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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Nashville Mourns 6 Killed in Christian Elementary School Attack; Judge Rules Pence Must Testify About Conversations with Trump; Today: House Financial Services Committee Holds Hearing on Bank Failures; At Least 38 Killed, Dozens Injured at Migrant Detention Center; Netanyahu to Biden: Israel Makes Its Own Decisions. Aired 5- 5:30a ET

Aired March 29, 2023 - 05:00   ET




Four minutes -- that's how long it took Nashville police to take down a school shooter once they arrived.

Plus, no way out. A judge now says Mike Pence must testify before a grand jury about Donald Trump and January 6th.

And --


MICHAEL BARR, FEDERAL RESERVE VICE CHAIR: This is a textbook case of bank mismanagement.


ROMANS: Risky business. The big mistakes that caused to U.S. banks to go belly up, threatening the global economies.

Good morning. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Christine Romans.

Tonight, the city of Nashville holds a vigil to mourn victims in Monday's mass shooting at a private Christian school. A 28-year-old former student at that school killed three adults and three young children in just 14 minutes before being fatally shot by responding officers.

Investigators have revealed more about that attacker, the weapons used and the swift response by the first responders at the scene.

CNN's Carlos Suarez has more from Nashville.



CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Body camera video from two Nashville police officers showing them rushing into the Covenant School on Monday.

POLICE OFFICER: On me, on me. I don't know where he is. Metro Police!

SUAREZ: Going room to room.

POLICE OFFICER: It's upstairs. It sounds like it's upstairs.

SUAREZ: And up to the second floor -- before confronting the shooter.

Surveillance video at the school released by police captured 28-year-- old Audrey Hale shooting through doors at the school, entering and starting the attack.

Today, authorities revealed more about the writings they said Hale left behind.

CHIEF JOHN DRAKE, NASHVILLE POLICE: There's several different writings about other locations. There were locations of -- there was talk about the school, there was a map of the school, a drawing of how potentially she would enter and the assaults that would take place.

SUAREZ: Police said they've interviewed the shooter's parents who said Hale was being treated for an emotional disorder.

DRAKE: We've determined that Audrey bought seven firearms from five different local gun stores here legally. They were legally purchased. Three of those weapons were used yesterday.

SUAREZ: According to investigators, Hale hid the guns at home.

DRAKE: Parents felt that she should not own weapons. They were under the impression that was when she sold the one weapon that she did not own any more.

SUAREZ: As a search for answers continues, so does the mourning for the six people killed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that it's always terrible to hear about something like this happening, but when it's just down the street from your house, it's -- it hits another part of you.

SUAREZ: Among the killed was Cynthia Peak, believed to be a substitute teacher. Mike Hill, a 61-year-old custodian at the school. And 60-year-old Katherine Koonce. She was the head of the school who police believe encountered the shooter in the hallway.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No question whatsoever, she gave her life because she was trying to -- protect students, protect faculty.

SUAREZ: The children who were killed were all just 9 years old: William Kinney, Evelyn Dieckhaus, and Holly Scruggs.

Scruggs and the other victims were remembered in a service that was held at the Park City's Presbyterian Church in Dallas were Scruggs' father served as associate pastor before coming to the Covenant Presbyterian Church. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're here because their hearts are broken. We're

here because we weep with our friends.


SUAREZ (on camera): The chief of police was asked why it took officers 11 minutes to respond to the school after the initial 911 call was made. The chief said, based on what he had seen so far, he did not have a problem with it, but that the department would look into that response.

Carlos Suarez, CNN, Nashville, Tennessee.

ROMANS: All right, turning now to an extraordinary decision in the probe of former President Trump's efforts to subvert the 2020 election. Multiple sources telling CNN a federal judge has ruled former Vice President Mike Pence must testify to a grand jury about conversations he had with Trump in the days leading up to January 6th.


Pence was noncommittal about whether he'll appeal that decision, which is still under seal.


MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: But we're currently speaking to our attorneys about the proper way forward, and as I said, we'll have a decision in the coming days.


ROMANS: A source says the judge ruled pence can decline to answer questions about his actions on January 6th itself. That's because he was then serving as president of the Senate.

Tomorrow, the former vice president talks with Wolf Blitzer in primetime. That's Thursday at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, here on CNN.

But the Manhattan grand jury investigating former President Trump's role in that paying hush money to an adult film star not expected to hear the case again this week. The panel has been meeting Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. It will return Thursday to hear a matter separate from the Trump hush money case, but the schedule is subject to change. The jurors last heard witness testimony on Monday, they did not vote on a potential indictment of the former president.

All right. Today, the country's top banking regulators expected to testify before the House Financial Services Committee about what led to those failures of SVB and Signature Bank, the second and third largest bank collapses in U.S. history.

Here's what one of them told the Senate Banking Committee yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MICHAEL BARR, FEDERAL RESERVE VICE CHAIR: This is a textbook case of bank mismanagement. The risks that bank faced, interest rate risk and liquidity risk, those are bread and butter banking issues. The firm was quite aware of those issues. They had been told by regulators. Investors we're talking about problems with interest rate and liquidity risk publicly.

And they didn't take the action necessary. They were quite vulnerable to risk, to shocks and they didn't take the actions necessary.


ROMANS: CNN's Clare Sebastian live in London with more. Another round of those hearings today.

How do financial regulators suggest, I guess preventing this from happening again? I mean, you heard there, you heard that the Fed had warned this bank and told this bank. Look, there are some weaknesses here for maybe a year running up to this, but the bank didn't take any action.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I think, look, it's clearly it's only if you look at how the lawmakers handled this on in the Senate on Tuesday. It's not good enough to say that this is a case of mismanagement at one bank. There were warning signs. They're now looking closely at regulation.

There is agreement among those three regulators who return to the House to testify today, Christine, that more needs to be done to tighten that banking rules. They were surveyed and asked for a yes/no answer on that subject by Elizabeth Warren. They'll be looking at, according to the Fed vice chair, capital and liquidity requirements, particularly for those mid-sized banks, those over $100 billion in assets, but less than $250 billion.

The FDIC chair said that this episode clearly shows that those banks can affect financial stability. They'll be looking at things like supervision how those warning signs were missed deposit insurance also under scrutiny. Should that level be raised perhaps? But this got pretty heated. Lawmakers clearly demanding answers.

Take a listen to Jon Tester.


SEN. JON TESTER (D-MT): If it's a regulators fault, it better be fixed. If it's the regulation fault, it better be fixed. If it's something else, I hope there's a report to this committee saying you know what, guys? This can happen again unless this happens.

But it looks to me like -- I'll just tell you this, and I'm looking out from the outside in. It looks to me like the regulators knew the problem, but nobody dropped the hammer.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SEBASTIAN: So it's not clear whether fixed means new legislation as of now, Christine. Jon Tester, of course, a Democrat today, we moved to the Republican controlled House, so we'll get a clearer sense, perhaps, of the appetite or otherwise for new legislation.

But, clearly, given the scale of this event, and we learned that $100 billion worth of deposits were scheduled to be taken out of Silicon Valley Bank on the day after, $42 billion in deposits were withdrawn, but of course, the regulators took it over at that point.


SEBASTIAN: Given the scale, it's clear that there's an need and most would agree on that for something to be done.

ROMANS: Absolutely.

All right. Claire Sebastian, thank you so much for that, Claire.

All right. To this tragedy at a migrant facility in Mexico. Mexican officials revising the death toll at a detention center fire down from 40 to 38 killed. It happened in Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso during a protest Monday night. Dozens of other migrants were injured.

The U.S. says it is now prepared to receive the injured for emergency medical care.

CNN's Rafael Romo has more.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One by one, Mexican soldiers pulled people out of the building. It quickly becomes tragically clear there's nothing they can do for some of them anymore.

