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Critical Baltimore Bridge Collapse After Cargo Ship Rams Into It; Fate Of Abortion Pill Now In Hands Of Supreme Court; Justices Expected To Issue Decision In June Or July; Traffic Snarled, Critical Port Closed After Baltimore Bridge Collapse; CNN's Fareed Zakaria On His New Book "Age Of Revolutions"; RFK Jr. Picks Tech Lawyer Nicole Shanahan As Running Mate. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired March 26, 2024 - 17:00   ET


DANNY FREEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They were not talking -- they were not fixing major infrastructure problems. They were not, you know, rebuilding this bridge. They were doing everyday jobs of filling in potholes, doing repairs to make drivers lives easier. So again, just between that knowledge of what they were doing and just the family members and their distraught nature at this time, it's a tough moment for this community.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, tough moment. Critical reporting as well, doing jobs that matter so much to the community. Danny Freeman, we appreciate your time, as always, my friend. Thank you. And CNN's continuing coverage, the bridge collapse in Baltimore continues right now.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, breaking news, the Maryland governor says an active search and rescue mission is ongoing at the site of the Baltimore bridge collapsed. At least six people unaccounted for after a huge cargo ship rammed the bridge and destroyed it. The Baltimore fire chief joins us this hour with an update.

Also tonight, the fate of a widely used abortion pill is now up to the United States Supreme Court after oral arguments today for and against a nationwide ban. We're going to tell you what the justices appeared to signal about their eventual decision.

And Robert F. Kennedy Jr. names a wealthy tech lawyer as his vice presidential pick, working to heighten attention on his independent presidential bid as top Democrats portray him as a spoiler who could help Donald Trump get elected.

Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in the Situation Room.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN Breaking News.

BLITZER: Let's get right to the breaking news on the Baltimore bridge disaster. The investigation now beginning into how and why a cargo ship slammed into the bridge, sending pieces of twisted metal into the water. CNN's Brian Todd has been on the scene for us all day long. He's live joining us now from Baltimore harbor. And Brian, authorities, I take it, are focusing in on the search and rescue operation that's ongoing. Give us the latest.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They are indeed, Wolf. From this unique vantage point, you can see the point of impact where this vessel, the DALI, this massive container ship struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge. You can see the point of impact right behind me with the tangled metal, the concrete still draped over the bow of the vessel there. You can also see rescue boats and other recovery boats swarming all around this vessel. Tonight, we are told that six people remain unaccounted for as the rescue mission continues and the investigation just gets ramped up.


GOV. WES MOORE (D-MD): This is not just unprecedented from what we're seeing and what we're looking at today, it's heartbreaking.

TODD (voice-over): The middle of the one and a half mile long Francis Scott Key Bridge plunged 185ft into Baltimore's Patapsco River early this morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Be advised the entire bridge, the entire Key Bridge in the harbor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't get to the other side, sir. The bridge is down. We're going to have to get somebody on the other side Anne Arundel County MSP to get up here and stop traffic coming northbound on the Key Bridge.

TODD (voice-over): A container ship, billowing dark smoke was moving at about eight knots near the bridge when the ship lost power, according to Maryland's governor. Before the bridge collapsed at 127 in the morning, the ship's crew called in a mayday when it became clear there'd be a collision despite having dropped its anchor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need one of you guys on the south side, one of you guys on the north side, hold all traffic on the Key Bridge. There's a ship approaching and just lost their steering.

TODD (voice-over): A move officials say saved lives.

MOORE: We're thankful that between the mayday and the collapse that we had officials who were able to begin to stop the flow of traffic so more cars were not up on the bridge. Many of the vehicles were stopped before they got onto the bridge, which saved lives.

TODD (voice-over): National Transportation Safety Board and FBI teams are on the scene.

JENNIFER HOMENDY, CHAIR, NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD: We are standing back to allow the coast guard and search and rescue to continue their search and rescue operations.

