tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN April 30, 2019 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT
holiday, five service members took their own lives. jake. >> barbara star, thank you. and our thanks to sergeant donahoe to have the courage to tell us his story. to kids you're showing on your twitter feed are just gorgeous. you can follow me on jake tapper at cnn. our coverage on cnn continues. happening now, breaking news. violent uprising. dozens of people are injured in clashes in the capital of venezuela, where a political uprising is escalating the country's crisis. tonight, a warning to americans still there. secretary of state mike pompeo joins me live this hour. 2 trillion reasons. president trump surprises democrats by agreeing to spend $2 trillion on fixing the country's roads, bridges, and more. now we're learning why the president was willing to cooperate. outfront, joe biden pulls ahead of the democratic pack in the first poll since he announced his bid for the white house. he's now the front-runner.
is that scaring president trump? and blocking stone. federal prosecutors urging a judge to deny roger stone's request to see the unredacted version of the mueller report. how does stone think it might help his case? and what will a judge decide? i'm wolf blitzer. you're in t"the situation room." >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. >> we're following breaking news. the political power struggle in venezuela turning violent as opposition leader juan guaido makes a new push to oust president nicolas maduro. dozens of people have been injured in clashes in the capital, where the u.s. embassy is now warning all americans to shelter in place. secretary of state mike pompeo will join us live this hour. we'll talk about u.s. options. we'll also talk to congresswoman veronica escobar of the judiciary and armed services committee and our correspondents and analysts are also standing by.
first, let's get the very latest on the breaking news, cnn's brian todd is joining us. brian, venezuela's political crisis is clearly escalating. >> it is escalating, wolf, there's been a lot of violence on the streets of caracas today and it is not at all clear tonight which leader has the full backing of the venezuelan military. >> reporter: it is one of the most violent moments of this spontaneous uprising that continues tonight, as protesters swarmed one of venezuela's armored military vehicles, pelting it with options, another swept in from the left, slamming into the crowd. seconds later, as the chaos swirls, another vehicle comes into view on fire. all of this unfolded today, outside lacarlota military air base in venezuela's capital. juan guaido today declared, this is the final phase in the effort to topple president nicolas maduro. guaido, recognized as venezuela's president by the united states and more than 50 other nations, has led months of
protests against maduro. but today, it escalated, as guaido made a more sweeping call for venezuela's military to back him. >> tonight, it's not clear who is in control. throughout the day, scenes like this played out on the streets. crowds scattering as shots were fired. and on a bridge in the altamira section of the city, tears and gunshots came in rapid, terrifying bursts. security forces at times firing tear gas and other rounds at protesters. at times, advancing before realizing the protesters outnumbered them, then peeling back and running for their lives. guaido says he has the military's support. >> translator: today, it is clear to us that the armed forces are with the venezuelan people and not a dictator. >> reporter: but based on the limited information on the ground, that remains unclear. maduro, the country's longtime
strong man, tweeted, he's got the toil the total loyalty of the military. nerves of steel, the embattled president tweeted, we will win. both maduro and guaido have declared themselves president of this besieged country and both are claiming their opposition have launched coups against them. president trump's national security adviser disagrees with maduro's characterization. >> this is clearly not a coup. we recognize juan guaido as the legitimate interim president of venezuela. and just as it's not a coup when the president of the united states gives an order to the department of defense, it's not a coup for juan guaido to try to take command to have the venezuelan militaries. >> reporter: now, john bolton, no fewer than eight times earlier accused cuba of putting security forces into venezuela and propping up nicolas maduro. bolton said that there are some 20 to 25,000 cuban security forces there. he called them cuban thugs. he said that the cubans even were propagating motorcycle
gangs on the streets of caracas, trying to support nichololas mao and john bolton accused the russians of being involved in supporting maduro. of course, both of those governments vehemently deny those accusations. wolf? >> brian todd reporting for us. thank you very much. let's get some more on the breaking news, the unfolding crisis. the journalist stefano hoseban joins us in the venezuelan capital of caracas. stefano, the opposition leader guaido called on members of the military to defect and join him. did that happen? >> well, wolf, some of that happened. we can -- we have seen several members of the military forces, seminole members of the national guard, standing side by side with juan guaido, and that has been a key developing point of today's story here in caracas. but perhaps what many of us were waiting to see was the support
