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Trump Unable to Come Up with $464 Million Bond; Former WH Advisor Navarro Reports to Prison Today; 25M Face Freeze Warnings, Crops in South Threatened. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired March 19, 2024 - 06:00   ET


KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR: All right. It's Tuesday, March 19, right now on CNN THIS MORNING.


Primary day about to get underway. One Senate race in Ohio could help us learn a lot about what to expect in November.

Donald Trump's mounting legal troubles. The former president's next move after saying he can't pay a court ordered $464 million bond.

And Prince William about to appear in public amid intense speculation about his wife, Kate's, health. What will it take to quiet the royal rumor mill? It's going to take a lot.

All right, 6 a.m. here in Washington. This is a live look at New York City, where some of those buildings are potential collateral for the former president. But he'd have to sell them. That's what's known as an illiquid asset.

Good morning, everyone. I'm Kasie Hunt. It's wonderful to have you with us on this Tuesday morning.

And we do start there. Trouble on two legal fronts for former President Donald Trump.

First, a judge in New York ruling former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and adult film star Stormy Daniels can testify in the former president's hush money trial. Trump's legal team had tried to block them both.

The ex-president's lawyers also announcing he is not able to come up with a court-ordered $464 million bond from his civil fraud trial. Thirty insurance companies refusing to help him, despite frequent claims like this one.



I have a lot of money under this deal.

I have a tremendous income. And the reason I say that is not in a braggadocious way.

I'm turning down millions. I don't want your money.

I don't want anybody's money.

Fortunately, I'm very rich, and here's the good news. I'm very rich. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HUNT: All right. Let's bring in former White House communications director, Kate Bedingfield. Evan Osnos is a staff writer for "The New Yorker." We also have with us at -- Katelyn Polantz, who covers all things legal for us.

Katelyn, thank you for being here. Kate, I've been great to have you guys with us, as well.

Honestly, Katelyn, I want to just dig into this four -- $464 million for a second, and kind of what is next for that. Because there are all these questions about Letitia James, the attorney general. And what is she going to do? And what does this -- I mean, is it padlocks on the doors of Trump Tower? Like, what does it mean for him next?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's a great question. We have a couple of days, still, to see what happens. And there are a number of appeal routes that Donald Trump is trying to take.

There's also something out there where perhaps he may want to make a deal or try and get a loan from a different sort of institution. What we learned yesterday was about 30 insurance brokers who were refusing to underwrite him posting this bond to $464 million.

HUNT: Right.

POLANTZ: When you have a lawsuit and you lose like this, though, you have to figure out something to do. And we're seeing that with Rudy Giuliani, who filed for bankruptcy to try and hold some things off when he got a similarly extremely large judgment against him.

In the Trump sphere, though, Trump has real estate. And the issue with a lot of these underwriters is that they don't want real estate as collateral. They want him to post the cash.

HUNT: Right.

POLANTZ: Which he's saying --

HUNT: I don't have.

POLANTZ: Or I -- they're not willing to underwrite me.

HUNT: Right. Because he's a risk.

POLANTZ: Well, that would be their decision on those underwriters' sides. I mean -- I mean, they did have somebody that is his own insurance broker say that it is an impractical impossibility -- HUNT: Right.

POLANTZ: -- for him to post post a bond like this.

But there are still a couple of days. He is still going to court and try -- trying to hold off these appeals.

But to answer your question, what happens when the deadline comes, and the judgment is final, the winner of the lawsuit, they get to go and collect. They can file liens. They can try and seize assets. They can lock things down. And lawyers move very quickly when they're working in this sphere, trying to collect on a lawsuit.


HUNT: Yes. All right. So let's talk about the politics of all of this, because I think I turned over the -- "The Wall Street Journal" editorial page, looking at this, basically saying -- their headline is "Letitia James Turns the Screws on Trump."

Their argument is essentially, Kate, that this is not -- that he is being treated unfairly, that she is basically going after him. She's picking on him. It's a political -- for political reasons, that the judgment is so large that it is, like, unfair and seemingly, obviously unfair.

In fact, I don't know what happened to my "New York Post." It's around here somewhere.


HUNT: No, it's buried here.

High -- "High Seize: James Plots to Take Trump's Buildings, Help Democrats by Bankrupting the Don.

What -- what is your view of this particular case and how it helps or hurts the arguments that Trump is out there making to voters --


HUNT: -- that the system is against him.

BEDINGFIELD: Yes. Well I -- look, I think this is an argument for the Republican base. And it's one he's made quite effectively to the Republican base.

I think, you know, two years ago, the sense was that there wasn't really a chance that Donald Trump could be the Republican nominee. And in part, I would argue he is because he's effectively made this case that, you know, the system's out to get him, and he's taking it on. And he'll take it on on your behalf.

It -- it works with republic -- with the Republican base. It works with the MAGA base. I do not believe this is an effective general election argument, and I think that this creates two problems for him. I mean, first of all, the more he is mired in legal proceedings, the

harder it is for him to talk about anything else. And, you know, there was some pulling over the weekend that showed that, you know, a conviction in the Stormy Daniels case would have an impact on a subset of voters. There's kind of been conventional wisdom that it's like the Jack Smith case or nothing. And voters don't care about anything else.

