tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN March 18, 2019 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
kellyanne conway's husband to tweet that the president is mentally ill. and getting worse. high lows. our exclusive cnn poll shows president trump's approval number up thanks to a healthy economy, but it's still near the bottom of polling on modern day presidents. so what do the numbers tell us about the 2020 campaig? and putin's rallying cry. russian president vladimir putin holds a rally marking the fifth anniversary of his annexation of crimea, holding firm to his land grab despite international sanctions. russia says it believes president trump wants better relations. is the administration being tough enough on putin? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." this is cnn breaking news. >> the breaking news tonight, the top democrats on the house and senate intelligence and
judiciary committees are demanding the fbi investigate ties between president trump and florida spa chain founder cindy ang. she's facing allegations of human trafficking, foreign lobbying and possible campaign finance violations and democrats are questioning whether she tried to leverage her relationship with the president by selling access to chinese clients. also tonight, an exclusive new cnn poll shows the president's approval rating ticking up to 42% as top aides are facing questions about mr. trump's mental fitness and his reluctance to condemn white supremacists after a jaw-dropping and scattershot weekend twitter storm. i'll talk about that and more with congressman of the oversight and armed services committee and correspondents, analysts and specialists are also standing by. first, let's go to our chief white house correspondent costa. jim, even by trump's standards this was truly an astonishing tweet storm by the president. >> reporter: it certainly was, wolf.
the president's twitter feed is cooling down this evening after a fiery weekend of trump tweets, aimed at all the president's adversaries, real and imagined. once again, top white house officials found themselves in the surreal position of cleaning up after the president's social media messes. top white house officials had to talk about whether or not the president was suffering from some kind of mental illness today. over the weekend, one top white house official was asked whether or not the president was a white house supremacist. it started over the weekend when the president made a rare trip to church and lasted until his monday morning executive time. an unholy tweet storm airing an avalanche of mr. trump's grievances. the president lashed out at the press after the mosque massacre in new zealand tweeting, "the fake news media is working overtime to blame me for the horrible attack in new zealand. so ridiculous." it was the new zealand killer who called attention to the president's rhetoric describing mr. trump in a manifesto as a symbol of white identity. the president is back on his
heels after downplaying white nationalism. >> i don't really. i think it's a small group of people that have very, very serious problems. i guess if you look at what happened in new zealand, perhaps that's a case, i don't know enough about it yet. they're just learning about the person and the people involved, but it's certainly a terrible thing. >> reporter: in response to the barrage of tweets, the husband of white house counselor kellyanne conway, prominent d.c. attorney george conway, suggested the president suffers from some kind of personality disorder adding, "his condition is getting worse." a view not shared by his wife. >> no, i don't share those concerns and i was getting -- i have four kids and i was getting out of the house this morning before i got here and talked to the president about substance, so i may not be up to speed on all of them. >> reporter: president also attacked his old nemesis, john mccain, accusing the late senator who died in august of peddling a dossier of mr. trump's alleged misdeeds before the 2016 election, tweeting, "so it was, indeed, john mccain that sent the fake dossier to the fbi and media, hoping to have it
printed before the election. he and the dems working together failed as usual." mccain's daughter fired back at the president. >> i just thought, your life is spent on your weekends not with your family, not with your friends, but obsessing, obsessing over great menu could never live up to. >> yeah. >> that tells you everything you need to know about his pathetic life right now. >> yeah. >> reporter: in a sign of republic b can reluctance to criticize mr. trump, mccain's old friend senator lindsay graham only offered a muted response to the president tweeting, "nothing about mccain's service will ever be changed or diminished." president's poll numbers have ticked up in recent weeks in part because of the healthy economy, 71% saying the nation is in good fiscal shape which may explain why the president feels emboldened to call on fox news to bring back judge jeanine pirro, one of the network's hosts who was suspended after making bigoted comments about muslims in a rant about congresswoman ilhan omar. >> think about it, omar wears a
hijab. is her adherence inticket dif to sharia law, which in itself is antithetical to the united states constitution? >> reporter: the president defended pirro on the same weekend as people in new zealand were reeling from a terror attack on muslims. white house acting chief of staff mick mulvaney insisted mr. trump is not a racist. >> the president is not a white supremacist. i'm not sure how many times we have to say that. >> reporter: as the president attended church on sunday, he was exposed to a message of tolerance at the service. as the reverend called on americans to reject hatred. >> we're called whenever we overhear or oversee hateful slurs against other people, perhaps we need the holy courage to call them out. and say it's just not -- that's just not us. >> reporter: the president will soon find himself in the company of a like-minded foreign leader when brazilian president visits the white house tomorrow. bolsonaro has been described as
