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Trump's Classified Documents Hearing; Guantanamo Bay Could be Used for Haitian Migrants; TikTok Bill Heads to Senate. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired March 14, 2024 - 06:30   ET




KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR: All right, in just a couple hours, the campaign trail again heads into the courtroom. Donald Trump expected to attend a hearing in his classified documents case. His lawyers will ask the judge to throw out the charges brought by special counsel Jack Smith.

New CNN reporting suggests they plan to make the argument Trump could legally keep any document he wanted.

CNN's Katelyn Polantz joins us now from Fort Pierce, Florida.

Katelyn, good morning. Always wonderful to have you.

Does this argument hold any water?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, Kasie, that's for the judge to decide. Donald Trump, in this case, right now is making a ton of arguments to try and get this case dismissed. He does not want to go to trial and he wants the judge to toss it.

Today is the first of very likely a series of hearings where he's going to be making those arguments through his lawyers and they're going to make -- be making the argument that he had a lot of power as president to determine what records are his. And, yes, he took the national security documents out of the White House at the end of his presidency and thus they're his because he says they're his. They're personal papers.

Now, the Justice Department, they have been very clear, the National Archives has been very clear, for the entirety of this investigation, this case, and since Trump left the White House, that that's not how it works, that these are presidential records, that there are rules and laws around how they can be handled because it can jeopardize national security if there aren't parameters about what documents are the publics, the United States' government's documents versus what are personal papers of the presidency. We're going to hear all of that in court today and be listening very closely to see what Judge Aileen Cannon does. This is not a day where she's likely to make a ruling on what to do here. She's going to be listening to arguments. But Trump is going to be in the courtroom, which always can change the tenor of how things go because he will be sitting there in front of the judge as the criminal defendant in this case. On top of that, we still are waiting for a bunch of other things. Kasie, in this case here in Florida. When is it going to trial? That is still up in the air. We're waiting to see if Judge Aileen Cannon says anything about that today as well.


HUNT: Yes, the delay strategy on full display. And I am -- that dynamic that you point out about having Trump sitting in the front row, I'm very interested to talk to you about it tomorrow once we kind of get a glimpse here.

Katelyn Polantz, thank you. I really appreciate it.

Our panel is back with us.

We spent a lot of time talking about this delay already today. I want to sort of expand our conversation in terms of two key issues that are going to drive this race, this presidential race, are both on display today, immigration and abortion rights also.

But let's start, Ashley, with the immigration headlines that our Priscilla Alvarez talked about earlier in the show. The Biden administration considering using Guantanamo Bay as a processing center for Haitian migrants if there's a crisis because of the domestic, political instability that's going on there. It's clearly pretty remarkable that, I mean, when people hear Guantanamo Bay, that's going to kind of set off certain things in their minds, right?


HUNT: That the administration thinks that it's more worthwhile to do that than to potentially process these migrants on U.S. soil. What are the dynamics here?

ALLISON: Well, first I would just say, I think it's heartbreaking what we see is going on in Haiti.

HUNT: Of course. Very much.

ALLISON: The country has been through so much. They're such a resilient people. And I am longing for the day when we can get past this tumultuous time for the country and get to a place where these folks can really find stability, democracy, and thrive.

For our take, though, on the political side, I mean, when I think of Gitmo or Guantanamo Bay, I have the worst images in my mind and -

HUNT: I think we all do. Yes.

ALLISON: And I don't know what it's like. You know, I don't know -- we only know what -- the stories we've kind of been told. And I do wonder how some voters will take this in, particularly black voters, when they think about what -- what do the Haitian people deserve?


And so I think if there - there's an important story be told that, like, we are doing this because we want them to have a better than -- alternative than they have right now. And the conditions that they're going to be kept in if they stay in Guantanamo are going to be comfortable, are going to be something that -

HUNT: Humane.

ALLISON: Humane. Not even just humane, but like comfortable, right? Like -- because prison can have like humanity, but it not be comfortable.

