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Trump Posts $175 Million Bond In New York Civil Fraud Case; Florida To Vote On Abortion Protections; World Central Kitchen: 7 Aid Workers Killed In Israeli Strike. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired April 02, 2024 - 05:00   ET



KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR: It's Tuesday, April 2nd.

Right now on CNN THIS MORNING:

Donald Trump posting $175 million bond in New York, freezing any attempts to seize his properties until at least September.

A Florida Supreme Court paving a way for six-week abortion ban to become the law in that state. But voters are going to have the final say in November.

And the first vessel travels to a newly created alternate channel at the site of the Baltimore bridge collapse.


HUNT: All right. Five a.m. here in Washington, live look at Capitol Hill. Good morning, everyone. I'm Kasie Hunt. It's wonderful to have you with us.

Donald Trump heads back on the campaign trail today, a day after posting $175 million bond. That, of course, means that New York Attorney General, Letitia James has been blocked from seizing his assets until at least September when the former presidents appeal is set to be heard.

The bond is underwritten by a California-based insurance company, despite Trump saying last month that he would use his own money to cover it.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT & 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have a lot of cash, but I would also like to be able to use some of my cash to get elected. I might spend a lot of money up on my campaign.


HUNT: Trump will have to choose his words carefully when his campaign rolls into Green Bay Wisconsin today. The judge in his hush money trial, expanding a gag order to include family members of court personnel and the D.A. The ruling comes after Trump posted social media attacks against Judge Juan on merchants daughter last week.

Joining me now to discuss all of this, Nicholas Johnston, publisher of "Axios".

Nick, good morning. Good to have you.

NICHOLAS JOHNSTON, PUBLISHER, AXIOS: Good morning. Good to see you. Great to be here.

HUNT: So a big move here from the former president Donald Trump. He actually went to a company out in California that specializes while the money behind it is a guy who made his money specializing in subprime car loans. He tells Forbes and ABC that he happens to be a supporter of Donald Trump, although this was a business decision. What happened here?

JOHNSTON: Essentially, Donald Trump for the strategy for all of these trials has been to delay time, delay the eventual resolution of them. And for this most recent one, I think he's paying about $1 million a day, as you said earlier, to kick the next issue of this trial all the way to September, the trigger strategy across all of them. It's like to push these as far as close, as close as possible to the election, ideally past the election.

Now, this New York case will not be discussed again until September. We have the other New York case starting next month. The federal cases, the one in Georgia, very indeterminant. So again, the Trump's strategy so far is working as part of trying to push these as far away out of the elections. You don't have any final resolution or a judgment days.

Remember, Trump said he couldn't pay the 475 million that would not require additionally.

HUNT: Right.

JOHNSTON: So, 150, 175, a little bit easier to go. But again, it's just kicking this can down the road but again, as closer and closer to that day in November.

HUNT: You said he's paying $1 million a day. What do you mean by that?

JOHNSTON: Just did the math.

I literally standing over 175 divided by the month it takes to get there. It's about 30 million, about -- about $1 million a day to get to the, what? One hundred and seventy-five days until September when this comes back before the court.

HUNT: Okay. So let's -- let's also take a look at what Trump had to say about this. Just to overnight, it looks like so he says, I've just posted $175 million bond with the sadly failing and very troubled state of New York.

He says that he also posted a $91 million bond on another New York fake case, money. I can't use on my campaign. Just with crooked Joe wanted and again, he calls this a witch hunt. Again, he casts all of this as a system that is out to get him.

This worked for him in the primary.


HUNT: Does it work in the context were in now?

JOHNSTON: I think that is the real question. I mean, how much do people will get tired of this? Like as I say, every single week when I come on here, Donald Trump lost the last election. He needs more voters. It stands to reason in the next election to win.

So what are things that he can do are talk about that will -- people both decide to vote from that didn't before. I think the focus on the trials is not something -- Truth Social is not I think were a lot of swing voters and a ton of their time looking at the triplet former president attacking the judge, the judge's family, as we think all of this detracts from, I think the message they would much rather be talking about, for instance border security if you can be talking about in Michigan later this week.

And then again, the time he has to suspend in trial.


And then the money as well, a big undercurrent that came up. A lot of the earlier first-quarter of financial report this is Biden and the Democrats have a lot more money than Trump and the Republicans.

HUNT: Yeah, they sure do.

So on this gag order, it has expanded to include family members after we saw pretty extraordinary sort of outpouring from -- including one sitting member of the federal judiciary saying, hey when you attack people, when you Donald Trump attack people, it's actually very physically dangerous for the people that you attack. Is this the right move here? Obviously, the judge not protecting himself because he does have the role, but the family members aren't part of this.

JOHNSTON: I mean, we're in very interesting, uncharted territory here. President Trump, former President Trump has generally follow some of these gag orders. He has ratcheted down some of his rhetoric when the judges have gone after him before. But I think are real question is, what if the president goes on truth, social and attacks the judges daughter?

