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tv   CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield  CNN  March 3, 2019 12:00pm-1:00pm PST

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for joining me. i'm amara walker in for fredricka whitfield. developing today, republican senator rand paul now saying he will vote to block president trump's emergency declaration chlts that now makes four members in the president's own party and senate vowing to go against trump's move to fulfill his biggest campaign promise, building the wall along the southern border. this means the resolution of disapproval will most likely make it to the president's desk where he has warned he will use his first presidential veto. let's check in with cnn's white house correspondent boris sanchez, and as we were saying, four is the magic number of republicans needed to block this resolution, and it looks like we have that, bo rir orkboris. >> that's right, we had republicans warning president trump privately and publicly about this national deck
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legislatio -- declaration, saying it could potentially split the party. and rand paul saying he is opposed to this declaration because he didn't want to give the president powers. here's more of what rand paul told supporters. he said, quote, i can't vote to give the president the power to spend money that has not been appropriated by congress. we may want more money for border security, but congress did not authorize it. if we take away those checks and balances, it is a dangerous thing. so rand paul essentially signing the potential precedent that it could set for a future democratic administration to then declare a national emergency on an issue that republicans oppose. president trump has made clear that if this resolution does reach his desk, he would veto it. listen to this. >> will i veto it? 100%. 100%. and i don't think it survives a veto. we have too many smart people that want border security, so i
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can't imagine it could survive a veto, but i will veto it, yes. >> reporter: so this move is largely symbolic because we don't believe there are a number of votes sufficiently to overcome the the vote. they have about two weeks to hold a vote on this, amara. >> clearly what would be an extraordinary review of president trump in using his emergency powers, but just to be clear, this is not about partisanship or being against the wall or border security. these four republicans are backing this bill to say there is a separation of powers as outlined in the constitution. we take it seriously, we hope you do. >> part of their fear is, let's say, 2020 or 2024, they could cite this as president to declare a national emergency on
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any number of issues, whether it be gun control or anything democrats are in favor of that then republicans would almost be powerless depending on the situation in congress to oppose. in this case as republicans are trying to step in, we know senate majority leader mitch mcconnell was in the white house about a month ago, according to sources, trying to warn the president not to do this. the president cited he was going to move forward and in cpac saying, he was looking for a loophole around a loophole to get his border funding, amara. >> thank you, boris. democrats vowing to ramp up their investigations into president trump. today the chair of the house judiciary committee says he will be requesting documents from some 60 people as congress investigate the president for possible obstruction of justice, collusion and abuse of power.
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some of the investigation includes investigation of the president's power, including donald trump jr. >> do you think the president obstructed justice? >> yes, i do. it's very clear the president obstructed justice. 1100 times he referred to the mueller investigation as a witch hunt. he tried to protect flynn from being investigated by the fbi. he fired comey in order to stop the russian thing, as he told nbc news. he's dangled -- he's intimidated witnesses in public. >> meantime, president trump is claiming he is innocent, tweeting today, i am an innocent man being persecuted by some very bad conflicted and corrupt people in a witch hunt that was illegal and should never have been allowed to start, and only because i won the election. with me now is michael scherer, senior political analyst. also joining me is r eva martin,
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a legal analyst. ar eva, let me start with you and get some thoughts. inner jerry nadler's claim is the president obstructed justice. he was very clear. it seems like there were many potential opportunities to obstruct justice, and specifically when cohen was saying, look, trump did not tell me to lie, he kind of spoke to me in code to cooperate with his lawyers when it came to his testimony about how long the trump tower moscow negotiations have been going on for and he ended up pleading guilty to lying in congress. how clear do you see obstruction of justice against the president, r ee vrreva? >> i think the question here is what happens to a sitting president that engajges in the kind of conduct that president trump has engaged in. this is what we talk so much about in the news about not indicting a sitting president.
