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CNN This Morning

Biden Campaign Raises Millions Of Dollars In February; Trump Warns Of "Bloodbath" For Auto Industry, Country If Not Elected; Government Less Than 1 Week Away From Partial Shutdown; Police Arrest Pennsylvania Triple Homicide Suspect After Standoff; Iceland Volcano Erupts Spewing Lava, Prompting Evacuations; Some Acts Of Civil Disobedience Reported At Russian Polling Station; Voting Underway On Final Day Of Elections In Russia; 2024 Russia Presidential Elections; Last Day of Russian Elections, Voting Currently Underway; Prepare To Say Goodbye To 6% Realtor Commissions; Agreement On Seismic Settlement Reached By Realtors Association; Massachusetts Town Pays Hefty For Coastal Erosion; In A Single Day, Coastal Towns Lose Over $600,000 Due To Coastal Erosion; Teams On Edge As They Await March Madness Fate; Before Spring Officially Arrives, Winter Returns. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired March 17, 2024 - 07:00   ET



JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): -- just wondering how Ivan fared.

Guy like, is the chairlift OK?

MOOS: You'd be giggling too if you survived this.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.



AMARA WALKER, CNN HOST: Thankfully, nobody was on those chairlift -- that chairlift.


WALKER: Can you imagine?

FREEMAN: Yes. I mean, he almost actually ended up sitting there for a second though.

WALKER: Yes, not really.

FREEMAN: Yes, yes.

WALKER: Because he used his feet.

FREEMAN: Next time.

WALKER: Yes, next time. FREEMAN: Oh, good.

All right, the next hour of CNN This Morning starts right now.

And good morning and welcome to CNN This Morning. It is Sunday, March 17th. I'm Danny Freeman in for Victor Blackwell.

WALKER: Good to be with you, Danny. I'm Amara Walker, and here's what we're watching for you this morning. Dueling for dollars. President Biden rakes in a record haul of $53 million in donations in just one month as former President Donald Trump is reportedly scrambling to raise campaign cash.

We're breaking down the numbers and why Trump says losing the election will lead to calls of a bloodbath. That's ahead.

FREEMAN: An accused killer in custody. What we know about the deadly Pennsylvania shooting spree that led to an hourslong standoff in nearby New Jersey?

WALKER: Plus, escaping the chaos. The State Department announces plans to rescue Americans trapped in Haiti as gang violence escalates. A report from Port-au-Prince you'll only see on CNN.

FREEMAN: Plus, the final countdown. We are live in Moscow where Vladimir Putin is hours away from likely clinching an unprecedented fifth term as Russia's president.

WALKER: All right, just in the past hour, we got our first look at President Biden's fundraising hall in February. It is a major cash advantage as he has raised the most money out of any Democratic presidential candidate in history at this point of the campaign.

FREEMAN: Now he's setting his sights on the West Coast, hoping to draw in even more money. CNN's Camila DeChalus joins us now from the White House. Camila, how much did the reelection team raise last month?

CAMILA DECHALUS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Good morning, Amara. Danny. At this point in time, we know that the Biden campaign team raised more than $53 million in the month of February. Now, that is an increase from what they made and what they raised in January when they raised more than $42 million.

And the campaign's team says that they really want to use this money to open up more offices across the country and to hire more grassroots organizers that can go door by door, talking to voters on the ground and really making the argument on why they should support Biden's reelection efforts.

WALKER: And tell us more, Camila, about Biden's trip to the West Coast. Where is he headed?

DECHALUS: That's right. Biden is headed to Arizona and Nevada. Now these are two key battleground states, and Biden really wants to just go to these states and talk to voters. The campaign team says that he's at his best when he's really on the ground talking to voters, listening to their concerns.

And that's what they want to do, that these two states are really crucial on the upcoming election, and that's going to be pivotal for him to really go out there talking to voters and really making the case and the argument on why they should support him and his efforts to run for re-election again.