HUNT: Yes.

ALLISON: And so these folks are fleeing persecution. And so the contrast of what the Republicans, I think, are doing with saying, like, why are migrants being treated with humanity here on U.S. soil, in some urban areas like New York, and being given -- placed in affordable housing with the contrast of Haitian immigrants going to Gitmo could -- could prove to be a story that is challenging for the Biden administration to answer. But again then I think, we were talking about this earlier, is that like I think you then say, we are trying to do some - we are trying to help these folks. They are flee -- these folks are literally fleeing persecution in Haiti.

HUNT: Yes.

ALLISON: And you won't do anything, meaning Republicans, to help them. You stalled the bill.

HUNT: Right.

Sarah, I mean, does this speak to just how much of a problem immigration is for the Biden administration, that they're willing to put these headlines out there, like suffer through these headlines?

SARAH LONGWELL, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yes, I mean, there's just no bigger vulnerability. And, frankly, there's no bigger asset for Donald Trump. I mean he became a towering political figure on the back of the idea that building a wall was the right way to keep immigrants out, and people responded well to that. And there's just -- look, anything that happens, the situation in Georgia with the murder, you know, that became a big issue at the State of the Union.

And so, I do think - look, the Biden administration has always had a problem with communicating effectively about things. And I think that the American people -- when I listen to voters talk about immigration, they want to be humane. They are not trying to be inhumane. But they always say things like, I want people to come the right way. And what they mean is, we want to know who's in the country. We want to, you know, have a real way that is legal, that we're processing people. And I do think Joe Biden's got to get out there on this issue and say, we need to balance humanity with the rule of law. HUNT: Right.

All right, so we've covered a very significant vulnerability. Let's talk about something Democrats see as a real asset for them in this campaign, Molly, and that's abortion rights and protecting reproductive rights.

We've learned Kamala Harris is planning to visit a Minnesota abortion clinic, a Planned Parenthood, which is not something that a sitting vice president or president has ever done. And I think it's worth pointing out that the clinics themselves, before the fall of Roe, were a huge flashpoint in the abortion wars. I mean it - you know, if you were on the liberal side of the issue, you know, they will ask for volunteers to escort people through the crowds of protesters, often carrying very, you know, grotesque signs and saying things to people basically to cross the line to get into the clinic itself.

What does it tell you that suddenly Democrats are embracing this to the point that they're sending Kamala Harris to a clinic?

MOLLY BALL, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": Well, it tells you that, as you said, that this is a -- they view this as an important -- probably the central political asset for this campaign. And - and I - and I think for Democrats, there's -- they need to break through to voters that this is actually at risk.

There's a sense -- and Vice President Harris has been the administration's chief messenger on this issue. They view her as very good at making the case about reproductive rights, what they've been calling reproductive freedom. She's been touring the country and talking about this for more than a year now, basically ever since the Supreme Court decision.

And for, I think, for the - for the campaign, there's the feeling that, number one, people don't necessarily - well, people don't know where Donald Trump is on this issue because he hasn't said. He, obviously, was responsible for the - for putting in places the Supreme Court that overturned Roe, but he has not said what kind of national policy he would support going forward, whether he would favor any kind of federal ban, what kind of limit he would favor, what other kinds of details, because ever since that decision there have been a lot of questions about how - how we should move forward as a country or whether it should be left to the states.

HUNT: Yes.

BALL: So, wanting to highlight and wanting to pin him down on this issue. And also just wanting to get through to voters that this is something that they view as an important right that is at risk because not - it's not necessarily the case that everybody understands that.

HUNT: Yes. Well, I mean, Sarah, it so -- says to me that the ground has shifted so much since the fall of Roe. I mean this previously would have been something, honestly, Democrats would have been afraid to do it. They wouldn't have wanted to do it. But now it -- they are really firmly on the office on the issue that they're willing - willing to do it. Why do you think it's changed that way?

LONGWELL: Well, I mean, I think that they've watched now multiple cycles. It really worked for them to be on offense on this issue.


