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House Urges Senate To Hold Mayorkas Impeachment Trial; Sean "Diddy" Combs' Legal Troubles Expand With Federal Probe; One-On-One With Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA). Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired March 29, 2024 - 05:30   ET



FARNOUSH AMIRI, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, ASSOCIATED PRESS: I mean, Schumer has already said that he plans to assign the jurors, which are the members of the Senate on both sides. But I think we're going to see a fast way for them to kind of do away with this. They're not going to hold a lengthy -- a lengthy trial in the way that Johnson wants them to do.


Sophia, this obviously plays into the major political issue that Republicans want to focus on, which is the border and immigration issues.

How does that play into the debate we're going to see on the Hill and affect the presidential campaign?

SOPHIA CAI, NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER, AXIOS: It's something that both presidents now are talking about, especially former President Trump. You saw him yesterday. While Biden was hosting a fundraiser, he went and attended the funeral of an NYPD officer who was killed by someone who came here legally. And that is something that he's trying to make time and again on --

HUNT: Is it -- I'm not sure -- there have -- there definitely have been issues with people that were here illegally in terms of the cops. Forgive me if I'm -- if I'm kind of off -- kind of off base here. I do know this person had been repeatedly arrested and was out.

But to your point, this, of course -- the issue of crime tied closely with the issue of immigration -- both things Republicans want to focus on.

CAI: Yeah, absolutely.

HUNT: So, Farnoush, let's go back to what Republicans are continuing to try to do on Capitol Hill. The oversight chairman, James Comer, just invited Joe Biden -- President Biden to a public hearing as they try to look into his business dealings further.

Speaker Johnson wrote on the platform formerly known as Twitter, quote, "There are significant outstanding questions that have emerged from our inquiry that the president can answer. I encourage him to take the opportunity."

This inquiry has not gone, for Republicans, the way people who were trying to find something here had hoped it would go in that there hasn't been anything that has come up yet.

Why do this?

AMIRI: Well, I mean -- I mean, the reason that Mayorkas is now getting this revival and by them sending it over to the Senate is the fact -- is the very fact that the Biden impeachment has stalled. They've interviewed dozens of witnesses. They have not been able to find a single person that can point to evidence that showed that Joe Biden, whether he was vice president or President of the United States, did anything that benefited him, and his name, and his family in an official setting. And they've -- you know, they've tried for months to do this.

And it's interesting the invite to Biden, right -- I mean, I think we can all say it's very unlikely that the President of the United States will appear before the Oversight Committee at a public hearing.

HUNT: Very, very, very unlikely -- yes.

AMIRI: Very, very unlikely.

But, I mean, it goes to show -- I mean, there -- it's a last-ditch effort by the -- for them to deliver something. They are facing so much Republican pressure. They know the Mayorkas trial is not going to go anywhere in the Senate and now they are trying to pull out all the stops to see what they can get with Biden.

HUNT: Yeah.

All right, let's talk a little bit about some of your reporting from this week, Sophia. We reported here at CNN that the RNC -- the Republican National Committee -- which is kind of restaffing itself after ousting Ronna McDaniel and bringing in a Trump loyalist to head it.

They've been asking potential job candidates whether they thought the 2020 election was stolen.

You got this answer. You reported a Trump campaign official says, quote, "If we don't have someone who has thought deeply about these issues as it pertains to the Republican Party, then that would suggest they're particularly a curious young person." This was a press call. I think CNN was on this call as well.

What is the behind-the-scenes kind of reality around the story that got out there? Are Republicans in the Trump campaign concerned about it? Do they think this is legitimate?

CAI: So, the Trump campaign has been -- it's coming in the context of hirings that have been happening not yet, but they've been moving through the process very, very quickly after two weeks of the RNC state operations being really paralyzed and held in a holding pattern with at least 20 state political staff getting an email saying that they're going to be able to go and can reapply. I mean, that is the backbone of the Republican Party's state operations.

And so, the Trump campaign realizing that they are playing catch up to the Biden campaign when it comes to having a ground operation in the battleground states. They're really coming in and trying to move very quickly this week before March 31 when they're saying that they are going terminate everyone that they've notified.

HUNT: Farnoush, what do you -- what do you make of this? It seems like there is some concern among the Trump campaign about this -- kind of this question that apparently these job candidates are being reportedly asked.

