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Criminal Investigation into Possible Collusion Between the Trump Campaign and Russia; White House Faces Pressing Issues in Coming Days; Masses of People Around the World are Sending Message That Science Matters. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired April 22, 2017 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:28] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Top of the hour. I want to welcome our viewers here in the U.S. and around the world. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.
We begin with exclusive CNN reporting on the criminal investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. The latest details suggest the cloud looming over the White House isn't clearing. Instead it appears to be casting a wider shadow. Sources tell CNN exclusively that evidence suggests Russian officials tried to use Trump advisers to infiltrate his campaign last summer and in an attempt to influence the election. U.S. officials say Carter Page is just one of those advisers Moscow targeted. But in a brand-new interview with CNN, Page denies he did anything inappropriate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST, "SMERCONISH": Are you aware of their efforts at using you to get into the Trump campaign? That's my direct question.
CARTER PAGE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: I was never -- nothing I was ever asked to do, or no information I was ever asked for was anything beyond what you could see on CNN. There's great depth of reporting, great information. Nothing I ever talked about with any Russian officials extends beyond that publicly available immaterial information Michael.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: With me now CNN crime and justice producer, Shimon Prokupecz, who helped break this exclusive reporting.
So Shimon, do we know if U.S. officials tried to warn Page about Russians probably trying to get him to infiltrate.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE PRODUCER: Yes. As far as we know, and our information based on the sources that we have talked to, there is no indication that they ever warned him that they ever talk to him before he went and spoke with these alleged Russian officials, these intelligence kind of operatives for the Kremlin. We do know that he has been to Russia for many years. He has talked to Russian people over the years in Russia also in the U.S. This is not the first time that the FBI and the U.S. officials were aware of this.
The conversations obviously have caused some concern for the FBI. And so, while they are concerned about it, it's part of their investigation, but they have never ever spoken to him about it.
CABRERA: I understand that your sources are telling you that officials have found perhaps evidence of collusion, but not proof per see of a crime having been committed. Explain the difference.
PROKUPECZ: You can have Russian officials talking to Trump people, people within the Trump orbit, which doesn't necessarily mean a crime was being committed, but there is some evidence to show that the Russian intelligence officials were trying to get inside the campaign, were trying to influence people within the campaign, kind of the people around Trump in his orbit, in his kind of world. And we sort of talk about this Trump orbit, because there are all these different people who know Trump, who are attached to Trump, whether through business or his personal relationships. So there was an effort by the Russians to reach out to them, to talk to them.
And the FBI has this intelligence. They have this information. They have seen it, but it doesn't necessarily mean that anything nefarious was going on. There's also this element of fake news, and that's something that had certainly caught the eye of folks on the hill, and they're looking to see if there was any coordination between the Russians intelligence people and some of the Russians operatives putting out this fake news.
CABRERA: Right. We hear about those Russian bots who were pumping out fake news stories trying to disseminate them on social media. And this is part of one of the intelligence investigations that is in the Senate, and which we learned as they were doing their first hearing, right?
PROKUPECZ: That's right. And you know, we have been told, certainly the FBI has seen some of this. But there is a first amendment issue still with fake news. Fake, real or whatever, there's elements of it that kind of fall under the first amendment. So that's an issue for the FBI. And it's not something that they want to get involved in, but still there's this intelligence that exists.
It comes from human sources. If comes from intercepted communications, some of it comes from financial records. It is kind of -- the FBI and the intelligence officials, they take they various streams of information from different places, and then try to around it and try to paint a picture of what is happening here. But is any of these provable in court? That's a great question and probably difficult for that to ever come out, for them to ever use it in court. Because then it would reveal who the source is. And the FBI is always very concerned about revealing methods and sources.
[19:05:09] CABRERA: There are many pieces of this puzzle. Some of picture is starting to come together.
Shimon Prokupecz, thanks for your reporting.
Let's talk more about this with our CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem.
Juliette, Carter Page does the keyword here is tried. That the Russian officials tried to infiltrate the campaign. Not moving, you know, is this moving us further away from proof of collusion? Is that how you see it?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: No, not at all. I think it shows that couple points of interest since it is still an ongoing investigation. I don't think we can say definitively that everything is benign or everything leads to collusion. I think there's a lot of pieces here.
