. So you wouldn't -- it's not like Republicans are not continuously focused on any anecdote coming out of the border at the moment. So for -- so for this to be an anecdote that they weren't able to land here is one, a bit confusing just in preparation for the speech and I think underscores a lot of the other fumbles that she had throughout this process of trying to come up with a coherent response to Biden's State of the Union where it seems obtuse, I shall say.

HUNT: Where do we think this puts her on the V.P. list for Donald Trump?

PAGER: I think it puts her back a little bit. I was never fully sure that she was near the top of that list. There's a bunch of people that have been out campaigning with Trump, making their interest in the role very clear. I think this is probably a setback. But with Trump, you never really know where people are standing at any given moment and there are still months away until the convention and expectation is that pick is coming --

HUNT: Yeah.

PAGER: -- a little bit later.

HUNT: Clip and save. You never really know with Trump.

PAGER: Right.

HUNT: Indeed.

Tyler Pager, Matt Brown, thank you guys both very much. I really appreciate it.


Coming up next, talk about March Madness. The moment that led to a massive brawl on the court.

Plus, the House set to vote this week on effectively banning TikTok in the U.S. Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi is live with us, up next.


HUNT: The clock is ticking this week as Congress is set to vote on the fate of one of the world's most downloaded apps, TikTok. Bipartisan legislation passed a House committee last week that would effectively ban TikTok in America. It would force TikTok's parent company, ByteDance to dismantle its ownership position within 165 days.


In the wake of the vote, TikTok prompted its users to call their representatives, explaining why the app should not be banned in the United States.

If the bill passes the House it would still need to clear the Senate where there appears to be some additional resistance.

Here is what Sen. Lindsey Graham said over the weekend.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I'm really conflicted here. I know this about social media -- they're ruining America. Banning TikTok -- maybe that's necessary to protect American data from China, but if you can find a way to avoid that, that would be good, too.


HUNT: All right. Joining me now is one of the authors of that bill, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi. Congressman, thank you so much for being here.

REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D-IL): Thank you, Kasie. HUNT: So, first of all, this -- the fact that TikTok responded to this unanimous situation where you're passing this bill by putting an alert on these apps telling people to call your offices -- and then apparently, it inundated congressional offices. Did you have this experience?

KRISHNAMOORTHY: Yeah. Basically, what they did is they did a push notification pop-up that required people to call their representative in order to access the app. But what ended up happening is that minor children ended up flooding offices with these calls. And they called the offices and said stuff life what is Congress? What's a congressman? Can I have my TikTok back? One person called one legislator and impersonated his son.

And so, this is exactly the --

HUNT: Wow.

KRISHNAMOORTHI: -- reason why so many people ended up voting for the bill because TikTok used the geolocation data of minor children's locations to then spread misinformation about the bill. And it turned a bunch of lean yeses into hard yeses on that day.

HUNT: That is -- I mean, it seems to really refute -- I mean, the argument that they've been trying to make is that they're not going to use the app to generate political action inside the United States. I mean, this seems like an explicit contradiction.

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Oh, 100 percent. This is exactly why people were so upset that day.

HUNT: That's wild.

So can you explain exactly how this would impact TikTok? It's not a straight-out ban.

KRISHNAMOORTHI: No, it's not a ban. It's basically two things. One, it's not a ban, it's a choice. And it's not about TikTok, it's about ByteDance. Whether ByteDance will basically sell off TikTok.

This is not without precedent either. One app called Grinder, which is a popular LGBTQ app, was owned by a Chinese company. But once the U.S. government realized that the Chinese Community Party had access to sensitive data about military and government officials, they forced the sale of that app. It sold quickly and there was no incident for the users. I expect the same thing to happen with regard to TikTok.

HUNT: So, can you explain why the control of this data -- so, I don't actually put TikTok on my personal phone because I'm -- I -- honestly, the only reason I have -- I recently downloaded it -- I'm old compared to all the TikTok users -- on my work phone.

But you have -- there are concerns about what information is on this device that if I download TikTok onto this device I am giving --


HUNT: -- to, at the moment, Chinese authorities. Can you explain what more we know about this?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Sure. Well, first of all, your location would be known. Secondly, any personal identifiable information. Any messages. Any sensitive data that you entrust to the apps on your phone that TikTok could get access to.

We know that they have nefariously used some of this data in the past. Forbes recently wrote articles saying that some of their reporters were targeted for reporting on TikTok. And so, this is of -- this is of grave concern.

HUNT: Yeah.

Do you think the president's campaign should be using TikTok?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, I don't want to -- I don't want to instruct the president on how to campaign. I don't have TikTok on my personal phone. It's banned from government devices. But I think people just use it very cautiously right now. It's legal to use, obviously, but I would just use it cautiously.

HUNT: Do you -- should -- I mean, should -- is any -- is any political campaign taking a risk if they are putting the app on phones that also include other campaign data?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: I personally think there's a risk if you put TikTok on your phone for the same reasons that we are concerned about the national security threats in forming this bill. A) it has access to your data, and b) it is -- the CCP, ultimately, that has control over the algorithm.

HUNT: So what is the future here for this bill? I mean, we heard Sen. Graham express some sort of concern about it. It's come from some other corners as well. I mean, do you think that this ultimately is going to become law?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: I think so, but I think it's going to require, obviously, our House passage and working with the Senate. The president has already said that they are going to sign this if it passes Congress. So we've worked extensively with the White House and with Republicans to fashion a compromised bill. I'm hopeful but we have a lot of hard work to do.