the, quote, trump of the tropics, once saying that immigrants coming to brazil are, quote, the scum of the earth, wolf, i suspect this joint press conference tomorrow between president and bolsonaro featuring both of those leaders that the president will be asked about these tweets that we've been seeing over the last 24 to 48 hours that have really been lighting up social media and putting his top officials over here at the white house back on their heels, wolf. >> yeah, i suspect you're absolutely right, jim acosta, thank you very much. there's breaking news right now up on capitol hill where top democrats just put out an update on their request for documents from 81 individuals and organizations. our senior congressional correspondent manu raju is joining us. so, manu, how many responded? >> reporter: well, according to the house judiciary committee, they say, quote, a large number of recipients have responded and provided tens of thousands of documents to the committee. now, they don't specify who has responded, who has not responded, exactly the number of responses. pretty vague in that regard, but
they do say that they are encouraged by the early responses to today's deadline that they set two weeks ago as part of jerry nadler, the chairman of the committee's investigation, into what he believes are abuse of power by president trump, obstruction of justice, and an investigation that's expected to go into all aspects of president trump's business life, into what he's done at the white house and beyond. now, according to nadler, some of these individuals have said that they'll only comply if they get a subpoena. so expect some subpoenas going forward. others, he told me last week, have been defian and appears some are still being defiant and says this in a statement. "it's my hope that we will receive cooperation from the remainder on the list and we'll be working to find an appropriate accommodation with any individual who may be reluctant to cooperate with our investigation." so back and forth expected in the coming days and weeks. subpoenas, more documents, they're going to go through those documents and expect eventually public hearing as part of this investigation, which is only just beginning in
this -- >> so they weren't specific saying who responded, who didn't respond. is that right? >> reporter: that's correct. last week when i asked nadler specifically, do you expect responses from the white house, do you expect responses from president trump's eldest son, donald trump junior? he would not say. he said i don't want to talk about any individuals, and they're very careful not to single out individuals. we'll have to see in the days and weeks who does not respond, who gets subpoenas because this is probably going to be a fight that's going to play out, a document fight that's going to play out among a number of key recipients, people who may not want to give this information about what the democrats believe is are wrongdoing in the trump organization and the white house, wolf. >> see what these judiciary committee investigators do, they're going to have a lot of work going through those thousands and thousands of documents. there's more breaking news, manu, top democrats are demanding a new probe into the president's ties to the founder of a chain of florida day spas. what do these democrats want the fbi specifically to investigate? >> reporter: yeah, these four democrats are asking for an fbi counterintelligence and criminal
investigation into cindy yang, who's the former owner of a number of florida spas and massage parlors. of course, she came under the spotlight after last month, t the -- was charged with the solicitation of prostitution at a massage parlor she had owned. she no longer has interest there but afterwards, her role had come into the spotlight. the reports about her ties to the president. her being at mar-a-lago and including on her website it said she would offer access to her clients to the president, other high-profile individuals. so these democrats are concerned that she may be selling access by leveraging her relationship to the president, and selling access to chinese clients and they say this, "although miss yang's activities may only be those of an unscrupulous act or allegedly selling access to politicians for profit, her activities also could permit
adversary governments or their agents access to these same politicians to acquire potential material for blackmail or other even more nefarious purposes." but wolf, yang's attorney tonight pushing back saying this is all, a, quote, politically driven expedition, calling it a democratic partisan letter and allegations, but we'll see how the fbi responds as the democrats want answers by this thursday. wolf? >> all right, you'll let us know what happens. manu raju up on capitol hill. thank you. we're also learning new details of the fbi raids on michael cohen. president trump's former fixer and personal attorney who's facing three years in prison for tax evasion, campaign finance violations, and lying to congress. our crime and justice reporter shimon prokupecz is working the story for us. so, shimon, what can we learn about these raids? >> right. so the big question has always been, what led the fbi to do these raids, to conduct these raids on a lawyer, on the personal lawyer of the president? a very big deal.
