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Isa Soares Tonight

President Biden Assures Americans The Banking System Is Safe After Two Banks Collapsed In 48 Hours; U.S., U.K., Australia Meet To Counter China; U.K. Former Police Serial Rapist Sentenced; How U.K. Police Failed To Stop Serial Rapist Within Force; China's Growing Power Increasingly Worrying West; Pence: "History Will Hold Donald Trump Accountable". Aired 3-4p ET

Aired March 13, 2023 - 15:00   ET



ISA SOARES, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, President Biden reassures the U.S. and

the world the banking system is safe after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. And Biden moves on to a critical meeting with the United Kingdom and

Australia. We'll explain their plans to stand up to China.

Plus, how a serial sex offender was allowed to serve in one of Britain's most elite armed police unit for years. That, CNN's special investigation.

But first, tonight, rest assured the U.S. banking system is safe. President Joe Biden delivering that message today to calm fears after the second

largest banking collapse in U.S. history. But shock waves are still rattling investors right around the world.

U.S. regulators took emergency steps after Silicon Valley Bank collapsed due to a run on deposits. They're guaranteeing depositors funds insured and

uninsured amounts. They also closed a second bank on the brink of collapse. Mr. Biden says more protections are coming. Have a listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm going to ask Congress for banking regulators to strengthen the rules for banks, to make it less

likely this kind of bank failure would happen again, and to protect American jobs and small businesses. Look, the bottom line is this,

Americans can rest assure that our banking system is safe. Your deposits are safe. Let me also assure you, we will not stop at this, we'll do

whatever is needed.


SOARES: Well, the British government is also taking action to prevent financial contagion, facilitating the rescue of Silicon Valley Bank's U.K.

division. HSBC bought it for just 1 pound. Let's get more now on all of these developments. Matt Egan who is now from New York, Anna Stewart as you

can see here is with me.

And Matt, let me start with you this hour. I mean, we heard President Biden there, talking about resting assured, you know, that everything is being

done. But are investors assured? Are they confident that enough is being done here to protect them?

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Well, Isa, I mean, this is a shock-and-awe response from Washington. And I think it shows how serious they are about

putting this fire out before it spreads. So, I mean, here's what they're doing, they're promising depositors or the Silicon Valley Bank and that

second bank that collapsed, Signature Bank, depositors are going to be made whole, even above that $250,000 deposit insurance limit.

And i think that they're basically, they're trying to prevent future bank runs before they even get started. And President Biden, he's trying to make

clear, you know, two points, one, to the public, your money is safe. But two, that this is a rescue of depositors, it's not a rescue of the industry

executives, It's not a rescue of the stockholders and the bond holders who have -- or getting wiped out here.

But to your point, there is a lot of debate over whether or not this is enough. Because U.S. stock market actually is taking all of this in stride

after some pretty significant losses late last week on this very concern. We've seen markets bounce back today, but what's interesting is that

regional banks are not bouncing back.

They fell sharply on Thursday and Friday, and they're falling again today, despite this new federal intervention. We've seen shares of First Republic

Bank and Comerica and a number of other major regional banks. They're down 40 percent, 50 percent, 60 percent. I think the messages from the market is

basically that, this may not be enough.

I talked to Isaac Botiensky(ph) over at BTIG, and he put it best when he said "the government's actions may have just turned the bank-run into a


SOARES: Oh, wow. OK, stick with that thought for just one second. I want to bring it back here in London, because of course, the idea was to stop

the contagion. But we did see something here in the U.K. with HSBC now taking over from the bank for just 1 pound. Do we know what that deal looks

like, Anna?

ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I mean, I question whether or not this deal was something HSBC wanted to do.


And how much arm-twisting went on behind the scenes. This was a weekend of panic for the U.K. government, more the Bank of England, and for all the

tech companies who had money deposited at the U.K. arm of SVB. But early this morning, we heard that HSBC was buying it for the pristine sum of 1

pound, and that does mean that deposits are safe and can be accessed.

And this is huge news because up to Monday morning, up until this morning, there was a huge risk of insolvency. And actually, the Chancellor Jeremy

Hunt said -- he spent the whole weekend rolling up his sleeves along with the Bank of England governor. He said, we are faced with a situation where

we could have seen some of our most important companies, our strategic companies wiped out.

So, a solution has been found, but I will pick up on what Matt was saying there because we didn't see maybe the share price reaction you would expect

from other banks in the U.K., or from Europe. Given that you are seeing on both sides of the pond, governments saying we will do whatever it takes.

Do not worry, nothing to worry about here.

You saw quite a big share price reaction in U.K. banks, and particularly actually in European banks. And I think that goes to say that perhaps,

there is fear of this happening again somewhere else.

