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CNN This Morning

Trump Faces Deadline to Pay $464 Million Fine; Israel Agrees to have Gaza Hostage-Release Plan Brokered By the United States; Heavy Snow and Blizzard Conditions Threaten Millions of Americans in the First Week of Spring. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired March 25, 2024 - 05:00   ET



KASIE HUNT, ANCHOR, CNN THIS MORNING: It's Monday, March 25th, right now on CNN THIS MORNING. Donald Trump preparing for a critical court appearance, facing a deadline to pay $464 million. Israel agreeing to have Gaza hostage-release plan brokered by the United States, but will Hamas go along with it?

And heavy snow and blizzard conditions threatening millions of Americans in the first week of Spring. All right, 5:00 a.m. here in Washington, a live look at the Washington monument on this Monday morning. Good morning, everyone, I'm Kasie Hunt, it's wonderful to have you with us.

The stakes couldn't be higher for Donald Trump today. Later on this morning, the former president will be in a New York City courtroom for a hearing in his hush money case. The judge could set a trial date. Trump's lawyers are going to be arguing for a lengthy postponement or even a complete dismissal.

Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg charging Trump with 34 counts of falsifying business records related to hush money payments that were made to the adult film star Stormy Daniels. Also New York Attorney General Letitia James could begin the process of seizing Trump's assets today if the former president fails to pay a $464 million bond from his civil fraud case.

Joining us now, Semafor politics reporter Shelby Talcott. Shelby, good morning, always good --


HUNT: To see you. Big day for Donald Trump. Let's start with the case that he's going to be sitting in the courtroom for, which is this hush money case involving Stormy Daniels. And we do expect that he's going to be there for this.

They're essentially trying to take this opening, right? The prosecutors gave him inadvertently by not turning over this tranche of documents. It had delayed the case until April to try to get it delayed even further and basically potentially prevent him from going to trial in any of these. I mean, this one seemed to be the one that was the most likely to go to trial before the election. What are you expecting today?

TALCOTT: Well, I don't know exactly what -- like what the ruling will be obviously, but --

HUNT: Of course --

TALCOTT: Donald Trump wants 90 days, prosecutors are arguing, you know, this is more than enough time, the 30 days that they've given them. I anticipate that it might be sort of a happy medium between 30 and 90 --

HUNT: Spot the difference, yes --

TALCOTT: Would be my guess, but again, this is -- this just goes back to how often Donald Trump and all of these cases has delayed. This is the main tactic, and so far, it seems to have worked in part because again, prosecutors sort of messed up here with this tranche of documents and they themselves have caused you know, this 30-day delay. Will it go further? We'll see. But I wouldn't be surprised if it was a little bit longer than 30 days.

HUNT: And the prosecutors at this point are essentially arguing that most of this bunch of documents was perhaps duplicates that they don't actually need this additional time to go through it, right?

TALCOTT: Yes, and that's the big thing, is whether the judge says, OK, yes, a lot of this stuff is duplicates. You've probably already seen it. But of course, Donald Trump's team is pushing for as much of a delay as possible because that affects all of his other cases, it also affects how he's -- you know, running for president and his ability to get out on the campaign trail.

And it will affect when we see a judgment in this, which of course, Donald Trump would like for that to not come until after the presidential election if he wins, right? Maybe we see all these go away.

HUNT: Right, well, I mean, in this particular case, it kind of always been considered the one that was the least threatening, right? But at the same time, there are so many voters who are at least, have been telling our exit poll folks and others that while a conviction would matter to them if there were time to get one, it might -- it might impact things here.

Let's talk about the other major story he's facing, which is this is the deadline for this bond they say that they can't provide it. Letitia James, now, the ball is in her court in terms of does she start seizing Trump's assets? We saw the former president tried to fundraise around this. He sent out an e-mail blast yesterday, Trump Tower is mine.


There is a lot of symbolism to that building for sure. How does this cut if she does start seizing things? How does this cut for him politically?

TALCOTT: Yes, I think -- I think the big thing to remember here, and I've gotten a lot of e-mails, as you said over the weekend, but the big thing here is his focus on Trump Tower -- it's not clear, you know, I think it's important to note that even if his assets do begin being seized today, it is, A, unlikely to start with his properties.

It's most likely to start with his bank accounts because that's where you can get some cash. And B, it's not like Letitia James is going to walk into Trump Tower today or tomorrow and seize it. These things take a lot of time, but it is really symbolic for Donald Trump, and he has built his persona on being the successful New York businessman.

