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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin
Colorado Dentist Accused Of Fatally Poisoning His Wife; Japan Edges USA 3-2 To Capture World Baseball Title; Today: Fed To Decide On Interest Rates Amid Bank Fears. Aired 5:30-6a ET
Aired March 22, 2023 - 05:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Here is today's fast-forward lookahead.
The Federal Reserve will announce its decision on interest rates today. It's the first time we'll hear from the Fed since the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank touched off fears of a global banking crisis.
The grand jury investigating Donald Trump for hush money payments to a porn star reconvenes later today. Still no word when or if the first- ever indictment of a former president could come down.
Lawyers for Jack Daniel's will argue a federal trademark case before the Supreme Court today. The Tennessee whiskey maker says a dog toy company selling Bad Spaniels Silly Squeakers ripped off its brand.
All right, to Colorado now where a dentist is accused of fatally poisoning his wife. Police say he put arsenic in her protein shakes. As CNN's Whitney Wild shows us, investigators also point to his internet searches as evidence.
WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Forty- three-year-old Angela Craig was hospitalized for the third time in a month last week after complaining of a severe headache and dizziness. She was put on a ventilator, rapidly declined, and was declared brain- dead soon after.
DR. JIM CRAIG, COLORADO DENTIST ACCUSED OF POISONING HIS WIFE: My name is Dr. Jim Craig and I practice at Summerbrook Dental Group.
WILD (voice-over): Now police say her husband, a Colorado dentist, killed her by poisoning her with toxic chemicals he bought online. Police in Aurora, Colorado say 45-year-old James Toliver Craig showed "Intent to end his wife's life by searching for ways to kill someone undetected by giving her poisons that align with her hospitalized symptoms."
Investigators say Craig bought arsenic as well as potassium cyanide. Police laid out a chilling timeline that began March 4 when arsenic was delivered to the Craig's home. Two days later Angela headed to the hospital complaining of dizziness and difficulty focusing her eyes -- symptoms consistent with arsenic poisoning, according to the police affidavit.
Angela texted her husband that day saying, "I feel drugged." Her husband James texted back, "Just for the record, I didn't drug you."
Investigators say Craig used a computer at his dental practice to research poisons. Police say his search history showed phrases such as "How many grams of pure arsenic will kill a human" and "Top five undetectable poisons that show no signs of foul play."
Police say around the time Angela was hospitalized again, from March 9 to March 14, James Craig ordered potassium cyanide online. The highly lethal drug was delivered to his dental practice. So concerned, a staff reported what they found.
Charges are set to be filed formally Thursday while the case has rocked their community.
MICHAEL LUCERO, FRIEND: It just makes me sick.
KAREN LUCERO, FRIEND: It doesn't seem real.
M. LUCERO: Yeah.
K. LUCERO: It doesn't seem like something that he could ever do to her.
Whitney Wild, CNN, Chicago.
ROMANS: All right, turning her now to sports. The World Baseball Classic ends in classic fashion with a pair of superstar teammates facing off with the title on the line.
Carolyn Manno has this morning's Bleacher Report. Good morning, Carolyn.
CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning.
This is what everybody wanted, right? Mike Trout and Team USA against Japan and the two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani. The pair have been teammates with the Angels for five years, but this was different and you could feel it. There is a combined four American League MVP awards and 12 All-Star nods between this pair but they had never played against each other until last night.
Ohtani coming in from the bullpen in the ninth inning with a 1-run lead. We thought he might do that. And Trout, Team USA's last chance, representing the tying run at the plate with two outs, and Ohtani strikes him out swinging.
Cue up the celebration. Japan winning a thriller 3-2 to capture the nation's third WBC title.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHOHEI OHTANI, PITCHER, TEAM JAPAN: Whether I got him out or he got a hit off me I didn't want to make any regrets. I wanted to make my best pitch.
MIKE TROUT, OUTFIELDER, TEAM USA: Everybody wanted to see it. He won round one. No, it's -- you can't take anything away from him. Just to be able to come out of the bullpen as a starter and, you know, it's Shotime. So it's a -- hat off to them guys over there. It was a tough night for us but we'll be back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MANNO: Hopefully, no hard feelings with the regular season right around the corner.
