tv CNN Right Now With Brianna Keilar CNN April 15, 2019 10:00am-11:00am PDT
speaker's vote. not looking good for her because of the backlash she faced from pelosi. >> also the reason why she's one of the best whips we've ever seen in the house of representatives. >> nancy pelosi can count. thanks for joining us on "inside politics." brianna keilar starts right now. have a good afternoon. >> i'm brianna keilar live from cnn's washington headquarters. under way right now, as the drum beat grows louder over the imnent release of whilers eat report and more on the college cheating scandal and the freshman congresswoman has received more death threats after president trump's tweet and despite the president falsely pushing his audit excuse, it's now the white house that says congress isn't smart number to understand his taxes.
>> up first, the wait is almost over. attorney general william barr is expected to release a redacted version of the mueller report to congress and the public on thursday morning. are they lease of the report may answer some questions, but it could also generate a lot of new ones. we have dana bash and kara skanell with us. thursday morning, so now we know. what else do we know? >> that's all we know right now. we know they are still working on these redactions, we're expecting four categories of redactions so that's something that the justice department is still going through, but as of now we finally have a date. we finally know it's going to be thursday morning and we'll wait and see how much of this is going to be redacted. >> what would -- what would account for those categories that they are pulling thanks out? >> there's the question of the grand jury teal, all the things they gleaned in their investigation and then there's classified information and all the information that exists about ongoing investigations. we'll be looking to see how
many -- it's going to be color-coded. how many of those tabs will relate to ongoing investigations, and then there's also information about public, you know -- not public individuals, private citizens and how much information about them where they haven't been charged with any wrongdoing, and it just could be derogatory. it could just, you know, spur more rumors, so information about private citizens is also going to be redacted. >> which will lead to a lot of questions. >> and the president has to figure out how am i going to respond. that's not something that they are waiting for this report over at the white house and in his legal team to decide how to do. >> rudy giuliani and other members of the legal team have made clear from months and months that they had been preparing what they call a rebuttal report. i talked to giuliani who said they are busily working that rebuttal report based on what they think is going to be in the mueller report. obviously using barr's letter from a couple of weeks ago as a
guide post, so, you know, we'll see how detailed they get in there. the big question is -- seems to be about obstruction. what exactly -- how far is is the report going to go in effectually what's kind of a hung jury, the mueller legal team meaning they couldn't make a decision. they were split on the notion of whether the president actually did obstruct, so how much of the information about their deliberations, about the evidence that they gathered about what their conclusions were will we see in this report? >> because unlike in that four-page summary letter from billback, at least the facts of the case, if not a conclusion, is laid out when it comes to obstruction, because bill barr and rod rosenstein made the leap to say that this doesn't establish that be there was obstruction. you guys have been covering this for so long so this is -- it appears finally upon news a few days. what are you looking senator. >> i mean, i think that's the
key question because we'll see not only public instances that have been under the microscope for the president with the firing of fbi director james comey, but we also know that he called back in -- robert mueller called back in don mcgahn several times, the white house counsel to ask about these statements and the internal conversations the president was involved in, wanting mcgahn to fire robert mueller. he also called him back in to talk about jeff sessions and mcgahn being directed by trump to go and ask jeff sessions to unrecuse himself, so i think it will be a very rich area to see just how many other behind-the-scenes moves there were that the mueller team put under this umbrella of obstruction. >> that and also even something we haven't talked about in a while is the -- is -- not just the trump tower meeting which is a question about collusion which the conclusion was none, but more importantly the statements afterwards.
