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Kremlin Defends Intelligence Services in Wake of Attack; Deadline for Trump to Post $464 Million Bond; Israeli Delegation to Discuss Rafah Operation with U.S.; Today: Hush Money Case Hearing & Civil Fraud Bond Deadline. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired March 25, 2024 - 09:00   ET




JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Donald Trump should arrive at a New York courthouse within the hour ahead of a crucial hearing in the hush

money criminal trial, on the same day that he needs to produce nearly half a billion dollars in bond payment in a separate civil fraud case. I'm Jim

Sciutto in Washington.

ELENI GIOKOS, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: And I'm Eleni Giokos in Abu Dhabi. Welcome to our special hour of "Connect the World" as we watch for

Mr. Trump's arrival. We're also covering the major international headlines. The Kremlin is staying silence on accusations of torture against four

suspects in the Crocus City terror attack. And the world is waiting for Hamas' response to the latest hostage for prisoner exchange proposal in


SCIUTTO: Today was supposed to be the start of Donald Trump's hush money trial in New York. It's not happening today but the former U.S. President

will be in front of a judge asking once again for a further delay. Perhaps might even asked to dismiss the case.

Today's hearing was scheduled to discuss some evidence issues which already pushed the trial to next month. If the current April 15th start date holds

it will be the first of Trump's four criminal trials to begin. He is charged with falsifying documents related to hush money payments to cover

up an alleged affair with an adult film star.

GIOKOS: And this is deadline day for the former president to post a $464 million bond in the civil fraud case against him. If he doesn't New York

Attorney General Letitia James can begin the process of seizing assets owned by Trump and the Trump Organization.

Trump's lawyers say he's unable to secure payments, even though he has claims to have almost $500 million in cash and they've asked the court to

reduce or eliminate the bond. Now Trump says he would face irreparable harm if he's forced to sell his properties at what he calls fire sale prices

among them golf courses, hotels and prime Manhattan real estate, including Trump Tower.

CNN Crime and Justice Reporter Katelyn Polantz joins us now live. Katelyn, great to have you with us look, we're expecting to hear about the trial

date today. This is what this hearing is about. It is important to note the trial was essentially set to start today that was delayed because we saw

more documents over 100,000 being put into the fray. So what are you looking out for?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's the criminal case in New York in Manhattan. Trump is going to be there today in

the courtroom. And we're looking to see if the judge wants to hold with that April 15th trial date. Now this case is on the cusp of going to trial.

And it is a situation in court often that trial dates can slide a little bit. There was this very late collection of evidence that Trump's team was

successful in having just recently from federal authorities that had investigated him previously, when they got those records. They used that to

their advantage and said to the judge, we need a lot of time to look at them.

And so that's why the trial is not starting today in New York on this falsification of business records set of charges. This is the charges in

Manhattan that he falsified his business records to cover up payments he was making to reimburse his Attorney Michael Cohen to pay the porn star

Stormy Daniels for hush money before the 2016 election.

So what we're waiting for today is if the judge wants to hold that April 15th trial date, or if he agrees with Trump's team that thinks should move

back more give them more time to prepare for trial? Every day is a day that we are waiting to see what will happen with timing in these cases because

it is not the only criminal case Trump faces.

And so when this trial gets on the books for real and starts, that kicks off the process of him being in criminal court as a defendant. We're also

waiting for trial dates in his three other criminal cases. And there are a lot of questions. How many of those cases will go to trial before the


GIOKOS: Yeah, and that that hearing of course yet to start in about an hour keeping a close watch on that, Katelyn. And of course, the other big story,

that $464 million bond. This is significant. Look, its deadline day and importantly you know what will transpire by the end of this?


Does he have the money? What is the next move? And of course, is this going to force Letitia James to look at seizing assets or freezing bank accounts?

POLANTZ: Yeah, this is on the lawsuit side. And this is what happens when you lose a lawsuit. Donald Trump lost his civil fraud case, the case where

the State of New York accused him of essentially giving fraudulent amounts of what his properties were worth.

And so he lost that lawsuit, the judgment, the amount that he is being fined in it is nearly a half billion dollars. That judgment was set a month

ago, and he had a 30 day clock where he could put up money, essentially a bond to the court to continue appealing and try and get that overturned.

