Return to Transcripts main page
Republican Senator Rand Paul Now Saying He Will Vote To Block President Trump's Emergency Declaration; Democrats Vowing To Ramp Up Their Investigations Into President Trump; National Security Adviser John Bolton Fiercely Defending President Trump's Decision To Walk Out Of Kim Summit; Several 2020 Democratic Hopefuls Are Gathering In Selma, Alabama To Mark Civil Rights March; Family Of A Dual U.S.-Saudi Citizen Being Held In Saudi Arabia Claim He Has Been Tortured; The Family Of An Unarmed Black Man Fatally Shot By Sacramento Police Outraged No Charges Decision. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired March 3, 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] FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: And I will see you again back here on GPS next Sunday. Thank you so much for being part of my program this week.
AMARA WALKER, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone, and thank you for joining me. I'm Amara Walker in for Fredricka Whitfield.
We do start with breaking news. Republican senator Rand Paul now saying he will vote to block the President Trump's emergency declaration. That now makes four members of the President's own party in the Senate vowing to go against Trump's move to fulfill his biggest campaign promise, building the wall along the southern border. This means the resolution of disapproval will most likely make it to the President's desk, where he has warned he will use his first presidential veto.
Let's check in with CNN's White House correspondent Boris Sanchez.
And Boris, four was the magic number of Republican senators needed to pass this resolution (INAUDIBLE) they know have that number and quite a big blow to the President even if he may have expected this?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Amara. We sort of expected this to happen because Republican lawmakers privately and publicly warned President Trump that a vote on his national emergency declaration could potentially splinter the party, and now you have Rand Paul joining, as you said, three other Republican senators including Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Thom Tillis of North Carolina essentially voting to block this declaration.
I want to read to you a bit of what Rand Paul told supporters last night in Kentucky when he announced that he would cast his vote against the declaration. He said quote "I can't vote to give the President the power to spend money that hasn't been appropriated by Congress. We may want more money for border security, but Congress didn't authorize it. If we take away those checks and balances, it is a dangerous thing. So Rand Paul essentially saying what we have essentially heard from
other Republicans that this national emergency declaration could set a dangerous president. Despite all of this, it is largely a symbolic move because President Trump has vowed to veto it. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Will I veto it? One hundred percent. And I don't think it involves a veto. We have too many smart people that one border security so I can't imagine if it will survive a veto but I will veto it, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: There is simply not enough votes in Congress right now to overturn a presidential veto. We should note it is unclear exactly when the Senate is going to vote on this. After the House passed it, they had about 18 days to hold a vote. That means that they now approximately have two weeks to cast a ballot, Amara.
WALKER: And Boris, just to make clear. I mean, the Republicans who are backing this resolution that would overturn President Trump's emergency declaration, this isn't about being against the wall, this is about sending a message to the President, look, we are serious about separation of powers. We in Congress are the ones who have the power of the purse.
SANCHEZ: Yes, absolutely. And that's what we have heard repeatedly from a number of Republican lawmakers. At one point you even had, according to sources, the Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell visit the White House to tell the President not to do this because of the complications that it could present for Republicans moving forward.
Despite that, President Trump wanted to go ahead with this. Ultimately he decided to vote for a bill that would reopen the federal government but not give him money for the border wall. And he essentially sought a loophole around the loophole, as he said yesterday at the CPAC, Amara.
WALKER: All right. Boris Sanchez live for us there at the White House.
Great to see you. Thanks, Boris.
Well, the other big story we are following today, Democrats vowing to ramp up their investigations into President Trump. Today, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee says he will be requesting documents from some 60 people as Congress investigates the President for possible obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power.
Now some of those being targeted include top officials at Trump's businesses and several members of the President's family, including Donald Trump Jr.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think the President obstructed justice?
