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Tornado Destruction In Lee County, Alabama; Chair Of The Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler Was Saying It's Very Clear That The President Obstructed Justice; Key 2020 Democrats Gathering In Selma, Alabama To Mark The Solemn Anniversary Of 1965's Bloody Sunday. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired March 3, 2019 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[18:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: You are looking at the satellite there. This is the scene in Lee County, Alabama right now.
So much destruction. Emergency officials there have confirmed now to our affiliate WSFA that at least two people are dead. Fourteen million people have been expected to see some kind of severe weather today. And now, we have some live pictures here from this place in Alabama. We want to show you, you can see just how much destruction there is in Lee County, Alabama. I'm not sure who this individual is. Let's listen in for a moment.
SHERIFF JAY JONES, LEE COUNTY, ALABAMA: Make sure that we're getting to everyone that may be trapped. We are searching the area extensively. Hopefully, we can get to everyone that needs help, and that's where we are at right now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So this is Lee Road 38 and Marvin Parkway. What area of Beauregard is this in Lee County? Just kind of let people know where we are at exactly.
JONES: We are about six, seven miles out of (INAUDIBLE) on Alabama 51, probably 51 south. We are north of highway 80. We are in the general area of the Watula community here in south Lee County below city (INAUDIBLE) and north of U.S. highway 80.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody is asking what they can -- they want to help. They just want to help. What can we do to help?
JONES: Well, at this point in time we have so many resources here and assets in place that we are just trying to keep everything organized and get out there. Right now I think we are doing everything we can. What we are concerned about is we would imagine is darkness will be here pretty soon. We are trying to do as much as we can before it gets dark. But we have got a lot of people that have down and are assisting us. I have seen a lot of chain saws. I have seen a lot of rescue equipment. We are doing everything we can before it gets dark and we will just go from there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is the EMA telling you about this tornado? Do we know about the size OR the strength, how long it was, any information on the tornado? JONES: I haven't really spoken at length with EMA. I do know based
on what I saw from the radar signature broadcast on some of the local stations that it was a major storm that came through in a very significant tornado.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are we looking at in terms of square footage or how large is the area that was damaged? Any idea at that point in time? Or how many homes are we talking about?
JONES: We are talking multiple homes. I really have no idea exactly how many but I know there were a lot of people that are without a home right now based on this storm today. And again, we are searching areas. We have accounted for a lot of people but we haven't accounted for others and that's what we are trying to do right now. We are trying to make sure that anyone in this area that we can locate them and make sure they are OK.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anything else that you can think of that I haven't asked, Sheriff Jones, that you want the people to know?
JONES: Just that there's significant damage, a lot of injuries, and prayers I'm sure are appreciated. And again, we have got a lot of first responders in the area and they are working feverishly to get things under control and, again, search and hopefully rescue if the circumstances require.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As nightfall comes, again, that's just adding to this massive response that you have right now. Search and rescue and search and recovery.
JONES: Search and rescue, that's exactly right. And unfortunately, it will be dark here soon and of course, we are going to have below freezing temperatures in the next 36 hours, something else we are concerned about. But we are going to have people on the scene, I'm sure, continuously for the very near future.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The next couple weeks possibly, days into weeks.
Well, as soon as you find out what you need, I have got about 7,000 people watching right now that I'm sure they want to help you out and the families out. Whatever you need, you just let me know and we will share that information with the community. Because right now we are praying for you, Sheriff Jones, and all the first responders that are here and all the families. And if you just need anything, we are here for you. This is horrible.
JONES: Those prayers are appreciated. And certainly we are going to have the Red Cross involved assisting people. And as things become available we will get information to you as soon as we can.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much, sheriff Jones. Anything else?
Thank you. Appreciate you so much. Our prayers are with you.
CABRERA: Our affiliate there WRBR providing that interview with the sheriff of Lee County, Jay Jones, as they are discussing the destruction and now what has become evidence of a deadly tornado that whipped through this area, a storm that was very powerful, wiping out several homes. He said right now, the search and rescue is under way for several people, they say, who are unaccounted for.