the statement about the emails, what happened on air force one when this whole thing was going down. did the president direct or misdirect? will that be in this because that's something that we have been reporting on and trying to get information on forks you know, hours and hours, maybe even combined days it of air time, and now we'll know, maybe. >> and also -- >> the president's written statements and his answers. >> we know maybe, and that's the question. what will we know? we're going to find out soon. dana bash, kara scannell, thank you so much. it's tax day and the white house has come up with a new reason not to release the president's tax returns. the president claims he's under audit even though there's no proof he is and he and his acting chief of staff said the public doesn't care to see the returns anyway and press secretary sarah sanders says members of congress, both democratic and republican, just aren't smart enough to
understand them. >> i don't think congress, particularly not this group of congressmen and women are smart enough to look through the thousands of pages that i would assume that president trump's taxes will be. my guess is most of them don't do their own taxes, and i certainly don't trust them to look through the decades of success that the president has and determine anything. >> well, here is where i should probably point out this, that ten members of congress are accountants, three democrats, seven republicans and two of them accountants/congressmen sit on the house ways and means committee. meantime, one of the president's personal attorneys has written a letter to the treasury department's general counsel arguing against the release of the president's tax returns. his arguments including likening the request by house ways and means committee chairman richard neal to a raising civil rights leaders in the '60s by asking for their taxes. he also says, quote, congress
noose constitutional authority act like a junior varsity irs. our abby philip is at the white house. a new deadline has been given to release the president's taxes and that would be april 23rd. what more are you hearing about this fight? >> brianna, it's all hands on deck for the president's advisers at the white house and his lawyers outside to push back against multiple efforts from capitol hill to gain insight into the president's taxes. one of those you just referenced which was this letter being sent from the president's lawyers to -- to the general counsel over at the irs basically saying that chairman neal is coming to this debate basically pretending that there's a legitimate legislative purpose but really what he wants to do is harass the president. they are pushing back and telling the irs that there is no reason for them to -- to give into this, to give access to the committee, to the president's tax returns.
and we heard this basic arguments echoed by larry kudlow, one of his top economic aides, who also suggested that the irs had no intention of being weaponized. that his word, being weaponized in a -- by democrats in an effort to hurt the president, so it seems that they are moving very strongly in the direction that this is not ever going to happen, but then separately there's another effort being made by the house oversight committee to gain access to tax documents from a firm that has been a part of the president's tax preparation process, and the president's lawyers wrote to that firm warming them do not comply with a subpoena if one comes from the house oversight commit, and if you do, we might take further legal action, so they are kind of taking no chances here, trying to really tamp down any possible ways that house democrats can get access to tax information from the information, and there's a small statement from jay sekulow, one of the president's lawyers,
saying this. we've once again reiterated our objections to the unconstitutional demand for the president's tax returns. this is just an indication that this is going to go on for quite some time on multiple fronts. brianna? >> thanks so much. democratic congresswoman ilhan omar says death threats against her have increased since the tweet before president trump including a brief clip from a speech where omar said some people did some things on 9/11 edited with images of the terrorist attacks and said we'll never forget. house speaker nancy pelosi said the memory of 9/11 is sacred ground and any discussion of it must be done with reverance. the president shouldn't's the painful images of 9/11 for a political attack. sunlan surfati is here with us
now. >> that was a veiled criticism from ilhan omar from house speaker nancy pelosi saying the memory of 9/11 is sacred and any discussion must be done with reverance, especially, ie, have you to watch every word here very carefully and much of that criticism was directed at president trump, hateful, inflammatory rhetoric saying it causes real danger. president trump has not relunted. he's out with a tweet in the last couple of hours, calling out speaker pelosi and saying of omar that she's out of control. notable here, brianna, president trump will be in minnesota, ilhan omar's state and have very many many members of congress firing a shot saying hopefully he won't re vup the sentiment he
did against omar. >> thanks so much. we have an update now on the celebrity college admissions scandal. actress lori loughlin and her husband are pleading not guilty to the charges against them including fraud and money laundering. prosecutors say the couple paid half a million dollars in this scheme that do the their two daughters into the university of southern california. 13 others including actress felicity huffman pleaded guilty. we have attorney scott golden here with us now to talk about this. this is a plea. the plea is on a second superceding indictment which means not much to -- to the lay people out there. explain this. >> well, you have an indictment and then we have what we would normally call a superceding indictment which is an amended indictment. the individuals and persons that pled guilty. they pled guilty before the superceded indictment was put in place and the offer from the government, what it looks like from the outside, was that we will amend and add these two charges, conspiracy for money laundering and another
conspiracy to bribe, or you can take a plea beforehand and get a better offer or get a better deal before the court. here half a million dollars that's at issue with lori laugh lauflin and her husband makes it more difficult. they waved on that offer. >> why did it make it more difficult? >> under the federal sentencing guidelines, the number of years or the monthly count can go up. it doesn't in every case depending on if money is at issue so that's significant. >> they won't be appearing for their arraignment for this -- with this plea? explain how this happened. >> several jurisdictions including washington, d.c. and new york at practice they have certain provisions on the criminal procedure that allow you to wait. the formal arrangement is a reading of the charges, i waive that and enter a believe guilty