AMIRI: Yeah. I mean, it goes back to, like, this is going January 6 and what happened in the 2020 election is not in the past. And many people, including Democrats, have tried to make light of that if Donald Trump were to become president again, he has allies in Congress that will make this the number one issue.


We see this with the reinvestigation of January 6 that's happening in the House with bringing in new witnesses. With bringing in new videotape that could potentially debunk some of the claims that the select committee investigated for months.

And so, it is really interesting that they're requiring anyone who works for the Republican National Committee to show their loyalty. You know, what side were you on during the election? What did you see happen? And we all know the election was fair. There was no evidence of any sort of fraud.

HUNT: And the Trump campaign had the opportunity to challenge results with the court --

AMIRI: Yes, 62 -- court -- yes -- 62 cases.

HUNT: -- and they lost.

AMIRI: Yeah.

HUNT: Yes.

AMIRI: Yeah.

HUNT: For sure.

All right, Farnoush Amiri, Sophia Cai, thank you both --


HUNT: -- for being here on this Friday. I appreciate it.

All right, Sean "Diddy" Combs now the subject of a federal sex trafficking investigation. You probably saw that on Monday. His Los Angeles and Miami homes were swarmed by law enforcement. And we've learned since then that the Department of Homeland Security carried out the searches.

Diddy was about to leave Miami for a spring break trip with his twin daughters earlier this week when he was stopped by law enforcement and then released.

Diddy's alleged drug mule was also arrested Monday on drug-related charges.

To dig into all of this is CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson. Joey, good morning. It's wonderful to have you with us.

What is the latest here on this investigation? And I think it's -- we should note that it comes in the wake of some civil lawsuits from members of his, sort of, inner circle -- one of which he settled for a significant sum of money.

But now, you have, obviously, the Feds looking into him.

Where does this stand and what makes it unique?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY (via Webex by Cisco): Yeah, Kasie. Good morning to you.

So, I believe -- and let's start with the lawsuits you mentioned because I think that's very significant. Where it stands is at the investigatory stage. And what that means, right, is that the federal government who is investigating the case -- you mentioned this Homeland Security Investigations agency -- they have jurisdiction over sex trafficking. Now, we believe it really is at the investigatory stage because if the Feds had enough to arrest, you better be sure that they would.

And so, with respect to the lawsuits you mentioned, I think that they provide a significant roadmap in terms of that investigation, right? Anybody, to be clear, can file any lawsuit about anything. Lawsuits are simply allegations. They are not criminal; they are civil, meaning looking for monetary damages.

However, that said, I think when you look to the Cassie Ventura lawsuit -- his old girlfriend -- last year -- last November, I think it was a critical mistake, Cassie (sic), for him to -- Kasie, for him to allow -- that is P. Diddy -- that lawsuit of Cassie to get out in the public domain. Why? Because now, prosecutors have a roadmap of the alleged illicit and shocking behavior that was ascribed to Mr. Combs.

Why else? Because now, not only do Feds have that to investigate but other lawsuits followed which allowed the federal government, I believe, to dig into this -- to investigate. To get search warrants that were predicated upon reason to believe there was criminal activity. And va-voom -- there you go in terms of the actual searching of the home in Miami, the searching of the home in California, and what to be sure is the serious analysis review, right, and scrutiny of anything they found to determine whether it leads to any criminality. So, still preliminary to your question, but you know what? Very

serious and very concerning if you're him, based upon things the Feds may find and where it may go from there in terms of criminal varieties. It's still early but we'll see what is the next shoe to drop, if any.

HUNT: So, Joey, the Combs camp pushed back against -- you know, called these raids military style. Some of the tabloid outlets have pictures of what the homes looked like after the raids that seem to make it clear that they were looking for electronics. They kind of tore stuff apart in an attempt to find that.

Is that typically how these raids go? And what is it about the electronics, specifically, that is so interesting to them?

JACKSON: Yes. So in terms of the raids, Kasie, the issue is whether or not there was that overkill. I think that's a legitimate inquiry to make. Was that necessary?

Now, the Feds have pushed back on that, indicating that -- look, he has a private security detail, number one. We don't know what, if anything, would come from that. And number two, certainly, when you come with a lot of people if you're the government and law enforcement, it serves as a deterrent. You want everybody there to be safe and to be secure.

