tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN April 30, 2019 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
mike pompeo tells me the stunning vents that have been happening behind the scenes. bigger and better. we're told that's the message president trump wanted to send when he reached the 2 trillion dollar agreement with democratidemocratis. joe biden makes his campaign debut in iowa. biden is playing to the party's base by leaning into his relationship with president barack obama. bank shot. the president, his children and his business. they've all launched a new lawsuit to block two banks from giving financial records to congress. house democrats say it's proof that the trumps are scared of what the banks might reveal. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
we're following breaking news on the uprising in venezuela. mike pompeo told me that president nicholas maduro was ready to leave the country and flee to cuba until russia convinced him to stay. this after the opposition leader launched his boldest attempt to oust madura unleashing violent clashes and protests. new insight into why president trump found rare common ground with democrats agreeing to spend $2 trillion to improve road, bridge, utilities and broadband internet across the country. a source telling cnn mr. trump thought that number sounded bigger and better. there are still major hurdles ahead with no plan on how to pay for it. this hour, i'll talk with democratic senator doug jones. he sits on the arms services
committee. our correspondents and analysts are standing by. what's happening there right now? >> reporter: what is happening, wolf, we're still yet to hear the sort of end of the balance from opposition leader juan guido. he was the member of opposition who triggered these military up ri rising saying the defining moment of operation freedom has started. we're still to understand from him to have balance of what happened for the rest of the day and if anymore military unit vs called to his call for arms. for you and for your viewers we put together a small piece of what was the situation here in the capital of venezuela today
in this crucial day. take a listen. a violent battle for control is playing out in venezuela. president nicholas maduro military tanks driving directly into protesters as opposition leader declares operation freedom has begun. after months of clashes, escalating the tension by calling for a full military uprising. >> we're asking the army and military to join this political fight. >> reporter: also urging his supporters to take to the streets to help take the leadership from maduro once and for all. >> it's clear that the armed forces are with the venezuelan people and not with the dictator. >> reporter: both guido and maduro have declared themselves president of the troubled country. now at a breaking point, both say they are targets of an attempted coup.
one major difference, guido has the backing of some of the international community including the united states. >> this is kpleclearly not a co. we recognize juan guido as the legitimate president of venezuela. it's not a coup to try to take command of the military. >> reporter: here, some of the military are conflicted. those with the blue arm bands back guido. those behind the wheels of the tanks are acting on behalf of maduro. tweeting nerves of steel. his former chief of staff says the opposition party is putting venezuela at risk. >> the only strategy of the guido camp in this crisis is to increase the pressure and generate a regime crisis in the
country with the risk of the country going down the path of political violence. >> reporter: vie listens playing out with tear gas and bullets raining down on the capital city. their anger is fueled by months of economic collapse, severe food short aages and near natio wide blackouts. where the condition will improve depends on which leader will with stand this. these volatile conditions are still volatile at these very hours. you can see movement of opposition protesters here. drivers coming up and going down because the key military air base is just a couple of hundred feet on my back.
>> critically important moment right now. listen to what mike pompeo told me here in "the situation room" just minutes ago. >> we've watched throughout the day, it's been a long time since anyone has seen maduro. he had an airplane on the tarmac. the russians indicated he should stay. we think the situation remains incredible. we know there were senior leaders inside the government that were prepared the leave. >> i want you to elaborate on what you said earlier that he was apparently ready to leave. do you blame russia for the violence now? >> he was headed for havana.