But what this shows me just looking from outside of the reporting that Russia's involvement with the campaign did not stop at the fake news, Facebook, you know, this sort of internet-related attacks against Hillary Clinton. That these were direct points of contact with people who either describe themselves as part of the campaign or with part of the campaign. There's a debate about Carter Page's involvement.
And the second is that the idea that the FSB, the Russian intelligence agency, just focused on Carter Page is absolutely ridiculous. This is an organization that's very sophisticated. They were trying different entry points into the campaign.
Carter Page appears to be, just from what we have seen about him, sort of an interesting character, a weak link, I would say. And so, the fact that we know this doesn't surprise me. But the idea that they would have stopped with Carter Page, the FSB would have known exactly the kind of character that Carter Page is and likely would have also tried other entry points. That's why people like Manafort, Roger Stone and Mike Flynn are all still interesting. And then the final piece is you can still have out there this issue that so many people related to the Trump campaign denied their involvement with Russians or seeing Russians or meeting with Russians. That piece of it is something of relevance for any investigation.
CABRERA: OK. We heard Shimon say that he asked U.S. officials if they warned Page that Russians were targeting him, and U.S. officials said no. That's not something they would do. Why?
KAYYEM: Because basically since they were clearly following the Russians and how they were going to infiltrate the campaign, you wouldn't want to tell the target, especially because it did not appear that the FBI knew whether Carter Page was a willing accomplice or not.
Now remember, people are forgetting this, last summer Carter Page is running around Russia essentially saying he speaks for the Trump campaign. So to the FBI that seems like someone who might be willingly discussing information with the Russians.
Also remember, it about the same time that Donald Trump says that Carter Page is one of his top advisers. So for the FBI, they would never tell somebody like Carter Page that they were looking into this because for their purposes, they are probably pretty worried that someone that close to Donald Trump might be in collusion with the Russians. CABRERA: All right. Juliette Kayyem, thanks for your expertise
KAYYEM: Thank you so much.
CABRERA: Now, President Trump this weekend staying in nation's capital performing one of the most solemn duty a commander in-chief has, presenting a U.S. service member the Purple Heart for being wounded on the battlefield. This happened today. The recipient is army sergeant first class Alvero Barrientos who lost part of this leg in Afghanistan. It was the President's first visit to Walter Reed hospital since taken office.
Now, the White House is facing a ticking clock right now. In just a few days, the U.S. government runs out of money, unless Congress passes a funding bill by Friday. And today, the Republican speaker of the House hinted that there might not be a vote next week on the President's latest attempts to get rid of and replace Obamacare.
Let's go straight to our White House correspondent Athena Jones.
Athena, what is the feeling there of the chances of a government shutdown as this Friday deadline gets closer?
ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana.
Well, no one here wants to see the government shut down. We heard that from the budget director Mick Mulvaney earlier in the week. Senior administration official told me today the White House is not going to allow the government to shut down. But the White House has also made clear what its priorities are, what it wants to see included in this spending bill that Congress has to pass this week.
One of those things is more money to hire additional immigration agents. The other is funding for the border wall. But those ideas are nonstarters for Democrats. We already heard from senate minority leader Chuck Schumer calling the border wall funding a nonstarter. There are also against including this money for immigration agents in the spending bill. So the big question is, will the President sign a spending bill that doesn't include money for the border wall? Which he spent the entire campaign promising would be built, and that Mexico would pay for.
My college Dana Bash spoke with homeland security secretary John Kelly about this. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[19:10:18] DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So will the President go to the matt and insist on funding his border wall. It is part of the gap government funding measure?
JOHN KELLY, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Look, Dana, I think it goes out saying that the President has been pretty straightforward about his desire and the need for a border wall. So I would suspect he will do the right thing for sure, but I would suspect he will be insistent on the fundal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: So there you heard Secretary Kelly saying that he expects the President to insist on the funding. But the President himself in an interview with the "Associated Press," sounded a lot less definitive or a bit less definitive. He said I want the board wall. My base definitely wants the border wall. When he was asked if he would sign that spending bill without the money for the border wall, he said, I just don't know yet.
So to use one of the president's favorite turns of phrase, we will see what happens on the border wall funding issue next week. I should mention on the same conference call, according to a source, and they said Republicans are still negotiating the final points of the spending bill and hope to get it to the floor on Friday.
Ana, as you know, Friday is deadline day. As you mentioned it doesn't look like there will be a vote next week on the second attempt to repeal the affordable care act.
