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Isa Soares Tonight

U.S. Journalist Arrested In Russia On Spying Charges; A Top U.S. General Says Bakhmut Is A "Slaughter-Fest" For Russians; Former Brazilian President Bolsonaro Returns To Brazil After A 3-Month Self-Imposed Exile; Russia Arrests American Journalist, Citing "Espionage"; White House Says U.S. Needs Assault Weapons Ban; "Hotel Rwanda" Hero Back In U.S.; King Charles III On First Visit Abroad As Monarch; Closing Arguments In Gwyneth Paltrow Ski Trial. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired March 30, 2023 - 14:00   ET



JILL DOUGHERTY, ADJUNCT PROFESSOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Will be -- it will be very important to see how long it takes for U.S. officials even to

get to Evan because, you know, this is now top secret. It's officially declared top secret, so there will be very little information about it. It

will drag on for a long time, and there's -- I would say a high level of concern.

The other thing that I took away obviously, is a warning to Americans to leave Russia immediately. Level 4 as we were told, and that is another

indication of where we are right now. It would appear really that, you know the gloves are off. There's no expectation of anything predictable at this

point. So the U.S. government is warning and urging Americans to leave.

RAHEL SOLOMON, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: Right, that spokesperson saying that the State Department is immensely concerned about the events that are

unfolding. Stephen, I want to bring you into the conversation now, in terms of the White House's point of view, I mean, what can you tell us about sort

of even what scenarios or what is even on the table in terms of getting Evan out of there?

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN POLITICS SENIOR REPORTER: Well, we've seen in recent months over the last few years, especially as U.S.-Russia relations

have really descended into their worst state since the cold war. How complicated this has been. There have been swaps, including the one last

year that got the U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner back to the United States.

But there were -- the White House and the State Department have been trying for months and years to get another American Paul Whelan out. He's been in

Russian prison for more than 1,500 days. The State Department and Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently said that they had a good, serious offer

on the table, but the Russians were not wanting to engage.

So that shows you how complicated this is. Another thing coming out of White House briefings earlier on, was the fact that they were unable to say

whether they believe that this, taking of an American was in any way related to the indictment of that GIU Russian officer in a federal court

recently. So, I think it's very difficult just to work out what the Russian motivations are from Washington to start with, given as the State

Department says that lack of communication.

This is why -- to Jill's point, this is so complicated, and there's really not a great deal of hope that you know, this can be done quickly, to put it

that way.

SOLOMON: And Jill, let me bring you back into the conversation, in terms of the complication of this case, the last time we saw U.S. journalists,

that was arrested for espionage in Moscow was 1986, but laws have obviously changed quite drastically since there in Russia in terms of disinformation,

in terms of censorship, and I wonder how much more complicating that becomes for a case like Evan, how much more concerning that could be for


DOUGHERTY: Well, you know, on every level, this is much more complicated because after the invasion of Ukraine back in February of last year, there

was a law that was passed, and we've mentioned that many times. A law that said you can't call the war a war. You cannot use information that isn't

given to you by the military in Russia, obviously.

And so, already any type of reporting on military large objects, the war, how it is going, anything like that is very complicated and sometimes

dangerous because the laws are written -- those laws are written in a very broad way. So they could be interpreted to basically to arrest anyone. But

now, we're not even talking about that. We are talking about espionage, and that brings it into an entirely different as I mentioned top secret area

where we may not even know what precisely are the charges.

We may not know where Evan Gershkovich, which is precisely. He may not get access to a lawyer for a while. There are a lot of things that simply will

not be clear, and then we're going to have to have the diplomatic reaction by the United States, possibly calling in, you know, the Russian

ambassador. This is going to -- it's complicated, very delicate, and it's going to take quite a while, and the outcome is very unclear unfortunately.

SOLOMON: What more, Jill, do we know about what Evan was reporting on? As I understand it, I mean, he's relatively young, but held a prestigious

position at "Wall Street Journal", and had quite a bit of experience reporting in Russia, including with the "Moscow Times". What more do we

know about what he was reporting on and what might have caught Russia's attention?


DOUGHERTY: Well, he was in Yekaterinburg, and that is a major city in the Euro's, about 900,000 miles away from Moscow to the east. It is a city --

it's an important city because there are military industrial complex, which would mean factories and plants that produce tanks and weapons and other

things in that area.

Now, what we don't know is, was he reporting on that or there's some other report that he was talking to Russians about how they feel about military

contractors. Things like that. But the point of this is that any normal reporting that you were doing, and it appears that's precisely what he was

doing can be suspect because the laws are so broad.