We are continuing to gather more information on what's happening after a tornado has fully whipped through the southeast, possibly multiple tornados, this from Lee County, Alabama tonight.
Meantime, we are also following some new developments on Capitol Hill, a powerful U.S. congressman who runs the panel that may decide to impeach President Trump, he says today that he believes the President did commit a crime. Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler, a Democrat from New York, is now about to start collecting documents he says he needs to present a case of obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[18:05:03] 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 tried to -- 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)
CABRERA: Congressman Nadler says his committee will demand documents from more than 60 people and entities including current White House officials and even the President's own family.
Trump tweeted earlier today, again, proclaiming he is being treated unfairly.
I am an innocent man being persecuted by some very bad and corrupt people, he writes, in a witch hunt that is illegal and should never have been allowed to start.
Let's get right to the White House and Boris Sanchez.
Boris, Congressman Nadler says his committee's probe of the President will go on even if the Robert Mueller investigation turns out no collusions. IS Nadler and company looking in a different direction than Mueller?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well Ana, at this point Nadler's investigation appears to overlap with some of what we know that the special counsel is looking into though because the special counsel has been so tight-lipped with how far they have gone in certain directions like within the Trump organization.
We don't exactly know whether it will fully overlap or if Nadler is going in different directions. His investigation is still very broad though. As you noted, he made clear today that he was going to be requesting documents from more than 60 people or entities.
And this gets personal. It includes a list that has the President's son's name on it, Donald Trump Jr., as one of those people also on that list. Allen Weisselberg, he is one of the top executives within the Trump organization, somebody who is believed to have intimate knowledge of the President's tax returns and his tax situation. Also on that list, former chief of staff John Kelly and former White House council Don McGahn.
I reached out to the White House to ask them about this. They declined to comment. Nadler was asked specifically what he was trying to accomplish, if impeachment was the ultimate goal. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NADLER: Impeachment is a long way down the road. We don't have the facts yet, but we are going to initiate a proper investigation. It's our job to protect the rule of law. That's our core function. And to do that we are going to initiate investigations into abuses of power, into corruption of justice -- into corruption and into obstruction of justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: So Ana, again, the White House declining to comment on this news from Representative Nadler. It is likely that we are going to hear more from President Trump on this beyond those tweets that he sent out earlier today. Again, this is personal for him and the President believes that he's being targeted unfairly by Democrats, Ana.
CABRERA: Boris, the President's plan to get border wall money through a national emergency declaration. That bit a big snag today. Someone he desperately needs to vote yes says he will vote no.
SANCHEZ: That's right. Yesterday in Kentucky, Senator Rand Paul made clear in a speech to some of his supporters there that he would be voting for a declaration of disapproval for the President's measure, essentially trying to block the president's national emergency declaration. He joins three our Republicans in Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Thom Tillis in voting to block the President's step here.
It's mostly a symbolic gesture because President Trump has vowed to veto any such measure. Despite that though, it's a clear break within the Republican party and a bit surprising considering that Republicans had previously spoken to the President about this including the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, who sources say came to the White House in January to talk to the President about this and to ask him not to do it because of the rifts that it could expose within the party. Ultimately the President decided to move forward and now we are here.
It's unclear exactly when the Senate is going to vote on this measure. The House passed it on Tuesday so they have 18 days to vote on it. That means they still have about two weeks to bring this to the floor, Ana.
CABRERA: And could end up on the President's desk with the first presidential veto of the Trump presidency.
Thank you very much, Boris Sanchez at the White House.
Joining us now, CNN political analyst and chief political correspondent for "Esquire" Ryan Lizza and CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Jennifer Rodgers.
Ryan, let's go back to what we are heard from the chair of the Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler, the same man who would oversee any impeachment proceedings against the President. He was saying it's very clear that the President obstructed justice, although he stopped short of saying President Trump would receive impeachment. I spoke to Eric Swalwell last year. Here's our exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: But I'm hearing you saying you are not there yet?