and it's over in a handful of minute. some jurisdictions have it done by wafrks vis-a-vis the waiver to appear. you sign it and the judge accepts it and then he accepts what's written down and the lawyers agree on it basically. >> the question here comes down to jail time and if these defendants deserve jail time and when you look at say felicity huffman and others who have pled guilty. what do you think will be the outcome there. >> >> the early in the better you are, so that's why we're seeing these quick pleas. in their part, they did not want additional charges to face if they were going to plead guilty later on. they might as well plead guilty now and so now they are looking at federal sentencing guidelines that will sentence them, but, remember. felicity is different than lori loughlin and her husband. she paid $10,000 or $15,000 for either the test to be taken or paid the recruiter or the bad actor singer. with lori loughlin and her husband, they paid half a million dollars to a fake charity, but in the end, they have got letters, they got e-mails and they have got
tapings of all of these bad acts and the conspiracy itself, so there's mounting evidence at least preliminarily that says the government has a great case against them. >> wow. scott, thank you so much for breaking that down for us. >> thank you. >> we appreciate it. breaking news out of paris. we are getting word what have appears to be a fire that is either near or at the notre dame cathedral. you can see the smoke there in these pictures. we are looking into this. we're going to take you live to the scene next. let's see, aleve is proven better on pain than tylenol extra strength. and last longer with fewer pills. so why am i still thinking about this? i'll take aleve. aleve. proven better on pain.
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you can see the smoke in these pictures. you can see the flames shooting out of the roof. let's talk to cnn international correspondent melissa bell who is live on the phone with us from paris. tell us what you know, melissa. >> reporter: well, brianna, this has really come out in the last few minutes, the images that you see coming out on social media. huge crowds from gathered around the cathedral, and you can see not just smoke coming through on the social media but flames as well that appear to be coming through the roof, through the back end of note game cathedral. we're hoping to get there in a couple of minutes time to go and see for ourselves. the pictures are looking pretty dramatic clearly because this is happening even as we speak. we don't know yet what was responsible for the fire, how this began or how dangerous, how big it is it is to the structure itself. the crowds are pretty substantial around that part of paris, being one of the most
touristic parts of the french capital and are getting pretty big. the images are fairly dramatic. we have no idea what is behind this fireworks what caused it, and how it began, but it does appear to be coming from inside the cathedral itself. >> and when did you first get word of this? here we have a photo where you can better see the facade of the cathedral so this is -- this isn't a building that's in front of you. you can actually see the cathedral here. when did you first get word of this, and i can't even imagine what people in paris are saying, the idea that this -- this -- this iconic building is -- is aflame. >> reporter: absolutely iconic. i think that's the right word. this is right in the heart of paris and in the heart of the very historic central part of pairs on one of the islands that sit in the middle of the seine and the french capital. it is, in fact, world famous. it's what tourists come to see when they come to visit paris, and it is clearly always
surrounded by tourists, people moving around and a lot of people visiting inside even at this time of day. we're coming up to the evening here in paris. it would have been very business and full of tourists. we know for the time being and what we can see from the images coming through on social media, and it really has been a few minutes. word of this has just begun to spread in the last four or five minutes or so, and can you see those flames coming out of the cathedral, and when you look at it from different angles you can see it clearly seems to be coming from the cathedral itself. i'm getting close enough to seat smoke coming out over the top of the roof here in paris, and it is pretty substantial amounts of smoke. the no word for the time being because this is just happening on what might have been behind it, but clearly that smoke and the flames that have caused it seem to be coming from inside the cathedral. we'll first try to get as close as we can to try and find out
more about how structurally damaged potentially the building could be and also, of course, brianna, what caused such a massive fire and what allowed it to take hold as quickly as it appears to have done. >> and the police there saying that the fire at notre dame is in progress. avoid the area and facilitate the passage of emergency vehicles and interveskts police, because to be clear, melissa, this is not at all under control, right? this is something that at this point that they are in the process of responding to, let alone assessing. >> that's right. this really has just become obviously a massive problem, and as i said the crowds are going pretty big, even here. just slightly further away from the notre dame cathedral, they are crowding on to the bridges to get a sight of what is really this fairly spectacular amounts of smoke now coming out from the building, and to get it under control, one can imagine it will
take a lot of fire engines, a lot of order and manpower and paris is pretty congested at this time of the day, especially around notre dame in the middle. clearly the police are hoping that police will allow them to get as close as they possibly can. the amounts of smoke that i'm looking at are really pretty birks and you can see there on those images that have already begun through that those flames appear to be for the time being quite out of control. it's going to take -- it's going to take a lot of work to get them under control and, of curse, these are flames just to remind our viewers that they seem to be engulfing the back part of one of france's most historic kath drals, one of its most famous and ancient whatever has caused this. this is likely to move to be a tragedy, a catastrophe for the structure itself. the flames for the time being nowhere near under control. >> yeah. it looks catastrophic as we look at these pictures. if you can stand by for us, we're going to have more on this
continuing -- continuing on this special coverage, breaking news, the cathedral of note game-of-dame is on fire. an out-of-control fire. we'll be right back. it was here. i couldn't catch my breath. it was the last song of the night. it felt like my heart was skipping beats. they said i had afib. what's afib? i knew that meant i was at a greater risk of stroke. i needed answers. my doctor and i chose xarelto®. to help keep me protected from a stroke.