We're at that 30 day deadline. And so today is the day that the Attorney General of New York Letitia James can start trying to satisfy or collect

that money, those assets she can go after his bank accounts. She can go after buildings, houses, cars, he owns perhaps his plane.

She's going to very likely start in the State of New York, Westchester County and New York City where Trump has many properties, resorts, hotels,

a penthouse in Trump Tower and she's going to be talking to those authorities to see exactly what she can do first foreclose or put liens on


Not everything is going to happen right today. And there could be additional court fights down the road as she tries to enforce this

judgment. But if Donald Trump does not put that bond up today and does not get a lifeline through the appeals court, then that's it. The New York

Attorney General gets to collect.

GIOKOS: Yeah, Katelyn Polantz great to have you with us a big day today for Donald Trump and Jim more analysis as we wait for the hearing in the next

hour of course.

SCIUTTO: No question and joining us for that analysis Former Federal Prosecutor Michael Zeldin joining us now from Washington. Michael, first,

the judge has an opportunity today to either go ahead with an April trial start date to delay it somewhat, even could consider dismissal, which seems

like an outlier here. What do you expect to is most likely to happen in that courtroom today?

MARK ZELDIN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I think there'll be a brief delay about 30 days because the amount of information that the U.S. Attorney's

Office put it over to brag and to Trump doesn't seem all that materially different from what they have had for a long, long time.

And so I think the judge will say that you have enough time in a month to review it and determine whether there's anything that's dispositive of what

I should do in this case. And if not, which won't be they'll set it down for trial. And I think that that's probably the smart money, Jim.

SCIUTTO: So looking at this case, just for folks watching, because it's hard to keep track of all these trials. This is a case relates back to the

2016 election alleged payment to the adult film star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet and alleged affair. There was a conviction in this case, in fact,

jail time for Michael Cohen, Trump's former lawyer. What is the evidence against Trump? And do you believe that the evidence based on what you see -

- what you've seen makes conviction here likely, unlikely? What's your view?

ZELDIN: It's a great question. And there are two parts to it. The first is a pure legal question whether or not the statutes that have been charged to

misdemeanors can be transformed from misdemeanors and felonies and whether or not the payments which violated sort of federal election procedures can

be used in a state case?

So this is pure legal analysis stuff. If there is no question about that, if the judge rules that's OK to do, then it's the facts. And the facts are

very strong against Trump in that what is alleged here is in the aftermath of other revelations, the access Hollywood tape where he said he could grab

people because he was a celebrity.

There was an allegation made against him by Stormy Daniels, an adult film actress that he had had an affair with her, and that in order to hush that

prevented from being heard by the general public before the election, he did the circuitous payment process, rather than just pay her directly,

which was allowed to do.

He paid her through Michael Cohen as a cutout and then when Michael Cohen was being repaid for that money, they misrepresented it on the books of the

Trump Organization. So the basic allegation, Jim is bank -- is business records fraud?

So what could have been a stripe? I owe you money, Jim. I could pay it to you. But instead of pay to you directly give it to -- she then does it

through securitas means and then we misrepresent that debt from me to you. That's what it is. And that's pretty straightforward stuff.


SCIUTTO: Out -- what's the maximum penalty if he were to be convicted? Michael Cohen went to jail grants a different case, but different charges

but related to the same case. Well, what's the maximum penalty that Trump might face if he's ultimately convicted?

ZELDIN: Well, it's a low number of years, months that he could go to jail. I don't think he would be sentenced to jail in a case like this. Typically,

these business records types of cases when there isn't victims involved in it, don't lend them to jail time. But in theory, he could get -- you know,

time like Cohen got six months a year worth of jail time. I just don't see it happening that way, Jim, but that's the theoretical opportunity that the

judge has in sentencing.

SCIUTTO: Right. Well listen, we have four trials -- four trials with potential outcomes, a big range of potential outcomes. Of course, we'll

bring you the developments as we have them. Michael Zeldin. Thanks so much.

ZELDIN: Thanks Jim.

GIOKOS: All right. Well, CNN Politics Senior Reporter Stephen Collinson has written an op-ed titled "Why this is a wild week for Trump even by his

standards". He writes in part Donald Trump's tumultuous life has been rocked by bankruptcies, personal scandals, impeachments and election wins

and losses, but nothing quite compares to the personal and financial crisis facing the once and possibly future president this week.