So they decided to take him. Why did they decide to take him? Well, he speaks for us. You know, he comes from a Russian-American family. He knows

the country he had worked before for other organizations in Russia. So he's -- you know, he's a very effective journalist, and I think that is a

problem for the Kremlin.

They simply do not want any information about this war that doesn't come directly from them. And what comes from them, most often is propaganda.

SOLOMON: Stephen, I want to bring you back into this conversation. We've talked a lot in the last 5 minutes or so, but all of the complicating

factors with this case, let's add an additional layer of complication here, and that the Russian national who was recently arrested is not in the U.S.

This is a person who is in Brazil as I understand it.

So walk me through even just that complicating factor in terms of ultimately what the White House has in terms of plays here.

COLLINSON: Right, of course, that brings in a third government, which makes things much more complicated of any point, if there were to be some

attempt to try to set up some kind of prisoner swap. But that is, I think a long way in the future, and it's still isn't really clear given the

complete -- almost complete severing of relations between Russia and the United States.

That is something that's going to be possible to do. All the normal rules of diplomacy, international relations between the West and Russia have

broken down. You know, it's not even clear that the Russians care that much what the rest of the world thinks of its behavior, not just on this issue,

but in Ukraine and everything else.

So, I think we have to look at this against a backdrop of all that. It's not just the question of individual cases, potential prisoner swaps, et

cetera. This is taking place against a wide backdrop of deep antagonism, the greatest hostility between the United States and Moscow, at least,

since the cold war and even, you know, during some of that time of the cold war.

So, this is a deeply serious situation, and it's very difficult to see even how you can make small steps to get towards a point where you can actually

be talking to the Russians seriously.

SOLOMON: It's a great point. I think it's important to point out that as far as we know, Evan is being detained until at least, May, and so, a lot

more questions, certainly, a lot more to come here. I want to thank you, both, Jill Dougherty, Stephen Collinson, thank you. And a reminder, we are

still waiting on that White House press briefing as well. We will bring that to you just as soon as it happens.

Meantime, a top U.S. general says that the battle for Bakhmut is turning sour for Russia, saying that Ukraine has turned the battlefield into a

slaughter-fest with Wagner mercenaries and Russian forces suffering devastating losses. He praises Ukrainian forces for fighting quote, "very

well". Ukraine says it is committed to defending Bakhmut and wearing down Russia's fighting forces.

Ukraine's defense minister showing off it was hardware here, posting this video of Ukrainian units training on U.S. Stryker in cougar fighting

vehicles. David McKenzie joins me now from Kyiv. So David, this is a city, clearly, both sides are keen to claim as a victory. But why does Russia in

particular seems so willing to spend so many resources on Bakhmut?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNTIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rahel, I think it's because Vladimir Putin wants to show whim, and this has become a

very symbolic -- initially, not necessarily that strategic. But given the amount of force that's being poured in from both sides, it's a very

important site of the eastern front in Bakhmut.

And you've heard these claims and counter-claims coming from the Russians and from Ukraine and its allies that they are wearing heavily down the

other side in this ongoing attritional battle. Now, it's very difficult to tell exactly the details of those claims. We do know based on the

preponderance of evidence that the Russians and the mercenary group Wagner that have been fighting for -- fighting for them have lost a great deal of

resources trying to take Bakhmut over many months.

But it is clear also that Ukraine has lost many men there. It's unclear how many because Ukraine doesn't specify those kinds of losses.


But the proof in it in this is that, Russia has not taken this city. We certainly would know if they had, and the fight continues. There's been

some indication that Russian attacks in the zone have been slowing down in recent days again, impossible to independently verify that. This comes as

these new U.S. hardware comes into the country that they were showing off the Stryker and cougar.

One is armored personnel carrier, the other is a carrier to take into mine fields or into a mine field zone, to a point being struck or damaged by a

mine excessively. Those show that the latest hardware is in here, and that the amount of hardware is certainly increasing in recent weeks since I've

been here that indicate that possibly we're reaching a threshold where Ukraine might be comfortable in striking back at Russia. But no direct

evidence of where that will happen, and when exactly that will happen, Rahel?

SOLOMON: David McKenzie there live for us in Kyiv. Thank you. Let's stay in Ukraine. Now, a human rights group says that more than 400 Russians have

been prosecuted for anti-war activities since the invasion of Ukraine began.

