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Venezuela Violence; Catholicism In Crisis; Mueller: Manafort's "Criminal Actions Were Bold"; Michael Cohen To Testify Publicly This Week; Trump And North Korean Dictator Meet In Vietnam This Week Aired 6-7a ET

Aired February 24, 2019 - 06:00   ET




NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Tension mounting here. The shields have gone back up again and the protesters are recommending people start to move back.

And if the symbolic bid to get aid in peacefully failed than these scenes of what Venezuela is left with.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Prosecutors from special counsel Robert Mueller's office effectively throwing the book to Paul Manafort. They call his criminal actions bold and they have told the judge he should face up to 25 years behind bars.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A judge set R. Kelly's bond for $1 million. Will he able to get that money and get out of jail before his next hearing which will be Monday?


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. I'm Christi Paul. And look who we dragged into the week?

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Dragged in about right. Dragged in from vacation. Good to see everybody. I've Dave Briggs in for Victor Blackwell. Great to be here with you this morning.

PAUL: Good to have you here.

BRIGGS: Long a fan of the program.

We begin this morning with the deadly clashes at Venezuela's border. Sources say at least five people are dead. More than 285 injured as Venezuelan security forces fought with protesters near the Colombian border. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro who is still clinging to power has cut ties with Colombia and is stopping the opposition leader Juan Guaido from bringing aid into the country. In response Guaido urging people not to be loyal to those that -- quote -- "burn medicine and food in front of the sick and hungry."

PAUL: So far the main clash point has been the bridge. This is a bridge that connects Venezuela to Colombia. Yesterday the Venezuela National Guard scattered protesters with tear gas, with rubber bullets.

Look at what was happening there. Those are tires burning as well. Nearly all of the trucks carrying supplies, they were either blocked or they were burned.

Secretary of state Mike Pompeo slammed Nicolas Maduro tweeting -- quote -- "What kind of sick tyrant stops food from getting to hungry people? The images of burning trucks filled with aid are sickening."

CNN senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh has been covering this story. Nick, we're certainly glad that you're OK when he filed this report from Venezuela.


WALSH (voice-over): It (ph) had (ph) been (ph) built (ph) as a new dawn when the opposition planned waves of Venezuelan refugees would simply take aid back into their homeland across the busiest border bridge with Colombia. But it was closed blocked physically by Venezuelan riot police and behind them violent pro-government gangs.

The young police taunted or begged into changing sides. I'm Venezuelan, she said, holding off her I.D., and my father was a sergeant. How will you stop me from crossing?

But they were Venezuelans too and also (INAUDIBLE) collapsed its hunger and here the heat and thirst.

The water you're drinking, she says, is Colombian, because your president doesn't give you any. Bring him out here to us.

I eat or drink soda whenever I want here, he says. But the hardest pain is how my grandfather died because he didn't have medicine.

For a brief moment, the anger dissipated. The police lowered their shields, talked calmly, but down the road the promised aid convoy arrived and a huge crowd intent on pushing through.

(on camera): Tension mounting here. The shields have gone back up again and the protesters are recommending people start to move back.

(voice-over): This is why a slow march of opposition protesters. Peaceful in as far as they would not take no for an answer. Fast collapsed into tear gas.

The day's lofty goals soon lost in a routine exchange of hatred. Rocks against rubber bullets and rocks thrown back.

(on camera): Did you expect to have blood on your shirt today? Did you expect that happen today?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the blood of the Venezuelan people. It's (INAUDIBLE) of freedom. WALSH (voice-over): And as they lost their start on the bridge, the protesters took their fight underneath. They, many, but Maduro's police are mightier. They have only whatever they could make.

None of this chaos got any aid across here but it showed the uncompromising ferocity (ph) of the Maduro government.


And it led throughout the day to Venezuelan soldiers giving themselves up. One here carried out the mobs both cursing and cheering. The opposition have promised defectors amnesty.

