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First Move with Julia Chatterley

Thousands Protest against Pension Reform in France; WH Economy Adviser: Banking System is "Sound & Stable"; Fed Minutes Show Staff Economists Expect a Recession this Year; WH: Biden Suggests Government Close to Identifying Leaker; Nissan Accelerates Electrification Plan; Biden says Irish Visit "Feels like I'm coming Home". Aired 9-10a ET

Aired April 13, 2023 - 09:00   ET




RAHEL SOLOMON, CNNI HOST: Hello, I'm Rahel Solomon President Joe Biden continuing his visit to his ancestral home of Ireland. You're looking at

pictures that just were fed into CNN "Newsroom" not long ago. You can see the President's arriving there at the fairly estate in Dublin. It's about 2

pm Eastern.

We'll see him here shake hands with his Irish counterpart there, the Prime Minister looks to be a sunny day, as they both greet, shake hands at some

point pose for a photo up. This is of course, part of the U.S. President's three-day trip in the region. Now after meeting with the country's

President, as we have seen, he has just arrived to have talks there with the Prime minister.

In terms of topics the war in Ukraine, well, that's high on the agenda. And then later he is scheduled to address the Irish parliament. You can also

see him wearing a fitting green tie there. Nic Robertson, now live in Dublin with the latest. So Nic, tell us a bit more about the bilateral

talks happening.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, meeting with the Prime Minister right now, the President is expected to go and watch some

Gaelic football action, a youth team playing. So he'll get a sense of how sports are going on here. It's been you know, relatively diplomatic lately

for the President today meeting with the President of Ireland Michael Higgins earlier planting a tree.

He got to meet Misneach one of two President Higgins two Bernese Mountain dogs. Perhaps it wasn't an expected greeting, the dog barked at the

President and the Irish President invited the dog to come out so the President Biden meeting Misneach. He is going to have a speech, a rare

speech for U.S. Presidents so forth only U.S. President will speak to a joint upper and lower house of the Irish parliament.

The Church here just on the street behind me in a couple of hours. And I think there will get to hear the President, you know, again, formulate his

ties his family's ties the country but really go deeper and broader to explain how he feels that Ireland and the United States are so connected

and the importance of that and how it benefits both countries and where they have a shared vision, a shared vision of democracy, a shared vision of

how to help Ukraine in the war.

They're over Russia's invasion. So I think these are the things we'll hear the President speak about. And of course, he'll probably also speak again

about the importance of the Good Friday Peace Agreement that he was in Northern Ireland just yesterday celebrating the 25th anniversary of it.

SOLOMON: Trip certainly has diplomatic considerations, but also personal considerations Nic Robertson, thank you, live for us there in Dublin. Let's

turn to France now were hundreds of thousands of people are protesting against pension reforms this hour.

Let's go to Paris where protesters forced their way into LVMH luxury headquarters. The owners of course of Louie Bataan, one union leaders

saying that President Macron can find money to finance the pension system at LVMH it is now the 12th day of demonstrations this year against the

wildly unpopular reform that would raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.

This all comes on the eve of the country's highest court deciding if these reforms are constitutional. But for now, protests continue. So let's bring

in Nada Bashir. She is with protesters in Paris. And Nada set the scene for us there. What are you exactly seeing and what are protesters telling you?

NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Look, as you can see, Rahel, there's already a huge turnout behind me authorities, anticipating figures that around 400 to

600,000 people taking to the streets across France. We saw similar figures last week and where we are right now it has been said it is very peaceful,

very calm, it appears to be almost a carnival atmosphere.

The further up the road towards the front of the marches where we are seeing that heavy police presence and of course, there is going to be a

significant police presence given the pockets of violence and tensions that we have seen in past week. This is of course, the 12th round of protests

against this pension reform.

And of course with the Constitutional Council due to make its decision tomorrow this is essentially the final opportunity for union members and

other demonstrators to make their voices heard. And so we are anticipating that significant turnout once again. Though, over the last few weeks, we

have seen the total turnout dwindling somewhat from these record breaking figures we saw earlier in the year.

Of course, the huge focus is the pension reform the raising of the pension age, retirement age from 62 to 64. And this is happening against the

backdrop of a country that is facing a significant cost of living crisis many, of course struggling.


But the real purpose of course the raising of that retirement age. We are anticipating that the Constitutional Council will come to a decision

tomorrow evening. It is anticipated that the legislation itself will pass although there is the possibility that some aspect of the legislation

itself will not be passed, not be green lit by the Constitutional Council.