TODD (voice-over): Authorities on the ground say they have a tough task ahead.

CHIEF JAMES WALACE, BALTIMORE CITY FIRE DEPARTMENT: The bridge itself, it does present a challenge. It presents the challenge as we navigate on the surface, but more likely a greater challenge is subsurface and underwater.

TODD (voice-over): In addition to a search from the air, officials had about 50 divers operating in the harbor hours after the bridge came down.

WALACE: The water is frigid here right now. We believe this to be about a 60 foot dive makes this an extraordinarily difficult challenge for our teams.

TODD: Officials have said they have tracked a few vehicles that they believe fell into the water from the bridge, and you can see the distance that they might have dropped from the height of the bridge there into the water. It's going to take days just to get floating cranes and other heavy equipment here in order to start the salvaging operations and in order to remove some of the remnants of the bridge here. And once they get here, they have to chop these remnants of the bridge into smaller pieces just to remove them.


TODD (voice-over): President Biden says he's directing federal resources to help with recovery and rebuilding.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've directed my team to move heaven and earth to reopen the port and rebuild the bridge as soon as humanly possible.


TODD (on camera): Now, all major ship traffic has been halted coming into and out of Baltimore harbor indefinitely, and that's going to cause significant economic disruptions. And I can give you an example of that. If you see that large green vessel right there that's called the Carmen, that vessel carries cars and light trucks into the port of Baltimore, right now that vessel cannot move. And that's a scene repeated throughout the Baltimore harbor here.

You know, Baltimore is a major hub for cars and light trucks coming into the United States on these ships. It handled about 850,000 vehicles at this port last year, that has come to a sudden stop, Wolf. And I can tell you another thing that's going to hamper rescue efforts tonight. There's a rain system coming in, so that's going to create some poor weather conditions in the hours ahead. Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Brian Todd for us in Baltimore. Brian, thank you very much.

Joining us now, the chief of the Baltimore City fire Department, James Wallace.

Chief, thank you so much for joining us. First of all, our hearts go out to your community on this very, very painful day. Can you first update us on the active search and rescue mission right now for the six people who are listed as unaccounted for?

Chief, I'm going to interrupt for a second. We've lost audio with you. We're going to fix that in a moment. Let me go back to Brian Todd for a moment.

Brian, as you and I well know, we've been to Baltimore, both of us, on many occasions. I've gone over that bridge on so many occasions, never dawned on me that, God forbid something like this could happen. But give us a sense of what you're feeling right now as someone who has traveled that Baltimore Beltway and knows that bridge well.

TODD: Right, Wolf. Many of us have been up through this corridor for many years, going up and down the east coast. This is a major hub for vehicular traffic. And what makes this bridge unique is that this is the bridge, the main bridge in this area that can handle traffic that carries hazardous material, HAZMATs, because HAZMATs are not allowed in the Baltimore tunnels that go underneath Baltimore harbor. Of course, those tunnels are the venues where the major -- the regular auto traffic moves through usually, but the trucks and other vehicles carrying HAZMATs, well, they have to go through this bridge, they have to go over this bridge as they're going up and down the east coast. Obviously, that has all come to a stop right now, and that's going to be halted indefinitely, at least as far as this bridge is concerned.

So, that's going to be another major logistical headache for officials here trying to figure out how to get HAZMATs shipped to and from various points in the east coast going up and down these highways here. And again, we can just give you a broader look at how -- we have a second camera here, by the way, that can kind of train in on the vessel itself of the DALI, which impacted that bridge a little before 01:30 this morning. Just take a look at just this huge swath of the bridge that has just now vanished, it's missing, it's in the water. You can see some of the stanchions in the water and some of the other things there that are -- some of the rescue vessels that are around that area.

It's going to take days for, again, for heavy equipment to get in place here to be able to remove some of this. And of course, that can't take place until the rescue effort is complete. Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, Baltimore is a huge, huge airport for so much traffic coming in and out of the United States. All right, Brian, we're going to get back to you. Standby.