from the top brass of the military. the generals, the colonels. those really have the power in venezuela. and that support, juan guaido, it seems, still doesn't have. and why is that? because many members of the military sit in nicolas maduro's cabinet himself. and they're linked in very, very strongly with the leadership of nicolas maduro. we've seen the lower ranking military and soldiers have been defecting and joining sides with guaido. we haven't seen the generals yet, wolf. and this could be very, very crucial. >> certainly could be. stefano, explain to our viewers why this uprising that's unfolding in venezuela right now could potentially have very serious consequences around the world and why the white house is closely watching what happens. >> reporter: of course. key geopolitical consequences. let's remember, venezuela is a
key member, first and foremost, of opec. everything that happens in the streets of caracas has a direct repercussion in the price of oil, everywhere, in the world, but also the interest from china, russian, and now increasingly, iran, who are looking at caracas, who are looking at maduro as a key ally to work as a sort of head of a bridge towards the western. of course, the white house is not happy about that. is not happy seeing other powers around the world strengthening their alliances with what they consider is an authoritarian regime here in the western hemisphere. and that's why the white house will monitor very, very closely to see how real the support that maduro gets from the chinese, from the russians, from the iranians actually is. and if that support will be enough to save maduro, or if this uprising is successful in
toppling the embattled authoritarian president here in caracas, wolf. >> and maduro also has the support of the cubans as well as turkey, a nato ally. we'll discuss that and more, that's coming up. stefano, thank you very much, joining us from caracas. we're going to get a lot more on all of this in just a few minutes, when i'll be joined live by the secretary of state, mike pompeo. stick around for that. there's more breaking news we're following right now. new details emerging of why president trump agreed with democrats to spend $2 trillion to fix america's roads, bridges and a lot more. let's go to our white house correspondent, pamela brown. she has new details of today's surprisingly very cordial meeting over there at the white house. pamela, apparently the president set the $2 trillion figure, because he thought it sounded bigger and better than something in the $1 trillion range. >> yeah, that's right. and the democratic leaders said actually the number they proposed was less than that, but then he raised it to $2
trillion. and the democrats leaving the white house today certainly struck a distinctly different tone than past meetings here at the white house. they said the meeting on infrastructure was productive, they said there was goodwill. this as the white house chief of staff, mick mulvaney, cast doubt on any bipartisanship -- any bipartisan deal being reached, while there are these congressional investigations into president trump. tonight, president trump and democratic congressional leaders signaling optimism, after meeting at the white house on infrastructure spending. >> we're very excited about the conversations that we had with the president. >> and it was a very constructive meeting. it's clear that both the white house and all of us want to get something done on infrastructure, in a big and bold way. >> reporter: the rare, courteous outward display standing in stark contrast to the grappling behind the scenes, as the white house fights subpoenas from house democrats trying to investigate president trump's
finances. >> in previous meetings, the president has said, if these investigations continue, i can't work with you. he didn't bring it up. >> reporter: the democrats encouraged about the possibility of spending $2 trillion on a potential deal, far more than the trump administration had previously proposed. >> originally, we had started a little lower, even the president was eager to push it up to $2 trillion. and that is a very good thing. >> though where the money will come from could become a major sticking point. and the president's acting chief of staff cast doubt on any potential deal, while the investigations into the president are ongoing. >> to have an impeachment hearing on monday, say, and to think you're going to talk infrastructure on tuesday, that's not how the world works, let alone washington, d.c. >> reporter: in an escalation of the feud between the white house and democrats, president trump, his family, and the trump organization are now suing two banks to block them from releasing any of trump's financial information to house
investigators. >> he is obviously afraid that we are going to learn more about his relationships with deutsche bank, more about his bankruptcies, perhaps, more about whether or not there's money laundering that's been involved in some ways. >> reporter: and president trump widening the rift with democrats over his administration's immigration policies. issuing a memo calling for sweeping changes to the u.s. asylum process, aimed at curbing the number of migrants entering the country. some of the proposed changes include ruling on asylum applications within 180 days, requiring fees for asylum and work permit applications, and borrowing all migrants entering the u.s. illegally from receiving work permits before protection is granted. >> the president's memo is another tragic step in the wrong direction. >> reporter: just hours after the memo's release, acting homeland security secretary kevin mcaleenan faced pointed questions from democrats at a house subcommittee hearing. >> it seems like the car is
