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Singer R. Kelly Turns Himself In After being Indicted for Criminal Sexual Assault; New England Patriots Owner Robert Kraft May Be Charged with Soliciting Prostitution; Protestors and Government Forces Clash in Venezuela over Flow of Humanitarian Aid; Interview with Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD); Democratic Field of Presidential Candidates Continues to Grow; Author Examines Fraternity Life in America Universities; President Promises to Veto Democratic Bill Restraining National Emergency Declaration. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired February 23, 2019 - 10:00   ET


[10:00:00] MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: God bless her. But guess what. Don't ask somebody else to clean it, because that's gross.

See you next week.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, good morning, and welcome to Saturday, February 23rd. We're so glad to have you. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Our top story this hour. The crisis in Venezuela escalating this morning as protesters burn tires and police fire teargas to scatter crowds. It's at a stalemate over humanitarian aid.

PAUL: New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft facing charges of soliciting prostitution. Police said Kraft was caught in a large scale sex trafficking crackdown leading to hundreds of arrest warrants.

BLACKWELL: And R&B singer R. Kelly is due to court today. He turned himself in to police last night after being indicted on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

You are in the CNN Newsroom.

PAUL: We're so glad to have you with us. Let's start with those charges being made against singer R. Kelly this morning. He is 51- years-old, accused of committing sexual acts on four victims, including three under the age of 17. And here is video as he turned himself in.

BLACKWELL: According to prosecutors the abuse dated back as far as 1998 and spanned more than a decade. If convicted, he faces up to 70, seven-zero, 70 years in prison, 10 years for each count of sexual abuse. CNN's Nick Watt joins me now. So Nick, a bond hearing is scheduled for this afternoon for Kelly. What are we expecting? What do Cook County prosecutors want for him?

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think that they would like to keep him in custody, but we will find out lunchtime whether he is released on bond or whether he stays in their custody. We've actually just heard from the sheriff's department, they say he is now in their custody and he's being held apart from other detainees. They say that is standard practice for a high profile person such as R. Kelly. Now, we heard last night from his lawyer, who gave us something of a clue as to what their defense is going to be. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think these women are lying?



GREENBERG: I think all the women are lying, yes.

Unfortunately, the state's attorney now succumbed to public pressure, to pressure from grandstanders like Michael Avenatti and Gloria Allred, and brought these charges. Mr. Kelly is strong. He's got a lot of support, and he's going to be vindicated on all these charges, one by one if it has to be.


WATT: You heard the lawyer mention Michael Avenatti there. That is because Michael Avenatti has a video that he says shows R. Kelly engaged in sexual acts with a 14-year-old girl. He handed that over to authorities in Cook County a couple weeks ago. And Avenatti said yesterday he knows of two more tapes, one that he has in his possession, another that he is trying to get a hold of. And he will hand those over as well.

As you mentioned, Victor, 10 counts, four women, three of those women under the age of 17-years-old. R. Kelly of course has faced similar accusations in the past. He was acquitted, in fact, back in 2008 on similar charges to this because the jury said that they couldn't beyond a reasonable doubt identify Avenatti (ph) in the video that was used during that case. Those pictures that you're seeing right there, interestingly the lawyer had tweeted earlier that R. Kelly was going to turn himself in between 11:00 and 12:00 at night, in an area in the south of Chicago. In fact, that was not the case. And thankfully for us, our CNN photographers Jordan Guzzardo and Mike Love are smarter than that, and that is why we got these pictures of R. Kelly turning himself in. We're next going to see him lunchtime here in Chicago at the bond hearing when we'll find out what's next for R. Kelly. Does he stay in custody or do they release him on bond? Back to you guys.

BLACKWELL: We'll get the latest developments then. Nick Watt, thanks so much.

The docu-series "Surviving R. Kelly" which aired last month reignited the public's interests in the accusations against the singer.

