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CNN This Morning

New York Preparing To Seize Donald Trump Properties If He Can't Pay; Gen Z Pushes Back On Lawmakers' TikTok Concerns; CNN Poll: No Clear Leader In Pennsylvania, Donald Trump Leads Michigan; How Your Phone Could Change After Landmark Lawsuit. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired March 22, 2024 - 06:30   ET





JIMMY FALLON, NBC "THE TONIGHT SHOW" HOST: Get this, the New York Attorney General is also preparing to seize Trump's Westchester golf course.

Yes, say the attorney general showed up at his golf course and yelled foreclosure. Foreclosure.


KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR: Very clever. All right, if Donald Trump is unable to post a $464 million bond in his civil fraud case by Monday, the former president's private estate and golf course in Westchester County, New York, could be seized by the state. From the newly available records, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed judgments in the suburban county earlier this month, indicating the state's preparing to seize those properties.

Trump now has four days to post that bond, convince an appeals court to let him post a smaller bond or defer the payment until after his appeal. The panel is back with us.

Sarah Longwell, we were kind of debating this yesterday in terms of like how this cuts if this actually goes forward, and Letitia James starts like putting proverbial padlocks on these properties. I mean, what do you think she should do?

SARAH LONGWELL, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I mean, I think she should follow the law. And if he's not paying his bond, and if that is the result of a lifetime of swindling people and cheating people, and that makes them not want to put up bond for him, then so be it.

And look, politically, I've sort of generally on all this legal stuff, I'm just like, do the right thing, do what the law dictates and the politics, you know, there's only so much you can think about it. That is true that the base voters will throw back their heads and howl about this, that's what the base does. And it causes them to rally around him to see him as a victim. But for, you know, people who've only pay so much attention who are kind of the swing voters, what they see is, oh, man, the guy is getting foreclosed on. And it really undercuts some of his, I'm a super rich guy. And I think it highlights the fact that he has been a cheat, that he has been convicted of things.

And so, I think the idea that it broadly helps him is wrong. I think it narrowly helps him with the people who are already inclined to warn him. I think it chips away at the people who are skeptical of him.


HUNT: Yeah. So, I want to show you something that Trump's lawyer in this case, Alina Habba, had to say about or didn't have to say when she was asked on Fox News. This is again goes to the question, how is Trump potentially going to put up this bond? She was asked directly about whether foreign governments or foreigners could potentially pay it. Watch what she -- just think about what she's not saying, watch.


MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: Is there any effort on the part of your team to secure this money through another country, Saudi Arabia or Russia as Joy Behar seems to think?

ALINA HABBA, LEGAL SPOKESPERSON FOR DONALD TRUMP: Well, there's rules and regulations that are public, I can't speak about strategy that requires certain things and we have to follow those rules. Like I said, this is manifest injustice, it is impossible. It's an impossibility. I believe they knew that.


HUNT: What did she not say? She did not say no. She did not say no.

JOHN BRESNAHAN, CO-FOUNDER, PUNCHBOWL NEWS: But he could go to -- Donald Trump has a lot of rich friends, he could go to one of them.

But think about this, if he were to do this, and he's elected president, you have one person or a foreign government having this kind of leverage over a president of the United States is shocking. But this was always the issue with like the Trump Hotel. This is the issue with Jared Kushner now. He's doing deals -- real estate deals overseas. You know, are they doing deals as a way to get money to Trump?

I mean, this is -- this is because Trump could never separate -- or would never separate his business from his political life. And this is what you have.

HUNT: Right. Very briefly.

KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Again, I think it raises a lot of questions. How's he going to find the money and where does it come from? And then we'll be watching. And what do those whoever gives it to him, what do they want for whatever it is they give him? HUNT: I don't understand why it's hard to say no. That the Russians --

like the foreign governments are not going to pay the money and she did not, she did not say no.

All right, now this, Capitol police looking into an uptick in threats and concerning messages. The Washington Post reporting that the surge began after TikTok started urging its users to contact their lawmakers about a possible ban of the app. Threats like this one, which was made against Senator Thom Tillis.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you ban TikTok, I will find you a shoot you. That's people's job. And that's my only entertainment.

And people make money off there too, you know. I'm trying to get rich like that.

Anyways, I'll shoot you and find you and cut you into pieces. Bye.


HUNT: Not great, Bres. Is this backfiring on TikTok?

