tv MSNBC Live With Katy Tur MSNBC March 15, 2018 11:00am-12:00pm PDT
hour in the east coast, 11:00 a.m. out west. this just in from the "new york times" reporting that robert mueller has subpoenaed the trump organization to hand over documents, including some related to russia. this is the first time the special counsel demanded documents directly related to president trump's businesses, bringing the investigation closer to the president. it's a big deal, michael schmidt, nice exclusive. talk to us about why the mueller tale may have asked for a -- did a subpoena instead of asking they will to hand over documents? do we have any indication whatsoever that they weren't cooperating with the handing over with documents? >> that's one of the real questions here, why he went with a subpoena. it's the second time we've seen him go with a subpoena, he recalls one with steve bannon and ultimately they worked out
an interview. in this case, the trump organization not being responsive, or there's something larger here, this was first subpoena we know about that relates to the president's businesses. obviously it's a business he built as the backbone for his arrangements as to why he was going to be a good president. there were a lot of search materials in the subpoena, some of them relating to russia and the trump organization has to produce them. >> you also write they are looking into donald trump's deal or potential deal or attempted deal to bailed trump tower moscow. from my own reporting, that has ban line of questioning for some of the folks that were interviewed by the special counsel, what sort of deals did donald trump have with russia or what was he trying to do there in 2013 for the miss universe pageant. this is donald trump here a moment ago at capitol hill. there's also that new book,
michael, which isles you know about, "russian roulette" which talks about what trump was doing in 2013 in moscow at the miss universe pageant and how he really wanted to have a trump tower moscow. what what does your reporting show about that? >> this is an issue that hung out since last year when it came out he signed a term sheet to build the trump tower moscow. one of his associates thought this would be a great idea, a way of showing his prowess as aball. michael cohen was involved. that's a line of inquiry that's come up in interviews. the president has insisted he had no business dealings in russia as has the trump organization. this deal with the tower never went through, but the president and michael cohen seem eager to do it.
>> any other lines of questioning that you can reveal to us about what you have heard having to do with donald trump's business organization and russia? one question we heard sam nunberg talk about on the air was whether or not anybody in the white house was speaking russ russian, whether he overheard michael cohen speaking russian. >> i think what we've seen in recent weeks is increasing questions about the uae efforts, questions about george nader, someone working for the uae who had met with jared kushner and steve bannon. what were they trying to do? was there something larger
afoot. that's a bit outside the russia lane, maybe mueller is looking into that, but i think this is still a sprawling investigation. i think we're still in the earlier stages of it. there's a lot of things that mueller is doing we don't know about. >> do we have anything more on donald trump's interview with emmitt flood, the impeachment lawyer? has that gone anywhere? >> no. we know the president met with him last week to discuss the possibility of coming to work in the white house to take over either dealing with the russia investigation or perhaps becoming the white house counsel. nothing has been done in that area. ty cobb has been running the investigation, dealing with the investigation at the white house. a lot of that is sort of over on the white house's endth. the question is is does president need a different lawyer to deal with the next
phase. >> michael schmidt, great reporting, thank you for calling in. also with us, peter alexander who's at the white house, ashley parker, white house reporter for "the washington post," and msnbc political analyst, clint watts, former fbi agent and national security analyst. here with me is msnbc legal analyst danny cevallos, and chris whipple, author of "the gate keepers." we have everybody here who could possibly talk about this. everyone, welcome. peter alexander, you're standing in the briefing room. last we heard there was a briefing at 2:30. has the white house responded in any way to this new reporting from the "times"? and i arrive it only came out about ten minutes ago. >> they have responded in so much as they told us they're going to refer all questions on this issue to the trump organization. i've e-mailed the trump
organization within the last few minutes. we have yet to hear back from them. we'll press sarah sanders on it when she comes in the next half hour. in the past they will hand it off to the trump organization. what's notable is that this comes on a day when the administration is puffing out its chest, feeling like it took strong action against russia specifically now, the most significant action they've taken against russia following its meddling in the 2012 election with sanctions now being levied against 19 individuals for meddling and other cyberattacks that have contain place. it's also notable that today the dhs and fbi are indicating they have evidence that russia continues to try not just to snoop but has successfully infiltrated systems, in particular the energy system. there will be a lot of questions
about why it took so long for the trump administration to react this way as we focus on this back and forth as it relates to russia. >> he makes a good point that this is a day the trump administration if not the president himself is trying to look very tough on russia. this comes a few days after the u.k. poisoning. today there's a joint statement from the u.k. and its allies, including the u.s. today should have been more of a positive russia headline for the trump administration. but this is a big deal. trump organization documents on russia, and it's unclear why they decided to subpoena the organization instead of asking they will to hand it over, but it does make you wonder if they were having a problem getting ahold of whatever documents they needed. >> we have said every molt the white house thinks it has a new
