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The Situation Room

Chilling Bodycam Video A Police Say Shooter Targeted The School; Biden Pleads For Gun Reform As GOP Opponent Stand Firm; Sources Say, New York Grand Jury Won't Hear Trump Case Again This Week; Police & Protesters Clash On 10th Day Of France Demonstrations; Biden Says He Hopes Israel "Walks Away" From Judicial Reforms. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired March 28, 2023 - 18:00   ET




WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, intense images from inside a Nashville elementary school as police closed in on a shooter who gunned down three children and three adults. Authorities now say the killer was targeting the school, not specific victims.

Also tonight, President Biden is renewing his plea for Congress, to pass new gun control legislation as the nation grapples with yet another mass shooting, but GOP lawmakers contacted by CNN are resisting this latest call for reform.

And there's more uncertainty surrounding the potential indictment of former President Trump in New York. Sources now say a Manhattan grand jury won't revisit the Trump case during the rest of this week.

We want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

We begin this hour with all the new video and new information about the Nashville school shooting and the attacker who was killed by police.

CNN's Amara Walker has our report, and we want to warn our viewers, some of the video is disturbing.


AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Body cameras revealed police running toward the sound of gunfire without hesitation. About 3.5 minutes elapsed between the time they go in and when they confront the shooter, Metro Nashville Police said these two officers opened fire, killing the shooter at 10:27 A.M., about 14 minutes after the initial call for help.

CHIEF JOHN DRAKE, NASHVILLE POLICE: I was really impressed that with all that was going on, the danger that somebody took control and said, let's go, let's go, let's go.

WALKER: Police still have not isolated what motivated Audrey Hale, a former student.

DRAKE: The students that were targeted were randomly targeted. There was not any particular student that they were -- that she was looking for at the time of the incident.

WALKER: But police did reveal Hale legally bought seven different weapons from five stores and was being treated for mental health issues.

DRAKE: She was under care, a doctor's care for an emotional disorder. Law enforcement knew nothing about the treatment she was receiving, but her parents felt that she should not own weapons. They were under the impression that was when she sold the one weapon that she did not own any more. As it turned out, she had been hiding several weapons within the house.

WALKER: During the attack, Hale was armed with an AR-15, a nine millimeter pistol caliber carbine and a nine millimeter handgun.

DRAKE: And it had it been reported that she was suicidal or that she was going to kill someone and had been made known to us then we would have tried to get those weapons. But as it stands, we had absolutely no idea actually who this person was, that she even existed.

WALKER: Minutes before the rampage, a friend and former teammate of Hale says she got a message from the shooter, that Hale wanted to die. One day this will make more sense. I've left behind more than enough evidence behind, but something bad is about to happen.

AVERIANNA PATTON, FORMER TEAMMATE OF AUDREY HALE: So, at 9:57, I received the message from her. And at 10:08, I sent the screenshot to my dad and he instructed me to call the suicide prevention help line.

WALKER: A memorial growing outside Covenant Presbyterian.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just feel so for them.

I'm a 101 year old and I've done a lot of things, but this really hurts. And I just hope they all -- they're all with God.


WALKER (on camera): Wolf, we're getting new information as well from the Metro Nashville Police Department regarding those writings found in Audrey Hale's car and also on the shooter's body after police shot and killed the shooter on Monday.

The writings, according to authorities, mentioned multiple other locations as potential targets, including a mall near the school here, the Covenant School. Apparently, it was determined that there was too much security at these other locations and hence this school was chosen.

The writings also detail how the mass murderers would play out, that's according to police. The investigators are still reviewing these writings. And so far, they say, they have not seen any indications of a specific motive. Wolf?

BLITZER: Amara Walker, thank you very much.


Let's take a closer look right now at more of that body camera video and the intense moments as police officers entered the school and closed in on the shooter. Another reminder the images may be disturbing to viewers.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go. Metro Police.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Open door. On me. on me. We don't know where he is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Metro police, open door.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bathroom, bathroom, small bathroom. Clear.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Door, door, with me, with me.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Next. Open it. I got it. I got it.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Open the door right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go. Let's go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's move right. Cover -- cover left, cover left.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take this with me. Take this. No, that's locked. Take this door. Take this door. Take it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's upstairs. It sounds like it's upstairs.