SOARES: On that point, then, on the fear here, because of course, SVB, and correct me if I'm wrong, was tied or had a lot of interest rates,

right? Had a lot of base in interest rates and was tied to that. Where does that leave then, the Fed, and how worried are these banks about the Fed's

next move? Because it's so tied to that.

EGAN: Well, it really is tied to it. I mean, the Fed's war on inflation had two big impacts on the Silicon Valley Bank collapse. One, the Fed's

interest rate hikes, they crushed the tech industry. The same tech industry that this bank catered to, and this bank was so exposed to tech. The other

issue, though, is the one that you're alluding to, Isa. Which is that these rate hikes, they severely depressed the value of the bond --

SOARES: Yes --

EGAN: That Silicon Valley Bank and other banks sit on as a main source of capital. It cost all of these unrealized losses. And the issue is that

Silicon Valley Bank, because they needed cash, they ended up locking in those losses. They made them realize losses. And that combined with their

announced intention to raise 2-plus billion dollars in capital, they said they want to raise that.

But they hadn't actually raised the cash yet. That's what helped to conspire to create this classic run on the bank. Where on Thursday alone,

$42 billion was withdrawn from this bank in one day. That was about a quarter of the bank's total deposits. By the end of the day, they were

negative, they had run out of money. And Friday, regulators had to swoop in and shut it down.

SOARES: So, does this put then the Fed really in a tricky situation here? Or we look ahead to the next rate rise?

EGAN: Yes, absolutely. I mean, the situation has changed so much in just the past six days. You go back to last Tuesday, Jerome Powell testifying to

Congress and basically signaling the Fed could ramp up the war --

SOARES: Yes --

EGAN: On inflation. Markets were thinking 50-basis point rate hike. That would be a step up. Now, we're hearing from Goldman Sachs, they're saying

we don't think the Fed is going to raise interest rates next week at all because of this banking stress. I talked to Sheila Bair; the former head of

the FDIC during the 2008 financial crisis.

And she said that the Fed really needs to pause now, give it a chance to look around and see how much damage has already been done.

SOARES: And final point, I mean, Anna, this was so reminiscent like you were saying of the 2008 financial crisis. It's a much smaller scale. What

is the lesson here for some of these banks you think?

STEWART: Well, I think when we look at SVB, particularly, you consider the diversification issues --

SOARES: Yes --

STEWART: So focused on tech, great when the tech is in the boom years, not so good when it's looking pretty frumpy. Secondly, I think you've got to

look at regulators. Could they have stepped in sooner, because actually lots of people were taking deposits out of this bank for quite a few weeks

up to --

SOARES: Right --

STEWART: Last week's implosion. So those are two things I'd consider. And I think you have to consider that if you are a tech firm and you have

packed money at a bank, you are probably starting to think, OK, how much is actually insured? Yes, the U.S. has said they're going to insure all

deposits for this bank are available.

Will that happen if we see more? It's implied that, that would be the case --

SOARES: Yes --

STEWART: But if I were a tech business with money, I would start putting that into different banks and diversifying that as well.

SOARES: So confidence not fully back, at least, not yet. Anna Stewart, Matt Egan, thank you very much to you both. Now, Ukrainian and western

officials say the Wagner military company is hemorrhaging fighters in Bakhmut. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says last week alone, more

than 1,100 Russian soldiers died in the eastern city.

And the fighting continues right around the clock. According to one Ukrainian commander, the battles are taking place at close quarters, though

he says Ukraine is managing to keep a difficult situation under control.


Meanwhile, Russia is stepping up deadly attacks on other areas in eastern Ukraine with civilians paying, of course, the ultimate price. Ivan Watson

joins me now from eastern Ukraine, with the very latest. So Ivan, as we set out there, Ukrainians telling us the Wagner assault units are sustaining

significant losses in Bakhmut. Just what are you hearing in terms of what is happening?

What the situation is like in Bakhmut, and how long Ukrainian soldiers can hold Bakhmut for?

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a ferocious battle that has been going on for months, basically since the end of

Summer. And the Ukrainians have basically doubled down, they've said they were not going to hand over the city, and the battle simply continues. So,

I was in Kyiv a couple of days ago.

You bumped into somebody at a memorial, and her husband is fighting in the battle for Bakhmut, for example. I mean, the Ukrainians quite literally

have a lot of skin in this game, they say that they are killing many Russian soldiers. They claim that the Russian tactic is to send waves of

kind of prisoners, ex-prisoners who have been drafted into the Wagner Group.

They send them first, many of those soldiers get killed. And then there is such a wave of soldiers that kind of dig in, and that this has this human

waves have succeeded in pushing the Ukrainians back somewhat. The Ukrainian president has argued that the loss of Bakhmut could potentially open a road

for the Russians deeper into Ukrainian territory.