Again, what is the judge's response to that? To hold the former president the whole Donald Trump in contempt, to have U.S. Marshals or New York cops going put the president in jail for contempt of court.

HUNT: Wouldn't you typically get two the fine situation before you get that far?

JOHNSTON: I think that'd be the first step of it, but then President Trump, listened to that will be fine. That would be enough. Its like, how do you hold the president accountable? How do you hold a former president accountable for these kinds of things when that very much relishes and pushing those kinds of boundaries. I think that's where a lot of courts are struggling with right now.

HUNT: Yeah. Well, I mean, he had to deal with it in the civil fraud situation --


HUNT: -- Judge Engoron, and we saw that once the judge did start putting some consequences in place, Trump did adjust his behavior.

JOHNSTON: A hundred percent tone down that rhetoric. There's always that tension I think with Donald Trump as far as what his advisers, what his lawyers, what judges would like him to say and what he likes to go on the campaign trail and say and what he likes to put on Truth Social.

HUNT: Yeah. So, Nick, while I have you, lets talk about another story which is an issue that's going to be absolutely critical in the November elections, the abortion rights.


HUNT: In Florida, at the Supreme Court made one of these, it's -- in some ways, its a split decision, it's a little complicated as to why, but basically they allowed the six-week abortion ban to go into effect here coming up. But they also said voters are going to get to decide this on the ballot in the fall.

What is your assessment of how this is going to have this is going to -- why this matters?

JOHNSTON: This was fruity unexpected. But as we've seen, abortion is a very salient issue in elections. A lot of the off-year elections, abortion drove a lot of people to the polls in ways that people didn't expect. I was just pulling the Ohio results on my phone back there to remind myself, 56 percent of voters in Ohio, that's not a swing state that is not a purple state by any measure, came out and endorsed enshrining abortion rights in the Constitution. They are still having that on the ballot -- having that on the ballot in Florida in November, Democrats are very excited about that, about who that brings to the fold.

Remember, I'm not saying Florida is in play all of a sudden, but its another piece of these trends that are blowing up again. Like I've said, Donald Trump needs more voters than last time. And abortion rights, rulings on the ballot bring Joe Biden ballot -- voters to the polls.

HUNT: And, of course, the reality is that Florida has become one of the few places in the Southeast United States, if not the only one, if you look at a map at, where abortion is available at all, which means that some women have been going there -- JOHNSTON: This is going to be huge, huge vote. A lot of money pouring

into it and that may even kick over international implications. And again, that'll drive a lot of abortion rights proponents to the polls.

HUNT: Yeah, for sure. All right. Nicholas Johnson for us, thanks.

JOHNSTON: Great to be up early.

HUNT: I really appreciate it.

All right. Coming up here, aid workers for World Central Kitchen killed in Gaza. What we know about what happened there, ahead.

Plus, RFK Jr. making the argument that President Biden is a bigger threat to democracy than Donald Trump.

And a no hitter like no other.



HUNT: All right. A developing story out of Gaza this morning. The World Central Kitchen says at least seven of its workers have been killed in an Israeli military strike. The organization says a convoy was hit, leaving a warehouse where the team had unloaded more than 100 tons of humanitarian food aid.

CNN global affairs analyst Kim Dozier joins me now with more on this.

Kim, good morning to you.

So, the CEO said that this is not only an attack against World Central Kitchen, this is an attack on humanitarian organization patients showing up in the most dire of situations where food is being used as a weapon of war. This is on forgivable.

We should note that the people who were killed are from Australia, from Poland, the UK, someone has a dual citizen in the United States and Canada, a Palestinian. Also, how does something like this happen with group like this?

KIM DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: This looks bad. This looks like indiscriminate bombing. The same thing that many of Israel's critics have been saying has been going on, especially when the World Central Kitchen, the details that are coming out, that they were coordinating with the Israeli Defense Forces saying okay, were leaving now, they were in clearly marked vehicles. You can see the logo in the footage from the bombing aftermath.

The Australian prime minister has already come out condemning this. I think its really going to in, one sense, give ammunition to the Biden administration to tell the Israelis if this is what you do with an aid convoy, what are you doing with ordinary Palestinians? This looks bad.

And already the IDF has come out with a statement not acknowledging responsibility, but talking about they're looking into this, quote- unquote, tragic act accident. That sounds like they think they were firing something in that area as opposed to in other cases where they've said, no, no, no. This wasn't us. We weren't operating there.

HUNT: So, Kim, can you help us understand how the World Central Kitchen would be interacting with the IDF under normal circumstances? I mean, just what kind of information does the IDF have about their whereabouts? Just like dig into that a little more?


DOZIER: Well, because the whole Gaza Strip is an active war zone, aid workers coordinate usually with combatants on the ground, on both sides, letting them know were going here and they're clear markings from there close to the vehicles they're traveling in. That's one way of trying to keep themselves safe.

But something like more than 100 U.N. aid workers have been killed. And now we see but, but people were thinking maybe that's because there's such animus between the U.S. and the U.N. -- between Israel and the U.S. -- the U.N. agency there. But this is World Central Kitchen and they were allegedly on the phone according to the aid organization saying where leaving now?

