Return to Transcripts main page
Erin Burnett Outfront
Regional Banks Hit Hard After Failures, Biden Tries To Blunt Panic; Ukraine: Private Russian Army Sustaining "Significant Losses"; Trump Campaigns In Iowa As Possible Criminal Charges Hang Over Him; Migrants Fed Up With Biden Admin Policies; Navalny, Who Is Jailed In Russia, Aware CNN Film Won Oscar. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired March 13, 2023 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, record lows. Stocks of regional banks nose-diving today even after the U.S. government goes to extraordinary lengths to stop the panic. Will more banks fail, and how safe is our money?
Plus, Russia's military falling apart. Soldiers revolting against commanders, calling themselves sacrificial lambs, as the battle between Russia's army and the private military Wagner group spills out into the open.
And hundreds of migrants trying to storm the U.S. southern border. Frustration with Biden's policies boiling over. This is the U.S. boarder you're looking at and we'll tell you what's happening there.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, bank crash. Stocks of dozens of regional banks across the United States plunging to record lows today. The situation so volatile that trading had to be completely stopped, halted for roughly a dozen of those banks.
Here's just a few to show you what happened in the hours they were even opened for trading. First Republic Bank, 66 percent lower at one point. Western Alliance Bancorp, 60 percent lower. PacWest, 34 percent of its value gone. First Horizon, about a quarter of its value erased.
It was a head-spinning turn of events, and it's all in response to the swift collapse of Silicon Valley Bank on Friday followed by Signature Bank over the weekend. Stocks diving even after the Biden administration and the federal government took extraordinary steps to calm Americans by assuring depositors that those two banks that they would have access to all of their money.
And President Biden tried to ease fears trying to prevent more runs on more banks.
(BEGIN VIDEOI CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Americans can rest assured that our banking system is safe. Your deposits are safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The thing is, though, what we saw today is that panic exists. It's out there. And this is a precarious moment.
Wherever we go from here, it is a precarious moment. Because banks are truly the arteries, the veins, the capillaries, they are it for America's capitalist economy, which is the biggest in the world. And the speed of the bank failures and the fear of more of them has totally shocked that system that, body.
Economic analyst and OUTFRONT regular Jim Bianco pointed out today that the yield on two-year t bills has seen the biggest three-day drop since right before the 1987 stock crash. Now, at that time the Dow dropped more than 20 percent in a single day. It was the singlest one- day stock decline in U.S. history.
Now, fast does not need to be precedent, but the frightening reality is that the underlying fundamentals of these banks may not matter because what does matter is human nature. Still, with all this technology and all of these regulations, a bank run is ultimately driven by fear and panic.
And the former Congressman Barney Frank, a board member of Signature Bank, which failed over the weekend, and by the way an instrumental figure in the financial regulatory reforms that came out of the 2008 great recession and banking crash, told "Bloomberg News" that if the federal regulators had made assurances on deposits on Friday, that bank would've survived.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
FORMER REP. BARNEY FRANK, SIGNATURE BANK BOARD MEMBER: We at signature we're in good shape. In fact, given what the fed and what the FDIC announced today, if that had been announced on Friday, we would have had no problem at all. And I think you see when the sale comes that it's a fundamentally sound bank.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. Now put aside Frank's claims that Signature is a fundamentally sound bank. We're not going to try to fact-check that here.
But also put aside that he wanted to roll back some of the very regulations of his own famous Dodd/Frank bank reform when he got on the board of Signature, because you know what? Those things actually aren't at the heart of this. He has a point no matter what. And that is that panic can kill a bank no matter how strong it is, any bank, because banks are about trust. They take your deposits and they lend them out to other people. That's what they do.
And what is scary about the past few days is that they've raised the question about how much the underlying strength of a bank even matters. In fact, social media played a huge part on Silicon Valley Bank's failure. The second biggest bank failure in American history may go down fairly as partially blamed on Twitter because a mob mentality propelled by social media fomented that bank run.
And now, one insider tells me he's worried that in an environment like this, the only financial institutions that can realistically survive are four, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Citigroup. That's it. The big four, because those are the only places people truly know their money is safe.
Now, why would you know that? Well, here's the reason because those banks are way too big to fail.
Case in point: Farmbox CEO Ashley Turner who is a customer with Silicon Valley Bank tells us her company was banking with First Republic as well. Now, guess where their money is on Monday? Bank of America, Chase, and Wells Fargo.
And she is not alone. Here's an incredible fact. Those four banks, those four that I mentioned, are about double the size they were in the 2008 financial crisis. Eighty-nine percent bigger, according to the Federal Reserve's latest numbers, 89 percent bigger.