Right now, we've reconnected with the chief of the Baltimore City Fire Department, James Wallace.

Chief, thank you once again for joining us. First of all, can you update us on the active search and rescue mission that's underway right now for the six people who are unaccounted for?

JAMES WALLACE, CHIEF, BALTIMORE CITY FIRE DEPARTMENT: Yes, sir. And thank you. So, we are still in an active marine search operation at this point. What that means is we have boats on the water, we have divers that are in the water, and we also have aircraft overhead. We started this mission with approximately eight dive teams, 50 personnel. Mission has grown in the amount of resources that we've dedicated to it. But we continue to actively search the waters in and around the actual collapse site, and we're going to continue to do so over the next hour or so.

BLITZER: And we are grateful to all those who are trying to find and help locate these individuals. I know, Chief, you told CNN earlier that you believe you found five vehicles already in the water, three passenger vehicles, a cement truck and one unidentified vehicle. Is that the latest count or have you found any more vehicles?


WALLACE: We just started an incident brief on this side of the river as of 05:00, so that was the latest information I have. They did so via sonar operations and have marked those vehicles for future reference, but I have no update to that at this point. It's probably going to be another half hour or so before we'll have that updated information over here.

BLITZER: I will stay in close touch with you. Do you have any sense, chief, on how many vehicles and possible passengers were actually on the bridge at the time of the collapse?

WALLACE: So the passenger number that we're working off of right now is eight. We know that we had a patient that was transported to a local trauma center this morning. That patient is in serious condition. We had another individual who was part of the party on the bridge who refused service, was actually uninjured. So with those two accounted for, right now we're still searching for six.

BLITZER: Let's hope we find -- you guys find them. The coast guard says it detected an oil sheen on the water near the wreckage. What can you tell us about that? And how does that potentially impact the mission?

WALLACE: So an oil sheen or a fuel sheen on the water is indicative of a fuel leak. I know that they've gone out and they've placed harbor containment boom around the vessel itself, and it does appear to be holding. The last aerial videos that we had, we saw that as well, and it does appear to be holding. So, the containment boom that you would see around the vessel itself would be just for that, to contain that sheen.

Early this morning, we did smell a strong odor of diesel fuel on the water. It was still dark, we couldn't see it. But as the sun came up, we had seen evidence of a light sheen or evidence of a light sheen out there as well. I think we're -- at this point we're grateful that so far we've not had a massive release of fuel, but as the coast guard stated, we are seeing some indications of some sheen moving away from the wreckage.

BLITZER: Chief James Wallace of the Baltimore City Fire Department, thank you for joining us, and thanks for all your men and women are doing right now. Appreciate it very, very much. Coming up, we'll take a closer look at the major ripple effects of the Baltimore bridge collapse. And those effects could have a huge impact on the U.S. economy. We'll tell you why.

Plus, the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on banning a widely used abortion pill. Stay with us. You're in the Situation Room.



BLITZER: The fate of a widely used abortion pill is now in the hands of the United States Supreme Court. The justices seemingly skeptical of a nationwide ban on the drug during today's oral arguments. CNN's Jessica Schneider is on the story for us.

Jessica, walk us through the key issues we heard today.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, interestingly, Wolf, this case was actually first brought by doctors, antiabortion doctors, in 2022, trying to argue that the FDA just didn't go through the proper procedures when they approved this pill in 2000, and then also eased some restrictions in later years. The justices seemed very skeptical that these doctors even had the legal right or the standing to even bring this lawsuit in the first place. And that's because of some of the arguments from the FDA lawyers, the government lawyers, and also the drug manufacturer's lawyers. They really said, look, the doctors are bringing this case because they believe that they might at some point maybe have to treat women who appear in the emergency room because of potential complications from Mifepristone. The justices seemed to indicate that maybe that sort of injury was just far too hypothetical to bring a suit.

