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Isa Soares Tonight

Former National Enquirer Publisher Testifies About How He Helped Trump; Pro-Palestinian Protests Sweep Across U.S. Universities; Director Of Civil Defense Says Dozens More Bodies Found In Mass Grave In Khan Yunis; Donald Trump's Hush Money Trial; Trump's Hush Money Trial Concludes After Second Day Of Testimony; Day Two Of Lead Witness's Testimony By David Pecker; U.S. Senate To Vote On Foreign Aid Package; Ukraine Waits For More Ammunition; Justice Department Reached Nearly $139M Settlement For More Than 100 Victims Of Nassar; Assistance Package's Approval Urged By Democratic Leader Of U.S. Senate; Russia's War On Ukraine; Troops In Ukraine Eagerly Awaiting For $60B U.S. Aid; Contentious Bill To Send Asylum Seekers To Rwanda Passed By British Parliament; Dressed To Take A Stand Against The Job Market. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired April 23, 2024 - 14:00   ET



JIM SCIUTTO, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, and welcome to CNN's ongoing coverage of Donald Trump's hush money trial, I'm Jim Sciutto in New York,

right on-scene outside the courthouse.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: And I'm Paula Newton in New York covering the rest of the world's news for you this hour.

SCIUTTO: We do begin here in New York where the first witness, David Pecker, an old friend of Donald Trump was back on the stand as the

publisher of the "National Enquirer" tabloid newspaper. Pecker has admitted to caching and killing stories that might have been damaging to candidate

Donald Trump in 2016.

He testified he worked with Trump and Trump's former attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen to run negative stories on Trump's political rivals as well.

Earlier, the judge heard arguments about whether Trump has violated a gag order in this case on multiple occasions, the gag orders so that he doesn't

attack witnesses or jurors.

The hearing was contentious with Judge Juan Merchan at one point saying the Trump attorney, Todd Blanche, you're losing all credibility with the court.

It is not clear when the judge will decide will rule on the matter, CNN's senior crime and justice reporter, Katelyn Polantz is with us now. And

Katelyn, I believe today's events wrapping up momentarily if they haven't wrapped up already.

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME & JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes, they're wrapping up right now. The jury is hearing from the judge, they're probably being

told as we speak, don't talk about this case outside of court, don't look at any news reports about it.

We're going to be back on Thursday morning to resume testimony. But the testimony of David Pecker wrapped for the day, and there are a couple of

things that prosecutors really drove home today. That David Pecker's motivations, the actions he was taking, and his communication with Michael

Cohen, specifically Trump's personal attorney in 2016 was all about benefiting the campaign.

The second thing is they got testimony that would be evidenced -- witness - - evidence from a witness, spoken evidence of David Pecker recalling what he was doing to take stories off the market, two stories that could have

damaged Trump because they were negative stories about his alleged relationships with women, which he has denied.

But they were stories that David Pecker and the "National Enquirer" were purchasing to take off the market. That's the language he was using about

them. And then finally, to connect this all back to Donald Trump's campaign, that is the point that we're going to hear over and over and over

in this trial through the witnesses, and the prosecutors got this quote out of David Pecker on the witness stand.

I made the decision to purchase the story because of the potential embarrassment it would have to the campaign and Mr. Trump, his long-time

friend. Jim?

SCIUTTO: I mean, that's central to the case, is it not? Because prosecutors are alleging -- take a moment there Katelyn, this is Trump leaving court,

live pictures, let's listen in.

DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I can't even allow articles to be put in this. An example, these are articles that were over the last

day and a half -- a very good article, you may say though. The case is a sham. And it shouldn't be tried, it shouldn't have been submitted.

And I don't even know if you're allowed to put them in here, a gag order, which to me is totally unconstitutional, I'm not allowed to talk, but

people are allowed to talk about me. So, they can talk about me, they can say whatever they want, they can lie, but I'm not allowed to say anything.

I just have to sit back and look at why a conflicted judge is ordering me to have a gag order. I don't think anybody has ever seen anything like

this. I'd love to talk to you people, I'd love to say everything that's on my mind, but I'm restricted because I have a gag order.

And I'm not sure that anybody has ever seen anything like this before. And even having to do with articles, somebody writes an article -- if I read

everyone of these articles, incomplete, I read some of them and I look at headlines, all good headlines, and the case is a sham.

But I can't read the whole thing, I could read -- this is like reading a novel. So, I put an article in it, then somebody's name is mentioned in

some way deep in the article, and I end up in violation of a gag order. I think it's a disgrace. It's totally unconstitutional.