>> let's bring in pamela brown. president trump has been tweeting about this situation. this is a really dramatic moment now. >> it's flulid. >> reporter: the administration will have a complete embargo as well as the highest level of sanctions on cuba. there is a notable omission. john bolton called out russia saying it's been warned to stop propping up the maduro regime. these warnings are not coming from the president himself. as the president is monitoring the situation on the ground of
venezuela, democrats who met with the president here at the white house today, are striking a more positive tone after meeting with the president on infrastructure. signaling optimism after meeting at the white house. >> we're very excited we had with the president. >> it's clear the white house and all of us want to get something done on infrastructure in a big and bold way. >> reporter: standing in stark contrast to the grappling behind the scene as the white house fights subpoenas from house democrats trying to investigate president trump's finances. >> the president said if the investigations continue, i can't work with you. he didn't bring it up. >> reporter: the democrats encouraged about the possibility of spending $2 trillion on a potential deal. far more than the trump administration had previously
proposed. >> we started lower. even the president was eager to push it up to $2 trillion. that's a very good thing. >> reporter: where the money will come from could be major sticking point. the president's acting chief of staff cast doubt on any potential deal while the investigations sboare ongoing. in an escalation of the feud between the white house and democrat, president trump, his family and the trump organization are now suing two banks to block them from releasing any of trump's financial information to house investigators. >> he's obviously afraid that we're going to learn more about his relationships, more about his bankruptcies. more about whether there's money laundering involved.ning the ri
administration administration policy. some of the proposed changes include ruling on asylum applications within 180 days. requiring fees for asylum and work permit applications and barring all migrants entering the u.s. illegally before receiving work permits before protection is granted. >> the president's memo is another tragic step in the wrong direction. >> reporter: just hours after the memo was released, agenting homeland security secretary faced questions from daems emoc at a hearing. >> it seems like the car is driving off the cliff with no one to take the wheel. although i guess, mr. secretary, you are now the driving. congratulations. >> reporter: he testified for the first time in his new role saying he will be requesting more funding to help deep with
t -- deal with the flood of migrants. >> we'll exhaust our resources before the end of this fiscal year which is why this week the administration will be sending a supplemental funding request to the congress. >> reporter: sources say that funding request from the administration to congress is expected to be less than $10 billion in additional funding to cover the costs of the influx of migrants crossing the boarder. this could run into problems with democrats who are already ske skeptical about the immigration policies and intent for the immigration funding. >> thanks very much. you heard mike pompeo tell me
here that president maduro had a plane on the tarmac, ready to go to take him to havana cuba. he was ready to leave but the russians talked him out of that. how concerning is that to you? >> very concerning. this is a troubling factor. we have seen the violence and people losing their lives. maduro needs to get out of there and leave our part of the world alone and let them deal with it. >> the secretary of state, mike pompeo continue the say that all option sz as are on the table a as the u.s. response is concerned.
>> they would be remiss to say all options are on the table. i don't think anybody in congress is ready for that. we'll see what happens. if there's more intervention with russia, it escalates the problem. we'll see how this goes. i think what they are doing through diplomatic efforts is the way to go. you heard the secretary of state say get on the plane and fly out of venezuela. >> i think you'll find every member of congress saying the same thing. it's time for him to leave and let this new leadership take hold and try to get this country back in order. >> there's wide bipartisan support. >> absolutely. no question. >> let's move onto some other news out it have the white house. there was an extraordinary meeting at the white house with the democratic leadership from the house and the senate without any republicans president. they went and spoke with the president and his aides and agreed to a $2 trillion funding proposal for infrastructure. road, bridge, airport, rail lines. it was a pretty extraordinary
moment. the parade thraise going on bet white house and the democratic leadership. >> we should mark this day down because it was an extraordinary moment. infrastructure is the kind of thing that every one can agree on the goals of infrastructure. i think it was very productive. obviously the devil will be in the details. a lot of people believe that sfrur can pay for itself in the long run. it's an investment in the country. we have to figure out way to go for it and pay for it. this meeting is great first step. >> let's talk about the former vice president joe biden. you support his campaign. look at the new cnn poll released today. he's got a nice bump. in march he was at 28%. now he's at 39%.
that's an impressive 11% bump. can the vice president sustain this? >> everybody gets a bump. we're a long way out. what's important is the message that joe biden has. it's important to look at his fund raising numbers that exceeded every one else's on the first 24 hours. i think it's the message that's resonating. >> he's going after president trump saying at issue is the soul of the nation. he's outlining his position on middle class issues. he's not going after other democratic candidates. when does he do that? >> i don't know if he does that. >> the other candidates are going after him on substantive
policy issues. >> when you see that bump in the polls, whoever is sitting at the top, somebody will come after you. everybody knows that. joe biden knew that going in there. he knew the minute he announced, they would come after him. there's disagreements on the number of issues. that's why we have a primary process. he came out of the gate and that's appealing to a cross section of america on issues that are important. i would call the kitchen table issues, job, economy, health care is a big issue. he'll stake out that claim. >> bernie sanders is not a shy guy. your colleague from vermont. he listed biden's vote for the iraq war. he opposed the iraq war.