But this will only get uglier. Seen the mobbing of pro-Maduro militia here, battered by the crowd and spared only by Colombian police and if the symbolic bid to get aid in peacefully failed, then these scenes are what Venezuela is left with.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN Cucuta, Colombia.


PAUL: And we're going to take you to Venezuela the next hour to see what's happening there. Our coverage continues throughout the morning. In fact Nick Paton Walsh is there. He is going join us live from where a protest broke out yesterday.

We're also speaking with Daniel DiMartino. He's a young man who left his home in Venezuela and he says socialism destroyed it and it could also destroy America gradually. We're going to understand more, ask him about what he means by that.

BRIGGS: Yes. Some words of warning for our political leaders. And later this morning don't miss Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talking to Jake Tapper about the crisis in Venezuela on "STATE OF THE UNION." That's coming up at 9:00 a.m. Eastern time right here on CNN.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BRIGGS: Some breaking news. Moments ago Pope Francis vowing to take the Catholic Church abuse scandals head on.

PAUL: Yes. Speaking at the Vatican on the final day of the historic four-day summit on clergy abuse. The pope calling priests who abuse children -- quote -- "tools of Satan" and vowing the church will protect the children from -- quote -- "ravenous wolves."

CNN's Rosa Flores is live in Rome for us. What else did you hear, Rosa, that might have struck a chord with you?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, from listening to Pope Francis on day four of this summit, and also listening to his remarks on day one, it really doesn't appear that he is delivering on his own message, Christi, because he started this summit with very strong words saying that he was looking for concrete measures at the end of this summit. And while we heard him talk like you mentioned using the word Satan for anyone who abuses children and that, you know, abuse should not be covered up, we are already seeing some reaction from survivors on social media who say that this is all, you know, things that they have heard before from the Catholic Church and that what they are missing is the when and the how.

How is clergy sex abuse going to end? What is exactly going to happen to those who abuse and to those who cover up abuse?

And so in these closing remarks by Pope Francis, what we saw was the Pope giving us and giving Catholics around the world a look at the abuse situation both globally and historically, going back to pagan times and then listing eight different points. And some of those points include protecting children, taking the issue with seriousness, to bring abusers to justice, requiring criteria for the selection of priests, accompanying survivors. So a lot of the things we have already heard the church say in the past.

From talking to survivors here in Rome throughout these four days, a lot of them say that right now they have their faith on civil authorities because we know that there are civil investigations going on around the world, in the United States, in Chile and other countries. In the United States, specifically, we know there are at least two federal probes, one in Pennsylvania, one in New York. There are state investigations. At least a dozen of those by attorneys general that are investigating, depending on the powers of their state.

So, Dave and Christi, we are working to get some video reaction from survivors on this, but based on what we have seen online so far, there appears to be disappointment because Pope Francis was talking about wanting concrete measures and in his closing statements, we just didn't see those.

BRIGGS: So those that want changes, that want accountable, unfortunately, don't hold your breath. Rosa Flores, thank you for that reporting.

PAUL: Rosa, thank you.

Father Edward Beck, a CNN religion commentator is with us now. Father Beck, it's always good to see you.

I want to get your take on what she just said. That they are looking for concrete answers but the when and the how that is going to happen even four days after all of these conversations, that is still missing.


Do you fear for this religion?

FATHER EDWARD BECK, CNN RELIGION COMMENTATOR: Well, Christi, I think the intent was always, even by the end of the summit, that Pope Francis would lay out these principles and it wasn't going to be a detailed minutia of exactly how all of those principles would spin out. But certainly that has been discussed during these days. So, for example, one of the eight principles that Rosa referred to is this united approach by bishops. One of the issues going into this was, how are bishops going to be held accountable like everybody else? Who is going to monitor the bishops? So during --

PAUL: Right. Bishops can't investigate bishops, essentially, is that right?

BECK: Yes. They can investigate only themselves. So Cardinal Cupich from Chicago laid out a clear plan by which the metropolitan of the archdiocese, the archbishop would indeed begin investigation of any bishop accused with a lay team and then make a recommendation to Vatican for immediate removal. Some of the specifics of what Pope Francis laid out have already been discuss in the meeting and he kind of summarized, I think, what was important.