Mexican officials say more than three dozen migrants, mainly from Central and South America, died at this detention center after a fire swept through the building late Monday.

Surveillance video from inside the detention center obtained by CNN shows how quickly the flames spread throughout the holding area after inmates said mattresses on fire. It also appears to show that those detained were behind bars with the gate locked.


Calling the fire regrettable and sad, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said the fire started Monday at 9:30 in the evening. Hours before, officials say, 71 migrants living on the streets of Ciudad Juarez had been taken to the shelter.

The president added that the fire started after the migrants found out they were going to be deported. As a protest, the president said the migrants put mattresses from the shelter against this door and set them on fire. They never imagined this was going to cause this terrible accident, he said.

As first responders tried to save victims at the shelter, family members desperately tried to get any news from their loved ones outside the building.

They're not telling us anything, this woman said. A relative of yours may die and they don't tell you anything at all.

We've seen they've been pulling people out, and we have no idea if they're alive or not, this man said. Ambulances have left one after the other and we know nothing and they give us no information.

Located across the border from El Paso, Texas, Ciudad Juarez is a transit point where many immigrants from different parts of the world arrived daily, hoping to cross the Rio Grande to seek asylum in the United States.

As it has been the case with other border towns in Mexico. There have been multiple riots, intense situations in the last few years due to the fact that there aren't enough shelters that can accommodate all of these migrants. And many end up living on the streets.

Through a statement, the Guatemalan government says 28 of its citizens were among the dead. Irregular migration, the statement said, carries with it a number of risks that have once again become evident.

Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.


ROMANS: All right. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggesting Israel doesn't need President Biden's advice on his controversial plan to overhaul the country's judiciary. Mr. Biden broke his silence on the proposal yesterday, applauding Netanyahu's decision to postpone a vote.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I don't know their reflection point, but I think that because spots to be in and they've got to work it out.

REPORTER: And what do you hope the prime minister will do on that particular law?

BIDEN: I hope he -- I hope he walks away from it.


ROMANS: CNN's Hadas Gold live in Jerusalem for us.

Hadas, are you there? Can you hear me?

It doesn't sound like Hadas has audio, but we will get back to her as soon as we reestablish that connection. But let's move on to today. Millions in California under rain and wind

alerts is a powerful new storm bears down on waterlogged California after at least 12 atmospheric rivers, a new round of heavy rain, snow, damaging winds is renewing the threat of flash flooding.

CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam has the forecast.

I mean, it goes on and on. How much worse will this storm make California's already bad conditions?

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, look, this storm has a compounding effect on the impacts in the state, right? We're not technically calling this another atmospheric river, but it's still a powerful low pressure system. And it's very clear -- you can see it, don't even need to be a meteorologist to pick this thing out, right?

Look at that low, just spinning off the west coast. Here's California. There's Oregon. There's Washington, how to draw that low pressure system.

But there's some distinctive differences between the storm system that moved in last week Tuesday that brought the wind and the rain flood into central California. Remember that, into San Francisco, some of the trees that were toppled in the power outages that took place, the difference being is this low is going to kind of stay further off the coast instead of strengthening as it approaches the San Francisco Bay Area. So that's good news.

Nonetheless, we're still going to feel the effects. We'll get the rainfall, especially this morning across the central coast. We have the slight risk of excessive rain, maybe some localized flash flooding.

And the winds, they'll be there, but not as nearly as powerful as a week ago when our storm system came in and caused the damage. We have about a million Americans under wind advisories and high wind alerts. Three million Americans with winter storm warnings. We're going to break some records mammoth mountain, for instance, having their deepest base and snow pack of the entire season since they started taking records back in the late '60s.

There's a snowfall across the Rockies. The coastal ranges just outside of Los Angeles and Ventura County. That's going to be impressive, some more snowfall there.