I also think, right now, Donald Trump is a weird one on abortion because you can't pin him down.


LONGWELL: But I remember when he was campaigning in 2016. He said that if a woman had an abortion she should be punished in some way, right? And we've now seen places like Texas and other - with laws that are sort of close to that idea of punishment. But at the same time, because Donald Trump is a liberteen (ph), as a human, like, when I listen to voters talk about him, voters are like, this guy doesn't care about abortion. This guy has paid for abortions. You know, they just -- they don't think of him as somebody with sexual morality or somebody like a Mike Johnson or a Mike Pence, and that gives him the sheen of sort of moderation. And so the Biden administration and this campaign is going to have to work extra hard to really make it seem like they are at - that Donald Trump and the court and the Republicans are all after these rights, after IVF, and push that as hard as they can.

HUNT: Really interesting.

All right, everyone's going to stick around.

The do-nothing Congress does something. The House passing a bill that could ban TikTok. But the Senate might not be ready to delete the app.

And the third time, meanwhile, could be the charm for SpaceX. The new launch coming up in minutes after the last mission to the moon blew up.




JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": Today, the House passed a bill that would essentially ban TikTok. Can you imagine if TikTok was banned? I mean, just picture lying down in bed and then actually going to bed, you know what I'm saying.

Apparently Congress is scared that TikTok is spying on us. Then Alexa was like -

ALEXA: Yeah, TikTok, that's the one who is spying on you. Ban it. Ban it.

FALLON: OK. Thank you. Thank you, Alexa.


HUNT: All right, the House overwhelmingly passing a bill that could lead to a nationwide ban on TikTok.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On this vote, the yeas are 352, the nays are 65. The rules are suspended. The bill is passed.


HUNT: The bill had broad bipartisan support. It's a pretty complicated coalition actually. Its backers making the case that this isn't about your TikTok dance videos it's about national security.


REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D-IL): Our intention is for TikTok to continue to operate, but not under the control of the Chinese Communist Party.

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): Who will be the next to control the data of over 170 million Americans? Are we going to trust Mark Zuckerberg to control their data? I certainly don't.

REP. ROBERT GARCIA (D-CA): If we're going to address this issue, we've got to take the same approach to also some media platforms. We can't just single out one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a common sense measure to protect our national security.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): This is not an attempt to ban TikTok, it's an attempt to make TikTok better. Tic tac toe, a winner. A winner.


HUNT: Tic tac toe. Hey, OK. That could go viral on TikTok.

CNN's senior media analyst Sara Fischer joins us now, along with the rest of our panel.

Sara, I thought that Pelosi bite there was kind of a nice little encapsulation of these kind of older members of Congress trying to regulate TikTok.

What happened yesterday? What happens next?

SARA FISCHER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA ANALYST: So, yesterday, the House passed this bill. Now it goes to the Senate. It's going to face a lot more tension and opposition in the Senate. I think there's concern, particularly amongst Democrats, about what the political implications could be of banning this app ahead of the election.

But what comes next is a big lobbying fight. I mean TikTok is already urging its users to call their members of Congress, urge them to not pass this bill. They're doing a lot of advertising around Washington, D.C. If this were to pass, expect this to go -- become a huge legal battle. Biden said he would pass it into law if it doesn't, TikTok remains.

HUNT: So, I mean, I -- look, I get, you know, they're asking their users to call Congress. Like did that - couldn't that backfire? I mean they put this like note up on the app. These officers get inundated with - they're saying, I mean, children are calling, asking them, like, what is a member of Congress, right? It went from potentially having some opposition in the committee it came out of to a unanimous passage out of the Energy and Commerce Committee. I mean it seems like very obvious, based on what they're doing, that the main criticism that is at the heart of this opposition, which is that TikTok, if it wants to, could push a button and influence American politics, like, didn't they, with their lobbying campaign, just prove exactly that point?