I do find that a little hard to imagine, being here in eastern Ukraine, seeing the sheer numbers of Ukrainian troops on the ground, hearing the

thud of artillery and the distance from where I'm standing right now. This is a very well fortified region, where the -- battles are raging all across

this very long frontline. And as you mentioned in your intro, there are civilians who are paying the ultimate price --

SOARES: Yes --

WATSON: In the northern region of Sumy, at least, one person killed by long-range artillery. In the southern region of Mykolaiv, two people killed

by artillery. In the Russian-occupied kind of separatist region of Donetsk, authorities there claiming that two women were killed by Ukrainian

artillery. And this in addition to the vast numbers of troops who are being maimed and killed on a daily basis.

Which neither side will publicly admit to the official numbers there. Add to that, the heavy weaponry that's being brought into play, the Ukrainian

military saying that the Russians have brought more ships into the Black Sea that carry missiles, a submarine as well. They're warning of the risk

of further missile attacks.

And we saw a massive missile barrage from Russia last week. And then, the Russian governor of the Belgorod region, which is bordering Ukraine, from

which Russia launched its invasion into Ukraine, claiming to have shot down at least four missiles with anti-aircraft defenses there. And then finally,

we have a statement coming from the Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov who essentially said that Russia cannot achieve its goals, will not achieve its

goals without military means at this point.

That does not suggest that there is any hope for a peaceful on-ramp --

SOARES: Yes --

WATSON: To this war now going on for more than a year. And the death toll just rising with each passing day. Isa?

SOARES: Ivan Watson for us there in eastern Ukraine. Thanks very much Ivan, do stay safe. Well, the leaders of U.S., Britain and Australia are

gathering in California to talk about China. The U.S. President Joe Biden is aboard Air Force One right now, en route to San Diego. This AUKUS

partnership meeting between the president and the British and Australian prime minister is focused on countering China's growing military power in

the Pacific.

The leaders are expected to announce a deal to supply Australia with several U.S. nuclear submarines and Britain's commitment to up its defense

spending by billions of dollars. Our Jeremy Diamond is traveling with the president and joins us in San Diego.

So Jeremy, just talk to us about what we can expect to come out from this meeting of the three leaders. What does the U.S. rather wants to get out of


JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, listen, it was a year and a half ago that the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom

announced this new AUKUS partnership to provide Australia with nuclear- powered submarines. And today, just a couple of days before that 18-month mark when they said they would announce a timeline, we are now learning

that the United States intends to sell at least three Virginia class nuclear-powered submarines.

Those are some of the most advanced submarines that the U.S. has, to Australia by the early 2030.


That's about a decade sooner than what was initially expected when this partnership was announced. And in the meantime later this decade, you will

see U.S. submarines very much like the USS Missouri, which is flanking the President today during his remarks, rotate in and out of Australian ports

to increase the presence of those submarines. Of course, the subtext of all this, really quite loud subtexts, is of course, countering China's growing

military presence in the Indo-Pacific.

And concerns of course, about some of the military moves that China has been making in the region. But beyond, of course, these military moves that

the U.S. is making, President Biden has really been pursuing a multi-prong strategy, as it relates to China. And even as he is taking steps like this

one, military steps to counter China's growing military presence in the Indo-Pacific, also looking to normalize diplomatic relations.

One of the things that U.S. officials have been working to do in particular in the wake of that spy balloon incident is to reestablish those military-

to-military communications channels. So far, though, a senior administration official telling me that China has not been willing to re-

establish those types of dialogue, which U.S. officials say are so important to avoid the risk of miscalculation.

But make no mistake, today's move certainly intended to counter China in the Indo-Pacific, and it will also of course, be a huge boom for both the

U.S. as well as the British military industrial basis. Isa?

SOARES: Jerry Diamond there, very professional, keeping to the message of course, as the music and -- blares behind him. Thanks very much, Jeremy,

appreciate it. And still to come tonight, why hundreds of migrants rushed a port of entry at the U.S.-Mexico border and what happened when they did.

That is next.


SOARES: Welcome back, everyone. I want to take you to the U.S.-Mexico border now where hundreds of migrants rushed a port of entry at El Paso,

Texas, on Sunday. The video is pretty stunning, showing migrants who are mostly Venezuelan, breaking through Mexican lines and running across the

bridge to demand asylum.

Now, many migrants say they are frustrated with problems securing appointments to seek asylum, using a new U.S. government app that they say

isn't working. Police blocked the crowd using barbwires as you can see there and other barriers. Migrants say they also used pepper spray. Our

Rosa Flores is live in Houston, Texas, with more.


So Rosa, let me start then with that footage we just showed our viewers at the U.S.-Mexico border. Do we know exactly what happened? What are

authorities telling you?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, what we know is from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. They say that there is a large group of

migrants that rushed towards El Paso, Texas, in essence because that's one of the international bridges that leads to El Paso. And that they had to

deploy barriers to stop this attempted mass entrance into the United States.