PAUL: And earlier this morning we talked with the executive producer earlier this morning, and one of Kelly's alleged victims, Lisa Van Allen, she talked to us about how she first met Kelly. She was just 17 years old.


BLACKWELL: You met R. Kelly you say when you were 17 years old.


BLACKWELL: And this was a video shoot.

VAN ALLEN: Yes. Here in Atlanta.

BLACKWELL: Music video shoot here in Atlanta. And from what you describe in the documentary, there was grooming early on. Explain that, if you would.

VAN ALLEN: He pretty much right away told you what he's into, what he likes, what he doesn't like. He also during sexual acts, the whole time he is telling you exactly what to do, what not to do, what he likes, what he doesn't like. So, yes.

[10:05:07] PAUL: It was interesting because at that time you said I didn't assume he liked younger girls. At that moment, I thought he just liked me.


PAUL: At what point did you realize something was very off here?

VAN ALLEN: There wasn't just one time. It would be recurring things where I was getting older. I'm 19, the girls are still 18, 19, I'm turning 20, you're still 18, 19. You get what I mean? Then it was like, eventually it was like OK, he likes young girls. It's not just me, it's not just the rumor about Aaliyah, which isn't a rumor, but you know what I mean?

BLACKWELL: Tamra, obviously we're going to have to wait for the evidence to come out in this case in these 10 counts, but does this time feel different as compares to the 2002 charges, the 2008 trial, does this feel different?

TAMRA SIMMONS, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "SURVIVING R. KELLY": To me it does. I didn't follow the 2002 trial in depth but I will be following now because I have Lisa to thank for being so brave, and the other survivors and families that are still fighting to get their daughters back. But I think that now there's so much, like I was saying, in the public's face, you can't turn a blind eye to it. So I do believe that they're going to do their due diligence and make sure that this doesn't continue to happen.

VAN ALLEN: And I would like to just put out that he's always kind of been in your face about it anyway. He calls himself the pied piper. The pied piper takes, if you know anything about the book, the pied piper lures children away from their families. He's known for doing that. My book is "Surviving the Pied Piper," gets more in depth about that. BLACKWELL: And there were descriptions that we had from Sara Sidner

who we'll get back to in just a moment that really kind of mirror what you describe in the documentary of having to call him daddy, not speaking to other people.


BLACKWELL: Tell us about, you said that you were involved with R. Kelly and another girl who was 14, but you didn't know she was 14 at the time.

VAN ALLEN: No. I was 17, he told me she was 16.

BLACKWELL: OK. You expected he knew how old she was.

VAN ALLEN: For you -- yes, honestly, because it was supposed to have been his family member. But I didn't know at that time. He told me it was his neighbor who was 16 and I was 17. So he said what he needed to say to get me to agree to do the threesome.


BLACKWELL: The crisis in Venezuela is at a critical point. We have got images here from this morning where protesters have been clashing with government forces.

PAUL: Those are tires that are burning, being set on fire. You can hear their teargas dispersing. It's a power struggle between Nicolas Maduro's government and opposition leader Juan Guaido is turning into a face-off over humanitarian aid. I believe, are these the pictures?


PAUL: These are live pictures of what's happening there at the border. CNN senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh is live from Cucuta, which is in Columbia near the border here. But look what has happened to this bus. It looks like they're just throwing rocks at it, breaking all windows. It is chaos there. Nick, tell us what you're seeing from where you are there in Columbia.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is sort of the central key crossing between Columbia and Venezuela. And you're seeing at my side here, a row of Venezuelan riot police who are effectively walking the border here. My foot is actually on the line of what is being considered the border in the last few hours or so. It's closed at the moment, but the scene is extraordinarily tense, because, as you said earlier, there are three Venezuelan soldiers here have given themselves up to Columbian migration officials, accepting an amnesty held out by self-declared interim president and opposition leader Juan Guaido. He said if you want to join our side, we will forgive your previous crimes, so to speak, for the Maduro government.