CABRERA: Real quick, Athena, when you talk about Republicans think that they are negotiating the spending bill and they may be able to get it to the floor than late next week, I mean, would they need to include Democrats to negotiate with them as well in order to get something passed?
JONES: You might think that they will be in discussions with Democrats as well in order to make sure that this funding gets passed. But one reason I think that we hear a lot of folks here at the White House saying there is not going to be a government shutdown. We are going to avoid the government shutdown, is that they could always end up passing a short-term, a very short term spending bill if they are close to a deal, to spend some more time to work on that. We will see what happens. It is going to be a pretty dramatic week.
CABRERA: All right, indeed. Athena Jones, thank you so much.
Still ahead this hour, global reaction rallies in cities around the world, call for a support for science. The message they are sending to President Trump. But only on CNN, we travel to the ground zero of climate change to find out how rising sea levels have changed an entire landscape.
And later, caught on camera, another dramatic confrontation on a commercial flight, a woman crying, a stranger jumping up to defend her, and the heated responsibility from the flight attendant that is getting a lot of criticism.
You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[19:16:57] CABRERA: The Donald Trump White House is dealing with a few pressing issues in the coming days, to say the least. One of them is a dead line to put a spending bill in place ahead of the government shutdown. Also a possible vote on the president's next attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare. But word today from Washington, support to pass it might not be there. So whether a vote will take place is now in question. This is all happening the week of the President's 100th day in office arrives.
I want to bring in former Democratic Party chairman for Washington D.C. A. Scott Bolden. Also with us former South Carolina lieutenant governor Andre Bauer.
Scott, I will start with you. The secretary of homeland security told us that the president still insists that money for the border wall be in the spending bill. So what do you think that means in terms of a potential shutdown?
A. SCOTT BOLDEN, FORMER DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIRMAN: I think the secretary needs to talk to Donald Trump again because we just saw in your last report where Donald Trump was not committal. That is going to be a showdown with the Democrats.
You know, the bill that they are using has been -- was passed about ten years ago. The fact of the matter is they have never funded it in the last eight to ten years. And so, whether you are facing shutting the government down or putting money in for the wall, that's a pretty high-risk game of politics for a politics who as President has a 36 percent approval rating. I wouldn't do it if I were him. And I think the Democrats are going to stand strong against it if he insists on it.
CABRERA: Andre, can you see Democrats working with Republicans to try to get a spending bill through?
ANDRE BAUER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I hope they do. As an American, throwing politics aside, we have to get past this partisanship. But furthermore, we have to quit raising the spending limit. At some point in time, we got to be the disciplinary parent and say we have to live within our Middle Eastern. And I hope we will engage in a conversation where we don't continue to raise that limit but we in fact live within what we take in.
It's getting so irresponsible by both parties that we continue to spend, spend, spend, so I hope we will engage at some point in time in protecting our borders, whatever that route maybe. But before we do that, I hope we will pump the breaks and make sure we stay solvent as a country and not continue to spend and disagree just level right now.
CABRERA: Now, the question his 100th day in office arrives next week, guys. I want you to listen to what he said during the campaign about his goals for his first 100 days.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am asking the American people to dream big once again. What follows is my 100-day action plan to make America great again. A constitutional amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress. I will announce my intention to totally renegotiate NAFTA. I will
direct my secretary of the treasury to label China a currency manipulator. Cancel every unconstitutional executive action memorandum and order issued by President Obama. Begin removing the more than two million criminal illegal immigrants from the country. Suspend immigration from terror-prone regions where vetting cannot safely occur. Middle-class tax relief and simplification act. The American infrastructure act, the repeal and replace Obamacare act.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:20:17] CABRERA: So he said that, he published this contract that candidate Trump said he was going to accomplish in his first 100 days including ten legislative agenda items that have not happened. Andre, can you explain why?
BAUER: Well, again, I don't agree with everything the President says. I supported him early on. But first off when they talked about health care back in February on CNN, I said I think it is wrong to put an April deadline on something that as this big a part of the U.S. budget and as this complicated.
There needs to be a much more thought out plan before we replace Obamacare. I mean, the Republicans shouldn't go own a policy that's not much better than what we currently have. They need to stand out and say hey, we substantially change things and make it more free market. Let people know, the consumer know what it would cost before you have a surgery. Make hospitals and doctors post a price.