BLITZER: All right. Let's discuss what we just saw in all the new developments in the shooting investigation with Nashville Council Member-at-large Sharon Hurt. Sharon, thanks so much for joining us. What goes through your mind seeing this police body camera video seeing how the police intervened to stop this deadly attack?

SHARON HURT, COUNCIL MEMBER AT-LARGE, NASHVILLE: I'm very, very proud of the police. I'm not sure how they were able to do it. It makes my stomach turn every time I look at the video, and I've been looking at it basically all day long.

And I've spoken to the fire department, the first responders, I've spoke with their chief, and he's told me that those first responders were devastated when they went in to see, you know, the children and the adults that were there. It was just horrifying to walk on.

So, this is just so unnecessary. I think we've got to do better. We've got to have some gun laws that restrict the gun access. This is just so disturbing, and it has affected this entire community meetings and stop. The city has a stopped officially, but so much has just because of the grieving and the pain that we feel here in the city.

BLITZER: Yes, we're feeling it all over the country, I must say. You're calling, Sharon, for gun control and a national ban on assault weapons. Watch out Tennessee Republicans, though, here in Washington responded today to those calls. Listen to this.


SEN. BILL HAGERTY (R-TN): I'm certain that politics will wave into everything. But right now I'm not focused on the politics of the situation.

REP. TIM BURCHETT (R-TN): If you think Washington is going to fix this problem, you're wrong. They're not going to fix this problem. Look what happened in Nashville, Tennessee. The laws don't work. Until people change their hearts, we're not going to see a change.


BLITZER: How do you respond to them, Sharon?

HURT: I do think that we have gotten away from the people.


It's about politics and it's about power.

And I think that, for Nashville, when we find us in these types of situations, when we find us at our worst, that's when we rise up and become our best. That's when we lean on each other. And I think we're going to have to stand in solidarity and we're going to have to go and fight our legislators. We cannot stand by. Our children, our future are at risk and they are going to have to hear it. We're going to have to give some type of resolution to this.

You know, I was a bartender. I was certified and licensed as a bartender. If I served someone too many drinks and they left and had some type of incident or accident, I was responsible because I too was held accountable for them to drink more.

Enough is enough. We've got to put those same restrictions, those that sell guns. If people -- because this person was able to get guns hours before they went and killed six people. We've got to do something. We no longer can stand by and do nothing.

BLITZER: Sharon Hurt, thank you so much for joining us. Our hearts go out to all the people in Nashville right now.

I want to get some more perspective right now from CNN's Senior Crime and Justice Correspondent Shimon Prokupecz and CNN Senior Legal Analyst Laura Coates as well as CNN Contributor and Guns Reporter Stephen Gutowski.

Shimon, I know you've been looking into this very closely. You've covered school shootings closely over the years, including last year, Uvalde shooting. Do these horrific videos tell you anything about the police response in this particular instance?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So, certainly, in this particular instance, Wolf, it would seem from everything we could tell now, this was a very organized effort by the initial responding officers that they went towards the gunfire, that they were able to locate the shooter and terminate, kill the shooter, which is what they're trained to do.

You know, what we saw in comparison to Uvalde, where I've been spending most of the last year covering that, you didn't see officers retreat here. You didn't see officers fear over gunfire, over this assault-style rifle, potentially the bullets killing them, something that we saw in Uvalde, when officers were fired upon, they retreated, and then they would wait for 77 minutes before they would go inside that classroom and killed the shooter. Here, we're seeing something very different.

The situation is a little different because this is more than an open area, it's in a hallway, but still what you see here is what officers now trained to do all the time, go towards the gunfire. Locate the shooter, and we see here, ultimately terminate the shooter.

BLITZER: So, Laura, what stands out to you from the new details we've learned about the shooter?

LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: So, often, we're thinking about who else might be responsible, was this foreseeable, did they know this could occur, the type of weapons that are used, was it legally obtained and otherwise. All this is going to be now part of the investigation unpacking, although there's no eye towards perhaps a prosecutorial view of this case now that the shooter has been killed, of course.