It sounds like the IDF didn't know what one part of the organization was doing. Like maybe the air force wasn'tt talking to the ground force. Something didn't get through. If it does, in the end proved to be definitely an Israeli airstrike.

HUNT: And the bottom line here is that, I mean, this is an organization that has developed worldwide renown, it is widely known here in the U.S., chef Jose Andres showing up in catastrophe after catastrophe, to do this kind of work, what impact do you think it has politically here in the U.S. on perceptions of the conflict?

DOZIER: It just ratchets up pressure on the Biden administration, especially with the left wing of the Democratic Party, saying, you know, what? Why do you continue to arm this government when it's not using these munitions with care?

HUNT: Pretty remarkable.

Kim, while I have you, there also was another significant development overnight and that the Israelis apparently bombed took out -- a top Iranian commander inside Syria. What do we know about that?

DOZIER: This was an Iranian diplomatic facility. Therefore, that's considered Iranian territory and this was the highest ranking -- according to Iran, the highest ranking Quds force commander taken out since Soleimani was taken out by Trump drone strike in Iraq. So they've vowed revenge. Israel hasn't claimed responsibility publicly, though anonymously. There's been reporting that they've claimed it.

They have said that they will track down anyone responsible for the October 7 attacks and the Quds Force trained many of the Hamas fighters and also helped get weapons to them. So this is something that could escalate tensions, could create more Hezbollah fighting on the border. You know, Iran has held back, but it's got to do something publicly to strike back for this.

HUNT: In this instance.

All right. Kim Dozier for us -- Kim, thank you. I really appreciate it.

All right. Coming up next year. A judge in New York expanding Donald Trump's gag order after the former president attacked his daughter online, loss a rare case of bird flu in the U.S. What we know about the person who's come down with it?



HUNT: All right. Twenty-one minutes past the hour. Here's your morning round up.

Temporary channel is now opened at the site of the Baltimore bridge collapse. A tugboat pushing a barge with jet fuel for the Defense Department was the first vessels across the alternate channel.

A person in Texas has tested positive for bird flu, the second case ever reported in the U.S. State health officials say the recovering patient had direct contact with dairy cattle. There's no risk to the commercial milk supply.

The Powerball jackpot soaring to just over 1 billion after no one won last night. Wednesday night's drawing will feature the fourth largest jackpot ever with a lump-sum payout of $527.3 million.

All right. Time now for weather. The Threat of tornadoes impacting millions today from the southeast to the Ohio Valley, those storms hitting the Midwest right now. And there are tornado warnings in effect near St. Louis.

Let's get straight to our meteorologists, Elisa Raffa, who is tracking those storms right now.

Elisa, what do you see?

ELISA RAFFA, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I mean, it's been a really busy night. We have multiple reports of damaging winds, large hail, at least three reported tornadoes so far and parts of Oklahoma, the hail has been ginormous overnight. We're talking two inches, three inches, 4.5 inches in diameter.

And when you look at that scale, were talking about hail baseball, two softball size that could really do a lot of damage and cause injury. Here's where we've got these storms this morning, that tornado watch until 8:00 Central Time for parts of Eastern Missouri, Southern Illinois, as we continue with that threat for tornadoes early this morning. Here's a look at where we've got some mornings tornado, warnings

there, south of St. Louis, closer to Paducah and I want to point out, we can see the lightning strikes, but we're having a hard time getting the radar data this morning because they're actually is a national outage with our radar information, all the red dots that you see here are radar sites that are not working.

And this is incredibly crucial because tonight were looking at possibly even more intense severe weather outbreak tonight, up in Indiana and Ohio in this area where they actually also have some tornado, some radar information down. Here's a look at that risk four tonight in that red moderate risk that's a level four out of five.

We're looking at the likely we could have strong tornadoes, very large hail, again, baseball, softball sized hail and damaging winds. This is the threat of tornadoes for EF2 or stronger. So not only are we looking at the threat of tornadoes. We're looking at strong tornadoes possible in that red hatched area from Columbus, to Cincinnati down towards Louisville, so an incredibly dangerous night.

Now, April is the part of our severe weather season where tornadoes can be pretty common, but not really in this area. We don't really see them. Usually we find some of those tornadoes a little bit farther south -- so something to watch as we go through the night tonight, hail again can also be on the order of baseball to softball size. So look at the storms really just intensifying as we go into the afternoon, all of those discrete cells can be turned out as we go into the day-to-day Kasie.

HUNT: All right. Elisa Raffa for us -- Elisa, thank you very much.

Coming up next here, a strike in Gaza kills workers from chef Jose Andres's aid group, World Central Kitchen. An American is among those dead.

Plus, CNN goes one-on-one with RFK Jr.


ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR. (I), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I can make the argument that President Biden is a much worse threat to democracy.


BURNETT: He did indeed say that, and more. We'll bring you all of that, ahead.