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Chemical Attack Killed Dozens And Injured Hundreds Of Men, Women And Children In Syria; President Trump Proclaimed U.S. National Guard Members Would Be Sent To The U.S.-Mexico Border; China Announces $50 Billion In New Tariffs On U.S. Goods Taking Aim At American Farmers; Aired 4-5p ET

Aired April 8, 2018 - 16:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[16:00:04] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: All right. Hello again, everyone. And thanks for being with me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

We are following breaking news out of Syria where there are reports of a chemical attack that killed dozens and injured hundreds of men, women and children. CNN has now confirmed that newly minted National security council advisor John Bolton on his first day on the job will lead a meeting tomorrow with top national security principles. They will likely discuss President Trump's possible options for the region. And the United Nations security council has also called an emergency session for tomorrow.

All of this unfolds while President Trump is pointing the finger at President Putin, Iran and even former President Barack Obama. But members of his owned party are pointing the finger back at Trump. Senator John McCain saying this.

Quote "President Trump last week signaled to the world that the United States would prematurely withdraw from Syria and Bashar al-Assad and his Russian and Iranian backers have heard him and emboldened by American inaction, Assad has reportedly launched another chemical attack against innocent men, women and children."

Senior international correspondent Frederik Pleitgen is on the ground in Damascus, Syria. He is the only western TV journalist on the ground in the region.

So Fred, we are getting incredibly disturbing video from this suspected attack and we wanted to warn our viewers again that it was very graphic in nature. So, Fred, what can you tell us?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it certainly is very graphic in nature and it is really very disturbing images that we have been seeing coming in since basically late last night Saturday night when apparently this incident happened.

From the information that we are getting from opposition sources, they say that it was around 8:20 to 8:30 that a Syrian military helicopter was hovering over the town of Duma, which is actually only about eight miles from where I'm standing right now, in the eastern outskirt of Damascus. They say it dropped some sort of canister and then gas came out of that canister which they say was toxic. People got respiratory problems and dozens of people were killed. These opposition groups say we are still not sure, Fredricka, what exactly the death toll is, because obviously a lot of the events are still very much in flux. But certainly it seems as though the opposition is saying several dozens.

Now, the Syrian government which is being accused by the opposition flat out denies or offered a very strong denial. In fact, saying they had nothing to do with chemicals being used. They also said, yes, they were conduction an offensive in that area yesterday. They said they were making so much progress, they simply didn't need to use any chemical weapons in that. They also said the chemical weapons are actually, at least they were use, were not used at the frontline but were actually used in a sort of rear echelon. They said they have certainly did not have any reason to do that either.

So you can see all of these sides trading barbs. And I think also one of the really interesting things that we just saw a couple of minutes ago on Russian media, you were talking about the President's options in all of this, the Russians have offered a very stern warning to the United States saying that any sort of action could have the gravest consequences as the Russian foreign minister put it, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right. Fred Pleitgen, thank you so much.

So President Trump tweeted that Russia and President Putin will have a big price to pay for this attack. And now the Kremlin is responding, releasing a statement saying in part, it is necessary to warn once again that using farfetched and fabricated pretext for a military intervention in Syria, where Russian servicemen are deployed in the request of the legitimate government is absolutely unacceptable and can lead to the most serious consequences.

Meanwhile CNN has confirmed that tomorrow the national security council principles are meeting to discuss what options the President of the United States has. That meeting led by newly appointed national security adviser John Bolton.

Joining me right now, CNN national security analyst Samantha Vinograd, senior political analyst Ron Brownstein and CNN global affairs analyst Elise Labott.

So Elise, you first. You know, day one for Bolton. And this is what he is walking into. So will he be taking the lead?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: He will be leading the meeting, Fred. The job of the national security adviser is to convene all the President's top national security team to coordinate options to be presented to the President. And if you look back at what John Bolton has said all along, it's along the lines a little bit of what President Trump even said today, that in Syria, Russia and Iran have been given a free hand. And this is one of the reasons Assad feels emboldened to take these tape types of attacks. But the Syrians could also feel embolden to take these types of attacks because of President Trump's recent comment about the U.S. troops pulling out of Syria. So a lot of interesting times for John Bolton as he convene his first meeting tomorrow as national security advisor.