There was issues with respect to alleged mistreatment of his family, et cetera. And so, I think those issues are debatable. And whether it was necessary is certainly something that people can question.


In terms of what they were looking for, they're looking for -- specifically, you mentioned those electronic devices. Many of these lawsuits allege behavior with respect to Diddy and what he was allegedly doing, and this illicit behavior and these gang activity -- gang sexual assault activity allegations. You know, illicit use of various things and tape recording of things that he would do, allegedly, for his own pleasure.

And so, if there are allegations -- and again, they are allegations -- I think the Fed said OK, let's see if there's anything there. And again, we believe that there is not, at this point, anything that is criminal in nature because he would have been arrested, right? That connects him.

But the investigatory portion is designed to determine are there these devices. What's on them? What was he doing? Is it illegal? And, if so, guess what the next step is -- grand jury. A grand jury is simply a body of people, right, that vote not guilt or innocence but whether there's reason to believe that a crime was committed and he committed them.

We don't know if they are there yet. We don't know if they're going to take this -- they, being the Feds -- to a grand jury. But that certainly would be critical evidence before a grand jury if they go there -- the federal government -- and certainly before a trial jury if it gets there.

And that's the significance of any electronic devices and what may be found on them.

HUNT: All right, CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson. Joey, thanks very much for being here with us this morning. I really appreciate it.

JACKSON: Of course -- thanks.

HUNT: All right. Up next here, heavy equipment heading to Baltimore's harbor to begin the task or removing tons of twisted steel from this week's bridge collapse. We're going to talk to Congressman Don Beyer of Virginia about how long it's going to take and how the disaster is impacting his state and region, up next.



HUNT: All right, welcome back.

Maryland is getting $60 million in federal emergency funding to begin the response to the Baltimore bridge collapse. Officials say it's going to go toward removing debris, rerouting traffic, and ultimately, rebuilding the bridge.

And Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg tells CNN the sum will not be nearly enough.


PETE BUTTIGIEG, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: What I can tell you is this $60 million is helpful but it's really a downpayment. Look, this is not going to be a small project by any stretch and we know that it's going to be costly. But we also know that cost is worth it to get Baltimore back on its feet.


HUNT: Maryland's governor says authorities are moving at full speed on reopening the shipping channel to try and restart port traffic.

We are still waiting for search and rescue efforts to resume. Divers had to pause the search on Wednesday because the debris made it unsafe. Baltimore's mayor says that he's hopeful the bodies of the four other workers who are presumed dead can be recovered.

Joining me now, Democratic Virginia Congressman Don Beyer, who is with us this morning. Congressman, thanks so much for being with us.

REP. DON BEYER, (D-VA): Absolutely, Kasie. Thank you.

HUNT: Let's start with the bridge collapse and its impact on our region here in the Washington, D.C. area. You represent a region inside the Washington Beltway mostly. This, of course, the Baltimore Beltway. But the ramifications -- the economic conditions obviously very significant.

How is it impacting the region, and what do you expect from Congress to try to help?

BEYER: Well, I don't think it's affecting the region much in terms of economic activity yet. Certainly, it's made us all very sad. I think it's really important to point out that those eight men on the bridge, six of whom apparently have died, were all legal immigrants from around the world who were out there in the middle of the night in the cold and the wind maintaining our infrastructure.

HUNT: Yeah, hardworking people --

BEYER: Yeah.

HUNT: -- and their families.

BEYER: Yeah. We do appreciate them.

The biggest thing I think is the -- what's going to happen to supply chains.

HUNT: Right.

BEYER: Because we don't -- I think we don't appreciate how incredibly important an economic hub Baltimore is.

For example, my family has been in the car business for years.

HUNT: Yeah.

BEYER: Most of those cars come into Baltimore.

HUNT: Yeah.

BEYER: And so, that's going to -- getting the channels open is going to be really important.

And then, the bridge. We're lucky that we have two other major interstate tunnels that go through Baltimore to get people up and down the East Coast. But rebuilding a bridge is going to take a couple of years I think.

HUNT: What do you think the impact is going to be on the car industry because it's sounding like it might take weeks if not months to actually reopen the channel.