And then we saw interesting comments from the chief justice and also Neil Gorsuch talking about the fact that, you know, why did a handful of doctors have the power really to get a lower court opinion that would have banned this pill nationwide, or at least taken back some of the restrictions on it? And here are the justices.


JUSTICE NEIL GORSUCH, SUPREME COURT: This case seems like a prime example of turning what could be a small lawsuit into a nationwide legislative assembly on FDA rule or any other federal government action. Thoughts?

ERIN HAWLEY, ALLIANCE DEFENDING FREEDOM ATTORNEY: Yes, Your Honor, again, I have to say that I think it's impracticable to raise a conscious objection. But even spotting that, I think the district court remedy here was perfectly appropriate.

CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS: Why can't the court specify that this relief runs to precisely the parties before the court as opposed to looking to the agency in general and saying, agency you can't do this anywhere?


BLITZER: And Jessica, one attorney raised concerns that judges aren't necessarily experts on scientific data. Listen to this.


JESSICA ELLSWORTH, DANCO LABORATORIES ATTORNEY: You have a district court that, among other things, relied one study that was analysis of anonymous blog posts. You have another set of studies that he relied on that were not in the administrative record and would never because they postdate the FDA decisions there. They have since been retracted for lack of scientific rigor and for misleading presentations of data. Those sorts of errors can infect judicial analyses precisely because judges are not -- they are not experts. That is why FDA has many hundreds of pages of analysis in the record of what the scientific data showed, and courts are just not in a position to parse through and second guess that.



BLITZER: So, Jessica, what can you tell us about that?

SCHNEIDER: I mean, there really isn't much data to support this idea that there are all these side effects from mifepristone. And in fact, if you look at the data here, what it does show is that the likelihood of death from mifepristone is actually much less than other common medications or drugs like penicillin, even Viagra, Wolf, you know. So the FDA's stance was, look, we followed the proper procedures. There's really no great harm in this. And that's why this drug has been out there since 2000.

You know, but the Supreme Court here might not even get to that broader issue. They might end up tossing this case on the standing issue.

BLITZER: We shall see what happens. Jessica Schneider, thank you very, very much.

For more on today's arguments, I want to bring in our Senior Supreme Court Analyst, Joan Biskupic.

Joan, reading between the lines on the questioning that we all heard today, how do you expect the justices eventually to handle this?

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SENIOR SUPREME COURT ANALYST: Sure, Wolf, and it really was a compelling set of arguments at the court. They were asking really piercing questions to all three of the lawyers who took the lectern. One of them was a woman by the name of Erin Hawley, who happens to be a very active anti-abortion advocate who's married to Josh Hawley. So he was there in the courtroom, as were other state officials, including the attorney general of New York, Letitia James, just shows the stakes of this for the states, for people on both sides. Because, Wolf, as you know, this is the first big abortion case since the justices in 2022 reverse Roe v. Wade. And in that time, just to point up the stakes, more women have relied on medication abortion to end their pregnancies.

And the other issue here is the FDA's authority to use its own scientific review and expertise to decide what drugs should be approved. And when you cut right through what the justices questions were, I think with key justices who had voted to overturn Roe asking very skeptical questions of the challenges here, I think they will find that these anti-abortion lawyers who say that they have been harmed by the FDA approval of Mifepristone and easy access to the drug, that they cannot prove they've been harmed and therefore do not have legal standing. And I'll just refer to two justices in particular, Wolf, who voted to overturn Roe two years ago, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. And both of them suggested by their remarks that they do not think there was sufficient harm to bring this case.

At one point, Brett Kavanaugh even said, just to confirm on the standing issue, under federal law, no doctors can be forced against their consciences to perform or assist in abortion. Correct? And the lawyer had to say yes, correct.

BLITZER: Interesting. As you just mentioned, Joan, this is the biggest abortion case that the court has considered since overturning Roe v. Wade. How does that inform things right now?