REP. JERRY NADLER (D), NEW YORK: Yes, I do. It's very clear that the President obstructed justice. It's very clear. Eleven hundred times he referred to the Mueller investigation as a witch hunt. He fired -- he tried to protect Flynn from being investigated by the FBI. He fired Comey in order to stop the Russian thing, as he told NBC News. He's dangled - he has intimidated witnesses in public.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALKER: Well, in the meantime, the President is claiming he is innocent and tweeting today saying quote "I am an innocent man being persecuted by some very bad, conflicted and corrupt people in a witch hunt that is illegal and should never have been allowed to start, and only because I won this election."
With me now is Shan Wu, a former federal prosecutor, and Elena Plott, a white House correspondent for the "Atlantic."
Welcome to you both.
Shan, let me start with you. And Congressman Jerry Nadler's claim that the President obstructed justice. He said it's very clear that the President obstructed justice. Do you agree with that comment pertaining especially to Cohen's testimony, all the things that we heard from him last week?
[14:05:12] SHAN WU, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: It does look like he has obstructed justice, but as a legal analyst, I have to pare it down a little bit.
So there is a question of if I was a prosecutor, would I consider charging him. And of course, we are not previewed of what the inside evidence is. Looking it from the outside, it looks like there is. And I think you could have probable cause to charge him. There's just so much floating around. And of course, the most damning evidence is that Cohen apparently met with Trump's lawyers before he actually gave the false testimony to Congress.
WU: Then the question becomes, do you think as a prosecutor you have enough evidence to convict him beyond a reasonable doubt? That's a little harder to say without seeing the inside evidence. But everything we are hearing right now are all defenses to it. And sure, he has defenses, but those would tend to be used after he was charged.
WALKER: Elena, I mean, the President went after Democrats for holding these hearings, the Mueller investigation pretty hard during that really long unscripted free living speech at CPAC. Let's take a listen to some of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I saw a little shifty Schiff yesterday. It's the first time. He went into a meeting and he said, we are going to look into his finances. I said, where did that come from? He always talked about Russia, collusion with Russia, the collusion delusion. Unfortunately, you put a wrong couple of people in the wrong positions, and they lead people for a long time that shouldn't be there, and all of a sudden they are trying to take you out with bullshit, OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALKER: Yes. So clearly, the President blasting the investigation. He also went off on twitter about Cohen's testimony just a few hours ago, saying, I am an innocent man. Pretty remarkable to hear a President say that on twitter.
Are you getting the sense, Elena, that President Trump is getting a bit nervous about these investigations?
ELENA PLOTT, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE ATLANTIC: Absolutely, Amara. I mean, we just know that with reporters and observers that Trump does tend to go off script and engage in a stream of consciousness more so than usual when he is flustered by things such as, you know, Michael Cohen's testimony on Tuesday.
The thing is he didn't have much reason to feel that when it comes to something like impeachment and Cohen's testimony in the public, you know, would have advanced that necessarily. But with new reporting, suggesting that it is possible Cohen may have talked with Trump's lawyers about a possible pardon last year. If that ends up being confirmed, I think that is the sort of evidence for obstruction of justice that would actually have more Democrats who have been kind of shy about using the word impeachment start exploring that avenue more explicitly.
WALKER: Yes, let me ask you about that, Shan. I mean, if there was any talk or even a pardon offered, and again, we should make clear that Cohen denied that ever happened, what would the legal implications be of that?
WU: I think in this instance -- first of all, I have to make a caveat. It is such unique circumstances only the President can offer a pardon.
WU: But it would look like a bribe. I mean, it would be suggesting I'm going to give you something of value, which is the pardon, if you stay strong or even lie about it. So that's what the legal analysis would be, it looks like a bribe by dangling the pardon in front of him.
WALKER: Yes. And then Elena, let's shift gears for a moment and get your reactions to the news from the top our show that Rand Paul, the fourth Republican in the Senate to say he will vote against President Trump's emergency declaration to build a wall on the southern border. I mean, this is quite a big blow to a signature campaign promise even though the President says he will use his veto powers for the first time. PLOTT: I think it's an explosive piece of news for the reason that
Senator Paul is actually someone who is close to President Trump and has been sympathetic to him, you know, in the last two-and-a-years of Trump's administration.