when the fbi decided to do this, they had to get all sorts of permission. so hopefully tomorrow, we will learn what some of the information they had that caused them to feel the need to go ahead and go in the way that they went in. we already know a lot of what the fbi removed from michael cohen's office and his home. he's testified on congress about it. a lot of the information, a lot of the documents were given already back to michael cohen. so the big question is going to be, what happened? why did the fbi go in the way they went in? then you'll recall, even the president had a reaction at the time from the white house when he spoke and here's what he said. >> so i just heard that they broke into the office of one of my personal attorneys, good man, and it's a disgraceful situation. it's a total witch hunt. >> and so there you go, there was the president reacting to the time. it was huge news at the time certainly as the investigation unfolded. we kept learning more and more.
it's been this question about what led the fbi to go in the way they went in. there was a lot of talk they were afraid documents, evidence, was about to be destroyed, so perhaps tomorrow in this affidavit that will hopefully be released, we'll learn exactly what they felt was going to be destroyed and how. the other thing is going to be whether or not it indicates to us other part of this investigation, whether or not there were things still ongoing. >> we know michael cohen begins a three-year prison sentence may 6th in an upstate federal penitentiary, but he's still cooperating with federal authorities, and where is he being most helpful right now? >> that's a very interesting question, wolf. it's not entirely clear if he is volunteering information or if they're coming to him and asking for information. he's saying, well, i'm always open to anyone who's asking me questions on the investgative side. we have seen some activity from investigators in new york at the attorney general's office. they've subpoenaed information from deutsche bank as a result of his congressional testimony. we've seen follow-ups from the u.s. attorney's office when they
issued a subpoena for the inaugural committee. it was the finances and it was specifically one person. that information, we believe, they have come from michael cohen. so he's continuing to cooperate in many different ways, not just on the federal level, but also on the state level with the attorney general in new york. and who knows where else. i mean, when you look at all the different investigations that are ongoing, it seems like almost every investigative body in new york right now is investigating the trump organization, and that is where michael cohen, it seems, would be most helpful. >> he's clearly cooperating in all sorts of areas hoping to see the three-year prison sentence potentially reduced. we'll see what happens on that front as well. shimon, thank you very much. let's talk about this and more with democratic congressman of california, a member of the oversight and armed services committ committees. congressman, thanks for joining us. we're going to get to the investigations in a moment. first, what's your reaction to the president's tweet s over th weekend? >> well, it's completely
unpresidenti unpresidential. instead of assuring the nation about what happened in new zealand, saying we condemn those kind of hate crimes, he's tweeting out defending anchors on fox news. he's yelling at gm ceo as if that's going to bring jobs here. so it just was totally what you wouldn't expect from any president of the united states. >> what message does it send when the president is so outspoken, so upset over the, for example, the fox news lineup or "saturday night live," but not, as you point out, the hate that fueled friday's attack on muslim worshippers? >> it's unprecedented. look, when george w. bush was president after 9/11, one thing i admired about him, he said this kind of hate against muslim-americans has no place in america. rudy giuliani did this. when our nation has crisis or there's international crisis, you'll always have the president speaking about american values and this president was silent about that and it was noticed by people across this country, republicans and democrats.
>> the president's defenders refute the idea that his rhetoric plays any role in stoking white supremacy. how do you see it? >> well, he's encouraged violence. i mean, he's openly speculated saying that he doesn't know what will happen if his supporters get more rough. words have consequences. certainly the words of the president of the united states has consequence. the president criticizes members of congress for speech and says that has consequence. under that own standard, he should accept responsibility for his words, and he hasn't grown in office. i had hoped he would have a different demeanor as president than on the campaign, and hopefully, i still hope, he'll learn the gravity of what he says matters. >> so how do you explain the president's latest approval rating in our brand-new cnn poll? now it's gone up, edged up a bit. he's at 42% job approval. 89%, though. look at this. 89% of republicans approve of the job he's doing. >> two things.
