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HALA GORANI TONIGHT
Trump Not Happy with Budget Deal but Shutdown Unlikely; Mexican Drug Lord El Chapo Guilty on All Counts; Pro- and Anti-Maduro Demonstrators on The Streets; Turkey Launches Nationwide Raids Over Failed 2016 Coup. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired February 12, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] HALA GORANI, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. Live from CNN London, I'm Hala Gorani. Tonight, is the United States heading for another
government shutdown? President Trump says probably not, though he says he's not happy with the latest deal.
Also, tonight, guilty on all counts, Mexican drug lord El Chapo the man who pocketed billions of dollars as head of a cartel faces life behind bars.
And thousands take to the streets, both for and against Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro. We are live on the streets of Caracas.
Will he or won't he, that is the question everyone in Washington has been wondering. Will Donald Trump endorse a budget deal that doesn't give him a
border wall? We just heard from the President moments ago, but we still can't be sure. President Trump said he doesn't like the deal, but he
didn't say he would reject it either. So where does this leave the potential for another government shutdown?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would hope that there won't be a shutdown. I am extremely unhappy with what the Democrats have
given us. It's sad. It's sad. They're doing the country no favor. They are hurting our country very badly, but we certainly don't want to see a
shutdown, but you'll be hearing fairly soon. The bottom line is on the wall, we're building the wall, and we're using other methods other than
this, and in addition to this, we have a lot of things going.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Let's get more on this from our U.S. correspondent Phil Mattingly and Stephen Collinson. Phil, is a deal in sight? The President said, I
don't think there will be a shutdown. What does that tell us?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, if you're going to kind of ride the roller coaster with the President during his remarks earlier whether he
will sign it or won't sign t one thing they know, Congressional leadership have reached a deal. Lawmakers, once they finish drafting the final
agreement are going to move forward. The Senate plans on putting it on the floor. The House plans to put it on the floor. The sources I'm talking to
believe they have the votes to move it forward. One of the big concerns is if the President keeps knocking the agreement will they lose some of the
votes, will they be there in the end. It all boils down to the individual in the oval office. Steven has a great piece on digital that lays out how
everybody in Washington is watching and waiting. I will say a prevailing theme I hear from both parties on Capitol Hill there is no desire to have
another shutdown. The reality is there is no plan B. This deal is the deal. There's nothing else that's out there right now. The expectation is
they can get it across the finish line but they don't have a guarantee yet.
GORANI: All right. It sounds like Brexit. This deal went on the table now. Stephen, there is no money for the wall, though. I mean, if the
President signs this, it will look like another defeat for him, won't it?
STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, it will. In fact, he could have got a better deal than this back before the government shutdown
started in December. So, it's not a surprise that he doesn't like this deal. It gives you some kind of inkling perhaps into his deal making
capacity in Congress. Here's one scenario that could play out. The President could grumble and sign this deal and then move ahead with some
kind of executive action that would allow him to pull money that's already been portioned by Congress from other accounts in the Pentagon and other
areas. Then he would face a decision of whether to go ahead with what he's threaten today do, which is declare a national emergency. He could use
that to get more money. The problem with that is it would open a whole constitutional can of worms. You'd see a lot of legal action. And you
would have the possibility that Congress, under the emergency powers act, could try and terminate the declaration of emergency. That's likely to
happen in the House. It's possible that there would be enough votes, a majority vote in the Senate, including some Republicans, and that would
split the Republican party. To terminate this national emergency, then, of course, the President would have the opportunity to veto it and it doesn't
seem very likely that a veto-proof majority is there in the Senate. But, you know, we don't know exactly what's going to happen, but we do know it's
going to get more complicated and more contentious.
GORANI: On Capitol Hill, Phil, what do they think about the possibility the President will declare an emergency to circumvent legislators and build
the wall without their approval?
MATTINGLY: Yes, they have a significant problem with it to put it bluntly. Not just rank and file, but the top Republicans, Senate majority leader
Mitch McConnell has privately told the President if he goes that route, he will have a real problem on Capitol Hill. Stephen laid out the
machinations procedurally what could happen.
[14:05:00] There's more than just a few Republicans who would be opposed to that idea. More than a few Republicans who would have a problem on
constitutional grounds, executive power grounds, and likely oppose the President doing so. That's why you've seen the White House shift towards
taking executive action, not an emergency declaration. Maybe a smaller sum of money but they wouldn't face the opportunity for lawmakers to
essentially block them. Instead they might face legal challenges but it will be a little cleaner in terms of getting it out the door money wise
without having to face backlash from Republicans.