story to tell, the russia cloud remarriag reemerges and hangs over the white house. this is certainly significant. today the white house certainly delayed the tough talk, but over the last couple days they finally have ramped it up. nikki haley at the u.n. and the sanctions against russia which many believe should have happened long ago. this is significant because it's about two words, red line. that's what the president told "the new york times" last summer. that's what the president has reiterated saying that's the one thing, going into my business is the one thing that robert mueller and that probe cannot do, and now they are. >> this also comes as there's talk of a purge in the administration. donald trump continuing to shake up not only the staff in the white house, but also cabinet members. we saw rex tillerson leave, and there's been whispers about jeff
sessions. if jeff sessions was to go and somebody else confirmed, that would put hill in charge of the mueller investigation. if they're talking about a red line as jonathan was just referring to, you have to wonder what that would mean for mueller's scope and his ability to continue this investigation. >> right. that's all true. there's an incredible amount of t turbulence. the president is furious with jeff sessions because of his recusal. that will never change. and the president would get rid of jeff sessions yesterday if he could have. he often will pass his own red lines and defy his advisers, but so far they've been able to explain to him that firing jeff sessions will bring him more problems on the mueller probe, on the possible obstruction of justice bucket of that probe. it will be a red line for some
members of congress, problematic for the public. while it's something the president wants to do, it is not my sense it's something he's going to do imminently. we've been covering this campaign for a long time. the turmoil and the chaos is nothing new. what's striking is how far no one in the west wing and no one in that white house knows what is going on. they're calling reporters to try to figure it out. you go to feel with something you heard and a rumor and they say that sounds crazy but it sounds like it could be true. so they go back and forth between fear and uncertainty and kind of punchdrunk gallows humor. >> he can decide at any moment what he wants to do. you can try to convince him, tell him the pros and cons, you might hold him off for a while, but donald trump will ultimately decide something. that's a bit of a word salad of an explanation.
chris whipple, nobody having any understanding of what could happen next, how do you run a white house? how do you run a company? at the very macro level, how do you keep a country safe if you're so disorganized at a microlevel? >> there's talk about how maybe this is some complicated chaos theory of management that only donald trump understands. maybe it's great energy. the truth is, it's just chaos. it's a level of incompetence we've never seen before. jimmy carter was a managerial genius. the problem is we have a guy who has no idea how to govern and from day to day doesn't even understand the issues that he's deciding as we've seen on tariffs. i told a story in which trump wanted to slap a 25% tariff on automobiles, 25% on steel, and rip up nafta on day one.
reince priebus had to sit him down. ripping up nafta will kill the farmers. and he reluctantly backed off. >> he still wants to talk about it. he was talking about it as recently as last night at a private gop fundraising dinner. we're going to get to that in a moment. let's stick to the mueller subpoena. bob mueller subpoenaing the trump organization on documents relating to russia. also joining us is frank figliuzzi and joyce vance. joyce, what's your take on this breaking news from the "new york times"? >> so this is very interesting news, not completely unexpected,
but the most important thing here is that instead of making a polite request that the information be turned over, mueller issued a subpoena. we don't know if there was a previous polite request that was rebuked, but the organization will now have to turn over responsive documents. no privilege can be asserted at this point in time f. they don't turn over documents that are responsive, there will be contempt or other proceedings. >> donald trump said it was a red line to go into his finances, his personal business. this is robert mueller going into his finances and personal business. >> exactly. this is going to take the special counsel inquiry behind the curtain of the trump organization. here's why this is within scope and it is pertinent to what mueller is doing. it's going to shed light on possibly why the russians may
have compromised the president. is there some business dealing that just can't get out there that might explain why the president is beholden to the russian government? it could be a violation of the emoluments cause which means you can't take foreign money into a campaign. maybe that's where the money went. thirdly, it clearly can shed light on obstruction, obstruction is about intent. mueller is trying to figure out why it is that the president simply doesn't want his inquiry moving forward, it could be it's business related or the president doesn't want some shady business deals with russia seeing the light of day. so i would argue that all of this is quite pertinent and goes to the heart of the special counsel inquiry, which is to did he recall -- it started as a russia counterintelligence case. mueller still needs to work that angle and he's doing that here. >> i think someone's trying to