There's still the unpacking of the responsibility or accounting for anyone along a kind of supply chain. Was this foreseeable? And, of course, Tennessee does not have red flag laws, Wolf, as you know, which is a way in which the courts can remove temporarily one's firearms if somebody poses a threat to themselves or the greater community, and a lot of questions are now going to be raised about that.

It still remains a very controversial topic because of due process considerations people often raise. But when you see a tragedy as this, as Shimon pointed out, in many ways, you are seeing in real time the building of the plane as you fly in it, the responses take into account what has happened in the past, but, clearly, we are supposed to be a nation of laws that are supposed to deter behavior, to prevent behavior.

And I got to tell you, Wolf, in all the conversations you and I have had over the years, you know, as a mom of an eight-year-old, of a ten- year-old, I'm wondering what conversation I am to have with my children. I remember stop, drop and roll being a part of my childhood. Now, my kids starting kindergarten are having safety drills to account for this very thing happening and we're left in a very precarious state.

BLITZER: Yes. It's so, so sad to hear, to just get a sense of the awful nature of what's going on here in the United States.

Stephen, President Biden gave a very gruesome description of assault weapons during his plea for Congress to ban them. I want you and our viewers to listen to this.



JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: It's not just merely the weapon in terms of its -- that it's semiautomatic in effect, but the velocity with which it comes out of that muzzle, what it does when it hits the body. Most bullets would go just straight through and out, leaving -- but it blows up once it's inside your body. What in God's name, what in God's name does anyone need that for in America?


BLITZER: So, Stephen, why are semiautomatic weapons so popular and how much of an impact would a ban actually have?

STEPHEN GUTOWSKI, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, certainly semiautomatic weapons, as a category, are the most popular kinds of firearms in the United States and have been so for a very long time now. And when you're talking about AR-15s in particular or something automatic rifles that have certain features that are often looked at to ban by politicians who want to have for the restrictions on firearms, you know, those are also very popular.

The AR-15 is the most popular rifle in the country and, you know, I think that is the main reason you see so much opposition to those sorts of proposals and whether how much of an effect it would have in this situation. I mean, obviously. This shooter had two other firearms. In addition to the AR-15, handguns are actually the most common firearms used in mass shooting still while, of course, they AR- 15 are present in many of the high profile incidents that we've seen.

It's not clear that banning them will prevent these things and we, of course, had them during the assault weapons ban from '94 to 2004.

BLITZER: Alright. Guys, thank you very, very much.

Just ahead, where does the potential indictment of Donald Trump's stand tonight, as we're learning more about the schedule of the New York grand jury that's investigating him.



BLITZER: Tonight, we're learning more about the timetable for a New York grand jury investigating Donald Trump. The panel's every move under scrutiny right now, just ahead of the decision on whether to indict the former president of the United States.

CNN's Kara Scannell is just outside the courthouse in Manhattan. She's joining us right now. Tell us, Kara, about the grand jury schedule and what that might indicate about a possible Trump indictment.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, two court sources tell us that the grand jury that has been hearing testimony about the hush money payments are not expected to meet for the rest of this week. So, the next time that they are expected to hear testament about the Trump case could be as soon as Monday.

Now, this grand jury has been meeting on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. They were in yesterday. They heard from David Pecker, the former chairman of the National Enquirer. They're not expected to be in tomorrow and they will be in on Thursday, the sources tell us, but they won't hear any testimony about the Trump case.

Now, these proceedings are all secret and take place behind closed doors. The D.A. could reconvene them at any moment and have them come back into here either additional testimony or if he decides to move forward with an indictment to make a vote. At this point though, we are not expecting them to hear anything related to the Trump case until at least Monday. Wolf?

BLITZER: All right, Kara, thank you very much, Kara Scannell in New York for us.

Let's get some more in all of these developments. Joining, us our legal and political experts, and, Shan Wu, I'll start with you. What does it say to you that this New York grand jury won't hear more testimony, if you will, evidence on the hush money case, at least not here this week?