To the NBA now where Grizzlies star Ja Morant was back on the court practicing with his teammates for the first time since serving that 8- game suspension for wielding a gun in a viral social media video earlier this month. The All-Star guard told reporters he knows he made poor choices in the past. He vowed to make better decisions moving forward.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JA MORANT, GUARD, MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES: I take -- like I said, I take responsibility for the decisions I've made that pretty much hurt me to the core. Like I said, it not only affected me but it affected everyone around me -- my family, this organization, my teammates. It caused me not to be out there on the floor, which one thing I love to do the most is play basketball.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MANNO: Elsewhere in the NBA, a scary moment for Clippers star Paul George last night against the Thunder. The 13-year veteran landing awkwardly while bringing down a rebound in the fourth quarter. He was eventually helped off the court by Clippers staffers. He's expected to undergo further evaluation later today. To add insult to potential injury, L.A. ended up losing that game by one.
And a long road trip for the Celtics ending on a high note. Jayson Tatum taking over in the second half of this one. He put up 36 points on Sacramento Tuesday night. Jaylen Brown adding 27. This was one of the more critical games for Boston against a quality opponent. The Kings fighting with Memphis for the 2-seed in the west right now.
One-thirty-two-109 the final there as Boston gets its 50th win for the second-straight season. They are five games ahead of last year's pace right now.
And quarterback Cam Newton hasn't played in the NFL since December of 2021, but he thinks he has what it takes to make it back into the league. This is the 33-year-old throwing in front of scouts at Auburn's Pro Day yesterday, where he won a Heisman and a national championship back in the 2010 season.
He was actually invited to throw by his younger brother Caylin who played two seasons as a wide receiver at Auburn before finishing his college career at William & Mary.
The 2015 NFL MVP has run for more touchdowns than any other quarterback in league history and hinted at this, Christine, that he might be trying to get back into the league, but his brother said that it was something that he just did for me. And think about it if you're an NFL hopeful and --
MANNO: -- and you're on the other end of those passes. Pretty cool.
ROMANS: He looked good, right?
MANNO: Yes, yes.
ROMANS: He looked real good.
All right, nice to see you, Carolyn Manno. Thank you.
Coming up on "CNN THIS MORNING" why the U.S. is speeding up the timeline for tanks and Patriot missiles to Ukraine. And next right here, it's not just you. More companies are intentionally dodging your phone calls.
ROMANS: All right, your Romans' Numeral this morning, 11. Home prices falling for the first time in 11 years -- the first time in 11 years. The median price of a U.S. home was 0.2 percent lower. It doesn't sound like much, right, but that's the first time that has happened in 11 years.
Regionally, prices fell in the west more than five percent, the northeast more than four percent, but they rose nearly three percent in the south and five percent in the Midwest.
All right, looking at markets around the world, Asian markets are higher this morning. European stock markets are mixed. Inflation in the U.K. jumped by 10.4 percent in February compared to a year ago, and food inflation in the U.K. hit its highest level in more than 45 years. So inflation still a global headline here.
On Wall Street, stock index futures are barely moving lower -- I would call that indecisive -- after a bank rebound led stocks higher yesterday.
On inflation watch, gas prices held steady at $3.44 a gallon.
Everybody is waiting on the Fed. Markets pricing in an 87 percent chance the Fed will raise the main interest rate by a quarter point.
With more on the upcoming Fed decision let's bring in Rachel Seigel, economics reporter at The Washington Post.
A big day here. The economy has performed strongly since the last Fed meeting. If you just look at the economy and isolation it would seem logical the Fed would keep raising interest rates, but we have banking turmoil.
Where do you think the Fed comes out here? Markets expecting 25 basis points. There are plenty of people though who think the Fed should take a timeout.
RACHEL SIEGEL, ECONOMICS REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST (via Webex by Cisco): It's really just remarkable how much has changed in such a short period of time. The last time that the Fed chair spoke publicly he was talking about those very economic signs that you just mentioned. Signs that -- signs that the economy was heating back up and maybe they would need more aggressive rate hikes in order to try and tame things down.