But the point about today is this is the deadline which they've set to get aid from Columbia, tons of it, some of it supplied by the United States into Venezuela over here. The key point being that the aid continues to edge closer towards where we're standing. These riot police are constantly being negotiated with by these protesters here, sometimes simply shouted at. One man saying I haven't seen my daughter two years, I'm a refugee, she's still inside. Another man saying my grandfather died because I didn't have the medicine that I needed to look after him.

Real human tragedy on both sides of the border. And in fact, it's like further down the bridge, a group of what seems to be pro- government protesters, in fact there was a strange moment where both sides were joined in unity singing the national anthem, that's how close these people possibly are in their hearts, but they're divided by this line of riot police.

And slowly we keep being told to move back, because they say the aid is coming. The central message, and one, I think this scene being something that the Venezuelan opposition and Donald Trump's White House have been very keen to see play out today is that there are people across here who simply want to get humanitarian aid into the needy inside Venezuela.

[10:10:00] And the message we keep hearing from protesters is, today is the day the aid is coming across, whether you like it or not. And that I think is where people are concerned, we may see escalating tensions in hours ahead. It's just one of several points along the border where similar things are being attempted. Back to you.

BLACKWELL: You're there, Nick, in Columbia. But what we are seeing on the screen right now in just the last maybe 30 seconds, the fire on this bus has really kicked up. We saw a group of protesters there pushing the bus next to this building. Now the building is on fire, showing how quickly this is escalating. We know that our CNN team has seen Venezuelan National Guard fire rubber bullets in the direction of a group that was there on the border as well at another location. But we are seeing just how things are degrading quickly here in this part of Venezuela. You can hear the cheering. I am going to pause for a minute so you can listen in.

Nick, the crowd around you because the shot is so tight, how many people are there?

WALSH: I would say actually here quite a small number, but the scene we appear to be seeing here are riot police dropping their shields. This is quite extraordinary. Riot police dropping shields. A moment of calm. A moment of calm here.


WALSH: They have been appealing to these men to give themselves over, to hand themselves over to Columbian migration officials and accept an amnesty, as we've seen earlier on. And the shields have been up until now. We're not seeing anybody crossing the line just yet, but it is remarkable that you join me at this moment where Venezuelans on this side in Columbia, protestors, opposition loyal, is now face to face, without a riot shield in between, with Venezuelan riot police. It is quite an extraordinary moment. It is the closest we have seen here to some sense of amnesty. We're just going to ask this gentleman if he will speak toi us. Why have you lowered your shield, sir? They don't want to speak. See obviously, you have to remember that

those who work in the Venezuelan security forces depend upon their position, depends upon their salary for food often. There are boxes handed out amongst the armed services that frankly feed your family. So the choice the man made, looking down and drinking water here, is most likely because he is worried his family may go hungry if he doesn't talk to us, or he may simply disagree with the opposition movement.

But if you look at this scene here, there is extraordinary calm. They have constantly been appealing to people to, in fact, allow the aid through gently and hand themselves aid over. But this extraordinary moment here is the moment of unity where you see that line of shields, you saw it yourself, coming down. That will be a moment of great shock, I'm sure, for those loyal to the Maduro government, frankly, because seeing a moment like this where these are, you might say their line of defense against that very symbolic moment if the aid organized by the United States and opposition crosses from Columbia, where you can get food very easily, into Venezuela, where it frankly is a nightmare to get hold of, if they begin to change their minds, or crumble, or look as relaxed as this, then Maduro in Caracas today, seeing protests along the border, closing many of his borders, will, I'm sure, be extremely nervous. Back to you.

PAUL: Nick Paton Walsh, we appreciate it. Do stand by there, Nic, we're going to keep watching what's happening where you are. But let's get back to that area where you are seeing that bus burn. And now it looks like that building next to it is burning as well. Stefano Pozzebon, is here. Stefano, what happened there that resulted in what we are seeing, this bus on fire?

STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: Yes, Christi. What happened today, the government, the Venezuela government, to close the border late last night, close the border with Columbia has dramatically escalated the progression. From the very, very early hours of the day, the people of the border town are down onto the streets, demanding the opening of the border, firstly because they need to go to Columbia every day in order to work and to buy general merchandise and basic goods. On top of that, in a human way of volunteers that the Venezuela opposition has called to mobilize to go and get humanitarian aid that they have been able to gather on the Columbian side of the border. National guard that we --

[10:15:01] BLACKWELL: I have to jump in here, Stefano. I apologize. We're having difficulty understanding you. But we are seeing, obviously, what is happening here in this town in Venezuela where things degraded very quickly this morning. We saw a group of people pushing the bus, a man outside of it steering it with his hand into this building. And a few flames inside which really kicked up. The bus there fully involved. Now the building next to it burning as well. We will of course continue to follow what's happening at the borders in Venezuela, both with Brazil and Columbia.

PAUL: We will bring you the latest pictures as we see them. And interestingly enough, of course, in the background there of that bus you can see that line of National Guard from Venezuela just standing there, watching what's happening. We'll keep you posted on what's happening. Do stay close. Back in a moment.


PAUL: New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft expected to be formally charged Monday with soliciting prostitution at a day spa in Florida. He is among more than 100 people caught in a statewide trafficking crackdown. This began late last year, this investigation. Kraft is not in custody. A warrant for him has not yet been processed. Sports attorney and agent Leigh Steinberg with us now. Mr. Steinberg, thank you so much for being here. If there is a warrant put out for his arrest on Monday, any indication that he will surrender?

LEIGH STEINBERG, SPORTS ATTORNEY: I wouldn't know. Bob Kraft has been an exemplar of everything good in the NFL. He's been very involved in charity, he is the owner that settled the strike. He says he is innocent. So we'll give him the presumption of innocence. But this is not someone who would shy away from facing his responsibility.

PAUL: So if you were his attorney, would you advise him to turn himself in if these charges are formally put into place on Monday?

STEINBERG: I'm sure he'll do whatever is appropriate. And he is not someone who is hard to find. Again, he's been a pillar of good works in the Boston community, and he's a public figure.

PAUL: And he is innocent until proven guilty, you're absolutely right. The detective in the case said that there is video evidence of Kraft allegedly showing him involved in what detectives characterized as paid acts. If that is true, how do you fight that?

STEINBERG: I would not presume to be part of his legal team. I assume he is innocent until proven guilty. The commissioner has broad powers in the NFL hypothetically to discipline an owner who has done something to detract from the integrity of the game. So that could range from a fine to a suspension if an owner was found to have done something that was against public policy. In this particular case you've got someone who is probably along with Jerry Jones the most powerful man in the NFL, who has got an impeccable background reputation. So I very much hope that Bob Kraft is found to be innocent.

PAUL: I do understand that the NFL personal conduct policies you're talking about, that it is more stringent on owners when it comes to any accusation of illegality or inappropriate acts. I want to read you part of their personal conduct policy. They say, Everyone who is part of the league must refrain from conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the NFL. This includes owners, coaches, players, other team employees, game officials, employees of the league office, NFL Films, NFL Network, or any other NFL business." How do you anticipate the NFL will deal with this? What is the expectation?

STEINBERG: So the key phrase is "conduct detrimental." And whether it's a player or a personnel executive or an owner himself, the commissioner has very broad powers that probably extend from fining someone to, at the other extreme, suspending them for some period of time as an owner. The league has the ability to screen who actually owns a team. So the commissioner in that case could levy a wide array of discipline. But we're a long way from there.

PAUL: All right, Leigh Steinberg, we appreciate you being here. Thank you, sir.

STEINBERG: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: A powerful allegation out of Rome. According to a top Catholic cardinal in Munich, files that may have contained proof of abuse the Catholic Church may have been intentionally destroyed. Cardinal Reinhard Marx said it during day three of a massive summit at the Vatican on sexual abuse by clergy. Authorities have not commented on this, but survivors say it's a claim they have made for years, and it is nice to hear finally that it's coming from someone in power.