And we are already hearing from some of the larger unions here in France that they will continue to protest, if the legislation is really regardless

of that in some form, or other and of course, there is a significant amount of anger or frustration being directed towards President Macron.

As well his government of course, passing through that legislation, forcing the legislation through the lower house of parliament without a final vote

we've seen attempts by the government to try and speak to the union to try and negotiate those talks last Wednesday, failed with the government

refusing to move from its position.

President nap on that this week, saying that he does hope to continue those talks with the union regardless of the decision to pass the legislation if

the Constitutional Council does so tomorrow, but left today, there is the anticipation that there could be once again pocket for violence.

We've seen in the past protesters use smoke bombs, flare, and were painting towards the police. In response, we've seen the riot police heavily

mobilized, and using tear gas and even water cannons to disperse the crowds. It is still very early on the protest is only just kicking off, but

there is the anticipation that things could potentially turn violent later on today, Rahel.

SOLOMON: Nada Bashir a lot more to watch there, thank you. And so now let's actually go to Fred Pleitgen because he is at the front of the protest

march in Paris. And Fred, I'm not sure if you heard Nada Bashir, she said at one point it sorts of felt more like a carnival atmosphere where she


But at the front of the protests is where you see more of the police, the law enforcement presence, what are you seeing where you are?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Rahel, we're trying to keep up with the front of the march. But so far, we're

falling back a little bit. But I would say that the view that we've gotten so far is a little bit different. In fact, at the front of the march, we

did see several standoffs already between the police and some of the protesters, especially when the protesters were set to march past the

Constitutional Council.

Now, of course, as Nada already said, that Constitutional Council is set to announce its decision tomorrow, whether or not this proposed pension reform

that's been put forward by the government to over Emmanuel Macron, whether or not that is completely in line with the Constitution, or at least in

parts, or maybe totally against the Constitution.

And the protesters tried to break through a police line there. And we did see a standoff between the police officers and protesters; there were some

bottles that were thrown. So you do see it is quite a charged atmosphere. I have seen some protesters also spray painting some walls.

So you can see that there are a lot of people who are extremely angry. I think one of the things that are really interesting, though, if you look

around you see some of the folks that are marching past out. There are also a lot of younger people who have joined this protest.

And I think one of the things that Nada was saying, which is completely correct. It's a lot of folks here to them; of course, it is about the

pension reform. But it's also a large part about the way that Emmanuel Macron is trying to do all this, the fact that he used executive powers to

try and push all of this through a lot of people believes that that's just not right.

And of course that's causing serious damage to Emmanuel Macron. Politically as well, were some people are already saying that he is essentially a lame

duck President, despite the fact that he still has several years left in his second term. So what we've seen so far is also a lot of peaceful

protesting a giant turnout.

But also we have seen some standoff already in the early stages of this march between the riot police and the protesters that are on the street


SOLOMON: And we've seen what's happened at LVMH as well. Fred, in terms of tomorrow's ruling, are we expecting a simple resolution? Or might this be

more complicated than many people expect? And would any of this really be enough to a peace protester?

PLEITGEN: First of all, I think you're absolutely right. I think a lot of this is a lot more complicated than many people think. It's very difficult

to see what you're going to expect from the Constitutional Council. They are obviously a fully independent body. They are essentially this country's

constitutional court.

Now it is very rare that they would completely overturn a law and we do have to understand that some of the folks that are on that council are

actually political appointees of Emmanuel Macron. There is a chance that parts of that law become overturned by the council.

As you can see some folks dancing here, there is a chance that parts of that law become overturned, maybe marginal parts of that law, but there are

very few will believe that the Constitutional Council will declare the law in its entirety to be against the Constitution.

However, it is true that the unions here in this country have said that no matter what the Constitutional Council decides tomorrow, that they will

continue to go on the streets.


So there is definitely serious political damage that has been done to Emmanuel Macron. There certainly is also serious damage that has been done

in general to the political system here in this country. In fact, there are some who are saying that this standoff the protests that you see here.

And the fact that Emmanuel Macron really hasn't done very much to try and get into some sort of dialogue with the people who are against this reform

is essentially helping the far right here in this country.

SOLOMON: So much to watch, Fred, both in terms of this ruling tomorrow, but also in terms of the reaction to the ruling. Fred Pleitgen, great to see

you in Paris there, thank you! I'm back here in the U.S. jury selection is set to begin and the $1.6 billion defamation law suit against Fox News

brought by Dominion voting systems.