BISKUPIC: You know, it really does, Wolf, because just think of how much the reproductive rights landscape has changed since 2022. You know, about 14 states have now banned abortion. Several others have put a lot of restrictions on abortion. So that's why access to this medication has become so crucial across the country. So that's one aspect.

And then the other aspect is just, you know, the whole health care situation that we've seen, so many other state laws have been challenged and are working their way up to the court. So this is going to be part of a whole new set of chapters at the Supreme Court, Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, you're absolutely right. Joan Biskupic, thank you very much.

BISKUPIC: Thank you.

BLITZER: Up next, we're going to get more on the Baltimore bridge collapse and the impact on the economy that could extend far beyond that city.



BLITZER: We're back with the breaking news out of Baltimore, the stunning and total collapse of a major bridge after it was hit by a cargo ship. An urgent search is ongoing right now for six people who are missing, believed to be workers who were on the bridge when the disaster unfolded. CNN's Kristin Fisher is following all the new developments for us.

Kristin, you're there on the scene. What's the latest on the search and recovery effort?

KRISTIN FISHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, 16 hours in and officials say that this is still very much an active search and rescue operation. And you know, all day long we've seen these divers having to contend with really cold, deep waters, strong currents and just a mess of mangled metal as they try to find these six construction workers who were on top of the Key Bridge just filling potholes when this container ship struck the bridge and the bridge collapsed. And so, the NTSB is now taking the lead on this investigation. But the NTSB says they've actually taken a backseat today and allowed the Coast Guard to really be the dominant player here and allow them to do their job and try to find these six unaccounted for workers that were on the bridge and likely went into the water, Wolf.

But when the NTSB is allowed to board the vessel, when they do that, and they decided not to do it today, when they do board the vessel, what they're really trying to find is the voyage data recorder. That's essentially the black box of these types of ships. And you know, we know that the crew on the ship issued a mayday call and said they were having power issues, but the NTSB says they still need to confirm that that was indeed what took place. So, that's one big piece of the NTSB investigation, figuring out exactly what happened on this ship. But the NTSB says they're also going to be looking at the structural integrity of the Key Bridge itself.


And you have, you know, the governor of Maryland, Wes Moore, coming out earlier today and saying that the bridge is or was up to code, but the NTSB says they still need to independently investigate that. And then, you know, Wolf, I'll just kind of end by saying, you know, look at what the transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said earlier today. He just, you know, I just -- he called it a really unique circumstance saying, you know, I just don't know if any bridge could withstand a direct hit from a container ship of that size, Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, important point. Kristen Fisher reporting for us, thank you very much.

Also tonight, the Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, is warning of the economic impact from the bridge collapse after visiting the scene in Baltimore. Listen.


PETE BUTTIGIEG, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: There is no question that this will be a major and protracted impact to supply chains. It's too soon to offer estimates on what it will take to clear the channel and reopen the port.


BLITZER: I want to bring in CNN business editor at large Richard Quest who's joining us from London right now. Richard, what will happen to the ships that were scheduled to go into the port of Baltimore? RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: A very good question. They will be rerouted. In fact, Maersk and many other of the shipping lines have already said that they are going to shift because one of the positives, in a sense, is that there is spare capacity at the other major ports along the eastern seaboard, bearing in mind that Diva had already been to Norfolk and New York before going to Baltimore.

So if you look at the map, you can see there's the potential for Norfolk. You can see Philadelphia. You can see, for instance, New Jersey, New York, all, certainly the New York, New Jersey and Virginia are much larger ports than Baltimore, and they will be able to pick up the slack of those ships that are heading in the direction of the eastern seaboard.

For those ships that are on the other side of the bridge, Wolf, they're going to be stuck there until the channel is open and there's free passage. They'll probably have to be unloaded and their cargo is shifted to one of the other ports.

BLITZER: Yes, good point. Walk us through, Richard. Specifically, what type of cargo normally goes through the port of Baltimore.