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: No, not there yet. And again, we are not going to give Donald Trump justice because if we gave him Donald Trump justice, he would be impeached by now. We are actually going to follow the rule of law that he throws aside so often.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[18:10:06] CABRERA: Ryan, do you think that's the real reason for hesitation or are there greater political consequences to weigh?
RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think they want to be very careful and lay out the case. I mean, if their end goal is impeachment, if Democrats especially on the Judiciary Committee believe that that's where this is headed, they have to know that that's not -- that there are certain obstacles there and that is public opinion and the United States Senate, right? And so, they have to carefully lay out the evidence.
And, frankly, convince a lot of people who right now support President Trump that what he has done is potentially impeachable. So that's what is so complicated about impeachment. It is whatever, you know, the House of Representatives says at any given time and then it goes over to the Senate and it has a very high bar to clear. So it's inherently a political process that requires a very, very strong, overwhelming case, right?
LIZZA: And you know, usually when you get there, the President realizes it and in the Nixon case they resign. If they believe they can beat it as in the Clinton case, they fight it. And so --.
CABRERA: And ultimately, in the Clinton case, we saw it ended up being political detrimental to Republicans ultimately in that case.
LIZZA: That's right.
CABRERA: Nadler though is casting a really wide net with his document request. We don't know all the people on his list but he did mention Donald Trump Jr., Trump organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, as well as the possibly of former White House chief of staff John Kelly and former White House council Don McGahn.
Jennifer, of those names, who do you think is the most key?
JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it really depends on what you are talking about. I mean, we just had this last week a big scandal over Jared Kushner's security clearance. John Kelly and Don McGahn are going to be key to that inquiry because they wrote memos apparently about this issue. Don Jr. is important with respect to the Trump tower meeting, also the campaign finance violations.
Allen Weisselberg is key to anything financial having to do with the Trump organization which means he has nothing to do with obstruction but everything to do with again the campaign finance violations and things that the southern district of New York may be poking around with corporate malfeasance in the Trump organization.
So, hard to pick one as the most key actually. My concern with all of this is I just hope that Congress coordinates with the prosecutors to make sure that they are not doing anything detrimental to those prosecutions.
You know, Congress can't charge anyone with a crime. If they start giving out immunity, for example, then that could hinder prosecutor's efforts to prosecute people. So I just hope they are coordinating and taking what the prosecutors say when they think about what to do in these inquiries going forward.
CABRERA: Ryan, the President spent a lot of time this weekend attacking this investigation. He was way off script at CPAC yesterday slamming Robert Mueller and Democrats for the Russia probe and he really tried to emphasize that he was joking during the campaign, he says, when he asked Russia to find Hillary Clinton's missing emails.
Let's just listen to what he said yesterday but then review what he has said before.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you tell a joke, if you are sarcastic, if you are having fun with the audience, if you are on live television with millions of people and 25,000 people in an arena, and if you say something like, Russia, please, if you can, get us Hillary Clinton's emails, please. Russia, please.
She gets subpoenaed and she gets rid of 33,000 emails, that gives me a problem. Now, if Russia or China or any other country has those e- mails, I mean, to be honest with you, I would love to see them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Ryan, it sure didn't sound like he was joking at the time. Is he trying to rewrite history here?
LIZZA: He is. And I think it's so -- this is why we are all talking about this and why so many flagged this is why did he bring this up out of nowhere at this CPAC speech. This is not, you know, this is not a red meat for the CPAC audience. And it just makes you wonder what does he know about his potential culpability here? And does the special counsel in their back and forth in their negotiations flagged this as something -- as a part of a case against the President? It's just so strange that he would bring that up. And does the White House and Trump himself see this as a potential highly incriminating piece of the timeline? That's what's so head scratching about it.