Stephen Collinson joins us now from Washington. Stephen wild is one way to describe what we're seeing, especially with these, the deadline today on

the bond, right and then, of course, as Jim was discussing the hush money trial as well. We're waiting for the hearing that's happening in almost an


But I really want to go in in terms of what this means for Donald Trump, for his team to try and get the money to cobble up $464 million? And if

they do not, what does that practically mean, I guess, by the end of business day today?

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN POLITICS SENIOR REPORTER: Right. Well, Trump has spent the last 30 days trying to find an insurance company to secure a

bond. Why he needs to do that is if he doesn't do that, the state as you've been hearing can start to target his assets, even during the time when he's

appealing this fraud verdict.

So he faces the real prospect if he cannot come up with this money over the next period of weeks and months of seeing his business empire that helped

him make his name as a celebrity, as a billionaire, and was central to his credentials to run for president being dismantled piece by piece.

This is something that's very clearly worrying Trump a great deal. He put out a Truth Social post -- social media post this morning saying that he

was being forced to sell his babies. You know, -- he loves these buildings. It's central to his self-identity, and his political and business brands.

So the chances that some of this can start to be dismantled. This is a hugely serious moment for Donald Trump. He has throughout his business

career, as I was saying there gone through extraordinary periods of triumph and disaster near financial ruin. And this is perhaps the most acute yet.

And let's not forget this is happening at a time when he's not just a private citizen. He's running for President of the United States. He's

already the presumptive Republican nominee, and he has a very good chance of winning November's election.

GIOKOS: OK. So we're showing you live pictures now from New York. Donald Trump on the move heading towards the courthouse that hearing on the hush

money trial, set to begin relatively soon. In terms of consequences for Donald Trump Stephen, on this particular case in terms of trial debt,

that's where we're expecting today? We know that the tactic has been delay and hopefully dismiss some of these legal woes.

COLLINSON: That's right. And I think this strategy of delaying accountability could be getting towards its end. In this case, it's very

clear that Trump and his legal team and his political team for all that they've used these cases against him to create a narrative of persecution.

They really don't want him to go on trial during a general election campaign.

The reason for that is, while many Republican base voters see all of these cases against Trump as evidence that the White House and Democrats are

trying to come after him in order to stop him in regaining the White House. It's very uncertain about how a more general electorate will react to that?


Trump has in the past in the 2020 election, for instance, have trouble with independents, suburban, moderate Republican voters who he would need to win

a general election in swing states.

And while he's doing very well, in the polls, right now against President Joe Biden, there is some evidence that a conviction in one of these cases

could really get a lot of voters to start thinking again about whether they want a convicted felon back in the White House with all the power that


GIOKOS: Stephen Collinson, great to speak to you. Thank you.


GIOKOS: And we're also covering the top international stories. We're on the ground in Moscow where four people have been charged over the deadly

concert hall attack. That report coming up right after the break.

SCIUTTO: And the embattled Boeing CEO announces he is stepping down at -- and what he's calling a watershed moment for the company leading to his



GIOKOS: Hello and welcome back. I'm Eleni Giokos in Abu Dhabi.

SCIUTTO: And I'm Jim Sciutto in Washington. You are watching "Connect the World". As the Kremlin defends its intelligence services four suspects in

the deadly Moscow concert hall attack have been charged now with committing a terrorist act. Each had a number of visible injuries as they went before

a judge.

The death toll from Friday's attack now stands at 137. Inside what is left of the venue crews are searching debris from the devastating fire which the

government are accused of setting robots and dogs are also aiding the search in case there are more bodies buried under the rubble. Outside of

the concert hall thousands of people have been coming to remember and honor the victims. CNN's Matthew Chance is there sent us this report.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CHIEF GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, the shocked Russians continued to lay flowers here outside the concert hall, where more

than 130 people were killed last week. The four suspected attackers have appeared in a Moscow court charged with acts of terrorism.

The men all from Tajikistan in Central Asia appear to have been beaten videos showing their brutal interrogation had been leaked and widely shared

that one suspect appear to have lost an eye. Another has what appears to be a torn plastic bag around his neck. The Kremlin hasn't commented on

allegations of torture.

But it was here at the Crocus City Hall near Moscow that four gunman dressed in camouflage went on a killing rampage, firing automatic weapons

innocent bystanders before setting fire to the crowded building where thousands are gathered for a rock concert.