And that this lasted between about 1:30 in the afternoon local time, to about 7:00 p.m. local time. But Isa, to the point that you were making

right before you and I started talking, a lot of frustration has been brewing in these Mexican towns on the northern part of Mexico. Because

there are thousands of migrants who have been waiting to enter into the United States.

Now, I've been talking to them all along the northern part of Mexico, on both the Mexican side and the U.S. side. And I can tell you that I've seen

it, they've been trying to use this app. It doesn't appear to have enough appointments. And so, a lot of these migrants tell me that they tried the

app, they wake up every morning, and that the appointments fill up very quickly.

I can tell you that I was just in Tijuana, Mexico, talking to migrants. And there, the Tijuana Migrant Services Director told me that there's about 200

appointments available every day. And that there is about 5,600 migrants waiting in shelters. And so as you might imagine, they wake up every

morning, they try to get an appointment, but they can't.

And so what you're seeing there in El Paso is the brewing of this desperation and anger. A lot of these migrants, of course, are also waiting

in very dangerous conditions in Mexico, on the Mexican side. So, there's of course, all that fear and all that worry that is brewing. And now, we're

seeing it as they rushed to the El Paso bridge.

SOARES: Desperation and frustration as you quite rightly say, Rosa. But I want to stay in Mexico, but I want to pivot really to another story, and

that of three missing women from Texas. What are you hearing from U.S. as well as Mexican authorities here?

FLORES: You know, I've been talking to authorities on both sides of the border, and what they say is that the investigation is ongoing. They have

not found these women. The latest that I've learned is from the attorney general's office from the state of Nuevo Leon in Mexico. They say that they

have deployed multiple vehicles and personnel and drones to this area in Nuevo Leon, Mexico, where the women disappeared.

Family reported them missing on February 26th, that they crossed the border, according to U.S. authorities, they crossed the border into Mexico

on the 24th, and they were headed to sell clothing at a flea market. Now, Isa, it's important to note that to cross into Nuevo Leon, these women had

to drive through Tamaulipas, Mexico, now, if that name sounds familiar, is because it should.

That's the same state in Mexico where four tourists were kidnapped recently. And so, they have to drive through Tamaulipas, Mexico, to get to

Nuevo Leon. Now, the U.S. Department of State has Tamaulipas slated as a do-not-travel state within Mexico. Nuevo Leon is not under that same

designation, but it's considered dangerous, according to the U.S. Department of State because of crime and kidnapping.

So, for very similar reasons as Tamaulipas. Now, back to those women that are missing, we understand that they were driving a green 1996 Chevy

Silverado, they were in this small town called China Nuevo Leon on their way to Montemorelos Nuevo Leon, and that's where they were last seen. It's

unclear right now where their whereabouts are, but authorities are trying to find them.

SOARES: And it's -- Rosa, again, this -- you know, pretty violent backdrop of ongoing violence, I should say. The Texans are being urged, I believe,

not to travel to Mexico. Which hasn't been well received, I think, it's fair to say by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Tell us what he said.

FLORES: Yes, the president has been lashing out at U.S. Republicans. And this kind of started after the Americans were kidnapped recently, and a

Republican lawmaker, Lindsey Graham lashed out, saying that he wanted to introduce legislation to designate cartels as foreign terrorist

organizations. And that he wanted to authorize the U.S. military to operate in Mexico.

Well, the Mexican president lashed out, saying he was not having it. That Mexico is a foreign and independent country, and that Mexico is not a

colony of the United States. So there's been a lot of spats back and forth, Isa, about this. And Mexican president today stating that Mexico is even

safer than the United States.


Pointing to the fact that a lot of Americans have recently moved to Mexico City and other parts in Mexico, and of course, this goes back and forth.

We've also learned from the Texas Department of Public Safety, which is the state agency, law enforcement agency here in the state of Texas, saying

that they're not recommending for Spring breakers to cross over to Mexico for Spring break.

And as you know, Mexico is a huge Spring break destination. Not just the Cancun and Acapulcos of the world, but also along the U.S.-Mexico border. I

grew up on the border, that's what people do during Spring break, as they usually go to South Padre Island on the south side of Texas, and then they

cross over to Mexico as well.

Well, now, Texas Department of Public Safety also recommending people who are coming to Texas for Spring break not to cross into Mexico. And again,

that's just tossing fuel into the fire that's already --

SOARES: Indeed --

FLORES: Brewing between the U.S. and Mexico, regarding safety and security. Isa?

SOARES: Rosa Flores there for us in Houston, Texas. Great to see, Rosa, thank you. Now David Carrick, a serial sex offender served in one of

Britain's most elite armed police units for years. He's now behind bars. But his ability to evade justice has only fueled a growing distrust really

and anger towards police in the U.K. CNN's Katie Polglase reports on how apparent failures may have prevented Carrick from being stopped sooner.


