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Howard Schultz Town Hall Appearance on CNN Tonight; Former Sen. Gabby Giffords' Husband to Run for McCain's Arizona Senate Seat; President Trump's Former Lawyer John Dowd Claims No Mueller Report Will be Made Public; North Korean Military Exercises Continue Unchanged; Louisiana Town Receives Grant to Relocate People Displaced by Climate Change; Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax's Staffers Resigning Amid Calls for His Impeachment; Funeral for Rep. John Dingell to be Held Later Today. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired February 12, 2019 - 10:30   ET


VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: So, tonight, what we can expect to hear from him is him drilling down on some of his potential policies.

We haven't heard that much about what he thinks about things like health care, immigration, gun control. We're going to expect some questions, probably from the audience, on that.

Another thing to point out is that recent CNN poll reported that about half of Americans don't even know who Howard Schultz is. So tonight will be another opportunity for him to introduce himself to the American public.

TEXT: Opinion of Howard Schultz; Favorable 13%; Unfavorable 22%; Never heard of 46%; No opinion 18%

YURKEVICH: Also Howard Schultz, as we know, is the ex-CEO of Starbucks. He's really used to working in a corporate setting. He's used to sitting at the head of the table at the board room.

Tonight's format is going to be very different. He's going to be talking one-on-one with voters. So, Jim, it's going to be really interesting to see if he can sort of break out of that corporate environment and answer questions for voters that they -- that are really important to them -- Jim.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Yes. Where does that sound familiar? Someone used to the corporate headquarters, running for office, becoming president.

Of course, America has experience with a billionaire businessman running for office. This will be another question, I imagine, he'll face tonight.

YURKEVICH: Yes. Exactly. I mean, America clearly was ready for an American businessman with Donald Trump. But are they ready for another American businessman, potentially billionaire Howard Schultz?

There's a lot of similarities between the two. Both are from New York. Both are billionaires. And both had no political experience.

The country was clearly ready for the country -- the country was clearly ready for American government to be run by a businessman, so I'm sure that Schultz will try to play up that experience as he's talking to voters, and convincing them that he is the right man for the job, should he choose to throw his name in the ring for president -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: We'll be watching. Vanessa Yurkevich, thanks very much.

Tonight, a reminder, the Presidential Town Hall with the former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, moderated by our own -- my colleague -- Poppy Harlow. It starts at 10:00 p.m. Eastern time, only on CNN.

Democrat, former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly just announced that he will run for John McCain's Senate seat in Arizona. He tweeted the following, "My next mission, hashtag-full speed ahead, hashtag- Arizona" --

TEXT: My next mission... #FullSpeedAhead #ForArizona

SCIUTTO: -- and he attached his new campaign ad.

Kelly is the husband of former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. You'll remember that she survived, though seriously injured, in a mass shooting back in 2011. Giffords is featured in that new ad. Have a look.


MARK KELLY, SENATE CANDIDATE, ARIZONA (voice-over): You know, I learned a lot from being an astronaut. I learned a lot from being a pilot in the Navy. I learned a lot about solving problems, from being an engineer.

But what I learned from my wife is how you use policy to improve people's lives.


SCIUTTO: Powerful story. Kelly is set to face off against Republican senator, Martha McSally, in one of the most closely contested Senate races in the country.

Still to come, new poll numbers reveal the country as a whole trusts Robert Mueller's word far more than the president's. We'll have details ahead.


[10:37:48] SCIUTTO: A longtime ally of the president is calling Robert Mueller's investigation "a waste of time" that, in his view, will lead to nothing. No report.

John Dowd, Trump's former lawyer, is maintaining that the president will be cleared at the end of the probe. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

JOHN DOWD, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP (via telephone): I don't think there will be a report. The rules of the department say no report.

I will be shocked if -- if anything regarding the president is made public. Other than "We're done."

TEXT: "I don't think there will be a report. The rules of the department say no report."

"I will be shocked if anything regarding the President is made public. Other than, 'We're done.'"