But one 20-year-old student says that she was singled out and faced severe charges after criticizing the war on social media. She managed to flee

Russia and has no intention of staying silent as our Melissa Bell reports.


MELISSA BELL, CNN CORREPONDENT (voice-over): She's now a wanted fugitive escaping the law. But Olesya Krivtsova was a teenager like any other.

Olesya Krivtsova is now on Moscow's most wanted list, but enjoying the streets and the freedoms of the European Union. For the safety of those who

helped her to get here, we've agreed not to give too much away about how she escaped.

OLESYA KRIVTSOVA, EXILED RUSSIAN STUDENT (through translator): No one expected that the case would grow so much that the residents would be huge.

BELL: Krivtsova's social media was typical of her age. But some of her social posts criticizing the war in Ukraine were brought to the attention

of authorities by fellow students. One of them distinguishing between snitching and patriotic denunciation.

KRIVTSOVA: The only difference is that in Stalin's time, people disappeared for good, and it wasn't clear where. Now, because of social

media, almost the same thing is happening except it's very public.

BELL: From the start, Krivtsova was made an example of most of the many hundreds prosecuted for anti-war activity in Russia have been charged with

disseminating false information. Krivtsova was charged with terrorism instead.

(on camera): Why are you so scary to them?

KRIVTSOVA: Because I'm not the first and I won't be the last. In the era of the information war between propaganda and reality. Words can get

through to someone. That is why the authorities are afraid because words are the most terrible weapon.

BELL (voice-over): Krivtsova had been on her way to meeting her husband for coffee when she was arrested for the second time. She was placed under

house arrest on trumped-up charges. So in February, as she turned 20, she made her decision to go. Taking very little.

(on camera): Do you regret the posts?

KRIVTSOVA: It's a difficult question. I lost a lot and went through a lot. My mother's tears faced with the situation. I lost my husband, grandfather

and grandmother. This is a huge price for anyone.

BELL (voice-over): But Krivtsova would not be silenced, even as big brother watched. Orwell's quote tattooed above an image of Vladimir Putin

as a spider.

KRIVTSOVA: I think it's now my daily job to discredit the Russian army because the Russian army is committing crimes on the territory of Ukraine.

BELL (on camera): Tell me about this place. How it's been.

KRIVTSOVA: Yes, the stairwell looks very Russian because the building was constructed in the USSR. It's only my second day here. I haven't had a

chance yet to tidy up my new place properly or to get my bearings around the courtyard and the surrounding area.

BELL (voice-over): But Krivtsova has already set up a new Instagram channel. A girl interrupted on her way to getting coffee, now in Lithuania

freer and intending to be louder than ever. Melissa Bell, CNN, Vilnius.


SOLOMON: And still to come, what the Vatican is saying about the pope's condition. He's now in a hospital for a respiratory infection. Plus

Brazil's former president makes a return after a three-month self imposed exile. What Jair Bolsonaro is telling his supporters coming up next.



SOLOMON: Welcome back. Pope Francis is thinking all those who wished him a speedy recovery. We have just learned that he's been diagnosed with

bronchitis, he's been treated in Rome. The Vatican said earlier that his health is improving, but this comes at a busy time, and just days from now,

the Catholic Church will celebrate Holy Week and Easter.

Vatican correspondent Delia Gallagher is standing by. So Delia, what more is the Vatican saying about his recovery?

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rahel, just in the last few minutes as you mentioned, we have the diagnosis of bronchitis. The

Vatican has said that the medical doctors have given him antibiotics through an IV, and that there is a clear improvement. So that is important

news this evening for the pope.

Let's take a look at the past 24 hours of what the pope has been going through.


GALLAGHER (voice-over): This was the pope on Wednesday morning, seemingly in good health at his general audience in St. Peter's Square. But by

Wednesday afternoon, he was admitted to Rome's Gemelli Hospital. The diagnosis, respiratory infection. The Vatican said he'd been complaining of

breathing difficulties for the past few days.

On Thursday morning, the Vatican said the pope had slept well and was improving. He will continue medical treatment at the hospital for the next

few days.

(on camera): Pope Francis is 86 years old, he has a certain vulnerability to respiratory issues because when he was 21, he had part of his right lung

removed for a respiratory illness. He's also no stranger to this hospital. His rooms are here on the top floor, those five windows with the white

shutters pulled down.

He was last here in the Summer of 2021 for 10 days when he was operated on for diverticulitis, and they removed part of his colon.