[16:05:00] WHITFIELD: Right. So, Sam, how would this meeting be conducted, you know, led by Bolton. Would he be, you know, preaching to the choir, Donald Trump appeasing him, taking the same type of, you know, approach to Syria? Or is this going to be a reality check that Bolton will serve saying this is how we need to be responding?

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Fred, unfortunately, I was in a lot of national security council meetings on Syria because I was on the White House when the conflict first broke out.

Typically these meetings would start with an intelligent briefing of the situation on the ground, so in particular, what happened in this latest attack, perhaps what kind of nerve agent or chemical weapon was used. How that weapon was available. Remember, the United States and Russia had worked together to supposedly remove Syria's chemical weapon stockpiles several years ago. Clearly, that didn't work.

So after an intelligence briefing, John Bolton would present options for how to deter a future attack and to punish Assad for attacks that have happened to date. That list of options could include more financial pressure against Assad's patrons like Syria and Iran. And I am guessing would also include military options. As we know, there are about 2,000 U.S. service members on the can ground in Syria right now. But remember, their mission is largely focused on countering ISIS. Their mission is not focused on countering regime forces. So my guess is the joint chiefs of staff would be presenting options on perhaps whether to plug up these service members or to adjust their mission.

WHITFIELD: And so, Ron, before any action they could come tomorrow as result of this meeting, there's already some criticism, you know, from members of his own party. We heard senator, you know, Lindsey Graham and now senator John McCain just released a statement saying in part, President Trump last week signaled to the world that the United States would prematurely withdraw from Syria. Bashar al-Assad and his Russian and Iranian backers have heard him and emboldened by American inaction. Assad has reportedly launched another chemical attack against innocent men, women and children. Does he have a point? Is this a response potentially, direct response from what the President said?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: A direct response is probably a little strong, but he does have a point. This horrific episode I think it just another reminder that most problems in foreign policy re managed, not solved. I mean, President Trump's argument from the time he has been a candidate has been the reason we face these challenges all over the world is because his leaders had either -- his predecessors have either been weak or stupid and if the U.S. leadership is strong and tough and smart, everybody will fall into line.

Well, you see on two different fronts really how incorrect that line of argument. As first, we sent a pretty clear message a year ago with the Tom Tomahawk attacks. And yet here we are --. WHITFIELD: And he won a lot of praise for that.

BROWNSTEIN: Right. And here we are a year later.

And then, second, you know, this is the first time on twitter where he is criticizing President Putin by name. It is a reminder I think of how unrealistic, naive or implausible it was to believe that through a personal relationship with President Putin, you could radically change the goals and means and methods of Russian foreign policy and maneuver their meant to position where there are essentially more of an asset than an adversary to us.

I think on both fronts, it's a reminder of the limits of the ability of any President to truly shape the world to the way we want it to be, and that these problems are difficult, very difficult to untangle.

So, yes, I mean, the pressure on them to act here is going to be enormous. As you said, you see it already, but no one should have any illusion that we can simply kind of press a button and make Syria look the way we want it to look.

WHITFIELD: And Sam, you know, the President telegraphed what he wanted after on the campaign trail, saying he wouldn't telegraph, that's a dumb thing to do. But you know, members of his own party, we are not just talking John McCain now but senator Lindsey Graham talked earlier about the whole notion of U.S. pulling troops out of Syria. And this is what he said potentially could happen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: A complete utter disaster to leave before the fight is done. Have we learned nothing about when you leave too soon, we pulled our troops out of Iraq and ISIS came back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: So, Sam, does he have a point? Is the President likely to listen?

