tv CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield CNN March 9, 2019 11:00am-12:00pm PST
hello, again, everyone. thank you for being with me, i'm fredricka whitfield. we are following breaking news out of venezuela where thousands of demonstrators are flooding the streets in caracas. thousands are showing support for madiuro and others are telling him to step down. telling the u.s. any imperial will be felt with a strong response. guaido says they won't be -- they recover from a massive
power outage covering most of venezuela. paula newton is in caracas. paula, you have been hearing reports venezuelans are seeing pretty serious effects from the blackout. describe conditions. >> reporter: yeah, absolutely. you know, it has been so tantalizing without power for a half hour or hour for some of these people and yet still a national blackout continues. the issue is how it impacts people's lives. the food people had in their refrigerator is spoiled. they are desperate for water. to look for natural spring water, medicine. if you have anyone in the house who had a fall, a little girl 2 years old had a fall, her mother took her to emergency and did not know if she could get care. these are the issues that every day venezuelans are dealing with as they continue to protest on the streets. i was at the pro-maduro rally
and the opposition rally. the pro-maduro rally, we were hearing chants of yankee go home. president maduro being tough saying we will react to every utt utterance to get hands on venezuela's natural resources. i was at the opposition rally and that was different. there were tens of thousands of people on the streets of caracas. they were confronted by the national guard. they are keeping them from getting to that one place where juan guaido is supposed to give a speech. there have been sporadic issues with confrontation. both the opposition leaders, protesters and national guard trying to come to an understanding. these are incredibly tense times within the city and throughout the country. each side knowing, whether it's the blackout or the slogans, they need to find momentum so
they can keep their movement and for president maduro, he wants to stay in power so they can feel the momentum is on their side. i have to tell you, fred, it's not just them. people are exhausted. they have no idea how they are going to drink clean water or get food within the next 12 hours. fred? >> paula newton, thank you so much. extraordinary conditions right there. with me is charles shapiro, the u.s. ambassador to venezuela under president george w. bush. people are exhausted. you know, they are exasperated. there's not food, et cetera. how bad is it? how does that trickle into maduro's military family? >> that's the key question. it's dire. it's getting worse. oil production is falling rapidly. the money coming into the government is decreasing rapidly. more countries recognize guaido
as interim president man maduro. >> maduro is feeling threatened then. when he says to the u.s., your imperial aggression will lead to his strong response, what is he saying? >> that's what he's got to say to his own supporters. there's little he can do. he's got to hold on. he's got nowhere to go. he's got to keep the military behind him and the pressure is increasing. >> he doesn't feel he has the upper hand? >> i don't think so. >> he's behind the power outages, likely? right? >> i don't know that anybody knows that. i mean, look, their system fails every year at this time. >> okay. >> they haven't invested in it to keep it working. what is extraordinary this time is how widespread it is. almost the entire country is blacked out. you can see reports of people dying in hospitals because dialysis machines don't work. doing operations with the flashlights from cell phones.
>> those people are then going to blame maduro. >> oh, you bet. >> when you talk about maduro has power thus far because the military, you know, is backing him, but as soon as that support dwindles, or is compromised, is that when he loses grip and guaido, you know, gains power? because he, you know -- >> the top level of the military is very loyal to him. the national guard troops out on the street. they are a military national police force. the military, military is really not out repressing people, it's the national guard. i think they are hesitant to do that. there, the junior officers enlisted people, their families are suffering the same effect that everybody else in venezuela is. how long are they going to stay loyal? >> what should the u.s. role be here? >> well, first of all, we done a very good job, so far, of
keeping the international community supporting guaido, putting pressure on maduro. i don't know if you saw this week, maduro threw out the german ambassador. huge mistake. we have done good with that. some of the language is over the top. i don't think we really want to do it. >> such as, potential use of the military, u.s. military in some way of intervening. you think that is -- >> i think that -- i don't want to say it's not a possibility, it is a possibility. the president is right to keep it on the table. unless it is very dire circumstances, the military is shooting people in the streets. i think it's very unlikely the u.s. military will intervene. >> china and russia are backing the maduro regime, blocking venezuela, particularly at the united nations. what do they have to gain? >> they have little to gain.