ISIS the terror group has said it was responsible for the attack, releasing horrific video apparently taken by the gunman those selves as they stormed

the venue. The U.S. says it's been warning Russia for months about intelligence suggesting a threat.


But the Kremlin dismissed the recent U.S. Embassy alert about an imminent attack as a provocation intended to destabilize the country. The Russian

President has attempted to link the events here to Ukraine, although the Ukrainian government has categorically denied any involvement.

There are now though concerns about what comes next? How the Kremlin may use this tragedy to further and tightened security laws and rally Russians

who are more anxious about security now than at any time for years? Matthew Chance CNN outside Crocus City Hall near Moscow.

GIOKOS: Jill Dougherty is a Former CNN Moscow Bureau Chief and is currently an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University and a CNN Contributor. She

joins us now live from Washington, D.C. Joe, great to have you with us.

Look, there has been a lot of developments since this tragic incident at Caracas Hall. But importantly, what it's showing us is that the Kremlin,

President Putin essentially dismissed vital intelligence from the United States that a terror attack the threats was basically a reality. What is

the narrative now from the Kremlin?

JILL DOUGHERTY, FORMER CNN MOSCOW BUREAU: I think there's a lot of obfuscation at this point. You are absolutely right that President Putin

dismissed that and said that it was - you know blackmail an attempt to undermine Russia. That was the information coming from the U.S.

So now you have the Kremlin saying, well, we don't have any communication we the Kremlin don't have any communication with the Westerners, and then

allowing the possibility that maybe security forces do. But if the security forces or someone in the Russian government was briefed, you can be sure

that the Kremlin would know about it.

So I think they're having a difficult time. And it's mainly it's not for the international audience. It's really for the domestic audience, the

Russians who are absolutely traumatized by this horrific attack in trying to explain it, and avoid any type of criticism for Vladimir Putin. After

all, remember, just a week ago or so he was reelected to a fifth term as the person who was going to protect them now.

GIOKOS: Yeah. Jill and look, here's the reality. ISIS taking responsibility for this attack, ISIS has targeted Russia before. And as you say,

importantly, what is the messaging going to be for domestic audiences? You know, does it look like President Putin dropped the ball on this?

And what he does next is important. And that's why it's also vital that we see -- you know these alleged terrorists that were arrested and went to

court as well. How important is that process going to be?

DOUGHERTY: Well, I don't really feel that it based on -- you know previous investigations that we're ever going to totally know the truth. So that's

number one. Number two --


DOUGHERTY: -- during this period of investigation, it gives the Kremlin time to come up with some explanation. And so in Russian society right now

traumatized, but also angry about this, there is a movement now to bring back the death penalty. They used to have it and then it was gotten rid of

a number of years ago, after independent Russia came into being.

And so you can hear you know indications from the previous president, he actually had a pretty blood curdling statement about kill them all, anyone

who's responsible. So I think you're going to see again, a tightening in the society, push for the death penalty, and this constant rallying people

to be very afraid that they are surrounded by everyone.

So it's in the Ukraine war. It is NATO and the United States and the West are out to get you. And then here it is the terrorists are out to get you.

It's a complete propaganda approach.

GIOKOS: Yeah, that's really fascinating. I mean, look, you know, he's also drawing in Ukraine, as -- you know being embroiled in this in some way of

course, President Zelenskyy saying absolutely not. How important is that narrative going to be for Putin to drive that home?

DOUGHERTY: I think it will be very important because everything that's happening --

GIOKOS: All right. We've lost Jill Dougherty there. We'll try and get that line back up. Big thank you to Jill there for us. I want to get you up to

speed on some of the stories that are on our radar right now.


Right now the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration will increase oversight of United Airlines in the last few weeks. The airline has had a number of

safety incidents investigations were promoted by the FAA after a United aircraft landed on Oregon with a missing external panel this month.

Now Ireland is once again poised to get its youngest ever Premier, the ruling Fine Gael Party has appointed 37-year-old Minister Simon Harris as

its leader. And he would succeed Leo Varadkar, who shockingly resigned last week, seven years after his historic appointment at age 38.

China's Foreign Ministry says Beijing opposes countries politicizing cyber security the comments coming amid reports Britain's government is preparing

to link China to cyberattacks against the UK electoral commission and lawmakers. A spokesperson says China is a major victim of cyberattacks and

wants international cooperation to tackle the problem.