how does he address these issues? >> there are going to be differences. you're going to see that. that's what part of the primary process. that's healthy. at the end of the day i think democrats will come together. >> you endorse biden already because you think he's got the best chance of beating president trump or because you agree him on the substantive policy in. >> it's a little of both. i think he has the best chance of winning and governing once he gets elected. he can reach across the aisle or with people in his own party to reach the consensus. >> he's fortunate to have you as the surrogate. thanks very much for joining us. >> my pleasure. more breaking news ahead on the uprising under way in venezuela and the new
information we have just received from the secretary of state that the russians talked nicholas maduro out of fleeing his country at the last minute. joe biden visited iowa. mar. hello to the best part of the day.... with italian quality pizza. get two medium, one-topping pizzas for just $6.99 each. every store. every day. the italian way. hello primo.
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mplgt joe biden is visiting iowa for the first time since his 2020 announcement. he's opened up a commanding lead over his democratic rivals in cnn's new national poll. jessica, you're there in iowa. what's former vice president's message to iowans? >> reporter: biden telling io iowans today they'll see a lot of him in next few months and no one will work harder for their support. he thinks he can get that support by talking more about the dignity of work and growing the middle class. joe biden making his first trip to iowa since announcing his run for president. it's a crucial state that ended his 2008 presidential run. >> you'll see a whole heck of a lot of me.
i promise you this. no one will work harder in iowa than joe biden to get your support and gain your confidence. >> reporter: the big difference this time, he's ahead in the polls. a new nationwide cnn poll shows biden at 39% among democrats and independent who is lean democratic. that's up 11 points from last month and puts biden more than 20 points ahead of his nearest competitor with most voters saying they could still change their minds. to help keep that momentum, the campaign releasing a new video fee dhaturing a very familiar v. >> this is an extraordinary man with an extraordinary career. >> reporter: the biden campaign plans to lean heavily on his relationship with former president, barack obama. obama has no plans to endorse
during the primary, a source tells cnn the obama team was made aware of the plan and did not object. as biden surges, he's laying out his plan on how to court trump voters with the economy doing so well. >> the vast majority of working a class people it's not significantly better. they know they are not being treated well. this is about restoring dignity. >> reporter: biden continues to talk more and more about how while the economy is strong, it's not strong for every one. he wants to bring every one into that growth. that's the message we're expecting to hear tonight. the doors just opened. we're expecting to see the former vice president within the hour. >> on the road covering joe biden, thank you very, very much.
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road, bridges and infrastructure. this was pretty remarkable. when they walked out, they said it was very constructive meeting. they didn't talk about some of the other issues. administration stone walling congress. is the cooperation, this latest cooperation going to continue? >> first of all, who can predict that. i don't know. you can see that each side believes it's in their own self-interest to do some kind of infrastructure bill. the democrats have wanted it and so has the president. what was stunning is the democratics came in with a $1.9 trillion proposal and our reporting says the president said, why don't we just round that up to 2 trillion because i like the way that sounds better. you can imagine how stunned the democrats were. if they can get this bill through, i think they will try and cooperate with him and walk and chew gum at the same time
regarding the president's behavior and the mueller report. >> david, if they get a deal, 2 trillion dollar deal to rebuild the road, bridge, broadband across the country, airports across the country. that would be a huge political victory for the president up for re-election. >> if you're the democrats, you don't want to give president trump a win 18 months out from an election. think back to 2010, president obama wanted to repeal don't ask, don't tell. they got a deal done. i think democrats have to say the president wants a win, what can we ask for in return. >> i don't mean to be susie pessimist. the president has a tendency when someone is in front of him, he says what they like to hear. mick mulvaney was on the coast when this was happening. there were no republicans in that room. i feel a feeling he will come
down to earth once he hears from people in his party. let's say the 2 trillion number stands. how it gets paid for will be a big fight. >> why are we talking about how it's going to be paid for? >> i don't know. it's an open question. >> how the republicans talked about when their gigantic tax cut went through, nobody cared about how that was paid for. has anyone been to an airport recently. they stink. this is what the country needs. modern kun trips have modern airports. >> they were talking about a public/private partnership which the democrats didn't want. that's what they wasn't talking