PAUL: Well, we have a cardinal who, yesterday, we got word who said that he had -- he knows there was documentation of sexual abuse that was destroyed. Do you think -- I think there are a lot of people at home that are sitting here thinking, is this church safe for my children to what you say what?

BECK: I say that it's the safest in the United States that it has ever been since 2002. Zero tolerance has been implemented in the United States since 2002. And so much of what we're hearing about the abuse itself occurred before that.

The cover-up, however and how it was then dealt with when bishops found out about it that is one of the main issues. And I think what was most surprises to me about this conference out of a 190 participants who had only 10 women but the three women who spoke stole the show. It was a Nigerian nun, Sister Veronica Openibo, who has worked in Africa and she said if think this isn't a problem in Sub- Saharan Africa or in Asia I can tell you I have been there.

So, yes, there are other problems but don't let the bishops there tell you this does not exist here. It's a problem. She took that group to task.

And then the journalist, the Mexican journalist, Valentina Alazraki, she was mesmerizing for that whole group. She stood there -- I have to give you her quote. She said to the bishops, now this is a mother speaking, "If you do not decide in a radical way to be on the side of children, mothers, families, civil authority, you are right to be afraid of us because we journalists who seek the common good, we will be your worst enemies."

And she was saying we are going to have you accountable and you need women, you need mothers, you need fathers in this group. You can't keep talking to yourself. And I think the pope and the others are beginning to realize this is a wider issue. He said it himself. This is a worldwide problem abuse and we have to see it as a worldwide problem but the church has to deal with this specifically. And I think now we are going to see now the implementation of that after this conference has ended.

PAUL: And some transparency and specifics --

BECK: Yes.

PAUL: -- so desperately needed. Father Edward Beck, I'm sorry we're out of time. Thank you so very much. We appreciate your insight as always.

BECK: Thank you.

PAUL: And you see there as we're wrapping up here this conversation the pope as he delivers Sunday mass.

BRIGGS: All right. Ahead, facing hard time. That much anticipated memo against Paul Manafort was unsealed on Saturday and don't worry. We have read the entire 800 page memo so you don't have to. More on what prosecutors are calling the former Trump campaign manager bold criminal acts.

PAUL: Lawyers for R&B singer R. Kelly say he had to spend a second night in jail after not being able to post bail. His bond was set at a million dollars. The conditions that he has to follow and guess what? He due in court again tomorrow morning. We will tell you why.



PAUL: Eighteen minutes past the hour right now.

Paul Manafort -- quote -- "repeatedly and brazenly violated the law and shows a lack of remorse," that's how Robert Mueller's team describes the former Trump campaign manager in this new sentencing memo.

BRIGGS: Yes. The special counsel's memo also says Manafort lied to several entities during the course of the investigation. Manafort is scheduled to be sentenced next month.

Joining us now CNN reporter Marshall Cohen. Marshall, who dug through this massive 800 paged memo, highly redacted. What did you learn?

MARSHALL COHEN, CNN REPORTER: Well, OK, I can't say that I read all 800 pages myself. But we did take a look when it came in yesterday. And here is the bottom line. The Mueller team says that Manafort is an repentant hardened criminal who broke the law brazenly for over 10 years, has not accepted responsibility for his actions, continued lying to them as recently as December, and for all that and more, he does deserve probably to go to prison for the rest of his life. That's what they told the judge.

PAUL: Wow. What else did you glean from it that stood out to you?

COHEN: I mean, I think as you mentioned, the deceit was a core part of his trial and it's really at the heart of his crimes that he admitted to and that he was convicted of.


They said that he lied to the treasury, to the Justice Department. He deceived congressional investigators, that he deceived the grand jury, the FBI. You know, his own tax preparer and bookkeeper and his own associates, and that is basically how he propagated this scheme to launder tens of millions of dollars for his own greed, that's what they said.

