tv CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto CNN March 4, 2019 7:00am-8:00am PST
i'm jim sciutto in new york. right now search teams in alabama digging through communities after the deadliest outbreak of tornadoes to hit that state in years. 23 people are known dead so far, all of them in lee county just east of montgomery, alabama. dozens more are hurt, some critically. it is not clear exactly how many are unaccounted for. first responders in heat seeking drones are racing to find survivors. the death toll is higher than the number of people killed across the country in 2018 in tornadoes. >> as is typical with natural disasters, the mobile homes get the worst of the damage. this one is no exception. the items, the furniture, the clothing of this home dumped out of the roof. it's on its side. we'll show you another angle in a moment. the window panes here,
insulation in the trees showing the strength of the tornadoes. at least one here came through on sunday. where is the roof of this home? across the street. this roof wrapped around the trees here. the strength of the winds national weather service says they have seen enough to indicate to them that the winds here were about an ef-3 meaning 136 miles per hour. there is another wall here with windows from this home. insulation all over. items from potentially other homes. we don't know because there is a considerable amount of damage to homes here. we know there are trees down. a lot of this, the trees lifted from the roots here. what we know is that there aren't many trees in the road because crews have worked through most of sunday so that the power crews, search and rescue teams, rest of responders can get in. here is that mobile home from another angle tossed over on to
its side, slammed against the trees. you can see the lunolium floor from the kitchen. once the sun came up, we noticed a pickup truck that had been hit by a couple of trees, as well. we don't know if anyone was inside. of course, we hope no one was there. the search of this area will continue. and as we said, the national weather service is here, as well. they will be surveying today looking at the damage here to determine if this was an ef-4, an ef-5. those will happen starting this morning and continuing through the day. jim, back to you. >> a lot of people still unaccounted for there. i'm joined on the phone by a storm chaser who followed the severe weather all along highway 51. thanks very much for taking the time this morning. i wonder if you can describe
what you saw. >> i saw the one that hit dearguard, alabama. it was quite large, visible from my location. i was on highway 51 looking north as i approached and saw it cross the road. >> and we were told by witnesses that one was a half mile wide and it stayed on the ground for miles which can be unusual because sometimes these tornadoes kind of jump around, but this cut quite a wide swath through these communities. >> absolutely. this was a very unusual and rare tornado to begin with. violent tornadoes are rare to begin with. this is no exception, but it did look quite large when it came through and very unusual
especially for this time of year, this early in the season. we are approaching tornado season but we are not even in the beginning of it or the actual beginning of it and it has already caused a lot of deaths. >> we have been hearing from authorities about warning times less than five minutes. how fast -- do we know how fast these formed? and did you hear the tornado sirens? did folk tlz have any sense that this was coming? >> i didn't hear the tornado sirens because i was driving in the vehicle. i did actually hear them in montgomery, alabama in the beginning when the storm formed just southwest of town. the weather service did a fantastic job of warning the storm. it was tornado warned for over 20 minutes before it got close. a lot of people i talked to said that their cell phones did go
off as an alert for their phones so that's how they got the warnings and took shelter. >> and the biggest question is how many folks heeded the warnings. still concerns about people still missing. you stay safe, as well. meteorologist chad myers joins us now. chad, it's great to have you there with this bird's eye view. what more are we learning about these storms? the question for folks on the ground today, is there still danger there? >> the danger now is running a generator in a house that you still have left and carbon monoxide poisoning or stepping on anything. there are nails, shards, things around that weren't there and people are trying to work as fast as they can to rescue or to revive or do whatever they are doing out there. these shards of things are everywhere. i have been to enough of these things to know that now the recovery, more people can get
injured than were injured in the tornado itself. 65 miles long, about a half a mile wide. that's almost 30 square miles worth of damage. and this thing very could easily be 150 miles per hour storm. 156 makes it a category five hurricane equivalent in the eye wall. that's how strong we are talking about, something hit down across the gulf coast earlier this year. i want to show you the purple sdwarz squares. this is yesterday. tornadoes on the ground. here comes the one very close there near columbus, georgia. there were more than ten tornado warnings at the same time for storms all rotating by themselves. when a line of storms lines up and we call it a squall line you get little tornadoes or wind damage. when you get storms all by themselves out there, that's