about today. let's do two trillion. >> driven around the washington, d.c. area on the highways, the potholes are maneuver. otherwise you'll have a broken axle and flat tires and all the above. the trump organization and families are suing two banks to stop them from releasing sensitive financial information. tell us what's behind the move and what's likely to unfold? >> they don't want the records turned over. it's so common for banks to respond to subpoenas that they have entire offices of people who do nothing but respond to subpoenas. this is not an unusual request from congress. er prosecutors always ask. i don't know what the argument is that the trump family think they can prevent this from being
turned over. they are hoping there's a court fight that extends this controversial out for months until people don't care anymore. that's a victory even if they wind up losing the case. >> is that a possibility this will just drag on and on and on through the courts? >> i think it's possibility. the courts might throw up their hands. even if congress prevails in some of these cases then what happens if the white house stone walls. i don't think at the end of the day, this will have political consequences for both sides. on the one hand, you have the democrats potentially not g getting what they want and you have the white house looking like they have something to hide. >> what's a little different about this fight is that the documents are in the hands of the bank, not of the white house or the trump family. the congress has a better chance in this circumstance than the other. >> biden is doing very, very well.
he's bumped up. everybody else is in single digits right now. >> it's hard to be the front-runner because you don't know what happen the you in future months. this high number reflects the fact they believe that joe biden might have the best chance defeating donald trump. if i was heartened by this even her number has gone down. a lot of democratic voters say they want to learn more about her. there are democrats who don't know who all these candidates are. >> bernie sanders is going after the former vice president pretty harshly. not on personal issues but
disagree on the war in iraq, on nafta, tpp and bernie sanders is making that clear. >> we've seen him willing to throw elbows at several different people at this point. i think he's trying to draw a contrast in this field which is why we're not going to see how this field starts to shake out until the debate. you have every one standing next to each other and really being able to draw contrast and people will be engaged in watching it in realtime. people know joe biden. i think only 3% of people in the poll say they didn't know about joe biden or as some of these other candidates, 40% of people don't know. there's still a lot to learn. >> a likely democratic voters the fact he was the vice president under president barack obama is clearly going to help him. in our cnn poll, we asked who they support. likely democratic voters. white versus non-white. among non-white democrats, biden
is at 50%. sanders is at 50%. everybody else low single digits. biden is at 29%. bernie sanders 15. buttigieg is at 10%. everybody else is in single figur figures. >> it tells you who is popular on twitter and who is popular in real america is different. when we get to the debate, that's when we'll separate. i think biden will have trouble with thosome of those questions. >> a lot of democrats think he has the best chance of beating trump in a general election. stick around. we have more breaking news. william barr and his handling of the mueller report. we'll be back in a moment. for j. because it takes two... to make a great everyday value. every store. every day. the italian way. hello primo.
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another cnn poll is now out. it shows americans are divided how the attorney general handled the release of the mueller report. 44% approved. 43% disapproved. 13% are unsure. this comes as barr is set to testify tomorrow. our panel has the story. >> i want to wish our new attorney general great luck and speed and enjoy your life. bill, good luck. tremendous reputation.
>> reporter: bill barr came to the trump administration with a long resume. dating g dating back to the george h.w. bush administration. >> he was deputy attorney general and he was attorney general. he's had quite a government career in addition to having been partner in a substantial law firm. >> reporter: now a political lightning rod largely because of the way he handled the release of the mueller report in a way that pleased the president and angered democrats. >> was he putting his thumb on the scale for the american public? >> he was putting his fist on the scale. it was a lot more than a thumb. >> reporter: when he said this. >> i think spying did occur. >> reporter: he made the president very happy. >> i think what he said was absolutely true. there was absolutely spying into my campaign. >> reporter: now barr, a republican with establishment credentials facing congress at the center of a political fire storm. it started with his decision to summarize the special counsel's
488 page report in a four page letter that even some on mueller's team thought down played and mischaracterized their damaging findings about the president. >> he wrote up a spin letter. he then went before congress and spun the spin letter. he then did a press conference where he used a non-legal phrase, non-collusion as many times as he could without being comical in a short period of time. >> there was no evidence of the trump campaign collusion. no collusion. no collusion. >> reporter: barr also cleared the president of obstruction even though the special counsel made no decision. >> i don't think he should have participated in the decision on obstruction and to have substituted his legal judgment for bob mueller about the appropriate legal theory was a significant misjudgment on his part and i don't think it reflected well on the department. >> did you get that sense from barr, he wished mueller had made a decision?