So the whole thing too big to fail too terrible so let's get rid of it, so the only thing we did is get bigger and bigger and way too big to fail.
Phil Mattingly is OUTFRONT at the White House to begin our coverage tonight.
And, Phil, I know you've been talking to your sources there, you've got some new reporting for us, what are you learning now?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You talk about panic and contagion, the fears that were certainly drawn out over the course of the last several days. Treasury Department officials, financial regulators keenly aware of that reality, and while they have been watching bank stocks, particularly those regional bank stocks get hit throughout the course of the day, one senior treasury official I was talking to said keep an eye on what's actually happening underneath right now. That's what officials have been keenly focused on and just a continuous array of phone calls with regulators inside some of these financial institutions with bank CEOs as well.
What they have been watching is the outflows of deposits. That's what created the biggest concern, the biggest risk in the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank is that these regional banks, these mid-sized and smaller banks would have significant deposit outflows, and therefore would be in a very similar position. What this official says is over the course of the day, they have seen those outflows or heard anecdotally those outflows are starting to slow.
And they feel like that is a good sign that perhaps what they put in place are very dramatic emergency effort on Sunday are starting to work. According to this official, Erin, the thing we were targeting was uninsured depositors, feeling as if they weren't protected. The scale and breadth of what we did has sent that message that they are in fact protected.
Now, you combine that with the Federal Reserve lending facility that was also set up, that's providing liquidity to these same banks that are getting hammered by the market right now. They have seen signs that that is also starting to take effect, take hold as well. So those are positive signs. They acknowledge they are not out of the woods by any means. The risk that is very real has not dissipated in a dramatic manner. But they feel like those are positive signs.
At the same time, White House political advisers, Erin, are bracing for a very real political fallout. Everything you've seen from the White House and the president today is trying to get in front of that, try and address that.
They feel like they have a message and that this was a necessity. They believe they delivered on that. We'll, obviously, have to wait and see as the days come forward whether or not that's actually the case.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Phil Mattingly.
And, of course, this is all happening in a way we've never seen it happen before, right? That is in a way of social media, right, where you can have these sort of herd mentality, you know, just all of a sudden trample through a bank. And it's a terrifying thing, it's something nobody in the banking system or regulating the banking system has had to deal with before.
And OUTFRONT now, the former FDIC chair Sheila Bair. She led the FDIC during the 2008 financial crisis.
And, of course, Sheila, I remember talking to you so many times during those volatile and frankly often very terrifying days for all of us. How concerned are you right now about further spread?
SHEILA BAIR, FORMER FDIC CHAIR: Well, I think the system is basically sound, and that's not -- you know, there are bank failures. We've always had bank failures.
BAIR: And so, (INAUDIBLED) bank failures shouldn't scare people. We've always had deposit insurance limit of $250,000. You see those at your bank, by the teller window, on the website. So this is not anything that should be alarming.
I think the government needs to be very careful in how they communicate this because, in a way, I think by making highly unusual systemic risk designations for two mid-sized banks. We've got a $23 trillion banking industry. One had $200 billion. Another had $100 billion of assets. This is just, you know, imposing -- keeping to the deposit limits, which are there in law and clearly disclosed, would somehow create systemic risk, that, I think, people found a little desettling. So I do think, you know, you can end up creating problems that you're
trying to avoid by not being very careful in communication. So I think -- it's right, this is -- we need to worry about uninsured deposit runs. And the question is, what -- you know, what kind of messaging, communications, and initiatives as well --
BURNETT: Right. Well, and I understand what you're saying, of course. I mean, there's different ways to look at it. You can look at it as $20 billion versus the size of the banking system or you can say it's the biggest -- the second biggest bank failure in American history. Both are fair. Both -- yes?
BAIR: I will just say that we've had a couple of multitrillion dollar banks fail during the great financial crisis, just that they were bailed out so they didn't actually go into receivership. I thought I needed to make that point. Go ahead.
BURNETT: Right. I guess the point I'm raising is that confidence in these banks, you've got these four big banks that have basically doubled their assets since 2008.
BURNETT: Right? Which is something that you and others tried to prevent from happening. But that is exactly what happened.
You end up in this world where if you're one of those four, you're, you know, untouchable because you are simply too big to fail. And if you're everybody else, you go to go off for a higher rate for a CD or something else just to try to get those deposits.
BURNETT: So, it's two very different sets of rules, it feels like, to many people. How did we end up here where it's the untouchables and everybody else at your own risk?
BAIR: Well, you know, I think we had an opportunity in the great financial crisis to, instead of, you know, bailing out and supporting these large institutions, letting them grow even more, we could have broken some of them up, we could have downsized them.