FISCHER: Ooo, that's a really good and interesting question. Perhaps, but it still spooked Democrats. Democrats overwhelmingly feel this pressure from young people. Remember, they need that voting bloc in November. And so I think it was effective, particularly on the Senate side, in making them spooked about a particular bill or a vote board.

The thing to note though here is that there's still no smoking gun. And that's the whole issue with this law. You need to have serious national security proof and evidence to convince not just the public but to convince courts that this is not going to be a free-speech violation and expect TikTok to lean into that exactly when they appeal it if it becomes law or try to sue (ph) that.

HUNT: Well, there's precedent for divestment (INAUDIBLE).

FISCHER: There is precedent for divestment, but here's one challenge with divestment here, who are they going to divest to that our current DOJ and FTC will allow to buy it with this anti-trust regulation and environment right now? I mean look at who wants it. Microsoft wants it. Well, they could barely get Activision -- that acquisition - that Activision acquisition acquired. You know, you look at Oracle, there's some political implications there. So, even if we did say, if this all goes through, that they have to divest, I'm not quite sure that we have the infrastructure in place to allow a major player that could afford it to buy it.

HUNT: Yes, so it's very interesting because you clearly are having conversations with all these -- the conversation tech folks are having about it I mean the bipartisan nature of the vote that we saw in the House yesterday shows that there's -- the political conversation is totally different. Like, people are on different planes here based on kind of what you're saying.

I mean, Sarah, you're nodding. Please.

LONGWELL: Yes, I mean, look, I don't know, when was the last time anybody in Congress agreed that -

HUNT: Right. LONGWELL: Like that resoundingly on anything? And it's funny because I watched that vote take place, and all the young people in my office were like howling in grief. And so - and they are more engaged on this that I've seen them on many things.

I am not on TikTok because it is Chinese spyware and I don't want it on my phone.

HUNT: I know. Me too.


LONGWELL: But, like, this is -- this is a tricky one, and one that I think everybody's just starting to really understand all the various players and how it relates to one another.

HUNT: Yes. I shouldn't say that. I do actually have it on my work phone but I caved after many years because I wouldn't do it on my -- I will not do it on my personal phone because of Chinese spyware reasons.

ALLISON: I think 00

HUNT: We're going to show in a second - make your point, but I've got some kids we can show crying about this.

ALLISON: Well, I am on TikTok, and I resisted it. But I -I enjoy the app. And I think the contradiction here and the frustrating part is, people feel like all the platforms are listening to them. All the platforms compromise their data. And I understand that the - the -- the people who are doing it here are the Chinese government and we don't want them to have that.

But it feels like targeting one company rather than solving the broader issue around social media. Children are being targeted. We saw hearings where Mark Zuckerberg, you know, who created Facebook, now Meta, was testifying when children committed suicide, have eating disorders, having access to drugs. Congress can regulate on this. They can go and they can do work around Section 230, which does regulations on platforms. They're not doing the hard thing. They're taking one and making an example.

But if it -- if TikTok goes away, there will be something else. That's the one thing we know about technology. So, really go to the root of the issue and protect people's consumers data, put -- don't let technology listen to us, don't let it be spyware for American companies or for the Chinese government is, I think, how some people feel.

HUNT: OK. Well, I mean, I think that is really -- I mean, again, the big distinction, the Chinese Communist Party. And we can go through some examples in a second.

But first, to just put some faces to what we're talking about here. Sarah Longwell mentioned young employees in her office in grief after this passed yesterday. Watch some of what we heard from some young people who are opposed to

this. Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Literally not even a month ago I quit my job to do TikTok, social media full-time. And now this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are eight years of generation z that are now eligible voters in this election year. Do you really want to piss them all off by taking away their favorite app where they make friends, where they make content, where they laugh, where a lot of us creators make our money? You want to take that app away?


HUNT: Molly Ball?

BALL: Well, I mean, I think there's two ways of seeing this. If you're, say, a member of the United States Senate. On the one hand, that seems deeply unhealthy to me that people are that attached to an app and so maybe that's a case for saying -

HUNT: Deeply unhealthy.