text message you while you're on the phone with us. they may be listening you to and want to follow up with you. danny, in the conversations i had with sources who've been in that room, there is a line of questioning on donald trump's business ventures before he started running for office. why did donald trump take the position he took on various countries, on russia specifically before he decided to run? was it a business issue for him? did he base his policy opinions and his policy stances on whether or not it would benefit his business? they definitely asked sam nunberg that. he talked about it on the air. he was part of the team that was getting things together for the run-up for donald trump announcing that he was going to run for president. sam never had a clear answer about that. he's always said it was just one of those questions you don't ask
donald trump, you don't ask hill because he wouldn't like you asking hill, he would think that you are, i don't know, being bugged. sam says all these wild things. who knows what's true but it was a line from the special counsel. >> trump's business dealings before he was president always presented complications because they were so vast, they appear to be scattered to the wind, scattered to the globe, and then once he becomes president, there are conflict of interest laws that somewhat insulate the president. but when we get into possible obstruction, impeachment, other areas, possibly selling that influence or offering that influence to russia or participating in some collusion, those are sort of the general ideas behind this special counsel investigation so that when you see a subpoena like this from the special counsel, what they are likely looking for is evidence of whatever they're mandate s but the problem for trump is that he knows u.s. attorneys once they see evidence
of additional crime, they're not going to ignore it. and that's going to be very problematic. when it comes to subpoenas of documents, the reason they are so devastating is that unlike a subpoena for you and i to come testify, we can assert the fifth amend, there's no 5th amendment in documents. they must be turned over. >> richard nixon lost that battle with the special prosecutor when they were investigating him. we're going to table this conversation for jolt because we have breaking news out of miami on a completely different subject where a portion of a new pedestrian bridge on the campus of florida international university has collapsed. looks pretty serious. let's go to our local affiliate with, tvj atvj and listen in. >> four or five vehicles clearly, at least five vehicles we have seen under that collapsed bridge.
some of them in a situation where it would be difficult fossil to get out. we can hope that they survived and they'll be able to be rescued, but right now it's just a hope. we don't know exactly what they have out there and neither do they. thoofl they're responding as they are. southeast 8th street and 109th avenue near the turnpike at the fiu campus, a place right now that is closed for spring break at least, so there weren't a lot of students around. the bridge itself was not open yet. it had just been erected saturday, the major portion of it. and it came down today. this was being touted as a bridge for safety both in construction and for pedestrian safety. you know, miami-dade county has an urban rescue team. these are people who train for building collapses. i don't know whether those
individuals are part of that ta team, but that's how they go into a scene. they are trying to get in as quickly as they can to save lives, to protect the people who are trapped under there. are you seeing more activity there now? >> reporter: -- mover somehow around the vehicles that are here at the scene right now. it's really not clear if they're going to bring us closer to the bridge or move it around to open it up for more fire and ambulances to arrive. but it does look like they're actively trying to clear the way and get closer to the bridge. right now they're moving us further and further away from the scene right now. i am at least one block away,
109th avenue and southwest 7th, and they keep expanding the perimeter, pushing the yellow tape past several blocks around the area. they are trying to help the people that are possibly trapped there right now. >> we can tell you that we are getting information now from the florida highway patrol as we feared looking at those pictures. we can tell you sadly that there are fatalities. there are deaths related to this collapse. it's just a situation where the folks out there must feel helpless because they can't get into vehicles that are just smashed under that concrete. miami-dade fire rescue's technical rescue team is on the scene. obviously they're doing everything they can, bringing in a crane is a step, but how you deploy that crane is another matter, and making that scene
safe and protecting those who may just be injured right now and not more severely injured. obviously going to be a priority. these are the teams who go to earthquake scenes and miami-dade will send their experts to earthquake scenes to help rescue people who are trapped in buildings that have come crumbling down. so they know what they're doing, this technical rescue situation. it's a question of what can they do, a structure of that weight, of that size on a busy freeway where cars were perhaps stopped at a light, it police departmap. it's a nightmare for them and for those of us in the community who are hoping and praying that people we know are not involved in this. but people are involved and it's sad for them and it's sad for all of us that this has happened
here at southeast a street and 109th avenue. five people transported so far, three of them in pretty good condition. one trauma and one moderately injured. there's the animation on the left of your screen of what the bridge was going to be. this was specially designed with plazas, wi-fi for students, designed to link high-rises in the area, people who live in sweetwater with the ifu campus. obviously the protection of pedestrians was one priority, but also to fill real estate in that area where towers could be built and students could be housed. none of that will be happening. this was supposed to open at the beginning of next year, a major milestone completed saturday with the erection of that bridge, the lifting and twisting and placing of it over the road.