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so the question becomes whether the conduct that president trump has engaged in, the 1100 fee 11 that nadler made reference to, the comments we heard michael cohen testify to, that donald trump told him to lie about the hush money to stormy daniels. there is a laundry list of conduct that president trump has engaged in. does that give the department of justice the kind of evidence they need to file charges against the president, or can this president be indicted? i think for me listening to michael cohen, the most troubling thing about his testimony was not what happens with robert mueller but what happens with the southern district of new york and other investigations that may come out of his testimony. so the obstruction of justice, like so many other claims, i think are still on the table. >> michael, r ee vrkreva, i thi president mentioned th-- michae
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testified that the president had tweeted 1100 times, blasting the investigation, astounding to hear the president say, i am an innocent man. are you getting the sense that president trump is getting worried about his legal future? >> i think you got that sense from the day that all of these investigations started, is that the president was clearly aware of the danger that he was in both politically and legally, and so, you know, that's why he's been lashing out so much in the past two years. the real question that i think we all have to grapple with, right, is there is a couple different standards. there is a legal standard and a political standard. you know, whether or not the expressions, the public expressions, of attacks that the president does, i was at cpac yesterday when the president gave that very, very long speech. we all shake our heads at a president of the united states
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attacking somebody like mueller, attacking his own fbi and law enforcement that way. but does that meet ultimately the legal definition of obstruction? does that put him in legal jeopardy for a conspiracy that either bob mueller or the other law enforcement agencies can bring? and if not, if it doesn't meet that standard, then can the democrats, both on the house side and the senate side, assemble a case that's a political case against them, that it may not meet the legal standard but that there is enough that the president has done both privately and publicly that they can build a case for impeachment. and i think that, too, is still an open question. we don't know whether the politicians -- the democrats can do that. >> that brings me to my next point, reva. democrats have made their point clear that they intend to expand investigations for trump following cohen's testimony this week. i want you to listen to adam
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schiff this morning. >> i made this distinction all along, and that is while there is abundant evidence of collusion, the issue from a criminal point of view is whether there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt of a criminal conspiracy. that is something that we will have to await bob mueller's report and the underlying evidence to determine. we will also have to look at the whole body of improper and criminal actions by the president, including those campaign finance crimes to determine whether they rise to the level of removal from office. >> what we're hearing from the democrats, nadler and schiff are both saying it's very clear there was obstruction, there was collusion. my question is what are the legal options for lawmakers? what's the strategy from here on out? >> what we're hearing is that not likely that bob mueller is going to indict the president. again, i reference that doj memo about not indicting a sitting president. but i think what was clear from michael cohen's testimony is that the president's legal jeopardy goes well beyond
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anything mueller is investigating with respect to russia. we heard about him inflating and deflating his assets for purposes of insurances, for purposes of getting a loan. we heard michael cohen testify about that. he brought the check that he said donald trump signed that was part of the hush money payment to stormy daniels to prevent that damaging information about an affair coming out right before the 2016 election. so there is a plethora of information that was provided by michael cohen that we have been told by reports that the southern district of new york is investigating, and that they may not believe the president is being indicted the way mueller and his team believes. it is clear the president faces a significant amount of legal jeopardy both while in office and when he is out of office. if he's no longer the president after the 2020 election, it seems pretty clear that his legal jeopardy and that of his family was definitely heightened or raised after michael cohen's testimony. >> absolutely.
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a joining republicans now making it four, which is the magic number that they needed to pass this resolution, basically overturning the president's emergency declaration. how big of a blow is this for the president? because in the end he will still be able to get the funding for his wall since he has a veto power and the senate cannot overcome that veto. >> i think that's right. i think everybody would, making the political calculation now, that the democrats plus the handful of republicans are not enough to overcome a presidential veto. i would only caution that politics can shift pretty quickly in this town and it's possible that something could happen between now and the time that a veto would take place that could change the dynamics. but look, what is undeniable is that members of the president's own party are deeply, deeply uncomfortable with this idea because of what was mentioned in the report earlier, which is the precedent that it could set.