BEYER: Well, we just went through this with the pandemic when we had a different supply chain problem. But what it did, sadly -- or if you're a car dealer, happily -- it drove prices up. Because anytime you have limited supply, there's limited -- demand is greater, which has acted for our consumers.

HUNT: So this could ultimately drive up the price of auto --

BEYER: Yeah, yeah. HUNT: -- of autos. Also not great for --

BEYER: At least for the short term.

HUNT: -- a White House that's grappling with inflation.

Sir, let's talk about the politics in Congress of disaster relief because this didn't used to be a question. I mean, we have seen right after -- if you go back and look at what happened when some years ago, the 35 bridge -- I-35 bridge collapsed in Minnesota. President George W. Bush was out there saying hey, we're going to get aid out here. Congress acted almost immediately on that.

We are living in much different political times. Are you confident that Congress can get the money out the door to repair this bridge?

BEYER: Yes, I am, and I certainly hope so.

We had some ugly times with Sandy Hook, too, where people who didn't live near the East Coast were voting against it. But in the meantime, we've put a lot of money into Texas, into Iowa, into California. We've stepped up again and again for the people who represent other parts of the country to make sure that their citizens' needs are met.

HUNT: Congressman, let's also talk about one of the major issues facing you and Democrats in the House of Representatives, and that is potentially Ukraine aid.

BEYER: Yeah.

HUNT: Majorie Taylor Greene, right-wing congresswoman, is threatening to try to oust the House Speaker Mike Johnson.


If he puts this aid on the floor he may need Democratic help to keep his job. Would you be willing to help bail out Mike Johnson if he moves forward with the Ukraine aid package?

BEYER: Yes, absolutely. I will -- you know, we're going to look first, to our leadership, Hakeem Jeffries and Katherine Clark. But what they've said, I very much agree with, which is that if Mike Johnson, our current speaker, is willing, first, to let us keep the government open, which he did last week, and then to put Ukraine money out there -- allow there to be a vote, then we don't want to just throw him under the bus.

You know, if he's willing to do the right thing we'd rather stick with him than somebody as wild as Marjorie Taylor Greene.

HUNT: Congressman, the other sort of news we're grappling with this morning, this major fundraiser that President Biden held in New York City with two former presidents. He was repeatedly interrupted by protesters who are upset about his conduct of the war in Gaza. President Obama actually encouraged -- seemed to encourage the crowd to listen to what they had to say in that context. Do you think President Biden is striking the right balance between supporting Israel and speaking up for the humanitarian concerns in Gaza?

BEYER: I do think so. You know, it's been a journey. We're very different from where we were in October and early November. But as the civilian casualties continue to mount in Gaza, as the hunger has gotten worse, and as we continue to be evermore dismayed about the way Netanyahu is waging this war, I think he's tried to get it right.

And we see this just in the U.S. abstention from the U.N. resolution a ceasefire. You know, we vetoed it two or three times before. So I think we're moving in the direction of, like, trying to put more pressure on Netanyahu to wage this war in a much more sensible way.

HUNT: I have to ask you while I have you because this is an issue that -- it's both intensely important to the city where we are, but it's also potentially national in terms of Glenn Youngkin, the Republican governor of Virginia. We just learned that the Capitals and the Wizards are going to stay here in D.C. because in Richmond, they couldn't get a deal to bring those stadiums to Virginia.

What is your response to that? Do you -- do you think that was the right decision or should those teams be moving to Virginia?

BEYER: Well, I am very mixed because virtually every citizen I talked to in Alexandria was against it. So there was not much local support. On the other hand, our city council was really excited about the economic impact that was going to come.

But as a Washingtonian all my life -- and my parents, too -- I am glad that we will keep the city strong. You know, if we empty out our center city it's not good for our suburbs.

HUNT: Right, because it's obviously going to have a big impact in your district and elsewhere.

And finally, I know you have -- you are passionate about artificial intelligence to the point that you have tried to educate yourself. Can you explain that? And can you also help me understand kind of what your thinking is in terms of how this is going to impact our elections this year?

BEYER: Well, that's really understand -- the reason I got so excited about it was because I think that of all the technologies out there this is the one that will change all of our lives in unknown ways for generations to come.