but for some reason it came down today, and it kale docame down several cars. we are continuing to monitor our information coming in. florida highway patrol confirming that several people are dead in the collapse of this bridge, several people have died, five transported, at least one of them trauma letter. and efforts under way at the scene to try to rescue whoever may be under that rubble. and that is what you're seeing there as we pull out and take a look at the bridge. it's right there. andrea cruz, have they gotten more information? we lost andrea at the scene. you can see the side of the bridge collapse completely. another side slightly as if it
is being propped up by one side. but there in the center, completely down. the one we see in the near vision of the screen closest to you, the north side it appears to be, that also is down. so traffic out there obviously, avoid the area at all costs. a street, 109th avenue, use the turnpike to bypass that area. and just hope for the best for those people who are perhaps trapped under there. i mean, we don't know that there aren't any people who have survived under there. sometimes there are pockets of air and space where people can survive for a long time in situations like this. it's always incredible to hear those stories, but that is how we are wired, to survive, and those people there, we hope,
will survive. you can see a horrifying scene out there. and we know this community, spring break you see in effect. so we know there weren't many students, if any, but people on the road, construction workers, we know there are deaths. >> tony, the pictures say it all. ladies and gentlemen, if you're joining us right now, chopper 6, pictures coming in. take a look at this bridge on the ground, looked like it folded in two. the pictures here, you see several rescue crews on the scene right now over this bridge collapse here at fiu as they continue to look for possible survives that could be underneath that bridge. as you heard from tony there, several people are dead in this fiu bridge collapse. we're going to zoom in just a
little bit. we don't want to zoom in too much because we're taking a look at the live pictures for the first time and we don't want to show anything that could be graphic. so bear with us here as we're looking at these pictures. me for the first time as well. we have some of the best search and rescue here throughout south florida with miami-dade county. that's what you are looking at right now as many of them continue to go looking for possible survivors or anybody that could still be stuck underneath that bridge. of course, it's a very delicate situation. looks like it's almost folded in two. for some reason it collapsed. it came down. you heard from tony pip tone there. again, we do know that several people are dead in this fiu bridge collapse. i'm going to let my producer in my ear.
i can only make out five or six vehicles are crushed according to our producer. five or six vehicles are crushed under there. one vehicle is sticking out there, and it looks like its door is open, but it looks like it's sticking out. again, we don't want to zoom in too close because we want to make sure we protect the privacy of those that could still be injured or maybe trapped inside the rubble from this bridge collapse here at fiu. again, several dead. we do not have a confirmation on the exact number, but several people are confirmed dead. that is according to the florida highway patrol in this roof collapse which caught many off guard if you're familiar with fiu or around this area. this is something that i'm sure
caught many people off guard. as you heard from tony, it's spring break, so many students were not there or in school, which is good news, but, of course, for those underneath, the vehicles involved, it's bad news because there's still vehicles that go underneath that particular bridge. but the thing is, was anyone on the bridge at the time? was anyone walking across this bridge at the time? so that is the concern as well as those that may be trapped underneath, as my producer told us, and with his we're looking at right now on the screen, five weeks vehicles were crushed from this bridge collapse here at fiu. here's a look at a map, this gives you an idea if you're wondering where exactly this bridge is located if you're not familiar with florida international university. this gives you an idea where the
bridge was located. you see it highlighted in red. that is the bridge right here, pedestrian bridge highlighted in red. you see the campus. it gives you an idea on the location of southeast 8th street in between southeast 107th avenue and southwest 117th avenue. this gives you an idea. i believe i'm going to get more information in my ear. avoid miami trail, is that correct? avoid tami ammy trail and 107th avenue. if you are coming home from work, if you know any people, any relatives traveling home from work, this is an area you're going to want to avoid. we know how active this area can
be with traffic and rush hour, tends to be packed down south around this location, but you're definitely going to want to avoid this area, if possible. that's according to what's coming in. if you're now joining us on nbc 6, several people have been killed. whether or not you're watching on the nbc 6 app or joining us on air, the pictures say it all. these pictures are devastating right now because we know that we're still dealing with a lot in the south florida community. many people are still dealing with the pain and tragedy with stoneman douglas, and now we're dealing with another tragedy, ladies and gentlemen, happening right now at fiu's campus with this bridge collapse here on southwest 8th street. several people killed in this bridge collapse. we have been told to tell you out there to make sure you avoid tami ammy trail and southwest 107th avenue if at all possible.