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the next time there is a democratic president, this lays the groundwork for a pretty dramatic expansion of the idea of presidential power. can you use a national emergency just in very narrow cases to do very narrow things, or can you, as the president is trying to do, use a national emergency to basically get what you want even when congress has specifically acted in a contrary way? and, you know, there is a lot of republicans, more than just those four that have been identified who are uncomfortable with that. they're not ready right now to oppose the president, but that is there in the congress. >> including majority leader mitch mcconnell who ended up siding with the president to avoid a shutdown. michael scherer and reva martin, thank you very much. the next key person we'll be hearing from is felix sater. he claimed he led the trump tower moscow negotiations, and
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he's got quite the resume. in 1991, sater got into a bar fight and slashed a guy with a margarita glass. in 1998, sater pleaded guilty to a stock fraud scheme involving the mob. only a few years later, sater says he began working with the trumps on real estate deals. in 2015, sater e-mailed michael cohen, then-lawyer for mr. trump, and talked about how the trump tower moscow project would help mr. trump to convince america of his skills and win the white house. >> reporter: felix sater is the man at the center of donald trump's moscow trump tower project, and now he'll testify before congress, sharing with the world what he knows about the president's business dealings. >> i was trying to use this opportunity because i had tried to build trump towers in moscow as well as london and paris. >> reporter: lawmakers will likely grill sater on what trump
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knew about the deal and when and on possible financing sources. in 2018 sater told cnn if the trump tower moscow project had moved forward, he would have made sure trump was hands on. >> believe me, i would have turned over every rock to make sure everyone was involved. >> reporter: sater was e-mailing trump's permanent lawyer michael cohen in 2016 about the deal. that would have netted the trump business a $40 million fee. he said if the deal had been successful, it would have earned hundreds of millions of dollars for the trump organization. sater is best known for his trump tower moscow deal, but his relationship with the president goes well beyond that. >> you did licensing agreements vov involving the trump name also, which was a huge revenue flow. >> i worked on numerous trump deals in my career.
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>> reporter: trump downplayed the relationship in 2013. but in 2010, sater had an office three doors down from trump in the trump tower in new york, according to a person familiar with the office layout at the time. >> that he had an office at the trump tower. >> and on the 26th floor. >> and the 26th floor is important why? >> because it's mr. trump's floor. >> reporter: sater, born in the soviet union moved to the u.s. in the '70s. he is a former government trump operator saying he worked in ao0 years and could soon share that with america. >> congress wants to ask about financing of the project during the sater hearing. trump has denied any involvement in the trump tower moscow deal. still, the white house is on
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the defensive after president trump and kim jong-un left the second summit without a deal. did that hurt future efforts to get north korea to denuclearize? later remembering bloody sunday. remembering the march on selma, several 2020 democratic hopefuls are making their pitch to potential voters. get automatic odor neutralization with air wick pure freshmatic. just load, click and set to forget odors up to 60 days. air wick pure freshmatic this is the avery's trying the hottest new bistro.ery's. wait...and the hottest taqueria? and the hottest...what are those? oh, pierogis?
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i want to take you to selma, alabama. live pictures there of hillary clinton. she and other democratic hopefuls for 2020 and leertadern the community are about to walk the eddie pettit bridge for a march. we'll let you know when that gets underway. the weather not cooperating, it's been storming most of the day, but it looks like they're about ready to do this walk. we are following national security adviser john bolton
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coming out strong today, fiercely defending president trump's decision to walk out of that meeting with kim jong-un. he insists that despite both men leaving without a deal, the second summit was not a failure. and the possibility of a third summit could be on the table, depending on kim jong-un's next move. he also says the president laid out a clear offer, and now they will wait and see. >> i think it was unquestionably a success for the united states because the president protected, defended american interest. you know, the possibility was there for north korea to make a big deal with us, to do complete denuclearization in exchange for the potential for a very bright economic future. the president wanted to make that big deal. he pushed very hard for it. the north koreans were not willing to walk through the door that he opened for them. so now we'll see what happens. if you can't get a good deal, and the president offered north korea the best deal it could possibly get, no deal is better than a bad deal.
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>> joining me now, former u.s. ambassador to china max baucus. max, a pleasure to have you on, and as you heard, bolton was saying this was unquestionably a success. you have president trump at cpac touting it as a success, saying a lot of progress was made. trump was hoping that his charm would be able to work and get kim jong-un to denuclearize. he walked away empty-handed. was this a success? >> i think it was right for president trump to walk away from the deal that kim jong-un proposed to him. the problem was there was insufficient preparation here. the groundwork was not laid, so it's almost impossible that there is going to be an agreement. at this point we have to ask ourselves, where do we go from here? what's next? i think it's important to remember several realities. one is that we've been trying, many administrations have been trying for years to get kim jong-un to denuclearize and it
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hasn't worked. i was talking with the chinese minister dealing with north korea. we got nowhere. second, i think it's important to recognize that kim jong-un is not going to give up his nukes. that's what keeps him in power. beyond that, i think we have to recognize that he has more nukes, he has more missiles than he did a few years ago. this will be extremely difficult, and we have to start asking ourselves the unthinkable, which is, are we prepared to recognize that kim jong-un might be becoming part of a nuclear club? >> a lot of critics said this summit highlighted the fact that president trump was badly underprepared for this meeting, way more so than kim jong-un who clearly studied up on trump. you were saying what happens next? well, we know what happens next is no large-scale military exercises between the u.s. and south korea.