CABRERA: It is really interesting. Going back to Michael Cohen for a moment though, Jennifer. We now know Republicans who were part of that hearing earlier this week have moved to have the justice department investigate whether Cohen perjured himself. In fact, they brought out six instances of potential perjury. For instance, he testified he didn't want to work in the White House when we know the southern district of New York has already said that they believe he did want to work in the White House based on texts and other documentation. Do you think they have a case for perjury?
[18:15:13] RODGERS: So the one issue that you flagged about working in the White House is the one thing that seems to have a little bit of merit because he has said in the past that he did want to but I don't think they have a case for perjury.
First of all, all of those other issues of referral are ridiculous, nonstarters, not even close to perjury. And this one I think is also not perjury for a couple of reasons as a legal matter. One is that for perjury, it has to be material. This is a pretty trivial ticky- tack thing when you look at the scope of his testimony, what he is talking about here.
Yes, it would potentially give him a motive to try to get back at the President if he wanted a job and didn't get it. But remember, the President has been slamming him for months and months calling him a rat, you know, threatening his family with prosecutions. So there are plenty of other kinds of impeachment material of that source. So I'm not sure it is material which it has to be.
The other thing is for perjury, you need a really clear question and answer. You have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that that statement is false and if you look at how it was actually asked, you had the Republicans basically saying you wanted to work in the White House, you were mad you didn't get invited to the dance, and then they literally talk over each other back and forth with Cohen saying, no, no, no, I had talked about it but we ultimately decided because of privilege issues I shouldn't so I didn't want it. And that is not nearly clean enough.
They could have asked that question in a different way. Had he asked clearly did you ever want to work in the White House? Did you ever speak to anyone about working in the White House? When did you, you know, then you start to get answers that might be prosecutable in theory if it's material, but with this, no way.
CABRERA: All right. Jennifer Rodgers, Ryan Lizza, thank you both. Appreciate it.
LIZZA: Thanks, Ana.
CABRERA: Breaking news out of the southeast, the dangerous storms spawning dozens of towards, one turning deadly. Where the storms are headed next, straight ahead.
Plus, in Selma, Alabama today, 54 years after the bloody Sunday march, we will take you in live.
And as the 2020 raced heats up, a tease from Congressman Eric Swalwell, what he just told me about a potential run for the White House.
You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[18:21:16] CABRERA: Happening today, key 2020 Democrats gathering in Selma, Alabama to mark the solemn anniversary of 1965's bloody Sunday. This week marks 54 years since the historic Selma to Montgomery march, black to the rights activist were trying to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge when Alabama state troopers attacked and beat them. Now, each year activists and political leaders march across that same bridge in commemoration.
In Selma today, Senators Cory Booker and Bernie Sanders, plus Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown were there. Hillary Clinton also in Selma opening up about her 2016 loss and unleashing this warning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a time, my friends, when fundamental rights, civic virtue, freedom of the press, the rule of law, truth, facts and reason are under assault. And make no mistake, we are living through a full-fledged crises in our democracy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: I'm going to take you now to CNN political reporter Rebecca Buck in Selma, Alabama.
And Rebecca, just explain why this is such an important stop for any 2020 candidate.
REBECCA BUCK, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, Ana, it's really more than a stop. It's a run for President and not just here, in 2007 in this spot Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, despite being bitter rivals, met to march across this bridge together. And now this time we have Cory Booker who marched today, Senator Sherrod Brown. Bernie Sanders was here earlier but did not march. But just showcasing how important Selma is as a stop for these presidential candidates.
The message they want to send, not only that they are hoping to appeal to African-American voters in this election, to campaign in the south, but also that they are vigilant about voter access, voter rights.
And I want you to take a listen to what Senator Booker had to say earlier today about keeping vigilant.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: 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 see a moral vandalism that is attacking our ideals and beliefs and eroding the dream of our nation. And so I want to end with a call for us to swear an oath. I'm a big believer that before you tell me about your religion, first show it to me in how you treat other people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BUCK: And a broader message also from Hillary Clinton of where our democracy is today, protecting our democracy. She said at the Brown chapel where Martin Luther King Jr. spoke during the civil rights movement that she was the first person who ran for president without the protection of the voting rights act, and she said let me tell you, it made a difference.