SCIUTTO: Well, the beleaguered aerospace giant Boeing is facing yet another blow after being troubled with months of accidents and problems concerning

its commercial plane division. CEO Dave Calhoun has announced his plan to leave the company at the end of this year also making an exit or Boeing's

Chairman and the Head of a Commercial Airplane Unit.

The company's stock value has fallen by a quarter this year after you may remember one of its plane's door plugs which is the area around the door

including that door, flew out of a jet mid-flight in January other mishaps as well.

CNN Aviation Correspondent Pete Muntean has been following all of Boeing's troubles over the past few years. Pete first of all, is this resignation a

direct result of those various problems?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: The irony here, Jim is that Dave Calhoun; the Boeing CEO came into power after the Max-8 eight incidents in

2018 and 2019. 346 people killed in two crashes abroad. And now he says he is leaving the company at the end of the year as a result of this Max-9

door plug blowout on this Alaska Airlines flight back on January 5th.

This is the quote from Calhoun he says in his letter announcing his resignation at the end of 2024 calling it a watershed moment that is really

significant because it shows how much it changed the focus at Boeing, a company that was on the way up after the Max-8 incidents of several years


Now it has been responding to investigation after investigation. And Calhoun himself has gone to Capitol Hill to the top lawmakers on the Senate

overseeing -- the Senate Committee overseeing aviation to say that his planes are safe, is not helped much when it comes to the FAA audit of

Boeing quality control.

Remember the NTSB its own investigation found that this 737 Max-9 in question, left the Boeing factory without the four critical door plug bolts

in place that was on the NTSB preliminary report that came out on February 28th -- February 21st.

The Head of the Mac's division resigned. And the question was whether or not that person was a scapegoat. It was a person a lot of people had not

really heard of. And so now Calhoun is stepping down along with the Head of the Commercial Airplanes Division, Stan Deal, along with Larry Kellner, who

is the Head of the Board.

So this is a really significant change at the top. One a lot of people have been wondering one that would happen. That is really very notable, because

so much pressure has been put on the workers at Boeing, who have had to endure daylong quality stand downs; memos from Boeing top brass saying make

sure you put every part in its proper place.

Now, the top brass is really facing the music here. And this is a very significant change at the plane maker. And really one that calls into

question whether or not it can do a significant enough about face after this most recent incident?

SCIUTTO: No question. Pete Muntean thanks so much for covering. Still to come, a double dose of legal woes for Donald Trump in a single day today in

New York first, you must post a massive bond and his civil fraud case while his lawyers ask for yet another delay in his criminal hush money trial.



GIOKOS: Welcome back. I'm Eleni Giokos, in Abu Dhabi, with Jim Sciutto in Washington and you're watching a special hour of "Connect the World".

SCIUTTO: It is a big day for Donald Trump in New York. He is making his way may have just arrived in fact that in New York City courtroom as he faces

two major legal cases today. First today is the deadline for him to come up with nearly half a billion dollars in bond money for his civil fraud case.

If he does not post that money the New York Attorney General has she said she is prepared to freeze his bank accounts begin seizing Trump properties

to make up for that cash. Also, Trump's lawyers are expected to argue to delay another case that his criminal hush money trial currently set to

begin April 15th as attorneys are also expected to ask the judge to dismiss those charges that's considered highly unlikely.

GIOKOS: Well, to Washington and CNN Reporter, Alayna Treene good morning to you a lot on the go. But look, one of the things that we have to take into

account on such a big day for Donald Trump and his legal team -- you know his specific mindset of -- you know facing this bond that he needs to meet

this deadline and of course, this hush money trial, the hearing that is set to start imminently.

ALAYNA TREENE, CNN REPORTER: Well, that's right. I mean, these dueling threats, both in the same city on the same day really underscore one of

Donald Trump's longest held fears, which is one a potential criminal conviction. And the second, the idea that he does not have as much cash

that he wants people to believe in that he claims that he has.

Now I do want to start with the bond deadline because that is something that personally is striking a very sensitive nerve with Donald Trump. We

know that this is something that has struck strikes to the core of who he is. We've covered this throughout that New York civil fraud trial that he

will he wants people to believe that he is a wealthy businessman.

He was a businessman, before he was a politician. And for several years, Donald Trump has been tangled in legal battles relating to his real estate

empire long before he became president. But he was able to avoid the scenario that he is facing today with the potential seizing of his assets.