GORANI: And the right ring commentator Ann Coulter tweeted, Sean Hannity not a big fan of the deal. We know the President watches a lot of Fox News
and listens and reads those tweets as well. This is, by the way, for our viewers, what Sean Hannity had to say about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: If you are a Republican senator or House member and you're too weak to take a stand, then it's probably time for you
to retire. Go home. Let somebody who is willing to fight take your place. Any Republican that supports this garbage compromise, you will have to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Stephen, last time round, after an Ann Coulter tweet, some people thought perhaps it was the criticism from the far-right that got the
President to back down from an agreement that he'd reached with Congressional Republicans and Democrats.
COLLINSON: Yes, you had it right. The President does listen very carefully to these right wing commentators. You might think from a
European perspective, for example, that a President might not follow what some guy reading the news says, but that's not the way it is. These
commentators have a great deal of influence over Trump's base. And the way that the President has set up his presidency, he's not broadened his
support as many Presidents try to do after they're elected. He's ultra reliant on his political base. He's heading into a 2020 reelection
campaign. He's absolutely loathed to alienate those voters and many people believe that if he doesn't deliver on the wall, the central, almost
mythical promise of his 2016 election campaign, some of those voters, at least in the Trump base, could be in doubt in two years' time.
GORANI: Stephen Collinson, thanks very much. Phil Mattingly on Capitol Hill, thanks very much to both of you. And just a little programming note
here. We are going to be analyzing as well these two dueling events that took place in El Paso, Texas, at the border. The President, of course, was
there rallying up his base. There was even an assault on a BBC cameraman. I'll tell but that. But also, two completely different visions of America.
Beto O'Rourke who lost to Ted Cruz in that Senate race in Texas, he was holding a competing rally just a stone's throw away. Two very different
visions of America. We'll be looking at that a little later in the program.
I want to talk to you first about the verdict handed down to the Mexican drug lord, El Chapo, guilty on all counts. He's facing life in prison
after a jury in New York found him guilty of ten charges that included money laundering, distributing heroin and cocaine and conspiracy to commit
murder among others. CNN's Brynn Gingras has been following the trial and she joins us from outside the court. Tell us about the verdict and when we
might expect sentencing, Brynn.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Hala, the first count is running or continual running of a criminal enterprise that was probably the
most complex count for jurors to consider. That's one that carried a life in prison sentence. And they came back guilty on all counts. So
certainly, at the minimum, a judge is going to decide the fate for El Chapo, the man accused and now convicted of running the largest drug
enterprise for 20 years. And so, he'll make the final determination on his sentence in June. But what a trial. This was a 2 1/2 month-long trial.
Jurors had to consider a dense case. Prosecutors brought forward a lot of people, including former associates of El Chapo, a mistress of El Chapo, a
lot of dramatic testimony was heard. And they deliberated for quite a long time, more than people expected, for six days and several, several hours,
asking to hear back testimony before coming down with this verdict. We've had some reaction in the courtroom. We've heard from our producer who was
there from day one of this trial. She said that El Chapo really didn't have much reaction when that verdict came down. His wife, who has been in
the courtroom also from day one, stood by him. They just looked at each other and they smiled, but that was really the reaction for the man who is
facing at least a life in prison sentence. And we have also heard from attorneys, I want to quickly add in the U.S. attorney said this is a
victory for the war on drugs. Meanwhile, El Chapo's attorney said they are going to be appealing this conviction. Hala?
[14:10:17] GORANI: All right, Brynn Gingras, thank you very much. For more, let's go to Areva Martin in Los Angeles. He's really facing life in
prison, isn't he? Appealing this conviction. Hala?
AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely, Hala. The first count of continuing a criminal enterprise alone carries a life sentence. When you
think about the history of El Chapo, the fact that he escaped twice from Mexican prisons and that it was U.S. law enforcement agents that brought
him to justice, that actually tried him in the United States courts in New York. I cannot imagine that he receives anything less than life in prison.
And, in fact, he could be facing consecutive life sentences.
GORANI: Yes. And, by the way, we heard from the U.S. attorney for the eastern district of New York after the verdict. This is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD DONOGHUE, U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: This conviction, we expect, will bring a sentence of life without the
possibility of parole. It is a sentence from which there is no escape and no return. This conviction is a victory for the American people who have
suffered so long and so much while goes manmade billions, pouring poison over our southern border.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: And, Areva, the attorney there, U.S. attorney agreeing with you, that it's pretty much life in prison without parole for him. What kind of
precedent does this set, this prosecution and trial of a drug lord like that in the U.S.?
MARTIN: I think it sends a really strong message, Hala, to other king pins, other individuals involved in the cartels and in drug dealing that
just because the Mexican judicial system may not be able to prosecute you, incarcerate you and detain you in prison, doesn't mean that you may not
face a very serious charges, prosecution and detention in the United States. Let's face it. We've been fighting this war on drugs for decades.
This is a huge victory. This trial exposed the thousands of lives that have been lost either because of assassinations or other efforts on the
part of this drug cartel. Some of the testimony was just chilling, very stunning testimony about the murder, the destruction that was caused by
goes man and those affiliated with him. GORANI: Yes. What stood out to you as this trial unfolded? What was the
one thing that you found most surprising about what we heard in that courtroom?