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around, watching this right now in paris. police have warned that the streets need to be clear so that emergency responders can get there. you can see the spire completely engulfed in flames. much of the room here behind the facade of the cathedral, this icon of gothic architecture is on fire. i want to bring in melissa bell who is there on scene. tell us what you can see from your vantage point. >> reporter: brianna, the scenes are absolutely catastrophic. the amounts of smoke that are billowing out of what is france's most famous cathedral, world renowned, world famous and, of course, all around the tourists and the locals have gathered to watch this unfolding situation with the helicopters swerving about, the authorities don't have a handle on this because it's really only just -- the flames have only really in the last so or is a minutes or so taken hold, and the smoke is
getting thick and thicker. you can see it's quite thick. it's sort of hello color and it's just begun much -- much less thick than that. it's getting thick and you can see the flames also just coming out of the top of the roof. a sense of disbelief real as everyone watches notre dame cathedral go up in flames. extraordinary scenes here in paris around the cathedral that is on fire and burning for the time being controllably. you can hear the fire engines and see the security services and forces trying to make their way to the cathedral as i speak all around. the roads are blocked and at the time being the flames appear to be taking hold of the cathedral unchecked. >> and you're saying, and i can hear some. sirens behind you, but fire department has not yet been even able to get on scene. is that what you're saying?
>> reporter: suspect some might have made it close enough to the building for the time being and you can see from the amount of smoke billowing out it doesn't appear that the flames have been controlled. the flames get thicker and more it pouring out as every minute passes. it's inside. a little earlier you can see on those pictures that began to flood in on social media because these were quite shocking seines. these are quite shocking scenes. the flames are clearly burning through the pop of the roof grand where i'm sitting you can see very thick black smoke that is also coming through the back of the spire there through the top of the roof, and, so, no, the time being, the flames appear to be engulfing it unchecked, and really a sense of astonishment from the crowds here as they watch this unfold. there hasn't been time really for these security -- for the fire department to get close enough to it and try to bring it under control, so what we're watching is an unfolding
catastrophe. clearly they are trying to get there as fast as they can. they have asked people to stay away and give them safe passage towards the building, but you can imagine even now looking at the quantities of smoke that are coming out, looking at size of the flames that the damage to this extraordinary building and whatever else happens tonight very substantial. >> we can see the scaffolding. give us a severance where this is. this appears to be behind the fa-said, right, maybe towards -- a little towards the rear of the church, and we can see the spire there are. the roof beneath it and the spire itself engulfed in flames. >> reporter: that's right. you have the very famous fun part of notre dame that is world famous, that people come from all over the world to see, and it is just behind, that and the main structure of the building behind those two front powers and the roof towards the back of the building, that's where the flames appear to be coming from
and that smoke now really covering a huge part of the island on which notre dame cathedral sits. it's one of the two little islands that sit in the middle of the seine and the very historic heart of paris, and the smoke has now covered a fair amount of the buildings that are on it. black smoke has bug and it's very thick, and it's coming out all the time thicker and thick, and real people are holding their mouths and looking on in disbelief. they can't quite believe what they are seeing. there's a helicopter flying overhead and you can hear the sirens since the fire engines tried to get closer. the question will be how much damage has been done and how much can be saved and of course crucially how did this begin? >> we'll want to know. we see the outside of the cathedral right now. we do not know what the inside looks like, right, so there's an intier -- there's an entire --