VINOGRAD: I think that he does have a point. But again, remember, these troops are currently focused on countering ISIS on the ground. So I think that the joint chiefs and the secretary of defense are probably going to present the President with options for changing their mission or (INAUDIBLE) forces.

But there is another key upside to this which is we have heard that the President is upset that countries like Saudi Arabia and the Emirates are not doing more on the ground in Syria. The President even mentioned something about Said Arabia paying more for U.S. troops on the ground in Syria.

So in that national security council meeting tomorrow, I'm guessing that there's going to be a discussion about getting a larger coalition together including Arab nations to do more to pressure Russia to stop their support for Assad. Saudi and Russia have a very close relationship, unfortunately, and to perhaps devote more resources on the ground to stopping these horrific attacks.

WHITFIELD: So what about that, Elise? Because the President said, you know, days ago, you know, the U.S., you know, will soon be out of it. Let the others, you know, take care of Syria. And is this what he is talking about?

[16:10:10] LABOTT: I think it is. And I think, you know, I think that still stands, Fred. I don't -- I'm not really sure that you are going to have a wholesale change in the policy in Syria. Although, I'm sure over the days and weeks to come, that there will be a lot of discussion about that. I think tomorrow there will be a very narrow discussion about what to do in response to this chemical attack.

You heard President Trump this morning. I think he was pretty clear that there is going to be some type of response. The U.S. meeting with the U.N. security council is talking to its allies in Europe. The French have been very strong about what they might do if they were feared with chemical weapons. I think you are going to see some kind of action in the next -- I couldn't imagine the time frame, but it would have to be pretty soon in terms of relying to this.

But in terms of Russia, yes, the U.S. doesn't want to get into a war with Russia. If you remember, when President Trump took that action last year, he also said it was a message to Russia in terms of its support for Assad but it also warned Russians to get out of the way. I think you will probably see something similar this time if President Trump decides to act.

WHITFIELD: Ron?

BROWNSTEIN: I can say, real quick, I mean, there is parallel to the trade dispute with China here. The issue always is, can you send a message at a price that you are willing to pay? I mean, is it possible that we can send a message strong enough to actually dissuade the Syrian government from doing this again at a price that is politically tenable in the U.S. I mean it's the same question on China. Can we threaten them plausibly enough without so frightening and discouraging our own people, for example, you know, in the farm states now about what might happen as the conflict escalates.

We did spend a pretty strong message a year ago. I think the President expected that we would not be in this position a year later and yet here we are. And so the question is what can you do that would have a stronger effect? And can you build consensus at home and internationally for the consequences that make fall from that.

WHITFIELD: And quickly, Sam, you worked under the Obama administration. And you know, Trump today, if Obama had crossed his red line in the sand, the Syrian disaster would have ended long ago. Animals Assad would have been history.

Is it as simple as that or is the President now at a juncture where he is realizing that, you know, these decisions and lack of decisions have consequences. And you know, when you are in the hot seat, it is really not so simple. VINOGRAD: Well, I think that we can start to point fingers once the

attacks against children using chlorine have stopped. The history books can look back at what President Obama should or should not have done.

At this point we have ongoing chemical weapons attacks. We have the President of Syria using every horrifying tool in his tool kit to actively target civilian with Russian and Iranian support so I think that the President should focus on the first part of his twitter storm this morning which is how we deter Putin, Iran and Assad from doing this again. Once the war ends, we can all look back and see what everyone could have done better.

WHITFIELD: Sam Vinograd, Ron Brownstein, Elise Labott, thanks to all of you. Appreciate it.

Catch and release, turning into catch and detain, President Trump has a new mandate for handling illegal border crossings. This as hundreds of National Guard troops are deploying to the U.S.-Mexican border in Texas. Details next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:17:37] WHITFIELD: Four days after President Trump proclaimed U.S. National Guard members would be sent to the U.S.-Mexico border, Texas is already deploying about 250 National Guard troops, most are expected to be there tomorrow.