BRESNAHAN: Oh, yes. Members definitely were -- have been very upset it happened before the House vote on the TikTok bill. Now you're seeing it on Senate side. We did have in a period after January 6th, there was a huge surge of threats against member there, they had to start protecting the public. You see member -- individual members getting, you know, enormous protection, which they needed.

And now, it receded somewhat. But this has brought it back out into the fore. I think some of this is just -- I mean, this is just idiocy here. I'm -- I -- but I do think what would TikTok do, the pressure campaign that they've tried to use their own TikTok users to call members and pressure them. And when they have this, this doesn't help them.

HUNT: Right. Well, I mean, I get what the argument is, they're upset and concerned about the national security implications of the app being able to influence people in their politics. I mean, they just sort of proved the point.

BRESNAHAN: Right, they did cause threats to shoot a senator, yes.

HUNT: Right, yes. So, Sarah Longwell, you are always out talking to voters and sort of gauging what they think. And you had a fascinating focus group of people on this topic on TikTok, and we pulled together a couple of the responses from some of the young people you talk to, let's watch, or listen, I'm sorry.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What, you're worried about a silly little app? I just find that ridiculous. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This has to do with the fact that a lot of the

support for Palestine is coming from that app. And they don't like the fact that a lot of people are now more knowledgeable politics-wise because of TikTok.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Obviously, we do have more pressing issues that the government should be addressing.


HUNT: Progressive generation z Biden voters. Very interesting. What else did you learn?

LONGWELL: So, you know, we did both a group of progressive young people on TikTok and a conservative group of young people on TikTok, and they sound very similar to one another. Both a little conspiratorial about why the government wants to get rid of TikTok, they think it is because our government wants to withhold information from them. The conservative said, that's where I get my vaccine information. And the progressives are saying, this is where I'm getting my information about Gaza.

And, you know, they thought that the government is trying to suppress things. And so, the -- and the other thing is, they really were repeating back what TikTok is telling them about why our government wants to ban TikTok.

And one of the things they are really focused on is the idea that these content creators, it's their job, it's how they make money. And so, and this is one of the things TikTok has been putting out there. You even heard it in that clip. And people think like, that is how I'm trying to make money because people now, these young people see that influencer style as a career that lots of people they know do. And so they see it as removing a, like an employment, access to employment, which is exactly what TikTok has been telling them this is about.


FINNEY: Yes. Interesting. A Chinese owned company telling young people, yes, be online. And that's how you're going to make money. And that's how you're going to be famous.

It's always intriguing to me that we're so willing to give up our data and information when it comes to an app, whether it's TikTok, whether it's you know, pick your poison, right, Twitter.

And yet, when people think it, like you said, the government, that's when they get nervous, right? It's like, but you're already giving it away, and they're making money off of you, people -- how people don't make that connection.

But clearly, there's a generational divide here that lawmakers are going to have to figure out, how do you bridge that gap?

HUNT: Are they going to do it, Bres? Are they going to do it in the Senate? BRESNAHAN: I don't know, I mean, there's -- we had a story this week

at Punchbowl. We did a story this week. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo was calling commerce -- the Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell about this. I don't know. I think it's up in the air. I don't think it'll be the House bill that'll pass.

HUNT: Right.

BRESNAHAN: It might be a different version where the government has to decide whether the commerce or some other agency decides what they do. I don't know.

But I do think the point you raised, this is what fascinates me, you even have younger members of Congress saying this is wrong. And there is a split on the left and the right.

I do think the thing about what's so powerful about TikTok and I think members missed and I think it misses, its people their own age talking to them, and that it's not a sitting here talking to them. It's people their own age talk. And for them --

HUNT: Not when they're watching videos.

BRESNAHAN: Exactly. And they find that more believable that we sit there talking to them. And also, none of these people read newspapers, which just kills me, but they don't read newspapers.

HUNT: I like to read newspapers.

BRESNAHAN: My whole life is newspapers, but these young kids don't read newspapers the way we read.

LONGWELL: They do get their news on TikTok, that's what they said.

BRESNAHAN: They get their news -- which is a huge problem. Yes.

HUNT: All right. Our panel sticks around. Right now, Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Tel Aviv making a push for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, we'll bring you that.

Plus, brand new CNN polling from two key battleground states on the Biden-Trump rematch.



HUNT: All right, 46 minutes past the hour. Here's your Morning Roundup, Secretary of State Antony Blinken meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his war cabinet in Tel Aviv, while CIA director Bill Burns is in Doha to meet with Israeli Qatari and Egyptian officials to discuss hostage negotiations and a Gaza ceasefire.