>> we're going to take a quick break from our coverage with wtvj and go to our own reporter who is en route. maya rodriguez joins us by phone. i'm told you went to this university. you know this area really well. as you've been hearing from our local station, they have confirmed that multiple people died from this bridge collapse. it was a new bridge. sounds like that bridge had not been opened to the public yet, had not been open to pedestrians yet. it's a pedestrian bridge, but it looks like if there are any injuries or if there are any deaths as we're now hearing there are, they are underneath that bridge and perhaps happened in cars. maya, tell us about the area. >> yeah. katy, this is the largest public university in the miami area. there's tens of thousands of students that go there. where this happened is across
southwest 8th street, this is a huge road, heavily trasktd. the florida turnpike is near the campus, so you have a lot of cars trying to make their way to the turnpike, off the turnpike, going past the university campus. this was a new pedestrian bridge. it was many years in the making. it just opened within the last month or so. if there's any good news, it's is that the entire campus is on spring break at this point so presumably there would not have been students making their way across the bridge when this collapse happened. it was described as a swinging pedestrian bridge. that was the architectural description of it. it was considered a priority to get students and faculty safely across this particular busy road, 8th street that runs by the campus. so again, just a tragedy. we're hearing from the florida
highway patrol that there are multiple fatalities. some of these cars have been crushed by this particular bridge. what happened at this point is still not clear. was there a structural deficiency or something that happened that caused this bridge to collapse the way it recalls. >> maya rodriguez on her way to the scene down there in miami. a little bit more information about the bridge we're getting in. it was supposed to be finished in early 2019, so it had not been opened yet. it was just installed just the other day on saturday. so this is truly a brand-new bridge, wasn't done yet, it wasn't open to pedestrians. it had only been in existence for a few days, and it just collapse out of nowhere today. asthma i can't said, we don't know if there were structural deficiencies, if that was to blame. it's unclear because this did just happen. we do know there are multiple
fatalities. joining me by phone is retired fdny captain al fuentes. this scene is not entirely unfamiliar. if you go back to the earthquake in los angeles, which is my most vivid memory of this, the freeways collapsed and pancaked down on the road in much the same way. talk to me about what it's like to try and get a structure like this, and i don't know what it's made of, but looks like concrete. what does it take to get a structure like this off the ground? how difficult is it to get anybody that might be trapped, especially if they're in a car? >> well, that's a great question. before you even start thinking about moving any parts of the structure, i'm sure that this being a mass casualty response,
first responders are extremely proficient at this. i'm sure they have structural engineers with them and isolating the area they should be searching. now they'll look into it. i don't think that's going to happen anytime soon until they make the determination if there are other individuals alive. >> what we know is -- we just showed images on the right side of the screen, some cars that are trapped down there, five or six vehicles trapped down there. unclear what's going on with the people who were inside those cars. tragically looks like for some of them the front of the car was what got trapped where the driver or passenger might be, especially this one here, this
sedan. this bridge is 950 tons. as al was just saying, he presumes they have all the adequate personnel there to figure out how to remove this in the safest possible way, but also the quickest way to get survivors out of this collapse. al fuentes, retired fdny captain, thank you very much. we're going to dip back into your sister station in miami, wtvj. >> it was do you to be completed at around 2019. the cable-supported bridge is a product of a collaboration between mcm construction and fig bridge design. some experienced workers or companies were over the design of this bridge here that has come to a crumble there over
southwest 8th street as you see many rescue crews on the scene right now as they continue to try to work and possibly rescue some possible survivors that could be trapped underneath, search for them. five or six cars crushed in that collapse. we understand there are self deaths from this collapse as well. that is according to the florida highway patrol. several people were killed in this collapse. to give you an idea of this location once again, this is at southwest 8th street and southwest 109th avenue. so if you have an idea on fiu's campus, you know where this location is. but if you're traveling down south, you have been told out there to make sure you avoid tami ammy trail at 107th avenue. avoid that area if at all possible. you see the yellow tarp set up on the side of the bridge. that lets us know there's a possible death as well.
we're only going to zoom in a little bit so you can take a look here. you see rescue crews, some of the best in the country there, on top. looks like they're looking and searching. again, you're talking about maybe five or six vehicles. you see one car next to the yellow tarp. there's one crush on the right side of the yellow tarp. and then you see the car where the front end of the car is crushed as well. the firefighters and rescue crews on the left side there on top of the rubble, on top of that bridge as they continue to search and look. trying to see if there's anyone possibly stuck or trapped. but this is a very heavy structure. 950-ton span. if medicine is trapped inside the rubble, it's going to take a
minute to get them out if they're trapped there. again, a devastating sight to see as we trying to deal with so much tragedy across south florida. we'll put the map up once again of southwest 8th street to give you an idea. if you're following us online or on air of where it is. we have more information from tony. >> i want to let you know that this project was a point of honor for florida international university. in the university is something called the accelerated bridge construction university. it's a group of engineers who designed this, who come up with the idea to quickly bring bridges up and over in a safe way without impeding traffic for long periods of time, cost efficient, this cost $12 million.