Here now to discuss is CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem and Brandon Judd, president of the national border patrol council. Good to see you both.

All right. So Juliette, you first. White house homeland security advisor Tom Bossert spoke about sending troops to the border earlier. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we know the National Guard cannot legally apprehend anyone trying to get across the border. So what can they actually do?

TOM BOSSERT, WHITE HOUSE HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISER: Well, there is a lot of question on what they can do. What they are going to do, and the President said something separately that was not necessarily as well reported, and that he put out a memorandum directing his cabinet to not catch and release, but to catch and detain. That's a big difference. So the National Guard can do whatever the federal government in this cause is authorized to do, what we have chosen to do with them is to augment the customs and border protection officers who are so well trained to interdict these border crossers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: So Juliette, is that true? Is as detaining people part of their purview? JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, we just have to

start from the beginning, how odd it is that we have deployed the military -- National Guard members and we are still trying to figure out what their function is. I mean, that is the problem with how this rolled out is that we are still figuring that out.

The National Guard would be totally authorized to assist with the building or construction of areas to help detain. They can't be kept them for very long. They are -- for more formal detention facilities, help and support and training. So certainly that could be one mission.

But you know we are at a 40-year low of border crossings. This is according to department of homeland security statistics. And so it just appears that Tom Bossert, the homeland security adviser, is trying to figure out ways in which these very small numbers of National Guard troops could be utilized and one area would be support of catch and detain.

WHITFIELD: So Brandon, you represent more than 17,000 border patrol agents and support staff. And earlier I saw a comment from George Macy University law professor Timothy McArthur who told NPR that customarily, National Guard is in a support role and that they usually have very passive roles. And he described it as providing surveillance, providing assistance, providing military equipment and training on how use that equipment but detaining sounds like the opposite of a passive role. Is it?

[16:20:11] BRANDON JUDD, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL BORDER PATROL COUNCIL: I don't know exactly what they are going to do. What I envision the National Guard doing is taking over our surveillance position, such as being in the control room, watching our cameras, (INAUDIBLE) the sensors, being in the skyboxes, in the scope trucks, being our eyes and putting us in on those that are crossing the border illegally, which increases the certainty of detention, which allows us to go after the profits of the criminal cartels that forces individuals to cross our borders illegally. And hopefully we can put a dent in those profits and take them out of business.

WHITFIELD: Is it unusual to not have this kind of public clarity before people are deployed, Juliette?

KAYYEM: Absolutely. I mean, we know this was done before the Bush administration as well as Obama. Brandon may certainly know this from his history there is there were sort of very detailed deployed at first, the numbers were known what they were going to do with them. Because remember, this is a negotiation with the governors because the National Guard is still under the command and control of the governors.

WHITFIELD: And so far, we know Texas and Arizona governors are very much on board.

KAYYEM: Yes. You are not going to -- exactly. You are not going to get Jerry Brown. I'll put $100 on that. So there will be some governors that are willing to give a few troops' fate. The troops are under title 32 status. That means they still fall within command and control of the governor, but the federal government is paying as a sort of joint status for the National Guard. But I have never seen anything like this. I used to oversee the National Guard in Massachusetts as a homeland security adviser. You do not deploy anyone until there is training and a mission. And we have got neither in this case.

WHITFIELD: Right. And that title 32 of federal law under which guard members receive federal pay and benefits but remain in the command and control of their state's governor.

So Brandon, what are your biggest concerns, if you have any at all, in how the National Guards people will be used?

JUDD: Well, the biggest concern that we have, and if you look at in the past when we had the National Guard was the communications, are we going to have direct communications with them? But in honesty, I think this is going to be a seamless transition because we already have National Guard in Texas that are already working with the border patrol. And the rush to go at this is although we were at 40-year lows in 2017, those numbers have spiked dramatically in February and March.

If you look, in February and March, we are apprehending more people than what we did in the corresponding months in the last two years of President Obama's administration. And so, what we have to do is we have to control this spike, but we have seen this going up. And unfortunately, CDP did not take the necessary actions to address the issue as we saw the spikes going up.