driving off the cliff, with no one to take the wheel. although i guess, mr. secretary, you are now the driver. congratulations. >> reporter: he testified for the first time in his new role, saying he will be requesting more funding to help deal with the flood of migrants crossing the border this year. >> given the scale of what we're facing, we'll exhaust our resources before the end of this fiscal year, which is why, this week, the administration will be sending a supplemental funding request to the congress. >> and here at the white house, president trump also brought up immigration with democrats, setting the stage for that request from the administration to the hill and funding expected to be less than $10 billion for the influx of migrants crossing the border, according to multiple sources. but wolf, that funding request could run into problems with democrats who are skeptical of the administration's intent with this immigration funding. and of course, the overall
policy on immigration. wolf? >> pamela, thank you. pamela brown at the white house. let's get some more on all of this. democratic congresswoman, veronica escobar of texas is joining us. she's a member of the judiciary and armed services committees. congresswoman, thanks so much for joining us. let's quickly go to venezuela, the breaking news, you heard it. the president's national security adviser, john bolton, says this is not, repeat, not a coup and that all options for the united states remain on the table. what's your reaction to this situation and the violence we're seeing on the screen as it unfolds today? >> thank you so much for having me on, wolf. i really appreciate the opportunity. what we're seeing unfold in venezuela is very, very troubling. we are all keeping a close watch on what is happening. we want there, obviously, to be a peaceful transfer of power. the venezuelan people want democracy. we want to see democracy in that part of the world. we have a stake in that, but we
need to just -- everything is unfolding minute by minute. we need to keep watching, we need to be cautious, we need to be supportive. the international community has acknowledged to the rightful leader of venezuela is, and weapon want there to be a peaceful transition. >> so are you with maduro or guaido? >> with guaido. >> you are? >> yes, yes. and the international community has recognized him as the leader. so we want to see that transition. we don't want to see the military firing on its own people. we want to see a de-escalation. >> all right. let's move on and talk about some other major developments today, out of the white house. the president, he met with leaders of the democratic matter, as you saw. they have all come out of that meeting, which was very cordial, we're told, and they've proposed a $2 trillion infrastructure plan. they got the broad outlines of that, the $2 trillion. a lot of details, of course, remain to be worked up. do you think you and members of
congress can turn this proposal into a reality? or will this fall apart like so many other initial agreements between the president and democrats? i know we can, wolf. there are needs that are significant across this country. and it's not broadband and clea the jomajority, i have heard nothing but a willingness to cooperate with the white house in order to get a deal done, in order to deliver for the american public. so i think you will see from the house, a real willingness to solve america's infrastructure crisis. >> are democrats willing to give president trump a victory on this critical issue of infrastructure before the 2020 election? >> we want to give the american people a victory. it is so important -- you know, i'll tell you, wolf, you know, many of us, especially the freshmen, we are very much like
hot off the campaign trail. the american public wants a long list of things for us to deliver. we have been working in the house, delivering on those promises, infrastructure is one of them. so regardless of who's in the white house, we want to deliver for the american people. >> and if you see the state of so many bridges and highways and airports all over the country, you know this is a critically important issue that deserves enormous bipartisan support. >> that's right. >> let's move on to some other issues, congresswoman. it all comes as the administration is fighting your oversight efforts with the attorney general, william barr, now threatening to skip your house judiciary committee hearing on thursday morning, due not format. the chairman, jerry nadler, says there's no middle ground to negotiate. why are you willing to risk losing this opportunity to question the attorney general? >> you know, it's really the risk that he is willing to take. our hope and our expectation is
that he believes in transparency. that he knows that he works for the american people, and that he has an obligation to come before the congress and answer our questions. the format is nothing unusual, in the capital. and it's nothing that anyone should be concerned about. i think if he's got nothing to hide, he should be there on thursday. and we expect him to be there. >> he says he's willing to answer all the questions from the members of the committee. he's doing the same thing before the senate judiciary committee tomorrow morning. but he doesn't want to spend an hour, 30 minutes, answering questions from republican staff members and democratic staff lawyers. >> right. you've got to wonder what he is so afraid of. this is an opportunity for him, again, to be completely transparent. what we saw, what the american people saw, what congress saw, was a very different tale that he told versus what we saw in the redacted mueller report. we have a lot of questions. and if he stands by his statements, he should be completely forthcoming and