We decided not to do that. We basically kept the system we had, got a little more capital in the system, a little more liquidity so the rules improved a bit. But it was basically the same system that has continued to grow and morph. A lot of that's been fostered by accommodative monetary policy keeping interest rates so low for so long, encouraged borrowing, encouraged corporate debt issuance.
These are all things that these big banks do to make money. So, that -- there are a lot of different -- monetary policy also had a role in increasing concentration size in these institutions. So it is what it is. I do worry now though that if the regulators start saying, okay, so everybody say over $100 billion now, we're going to protect their uninsured deposits. We don't really know -- where does this end?
So, okay, we've got two banks you're going to say you're going to protect their uninsured deposits.
BAIR: What if there are future failures? Who are going to protect?
If that's probably going to be the larger ones, what's that going to do to community banks? They're going to start losing uninsured deposits to the regionals who are now perceived to be protected.
BAIR: That's what happens when you start down this bailout road.
So I do think that bailouts reinforce bank consolidation and inevitably hurt the smaller institutions. And I really hope the regulators don't let that happen again.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Sheila Bair, thank you very much. I appreciate your time with your unique perspective as former head of the FDIC.
I want to go now to John Paul Dejoria. He is an entrepreneur and the founder of Patron Spirits, as well as co-founder of John Paul Mitchell Systems Hair Products.
You know, started small and whatever banking you were doing, and obviously built -- where you were -- somebody who'd be dealing with banks on very, very large transactions. So, in your capacity, JP, business owner and founder, if you were a small business right now, with all your money in a regional bank, what would you do right now?
JOHN PAUL DEJORIA, FOUNDER OF THE PATRON SPIRITS COMPANY: First of all, I love you out there, and you got me on at the right time. I love a journalist like you that goes after the truth period. So I'm going to tell you.
And I found this out this morning. If everybody knows about it out there, they wouldn't be panicked at all. We thought this morning when the president got on that 10 percent of the money invested was covered by the insurance policy of 250,000 each. Then I learned after that that, no, we the people, the government is paying for everything other than the people that own stock. Which when the president came on this morning and said 10 percent will be affected, the other 90 percent -- well, that's capitalism, okay?
But then I find out that's not true. I called the largest financial institution maybe in the world. I said what's really going on, and they told me. There will be several more banks that will fail, but the government is paying for everything. It's not 250,000. They're going to cover all the rest.
And if the government is doing it for this one big group there in Silicon Valley, which has a lot of supporters for the existing government, by the way, there's no way they can get away from not doing it for everybody else.
BURNETT: For everybody else. So, JP --
DEJORIA: Otherwise, they're going to lose the election.
BURNETT: So, Bill Ackman, billionaire investor and hedge fund manager, he says he's not long or short in any of these banks. He's trying to be constructed. He says the FDIC needs to ensure explicitly all deposits now. Hours matter.
It sounds like he's saying what you're saying. You can't have this 250,000 out there knowing that for the big banks, it's -- that's not true. You'll insure it no matter what because they can't fail, and now for Silicon Valley and Signature, it's everybody.
You're saying you got to extend it to everybody, forever?
DEJORIA: Yeah. With all due respect, okay, to that, I was told that it's already enforced right now. They're going to bail out this bank with taxpayer money. We the people are going to bail these banks out, which I don't think is very fair.
But -- and what I'm saying that, and I've already checked my local banks, my local banks that I deal with regionally in Texas are all very secure. I checked it out to make sure.
But what'll happen is if you do to this bank -- these people and a lot of them supportive of this administration, by the way, their depositors with financial contributions to the party. If they did it for this, there is no way unless it's a political unbelievable explosion, they're not going to do it for everybody. Because they'll say, well, why did you do it for these people when a lot of the big people there supported the Democratic Party, you got to do it for everybody.
So I think if people all knew that, and I don't think it's right, by the way, that we the people bail out banks that don't do what they're supposed to do, I don't think that's right at all. I think everyone should be treated equal.
That's -- we the people of America. But once they made that commitment to doing that, there's no way they're going to get out of it. Because how can they say, we're going to do these guys -- these are great supporters, but we're not going to do anybody else. Well, that is stupid.
I mean, that is a political disaster for them. And right now, look at this -- our nation right now. We're in some troubled times. But we're still a strong nation. We got good people out there. We just need people to tell us the truth. If they would have told the truth this morning to everybody when the president talked, people wouldn't be panicking, they wouldn't have run on their monies or anything else.
DEJORIA: I think we're going to get out of this okay. The only bummer is we the people are going to have to pay for it, which is not right.
BURNETT: All right. JP, thank you very much, John Paul Dejoria.