WHITFIELD: All right. We will leave it there.

KAYYEM: Those spikes --

WHITFIELD: Go ahead, Juliette.

KAYYEM: Those spikes actually tend to be seasonal, so the border patrol would certainly have expected some spikes, but overall it still is at a 40-year low.

WHITFIELD: All right, Juliette Kayyem, Brandon Judd, we will leave it there. Thanks so much.

JUDD: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. China announces $50 billion in new tariffs on U.S. goods taking aim at American farmers. Up next, we will meet one Trump supporting farmer who is facing falling prices and now attacks on one of his biggest markets.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:28:00] WHITFIELD: All right. Investors are anxiously waiting to see what happens when markets open tomorrow morning. Growing fears of a trade war between the U.S. and China pushed the Dow to plummet Friday, fuelling those losses. The U.S. and China are slapping $50 billion in tariffs against each other. And this morning, newly appointed senior economic advisor Larry Kudlow spoke with our Jake Tapper about the markers and concerns over a trade war.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST, STATE OF THE UNION: The rhetoric, even though the trigger hasn't been pulled, the rhetoric has had a big economic impact, you talk about the things that Trump has done for the economy. The Dow fell almost 600 points. On Friday it is down ten percent over the last months under the threat of this trade war. The threat of retaliation causing problems for farmers especially, people in Trump country, soy bean prices down four percent this week costing soy bean farmers $1.7 billion in crop value, what do you say to those farmer who is say, you know, ultimately, I don't like this negotiation. It's hurting my bottom line.

LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISOR: We are talking to them, by the way, on a daily basis to see. So far I don't really think it's fair. I mean, you are right. There's been a bump down in foreign commodity prices, I agree. I'm not at all sure that this is going to last. I don't know (INAUDIBLE), again, this process may turn out to be very binnacle, OK. You have to take certain risks as you go. And we are taking them. We are making our case. Nothing's happened so far. We are looking at future actions. You have common periods (ph) for another couple of months on our proposals. We will see which maybe China will want to come run and talk in earnest. So far it hasn't. I hope it does.

American economy is so resilient, Jake, you know. We are growing at 3.1 percent annual rate. I used to do this for a living.

TAPPER: Right.

KUDLOW: Three percent annual rate last three-quarters. Business investment is booming right now.

TAPPER: You are threatening to undermine all of that.

KUDLOW: And the stock market is still up, I don't know, 25 percent plus since the election. Here is the deal. You talk to a Wall Street guy, earnings (INAUDIBLE), profits are the mother's milk.

TAPPER: Yes.

KUDLOW: Profits are coming in like gangbusters. I'm not going to predict the stock market. I don't think they want me to. I have some thoughts on the matter.

TAPPER: Right. I am sure you do.

KUDLOW: We're going to do fine with these earnings. Earnings are everything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN, ANCHOR: All right. Joining me right now to talk more about this is Bill Gordon. He is a soybean farmer in Worthington, Minnesota. Good to see you.

BILL GORDON, SOYBEAN FARMER: Yeah, thanks for having me.

WHITFIELD: So how concerned are you about all of this? What does a 25 percent tariff mean to you and your business?

GORDON: Well, U.S. soybeans, we export about 50 percent of our entire soybean market to foreign buyers. And 60 percent of that goes into China, so a 25 percent tariff on our number one export commodity is a big deal.

WHITFIELD: Oh, that's a very big deal. So the tariffs haven't actually happened. Is it your hope that perhaps it will not take hold?

GORDON: Oh, absolutely. I think as an industry, especially, we all talk about the opportunity here. You look at the negatives, but look at the positives. We have more soybeans than we can export. We have a wonderful domestic live stock market and bio fuels market that we use the soybeans for. But we have more high quality soy beans that we could trade with China, and to offset with our southern partners from Argentina, Brazil, actually sell them.