SCIUTTO: Well, CNN political correspondent Sara Murray joins me now.

So, quite a prediction here. Does John Dowd know something? Or is this Giuliani-like spin?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I mean, wouldn't it be nice if the president's lawyers could just make their own sort of prediction --


MURRAY: -- for where this was going and what will or won't come out? Look, John Dowd left the legal team in March of 2018. And no doubt, he had plenty of insight into the investigation before he left. But a lot of the things he's saying just don't hold water.

I mean, there isn't a rule that no report can be made public. In fact, Bill Barr, you know, the man that Donald Trump wants to be his next attorney general, has said he wants to make some kind of version of this report public. But they'll have to go back and forth about what that can include.

But John Dowd did give us some interesting insight into why he was so adamant that Donald Trump should not sit down for an interview with Robert Mueller. Here's what he said.


DOWD (via telephone): What I was worried about is that he really couldn't do it. He couldn't do it. There's no way he could -- I mean, we'd have to script it. Matter of fact, I told Bob. I said, 'Why don't you just let us script it?'

TEXT: "What I was worried about is that he really couldn't do it. He couldn't do it. There's no way he could -- I mean, we'd have to script it. Matter of fact, I told Bob. I said, 'Why don't you just let us script it?'"

(END AUDIO CLIP) MURRAY: Now in that interview, John Dowd goes on to say that when Donald Trump is unsure, he tends to guess the answers to questions. And so that was part of the reason they were so worried about him sitting down with Robert Mueller, is that he may essentially commit perjury on accident -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: That's remarkable, to say he'd have to script the president's answers to questions in an investigation.

There's a new poll out this morning revealing how Americans feel about Mueller versus Trump on the Russia investigation. I mean, pretty definitive numbers here.

MURRAY: That's right. It's a new poll out from the "Washington Post." And obviously, we've seen the president and his allies go on a campaign to try to sort of denigrate the special counsel and the investigation.

[10:40:03] This poll suggests that isn't as successful as they may have hoped. It shows that 56 percent of Americans trust Mueller's view of the facts. Only 33 percent of Americans trust Donald Trump's view of the facts.

It also explains that most Americans tend to look at what Mueller's doing as a fact-finding mission, someone who's trying to get to the truth, not that he's actually out to destroy the president politically.

Obviously, the president and his allies will have their own spin out there, and we will all be eagerly awaiting the end of the investigation to see what is revealed publicly -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: Yeah, about a two to one margin there, and the independent numbers matching that margin. Sara Murray, thanks very much.

This just in to CNN, the U.S. military now saying that there has been little to no verifiable change on the part of North Korea, to reduce its nuclear capabilities.

This comes just a little more than two weeks before a second summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un. CNN Pentagon reporter Ryan Browne joins me now with more.

Ryan, this of course contradicts the president who has claimed a whole host of progress here, and even has said, a few months ago, that there is no longer a nuclear threat. But now we're hearing this pretty consistently from -- from any national security official who's seen the intelligence.

RYAN BROWNE, CNN PENTAGON REPORTER: Well, that's right, Jim. They -- the top general overseeing all U.S. troops in Korea, General Robert Abrams, testifying today on Capitol Hill, saying that there have been no steps -- verifiable steps -- for North Korea to change its military capabilities.

He did say that the talks on denuclearization have reduced tensions, saying that it was almost a palpable feeling of reduced tensions on the peninsula. And he said that the upcoming summit in Vietnam is a welcome sign of the ongoing talks.

But he said despite that reduction in tensions, there have been no concrete steps taken by North Korea to reduce its capabilities. Let's have a listen.


GENERAL ROBERT ABRAMS, COMMANDER, U.S. FORCES KOREA: I remain clear- eyed about the fact that despite a reduction in tensions along the DMZ and a cessation of strategic provocations coupled with public statements of intent to denuclearize, little to no verifiable change has occurred in North Korea's military capabilities.