DEJORIA: My pleasure, always. Peace, love, and happiness. Thank you, dear.
BURNETT: And next, an all-out war inside Russia over Putin's deadly invasion. One prominent military voice now suggesting the head of Russia's private army be jailed. We'll go live to Ukraine.
Plus, former President Trump making it clear he will not, he does not plan to testify in the New York investigation into hush money payments to Stormy Daniels. It is a case that appears headed towards indictment of the former president. So how solid is the Manhattan district attorney's case against Trump?
And then this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the Oscar goes to -- "Navalny."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Navalny, you see his family there, and the producers and director of the film. Best documentary feature. I'll be speaking to the film's director and Alexei Navalny's daughter. Do they think the win will force Putin's hand?
BURNETT: Tonight, a rebellion, a Russian rebellion.
New video into OUTFRONT, this is a Russian battalion openly criticizing Putin's generals for breaking up their unit. Watch for yourself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSSIAN SOLDIER (through translator): We arrived recently to the zone of the special operation where an order was put in place to disband our battalion and send us all off to different units.
We are addressing you now so you can understand our situation. We asked that you let us remain in our battalion to fight and defend our motherland.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The anger echoed in this open letter from a Russian soldier that was first obtained by an independent Russian investigative journalist.
It reads, in part, quote: The enemy is spitting us out like sunflower seeds. Everywhere around us, they deceive us.
There is no truth anywhere, we've been sent like lambs to the slaughter to our imminent death. We saw corpses and mutilated people without arms and legs, with their guts hanging out. We were promised that we would be mortar men, but we were given no mortars.
Here's the letter. You can see just the incredible neatness of the handwriting. That's what he's talking about. And this right now encapsulates part of the state of Putin's army.
And the other Russian army fighting on the battlefield is, of course, the private Wagner Group and is not faring much better. Constant complaints of no ammunition. And the UK defense ministry reports that Wagner, which had 50,000 fighters in Ukraine three months ago, is now running out of people.
According to the UK, about half of them are now dead or injured, and the growing power struggle between Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin and Russia's ministry of defense has now been severely limiting Wagner's ability to recruit. And the war between Russian factions is now spilling out into the public.
Former Russian military officer writing: So, in fairness, Prigozhin should be at least in jail, adding, and, actually, he should be court- martialed.
I mean, it's incredible to see all this stuff just out there in public. It comes as we have new video for the fight that Bakhmut that Wagner has been spearheading, dragging on for seven months. Russia has once bragged this would be over in two weeks.
Here's what we're seeing now from Melissa Bell OUTFRONT tonight.
MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is what the war has left of Kupiansk, a city in eastern Ukraine that the front line has never strayed far from.
The police called by a civilian who found this, a cache of Russian ammunition.
Six months after they were driven out, Russian forces now less than five mile as way.
You hear those explosions, says the police chief. Those are rockets flying towards the civilian population. People here are suffering.
Yet, overcoming the human instinct to run, Liuba and her husband refuse to leave. Artillery destroyed their neighbor's house a month ago, narrowly missing them.
That noise, that noise.
The worst, she explains, is at night. So she and her husband hold hands. It keeps them safe. This is their home, she says, not the Russians'. Besides, she says, it's getting warmer now. With the rainwater they collect in buckets, they will survive.
Kupiansk was one of the most strategic wins of Ukraine's four counteroffensives, but at huge cost. Now with Russian forces closing in again, civilians are being evacuated to safer parts. Residents leaving Kupiansk and its neighboring villages with not much more than their keys, a heavy heart, and the hope they will return.
Those left surviving as best they can. A city of around 27,000 now reduced to 2,500, according to police.
It's because the main market in the center of Kupiansk has been entirely destroyed that this makeshift one has been created. The last couple of days have been a little bit quieter, we're hearing. And that's why people here are selling what they can while they can.
Of course, we're afraid, says Leda (ph), who says she now knows the sound of artillery, both outgoing and incoming.
We won't go anywhere, she explains. We're not rats, we won't abandon our city. If we do, who will take over?
The last civilians of Kupiansk determined, like some of its buildings, not to be blown away by the shifting winds of this brutal war.
BELL (on camera): What we've been seeing, Erin, since about mid- February is all along that eastern front line, renewed pressure on the part of Russian troops, at Bakhmut, of course, but further from the south in Donetsk province, all the way to that northernmost point on the front line Kupiansk.
They are trying to really put that pressure on to prevent Ukrainians from being able to regroup ahead of that counteroffensive they've been talking about for so long, and it is, of course, again, the civilians caught in the crosshairs, in that town of Kupiansk, Erin, not for the first, not for the second, but for the third time.