HUNT: Right.

BEDINGFIELD: But I don't -- I think, again, this data over the weekend showed that it's not true. I also just think for -- you know, for him to be mired in -- in legal proceedings, it makes it hard for him to talk about anything else. It reminds people that, for him, this is all about him. You know, running for president is really all about him.

And then of course, there's the fact that this case is about putting the lie to the notion that he's very rich. I mean, this kind of goes --

HUNT: Well, that's the piece of it that I --

BEDINGFIELD: This goes to one of the arguments that he -- that sort of makes or that he believes makes him who he is.

HUNT: I mean, I've got to say, like, if I -- if I'm thinking like Trump's a billionaire, I'm like, your average -- Some of them watched "The Celebrity Apprentice." Maybe doesn't, like, engage in politics. Oh, he can't pay $464 million. Maybe he's not as rich as he said he was.

EVAN OSNOS, STAFF WRITER, "THE NEW YORKER": yes, I do think there's a way in which this dents the illusion of Teflon, the idea that there is literally nothing that can get Donald Trump.

And look, it's not the most relatable dilemma that he's. That, in the end, is a problem for him. He's trying to have this visceral connection with people, and this is not helping.

POLANTZ: It's also so unusual to get to the end of a lawsuit, especially in Trump's world, because it's so much about elongating the process. And finally, we're here in this case, and there's a judgment. Now what?

HUNT: Yes. Well, and just to be clear, too, Katelyn, I mean, this is the one thing I keep -- I keep tripping on. He's got to do this if he wants to appeal the judgment, correct?

POLANTZ: There is -- yes. So you have to post bond if you want to continue your appeals, because you have to be able to assure the court system that, if you lose on appeal, you're still going to pay or do whatever you're going to need to do.

So when you get to the point where you lose a lawsuit like this, and there is a financial finding, there's only two routes, really. It's appeal and put up the money so you can keep going in the court system, or just pay. HUNT: Pay. Pay up.

POLANTZ: Or you lose. The people collect.

HUNT: Last words.

BEDINGFIELD: There's another little political element here, too, which is that, you know, Trump has now installed members of his family at the RNC, who are, like, actively raising money in his defense.

So there's also -- you know, he's going to voters, essentially, or his party, his apparatus is going to voters and saying, you know, help me pay.

And that's -- I just -- I can't fathom that that's a particularly effective argument.

HUNT: Well, maybe that's all --

BEDINGFIELD: For their hard-earned money.

HUNT: All the meetings with people, last names like Musk and Allison. You never know.

All right. Our panel comes back in just a second.

Today, Ohio Republicans select their party's candidate for a key Senate seat. One of those candidates, Frank LaRose, will join us to discuss what's been a pretty nasty race.

Plus, CNN on the ground in Haiti, where the situation is becoming more dangerous and chaotic.

Plus, a former Trump White House adviser is reporting to federal prison today. We'll explain.



HUNT: Welcome back. Former Trump White House adviser Peter Navarro set to make history today by becoming the first former White House official ever to be jailed for contempt of Congress.

Navarro is expected to request a cell in a wing for elderly inmates. And he hopes to work in the jail library. Happens to be air- conditioned there, which is a nice perk apparently in the Miami heat.

Our panel back with us.

Katelyn, so he's going into the lion's den, I guess, here. What do we expect to see today? And let's also dig into this. You know, what was the argument he made? The other person that's been held in contempt is Steve Bannon, who was also tied up in all of this. He is not going to jail today. What's the difference?

POLANTZ: Yes. So Kasie, jail is nothing -- Prison.

HUNT: Excuse me, it's prison.

POLANTZ: It's prison. Nothing to sneeze at. It's very serious for anyone to spend any time in prison.

Peter Navarro is going to be there for four months. It's the same sentence that Steve Bannon received for the same conviction: refusing to testify to Congress, refusing to turn over documents in the House January 6 probe.


In this situation, Peter Navarro just didn't present evidence in court that he had a claim of executive privilege, even though he was working in the Trump White House at the end of the presidency. He just had nothing to show in court to be able to refute this idea.

Whereas Steve Bannon had a letter from his lawyer, and this sort of squishy claim from Trump that he should not talk about what he was doing for him.

So there is a difference there legally.

But I talked to Peter Navarro's prison consultant. That's someone that you can hire to help you prepare --

HUNT: Prison consultant?

POLANTZ: -- for the experience. Yes. This is a thing.

HUNT: You guys know this was a career?

BEDINGFIELD: I sure did not.

POLANTZ: They're actually -- there's a couple of guys in the country there. They know a lot about the different prisons and how they work.

Navarro is going to a satellite camp in Miami. He is 74, so he's going to be asking to be in an elderly dorm. He's going to not want to be out in the Miami heat working. He has to get a job in prison, so they're going to see if he can be like a law librarian in or something like that. He is an economist.