The Republican led House panel now suing two Justice Department tax attorneys in an effort to compel their testimony in the Hunter Biden probe. The lawsuit alleges that the attorneys defied subpoenas.

An Alabama woman apologizing in court for faking her own kidnapping last year, Carlee Russell pleaded guilty to making a false police report. She was sentenced to probation community service and an $18,000 fine.


CHIEF NICK DERZIS, BESSEMER, ALABAMA POLICE: I'm very disappointed in the -- in the decision not to give any jail time.

You know, she gave an apology today and unfortunately, to me, it's like a seven, eight months late.


HUNT: Russell told the judge that she was dealing with, "various emotional issues and stress."

A huge March Madness upset last night, 14th seat Oakland knocking off three seat Kentucky 80 to 76. Oakland's win powered by Jack Gohlke who became the fifth player in NCAA history to make 10 three pointers in a single game.

If your brackets busted, my bracket is pretty busted at this point. I got to be honest.

All right, we got brand new CNN polling in from two states that could very well determine the outcome of the election in November. Voters in Pennsylvania and Michigan more dissatisfied than pleased with the Trump-Biden rematch. No surprise.

Couldn't be closer in Pennsylvania, 46 percent each. Biden's strong there among women and voters of color. But it's a different story in Michigan where Trump is currently holding an eight point advantage with strong support from independents and young voters.

Joining us now, CNN political commentator and the host of CNN's "SMERCONISH", Michael Smerconish.

Michael, I love hanging out with you on Friday. Thanks for being here.

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Thank you for saying that, Kasie, I'm thrilled to be here as well.

HUNT: So, you're a native son of Pennsylvania, I grew up mostly in the Philadelphia suburbs. What do you make of the tie there and the difference between the Pennsylvania numbers and the ones in Michigan? What about Michigan makes it different?

SMERCONISH: I was surprised by the disparity as well, because I tend to see them in similar terms, similar composition of the electorate.

Let me say one thing as a preamble, and not to be a Debbie Downer. But let's remember this, in 1980, I think the number was 14 that Jimmy Carter was leading Ronald Reagan by and ultimately, ended up losing by 10.

So, there's a lot of time on the clock. Having said that, like you, I'm a political junkie. So, I love this stuff. I think it's women and independence.

I mean, my cursory analysis of the data thus far suggests that President Biden is trailing among women and independence in Michigan, and that that's not taking place in Pennsylvania.

Why that's the case? I'm not sure. But that's a trouble sign for him. What's a better sign I think for President Biden is that thus far as between both states, they look at it more as a referendum on Trump, than they look at it as a referendum on Biden.

And by my analysis, that's exactly how Joe Biden was able to win in 2020.

HUNT: Right.

SMERCONISH: Because people were going in there and throwing a lever as to how they felt about Donald Trump, not so much that they were voting for Joe Biden.

HUNT: Yes. And our Sarah Longwell, who's here on our panel has been saying that, you know, that is the coalition, right? It is an anti- Trump coalition at the end of the day. If it's a referendum on Trump, the Biden team definitely feels like they're in a much better position.


Michael, let's talk about Donald Trump, because he has just three days to post half a billion dollars in bond here, and we are seeing these new filings but they're not new, they came in in early March, we just learned that she filed these judgments up in Westchester County for some properties up there.

Trump's trying to scramble how to do this, the Biden campaign is calling him broke dawn. What do you see in all of this politically?

SMERCONISH: I see a conflict between that which is best for Donald Trump personally, and that which is best for Donald Trump politically.

For example, it's probably in his personal best interest to declare bankruptcy, personal bankruptcy, something that he's not done in the past, but he has done with business entities relative to Atlantic City, but he doesn't want to do that because he thinks that takes away from the brand.

And then, similarly, it would be in his personal best interest to continue to fight the seizure of his real estate. But Kasie, I'm not so sure that's bad for his political interest. Because my take away is that these four indictments, strange as it sounds have benefited him, at least with Republicans. The optics of his real estate being seized by Letitia James I think might really motivate the base and cause some who are not in his camp to take a look at it and say, wait a minute, maybe it's gone a bit too far.

HUNT: You don't think that the bigger risk is to this idea that you know, he's this great. I mean, because, honestly, it's exposed the fact that he doesn't have half a billion dollars lying around when he constantly is out in public or used to be out in public saying, you know, I've got billions and billions of dollars in cash.