KATIE POLGLASE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE PRODUCER (on camera): A month ago, police officer David Carrick was sentenced for serially abusing multiple

women for almost 20 years. He had been an armed officer, a rare thing in U.K. policing, and the failure of police to spot or stop him despite

multiple reports of his violence towards women has caused outrage here in the U.K. We've looked into some of the key moments when Carrick could have

been stopped, but wasn't.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police everywhere, safety nowhere. Police everywhere --

POLGLASE (voice-over): In February, former Metropolitan police officer David Carrick was handed 36 life sentences. For almost 20 years, Carrick

abused his position in the force to coerce and attack women. Carrying a gun became a unique feature of his abuse, using it to threaten his victims. He

had been a member of a rare armed section of the U.K. police, tasked with defending high-profile government buildings and ministers.

NATHAN BUSH, FORMER OFFICER, METROPOLITAN POLICE DIPLOMATIC PROTECTION GROUP: It still baffles me how a monster was able to wear that uniform.

POLGLASE: Nathan Bush served in the same unit while Carrick was there.

(on camera): Does it make you reflect differently on your time?

BUSH: It makes me question probably every single person that I worked with.

POLGLASE (voice-over): After Carrick pleaded guilty to 71 sexual offenses, the Met Police admitted Carrick had previously come to theirs and other

forces' attention nine times.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have missed opportunities over time to identify a pattern of abusive behavior.

POLGLASE: CNN has spent more than a month looking into those missed opportunities, and found that on at least two occasions, police did not

follow their own procedures for handling misconduct. And therefore did not miss Carrick's violence, but failed to treat it with the severity it

deserved, leaving him free to meet further their victims.

We spoke via text to one of those victims, Darcian(ph), who met Carrick in 2020. After months of abuse, she reported him to a police station outside

of London in July, 2021.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not easy for you to arrive at a police station, and tell a policeman, I was raped by a policeman.

POLGLASE: Carrick as placed on restricted duties and his gun removed while they investigated. But he was not suspended. Darcian(ph) ended up

withdrawing her complaint.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't feel protected. And whenever I went to the police station to make another statement, I asked and nobody told me

anything. So I was very shaken in thinking that they didn't believe me.

POLGLASE: Within two months, Carrick was preparing to return to full duties, armed once again. That should never have happened. From our own

research into the Met's protocol for handling misconduct cases, Darcian's(ph) allegations should have been investigated further despite her

withdrawing the complaint.

And the officers assigned to the case would have had access to researchable database that logged at least one previous incident In which Carrick was

violent towards a woman. It happened just five months before Darcian(ph) met him.

(on camera): In September 2019, a neighbor reported they had seen Carrick grabbing a woman by the neck during a domestic incident and Hertfordshire.

Police there told us they sent a crime report to the Met police, specifically to the department handling complaints against officers, known

as the director of professional standards or the DPS. Now, according to the DPS on guidelines, an allegation as serious as this should have been


NUSRIT MEHTAB, FORMER SCOTLAND YARD SUPERINTENDENT, NORTH AREA: It's domestic abuse. Third party reporting, so clearly, it was done in view of

other people. And the fact that in 2019, Carrick was carrying a gun, so it should have been escalated because there is a red flag there.

POLGLASE (voice-over): But no further action was taken. The victim did not want to pursue charges at the time, but Hertfordshire police tells CNN that

since Carrick's sentencing, they have now come forward with allegations against him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Understand you're under arrest I think?


POLGLASE: In October 2021, Carrick was finally arrested again, when another woman came forward with a rape allegation three months after Darciane's



DAVID CARRICK, FORMER METROPOLITAN POLICE OFFICER: (BLEEP) I've only been a police officer for 20 years.


POLGLASE: He was charged and Darciane's case was reopened.


DARCIANE, VICTIM OF DAVID CARRICK: And I told God and myself, thank you, Lord, for showing up another victim so now they believe me.


POLGLASE: She's not alone in this experience. Out of 573 Met Police officers accused of sexual offences by the public over eleven years, just

two were charged. To add to the horror, the Met has confirmed that two of Carrick's colleagues have been placed on restricted duties after contacting

one of his victims. Sky News reported they have been sending sexually suggestive messages to her.

As yet no police officer has faced any consequences for failing to stop Carrick for so many years, the U.K.'s Police watchdog has now reopened a

review into the handling of Carrick's case despite previously saying they had no cause to investigate. And the force continues to struggle to prove

it can keep women safe and hold its officers to account.

CNN reached out to the Met Police for this investigation, and they referred us to their existing statements on Carrick. They said they would not be

commenting further while there are ongoing government reviews into the handling of his case. And since Carrick's sentencing, more potential

victims have come forward to police. Meanwhile, the Center for Women's Justice told CNN that some of Carrick's victims are now considering a class

action lawsuit against the Met Police. As yet, no police officer has faced any consequences for failing to stop Carrick. Katie Polglase, CNN, London.