SHAN WU, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It's hard to discern exactly what's going on there because we're not there. It could mean that they're not going to hear anything anymore and just take a vote when they come back. It also mean that the D.A.'s office is preparing the paperwork drafting the indictment. Or they could be brainstorming about do they need someone else besides Pecker to rebut, maybe something they felt Costello had done. So, it's hard to know that, but I wouldn't read too much into it because this kind of a pause. It doesn't necessarily mean it's something substantive. It could be sort of a ministerial pause.

BLITZER: Interesting indeed. You know, Nia, it's interesting that Trump in recent days, including that rally out in Texas, he went on the offensive and blasting the Manhattan district attorney and all of that. Do you think that may have had an impact in slowing things down in New York?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Ideally, it didn't, right? Ideally, they are deliberating in their own speed and with their own timeline and listening to witnesses in going to proceed apace.

I think for Donald Trump, he needed to do this politically. We expected him to come out. He sort of set this artificial timeline and expectation when he said that he was going to be arrested last Tuesday. That, of course, didn't happen. There's more to come from these proceedings, and we'll just have to wait to see.

But he definitely, I think, helped himself with the people who like him, his base, they are rallying behind him, and, you know, I think some people obviously thought he went too far in his attacks against Alvin Bragg, some of the things he said about them. But this is vintage Donald Trump, and we'll just have to see what the proceedings lead to.

BLITZER: Katelyn, I know you have some new reporting on this decision by a federal judge to go ahead and force the former vice president, Mike Pence, into testifying under oath before this January 6th federal investigation, criminal investigation involving Trump. What are you learning?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: That's right, Wolf. So, this is the type of legal decision that is quite notable because it's about Mike Pence, the victim of January 6th, as well as a person who was a key witness on the phone with Donald Trump leading up to that, but it's the type of the decision that is going to make people happy, a lot of different parties happy except for Donald Trump. It is a loss unequivocally for Donald Trump in that the special counsel is going to be winning access to Pence's testimony about conversations that Pence had with Trump leading up to January 6th.

Now, Pence, it is somewhat of a win for him as well, because our sources tell us that the judge overseeing this case in the district court in D.C. did give Pence a little bit of an oomph of what the powers of the vice presidency may be, that they should have some protection of Congress around some of his conversations and duties on January 6th.


But at the end of the day, it's another court, another judge that is saying the special counsel's office gets answers and witnesses must testify. BLITZER: Well, let me get Shan to weigh in. How important potentially could Pence's testimony be in this criminal investigation of Trump and his involvement in January 6th?

WU: Well, his testimony is really critical. As Katelyn was saying, he's both a victim and a witness. That's a very unique spot to be in.

It's really interesting decision. Of course, we haven't seen it yet. It's sealed. But from the reporting, Judge Boasberg, who's the new chief judge, is very careful as a lawyer and looks like he has tried to kind of go down the middle. It raises some interesting strategic questions for whether to appeal it or not.

Now, Trump's team tends to want to just appeal everything. DOJ is going to have to be a little bit more careful in thinking about it, because when you appeal, you run the risk of either you can open the door wide or it could get slammed shut.

DOJ might be better off with taking what they have going into the grand jury and seeing just what Pence actually answers and working it from that direction.

BLITZER: We will find out fairly soon, how this all unfolds. Guys, thank you very, very much. And stay with CNN Primetime later tonight. Paula -- Pamela Brown, I should say, will take you inside the Trump investigations. That's at 9:00 P.M. Eastern.

And later this week, I'll have a one on one interview with the former vice president, Mike Pence. We hope to cover a lot of ground, including 2024 and the Trump investigations. It airs Thursday night right here on CNN Primetime 9:00 P.M. Eastern.

Coming up, in the wake of the mass shooting in Nashville, President Biden now says he's exhausted all executive actions on gun control and all he can do is, quote, plead with the Congress to take action. Will lawmakers listen? We'll take you to Capitol Hill, that's next.



BLITZER: On Capitol Hill, right now, we're getting new reaction to the Nashville school shooting and pleas from President Biden for an assault weapons ban. But as CNN's Manu Raju reports, it appears there's little appetite from Republicans for a new round of gun control legislation.