(voice-over): The Vatican said on Thursday that Francis was able to have breakfast, read the newspapers and even do some work from his hospital

rooms. He also managed to send a tweet, saying, "I'm touched by the many messages received in these hours, and I express my gratitude for the

closeness and prayer."

The pope's hospital stay has put into doubt whether he will be able to participate in Easter week events which begins this Sunday, Palm Sunday.

One of the busiest times of the year at the Vatican.


GALLAGHER: And Rahel, the Vatican also said this evening that if the pope continues to respond well to this antibiotic treatment, he should be

dismissed in the coming days. Rahel?


SOLOMON: Delia Gallagher, thank you. Live for us there in Rome. To Brazil now. Former President Jair Bolsonaro is back in Brazil after his self-

imposed exile to Florida. A group of his supporters wearing the country's colors there gathered at Brasilia International Airport to welcome him





SOLOMON: At a reception hosted by his political party, the far-right Bolsonaro, now with his supporters, he has recently said that his mission

in Brazil is quote, "not over". Journalist Stefano Pozzebon is in Brasilia and joins me now. And Stefano, his mission may not be over, but neither are

several investigations into whether he incited a political rally in early January. Where do things stand with those investigations as he now returns


STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: Yes, Rahel, it's a delicate moment for Bolsonaro because he returns to Brazil to take on the leadership of his

party. It's a party that commands a large presence in Congress, about 20 percent of the Congress people. The Congress is just behind my back.

But at the same time, his own political future is very uncertain, because the former president faces a barrage of investigation. Those are leaning

from his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, a couple of years ago to his role in the events that led up to the 8th of January riots here in

Brasilia, where we are.

And just the next week, Bolsonaro has been subpoenaed to answer questions from prosecutors related to investigations about jewelry donated to Saudi

Arabia while he was in office, that the prosecutors are alleging he took for themselves. There's a jewelry gifted as part of the diplomatic gift.

That said Bolsonaro remains a polarizing and commanded figure here in Brazil. And just his presence in this country gave his supporters a figure

to rally around. Take a listen.


RENATA DA COSTA GALAS, BOLSONARO SUPPORTER (through translator): Never had a political leader. The right was always fending for itself. And today, we

have the best leader, and I believe he's the best international leader. I am in love with Trump as well, but Bolsonaro has surpassed Trump now.


POZZEBON: So Bolsonaro, he comes back. There is great expectations about how he will use his political capital, which is that of definitely the most

famous, most popular right-wing leader in Latin America, and definitely one of the most controversies, but also one of the most popular around the

world. It's a very fascinating moment for this country. Rahel.

SOLOMON: Stefano, you took the words out of my mouth. They're fascinating, but polarizing and controversial nonetheless. I mean, as you know, the

country has been deeply divided after the last presidential elections. Stefano, what can you tell us about what the political climate is like

these days?

POZZEBON: Yes, the political climate is divided, perhaps, Rahel, it's the best way we can use to describe it. It's just as divided is the country

because on one side, there's Bolsonaro coming back, making a statement with his sole presence in Brazil. And on the other, the current government, the

presidency of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is dealing with hike in the Fed rates, dealing with economic malaise, and trying to move forward as usual.

It's interesting that nobody in government referred to Bolsonaro's presence and Bolsonaro's arrival. They are much more worried with the day-to-day job

of ruling the country, of governing, and of like solving the political -- the economic crisis that Brazil is currently in. So if you ask a Bolsonaro

supporter, he would say that the climate is much different just because his presence is here.

And you could see from the people we spoke with today, that the temperature feels different right now in Brasilia. But at the same time, if you speak

with the current government, they said that just a normal citizen, a regular citizen, a private citizen came back to Brazil, and that they have

other business to do. Rahel.

SOLOMON: It's an interesting ports -- point, Stefano. I mean, you have these political concerns, but you also have very real economic concerns

that you have to attend to. We'll have to leave it here.


SOLOMON: Stefano Pozzebon, thank you. And now to a presidential visit so sensitive, even her presence on U.S. soil is outraging China. But Tsai Ing-

wen is undeterred. Taiwan's president received a rock-star greeting from these crowds in New York. Listen to those cheers there. She is visiting the

city on her way to Central America and spoke at a banquet last night. Take a listen.


TSAI ING-WEN, PRESIDENT, TAIWAN (through translator): Taiwan has made tremendous progress in diplomacy, and its relationship with the U.S. has

never been closer.