funded by the department of transportation. this was to be sort of a crown jewel just abutting the campus -- >> back again at msnbc. we're going to go right to the scene. joining us live is wtvj reporter andrea cruz. i'm told you were a couple blocks away when this happened. can you describe what you saw and what you may have heard? >> that's right. i was literally maybe a block away from the collapse. we saw people running towards the scene. this was at a shopping center, a strip mall right next to the bridge here next to florida international university. so we saw people running and a crowd of debris. that's when we realized something terribly wrong happened. i was able to get close to the scene before police actually closed off the perimeter. that's when we realized that the pedestrian bridge collapsed on
top of 8th street, which is one of the main roadways here next to florida international university. we could see directly under it from my have . some cars completely flattened by the weight of the bridge. i could see a worker on top of the bridge. police were trying to give him cpr. there were people definitely in shock around me, crying, it was a chaotic scene. right now it is still chaotic and active at this point. >> we saw a moment ago on the lower right side of the screen where we're looping the tape of the scene. we saw at least one person loaded into an ambulance, one person who had a brace on, who looked injured obviously from this collapse. are you getting any idea from
first responders how many people might be in those cars that are trapped under this bridge, and how many cars exactly? from our count, looks like five or six. >> so from my vantage point, i could only see five cars, but we have heard that it is definitely more people than that. but now i can tell you we're hearing different numbers of how many fatalities possibly. there was definitely fatalities reported during this incident, and i can tell you from what i was seeing, some of those cars were completely flattened, and it's hard to imagine that rescuers could even get to them. the bridge is tilted on the north side, so the cars on that side, this would be the eastbound lanes, those are the cars that the first responders were able to rescue.
i didn't see anybody really rushing to them right away on the other side. they seemed to be more focused on the people -- we see some sort of first aid, including that worker it was standing right on top of the bridge. police were rushing trying to give cpr. but his injuries were very severe, so it's not clear if that worker did survive. right now police keep telling everybody to get further and further away to give room for the many units that are responding to this incident. so we will be here on standby keeping an eye on everything going on. >> andrea hopefully i can hold you for just a few minutes. you're doing a terrific job reporting and describing the scene for us. this bridge was only installed on saturday. is anybody talking right now -- and i understand this is very
early, so maybe they're not -- about what could have caused this? is it likely a structural deficiency? is anybody out there talking about potential foul play? or are they just talking about how they don't know yet, it's too early to tell? >> i believe right now it's too early to tell. but i can tell you that workers were actively working on this structure. the main span of the bridge was put up just a few days ago, however, they were still actively working on this bridge. so walk ways that pedestrians would have been able to go up onto, those weren't completed as if yet, so workers were still working on that, finalizing this project. definitely something that was still under construction, however, it was already standing right on top of the intersection here in south florida. right now the good news out of all of this is florida
international university is in the middle of spring break. this is a very, very large university. normally it would be very busy. i could see some students running outside trying to get a closer look at what was happening. and some people were definitely in shock, crying. it's not clear if it's because they knew the people affected or just the sheer shock of seeing sufficie such a large structure lying on top of these cars. still an active scene out here. they did ask us to move further away. from where i'm standing right now, i can't really see if they're still actively trying to get people out of this bridge. >> they are. we can see from our overhead shot. are you sure the structure was made of concrete? >> i'm not sure exactly the material. i can tell you by the debris
lying around, it's definitely not the sort of material that is designed to fall on top of cars. >> no doubt about that. >> these cars are completely flattened by the weight. we did see at first a crane trying to get closer to the bridge. they were trying to maneuver it closer. i couldn't tell if it was they were trying to use the crane to lift part of the bridge or trying to get it out of the way to get the first responders closer to the scene, but they were actively trying to figure out ways to respond. but, of course, no one was expecting for this to happen. >> one of those scenarios where they bring out machinery that has apt but with unfortunate names like the jaws of life. andrea cruz, thank you very much very being on scene with us.