I don't believe it's never -- not to this extent ever happened before. I'm not allowed to defend myself, and yet, other people can say whatever they

want about me, very unfair. I'm happy to do with the schools and the closings, that's Biden fault. And by the way, this trial is all Biden. You

know, this is all Biden just in case anybody has any question.

And they're keeping me in a courtroom -- it's freezing by the way, in a courtroom, all day long. Well, he's out campaigning, that's probably an

advantage because he can't campaign, nobody knows what he's doing, he can't put two sentences together. But he's out campaigning. He's out campaigning,

and I'm here in a courtroom sitting here, giving -- sitting up as straight as I can all day long.

Because you know what? It's a very unfair situation, so we're locked up in a courtroom and this guy is out there, campaigning, if you go on a

campaign, every time he opens his mouth, he gets himself into trouble. So, that's the story, I have an unconstitutional gag order by a highly

conflicted judge that should recuse himself, very simple.

On the schools, should have never happened. What's going on in this country now should have never happened. But of course, the Ukraine war would have

never happened, the Israeli attack would have never happened. Inflation should have never happened. We have the worst president in the history of

our country, and he's the one that has us in all these different lawsuits. Thank you for your time.


SCIUTTO: As it's often necessary after Trump speaks, it's necessary to fact-check him. Katelyn, he's claiming a violation of his constitutional

rights for a gag order which to be clear is not unusual defendants in criminal cases cannot, as a matter of course, attack witnesses or members

of the jury publicly. Is that correct?

POLANTZ: Yes, and there was a moment there where he says that he can't defend his innocence. That is something he certainly is allowed to say.

That is not covered by the --

SCIUTTO: Right --

POLANTZ: Gag order. The gag order has restrictions here that are meant to protect the integrity of the trial proceedings. So, to not intimidate

lower-level line prosecutors, courtroom staff, the jurors that are seated on the case, witnesses that may be called to testify.

Trump there, of course, to bringing props to his on-camera appearances, walking in and out of court where he is talking to reiterate his innocence

and saying he's restricted --


POLANTZ: The props there, he says are of news coverage, they are papers he has printed out where he says he's been reading the headlines of the news

coverage of trial, but he's not allowed to amplify some of those things.


POLANTZ: That is something that is of issue in the gag order proceeding here, the question of whether him amplifying, calling Michael Cohen a

serial perjurer, is that something that violates the gag order and we're waiting for what --

SCIUTTO: Well, just --

POLANTZ: He does there.

SCIUTTO: To your point? There is the inherent and obvious contradiction. Trump is claiming he cannot speak or defend himself as he is speaking

quite publicly in defending himself and as he's been -- want to do on his way in and out of the courtroom every day of this trial.

We should clear the gag order, specifically relates to public attacks on jurors or witnesses. Katelyn Polantz, thank you so much. Joining me now is

criminal defense attorney Bernarda Villalona. She's a former New York prosecutor. Good to have you on, Bernarda, thanks so much --


SCIUTTO: For joining. I want to ask you because you've been a prosecutor here in New York, I spoke to Gene Rossi; a former federal prosecutor a

short time ago, who said that if you or I or he attacked jurors or witnesses in public, we would already be sanctioned.

So, when Trump claims there that this is all a political operation, what's your experience having been -- argued cases in court?

VILLALONA: Oh, I wouldn't have made it outside the courtroom --


VILLALONA: Without being held in contempt. I mean --


VILLALONA: I've been practicing here in New York for almost now what? Almost 16 years, 20 years, and a judge will not allow that. It's all about

preserving the integrity of the criminal justice system, integrity of the judicial process. So, this is definitely a different treatment, but Judge

Merchan is being very careful --


VILLALONA: In how -- what actions he takes and what he says.

SCIUTTO: That very careful -- and I wonder, do you think rightly careful? Is he being too careful? I mean, clearly, this case, as we've said many

times, it's unprecedented. He's a former -- unprecedented former president, current candidate for president, an enormous public presence here, the

judge wants to be discerning as he makes these decisions. Do you think he's giving Trump too much leeway here?


VILLALONA: I don't think he's giving Trump too much leeway because in the end, he did hold a contempt hearing.

SCIUTTO: Right --

VILLALONA: And just to be clear, this is not Donald Trump's first rodeo, having to deal with a gag order, because just down the block, Judge Engoron



VILLALONA: In the New York Attorney General case, held him in contempt, having to deal with the violation of a gag order.