this could be part of the damage. i do want to relay that the mayor of paris says the fire brigade is trying to control a terrible fire at the cathedral of notre dame. on twitter she says the terrible fire is under way at the notre dame cathedral. we're mobilized locally in close connection with church authorities. i ask everyone to respect the security perimeter. give us a sense of -- i mean, this is either week, melissa. give us a sense of how people would be visiting the cathedral each just on -- during an ordinary week let alone this week. >> reporter: that's right. i think that this is one of those weeks where paris gets particularly packed. people come for their easter break. it's the most visited city in the world and one of the things that people come to visit, brianna, is this very cathedral which is a famous all around, and even as i'm speaking to you and through the clouds of very thick dark smoke we can now see
the flames are growing higher all the time. they are now engulfing one of the spires towards the back of the church. the fire is nowhere near under control. it's actually getting worse before our very ice, and this is so much history that is going up in smoke, as you said. what we're seeing from the outside would suggest catastrophic damage inside into one of the most precious historical sites in the world. there will be very little i'm sure that can be done to salvage so much of its precious interior. those flames are now making their way all the way up to the top of the highest spire of the cathedral. you can see the flames now within those plumes of black smoke. very thick, very heavy, very dark and the flames now reaching the very top of that spire towards the back of the structure. >> melissa, stay with me. i just want to reset very quickly to tell viewers who may be joining us what they are watching. this is the notre dame cathedral
engulfed in flames. at this point in time fire department and authorities are responding, but as you can see this fire is carrying on in the heart of paris unabated at this iconic building. give us a sense, melissa, from where you're standing where you can see what is happening at the cathedral. i hear the sirens behind you. do you have any sense that authorities are getting closer to the cathedral, and obviously the concern is that this is going -- that this is -- that this is catastrophic, and the question is how much will they be able to help the situation by the time they respond. >> reporter: how much can they salvage. this is a massive fire that's now engulfed notre dame. very substantial, and we've seen, and this has really happened in the last quarter of an hour, 20 minutes. the plumes of smoke began to come out and the flames and what might have been perhaps in the
beginning considered a small fire has now definitely become pretty big. you can see the fire engines trying to make their way through the rush hour traffic and firemen on boats trying to get to notre dame as it sets on the middle of an island on the river seine as it goes through paris. they are trying to reach it any way they can, but clearly for the time being the fire is very much out of control. the flames, you can see them really getting to the very top of that tallest spire of the building, and it is inside, of course, that the damage is likely to prove to have been worse. parisians all around me have gathered on to every vantage point and every bridge all around the building to try and get as close as they can to watch what is france's most famous cathedral essentially go up in smoke. >> we're aghast watching it. i can't imagine how parisiennes are responding as they are watching this in person.
melissa, stand by for me. i want to bring in our haddas gold who is in paris. we're watching if not a complete catastrophic damage of the cathedral, this is going to affect a significant portion of this historic building. >> reporter: yeah, brianna, that's right. i was actually just there visiting yesterday, and you can't see that's somehow contributing to this fire. i mean, notre dame has been a cathedral that has been a -- it's on the site that was the original paris. that's literally the center of paris. it's been a cathedral for hundreds and hundred of years, and it is a stunning building if you've ever been there.