FREEMAN: Camila DeChalus, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

WALKER: Now, Trump is conducting his first test of his influence in the Senate. He visited Ohio this weekend to stump for businessman Bernie Moreno. He is in a three-way primary for the Republican Senate candidate seat. He used the visit to double down on dire warnings for the country's economic future if he is not elected.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're going to put a 100 percent tariff on every single car that comes across the line. And you're not going to be able to sell those cars, if I get elected. Now, if I don't get elected, it's going to be a bloodbath for the whole -- that's going to be the least of it. It's going to be a bloodbath for the country. That'll be the least of it.


WALKER: Now --

FREEMAN: Now -- I'm sorry, go ahead.

WALKER: -- after Biden's campaign seized on his comments saying Trump was calling for another January 6th attack, Trump's campaign shot back saying he only meant an economic bloodbath for the auto industry.

Joining us now is CNN's Chief Correspondent -- Congressional Correspondent, Manu Raju. Hello, good morning, Manu.


WALKER: A strategic move, right, making these comments in Ohio, were the ones bussing auto industry has struggled in recent years, wondering what your thoughts are on this, you know, off the cuff comment. Will it help or hurt him?

RAJU: You know, the interesting thing about Trump is that what he -- the kind of campaign he is running in the general election is really not much any different than the campaign that he has run in the primary, which is trying to rile up his base, really throw red meat to the base as we've seen time and again.

And that has really been the secret strategy that he ran back in 2016 and in 2020, successfully, of course, in 2016, hoping that there's some disaffected voters ultimately will come his way and that will bring him the presidency. We'll see if it happens there.

[07:05:03] At the same time, he's trying to still unite his party after that primary win that he routed Nikki Haley and others to win that primary, but there are still a sizable amount of voters who are not there yet with Trump. And also, that -- it goes all the way down to elected officials as well, including some who are in tough reelection battles.

I spent the last couple weeks talking to many Republicans about whether they will actually endorse Donald Trump. Many of them are falling in line, including Republican leaders. But there are some who, including those, who are in swing districts like Congressman David Valadao of California from a district that Joe Biden won. He's not there yet in endorsing Donald Trump.


RAJU: Are you endorsing Trump yet?

REP. DAVID VALADAO (R), CALIFORNIA: I've already said multiple different times, I'm not planning on getting involved in anything presidential.

RAJU: With that being, I mean, when you voted to impeach him --

VALADAO: So, again, like I said multiple different times, I'm not getting involved in anything presidential, so thank you.


RAJU: Valadao was one of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump after the January 6, 2021 insurrection. You've actually seen Trump in some ways defend his efforts -- everything that happened on January 6, defend the people who have been arrested, calling them hostages on the campaign trail.

That had been a big theme of his rallies. So it just shows you the strategy he is employing to try to take back the White House. It's a base strategy. It's not necessarily a pivot to the middle strategy. We'll see if it ultimately works.

FREEMAN: Manu, I'm curious, you know, we're heading towards yet somehow another partial shutdown deadline. Can you tell us what are our chances do you think of avoiding a government shutdown?

RAJU: You know, Congress can certainly stumble into one. This has been a very ugly episode in the 118th Congress. Their basic job is to fund the federal government, but they have lurched from near shutdown to near shutdown, kicked the can down the road in short term extension after short term extension.

This includes a significant portion of the federal government funding for the Defense Department, Homeland Security Department, other major federal agencies. They still have not put out the actual legislative language, a text, that they -- the appropriations bills that are needed to fund the federal government and the deadline is Friday.

And there are some people on the right who are pushing the Speaker of the House to demand even more from Democrats in these negotiations, including warning that -- or suggesting that they should -- the Speaker should embrace talk of a shutdown.


RAJU: Should he be willing to shut the government down over that?

REP. RALPH NORMAN (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Absolutely. That's what I'm advocating for.


RAJU: And the question is, will it actually end up that way? The leadership does not anticipate there will be a shutdown. They believe they can ultimately get a deal and put this messy episode behind them as they try to pivot to the election year, but Speaker Johnson himself dealing with his own internal challenges.

A number of Republicans in primary races are targeting other sitting Republican members in trying to defeat them in their primaries. It just shows you the larger tension that is going on in the House GOP at this key moment. Guys?