If he does not meet that bond, which as of now it looks unlikely that he will be able to pay for that.

And again, part of this really is this perception in the public that he does not have as much cash as he claims. Now, as for the criminal case, the

hearing that he's -- if he hasn't arrived already, he's about to arrive at that courthouse for this hearing.

The big thing that we're watching for today is if you will get a trial date, remember today was the day that his trial was actually slated to

start. But it ended up getting delayed because the prosecution had turned over thousands of documents.


But really the goal for Donald Trump's team, what they're going to try to argue is to delay this even further. Because this is really, if they get a

trial date, which is expected, potentially next month, that would be the first of many trials he could be facing, and also maybe the only trial he

could have before the election so again, two very massive legal battles for Donald Trump that he is facing down on the same day in the same city.

GIOKOS: Alright, great to see you, Alayna Treene. Much appreciate it Jim, over to you.

SCIUTTO: All right here in Washington let's go to CNN Political Commentator Shermichael Singleton. He is also a Republican Strategist. Shermichael,

this is listen, this is all playing out in the midst of a presidential election right?

Four trials where do you place the two trials? The two issues that we're seeing developments today, in this sort of -- right, the ranking of the

seriousness of trials as it relates to Donald Trump's election chances. You have the civil fraud case, he's got to come up with half a billion dollars

today, and you have the hush money case involving paying off an adult film star back in 2016. Where do they stand in terms of how -- you see them?

SHERMICHAEL SINGLETON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think the hush money case Jim is at the very end of the totem pole for most voters. Now, if you

were to ask about the D.C. case, January 6th, or the Georgia case, which we've seen a lot of intrigue about, or even the documents case, I think

most people can understand that the hush money case, it doesn't really have a direct implication on democracy, if you will.

So I don't think voters will give that as much credibility as some may think it will, as it pertains to the 400 plus million dollars, half a

billion dollars that the former president has to come up with. I think this does sort of raise some doubts in people's minds particularly about whether

or not the former president is as rich as he claims.

But I think politically, Jim, the former president is going to use this as a wedge tool, not only to rally his base, but I would also say, to reach

out to some maybe persuadable conservative leaning independents by simply saying this. Can't Democrats beat me at the ballot box? Why are they

utilizing the justice system, if you will weaponize it against me? Now whether or not that is true people can make that determination for

themselves. But that's going to be I believe, a part of his communication strategy.

SCIUTTO: I mean, it is remarkable because at any other time paying money to an adult film actress to keep an affair quiet for anyone else you would

think would be fatal politically with -- these are live pictures of the courthouse there where we expect Trump to come through those doors


Of course, we'll keep our eyes on that as we do. I do want to ask you Shermichael, because there's been this analysis or conventional wisdom that

OK, the trials are one thing, but a conviction would be different, right? And to your point, whether that be for January 6th or some of the other

trials that those considered more severe? But what a conviction in the civil fraud case -- well, not the civil fraud case in the in the hush money

case, would that elevate that in the minds, particularly of Republican voters?

SINGLETON: I don't think so. I think we've been through the process with Stormy Daniels, all of the details are out there as salacious as it may

have been, it really was sort of like a reality show. No one was really threatened by that the institutions if you will weren't -- weren't at grave

stake, as would be the case with some of the other trials, as I think would be in the minds of many prospective voters.

I think people more than likely expect the former president to likely be found guilty it's out of New York. The jury's clearly isn't going to be

favorable to him, as many conservatives would argue, but in terms of it moving the needle one way or the other.

Jim, I think most conservatives would probably say it's going to be insignificant, which is why you've seen the former president more than

anything, and his attorneys really, really focus on the other three trials trying to delay those as long as possible, because there is the possibility

of actual prison time if a guilty verdict is rendered in one of those, this one here, he'll probably pay a fine and move on.

SCIUTTO: So let's talk for a moment then about the bond. You mentioned this. He's got to come up with $500 million today. And now you and I have

lived through many years of Trump claiming to be worth many billions of dollars. And by the way, the core of the civil fraud case we should note

that he's found liable for is that he did elevate the value of his properties and his earnings throughout.

So court has found him liable for basically lying about his wealth here. But I wonder to your point, he's got to come up with $500 million today. If

he doesn't, the Attorney General of New York can begin seizing properties does that in your view dent, as you were saying, dent the sense that his

supporters have that he is an extremely rich and successful man?