the soviet union or russia has something to gain. everything that is good for maduro, bad for the u.s., they want to keep them on there. they love seeing us stumble. for china, they have been the major supplier. to have an unstable government doesn't work in china's benefit and the chinese want to be repaid. i mean, keep that in mind. the chinese are not in venezuela for charitable purposes. they are making it known, they want to get those loans repaid. the venezuelans owe them $30 billion. >> how long do you see that instability, if you want to call it that? is this a matter of weeks or months? >> i bet months. economic pressure is tough. there's no direct line between economic pressure and the result
you want to see happen. remember in south africa how long we had sanctions before the government said we need to change our policy? this could go on for a while. what's happening is their economy is collapsing. oil production is down to the level it was in 1947, before i was born. >> incredible. >> ambassador shapiro, good to see you. >> appreciate it. just in to cnn, we are hearing the emergency call made to air traffic control as a passenger flight is forced to divert to newark's airport. that was earlier today. that diversion shut down all runways at the airport for an hour. as you will hear the pilots fear, there may be a fire on board. >> 942, i know you are busy but i'm asked if you have a confirmed fire or a warning. >> we had an aft fire warning.
we have done our checklist to put the fire out. we still have a fire warning with the discharge on. we are uncertain to whether we have a warning or actual fire. >> roger. >> we will need the truck. we are not sure if we need to evacuate or not. >> everyone will be there waiting, sir. >> thank you. >> once the plane landed, all 189 passengers evacuated using emergency slides. cnn has been following the story for us. polo, take us through the steps. >> look at the video and it's clear, it was a busy morning on newark's tarmac. the concern was of a possible fire in the cargo hold of the boeing 737. it's unclear if there was a threat to the flight that was headed to florida from montreal. what is very clear is the crew of flight 942 wasted no time in
declaring that emergency and actually putting that plane safely on the ground in newark to allow for the evacuation of the 189 people. as you hear more of the chatter between air traffic controllers and the pilots, it's pretty remarkable how cool and calm they are as they try to lead them to safety. take a listen. >> 942 mayday, mayday. >> standing by. >> check turbulence. >> 942, hold right there. >> we are going to stay on the runway. >> do you plan to evacuate? >> we are going to see what they have to say to us. do you see smoke coming out the back. >> 942, no smoke appears from the plane. shut the aircraft down. >> we know now, several hours after the whole episode that, at
one point, the decision was made to evacuate, to use those emergency slides to get those people to potential safety here after this concern. as for those passengers, they are sending another plane to newark to get those passengers to their flight, to their ultimate destination. it is a popular airline in canada, based out of montreal. a popular, leisure airline. fred? >> polo sandoval, thank you very much. cohen says he never asked the president for a pardon, but the president says otherwise. who is telling the truth? what could it mean for the former lawyer? later, several candidates are at the south by southwest festival. could beto o'rourke be next to jump in the race? more coming up. ♪
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welcome back. president trump is slamming his former lawyer, michael cohen after two weeks of bombshell testimony on capitol hill. the president claiming cohen lied under oath, yet again, this time calling into question whether cohen asked for a pardon. >> i don't discuss it. the only one discussing it is you. i haven't discussed it. i know that in watching and seeing you folks at night that michael cohen lied about the pardon. it's a stone cold lie. he's lied about a lot of things. when he lied about the pardon, it was really a lie. his lawyer went to my lawyers and asked. i can go a step above that, but i won't now. >> congressman denny heck joining me now, a democrat from washington state and a democrat from the house intelligence committee. congressman, thanks for being with us. the president contradicting
sworn testimony. is your committee prepared to further investigate the claims? >> let me start by saying, i don't think the president is upset that michael cohen is lying, he's upset that michael cohen is no longer lying for him. lying for him is precisely why mr. cohen is going to jail. look at the body of evidence here. 199 criminal charges, 37 criminal indictments and plea deals, now five prison sentences to the people closest to the president. independent sources have validated that the president has lied, what, 9,000 times? some ast nomic number. i trust the american people will weigh all the evidence and come to the obvious conclusion. >> as you said, michael cohen admits to lying for the president when he was working for the president, then wanted to come back and clean it up and tell more about his experience. did you get the answers that you were looking for? did michael cohen's testimony