So obviously looking back today these candidates on Selma, on bloody Sunday in 1965, but also looking ahead to the future and considering how best to preserve the rights people have and also protect rights in the future -- Ana.
CABRERA: Rebecca Buck in Selma, Alabama, thank you for your reporting.
For more now on how the 2020 playing field is shaking out, I want to bring in CNN politics senior writer and analyst, Harry Enten.
So Harry, I want to start with someone who hasn't actually declared a run just yet, Beto O'Rourke. Because he announced a few days ago now that he made a decision. Is it weird that he hasn't told us what it is?
HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR WRITER AND ANALYST: I guess so. But you know, we live in a day and age in which you try to build up the drama in politics. I think President Trump taught us that quite well.
I mean, look. If you look back over history, you go back to the 2016 cycle, Donald Trump didn't form an exploratory committee until late March. Hillary Clinton didn't get into the race until April. So Beto O'Rourke, at this point, even if he doesn't declare until later this month, is well on that time schedule.
[18:25:18] CABRERA: How strong are his chances? Because I know you have been counting the numbers this week?
ENTEN: I mean, look. I think that if he gets in the race, he put in a good showing in Texas in 2018. He showed the ability to raise a lot of money. I think he was able to get the youth vote out, so he would be a strong contender. Of course, this is a year in which we have so many Democrats running that I don't think any one of them has an overwhelming chance of beating anybody else in the field.
CABRERA: Plus, we got a couple of others because we have this new poll out of New Hampshire this week revealing some good news for Bernie Sanders but not so good news for Senator Elizabeth Warren. Explain why you think her fourth place position there is a warning sign for her and maybe why her message isn't resonating.
ENTEN: Yes. I mean, look, if you know a map of the United States, New Hampshire is right next door to Massachusetts where Elizabeth Warren is the senator there. And the fact is if you look at the Massachusetts polls and New Hampshire polls you see among the voters who supposedly know Elizabeth Warren the best. Her name recognition is near 100 percent on those states, and yet she is only being able to pull seven percent of the vote. To me it's a real warning sign that someone like Kamala Harris who is not particularly well known in New Hampshire and is all the way from California is polling above her and more than that, the fact that Bernie Sanders, although not polling as well as he did in 2016. Of course, there are a lot more candidates running this time around --
CABRERA: And he won the primary there.
ENTEN: And he won the primary there. He seems to be dominating that limbo lane and seems to be closing off to Elizabeth Warren at least in this early running.
CABRERA: There is also Joe Biden who hasn't announced. He was number two on that list and still remains high in all these - the national polling that we have been see. How late is too late for him to make a decision?
ENTEN: You know, I go back to an example, if we think that Joe Biden will be the nominee, you know, you back to 1980 Ronald Reagan was running in that year and he had run prior, in fact twice prior, just like Joe Biden. He was someone who is running against an incumbent, an older gentleman who perhaps this was his last run. Ronald Reagan didn't file with the FEC until late May and in fact didn't get into the race until November. And I don't think Joe Biden can wait that long but I think as long as Biden gets in before the first debates in June, I think that's probably his end point.
CABRERA: I'm going to put a twist in here --.
ENTEN: Sure. I love twits.
CABRERA: Because we have been talking Democrats. Let's talk Republicans for just a second. Because there was at least one Republican today who did not rule out the possibility of challenging President Trump. Watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: You notably did not endorse President Trump in 2016. Would you be willing to run for the White House as the libertarian nominee in 2020?
REP. JUSTIN AMASH (R), MICHIGAN: Well, I had never rule anything out. That's not on my radar right now but I think that it is important that we have someone in there who is presenting a vision for America that is different from what these two parties are presenting. Right now we have a wild amount of partisan rhetoric on both sides, and Congress is totally broken. We can't debate things in a clear way anymore. Everything has become do you like President Trump or do you not like President Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Should the President be worried about other people taking away the Republican votes from him?