SCIUTTO: Right --

VILLALONA: First time fined him 5,000, second time, fined him 10,000, and it took the $10,000 for him to finally calm his mouth down and actually be

quiet and stop threatening folks for him to stop. So, Judge Merchan is going to have to decide how much is enough to stop Donald Trump from making

these statements out in the public media --

SCIUTTO: Right --

VILLALONA: Because we know that his mouth, his tongue, it's lethal. We know what he can cause. We know he started by January 6th, what his words can

do. So, he needs to find a stop to this, because we still do have a few more weeks of trial.

SCIUTTO: The first step would be, if I fine him perhaps a $1,000, and as you noted, he was fined in the previous case here. If Trump continues to

push it across those limits, is there a scenario where you see this judge saying, I've had enough, you're going to spend a night in jail.

VILLALONA: Absolutely. The laws are there for a reason, and he has that authority to follow the law. He has that ability where he can say, look,

I'm sentencing you, whether it's 10 days, 15 days, 30 days are just a few hours in the back. I'm sentencing you to that. That is a sanction I'm going

to put upon you.

Because at some point, enough is enough. So, it won't be that he's acting out of his authority because he does have that authority. So, I think that,

that is a possibility that could happen if he continues along the scenarios that he's doing.

SCIUTTO: You have been a New York prosecutor, another of Trump's frequent claims is that this is all Joe Biden directing this behind the scenes. Did

you during your time as a New York prosecutor take orders, say from the Justice Department in Washington D.C., or did you make your own decisions

on cases?

VILLALONA: Absolutely not. That's the one thing about working for the state, being a state prosecutor. And first off, the state prosecutors and

the federal prosecutors --


VILLALONA: We usually battle each other about having to listen to one --


VILLALONA: Another. And as clearly that we are completely separated, we don't take our orders from the President. We take our orders from the

district attorney for that county, that's who we respond to. And we're responsible to the people of the state of New York of that specific county,

not from the President.

SCIUTTO: And in my experience, you prosecutors, you tend to defend your turf, right? Right for --

VILLALONA: Absolutely.

SCIUTTO: Bernarda, thanks so much for joining us this afternoon, hope to have you back. Well, the second day of testimony in Donald Trump's criminal

trial wrapped up just a few moments ago, our live coverage will return later in the hour, including standout moments from David Pecker's time on

the stand so far.

For now, we're going to take a short break, and my colleague Paula Newton will be back with other international headlines in just a moment.



NEWTON: Welcome back, I'm Paula Newton in New York with some of the other stories we're following. Pro-Palestinian protests continue to rock some

U.S. universities as the American Jewish community marks Passover. Now, students and others have set up protests as you can see there, their

encampments, as pressure mounts on college campuses over the Israel-Hamas war and the death of civilians in Gaza.

Now, at New York's Columbia University, demonstrations have been underway for seven days now, Jewish students there have reported some anti-Semitic

incidents. CNN's Shimon Prokupecz talked to both sides and has this report.



SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME & JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (on camera): We are on the steps of Columbia University. There's a Jewish group here that's

actually giving out free matzo, and just across from them is the encampment, which has stirred so much emotion here on the campus with some

of the Jewish students feeling unsafe.

SOPHIE ARNSTEIN, STUDENT: I consider myself a very brave person, but I won't deny that I've been physically intimidated and harassed.

BEN SOLOMON, STUDENT: I've felt like this is not a welcoming environment. I think it's a very difficult time for a lot of Jewish students.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, it's 7th of October!

PROKUPECZ (voice-over): Over the weekend, the protests turned rowdy, disturbing videos show some protestors harassing Jewish students. Amid all

this, a rabbi linked to the university urged Jewish students to stay home, saying recent events at the university have, quote, "made it clear that

Columbia University's public safety and the NYPD cannot guarantee Jewish students' safety."

(on camera): This is the center of Columbia University, what they're calling the Gaza solidarity encampment. And an occupation here at the

school as they want certain demands to be met by the school in terms of their support of Israel. Why is it important for you to be out here

sleeping out here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, just to show solidarity with the students that have already been arrested and obviously, the people in Gaza.

PROKUPECZ: This is the tarp area. This is where many of the medical supplies, the food, there's coffee here, there's other goodies, they're

just essential needs that many of the people may need, who have been out here for several days.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm Jewish. A lot of focus has been on like, you know, supporting Jewish students who have been facing anti-Semitism, but there

has not been -- or want to focus on, you know, Palestinian students who have been, you know, feeling anti-Islamic sentiments.

PROKUPECZ: How do your parents feel about --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good, they're proud of me, and I'm proud of them for that.

PROKUPECZ (voice-over): Last week, overall, hundred protesters, including some students were removed from campus by New York police at the behest of

the university and arrested on suspicion of criminal trespass. The move stirred more tension on campus, and by Monday morning, Columbia's

President, Minouche Shafik declare that all classes would be virtual for the day, and that a reset was needed.