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that seems like a major concession, especially since north korea isn't giving anything up, but the u.s. is, and they're making smaller military drills with south korea. >> yeah, i'm concerned with that. basically that allows kim a free pass. it gives kim something that kim is not going to balk at when he begins negotiations with the united states. this is extremely difficult. let's not forget that china is a major player here. china will be a part of any solution since north korea is right next door. i spent a lot of time talking with the chinese about this. they want stability, they want the status quo, they don't want a peninsula under the control of south korea or a united states presence. any deal with kim is going to very much involve china, whether we like it or not. >> you raise a good point. a lot of korea watchers saying kim jong-un never had any
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attention nor has any intention to denuclearize as it is an insurance for his survival. max baucus, it's a pleasure to have you on. thank you for your time, sir. >> thank you. next, democrats on the campaign trail today. they are marking the anniversary of bloody sunday in selma, alabama. why they say now is a critical time for civil rights in america. to carry on a legacy? its show of strength... or its sign of intelligence? in crossing harsh terrain... or breaking new ground? and to do these things once... or seven times over? this is the mercedes-benz suv family. get the 2019 glc, starting at $40,700. mercedes-benz. the best or nothing.
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want more from your entejust say teach me more. into your xfinice remote to discover all sorts of tips and tricks in x1. can i find my wifi password?
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alabama. sherrod brown, bernie sanders, cory booker and rand paul will join others on this rainy sunday. it was 50 years ago this week when they marched in selma but were blocked. this morning hillary clinton joined the democratic candidates in delivering a message of concern about the future of our democracy. >> but that work and the work that all of you have done and the work of those who came before has never been more urgent than it is today. this is a time, my friends, when fundamental rights, civic virtue, freedom of the press, the rule of law, truth, facts and reason are under assault. and make no mistake, we are
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living through a full-fledged crisis in our democracy. >> democracy and the right to vote is not some esoteric intellectual concept. the people who own america, the people who put hundreds of millions of dollars to elect candidates who represent the wealthy and the powerful, they know about the power of the vote. the call of our country is still clear. the dream of our nation still demands, but the question will be how will we answer? i am proud to be here to remember our history. but i worry now that we are at a point in our country where we see a moral vandalism that is attacking our ideals and beliefs and eroding the dream of our nation. >> cnn's senior political
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reporter nia-malika henderson is in selma. also joining me from washington is cornell brooks, the former ceo of the naacp, and michael dicer, the author of "what truth sounds like." nia, let's start with you. you're out there where the march is about to get started now. what does it mean when we see so many democratic hopefuls joining this march on democracy? >> it's all about fighting, it's all about protecting the right to vote. if you look at the 2020 candidates, they all talked about expanding the right to vote and some of the problems that a lot of the states have seen in terms of access to the polls, in terms of early voting and some of the rollbacks some of the voters have seen going back to 2013 because of that supreme court decision. right now standing just a few feet away from me, hillary clinton addressing this crowd. she, of course, saw a much
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smaller pool of african-american voters show up. if you think about 2016 versus 2012, about 2 million viewer african-american voters showed up at the polls. the folks here like sherrod brown, like cory booker, like bernie sanders are here because they know they have to connect with african-american voters if they've got any shot of winning the democratic primary and then winning the white house come 2020. >> michael, to you, the message from senators booker and sanders, we also heard from hillary clinton, they're issuing a stark warning about the democracy being under assault. we heard bernie sanders saying we are still fighting for our right to vote. i guess it's a timely commemoration with a really important message. >> absolutely. when we look at the president's efforts to suppress the black vote, when we look at efforts to undermine and destabilize the black voter, it becomes expre expressively clear that selma is
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a march that continues to haunt us. a geography of segregation, a geography of disinheritance that is before us now. what these presidential candidates understand is that if we are to make a link between what happened then, 54 years ago, on march 7, those people were violently repelled. then finally on march 21st, making the move forward to get to montgomery, that is a p protracted projectory and that is a continued rhetoric today. we have people fighting back symbolically on that eddie pettit bridge. what do we do to move forward with our renewed determination to make the vote real for african-americans and other dispossessed peoples in this nation. >> cornell, let's talk more about voter suppression, as michael brought that up. that is a very big concern