ENTEN: Well, I think in a primary, no. I think his approval rating is up by 90 percent but obviously in a general election anything could take away a few votes. I mean, remember that the difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was smaller than the vote share that Jill Stein got in a number of swing states.
I would say that if Amash were to run, it wouldn't shock me. I mean, he has one of the most anti-Trump records for any Republican in Congress. But I'm not sure he would be a big contender. I think he would be more of a spoiler, at least as the polling data looks right now.
CABRERA: Spoiler for who?
ENTEN: Probably more of a spoiler for Donald Trump given his conservative record. But of course politics is a weird thing and sometimes we think someone is going to take votes from someone and end up taking votes from someone else.
CABRERA: You will never know.
Harry Enten, good to have you with us.
ENTEN: Thank you so much.
CABRERA: Thanks for braving the storm out there.
CABRERA: And while snow in here, we know it is also having other issues in other parts of the country with tornados which we are continuing to stay on top of, by the way. We will take you back to Alabama in a moment.
But let me just stay with the 2020 field for a moment longer. It is looking like it could get a bit more crowded soon. Just last hour, I spoke with Congressman Eric Swalwell who sits on the
House judiciary and intel committee is about his White House ambitions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: It sounds like you are planning to announce you are going to run for president.
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: You are trying to get me pretty close here, Ana.
CABRERA: You said you are close but you just explained why you think you will have the case to make. When do you make a decision, final decision?
SWALWELL: One, I think I can make a difference. Two, I think I could win. It's a steep mountain with a lot of experienced climbers, but most importantly, we are just sorting out child care, two kids under two. Most families I think can appreciate and understand that and, you know, once we get that piece together we will make our decision.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: He has got to figure out the child care before he makes his announcement. We will wait and see.
And don't forget, a week from tonight live from south by southwest in Austin, Texas, three CNN presidential town halls back-to-back. Former congressman John Delaney at 7:00, Representative Tulsi Gabbard at 8:00 and Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 9:00.
[18:30:00] Jake Tapper and Dana Bash moderate next Sunday starting at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. Only on CNN.
CABRERA: The State Department now confirming a dual Saudi-American citizen, a doctor, is being detained in Saudi Arabia. It's urging the kingdom to ensure he is treated fairly and humanely.
A source tells CNN the family of the Dr. Walid Fitaihi believes he has been beaten and tortured while in prison, and they fear his condition is deteriorating. CNN's Nic Robertson joins us with more details. Nic?
[18:35:04] NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Ana, well, Fitaihi's family fear for his safety right now. They say that inside jail, he doesn't feel safe, that he's psychologically deteriorating.
You know, a joint U.S.-Saudi national --1980, he moves to the United States, a med student, studies there, becomes a doctor, moves back to Saudi Arabia in 2006. And somehow, in 2017, rounded up with all those Saudi princes and businessmen by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, put in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. But as we're hearing from his lawyer -- his lawyer says that there's
been no due process applied to his case, that he doesn't know why he is being held. In fact, the lawyer wrote to the U.S. State Department in January this year. I'll read you that letter that his lawyer wrote to the State Department in January.
And it reads -- 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. Fitahi has been and is tortured, at least psychologically, during his imprisonment.
The family, obviously, very concerned for his well-being. National Security adviser John Bolton has said that there has been U.S. consular access to him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, 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 any additional information at this point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTSON: Sources I've talked to about his detention say that he's not the only one who's believed to have been beaten during his detention at the Ritz-Carlton and is not the only Saudi being locked up at the moment without due process, without recourse to finding out even why they're being held.
He was known -- Fitaihi was known as a motivational speaker, not just a doctor in the community but a motivational speaker, and somebody who stood up for civil rights within the Saudi community -- Ana.