QUEST: The 8th or 9th largest in the United States, well, it is cars, trucks, light trucks. In fact, it is the number one destination for cars and light trucks in the United States. In terms of coming in, it's Mercedes, it's VW, it's the Japanese and the South Korean manufacturers. They say they'll be able to cope. But look at the number of cars and trucks handed last year, 2023, 850,000, again, you can move them elsewhere.

You can send them through other ports on the eastern seaboard. But that will take longer. Mercedes tonight basically saying, yes, it's going to take longer to get cars in. It will take longer. There will be further road delays. The big sufferer in all of this is, of course, Baltimore itself. Unfortunately, the port, well, the port is an extremely important part of the economic vibrancy and life of the city.

Billions of dollars-worth of trade goes through the port. The number of jobs involved is well over 10,000. And if you take how it's going to develop, it could be years before that port is fully up and running again, even with the extra money that the federal government will bring in as promised by President Biden today.

BLITZER: Richard Quest reporting for us, thank you very, very much, important information.

Just ahead, Israel's defense minister visits the United States for key meetings with top U.S. officials. Will the trip ease the growing tensions with the Biden administration?



BLITZER: The Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant is in Washington today for key meetings with top Biden administration officials. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan sitting down with Gallant amid very growing tensions between Israel and the United States. CNN's Fareed Zakaria is joining us right now with some analysis. He's also the author of a brand new, excellent, must read new book just published today, "Age of Revolutions." There's the cover, "Progress and Backlash from 1600 to the President." Fareed, we're going to get to your book shortly, but let's talk a little bit about what's going on right now.

You and I have covered U.S.-Israeli relations for many years. Very important meetings today between the U.S. and Israel here in Washington, the Defense Minister meeting with the U.S. Defense Secretary and the President's National Security Advisor. How does this increasingly tense relationship between the Biden administration and the Netanyahu government complicate requests from Netanyahu's government, from war, U.S. weapons?

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: I think it's an inflection point, really. It's a big watershed moment in U.S.-Israeli relations because this is a fight that Bibi Netanyahu has almost brought upon himself. You almost wonder at some level whether he was spoiling for a fight because the Biden administration has, and most Israelis feel this way, has been more supportive of Israel in this conflict than virtually any previous administration has in Israel's other moments of crisis.

The Biden administration has supported them militarily, materially, morally, but they have kept asking for certain concessions, pay more attention to civilian casualties, let humanitarian aid go through, allow for temporary ceasefires so you can have more of that aid go through. And now this issue of Rafah, whether or not you really need to go through. And I think Bibi Netanyahu almost wants this fight. He has a very extreme right wing coalition.


He seems to be, you know, kind of zealously defending the hardline position in doing all this. But by doing this, what he is doing is he's wrecking the trust that has built over decades between Israel and the United States. And what he's doing is creating an idea that the United States can be pro-Israel without being pro-Bibi. Israel can be a close ally, but Bibi Netanyahu might not be a close ally.

BLITZER: Important points you're making. I want to turn to your brand new book, "Age of Revolutions," in which you write this, and I'm quoting you now, in the book you write, when you consider the multitude of dramatic changes in the world today, we are living through one of the most revolutionary ages in history. Lay that out for us, Fareed.

ZAKARIA: Well, think about what we've gone through. You know, we are living through it so we don't realize it, but in the last 30 or 40 years, we have gone through a massive expansion of globalization, where something like two and a half billion to 3 billion people have joined the world trading system. That's all of China, all of India, most of Latin America, large parts of Africa have suddenly all become part. They're all playing the same game now. You look at the technology world. We've created a brand new digital world. I mean, think about what the world looked like before that. We are now living in a world where the biggest companies in the world are all these new companies that didn't exist 20, 25 years ago. Think about the reality of the identity revolution that has taken place. Take one piece of it, women.