BURNETT: All right. Melissa, thank you very much, live from Kharkiv tonight.
I want to go to Ian Bremmer, president and founder of the Eurasia Group.
So, Ian, so much to talk about here, but obviously this fight between the ministry of defense and Yevgeny Prigozhin is incredibly public now, right? It appeared to be irreparable, right? You've got former defense guys saying he should be court-martialed.
The U.K. is saying that Prigozhin now is recruiting in gyms because that's what left. I'm surprised that is even left as a place that would even seem to be one of the first place that you would think.
What does this mean? I mean, is this really going to be the beginning of the end for that fighting unit?
IAN BREMMER, PRESIDENT & FOUDNER, EURASIA GROUP: Well, I think that Prigozhin, I'd be surprised if he's still alive in a year, if I'm completely honest with you.
BREMMER: Yeah. I mean, the fact that he is publicly going on -- creating videos and putting them out and saying I don't have enough ammunition. I mean, ultimately, that goes to a criticism of the person who's in charge, which is President Vladimir Putin.
It certainly shows he doesn't have a good relationship with the president. If he did, he'd be talking to Russian leadership. So I think he's got significant problems.
And, of course, on the ground in Bakhmut, I mean, this is a killing field.
BREMMER: And what we're talking about is literally dozens of meters of land being taken every day. I mean, they're just throwing tens of thousands of young men at these Ukrainians, a town of 75,000. I mean, this has been going on for months now. It's appalling to imagine that we're fighting a war this way, the way that, frankly, you were fighting World War I.
BURNETT: I mean, it is appalling, but as you said there, it could mean -- it could mean the end for Prigozhin.
The invasion has been taking a toll on Russia's economy. It's interesting. There's an article in the "Financial Times," by Edward Luce. And he was saying Putin is running out of money, pointing out that more than half of the budget comes from fossil fuel. He says that they are having to pillage their rainy day funds so that while Putin, his own standard of living may not have taken a hit per se, it's because they're digging in deep into the funds.
Now, do you think that there's anything to that?
BREMMER: What we saw basically 2.5 percent contraction of the Russian economy last year. The IMF is expecting that this year, they will actually have a small amount of growth. The fact is that --
BURNETT: Do you think those are real numbers?
BREMMER: These are real numbers. These are IMF numbers, these are not Russian numbers, these are the best estimates from international economists.
And the things that the Russians produce, the world actually wants. It's food. It's fertilizer.
BURNETT: So, you're saying all these sanctions that we hear about are BS.
BREMMER: No, they're not BS at all. They absolutely matter. I mean, the fact is that the Russians are not going to be able to sell a lot of gas on the international market because if the Europeans don't buy it, there's no infrastructure to put anywhere else.
So there is stranded gas, and that's an important natural resource for the Russians. But the idea that the United States and the Europeans are crippling the Russian economy in the near term, rather than two or three years, that's not credible.
BURNETT: And is there any way that they can do that more quickly?
BREMMER: The only way you could do that more quickly would be if you had willingness to put sanctions on, you know, countries that matter to the U.S. economy, to the global economy, and put sanctions on the Chinese for buying Russian energy. You're going to put sanctions on the Indians for doing that. No one's going to do that, right?
So, the U.S. -- we don't have a global order, we have a fragmented order. The United States may be the leader on security. It's not the leader on all things economic, and you're seeing that play out with Russia.
BURNETT: All right. Ian, thank you very much. Sobering.
And, next, live pictures of Trump in Iowa, his former fixer Michael Cohen today went in front of that New York grand jury. Is an indictment for Trump imminent? Conservative lawyer George Conway is next.
Plus, former First Lady Michelle Obama opening up by why she was often surrounded by children during her time in the White House.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
MICHELLE OBAMA, FORMER FIRST LADY: Why you saw me with so many kids, number one, they lifted me up.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BURNETT: You're looking at live pictures out of Iowa. Former President Trump is holding a campaign rally there tonight.
Yes, indeed, it is the time for that. He could be days away from becoming the first former president to be indicted. And he would continue, he says, with his campaign.
His lawyer saying today that Trump will not testify by a New York grand jury. That jury is investigating Trump's alleged role in a hush money payment to Stormy Daniels to cover up that alleged affair.
Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen who says he made the payoff at Trump's direction, did testify today before that grand jury and said Trump should be held accountable.
OUTFRONT now, longtime conservative lawyer George Conway. I do note CNN has previously reported that his wife Kellyanne Conway also appeared before that grand jury. So, that's just for disclosure.
Obviously, George, I know you can't talk about that.