when you get this ef-3 potential. it was in the air yesterday. the humidity was there. the cold air is in place. obviously, it has been snowing in boston all night long. that's the cold air, the warm air. you need the clash to get this type of weather and it was in place. i know the chasers said it is still too early for -- this is a brand new tornado alley. this is exactly the time of year that we need be very cosh world series it. many times these storms will continue into the overnight and dark hours when people go to sleep and they don't expect them. they don't hear the sirens. they were asleep. at least last night the storms did die off around 8:00 or 9:00. the last storm was near cairo, georgia. there are a lot of towns we didn't talk about. there were 36 tornadoes on the
ground yesterday. there is more to talk about. >> we have people on the ground following that and with concerns about who is still missing. chad myers, thanks very much. in washington, donald trump jr., john kelly and chief financial offer for the trump organization three people the house judiciary committee plans to ask documents from as they step up investigations. committee chairman says he will request documents from more than 60 individuals in total. joining me now with more cnn congressional correspondent phil mattingly. what is driving this smrwere revelations from michael cohen's testimony last week. nadler is casting quite a wide net. >> reporter: this will not only show the scope of what they are looking into but also the process. basically with the chairman of the committee said there will be a request for more than 60
individuals to produce documents related into obstruction, abuse of power and potential corruption within the trump administration. included within the individuals receiving the requests are donald trump jr., allen weisselberg, the cfo mentioned multiple times as well as john kelly, former chief of staff and don mcgan. this is a document request. these are not subpoenas, not scheduled hearings. it is a very wide scope. what that under scores is a very methodical approach. they are going to take this step by step. there is no rush to impeachment. they want to essentially make the case. make the case that the president has obstructed justice according to nadler. >> we'll see what the mueller report says on that front.
tell us more about what you're hearing to rand paul, the fourth republican to announce he will oppose president trump's emergency declaration. that is setting up for the house and the senate opposing the president here. >> reporter: the magic number was four in terms of making it a majority to pass that resolution of disapproval in the senate. 47 democrats have said they will vote for that. rand paul is the fourth which means the house and the senate will be able to pass the resolutions. as to why rand paul said he was going to do this, this was an op-ed in fox news where he said i would lose my political soul if i decided to treat president trump different from president obama. every republican i know decried president obama's use to use executive power to legislate. it's worth noting the expectation is that enough republicans would join democrats
to pass this. the question has always been, how many. i am told there are about a half dozen others who are considering this. and then the magic number of 20. 20 republicans crossing over would make it veto proof. everybody i'm talking to has made it clear they believe they will fall short of that. this almost guarantees the president will take the pen out and veto. it is likely he will not face a an override because the house and the senate won't have the votes. >> thanks very much. up next, we will speak to a democrat pushing for more information on the president's tax returns plus protesters filling the streets in venezuela as we speak as the self-declared interim president telling supporters that he is on his way to join them even though he says he fully expected to be arrested
by the sitting president nicolas maduro. and the president blaming house democrats for the failure to strike a deal with kim jong-un. i tell everyone to take the ancestrydna test if you want to get the most details about your family history. my pie chart showed that i'm from all over europe, but then it got super specific. i learned my people came from
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geico helps with homeowners insurance? they sure do. and they could save us a bundle of money too. i'm calling geico right now. cell phone? it's ringing. get to know geico and see how much you could save on homeowners and condo insurance. this morning democratic house investigations into the president and his allies continue. the house weigh rrs and means committee is making its legal case that it has the authority specifically to obtain president trump's tax return. congressman, always good to have you on. thanks for taking the time.