i look at the poll. 56% of people still think they're not better off than they were three years ago. that is, of course, the famous question. are you better off? while some people may think the economy is doing well for places in this country like wall street, it hasn't helped ordinary folks. it hasn't helped the forgotten americans and i also think it's a concern that a lot of republicans haven't called the president to account for ongoing crimes or abuses of office and that's a concern to our democracy. i hope more republicans will speak out about that. >> let's turn to the oversight work that house democrats are conducting including yourself, your colleagues on the house judiciary committee set today as the deadline for their sweeping documents request. 81 people and entities. now the chairman, jerry nadler, says many have, in fact, complied. what are the consequences for those who refusing to comply? >> the consequences is a potential subpoena. and a far more hostile
environment. my hope is people will realize their constitutional duty, their duty as patriots to come back and offer the information they have. they're not sharing it with some partisan committee. they're sharing it with the american people and i'm heartened that so many people have complied and i think we're going to find out a lot in the documents that the committee has. >> your committee, the house oversight committee, has clashed with the white house over interview, former trump administration officials including the former white house chief of staff john kelly. the chairman of the committee, elijah cummings, says the white house is stonewalling. how does your committee plan to respond? >> is i spoke to elijah cummings last week. he doesn't want to issue subpoenas. we tried to get the documents about the security clearances but the white house isn't cooperating so we're going to have to issue a subpoena if that's the case. this is a issue that should matter to the american public. i mean, you have a case of people at the white house
handing over possible information about saudi dissidents to mbs, compromising national security. we need to know who has these clearances, why they have them, who they were given. >> who do you plan on subpoenaing? >> i think we can subpoena john kelly who wrote a contemporaneous memo opposing the security decision, the decision to grant these clearances. why did he oppose those? why were those clearances given over career officials? and i think we have to understand from jared kushner and ivanka trump why they got those security clearances. that's not partisan. i've worked with jared kushner on issues at the white house innovation office and i've praised the white house innovation office. what i don't understand is why he has access to the president's daily brief and why he's being able to get that kind of top-secret information when our security officers and career officials didn't want him to. >> why haven't those subpoenas been issued?
empty threat. >> well, you know, anyone who knows chairman cummings and mark meadows or jim jordan would tell you this, he's one of the fairest people. he wants to do things cooperatively. that's his no does on rendy. he does not want to issue subpoenas unless he absolutely wants to but he's also one of the toughest people. if they continue to take advantage of the situation when he's bending over backwards, to be fair, we will issue subpoenas but he's giving the white house every possible chance to comply. >> are you worried, though, about a court challenge potentially if these subpoenas are issued? >> i do think it will go to the courts but i think the courts will clearly rule in our favor because there's no executive privilege here. there's not some top-secret national security issue about why random people were given security clearances. if anything, what we ought to do is get this information so that we can strengthen the laws in congress so that the president of the united states isn't allowed to just arbitrarily give
security clearances with our and that's the real oversight function. so i'm confident that the courts would rule for us. >> congressman, thanks so much for joining us. >> thanks, wolf. just ahead, we'll have more on the breaking news. a top democrat says his kmiet tee has now received tens of thousands of documents before tonight's deadline for responses from 81 individuals and organizations connected with the president. also, one theory about president trump's latest twitter tirade. it's tied to pending developments in the special counsel robert mueller's russia investigation. so, you're open all day, that's what 24/7 means, sugar. kind of like how you get 24/7 access to licensed agents with geico. hmm? yeah, you just go online, or give them a call anytime. you don't say. yep. now what will it take to get 24/7 access to that lemon meringue pie? pie! pie's coming!
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breaking news up on capitol hill, the house judiciary committee has just put an update on its request for documents for its sweeping new probe of president trump. let's dig deeper with our comment ta comme comment comment commentators. tens of thousands of documents have now come in. they're beginning the process of going through the documents. some people have not complied. how useful, though, will all of this be for this investigation? >> well, it may well be useful. there are a lot of people there, but the white house is taking the michael corleone approach.