BROWNE: Now, he said that he was hopeful that the ongoing discussions may yield some productive breakthroughs down the road.

But he did take note of one thing. Donald Trump has kind of caused the -- ordered the U.S. military to reduce some of its military exercises. He said they were working on how to do that to keep diplomatic talks alive.

But he did note that North Korea has taken no such steps, and is continuing its exercises like nothing has changed -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: Yes, and it's the administration itself that set the standard. Verifiable, complete, irreversible. Ryan Browne, thanks very much.

One football field every day. That's how much land one Louisiana community is losing due to climate change.


CHANTEL COMARDELLE, TRIBAL EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, ISLE DE JEAN CHARLES: The waters, the shrimp, the oysters, the crabs that sustained our people, now is killing us. It's killing us.


SCIUTTO: Killing us. Next, our special report on the coastal community being swallowed by rising waters.


[10:47:26] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN, the most trusted name in news.

SCIUTTO: Officials in Hawaii are pointing to a recent winter storm -- that's right, a winter storm in Hawaii -- as evidence that extreme weather caused by climate change is becoming a reality.

The massive storm brought powerful winds of up to 60 miles an hour, monstrous waves and snow. That's right, snow in one state part in Maui. Amazing scenes to see there.

This as one coastal Louisiana community is feeling the effects of climate change right now, with rising waters forcing residents to move inland. CNN's Bill Weir has more.



BILL WEIR, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When these kids are old enough to start families, their hometown will be under water.

COMARDELLE: This is my grandma's house.

WEIR (voice-over): Their great-great-great-grandparents settled here during the Trail of Tears. And for the first hundred years, they farmed this land.

WEIR: You just raised (ph) that exact house above, right?


WEIR: Yes.

WEIR (voice-over): But in the last 30 years, they had to raise their homes a few feet to stay dry. And then a few feet more. Until before- and-after satellite pictures proved what they already knew, 98 percent of Ile de Jean Charles, Louisiana has disappeared.

COMARDELLE: I always talk about, "Water is our life and our death." Once we weren't able to farm any more, the waters, the shrimp, the oysters, the crabs that sustained our people, now is killing us. It's killing us.

WEIR (voice-over): Every hour of every day, a piece of Louisiana about the size of a football field slips into the sea. Every hour, every day.

It started when America tamed, locked and diked the mighty Mississippi, choking off the natural flow of mud that built this land.

But these days, as it sinks, polar ice melts. Seas rise. Big storms just keep coming.

TJORBORN TORNQVIST, GEOLOGIST, TULANE UNIVERSITY: There has been a lot of change just in the last, say, five years.

WEIR (voice-over): And those who study the drowning of Louisiana say it is happening faster than anyone ever predicted.

TORNQVIST: What maybe five years ago was the worst-case scenario is now what we might call a fairly likely scenario.

WEIR: That's terrifying.

TORNQVIST: It is terrifying. And it basically means that climate change is here in full force.

[10:49:58] WEIR (voice-over): So Ile de Jean Charles won a first-of- its-kind federal grant, $48 million, to move them about 40 miles north. The state recently closed on 500 acres of old sugarcane fields.

PAT FORBES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, LOUISIANA OFFICE OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT: We're going to have baseball fields, fishing ponds, wetlands, homes along the back.

WEIR (voice-over): But before they can even break ground --

COMARDELLE: We, like, just had a tribal meeting today.

WEIR (voice-over): -- they are getting a harsh lesson in just how hard it is to convince Americans to uproot and retreat.

COMARDELLE: Anybody else is probably not moving.

WEIR: Really?


WEIR (voice-over): Half of the 40 families who live here say they will never leave, while others still aren't convinced it's the right move.

BRUNET: This so-called climate change thing, so.

WEIR: You put it in quotes?


WEIR: So-called.

BRUNET: That's right.


WEIR: But Ile de Jean Charles is just a tiny sample of how expensive and difficult the future will be.