SINGLETON: I don't think so. I think they're going to still believe that the former president is. And one of his statements Jim, at the former

president, I believe either made or posted on Truth Social several days or a week ago, he talked about how the cash is used to run many of his

businesses. And perhaps many of our viewers, maybe the international viewers may not be aware of some maybe.

But if you're in the real estate, business or market, it is very, very cash intensive. It's very, very rare that you will find a single individual

similar to the former president, with access of half a billion or even a billion or more in liquid assets, most of whatever available cash is going

to go towards continuing the daily operations and functions of the business.

So it could be possible that the former president has access to the cash that's necessary. But if he were to deplete all of that cash, would he be

able to operate and the businesses function probably not? Would he be able to pay people salaries? Probably not, which is why I think he's fighting so

hard here.

But again, looking at this from the political lens, I think his message is going to be clear. They're doing everything they possibly can to make sure

that I can't win. And when you spend time talking to many Republican and conservative voters, the message is very obvious.

Why are they going this far against this man? What is it about him that they disliked so much? Why can't they beat him on the issues? Why can't

they beat him on policies? That's the way they're going to interpret this? And I think the former president recognizes that. And I do believe that

there may be a sliver of independent voters who may be more concerned about other issues and less concerned about how much money Donald Trump has or

doesn't have.

SCIUTTO: Well, we'll only know in November for sure.


SCIUTTO: Shermichael thanks so much for always for joining.

SINGLETON: Thanks Sciutto.

SCIUTTTO: And coming up, it could be days before Hamas responds to the latest hostage exchange proposal. They're taking their time. So what are

the details inside this offer? We'll take a look next.


GIOKOS: Welcome back. I'm Eleni Giokos in Abu Dhabi. We are around 15 minutes away from a pre-trial hearing that is set to start in New York.

We've got live pictures for you for from the courthouse inside the courthouse. We are anticipating president -- former President Donald Trump

to enter any moment.

Now of course this is consequential the trial was meant to begin March 25th today instead, their lawyers were able to delay after they received many

documents that would have an impact on this case. We are hoping to hear more about whether the trial will begin in April?

This of course has to do with the hush money case where Donald Trump allegedly paid off Stormy Daniels. Of course this is developing. We have 15

minutes to go before we get more on this hearing Jim Sciutto standing by for us in Washington.


SCIUTTO: Overseas now Hamas says there are still a number of unresolved issues in a prisoner hostage exchange or possible one is accusing Israel of

trying to pressure it into making an agreement. Israel reportedly agreed to the number of Palestinian prisoners it will release in exchange for Hamas

releasing hostages held in Gaza.

This according to CNN Analyst Barak Ravid, the deal would release about 700 Palestinian prisoners 100 of whom are serving life sentences for

convictions of killing Israeli nationals. In exchange, Hamas would release 40 Israeli hostages currently held in Gaza. This comes as senior Israeli

officials are expected in Washington this week to discuss the Rafah operation differences between Israeli leadership and the U.S. leadership on

the course of this war.

CNN's Paula Hancocks has been following these talks from Doha, Qatar. Paula, there have been fits and starts in these talks for weeks. Where do

they stand? I mean is there genuine hope that they're moving towards agreement here? Or are we likely to be disappointed again?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Jim, one source close to the talk says there is steady progress, but there are still differences between the

two sides. So the Palestinian prisoners aspect of it that you just mentioned there, the fact that there is reportedly an agreement between the

U. S. and Israel on the 700 Palestinian prisoners to be released just about 10 days ago.

Hamas' counterproposal said they wanted between 700 and 1000 Palestinian prisoners released. So that is within the range of what they were looking

for. So that potentially, is something that could move things forward. It's, of course, not just the number of prisoners, but also which prisoners

are going to be released as well.

We have been hearing a number of things from unnamed Israeli government officials, regarding this agreement between the U.S. and Israel obviously,

it needs to be agreed by Hamas as well. And that would be waited for at this point. But Israel is under huge domestic and international pressure to

push this process forward, and to secure a ceasefire and release the hostages.