So this could be an opportunity, as the gentleman said before, we could actually in the end sell them more beans, higher quality soybean out of our pacific northwest farms.

WHITFIELD: Are you feeling optimistic that that potentially is what's on the horizon?

GORDON: You have to be optimistic. I'm a farmer. We put our, you know, all of our seed in the ground in the spring and we pray with faith all the way into fall. Yeah, we need to be positive here and we need to come with solutions to the administration, which we have been in contact with constantly here, saying we have the ability, we set these markets up, spent hundreds of millions of dollars of our own farmer money setting these markets up overseas. China's our number one buyer. They like our soybeans. We just have to work through the details.

WHITFIELD: Now I understand you did work for President Trump, so when you heard this come out of his mouth, you know, about these tariffs and how it would directly impact you as a soybean farmer, did that mean that your support for him as waned in any way?

GORDON: Any politician in any election, you try to vote for the people that will help influence or change or support rural America. And at the time, President Trump did. And I think deep down, he really, truly is still in the administration still has U.S. in mind. Now as the gentleman said, there are set backs as we go forward. We hope that this administration takes, you know, the third largest industry in the United States to be serious and try to keep going forward.

So to say it wanes, no, as politicians in general, they have to jockey position and things change as they go. WHITFIELD: So we know that the President is a big critic of CNN but

we also know that he is watching, and this might be an opportunity in which he is listening to you directly. What would you say to President Trump, given that your livelihood is potentially taking a big impact from these tariffs? What would be your plea to the President?

GORDON: Keep the talks open. And we need trade agreements. The world is a big place, the United States is great, and we understand that. And we can produce a lot here in the United States to export. And for our domestic markets, just keep everybody on the same playing field. Don't offset one industry to benefit another. And support those of us that have gone out on our own and used our own money to try to better ourselves and better our markets and better our families.

WHITFIELD: All right. Soybean farmer Bill Gordon thanks so much, all the best to you.

GORDON: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Opening statements are set to kick off tomorrow in the Bill Cosby retrial. But the #MeToo movement has created a much different atmosphere this time around. The strategy on each side might take, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:35:01] WHITFIELD: All right, new details now about that deadly fire at Trump Tower in New York. The NYPD identified the victim killed in Saturday's blaze as 67-year-old Todd Brazner. He was found on the 50th floor unconscious and unresponsive. He later died at the hospital. Six firefighters also suffered injuries. And No members of President Trump's family were at the building at the time, the cause of the fire still under investigation.

And less than a year after his first trial ended in a hung jury, Bill Cosby will stand trial again on sexual assault charges with opening statements set for tomorrow in Pennsylvania. But the proceedings this time are unfolding in a markedly different atmosphere. Here is CNN's Jean Casarez.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: With the momentum of #MeToo, and public accusations against Hollywood.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have been silenced for 20 years.

CASAREZ: Only one major celebrity has been charged with a felony sexual offense, America's dad, Bill Cosby, the comedian and TV legend's retrial beginning now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The atmosphere has shifted. It's not a very favorable time to be defending yourself against accusations of sexual assault. CASAREZ: Charged with three counts of felony aggravated indecent

assault, the 80-year-old Cosby could face a decade in prison if convicted. Prosecutors say in 2004, he assaulted this woman, Andrea Constand, at the time, the Director of Women's Basketball Operations at Temple University in Philadelphia.

[16:40:13] Diana Parsons is her sister. And says it took a year before Constand said anything about what happened and went to police.

DIANA PARSONS, ANDREA CONSTAND'S SISTER: She said that she just knew she had to lie down, and she said that Bill Cosby helped her to the couch. She said she really couldn't walk on her own.

CASAREZ: Constand told police Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her at his home in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Cosby denied the allegations. The district attorney at the time said the case was weak.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did I think that I could prove beyond a reasonable doubt based on available, credible, and admissible evidence? No, I didn't.