SOLOMON: Now, China, which claims Taiwan says her U.S. stopover violates what it calls Chinese sovereignty. The White House, meantime, warning

Beijing not to use her visit as a pretext to increase aggressive activity against Taiwan. Two Israeli Jewish settlers have been charged with

terrorism over an attack on Palestinians in the West Bank town of Huwara.


A surveillance camera capturing some of the violence the night of March 6th. Israeli authorities say that the settlers were among a group that

drove to Huwara armed with an ax, stones and pepper spray, and attacked Palestinians in a parking lot, including a family in a car, while shouting

death to Arabs.

Two Palestinians were wounded. A lawyer for the suspect says that the case against them is not strong. And still to come tonight, nine U.S. service

members killed in a military helicopter crash in Kentucky. Cause still unclear. We'll have details on what we do know coming up.


SOLOMON: Welcome back. And returning to our top story. The arrest of a U.S. journalist in Russia. Russian state media report that the Evan

Gershkovich case is marked top secret. Inside officials saying that he denies that he is guilty. CNN's Matthew Chance has more now from Moscow.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I mean, obviously, this is something that we've been tracking for several hours now, since our

sources here first, starting to, you know, reveal the idea of the American citizen had been detained on espionage charges. But the Russian FSB, which

is the successor organization to the KGB, have now come out with an official statement, detailing what has actually happened to what they say

has happened.

They say that they terminated the illegal activity of an American journalist. They named him as Evan Gershkovich, an employee, correspondent,

a reporter of the "Wall Street Journal" based here and accredited here for them by the Russian Foreign Ministry. They said this, "he was on a mission

from the American side to accumulate classified evidence on one of the enterprises of the Russian military industrial complex."

So, he was in the process they say of receiving secret evidence relating to that, when he was apprehended in the city of Yekaterinburg, which is about

1,100 miles away from Moscow in the Urals region of the country. And it's that region actually, one of the main industrial places in the country. And

there are lots of sort of arms manufacturers, there weapons factories and things like that.

And so it's a very sensitive area. But you know, there's obviously been no details on exactly what Mr. Gershkovich was actually reporting on. You

mentioned "The Wall Street Journal." They initially issued a statement, saying they're worried about his safety.

Now they're issuing a statement, saying they categorically deny the charges of espionage that have been leveled against him by the FSB prosecutors that

are engaged in this thing, called for his immediate release.

But you know, of course, this is something that the Russians are taking immensely seriously. The charges of espionage carry a maximum sentence in

this country of 20 years. So it's very, very serious indeed.

SOLOMON: Our Matthew Chance there. And again just a reminder that we are awaiting a White House press conference. White House officials, of course,

no doubt also taking this very seriously. We will bring those comments to you just as soon as they are ready.

In the meantime, a U.S. Army official says nine U.S. service members were killed when two helicopters crashed in Kentucky. There were no survivors.

The two Black Hawks crashed during routine training Wednesday night. It happened in an open field with no additional casualties.

Listen to someone who witnessed the crash.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two helicopters came over pretty low and, all of a sudden, as soon as they got over the house something popped loud, loud

bang. And everything shut down just all of a sudden. So we're jumped in the truck and came over here. And that's what we've -- we found two



SOLOMON: And I want to bring in now CNN national correspondent Dianne Gallagher. She was in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. For more.

So, Dianne, tell us. I mean, what more do we know about what went wrong here?

This was supposed to be routine training.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This was supposed to be a routine training mission, something that happens quite frequently here around Fort

Campbell and in that area, Trigg County, Kentucky.

All nine of those service members who were killed were part of the 101st Airborne Division. Investigators from an aircraft safety team out of Fort

Rucker, Alabama, are on their way and they will now be tasked with determining exactly what happened because officials here with the U.S. Army

say that they don't know at this point.

I asked, they said there was no radio for help. There was no SOS or alert from these helicopters ahead of time. We're told that this is two Black

Hawks and they are of the medical evacuation variant of that type of helicopter.

One of those aircraft had four service members aboard, the other was carrying five. Now there were a total of --


SOLOMON: Dianne, I'm sorry I'm going to have to jump in here. Dianne, I want to take our viewers to the White House. But thank you for being there

and thank you for your reporting.

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: -- the detention of Mr. Gershkovich in the strongest -- in the strongest terms. We also condemn the

Russian government's continued targeting and repression of journalists.

Embassy Moscow has engaged the Russian ministry of foreign affairs on this matter in the seeking counselor access. I want to strongly reiterate that

Americans should heed the U.S. government's warning to not travel to Russia.