it's just absolutely a wey-inspiring and one of the top tourist sites in france, in europe, and essentially this week, it's easter week, you have to imagine there were a lot of people there. it's a beautiful day today in paris. it's very warm so i would imagine -- i imagine -- i'm there right now, and i already heard people around me on the train starting to say to each other, notre dame, notre dame. this is something affecting a lot of people and people are emailing and texting and saying i'm headed to notre dame and they are saying oh, my god, oh, my god, hand that is shows what it is and means to the country and to the country and obviously everybody is hoping that the damage can be contained than they can rebuild this beautiful site. it's been heartbreaking to see it covered in smoke right now. >> and so you were inside the cathedral yesterday, hadas? >> reporter: yes. i was just visiting as a tourist because when you're going as a tifrt you have to go to notre
dame. it's like the eiffel tower. >> of course. >> reporter: it's almost like a pilgrimage it's so beautiful. >> tell us about inside because what we're seeing, we're seeing the flames outside decimating the roof and decimating the fire behind the facade. the question is going to be as well what is the damage like inside? tell us about the damage inside the cathedral. >> reporter: i mean, the inside is a wey-inspiring. it's very large and it's very grand, and i can't remember the type of roof, but it's a version very unique sort of roof for this type of cathedral and the detail is just incredible, even just around the outside. every single inch it seems has some beautiful detail to it. the statues are all just absolutely stunning, and it is very a wey-inspiring. you see people in there really emotional when they are visited the cathedral if it's their first time because it's so beautiful and awe-inspiring and because of how long it's been there. right outside of the notre dame
cathedral there's a mark on the ground that markets center of paris. it shows you how important notre dame is to this city. it's been much longer than the other attractions, like the eiffel tower and this is literally the heart paris. >> hadas, if you can stand by for me. i want to bring melissa bell in there on scene at the cathedral at notre dame. melissa, we're watching. it's -- it's the skeleton of the spire, and it is on fire, and you can -- you can see real the insides of the spire just laid bare by flames, and these flames are getting big by the second. we can see that. at this point in time they are burning uncontrolled. tell us what you're seeing there. >> just extraordinary scenes here just outside notre dame. i've gotten close enough to see the amount of fire engines. they are now close to building. the efforts that have been made, that are being made to get this fire under control and for the
time being, i just said, brianna, that's not happening. those flames are still really substantial. behind the two main towers that make the very famous front of notre dame, huge amounts of smoke billowing out. flames still coming out through the very top of the roof, so that fire is raging for the time being and nowhere being near contained. huge crowds have gathered and looking on in absolute astonishment and horror what's happening here. we have no sense for the time being as to how this might have begun. notre dame like so much other sights in paris is full of tourists and all year round people who come to see. it's extraordinary, and world famous gothic architecture, and it is one of those structures, it really is. it's beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside, brianna, full of the history of paris,
and there it is. you can see that spire burnifir out of control. i can see several fire engines that have gathered around the building, but for the time being there is no sense that this fire is being brought under control. >> now the height of the roof that we're seeing where it's burning is obviously an issue, right? you said that there's at least one fire boat on the seine that you can see because this is right next to the river on this island in the river, and it doesn't appear that there's any -- that they are able to reach the flames at this point in time, right? >> reporter: that's right. that will be part of the problem, is just the sheer height of this structure. that spire reaches extremely high, way above the surrounding rooftops, and it will be very difficult at this stage when you see how violently that fire is
raging for fire services to bring it under control. for the time being that's not happening. now the amount of smoke pillowing out into central paris is really impressive black smoke, and the flames that seem just to be getting higher and higher. it is soon the very front, in fact you can see the very iconic front of notre dame where the two large towers, you can now see flames coming through some of the gothic windows there. this is the next part of the structure that's likely to be damaged, that will be attacked by this fire. the entire top of the roof behind the fires for the time being -- >> i just want to be clear. you're seeing flames come through the windows on the front of the cathedral as well? >> reporter: that's right. through the gothic windows you can see the flames appearing so they appear to be just behind those windows, and it is that part, that front part of the cathedral that now appears to be threatened, and i'm getting a
better view of the overall structure and roof. it's all the way back that the flames go. this is a huge fire that is currently burning notre dame and huge crowds are gathered looking on in sheer disbelief and horror. this is so much history going up in flames. however long it takes authorities to get it under control, the damage to this structure will be fairly substantial. >> and it appears at this point in time there's no interception here as we're watching the notre dame cathedral on fire in paris. this has been going on for -- we've been covering this for several minutes now. it started what we officially saw as there were names that certainly appeared to be very damaging, but this has grown considerably. now you see the spire and the other consideration is this is moving towards the front of the church as well, that very famous