>> thank you. >> let's start with this. this has been in play for three years now, the question of president trump's tax returns. your committee now pursuing them aggressively here. we know and i imagine you expect the president would challenge anything in court. how far away are americans from actually seeing the president's tax returns? >> it's not clear how far away americans are. it's not far away before we request them. we have been taking some steps, acting somewhat deliberately which i know has frustrated some people. this is unchartered territory. the president broke with half a century of tradition by not releasing his tax returns. we held a hearing to determine and establish our legal authority to get the returns. we have been building the case as to why it is important to get them. i don't think we are far away from requesting them. what happens at that point in time is yet to be determined. the president will obviously fight it. i think ultimately we will get them. the law is clear.
it dates back to the teapot dome scandal that congress has the right to get these returns. he'll fight it. once we do have the opportunity to have those returns analyzed, i think our next step will be determined at that point in time. it is important that we get this information. >> michael cohen's testimony one thing that didn't get a lot of attention was him discussing the president's concerns about an audit if he were to release his returns. of course, the president's excuse has been since they are under audit he will not release them. is that a subject of investigation as to whether there is any audit as the president has repeatedly claimed? >> it is interesting because the president just doesn't tell the truth. we don't know. perhaps we will find out as a
result of the request. either way, whether if he is under audit or not, the legal authority of the weighs and means committee to gain access to these returns is well established. it's important. the american people have a right to know what the president's entanglements are, what his interests are, whether it's a tax bill or what mr. cohen raised his ability and willingness to inflate his value when he is trying to get a loan. >> particularly when he is supporting legislation that might benefit him. some of your democratic colleagues over the weekend including adam schiff were very forward leaning on what they say is evidence they have seen of this continuing question as to whether the trump campaign and the president colluded with russia. schiff cited specifically the trump tower meeting. this is something we have known
for sometime. i just wonder if you are concerned and your democratic colleagues are going too far in public statements as to what hard evidence there is today that the president himself or members of his campaign colluded or conspired with russia? >> i think we should with hold judgment until we see all of the facts in their proper context. what we have seen are pieces of a puzzle, but we haven't seen the whole picture. i think one of the reasons that some are pushing back on this issue of collusion is that our republican colleagues and certainly the president repeat over and over again claims that are not true, that there is no evidence of collusion. we don't know what the evidence will show. they keep saying that mr. mueller has found nothing that would cause him to conclude collusion. we don't know the answer to that question. circumstantialry there is certainly evidence that the trump campaign coordinate skpd
communicated in parties directly engaged in russia. it may be a semantic argument. it is the republicans who are making the absolute claims because the facts haven't been revealed. >> another topic, something we just learned today. this according to the new yorker, but that the president pressured gary cohn to attempt to block a merger between at&t and time warner. in your view, would this be a misuse of presidential power to attempt to block a merger for what appears to be a political motivation? >> it would be. this is one of those cases where the president does have clear authority to give directives. but he doesn't have authority to give directives to advance his own political means, to use the authority vested in the presidency to pursue his political, his narrow political
agenda or punish people that he doesn't happen to agree with. he takes quite an issue with the reporting that comes from cnn. so the president walks into some pretty dangerous territory. this is consistent with the way he has operated. he seems willing to use whatever authority he has to try to advance his own personal tropical storms. >> george conway, the husband of kellyanne conway tweeted in reaction to this new yorker story that this would be impeachable if this establishes truth. >> it does paint the picture of a president who is out of control. i think it does make the case that this president is unfit for office, whether it rises to the level that would allow for impeachment i will hold judgment. >> thank you for joining us this morning. >> thank you. right now, as we speak in venezuela, protests and the
country's self-declared interim president juan guaido sending a bold message by joining those demonstrators. we'll be live on the ground coming up. mazing amenities like movie theaters, exercise rooms and swimming pools, public cafes, bars and bistros even pet care services. and there's never been an easier way to get great advice. a place for mom is a free service that pairs you with a local advisor to help you sort through your options and find a perfect place. a place for mom. you know your family we know senior living. together we'll make the right choice. with expedia, i saved when i added a hotel to our flight. so even when she grows up, she'll never outgrow the memory of our adventure. unlock savings when you add select hotels to your existing trip. only with expedia.