But when it comes to this particular case, I know you believe it is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when Trump is indicted. But this case has been out there for years.
GEORGE CONWAY, CONSERVATIVE LAWYER: Absolutely.
BURNETT: So how solid is it, where are we?
CONWAY: I think it's a solid case legally and technically. It's just sort of an odd case to bring now after all these years. I think the case should've been brought on the afternoon of January 20th, 2021, when Trump's immunity expired as president. It should've been brought as a federal campaign finance law case, like kind of the one against John Edwards that failed. It failed for other reasons, but it was essentially, it was -- he made a contribution to his own campaign through a straw man Michael Cohen, and didn't disclose it. And that's a violation of federal law.
BURNETT: So, to talk about the timing, though, Trump's lawyer Joe Tacopina talked about the case earlier. And he's obviously trying to make the point that he believes this timing is all political.
Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE TACOPINA, LAWYER FOR FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP: We are distorting laws to try and beg President Trump. I don't know if it's because he's leading all the polls. I don't know what it is, but clearly, this prosecutor and this prosecutor's office has made an agenda of trying to get him. They've scoured his personal life and business life for seven years to try to find something.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Right. To your point, have they done it the day after, maybe. Does Trump have a leg to stand on here?
CONWAY: I don't think it's a legal leg. He's got to defend the fact -- the case on the merits on the facts and on the law in court. And if they're really out to get him, they would have tried to get him on other stuff because they had prosecutors who are extremely competent who were willing to bring the case.
And for some reason, Bragg decided maybe they didn't want to go first. I don't know. Maybe -- maybe it was the Pomerantz book that caused this now, maybe not. Or maybe there is something that we don't know.
I mean, there's always could be something that they found that we don't know, the changed the equation for them. I mean, we didn't know for months, for example, that Donald Trump was stonewalling the government and hiding documents at Mar-a-Lago until the search warrant.
BURNETT: Right, right.
CONWAY: So we don't know. There maybe something, we don't know, we don't know.
BURNETT: OK. So when you heard that Trump doesn't plan to testify before the grand jury, he's been given the chance, I don't think it's a surprise to anybody that he didn't. But he was given the chance. If you were his lawyer, would you have advised him to testify? Or did he do the right thing?
CONWAY: I would advise him under no circumstances testify in any proceedings civil or criminal because he would get destroyed on cross- examination. If you remember the first book that Bob Woodward wrote about Trump, I think it was called "Fear", there's a whole discussion about how his lawyers tried to prep him for possible appearance before Bob Mueller.
And it was impossible. He would lose his mind and start saying whoppers left and right. He was going to open -- and, in fact, the closing line in the book was Trump's own lawyer saying you're an effing liar.
BURNETT: OK. So, in that case, you're saying they did the right thing there.
CONWAY: Yeah, absolutely.
BURNETT: But obviously, you've got a lot of things here. You've got Fulton County.
BURNETT: You've got E. Jean Carroll.
BURNETT: You've got Stormy Daniels.
You've got the special counsel which is classified documents to Mar-a- Lago and January 6. There's also some other civil things going on in New York. A former president has never been indicted on criminal charges until
possibly now. And it's not -- it may just not be a one thing. It may be a whole bunch of things.
CONWAY: In my view, I put the over/under at three.
BURNETT: You put the over/under on three.
Okay. So, before I ask you which three, do you think that it will stop him or deter him? Is there any reason why this would impact him actually running?
BURNETT: So legally no?
CONWAY: Legally no. I mean, he can -- he can run. He can be incarcerated and he could still run for president. If he were elected I think the better legal argument under the constitution under Article 1 would be that they'd have to spring him.
But I don't think he is going to elected, but I do think he is going to run. I think he is going to make a big issue out of his legal troubles to say that he is persecuted. He's going to say they are persecuting me. He's already said it.
CONWAY: Because they want to persecute you. And he's going to say, and if violence erupts, he is going to say it wasn't my. It's your fault, prosecutors.
BURNETT: OK. So now the three, Stormy Daniels, number one.
BURNETT: Georgia, Fulton County. Number two?
BURNETT: And Mar-a-Lago.
CONWAY: Mar-a-Lago, and possibly January 6th.
BURNETT: January 6, so not E. Jean Carroll?
CONWAY: No, Jean -- that's not -- that's not a criminal case. It's a civil.
BURNETT: Right, so you're just going to --
CONWAY: But he's got a big problem there, too.
BURNETT: Okay. All right. Well, thank you very much, George, as always. All right. And, next, chaos on America's southern border. The images
coming in are really incredible, right? This is the American border. U.S. guards in riot gear pushing back hundreds of migrants who are trying to force themselves into the United States. And tonight, those migrants are angry, frustrated with the Biden administration.