CASAREZ: No criminal charges against Cosby. Constand then filed a civil suit. Cosby testified in a sworn deposition before they reached a confidential settlement. Fast forward to 2015, that deposition was unsealed, revealing Cosby had admitted giving drugs to women he wanted to have sex with. Prosecutors reopened the criminal investigation, and days before the statute of limitations ran out, Cosby was charged in criminal court.

Pennsylvania Defense Attorney Brian McMonigal represented Cosby from the beginning. He pleaded not guilty. A first trial last year ended in a hung jury.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's entitled to a verdict in this case.

CASAREZ: Now a new trial with some big differences, a new defense team for Cosby, led by Tom Mesereau, who got an acquittal in 2005 for Michael Jackson in his child molestation trial. Before representing Cosby in 2015, Mesereau told CNN how he would question Constand.

TOM MESEREAU BILL COSBY'S LAWYER: The first thing I would ask her would be what's more important to you, money or principle? Did you take money and walk away confidentially or did you take this to a jury and do it publicly?

CASAREZ: In the last trial, one other woman who said Cosby drugged and assaulted was allowed to testify for the prosecution, Kelly Johnson.

KELLY JOHNSON, BILL COSBY ACUSSER: I remember waking up in a bed with Mr. Cosby naked beneath his open robe.

CASAREZ: In this trial, the judge says five prior accusers can take the stand. One who has been subpoenaed, former supermodel Janice Dickenson. The defense, for instance, wants a witness by the name of Margo Jackson to take the stand. She knew Andrea Constand and would testify. According to the defense that Constand said she could fabricate everything that Bill Cosby drugged her and sexually assaulted her and then she could get a lot of money.

Prosecutors say that is blatantly false. With no forensic evidence, the case is all about credibility, Jean Casarez, CNN, Norristown, Pennsylvania.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Still so much more straight ahead in the Newsroom. But first, child hunger and lack of education are massive global problems. But 2010's CNN Hero Magnus Macfarlane-Barrow has set a simple solution, serving one free meal in schools. And it's an idea that just celebrated a mind-blowing milestone.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We started serving 200 children. And it's beyond our wildest dreams that it would grow like this. Incredibly, recently, we served our one billionth meal since we began. It's a very humbling experience. For us, it's very much the next triumph that is waiting. Really, more than ever, we feel this work of ours has just begun.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right. To see what some of the children Magnus has helped, have gone on to achieve, or to nominate someone you think should be a CNN Hero, go to CNNheroes.com.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:45:01] WHITFIELD: In tonight's new episode of Pope, the Most Powerful Man in History, we learn the impact of Pope Pius XII and his actions during the rise of Adolf Hitler.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He distrusted Hitler. He was also opposed to racism. He was personally not very friendly to the Jews. He shared the very widespread Christian belief that the Jews as a people had been responsible for Jesus' death. But he thought that that didn't mean you had a right to invade their human rights, and in fact, rose to the encyclical condemning it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In 1937, Pius the 11th enlists Pa Chully's help yet again. He drafts a encyclical regarding the situation in Germany.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An encyclical is the most formal statement from the Vatican. It's the highest statement a Pope can make.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pope Pius XII calls his 1937 German encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge, which means with burning concern. In it, he condemns racism from a theological perspective. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was talking about how it was foolish to think

that God would lock all of what is great in humanity into a single race.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[16:49:58] WHITFIELD: Pope, the Most Powerful Man in History airs tonight at 10:00 o'clock, only on CNN. And here we are, the final round of the Masters under way at Augusta National. And just a few strokes separate the leaders and soon we'll find out who gets to wear the Green Jacket. CNN's Don Riddell is live for us in Augusta, Georgia. So Don, was this the picture perfect kind of day for the finals, the last round?

DON RIDDELL, CNN, SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, look, it's a beautiful day. It's a bit chilly but that's OK. The sun is shining. The course looks absolutely wonderful. You know, Sunday at the Masters is always exciting. This year, it was hyped to be even more exciting than usual given with all the big names who are heading to just the right time. We are in a position currently where it could be more than just exciting.