There needs to be skin in the game. There is a whole multitude of things. But I will say this, Donald Trump has had some big victories. Gorsuch probably being the biggest of all, but you have got the Dakota and keystone pipeline. My understanding is there has been 37 executive orders, things like hiring freezes, top-to-bottom audit of the executive branch, cleaning up corruption, anti-lobbying, where you stop these folks who go cash in after they work from the government just a few years and start lobbying right against the things they were trying to help the people for.
CABRERA: Yes, but there was a member of his campaign who ended up bypassing that lobbying thing he put into place. So that's already falling apart.
BAUER: So I think it's wrong to immediately fault a guy that is trying to fix the problem. If somebody circumvent what he is trying to do, shame on them, but he is at least trying to clean up Washington and do some of these things -- he's not going to fix FRLG, but at least he's pea an attempt. He's letting the world know the U.S. is going to be strong militarily again, and if you cross the line in the sand, there will be ramifications. He's had productive meetings. Has he hit all of his goals? No. Has he hit some things he didn't plan on? Yes. Has he learned some things? Yes. I would love to see him bring in somebody like Newt Gingrich to help -- something would change the landscape.
CABRERA: OK. So let me get Scott in here. I mean, Scott, really, when you talk about 100 days, do people at home care? Are they keeping score?
BOLDEN: Well, the important part is you could run 50 speeches of Donald Trump and it's important to Donald Trump during the campaign. He had 100 days. And if you look at his 100 days, I will have to disagree with my colleague. I give him an A for effort and an F for result. I mean, he is mired in this Russian investigation. Health care has failed once or twice, and they are trying to do it again which they need to repair with the help of the Democrat, but they want to repeal it. You had the Muslim ban struck down twice.
These are major Republican initiative that are either debacles or embarrassment to the party who by the way is at war with itself. This would be the freedom caucus and the Tuesday group and Donald Trump himself. And so, these are problems. I think people care about these changes that he has brought about. The Democrats certainly don't like them or appreciate them. But his followers also, he has got to deliver and he has failed to deliver the first 100 days. We can look at the other 100, but this was Donald Trump's narrative of 100 days, and making these accomplishments, not his supporters, and not the media. He's got nobody to blame but himself.
CABRERA: All right. We have got to live it there.
A. Scott Bolden and Andre Bauer, thanks to both of you. We will have you both back.
Coming up, marches in cities around the world, all in the name of science that one rally in Washington, a passionate plea from a prominent researcher.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With an informed optimistic view of the future, together we can -- dare I say it -- save the world!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: That guy, Bill Nye, the science guy, is live next.
You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. Stay with us.
[19:28:37] CABRERA: Masses of people around the world are sending a message on this earth day -- science matters.
This was Berlin, one of several big cities where large crowds packed the streets.
Let's take you to London, in every city science has send their supporters organized to counter what they see as a growing disregard for evidence-based knowledge.
And in Washington, thousands marched from the national mall to Capitol Hill. Their protests partially fueled by opposition to President Trump's threats to budget cuts to agencies that fund scientific work. That message was echoed in New York where demonstrators filled the streets of Manhattan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We grew up during the '60s, when science mattered, when science made this country great. It ended with the landing on the moon. And that all happened because an American President inspired this nation, right. John F. Kennedy promised this nation that by the end of the '60s we would land on the moon. Now almost 50 years later we have an American President disparaging the facts, denigrating science, and we're here to telling him that science matters.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Bill Nye, the science guy, so inspired in the march for Washington and march for science in Washington earlier today in his new show "Bill Nye Saves the World" is on Netflix. He is joining us now.
Welcome. Let's jump right in. I want to read something President Trump just tweeted in the last couple of hours. He says I am committed to keeping our air and water clean, but always remember that economic growth enhances environmental protection. Jobs matters. What's your response?
[19:30:08] BILL NYE, THE SCIENCE GUY: It has a but in it. The people surrounding him don't fully grasp the opportunities. He is being strongly influenced by the fossil fuel industry and he is not seeing the big picture, or at least the people advising him. We are not seeing the big picture.
The big picture is we could have three million new jobs in the United States if we went to renewable energy -- wind, solar, some tidal and geothermal. We could run the entire country renewably and have new jobs, new sectors that would be sustainable. And we would not need a military on the other side of the world protecting fossil fuel fields to keep our economy going the way that it is, and degrade the atmosphere. This is obvious to everybody who came to the march.