[10:25:01] Still ahead, we are more than 600 days from the 2020 election. Yes, we know. But if you look at the field of Democrats on the trail today, you would think the race was coming to an end. Maybe they don't know. We'll break it down next.


PAUL: It's 29 minutes past the hour. Welcome back. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you. If you didn't know better, you would think the 2020 election was closer than it actually is, because a number of Democrats are hitting the trail. A lot of them out there.

PAUL: And listen to this, and there are signs that Maryland Governor Larry Hogan could become a Republican primary challenger to President Trump.

[10:30:03] CNN senior political writer and analyst Harry Enten with us now. Harry, what are you hearing about Governor Hogan? And good morning.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER AND ANALYST: Shalom. Good Shabbos to both of you. We should say hello before we start.

Look, Governor Hogan is obviously from the moderate ring of the Republican Party. He won reelection this past time around by over 15 points in the state of Maryland, which is not a Trump friendly state. He is what I would described as a never-Trumper. He is going to make some visits to these early states. He's not obviously throwing his hat into the ring. And President Trump isn't really all that vulnerable to a primary challenge. His approval rating with Republicans is around 90 percent. But the part of the Republican party that doesn't like him is moderate Republicans, especially those in the northeast. So Larry Hogan is a good representation of that.

BLACKWELL: We could also see another Democrat get into the race. What do you know about Mayor Bill de Blasio? ENTEN: As a New Yorker, I know a lot about Mayor Bill de Blasio. And

I have to be honest with you, I don't really see a path for him at this point. Obviously, look, if he were to run, we'll see what happens. But we had a public advocates' debate, there's a special election of public advocate, who is basically right underneath the mayor of New York City. There was a public advocates' debate. They were all Democrats in that debate. And when asked about whether Bill de Blasio they basically said, all of them, no, and they laughed it off. In fact, there was a poll within New York state, and they asked Democrats who would you like to see run for president? And Bill de Blasio came in last among all the different candidates. I think they had Andrew Cuomo on there, they had Mike Bloomberg on there. They had Kirsten Gillibrand on there. They even Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who isn't even constitutionally eligible, and he came in underneath all of them. So to me I'm just not sure that at this point he would be a strong contender for the nomination.

BLACKWELL: So you are saying there is no need for the exploratory committee?

ENTEN: I am saying, look, he should run if he wants to run. But it doesn't seem to me if New Yorkers are any sign that they'll be a lot of appetite for him come 2020.

PAUL: There seem to be always numbers as of late for former vice president Joe Biden. How late is too late for him to get into this?

ENTEN: Look, if you were to go back over time, I could say he could potentially get in midyear and still do OK. He is someone who has a base within the Democratic Party. He's polling quite well at this particular point. He would be able to build an organization that perhaps other candidates who aren't as well-known would be able to do.

But the clock is obviously ticking. There are a lot of people who are in this race right now who are soaking up resources. So he'll eventually determine whether or not he wants to get in. But if does he get in, he'll start with a good base.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about who got in this week. Bernie Sanders got into the race, raised a lot of money in a short period of time. But there is this effort by the DNC coming up next week to get the candidates to sign an affirmation document affirming that they will run as Democrats. He's getting a little bit of pushback in the party this time around for coming in as an independent after running as a Democrat, now an independent. Is he going to stay a Democrat?

ENTEN: This is, I think, one of the key questions. I think Bernie Sanders has said that he will run as a Democrat this time around, he will sign so said document. But this is a Democratic primary. These are Democratic primary voters. And if you look back during the 2016 Democratic primary, what you saw was in the exit polls when people were asked whether or not they identified as a Democrat or independent, Bernie Sanders won independents overwhelmingly. But he lost self-identified Democrats overwhelmingly, too, and they make up the vast majority of Democratic voters. And I think the big question this time around is can he convince Democratic identified voters both in the different states as well as different Democratic representatives, whether they be Gregory Meeks or Donna Shalala, that he is actually a Democrat, because if he is not able to convince them of that, he simply won't be able win where last time he lost.