MARTIN: I think it was the defense, their presentation of their case which basically amounted to one witness. Their whole strategy was to try to
discredit the 56-plus witnesses brought by the prosecution. Their theory was, look, these are some of the most heinous criminals. They're liars.
They're cheaters. They're people who have been engaged in drug trafficking and murder themselves, and they're only here to testify to get a lighter
sentence. You cannot believe them. And that was their case. And I don't think that was a compelling -- obviously it wasn't a compelling case for
these 12 jurors. They rejected that. I think the overwhelming nature of the prosecution's case led to but one conclusion, and that was guilty on
all counts. I think people got a little concerned because the jurors were out for six days, and they asked the judge a couple of questions, and
people started to wonder -- I think pundits and experts who have been following this trial started to wonder did this mean there was some
disagreement amongst the jurors? Were there concerns about whether there would be a guilty -- you know, a determination of guilt on the part of the
jurors. But what I think it shows is that these jurors took their jobs very seriously. They had a ton of documentary evidence to review. They
had 56 witnesses. The testimony was so incredibly dense. And these jurors took their job seriously, going through all of that dense evidence and
getting to what I believe everyone thinks was the right conclusion, and that was guilty on all counts.
GORANI: And something tells me he won't be able to escape from this prison this time around. Areva Martin, thanks very much for joining us from Los
Passions are spilling out onto the streets of Venezuela's capital as tens of thousands take part in demonstrations, both for and against the
government. This was the scene a short time ago when self-declared President Juan Guaido took the stage in an opposition rally. Aerial video
shows the sheer size. The entry of foreign humanitarian aid. The embattled President Nicolas Maduro has been holding his own rally for
supporters as well and images on the right side of your screen show you that event. We've got journalists covering both rallies.
[14:15:00] Stefano Pozzebon is at the opposition rally. Jorge Perez is covering President Maduro's event. First, Jorge, I want to start with you.
We've heard from Maduro. He's given interviews on television. What is he telling his supporters as the country, so divided, is still going through
such tremendous crisis?
JORGE LUIS PEREZ VALERY, JOURNALIST: Hala, Nicolas Maduro is accusing directly Donald Trump and his government of conducting a white supremacist
policy against Venezuela. He is also saying -- he said this to the BBC in an interview recently and he said also that the Donald Trump administration
is being ruled by the Ku Klux Klan. So, the plan of him would be according to Nicolas Maduro to take over Venezuela, considering this type of
idolatry. What we saw was a demonstration of support of him. We have to remark something. You see a lot of people. You see a lot of masses going
to where he is speaking right now. But there is something important and most of the people that are attending to these marches are -- local
administration. Of course, they are supporters of Nicolas Maduro, but when you have the amount of people that are actually -- of his government, you
wonder what their intentions really are. Are they coming here because they want to or are they coming here because they see it as a compromise, a
responsibility towards their job. We talked to some people here, some of them tell us, Yes, we are here because we truly believe in Nicolas Maduro,
but also when we turn off the cameras, talk to us and said, we are here because we are actually fearing of losing our jobs if we do not attend.
GORANI: That's interesting, Jorge. In fact, oftentimes in the Middle East you see very similar things, where people go out in support of the
government publicly. But privately when they know the camera is off, they'll tell you they're no big fans of the leadership. It seems like
something similar here. Stefano, as Jorge is saying, people demonstrating in favor of Nicolas Maduro are government employees, generally speaking who
are those demonstrating in favor of Juan Guaido?
STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: Yes, Hala. Today for Juan Guaido, it came out really the bulk of Caracas. We saw yet again tens of thousands of
people taking onto the streets. And we saw people from upper classes, people from the middle class or whatever of the middle class is left here
after five years of such a deep and harsh economic crisis. But also saw a lot of people from the slum surrounding Caracas popular that are
traditionally a strong hold of Chavismo, the government. It seems the momentum, at least in terms of the size of the protesters, popular support
is on Juan Guaido's side. Juan Guaido took unto the stage to a cheering crowd. He announced that on the 23rd of February will be the day when the
humanitarian aid will be brought into Venezuela. Such a contentious issue around humanitarian aid here in Caracas, Hala, because the opposition is
pushing all its weight and all the weight of the international support that it can gather in forcing the humanitarian aid into the country. Guaido
said they will be brought into Venezuela from three different locations. One is Colombia, another is on the border with Brazil. And yet another
location in the Caribbean islands just offshore of Venezuela. But with this power tussle going on for almost four weeks now and still no end to
the stalemate between Guaido on one side and Nicolas Maduro on the ooh the big question is how will essentially Guaido be able to bring in the
humanitarian aid? Hala, back to you.