offer some clarity for you? >> well, i would say, in all honesty, we learn just about as much in two full days of interviewing mr. cohen as the previous two years of the investigation by the republicans. he was fully cooperative. of course, we are not going to take everything he says at face value without corroborating it. we can leave it to your judgment where the weight of evidence actually lies. >> this week, democrats requested documents from 81 individuals, groups and organizations tied to president trump's campaign, his businesses and transition into the white house. so, what do you say to people who believe this is a fishing expedition? there are some camps who say you are overzealous and carrying out your duties of oversight and there are others who, you know, are saying this is overkill.
>> so, i guess i would refer back to what i said earlier, fred. if this is a fishing expedition, every time we drop a hook in the water, we catch a fish. 199 criminal charges and five prison terms. every time a door is opened, there's evidence of additional, problematic behavior. last week, as an example, the new york state insurance regulators began looking into insurance fraud on the part of mr. trump as a consequence of the information brought forth. so, i think it's completely a mischaracterization to describe it as a phishing expedition because it's born so much fruit. >> going into his finances draw the line for him. among the investigations, members of congress are looking into now, democrats want to know about bank dealings, specifically with deutsche bank giving the president loans when
none of the other financial institutions would do so. deutsche bank, you know, has been accused of russian money laundering. what kind of documents, if any, has your committee looked into? >> thank you for reminding viewers that, in fact, deutsche bank was willing to enter into lending arrangements when no other domestic american bank would touch him. we are trying to get to the why to that. from an intelligence committee standpoint, what is important is if there is a history or pattern of financial entanglement that compromises the president or candidate for president. >> there was a story, at first deutsche bank wouldn't. then it ended up doing so. are you satisfied with the why? >> no, i don't think we are to the why. an obvious question in this regard, to give you an
understanding about what it is we would be interested, if nobody else would touch him, if their loan underwriting practices file so many bankruptcies, failed to pay contractors and subcontractors, if deutsche bank lends the money is someone else guaranteeing that loan? if so, who? this is ha we need to get to. fred, by the way, i have the honor to serve on the financial services committee, which is also taking part under the chairmanship of maxine waters. the committees see this as a legitimate and important line of inquiry. all the work, thus far, with the various committees and inquiries up staged the ongoing mueller investigation. that is still, you know, one of great importance. what are your thoughts or concerns about what point the special counsel will be wrapping
things up, what could be gleaned from it, what will compliment or conflict the investigations in congress. >> i have a great deal of confidence in director mueller. i have shown that for two years now. he is a professional of higher standards. i have a lot of confidence. a singular long running narrative report, along the lines ken star did in the '90s. it may be a series of reports or he files indictments and sends a memo to them. we don't know. we have an obligation, of course, under article one under the constitution to exercise its oversight responsibilities and make sure we are pursuing lines of inquiries if there's reason to believe director mueller considers that appropriate. >> but, of course, the attorney general could either, you know, provide a lot of the findings or
can prevent your eyes or anyone else's eyes from seeing anything. what are your concerns there? >> the truth, i honestly have no doubt, whatsoever, we are going to learn this. we have a variety of ways. we can subpoena the document. subpoena director mueller. that's to say nothing of the number of people that are associated with this and understand the american public wants to know the truth behind this. this investigation has gone on a year and a half. it's been comprehensive and thor row as is the evidence of the charges and indictments. the american people demand to know the fruit of his research and efforts. >> congressman, we'll leave it there for now. thank you so much. >> thank you. coming up, the campaign trail runs through south by southwest. several presidential hopefuls are on the trail in texas. will their appearances help them attract younger voters. billions of mouths.