>> sure. the only person left who could make a decision is the attorney general, and he did. >> what if barr had just decided not to do anything? >> and leave it out there? >> impossible? >> not impossible. irresponsible. >> reporter: then explained it in a press conference before anyone read the report. >> the president wads angered by his belief the investigation was undermining his presidency. >> could that be interpreted as excusing the president's bad behavior? >> i don't think it should be interpreted that way because i don't think he was trying to excuse the president's behavior, bad or otherwise. i think he was simply trying to explain the basis for a decision he, as a prosecutor, was reaching. >> he didn't explain a decision. he went out there justifying reckless behavior by the president. he wasn't serving as attorney general. he was serving as the
president's guidance counselor. >> reporter: but barr's decision not to prosecute wasn't a complete surprise. he had already made his views known in an onunsolicited 19 pa sent to the justice department in june 2018 saying the theory of the obstruction investigation against the president was fatally misconceived. >> is this something people do all the time? >> you mean former government officials and bring them to the government on pending issues and ask officials in power to look at them? >> yes. >> no. that's not common practice. i think it's a reflection of the passion of which he views that issue but it's unusual. >> do you think it was an audition for a job? >> definitely not. we talked about the memo at the time. the idea of being attorney general or taking any job with the administration was the farthest thing from his mind. >> really? >> yes.
>> he didn't get this job by accident. he got this job because he promised in advance, essentially, he wouldn't find the president guilty of obstruction and so he did exactly what he said he was going to do. >> back in the 1998 interview unearthed by cnn k file, barr was more sympathetic to the independent counsel's plight come plplaining that attorney general janet reno wasn't doing enough to protect ken starr from hatchet jobs and attacks. he's remained silent as the president continues to lob grenades at the mueller team. >> we just went through the mueller witch hunt where you had really 18 angry democrats that hate president trump. >> reporter: his loyalties will be tested again as the president says he will not comply with house democratic subpoenas. >> we're fighting all the
subpoenas. these aren't like impartial people. >> reporter: he could well have barr on his side. in 1989 in another momentum, barr warned against what he called congressional incursion against the office of the presidency. >> i think bill's view is a constitutional one. it's grounded in the separation of powers and if one of the branches over steps its bounds, he will call that branch on it. >> it would be really disappointing if he enabled the president to pursue a theory like the one the president has articulated which is because the house that is asking for this information is in hands of the other political party, he's not going to permit anybody to testify. that's lawless position. >> lawless. >> it's utterly lawless. >> reporter: a matter ultimately that another branch of government, the courts, could decide. >> as you know, tomorrow the
attorney general goes before the senate judiciary hearing. he will undergo tough questions before the democrats who will want to know why he decided on the mueller report. why he decided there was no obstruction and why he decided to issue that four page letter which they believe mischaracterized the special counsel's work. >> terrific report. we'll have special coverage tomorrow morning starting at 9:00 a.m. eastern. much more on all of the news right after this. alright, i brought in ensure max protein... to give you the protein you need with less of the sugar you don't. (straining) i'll take that. (cheers) 30 grams of protein and 1 gram of sugar. ensure max protein. in two great flavors.