I think when you have somebody like Senator Rand Paul come out and say, no, I will not support this national emergency declaration, he is potentially giving cover to other senators who may feel similarly. And now feel that because there is a Trump sympathizer, if you will, who is signing on to this, they may not feel that, you know, they have license to go ahead with that, too.
So what I'm going to be looking at this week is how many other Republicans, if any, come forward in the Senate to say that they won't support this.
WALKER: And Shan, I mean, if the president vetoes his resolutions on the wall and it's ultimately handled in the courts, does the President have a strong case? Because obviously, this is something that his closest advisers advised him against. Even President McConnell was saying, please don't do this. Don't declare this emergency declaration before he actually backed the President. But again, I mean, the political fallout, the legal cases to ensue, how strong of a case would the President have?
WU: I think the President has a very weak case on the facts, but his strategy is going to be he doesn't ever want to get to the facts, he just wants to stay on the law. And the legal issue is very naughty because it's never really been tested. We don't know what the definition really is going to be of what is a national emergency. They might have to look at legislative history.
On the law, he may win. I think we will find out about that early because they will test it just legally through some type of preliminary injunction litigation, and the standard there is going to be is there a substantial likelihood of success. So I think we are going to get the legal issues straightened out first. But he has to stay far away from the facts. The more he gets to the facts, the worse they are.
[14:10:36] WALKER: What about the arguments, Shan, that I mean, if this were truly an emergency, you wouldn't have been talking about this for months and months and hesitating to declare one if it were really an emergency.
WU: Absolutely, and that's why the facts are really bad for him. And even the facts that people living on the border to say, I don't see this as an emergency the way you are describing it.
WALKER: Shan Wu, Elena Plott, thanks to you both. Appreciate it.
PLOTT: Thank you.
WU: Good to see you, Amara.
WALKER: All right. Thank you. Still ahead, national security adviser John Bolton boldly claiming
Trump's second summit with Kim Jong-un was not a failure. But after the President was unable to reach a denuclearization deal, does North Korea have the upper hand?
[14:15:24] WALKER: And welcome back, everyone.
National security adviser John Bolton coming out strong today fiercely defending President Trump's decision to walk out of that meeting with Kim Jong-un. He insists that despite both men leaving without a deal, the second summit was not a failure. And the possibility of a third summit could be on the table. Depending on Kim Jong-un's next move, he also says the President laid out a clear offer and now they will wait and see.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I think it was unquestionably a success for the United States, because the President protected, defended American interest. You know, the possibility was there for North Korea to make a big deal with us, to do complete denuclearization in exchange for the potential for a very bright economic future. The President wanted to make that big deal. He pushed very hard for it. The North Koreans were not willing to walk through the door that he opened for them. So now we will see what happens. If you can't get a good deal and the President offered North Korea the best deal it could possibly get, no deal is better than a bad deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALKER: Joining me now, contributing editor to the Atlantic and CNN political commentator, Peter Beinart and former U.S. special representative for North Korea policy and CNN global affairs analyst Joseph Yun.
Welcome to you both. I would like to first listen to what Bolton had to say about the Otto Warmbier controversy and the President Trump's comments about believing Kim Jong-un who deny knowing anything about the American student's mistreatment. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOLTON: Look. The President made it very clear he considers what happened to Otto Warmbier an act of brutality that is completely unacceptable to the Americans' side. I have heard him before the summit itself, before the press conference talking about how deeply he cared about Otto Warmbier and his family.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Do you take Kim Jong-un at his word?
BOLTON: The President takes him at his word.
TAPPER: I know he does, what about you?
BOLTON: My opinion doesn't matter.
TAPPER: You are national security adviser to the President. I think it matters quite a bit.
BOLTON: I'm not the national security decision maker. That's his view.
TAPPER: I don't know one expert in North Korea who thinks that anything could have happen to Otto Warmbier without Kim Jong-un knowing about it ahead of time. Do you disagree?