GORANI: And, Jorge, a quick question on Maduro. The BBC interview he was asked how much does, I think a kilo of flour cost. He didn't know the
answer. It was a month's salary for an ordinary Venezuelan. Is Maduro addressing this dire crisis in his country and how miserable and in some
cases hungry his countrymen and women are? Is he addressing this in his public statements?
[14:20:00] PEREZ VALERY: Well, I'm going to tell you some examples of what people are living here. He didn't answer because he considered in this
interview it wasn't important for the international audience, is the minimum wage in Venezuela is no more than $5, five U.S. dollars a month.
When you go to the shopping store, when you go to the groceries, you find that some products, for example, a kilo of cheese, that was exactly the
precise product he was asked for, it's way more than that. Some people can spend their monthly salary in a couple of kilos of cheese, for example,
dairy products that are being sold, difficult to access. Cheese, that was exactly the precise product he was asked for, it's way more than that.
Some people can spend their monthly salary in a couple of kilos of cheese, for example, dairy products that are being sold, difficult to access.
Sometimes you go to a super market and you are going to find products, but they are so expensive, so many are being imported and people can't afford
it. When you have a minimum wage that is no more than $5 a month, you can't understand why there are so many people leaving to the border of
Colombia where minimum wage is about $200 and they are making way more money than they are making here in this country.
Yes. And perhaps it seems the leadership is not tuned in to some of that - - some of the need experienced by so many Venezuelans. Thank you, Jorge Perez, as well as Stefano there reporting on both rallies in Caracas today.
Still to come tonight, the Turkish government has arrested hundreds of people today in a huge nationwide crackdown. They are accused of
supporting this exiled cleric in a failed coup attempt. A lot of people have been caught in the government's net. We'll have a live report.
Also, ahead, is this France's me-too moment? A group of prominent French journalists has been suspended after allegedly harassing and cyber bullying
women with a private Facebook page. They have apologized, but some people are saying too little too late. We'll have that story later.
GORANI: Hundreds of people are being rounded up in Turkey. Hundreds more could soon be in state custody. The government is conducting a massive
nationwide raid. Police have orders to arrest more than a thousand people accused of supporting this man, an exiled cleric that Turkey blames for a
failed coup attempt in 2016. Jomana Karadsheh is following this live from Istanbul. Tell us more about this crackdown, Jomana.
[14:25:05] JOMANA KARADSHEH?, CNN CORRESPONDENT, TURKEY: Well, Hala, this major operation as being described began early this morning. It was
focused in Ankara, the capital. As you mentioned, this is to enforce arrest warrants for more than 1100 individuals authorities say are linked
to the banned movement of the U.S.-based cleric Muhammed Fethullah Gulen, who Turkey has accused of being the mastermind of that failed coup attempt
in 2016. Something Gulen denied. When it comes to this specific case, Hala, so far as you mentioned, hundreds have been rounded up. It's
ongoing, to capture more people. But they say -- officials say this is related to a 2010 case that they describe as this cheating scandal. It was
a police exam that police officers had to sit for this exam to apply for an inspector's job. And basically, the questions for this exam were leaked,
and this is why they're going after the suspects. This is not unusual. There's been several similar cases in the past and how this links to the
Gulen movement, well, the Turkish government has long accused the Gulen movement of infiltrating the state apparatus, state institutions like the
police and the judiciary in this attempt to undermine the state and create what they describe as this parallel state. And, of course, this is part of
this ongoing crackdown since 2016. Tens of thousands of people who have been arrested or lost their jobs, Hala.
GORANI: So, how is this related to that 2000 case where questions from a police exam were leaked? How is it linked to today's arrests?
KARADSHEH?: Well, we haven't gotten a lot of information. They just say that those nearly 1200 suspects are linked to that case. It's unclear how
many of them were people who supposedly leaked those questions, how many of them were active police officers at the time or currently serving. We're
still waiting to hear more, but this is, I think, a very clear message on this day from Ankara despite all the criticism, Hala, that this government
has gotten from western countries, from the international community when it comes to this crackdown that some say has gone too far. I think the
message today is clear, 2 1/2 years after that failed attempt, this purge is far from over.
GORANI: It's not just a purge in those ranks. Journalists have been jailed over the last several years.
KARADSHEH?: Absolutely. And those journalists, Hala, they have been accused of having links to the Gulen movement. You mentioned journalists,
there's academics, other civil servants. This is where the Turkish government has been criticized is that some say it has gone too far. That
people they have gone after and the numbers are actually quite staggering. If you look, it's 130,000 people who have lost their jobs, expelled from
their jobs, according to amnesty international. Some figures put the number of people behind bars at 50 to 70,000. More than 50,000 who are
still facing charges. So, you know, this is why the Turkish government has come under all this criticism. But for them, they say that this is a
matter of national security. They say they are fighting terrorists.