WALKER: And lastly, what's on tap for Inside Politics Sunday, Manu?

RAJU: Yes, well, good day, dive deeper into the dynamics within the House GOP. Speaker Johnson telling us about how he's trying to clamp down on those member on member clashes and primaries. We get into the concerns about that are in the Senate GOP about Donald Trump's effort to prop up a key candidate ahead of an Ohio Senate primary that is central to their efforts to take back the majority.

We'll dig a little deeper into Trump's campaign strategy as well, and plus bring in new interview from Joe Manchin, who doesn't shut the door completely about changing his mind about his retirement decision come this year. So that's all coming up in a matter of minutes, guys.

FREEMAN: Manu Raju, thank you very much.

And, of course, you can catch much more with Manu coming up on Inside Politics Sunday. That's coming up at the top of the hour, 8:00 right here on CNN.

Switching gears now, in New Jersey, police arrested a 26-year-old suspect after an hourslong armed standoff on Saturday. The suspect, Andre Gordon, is accused of killing three people, including his 13- year-old sister, in Falls Township, Pennsylvania.


JENNIFER SCHOM, BUCKS COUNTY ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Preliminary investigation determined that 26-year-old Andre Gordon driving a stolen vehicle which was carjacked from Trenton, New Jersey, earlier in the morning. Forcibly broke into the residence after which he shot and killed his 52-year-old stepmother, Karen Gordon, and his 13-year- old sister, Kera Gordon, who lived at the residence. There were three other individuals at the residence, including a minor inside the home who were able to hide and avoid being shot by Gordon as he went through the house searching for them. Following the shootings at approximately 9:01 a. m., Gordon drove to the unit block of Edgewood Lane, Levittown, where he forcibly broke into a residence after which he shot and killed 25-year-old Taylor Daniel, with whom he has two children.



FREEMAN: Authorities say Gordon then carjacked a car at gunpoint and fled to Trenton, New Jersey, where he barricaded himself in a home. And after an hourslong standoff, Gordon was actually arrested a few blocks from the home where police believed he was barricaded inside.

All right, coming up, a state of emergency is in effect in Iceland right now. The most powerful volcano eruption in months is forcing hundreds of people from their homes this morning. More of this incredible video coming up.

WALKER: Also, an unprecedented deal could help drive down sky high home prices inside the settlement that could save home buyers and sellers tens of thousands of dollars.

Plus, it's time to break out those college basketball brackets. Coy Wire checks in with a preview of Selection Sunday a little later on CNN This Morning.



FREEMAN: Right now, a volcano is erupting in Iceland, spewing ash and lava into the air. You can see it right there on your screen. A geophysicist who surveyed the eruption says it's the most powerful one so far. Officials have ordered evacuations in a nearby town and at the famous Blue Lagoon. Despite the eruption, Iceland's airports remain unaffected and are operating as usual.

Also right now, the U.S. Embassy in Haiti is coordinating flights for American citizens to return to the U.S. as gang violence escalates. Americans with valid passports can fly back to the U.S. providing that the local security conditions remain stable in Haiti's second largest city. The airport about 120 miles away in the capital is still shut down this morning.

WALKER: CNN is the only major network news outlet reporting from Port- au-Prince, Haiti. This morning, David Culver shares a glimpse into one of the neighborhoods affected by Haiti's gang conflict.


DAVID CULVER, CNN SENIOR U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Neighbors protecting neighbors. That's essentially what this has become here in Port-au-Prince just to survive. And this is one community that we're in that feels rather safe. And that's just because several blocks out, you've got perimeter after perimeter that is set up by the community and works with the police.

So the police essentially allow the community to do what they need to do to set up these blocks at entries and exits. And the community in turn helps empower the police so that they can then do their patrols. But for many of them, it's about setting these up to block what is not far from here, and that is an expanding gang territory. One that has been trying to encroach on this community in particular many times over the past year or so.

And it got to a point where community members, according to one police commander, had to take justice into their own hands, and they were able to take into custody 14 suspected gang members. They then executed those gang members right in the middle of the street. It was a very public display, but for them, it was to send a message to other gang members to keep out of their community.