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heading into the presidential election, and you don't have to look that far. just during the mid tempterm elections, we look toward the gubernatorial race. there was a mass campaign of voter suppressions. this is still a big concern about getting equal access to the polls. >> absolutely. selma is not only about 1965 but about 2019 and 2020. as we saw in the midterm elections where we saw hundreds of thousands of people, voters, purged from the polls in georgia, we have seen in north carolina criminal activities in terms of suppressing the right to vote. in north dakota, we have seen native americans have their votes suppressed. so we find ourselves in the wake of selma and in the wake of the supreme court decision, in the midst of an ongoing frenzy of voter suppression and a season,
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if you will, of an ongoing criminal, unconstitutional enterprise to undermine our democracy. we need to be very clear about this. we cannot have confidence in our elections because we have politicians who literally are stealing the vote. selma is not about commemoration, it's about consecration and commitment. >> very good point. nia-malika, let's talk a little bit about bernie sanders, because we know he's been giving some really strong speeches. he's actually changing gears and talking more personal about, you know, about his roots and how he won't forget where he came from and drawing a stark contrast to him and president trump. but we also know he struggled with the black vote in 2016. he only got 14% of south carolina voters during the primary. what can he and other candidates learn from that? >> reporter: you know, i think they got to show up. if you think about somebody like bernie sanders, a democratic
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socialist often thought about a class but didn't think necessarily about the intersectionality of class and race. we also think about the ways bernie sanders moved the democratic party to the left on any number of issues. what's also clear is he has been moved to the left on race in the democratic party, primarily with democratic voters. you hear him talk about race in the way he didn't in 2016. he was shot down by black lives matter protesters in 2016, and in this go-round, he really is, i think, embracing a lot of platform of black lives matter and also just black progressives in general. we'll see if that works for him. hillary clinton obviously did very well among african-american voters. she won something like 70% in a state like alabama, won 70% of the voters altogether, powered by african-american voters, primarily african-american women voters, and those are the folks
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i talked to here. they say they're ready to fight and ready to win. those are the voters that if you're cory booker or bernie sanders, a vast field of american voters, they're gathered here today on march 3 and not letting a little cloudy weather stop them today. you can imagine all these candidates will be returning again and again to states like alabama to make connections with these african-american voters. >> cornell, this democratic field, we should mention, is the most diverse in history. because of that, you can't assume voters are going to vote based on skin color. but how much weight will you be putting on a candidate's race, will people be putting on a candidate's race in 2020? >> i think people will put a lot of -- they'll put a lot in not so much a person or candidate's race but on the degree to which they oppose racism. meaning racial discrimination at the ballot box. because here we are on this sunday, recognizing the blood,
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sweat and tears of our forebearers shed in selma, so to the degree in which candidates are clear about the support of the voting rights advancement act. to a degree these candidates are clear about their opposition to voter purges, their support for campaign finance reform, the support for those protections that ensure a well-functioning democracy. so it's not about skin color, it's about the aspirations of certainly black and brown people and people of color in terms of america living out and fulfilling its promise. so to do that, you really got to stand against racism at the ballot bocx. >> i want to pose this question to all of you, but michael, i'll start with you first. the president has touted he's done so much for the black community, more than any other president. what does it say that the administration isn't represented today? >> it says everything. it says that this administration is tone deaf and really blind to
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the forces of racism that prevail that come out of their very mouths collectively as an administration, the structural impedime impediments they barely address. they reduce it to personal relationships, so the other day when congressman mettles brought out their friend to donald trump to prove there was no presence of racism, this is not the helsian days of the civil movement when we realized we were fighting against bigger forces. it was right versus wrong. what this does is amplifies the worst instincts of the american soul. it gives voice to the marauding demons of the very moral of our ethical lives. they are restating the motion that they are out of step with