Opening statements are expected to start Monday in Wilmington, Delaware. You're now looking at a live picture of that courthouse. Now inside, the

judge rejecting a last minute request from Dominion to split the case into two trials Dominion says that it was put at a disadvantage because FOX

withheld key information about Rupert Murdoch's official role at the company more on that now from CNN's Brian Todd.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Stinging setbacks for Fox News in the defamation case against the network by Dominion voting systems.

Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis says he plans to appoint an outside attorney, a so called Special Master to investigate whether FOX

News lied to the court and withheld key evidence in the case.

Dressing down FOX's Attorneys from the bench Judge Davis said "I am very concerned that there have been misrepresentations to the court. This is

very serious. "

RONNELL ANDERSON JONES, PROFESSOR AT UNIVERSITY OF UTAH COLLEGE OF LAW: No one wants to head into a trial, particularly a trial where $1.6 billion is

on the line with the judge upset with them. You especially don't want to head into a trial that is about knowing falsity, with the judge thinking

that you have engaged in misrepresentations.

TODD (voice over): Judge Davis also imposed a sanction on FOX over that same matter. The judge has expressed frustration over Fox not being

forthcoming over Chairman Rupert Murdoch's role at the company. Fox lawyers have long claimed Murdoch doesn't have an official role at FOX News that he

was only an officer at Fox Corporation. It was only clarified recently that Murdoch is also an officer at Fox News.

JONES: Dominion is quite upset to be learning at the last minute, but that role might be different than it was told. You can see that the judge here


TODD (voice over): FOX denies wrongdoing and says it properly disclosed Murdoch's roles also this week, another reveal of the enormous scope of

internal debates at Fox News.


SOLOMON: And I actually want to take you back to Dublin where we can see President Biden speaking to the Irish Prime Minister right now. Let's

listen together.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: --welcome Ukrainians here, and the leadership you've shown. And I just think that it feels so

good to be able to have this emerging and stronger relationship between the United States and Ireland. I think our values are the same and I think our

concerns are the same. So I'm really looking forward to continue to work with you.

LEO VARADKAR, IRISH PRIME MINISTER: Thank you and look forward to meeting up later on to hearing about your visit to Belfast and your meeting with

the party leaders were very keen to see the Good Friday Agreement institutions functioning again, and Prime Minister Sunak and I are going to

be working together on that.

But really want to thank you and your administration and your country's leadership when it comes to Ukraine, because I never thought in my lifetime

that we'd see a war of this nature happen in Europe again, and democracy and liberty and the things that we believe in are in retreat in large parts

of the world.

And if it wasn't for American leadership, and if it wasn't for America and Europe working together I don't know what kind of world we live in. So we

really do appreciate your leadership and your personal leadership, both in terms of securing peace in Ireland, but also in trying to protect democracy

and liberty here in Europe.

BIDEN: Well, I think what you and Prime Minister Sunak worked out in terms of the other courts is was very valuable as well. So I'm looking forward to

talk to you about a lot of this in detail. Thank you.

SOLOMON: And straight ahead, inflation in the U.S. is slowing but what does that mean for the Fed as it thinks about more rate hikes. We'll discuss

after the break.



SOLOMON: Welcome back to "First Move", the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank last month triggered a crisis in the U.S. banking sector

and volatility in global markets. And even though the dust has settled there are still some lingering concerns over the strength of regional U.S.


During the Semafor's World Economy Summit in Washington on Tuesday President Joe Biden's top Economic Adviser Lael Brainard spoke with my

colleague Poppy Harlow. Brainard said that she thinks that America's banking system is "sound and stable".


POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): You think there will be more bank failures this year?

LAEL BRAINARD, DIRECTOR AT WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: So I think what is important is that banks have now seen, Bank Executives have

seen some of the stresses that the two failed banks were under, and they're shoring up their balance sheets. And you know they are convincing,

depositors and investors alike that they have a good strategy and they are risk managing effectively.

If the bank is not effective in doing that, then I think, you know, you might still see some investors really pushing harder. So we'll run in the

months ahead. No, I think this is very much individual set of banks that took some unusual risks. And so I think investors are just much attuned to

those risks, and bank management knows, they need to show that they have viable business models.

HARLOW (on camera): I think one of the questions now is, many Americans feel like all of their deposits to an unlimited ceiling are going to be

insured, because that was what was guaranteed to these two banks, and how can you not do it for the rest if it were to come to that?

BRAINARD: So we took much targeted actions in the case of two banks that were poorly managed and took unacceptable risks and failed. Those were

targeted actions. They were strong actions, but they were targeted on very specific risk.

HARLOW (on camera): Does that mean should we see another bank failure in the next year would not be the case at all depositors are protected at

every level?