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there. in a message guaido says he is on his way back to venezuela telling supporters, quote, we are stronger than ever. cnn's patrick opman is live in caracas. returning to the country in defiance of sitting president nicolas maduro, what do you expect to happen? >> reporter: people are waiting here any moment for juan guaido to arrive. we don't know yet if he is in the country. i talked to representatives here and they said he will be here as soon as possible and it will have a galvinizing effect. about an hour ago there were not many people. you are starting to see as far as you can see people on all the streets coming into this main central plaza in caracas. they are closing down traffic. people are arriving. the opposition told us to expect tens of thousands of people to arrive. certainly thousands are already here. there is a lot of excitement and
expectation because if juan guaido is able to enter the question he will speak in front of this crowd against the government, that would be an act of defiance that will resonate across the country. >> has the maduro government made clear how it will react to that act of defiance? because it is quite a challenge to maduro leadership. >> reporter: they are stuck between a rock and a hard place. nicolas maduro said juan guaido is violating the law, that he is not the president as he declared himself to be of venezuela and that by leaving the country illegally maduro said that perhaps guaido will have to face justice t. comes down to political calculations. if they arrest guaido the crowd will be alvgalvanized. people will react very strongly. the united states will react very, very strongly. you expect more sanctions and
coalesce behind juan guaido. if they don't arrest him that makes maduro look weak. there is some who wish they arrested guaido some weeks back. there is really no good decision here because juan guaido knows one way or the other if he is able to get back into the country as we expect he will very shortly if he is not already that that will have a major impact on the opposition and will breathe new life into the opposition against the socialist government here in venezuela. >> and the u.s. warning very strongly if guaido is arrested. we know you will stay on top of it. >> when the summit with north korea collapsed the president said sometimes you have to walk. now he is suggesting it was the democrats' fault that he didn't make a deal.
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with the one and only botox® cosmetic. i have been saying for days it was the right thing to do -- after saying for days president trump now says it was the democrats' fault the negotiations collapsed all because of the timing for the cohen hearings in washington. after a tweet saying they may have contributed to the walk. joining me now, mike rogers, former house intelligence chairman. his advisers told the president before he went and while he was out there that north korea was digging in on its positions.
that is our reporting and reporting of other publications. the president saying it was the cohen hearing's fault. is there substance in. >> i never think it is helpful to have i don't care what president is in office, to have contentious hearings like that when there is some serious negotiations happening overseas. i don't believe for one second that's why the talks collapsed. you know, one of the things that we have said all along and i think you and i have had the conversation that setting kim jong-un up as an international player is really risky because he went from the isolation -- saw no light of day outside of the bords of north korea to now this international player and that gave him stature for him to walk in and do what he did in those hearings. that to me was probably the most -- it was risky. we can debate if it was worth the risk or not.