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racism in in country, and firth mo -- furthermore, they've done nothing to help african-americans, asian and those who are pushed to the periphery of our republican process. this is part and parcel of the very thing that reminds us that donald trump has no idea about what race is. and the more he evokes his personal bona fide days, he only reinforces the notion that he is not only out of step but that he is marching the wrong way. in order to have racial progress in this country, he's got to do an about-face. >> and nia, just politically, because historically president obama has come out to commemorate bloody sunday in selma. >> you're right, this is democrats and republicans gathering here to commemorate
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bloody sunday and the spirit of that march and the spirit of those young folks all pushing for civil rights, pushing for voting rights in particular, this time not on any presidents at all, certainly from this administration. perhaps there are some republicans here. i haven't necessarily run into high-profile republicans on the hill. certainly it's to a different period we're in concerning american politics, and the dwishs sometimes a racial decision that may kneel president has stockied people really condemn donald trump and the environment around race that many feel he has fostered. >> rebecca buck is standing there on the ground as this march is getting underway. rebecca, describe to us what's happening, the atmosphere there. i know the rain must have impacted the turnout so not as many people as i'm sure organizers hoped, but we're seeing live images there will of
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where hillary clinton, reverend jessie jackson, senator cory booker all joining hands getting ready to do this march. >> that's right, that's right. the rain has cleared, amara, and the clouds have parted. the sun is now shining and the march is continuing as planned. you can see in the picture, i believe, senator cory booker, reverend jesse jackson, hillary clinton there in the front row, along with senator brown and cory schultz. you can see them making their way to the eddie pettit bridge. you can see policemen trying to control the crowd and the senators who are here with hillary clinton. you can see this is an incredible movement, and this crowd is bigger than expected
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given the weather situation we're having today, amara. >> the democratic speeches are underway, and what message do you want to hear from the democratic hopefuls since we have such a diverse lineup of women and african-americans represented in this lineup? >> what i would hope the democratic contenders for president will do is embrace the future as opposed to clinging to the past. what i mean by that is embracing the full diversity of america. speaking to the serious racial divide in this country, the ethnic divide. the tremendous rise in hate in this country. and speak to where we need to go as a nation. so, in other words, on this bloody sunday, as we remember, 3,000 arrests. reverend james reeve losing his life in selma.
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even as we remember the past, we ask them to remember our children, brothers and sisters all across this country who are looking to the white house for leadership. looking for a white house that will show up. in the same way the president was absent in charlottesville, he's absent today. we need democratic contenders -- in the midst of today's struggles, i'm glad to see they are there. >> absolutely. but short is sad. some 51 years after this march, it galvanized the patting of the voting rights act. we're still talking about voter suppression issues, voter restriction. kn >> that is a problem we can address, because in 2016, they made a decision basically
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lifting federal oversight. so it's going to be up to the states and that's not easy to control. >> reporter: i think that's right. you've seen some movement on this. you think about florida giving the ballot back to certain folks who were restrict becaued becaua criminal background. so you do see some movement. virginia, for instance, all the same thing. but as well on the house on attempting to make election day a federal holiday so it would be easier for folks to go and vote on tuesday. but there is something of an uphill battle because of the way everything is structured in terms of voting to the different states. . you have a different system of voting, almost county by county. your parents can help make the decision of where are polling
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places located? not all people can come on sunday, so those hours have been cut back. there was a breakfast earlier in the morning as well, you probably hear barbara behind me organizing folks in north carolina on many years to put back this focus on voting and connecting, obviously, on today to 1965. that, of course, the central cause of that march those many years ago, 54 years ago. i have to say that third march -- and my father was actually part of that march, and p often -- i can see a picture of my father mamping along with martin luther king. so pretty personal for me to be here today and think about my father who died years earlier -- >> it looks like we lost nia-malika. the weather is not exactly cooperating. we're going to leave it there.