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beto o'rourke. he said, he made his decision on a white house run, but is holding that decision close to his vest for now. with me is hilary rosen and republican strategist allen stewart. good to see both of you. hillary, you, first. in his home state of texas, would that be the perfect setting to make it official? is he in or out? >> it might be, you know, he has a movie to let people follow him to make a documentary during his senate campaign. that movie is showing no less than three times. there are lines around the block. i just walked past the theater. i think there's a big crowd for beto here. howard schultz did a talk this morning. it didn't go well. he got scattered boos. i came from an amy klobuchar event where she got good applause. she actually, i think acquitted herself well on some of the tough issues she is facing.
this is kind of an elite audience, in a way. it is a young audience. influencers attack in media, film and, you know, the things that get the biggest applause lines are really when people talk about beating donald trump. >> interesting. so, alliice, among the influencs we are talking democratic hopefuls under the age of 40. they might be very attractive, particularly to the very important young voter base. how will republicans counter either that potential advantage on the left of, you know, those who are rather young? >> i think focusing your message to the young people is critical, certainly for democrats. they have a large newly elected young generation here in washington, d.c. but, what's just as important as who you are messaging to, it is your message. across the age spectrum, people
want to make sure the economy is strong, we are a safe and secure country and the policies that the person you represent are executing them. hillary is right in the heart of where, i think, is a perfect place for democratic candidates to be. as she said, this is left leaning millennials, a great opportunity for them to road test their message and engage millennials and also, fund raising. it's exciting to see democrats there, at this event, catering to the young people. at the end of the day, it's not just what you are saying, who you are saying it to, but exactly the message you want to convey and how it resinates. i would strongly encourage democrats not to focus on who is going to be the best candidate for them in the primary. they need to find someone that is going to go head-to-head with donald trump. so, that under 40, gabbert. democrats had a rather challenging week, particularly
in light of congressman omar's comments about israel. listen to what senator amy klobuchar said about it last hour. you mentioned she got a lot of applause, but then, on this particular topic, this is how she addressed it. >> did not agree with what the representative said there because, i believe you can be true to your country and advocate for another country. whether it is israel or canada or ethiopia, there are many americans that feel strongly that they love their own country, but they advocate for maybe a country of their own ancestry or another country they care a lot about. but, what i do believe is that the president has ignited, in his own way, a string of things
against other people. it is everything from anti-semitism on the rise to anti-muslim rhetoric on the rise. i try to go back home and look at how we have handled some of this. >> hillary, interesting on a few fronts. klobuchar and omar both minnesotans. at the same time, we saw bernie sanders, kamala harris come to her defense. klobuchar taking a different approach. >> no, no, no. she didn't, though. >> you don't see it that way. >> if you kept going, and i was in the room, she talked about how she is a somali refugee and has a different perspective, it's an important perspective and we need to listen to it. she said she disagreed about loyalties, but in no way suggested she needed to be rebuked or she was piling on. i think that's a misimpression. listen, there are -- there's a
new, diverse caucus in washington, but there's also a new, diverse democratic primary field of voters out here. i think that all of these candidates are looking around saying, you know what? those standard things that we used to say aren't, you know, the conventional wisdom anymore. we are not going to be knee jerk supportive of israel. we are not going to be knee jerk focused on the middle class. we are going to talk about the poor. we are not going to be knee jerk about violent crime. we want to think about sentencing reform. there are a lot of pitfalls for democrats in this pry paimary sn with the diversity of voters. >> alice, how do you see these candidates handling candor? >> i think this, the condemning congresswoman omar's comments took too long. it's a sad time in washington when we have to legislate decency and kind words to other
people. i agree that she needs to be held accountable. i think she should be taken off her committee assignments with regard to showing some kind of consequences for this kind of anti-semitism behavior. if people of israel and the jewish people were offended by that, there needs to be consequences for that. you can strongly disagree with certain israeli policies, but if you are making statements that are hurtful to people there certainly needs to be consequences for this. one thing -- >> where -- >> i'm jewish and i wasn't insulted. >> i don't think that's a uniform view. >> where has that consensus been when there's criticism and observation with the president who used inflammatory language? >> ic condemned his statements many times. it's not helpful. it is mean spirited.