U.S. citizens residing or traveling in Russia should depart immediately as the State Department continues to advise.

Now it's been three days since the tragic school shooting in Nashville and we've heard nothing from Republicans in Congress about what they will do to

stop our kids from being murdered in our schools and in our communities.

In fact, we've now heard a number of Republican members of Congress that they don't intend to do anything at all. And in North Carolina yesterday,

the Republican controlled state legislature didn't skip a beat in overriding Governor Cooper's veto on a dangerous bill that makes

communities less safe. That's the opposite of common sense.

And it is outrageous. As the president has said, we need Congress to act now. Doing nothing when guns are the leading killer, the leading killer of

our kids in America, is absolutely unacceptable.

We need to pass an assault weapons ban, mandate universal background checks, require safe storage of guns, hold manufacturers accountable. These

are just common sense policies with broad public support.

And Republicans, owe, they owe answers to the American people about why they won't protect our kids.


JEAN-PIERRE: They know -- owe answers to the Nashville families who lost their three kids, the 9 year olds. They owe answers to Uvalde, the parents

of Uvalde, 19 kids. They owe answers to the people in Buffalo, who, like every other American on a Saturday, went to the grocery store.

They owe answers to them and their families, that community. Again, this is completely unacceptable and we need to do everything that we can to protect

our communities and to protect our kids.

As you all know, tomorrow, the president and first lady will travel to Rolling Fork, Mississippi. They will visit with first responders, state and

local officials and communities impacted by the recent devastating storms. They'll serve a recovery effort and reaffirm their commitment to supporting

the people of Mississippi as long as it takes.

As you know, President Biden spoke with Mississippi governor Tate Reeves and members of the Mississippi delegation over the weekend. The president

also approved and expedited -- pardon me -- major disaster declaration for Mississippi and ordered federal funding be made available to support

emergency response efforts.

Secretary Mayorkas and FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell were also on the ground over the weekend and we'll certainly have more details on the trip

before tomorrow.

Finally, we are heartbroken over the tragic loss of nine brave service members. Our hearts and our prayers go out to their families during this

very difficult time as well as those who served alongside them at Fort Campbell.

The men and women of the 101st Airborne Division represent the best, the best of our nation and play a critical role in our security. We will always

honor our commitments to our service members and their families. And we stand with all who are grieving in the wake of this terrible, truly

terrible accident.

And with that, Colleen, you want to kick us off?


Can you tell us anymore about the negotiations to get "The Wall Street Journal" reporter out of Russia?

JEAN-PIERRE: So as you know, due to privacy concerns, we are -- we don't have much more to share at this time. We want to be very mindful of this. I

know you guys have heard us say this before.

So again, we just want to be really mindful; there is a process in place that the State Department is running. You just heard from my colleague --

or might be still speaking at this time at the State Department.

And so again, we're just going to be very mindful.

QUESTION: OK. On another topic, on the Republican led measure to end the COVID emergency, the White House had initially signaled opposition to the

measure, prompting House Democrats again just to oppose it.

And then, once it can't went (ph) to the House -- or, sorry, the Senate -- the president said that he wouldn't oppose it. So I wondered. You know, why

would -- was the White House signaling opposition again and then coming back around and changing minds?

Should there be improved communications, particularly for House Democrats, who are -- this is the second time now.

JEAN-PIERRE: So look, we -- I'm going to do a little bit of a laydown because nothing has changed here. We have been very consistent on this

process. So, look, if the president was planning to veto this legislation, the set would have said so. That's how the saps work. But that is

incredibly consistent in that way.

And certainly members of Congress know that. They understand how that works and how that process works as well. But that being said, the SAP was issued

in --

SOLOMON: We were listening to White House press secretary, Karine Jean- Pierre, there, addressing several topics today, including the U.S. mass shooting this week in Nashville but also making brief comments about "The

Wall Street Journal" reporter, who has been arrested in Russia, making brief comments, slamming Russia for what she called its continued targeting

and repression of journalists but also reiterating something we've heard several times today from U.S. government officials, that Americans in

Russia should leave immediately.

We heard that from the State Department about 45 minutes ago. But brief comments from the White House about "The Wall Street Journal" reporter, who

has been arrested and detained in Russia.

We'll be right back.





SOLOMON: Welcome back.

Leather is one of the most valuable exports in Bangladesh and now one entrepreneur hopes her sustainable leather factory can inspire the wider

industry to go green. Kristie Lu Stout has the story.



KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From sneakers to handbags, leather is a material prized for its durability. While a pair

of shoes like these can last for decades, so can their environmental footprint.

Leather production can create huge amounts of waste. The industry uses vast amounts of water and chemicals, which pollute waterways if they're not

properly treated before discharge.

But Bangladeshi entrepreneur Taslima Migi (ph) believes there is another way. She launched her own leather factory in 2016.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Leatherena is a fair trade guaranteed and sustainable manufacturer.

STOUT (voice-over): Migi (ph) sources leather hides from a tannery certified by nonprofit organization, The Leather Working Group. And many of

her products incorporate sustainable fabrics, like upcycled saris, recycled cotton and leather offcuts that would typically be discarded.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Our target in the long run, to have a factory as a zero waste factory.

STOUT (voice-over): These sustainability measures allow Leatherena to export to high value markets, such as Europe, which have stricter

environmental standards. These high value eco-conscious markets are once Bangladesh's leather industry would like to play a bigger part.

In 2017, tanneries like this one moved to a new industrial park in the suburbs of Dhaka. One mile from Leatherena's facility in the bid to manage

waste and water pollution known as effluence.

But experts say many of the same problems remain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): The capacity of the (INAUDIBLE) to actually treat 25,000 cubic meters of water party (ph) but during the peak

season, we have seen that it rises above 40,000 to 50,000 cubic meters of liquid with the remaining water just flows into the near adjacent river.

STOUT (voice-over): Mohammed Sadat Shibley (ph), who consults with the leather sector, says industry stakeholders and factory operators are eager

to change.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Bangladesh's exporting somewhere around $1 billion. If we meet the industry compliant by 2030, it can go up to $10


STOUT (voice-over): While Leatherena's operations are small, producing around 5,000 bags a month, Migi (ph) hopes to take advantage of growing

demand for green leather and scale sustainably into the future.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): We can see the rise of fast fashion.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): And then pressure to reduce costs and produce more. We think the happiness of workers matters. The environmental

impact matters.


SOLOMON: And the man who inspired the film "Hotel Rwanda" is back in the U.S. Paul Rusesabagina arrived at an army hospital in Texas on Wednesday,

just days after being freed from a Kigali prison after a presidential pardon. He was released on Friday.

His daughter tweeted this picture, saying Paul Rusesabagina is free. Larry Madowo has the story.



LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Portrayed as a hero in the Oscar nominated film "Hotel Rwanda," later jailed in the same country on

terror related charges he denied, Paul Rusesabagina's story could be a Hollywood movie of its own.

After Don Cheadle played Rusesabagina in the film about a hotel manager who helped to save about 1,200 people during Rwanda's 1994 genocide, in which

800,000 mostly ethnic minority Tutsis were killed by Hutu extremists.

His act of courage gained him international acclaim but also made powerful adversaries in Rwanda. He was a vocal critic of Rwandan president Paul

Kagame. In 2020, he was arrested by Rwandan authorities while traveling. And the following year he was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): He is convicted of being a member of an illegal armed group and participating in terror activities.

MADOWO (voice-over): The Clooney Foundation for Justice called it "a show trial," saying it lacks guarantees of fairness. His family has since made

several appeals for his release.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Frankly, there are days when I cry a lot. I can't sleep. I don't eat at all. Just knowing that my father

is sitting in a room with no windows, no light and no one to talk to, no one he can trust in this country.

MADOWO (voice-over): On Friday there was a new twist to his saga. The Rwandan government said it has committed to reduce Rusesabagina's sentence

after a request for clemency. Recently, president Paul Kagame's signaled he was willing to move forward on the issue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are not people who want to get stuck in one place.

MADOWO (voice-over): There have been many high profile efforts to release Rusesabagina. The United States and Qatar among them. On a trip to Kigali

last year, U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken said he voiced his concerns about the fairness of Rusesabagina's trial, who is a permanent

resident of the U.S. with dual citizenship in Rwanda and Belgium.

ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I had an opportunity to discuss this matter with president Kagame. I'm not going to get into specifics but

will continue to engage on it.

MADOWO (voice-over): in his part, an appeal, Rusesabagina, a cancer survivor, says he is suffering from poor health and, as a free man,

promised to leave politics and spend the remainder of his days in the U.S. in quiet reflection.


SOLOMON: That was Larry Madowo there.