"I am deeply saddened by what is happening on our campus", she wrote in a statement. "These tensions have been exploited and amplified by individuals

who are not affiliated with Columbia, who have come to campus to pursue their own agendas."

(on camera): Many of the students here are saying -- who are graduating are saying, they're not sure what graduation is going to look like this year.

And those who are part of the encampment are saying that they intend to be here for graduation, that they're not leaving.

(voice-over): Additional pro-Palestinian protests are taking place at universities across the country, including Yale, NYU and MIT. On Monday,

university police charged approximately 45 people for refusing to leave the scene of an on-campus protests at Yale University in New Haven. Shimon

Prokupecz, CNN, New York.


NEWTON: Joining us now live from just outside Columbia University is our Omar Jimenez, good to see you there, Omar. Now, multiple arrests and not

just at Columbia, we should say, what's the mood there now, given that administration, not just at Columbia, but in many campuses are really doing

what they can to try and de-escalate the situation.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We've seen a number of tensions on a number of different fronts depending on which college campuses you go to.


But at the very least, that tension has stemmed from what had been pro- Palestine protests, of course, with those trying to figure out how to deal with those protests. Now, we are on Columbia's campus. You can see behind

me, this is the encampment-led protests that is now into its seventh day here at Columbia, really the core purposes of it is to urge and push

Columbia University to divest from corporations.

They say a benefit from Israeli apartheid and genocide here. And this has really been the focal point of protests that we've seen emanate two places

across the country. Now, one of the big controversies that happened in the initial stages of this, I mentioned, this is into its seventh day.

About a day into this, Columbia University sent in the NYPD to clear this camp which they are still facing criticism for from a number of different

facets, some believe that, that led to escalations. Now, what we're also seeing is a contrast in some of the language that we're hearing on campus

here versus just off of campus.

Of course, there have been videos circulating of very hateful language, those of course, intimating violence as well. But there has been a large

contrast between what have been off campus agitators as they have been described versus a much more -- I don't want to say all the way civil,

because there have been a little bit of skirmishes here and there, but a much more civil protest process that has been happening on actual campus.

Now, just to give you an idea, this encampment, they have -- they have rules where we weren't sure if we were going to be able to actually get

into the encampment itself. They've told us that they've closed it down to actually have people go inside today.

Because as they say, they don't -- that they thought that there are instances of people not respecting others' privacy. So, bottom line, it is

a very organized protests that we've seen to this point. Columbia has -- the university has moved all classes hybrid through the end of the

semester, which was always scheduled to be on Monday, but hybrid of course, means that students can be on campus as well.

So, outside of the encampment, there are a number of students here, and even setup for graduation getting ready to begin, which of course, will

happen next month as well. So, day time right now, as you can see, things are very peaceful, come in very stark contrast to the arrest that we're

seeing overnight at NYU.

For example, and some of the rhetoric that was seen outside just off campus at the gates, and many videos that have circulated as well.

NEWTON: Yes, Omar, thanks for that report. And I -- it is good to see that you have made it there at the encampment. Because as you pointed out so

well, this is the crux of the controversy, right? What is going on with students inside Columbia and what is happening with groups outside of the

university. Omar Jimenez, who is there for us on the scene, really appreciate it.

Now, on the sixth day of Columbia University's protests encampment and the evening of Passover. CNN met with Jewish students celebrating Seder while

supporting the pro-Palestinian movement. Here's what one student had to say.


JARED KANNELL, GRADUATE STUDENT, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Seder is the story of our escape from slavery in the land of Egypt, and I think we need to

recognize that on Passover, it's important to stand up for oppressed people everywhere whether they're Jewish or not.


NEWTON: For more on this story, please visit our website at, we certainly have a lot of information there for you. Now, meantime, 200 days

into the war in Gaza, fears are mounting of an Israeli ground invasion in the southern city of Rafah.

Now, meantime, recovery workers say they found dozens more bodies from a mass grave at a medical complex in Khan Yunis. Israeli forces withdrew from

the area earlier this month. Now, that brings the total number of bodies found now to 310. That's according to the local director of Civil Defense.

Now, he alleges that some of the people buried had their hands and feet tied. CNN is unable to verify these claims, the Israeli military responding

to CNN said, quote, "any claim that the IDF buried Palestinian bodies is baseless and unfounded." Meantime, human rights officials say they're

horrified about these reports. Listen.