that is the president that ran for office and people elected him and voted for him anyway. we have a congressman facing allegations for making unkind statements. a republican stepped forward and took him off his committee assignment. so, republicans have shown there are consequences for mean spirited language and rhetoric and the democrats certainly do the same thing with congresswoman omar. >> hillary? >> my friend alice has been consistently condemning hateful wor words out of donald trump's mouth for years. i appreciate that. this isn't about her. the congressman, steve king, had 15 years of racist remarks. this is a young, democratic freshman who made a mistake and apologized. let's be realistic. she is in no way a threat to american policy toward israel. what i think we need to do in this campaign and in this country is focus on who do we
want to be and how do we want to convey it? this kind of, we have to challenge conventional wisdom. we cannot be, you know, lock step for a government of israel that oppresses its people. and i'm jewish. we cannot be consistent in applying civil rights laws. i do think democratic voters are going to look at this field of candidates. they are looking at the leadership and saying, yes, we want you guys to challenge the status quo. that's why we elected you. we don't like the way things have been going. we want fresh thinking. >> we'll leave it there for now. hillary, alice, good to see you ladies. thank you. >> thanks, fred. don't miss tomorrow night's back-to-back-to-back, three presidential town halls. former congressman john delany at 7:00, tulsi gabbard at 8:00
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paul manafort's time in jail could be extended significantly in the next week. a judge sentenced him to nearly four years in prison, far less than the guidelines of 19-24 years. in just a few days, he goes to another federal court for sentencing on additional crimes. here is cnn's sarah murray. >> reporter: critics say he got off easy. next week, he comes face-to-face with another judge. >> i'm surprised at the sentence. >> reporter: the judge is set to sentence him for witness tampering. crimes that carry a minimum of ten years. in deciding whether to impose it, jackson could consider
manafort continued to commit crimes and later lied to investigators when he was supposed to be cooperating. a federal judge in virginia sentenced him to nearly four years in prison, far less than the recommended sentence of 19-25 years. >> this sentence, in my view, failed to do justice to the very serious crimes that manafort has committed as well as his utter disrespect for the law. >> reporter: the comments manafort's lawyer made after the sentencing further inflamed democrats. >> there is no evidence that paul manafort was involved in collusion with any government official from russia. >> reporter: adam schiff fired back via twitter, saying the statement by paul manafort's lawyer, after an already lenient sentence, repeating the president's mantra was no accident, it was an appeal for a pardon.
in deciding manafort's, it was called excessive and claims manafort lived an otherwise blameless life. manafort spent a lifetime enriching himself lobbying with dictators and human rights records like former philippine leader whose image manafort tried to raise after the brutal repay. later, he built ties with ukrainian ol -- as part of the illegal lobbying work, manafort pushed news stories in 2012, designed to paint president obama's administration as
anti-semitic. leading to eight convictions in virginia. the maximum he could face when sentenced in d.c. ten years. it will be more difficult to argue the judge should not give him the maximum sentence. unlike virginia, he pled guilty to the charges. as part of that, he acknowledged a number of crimes he was not charged with. he signed a document that prosecutors have, saying he deserved 17-22 years in prison. sarah murray, cnn, washington. still ahead, a picture of president trump smiling with this woman at mar-a-lago on super bowl sunday. it's raising a few eyebrows. the woman is the owner of the florida spa where robert kraft was caught soliciting sex. this is charlie not coughing because he took delsym 12-hour. and this is charlie still not coughing while trying his hardest not to wake zeus.