facade for which notre dame is known, and at this point in time there are fire engines. there is at least one fire boat that is trying to get close, burks melissa, there really appears at this point to either be an inability to get close or an inability to deal with the height of this structure in any effective way. >> i suspect that's exactly right, and bring under control a fire that's raging controllably. p a massive part of the church, of the roof of the cathedral has already been destroyed. you can see that large parts of that roof are now unguelphed in flames, and for the time being the police, the fire services are doing what they can to get -- to prevent people from getting any closer to the building to try to allow more of those fire trucks to get up close just in front of the
cathedral. i can see seven or eight of them. they will be doing what they can to try to get to the very top of the build pentagon, but you're absolutely right. part of the problem is the height of those flames and the damage already done to the very top part, the roof of notre dame, which appears in all its length to have been bunchltd the smell as well. you can smell the soot falling from the sky watching this catastrophe unfold. the smell also of the smoke and the burning buildings and the fire still raging at the very top of that roof. so much of which has already burnt, brianna. >> and we do not know how this started. to be clear the fire at the notre dame cathedral, but this has, as melissa bell is telling us, has burned a considerable part of the roof of this iconic church in the heart of paris. tell us, melissa, on -- on any given day and especially in a busy week like this, this easter
week, people would be inside touring the cathedral. there would be many, many people inside. i'm assuming -- we don't know at this point but certainly personal safety is a concern. how quickly the building has burned. the officials are scrambling to get this fire under control. very little communication at the time being, obviously. town hall saying fire services are dwhoog they could to get it under control, but otherwise no word on the crowds that would have been inside, you're right, on any given day. there are always queues outside notre dame cathedral, people waiting to get in to see a cathedral that's really world famous, and it's famous for what is inside as it is for its outside structure. so much history in there. so many little chapels, gothic
architecture, a lot of wood, of course, as you would expect, and all of that, one has to imagine judging by the height of the flames that much will have been irretrievably lost. >> we can hear the sirens behind you, melissa. tell us about the scene around you. we've seen just a sea of people watching this. >> that's right. i mean, the crowds are really substantial. people have come out and have heard what happened and police are trying to push the crowds away and people are on their phones and looking on in disbelief and in sheer horror, the tourists for whom this structure means so much. all this history that we're it's breaking for earn standing around. authorities doing what they can to push the crowds back to allow the fire engines parked just
outside the cathedral. the cordon is being bushed back more and more all the time to try to bridge this fire under control. for the time being the flames are getting higher and bigger and more of notre dame seems to be going up in smoke with every minute that passes. >> and the police are saying -- the police have tweeted out to avoid the area. facilitate the passage vehicles. the mayor of paris is saying to respect the security perimeter. do you get a sense people are doing that or are they agas and watching this in crowds? >> reporter: a fixture. people keep saying let them do their jobs and trying to get themselves out of the way and doing what they can to allow the emergency services. but people are in shock, and in shock watching in horror as it goes up and saying really -- staying as close as they can. you can hear the crowds shouting all around me.
this is as other bits of the structure collapse. and the flames really have just in the last couple minutes grown substantially. there appears to have been some part of the structure that just collapsed beneath the weight, and people are looking on. some of them in tears. some of them holding their hands to their mouths. cinders are now falling. emergency services are now pushing us back further to try and get people to safety, but also the emergency services closer to the burning cathedral. >> melissa, there are cinders coming down on the people beneath the church? >> yeah. i just had my hair singed. it was soot for a while. now it's actual bits of fire falling from the sky. that's because the flames have just grown really in the last couple minutes much, much bigger than they were. and you can see them on the
other side of that facade that you were mentioning. a moment ago they were going almost as high as that facade, and you wonder how soon the front part of the structure will be attacked. that fire really growing with every moment that passes. >> melissa -- >> reporter: it's burning before their eyes with apparently very little that these fire services are able to do to bring it under control for the time being. quite a great deal of panic around me from emergency, policemen and ordinary people. i've seen them crying and holding each other. the scenes here are really dreadful as people look on. no word yet on what casualties there may have been. how quickly an evacuation may have taken place. the cathedral will have been full of crowds. it's every day of the week. no word beyond what might have started this fire or how it could have taken hold of the
structure as quickly as it did. for the time being, everyone is just really in shock as they watch the flames get bigger and bigger. >> it is truly horrific to watch, and melissa, you were there at the scene at the cathedral. you are going to make your way to a camera location, i believe. we want to let you do that as we bring in our hadas gold there in paris. this is just as we heard melissa talking there, hadas, people are agas. they have their hands to their mouth. the iconic nature of this building, the cathedral at notre dame. we don't know about the safety of people who would have been inside. you were there yesterday just visiting this as a tourist. this is a must-see destination if you're going to paris. and this is something that just must be flooring parisians even as we watch so far away aghast