BOLTON: Good for them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALKER: I mean, what stunning reaction, Joseph. I have to ask you about that. Because, of course, the national security advisor's opinion matter and so did the facts, and John Bolton, seasoned diplomat, knows more than anyone else that it's nearly impossible for Kim Jong-un not to have any idea how an American hostage was being treated. What was your reaction to how Bolton handled this and basically washing his hands clean of this controversy?
JOSEPH YUN, FORMER U.S. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR NORTH KOREA POLICY: Well, I mean, obviously, John Bolton did not want to go against the President. And in that he succeeded. But, you know, to put himself in that kind of position where he is in denial really makes nonsense. I mean, you know, as you know, Otto was -- became sick and actually comatose in March 2016, and we brought him out in June 2017, so that's, what, 14, 15 months? And to say that Kim Jong-un didn't know about it doesn't make sense at all. No credibility there.
I mean, there are a couple problems with President Trump believing Kim Jong-un. Number one, it's morally suspect, you know? It's a terrible problem there. And number two, I mean, if he believes Kim Jong-un, what kind of faith are we supposed to have in his national security judgment? So it's a problem.
WALKER: Yes, and you bring me to my next point, Joseph. I mean, CNN's Jake Tapper, he also asked about the pattern of Trump accepting foreign leaders' words over the U.S. intelligence community. We have seen this happen time and time again. Trump saying he believed Putin when he denied election meddling, believing Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia when he said he was not involved in the Saudi journalist Khashoggi's death. And now here he is taking Kim Jong-un's word. Here is what Bolton had to say about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOLTON: Jake, he is not saying he sided with dictators over American. He has expressed his opinion about what they have said on these various points. And let's just take Khashoggi as another example.
As with what I just said on North Korea, the administration position expressed by the President and every other official who has addressed it is we want a full accounting from the Saudis. So I think that's entirely consistent with finding out getting to the bottom of what happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALKER: I mean, Peter, when President Trump says he tells me that he didn't tell me he knew about it, when he is referring to Kim Jong-un, and I will take him at his word. Isn't that completely taking the side of a dictator, Kim Jong-un? And of course, that's a disturbing pattern that we are seeing, the way that the U.S. president sides with autocrats around the world.
PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. And what you is that John Bolton has made a feisty embargo. And John Bolton wanted to be national security adviser. The only guy who was going to give him that job as national security advisor was a guy -- was a clown. This president, Donald Trump, is a clown, right, on these questions.
He makes things up on the spot. He does no homework. He has no historical background. John Bolton, whatever you want to say about him, actually has an ideology. Donald Trump just basically wings it, but John Bolton knows that the price of working for this guy is that he has to swallow this absurdity, right.
And part of it is that I think Donald Trump feels a kind of visceral connection to authoritarians, the more brutal the better, and generally gets along with them consistently far better than he gets along with Democratic allies. And I think feels less threatened by them in a certain way than he does by his own national security intelligence agencies that he suspects could actually be a threat to him.
WALKER: Yes. A lot would say -- people would say that is quite a disturbing pattern. And we also heard John Bolton say, Joseph, that no deal is better than a bad deal. But we are also learning that the President is ending these annual large-scale military exercises with South Korea that happens every year around springtime. And this is a cornerstone of Washington and Seoul's defense relationship. And now the large-scale exercises, they are being scaled down to much smaller exercises.
What do you think of this? I mean, is this a major concession? Is this the wrong approach? And what kind of message does it send?
YUN: This is a major concession, certainly, you know. Every time I have met with North Koreans, their first demand was an end to joint (INAUDIBLE) U.S. exercises.
YUN: Because it really does bother them and, you know, when the airplanes and ships coming there. So this is a major concession. You know, I mean, you know, when you say cite a big deal or no deal, I mean, that's really black and white. I mean, for the President, for the American President to travel 8,000 miles where round trip is 16,000 miles, and come back with nothing? And to say that is not a failure? I'm not sure, what then, what a failure is. So I think, you know, I was very disappointed it ended up this way because we need to keep up engagement, and really, I mean, you know, it really speaks volumes about lack of preparation. And I think it speaks a lot about lack of understanding on how to negotiate with the North Koreans.