And "Navalny," the documentary about Putin's nemesis opposition leader wins an Oscar.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Alexei, the world has not forgotten your vital message to us all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The film's director and Alexei Navalny's daughter Dasha will be OUTFRONT.
BURNETT: Tonight, chaos on the border. Hundreds of migrants in Mexico rushing to the U.S. border in El Paso, attempting to get into the United States. They were pushed back by border agents in riot gear who also put up barbed wire to keep the crowd from storming into the United States.
Incredible images here from the American border. And it comes as frustration over President Biden's migrant policies is boiling over.
Rosa Flores is OUTFRONT.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A large group of migrants rushing the International Bridge towards El Paso, Texas, Sunday, and in a standoff with U.S. authorities for hours.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (translated): Please, we want answers.
FLORES: This woman begging officials.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (translated): We're robbed. We're extorted.
FLORES: Saying she is being robbed and extorted in Mexico while trying to navigate a frustrating and cumbersome U.S. asylum process.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (translated): The app doesn't work.
FLORES: Migrants pointing their anger at a new app launched by the Biden administration. Asylum-seekers use it to try to set up appointments to enter the U.S. legally under exception of Title 42, the rule invoked at the start of the pandemic to expel migrants. But getting an appointment is a big challenge. That comes into focus in this deep canyon in Tijuana, Mexico, just
south of San Diego, where the dreams of children like Arthur Salazar, a 9-year-old from Guatemala.
What's your biggest, biggest dream?
To arrive to the U.S.?
And the flaws of the broken U.S. immigration system co-exist.
Do you like science?
ARTHUR SALAZAR, IMMIGRANT: Yes.
FLORES: Arthur arrived in December and says the wait is depressing and sad.
Why is it sad?
He says it's sad because sometimes they don't have food to eat.
His mom Jennifer opened this food stand in front of the school.
What are you waiting for?
She says that the migrants here are stuck because of the CBP 1 app.
The head of Tijuana's migrant services says about 5,600 migrants live in shelters and the one port of entry nearby only takes 200 appointments a day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not enough.
FLORES: Jennifer wakes up at 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. to try the app.
So, error after error after error?
She took screen grabs. This is another one. It says that she must be close to the border. You're in Tijuana. This is a border town.
Then candidate Joe Biden said this during the final presidential debate in 2020.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is the first president in the history of the United States of America that's anybody seeking asylum has to do it in another country. That's never happened before in America. They're sitting in squalor on the other side of the river.
FLORES: The scene President Biden described then appears to be happening under his administration, too.
But tensions appear to be escalating. Migrants rushing a border crossing -- UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (translated): To have a better future and help my
FLORES: And some pleading with authorities, saying they just want a better life.
FLORES (on camera): According to an administration official, smuggler misinformation is to blame for the incident on the bridge leading to El Paso. Now the White House has pushed back on comparisons of current border policies to those of the Trump administration, saying that the Biden administration has actually expanded legal pathways to come into the country.
About the app, CBP says that it's working as intended that they have processed more than 40,000 applications since January. But, Erin, it's that huge demand that has those appointments filling in moments -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Rosa. Those images on the U.S. border are certainly sobering.
Well, next, the CNN film "Navalny" wins an Oscar for best documentary. The director and Alexey Navalny's daughter are next. Could all of the attention on this film help Navalny for his release?
Plus, you want to hear former First Lady Michelle Obama on an important message she was sharing with children during her time at the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIIFED MALE: And the Oscar goes to -- Navalny.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And there they are. The team behind the CNN film "Navalny" celebrating in the powerful documentary. It is about the plot to poison the Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny.
That story, of course, you know we've covered extensively here OUTFRONT, and a Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, reacted to the Oscar win today in the Monday press briefing saying I cannot judge the qualities of this documentary since I haven't seen it, obviously highly questionable, but did accuse it of politicization that Hollywood is playing politics.
It's clear that this film is keeping Navalny's message alive. Obviously, Peskov, Putin's top spokesperson having to comment on it is significant and the film director, Daniel Roher, said this as he accepted the award.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANIEL ROHER, DIRECTOR, NAVALNY: Alexey Navalny, the leader of the Russian opposition, remains in solitary confinement for what he calls -- I want to make sure we get his words exactly right -- Vladimir Putin's unjust war of aggression in Ukraine. I would like to dedicate this award to Navalny, to all political prisoners around the world.
Alexey, the world has not forgotten your vital message to us all. We cannot, we must not be afraid to oppose dictators and authoritarianism wherever it rears its head.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Daniel joins me now along with Dasha, Alexey Navalny's daughter.