It hasn't stopped the gangs from trying to push further and further in. But for the folks who live here, it's a everyday life has gotten increasingly difficult. We see a few street vendors, but not many. We were here three weeks ago. Many of the sidewalks were filled with street vendors folks. Now, simply don't have things to sell.

And so they've resorted to trying to secure as best as possible using the police's help. Some of the supply lines trying to bring water and food into areas like this. I asked some of the community members, how is it that they're able to stay afloat. And he said, we rely on each other. Essentially, they will have some of these community members go door to door, collecting food, maybe some money, some water.

And then that provides some substance for the folks who are securing these communities. If you ask who's in charge, they look around and they say no one. That's why they've taken matters into their own hands. If you ask what do you need, what can help Haiti in this moment, the first thing that most folks have told us is for the international community to not intervene in the way they have in the past.

Instead, they want help in the form of aid. They also say that they need some sort of security backup. What that looks like, they didn't really articulate. Folks really didn't want to go into too much detail in trying to explain what that added security might come in the form of. But for most here, it's just about trying to figure out how to get to tomorrow.

And knowing that tonight could bring another round of violence.

David Culver, CNN, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.


FREEMAN: All right, coming up next, it is the final hours of voting in the Russia presidential election. And it's pretty much a foregone conclusion that Putin will secure a fifth term. We're going to take you live to Moscow.

But first, New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey admitted to a gay affair and resigned from office, you might remember. But was that a cover up for something even more scandalous? A new episode of "United States of Scandal" premieres tonight. Here's a preview.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jim McGreevey was a very young, aggressive politician and wanted to be governor for a long time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He'd gone to Georgetown Law School. He was a bright guy, and he also was a very ambitious guy. He was kind of a back slapping kind of guy. He wanted to be liked. He wanted you to like him.

JIM MCGREEVEY, FORMER GOVERNOR OF NEW JERSEY: Thank you. You made my day. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Jim clearly wanted to be governor and would do anything to get that job.

MCGREEVEY: Part of it was because I believe in the promise of America. I believe there's this great experiment known as American Democracy, and I think I can work well with people. So much of it is also fueled by, you know, ego and self. But I knew that these were, at that time, two mutually exclusive narratives.


FREEMAN: "United States of Scandal" with Jake Tapper airs tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.



WALKER: The final day of voting in Russia's presidential election is underway. The first since Russia invaded Ukraine two years ago.

FREEMAN: Vladimir Putin is running for what will likely become an unprecedented fifth, six-year term and voter turnout is reportedly at about 60 percent. However, there have been some reports of civil disobedience at the polls. Fires were set inside and outside some polling sites. And one person was seen dumping black dye into a ballot box.

CNN Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Matthew Chance is live for us in Moscow. Matthew, tell us what you're seeing there.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CHIEF GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Danny, the voting which has been taking place for the past three days in Russia hasn't gone off quite as smoothly as the Kremlin would perhaps have liked. There have been these individual cases of people trying to disrupt voting in various locations across the country.

You mentioned some of the sorts of things that have been going on. There have been arson attacks at polling stations with people throwing Molotov cocktails or petrol bombs or setting fire to polling booths inside the actual voting centers. There have been people pouring sort of dye, paint or ink, or antiseptic dye into the polling boxes, the voting boxes, to ruin the votes that have already been cast.

The election authorities say some 214 voting boxes, ballot boxes, have been ruined as a result of that kind of action. There's also been quite an interesting protest today on the last day of the voting, at midday local time across the various Russian regions. The team of Alexei Navalny, the late Russian opposition leader, called on people, urged people to go to polling stations at that exact time so they could see each other in a sort of, you know, in a way of sort of showing some defiance without actually breaking the very strict rules here.

I can tell you, we were at one polling station here in Moscow and over the period of about five minutes around about 12:00, many people came out, maybe 150 people, maybe a few more came out at one time and formed a line to go into that polling station. I spoke to some of them about why they'd come.