You saw "The Apprentice", was out of Trump Tower, he came down the golden escalator in -- during his 2016 run, and so, this property in particular for him means a lot. And so, I think personally, he is viewing this as -- he's not even viewing it from a campaign lens so much as a -- this is going to impact how I am viewed in this persona I've built for myself over the years.

HUNT: Yes, I mean, it really is hard to overstate how this building and Trump's persona are linked together. I mean, I was there when he came down that golden escalator, I actually went up the elevator, then to interview him on the day that he announced that run.

His personal office was in Trump Tower, the wall kind of covered with memorabilia, the view, you know, out over -- looking over Central Park. It really -- it really kind of personifies him. So, I think threatening it obviously -- we've certainly heard over the weekend that --

TALCOTT: Yes, we have --

HUNT: He is very focused on that. Shelby Talcott, thank you so much for starting us off this morning, I really appreciate it. All right, just ahead here, two brothers mauled by a mountain lion in California. Plus, a warning for Donald Trump from the Fulton County D.A., and a heartfelt message from Princess Kate as she battles cancer.



HUNT: Welcome back. The world is rallying behind Princess Kate after she revealed she had started preventative chemotherapy. Kate's cancer was discovered during a recent surgical procedure. Princess of Wales assuring supporters that she's going to be OK.


KATE MIDDLETON, PRINCESS OF WALES: In January, I underwent major abdominal surgery in London. And at the time, it was thought that my condition was non-cancerous. The surgery was successful, however, tests after the operation that cancer had been present.

We hope that you'll understand that as a family, we now need some time, space and privacy while I complete my treatment.


HUNT: All right, let's bring in CNN's royal historian Kate Williams. Kate, good morning to you.


HUNT: We of course, know we're not going to get many more details here from the royal family. But this is just such a remarkable moment for them, for Kate's are -- the world's sympathy is really -- have turned to her after really a sort of ugly and difficult period.

WILLIAMS: Yes, Kasie, as you say, it couldn't have been worse for the royal family. So many stories, speculations, people saying where is Kate and very cruel speculations on social media, and also criticisms of the Mother's Day photo, and it really was a very problematic story, and then with Kate's video message on Friday evening, she turned it all around.

And there's just been an outpouring of sympathy for her, and really, her strength, her dignity and the power of that message when she talked about her cancer in a way we've never seen so openly for royals before, and finish saying, you are not alone, thinking of others.

So, really, we've seen this huge moment for the royal family in which Kate has addressed us personally and given us so much. You know, I really think that, you know, the -- it's a sort of cataclysmic moment for her as a princess in her private life, but also as a future queen.

HUNT: But Kate, how -- what do you see here in terms of echoes of the way the royal family has dealt with tragedies, past. I mean, who is Kate emulating here, and what does that bode for the future?

WILLIAMS: Well, it really reminds me of how the queen would address us by video message at very traumatic and difficult times, you might think of the death of Diana, also the COVID pandemic, when she said we will meet again, I heard a lot of echoes of the queen's addresses in Kate's.

And it was very unprecedented for Kate to do this. Normally, this kind of statement would come out in a statement from Kensington Palace or Buckingham Palace, I think did for the king, saying, you know, Kate is battling cancer, and this is what's happened. Instead, she spoke to us directly, and that, I think was so powerful.

And it really does remind me of the queen, and it really showed how popular she is. And this whole drama, which has been clearly very distressing for her, very upsetting, she said that -- she -- sources have said to newspapers over the weekend, she didn't do this video message because of that, but because she was a -- because she was a leader and a public figure and had to speak out.

But those rumors have been distressing, and -- but all this drama, it really has showed us that she is such a star in the royal family, and she's so popular. And the slimed-down royal family really needs her. HUNT: You know, they certainly do. And Kensington Palace put out a

statement over the weekend, saying the Prince and Princess of Wales, of course, are both enormously touched by the kind messages from people here in the U.K., across the Commonwealth and around the world in response to her royal highness' message.


Kate, what do we know about when we may see the Princess of Wales back in public. They had originally said, of course, Easter, but that was before the cancer had been found.

WILLIAMS: Kasie, exactly as you say. We don't really have a timeline. So, yes, we were told Easter in January, but that was when it was abdominal surgery -- serious abdominal surgery, but one that she would become a fun, and be back up and about after Easter, about when the children went to school, about 8th or the 17th.

But now, we really don't know what we are going to see and what we're not going to see. And we of course, don't know for the king either. The king announced in January that he had cancer, and we haven't been told, we may see him at the Easter service, but we will -- they're trooping the color, his birthday parade in early Summer.

We've been told, he probably will be in a carriage there. So, we really don't know the timeline for Kate and for the king, and I presume partly, this is because they don't know themselves. The doctors are going to take it as they see it and see when Kate and the king can go out and about in the public domain.