Women have been emancipated to, you know, from being second class citizens, which they were for thousands and thousands of years. And all this has happened in the last 30 or 40 years. So we're going through the acceleration, the disruption that all that causes. But we're also going through, and this is what I talk a lot of in my book about the backlash, the feeling that, you know, this is all going too far, too fast.

And there are a lot of people who say, don't worry, I'll stop the world. You can get off. I'll take you back to when you were more comfortable. You know, the most important word in Donald Trump's slogan is, make America great again. I'm going to take you back when it was safe and you don't have -- you didn't feel so disoriented.

BLITZER: It's interesting because in your new book, "Age of Revolutions," you also write about the rise of populism and you write this, and I'm quoting you now, one sign of a revolutionary age is that politics gets scrambled along new lines. What kind of revolution have politics here in the United States undergone in recent years? And is that happening elsewhere as well?

ZAKARIA: So the most powerful indication of this is think about what the Republican Party stood for under Ronald Reagan. You and I both remember those days. Ronald Reagan stood for limited government, balanced budgets, free markets, free trade, spreading democracy abroad, great pride in that and very open and receptive to immigration. Think about what Donald Trump's Republican Party stands for.

Literally every one of those things I said, Trump is basically the opposite on almost all of those. He's a protectionist. He doesn't like free trade. He doesn't like immigrants. He's for big government. He spent more money than anybody in his four years. So that's the transformation we're going through. And it shows you that the old left right categories no longer apply. We're in a new age.

BLITZER: Yes. Important points. Fareed Zakaria, thank you very, very much. Thanks for writing this book. Be sure, to our viewers, be sure to check out Fareed's new book. There you see the cover once again, "Age of Revolutions" must read as I said.

Coming up, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., just announced his running mate for his third party presidential bid. We're going to tell you who she is and how his choice could shake up the race potentially for the White House.


[17:48:16] BLITZER: Today, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announced Nicole Shanahan as his running mate for his independent presidential bid. Shanahan is a very wealthy attorney and entrepreneur who has a long history of making large donations to Democratic candidates, including the man they're running against, namely President Biden. CNN's Eva McKend is joining us now live from Oakland, California. So, Eva, what did Kennedy, first of all, say about his pick?

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, he believes that she can appeal to young voters. We know, of course, right now President Biden facing some vulnerability with that constituency, some young voters feeling disillusioned for a number of reasons. These young voters that voted for him in 2020, well, he believes that at 38 years old that she can help bring some of those voters into their camp.

But also her personal story, she grew up here in Oakland, in -- on poverty, on welfare, on food stamps, and now she is a woman of significant means. She went on to become a Silicon Valley attorney, started her own business. She is formerly married to the billionaire co-founder of Google. And so it is going to be those significant means, though, that perhaps will be most consequential in the weeks ahead as Kennedy fights to get on the ballot in every state. Take a listen to how Shanahan is thinking about this.


NICOLE SHANAHAN (I), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Please listen to Bobby Kennedy in his own words. Take a look at his vision for America. It is a vision that I share, too, as I spend the next seven months of my life getting him on each and every ballot in this country.



MCKEND: And Wolf, although many people might know Kennedy for his anti-vaccine skepticism or his vaccine skepticism, important to note that the people that we speak here showing up talking about a range of issues, many of them citing his position on war being anti-war as the reason that they are attracted to his campaign. Wolf?

BLITZER: Eva McKend in Oakland, California, for us. Eva, thank you very much. To see how this potentially impacts the 2024 race, let's bring in CNN political commentators Bakari Sellers and Scott Jennings. Scott, Kennedy is polling in double figures nationally, but Shanahan is an unknown with no real political experience. So did he do himself any favors with this pick?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, she's got the most important currency in politics for him and that's actual currency. She is a very wealthy person and he needs money. And she talked about helping him get on the ballot today. So while I don't think the vice presidential pick usually makes a big electoral difference, for the Kennedy ticket, she brings a lot of money to the table and also she shares a lot of his liberal views. So they mesh well there. But really this is about cash getting some into this campaign. And when they get it, I think they can make a difference with it.