SOARES: We'll be back after this short break.


SOARES: Welcome back, everyone. U.S. President Joe Biden is arriving in San Diego moments from now to meet with the British as well as the Australian

Prime Ministers. The topic A on the agenda is countering China's increasing military might in East Asia and diplomatic influence right across the



Our Selina Wang reports now from Beijing.


SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chinese leader Xi Jinping vows to build the country's military into a great wall of steel in his first speech of his

unprecedented third term as president, but the biggest applause from the rubber stamp Parliament came after Xi repeated the pledge to reunite Taiwan

with the motherland. It marks the end of a week long political meeting that saw Xi further consolidate his power and drive home how China needs to

fortify itself against America's campaign to contain the country.

Less than a day after his speech, U.S. President Joe Biden hosting British and Australian leaders to discuss details of the new AUKUS defense pact

that's seen as a bid to counter China in the Pacific.

China's new Foreign Minister, Qin Gang, has accused Washington of plotting an Asia Pacific version of NATO and called America's China strategy a

reckless gamble. But Li Keqiang tried striking a more conciliatory tone in his first press conference as Premier, China's number two official. Lee

said U.S. and China decoupling is hype, pointing out that trade between the two countries reached a record high last year.

One of Xi's most trusted proteges, Li is the former Shanghai party boss that oversaw the city's brutal two-month COVID lockdown last spring. He

tried downplaying Beijing's crackdown on tech and private businesses, calling on officials to support private sector growth.

But Li steps into premiership with a tough road ahead, the economy still battered after three years of tough COVID restrictions, U.S. sanctions, and

deteriorating diplomatic relations with the West.

But China's economic and political powers are growing elsewhere. Beijing hosted talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran that led to a breakthrough, the

two nations agreed to bury the hatchet and restore ties. It's a geopolitical wind amid growing concerns about Beijing's deepening ties with

Russia and refusal to call the conflict in Ukraine an invasion.


ALFRED WU, LEE KUAN YEW SCHOOL OF PUBLIC POLICY: Xi Jinping make it very clear that he wants to restore China's position. China will play a

leadership role in the international arena. I will say that Xi Jinping tried to learn from Putin to consolidate his power. So, he sees Russia and

also Putin leadership as a role model. Their relationship is too deep.


WANG: But Beijing is trying to use that relationship to build the narrative that Xi Jinping's a global problem solver, one who calls the shots at home

and abroad. Selina Wang, CNN, Beijing.


SOARES: Let's get more on all of this. Washington Post Columnist Josh Rogin has written about the way China's growing power is changing strategic

alliances in the Asia Pacific region. He joins me now from Washington. Josh, great to have you back on the show.

Look, this deal that we are expecting from AUKUS is, of course, is an arms and technology deal centered on supplying, as we heard at the top of the

show, supplying nuclear powered submarines to Australia, but the main motivator here, let's be frank, it is the collaborate -- behind this

collaboration is China, right? And countering China. Talk to us about the timing of this accord.

JOSH ROGIN, COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON POST: Right. Well, a couple of things, this deal between the U.S., Australia, and U.K. has been years in the

making, and the fact that it's survived successive governments in Australia, and the U.K. shows that it has the stuff to stay in place for

the long haul. At the same time, we have to be honest here the first subs won't arrive in Australia and -- for another 10 years and they won't be --

get the new subs for another 15 years.

So, it's really more about the symbolism than it is about the subs. And we have to see this in the context of a region that is mobilizing to respond

to what has been termed as the greatest military buildup in human history by the Chinese government, an expansion of their nuclear arsenal, an

expansion of their conventional forces, an expansion of their territorial ambitions, and their menacing of Taiwan.

And we have South Korea reacting to that, Japan is doubling its defense budget over the next five years, and Australia is also getting into the

game. And this is not driven by Washington bipartisan hawkishness, this is driven by the actions that emanate out of Beijing.

SOARES: Ye, and the allies really stepping up in many ways, like you said, from South Korea and Japan, trying to counter this and really highlighting

to the U.S. exactly the risk they face. But let me get your thoughts on this because this is just coming into us. We are hearing that -- now that

the National People's Congress, of course, is concluded as we heard in that Selina Wang piece, a phone call between President Biden and President Xi

Jinping may be closer to happening.


What do you make of this? Of this potential phone call here? This coming from the White House, by the way.

ROGIN: Right. Well, there's an interest in both Washington and Beijing to reestablish basic high level ties. There's no good reason that the two

Presidents of the two world's superpowers shouldn't talk to each other. That seems counterproductive. At the same time, there's a reason that the

relationships have gotten so bad. Every time the United States government has tried to reach out to Beijing, there's been a provocation on the other

side. Of course, Beijing would blame the United States for provocations. But there you have it. So we can expect there will be a call. But it won't

solve any of the core problems, namely China's aggression and expansion and the region and the international community's determination to respond.