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's an all too familiar story tearing apart communities and devastating families. Mass shootings, 130 in this year alone, including the rampage at a Christian school in Nashville, leaving six victims dead, including three nine-year olds. But on Capitol Hill, little has changed.

So, why not limit the AR-15s? Why not put some ban on that?

REP. BYRON DONALDS (R-FL): If you're going to talk about the AR-15, you're talking politics now.

Let's not get into politics. All right, let's not get into emotion, because emotion feels good, but emotion doesn't solve problems.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Says that they've got a legit active shooter at the school.

RAJU: And AR-15 was one of the weapons possessed by the killer during Monday's massacre. It has been frequently used in mass shootings following the 2004 expiration of the assault weapons ban, but President Biden lacks of support from Republicans who control the House and can block legislation in the Senate.

They argue such a ban is ineffective and infringes on constitutional rights.

Why not take action to ban AR-15s in the aftermath of all these terrible shootings?

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Because I believe in the Second Amendment, and we shouldn't -- you know, we shouldn't penalize law-abiding American citizens.

RAJU: The senator from Tennessee also declining to embrace further restrictions.

What about banning those weapons that were used and attacks like these?

HAGERTY: I'm certain that the politics will wave into everything, but right now, I'm not focused on the politics of the situation, I'm focused on the families.

RAJU: Even Andy Ogles, whose district includes the Covenant School in Nashville, is a longtime supporter of access to high-powered weapons.

Why not ban AR-15s?

REP. ANDY OGLES (R-TN): Why not talk about the real issue facing this country in regards to the shooting, which would be mental health?

RAJU: But Congress did take steps to address mental health when it passed the most ambitious gun law in a generation just last year. Now, even GOP supporters of that law are skeptical of any more Hill action.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): At the end of the day, I don't know if there's much space to do more, but I'll certainly look and see.

RAJU: But with mass shootings up sharply in the last few years, Democrats say that it's time to force a vote.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): We need to fight in Congress, and I'm prepared to conduct that fight. Others are as well. RAJU: It's a fight Republicans are willing to have.

Why are you opposed to reinstating this ban?

SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): Well, I mean, a lot of people use ARs and AKs for sporting purposes. I fired both of those things, so those firearms for sporting purposes. So -- but, listen, let's stay focused on the issue at hand, which isn't some generic question about guns. It's what happened to these children in this school by this shooter.


RAJU (on camera): Now, the number two Senate Republican, John Thune, told me today that its, quote, premature to talk about any action on gun legislation, including universal background checks, despite its wide support, even as after 130 mass shootings we have seen this year, and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy not answering questions for second straight day on this topic and not answering questions about whether he would back any legislation in the aftermath of this tragedy. Wolf?

BLITZER: All right. Manu Raju, reporting from Capitol Hill, thank you very much.


Let's get some more Capitol Hill reaction now from Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. Senator, thanks so much for joining us.

You're calling on the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, to bring a vote on an assault weapons ban up. Why is it so important for you to force Republicans to get on the record on this issue? And will Schumer take that step?

BLUMENTHAL: Americans deserve a fight on this issue. The tragedy and trauma that we saw in Nashville directly the result of this kind of mass murder, directly attributable to these military-style assault weapons really has outraged America. I think they're sickened and disgusted.

No one has been a stronger supporter of assault weapons ban than Senator Schumer. He also knows how to count votes, so do I. And I think that at some point, and time is critical, all of my colleagues, as well as supporters and opponents, ought to be put on the record.

BLITZER: As you just heard in our report, we're hearing from a lot of Republicans, at least so far, it's premature to discuss gun control. That's what they're saying. They're defending the right to own assault weapons, urging lawmakers to set aside emotions right now. Is there any common ground at all? How are you seeing it?

BLUMENTHAL: Wolf, I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard the word, premature, in the same sentence as one of these mass shootings when it comes to reform. And thoughts and prayers, we need them for this community and for these children who have experienced really unspeakable trauma, which will last them a lifetime, not just those directly at the school, but the entire community. And it isn't premature. We can honor the survivors and victim with action, honor with action at the outset of our effort to pass that landmark bill, the Safer Communities Act.