BALL: Maybe we should do something about this. Maybe young people shouldn't be spending 20 hours of their day, you know, addicted to this thing.

On the other hand, like, that is a powerful statement of the politics of this, right? I mean the fact that these congressional offices had to shut down their phones because they were getting so many calls, yes, they didn't like that, yes, it backfired on a short the term basis because they -- they - they said, you know, we don't like this sort of strong arming and we're going to do this unanimous vote.

HUNT: It made them angry.

BALL: It made them angry, but it also showed them, this is something that affects people. There's a lot of things Congress does that are, you know, a tree falling in the forest and voters never notice. They pass a ginormous infrastructure bill and nobody knows about it. This is something that hits people where they live. And it's people who, you know, to Sarah's point, are young voters that they need in this election, that both parties really need in this election, and they will notice if something happens to TikTok.

HUNT: Yes, if Biden were to sign a ban, if the Senate passed it, would he be signing his death -- a political death warrant in the fall?

LONGWELL: I don't know. I mean, I - look, young people, they're not the most reliable voting bloc and -- but I do think -- God, it's so depressing. Democracy is on the line. It's -- and - and, what, they're going to -- but they'll turn out over Chinese spyware. Like, they won't go vote for Joe Biden for that, but democracy's on the line and that they can get motivated for. I will tell you, nothing has made me feel as old ever as this segment. Watching those kids crying, I -- I am a libertarian at heart. I'm a free speech absolutist. But also the parent in me is like, give me your phone, kids. You use this too much. It's too much.

ALLISON: But it's like -

HUNT: So, what do you -

ALLISON: I think that they're - I think - I don't want to underplay the fact that it is a problem that like this is going to the Chinese Communist Party. But I think the reality is like, we had an election in 2016 where Russians targeted the right and the left on an American owned platform named Facebook at the time and interfered with our election and no regulations have been past eight years later. And so there just feels like a contradiction.

People like this app because it makes everybody be one the same playing field. Right now their algorithms are working a little more compromised then they had before, but everyone has a microphone now and it feels, in a way, again, realizing in the backdrop there's the Chinese Communist Party, it feels like a way to democratize how people can communicate with other folks.

FISCHER: I was just going to say, in terms of the election, this is not going to get banned overnight. So, what's essentially going to happen is, you're not going to make it available in the app stores. So, for the 170 million people who have this downloaded on their phone, you can't remove it from their phone. But what it does if you don't have it on an app store is, you can't do updates. So over time the app becomes obsolete, right, because you can't do an update for security purposes or for new features and functions.


But that's not going to happen anytime before November. In fact, I expect there to be a lot of litigation through courts that could last for years. So, in terms of the political impact here, even if this were to pass, people are still going to have access to it on their phones. They're not going to feel the impact of it. So, I actually don't think it's going to have a huge impact in November.

HUNT: Ah, that's very smart. Very interesting.

All right, this has been - I'm with you on the -- I mean my kids are too -- way too little for phones, but like, I - I was the last person probably the grew up without the internet, right? I'd -- like I'm an old millennial, if you will, an I - Molly, you and I are on different pages on this, I know, but I -- as far as I'm concerned, like, no phones still your 16. That just is where I stand.

Fifty-five minutes past the hour. Here is your morning roundup.

A federal judge ruling Hunter Biden will face trial on June 3rd on gun charges. He allegedly lied about his drug use on federal forms while purchasing a revolver. He's also facing a trial in June 20th for alleged tax evasion.

A student pilot is under arrest after allegedly trying to open the cockpit doors repeatedly when he was a passenger on an Alaska Airlines flight. Nathan Jones allegedly told the flight crew he was, quote, "testing them." Hey, kids, don't do that. His lawyer says his family is concerned about his mental health.

And in just over an hour, SpaceX will try again to launch its unmanned Starship rocket. The FAA gave it the green light on Wednesday. Two previous attempts ended in explosions. Starship is a key part of NASA's Artemis program that aims to return astronauts to the moon.