They can't express, you know, kind of political opinions. And of course the rules are so strict here. People don't want to say they're involved in any kind of protest, but take a listen to what a couple of people there had to say.


CHANCE: Why do you come now to cast your vote?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because they come too.

CHANCE: And you wanted to see all these people?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we wanted to come together and see each other in person.

CHANCE: OK, fair enough. Thank you very much.


CHANCE: They wanted to come and see everyone else that was there. Another woman spoke to me and said she hadn't seen queues, lines this long for people to cast their ballots in Russia for the whole of her life. And so it's something that's sort of relatively significant.

Having said that, you know, look, none of these sporadic protests across the country are likely to distort the outcome of this election. The Kremlin has set it up so that Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, is going to win a fifth presidential term. And as I say, these protests are not going to do much to derail that effort. Back to you.

FREEMAN: Matthew Chance, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

WALKER: Well, many Russians who live abroad say they are using their freedom to express their opinions more openly.

Frederik Pleitgen, CNN Senior International Correspondent, is at a pro-democracy protest near the Russian embassy in Berlin. Obviously, people can speak much more freely there. What are they telling you?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Amara. Yes, more freely and much more loudly as you can hear behind me. That is one of the big protests here outside the Russian embassy where a lot of opposition people are speaking, they're on stage.

And you can see, if we pan over there real quickly, you can see there is actually quite a sizable crowd here outside the embassy. A lot of them obviously saying that they believe that this election is not legitimate. A lot of them calling on Western leaders not to recognize Vladimir Putin as the president of Russia.

Of course, they also believe that this election is going to go the way that many people think it's going to go, and that Vladimir Putin most probably will win by a landslide, But it's interesting that you mentioned the fact that people obviously can speak much more freely here because that is basically the main message of the folks on stage.

But you also have something very similar to what Matthew was just showing you there as well, obviously in a bit of a different setting. If we go over here, I can show you, I'm actually standing right across from the Russian embassy in Berlin. And you can see here also, there is a long queue of people who have showed up around midday.

Obviously, the opposition, especially the one that was led by Alexei Navalny now led by Alexei Navalny's widow, calling on people to come around midday and to go into the polling places and then to vote for anybody but Vladimir Putin. So, you can see very large crowds. They actually go on for, I would say, about -- probably like 500, 600 meters around the block.


So, certainly, those signs of protests appear to be happening here as well. Of course, the folks on that side of the street also not saying why exactly they decided to come here at exactly midday. But on the whole, you can see protests like this, not just here in Berlin, of course, but in other cities around Europe and, of course, around the world as well. You can see right now they are chanting, once again, against this election and against Vladimir Putin. Amara.

WALKER: Yes, what a real split screen moment. And, you know, when you're hearing from the protesters there versus the people that spoke to Matthew Chance, you could only say we hear -- well, we came or just to see the other people. Clearly very restricted on what they can say. Frederik Pleitgen, thanks so much. Up next, good news for people in the housing market. The days of paying that six percent commission may soon be over. We'll explain why and what it can mean for you.



FREEMAN: Let's take a look at some of the other headlines we're following this morning. In New Mexico, the manhunt continues for a 32- year-old man who, authorities say, shot and killed a police officer who offered to help a driver in a disabled vehicle.

Police issued an arrest warrant for Jeremy Smith of Marion, South Carolina, and say he's considered armed and dangerous. He allegedly shot New Mexico State Police Officer Justin Hare around 5:00 a.m. on Friday. The suspect is also linked to another killing of a 52-year-old South Carolina paramedic.

And in Indianapolis, authorities have arrested 25-year-old Nicholas Fulk in connection to a nightclub shooting that left one person dead and five others injured. The shooting happened at a popular nightclub early Saturday morning where police arrived on scene to find five men with gunshot wounds. A sixth victim made his way to a hospital. Now, the incident is just one of 77 mass shootings that have happened here in the U.S. in the first three months of 2024.

WALKER: The standard six percent commission on home sales could be gone as part of a major change by the National Association of Realtors. Now, the organization settled lawsuits by agreeing to pay $418 million and changing rules to make buying and selling homes cheaper. This agreement is subject to a judge's approval. The new policies would include banning the inclusion of agents' fees and listings. And buyers' brokers would need written agreements with their clients.