CABRERA: Nic Robertson, thank you for that report. Saudi officials have not returned CNN's request for comment.
In a statement to "The New York Times," which first reported on this case, a spokesman for the Saudi embassy in Washington denied any mistreatment of detainees, saying, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia takes any and all allegations of ill-treatment of detainees or defendants awaiting trial or prisoners serving their sentences very seriously.
In a new CNN SPECIAL REPORT, Fareed Zakaria shares the story of "Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of Secrets." That's tonight at 8:00 p.m. only here on CNN.
[18:41:43] CABRERA: Back to our breaking news, at least a dozen tornados reported across Alabama and Georgia. Look at this. This is in Lee County, Alabama right now. We are learning at least two separate tornados hit within one hour. The Sheriff there now saying there are a number of fatalities. Let's get right over to CNN meteorologist Tom Sater in the CNN Weather
Center. Tom, what more can you tell us?
TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, Ana, before we got reports of the damage there in Lee County, we had previous reports of people trapped in homes, service stations. This is in the Alabama/Georgia area. Last weekend, we had tornados in Mississippi, Alabama.
This is a two-headed monster. We've got winter warnings up to the north -- five, eight inches of snow moving into New York, 10 in Boston.
But it's the severe weather threat to the south which has really given us an early spring season tornado outbreak. I bet you we've had over three dozen tornado warnings. We've got a watch now for parts of Georgia, South Carolina until 11:00 a.m.
Now, the rain really was firing up in Montgomery, Alabama, just before the commemoration of the March on Selma. Once it passed Selma and cleared up, the violent weather took over.
A number of tornado warnings you see there in purple making their way now east of Dauphin, Alabama. But most of the activity that we had earlier and the violent weather was from around Tuskegee over toward Macon.
These are the tornado reports. Eufaula Airport had some damage, Warner Robins, Macon, but it was Columbus and just to the west of Columbus, Georgia that we've had these tornados. That was mainly between 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
We're going to continue to find these warnings, I think, Ana, make their way across South Carolina into northern Florida. And then the big news would be the snow moving into your area, which is already creating whiteout conditions.
CABRERA: It is sounding like it could be a long night for a lot of people.
CABRERA: Tom Sater, thank you for your very latest information.
And now I want to bring you this week's "Before the Bell" with CNN's Alison Kosik. Alison?
ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana. Investors are hoping for a word of more progress on a U.S.-China trade deal. Last week, U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer indicated both sides are getting closer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT LIGHTHIZER, UNITED STATES TRADE REPRESENTATIVE: We are making real progress. If we can complete this effort, and again I say if, and can reach a satisfactory solution to all -- to the all-important outstanding issue of enforceability, as well as some other concerns, we might be able to have an agreement that helps us turn the corner in our economic relationship with China.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSIK: Hopes for a deal have helped stocks bounce back from their December swoon. All three of the major averages added more than three percent in February. This week, earnings from Target, Kroger, Costco, and Kohl's will be in the mix.
And on Friday, the government releases the February jobs report. In January, the U.S. economy created 304,000 jobs despite the government shutdown. It was the 100th straight month of job gains.
The unemployment rate ticked up slightly to four percent, but that's because more people entered the workforce. On Friday, we'll find out if that trend continued.
In New York, I'm Allison Kosik.
[18:44:52] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: This family has given America two governors, two first ladies, and two presidents. Tonight, the all-new CNN ORIGINAL SERIES, "The Bush Years: Family, Duty, Power," takes us inside the iconic Bush family.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFFREY ENGEL, FOUNDING DIRECTOR FOR THE CENTER FOR PRESIDENTIAL HISTORY, SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIVERSITY: George Bush was born into the pinnacle of American society in Connecticut. This was a family of privilege. This was a family of wealth. This was a family of status.
[18:50:03] EVAN THOMAS, AUTHOR, "BEING NIXON: A MAN DIVIDED": This is Greenwich, Connecticut, the center of the WASP establishment. This was the era when White Anglo-Saxon protestants really did run the United States, and they felt the privilege but also the duty to serve.