unafraid. >> let's turn to the critically important issue of immigration. you represent the border city of el paso. the trump administration says it will request more money to deal with the flow of immigrants at the southern border. that money would go to processing facilities, increasing personnel, more beds and i.c.e. facilities. do you think more funding will help improve the situation, first of all, in your community? >> i think -- there's a couple of things, wolf. i think number one, there should be not a single penny that goes to additional bed space. bed space costs this country and taxpayers $125 per day, per person. the amount of people, the number of people that the trump administration wants to incarcerate is -- that number would be extraordinary, it would be -- it should be offensive to every taxpayer. there are alternatives to detention that are humane, effective, that are far cheaper. so not a single dime would i
support for more bed space. i think in terms of the humanitarian response, i would be willing to support more funding for humane processing centers that get individuals who are pleading for asylum out the door, processed and out the door within 72 hours. but the department of homeland security, right now, receives a significant sum of money. we also, at the same time, have to look at how they've been spending their money. they are using highly paid, highly trained law enforcement officers to do something that civilians could do, like data entry, or like case management. and so they need to be smarter and more strategic. i'm not unwilling to make investments, but they have to be smart, humane investments that reflect american values. >> congresswoman escobar, thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you. all right, there's more breaking news just ahead. i'll speak with the secretary of state, mike pompeo, about the escalating crisis and the violence that's rocking
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heading out here? get the ford ranger. the only adventure gear built ford tough. we're standing by to speak this hour with the secretary of state, mike pompeo. i'll get his thoughts on the chaos that's unfolding right now in venezuela. stay tuned. that's coming up momentarily. also tonight, a brand-new cnn poll shows former vice president joe biden surging among democrats less than a week after formally announcing his run for the white house. cnn's arlette signs is tracking the biden campaign and joining us from duh buibuque in iowa. the former vice president
struggled in iowa in his 2008 run for the nomination. is he campaigning like a front-runner for 2020 right now? >> reporter: he sure is, wolf. and in just a short while, he's going to take the stage here in dubuque. this, of course, is joe biden's third run for the white house and today he told radio iowa here that he doesn't feel any pressure as the front-runner, but he's going to work like the devil to win the state. joe biden hitting the campaign trail in iowa today, as the clear front-runner in the democratic field. >> folks, really good to be back. >> reporter: his first trip to the early caucus state comes as a new cnn poll shows biden with a commanding lead of the democratic pac, earning the backing of 39% of democratic voters. his lead extending across every major demographic, far ahead in support from non-white voters with 50%. more than a double-digit lead over bernie sanders at 14%.
>> rebuild the middle class, rebuild the middle class this time, i'm going to make sure everybody comes along. everybody. regardless of their race, their gender, their ethnicity, their religion, where they live, whether they have a disability. everybody gets in this time. everybody! >> reporter: biden's trip to the state comes more than a decade after he stumbled here in his last run for the white house. earnings less than 1% in the iowa caucuses in 2008. >> hi, everybody. >> reporter: with the 2020 iowa caucuses 279 days away, biden is now betting his more than four decades of experience will pay off. >> the good news and the bad news. you're going to see a whole heck of a lot of me. >> yeah! >> i promise you this. no one's going to work harder in iowa than joe biden to get your support and gain your confidence. >> reporter: also on display, biden's full embrace of president obama. >> barack obama is an extraordinary man. >> reporter: releasing a new video using the former president's praise of his
partner. >> he could not have been a more effective partner in the progress that we've made. the best part is, he's no where are close to finished. >> reporter: as biden continues his trip through the hawkeye state, his closest competition, sanders, is aiming to draw a sharp contrast between himself and the former vice president. >> i voted against the war in iraq. in fact, helped lead the opposition to what turned out to be the worst foreign policy disaster in the modern history of america. joe voted for it. i voted against a nafta. i voted against permanent trade relations with china. two trade agreements which cost us millions of good-paying jobs. joe supported those agreements. >> reporter: but as his democratic opponents pounce, biden is keeping his focus on the man in the white house. >> everybody knows who donald trump is. i want to make sure they know who we are. who i am. we choose hope over fear!