Joining us now is Max Besbris. He is the associate professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He's also the author of "Upsold: Real Estate Agents, Prices, and Neighborhood Integrity." Max, great to see you this morning. I mean, this is seismic, is it not? And clearly a huge win for consumers.

MAX BESBRIS, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY: This is definitely a big win for consumers. How big of a change and how fast of a change it's going to be, I think, remains to be seen. But for now, we're looking at a lot more flexibility and negotiability for both homebuyers and home sellers.

WALKER: I do want to talk more about the impact of this. But in terms of timing, if the judge approves this, how soon could we see commission rates going down and by how much?

BESBRIS: It's a really good question. I think it's an open one. What consumers should absolutely know is that immediately they should be questioning what their real estate agents are saying are their fees and commission structure. So, before this lawsuit, if you are a home seller, your real estate agent would say, you know what, I'm going to collect six percent of whatever the final price is at the end, and I'm going to split that with the buyers' agent. Those have now been decoupled.

So, the seller's agents fee and the buyer's agents fee are now completely separate. And so, if you're a home seller, you should absolutely feel free to say to your agent, look, what are you charging? Why are you charging that? How much work are you putting into listing this house?

And the same is absolutely true for buyers as well. Before buyer's agents would say, well, you know, don't worry about how I get paid. I get paid on the final sale of whatever house you buy. Now. I think that's going to shift and buyers should be saying to their real estate agents, this is what I'm expecting. You know, this is the kind of amount of work that I'm looking for. And this is what I think that work is worth.

WALKER: And talk to me about, you know, how much Americans have been paying in real estate agent commission fees over the years? And how this elimination of the rule of the six percent commission fee, how that could impact the affordability of homes for buyers.

BESBRIS: So, just in terms of pure numbers, it's pretty astronomical. By most estimates, U.S. homebuyers and sellers spent about 100 billion dollars in real estate commissions just last year. And so, that's a massive amount of money. It's a massive pressure on the housing market to keep prices up.


What I think this lawsuit does is hopefully reduce the incentive that real estate agents have for what's sometimes called upselling, what's sometimes called steering, which is trying to show their buyers more and more expensive houses, because they know that their commission is going to be bigger.

And so, taking away this incentive might be one of the ways that some of that pressure is that upward pressure, right? There's really a relieve on housing prices right now. In the aggregate if buyers are less incentivized -- buyer's agents are less incentivized to show their clients more expensive homes, the hope is that there's less demand overall for more expensive homes, which might at least slow some of this, you know, astronomical climb that we have been seeing in housing costs in recent years.

WALKER: And as we mentioned earlier, I mean, what triggered this rule elimination of the six percent agent commission fee was this -- the series of lawsuits about antitrust violations. Speak to us in more simple terms about what these lawsuits were about.

BESBRIS: Yes, so these home sellers were claiming that they didn't know that they were expected to pay the buyer's agent at the final sale. And this is something that you hear from a lot of consumers. You know, a couple of surveys have shown that people who have even previously bought and sold homes still don't understand what the commission structure was or is, and why it worked the way that it did.

So, I think what we're going to see is all of these fees become more transparent. I think brokerages are going to be explaining to their agents that they need to be clearer with their clients about why it is that they get paid in the way that they do, or how much work that they do, as a reason for why they get paid.

But I think -- I would caution again that I don't think these changes are going to happen overnight. I think if we really want more fairness in home-buying, I think we're going to need a little bit more regulation, enforcement of these laws. But these lawsuits are really showing that, I think, consumers were fed up with the current commission structure.

WALKER: And I would imagine this is going to affect the way real estate agents approach, you know, selling homes and helping their clients buy homes, right? I mean, because it's going to increase the competition in the marketplace.

BESBRIS: Yes, I think one thing that we might see is actually a lot fewer real estate agents. The number of real estate agents in the United States, you know, fluctuates a lot with home prices. And so, it's not surprising that the National Association of Realtors have the highest number of members in their history as recently as 2022. You know, prices are going up. More and more people think that they can make some money being real estate agents.