PAUL: All right. Marshall Cohen, thank you so much. We appreciate all of your work on that.

BRIGGS: All right. Joining me to discuss all this is Joey Jackson, CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney. And Julian Zelizer, CNN political analyst and historian, also professor at Princeton. Good to see you, gentlemen.


BRIGGS: Let's talk about this memo, it's cites a hardened adherence to committing crimes and a lack of remorse. Joey he is sentenced March 8th in Virginia, March 13th in D.C. Will Paul Manafort spend the rest of his life behind bars?

JACKSON: You know, David, certainly looks that way. Good morning to you. It's very problematic starting here with the strategy. Knowing all of this that you have committed decades long crimes, that you have all of this in your background in terms of fraud and tax evasion, and lobbying, and you still go to trial. And why is that significant? Because the government really values remorse.

It values contrition. It values the acceptance of responsibility and then after that, the D.C. you say, OK, I'll plead guilty then I'll cooperate but I'm going to lie why I cooperate. Why do I say that? Because that doesn't do you any favors.

So strategically, it's problematic. But what he did really, David, is run afoul of what I call the NFL -- right -- and not acceptance of responsibility. You have to accept responsibility. You didn't do that and that's why the special counsel is so infuriated in his failure really to cooperate at all. And then when he was cooperating he committed the "L" which is the lying to them.

And so that does him no favors. And so to the core issue I do believe that. Now what is very important is whether or not the judge sentences him to consecutive time.

BRIGGS: Right.

JACKSON: Now he'll have one sentencing first and then he'll have the other sentencing in D.C. But the fact is that the judge has the ability to stack the cases, meaning on one sentence and then another case. And let's not forget last point, that in the state of New York, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, my former office, is looking at filing charges, so if there is a pardon, he still would be subjected to incarceration. So it is my view, based upon his own conduct and based upon his failure to accept responsibility and repeated lying to Congress, you know, to the FBI, to the grand jury, that he will spend the rest of his life in jail.

BRIGGS: Yes. That reporting to "Bloomberg News," which would be a backstop against the presidential pardon.

Julian, Joey cites the lies. It would be quicker if I summed up who Manafort was honest to. We are not sure because look at this list. Tax preparers, bookkeepers, banks, Treasury Department, DOJ, FBI, executive branch, Congress, his own legal counsel.

Julian, what type of picture does this paint of the man that was the Trump campaign manager and what, if anything, is new here to you?

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's an incredibly troubling picture and it's really hard to believe this is the person who is at the top of the campaign. And so just on that, it already leads you to look back to 2016 and wonder what he might have been up to.

And the second part, which is, obviously, troubling is that he didn't stop with this. He continued. He continued after he is being investigated. So I think this will open up questions about how far he was willing to go in 2016 at the height of the Trump campaign.

BRIGGS: All right. We want to switch topics ahead to what is coming up in Congress this week, Joey, which is Michael Cohen, the former Trump attorney and fixer who will appear before Congress. Two private, one public hearing.

What are your expectations? What do you think Congress is after? And given the restrictions from the SDNY and the special counsel, what can we expect to hear?

JACKSON: Dave, this is must -- this is must-see TV. I mean, remember the context in which this is occurring. On the one hand, he could be assailed, of course, that is Mr. Cohen by the White House for lying and why would they say he is lying? Because he has an incentive to.

Because we know that based upon his cooperation which the government values he could seek a sentence reduction. At the same time, however, we know that, you know, the special counsel, Congress, whomever they're going to look for corroboration. So in terms of what you can (AUDIO GAP) a long laundry list of things that he can dish about.

Remember, it's not only as it relates to his special counsel cooperation, which is limited in scope in terms of Russian and collusion and that type thing, but it's also the southern district which is investigating the Trump foundation and the inauguration and business dealings and so many other things. So I think what you can expect is questions about all of Trump's business activities.

He's the guy that would know. He is the guy with the longstanding relationship.


And again, he could say, and anyone could say anything, but I think to the extent that he speaks to the issues and they are later corroborated, it represents issues and a problem for the president of the United States.