NYE: Say it again.
CABRERA: So what happens to people in the coal industry who say, that all sounds good, but my livelihood is on the line then?
NYE: So what happened to people who were in the horse industry? In New York City and big cities when the citizens decided that the manure was too big a problem to tolerate? They got other jobs. They did other things. My grandfather went into World War I on a horse, but 20 years later, nobody who conducted warfare on a horse. Things changed. We have to make changes.
I was at Boeing this year. And a guy who was a bricklayer now lays wire bundles on high-tech aircraft. He uses the same skills he had, pattern recognition, working carefully with his hands, anticipating where parts have to go to fit things together to do a new job in a new industry and he makes a better living than he used to. We have to enable this. This is in the best interest. That's why we had this march this week.
CABRERA: The President's budget proposal we know cuts the EPA's budget by more than 30 percent. Sources familiar with the budget process suggest that EPA could reduce its staff by 20 percent. His plan includes discontinuing funding for the clean power plant, international climate change programs, climate change research and partnership programs. What do you see as the impact of this?
NYE: Well, it sounds very bad for the world. And by the way, just remind everybody, politically this may not work out. This is to say this may backfire. You can't unilaterally withdraw from an international agreement like the conference of parties, cup-21 (ph) in Paris without ramifications. Other countries around the word may impose what amount to tear us on the world may impose what amount to tariffs on the United States for withdrawing from what is essentially an international treaty.
Furthermore there's a big effort to say when you don't like something, we will declare it states' rights, that states have the right to get energy the way they want without imposition of, in this case, the environmental protection agency. But that may backfire as well. California is the sixth largest economy in the world, and California may impose sanctions on states that don't go along with California regulations. Then what are you going to do?
CABRERA: So make the case to those folks who do feel like, like you said, states' rights are important here. They can control what is most important for their residence. When you are talking about the impact on some of these rollbacks of regulation or cutting of the budget, when it comes to environmental policy, how is that going to affect a mom or a child? Or a farmer, for example?
NYE: Well, farmers may have trouble getting water, and especially getting clean water. When the air quality goes down, the quality of life of kids goes downs, asthma levels go up, just for example. Bus the Environmental Protection is you see was created by Richard Nixon, who by any standard was a very conservative guy and he did it for the best interests of citizens. People got tired of dirty air and water. And so we passed regulations.
And this idea that you can just eliminate regulation by the number, we are going to eliminate half of the regulations. For every two regulations we are going to eliminate one. That is, really, with all due respect, thoughtless.
Regulations are like a machine. You want all the parts you need, but nothing more. So if you imagine an airplane. You can't just start taking parts off an airplane and expect it to fly. You can't start taking regulations off and expect things to run smoothly.
For crying out loud, this -- I believe this move is arbitrary. It might be a bargaining chip in order to do some other negotiation. But in general, to people on the outside, it certainly looks as though the administration is being very strongly influenced by the fossil fuel industry, sort of its last gasp as an economic force.
Everybody, other countries around the world are getting away from fossil fuels. Now, in the U.S. constitution, section 1, article 8, it makes reference to promoting the progress of science and the useful arts, and useful arts in those days, I believe, meant things like city planning, and architecture, or civil engineering, public works. It's in the constitution.
So everybody, we want to promote the progress of science, not retard it or set it back. So these moves are extraordinary. And I don't think they are sustainable from a political standpoint. Science is political, but we don't want it to be partisan. We want people to evaluate evidence in a reasonable scientific way and make public policy decisions that improve the health of citizens and make the economy continue to grow if a reasonable fashion.
[19:36:05] CABRERA: All right.
NYE: And the opportunities for renewable energy are extraordinary. Let's get to work.
CABRERA: All right, Bill Nye, thank you for coming on. We know you had a long day. We appreciate you spending time with you. You can catch his news show on Netflix.
CABRERA: And still to come, it's been referred to as ground zero when it comes to rising sea levels and something you will only see on CNN. Our Ed Lavandera is about to give you a bird's-eye view of the impact.
You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[19:40:38] CABRERA: Besides the march for science in Washington, organizers say there were 600 satellite marches taking place globally. And a protest tie to coincide with earth day. But despite scientific evidence of rising sea levels, climate change is a hard sell in parts of Louisiana, even to people who have seen it firsthand. In something you'll only see here on CNN, our Ed Lavandera traveled to the so- called ground zero of climate change to find out why people are so skeptical.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For more than 30 years, Jeff Poe has guided fishing trips, chasing speckled trout and other fish in these waters near lake Charles, Louisiana.