HUNT: How big of a threat, fundamentally, do you think China is to the U.S. right now?


KRISHNAMOORTHI: Um, I think they pose a real risk in terms of our economic position, and our technological position, as you can see with TikTok, and our national security. I think that we can take steps to deal with it without veering into open hostilities. Poll after poll says that Americans believe that China is one of our top national security concerns, but they also say don't go to war. Don't have open hostilities with China. So that's kind of the fine line that we have to walk.

HUNT: Fair enough.

So, on a slightly different topic, too, but it's still in the national security realm, the former president, Donald Trump -- he had once called for a TikTok ban. He seems to have reversed that position. What's your take on why?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: I don't know. Some people think it's a campaign contribution. I have no idea. But a lot of my Republican colleagues are equally befuddled. And I saw that a lot of them came out over the weekend kind of doubling down on their position with regard to TikTok -- that it is a national security risk and that we have to do something about it.

HUNT: Do you think that former President Trump should get classified briefings once he becomes the nominee, especially considering the charges in the classified docs case?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Um, you know, I think that is the tradition. I think it makes sense. Obviously, you have to take certain precautions.

I always think that with regard to national security information, it should be done in a SCIF. You should somebody in a secure compartmentalized facility -- show them the documents in that facility and take the documents back at the end of their perusal of those documents.

It's the same way that we -- members of Congress handle them --

HUNT: Um-hum.

KRISHNAMOORTHI: -- and you don't hear about too many of these issues with members of Congress walking out of the SCIF with classified documents.

HUNT: All right.

Congressman, you're going to stick around and join us a little bit later --


HUNT: -- on the show as we continue our conversation. Thank you very much --


HUNT: -- for being here this morning.


HUNT: I really appreciate it.

All right, time now for sports.

South Carolina beat LSU for the Women's SEC Championship in a game that was marred by a scuffle and mass ejections.

Carolyn Manno has more in this morning's Bleacher Report. Carolyn, good morning.


This was a high-anticipated rematch. You have two really confident elite teams -- undefeated South Carolina, the defending national champs, and LSU -- so some physicality expected in this meeting. But things went too far with South Carolina's best player possibly suspended for the first game of the NCAA Tournament.

Now, chaos in the final minutes when a fight broke out near midcourt. After getting the ball stolen, LSU guard Flau'jae Johnson shoved South Carolina's Ashlyn Watkins, which prompted South Carolina's star forward Kamilla Cardoso to push Johnson to the floor. And that's when players from both teams left the bench, which is not allowed, to join the fray.

A man from the stands who the broadcast identified as Johnson's brother, jumping over the scorers' table and onto the court before ultimately being detained by security.

So, this was crazy. It caused about a 20-minute delay. Officials ejecting Cardoso and five other players. And Cardoso, who is the team's leading scorer and rebounder, may not be available now for the opening round of the NCAA Tournament in that first game.

South Carolina ending up winning by seven to capture its eighth SEC Tournament crown in 10 years. But afterwards, the coaches from both teams addressing the melee.


KIM MULKEY, HEAD COACH, LSU: No one wants to see that ugliness. But I can tell you this. I wish she would have pushed Angel Reese. Don't push a kid that -- you're six--eight. Don't push somebody that little. That was uncalled for in my opinion.

DAWN STALEY, HEAD COACH, SOUTH CAROLINA: In our league, things get heated. No bad intentions. They just tried to -- their emotions got so far ahead of them that sometimes these things happen. So I want to apologize for us playing a part in that because that's not who we are and that's not what we're about.


MANNO: Caitlin Clark adding another chapter to her legendary career on Sunday continues. Clark and her Iowa Hawkeyes facing Nebraska for the Big Ten Tournament title. The Huskers had an 11-point lead a the half before Clark went to work. She scored 30 of her 34 in the second half, rallying her team to force overtime. And trailing by one with under a minute left who else but Clark nailing the three to give the Hawkeyes the lead for good as Iowa claims its third-straight Big Ten championship.

And afterwards, Clark said she knew that they would find a way to win.


CAITLIN CLARK, GUARD, IOWA HAWKEYES: Even being down seven with two minutes to play we never gave up. And this definitely was the hardest one. That's three in a row. It was by far the hardest. I'm just so proud of our group -- so resilient. And these fans are incredible. If it wasn't for them I don't know if we'd win. So just proud of us.


MANNO: And the U.S. Women's National Team celebrated this morning after winning the inaugural Women's Gold Cup. Captain Lindsey Horan scoring the lone goal of the match against Brazil in the first minute of the added time in the first half. It was her third goal of the tournament overall. Her earlier goals from the penalty squad.


And up next for the Americans is a match on April 6 against Japan in the SheBelieves Cup in Atlanta, Kasie.

Back to you.

I love to see women's sports in the morning top to bottom. But a really unfortunate situation between --

HUNT: I love it.

MANNO: -- LSU and South Carolina.

HUNT: Yes. And like, look, the lesson here is let's just all be like Caitlin Clark, all right? She's a legend. She's humble. She's got it together. She's a great role model.

Thanks, Carolyn. I appreciate it.

Ahead here, Donald Trump crossing the line again, mocking President Biden's stutter on the campaign trail in Georgia. Plus, more on how the president is tackling voter concerns about his age.


BIDEN: I understand how to get things done for the American people.