andrea cruz from wtvj. if you're just joining us, a bridge just collapsed in miami. this was a bridge that was not yet open. it was a pedestrian bridge just installed on saturday. 950-ton span that suddenly collapsed today on a number of vehicles, a number of cars. at least five or six trapped, and officials tell us there are multiple fatalities. as you can see from these live pictures, there is an ongoing rescue effort in the process to try and get to those people who are trapped inside those cars. it is unclear if there are any survivors, but you can imagine that if there are any, they're working as quickly as possible to remove they will. joining me is jonathan immumuno junior at the university. so you're saying you drove under and a moment later behind you
the bridge was on the ground? >> yes. so i was in the right-hand turning lane on 8th street eastbound. and i turned right onto campus, and then directly onto the parking garage that's right next to the bridge. maybe 30 seconds later, me and my girlfriend heard a large bang. we thought i had hit something while i was driving, so i parked the car and i checked the car and i saw i had hit nothing. the car was fine. and i started to walk onto campus and i heard somebody yell, people started yelling. and all of a sudden i saw cars leaving the first floor of a nearby parking garage. that's where the campus police department is. and i saw campus police cars leaving with their lights on, and they went directly to the intersection. i thought it was a car accident because that's a dangerous intersection and we've had a lot
of car accidents in the past few years. that's why the bridge was built because students crossed the intersection all the time from off-campus housing. we had fatalities in the intersection before, which is why they built the bridge. my girlfriend called me because she was still in the car. she called me and said, jonathan, the bridge collapsed. and i said, you're joking, and she said no, i'm not joking. there's cars trapped underneath. i had just walked into my professor's office. so i went to him and i said, the bridge collapsed. and at that point i was on face time with my girlfriend. she showed me the bridge and me and my professor just ran over. by the time the scene was secure. there was 10 to 15 police cars, ems just started to arrive. there was doctors from the nearby medical school running
towards the scene in their white coats. and it seems like police officers were trying to figure out who was who, get students back, and any medical personnel on i saw one construction workers in front of me who was bleeding from the mouth. i don't know where he was when it collapsed. but he was laying on the ground and ems got him into a hauler and took him to the hospital. there is multiple cars crushed underneath. there are some cars that are completely crushed. and there are some cars that are half way crushed. it is just -- i -- i'm still looking at the street from -- on campus right now and it seems there is police men on scene, there is a bunch of fire trucks. they've completely blocked off the street next to the intersection. the parking garages are -- are not available to us right now so i probably can't leave campus for a few hours. >> well fortunately that fiu is
on spring break and it is not as busy as it would have been. carlos, thank you for calling in and tell us why this bridge was built in the first place, a busy intersection and multiple fatalities and that is one of the reasons why this bridge was going to be installed. so pedestrians could get one side of the highway to the other in a safe way. again, this bridge was just installed on saturday. it wasn't done. we heard from andrea cruz a moment from wtvj who was there that workers were still working on it as of today. one of the workers was on the bridge as it collapsed. and that first responders were trying to get to that worker. but that that worker had suffered pretty severe injuries. governor rick scott just tweeted a moment ago that he's been in c contact with the miami-dade police chief and will be in constant communication with law
enforcement throughout the day. our crews on the scene just spoke to an eyewitness as well. so we'll say thank you to carlos. we're happy that you made it through. we're happy you are doing well. thank you for bringing us all of your experiences and what you saw. now we're going to take a listen to another eyewitness from the scene. >> i was sitting at light, i was first car, if the light would have changed, i was three seconds away from being under the bridge. but i -- i looked forward and all avenue sudden i saw the bridge collapse and it started from the left side of the bridge and it really shocked me because all of those people under the bridge -- they're all dead. they're all dead. because the cars are smashed and there is probably like seven or eight cars under the bridge. so -- it was very shocking to me and i'm very grateful to be alive. thank god. >> joining us now is nbc's tom costello who covers transportation for us and unfortunately is one of the people that we go whenever we see a scene like this.