You consider yourself an environmental on some level?
JEFF POE, FISHING GUIDE: Yes, for sure. Without a doubt. But that's just -- the thing with the climate change, I just don't know that there's anything we can do about it. LAVANDERA: We are travelling these waters because according to a new
study from Yale University, this part of southern Louisiana has one of the highest concentrations of climate change deniers and skeptics in the country.
POE: Respect the trout. I'm not a denier. I won't put it that way, but I'm, you know, I'm skeptical as to, you know, how much control we have over it.
LAVANDERA: Climate change experts say the skeptics are denying what's unfolding before their very eyes. And around here, climate change is a hard sell around. As we quickly discover after sitting down with Sizzle Clark and Leo Dotson.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just don't think that climate change is real.
LAVANDERA: Is there anything a scientist can say to you to change your mind or show you any kind of evidence that would change your mind?
LEO DOTSON, CAMERON, LOUISIANA RESIDENT: If he was 500 years old and told me it's changed, I probably would believe him. But in my lifetime, I didn't sigh any change.
LAVANDERA: You would have to hear from a 500 years old scientist?
LAVANDERA: One scientist described the Louisiana coastline to us as the ground zero of climate change in the United States, where the coastline is disappearing, in large part according to scientific studies because of the rising sea levels.
A new Tulane University study calculates sea levels along the Louisiana coast are rising 10 to 13 millimeters per year. It might not sound significant, but scientists say it's more than enough to call significant damage in the next 50 years.
Pilot Charlie Hammonds has seen the Gulf of Mexico march north since he was a teenager. That's how long he has been flying over this vast Louisiana marshland. Hammond says the gulf waters spread north like a cancer and that much of that water you see below used to be land.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Probably when I was a young pilot, I would say at least -- at least three or four times what you see here.
LAVANDERA: You literally used to land next to island.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we would land in that bay, alright. And they are gone.
LAVANDERA: Those islands are gone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are gone, yes. That's right.
LAVANDERA: You could land to it next to it if you wanted to today? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, it's open water. Open water.
LAVANDERA: Just a look at how the Louisiana coastline has change? NASA recorded these satellite images, and from the mid-1980s to now, you can see a subtle yet study change around the town of Houma capturing how a significant amount of coastline is disappearing. Charlie Hammond says the Gulf of Mexico water keeps swallowing up land.
CHARLIE HAMMOND, PILOT: It's like a cancer. I mean, it just keeps moving. I watch it every year. It keeps moving farther and farther and farther every year.
LAVANDERA: And eventually everyone is going to have to retreat?
LAVANDERA: Along these desolates roads of the Louisiana bay, one of the first signs that things aren't quite right is when you come across cypress and oak trees like these simply withering away. These trees depend on fresh water, but so much saltwater has pushed north and freeze up from the Gulf of Mexico, that these trees are simply withering away. Leaves and limbs have fallen off. Eventually these trees will simply crumble into the marsh. Spots like this around here are often called a ghost forest.
After all this, you would thick Charlie Hammond and others would be on the climate change bandwagon.
There's a lot of people who believe that climate change and sea level rising is contributing to what you are seeing, but you don't buy that?
[19:45:03] HAMMOND: Well, I don't buy that.
LAVANDERA: Hammond and many others minimize the impact of climate change and say other factors are in play, like the impact from the Mississippi river. They say and marsh land is naturally sinking and something called subsidens. And oil companies have curve canals through the march gear allowing salt water to creek north.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it is depressing.
LAVANDERA: But for environmental activists like Jonathan Foret, the skepticism is bewildering.
JONATHAN FORET, SOUTH LOUISIANA WETLANDS DISCOVERY CENTER: I don't know how you can look at scientific data and see this and very, very plainly, and say that it's not happening.
LAVANDERA: That climate change isn't?
FORET: The climate change, yes.
LAVANDERA: In front of the Chris Brunet house in isle de jean Charles, there stands one dying tree, the clue that underground not all is right. From weathered scrapbook photographs, he can see how the landscape and trees have disappeared.