BRAINARD: Yes, so I think we do have we've seen a playbook it works very well. But it is relevant for banks that fail. I think more broadly, there's

a question that may be addressed over a longer period of time, where I think the FDIC has taken it upon itself to do a study and think about more

broadly, should we think differently about deposit insurance and that's on a slower track.


SOLOMON: Now to another key inflation report for the Federal Reserve to consider out in the last hour. U.S. wholesale prices saw a sharp cool down

in March growing by 2.7 percent.


2.7 percent, down from 4.6 percent in February on an annual basis that comes after Wednesday's Consumer Price Index showed that inflation cooled

for a ninth straight month in March, although still a long way from the Federal Reserve's target. Meanwhile, minutes from the Fed's March meeting

showed that economists at the Fed think that fallout from the recent banking crisis could push the U.S. economy into a recession.

Joining me now is Dana Peterson; she is the Chief Economist at The Conference Board. Dana, great to have you today!


SOLOMON: Let's start with the Producer Price Index report. I mean a pretty sharp cool down at to handle, does it surprise you at all, and it seems to

be falling quite sharply?

PETERSON: It's not surprising. We've seen supply chain constraints loosen. And we've also seen that there's less demand for goods, and that's showing

up in the PPI and also in the CPI. But the key thing here that's driving inflation, especially consumer inflation is services, especially for

housing. And that's not going to show up in the PPI.

SOLOMON: And let's talk about the Consumer Price Index and what we saw. I mean, how concerned are you about the tightness that we still see in the

labor market? There are 9.9 million open jobs right now; I think that works out to about 1.7 open jobs for every one person looking. How much are we

seeing that tightness show up in wages in the inflation data?

PETERSON: Well, certainly wages are showing up in services and that's also where the job gains are. It's mainly those experiential services where

people go out and enjoy things like restaurants and hotels and travel and entertainment and movies. And that's where the labor shortages are.

Those are the industries that suffered the most during the pandemic, and are still trying to recoup all the lost jobs from that period of time. And

certainly, that's where the biggest job gains are. And certainly where you don't have enough workers and the labor shortages are showing up and hence

the big wage increases that are being reflected in consumer inflation.

SOLOMON: And Dana, of course, the strong labor market has in part fueled the consumer spending. We've seen in the U.S. consumer has really been

remarkably resilient throughout this period. What are you seeing at The Conference Board in terms of spending intentions moving forward?

PETERSON: Well, our measure of consumer competence indicates that consumers are really not that interested in buying durable goods anymore. Certainly

they cost more and certainly you have to finance them, and interest rates are higher, but they're also starting to pull back on services, especially

discretionary services and anything that's really expensive.

They're shifting their spending towards cheaper forms of entertainment like streaming at home, and also services that they really need, like financial

services and healthcare.

SOLOMON: Well, to that end Dana, I think that's interesting, because if we start to see a significant pullback in good spending, and we start to see a

significant pullback and services spending, I mean, what's the forecast in terms of if we see a recession and when?

PETERSON: Well, that has been our forecast that there will be a recession in the U.S., but it will be short, and it will be shallow. And it will be a

reflection of less spending from consumers and also business investment pulling back especially we've already seen it in housing, we'll see it in

IP, in structures, in equipment.

The other thing is that we have seen some tightening in financial conditions in the wake of the U.S. banking crisis. It's been especially

evident in C&I loans and that's really affecting businesses, and also in residential investment that's going to affect housing. So putting all this

together, we do expect there's going to be recession, maybe it's starting around now. But we'll be out of it by the end of this year, most likely.

SOLOMON: Dana, how much should the Federal Reserve and Chairman Powell consider that tightening that you just mentioned there that we're already

seeing in lending standards? I mean, it's certainly something that Jay Powell mentioned at the last meeting, but how significantly, how much

weight should they place in that tightening that we're seeing when they meet again in a few weeks? I guess what I'm asking you is do you expect

another rate hike?

PETERSON: We do expect another rate hike maybe even two, 25 basis points each. That's because inflation is still very sticky. Yes, headline, Core

CPI came off it and came down to 5 percent. But the core was still at 5.6 percent and it's not really moving downward.

And that's what the Feds concerned about inflation is still the biggest issue for the economy. And if inflation expectations remain elevated and

people think that prices are going to continue to rise, then that can cause an even worse downturn than what we expect.

SOLOMON: So another two rate hikes. Do you think the conversations in the investment community about rate cuts this year are premature?