Jomana Karadsheh?, live in Istanbul, thanks very much. A lot more to come this evening.
Two rallies on the same night in the same city offer two extremely different visions of America. We'll compare the speeches of Donald Trump
and possible Democratic Presidential contender Beto O'Rourke. We'll also show you an ugly attack at Mr. Trump's rally, a BBC reporter said he was
blindsided by a Trump supporter wearing a Make America Great Again hat. We'll have that story as well.
[14:30:40] HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: The BBC is asking the White House for a review of security arrangements for media covering Trump
rallies. After one of its camera men was attacked by a Trump supporter. It happened in the city of El Paso, Texas, last night where Mr. Trump was
making his case for a border wall. Watch what happens as the BBC cameraman is filming.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- the lowest level in the history of our country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: USA! USA!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, let's bring in CNN's chief media correspondent Brian Stelter following the story from New York. This was after the president had
whipped the crowd into this anti-media frenzy. This is according to the BBC's North America editor who was there. She says it was her first Trump
rally, and this happened.
So perhaps it's not so surprising that one of his supporters would attack a journalist.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: I hate to use the word inevitable, Hala, but I think we are here. We're at this point of
inevitability where eventually something like this was bound to happen. If you call something fake enough times, if you've demonized and caused hatred
enough times, eventually you are going to get people to actually believe the media is fake and believe the media is not even human.
I mean, that's what we've seen in the past two years, and unfortunately, one of these incidents is not surprising to the press core.
What is a little bit surprising to me though is that there wasn't more security around the press pen. Each of these rallies is a little bit
different. Sometimes there are security guards and bodyguards around to try to keep space between the audience that's there and the reporters that
are covering the event.
As you know, CNN even send security guards to some of these rallies with journalists. Obviously though not every outlet feels they need to do that.
There may be a review of security procedures now as a result of this.
GORANI: And the BBC spokesperson issued this statement. "BBC cameraman, Ron Skeans, was violently pushed and shoved by a member of the crowd while
covering a President Trump rally in Texas. The man was removed by security and Ron is fine. The president could see the incident and checked with us
that all was OK, but is clearly unacceptable for any of our staff to be attacked for doing their job."
I was actually going to ask you who removed the attacker? Because that man who removed the attacker was also wearing a red baseball cap. But it was a
STELTER: That's right. That's according to the Trump campaign as well that security was able to intervene quickly.
However, the BBC says they were not contacted afterwards. There was not enough follow-up from law enforcement afterwards.
In a case like this, you might see some sort of charge, so that remains to be seen if there will be follow-up from law enforcement. We have heard
from the White House Correspondents' Association on this matter taking a stand saying the president of the United States should make absolutely
clear to supporters that violence against reporters is unacceptable.
I'm not going to hold my breath, Hala, for any further comment from the president. But we've seen in the past couple of years that he feels it's
politically expedient for him to attack the media.
But something like this does show you the consequences and it is notable the president did stop what he was doing, stopped what he was saying. He
was trying to make sure the situation was OK. Then what happened in the room? His fans started chanting, Trump, Trump, Trump, and he went on with
GORANI: Right. Well, he stopped to check if it was OK after having spent quite a bit of time demonizing members of the press covering his rally. So
little bit of this and then a little bit of that.
STELTER: You said it.
GORANI: Brian Stelter, thanks very much, as always.
Well, President Trump wasn't the only show in town last night. El Paso happens to be the hometown of rising Democratic star Beto O'Rourke who's
considering running for president himself. He and Mr. Trump held dueling rallies across the street from each other.
As we were saying, offering very different visions of America. O'Rourke challenged Mr. Trump's signature issue saying walls don't save lives, that
they end lives.
Let's bring in two of our political commentators. We're joined by democratic strategist Maria Cardona. And former communications director
for the Republican National Committee, Doug Heye.
So, Doug, I'm going to start with you. What do you make of the fact that Beto O'Rourke who's this rising star, I mean, he got this rock star welcome
in El Paso at his event, that he's choosing to sort of reach out to his supporters on Trump's signature issue, immigration?
DOUG HEYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I thought it was a smart move by Beto O'Rourke. He has been largely out of the conversation since his
really strong showing in the Texas Senate race last year.
[14:35:04] We've talked about so many other people with their announcements, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker. Most recently, obviously, Amy
Klobuchar that Beto was being left out of the conversation. This was a very smart way to insert himself directly on the president's turf, in his
own backyard and do so in a way that guaranteed maximum political coverage.
We can argue certainly about the rhetoric and whether or not Beto will be a great candidate or successful ultimately. But as a first move, I thought
this was pretty strong.
GORANI: And, Maria, I presume you agree with this. I mean, because he presented a very different vision of -- not just on immigration, because he
expanded to other issues. Very different vision of America as a whole.
And, frankly, he's younger, he's got the hit factor behind him. He's the whole Twitter following. I mean, you know, as opposed to Donald Trump.