>> reporter: joe biden also made a stop at a local ice cream shop, where he was asked by reporters about that criticism from bernie sanders. biden said that he is proud of his record and that he'll be ready to engage with his democratic rivals in the debates, wolf, that first debate is less than two months away. >> it certainly is, arlette. arlette in dubuque, iowa. we'll have a lot more on joe biden, all the late-breaking political developments in just a few moments. but right now we have more on the breaking news. the escalating political crisis in venezuela, sparking street clashes that have left dozens of people injured and prompted the united states embassy in caracas to warn americans to shelter in place. secretary of state mike pompeo is joining us now from the state department. mr. secretary, thank you so much for joining us. >> you bet, wolf. great to be with you, sir. >> thank you. did you know, did the united states government know that uprising was coming? >> i don't want to get into precisely what we knew, but we've had good information all along as we've been working with
the venezuelan people and juan guaido and the national assembly to restore democracy inside of venezuela. we've been on that mission for a while. we're still on that mission. we've watched events unfold today. we were urging there to be a non-violent solution. maduro simply should leave. it's his time. he has no answers for the venezuelan people and the united states are determined to restoring democracy and beginning to build back their economy. >> did the united states back this push by juan guaido or give any assurances to guaido that the united states would support him? >> oh, we have made clear assurances, wolf, all lunge that we would support juan guaido and the national assembly. they are the duly elected leaders of the venezuelan government. so, yes, we've provided strong assurances to them. i've indicated that again this morning, as the president throughout the day. >> we've seen the violence on the streets of caracas and elsewhere. it certainly looks like maduro is not going to go without a significant fight. so here's the question. what specifically is the united
states prepared to do if maduro arrests guaido? >> well, i'm not going to get into specifics, but we've made very clear we consider that a major escalation, wolf. we've watched throughout the day, it's been a long time since anyone has seen maduro. he had an airplane on the tarmac he was ready to leave this morning, as we understand it, and the russians indicated that he should stay. we think the situation remains incredibly fluid. we know that there were senior leaders inside the maduro government that were prepared to leave. they told us as much over the past few weeks, and we're convinced that the venezuelan people are going to get their democracy back. >> so if you say he was getting ready to head over to the airports and the russians talked him out of it, are the russians responsible now for what's going on? >> we've made clear all along, wolf, that maduro surrounded by cubans and has been supported by russians there in venezuela. and we've told the russians and we've told the cubans that's unacceptable. that's unacceptable to starve
people. it's unacceptable to allow sick children not to be able to get their medicine. the nations of the region and the lima group, the organization of american states are all demanding that we get democracy restored. and that we get dignity back to this once-great nation. it's a country that has the capacity for great wealth and the united states is prepared to stand with the venezuelan people, to support the interim government, to haelp a free and fair election to take place and build back this country. >> you say you've spoken to the russians, you've spoken to the cubans. clearly, they're not listening, because their support for maduro continues. so what are you going to do if that continues down the road and it looks like this violence is simply going to escalate? >> well, we're continuing to work. one should measure the progress that the venezuelan people have made. they're continuing to accrete influence and power, and i'm convinced that will be the case, not only today, but in the days ahead, as well. >> what's very concern sthing i
that the russians, and correct me if i'm wrong, is they have missiles on the ground in venezuela right now. that, in effect, could restrict u.s. military option ifs there are any u.s. military options. i ask the questions, because you and your colleagues keep saying, all options are on the table. >> wolf, the president has made very clear that all options are on the table. that certainly includes a military option. we're working to make sure that doesn't need to be the case. that we've delivered this outcome for the venezuelan people in a way that doesn't put life and limb at risk and there's not violence, but i don't think anyone should be fooled that if the president makes that decision, if he chooses a military option, that the united states military has the capacity to execute that option in a way that will achieve the outcome the president intends. >> how violent does it have to get before the u.s. does unleash a military option? >> we're working to make sure there's not violence, wolf. we're working to make sure that we stop what it is maduro is doing, relying on cuban thugs to protect himself from his own people, from the venezuelan
people. i hear people talk about military intervention. well, that's happened. there's cuban military on the ground. and they're doing so without the consent of the lawful government in venezuela. they did it at the behest of maduro, but without the permission from juan guaido and the national assembly. that's the incursion, that's the invasion. and it's what the venezuelan people are demanding be overturned. >> but there's a lot of violence going on right now. we've been showing these images, horrible images, all day of what's happening on the streets of caracas and elsewhere in venezuela right now. it looks like it's continuing. so once again, how much more violent does it have to get before the u.s. intervenes? >> wolf, we're not going to talk about exactly where our red lines are and where our triggers are for this. we've been determined, we remain determined. the nations of the region remain determined. 10%, 10% of the venezuelan people have already had to flee their country. the united states stands ready, as we do in many places in the