PETERSON: I do think that they are premature are most likely the Feds going to raise rates, get them to just above 5 percent and keep them there for

the balance of this year because they're looking for inflation to be lower.

We think that both headline and core inflation gauges especially for the PCE, probably won't get down to a 2 percent until the end of next year. And

that's really what the Fed is also anticipating so that means that rates need to stay elevated for longer than what investors are probably pricing



SOLOMON: Let's circle back to where we started, I think the labor market that's an area that I care about a lot personally in terms of what areas of

the U.S. labor market are most sensitive, most vulnerable to layoffs moving forward, what categories? What industries are you looking at specifically?

PETERSON: We think it's going to be the pandemic darlings or the former pandemic darlings, including technology in information, also warehousing

and transportation, which are very closely linked to goods production and also consumption, but also real estate and construction which are sensitive

to higher interest rates and finance.

So all of these industries that really did well during the pandemic are seeing the underside of that now and that's probably where the weakness is

going to be going forward.

SOLOMON: You can argue that some of those industries too, also really over hired over the pandemic. And so now you're starting to see perhaps what

some would call a correction. Dana Peterson, we're going to have to leave it here, but great to talk to you today. She is the Chief Economist at The

Conference Board, thank you.

And stubbornly high inflation and the uncertain interest rate environment. Just a few of the key topics at the IMF spring meetings in Washington this

week. Julia Chatterley takes an in depth look at all of the challenges facing global economies during a special edition of "First move", live from

IMF headquarters on Friday.

And joining her on the show World Bank President David Malpass, Allianz and Gramercy Advisor, Mohamed El-Erian and other key global financial figures

so you don't want to miss it that is "First move" live from the IMF tomorrow, right here on CNN. And in the meantime, we'll have more "First

move", after this break.



SOLOMON: Hello and a warm welcome back to "First Move". FS investments they're ringing the opening bell that means that U.S. stocks are of course

up and running on Wall Street. And that's a positive start to the trading day.

DOW opening a slightly higher there but that's thanks to some encouraging news on the U.S. wholesale prices that we've been talking about. But also

brand new challenges just ahead for U.S. investors because major U.S. banks began reporting first quarter profits on Friday. And certainly in this

environment, you can bet that it is sure to make some news when the banks report.

Meantime, cities across France are seeing a 12th day of strike action and protests up to 600,000 people are expected to take to the streets to oppose

the government's pension reforms. In Paris protesters forced their way into the headquarters of the luxury goods giant LVMH, which owns Louis Vuitton.

I want to take you now back to Paris. Well, these are pictures that were actually already fed into CNN but we have been looking at live pictures

throughout the program. Now these demonstrations come ahead of a court ruling due this Friday on the constitutionality of the divisive law, of

course raises the retirement age by two years to 64. Saskya Vandoorne reports.


SASKYA VANDOORNE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Anger on the streets of France. Macron resign protesters all united against a defined President.

EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT: If you want the pact between generations to be fair, this reform needs to be carried out.

VANDOORNE (voice over): Pension reforms were a landmark policy of President Emmanuel Macron's reelection campaign, but upping the retirement age from

62 to 64 may have been a step too far for too many. Forcing the bill passed one of the two parliamentary chambers pouring fuel on the fire of popular

anger. Much of that -- has come Macron's way.

DOMINIQUE MOISI, POLITICAL EXPERT: Now it is really against denunciation of the President himself. I don't think in the history of the Fifth Republic

we have seen so much rage, so much hatred at our president.

VANDOORNE (voice over): With most French people polled supporting the protests. His approval ratings are nearly the lower of his two terms at

just 28 percent in March. It was only worse during the yellow vest protests.

Four years ago popularity at rock bottom hundreds of thousands in the streets weekly for Macron the yellow vests protesting what they called

economic injustices upset his first term, he now faces a similar risk.

VANDOORNE (on camera): The deficit balancing moves slammed by many as tone deaf will face its final hurdle here Friday, France is the equivalent of

the Supreme Court. It will either rubber stamp it or deem that some parts or indeed the whole thing is unconstitutional, which would be a further

embarrassment for President Macron.

VANDOORNE (voice over): For the young reformer, pensions were supposed to be the first of several policy revamps. But his crusade of government

reform now looks dead in the water, with little hope of energizing lawmakers behind yet more controversial policy rethinks and his legacy may

be even more troubled, opening the door to the far right.

MOISI: The comparison with Barack Obama applies. He is paving the way to the coming to power of a populist leader. And he will be remembered in

history as the man who allowed Marine LePen to finally come to power.