SMERCONISH: OK, and is if this election cycle were not nutty enough, now comes the possibility that next week, at least on paper, his net worth doubles.

I thought that -- I thought that Truth Social was bombing, I had no idea that there was an IPO coming and the potential for the parent organization of his social media platform to put as much as $3.5 billion, at least on paper in his pocket. He couldn't sell it for six months.

But that's like a new wrinkle to all of this that frankly, I hadn't seen coming.

HUNT: Yes, I didn't either. I mean, there's some rules around that, right? In theory, he's not supposed to sell it or borrow against it for six months, but the people that control it are Trump supporters.

SMERCONISH: I keep saying to people that we have no idea what's about to unfold in this campaign that individuals whose names we don't even know right now, and events that we could never forecast are about to unfold in a way that couldn't be imagined.

I mean, it's just that kind of a cycle, unlike anything I've seen in the past. And this is the latest example of what I'm talking about.

HUNT: Yes. So, speaking of things that are unique to this election cycle, Michael, obviously one of the issues Democrats really want to focus on is reproductive rights, abortion in the wake of Dobbs. There was a letter that I want to ask you about Matt Rosendale, conservative Congressman wrote to the Veterans Affairs Administration, the V.A. announced they're going to extend coverage, health coverage for IVF services to single people and to same sex couples that already exists for there is some coverage already in there for traditional, I guess what these Congress people would call traditional families.

They wrote and they said that, look, IVF is morally dubious, and should not be subsidized by the American taxpayer. They talk about the surplus of embryos that's generated. And then they talk about how the government shouldn't be involved in tweaking. They not -- they should not try to remake the nuclear family.

Isn't this exactly the thing that like all Republicans who are trying to win elections are saying they shouldn't say IVF is morally dubious?

SMERCONISH: I think you're playing with fire on this issue. I mean, the recent episode in Alabama and the outpouring even in Alabama for those who wanted to make sure that they protected reproductive rights, and particularly for couples that were struggling to have children, I think, showed that IVF is a little different than just the conventional choice or abortion argument.

To tie this all together, to go back to the polling data that you asked me about initially in Michigan and Pennsylvania, I was interested to see that ahead of reproductive rights, ahead of even the border, which surprised me. It's the economy that noses out those other issues as to what's top of mind.

In the end, both sides have something that's going to motivate their base. On one side, it's the border and its crime. And on the other side, its reproductive rights and maybe the economy. We'll have to see.

HUNT: Yes. All right. Michael Smerconish. We didn't even get to talk about Bob Menendez who's now not running as a Democrat.

SMERCONISH: What makes him think that independents would warm to his legal peril? I mean, what a nutty thought, that's my -- that's my belief, OK?

HUNT: Gold bars, Michael, gold bars. Thank you very much.

SMERCONISH: I wish I had some.

HUNT: Thank you for your time, Michael. Make sure -- everyone should watch your show every Saturday at 9:00 a.m. right here on CNN. Thank you.

SMERCONISH: Thank you.


HUNT: All right, now there's this, if you're an iPhone user, you may or may not I kind of hate the green messages that you receive when you're texting someone who doesn't also have an iPhone, perhaps they have an Android. You're not alone. Attorney General Merrick Garland agrees with you. He announced yesterday those texts will be a central part of the DOJ's new landmark antitrust lawsuit against Apple.


MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: As any iPhone user who has ever seen a green text message, or received a tiny grainy video can attest. Apple's anti-competitive conduct also includes making it more difficult for iPhone users to message with users of non-Apple products.

We alleged that Apple has consolidated its monopoly power, not by making its own products better, but by making other products worse.


HUNT: So, one of the -- one of the things that's in this lawsuit is something that came out of Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple's own mouth when someone asked him about this very issue, watch that exchange.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not to make it personal, but I can't see my mom's certain videos or she can't see my certain videos and so we --

TIM COOK, CEO, APPLE: Buy your mom an iPhone.


HUNT: By your mom an iPhone. Is this -- is this the right move by the Justice Department? What do you think?

BRESNAHAN: Oh, yes, and you have state A.G.s in this also. What's fascinating me is they -- Apple stock took a hit, it lost $113 billion in a couple of days. And that's only four percent of what Apple's worth. I mean, it's a three -- it was a $3 trillion company.