world, to support democracy and freedom and protect the rights of the venezuelan people. we'll continue to do that. >> i understand you don't want to discuss military options. let's talk about diplomatic options right now, political options. what are you doing right now to try to stop the violence from escalating? >> well, first of all, we're making clear to everyone that we're watching, we will hold accountable those who turn to violence or inflict violence upon the venezuelan people. so there will be a day for accountability for all of those who engage in this. and we're encouraging all the parties on the ground to resolve this peacefully. this is a dually elected leader, an interim leader, juan guaido, and it should be a political process for free and fair elections, that should lead to the handover of all of the power inside of venezuela. it's what the state department is determined to achieve. >> the average american watching us right now, mr. secretary, what does all of that mean, from the u.s. perspective? >> well, wolf, it means that we
have a nation that has demanded democracy. it's demanded to have food for starving children and medicine for sick kids. it seems like basic things. i think every american can understand that. and the united states and frankly nearly every country in the region is working to support that. the american taxpayers have been most gracious and put a couple hundred metric tons of food on the venezuelan border and maduro denied the ability to get that food into them. this won't stand, the venezuelan people won't stand for this. it may take just a little bit longer to get there, but i'm convinced. i'm convinced that democracy will return to venezuela and all of us, the entire world, the coalition of 54 nations will stand together to help the venezuelan people restore their economy. >> and i just want you to elaborate, mr. secretary, on what you said earlier, that he was apparently ready to leave, head off to the airport, maduro, but the russians talked him out of that. is that right? >> that's right. >> so you blame russia for the violence right now?
>> he was headed for havana. >> well, talk about that. how do you know? >> i can't tell you. there's -- you see this, you see all the open source material that's out there, there's lots of information. we're talking to scores and scores of people on the ground. civilians, talking to folks at the military, talking to opposition leaders. many, many conversations that have given us every indication that the fact that maduro's plane was parked on the tarmac and he was preparing himself to depart is a fact. >> so you want him to leave the country. you don't want him to stay in the country, even if he gives up power. is that what i'm hearing? >> that's right. there's no way that maduro can stay in the country, in a nation that he has so decimated. just simply, we can't imagine a way that would possibly work, so it's time for him to leave venezuela and it's time for those who join democracy and freedom to understand that we're
prepared to make sure a they get to be part of a transition and begin to work alongside all the nations in the region as well as the venezuelan people in restoring that very democracy. >> so if leader in cuba are watching us right now, what's your message to the cuban leadership and the same question as far as the russian leadership is concerned? >> with respect to the cubans, we have had the opportunity to communicate to them that we find it unacceptable that they're protecting this thug. you've seen the actions that the state department has taken, in terms of hems burton act waivers that we no longer have in place. we're about to put another set of restrictions in place. the president has communicated that we're going to continue to raise the cost for this malign activity that the cuban government is engaged in. it's the same kind of human rights violations that there are inside of cuban today, they are now foisting on the venezuelan people, all for 50 or 75,000 barrels a day of sub-market-priced crude oil. that's unacceptable and we're going to raise the cost for the kuhn leadership if they continue to engage in this behavior.
>> so it's been worse from the u.s. perspective in preventing maduro from leaving? you call them the cuban thugs who are on the ground over there in caracas and elsewhere or the russians? >> the cubans are the runs that are the deepest, have been there the longest, have the most direct relationship, are closest to the protection that is being provided to maduro, and so they are at the center of this malfeasance. >> maduro also gets support from other countries, iran, for example. but what's surprising to me, and maybe you can explain this, the nato ally, turkey, supports maduro right now. i'm sure you've had conversations with the turkish leadership on that. why? >> we've had conversations with any country. you spoke about iran, talked about russia, we've had conversations with the chinese government, as well. we've talked to the turks. we have urged each of them to get on the right side of history, to support venezuelan democracy. that's the plea we've made to
them, it's the request we've made to them. it is the thing that will drive us to raise cost for them, in the event that they don't choose to head down the right path. this is all about helping the venezuelan people. we've urged every nation to engage in that. >> has the president spoken with president putin about this? >> i don't want to get into all of the conversations that have been held between us and other parties. suffice it to say, i am confident that the russians understand the american position on this and understand the harm that is being inflicted on the venezuelan people. >> i want you to speak directly to maduro right now. what is your message to him at this very, very sensitive, potentially explosive moment? >> fire up the plane. >> and if he doesn't? >> the cost for he and those who protect him will continue to increase and unfortunately, i'm not sure he cares as much about this as i would hope and pray that he does, the destruction that he will do to the very people that he pretends to care