Here's the low pressure system. This is important watch how it moves in kind of like a bowling ball, ejects east of the Colorado Rockies, and then it's going to interact with a warm and very humid air mass from the south, and we know what happens when that takes place this time of year, that collision of air masses severe weather set up once again, starting to sound like a broken record.

But this means business and we're very concerned about this.

[05:15:02] This is for the Friday time frame, severe weather possible on Thursday, but Friday is the big day. You can see that enhanced risk, shaded in that orange. It's a level three or five tornadoes, damaging wind, isolated large hail all in the docket. We have 60 million Americans, including Memphis and Nashville.

Christine, another active period of weather.

ROMANS: It sure is. All right, thanks for covering it for us, Derek.

Now back to Israel. President Biden said he hopes Benjamin Netanyahu walks away from his judicial reform plan.

CNN's Hadas Gold live in Jerusalem.

And Netanyahu essentially says we are the best of friends, but butt out.

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Christine, this is an incredible moment of tension between two long term allies. And while there have been moments of crisis in the relationship between Israel and United States before, most recently, of course, in 2014 over the Iran nuclear deal, this is rather unique.

President Biden always touts how he has a huge supporter of Israel, how he's had a 40 long year relationship with Benjamin Netanyahu. And I have never seen the relationship between these two leaders reached to this point, where we see President Biden publicly and very sharply going against this judicial overhaul, saying that he hopes they will walk away, saying he hopes there will be a genuine compromise.

And most notably, saying that Benjamin Netanyahu is not coming to the White House anytime soon.

Now, Benjamin Netanyahu responded in a Twitter -- Twitter thread. This was middle of the night time in Israel. He essentially says that while the alliance between Israel the United States is unbreakable, and that they are committed to reach a broad consensus on this.

I want to reach you the last part of his Twitter thread where he says: Israel is a sovereign country, which makes its decisions by the will of its people and not based off on pressures from abroad, including from the best of friends. So, essentially saying to the United States, thanks but no thanks, butt out.

But there's a lot of people who are worried about what this means for the relationship with Israel. Keep in mind that the United States provides billions of dollars of support for Israel on an annual basis, and Israel knows that if it wants to take any sort of action against some of its biggest adversaries in the region, it cannot do so without good American support. But in Benjamin Netanyahu's own government, some members of his government, his coalition government are going even further. Some are even claiming that the Americans and President Biden are being fed fake news on what this judicial overhaul is doing.

So, clearly a moment of increased tension and potentially even a moment of crisis in the relationship between Israel and the United States at a moment when they're already facing a lot of internal crisis over this judicial overhaul -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Hadas Gold for us in Jerusalem, thank you, Hadas.

All right. "Ocean's 11", it was not. Straight ahead, what a woman accused in a $500,000 casino heist told police.

Plus, the stunning new decision in the serial podcast murder case.

But first, no hesitation, what we can learn from the first police on the scene of the Nashville school shooting.



ROMANS: All right. Nashville police releasing dramatic body cam video of the officers searching for then confronting and killing the Covenant Elementary School shooter. We want to warn you, the video you're about to watch is disturbing. It starts with officers entering the building after the 1st 911 call comes in at 10 13 a.m. local time.


POLICE OFFICER: Go, go! They go second floor. Go, go, stairs. Go stairs. Go, go, go, go!

Pushing now PBO, pushing now PBO, go right.




ROMANS: The 28-year-old shooter had gunned down three children and three staff members before being shot dead, just four minutes after police arrived on the scene.

I want to bring in former FBI special agent Ken Gray.

Thank you so much for your expertise this morning. I'm watching this bodycam video, and watching these officers very methodically clear these first floor classrooms and the bathrooms attached to them, which is often you know what the layout is for a preschool for small, small children.

What stood out to you in their response and how quickly they moved and it seems like by the book?

KEN GRAY, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Good morning, Christine.

They absolutely. This was a perfectly executed active shooter operation. When the officers came into the building, they did not know whether shooter was so they had the clear room to room to room in case she might have been hiding somewhere.