For generations, isle de jean Charles this has been a native-American community where 350 people once lived. Now it's down to about 70. They fled north to escape the encroaching gulf waters. The island once covered it 2200 acres. It's now dwindled to about 350 acres.
You think it is just part of the kind of the natural evolution of the planet? Or do you think manmade causes have created such a rapid change here on the Louisiana coast?
CHRIS BRUNET, ISLE DE JEAN CHARLES, LOUISIANA RESIDENT: I believe that the Gulf of Mexico is such a powerful force that it wants to make its way north. You know, more than one thing that is going on there.
LAVANDERA: Skepticism around here thrives, even as Chris Brunet and others prepared to be the next to pack up and move north.
Ed Lavandera, CNN, along the Louisiana coastline.
CABRERA: Our thanks to Ed Lavandera.
Coming up another airline facing a backlash after a video shows a flight attendant taunting a passenger after a confrontation with a mother of twins. You will see the video right here live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[19:51:19] CABRERA: American airlines is now apologizing for what happened on a flight from San Francisco to Dallas on Friday. Much of it was caught on video. Witnesses say while passengers were boarding a flight attendant had violently taken a stroller from a mother narrowly missing the baby she was holding. Another passenger gets involved. Things get heated. Here is how it all plays out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just give me back my stroller, please.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, bud. You do that to me and I'll knock you flat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You stay out of this. (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You get the hell off the plane.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You try that and I'll knock you out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't know what the story is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't care what the story is. You almost hurt a baby.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't know what the story is. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You keep looking and show what you did to that
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep it quiet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Well, I can exactly what you did. Maybe you will get videotaped, too, and get all over the news.
CABRERA: With us now CNN aviation analyst Justin Green. He is also an aviation attorney.
So you all remember two weeks ago United Airlines first made news for letting police drag a passenger off a plane. We know a lawsuit is pending in that case. Are you seeing anything here, Justin, that could rise to a lawsuit?
JUSTIN GREEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, I think one of the things you have to understand is airlines have a very high standard of care to passengers for their safety and well-being. Higher standard than companies normally have to customers because passengers are in their command. They are under stuck in an airplane in a confined environment.
So I think there could be a lawsuit. Luckily, no one seems to be physically injured. I think the conduct of the flight attendant, at least the part that's seen on the video, is not what you would expect.
GREEN: I think the company is right to come right out and suspend him. And I would also like to say in defense of the company you do see other flight attendants on the flight caring for the poor woman who was traumatized, also getting in between the angry passenger and calming him down. So, you know, the captain was out there. So some of the conduct shown on that video is, I think, a little bit of a credit for American. Obviously, the conduct of the flight attendant is unacceptable.
CABRERA: You know, so many things are being recorded these days, everybody has a camera on their phone. Does that put airlines at a disadvantage of when these things come up and they are tried in the court of public opinion first?
GREEN: Well, you know, a plaintiff where I representing victims. I would say for years and years and years the airline was able to get away doing things like this because they didn't have the video. So I would say that it balances it out. If they didn't have this video, you know, we wouldn't be talking about it right now. The woman would write a letter of complaint and they would say, look, you know, there was this, you have the flight attendant saying one thing, the passenger another, and you wouldn't be able to proceed with it. The video, you know, the old expression a picture is worth 1,000 words.
CABRERA: Yes, indeed. And that's what it is. We know that the flight attendant has been suspended. American issued an apology. Do you think they should do anything else or handled this well?
GREEN: Well, I think they have handled it much better than United initially handled their situation. So American getting out in front of this, they probably had a better story about what happened before they had to go public. I think obviously they have to go back to the fleet and make sure they don't have other flight attendants who have obviously some stress issues and some behavioral issues. And I think all of the airlines right now because of the united incident and the American incident are going to go back to the drawing board on customer service.
[19:55:20] CABRERA: And that is a good thing. We like to hear that as travelers.
Justin Green, thank you.
GREEN: That's right. Thank you.
Coming up, a Trump adviser targeted by Russia. Carter Page now on the defense after CNN's exclusive reporting that Russian operatives tried to use him and other advisers to infiltrate the Trump campaign last year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARTER PAGE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Nothing I was ever asked to do or no information I was ever asked for was anything beyond what you could see on CNN.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[20:00:04] CABRERA: Hundreds of thousands of people all around the globe turning out for the march for science on this earth day. We will take into the crowd to hear what their demanding.