SOARES: And only last week, I'm sure you heard this, we, you know, we mentioned here on the show, we showed on the show, China's Foreign

Minister, Josh, talked about conflict and confrontation. And now Beijing basically saying this could drive an arms race in the region. Is there a

fear in Washington that this deal can become escalatory? Do they believe this is the best way here to counter China? What are you hearing in the

halls of power in Washington?

ROGIN: Right. Well, this is typical Chinese government line. This is their standard for decades now propaganda that, oh, no, it's the West that's

aggressive and it's the West that's going to start the Cold War, and how dare the Americans help their allies defend against China's aggression.

It's kind of like saying I am rubber, you are glue, anything you say, bounces off me and sticks to you. So, I'm not surprised by that line of


What I am surprised by is a growing feeling in Washington that actually, America is the one to blame for these problems. You'll see this on the left

and the right, you'll see people say, well, you know, the U.S. and Australia and the U.K. are working themselves up into a tizzy that's going

to cause the Cold War, a hot war, but the accurate reading would be to say that this is a belated and limited response to China's actions. And that's

a long way of saying they started it and those -- that's how we got here. And you know, they can't have their cake and eat it, too, if they're going

to be militarily expansionist and aggressive, then yes, the West is going to respond to that. That's what we're saying.

SOARES: And Josh, busy news night tonight, we're seeing that from the White House, yes. Again, I would like your thoughts on this, that the U.S. is

encouraging Xi Jinping to speak to President Zelenskyy of Ukraine, of course. As you all know, we have heard from sources, U.S. sources, saying

that Beijing that they are worried that Beijing could bring -- be brought into the fold in the war in Ukraine in support over Russia here. What do

you make of this, of the U.S. encouraging Xi Jinping to speak to President Zelenskyy?

ROGIN: Well, honestly, my reporting is that the Biden administration officials have very little confidence that Beijing is willing or able to

play a constructive role in bringing the sides together in Ukraine, namely because they are supporting Russia in every way except for lethal aid and

considering supporting Russia with lethal aid as well. And also, because the peace proposal that they leveled after Chinese officials visited the

Munich Security Conference was heavily favored in the Russian side and seen as a nonstarter by the Ukrainians.

That being said, you know, crazier things than that have happened in history. And, you know, if Xi Jinping and Zelenskyy can get on a call and

figure something out, sure, that would be great. No one's against diplomacy. But I just think we have to keep our expectations pretty low,

considering that China is Putin's ally, and that they play peacemaker while actually not revealing their true help for the Russian side.

SOARES: Important context there from Josh Rogin. Thanks very much, Josh. Appreciate it. And, of course, as soon as President Biden lands in San

Diego, of course for that AUKUS meeting, we will of course bring you -- bring that to you.

Well, after a weekend of chaos, the U.K.'s iconic football program, Match of the Day, is reinstating its usual host, Gary Lineker. Lineker was taken

off air following a tweet, criticizing the U.K.'s government's new immigration policy. And this prompted his colleagues to walk out in

solidarity, disrupting the weekend's coverage. Today, the BBC announced Lineker will return this weekend. They're also set to review their social

media guidelines. Have a listen to this.


TIM DAVIE, DIRECTOR GENERAL, BBC: What we've agreed, and I've spent time talking to Gary, and we've had lots of discussion, is that between now and

when the review reports are -- Gary will abide by the editorial guidelines and that's where we are.


SOARES: Well, CNN World Sports Patrick Snell joins me now live from Atlanta. Patrick, great to see you. Look, I think it's fair to say, and

correct me if I'm wrong, that this was a major, major win for Lineker here.

PATRICK SNELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL SPORTS ANCHOR: Absolutely. And you might argue, a major own goal for the BBC, Isa, I heard that made, that point

made earlier on this day. But, look, why does this matter? It matters because Match of the Day is truly iconic. It's been around for generations

that football highlights program.


I grew up watching it. It gets something like a total of around 40 million people all in all watching it, if you take into account the mobile

technology that's out there as well. That's why it's been resonating globally as well, because we've had at stake this issue, the battle between

impartiality and free speech as well. But we do have video of Lineker from this Monday, he was out walking his dog doorstep by reporters there in the

U.K. Take a listen.


GARY LINEKER, SPORTS PRESENTER FOR BBC: I've already said what I'm going to say on Twitter. If I say anything more now, it just encourages people to

doorstep me.