But then you had this entire banking crisis squeezed in the middle, which has markets saying no, no. They definitely won't go even farther. They may be will settle for a smaller 25 basis point hike, or they'll have to pause altogether and they'll have to acknowledge that there is so much chaos out there that there is not yet enough calm to say we're going to keep raising rates.
And honestly, it's hard to remember a meeting --
SIEGEL: -- where we're going in saying we could really see either option.
ROMANS: I know. I mean, I think anything could happen here today. And what the Fed chief says I think is going to be so closely scrutinized here. I mean, there's a big debate if they were to pause that maybe it would send some sort of scary message to investors.
SIEGEL: It could send a scary message to investors that they are worried that there is more turmoil coming in the banking system. That they're worried that their moves have a very direct line to causing the kind of tumultuousness that we've seen in terms of financial stability. It could say that they are still trying to figure out what is happening. That they don't feel comfortable moving forward until they have a full picture of what went down over the last two weeks.
Then again, they don't want to change their message on inflation either. They don't want to say that they have seen enough progress on that front, too.
ROMANS: Well, they have to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time, right? They have to be able to fight inflation and -- with an eye to financial stability.
So how would a rate hike, you think, ripple through other small banks?
SIEGEL: Well, it would mean that they basically have to keep charging forward. Part of the reason that we saw such a disaster with Silicon Valley Bank is that they didn't plan effectively for the rate hikes that the Fed had been promising would come for such a long time. And that meant that they weren't able, ultimately, to handle the rate hikes once their customers came looking for their money.
The message then from the Fed would be to other banks we are going to keep doing this. We are not going to slow down. We are not going to pause altogether because we have to get inflation under control and that is something that you have to prepare for, too.
ROMANS: So the Treasury secretary yesterday speaking to the American Bankers Association -- she said this, I think trying to calm these banking concerns. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JANET YELLEN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: Let me be clear. The government's recent actions have demonstrated our resolute commitment to take the necessary steps to ensure that depositors' savings and the banking system remain safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Where do you come in on whether the United States government is going to guarantee all deposits here in the near term if there's another bank failure? Do you think that she was suggesting that?
SIEGEL: It's really hard to say. Honestly, there were so many questions left unanswered by Yellen's remarks yesterday. I am not sure if that suggests that those answers are still being debated within the halls of the White House or the Treasury Department or if we'll get some sort of announcement in the coming days.
What I do know, though, is that has to happen in tandem with the Federal Reserve figuring out what to do. We have all of these parts of government trying to decide how to respond to this immediate crisis while also going about the jobs that they were working on to try and control the economy before this shock happens.
ROMANS: You know, Jay Powell has been criticized for calling inflation transitory and getting into this inflation fight too late. Just quickly, now he's being criticized as well because the Fed oversees these banks, like SVB, and maybe should have done a better job.
SIEGEL: Yes. There are a lot of questions about how this was able to happen and why warnings that went out about SVB either went unheeded or why the protocols that were put in place were not enough to stop this bank failure.
You mentioned walking and chewing gum at the same time. I think you could probably add balancing a basketball and maybe closing your eyes and walking backwards because these are all things that fall -- [05:50:00]
SIEGEL: -- under the Federal Reserve's huge, huge mandate that now are questions that are going to be -- going to come before its most powerful person this afternoon.
ROMANS: Yes. I mean, the other metaphor I've used is juggling flaming chainsaws. I mean, that's essentially what they're doing with the economy right now trying to get it right. So, dangerous and difficult.
Rachel Siegel, nice to see you. Thank you so much.
SIEGEL: Thanks so much.
ROMANS: All right. After nearly two years of high inflation cheap is the new premium for shoppers.
It's time to bring in Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN Business reporter. So nice to see you.
Across 11 categories of e-commerce high-priced goods are moving -- losing -- or have lost meaningful market share to low-cost goods. This is Adobe Analytics. Tell us about this.
NATHANIEL MEYERSOHN, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Right. So we're seeing shoppers trade down from higher-priced products to lower-priced products as a result of inflation. So instead of buying Bounty paper towels we're seeing shoppers switch to cheaper store-brand paper towels. Or instead of expensive cashmere sweaters, just buying basic sweaters.
This is happening across the board in all 11 categories that Adobe tracks online.