No one gave us a chance of reaching common ground, but we did. And one of the points of common ground was an unprecedented mental health bill, red flag laws, closing the boyfriend loophole, other measures. I still have hope and I think we need to kind of come together again on a bipartisan basis and see where we have common ground.

BLITZER: I know, you say you're prepared for a major fight in Congress on this issue of gun control, but it sounds like the leaders in your own Democratic Party aren't very optimistic right now. Do you see any way at all for Democrats to approach the issue of gun violence differently?

BLUMENTHAL: Our leadership has been steadfast and powerfully energetic in supporting gun violence prevention efforts. So, if we can reach a consensus, I am very sure that we will have support. And it isn't only on a ban on assault weapons sale, it's also safe storage. Who can be against safely storing weapons, as we did in Connecticut, under Ethan's law? These laws work, as we've seen in Connecticut. What doesn't work is in action, and Congress is complicit by its inaction.

BLITZER: Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, thank you so much for joining us.

BLUMENTHAL: Thank you.

BLITZER: Just ahead.

You'll likely recognize the names of several Fox News personalities Dominion just asked to testify. Who we may hear from on the stand in Dominion's unprecedented $1.6 billion lawsuit against Fox News over the 2020 presidential election? We have new information, that's next.



BLITZER: Dominion Voting Systems wants top Fox News personalities, including Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, to take the stand in his trial against the network. The request came in a court filing part of an unprecedented lawsuit over what Dominion calls Fox News', quote, license to knowingly spread lies about the 2020 presidential election.

Let's bring in CNN Media Analyst Sarah Fischer and CNN Senior Media Reporter Oliver Darcy. Oliver, who else from Fox does Dominion want to see in court? And what will the T.V. network, will the T.V. network for that matter play ball?

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Yes, Wolf. This is already shaping up to be a very high profile trial. Dominion wants some of Fox's biggest stars and highest ranking executives to testify at a potential trial in just a few weeks. And those include people like Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, but also Maria Bartiromo, Suzanne Scott, the Fox News CEO, Fox News President Jay Wallace, Fox News Host Bret Baier and a list of other star personalities and high ranking executive at the company.

Now, we'll see if Fox News allows some of these people to testify They have signaled that they do want to call people themselves, like Suzanne Scott, the Fox News CEO, to the stand, obviously, for very different reasons than why Dominion would want to call them and that Fox I assured to present legal challenges to Dominion calling some of these witnesses.

We don't know how the judge will rule on this, but this is for sure shaping up, Wolf, to be a very high profile trial in a few weeks.

BLITZER: Yes. It's a $1.6 billion lawsuit against Fox. Any chance, Sara, that Rupert Murdoch himself could be called to testify.

SARA FISCHER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Well, that's the big question right now, Wolf. The judge said that he received a letter from Fox's lawyers that basically said that Murdoch himself probably couldn't travel. The lawyers and clarified and said, look, we're not saying that he physically can't travel but that there's no need to bring him in again.

The judge had addressed that physically can't travel thing by basically arguing, look, we've seen Rupert Murdoch out and about in various reports. You remember seeing him at the Super Bowl with the Elon Musk. He just had an engagement party recently.


But, ultimately, whether or not he pushes Murdoch to come to the stand will be the big question, because lawyers from both sides are trying to figure out how they're going to maneuver their legal cases ahead of April 17th.


And, of course, the Murdochs would be the linchpin of any major trial heading into next month.

BLITZER: Oliver, I'm anxious to get your assessment on Rupert Murdoch and this case. What do you think?

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Wolf, Rupert Murdoch is very important, obviously at Fox. The buck stops with Rupert Murdoch, and he has said things like the fact that he said some of his top hosts like Sean Hannity endorsed election lies, which is obviously very different than covering them as a journalist. Endorsing it means something totally different.

And so I think the Dominion is going to want to bring him to the stand. They've expressed interest in doing that. And it seems from everything we've heard from the judge that he might be compelled to travel to Wilmington, Delaware, for this trial.

BLITZER: We shall see. Oliver Darcy, Sara Fischer to both of you. Thank you very much.

Coming up, we'll go live to Paris as nationwide protests once again turned violent in France.

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.