And congratulations to both of you. This is an incredible moment. I know it takes time to sink in.
And, Dasha, let me start with you. I understand that you believe your dad has learned about this Oscar win today, obviously where he is in a penal colony. Do you have any sense how you think he may have responded? I don't know -- I know you don't know for sure but what you think his reaction may have been?
DASHA NAVALNAYA, DAUGHTER OF ALEXEY NAVALNY: Yes. I can confirm that he knows that we won an Oscar. So, it's still crazy to say out loud. But I'm sure that he is incredibly happy.
You know, the -- as you know from watching the documentary he wanted this movie to be a thriller-like documentary and it -- us getting the Oscar and our incredible film team receiving this amazing award just shows this is an incredible documentary that anyone should be proud of.
BURNETT: For sure. It is as I've said like watching a thriller action. And, of course, it's real life.
Daniel, Dmitry Peskov, the top spokesperson for Putin, the full quote of what he said today at the Monday press briefing, he was asked about the Oscar for "Navalny." He said, I haven't seen it. I dare suppose it contains a certain element of politicization. Hollywood is not averse to it and this kind of thing happens. As for the cinematic qualities of the film I cannot speak of them for I haven't seen it.
What's your response to that?
ROHER: Oh, I think he is lying for sure. I think he has for sure seen it and I think he probably really liked it but isn't allowed to really like it so he has to say he hasn't seen it. But look, these guys are liars. That is what they do for a living. They lie and they lie and they lie. They are in the disinformation game and that is their industry and their economy is lying. And so I'm not surprised that Peskov would come out and say something
like that and try and chalk it up to Hollywood and minimize it and try and make this accomplishment seem smaller than it is. But at the end of the day, there's no minimizing this. This is an extraordinary accomplishment and it is the name "Navalny". That's the name of our film and that's the name that is reverberating around the world today.
So, Peskov can say whatever he wants but the film is called "Navalny" and a lot of people are going to watch it, including probably him and his entire family.
BURNETT: For sure, and as you point out, given that some of those who were involved in the attempted poisoning of your father, Dasha, are now missing, I mean, it's very clear many in the top circles of Putin saw this.
You and your brother were at the Oscars last night. Your mother was there. You were all together.
I want to play some of what your mom said on the stage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YULIA NAVALNAYA, WIFE OF ALEXEY NAVALNY: My husband is in prison just for telling the truth. My husband is in prison just for defending democracy.
Alexey, I am dreaming of the day when you will be free. And our country will be free. Stay strong, my love. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: I know, Dasha, it is beautiful to see your mom's love but hard of course. I know you tweeted last night, brought tears to my eyes, dad, this is for you. That photo of you and your mom and your brother.
What did this moment feel like and mean for you and your family?
NAVALNAYA: It felt amazing. It's -- you know, the moment where you realize that all of the hard work that your father has been putting all of his heart and soul into and everyone who works for the Anti- Corruption Foundation and everyone who has been fighting against the Putin regime, this work is not going unseen and it is actually working and we're getting the recognition that we deserve.
And we're fighting the fight. It seems like we're winning.
BURNETT: Daniel, I'll give you the final word. I know you want to make a sequel.
ROHER: You know I want to make a sequel, Erin. The sequel I dream of making is the story of the first democratic election in the history of the Russian Federation. It is the story of candidate Navalny. I want to follow Alexey after he is freed from prison when he is able to run for the presidency of Russia as he takes his message to the Russian people. It's an aspirational film and one that is predicated on hope and Navalny asks his supporters to have hope.
And that is something that I am very much leaning into today. This is for Alexey Navalny, all political prisoners around the world, and, specifically, his supporters in Russia.
BURNETT: Thank you both so very much and congratulations.
ROHER: Thank you.
NAVALNAYA: Thank you.
BURNETT: And please stream the Academy Award-winning CNN film "Navalny". It is on HBO Max. If you haven't seen it, you'll end up watching it more than once.
OUTFRONT next, Michelle Obama opening up about why she spent so much time with children as first lady.
BURNETT: And finally, tonight, the former First Lady Michelle Obama opening up about why she was often surrounded by children during her time in the White House.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
MICHELLE OBAMA, FORMER FIRST LADY: What I tried to do as first lady is to see every child I interacted with because I'm thinking if the first lady of the United States sees you, if I'm looking you in the eye getting down, I would get down on the level with kids any time I would just want to tell them, I see you. You are beautiful. I am glad for you. I am glad you are here. We have to do that.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BURNETT: The former first lady saying the first time she felt seen by her own parents was when they would sit down at the kitchen table and just talk.
Thanks for joining us.
"AC360" starts now.