Once they heard gunshots upstairs, they knew where the shooter was. So they then moved to the stairway and went up to the second floor and actively engaged the shooter and neutralize the threat.

By doing this, they stopped the active shooter from killing more people. So, by doing this so quickly, they managed to save lives. This was really very well done, very well done, as opposed to what we saw in Uvalde where the Uvalde police department -- when they started off with an active shooter operation, they stopped and switched over to a hostage barricade operation.

You see the world of difference between the two. Very, very quickly moving to the threat and terminating it as opposed to an over an hour sitting in the hallway waiting to go in to handle the threat.

ROMANS: Yeah, I think Uvalde was something like 77 minutes, which was just, just devastating for that community and for that school.

The Nashville police department says it's going to investigate why it took police 11 minutes to arrive on the scene after that initial 911 call, 11 minutes. Could they have gotten to the scene faster?

GRAY: I have no idea what the physical layout was, or what the officers were doing when they received the call. But they got to the location, immediately grabbed their weapons and went into the school.

You couldn't ask for more from them. You have to have an effective team. That means getting at least three to five officers together, forming the team and going to address the threat.


You couldn't ask more for a better run operation once they were there.

ROMANS: It looked like honestly, textbook training, because when you see the officers get out of the car on the body cam video, immediately, they're forming a group of four to enter the building. You know, right on the spot with a plan.

Is this -- is this what police departments are supposed to do when there's an active shooter situation?

GRAY: Absolutely. You're supposed to get enough officers together, weapon up. Go to the entrance door, get enough people together to form an effective team, and then methodically moved through the building, going towards the threat.

You don't stop for injured victims. You don't stop to interview people. You don't stop for anything other than getting to the active shooter and stop them from killing further people.

So this was perfectly executed.

ROMANS: We know that, you know, law enforcement. They're just coming in after the event, right? Sometimes there's criticism for how long it takes to get their et cetera, but honestly, you know this is something that's happening and they're responding.

What can we do to maybe harden these targets, right, to give -- to give the students more time inside the school before a shooter can get in, for example?

GRAY: Well, you notice one of the differences here was the fact that this school did not have a resource officer. It's a private school. So they aren't provided a police officer, therefore, the facility, they would have to hire somebody for that. But lacking an armed personnel there on campus means that the it was a softer target.

The shooter in this case apparently was looking at several different possible targets and rejected some of those other targets because they had -- they were too hard, and they had security there.


GRAY: So one of the things is simply to have personnel there that can handle a threat as it's coming into the facility.

Secondly, you need to restrict the access. Now, in this particular case, the shooter shot her way through the door, and there's not much you can do to stop that.

But fencing, limiting the access, those type of things might actually slow a shooter down.

ROMANS: Might, but also might not. I mean, in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school event, there was a school resource officer there, and that didn't -- did not stop the killer.

All of these are just --

GRAY: That resource officer did not go into the facility. He stayed outside.

ROMANS: That's right.

GRAY: You need to have people who are willing to do their job when the time comes.

ROMANS: Ken Gray, so nice to see you this morning. Former FBI special agent, thank you for your expertise, sir.

GRAY: Thank you.

ROMANS: All right. Quick hits across America now.

Two police officers gunned down in Huntsville, Alabama. One is dead. Both were responding to a shots fired call. The suspect and a shooting victim are also being treated for injuries.

A Maryland appellate court has reinstated the murder conviction of serial podcast subject, Adnan Syed. The judges ruled a lower court did not give the victim's brother a chance to attend a key hearing in person. Syed remains free for now. A cashier at a casino in Black Hawk, Colorado, is facing theft charges after video surveillance showed her removing half a million dollars from a company vault. Sabrina Eddie told police she was following her boss's orders.

Just ahead, Taiwan's president, defiant as she departs on a trip to the United States and CNN on the streets as anger boils over in Paris.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The government said that they were expecting about 1,000 extremists to join these demonstrations.