Regardless of politics, he's got that on his side.
MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No. Absolutely. And I agree with Doug. I think it was a very smart move by Beto O'Rourke to have this
sort of be his coming out, if you will. He hasn't definitely announced that he's going to run for president, but I think this puts him at an
advantage for people who are both expecting that he will or for people who are even hoping that he will.
I think it did a couple of things for Beto. Number one, it reinforced his support back home. Let's remember, he is from El Paso, and I don't think
he could not have done this and then have credibility.
So it was sort of the perfect set up for him because Donald Trump came to Beto O'Rourke's backyard to talk about a signature issue that Beto has
grown up with his whole life.
He was also able to point to several outright lies and untruths and exaggerations that everybody in the city of El Paso was frankly pissed off
about that Donald Trump continued to promote starting at the State of the Union about the safety of El Paso as a city and the wall as the fix,
because that is completely untrue.
El Paso was never one of the un-safest cities in the country. And in fact, when the crime started to go down, the wall was not there. And when the
wall was built, crime spiked up a little bit after that, and then settled back down again. El Paso has actually been one of the safest cities in the
country for a very long time.
GORANI: Doug, if you're a Republican, who do you fear most among the 2020 contenders? We know Beto O'Rourke hasn't declared that his candidacy, but
would Beto be scarier? Would a Kamala Harris be more of a concern? Who do you think they fear most at this very early stage?
HEYE: Right now Amy Klobuchar. I think she has a very tough battle to get to. They all certainly have a tough battle to get to win the primary. And
it's not clear if she's too moderate. I wouldn't describe her as a moderate. But some Democrats might, for the Democratic Party to get that
But I would think Amy Klobuchar is the most anti-Trump candidate that you could have. She is the antithesis of all things that Trump is and can
speak to the heartland in a way that a lot of people, certainly a lot of Democrats have struggled to do so.
She's somebody who I think could be a huge asset if she's not at the top of the ticket also for VP. She's somebody to watch.
GORANI: What do you think, Maria? There was a very interesting the New York Times article today about the tight rope that female political
candidates have to walk. Really having to appeal on a likability scale and men certainly aren't, you know, under that kind of pressure and we have so
many female candidates. Who do you think is the contender that the Republicans should be concerned about?
CARDONA: Yes. I mean first of all, there's no question that female candidates are still to this day held to a very, very different standard
than male candidates.
In fact, let's think about if a female candidate had done what Beto just did in terms of essentially going on a walk about to think about what he
might be doing, talking about how he was in a funk. Can you imagine if a woman candidate did that? How that would be received? But --
GORANI: Yes, or any woman.
CARDONA: Right, exactly. Any woman that wants to have any kind of credibility in the public sphere. But I think that this is certainly the
year of the woman. There's no question about that. And I'm incredibly proud that there are a record number of strong, incredibly accomplished
women that are running on the democratic side.
And, in fact, in addition to Amy Klobuchar, which Doug Heye has just mentioned, that it would be a worry for Republicans -- I've heard other
Republicans say the same. Kamala Harris is somebody that Trump has even mentioned that he thought that her coming out, her rally, her announcement
was very impressive.
And so I think that we will have a rich abundance of talent, and that is what democratic primaries are for. And I'm really looking forward to the
GORANI: It's not all rosy for the Democrats. Certainly, there's no shoe in. And they've had a terrible week with all these Virginia elected
representatives and their pictures emerging of them in blackface or admitting --
[14:40:09] Doug, I've got to ask you that. I mean, Republicans must see in that an opportunity. There's some obvious weaknesses coming from the
Democratic Party in the last few weeks.
HEYE: Yes. You know, I've worked in Virginia politics. It's a weakness that also not only has become a national story but it takes away some of
the things that have traditionally been big weaknesses for Republicans on race where we've gotten it wrong time after time after time. And now it's
Democrats every single one of these is a democratic problem. It's a national embarrassment. It's only going to continue as long as Ralph
Northam remains in the governorship.
And one thing I would say to your last question, Hala, is in 2016 Republicans had the deepest bench that they've ever had. Democrats have a
very deep bench right now. The one person who won in 2016 wasn't even on the Republican bench.
So when we're looking at this in the context of basically a year before anyone is really voting, there's a whole lot that can happen and trying to
predict right now who's going to emerge. Even if you're right, you're probably going to be wrong.
GORANI: Yes. Right. Doug Heye, well said. Maria Cardona, thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.
CARDONA: Thanks so much.
HEYE: Thank you.
GORANI: More now on the massive demonstrations that saw thousands take to the streets of Caracas. This was the scene just a short time ago. At
competing rallies, they had them in Caracas as well. On the left, opposition demonstrators gathering in support of the self-declared interim
president Juan Guaido. He announced that Humanitarian aid will arrive in the country on February 23rd.