It could be historic. The 27-year-old American, Patrick Reed, is leading this tournament. He's got a fairly decent lead right now, too. And he, apart from the fact that he's going to win his first major title could do something that has never been done before in the history of this tournament. Believe it or not, no one has ever shot four consecutive rounds in the 60s here. But he has done so in his first three.

If he's able to do that again, that would be a first. Not to mention the fact that he finally would be a major champion. And he's been a great golfer for years. American golf fans in particular will know how good he is because of his performances in the team event, the President's Cup, and the Ryder Cup. His playing partner today is Rory McIlroy, who is actually trying to make history himself.

He's trying to complete the Career Slam. That means you've won all four Grand Slam titles. He's not doing so well at the moment, but if he can recover on the back nine, then he could have a stab at it. He would become the first European to do it. But a man to keep your eye on is Jordan Spieth. Of course, this guy absolutely loves Augusta National. He's only played here five times. But remember, he was the winner in 2015.

He's been a runner up twice. He was the leader here after the first round. He is just on a tear. He was five under on the front nine. He's already had a birdie on the back nine. So watch out. If Patrick Reed slips up, it could be that Jordan Spieth steals the show here, which really would be quite remarkable. I know there has been a lot of interest this week in Tiger Woods, of course, playing his first major tournament competitively in a long time.

We all know about the four back surgeries and all the troubles that he's had. But he's been competitive again this year, hasn't he. We have seen him contend in other tournaments. So much excitement about how Tiger might do here this week. That really was the main talker before the tournament began. In the end, it didn't quite turn out that way.

But I will say this, he made the cup, which was encouraging, and he has improved with every round, and he signed off here within the last hour or so with a round of 69, which was a good score for him. And it's going to be encouraging to see what he can do for the rest of the season. This was Tiger's thoughts at the end of his round.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TIGER WOODS, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: A couple of years, I have just been coming here just to eat. And to now be able to play this golf course and to be able to tee it up and play in the Masters, this is one of the greatest walks in all of golf. I missed it. I really did. I missed playing out here. I missed competing against these guys, such a great event and the best event in all of our sport.

RIDDELL: So Tiger Woods packing his bags. This tournament still has a couple of hours to go. And I can tell you that Jordan Spieth really is on fire. He is now only two strokes behind Patrick Reed. It's going to be nail-biting.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: All right. Well, hey, good for Tiger because even said six months ago he didn't know he would be here playing, so OK. And then love that it's a nail biter between Spieth and this young Texan. So we'll be watching. All right, Don Riddell, thank you so much. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:55:01] WHITFIELD: All right, buckle up. Alec Baldwin returned to Saturday Night Live this week to reprise his role as President Trump. And he took on several of the big issues this week, including the chaos that has unfolded with China.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEC BALDWIN, PRESIDENT TRUMP, IMPERSONATOR: Hello. Hi, how's it going? Let's make this quick, because I have got a lot of trade wars to escalate here, OK. That's why I just announced tariffs on more Chinese products, including fireworks and finger traps. We've also expelled the infamous the Chinese billionaire P.F. Chang. We've done so. Here's the thing that no one else is saying and I am the only one who's willing to actually say this.

I don't care about America, OK? This whole presidency is a four-year cash grab and admitting that will probably get me four more years, OK. But I do not care about any of you, OK? Basically, does that answer all of your questions, OK? Does it? OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks so much for being with me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. The next hour of the CNN Newsroom starts right now.

ANA CABRERA, CNN, ANCHOR: You are live in the CNN Newsroom. Hello on this Sunday. I am Ana Cabrera in New York. We begin with breaking news. The Kremlin threatening serious consequences after President Trump sends a warning directly to Vladimir Putin, blaming Russia for backing Syria's President who's accused of unleashing another chemical attack on civilians.