VANDOORNE (voice over): With four years remaining in his term as president, we may still not know the true cost of Macron's hunger for reform for quite

a while.


SOLOMON: Meantime, we are learning new details now about who might have been behind the leak of highly classified documents from the Pentagon. The

Washington Post spoke to a friend of the alleged leaker who said that the documents were posted to an online chat room by someone who worked at an

unidentified military base.

Some members of the chat group are apparently from Russia. The Post reports that the photos included highly classified satellite images and detailed

battlefield charts from Ukraine. Now CNN has not independently verified the report. But President Biden did comment on the issue for the first time in

Dublin, take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President could you give an update on that leak investigation of leaked documents --?

BIDEN: I can't right now. There is a full blown investigation going on, as you know, with the Intelligence Committee and the Justice Department.

They're getting close.


SOLOMON: CNN's Cybersecurity Reporter Sean Lyngaas joins me now from Washington. Sean good to have you on the program! So what more do we know

about this person and what are we learning about his motivations?

SEAN LYNGAAS, CNN CYBERSECURITY REPORTER: Yes, it's an interesting question because there are a lot of murky details out there. We don't know the exact



I mean, according to the Post article this person was in a chat room on the social media platform Discord for several months, bonding with some younger

people that were shared a lot of video games of guns and of religion.

And over a period of time this person who the Post calls OG, the leaker, they mean to say, started to present these excerpts of these classified

documents and to sort of express his expertise on this and cultivate this rapport with these younger people.

So it's an interesting case of sort of almost a cult like atmosphere going on in this chat room. He may have been showing off. He may have been

disgruntled. We have to be very careful, though, in reporting on this, because on the internet anyone can pretend to be anyone and especially on

this platform, Discord.

So we're still its kind of sifting through the materials. But what we do know is there's an active investigation, as President Biden just said, they

are honing in on who might be responsible. And, you know, the fallout, as you alluded to at the top is ongoing with U.S. allies in terms of the

sensitive, classified information that was divulged about troop movements in Ukraine and an arms deal so a lot of damage that has been done because

of these documents.

And it all may be because of a young person online, just wanting to boast and sort of get more friends during the pandemic Rahel.

SOLOMON: Right. And certainly, in terms of the investigation, you know, President Biden saying, look, as you know, there was a full blown

investigation, but he also said they're getting close. I don't have an answer for you, but they're getting close and that says a lot. Sean, in

terms of what we're learning from these documents, what seems to be perhaps the most inflammatory or damaging?

LYNGAAS: Yes, there are a few things that stand out. I mean, one of them is the focus from U.S. officials on the Russian Mercenary Group, Wagner.

Wagner Group say, a group that is sort of paramilitary supporting the Kremlin's aims but not directly under the direction of the government.

These documents reveal the anxieties that the U.S. side has on this group in terms of their propaganda in Africa trying to win over public opinion

and spread what seemed deemed as anti-U.S. messaging.

And also I'd say some other anxieties in the documents reflect somewhat -- what's been going on with China in Latin America? There's a section in

there about concern that, you know, Nicaragua in, you know, in Central America may be moving closer to China as a result of Russia's invasion in


So the Ukraine war sort of permeates all of these documents that we've seen, but reveals a lot of, you know geopolitical struggle, and questions

about whether Russia and China are undermining U.S. interests around the world.

SOLOMON: Sean Lyngaas great to have you thank you!

LYNGAAS: Thank you.

SOLOMON: Muslims around the world are observing the holy month of Ramadan and for many that means abstaining from food and water from dawn to dusk.

But in Pakistan, the custom is even more challenging because food has become more limited and prices have skyrocketed, Sophia Safi reports.


SOPHIA SAFI, CNN PRODUCER (voice over): They lineup in their hundreds, men, women and children waiting in the spring heat for a free bag of flour. Many

had empty bellies as people across Pakistan observed daily fasts through the holy month of Ramadan.

This year a desperate food shortage means an evening meal is not guaranteed. 20-year-old tech worker Vikas Chaudry (ph) has been standing in

this line since the early morning. He says it's the first time in his life he's had to rely on charity. Everything has become so expensive he says.

That it has become incredibly difficult just to survive. Few in this nation of 200 million have been spared by an economic crunch that is now hurting

people across class divides. Acres of farmland lie in the water after catastrophic floods last summer.

Food is scarce, prices have skyrocketed. In just one year alone the cost of flour, a staple of Pakistani diets has increased by over hundred percent

according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. The government's attempts to wrangle a billion dollar bailout package from the International Monetary

Fund have stalled since November.