According to one estimate from the United Nations, between 50 and 200 million people will be displaced by climate change by the year 2050. And most of those are the planet's most vulnerable, fisherman and farmers who live on the edge.

WEIR (voice-over): And if it is this hard moving a village, imagine moving Miami or New Orleans.

WEIR: Do you have children?

TORNQVIST: I have an eight-year-old daughter.

WEIR: Do you think she will ever be able to, say, take out a 30-year mortgage in -- in New Orleans? TORNQVIST: I don't know. I don't know. That's -- that is -- I

wouldn't bet my money on it, let's -- let's put it that way.

WEIR (voice-over): But he says it is not too late to stop burning the carbon that is cranking up the global thermostat. Not too late to stop worst-case pain. But that will depend more on human nature than Mother Nature.

And as people argue, the seas rise. Every hour of every day. Bill Weir, CNN, Ile de Jean Charles, Louisiana.


SCIUTTO: Evidence right there before you.

Well, there are more problems for the Virginia lieutenant governor accused of sexual assault. Now several of his own staff members are jumping ship. We're going to be live in Richmond, next.


[10:56:43] SCIUTTO: Virginia's lieutenant governor, Justin Fairfax, who's been accused by two women, now, of sexual assault is now seeing an exodus from his office. Multiple staffers are leaving, as calls for his impeachment mount.

Fairfax's second accuser now claims that she was also raped by Corey Maggette some 20 years ago. Maggette played basketball for Duke at the time, before going on to the pros for over a decade. CNN correspondent Jessica Dean is in Richmond.

Jessica, we should be clear, this is an allegation. But what do we know about this latest allegation against Fairfax?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this morning, we're learning some new details, Jim, and we are hearing from Meredith Watson through her attorney, who says that this alleged rape took place. And that she -- Meredith Wilson -- went to an unnamed dean at the school, and was discouraged from doing anything else with this information. And that she also told Justin Fairfax.

Again, this is what her attorney alleges is what happened, that she told Justin Fairfax, that then in turn, Justin Fairfax used that information against her, and used that prior rape -- in the words of the attorney -- to rape her in a premeditated way.

Now, again, we should make clear that Justin Fairfax has denied these allegations. And Mr. Maggette, to "The New York Times," denied these allegations as well.

All of this unfolding, as you mentioned, Lieutenant Governor Fairfax now losing staff. We're told two members of his PAC (ph) departed. We're also told his policy director and scheduler resigned. This all happening on Monday.

So some moves being made within the lieutenant governor's office as a result of all of these allegations -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: That's right. To be clear, the new allegation against another person, this former NBA player, but by the same woman who has also accused Fairfax.

Governor Northam, of course, facing his own -- though different -- problems. He now has plans to launch a speaking tour. What do we know about it?

DEAN: Yes. So it's being billed publicly within the press release that went out about this event, as part of an apology tour. That's what they're calling it publicly in the aftermath of all the controversy surrounding that blackface photo, the photo showing someone in a Ku Klux Klan outfit, and of course all the fallout that has happened over the past several days and weeks, here in Virginia.

The governor, as we have said multiple times, saying he's not resigning. Instead, he really believes this is a healing moment that he can go and make amends with people, and that he can begin some kind of deeper conversations about race equity here in the state of Virginia.

They're planning this to be a talk about reconciliation, about race and about faith. It's happening at Virginia Union University. But the interesting point, here, Jim, the point to take away, is that they are billing this as an apology tour.

SCIUTTO: Jessica Dean on the story. Thanks very much.

Well, any minute now, the funeral for late-Congressman John Dingell will begin. He was the longest-serving lawmaker in U.S. history. He'll be laid to rest at the Church of the Divine Child in Dearborn, Michigan, of course, his home state.

Speakers include former Vice President Joe Biden, as well as Congressman John Lewis, and Fred Upton. We're going to be following that today.

[10:59:57] Well, thanks to you for joining us today. I'm Jim Sciutto in New York. "AT THIS HOUR" begins right now.