RAVINA SHAMDASANI, SPOKESPERSON, OHCHR: We are horrified also by the destruction of Al-Nasser Medical Complex and Al-Shifa Medical Complex, and

the reports of the discovery of mass graves in and around facilities. And we call for independent, effective, transparent investigations into the



NEWTON: Nic Robertson is standing by for us in Jerusalem. And Nic, good to have you there. We just discussed how more bodies have now been uncovered.

We heard a little bit from the IDF, but what more are they saying about what happened here and how do they explain it?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: They explain it when they take control of somewhere like the Al-Nasser Hospital and other

hospitals in Gaza. They've gone in on the suspicion of Hamas being there, Hamas having, you know, some underground connection to it or using the

hospitals in some way.


They say that because of that, they dig up bodies that are buried at the hospital because they believe hostages have been held near or in hospitals.

And they say they check those bodies, DNA checks to see if there are any hostages' remains there.

Now, we don't have any specific cases where that has happened, but we do know there are cases where the IDF has returned remains from Gaza to the

families of hostages who are desperately waiting for information about their loved ones.

And the IDF is really pushing back on this notion that they've, A, may be summarily executed people, but B, gone in there and wantonly just dug up

graves, checked bodies, and then just randomly bury them somewhere else. They say that's not what they do.

They say that this is a process that they go through, that they say that they maintain the dignity of the deceased, and that they do this process in

a careful way. And they also say, although again, it's very difficult for us to verify that, it's the eyewitnesses on the ground that say this.

They say that they re-bury the people that they dig up in the same place -- in the same place that they dug them up from. Getting independent eyes on

this as the process happens is incredibly dangerous, because on the ground, these are often effectively 'kill zones'.

And anyone who steps in there is potentially putting themselves in serious harm's way. So, this is the job of those forensic teams now in Khan Yunis

and in other places where the IDF has been.

NEWTON: Yes, the stories from the families that we've uncovered in there have been incredibly horrific. I also want to add, Nic, that the State

Department now saying that they also find these reports in their words, incredibly troubling. Nic, thanks for staying on top of that story for us.

Appreciate it. Appreciate it.

Still to come for us tonight, our live coverage of Donald Trump's criminal trial continues with details on today's heated moments in court. Hear what

the judge had to say to Trump's attorneys during the gag order hearing.



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN. More people get their news from CNN than any other news source.

SCIUTTO: Day two of testimony has wrapped up in Donald Trump's historic criminal trial. Today has been filled with some dramatic moments in that

courtroom just behind me. Former "National Enquirer" publisher David Pecker. Returned to the witness stand. Pecker said he agreed to use his

tabloid to boost Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, squash scandalous stories about him, publish critical stories of his opponents.

This comes after a heated hearing this morning to determine whether Trump should be held in contempt of court for allegedly repeatedly violating a

gag order. The judge scolded Trump's attorney, told him, "You're losing all credibility." He did not, however, immediately rule on that motion.

Joining us now is Republican strategist Rina Shah. Rina, good to have you on this afternoon.


SCIUTTO: So, Rina, to the politics for a moment here. You have the former president and current candidate for president in a criminal courtroom on

the 15th floor of the building behind me. Folks who were very close to him, David Pecker among them, testifying that this was a pattern of buying

stories, including about alleged affairs to help the president, publishing stories critical of his opponents, including Republican opponents here. Is

this good for the former president?

SHAH: You know, I think looking at it on its face today, Jim, what the details that we're getting out of this case are rather salacious in nature.

I mean, many of these things were known.


SHAH: But what we've learned so far has really confirmed to us the rumors that were there in 2016. About just how Trump and his associates went about

getting that favorable coverage. About suppressing the negativity that could have been coming for him from whatever direction. And also, about

what was planted about his opponents, former -- you know, again, who was also running in the 2016 election, current Senator Ted Cruz, current

Senator Marco Rubio. These are former opponents of Trump's who again, who now support him.

But what we're looking at here is something far more than just a hush money case that was about a dalliance between a married rich man and a

pornography actress. This was about, again, really wanting to influence the outcome of the 2016 election by suppressing negative information.

SCIUTTO: You heard the president -- the former president as he left there, again, alleged that this is all politics. This is about hurting him as a

candidate. I wonder how that argument lands with his supporters and perhaps any undecided Republican voters as compared to what you're describing

there, which are the details of sordid alleged affairs as well as a sordid effort to boost his campaign, to pay off and catch and kill stories that

were negative to him. How do those balance out in the minds of voters, particularly Republican voters, in your view?

SHAH: Well, the number one question is always who's watching and how much are they watching? And then what impression does this leave on the minds of

those voters who have felt that it's right for a former president to be held accountable, to be in a court?