And there are people on the inside that the prison consultant is also connected to that will help him acclimate. It's next to the zoo. You can hear the lions roar in Miami.

But there's a big deal here, too, in that it's not just about Peter Navarro. This is a huge moment for Congress, because they finally got to enforce a subpoena, or they didn't get to enforce the subpoena. He never actually turned over the documents or testified, but they finally had some sort of hammer come down.

He's going to jail, and also there a lot of people in the Donald Trump sphere that have gone through the court system and have been released. OSNOS: I do think if -- if there's one message that this sends, it's

if you're thinking about going to work for Donald Trump in a potential second administration, this is the logical consequence in the end.

And it's -- it's not abstract. You know, this is history-making. This is -- Peter Navarro was a Harvard-trained economist who was a professor in California, got involved in the Trump movement, in a way, and ended up, at the end of this long process, waiting for Donald Trump to come out and corroborate his claim so that he might be able to avoid prison. It didn't happen.

And here's where he's going. He's going to prison in Miami.

HUNT: Yes. I mean, we sort of joked about how people, in -- like, first, they came to Washington. First, they got a job. Then they got a lawyer in the last administration.


HUNT: Seems like you'd better have one.

BEDINGFIELD: I mean -- I mean, essentially, Peter Navarro wrote -- is in all of this trouble, well, one, because he supported and -- and spoke positively about the insurrection. Let's not lose sight of how serious the --

HUNT: Sure.

BEDINGFIELD: -- the, you know, the allegation is here. He was stoking, essentially, an attempted coup. So, you know, to my mind, prison time appropriate for that.

But it is interesting. I mean, he essentially, you know, he wrote about it in his book. And I sort of, I have this -- this curious theory that Trump just essentially wouldn't -- wouldn't back him up, because he didn't want to give him credit for it. You know?

HUNT: We are living in remarkable times, part 745. Katelyn Polantz, thank you very much for being here.

All right, up next here, CNN on the ground in Haiti, where machete- wielding gangs have taken over, cutting off food and water to the capital city. We're going to have exclusive reporting next.

Plus, why former President Obama was in London yesterday visiting No. 10 Downing Street.



HUNT: All right. Gangs and machete-wield -- wielding vigilantes, unleashing new violence in Haiti, turning the capital into basically a war zone.

This video was shot by a CNN team on the ground in Port-au-Prince. It shows the devastation and the human toll. The CNN team dodges massive craters in the streets and piles of burning trash.

Police say gang attacks killed at least ten people on Monday. Communities running out of food and basic necessities.

The U.S. evacuating Americans on a charter flight over the weekend, the main airport still shut down. The State Department says they're going to send more flights if they're needed.

All right. Now, to weather. That more frigid air moving across much of the South. Twenty-five million people under freeze warnings. The system also threatening crops in the South.

Our Weatherman van Dam joins us with more on this.

Derek, good morning.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Kasie, you know the term you got to pay to play, right? You've probably heard that.

HUNT: Sure.

VAN DAM: Well, most of us this winter have been kind of basking up the warm weather that we've enjoyed, but there's real economic impacts. Because the U.S., with this warmest winter on record. So coming off the heels of that, what that did is it sends a signal to things like tree blossoms, fruit blossoms. They come out too early.

And then we get a late-season freeze like we're having and experiencing now. And that becomes problematic, because that could actually kill the crops.

Of course, a warm winter has impacts on winter businesses like skiing and snowboarding.

And don't forget about the potential of insects, you know, them just surviving through warmer temperatures without getting that freeze -- that the normal cycle that we will get, we wouldn't be able to kill off, let's say, mosquitoes for instance.

So the late season freeze that we are feeling across the Deep South all the way through the Midwest and eventually towards the East Coast, is problematic, because it is going to impact, let's say, the peach crops in Georgia for the second year in a row.

And yes, if you look at the calendar, March 19. Today is the spring equinox. That means spring begins. We have equal day and night across the Northern and Southern Hemisphere. But it will feel nothing like spring across much of the country.

In fact, roughly 60 percent of the U.S. experiencing temperatures below freezing over the next week or so, including a wide swath, 800- mile stretch from Eastern Texas all the way to North Carolina. This includes Atlanta.

You see another blast of arctic air that will settle in across the East Coast. So be prepared. It is a late season cold snap for many locations.


HUNT: Grab your -- your parkas for the first day of spring. Our Weatherman van Dam.

VAN DAM: Dust off those coats you put in the closet.

HUNT: Thank you very much for that.

VAN DAM: All right.

HUNT: I'll see you tomorrow.

All right. Coming up next, Donald Trump claiming that any Jewish person who votes for Democrats hates their religion and hates Israel. We'll discuss that.

Plus why a pro-Trump lawyer who tried to overturn the 2020 election was just arrested.


HUNT: Welcome back. President Biden speaking with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the first time in over a month, highlighting a key focal point of tension between the two leaders: how to handle Rafah.