So there's lot of upsides, especially on the health care side, but potential downsides. We have the special 24-person task force that Mike Johnson and Hakeem Jeffries appointed and we're really trying to get down to regulating it in ways that we never did for social media. So it's very exciting.

In terms of this election, probably the number one thing we're concerned about are deepfakes, and not coming necessarily from our people but from Russia, China, and other places. More people will vote in elections this year than any time in human history, which is very exciting. But we want to make sure that they're voting on real facts, not deepfakes.

HUNT: Right, of course. And it's very hard to tell, quite frankly, on your phone --


HUNT: -- what's coming through that's real or not.

Congressman Beyer, thank you very much --

BEYER: Thank you, Kasie.

HUNT: -- for chatting with us. I appreciate it.

All right, time now for sports. The Alabama Crimson Tide rolls into the Elite Eight after knocking off number-one seed North Carolina.

Andy Scholes has this morning's Bleacher Report. Andy, good morning.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Yeah, good morning, Kasie.

You know, one of the most fun parts of March Madness every year is you just never know which teams are going to make deep runs in the tournament.

And four-seed Alabama, the first team to knock out a one-seed this year, and they can thank senior Grant Nelson. Down one with under 40 seconds to go and Nelson is going to get the bucket here, plus the foul. He would make the free throw to put Bama up by two. Then Nelson with just a big-time block on RJ Davis on the other end. Then with just a second left, Nelson another block to seal the win.

Nelson finishing with 24 points, 12 rebounds, and five blocks as Bama upsets North Carolina 89-87.

And they were having a grand old time in the locker room afterwards. The Tide into the Elite Eight for the first time since 2004 and just the second time in program history.

They're going to face six-seed Clemson in the Elite Eight. The Tigers taking down two-seed Arizona 77-72 last night. And Clemson didn't even make the tournament the past two years but now they are in the Elite Eight for the first time since 1980.


BRAD BROWNELL, HEAD COACH, CLEMSON: We've got an older team. These guys have seen a lot, done a lot, and experienced success.


[05:55:05] SCHOLES: All right, the defending champs, meanwhile, just rolling into the regional final. The Huskies beating San Diego State in a rematch of last year's title game 82-52. UConn has won their three games in the tournament by 39, 17, and 30. They've now won nine straight tournament games by double-digits.


DAN HURLEY, HEAD COACH, UCONN: We suck at winning close games. So, you know, you've got to go with the alternative.


SCHOLES: All right. Well, Dan Hurley and the Huskies now have a date with Illinois. The three-seed Illini taking down Iowa State. Illinois now on to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2005.

And head coach Brad Underwood with the giant water gun again to celebrate. This time he comes to the locker room shirtless. Who doesn't like a good water gun fight to celebrate moving on?

And, Kasie, it was opening day yesterday and your beloved Baltimore Orioles gave their city plenty of reasons to cheer. The O's coasted to an 11-3 win against the Angels to start the 2024 season.

And look what the new owners did.


MIKE AROUGHETI, OWNER, BALTIMORE ORIOLES: We're buying everybody a beer. Let's go.


SCHOLES: Yeah, they're making a strong first impression with the fans at a nearby pub called Pickles. Mike Arougheti and Michael Smith bought the entire bar a round of beers.

And, Kasie, there's nothing better to ingratiate yourself with fans than to give them free beer, right?

HUNT: That's freaking awesome. Pickles is legendary -- I've got to say. I should put some beer in my mug this morning, you know? Go, O's.


HUNT: Thank you, Andy.

SCHOLES: Good start.

HUNT: I shouldn't -- well, last year -- is Andy still there -- sorry.


HUNT: Last year you told me that young teams never win series --


HUNT: -- and you were right. What is the outlook for this year, for real?

SCHOLES: Well, there you go. They -- you know, they got that postseason experience now so when they get there this time I imagine they won't get swept. And a lot of people with high hopes for your Orioles this year, so we'll see. I won't be saying that this year because they have the experience now, Kasie.

HUNT: Thank you, Andy.

SCHOLES: All right.

HUNT: I'm going to be bugging you about this all summer.

SCHOLES: All right.

HUNT: Thank you. Have a great weekend.

SCHOLES: You, too.

HUNT: All right. Just ahead here, Beyonce is back and she's going country.