ourselves. hadas, are you with me? we're going to try to get hadas back on the phone. what you're watching right now is the cathedral of notre dame on fire in paris. melissa was there in front of the cathedral in front of the facade which you can see on the right side of your screen. she was describing the situation where the flames have continued to grow so high that they're actually almost to the height of this facade as you can see here. and cinders, burning cinders were coming down on people who were not even that particularly close to the fire at the cathedral and singeing hair. this is even a safety issue for the people outside of the cathedral. i want to bring in jim bitterman on the phone in paris. you've lived there for some time. this is stunning to watch. and so concerning as we don't have a lot of answers. we don't know the cause. we don't know the issue of
personal safety. we don't know if there were people inside and if they were able to get out, jim. >> well, exactly. in fact, this time of year with the cathedral being such a popular tourist place. there were perhaps hundreds of people in and around the cathedral this afternoon when the fire broke out. we know there has been some construction work going on right around the area where the fire broke out on the rooftop. whether that has anything to do with it, we won't know for a while. in fact, it is really unbelievable sight. this comes just a few days before easter. this is, of course, the high holidays for the catholic church, and, in fact, i'm sure there were preparations going on for what was going to happen over the next few days. of course, yesterday was palm sunday. and there were crowds there for the palm sunday service. and so it's really a really tragic scene that's unfolding here right in the middle of
paris this afternoon. >> and so what are some of the considerations here, especially -- we just heard melissa describing cinders coming down on people standing around this -- around the cathedral because this is burning out of control. and as you can only imagine, parisians just a sea of them, they are standing there dumbfounded that this is happening to really a jewel of paris. >> absolutely. this is such a historic landmark. it goes back almost 1,000 years, and the firemen are mobilizing to a great degree a lot of fire trucks from all over paris are headed in that direction, and police are trying to warn people to stay away because they're having problems getting through the traffic to get there because it's the height of rush hour here in paris, and that area around the cathedral often sees a lot of traffic jams. i think it's really something awful to behold here as it goes up in flames.
and it doesn't seem like the firemen are doing much or can do much to control the situation. we just got a message from the mayor who said that, in fact, that they were struggling to bring it under control. the president, president macron was scheduled to make a speech tonight, a televised speech in a few hour's time. he's put it off because of this. so it is quite an event, and this is one of the icons, one of the reasons that people come to paris and one of the most memorable sites you can see in paris, and that is the cathedral on the river's end. >> all right. jim, can you can stand by i want to bring in father edward beck on the phone. father, this is an iconic catholic landmark during a very important week. as you are watching this happen, what are you thinking? >> well, the cathedral has been through so much in its history.
remember, it's built between the 12th and 14th serchl centuries. as was just mentioned, tourists come from all over the world to pray in this beautiful cathedral. to see so much history going up in flames, it's heart breaking. i mean, the centerpiece of that cathedral, all these organs, one of the largest organs in the world and the stain glass windows. it's gone through a number of periods before of destruction and restoration. and yet, they kept that facade and that interior true to the original design. it was vandalized in the 16th century. it was vandalized and the contents, and many of the exteriors were removed because they were considered idol ris. it was at one time a storage warehouse for food. to see the survival of that and
the numerous restorations and now to see this, it's heart breaking. >> we are actually -- we are actually seeing small parts of the roof caving in a little in some of the pictures we're seeing from moments ago. this is horrific. we heard melissa bell saying people are standing there on the street in horror. it is after 7:00 p.m., but this is the height of rush hour there in paris. and as you were describing, father, just the contents of the church. the organ. we heard from our hadas gold, just the beauty of everything inside and the significance, the historical significance of everything inside of this church. how concerned are you about the safety of people who may have been inside? >> well, again, i have not heard anything about how it even started or who who was inside, but you mention the historical nature of it. the architecture of that cathedral is one of the first
examples of the use of those flying buttresses, and the statues and the stainless windows are renowned. and so i just think for people of faith, the horror is to see a beautiful building being destroyed, but people have moments of faith, people who have been married in there or had funerals celebrated there. it is a thriving, living church community. and so i think the horror is added to because it has this other worldly divine significance for people. and you know, as recently as i believe it was 1991, there was a restoration program, and that continued, and they continued cleaning it and in 2014 the lighting was updated. it's been a project over all these centuries to keep the beauty of that cathedral and try to restore it beauty when it