SAIFI (on camera): The sheer number of people lined up here is unusual and speaks to the seriousness of Pakistan's food shortage crisis.

SAIFI (voice over): Vikas follows the line as it winds its way from the busy road into a dark musty basement. On the floor flour gathers like dust

it will be hours before his turn comes. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has announced a relief package early March offering a bag of free flour to the

poorest of the poor during Ramadan.


Vikas never thought that would mean him. In the past month, close to two dozen people have died in Pakistan while waiting for food, desperate women

and children dying in the crush for a meal Pakistan's Commission of Human Rights accused the government of mismanaging food distribution.

Charity is always a big part of Ramadan each year soup kitchens layout three Iftars, the meal each and after sunset to end the daily fast. This

year the number of people relying on goodwill has doubled. There is little to celebrate for many.

We can't pay our children's school fees this man tells me. We break our fast which is water and a date. Other delicacies, the only things we can

dream about right now. The economic despair hell won't end with a bag of flour as so many in Pakistan go to bed hungry this Ramadan, Sophia Safi,

CNN, Islamabad.


SOLOMON: And we'll have more "First Move" after this.


SOLOMON: Welcome back to "First Move"! The New York International Auto Show is underway here in Manhattan and one big theme is the future of electric

vehicles. Nissan is speeding ahead with electrification recently announcing a plan to have 27 electrified models by 2030 19 of them all electric.

It comes as the U.S. government is also preparing to issue new emission standards that could make about two thirds of new passenger vehicles sold

in the U.S. all electric in less than a decade. Joining me now is Jeremie Papin. He is the Senior Vice President of Nissan Motor and Chair of Nissan

Americas. Jeremie welcome to the program great to have you!


SOLOMON: So clearly Nissan also betting big on electrification. Tell us a bit more about the plans to turn more into EV.

PAPIN: Yes. Look, the plan starts with great products. So you know this is what this industry is about. And we've just launched a new cross over EV

ARIA. It's the vehicle that is actually behind me today. It's been on sale since the very late of December. We've got very strong demand for the

product exceptionally strong reviews.


And we've packed this model with new technology, both in terms of connectivity and in terms of safety features. So that's where our EV plan

starts with. As you mentioned, 19, battery electric EVs for both the Nissan and Infiniti brands and a majority of those coming to the U.S. and been

built in the U.S.

SOLOMON: What are some of the larger concerns among American consumers? We got some research from Gallup earlier this week; I want to say where 41

percent of Americans said that they actually did not plan to buy an EV. But they cited range anxiety, where would they charge these cars? They cited

the cost of EVs. What are some of the biggest challenges from your point of view?

PAPIN: I hear the concerns from the customer. And again, the Nissan plan is to offer battery EVs as well as combustion engines in all the main segments

of the American market, allowing the customer to make the choice and decide when it's the right time for him to move from one technology to the other.

What are very important for the EV experience are the charging facility and the charging experience. And that's going to be really what's going to

allow an accelerated development of the EV adoption. But again, from a Nissan point of view, we will let the customer choose and we will just

offer him the choices of different power trains.

SOLOMON: Well, and Jeremie to that point in terms of choices, there seem to be more and more choices. It's becoming a bit of a crowded space for these

EVs. How does Nissan stand out so that when an American or when a consumer is ready to make this transition, they go to Nissan instead of a Tesla or

another car manufacturer?

PAPIN: Yes, I think competition is something we live with in the auto industry. There are many brands and many models. And yes, EVs are a growing

space. I think, with the ARIA, we've actually redefined customer expectations in the segments in terms of the quality of the interior, the

quietness and the full motion control.

I think that's the challenge that we want to bring to the market is we want to be setting what customer expectations should be in terms of EV

experience. And we are quite confident that with the models we have on the road, we're achieving that.

SOLOMON: And speaking of models, we got some new data from the Department of Transportation told me earlier this week that at this point, there are

more utility vehicles. There are more trucks on the road than sedans.

Is that also what you're seeing that when you look at the research, when you look at the data that consumers want larger vehicles and they want the

utility vehicles and maybe not as much as sedans?

PAPIN: Yes, there's been a trend in the in the USA towards crossovers and SUVs at the expense of sedans, but they are still a very strong sedan

market. As Nissan tries to answer all customer needs, we've got both a strong sedan lineup that we'll continue to invest in.

As well as a stronger crossover and SUV lineup that we'll continue to invest in. And again, where we compete today within a combustion engine? We

will compete tomorrow with an EV and the transition will be up to the consumer and when he's ready to shift from one side to the other.

