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Cracks Emerge Among Republicans over Trump's Emergency Declaration Ahead of Votes; Univision Journalists Detained Briefly in Venezuela; 3 Democratic Presidential Candidates Support Slavery Reparations; Elizabeth Warren Supports Spike Lee After Trump Bashing; Key Former Aides to Bernie Sanders' Presidential Campaign Leaving. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired February 26, 2019 - 13:30   ET



[13:32:29] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: President Trump's national emergency declaration to fund his border wall is in jeopardy. Hours from now, the House will vote to block that declaration and this is expected to pass the Democratic House, no problem. All eyes will turn to the Senate to see if any Republicans are going to break ranks with the president. He already warned the Senators on his way out of town to stay, quote, "strong and smart" and not fall into the Democrats' trap.

We have CNN politics reporter and editor-at-large, Chris Cillizza, with us.

You have to look at what we can expect after this vote. Tell us.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER & CNN EDITOR-AT-LARGE: So, Brianna, the math does not look great right now for Donald Trump. Yes, he tried to warn Republicans but it looks like they're not listening.

Let's look at who on the Republican side will vote for this. Remember, a vote for the resolution of disapproval, disapproval of using emergency funds for the border. We ever Thom Tillis, in North Carolina, Susan Collins, of Maine. Tillis wrote an op-ed in the "Washington Post" last night. This is a new one, Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska. Murkowski said last week she probably will be opposed, but our Manu Raju just confirmed she will oppose it.

You do the math, you have 47 Democrats, three Republicans. You need one more Republican out of this group for this resolution of disapproval to go forward to Donald Trump's desk.

There's a lot here. I'm just going to highlight a few. Obviously, Mitt Romney was the nominee in 2012. He's trying to buy himself time. He says, I haven't totally read through it. It's about 60 words long, this resolution of disapproval. But keep an eye on him. Keep in mind, Joni Ernst, popular in Iowa right now, a swing state, went for Trump in 2016, back to Democrats in the 2018 midterms. Democrats are targeting her. And then, Cory Gardner. He may be the most troubled incumbent in the country. He's running in Colorado. Hillary Clinton won by about five points in 2016. Going to be a big line of Democrats.

Let's say this goes to the president's desk. Congress passes a resolution to block the emergency funding. This seems to me likely to happen. We know it will pass in the House, I think it will probably pass in the Senate. Trump vetoed it. He already said he's going to do it. This is the key. Congress needs two-thirds vote over a veto. This ain't happening. There's not two-thirds in the House and Senate to override. There are majorities to approve of this disapproval resolution. I don't think he gets over it. This is a symbolic vote because it's on the thing that Trump ran and campaigned on the most, building the border wall by any means necessary.

Back to you.

KEILAR: This ain't going to happen.


CILLIZZA: This ain't happening.

KEILAR: I got it. I got what you're saying, Chris Cillizza. Thank you, sir.

[13:35:08] CILLIZZA: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: A group of journalists briefly detained while interviewing Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro all because he didn't like Univision anchor Jorge Ramos' questions.

Plus, the Vatican's treasurer and one of the pope's closest advisors is now a convicted pedophile. How the Vatican is responding.


[13:40:00] KEILAR: A scary incident for a U.S. news team working in Venezuela. Six staffers from Univision, including Anchor Jorge Ramos, were detained, held against their will at the Venezuela presidential palace. And the crew were there to interview the president, Nicolas Maduro, who is embattled. But when Maduro took offense to some of Ramos' questions, they were told the interview was over. The phone was snatched from Jorge Ramos' hands as he called the network president and everyone there from Univision was detained for several hours.

We have Univision's Jose Zamora, now with me.

Jose, you were with the president of Univision, Daniel Coronell, when Jorge called? Tell us about that phone call.

JOSE ZAMORA, SPOKESMAN, UNIVISION: Brianna, thank you for having us. Yes, I was there when Jorge phoned, and it was a very brief call. We weren't expecting it, we actually were expecting to have the interview. And Jorge called and told us very briefly the interview has been stopped. Maduro became very upset 15 minutes into the interview. He didn't like the line of questioning and they stopped the interview, they confiscated the equipment and interview material, and Jorge immediately called us and that's where they also confiscated his phone and the phones of everyone who was there for the interview.

KEILAR: Did the phone call go dead in the middle -- did they confiscate his phone in the middle of the phone call?

ZAMORA: Yes. That's exactly right.

KEILAR: So what was the line of questioning? As I understand it, they were actually showing some video of something they had seen in Venezuela to the president? Tell us about that.

ZAMORA: We had scheduled an interview for yesterday at 2:30 p.m. Jorge and his news team got there on Sunday. Jorge always, when he gets on the ground, he goes and walks around, he sees what's happening, he is reporting on the ground. When he did that, he took video of some Venezuelan citizens in the streets looking for food in the garbage truck. And so he took that video, and during the interview, he showed that video to Maduro and asked him, what was his explanation for these citizens having to look for food in a garbage truck. And that was the beginning of a couple of questions that made him really upset and that's what led to the confiscation of the equipment and the detention. They were detained for two hours and 20 minutes and when they were finally liberated, the equipment stayed there. The interview of Maduro stayed there, and they were the only ones that were allowed to come out, but they left everything there, including their mobile phones.

KEILAR: Wow. And so we know that all of this equipment was taken. Luckily they're out, we know that they're safe, which is very important, but I wonder what you think, in a way, about the irony of this. That Nicolas Maduro was upset by this questioning, but by doing this, by taking the equipment and the phones and interview materials, this is now getting a lot more publicity than it ever would have if he had just let the interview play out, right?