about. the harm that he will bring to them will only increase. we implore him, it's time for him to leave, it's time for him to depart venezuela, and we would urge him to do this at the earliest possible moment. >> and if he gets on that plane, the u.s. will ensure that he can fly safely to havana? >> mr. maduro understands what will happen if he gets on that airplane. he knows our expectations. >> what does that mean? >> he knows our expectations, wolf. >> but he will be able to fly safely to havana, is that right? >> wolf, he knows our expectations. >> leave it on that note. mr. secretary, it's a sensitive moment and you were very generous with your time to join us. thank you very much. >> thank you very much, sir. >> all right, let's discuss all of this with our political and legal experts. dana bash, this is a sensitive moment right now. >> wow. >> you just heard what the secretary of state had to say. >> yeah. i mean, the fact that he revealed that they -- that their understanding was that maduro was on a plane, about to leave,
and was convinced not to by the cubans and the russians, is absolutely fascinating. and the message at the end there, that was the news he made at the beginning, and the message at the end there was fire up the plane. they want him out. and there is -- there is absolutely no -- they're not vague at all. they're crystal clear, that this is the american policy. obviously, we've seen the american policy, the trump administration policy be very much in -- on the side of guaido and about getting maduro out for some time. but to take it to this level, to the point where they're obviously openly encouraging what you're seeing on the streets there, not the violence, of course, but to get the people out on the streets and to more actively protest against maduro, and to try to prop up guaido is pretty remarkable. the other thing is russia. i mean, this administration has had the most complicated relationship with russia. the president himself has tried
very, very hard against a lot of criticism to woo vladimir putin as somebody he can work with and secretary pompeo didn't want to answer whether or not the president has specifically called vladimir putin to say butt out, let this guy leave. and i thought the nonanswer was quite telling. >> yeah, you know, it's a very, very sensitive moment right now. and i want to bring in our cnn military and diplomatic contributor. our analyst, retired rear admiral kirby, john kirby. what did you think of what we just heard from the secretary of state? >> in some ways, predictable, wolf. you know, trying to talk about a peaceful resolution to this and a diplomatic path forward. maduro has to leave office. but i agree with dana, i was quite stunned at how bald he was, bold he was about the fact that maduro needed to leave the country. not just step down from power, but leave the country. and it didn't appear to me like he had any specifics in terms of how that was supposed to be
supported, how you're going to go forward. the other question he didn't really get to was, what if guaido secedes here in the next day or two? what does that mean for u.s. intervention and involvement, diplomatically, economically, militarily? there doesn't seem to be a lot of meat on the bones here a as to how this thing is unfolding. and i think they were caught off guard by how quickly this happened and they're really trying to come to grips of what the aftermath might be. there's no answer for the "what next?" and that really surprised me. >> what surprised me was how blunt he was in blaming russia, for example, from talking maduro out of leaving. he was getting ready to board a plane according to the secretary of state and fly to havana. how blunt he was in directing that anger towards russia and of course towards the cubans. >> he seems to blame everybody but maduro for the problems inside of venezuela. let's not forget where this all started two, three years ago when he started to starve his own people and ran his economy into the ground. yes, the cubans had been in
support, but not in a meaningful way in terms of the civil unrest there in cuba. and the russians only recently, under the guise of a military cooperation agreement, have put some resources on the ground. this should really be laid at maduro's feet. i also found it interesting that hep won't commit -- he, pompeo, won't commit to what they would do terms of treating russia further, as russia continues to now involve themselves in the political situation much more deeply. >> you spent years in the u.s. military, you retired as an admiral. you were the pentagon spokesman. when he says and the president says and the national security adviser says, all options are on the table, that means a u.s. military option right now. is that realistic that the u.s. would use a military option, send troops? send missiles? do whatever the u.s. military does in a situation like that? i assume there are all sorts of contingency plans, because there always are contingency plans at the pentagon. >> so they'll be planning for a spectrum of operations, wolf.
not just full-on conventional intervention, but maybe humanitarian relief, maybe the safeguarding of american diplomats. there'll be a whole range from low intensity to high intensity that they'll have to be ready for. but make no mistake, when the russians put missiles in there and put some advisers and bombers in there, that wasn't just a poke in trump's eye to say, hey, we have a vested interest here. they are trying to make it very clear they want to make any u.s. military intervention that much more costly and difficult. whatever it is. so any military planning that's going on now has to factor in the russian capability on the ground. there's no question about that. >> all right. john kirby, stand by. everybody, stand by. there's a lot more breaking news unfolding, including dramatic developments in the race for the white house right now. we'll go back to iowa. we'll be right back. -here comes the rain.