BLITZER: France is reeling right now from yet another night of unrest in the streets. It's the 10th day of union-led demonstrations against the government's plans for pension reform, and some of the protests have once again become violent.

CNN's senior international correspondent Sam Kiley has the latest from Paris.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ten days of demonstrations and the latest marched through Paris begins to feel almost routine. Within a few hours, this, though, was the scene.

Concern over the rising level of violence has led the unions to ask for a dialogue with the government. This is what a senior union official said.

MAHER TEKAYA, SENIOR UNION OFFICIAL, CFDT: The only solution is to sit around the table and to have a constructive dialogue on how to find a way out of this situation.

KILEY: The government's response has been this.

LAURENCE BOONE, FRENCH MINISTER OF STATE FOR EUROPE: Now there has been a democratic process. We've had hundreds of hours of debate at the parliament. The bill has been passed and I think we need to move on.

KILEY: The government said that they were expecting about 1,000 extremists to join these demonstrations thank you hell-bent of trying to make sure that they don't gain the upper hand in one beginning to turn into, albeit relatively small scale but pitched battles here on the streets of Paris.

Interior ministry numbers put today's demonstration in Paris at 93,000. That's a 27,000 drop on the union organized protests last Thursday.

And across France, the numbers demonstrating were also down from a peak of about 1.28 million to only 740,000 today, opponents of the plan to raise the pensionable age in France from 62 to 64 must now pin their hopes on forcing a U-turn on the French government through street protests.

But after two months of frequent strikes, the austerity of protest in terms of lost earnings is beginning to bite.

Garbage collection will return for the first time in weeks to Paris on Wednesday, a sign perhaps that the fire is slowly going out on the opposition to pension reforms. But not opposition to President Emmanuel Macron himself.


KILEY (on camera): Now, Wolf, the Interior Ministry is saying that nationwide, 175 police were injured during these demonstrations, 201 arrests were made. We saw some of those going in here in Paris today.

But as we said in that report, the numbers are slightly down and the problem for the opposition. Now, Wolf, is to how do they prevent this process being written into legislation without forcing with that until they force a U-turn from the streets, Wolf.

BLITZER: Sam Kiley in Paris for us, thank you very much.

And this note: stay with CNN right after the situation room for "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" that comes up right at the top of the -- top of the hour, 7:00 p.m. Eastern.

Tonight on OUTFRONT, Erin interviews a former classmate of the Nashville school shooter about chilling messages she received just before the massacre.

Coming up, President Biden just spoke out about the crisis in Israel and whether he'll be meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu anytime soon.



BLITZER: President Biden just voiced fresh and rare concern over Israel's proposed judicial overhaul. This after the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to pause the controversial plan amid massive protests throughout Israel.

Let's bring in CNN's Arlette Saenz. She's joining us from the White House right now.

Arlette, how far did President Biden actually go?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, President Biden weighed in for the first time today on those proposed judicial reforms in Israel, expressing deep concern on two separate occasions. Earlier in the day, he said that he hopes that they are able to not continue down this road and ultimately said that he believes there needs to be a genuine compromise. But then, just a few hours later, President Biden did say that he hopes that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will forgo pursuing these judicial reforms.

Take a listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But I think it's a difficult spot to be in and they've got to work it out.

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

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


SAENZ: Now, this is just the latest reflection of the White House, really stepping out of its rhetoric and expressing its concern about these judicial reforms that Netanyahu has been pursuing in Israel. It's also marks a very rare moment where the U.S. is engaging in weighing in on the domestic affairs of another country, and especially in a very important ally to this country.

Now, a short while ago, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu issued a series of tweets on this matter. It's unclear which comment is specifically he is responding to, but the Israeli prime minister did say, quote, Israel is a sovereign country, which makes its decisions by the will of its people and not based on pressures from abroad, including from the best of friends.

Now, President Biden spoke directly with Netanyahu about nine days ago. He said earlier today that the two men have not spoken about this issue since but that he has conveyed a message to Netanyahu through the U.S ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides.

The president was also asked whether he would invite Netanyahu here to the White House, he said he's not doing so in the near future.

BLITZER: All right. Arlette Saenz with the latest at the White House, thank you very much.

And to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.