BRIGGS: Yes. And he told George Stephanopoulos recently that he is done being loyal to Donald Trump. His loyalty now is to his family and to this country.

Given that, Julian, do you expect some personal revelations in addition to covering his business and perhaps his transition, even campaign, do you expect personal revelations? He talked to "Vanity Fair" about racist revelations he's been -- he's seen from Donald Trump over the past.

ZELIZER: I think -- I think that is very likely. I mean, we have lacked open congressional hearings in this investigation, so we haven't seen many of the players speak and we haven't heard about what Donald Trump is like behind the scenes. And if you remember, the Kavanaugh hearings which shocked many people with simply seeing the different characters and hearing their demeanor, so I think that will be crucial with Michael Cohen.

And I expect to hear a lot about what is this Donald Trump like when he is not on camera, when he is not on Twitter? And that could be more damaging than anything else to his public standing.

BRIGGS: Of course, we should point out he is not exactly a highly credible witness.


BRIGGS: Given the fact that he has lied to Congress before. Expect Republicans will be pointing that out Tuesday and Wednesday.

Joey Jackson, Julian Zelizer, great to see you both. Have a great Sunday.


JACKSON: Thank you, Dave. You too. Take care, Julian.

PAUL: Right now North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is on his way to meet President Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam. North Korean State Media only confirmed the upcoming summit as Kim was preparing to leave Pyongyang.

Few details are known about the summit other than the two leaders will meet on Wednesday and Thursday. According to "The Washington Post," President Trump is downplaying his expectations from the summit. Remember, this is the second summit between the two leaders. Their first meeting was eight months ago in Singapore.

BRIGGS: Plus, digging through the debris. One body has been found at a cargo plane crash site near Houston, Texas, this as rescue workers continue to search for any signs of life. We will have the latest on the recovery efforts there next.

PAUL: And be sure to catch the "CNN Presidential Town Hall" with Senator Bernie Sanders, that's live from Washington, moderated by Wolf Blitzer, that's tomorrow night, 8:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.



BRIGGS: This morning, one body has been recovered after a cargo plane operating on behalf of Amazon crashed into Trinity Bay located near Anahuac, Texas. Three people were on board the plane traveling from Miami to Houston on Saturday.

PAUL: Authorities say the plane went into -- quote -- "very rapid descent" before going down into shallow water about 40 miles southeast of George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Now rescuers are looking for more victims at the scene for the flight data recorder so they can learn more about the cause of the crash.

And R&B singer R. Kelly is going to be back in court again tomorrow.

BRIGGS: According to his lawyers he spends a second night in jail because he couldn't make bail. CNN's Sara Sidner has the latest details on this case from Chicago.

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A judge set R. Kelly's bond for $1 million, 250,000 dollars in each of the four alleged victims' cases. Now R. Kelly would only have to pay 100,000 of that after he has been charged with 10 counts of criminal sexual abuse.

The prosecution today laying out some very sexually explicit details in this case to the judge, including sexual and physical abuse of several of the women that are now alleged victims in this particular case. The case brought yesterday. There was an indictment from a grand jury first and then the prosecution filed charges against R. Kelly.

The details include physical and sexual abuse against women who are now of age, but were minors at the time, under the age of 17 but older than 13 is how the prosecution put it. We also heard from R. Kelly's attorney Steve Greenberg. He came out, he said initially when R. Kelly was arrested and we saw him go in to be booked last night, he said that all of the women are liars and called them liars very starkly and clearly.

Today he backed down a little bit from that but said, you know, you can't believe everything you hear, that he should be given, like any other defendant, the presumption of innocence. He also mentioned the 2008 trial where R. Kelly was put on trial for 14 counts of pornography, child pornography and he was acquitted in that trial. He said people should give him the same kind of presumption of innocence as other defendants.

He did recognize that there was a lot of media attention here. He recognized that there were some women who were in the courtroom here today listening and emotional.