SNELL: Yes, you can see those reporters there following Lineker as he continues his walk with his dog there, Isa. But, again, Lineker, for

context here, hugely popular in the U.K. I was just looking at his Twitter following something, like just under nine million followers right now. He's

a 62-year-old revered former player as well. He was the Golden Boot winner, the leading scorer at the Mexico 1986 World Cup, then he becomes a very

successful broadcaster. He'd been taken off air following those tweets you referenced, which criticized the British government's controversial new

migration policy.

During his playing careers, with Leicester City spurs and Barcelona reacting on Monday by saying he's delighted to have navigated his way

through this. He thanked all his colleagues, including the many former professional footballers that came out in support of him what he called her

a remarkable show of solidarity.

He did have this tweet, though, and it really does resonate. It caught our eye certainly. "A final thought," Lineker tweeting, "however difficult the

last few days have been, it simply doesn't compare to having to flee your home from persecution, or war to seek refuge in a land far away. It's

heartwarming to have seen the empathy towards their plight from so many of you. We remain a country of predominantly tolerant, welcoming, generous

people as well."

I do want to get to the BBC's Director General Tim Davie, I want to elaborate a little bit more. We played that clip that you just had. And

this is really significant because he announced a review of the BBC social media guidance would be led now by an independent expert, acknowledging the

existing guidance had caused potential confusion.

He added "Gary is a valued part of the BBC. And I know how much the BBC means to Gary, I look forward to him presenting our coverage this coming

weekend." That was the heart of this issue really, Isa, that Lineker is a freelance broadcaster for the BBC. Therefore, he's not bound by the same

guidelines as staffers there at the corporation. I expect to see him back hosting for the BBC when Man City take on Burnley on Saturday in England's

F.A. Cup quarterfinal games there.

SOARES: And that's the only thing that anyone could talk about over this weekend here in the U.K.

SNELL: Yes. It's huge.

SOARES: Patrick, great to see you, my friend. Thank you very much. We'll be back after this short break.


SOARES: My Freedom Day, an initiative supported by the CNN.


Freedom Project is focusing on spotting the signs of slavery. And a Freedom Day event last year resulted in the rescue of two underage human

trafficking victims in Bolivia. In the ensuing investigation, 16 More children were identified as potential victims. CNN interviewed April

Havlin, the Director of that nonprofit that organized the Bolivia event.


APRIL HAVLIN, DIRECTOR, HOUSE OF HOPE INTERNATIONAL: If the child is not provided for, if a child is not in school, or if you see children walking

around in the time of day that they should be in school, it would be a good thing to find out what's happening with that child, because a lot of times,

they drop out of school, it gets there in the trafficking situation. I'm April Havlin haven't, and I direct House of Hope International.

We work in Nicaragua, Honduras, and Bolivia. Last year, we were celebrating My Freedom Day and we were scheduled to speak in several public schools

near the home where we work with adolescent girls coming out of trafficking. And so, we went into the school and my coworker, who is a

human trafficking survivor, told her story to the girls. And then I explained to them what trafficking is. And I told them that was a trap.

One little girl came forward and she said, oh, my sister's already gotten caught in this trap. And it was really heartbreaking to hear her realize

what her sister had been going through and what was the reality of her sister's life. And that brought about two young women moving into our home.

One who was the older sister of, one of the girls that was there on My Freedom Day, and another was a girl who'd been kicked out of the school

because she was being prostituted out.

My Freedom Day was the absolute catalyst that brought out that event. And now our focus has been visiting brothels, and street corners, and places

where the women would be in prostitution where we could talk to them. But most of those women had been trafficked a number of years ago, but we had

never had an opportunity before My Freedom Day to reach out to little girls in school. And so we have, within the last several months, uncovered a

large group, at least 16 underage girls, elementary and middle school girls that are being trafficked.

They were identified because of one girl that was a friend of one of the girls who came into our home because of My Freedom Day. But we're speaking

in that school this year on My Freedom Day. So, there may be many more than the 16 that we've identified.


SOARES: And this Thursday is My Freedom Day. CNN is partnering with young people worldwide for a student-led day of action against modern day

slavery. These students in Kosovo are pledging to take action.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Small actions go a long way. Let's stay united in fighting against human trafficking.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Knowing the signs saves lives, let's take action together.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's end modern day slavery.



SOARES: And join CNN on March 16. For my Freedom Day, tell us what freedom means to you on social media using the hashtag My Freedom Day, and we'll be

back after this.



SOARES: Welcome back, everyone. Well, in some of his harshest language to date, former U.S. President -- Vice President, I should say Mike Pence is

condemning Donald Trump's election denialism. Pence also criticized those who downplay the January 6 Capitol attack. He said the American people have

a right to know what took place on that day, addressing journalists and politicians on Saturday, Pence said the following, "I know history will

hold Donald Trump accountable."

Let you think of that. Thanks very much for watching me tonight. Do stay right here. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is next. I shall see you tomorrow. Bye-