tom, what can you tell us that rescue workers and authorities are doing at this moment? >> reporter: well, miami is home not only to a fantastic fire department and also with an urban search and rescue team, florida task force one which is part of the miami-dade fire rescue. they are quickly on scene and their job is not unlike what you would have in an earthquake. they have to start digging through that debris and you've already seen this looking and peeking through any air hole they could find to see if there is any signs of life and if so the, stabilize it as fast as you can, call underneath, and try to rescue anybody who might still be alive. but it is -- as you know, it is really a massive challenge. it goes without saying that that is extremely heavy concrete. 950 tons of concrete that are now sitting on top of that highway and unfortunately the people who may be underneath it. this bridge was -- had just
swung into position, we believe. we believe that the bridge on saturday was kind of pivots over from a construction position off to the side of the road and then pivoted over and put in a position on saturday. it's the construction -- starting back in 2017 was supposed to finish next year and something clearly has gone terribly wrong. this is over southwest -- eighth street, pardon me. southwest eighth street next to florida international university which has 55,000 students and a lost kids have been injured and a few killed going across the highway. so they wanted to build the bridge to safeguard the student population and now an absolutely horrendous accident. the first thing i looked at when i saw this, katy, was before knowing this was a bridge still under construction, was is this one of those many bridges in america that are structurally
deficient and because many structurally deficient but in this case it hadn't even opened yet. brand-new and so the investigation will look at engineering error or workmanship problems. any problems with the quality of the construction, the rebar, all of that will be a part of this investigation. >> talk to me, tom, about the machinery it takes to lift concrete slabs like this? and i'm going back to my most familiar experience and that is during the north ridge quake in los angeles when i was a kid. the freeways, pancaked on top of one another in the middle of that earthquake. fortunately it happened very early in the morning so it wasn't quite as busy as it would normally be. but still there were people trapped and a lot of serious issues. when does it take to lift up a concrete slab? what does it take to get to somebody who might be trapped underneath something this heavy, 950 ton span in their car.
>> well, listen, i'm no building engineer, but i have spent a awful lot of time with fire rescue departments around the country and obviously the on-scene commander is determined all of the resources available and trying to get them as quickly as possible to his scene. and likely that is going to mean one or more cranes to lift that heavy concrete off of the highway. however, it is also entirely possible that the people underneath don't have the luxury of that kind of time. >> yeah, exactly. >> so they have to figure out how they can create a crawl space as fast as they can, stabilize the crawl space with either airbags or perhaps that is not even sufficient, jacks, whatever it takes, to try to then allow for their crew members to crawl underneath on their stomachs. i haven't seen a lot of that. you've got to believe that the on-scene battalion chief is very worried about the safety of his or her firefighters and rescuers about trying to get in but also
mindful that lives may be at stake. listen, one other possibility and i must say i'm speculating because obviously we're not on the ground and that is a very -- very much an on going emergency. but they may also be using cameras on extended probes if you will or any sort of an ability to stick a camera -- in fact, right there what those guys on the right. >> they are on their stomach and trying to inch their way in. surely they're yelling and screaming is anybody in there, can you hear me. in addition i would not be surprised if they are putting these remote cameras on a long pole in a position trying to search the rubble to see if there is anybody who might still be alive. >> to try and get into those cars and i don't know if you were able to see this from your advantage point or screen, tom, but in the background and it is off camera now so we can't see it, there is, as you mentioned there would be, a giant crane ready to try and remove these slabs. but as you said, time is a
luxury folks in there do not have. and we have seen some other images of first responders on their stomachs like you said. trying to talk to, it seems, people -- in between the two slabs, the top slab and the bottom slab and not necessarily to talk to people inside of the cars. i wonder if a person or workers might have been traps in between these slaps and working on the bridge. and when you look at the cars underneath there, tom, you wonder how able they were to with stand this sort of weight, whether or not the car would help in this situation to leave -- what you were talking about, a potential crawl space and enough space for somebody to be able to hold on until workers are able to use cranes, to use jacks, to use airbags to use the jaws of life to try and find
enough room to help those people out. remember, it is not just -- it is not just dragging people out, you have to stabilize people because who knows what sort of injuries they might have sustained in that collapse. wtvj is talking to a witness right now. let's listen in. >> i don't know -- i don't know what is going on. >> and mario, somebody called you or how was it that you found out what was happening? >> his sister called me. >> his sister called and told you what? rush to the scene. >> to try to get information because she knows i live in the area. >> and you just got here now and what is crossing your mind. you know he was transports to the hospital so that is a little bit of good news in all of this and we're hoping he is okay. we won't release his name right now of course. for privacy reasons. and begun mario is just learning about this. so it is a very difficult moment for him and i really appreciate you talking to us right now. what can you tell me about your friend and what you think he was doing, why you think -- was he in the car or walking?
>> he was crossing from what his sister said, he was crossing the place -- trying to visit some friends in that building. because he doesn't live in the area. he lives by where we grew up. >> and so he is an fiu student. >> yes. >> so he is often in this area. >> correct. >> and i know -- >> and he was just super excited for this finally to happen and -- and it is just -- it's just -- what -- i'm at a loss for words because how can this happen? a newly i installed bridge approved and codes -- -- so many questions. so many questions and i hope that things get straightened out and there is a huge investigation because this is unacceptable. >> definitely. >> completely unacceptable. >> bd -- i know you are going through a hard time but you do know your friend was rushed t