We can tell you that one of the victims, the alleged victims in this case, was inside the courtroom. She was emotional herself. This has been a very difficult time for the women who have come out and accused R. Kelly of sexually abusing them when they were minors.

Where do we go from here? Steve Greenberg, R. Kelly's attorney, says that he does not think that R. Kelly has $100,000 just hanging around so the question is will he be able to get that money and get out of jail before his next hearing, which will be Monday.

Sara Sidner, CNN, Chicago.

BRIGGS: OK. Sara, thanks.

Meanwhile, rain, flood, tornadoes. The south is getting hammered this weekend. Allison Chinchar is in the CNN weather center and has it covered for us. Good morning, Allison.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: And good morning. Yesterday, Nashville broke a February rainfall record but the southeast also saw damaging winds, hail and tornadoes.


We will take a look at the latest coming up.

PAUL: And three generations. Two presidents, one powerful family. "The Bush Years" narrated by Ed Harris premieres Sunday March 3rd at 9:00 p.m. on CNN.


BRIGGS: Tornadoes and rain are wreaking havoc on the south this weekend.

PAUL: Welcome to the south, David. Welcome to the south.

BRIGGS: Thanks for that welcoming (INAUDIBLE) I appreciate it.

PAUL: Yes. Look at tornadoes. They have been reported in Alabama and Mississippi. Alabama has declared a state of emergency.

CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar with us now. All right.


So that is what we have seen. What is coming?

CHINCHAR: Yes. The good news is this system is expected to exit out over the open Atlantic the next few hours. So we're really going to see an end to the severe weather. But not after -- I mean, yesterday, we had a total of five tornado reports across two states Mississippi and Alabama. But we also had a lot of problems with flooding across the southeast. Those same states Mississippi and Alabama didn't need any more rain. Nashville, for example, yesterday, officially had their wettest February on record and a lot of these other cities are not too far behind. Places like Atlanta, Birmingham and even Greenville well above average.

But as we mentioned the rain is starting to exit. You're still looking at showers right now for Charlotte and Raleigh but give it a few more hours and that should slide east. It's the northern portion of the same storm that becomes the concern going forward.

You have got snow, ice, and even rain in the forecast for the Midwest, as well as the northeast. In fact you've got seven states under blizzard warnings right now so it goes to show it's not just the snow but also poor visibility and very gusty winds. The thing is it's not just the areas with blizzard warnings that are going to have gusty winds.

Look at this. The red area you see here over 100 million people under a high wind warning and over 50 million people under the orange color. That is a wind advisory.

Here is the reason why this is so important. Those wind gusts in the yellow area, about 40 to 50 miles per hour. The orange, 50 to 60 miles an hour. You're looking at widespread power outages, flight delays not only today but also for tomorrow. Some lake shore flooding along the Great Lakes and some tree damage as well. That is where the threat is today.

Tomorrow this shifts mainly to focus, Christi and Dave, into the northeast. So if you even have travel plans maybe say tomorrow for New York, Boston, Cleveland, any of those cities keep in mind you may likely have some pretty long delays.

BRIGGS: Oh, perfect.

PAUL: Good luck with that. Good luck with that.

BRIGGS: I guess I better get out of town in a hurry. Thank you, Allison. Appreciate that.

PAUL: Thanks, Allison.

So do you have your gowns ready? Going to have a party for Oscar night?


PAUL: Yes. Many of the key contenders are tackling some serious subject. Race, diversity, politics. "The Washington Post" pop culture editor, Zachary Pincus-Roth, has some thoughts on this next.



BRIGGS: OK. Tonight is night. You get your Oscar poll filled out? PAUL: No.

BRIGGS: No. I did. The 91st Annual Academy Awards show honors the best in film. And this year there's an unprecedented lack of consensus surround best picture.

PAUL: Yes. Because the foreign film "Roma" seems to be shaking things up. If it wins best picture it would be the first foreign language film and first film distributed by Netflix to do so.

CNN Stephanie Elam has a preview of what we are going to see.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My son, it is your time.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This award season, Hollywood choosing themes of race and diversity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can handle the more mundane.