I mean, of course, we're in an incredible moment in history. It's been said many times over, just to see an ex-president, an American president sitting

in a court, facing criminal charges with this trial underway does feel as if it demands everybody's attention. But those voters who are more moderate

Republicans have felt not like those who are on the fringes. That this is a weaponization of the justice system. That this is an unfair targeting of


They want to see how it plays out. And when we talk about how this plays out, I think we have to talk about the outcome, which will get, of course,

weeks from now is what we are expecting. But we should think about the long game because that's what Trump does. He knows that every day that he

questioned -- he get -- puts the question in the minds of voters about the veracity of these charges against him is a day in which he has a -- the

potential to change their minds, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Yes, listen, I mean, he has every right to defend himself both in court and in public as long as, in the judge's view, that defense does not

involve attacking jurors or witnesses.


But with each of these opportunities, as he makes it about himself. He does have opportunities to present plans for a second term. Policies to, for

instance, address inflation, he was talking about inflation there or policies to address the war in the Middle East as opposed to claiming that

none of this would have happened somehow if he were president. Is he missing opportunities to lay out a positive plan for a second term, as

opposed to really lean into this, he's a victim messaging?

SHAH: Well, he's been pulling that victim card for so many years, as we know, which is something that doesn't jive with traditional Republicans.

But what you call right now is a party that is very much still Trump's party.

So, on the one hand to the everyday observer, Trump is yelling election interference. Saying that this case and the other indictments against him,

the three other cases in other jurisdictions are all election interference. And yet at the core of this case in New York is election interference, the

allegations that he played unfairly in 2016.

The important part, I think, to divorce from all of this is again, the ability that he could have and is missing to walk and chew gum at the same

time. To really lay forth a more positive vision for this Republican party. I see this past week. It seemed his influence is dwindling in those areas

in which he could have a positive imprint.

He didn't get through to Speaker Johnson, who put foreign aid on the floor and passed it in the House chamber against Trump and MAGA wishes. So, he

could go into other areas that other Americans deem very important and necessary issues, economy, crime, public safety, immigration. Yet he takes

the bait and goes for the lowest line fruit, which is to, again, appeal to the emotions of voters while crying victim.

SCIUTTO: Rina Shah, thanks so much for sharing your point of view.

SHAH: Thank you, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Well, the first witness testifying in this trial is David Pecker, former publisher of the "National Enquirer", who, according to prosecutors,

alerted the Trump camp to Stormy Daniel's decision to go public with her alleged affair and then helped arrange $130,000 payment to kill that story.

Pecker was back on the stand earlier today, in fact, just left a few minutes ago. And explained how the tabloid carried out these catch and kill


Hadas Gold joins me now from New York. And catch and kill is really central to the prosecutor's case here. And what they're attempting to do is to show

that it was a pattern beyond the Stormy Daniels case, which is of course the core of these criminal charges but to say that they did this multiple

times with other stories that would have hurt him. As well as on the other side, publishing, actively pushing stories that hurt his opponents here.

Tell us how that worked.

HADAS GOLD, CNN MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, essentially an arm of the campaign. Now, it's not unusual for tabloids to engage in what David Pecker

called checkbook journalism. Where they will write a check to a source that, usually when you hear that, you think it's so that they can have an

exclusive. So, they could splash list on their front page.

In this case, it is what tabloid editors have called catch and kill. Where they pay a source for the story, they catch the story, but then they don't

publish it. So, they kill the story. And often in these contracts, as we're starting to see in some of the evidence that's been submitted in this case

in the contracts, they say, if you go anywhere else with this story, then you have to pay the money back. And we've seen that these are some pretty

big payouts, $30,000 to upwards of something like $150,000.

Now, why would tabloids engage in this sort of activity? In some cases, it's a you scratch my back, I scratch yours. We've heard about cases

involving people like Harvey Weinstein, where there might have been a business deal involved as well, if they could squash some negative stories

about Harvey Weinstein.

In David Pecker's case with Donald Trump, he says it on the stand. He said that he wanted to do this to keep embarrassing information out of the

public view and to help the Trump campaign. Obviously, he felt a little bit differently about Trump's rivals. We all remember those covers, the

"National Enquirer" covers about Hillary Clinton, how she was going to die in three months. He even talked about how they literally made up the story

about Ted Cruz's father being involved in the JFK assassination.

So, obviously he was clearly, and he's saying it on the stand, I was doing this to help Donald Trump. So, not just catching and killing these stories,

but also publishing negative stories about his rivals and silencing harmful stories about Trump.

Now, there are three main payments here that everybody is focused on. What's interesting is about this person that they had about the doorman.