I mean, I think this is a -- you know, this is a big deal. They've been talking about this for a while. And Apple is getting hit over the -- you know, it's getting hit in the E.U. It's getting fined. It's getting facing lawsuits, it could face more lawsuits here. This is a big deal.

HUNT: I sort of feel like I should give a conflict of interest disclosure when I cover this story only because I have wa -- like a wire watch, two, three, there's four Apple devices that I own, they're sitting on this table.

The thing that Apple says Sarah, and they're not wrong about this, is that the reason I want to buy all this stuff is that it works together, right? Like my watch works with my phone, my phone works with my iPad, like I sit down on my computer at home, it seems somehow knows everything I've done on all the devices that are attached to the same Apple I.D. It's like, it remembers where I am in my episode of the morning show, even if I've watched it on the plane, you know?

It's -- that's what they're selling people, right? I mean, do you think the Justice Department -- I mean, do they have a leg to stand on here?

LONGWELL: I don't really know. I've never been bothered by the green bubbles. That is not a thing I knew about. I'm surprised it's so controversial.

HUNT: Look, it doesn't function as well. If you have someone you're talking to on an iPhone, he's right. Like, if you try to send a video to someone who is like a green bubble, not in their, you know, universal iMessage platform, it doesn't work as well.

BRESNAHAN: And then all the iPhone user shame them into buying an iPhone. That's exactly what happens, right?

LONGWELL: And I don't know the legal ins and outs, I do know that if you want to compete with Apple, you've got to make better products that we all want to use.

The reason we have all these products is we like them. They work well. They're easy. They're intuitive.

FINNEY: But his answer is exactly Apple's -- that's their business strategy. It's like, we will make you buy an Apple product because your friends have them. Because if you like this cool font, you know, phone or your watch, you want it to match, you know, you want to be in the Apple universe.

The one thing I'll say about this, I know we're making light of it. But interesting data showing that, yes, people are concerned and frustrated about inflation, but they see corporate greed as a major driver of inflation.

So, when we think about what's underneath those numbers and who people are blaming, that answer from Tim Cook, I can tell you, that's not playing -- going to play well with people who say, well, maybe I can't afford, you know, to buy an iPhone for $1,100 by the way, guys.

HUNT: Not cheap. Yes.

FINNEY: Right. Yes.

HUNT: Does anyone at this table have something other than an iPhone?



BRESNAHAN: Because we've been shamed to buying iPhones, that's why. Were you?

LONGWELL: Actually, I disagree.

BRESNAHAN: It's true.

LONGWELL: It's like make better products and compete.

HUNT: I agree.

LONGWELL: Like, they make really good products that's why we all have them.

HUNT: Yes. And yes, it is a walled garden. But I kind of like -- I kind of like the garden. It's a pleasant garden for me.

BRESNAHAN: Stockholm syndrome here. I mean --

FINNEY: It want you to stay in the secret garden.

HUNT: Hi, I had an Apple IIGs when I was growing up, right? They fell way out of favor. The government sued Microsoft and that's period. And now here we are.

If I had bought an -- if I had bought one share of Apple stock for every Apple product I have bought in my life, I would not be sitting here because I would be living on an island somewhere. All right. Thank you guys. It's great. I will leave you all with this. This is fun. French President Emmanuel Macron getting a mixed reaction to an Instagram post in which he throws -- shows off his boxing skills. The photos of Macron hitting a punching bag were posted by his official photographer earlier this week. Some linked the pictures to his increasingly tougher stance against Moscow.

Speaking of Moscow, it does draw some comparisons to Russian President Vladimir Putin who is known for his -- let's call them aggressive photo ops playing sports, riding horse horseback shirtless, you know, I mean, hey, this stuff is nothing new. You know it is not new in the U.S. President Biden has been photographed, but it really doesn't really compare honestly to shirtless Vladimir Putin.


But here's President Biden riding a bicycle. Donald Trump always played golf when he was in the Oval Office. Barack Obama famously got on a basketball court and we saw it at the White House.

And if French President Macron needs a sparring partner, I might suggest outgoing senator -- Utah Senator Mitt Romney. There he is boxing former heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield for charity.

If Romney is busy, I'm only a phone call away, Mr. Macron. I think he'd honestly win, but what are you going to do?

All right, thanks everybody for being with us today. Thanks for joining us. Happy Friday. I'm Kasie Hunt. Don't go anywhere, CNN "NEWS CENTRAL" starts right now.