I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of these people start to drop out of the market, find other jobs. You know, it's uncertain about how -- whether or not that's going to necessarily be a good thing for consumers if the market becomes, you know, even more dominated by just a few brokerages. But I do think that, you know, this is some pretty severe reputational harm to the occupation of real estate agents and to the National Association of Realtors in particular.

WALKER: Max Besbris, we're going to leave it there. Thank you.

FREEMAN: All right. Just ahead, Massachusetts beaches are fighting a losing battle against rising tides and the toll isn't just a physical one. It's a financial one too. Stay with us.



FREEMAN: Homeowners who live on a disappearing beach in a coastal Massachusetts town banded together to purchase and build a sand dune that was supposed to protect their houses from rising sea levels.

WALKER: Yes, the project cost them $600,000 and it was supposed to protect their homes for the next three years. Well, then one major winter storm washed it all away in just one day.

CNN's Bill Weir has your story.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Over the past half century, the folks in this part of Massachusetts have watched the sea swallow their beach foot by foot, year by year.

JOE ROSSITTO, SALISBURY BEACH RESIDENT SINCE 1966: I have pictures of my kids down there, you know, playing on the ocean, look -- going, shooting up toward the cottages. The cottages were this big. And yet --

WEIR: Because they were so far out.

ROSSITTO: Because you were so far out.

WEIR (voice-over): So, they began fighting back with sand, trucked in by the ton a couple times a decade. Since the state refuses to restore dunes on private property, neighbors banded together to buy $600,000 worth of sand last month, thinking it would defend their homes for at least the next three years. But then came yet another freak storm at King Tide (ph) and over half of it washed away in a single day.

TOM SAAB, PRESIDENT, SALISBURY BEACH CITIZENS FOR CHANGE, RESIDENT SINCE 1971: Everybody lost about 50 percent of what they put in.

WEIR: In a day?

SAAB: In less than a day, right? So -- but they're sacrificial, OK. So, we call them sacrificial dunes. They did their job, only it cost us $300,000.

WEIR: What do you think about long term? You got kids, you got grandkids. I mean, what is Salisbury Beach look like when you look at the sea level rise projections and storm projection.

SAAB: So, I would tell you that back in the early 1970s, people were telling us that, you know, by the year 2000, this beach would be gone. We're here 2024, it's not going. And it's like -- it's -- as long as you keep rebuilding, it's not going to go away.

WEIR: Do you believe in climate change is --

SAAB: No, no, no.

WEIR: -- raising this -- you don't believe in that?

SAAB: No, I don't believe in that. No.

WEIR: Really?

SAAB: I don't think it's climate change.

ROSSITTO: I wasn't a believer in global warming or ocean levels, but -- I mean, historically, there's no precedent to this. So -- I mean, I'm willing to consider things that, you know, previously I could. I'm not sure.

[07:50:00] WEIR (voice-over): Using the tides in the year 2000 as a baseline, the state is officially planning for up to a foot of sea level rise by 2030 and four feet by 2070. And Salisbury Beach is just one of 79 cities and towns in this state within coastal surge zones. Defending them all could cost billions.

WEIR: So, you know, there's hundreds of scientists within an hour driver of here, warning us of what's happening when it comes to a warmer planet.

SAAB: Yes.

WEIR: And what's going to happen to coastal communities like this?

SAAB: Yes.

WEIR: You don't believe them or --

SAAB: No, I -- yes. I'm not a climate change guy. You know, I believe that climate does have some effect. But I don't believe that this beach will be gone and destroyed 20 years from now, 30 years from now.

WEIR: But will it take a million dollars' worth of sand every year to keep it at the current rate?

SAAB: Hey, it may. It might, but you've got a couple of -- you have $2 billion in property here. We just need the state to help with the funding to protect the properties.

WEIR: Mm-hmm.

SAAB: What do you do? Just say, OK, goodbye to $2 billion of property?


WALKER: Wow. Bill Weir, thank you so much for that report.