you remember in godfather ii where the senator comes and he says to him, my offer is this, nothing. they are going to give jerry nadler and the judiciary committee nothing. they are going to dare them to issue a subpoena, find them in contempt, go to court. by the time the legal process is through, kamala harris will be the nominee or someone else will be the nominee and this whole thing will just sort of fade away. they're just going to run out the clock here and it's all going to be -- i mean, the white house is just giving them nothing ever. >> what do you think? >> i agree with jeffrey. look, i think the white house doesn't want to cooperate with this. i think other people feel like they have no choice. they will issue subpoenas. and i don't think it's only the judiciary committee that will issue subpoenas. i think the white house is going to try and stonewall this as long as they can. >> top democrats are now calling
on the fbi to open a full scale counter intelligence criminal investigation into cindy yang, the woman who founded some spas, massage parlors in south florida. she sold those massage parlors, those spas, but they want her to be investigated for using her contacts with donald trump and others close to the president potentially to get chinese clients. >> cindy yang was not actually charged or directly implicated in connection to the investigation of the human trafficking and prostitution probe, but her relationship with the president has come under scrutiny, one, because she is a frequent guest at mar-a-lago, the president's resort in west palm beach and was also photographed attending a super bowl party with the president. the key question that democrats in congress are asking is, one, did the foreign government contacts that she had seek to exploit that relationship and in
some ways buy access to the president and others in the administration, did they use those relationships or that access for nefarious purposes and what steps has the trump campaign taken to ensure that it is not taking foreign donations or donations from foreign governments, which of course would be illegal. >> you know, one person who approves of all this democratic strategy, the majority in the house having all these sweeping investigations is the president's former chief strategist steve bannon. listen to what he said. >> how would you grade nancy pelosi the last couple months? >> a 10. she's a warhorse. i think she's done from what she's trying to accomplish, i think she's done a good job. one thing she did this week was she said we're not going to call for impeachment. >> smart move? >> the facts are there, the
american people come along, i'll reconsider it but we have the people's work to do. it's a perfect message. >> i think things haves t the i the next five or six months are going to be close to insanity. they're going to be pounding the president with information requests. the house is going to be a bear pit. while the democrats candidates running for president run downfield, they're there to stop trump. if they can wound him enough that he's not competitive in 2020, they will consider that a good two years. >> isn't that exactly what steve bannon would do? >> 100%. it's not even a question. i kind of admire it. >> you think the president is happy what he hears from steve bannon right now? >> i'm not sure if the president is happy. i think steve bannon is very happy with what he said there. it's perfect for the steve bannon brand. he fancies himself sort of a truth teller, someone who's going to give praise to the other side so he gets, to a, say
look yeah i recognize nancy pelosi as a worthy adversary, and at the same time he gets to essentially warn the trump base, look, they're coming for you, meaning the democrats are coming for us. >> what do you think of steve bannon giving nancy pelosi a 10 out of 10? >> i was so distracted by mark mckinnon's hat -- no. i think pelosi is walking a very fine line here and she's doing a very good job. she's saying, the evidence is there for impeachment and this is a corrupt terrible president but we're not going to do that. we're just going to investigate because they are haunted by 1998 and what the republicans did. they went ahead with impeachment knowing they couldn't get an eviction from office through the senate. so pelosi is playing both sides and i think bannon is right, she's been very effective so far. >> bannon is a political strategist. he understands exactly what
she's doing. she knows that unless the public is with the democrats on impeachment they're going to look like they just want to throw donald trump out of office for anything and she doesn't want to do that. i think bannon understands that. he understands base politics. and nancy pelosi kind of laid down the law and i think people have to listen to her. she's really smart and he knows it and she's a worthy adversary and donald trump ought to know that too. >> they're going to go after him step by step by step. >> yeah. >> the kancandidates are out th campaigning on issues and not talking about impeachment. nancy pelosi will take care of the house and what it's doing to kind of bolster the candidates and hurt donald trump. >> everybody, stick around. there's a lot more we need to discuss. we just got married. we're all under one roof now. congratulations. thank you. how many kids? my two. his three. along with two dogs and jake, our new parrot. that is quite the family. quite a lot of colleges to pay for though. a lot of colleges.