And then there's this. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has been sued over a viral video of her endorsing a Texas dental practice. She is also facing questions from state lawmakers.

Here's a taste.


GOV. KRISTI NOEM (R-SD): Well, hi, I'm Kristi Noem. I'm the governor of South Dakota. And had the opportunity to come to Smile Texas to fix my teeth, which has been absolutely amazing. When they showed me my beautiful new teeth, I hugged Dr. Davis.


HUNT: Does anyone want to see Kristi Noem's teeth that close?


HUNT: Like, what is going on? Like, what - she's the sitting governor of South Dakota.

LONGWELL: Well, when the Republican presidential candidate is out there hawking shoes and mug shot t-shirts, I guess the rest of -

HUNT: But he doesn't actually hold elected office.

LONGWELL: No, that's true. I'm just saying - I'm just saying he's created - I was -- I love to say he's created a permission structure and a culture in the Republican Party of, I guess, these elected jobs that we have are just new opportunities for us to endorse products.

HUNT: I have to say, I mean I have a slight phobia of the dentist. Like, the - like, I don't want to see it.

BALL: Nobody wants to see anybody's teeth that close, but also I feel like the norm is that you don't talk about how you get so put together, right, especially for politics.

HUNT: Well, yes, there's that. I hadn't thought about that.

BALL: If you're not out there saying, like, this is what I look like when I wake up and then this is what I do with, you know, my hair and my skin and my makeup. The whole point is to pretend you woke up like this. And so the fact is (INAUDIBLE) disaster.

HUNT: And you didn't spent all this money on it. What is she doing?

ALLISON: I mean, it would be a great video for TikTok. No, I'm just kidding.

HUNT: Is it on TikTok. It might be. I saw it on X.

ALLISON: You know, it -

BALL: What kind of algorithm leads (INAUDIBLE).

ALLISON: Yes, right.

It - it's also interesting she's on the shortlist to be the vice president for Donald Trump. So, it just kind of tells you where the Republican Party is, where the -- they're like -- they're spokespeople for different ads and they use it as opportunities now to, I don't know, I - God bless her.

LONGWELL: You can have Trump steaks. You can have Trump teeth.

ALLISON: I'm speechless.

BALL: Does it matter.


ALLISON: Yes, I know.

HUNT: I just don't understand it.

FISCHER: I have to say that the governor is very experienced when it comes to advertising. You'll recall during major events she'll spend a lot of money and her state's budget to promote the state of South Dakota and promote tourism. So, this is somebody who's always leaned into advertising. So, I'm not shocked to see her as part of an ad.

BALL: So, why did she go out of state to get our teeth done?

FISCHER: That's weird. I don't know that.

BALL: Why did she go to Texas?

FISCHER: I don't know that.

BALL: Why couldn't she find someone in South Dakota who could do her teeth?


HUNT: Yes, that is actually a really good question.


BALL: She's betraying her state.

HUNT: I mean -- I mean, I don't know, state money to advertise tourism of the state seems like an investment, not necessarily an expenditure.


FISCHER: Yes, well, you know what, what if she did this with a really great South Dakota dental practice, right?

HUNT: Right.

FISCHER: Maybe that's a way of promoting small businesses in your state.

BALL: Now that would be an ad. Yes.

FISCHER: Maybe she needs us as political strategist. I don't know.

ALLISON: I'll pass.


On that note, I'll leave you with this. Thanksgiving revenge at traffic stops? Wild turkeys tried to carve up police officers. Oh, no. These officers outside Cleveland were not prepared to be harassed and they ran from their tormentors.

In Florida, an officer tried to stand his ground, but this turkey had a flock of chickens behind it. He says, don't ruffle my feathers.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on. Back off. Back off. Back up. I'll be right back, ma'am. Give me a second.


I - (INAUDIBLE), I'm getting attacked by a chicken right now.