a picture of president trump smiling with this woman at mar-a-lago on super bowl sunday a raising a few eyebrows. the woman is the former owner of the florida spa where new england patriots owner, robert kraft was caught soliciting sex. this is new reporting from the miami herald now. cnn follows up. >> reporter: her name is lee yang. she goes by cindy. she's been spotted with the who's who of the gop, including the president's sons at mar-a-lago, kellyanne conway. she took up with president trump at a super bowl watch party that is raising eyebrows.
yang is the former owner of the orchids of asia day spa, the massage parlor where they caught new england patriots owner, robert kraft paying for oral sex. >> he's charged with the same offenses as the others, that is soliciting another for prostitution. >> reporter: kraft denies wrong doing. according to the miami herald, yang no longer owns orchids of asia. she sold it in 2013. cnn tried, but was unable to reach yang for comment. she did speak with the miami herald. >> she didn't answer the question whether she knew there was sex happening. she simply told us she is no longer in the spa business, she doesn't know president trump and she's planning to move to washington, d.c. >> reporter: it should be noted, yang was not charged in the anti-human trafficking bust that led to misdemeanor charges to
kraft and the closing of spas in south florida. the white house declined to comment on yang, but president trump did speak about the charges for kraft. >> it's sad. i was surprised to see it. he's proclaimed his innocence, but i'm surprised to see it. >> reporter: as for yang, she donated $35,000 to the trump campaign according to fcc filings. she's a self-made entrepreneur, according to the miami herald, showed little political interest before the 2016 election and she had not voted in the ten years prior. jason carroll, cnn, new york. >> much more straight ahead in the newsroom. first, here are the turning points. megan har man is a natural on the slopes. >> i feel this huge sense of freedom when i'm on snow. >> reporter: it took a life changing accident to get her her n. 2009 her left leg was
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right now, nearly 15 million people are in the path of severe weather. that includes possible tornadoes, damaging winds and large hail. cnn meteorologist is tracking the storms for us. allison? >> we actually just got a brand-new tornado watch to tell you about in the last few minutes here. it's an addition on a tornado watch that was already valid. memphis and northern mississippi, they have added southern mississippi, areas that include, jackson, for example, in the mix. you have a lot of showers and thunderstorms starting to fire up along that portion of the mississippi. you can see this line here, to the north of jackson, north and east there, the line that's beginning to fire up.
that line is firing up because this is the area where we have had a lot more sunshine than the other areas in tennessee or kentucky. the heating of the day that's helping to fire up a lot of powerful thunderstorms. you have numerous severe thunderstorm warnings along the back edge of the line as it continues to progress east. in addition to that, look at the tremendous amount of lightning with this particular storm. the lightning goes as far north as illinois and indiana, stretching back toward texas. we have had reports of a house fire because of a lightning strike with some of these storms as they continue to push east. now, the main threats going forward are going to be the lightning, potential for tornadoes, damaging winds and large hail. not out of the question to get hail with the storms. perhaps up around tennis ball size. again, that is the threat going forward, fred. it will continue to the afternoon as well as the evening hourless. before you go to bed tonight, make sure you have a way to get
emergency alerts. >> stay alert and stay informed. thank you, allison, appreciate that. thank you for joining me this saturday, i'm fredricka whitfield. see you back here tomorrow. we have so much more straight ahead with ana cabrera. it starts right now. hello, it's 3:00 eastern, noon out west. i'm ana cabrera and you are live in the "cnn newsroom." it is a very busy day on the campaign trail for the democrats who would like to be president. from the battleground state of iowa to ruby red south carolina, they are speaking out talking about their vision for the country, the hot-button issues of the day and talking about their competition, what's becoming a very crowded 2020 field. >> our job is to create an economy and a government that works for all of us, the