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i'm gonna sweep the sofa fort. well, look what i found. take control of your wifi with xfinity xfi. let's roll! now that's simple, easy, awesome. xfinity xfi gives you the speed, coverage and control you need. manage your wifi network from anywhere when you download the xfi app today. former vice president joe biden is out on the campaign trail in iowa as he opens a wide lead over the rest of the democratic field. that according to a brand new cnn poll. let's get some analysis from our experts. look at this poll. biden campaigning in iowa. right now he's at 39% among potential democratic voters. in march he was at 28%. bernie sanders has gone down from 19 to 15. everybody else is in single
digits. >> those who want to defeat donald trump who are not as quote, unquote radical when talking about pushing liberal progressive policies. that's what you'll see right there. that's that poll. the joe biden wing, more modern, more centrist and the bernie sanders, elizabeth warren is more liberal. >> how significant is this bump for the vice president? >> it's very significant. there's so many different case studies you the take in recent history about being a front-runner early. some positive, some negative. the most recent is donald trump was ahead at beginning pretty much right after he announced and that was it. nobody ever could catch up to him. he was well known. people understood him as a reality star. joe biden is well known as a leer leader. someone who has been in public service, public life for almost half a century. the other thing i found really fascinating about the poll is that only 7% said that they
didn't know very much about joe biden. they were unsure or unclear about where he stood. 7%. half of them said they didn't know a lot about his record which is why you have seen bernie sanders on anderson cooper and with brook trying to explain the differences on trade and military. >> he was president obama's vice president for eight years. he's well known pop look at this poll. among potential democratic voters, if you split them up between white voters and non-white voters, biden i among non-white voters get 50% of the non-white democratic voters. everybody else is in low digits. >> he enters the race with unparalleled name id and benefits from the legacy of the
obama years and the obama coalition of voters large by compromise of people of color and single women. i think there's some built in support that joe biden has having come into this race as an early front-runner. it also means you can't discount some of the relationships he continues to hold with these communities of color stemming from the obama administration's own record. he does have some catching up to do in south carolina which is where african-american voters play a role. two candidates of color have put a lot of their organizing efforts there. joe biden will have to catch up. as people do scrutinize his record, some of his past comments on race, the handling of the anita hill, clarence thomas hearings, the polls tell us you can't discount it. >> he releases very powerful video today featuring barack obama. watch this.
>> could not have been a more effective partner in the progress we've made. the best part is he's nowhere close to finished. >> we're told that president obama and his folks approved the use of this image, that sound in that video. >> biden will benefit from his close relationship with obama even if obama doesn't make a formal endorsement in the primary. obama will be one of the most, if not the single most important democrat in terms of securing an endorsement. selecting someone as your vice president is a form of endorsement. it tends to stick. we'll see joe biden leaning into that. running a bit on obama o's reco. at the end of the day they have very different people and different candidates. one thing we can be sure is he'll be leaning heavily on obama in the general election. >> we know over the eight years they had a very close relationship. stick around. there's more breaking news. the secretary of state, mike
pompeo, revealing in "the situation room" just a few moments ago that the venezuelan president was about the flee his country amid the escalating violence but one thing stopped him. we have details. don't tell your mother. dad, it's fine. we have allstate. and with claimrateguard they won't raise your rates just because of a claim. that's why you're my favorite... i know. are you in good hands? (michelle) i know what it's like to be in a financially struggling family. we had a lot of leftovers...[chuckles] i couldn't have asked for better parents, but like most people they didn't have anyone to teach them the best financial habits. so we changed that. as a financial health coach, i help people every day. i try to put myself in their shoes from my own experience. i connect to them because i've been there. helping families like mine save a little money changes everything. this is personalized guidance. this is wells fargo. mthat i'm 19% native american,d
stunning vents that have been happening behind the scenes. bigger and better. we're told that's the message president trump wanted to send when he reached the 2 trillion dollar agreement with democratidemocratis. joe biden makes his campaign debut in iowa. biden is playing to the party's base by leaning into his relationship with president barack obama. bank shot. the president, his children and his business. they've all launched a new lawsuit to block two banks from giving financial records to congress. house democrats say it's proof that the trumps are scared of what the banks might reveal. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation ro