WALKER: Peter, to you. Do you agree this was a major concession by any of these large-scale joint military exercises? And do you think there will be or should be a third summit?
BEINART: No, there certainly should not be a third summit because there is no prospect that there will be a deal. I don't necessarily have a problem with reducing the scale. I'm military expert but I do think that they created a ramp-up tension with North Korea. And one of the things that was so frightening about the early Trump position, right before he fell in love with Kim Jong-un, was that he was actually pushing us to the tension to the point potentially of a military conflict. I hope we don't get back there now.
The reality is that North Koreans is not going to give up its nuclear weapons. I don't think they are who knows any North Korea experts who believe that. I think what we need essentially is a kind of a stable deterrence with North Korea, hopefully some limitations on their further development on missile and nuclear technology. And I think what we need to make sure we don't do now is wildly pivot back to where Donald Trump was at the beginning of his presidency when he was literally talking about nuclear war.
WALKER: Yes. And that is the big question, right. What will happen next on will Trump return to his hardline rhetoric considering John Bolton who says his opinion doesn't matter, we know that he is not a fan of this kind of diplomatic approach with Kim Jong-un.
We are going to have to leave it there, gentlemen. Peter Beinart and Joseph Yun, appreciate your expertise. Thanks so much.
BEINART: Thank you.
WALKER: All right. Still ahead, 2020 Democratic candidates are in Selma, Alabama right to commemorate the bloody Sunday march. But with such a crowded field, how will any of them be when it comes to civil rights?
Stay with us.
[14:28:59] WALKER: Welcome back, everyone.
Several 2020 Democratic hopefuls are gathering in Selma, Alabama to mark a seminal moment during the civil rights movement 54 years ago. The nation watched as peaceful demonstrators simply demanding the right for black people to vote were beaten and hosed by Alabama state troopers as they attempted to cross the Edmond Pettus Bridge.
March 7th, 1965, a day which became known as bloody Sunday. Today, 2020 hopefuls are marking the anniversary with speeches and discussion on race and division. Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker and Sherrod Brown joining Hillary Clinton, at today's event all delivering messages of concern about the future of our democracy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: This is a time, my friends, when fundamental rights, civic virtue, freedom of the press, the rule of law, true facts and reason are under assault.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's our turn to demand that we end all voter suppression in this country. I want to see automatic voter registration in every state in this country. I am proud to be here to remember our history. But I worry now that we are at a point in our country where we a moral vandalism that is attacking our ideals and beliefs and eroding the dream of our nation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[14:30:31] WALKER: And we do have a team coverage at today's events. We begin with CNN political reporter Rebecca Buck on the 2020 hopefuls in Selma.
And it doesn't look like the weather is cooperating much. Is this march going to continue?
REBECCA BUCK, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: You know, we are not sure how long this is going to go on at the moment, Fredricka. We are under a tornado warning here in the county where Selma is located. So it's not the best weather for this day.
We were just inside the historic brown chapel behind me where, of course, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke during the civil rights movement, during his time here in Selma. Today, Hillary Clinton and Cory Booker were the ones speaking. Cory booker was the keynote speaker for this service.
And despite the weather, there were people gathered outside watching on the jumbotron behind me, and during Cory Booker's speech, there was thunder crashing that you could hear inside, tornado sirens even at one point, but the crowd was absolutely rapt at what these speakers had to say.
One of the key messages from Cory Booker today, obviously running for president campaigning here in Alabama, that the dream is in danger. The legacy of Martin Luther King civil rights fighters are in danger. And that was the theme we heard from some of these other candidates as well, that the struggle is not over for civil rights, for voting rights in this day and age, and that the fight continues. So really a rallying cry here today from these Democrats in Selma, Alabama.
WALKER: All right, Rebecca Buck, thank you for that.