On the right, a pro-government rally organized by supporters of Nicolas Maduro. This is playing out as President Maduro ramps up the rhetoric
against the American president Donald Trump. Much of the pressure against Mr. Maduro has been coming from Republicans.
My next guest thinks that more Democrats should get on board with that. Florida state senator and Colombian-American, Annette Taddeo, joins me now
from Tallahassee, Florida. Thank you, Ms. Taddeo, for joining us.
You think Democrats if they're not -- that Republicans have basically quote-unquote, "exploited" this Venezuela issue. And that in your state
Florida, where sometimes presidential elections are decided within one percentage point, that Democrats shouldn't miss an opportunity to make this
an issue as well?
SEN. ANNETTE TADDEO (D), FLORIDA: Absolutely. And actually, it's pretty much all the time that it's decided by about one percent. So Venezuela is
an issue that is actually bipartisan.
For once, I can actually say I agree with what President Trump is doing. And as a matter of fact, some of us here in Florida have been at the
forefront saying, please, we need sanctions. Please, we need you to declare Guaido as the interim president. We were doing all this before it
Unfortunately, there are other voices within our party that have gotten, at the national level, that have gotten the lens of the media and that's what
people have heard, especially here in Florida. And we are trying to speak up and say, wait a minute, we actually have been fighting for a free
Venezuela for a really long time and we, for once, agree with the administration and have been pushing the administration to --
GORANI: So you're saying -- Annette, you're saying that some democrats would potentially maybe vote for a Republican candidate if the Democratic
Party doesn't get on board with condemning Maduro and supporting Guaido?
TADDEO: Not only some Democrats, but most Venezuelans and other Hispanics in Florida who mostly register NPA which means No Party Affiliation. They
really make this decision very much based on their own feelings on how each party is responding to different things going on in their countries of
origin. Or, you know, in the case of other Hispanics from other areas where they pay a lot of attention maybe to immigration.
In Florida, it's a little bit different. Our instances are different. So because of that, we all really concern ourselves very much with sometimes
the match -- the national rhetoric not being matching what we've been saying down here on the ground and the fight we've been having for actual
freedom in Venezuela and in other countries, and for free elections and for not having a regime like the Maduro regime right now.
GORANI: Annette Taddeo, a Florida Senate Democrat, joining us live from Tallahassee. Thank you very much.
Still to come tonight, looking for a home, the teen brides of ISIS militants are trying to get themselves and their children out of Syria.
[14:45:56] GORANI: CNN has been bringing you exclusive footage from the frontline in the battle to oust ISIS from its final stronghold in Syria.
Wives and families have been displaced by the fighting, including a teen bride married to a member of ISIS, now desperately looking for a way out.
As Atika Shubert found out, her options are limited.
LENORA LEMKE, WIFE OF ISIS MILITANT: You have the passport here.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 19- year-old Lenora Lemke pulls out her German passport. She was 15 when she left home, now, stranded in northern Syria with two babies. Their father a
member of ISIS.
SHUBERT: She struggles to remember the last time she had a shower. She counts back a month ago or more, then she remembers the day she delivered
her youngest, Maria, just 20 days ago.
LEMKE: But after my birth on this day, I make a little bit warm water and I was cleaning down.
SHUBERT: Lenora is one of hundreds of ISIS followers from Europe believed to be in Syria. But countries like Germany are not rushing to take them
back. Germany's foreign ministry told CNN it had no information on the Lemke family and that consular help was, quote, "virtually impossible."
They said, the federal government is examining possible options to enable German nationals to leave Syria, especially in humanitarian cases.
The SDF released this photo from the arrest of Lenora's husband Martin Lemke. But it's not clear where he would stand trial.
At first, she insists he was just fixing laptops for ISIS. Then she wonders aloud what led her here and how she can get her daughters home.
LEMKE: When you eat one bread for two days and your kid one year, she couldn't walk because she had so much hungry, she become no teeth because
there's no vitamins. Every mother can accept it and I do this for Allah, for my God. But when your kid is really crying and -- you say by yourself,
you're crazy. But what it this has to do with Islam?
SHUBERT: Cradling her daughters, Maria and Habiba (ph), Lenora boards bus number two hoping for a short stay at a refugee camp. She sends a message
to her father in Germany. "I hope to see you soon. I really love you. Hopefully we are together soon."
But Lenora's journey is far from over and it's not clear if or when Germany will welcome her home.
Atika Shubert, CNN, Berlin.
GORANI: That's just absolutely astonishing.
More to come, including hiding behind a Facebook group. Several French journalists have been suspended after they were exposed for coordinating
online harassment and bullying of women. We'll bring you the details from Paris next.