BLACKWELL: Harry Enten, we really treasure this time with you on Saturdays.

PAUL: We do.

ENTEN: I treasure it, too. And I hope you guys have a lovely, lovely weekend. It really will warm my heart if you do.

BLACKWELL: We'll do our best.

PAUL: Just for you, Harry. Thank you so much.

Democratic Congressman John Sarbanes from Maryland with us now. Thank you so much, Congressman, for being with us. So you just heard that conversation. I want to ask you. Do you believe Bernie Sanders should run as a Democrat?

REP. JOHN SARBANES, (D) MARYLAND: Well, I think everybody who is seeking the Democratic nomination is obviously going to be in a stronger position if they run as a Democrat for the reasons that you just heard. We're going to have a very broad, diverse set of candidates on the Democratic side, a lot of very solid contenders, I think. So I'm actually excited by the field that's forming right now.

I am looking forward to the message that they're going to lean into, the themes that are going to be in this campaign as we run up to 2020, particularly this idea that many people across the country, not just Democrats, but independents, Republicans, feel like they have been locked out of the conversation in Washington. They look at politics, they feel sort of disenfranchised by the system, and they want back in. And we've certainly been working very hard on that to put forward a reform agenda that will give the average American his or her voice back in their own democracy.

[10:35:11] PAUL: So we know that when we talk about who's going to be running, Vice President Biden met privately with Senator Feinstein earlier this week on Thursday. She has said she believes he will run. He's also met with Hillary Clinton to get some guidance and advice from her. He is not the only one who is meeting with Hillary Clinton. Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Cory Booker, Senator Elizabeth Warren, all seeking her guidance and advice and possibly her endorsement. How valuable is her endorsement in this?

SARBANES: It makes absolute sense that candidates that are running for the 2020 Democratic nomination would reach back and talk to the nominee from the last presidential election. So I understand why people are reaching out to Hillary Clinton. They're going to get some advice there and some insight and perspective based on the race that she ran and what happened in the 2016 election. This is all part of the exercise of candidates figuring out their path forward, as your earlier guest said. And whether they can be viable and competitive. What's that? PAUL: Would you support Vice President Biden if he jumped into the campaign?

SARBANES: I think many Democrats understand that we have an amazing field of candidates that are stepping forward, and we're going to see where the primary process takes us. There's no reason to jump the gun.

I'm most interested at this stage in the message and the narrative that's being articulated by Democrats. And as I said to you before, this idea of reform and cleaning up the democracy, fighting corruption, we saw it in the 2018 election. You've got a lot of these presidential candidates that are leaning in on this idea of being corporate PAC free, which I think shows that they understand where the public is on these issues of who's got power in our democracy.

We're putting forward HR-1, first order of business for the Democrats in the house is a broad reform bill that will focus on cleaning up ethics, making sure people can vote without having to run an obstacle course to the ballot box, and insisting that big money is not the one that calls the shots in Washington. So we're very excited For the People Act, HR-1. And we think a lot of presidential candidates are going to embrace that theme.

PAUL: I was just going to ask you about HR-1. It has come under some scrutiny. "The Washington Examiner," Adam Brandon wrote this, "Under the guise of a more open electoral process, HR-1 rigs this game in favor of elected officials already in office and strives to censor the political speech of individual and associations. Those who cherish the First Amendment should oppose the bill at every turn." And they assert that HR-1 would force taxpayers to fund congressional campaigns. To that, you say what?

SARBANES: Well, in your first point, in terms of the First Amendment, this actually gives speech to a lot of Americans who feel they don't have any. Right now, the loudest voice in our politics comes from corporations and the big money players. The average person sits out there, they feel like they don't have a voice. HR-1 actually gives them that voice back.