Let's bring in CNN senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson. And let's start with the 2020 candidates, Nia, and the significance of them being in Selma on this day. Many of them as we heard from Rebecca, bringing a stark warning with them that the accomplishments from 54 years ago, they are in danger of being reversed.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: That's right. All of the speakers here today, whether they were running for President or they were just local officials, are talking about the need to keep the fight going. I ran into a woman at one of the events who basically said she's not angry but she is ready to fight and she is ready to fight to win. And these are the kind of voters that folks are going to need. The 2020 candidates who I saw today, Bernie Sanders, of course, Cory Booker, as well as Sherrod Brown out of Ohio picking up on those scenes from back in 1954, needing to push forward the right to vote, needing to push forward equality. 1965, of course, I meant from this march 54 years ago this week.
And so, a real, I think, passionate gathering of folks that these candidates came to visit with. Today, of course, at church and at breakfast earlier today. And these are the voters that they are going to need should they have any chance of occupying the White House come 2020.
WALKER: And Nia, we should mention Bernie Sanders struggled with the black vote in the 2016 election. He only got 14 percent of South Carolina voters during the primary. On the other hand, you had Hillary Clinton who overwhelmingly captured those voters with 86 percent. And you know, what can other candidates learn from that, especially Bernie Sanders who is trying to reset his relationship with black voters?
HENDERSON: You know, the thing, I think, that Bernie Sanders doesn't have that a lot of the other candidates do have, and certainly Hillary Clinton did have, is longstanding relationships with folks in these southern states. I mean, she was name-checking folks she knew in Alabama. She, of course, did some work in the south when she was a young lawyer as well. So I think Bernie Sanders over these last years since that primary loss to Hillary Clinton, particularly in these southern states, has visited some of these southern states. He has been to Alabama several times also, and South Carolina. And you think about where he announced, right.
He didn't announce in Vermont which I think is the second whitest state in the country. He announced in Brooklyn, right, a much more diverse part of the country. So you saw flanking him at least in Brooklyn a lot of African-American than the more diverse electorate there.
But he has got to spend some real time down in states like this should he have a chance to win this primary that's already heating up one of the most diverse fields we have ever seen in the history of American Presidential politics. So he has got some work to do. But all of them have got some work to do.
That's why you saw Sherrod Brown down here, that's why you saw Cory Booker down here as well. They know this is where the voters are and they want to connect with them.
WALKER: Yes. And Nia, lastly, I mean, we heard from Bernie Sanders there who was saying we are still fighting for the right to vote. And the events of bloody Sunday, we know galvanized support for the past voting rights act that year. And again, let's listen to what Hillary Clinton and Sanders had to say about voter suppression today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[14:35:12] CLINTON: We see all of the phony obstacles to registering. We see all of the suppressive efforts at the point of registration and even the point of voting. We see the malfunctioning equipment. We see the longer lines. We see how all of this is designed to discourage, to depress, to prevent people from voting, particularly communities of color. And the clearest example is from next door in Georgia. Stacey Abrams should be governor leading that state right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALKER: And Hillary Clinton there referring to Georgia's exact match system which put 53,000 voter registrations on hold, which is nearly what, 70 percent of which were for black voters. The point is, we still don't have equal access to the polls today, and you only have to look at 2018, the midterm elections then.
HENDERSON: That's right. And you know, polling stations that have closed, rollback of early voting hours. So those are all of the things that you heard these candidates and speakers talk about. And certainly some of the things, they will be talking about again.
And Democrats in general, you think about some of the bills the House Democrats, for instance, are trying to push forward centering on voting rights, making it easier to vote, the access to the ballot easier, for instance, making Election Day a holiday. That's one thing that came up and it was a big point of debate among Democrats and Republicans. So this is a microcosm of what we are going to see. And listen, what we saw back in 1965, an ongoing conversation. So we will just have to watch and see what happens.
WALKER: All right. Nia-Malika, I know it's raining out there. Thanks for hanging out. Appreciate it.
All right, much more ahead in the NEWSROOM.
But first, this week's Wonder Must takes us Key West.