now you have a very different kim jong-un you will have to deal with. i think that led more to the walk out of kim jong-un than anything. >> twice now the u.s. president has flown around the world to meet him and legitimize him as the leader of north korea tlmpt were no significant concessions on the nuclear program and yet the president has once again cancelled large scale military exercises with south korea. you know this issue better than i do. this is central to the defense agreement between the u.s. and south korea and also about sending the message to the region. and yet the president says it is about saving money. is this not a concession in effect to north korea? >> completely. i disagreed with it when they offered that up the last go around and got nothing for it. now we will get nothing for it again. kim jong-un is not going to read this i don't care how the administration spins this, that is not how kim jong-un is going to read it. your adversary gets a vote in
these decisions. he will see this as a minor victory for him which is why i believe he walked in with such a hard stance. i want x and y. he wants sanctions relief or he is doing nothing. that is really -- i didn't think this went well for the president at all. now we are dealing with a kim jong-un who doesn't have military training exercises happening in south korea with u.s. and allied forces. that's gone. what else do we have to give back to the table? now he is dealing with china in a very different way, deal wg vietnam and other regional players. now we are in a very different spot if we are going to get concessions on the nuclear program. >> let me ask you on another topic and that is the president's national emergency declaration. with rand paul's vote you now
have the senate likely to oppose the president's emergency declaration though not with a veto-proof majority. what happens then and how dangerous a precedent is this in your view? >> i really don't think this is the end of the world. i disagree with the president's decision to use this tactic on this issue. there is a lot of players on capitol hill that are frustrated. we don't have this comprehensive immigration reform and a comprehensive national security position. >> i see you on the substance. you know the way our government is set up is that congress has to -- congress didn't stay silent here. >> don't take it the wrong way. i disagree with the president's decision on this. i think this will cost him politically. and i think you can see i think the result of all of this is because of the tension that is
going on on capitol hill. he would have been better off as a chairman of a committee if he would have told me you were taking my ability away to sign off on reprogramming dollars that we would appropriate to different agencies and in this case would have been intelligence agencies, every fall they say we have extra money here. that's exactly how you do proper oversight. that gives you the ability to get into the programs making sure the government is doing what it is supposed to do. when congress gives this up, i hope they are thinking about this. that's why you need the president to work with congress on these things even where you disagree. so that's where i think he is going to get in trouble. that being said, that would mean the next president whoever that might be would have to take this pretty bold step. i'm not sure that they would do that. i don't think it is appropriate in this circumstance. there are other ways to get what
he wanted rather than this. >> thanks for coming on. >> thanks, jim. in just a few moments attorneys for an alabama woman who joined isis will be in federal court trying to convince the judge that she is a u.s. citizen and should be allowed to return to the u.s. the justice department responded to a lawsuit brought by hoda's father. he said he left his diplomatic post before she was born in new jersey therefore making her a u.s. citizen. prosecutors say the u.n. did not tell american authorities her father was no longer a diplomat until after the birth. she hadeft the u.s. in 2014, married three isis fighters there. her attorneys say she is prepared to return to the u.s. and face whatever charges are filed against her. still ahead, infighting in the democratic party after congresswoman makes more comments that some are
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another governor from a western state is joining the race for the white house. john hickenlooper from colorado kicked off his campaign early this morning by releasing this video. how will he stand out in the crowded very diverse field of democratic candidates? i want to bring in scott mcclain from denver. hickenlooper has a good record, western state, former businessman. what message is he trying to run on? >> so hickenlooper has yet to make a specific policy plan clear. he has serious challenges.
he doesn't have much national name recognition. he is not the party establishment choice. he is a moderate candidate in a party that seems to be moving further and further to the left y. asked his former adviser if he has plans to move in that direction more toward the progressive part of the party. he said he cannot imagine it. he can't envision that scenario. he will likely remain close to the center. he says that that should be appealing to a broad base of the party because he thinks that someone who is more of a moderate could actually beat donald trump. hickenlooper does have a pretty strong resume. he was the governor for the last eight years. before that he was the mayor of denver. and then he is also a successful entrepreneur. he started a brew pub in a once dingy part of denver. john hickenlooper is probably not going to drop the gloves and duke it out with donald trump. at least he is not probably going to get into the mud with donald trump. he says that he has never wanted