SOLOMON: One thing that Nissan has also had to contend with, of course, is rising interest rates and the impact that that then has to car payments,

car loans. I mean, I saw some research earlier this week that the average new car loan is more than $750 a month. Now look, it's all relative, but

that is a lot of money. I mean, how is that impacting buying decisions from consumers these higher interest rates?

PAPIN: Yes, it's an excellent question. We're seeing a lot of demand, as you know, through the pandemic, and then semiconductor crisis and other

logistic issues that the industry has been facing. The market has basically been smaller than what the demand natural demand would have been in the

past two or three years.

And at the moment, we're in catch up mode, I would say through the pent up demand. So what we're seeing is demand actually still exceeding the

production capacity of the industry. But there is a shift towards lower price payments in terms of monthly payments, lower trims, or more entropy


Quite frankly, something that Nissan can take advantage of, because we've got extremely strong and competitive offerings in those areas of growing

interest for the customer. So I think again, there is an answer to what the customer needs. And we are seeing the shift in terms of the lower price


SOLOMON: Yes, it's a fascinating point that you can perhaps offer some of these consumers who are looking to save on their monthly payments at a

lower price point option. Jeremie Papin we'll have to leave it here but wonderful to have you on the program thank you!

PAPIN: Thank you.


SOLOMON: He is the Chair of Nissan Americas. And coming up on "First Move", President meets President; Joe Biden greeting his Irish counterparts in

Dublin today. He will deliver a key address in the next hour. So how's the visit going down with the Irish? We'll find out after the break.


SOLOMON: Welcome back to 'First Move'! U.S. President Joe Biden continuing his three day visit to Ireland. He's just been holding talks with the Irish

Prime Minister we brought you those pictures here and he will now go on to see a demonstration of Gaelic Sport.

This trip has great personal significance for the President of course given his deep Irish roots. Biden saying being an Ireland feels like he's coming

home. Donie O'Sullivan is in Ballina, County Mayo Ireland. Donie, great to see you in Ireland! So tell us is the trip going well? Is the trip being

received well by the Irish there?

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey Rahel, yes, very much. So we were on the very wet and windy streets in Dundalk County Louth last night where

thousands of people lined the streets for hours just to get a glimpse of President Biden.

As you say, a bit of diplomacy here a bit of work happening a bit of political work happening he gave a speech yesterday in Northern Ireland

about the Good Friday Agreement, but now he's very much in I guess almost vacation mode. He has another speech to do later today at the joint session

of the Irish Parliament in Dublin.

But then after that tonight, he's been going to a state banquet dinner in the city as well. And then tomorrow, he comes here to County Mayo where his

great grate great grandfather immigrated from to the United States in the 19th century. When he gets here he is going to go to Knock which is a

Christian pilgrimage site in County Mayo not too far from here.

And then tomorrow night is the main event here in Ballina outside the church behind me. He will be delivering a speech. There will be musical

performances and expecting a huge turnout here tomorrow. He has very close links with as he has plenty of cousins in this town.

He's visited this town twice before once as Vice President and once as a private citizen. So as he said to reporters yesterday, it's feels like

coming home. And certainly when he comes here to Ballina tomorrow, it will feel like coming home.

SOLOMON: And Donie we don't have much time left. But I do know just based on some of your reporting that you've been out in the crowds with him as he

has been shaking hands giving hugs. How are people receiving him? What are you hearing and seeing from the people there in terms of this visit?

O'SULLIVAN: Yes look, I think you know, 60 years ago President JFK started the tradition of U.S. Presidents coming back to Ireland to find their roots

to find their ancestral story. Since then Reagan has come.


Of course Obama came, Nixon came and now of course Biden. Look, if you want to feel good as an American President if you want to feel like your

approval ratings are high, you can certainly come to Ireland and be guaranteed a good time.

SOLOMON: Fair point. Donie O'Sullivan great to have you thank you! And hopefully you enjoy yourself as well while you're there. And finally, he

has been Conan the Destroyer. He has been the Terminator.

And now Arnold Schwarzenegger is casting himself in a more constructive role filling in holes in the road. The Former Governor of California

tweeting this video showing him and his team there, terminating a giant pothole he said he'd been waiting weeks for someone to do something about

it. Don't we all know that experience?

However, city officials who actually looked into the hole said that it was actually a trench that was dug so that the local gas company could carry

out work, which isn't actually due to be complete until next month.

He was trying to be helpful. Maybe they'll totally recall Ernie and his crew to dig it up again. In the meantime, that is the show for today great

to be with you. I'm Rahel Solomon. "Connect the World" is coming up next.