ALEXA MORGAN, ERNEST HEMINGWAY HOME: We have people flocking from all over the world to Key West to enjoy our beautiful weather, our laid- back lifestyle and our great history. People love coming to the Ernest Hemingway home and museum. Everybody gets excited when they see his writing studio with his original typewriter and they also his love (INAUDIBLE) cats.
(INAUDIBLE) cats were consider a sign of good luck. Ernest Hemingway really wanted extra luck around him.
Otem (ph) is original Key West. Take a stroll down here, you enjoy 19th century. Architecture and having our cat of the day at the local restaurants.
BILLY LITMER, HONEST ECO: One of the things that makes Key West so unique is our wildlife refuge because of the conservation effort stemming from over 100 years. We have coastal Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. We have a pod of about 200 of them that like to hang out in the shallow waters.
Honestly, we built the first electrical boat of its kind so that we can leave as little footprint as possible while we are out and enjoy nature. Key West is famous for its sunsets. So don't miss the Mallory Square sunset celebration. You can see fire performers, acrobats, card readers and don't forget to get a souvenir. We wear t- shirts and sandals down here. Hope to see you soon.
[14:42:34] WALKER: CNN is learning the family of a dual U.S.-Saudi citizen being held in Saudi Arabia is claiming he has been beaten and tortured. Dr. Walid Fitaihi was detained in November 2017 as part of a crackdown on prominent Saudis. And according to his lawyer, Fitaihi's family describes his state as physically deteriorated and emotionally broken.
This morning, national security advisor John Bolton told CNN that U.S. diplomats have been able to communicate with the doctor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOLTON: As of this moment, my understanding is we have had what's called consular access, meaning American diplomats in Saudi Arabia have visited with him. Beyond that, we don't really have additional information at this point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALKER: All right. Let's bring in CNN's international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson who is live in Pakistan.
And Nic, what more do we know about the time his case and why does this family believe he has been tortured?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, the family has had occasional contact with him in prison. He was one of many people, several hundred, including Saudi prison who was rounded up by crown prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2017 and put in a Ritz-Carlton hotel and held that for many months. But following that, he was transferred to jail without, we understand, due process, without being given any reason for why he is being held and without any charges being put against him.
The letter that his lawyer wrote to the state department in January this year gives us some indication of precisely what the family is saying about him and precisely what they would like the United States to do. This is the letter from his lawyer written to the state department in January. Let me read it to you.
Without explanation, he was transferred to a Saudi prison where he's been held for nearly a year during which he has been permitted little contact with the outside world. It is believed that Dr. Fitaihi has been and is tortured, so has been and is tortured at least psychologically during his imprisonment.
Now this is a man who came in the 1980s as a young man to college in the United States, med student, studied to become a doctor, became a doctor, stayed many decades in the United States before moving back to Saudi Arabia in 2006 to establish a hospital that his family had built in the city of Jeddah. So he was working for the community in the community, also recognized in Saudi Arabia as a motivational speaker as well, Amara.
[14:45:11] WALKER: All right. Nic Robertson, appreciate that. Thank you very much, Nic.
And of course, this story just adding to the questions and controversies surrounding Saudi Arabia in a new CNN Special Report. Fareed Zakaria shares the story of Saudi Arabia, a kingdom of secrets. Catch it tonight at 8:00 p.m. only on CNN.
Still ahead, protests in Sacramento after the announcement that two police officers who killed an unarmed black man will not face charges. The heartbreaking reaction from Stephon Clark's family is coming up.
But first in this week's "Staying Well," using music to help seniors fight loneliness and social isolation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When we sing, we feel this emotion of happiness enjoyment.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Feelings of loneliness are a significant issue for older adults. The arts are particularly innovative for helping improve health inequities in these communities.
JULIENE JOHNSON, COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENTIST, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA: We do see changes --.
If somebody is lonely, they are at higher risk for mortality and developing disability. We started 12 different choirs at senior centers throughout San Francisco with the aim of better understanding if singing in a community choir could improve the health and well- being of diverse older adults.