ELAM: Over politics and star-driven films. Once a front-runner, "A Star Is Born" is now looking like an Oscar long shot.

MATT DONNELLY, SENIOR FILM WRITER, VARIETY: They've been a long, long time contender. And it's hard. It's hard to combat the narrative of up-and-comers.


ELAM: No up-and-comer has more momentum than "Roma," Alfonso Cuaron's portrait of a domestic worker's life in Mexico.

MATTHEW BELLONI, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: Roma is not an overtly political film, but it's certainly of the moment right now. It really resonates with the debate that's going on right now in America about immigration.

ELAM: The Academy's best litmus test comes from its Guild Awards since many of those voters are also in the Academy.


ELAM: The Screen Actors Guild chose "Black Panther." The directors chose Roma.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you foresee any issues in working for a black man?

ELAM: The Producers Guild of America chose Green Book. The PGA has predicted the Best Picture Oscar 20 of the last 29 years.

BELLONI: There is an older more traditional Oscar voter who loves this kind of film. The kind of voter who went for "Driving Miss Daisy," 30 years ago. ELAM: The Academy further embracing culture and foreign cinema by giving Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski, a director nomination for "Cold War."

(on camera): So many people thought that, that was going to go to Bradley Cooper for "A Star Is Born." How did you feel when you saw the nominations come out?

PAWEL PAWLIKOWSKI, DIRECTOR, "COLD WAR": I'm happy. I mean, the Oscars' the main award ceremony in the world -- you know. So, the world should take part in it.

ELAM: With eight nominations, "A Stars Is Born" can't be counted out. Bradley Cooper, along with Spike Lee for "BlacKkKlansman" hoping their first major award this season is the big one.

Stephanie Elam, CNN, Hollywood.


PAUL: All right. So let's talk about this with pop culture editor from "The Washington Post" Zachary Pincus-Roth is with us. Zachary, good to see you this morning.


PAUL: What are you most looking for tonight? Do you think there's going to be a surprise somewhere?

PINCUS-ROTH: You know, I think "Roma" as you mentioned is the favorite for the best picture. It the movie from Netflix about a maid in a wealthy household in Mexico City. It will be the first foreign film to win best picture and also the first film from Netflix -- the first film meant to be watched on your T.V. to win best picture. I think it's the favorite but I think it's on a lock. And I think you could see "Green Book" or "BlacKkKlansman" or "A Star Is Born" or even "Black Panther" have a surprise win.

BRIGGS: Yes. It would be a game-changer for absolutely for Netflix. But I want to follow up on the "Black Panther." It's the age old debate is a movie people have actually seen -- no offense to "Roma" but I took an unscientific poll earlier and one person had seen it. I haven't seen it. Neither of us have seen it.

Can "Black Panther" do what "Titanic" did in being that movie that everyone has seen to win?

PINCUS-ROTH: I think it's a long shot but I think it's definitely possible. As you mentioned right "Black Panther" made $1.3 billion at the box office and it really shows big differences in this category.


I mean, you have "Black Panther." You have "Bohemian Rhapsody" which made $850 million. Then you have the much lesser seen films like "Roma."

PAUL: So let's talk about this new rule that is stirring controversy because we have seen people get up there. They -- look, they won an Oscar. They have things to say. I don't know. Zachary, they are giving them 90 seconds to get from seat to stage, say what you got to say and get off the stage. How is that going to work?

PINCUS-ROTH: Yes. I mean, it's all part of this effort to keep the show short. And as you recall even following the Oscars this year it has been a long and winding road. They have tried many different things to try to keep the show short.

First they thought about having only a few of the songs sung. And that was discarded. And then they thought about having some of the categories presented during the commercial breaks and that was discarded after protests.

It's all trying to get better ratings for the show. The show had the lowest ratings in history last year so it's really trying to boost ratings by keeping the show to three hours. Of course, you really necessarily blame the Oscars for lower ratings because ratings are down across the board on broadcast TV.