And you've all seen being a royal is about shaking hands and meeting people and being exposed to all kinds of viruses that way. So, it is quite exposing if you are suffering from cancer, you need to isolate. So, I do expect -- my guess is, we won't see either them until early Summer out and about with major engagements. But let's hope we see them earlier.

HUNT: Indeed, hope for them both to good health. We wish them good health. Kate Williams; a royal historian, thank you very much. I really appreciate it. All right, up next here, President Biden reportedly considering a nuclear option for the crisis at the border. Plus, bracing for a blizzard, the states that could see a foot of snow or more by tomorrow.



HUNT: All right, 20 minutes past the hour, here's your morning round- up. A man is dead and his brother injured after the first fatal mountain lion attack in California in 20 years. Brothers were hunting in El Dorado County on Saturday. A 90-pound male cougar was later found and euthanized.

Georgia D.A. Fani Willis says the election interference case against Donald Trump is not delayed despite the investigation of her romantic relationship with the lead prosecutor.


FANI WILLIS, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, FULTON COUNTY: That's not something that I find embarrassing in any way. And I know that I have not done anything that's illegal. There are efforts to slow down this train, but the train is coming.


HUNT: In an exclusive CNN interview, Willis says her team has continued its work in spite of Trump's attempt to oust her. And then there's this. Buy those tickets. The mega millions jackpot rising to $1.1 billion after no one claimed what is the eighth largest grand prize in history. The next drawing takes place tomorrow night.

All right, time now for weather, snow, ice and wind could make travel next to impossible in the Midwest and the plains today, while severe storms could bring tornadoes to the southeast. And millions are digging out after a heavy snow hit the northeast over the weekend. Our weatherman Van Dam tracking all of it for us, Derek, this does not sound like Spring. What's going on?

DEREK VAN DAM, METEOROLOGIST: No, they got nearly 3 feet of snow in northern Maine, but along the coast, it was ice, so they're not digging out from the snow, they're digging out from the thick sheet of ice. I mean, look at this drone shot, it's beautiful, but just imagine that on the roadways, this is coming along route one near the coast, just south of Portland.

And you can see how that ice accumulated over a half an inch nearing three-quarters of an inch near the Portland Jetport. That's incredible. That's forced hundreds of thousands of people without power this morning, and that's of course, the number of customers, several people within a household.

So, that's how we factor that number. The other big story today, blizzard conditions across the plains and severe weather throughout the south. Let's first give you an overall view of the current radar, very active -- look at Omaha, Nebraska, all the way to Minneapolis, by the way, you set a day-time snowfall total record yesterday, impressive over 8 inches of snow for you.

You have now transitioned to rain. The majority of the snow to the north in Minnesota and then the wind and snow on the backside of the system causing near zero visibility as the system evolves over the next 36 hours, there's going to be a lot of warm air, so it's going to keep it mainly rain for the eastern third of the country and the southern flank of the storm is where we're really concerned about in terms of severe weather today.

The potential, exclusive wording from the storm prediction center for strong tornadoes exist across this enhanced risk throughout central Mississippi and eastern sections of Louisiana. So, keep an eye out on the sky. Jackson, all the way to Lake Charles and even New Orleans as well, look at this too, hold on to your hat, winds upwards of 50 miles per hour ahead of the storm system.

So, very gusty day, and of course, that's creating difficult fire conditions on the backside of the system. So, we have critical fire weather near the border of Mexico and Texas. So, from fire to snow to blizzards to ice, we've covered it all this morning, Kasie, happy Monday. And can we split that $1.1 billion jackpot -- I love my job, but I mean, maybe --

HUNT: I mean --

VAN DAM: I'll buy it --

HUNT: Buy a ticket? I'll go in with you --

VAN DAM: I know, oh, man --

HUNT: We can fuse that together, our weatherman Van Dam Derek, thank you. I really appreciate it --

VAN DAM: Thanks --

HUNT: See you next hour --

VAN DAM: Yes --

HUNT: Coming up next, Vladimir Putin blaming Ukraine for a deadly ISIS terrorist attack in Moscow, plus --


SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R-AK): Oh, I think I'm very independent-minded.



HUNT: The Republican senator who might be bailing on her party.


HUNT: All right, a live look this morning at New York City, site of Trump Tower, of course. Good morning, thanks for waking up with us, I'm Kasie Hunt. Today was supposed to be day one of Donald Trump's first criminal trial, instead, lawyers in his New York hush money case will get the chance to argue for a lengthy postponement or even a dismissal --