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that protects what's important. it handles everything, and reaches everywhere. this is beyond wifi, this is xfi. simple. easy. awesome. xfinity, the future of awesome. we're back with our comme commenters and analysts. the president didn't stop tweeting all weekend on all sorts of stuff, old favorites like robert mueller, joe biden, john mccain even though john mccain passed away months ago, "saturday night live," the news media, general motors, shepherd smith of fox and others. what impression did you get from his nonstop tweeting and retweeting over the weekend? >> all i can say is be best,
right? this is presidential troll, okay? he's trolling people who are alive, people who have passed away. i think what he was doing was sitting somewhere in the white house and watching television nonstop. he is so full of grievance, he can't let anything go. and not even to someone like an american hero like john mccain. i think it's disgraceful and i think that it's immature and i think he just -- somebody needs to tell him to stop. maybe melania should tell him to be best. >> how's that going? >> not too well. >> what do you think the odds of that are? >> zero. >> but i mean, think about it, 50 people died in new zealand in this horrible terrorist attack. but how does that compare to the tragedy thatjeanin
jeanine piro. >> he also tweeted against "saturday night live" which happened to be a repeat, wants the fcc to investigate "saturday night live" and nbc. it is pretty shocking when you think about it. let's get your thoughts. >> here's the thing. when you look at the president tweeting his support, you can't help but focus on the timing. this is two days after terrorist attacks on the muslim community in new zealand left 50 people dead, 50 others wounded. the president's advisors are out there in public saying this president is not anti-muslim, there's nothing to suggest he's anti-muslim, even though there are a litany of comments he has made which have trafficked in isl
islamophobia. now he's saying bring back jeanine, who questioned the patriotism patriotism. these are precisely the kinds of moments that do call into question the president's feelings toward the muslim community and the animus he appears to hold and continue to perpetuate even when this is a community that is under attack and victim to an increasing number of hate crimes both here and home and around the world. >> well said. he went to church yesterday with the first lady and he heard this from the minister. i'll play the little clip. >> one more gratuitous attack on innocent people at worship. happens too often, doesn't it? brought back memories of a sin nothing in pittsburgh or a.m.e. in charleston or for that matter attacks on people around the world. what can we do?
well, perhaps we're called whenever we overhear or oversee hateful slurs against other people, perhaps we need the holy courage to call them out. we need to stop that stuff because it's a sin against the gospel. >> yeah, well said, the reverend mcpherson. >> he was speaking in part that president trump has such difficulty giving a full-throated denouncement of b b bigotism. putting that debate aside at a minimum when it serves the president's purposes, he attacks people. he race baits. but in these situations he struggles to make a full-throated case against hate. contrast his behavior adding to
what everybody else said to the prime minister from new zealand who clearly we all saw over the weekend embrace the people in her country, muslims and nonmuslims and made the point that people have to come together. >> while we see the president's approval rating ticking up, the most reservations people have about him, including people who voted for him, is this kind of behavior on twitter. they think it's not presidential. it's harder and harder to ignore when a president tweets how many times on a weekend? i mean it's obsessive. you know, people, even voters who voted for him say, we do not like this. >> i might draw the opposite conclusion, which is that people like this. >> well -- >> well, you know, the polls maybe, but do you think that people voted for donald trump in 2016 thinking he was different? >> right. but the reservations about him,
jeffrey, that voters have including voters who voted for him are this kind of personal behavior, which they don't like. you're right, there are some people who say good for him, maybe john mccain wasn't a hero, which was absurd and ridiculous. but i think the more it goes on, the more people say this is just not presidential behavior. maybe he'll listen to that when it comes from his base. i don't know the answer. >> sabrina, let me put a few numbers up. our new cnn poll just out. do you approve or disapprove of the way the president's handling his job. 42% approve, 51% disapprove. among republicans, though, 89% approve of the job he's doing, only 7% disapprove. >> he's appealing to those republicans because what we learned from the midterms is the president has a base but he didn't have a coalition. the people to watch are independents who helped put democrats back in control of the house of representatives and suburban women who swung heavily in favor of democrats.
they could make all the difference in 2020. >> sabrina is now the newest member of the cnn political team. you're now formally a political analyst. >> thank you so much. >> how does it feel? >> i'm very excited. >> we're excited to have you as well. congratulations. welcome. just ahead, former vice president joe biden's possible plan to pull ahead of the pack ahead of his anticipated presidential campaign announcement. (mom vo) we fit a lot of life into our subaru forester. (dad) it's good to be back. (mom) it sure is. (mom vo) over the years, we trusted it to carry and protect the things that were most important to us. we always knew we had a lot of life ahead of us. (mom) remember this? (mom vo) that's why we chose a car that we knew would be there for us through it all. (male vo) welcome to the all-new 2019 subaru forester. the longest-lasting, most trusted forester ever.