[14:50:32] GORANI: Now to online abuse, one French woman describes like running away from a sniper. Several prominent male journalists have been
suspended in France for allegedly participating in a secret Facebook group that encouraged and carried out the worst kind of harassment of female
They called themselves the LOL League and their existence was first reported by the newspaper, Liberation. You can see the front page from
today. A powerful image.
Since the story broke, many female journalists in France have taken to Twitter to share their harrowing experiences. Melissa Bell has more.
MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For many years, the only people aware of their existence were the victims, women journalists
mainly, but also LGBT journalists and journalists of color who were harassed violently online by a secret Facebook group that was formed in
2009 and made up of some 30-something high profiled but anonymous mainly male journalists who called themselves the League of Law or Laugh Out Loud.
Victims have accused the Law League of orchestrating targeted harassment campaigns that would result in streams of vitriolic messages on social
media platforms like Twitter.
LES LEJEUNE, TECH JOURNALIST: We were younger than them and we were just starting to be journalists. So we didn't have any confidence after that.
The thing is when they start happen. First, you're shaking, you're blushing. You don't know how to respond. You try to respond with humor,
you try to respond also with logic, but it doesn't work. You cannot focus on your work.
BELL: It took 10 years and this article by the French newspaper, Liberation's fact checking website for the group to be exposed. And for
the names of its members to be revealed. Among them, two journalists at Liberation itself in what many are describing as France's own Me Too
CNN reached out to Facebook, but on Tuesday had received no response. Many of the journalists involved have now apologized. Like Liberation's Vincent
Glad, the group's founder who wrote that he was presenting his most sincere apologies to those who were harassed by the League of Law. What happened
was intolerable and I was responsible.
Or Les Inrockuptibles, David Doucet who wrote that he did not think of the extent of the trauma that his victims had suffered. There are, he wrote,
"No excuses. I am sorry." Too little too late for many of their employers like Liberation, the French Music Magazine, Les Inrockuptibles, and the
advertising group publicist who were either laying off or suspending those involved. Liberation has also opened an internal investigation and
France's antiracism body has called for the Paris prosecutor to investigate as well.
LEJEUNE: I think it's right that they should be named and shamed in article in order to make their firms -- their newspaper react. But the
thing is I don't like people to be arrested on the internet even if it's them.
BELL: It's unclear whether the original Facebook group has now been closed, but those responsible now say they're ashamed, although many wonder
why it's taken 10 years for them to feel that way.
GORANI: And Melissa Bell joins me now live from Paris.
[14:55:00] Was it the case that some women complained about some of these men in past years? Why was nothing done then?
BELL: Well, I think that's a really interesting question. When you ask the victims of this cyberbullying which was absolutely vicious, Hala, let's
be clear. When you look at the details of what was said to them, of what was put online for public consumption, it is quite brutal and very
And you can understand they were profoundly traumatized. They say, look, no one was terribly interested in what had happened to us. No one was that
interested in what was being done to us. What changed things, and it think this is why it's being called France's Me Too moment, is that the times
have changed. And suddenly saying out loud things that went on or were known to go on, there were rumors about this group, and certainly the
victims knew that it was going on, saying them out loud now is no longer the same.
You need only look at the rapidity with which these particular journalists and not only journalists, but people within communication as well were
sacked, were suspended and these cases opened to realize that something profoundly has changed, not just in French society, but I think in many
other countries as well. That when you say now what has gone on for years with regard to women, with regard to journalists from other communities,
you realize how profoundly shocking it is and that it is not OK and that something has to be done.
But for years, let's be clear, it went on without anyone really batting an eyelid or caring terribly much what the victim's feeling that they would
have any recourse or anyone really listening to them if they spoke out.
GORANI: And we only have a few seconds. But frankly, these apologies ring a bit hollow to some people. First of all, it took them 10 years to say
they're sorry, and that recurring theme of I didn't know how hurtful what I was doing was when they were putting pornographic image of women's faces on
pornographic image and sharing them online. Kind of hard to -- hard to believe that you didn't know this was being hurtful, right? I think I've
been reading a lot of those reactions online. Yes.
BELL: That's right, Hala, there can be no doubt about how cruel it was, how profoundly cruel. And one of the young journalists who was arrested
said, look, it speaks to something much more profound. Women trying to come up in journalism in France were faced with old work -- old boy's
network, she said.
You knew that you couldn't get a job unless you knew someone who knew someone. And when you were being victimized at the very start of your
career, at that point, you didn't then have the confidence or the hope that you might aspire to a proper job in journalism.
And that was what was profoundly disturbing and troubling for them. And that is the real problem here is that it speaks to a misogyny that is far
more profound and prevalent and that got in these women's way.
GORANI: Some women actually gave up on their dream of becoming journalists.
Melissa Bell, thanks very much, joining us live from Paris with more on that story. We'll be posting that one online. That's the kind of story
that should be shared.
Thanks for watching tonight. I'm Hala Gorani. A lot more after a quick break on CNN. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is coming your way.