We enrolled almost 400 older adults. The main benefits of the choir that we discovered, older adults had a reduction in their feelings of loneliness and also an increase in their interest in life.
Well, if we think about a choir, it's a group activity, so individuals are coming to the senior center every week to participate in a group activity that has cultural meaningfulness to them. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Having a schedule, having to go out, enjoy what
you are doing, it is very important. And singing has an emotional component, so I am so glad to be in this choir.
[14:51:46] WALKER: The family of an unarmed black man who was fatally shot by Sacramento police is outraged over a decision by the county's top prosecutor not to charge the officers. 22-year-old Stephon Clark was killed in his grandmother's backyard after running from police nearly a year ago.
CNN's Brynn Gingras joining me now.
And Brynn, what kind of justification did the district attorney give for this decision?
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Amara. I mean, they released a 61-page report. They had a press conference for over an hour detailing why they came to this decision and you will learn more about that in just a minute.
But really, as you mentioned, this family is devastated. They said we waited nearly a year to find out if this top prosecutor of the D.A. was going to press charges. There are no charges and they said not only that, they felt that she used her time in that more than an hour news conference to smear the name of Stefan Clark.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm breaking my family's hearts again.
GINGRAS (voice-over): A tearful response from the fiancee of Stephon Clark after learning no criminal charges would be filed against the two Sacramento police officers accused of fatally shooting Clark in his grandmother's backyard last year.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My boys Aidan and Cairo have to grow up without their father.
GINGRAS: Sacramento County district attorney Ann Marie Schubert defended her office's decision in a 61-page report saying quote "the evidence in this case demonstrates that both officers had an honest and reasonable belief that they were in imminent danger of death or great bodily injury."
ANNE MARIE SCHUBERT, SACRAMENTO COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: When we go with the fact and the law, and we follow our ethical responsibilities, the answer to that question is obvious.
GINGRAS: Schubert described Clark as a troubled young man worried about serving jail time after being accused of domestic assault. Schubert referenced surveillance footage, body camera tapes, text messages noting a fight between Clark and his fiancee a few days before the shooting and she detailed the drugs that Clark had in his system at the time of the encounter.
SCHUBERT: We judged what happened in the two days leading up to because clearly he was heavily impacted by what happened on March 16th.
SEQUETTE CLARK, STEPHON CLARK'S MOTHER: She wants to go on a smear campaign about his character and his actions and make public things that him and his significant other were going through to justify or condone her officers' actions. Whatever he was doing, whatever he was doing or on, whatever his character is or his actions prior to those police gunning him down is no one's business. That's not justification. That's not a permit to kill him.
GINGRAS: Faith leaders from congregations throughout the community protested the decision.
PASTOR LEE SIMMONS, SACRAMENTO ACT: We don't believe the D.A.'s findings represents what justice is for this community, for this city, for this state, and for this nation.
SAAD SWEILEM, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY, CAIR: Stephon Clark was murdered twice. First by the police officers who murdered him in his grandmother's own backyard, then again today by the district attorney.
GINGRAS: The California attorney general has recommended an overhaul of force-related policies in the police department. And his office is conducting an independent investigation into the shooting. The city's mayor upset by the decision called for immediate change.
[14:55:08] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The current 100-year-old standard defining officer-involved shootings needs to change.
GINGRAS: And the family hopes that independent investigation by the state attorney general will give them the justice that they are seeking.
In the meantime, they have filed a civil lawsuit against the family and those two officers - Amara.
WALKER: We will see what comes out of that.
Thanks so much, Brynn Gingras.
Still ahead, he claims he led the effort to build Trump tower in Moscow. But who is Felix Sader? And how dangerous could his public testimony on Capitol Hill be to the President?
[14:59:56] WALKER: Hello, everyone. And thanks for joining me. I'm Amara Walker in for Fredricka Whitfield.
Developing today, Republican Senator Rand Paul now saying he will vote to block President Trump's emergency declaration.