And still to come tonight, a Hollywood drama playing out in a Utah court as closing arguments get underway in the trial of a ski crash involving

Gwyneth Paltrow. We'll be right back.





SOLOMON: Welcome back.

King Charles has become the first British monarch to address Germany's parliament. In his speech, switching between English and German, King

Charles described it as a great honor.

Currently on his first trip abroad, as king the monarch leader met with displaced Ukrainians at a refugee center. Royal correspondent Max Foster

has the details.


MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT: Day two of King Charles' first official state visit overseas. And the Germans continue to roll out the

honors. King Charles meeting the chancellor behind closed doors and then coming here to the Bundestag for the first address to the German parliament

by a British monarch.

He talked about the historical cultural links between the two countries and also how they used to be adversaries during the world wars but are now very

much working together to support Ukraine in their war against Russia.

CHARLES III, KING OF THE U.K. (through translator): The security of Europe as well as our democratic values are under threat.

FOSTER (voice-over): King Charles going on to meet Ukrainian refugees being housed here in Germany. There are about a million of them and he is

very keen to emphasize what Germany continues to do: support Ukrainian refugees but also in the military effort.

The military support is offering Ukraine. He continues the tour by going on to Hamburg, a brief tour, which ends on Friday but so far is going down

incredibly well -- Max Foster, CNN, Berlin, Germany.


SOLOMON: Closing arguments are underway in the Gwyneth Paltrow ski crash trial. The actress is accused of crashing into retired optometrist Terry

Sanderson on the slopes of a ski resort back in 2016, causing him serious injuries.

But Paltrow says otherwise, that he skied into her. CNN correspondent Jean Casarez has been following the trial and joins me now.

So Jean, what are we hearing in these final arguments ?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well they are in the defense closing arguments right now, Gwyneth Paltrow. And once they finish it up, then

they'll go and start deliberating.

But what the plaintiff is saying and, first, let me tell you; let me just set the scene for you on the ski slopes right there. This is really a he

said/she said, because Gwyneth Paltrow in 2016 was skiing down the mountain in Park City, Utah. Her children were next to her, a ways away. They had

their ski instructor with them.

And they all of a sudden, there was a collision with Gwyneth Paltrow and a retired ophthalmologist. And so he is saying that she skied straight into

his back. And down they both go. She is saying no, you skied into me. You skied into my back and down we went.

So there's no video. There's no eyewitnesses here. But he is alleging that he has permanent brain damage from this and that it will exist within him

for the rest of his life.

He also -- and it is documented -- he had four broken ribs but it's been the battle of the experts because there were MRIs from before the accident,

the collision and after the collision.

And according to Gwyneth Paltrow's side, there was already some brain damage there, that the accident didn't cause it. Now Gwyneth Paltrow is

attorney in these closing arguments said that what she has gone through in the last few weeks -- and she's been a punching bag in this trial for his


And it is true. He has called her different things. 1Early on in a press conference, he called her, that she was like King Kong going through the

jungle when she hit him and then she skied off.

But the whole issue here is negligence.

SOLOMON: Jean, you really have a way of describing court cases. And to that point, I want to ask.

I mean, what do you think something about this case seems to have really fascinated the public.

I mean, what do you think it is?

Is that she's a Hollywood actress? I mean, what do you think it is about this case that seems to have really engrossed many people?

CASAREZ: Well, it's true and internationally it has become very large. I mean, a lot of international. I know CNN International. You've been focused

on this a bit. But it's not only what happened.


CASAREZ: But I think that you have to look at credibility of the witnesses. And you hear their stories and what they're saying. And that

makes it fascinating. He is asking -- and we just heard in closing arguments -- for almost $3.3 million for what he says is this traumatic

brain injury of his brain.

He can't remember. Sometimes he doesn't know where he is. The other side is saying there is evidence of dementia in those MRIs long before this

accident occurred. But that's what he's asking for. She, counter claiming for $1.

SOLOMON: Fascinating, Jean Casarez. Great to have you. Thank you.

CASAREZ: Thank you.

SOLOMON: Now to India, where India has welcomed four newborns who have already made quite a bit of history. Take a look.


SOLOMAN (voice-over): These adorable cheetah cubs are the first to be born in India in over seven decades. The cheetah is the only large

carnivore species to have gone extinct in India's history. But at just five days old, these little guys are symbols of hope. Now the cats have finally

returned to the nation that they once roamed.


SOLOMON: Adorable. A little levity for us all tonight.

And thanks for watching tonight. Stay with CNN. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is coming up next.