All right. Still ahead, in the hours, in just mere hours, the best basketball teams in the country learn their roadmap to the final four. And there are certainly a few big-time surprises in the field. Stay with us.



WALKER: OK. So, spring is almost here, but not until winter makes one last stand across parts of the country.

FREEMAN: All right. For more, we got CNN Meteorologist Allison Chinchar. She's following the latest. Allison, where are we seeing these cold temperatures?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: All right. So, it's all based off of this cold front here. But before that cold front really slides through, we've still got to get through one more day of strong to severe thunderstorms.

The main points for today are going to be from Texas all the way over into western Florida. Damaging winds, some large hail, and yes, even some isolated tornadoes. That system will continue to slide east, taking with it the chance of rain and those stronger thunderstorms along the Gulf Coast through the day today.

But once that cold front slides through, you are going to feel that big drop. Tuesday, technically, is the first start to astronomical spring, but it's not going to feel like it for a lot of places. Cincinnati and Cleveland, it's going to feel more like early February. Memphis and Huntsville, more like mid-January.

And that second wave is going to still last for some areas even into Tuesday. Atlanta and Philadelphia, both going to see temperatures Tuesday that are more in tune with February. That first blast of cold air comes down, that's going to push all the way into the southeast. A brief reprieve before that second blast comes in as we head towards the back end of the week.

FREEMAN: Allison Chinchar, thank you so much.

All right, March Madness is about to hit in full force in just about 10 hours or so. The 68 team fields for both the men's and the women's NCAA tournament bracket will be revealed.

WALKER: Coy Wire is here --

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: What's up, lovely people.

WALKER: -- looking dapper, as usual.

WIRE: Thank you very much.

WALKER: My goodness.

WIRE: Hey, who needs reality TV? Who needs love is blind when you have March madness. I mean, three out of the top four teams in the country yesterday, losing. NC State defying all eyes to make the big dance. The Wolfpack, well, they went into their conference tournament as the 10th seed out of 10 -- out of 15 teams. And they likely needed to run the table, but it never struck midnight for these Cinderella's, capping off their fifth win in five nights.

They knocked off North Carolina, the fourth ranked team in the country, 84-76 is the final. Their first ACC title since '87. NC State also getting that automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Senior guard DJ Horne led the way with 29 points. Watch his emotion talking about this win.


DJ HORNE, NC STATE GUARD: I love my brothers. I couldn't play in the first game because I was hurt and they got it done for me. They gave me the opportunity to make this happen. And I wouldn't be here right now, man, if it wasn't for them, man. So, I just want to say, man, shout out Wolfpack Nation, man. The job not done. And like I said from the jump, man, why not us?


WIRE: Number one Houston, they dominated the Big 12 conference all season long, but Iowa State spoils the Cougars first trip to the conference, turning the Cyclones scoring early and up. And they were up by 32 at one point in the second half. They cruised to a 69-41 win. The 28-point margin is the largest over a number one since the '68 final four when UCLA won by 32 over the Cougars as well. Despite the loss, Houston still the betting favorite to be the number one overall seed in the NCAA tournament.

Now, Wisconsin, how about those Badgers? One win away now from punching their ticket, but they had to put in some overtime work against third ranked Purdue to reach the Big 10 title game. Chucky Hepburn coming up clutch at the end of regulation with a layup at the buzzer that forced the O.T.

And then with a, you know, time running down, Hepburn, he gets the ball to Max Klesmit and he drives for the floater, but there's still a chance for Purdue. Lance Jones, he puts up the desperation three wide left, Wisconsin, pulling off the upset 76-75. Badgers will take on Illinois in the title game later this afternoon.

Finally, incredible story unfolding here. Head Coach Dan Monson fired by Long Beach State after 17 seasons there on Monday, and despite their fight being loose in shape, they allowed him to continue coaching in the Big West Conference Tournament. They rallied to win the conference over UC Davis, and that means they're headed to the NCAA Tournament.

Best part of the story, his 90-year-old dad in attendance to see what he thought was maybe his son's last game there for Long Beach State.