The $30,000 paid to the doorman. They essentially said we kind of knew it wasn't a true story, and yet they still wanted to pay him so that the story

wouldn't get out. And David Pecker did say, hey, if it turned out to be true, I would have published it but only after the election.

Now, we are just now getting into the bigger hush money payments with Karen McDougal, with Stormy Daniels. We are still going to hear more about the

McDougal payments.


For example, McDougal, it was a catch and kill, but in a way, where they paid $150,000 to her in exchange for fitness columns that she was going to

be writing for the "National Enquirer". Now, I should note, this is not the way that ethical journalistic outlets operate. This is the way that

tabloids run by people like David Peck -- David Pecker operate.

SCIUTTO: Yes, listen, and for Trump who has claimed a whole host of things to be fake news stories critical of him. Here was actual fake news created

to help his campaign in 2016. It's remarkable to see that operation described in detail by folks directly involved in it, David Pecker among

them. Hadas Gold, thanks so much.

That live picture we showed you just a short time ago as Hadas was speaking was Trump's motorcade leaving Downtown Manhattan, following the conclusion

of the trial for the day. Our coverage for this hour on Donald Trump's hush money trial, done for now, but there's still much more to come on the show.

U.S. Senators due to vote on aid to Ukraine and Israel. We're going to be live in Washington with a look at exactly when that vote may happen.

And then troops in Ukraine are eagerly awaiting that aid to come through. We're going to have a live report from Kyiv, next.


NEWTON: We have new developments in the aftermath of the FBI's initial investigation into Larry Nassar. He is the disgraced former USA Gymnastics

Team doctor. The Justice Department has just reached a nearly $139 million settlement with more than 100 victims of Nassar. This settlement is over

the FBI's initial failures when responding to sexual assault allegations, resulting in multiple policy violations. Nassar is currently serving a 40

to 175-year prison sentence.

In the U.S. the Senate has just voted to advance a foreign aid package to a final vote, and this comes after the House of Representatives passed the

bill over the weekend that was to provide billions of dollars of aid to Ukraine, along with aid to Israel and Taiwan.

Now, earlier Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer urged fellow Senators to approve the package. Listen.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), U.S. SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADER: The time has come to finish the job, to help our friends abroad once and for all. I ask my

colleagues to join together to pass the supplemental today as expeditiously as possible. Send our friends abroad the aid they have long been waiting



Let us not delay this. Let us not prolong this. Let us not keep our friends around the world waiting for a moment longer.


NEWTON: OK. Joining us for an update from Washington D.C. is our own Annie Grayer. Annie, what is going on now? I mean, the Senate is in special

session. It's obviously gained some momentum. Is this a rubber stamp where we have this vote either later today or tomorrow, or could there still be

some surprises?

ANNIE GRAYER, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, Paula, we are expecting it to pass, really, it is just a question of when. The Senate is in today and

voting and they're trying to come up with an agreement that would be able to unlock the final vote to finally be able to pass this foreign aid

package out of the Senate and send it to President Joe Biden's desk.

But we do expect this to be a bipartisan vote. A similar foreign aid package that came through the Senate months ago had 22 senators --

Republican senators voting for it, and we're expecting similar, if not more, bipartisan support for this package.

NEWTON: And Annie, this will hit the president's desk, what is the White House saying about if it's signed?

GRAYER: The White House is really signaling support, and that's because Speaker Mike Johnson of the House has been communicating with his team,

with the White House for months as this foreign aid package has made its way through Congress. Particularly because Johnson's version, which passed

the House on Saturday, has a new element that was not in the White House's initial foreign aid request.

And that new bill would add more Russian sanctions and would essentially ban TikTok in the U.S. unless the Chinese company who owned it sold it

within nine months of this bill passing. So, there's some new elements of this package, but the White House has signaled its support. So, really, we

are just tracking it through the final steps of Congress before it heads to the president's desk shortly.

NEWTON: Yes, Annie, they are tracking it there in D.C. along with you. Thanks for giving us that update and also tracking it. Of course, our most

-- everyone in Ukraine.

With us now live from Kyiv is our own Fred Pleitgen. You know, Fred, I know you're watching this really closely and have been for months now. The

question still is how quickly can this aid make it to the front line? And I know you've been looking into this. What kind of a difference will it make?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Ukrainians, Paula, first of all, think that it will make a very big

difference for them on the front lines because they do say right now, they have a severe lack of especially artillery shells to try to hold off some

of those Russian advances.

In fact, over the past, I would say, day and a half ago, it appears as though there's a Ukrainian front line in the east of the country that has,

to a certain extent, collapsed. And the Russians made some significant gains there. Not strategic gains, but yet there was a front line. They were

able to break through.