MEYERSOHN: And not only are shoppers switching the type of goods they're buying but they're also shopping at cheaper stores. So, Walmart said that it has seen a trade down from higher-income shopper trying to save money at its stores. Dollar General, which typically caters to lower-income customers --
MEYERSOHN: -- they say that middle-income and higher-income customers are trading down. So this trade-down effect happening across the board.
ROMANS: It's so interesting that inflation -- now a year into this, it's changing consumer behavior. People are trying to -- trying to get around it if they can.
Meanwhile, pet owners are particularly squeezed by high inflation. How? MEYERSOHN: So pet adoption spiked early in the pandemic. About 23 million households adopted a pet to keep them company while they were stuck at home. But unfortunately, it's proving very costly to take care of a pet.
Inflation on pet food has increased faster than inflation on human food. Pet food up 15 percent in February from a year ago. Pet supplies up 11 percent. And vet services also up about 10.5 percent.
So pet owners -- they're having to make some difficult tradeoffs. They're buying fewer toys for their pets, switching from natural and organic foods to just kind of basic foods. And in some cases, even returning their pets to the shelter --
MEYERSOHN: -- because they can't afford them.
ROMANS: Oh, no.
MEYERSOHN: Yes, it's an economic indicator.
ROMANS: Absolutely -- yes, it really is.
All right, if you have customer service complaints good luck getting somebody on the phone. Companies are actually trying to make it harder to get in touch with them?
MEYERSOHN: Companies do not want to hear you on the phone, Christine.
So we see Frontier Airlines, the budget airline -- they've ended their live call option. Other companies like Breeze Airlines, Facebook, Resy, the reservation platform, Amazon -- those companies either don't have phone numbers or make it just about impossible for you to find their phone numbers, and that's a way to save money. They're reducing costs.
Instead of the live phone operator they want you to just tweet at them. So when you have an -- when you have an issue -- if you need to change your flight you can't call anybody but you can scream into the void on Twitter.
ROMANS: OK. Well, that's aggravating.
All right, nice to see you, Nathaniel Meyersohn. Thank you so much.
All right. Ahead on "CNN THIS MORNING" new legal developments in both the classified documents and the hush money cases involving Donald Trump. And doctors struggling to find prostate cancer medications for their patients.
ROMANS: All right, our top of the morning, the top T.V. shows right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Clip from Prime Video's "SWARM."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: "SWARM" is number one, topping Rotten Tomatoes' most popular list.
Here's number two.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Clip from HBO's "LAST OF US."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: The "LAST OF US" still riding the buzz of a great first season.
Number three --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Clip from Netflix "SHADOW AND BONE."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: That's "SHADOW AND BONE" from Netflix.
All right, California's latest atmospheric river unleashing torrential rains, powerful winds, and killing at least one person when a tree crushed a van. More than 465,000 people lost power in the Bay Area alone Tuesday. The winds so strong some power lines snapped in half.
In San Bernardino, a driver pulled to safety when his SUV was stuck in a flooded creek. And higher up, Crestline residents writing a message in the snow pleading for help.
Let's go to meteorologist Chad Myers. From what I understand it's still not over, Chad?
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Not ever yet. I mean, probably 3:00 or 4:00 this afternoon things will begin to die off.
But look at these numbers. These are very low-elevation winds yesterday. From the Oakland Airport, 74 miles per hour. I mean, that is -- that's not good. You don't land planes there. A lot of planes got diverted to Sacramento and other places around there. Winds are still, today, 45 to 50.
But here are some pictures from what those winds really did. And I know you mentioned over 400,000 people without power for a while. This morning, it's down to 175, so these men and women got your power lines up. Now, if you're going to be out a long time, and many people are
because there are some smaller outages that's going to take a long time -- maybe a week to get back up. But as soon as the weather got better they were in those bucket trucks and they were back to get your power up. Hopefully, you're watching this morning.
We will see some snow in the Rockies. We'll take that. Ski resorts ready for spring-breakers.
Here is the rain, still, for today. Still, at 3:00 or 4:00 we're going to see the showers through Southern California, L.A., all the way down even toward Twentynine Palms, we'll see showers. Rain in places that typically don't get it this time of year -- certainly, through the desert.
Many areas here -- again, in the Sierras, a foot of snow or more.