BLITZER: So, Bakari, how concerned should the Biden team be that he will pull support from people who might otherwise vote for the president?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: There is a concern about a third party candidacy, but the concern is not because of who he chooses as vice president. Nobody knows her now nationally. She is a very wealthy woman from Palo Alto or Oakland or that Silicon Valley area. I'm not sure why anybody of good common sense actually takes on the role of being vice president for Robert F. Kennedy Junior. We know that there are a lot of people who were asked and she finally said yes, which makes you question why she's doing this.

Ego comes to mind, but also it sets you up for future failure to be associated with somebody who's disassociated from their own family, somebody who has these anti-vax views, somebody who's out of the mainstream of most thought processes.

And then I would, you know, me and Scott and you, Wolf, will be sitting here one day and reviewing a debate that has Ms. Shanahan, Kamala Harris, and maybe somebody like Tim Scott on the same stage together. And if there's one person who sticks out that is not prepared for that limelight, who is not prepared to swim in those deep waters, it would be her. And so it just ruins all of the years of goodwill that you have achieved through your business career.

BLITZER: You know, Scott, Kennedy also has at least some appeal from some on the right, maybe because of his anti vax-views. Is it possible that he actually could pull more support from Trump than from Biden?

JENNINGS: That's not what I see in the polling. And I think when the campaign unfolds and people really focus in on who Kennedy is, I mean, he has been a tried and true liberal and a really fringe liberal. I mean, he has espoused some kooky views over the years. But look, there are people who are attracted to that and he's picked a very liberal running mate. So I think as the campaign unfolds, if you're a Trump supporter and you want to get Donald Trump one more chance to beat Joe Biden, I doubt you're going to be flirting with Kennedy.

But I do think, and you can see the way Democrats are reacting today, that there's real concern on the left that dissatisfaction with Biden on his progressive flank may drive some people out of a third door just as a protest vote.

BLITZER: Interesting. Scott Jennings, Bakari Sellers, guys, thank you very much.

There's breaking news right now. Attorneys for Sean "Diddy" Combs have just issued their first statement since yesterday's federal raids on his properties in Miami and Los Angeles. Let's bring in CNN's Elizabeth Wagmeister. She's getting the latest developments. Elizabeth, update our viewers. ELIZABETH WAGMEISTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Wolf. Yes, so we just got a statement in from Diddy's attorney and they are maintaining his innocence and they are calling these raids yesterday on his homes in Los Angeles, in Miami, a witch hunt. Let me read this to you in full, Wolf. We just got this in from his attorney, Aaron Dyer, who says, quote, yesterday there was a gross overuse of military level force as search warrants were executed at Mr. Combs residences. There is no excuse for the excessive show of force and hostility exhibited by authorities or the way his children and employees were treated.

Mr. Combs was never detained, but spoke to and cooperated with authorities despite media speculation neither Mr. Combs nor any of his family members have been arrested, nor has their ability to travel been restricted in any way. The unprecedented ambush paired with an advanced coordinated media presence leads to a premature rush judgment of Mr. Combs and is nothing more than a witch hunt based on meritless accusations made in civil lawsuits.

There has been no finding of criminal or civil liability with any of these allegations. They end by saying Mr. Combs is innocent and will continue to fight every single day to clear his name.


BLITZER: Interesting, very interesting. Elizabeth Wagmeister, thank you very much for that update.

Coming up, we'll have more on the breaking news. The Baltimore Bridge collapse, what we're learning about the moments leading up to the catastrophic collision.


BLITZER: Happening now, breaking news, an active search by air, land and sea for at least six people missing after a major Baltimore Bridge was rammed by a cargo ship and collapsed into the water. CNN teams are on the scene as the rescue operation and the investigation unfold.