And one of the things that we have been hearing from the Ukrainians is that in many cases, they're sitting there with their artillery guns and are

unable to fire back as some of these Russian advances take place. So, the Ukrainians believe that that in itself could make a big difference. The

other big thing, of course, is air defense to try and keep the cities in the infrastructure safer than it has before.

And as far as the other question is concerned, the Ukrainians believe, and it seems to us also, as though the U.S. has prepositioned some of the arms

that they're set to deliver to the Ukrainians, at the very least in the eastern part of Europe. So, they could actually come here to Ukraine very

quickly and then hit the battlefield very quickly as well, especially if you're talking about ammunition, for instance, which is, of course, is the

biggest need of the Ukrainians. They believe that that is something that they could get their hands on quickly and then also, of course, disseminate

quickly onto the battlefield. Paula.

NEWTON: Sure, sure. That prepositioning, obviously crucial. I mean -- and you have noted, Fred, that this is obviously boosting morale on the front

lines. I guess what I'm wondering now is, are there any quick strategic gains that can be made with this new aid?

PLEITGEN: Quick strategic gains is probably not something that is going to be made with the aid that's coming in. I think what you have here right now

in Ukraine or what we need to understand is essentially still a strategic stalemate, where there's not massive gains being made by other side, but

certainly you do have momentum on the Russian side.

You have them winning in some villages. In fact, the, foreign -- the defense minister of Russia came out today and said that on all areas of the

front lines, the Russians are the ones who have the initiative. So, holding that up is really the first order of business for the Ukrainians. They do

believe as some more of that aid gets released by the U.S. and of course also by some of the European and other allies around the world as well,

that they might be able to mount a counteroffensive.

However, we've also already heard from the head of the military intelligence service that they believe that especially in the months of May

and June are going to be key and very difficult because they believe that the Russians are going to try and mount another push then. However, they do

say with the aid that will be coming in from those around $60 billion, that they will, at some point, they hope be able to also mount a counterattack

as well.

NEWTON: Yes. And as you point out that missile defense, all important at this hour. Fred Pleitgen, good to have you there. I appreciate it.


Now, the British Parliament has passed a contentious bill that will allow the government to send asylum seekers to Rwanda. Now, the bill is designed

to deter migrants from actually landing in the U.K., many who travel on illegal and dangerous small boats from France.

Now, just Tuesday morning, five migrants drowned, trying to cross the English Channel after their small boat carrying more than 110 passengers

became overcrowded. Now, the lack of deportation so far has been considered a failure for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who has marked out stopping small

boats as a key priority for his government.

Now, his efforts on the Rwanda bill have been stuck as lawmakers and activists have tried to stop legislation on human rights grounds.

OK. Still to come for us, young people in China are protesting working conditions with their, get this, ugliest outfits. You want to see this.


NEWTON: So, there's a new fashion trend in China. It could be a new social movement as well. It really entails going to the office, get this, with the

ugliest outfit possible. Now, young employees are using their clothes, in fact, to protest their working conditions. Our Marc Stewart explains.


MARC STEWART, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: For some young people here in China, what I'm wearing right now may be considered too dressed up, too

formal for the workplace. Part of a bigger online movement, reflecting concerns of this current generation.

We've been scouring social media and essentially young people are wearing what's being called gross work outfits. We saw a young man wearing a

flannel shirt and sweatpants. A young woman in pajamas and a bulky sweater.

Business suits and high heels are out. Puffy jackets and slippers are in. These videos that are circulating are going viral. It's a reflection of

protest and bad bosses, low pay and long hours in the workplace. An extension of sorts of the lie flat movement, rejecting consumerism and the

office rat race.

It's a statement about the rough economy here in China. In fact, if you look at government data, the jobless rate for young people was nearly 15

percent in December 2023. Many young people don't feel optimistic. Some of the postings online have messages such as, my ugly outfit matches my

salary, and how gross my work is, how gross will my outfit be?


We've seen generations express themselves through art, music, and writing. And for the current moment here in China, fashion.

Marc Stewart, CNN, Beijing.


NEWTON: And we now have an update on a story we were following. The U.S. Senate has now voted to break a filibuster of that foreign aid bill. What

does this mean? It means that it clears the way for a final vote. Get this, maybe even later today or tomorrow. We will continue to update you on that.

As we say, this involves aid for Taiwan, for Israel and for Ukraine. And remember, it also includes that suggested ban on the app TikTok.

We will continue to follow all the breaking news there in Washington for you, but also stay with CNN. Jim Sciutto will be back right after a short

break, where we will have much more on Trump's hush money trial.

I'm Paula Newton in New York. Thanks for joining us.