So if you want to talk about speech and the First Amendment, people ought to be supporting this kind of reform because it gives more power to everyday Americans. In terms of the matching system, small donor matching system that we want to set up that would allow candidates to turn to everyday Americans to power their campaigns, we've actually found a way to fund that system not with taxpayers but with lawbreakers. And so we're going to go after the folks leaning on the system and breaking the law and ask them to pay an assessment. That goes into a fund and that supports the kind of small donor matching that we have seen work across the country.

So those criticisms, they just don't hold water. This is a bill that will lift up the voice of everyday Americans, give them power back in their own democracy. People are hungry for this. That's why we made it the first order item coming off the 2018 elections. Every candidate running heard that fighting corruption was the number one priority.

PAUL: Congressman John Sarbanes, I'm sorry we have run out of time. Thank you so much, sir.

SARBANES: Thank you.

PAUL: Absolutely.

Do stay with us. Up next, controversy on campus. Alexandra Robbins talks about her new book "Fraternity, An Inside Look at a Year of College Boys Becoming Men."

BLACKWELL: And three generations, two presidents, one powerful family. The Bush years, narrated by Ed Harris, premiers Sunday, March 3rd at 9:00 p.m. on CNN.


[10:44:08] PAUL: College campus Greek life has seen its fair share of scandals, right? Racism, violence, even death. These three pledges have died just since 2017, Timothy piazza, 19-years-old, died from drinking too much on his first night as a pledge. Maxwell Gruver died from alcohol poisoning. Andrew Coffey died after another hazing incident.

Alexandra Robbins has written multiple books on this topic, and her most recent, "Fraternity, An Inside Look at a Year of College Boys Becoming Men." I spoke to her earlier, and I asked how prolific are these dangerous behaviors in fraternities today?


ALEXANDRA ROBBINS, FOLLOW TWO FRATERNITY MEMBERS: My researcher and I actually looked up every publicly reported online negative incident in fraternities from 2010 through 2018. And what we found is the vast majority of fraternity chapters are not committing these atrocities.

[10:45:04] PAUL: All right, so the "Animal House" image, I guess, fraternities, is no longer in existence?

ROBBINS: You see it in some places, sure, but there is a good side to some fraternities too. Because college guys are commonly led to believe that being a man means putting on a front of cool independence, they often feel like they can't open up to other guys. And studies show that college guys are lonely. So many fraternities that we don't see in the headlines are actually safe spaces that teach guys that it's OK to open up, and that there are various healthy ways to be masculine.

PAUL: OK, but since 2017, I highlighted three deaths because of hazing that have happened. We have Penn state sophomore, Timothy Piazza, Louisiana State University freshman Maxwell Gruver, we Florida State University suspended after Andrew Coffey died due to hazing. How prevalent are these moments?

ROBBINS: The last large scale hazing study was back in about 2008. And they saying about 73 percent of Greeks haze. So that's still way too high a number. Even one is way too high a number. We don't have a large scale study the last decade, though, so we don't know how much they're declining, though it appears that they are declining a bit.

PAUL: I know that you followed Jake, a freshman, who is going through the process, and Oliver, a chapter president who is trying to keep his house out of trouble. Do you feel like they really opened up to you, that you got to know them on a real level, and what are the goals?

ROBBINS: They were so transparent. They were so ready to let readers into their lives and to know every change in their behavior and their mindset and what they were thinking about.

When I first started following Jake, a new college freshman, he was nervous and lonely. And he said to me there's nowhere to look this stuff up. So I wanted to write a story to help students adjust to college life and to help parents have a fun read that they and their students can use as a tool to discuss important issues. And I thought it was important to write it now because this may be the most important time in American history for people to understand that the generalizations they're making about boys and masculinity are impacting us all.

PAUL: All right, Alexandra Robbins, author of "Fraternity, An Inside Look at a Year of College Boys Becoming Men," we appreciate it so much. Thank you.

ROBBINS: Thank you.