ZAMORA: Absolutely. And what's terrible is that we think that this is a terrible attack on freedom of the press. The interview -- of course we want our equipment back, but what we want most is the interview material. The interviewee nor the interviewer owned the interview, it's for the public. The public needs to be informed of what's happening and the information is really important. That's why we think this is an attack on freedom of the press. And we also think it's incredible that we are privileged, that we are able to do journalism for a major news organization that is U.S.-based, that Jorge Ramos is a worldwide known journalist. If this happens to him and to Univision news, can you imagine what happens to local journalists, local reporters, and what has been happening for a very long time now.

[13:45:14] KEILAR: That's such a good point.

Jose Zamora, thank you so much for coming on and bringing light to this. We really appreciate it. And we're so happy this crew is safe and that they're on their way back. ZAMORA: Thank you, Brianna. Thank you for having us and thank you

for your interest. Thank you.

KEILAR: Thank you, Jose.

Some 2020 Democrats are now backing the idea of paying reparations to descendants of slaves. But what exactly are they proposing? What are the details.

Plus, CNN's chief international correspondent, Clarissa Ward, goes behind enemy lines for an exclusive inside look into it's like to live under Taliban rule in Afghanistan. That report ahead.


[13:50:20] KEILAR: The 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls are working to set themselves apart from the pack. And now at least three candidates are showing support for some sort of reparations for the descendants of slaves, an official way for the government to acknowledge wrongdoing and compensate for years of oppression. Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Kamala Harris, and Julian Castro have all said they support some type of reparations. Instead of direct payments, it could be maybe in the form of tax credits or subsidies. But the details of what and how are certainly scarce, we should point out.

We have CNN's senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny, and we have White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, April Ryan, with me now.

It's not a new topic, April. That's important to point out. But it is getting a lot of attention because Democratic hopefuls are talking about it.

APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, let me say this. This is a very sensitive topic. I remember when I first started out in Washington 22 years ago, Bill Clinton was dealing with the issue first of an apology for slavery. It never happened. And if you give an apology, though, if a president gives an apology for slavery, what's next? Fixing, repairing the issue, which is reparation, a reparation. What is a reparation today? He did not do an apology or reparations because black leaders at that time could not figure out what it really is about. Did they want to give reparations for education credits, you know, to infuse money into education in urban communities? Did they want to do reparations in a different form?

And also you have -- now, this is where the devil is in the details. If you give reparations, who is the descendant of a slave? You know, do we have to go to 23 and me to confirm that people who are saying they're descendants of slaves really are? You know, so it's really a tough issue.

And then I'm going to give you one more thing. This issue is not fake. It's not something that is fanciful. After the Civil War, General Sherman said that he would give slaves 40 acres and a mule. It never happened. General Sherman said this. For those blacks specifically that fought in the war, who were agrarians. So, this has been on the table for a mighty long time.

KEILAR: I want -- go on, Jeff.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: There's been movement on it, because in the '08 campaign with Barack Obama, he was not in favor of this. But, it has become more of a discussed thing and it's going to become a central part of this presidential debate.


RYAN: Why? Why? That's the issue.


ZELENY: Well, because voters are -- because candidates are eager to --


RYAN: Get the black vote.

ZELENY: Exactly.

But these aren't reparations as you said in the traditional sense. That is what is going to --


ZELENY: -- tax credits, other things. So we're at the very beginning of discussions on this.

KEILAR: You have a little interesting breaking news about Spike Lee and Elizabeth Warren. Tell us.

RYAN: How about this? It all stems from the president hearing about Spike Lee at the Oscars and his tweet talking about Spike Lee was racist against him. And we didn't hear anything that was racist. Now, mind you, if there's a racist issue, the definition of racism is power and prejudice, the intersection of power and prejudice to oppress people or a person. We didn't hear that in the speech.

But, so after Spike Lee is home he gets a message from Elizabeth Warren, Democratic hopeful, who says, "Spike Lee, you know you're doing the right thing if Donald Trump comes after you."

KEILAR: That's pretty amazing.

Lots of Bernie Sanders news, Jeff Zeleny, including the fact that these are key former aides -- I mean, when I think of the 2016 campaign, think of some of these aides who are now saying bye.

ZELENY: It's really interesting. This is just happening now. Three of his top aides from 2016, as you said, who were with him as recently at last week, they helped him film that new video, are now not part of this campaign going forward. What that tells us is this. Bernie Sanders is going to have a new team around minimum. He said he wants to have a more diverse team around him. But I think the question is, is there a possibility for a Bernie 2.0 or is he going to be more of a 1.0 with different people around him. He sounded so much like the 2016 Bernie Sanders we covered so often just three years ago. I think it is a sign that some of the people who brought him to this point are now no longer with him. How does it work going forward with the new team of people? But it was an interesting inside baseball story today.

KEILAR: Just quickly, before I let you go, he's been fumbling questions when it comes to sex assault, just #metoo issues in general.

ZELENY: He was. He was asked about that last night here in the town hall. A voter asked him about it. He said he's been sick by this and hurt by this but he seemed to want to move on so fast. So that's a question he'll be asked again and again. I detect a lot of angst are from Bernie voters. We'll see if they vote for him again the second time around. Yes, he has a lot of people signing up and donors, but out in Iowa and New Hampshire people are looking at other alternatives. He's not the only one there.

[13:55:09] RYAN: There are a lot of them out there.

BOLDUAN: Jeff Zeleny, April Ryan, action-packed few minutes there. Thanks, guys, so much.

Just in, we are now hearing what Michael Cohen is saying behind closed doors in his first hearing of the week while the president is halfway around the world. Stand by.


[14:00:06] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me.