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there is more breaking news, the russian foreign ministry responded to my interview with the secretary of state mike pompeo. pompeo accused the russians of intervening in venezuela where nicholas maduro was apparently preparing to flee the country i am quoting now, washington tried to demoralize the venezuelan aerial and now used fake news as a part of an information war. cnn will stay on top of this story, specific developments and attention in the streets of caracas, venezuela escalating as we speak. democrats are talking about spending trillions of dollars
time prove roads, bridges and a lot more throughout the united states. there is a new snapshot of the challenges facing our elected officials in a very changing nation. it comes from usa facts, a non-part a sand initiative -- non-partisan initiative that compiles government data without a political agenda. we are joined by the founder, steve ballmer, the owner of l.a. clippers and formerly of microsoft. >> thanks for having me. >> i will get to u.s. facts in a moment. you heard the president and democratic leadership agreeing to $2 trillion to improve infrastructure, roads, bridges, airports, broadband, all across the united states. do the numbers add up? >> well, i'll give you a perspective on that. the country today, government today spends about $240 billion a year, if you take that multiply it by so, you are close to the 2 trillion.
i guess we will double the amount of money we spend on infrastructure, doubleing is a big change. and at the same time people talk about our bridge quality, government numbers say our bridges have actually gotten better and better over the last 20 years. our roads, slightly worse. you can taking a loo at the numbers. >> have you been to major airports lately? have you seen what's going on? >> i'm not saying there aren't areas of investment. if you were to say to somebody in business, we will double the budget on this one thing, you have to say, what numbers are we going to move? what are we doing for delays at airports? so i'd ask the question to both parties, you want to double the budget, that's a big change, 2b is a big number. will you buy that kind of improvement for it? >> it seems president trump is not concerned about the deficit and the national debt right now. you will spend $2 trillion on infrastructure. it's a lot of money. >> i'm going to reframe that as $200 billion a year.
it's important. the deficit is quoted on an annual basis. we lose about $850 billion a year as a country. >> it could be a trlg. >> it could be a trillion. we don't make forecasts. we use actuals. 200 billion per year would be significant on on the of the $850 billion we are already losing. of course, there may be new revenue teams. we didn't hear about that today. >> that could come. if you say wolf we want to spend the double the money on your house remodel. you want to say what do i get for that? >> good points. tell us about our usa facts. why should our people care? >> i think in this world of alternate facts and world news, the one thing you can ground on is ac rat, numbers, not adjectives that reflect what went on in the past. i think government numbers, not forecasts or third party analysis tells us the best story. i believe in the professionals
we have in our government. if you want to know what are reading proficiency scores, if you want to know not just who we collected our tax money from. i think a lot of people want to know. where do we spend that money? it turns out we spend in eight areas. and then if you want to alleges ask the question, it's government. what are the outcomes? are we getting healthier, better educated? are wages going up? standards of living improving? we have kind of cover all of that. we just released our annual report for this year. we also do like a business, a full big old fat 10k which businesses files with the securities and exchange commission. we believe government should be analyzed and held accountable by the number sfwls people can go to usa facts.org. >> correct. >> when you look at the numbers right now what do you see as the one of two biggest problems we are faceing? . >> well, now i'm giving you my perspective. i encourage other people to think about it.
reading proficiency, 8 graders, 38%. some say it's great. it's up from 34%. i might look at it and say 38% reading proficiency scores don't bode well for the futures of our country and our economy. i would underline and underscore that if you will despite the fact education spending has risen dramatically per capita. you can look at the specific numbers in the report. we have not improved educational outcomes that much. >> that is a big problem. when people talk about the hollowing out of the middle class. we will take a look. you can see, what does life look like for people in the mid-20%, which means now in america, householding in of 33,000 to $65,000 bucks. look at it. people will be surprised. >> washington wizard season ticketholder, how are the clippers going to do next year? >> i am bullish about our team. we have a great core, we had a great season.
who knows what might happen in the offseason. >> you like to be the owner of a basketball team? >> i love it. >> i'd like to be an owner of a basketball team. usafacts.org. people can go there and find out what's going on. >> thank you. erin burnett "out front" starts next, "out front" next, biden repeatedly bringing up the front runner unprovoked. why? new republicans are raising the picks for the federal reserve. more comments from steve moore. what's going on here? a cnn exclusive. bowing admitting a safety alert didn't work on all the 737 max planes. planes involved in two deadly crashes. let's go "out front." and good evening, i'm erin burnett. "out front" tonight biden on their minds. the white house taking notice of the man head and shoulders above his 2020 opponents now, joe