BLACKWELL: President Trump vows to veto Democratic efforts to block his national emergency. Maria Cardona and Alice Stewart weigh in on this in just a moment.


[10:52:04] BLACKWELL: The House will vote Tuesday on the Democrats resolution to block the president's executive order for this national emergency before the president can get any extra money for his wall. Joining me to discuss, CNN political commentators Maria Cardona and Alice Stewart. Alice is the, former communications director for Senator Red Cruz. Ladies, good morning to you.



BLACKWELL: Maria, let me start with you. There is not a veto proof majority in the Senate for this, so this is not likely going to beat out a veto by the president. So what's the game plan here?

CARDONA: I think the game plan is the Democrats show the American people that they are actually holding this president to account, which is exactly what they were voted in to do last November, and why they got 9 million more votes than the Republicans. And on this move, on the president declaring national emergency, it is

essentially him tearing up the Constitution, giving the middle finger to the Constitution, Victor, because the Constitution clearly states that there's a separation of powers, that Congress has the power of the purse, and this president, because of a temper tantrum, because he is not getting his vanity project, his obsession through the campaign, he is trying to do a go-around of Congress and the American people, the majority of which do not want the wall, and understand this is not a national emergency.

BLACKWELL: Strong words for Maria there, Alice. Let me come to you. What's the play for those Senate Republicans who slammed the idea of a national emergency before the president said he would declare one?

STEWART: They will continue to do what they have been doing and support the president on his signature domestic policy.

BLACKWELL: So they'll support him although they disagree with the way he has gone about it?

STEWART: This is not the ideal way that they would have ideally wanted to secure the border and build the wall, but this is where we are because Democrats didn't accept some of their concessions when they were in the negotiating process.

But look, this is not about tearing up the Constitution or doing something that is against federal law. Federal law does allow a president these powers to reallocate funds in the war on drugs. And where were the Democrats and their hair lighting on fire when President Obama called a humanitarian crisis along the border back in 2014? There was silence.

CARDONA: He didn't declare a national emergency.

STEWART: He declared a humanitarian crisis.

CARDONA: He did not declare a national emergency.

STEWART: Our president has the tools in his presidential toolbox to do just this. And that is exactly what he is doing because the Democrats did not work with him.

CARDONA: We'll see. It could be illegal.

BLACKWELL: The courts will decide if it's a tool he actually can use in his box.

CARDONA: Exactly.

BLACKWELL: Let me come to you, with I've got just a minute left, Alice. On the latest Gallup polling by state here, we've got the numbers. Let's put them up. Some challenges for the president, job approval numbers, Texas, 41 percent, Pennsylvania, 42, Michigan, 42, Wisconsin, 42, Florida, 43. All states the president won in 2016, 113 electoral votes, here. Strong economy, good jobs numbers. What's going wrong? How does he fix it? [10:55:00] STEWART: The numbers that you're not showing are the

positive ones, over 50 percent, near 60 percent in 17 states. And look, I hate to break it to Democrats, they didn't learn this in 2016, but you don't win by popular vote. You win state by state. And when you have job approval numbers above 50 percent in this large number of states at this stage of the game, that is a good sign for this president moving into 2020.

BLACKWELL: Let me get in Maria in here.

STEWART: Is state by state is how you president. It's not national. It's state by state.

BLACKWELL: I've 20 seconds, Maria, 20 second.

CARDONA: When you have the majority of American people believe that the country is going the wrong direction, which is exactly why they gave the Democrats control of Congress, that is not a good place to be going into a presidential election, and that is exactly where President Trump finds himself today.

BLACKWELL: Maria Cardona, Alice Stewart, we did that in record time.

CARDONA: There you go.

BLACKWELL: Thank you both.

CARDONA: Thanks, Victor.

STEWART: Thanks, Victor.

PAUL: You mean it can be done?

BLACKWELL: It can be done.

PAUL: Good conversation.

Thank you so much for being with us. We hope you make good memories today.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Dana Bash is up next after a quick break.