a negative ad campaign and is not going to now. here is what he said this morning on good morning america. >> i think this is a crisis of division. i think it's probably the worst period of division that we have had in this country since the civil war. ultimately, i'm running for president because i believe that not only i can beat donald trump but i can bring people together on the other side and actually get stuff done. >> so hickenlooper is the first guy from colorado, the first candidate from colorado to declare. he might not be the only one. his former chief of staff when he was in the mayor's office, senator michael bennett said he is considering a run for president. also interesting to note one thing that hickenlooper didn't mention in the interview is marijuana which is probably the thing that he is best known for outside of the state of colorado. he voted against it or campaigned against it initially but then became the reluctant
champion for the legal system in colorado. >> making a lot of tax revenue there. another round of controversial comments by freshman congresswoman sparking back lash under fire after she criticized america's relationship with israel. the minnesota democrat said i want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country. a top democrat is demanding an apology for that comment. tell us what lawmakers are saying today about this. are you seeing similar outrage to previous remarks? >> very similar outrage. many are not happy. they are calling the latest round of comments deeply offensive and many are calling for her to apologize for them. as you said, these comments came from a progressive town hall here in washington, d.c. the congresswoman was talking
about the fact that she did have this fall out from her original statements and said i want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay for people to push for allegiances to a foreign country. and that comment specifically not sitting well at all with her democratic colleagues. congressman engel blasted her in a statement and is calling for her to apologize. he says i welcome debate in congress based on the merits of policy but it is offensive to call into question the loyalty of fellow american citizens because of their political views including support for the u.s./israel relationship. levelled that charge by invoking a vial slur. she says that omar's comments are hurtful in her words and that she is saddened that she has a tendency to
mischaracterize support for israel from american lawmakers. that specific word seemed to set off congresswoman omar who released a tweet storm online over the weekend saying i have not mischaracterized our relationship with israel. i have questioned it. very clear this is just one more chapter and round in this controversy including involving the new freshman congresswoman. this is very clear that there will be a lot of scrutiny on each and every word. >> thanks very much. a new documentary with disturbing allegation of sexual abuse by michael jackson. we'll have more coming up. an incomplete job cept from any one else. why accept it from your allergy pills? flonase sensimist relieves all your worst symptoms, including nasal congestion, which most pills don't. and all from a gentle mist you can barely feel. flonase sensimist. you can barely feel. ♪
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tonight hbo will air part two of the microal jackson documentary leaving neverland. in it two adults share graphic disturbing accounts alleging that jackson sexually abused them repeatedly as children. >> the first thing i remember is michael sort of moving his hands across my legs. and then his hands got to my crotch area. and he is sort of fondling there. i was 7 years old. >> 7 years old.
let's discuss with oliver darcy. cnn business media reporter. some of the details here, that one stands for itself, separating the kids from their parents, it's really disgusting frankly. >> incredibly disturbing allegations. the film portrays jackson as a monster. others are reexamining his work in light of the allegations. it is difficult to differentiate jackson as the king of pop and the guy portrayed in this movie. he wrote from songs to videos you will never look at him the same way. >> someone with his legacy enormously changed by this. there is a lot of money at stake here for the jackson estate
which is still a thriving business. how has the jackson family been pushing back against the allegations? >> they have released a counter programming allowing people to watch the concert from michael jackson. they also sued hbo which shares the same parent company as cnn. hbo basically said that they are going to release the film. they said that in a statement that releasing the film will allow everyone the opportunity to assess the film and the claims in it for themselves. >> the trouble with this and some of these allegations have been -- michael jackson went on trial for similar accusations. there are new accusations here. one of the most disturbing from the others involved was the idea of a marriage that he staged and a ring given and the parents separated from them as they were staying at the house there. >> and this idea that the kids
have these drills to get dressed before the parents could get there and catch them. i think we have a clip of that if you want to play it. >> let's have a look. >> he would run drills with me where he would pretend like someone was coming in and you had to get dressed as fast as possible without making noise. so not getting caught just kind of fundamental. it was very much a secret. he would tell me that if anybody found out his life would be over and my life would be over. and that's something he tells you over and over again. >> he was threatening the kids there saying you will be punished. >> absolutely disturbing allegations. i think like a lot of critics are saying, it will be hard to look at michael jackson or hear his music the same way again.
>> absolutely. no question. thanks very much. thanks so much for joining me today. i'm jim sciutto here in new york. at this hour starts right now. hello everyone. it is a grim reality that is settling in for so many in alabama this morning as the sun came up, the death toll is expected to rise. right now standing at 23 people dead including children after a deadly outbreak of tornadoes, the worst the country has seen in almost five years. right now search crews are fanning out across lee county where tornadoes ripped apart homes and flattened neighborhoods. dozens of people are injured. emergency workers are digging for debris and more victims. everyone grappling with the size and strength