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beto o'rourke's campaign is reporting an impressive fund-raising haul as the former congressman leaves the 2020 starting gate. jessica dean is joining us from cleveland where o'rourke is campaigning. ohio, of course, is a critical state for all the candidates. >> reporter: that's absolutely right, wolf. and beto o'rourke made sure to make a stop here. he started his morning detroit, michigan, before coming here to cleveland, ohio, and telling the crowd he was very excited to hear what was on their minds. beto o'rourke breaking a fund-raising record in the early moments of his presidential run. >> thank you for welcoming us to ohio. >> reporter: stopping in ohio today after his campaign announced it raised a staggering $6.1 million in just the first 24 hours.
that makes it the largest first day fund-raising haul of any other candidate so far. >> i think this is a great sign that in the first 24 hours this many people were able to come together. >> reporter: his fund-raising numbers, the first proof that o'rourke's campaign strategy that made him a viral hit in texas -- >> thank you, iowa, for a tremendous first day of this campaign. >> reporter: -- could work on a national stage too. but o'rourke's performance as a candidate did suffer some early stumbles. apologizing for comments about his wife raising their three kids, quote, sometimes with my help. >> i think the criticism is right on. and my ham handed attempt to try to highlight the fact that amy has the lion's share of the burden in our family should have also been a moment for me to acknowledge that that is far too often the case. not just in politics but just in life in general. >> reporter: and for being part of an early computer hacking group as a teenager. >> some of the things, you know,
connected to that that i did i'm embarrassed about, not proud of. >> reporter: but he also left audiences wanting more specifics on the policy front. >> i also am listening to suggestions and st. louiss that are brought forward from the communities that i'm visiting. if you have all the >> he's not yet hired a campaign manager but he is in talks with obama's former campaign deputy manager jim, o'malley dillan. in delaware, joe biden might have let his 2020 intentions slip during a weekend speech to democrats. >> i'm the most progressive record of anybody running for the -- anybody who would run. i didn't mean. [ applause ] >> anybody who would run. >> president trump tweeting about the moment today writing joe biden got tongue tied over
the weekend when he was unable to deliver a simple line about his decision to run for president. sources tell cnn biden is preparing for an announcement in april and is hoping to seize command of the democratic primary through major endorsemen endorsements. another 2020 democratic candidate in the spotlight today. senator elizabeth warren. she will be featured at a cnn towel hall in jackson, mississippi tonight at 9:00 p.m. eastern. that's being moderated by jake tapper. wo wolf, what we're expecting to hear, she put forward a lot of policies that are pretty meaty in terms of breaking them down. things like universal child care. breaking up big tech companies. expect to hear more about those policies on that cnn town hall tonight. >> jessica dean in cleveland. thanks very much.
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it was one of his boldest and most aggressive moves ever and russian vladimir putin celebrated its anniversary with a rally. fred is joining us live from moscow. putin was marking the annexation of crimea. >> reporter: he was. it was a huge celebration put on. he says he still firmly believes that taking crimea away from ukraine was the right thing to do and russia isn't going to yield to pressure in the united states. here is what we are learning. tonight vladmir putin leading chants at a rally in crimea which russia invaded five years ago. putin asserting that it's what people there wanted. >> translator: you, who for decades have an outside the
russian state kept in your hearts and carried through the years. this love for mother land. for russia. >> reporter: the kremlin has long said it will never give crimea back despite u.s. sanctions targeting moscow for the aggressive take over. while the trump administration claims it's being tough on russia, moscow doesn't feel the heat. the russians stating they believe president trump is keen to improve relations with moscow but his adversaries in congress and the mueller probe are undermining his effort. in a radio interview u.s. national security adviser john bolton repeating the kremlin's line. >> i think it's hard to make progress in a better bilateral relationship with russia when anything that is done is used as evidence by the president's political opponents to show some evidence of russian collusion. the political atmosphere in washington makes it very difficult. there's no question about it.
>> reporter: amain focus of the mueller investigation, possible ties between trump campaign paul manafort and russian oligarch. manafort offering private briefings from the campaign. in an nbc interview, he denies the allegations. >> i haven't seen manafort since 2010 or '11. the only purpose for me to have any interest in his dealings was to get money back, which was borrowed from my country. >> reporter: russia continues to claim it did not interfere in the 2016 election and basking in the chants of his spoerupporter putin says it shows a new, more powerful russia willing to enforce interests.
putin signed a bill that criminalized anything the russian government deems to be fake news or insulting to the state. >> thanks very much. erin burnett outfront starts right now. next, breaking news. the white house bracing for the mueller russia findings. preparing the claim executive privilege. new details ahead. kellyanne conway forced to contradict her husband to say the president of the united states is mentally fit. the president attacked him directly and personally in twitter tirade. the president of a local auto worker union responds. let's go outfront. : go good evening. cnn is learning that white house lawyers expect to see mueller's russia findings before lawmakers and before the public. sources say the administration wants to make sure they have the