Now, as you said, we have heard pushback from Hamas, as well, two senior leaders at speaking to CNN saying that they blame the Israeli and American

media for trying to add pressure to these talks specifying particularly, that the Palestinian prisoners is not the only issue at stake here. They

say that they haven't had a reaction or a response from Israel when it comes to other key matters.

For example, a complete ceasefire, which we know Israel, has said publicly, it would not want to agree to at this point, also the withdrawal of Israeli

forces, even in stages. Now, Israel has made it very clear that it still intends to carry out a ground offensive in Rafah.

So up until now, it has not been willing to entertain the idea of pulling its forces out of Gaza, also talking about the return of the displaced

people within Gaza back to their home. So these are the issues that Hamas senior leaders are telling us that they still want to have clarity on.

And as this point that they say that the focus is just on the Palestinian prisoners to be released and not to take anything away from potential

progress that is happening on that that front. But of course, this is a very complicated, intricate negotiation. The technical teams are still here

in Doha. The decision makers have left the city though. So at this point, we're really waiting to hear responses on the proposals that are on the

table at this point, Jim.

SCIUTTO: No question has been disappointed before. We'll see if it moves forward this time. Paula Hancocks in Abu Dhabi thanks so much. Coming up,

with less than 15 minutes until the beginning of Trump's court hearing, we look at what can be expected in the next hour.



GIOKOS: Welcome back. This is "Connect the World". I'm Eleni Giokos live in Abu Dhabi.

SCIUTTO: And I'm Jim Sciutto in Washington. Let's return to our top story this morning. Former President Donald Trump's pre-trial hearing is set to

begin at the top of the hour just under 10 minutes. Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records. Four hush money payments he made

to adult film star Stormy Daniels this before the 2016 election. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all those charges.

Joining me now ahead of the hearing is Katelyn Polantz. And Katelyn before the judge today a couple of questions one, when to have the trial and two

whether to dismiss it? I imagine that second question, not going to dismissed. Do we have any sense of what the possible outcomes are in terms

of the start date?

POLANTZ: Well Jim, right now there's a date penciled in, it's April 15th. It was supposed to be today as the beginning of jury selection, in this

case. Trial dates, they do move and Donald Trump's team did develop an opening here where they were able to push back the trial at least till

April 15th that's because they got 100,000 records, more than 200,000 pages of new documents just in the past few weeks, through their pursuit of

building their defense case.

Those documents came in from federal investigators who had looked at Trump years ago. And once they had those documents that are when they went to the

judge. And they said, well, we need time to go over these. That's what's going to be discussed today, how much time they actually need to look at

these records?

The District Attorney's Office in New York says there was no wrongdoing here with those documents being turned over to the defense late and it's a

very small amount, just a few 100 that are actually relevant to the defense's case. And so the district attorney's office is going to try and

convince the judge to keep April as the start date for this case.

So we're going to see exactly what the judge wants to do here. How much sympathy he's going to be giving the defense team to move trial dates?

Trial dates, they do slide but this judge has been quite forceful in saying he wants the case to move forward even though Donald Trump is in court in a

lot of different jurisdictions.

They know that that's something they have to deal with as lawyers who are representing him on all of these cases. And there would have to be real

significant problems for this not to go to trial in the coming months.

SCIUTTO: That was going to be my question here because even if the judge were to allow more time, the thinking is that trial still takes place

before the November election.

POLANTZ: Very likely. And if you look at the calendar, it's late March right now. There is this pin dot on the calendar for April 15th is which is

we're waiting to see if the judge continues to keep that date or if he moves it later. But Trump's team in this case, they as far as the legal

team understands of it is they believe that this is very parochial case.

It's about New York. It's about business records. It doesn't carry a jail time as a penalty. It's it would be other types of penalties if Trump is

found guilty so there comfortable that if he has to go to trial before the election they're comfortable with this one being the first if not the only

case to go to trial before the election.


And with this hearing today, they're asking if the judge isn't going to dismiss this outright, which is unlikely. They're only asking for a 90 day

delay, which would put it in June. But the hope then is if the judge does move this case to start into June, then that boxes out other cases from

getting on the calendar as well those three other criminal cases against Trump also don't have trial dates.

SCIUTTO: Yet, delay let's be frank delay has been Trump's tactic and all these trials from the beginning Trump and his legal team. Katelyn Polantz

thanks so much. Please do stay tuned for another hour of this special edition of "Connect the World" live from Washington and Abu Dhabi. We'll be

right back after a short break.