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welcome back, everyone. we want to take you back out live to selma, alabama. this is where an official march is expected to get under way any minute now. this is the edmund pettus bridge. this is where that 54-mile march from selma to montgomery 54 years ago ended with many of the peaceful demonstrators being beaten and assaulted, knocked to the ground. on the ground right now is rebecca buck. rebecca, tell us more about what's happening around you. if you don't mind, a brief history lesson here as to what happened there, 54 years ago, on this bridge as hundreds of people gathered to protest. >> well, it was here on the edmund pettus bridge in 1965, 54
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years ago this weekend, that john lewis and other civil rights fighters walked across the edmund pettus bridge, trying to march to the capital in montgomery but were stopped by alabama troopers who beat them bloody on this bridge. that started a pivot point in the civil rights movement toward the voting rights act, and that today is what we are commemorating here on this bridge. and fittingly, just a few minutes ago, protesters at the start of this march lay down in the path of the marchers, protesting the voting rights act, protesting to get it approved again. and all of the marchers at the head of this march, reverend jesse jackson, hillary clinton, cory booker, all of them stopped in their tracks as they protesters laid on the ground for 45 seconds before the march continued again. now we're about halfway up the
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bridge, marching forward now slowly but surely. >> and to you, michael, if you're still with us, we heard from hillary clinton, the 2016 democratic nominee. we heard from cory booker, who's also running in 2020, along with bernie sanders. they were sounding the alarm earlier today as they were speaking at the unity breakfast and at the historic brown chapel ame church in selma. they were saying, look, our fight isn't over. it didn't end here on this bridge. in fact, our freedoms, our civil rights, equal access to the poll, call of that counties to be under assault, michael. >> absolutely. i think they're right to do so. people tend to in one sense relegate this so the ash bin of history. this is what happened then. those were great times. those were fierce times. those were ferocious times. but those times are basically over. we've achieved civil rights. let's calm down. everybody stop talking about race. but we live in what gor vidal
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called the united states of amnesia. we continue to be addicted to forgetfulness. what these politicians are doing is really chiming in by ringing the bell of memory. we most revoke our citizenship in the united states of amnesia and become members in, you know, the kingdom of memory. that means you can't pretend this stuff has gone away, that the attempt to deny black people and other people the right to vote is still with us. no, we don't have poll taxes. we don't have literacy tests where black people have to do ridiculous things that even the people administering the tests couldn't answer. but what we do have is the concerted attempt of many bigoted politicians to deny the legitimate right of african-american and other people to exercise the franchise, to dimple the chad. that's gone, but to pull the lever and to register their view through democracy, through the democratic process of voting. and you would think that in this day and age, that we would want more people coming to the polls. why are we blocking souls to the polls? why are we blocking universal
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registration? why are we blocking the ability of people to vote and coming up with i.d. laws? because there's a concerted effort to deny one group of people, one block of people the right to vote because they are feared to be democrats. why don't we broaden the process of american democracy so that everybody can vote. and what the civil rights movement did was to remind us then, as those who participate now must remind us again, that democracy is only made healthy when we have millions of people voting, when we have the vast body of american democracy and the citizens who represent it participating legally in that process. so i think those politicians are here to tell us that the fight is not over, the march continues to go forward, and those of us who are here, the legacy of martin luther king jr. and the like must continue to hold high the bloodstained banner of that truth in these dark days and times. >> well said, michael. what a timely commemoration, as
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you say, because the fight is not over for equal voting rights. rebecca buck, i know you've been talking to people there on the ground. i know the turnout wasn't as large as organizers had hoped because of the rain, but what are people saying about what this means to them, that we have this conversation about race still being a factor in america, race still being a hindrance when it comes to getting access to the polls? >> absolutely. and this has been -- i mean, not only a conversation here today in selma, which is obviously such a symbolic place to have this conversation, but also in this presidential campaign cycle more broadly. we've been hearing from democratic candidates really in an unprecedented way, having very frank conversations about race and racial justice in america today, including cory booker. and we're actually now about to have a moment of silence here at the march. i want to be respectful, so back to you. >> all right. no problem at all. these are live pictures,
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extraordinary pictures out of selma, alabama, as this re-enactment of bloody sunday, the march that started at brown chapel across the edmund pettus bridge is happening now. a smaller turnout, as we were saying, because it's been quite a rainy and stormy day there in selma. of course, the meaning and the accomplishments from that day and the accomplishments that are in danger of being reversed, that's not being lost on anyone, as we watch these live pictures. reverend jesse jackson there along with many democratic 2020 hopefuls on the ground. we're going to take a short break. i want to say thank you to michael and rebecca for joining us. we'll be right back here on cnn newsroom. with safelite, you can see exactly when we'll be there. saving you time for what you love most. >> kids: whoa! >> kids vo: ♪ safelite repair, safelite replace ♪
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