BRIGGS: Should be see how it plays out with no host as well -- that would be the interesting dichotomy to this. And say -- say that 90- second rule.

What if Glenn Close wins? She gave a tremendous speech just a couple of weeks ago, say, Spike Lee wins, no way you're keeping those to 90 seconds. So go through those categories for us, best actor, actress and supporting roles and who you -- have your favorites there?

PINCUS-ROTH: Yes. I think Glenn Close is favored to win in best actress for "The Wife." It's her 7th nomination. She hasn't won but she's very beloved. She is the favorite. And I think they will give her time. They won't play her off the stage.

And in best actor I think the favorite is Rami Malek for "Bohemian Rhapsody" playing Freddie Mercury in that movie. And then for supporting roles -- I think for supporting actor it's Mahershala Ali in "Green Book" who played the pianist Don Shirley. He's favored to win.

And then best supporting actress is Regina King for "If Beale Street Could Talk" which is the movie based on the James Baldwin novel.

PAUL: Help us understand how these are chosen. I was watching one analyst who was saying it's not all only about how great the acting was or how difficult it was. So much of it is about the story line and the message and these story lines are really politically charged to some degree this year.

PINCUS-ROTH: Yes. Definitely. I mean, you have "BlacKkKlansman" which is Spike Lee's movie about a police -- a black policeman who infiltrates the KKK and I think that -- in that movie, he compares that story line to the Trump era in certain ways. And I think people might be willing to reward it in possibly the screen play category and best adaptive screen play. I think it's favored there. And I think it could be rewarded in part for its political res resonance.

BRIGGS: Yes. That movie closes with scenes from Charlottesville and words from the president on Charlottesville. Do you expect that Alfonso Cuaron comes in ahead of Spike Lee in terms of best director though?

PINCUS-ROTH: Yes. I think he is definite favored to win the best director. This is a movie "Roma" that is very near and dear to his heart. It's based on his childhood, this movie about a maid and a wealthy Mexican household. It's based on the maid he had as a kid. And I think he is definitely favored to take best director.

Although of course I think he is definitely not a lock. I think you can look out for someone like Spike Lee. This is his first best director nomination.

PAUL: No doubt. Zachary Pincus-Roth, thank you so much. I hope you have a good party there at 10:00 tonight to talk about it.

PINCUS-ROTH: Thank you.

BRIGGS: All right. Thank you my friend.

Coming up champion education for young girls, Harry and Meghan are in North Africa for an extremely important mission. More on their visit, next.



PAUL: So it's said that music contain the wildest beast. It can also help your heart health as CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen explores in today's "Heart Beat."


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Music therapy is helping these kids from the Bronx cope with the frightening reality of asthma.

DESTINY MASTROCINQUE, MUSIC THERAPY STUDENT: It feels like oxygen, like a (INAUDIBLE) can't reach it.

COHEN: When they breathe deep and relax, they are also helping their hearts.

STEPHAN QUENTZEL, MEDICAL DIRECTOR LOUIS ARMSTRONG CENTER FOR MUSIC AND MEDICINE: In cardiac health, my gosh. Music is the life blood. We can actually regulate the heart's speed, pulse, rhythm with the use of music.

COHEN: This woman uses music to recover her breath and stamina after a heart attack. In neonatal intensive care units, music improves the health of premature babies, slowing heart rate, enhancing sleep and nurturing the bond with parents.

QUENTZEL: We can make significant improvements in heart function, heart health.


BRIGGS: OK. This morning, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are in North Africa, Meghan and Harry in Morocco to help promote and champion girls' education.

PAUL: They're going to be visiting secondary schools in rural communities that focus on providing much needed schooling for the girls in the region. They're also going to be meeting with young entrepreneurs, disabled athletes and influential women there in Moroccan society.

BRIGGS: And a quick programming note now Senator Kamala Harris is joining John King on "INSIDE POLITICS." He is live from Iowa today 8:00 Eastern time right here on CNN.



NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Tension mounting here. The shields have gone back up again and the protesters are recommending people start to move back.