BARBARA PERRY, DIRECTOR OF PRESIDENTIAL STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA'S MILLER CENTER: George Bush's father, Prescott Bush, is from Columbus, Ohio where his father ran a very successful metal manufacturing company. But Prescott decides that he will make money on his own and becomes the head of Brown Brothers Harriman, a huge financial institution on Wall Street.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: I recently spoke with Pierce Bush. He's the grandson of President George H.W. Bush. And my first question, why it was important to participate in a project like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PIERCE BUSH, GRANDSON OF FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH: You know, our family doesn't necessarily like attention being shined on us. But when my dad and I and my cousin, Barbara, and a few others heard that this project was going to be done, we figured we might as well add some of our family voices to the story, to the narrative.
I think if you look at, you know, what my family has lived through over the past -- you know, over the past century and kind of continues to live through, it's a story of America in so many ways.
BUSH: And it's a story of service and it's a story of being committed to something bigger than yourself and being a part of kind of the -- what's going on in our country. So it was an honor to participate.
CABRERA: Well, I think it's so interesting because you point out that some of your family don't like the public attention, but yet so much of your family has been in the public eye for so long. I imagine there's a lot that we don't actually know about your family, even though people think they do.
BUSH: Well, our family really -- I think people would be very disappointed. If they spent time with us in Kennebunkport, Maine, they would find a family that probably really resembled their own family.
We don't sit there and have deep political discussions. Our topics are all about things that, you know, everyday families talk about, like baseball and sports and what our cousins are doing and what our uncle is up to. So it's really just a big, loving family.
Nobody was interested in getting into politics or the leadership for personal gain. It was always about service and service above self. And so, you know, there is not some big strategy that goes on in our family. I think people would be disappointed to know that, maybe, but I've never been witness to that.
It's really just a very normal family that has seen challenges and tried to step up and answer them. And obviously, individual members have done that in their own different ways.
One of the most notable ones is, obviously, my uncle and my grandfather, becoming presidents of the United States. But if you look at the nonpolitical members, people are all engaged in trying to make a difference and do something that matters.
CABRERA: I imagine you have a lot of childhood memories of being together with your family on the campaign trail, at the White House, but has it ever been tough to grow up in the shadow of not one but two presidents?
BUSH: You know, people always ask me. The truth is, I was 2-1/2 years old when my grandfather was elected president of this amazing country, so I don't really have any idea what life would be like without it. But, again, deep down, my grandfather was just the world's best grandfather. Full stop.
And so, yes, I could tell he was an important man when I was a young kid. I mean, he had a lot of people following him wherever he walked around, and he lived in a magical place, which was the White House, of course, in that era. At his core, he was just the best grandfather.
I mean, he really loved being a grandfather, embraced that role. It was a role that he thought was super important to him. And he probably thought it was more important than even being president, frankly, is being a loving family member and a leader of our family in many ways.
CABRERA: You talked about your grandfather. Let's talk about your grandmother. Because, so far, all of the elected officials in the Bush family have been men, but I understand she was one powerful woman in her own right, Barbara Bush.
How instrumental was she in both the political success of your family but also in keeping the personal relationships strong and keeping your family tight-knit?
BUSH: Oh, my gosh. My grandmother was the strongest woman I have ever, ever known. She was, for sure, the disciplinarian in our family, no doubt about that. I would argue there would be no George H.W. Bush, 41st presidency, without Barbara Bush by his side. She played that much of a role and was that much of a partner in everything that he did.
And she was the one that showed tough love to us, to her kids. I think my Uncle George, of course, has more funny recollections about that. But she was just a very strong woman, was never -- what you saw is what you got. She, especially in her later years, lost her filter a little bit. But she never really had one, anyway.
[18:55:02] And I think people always liked my grandmother because they thought of her as being kind of just like their grandmother but a very authentic version who is willing to express their mind. And she was just such a strong force for good, stood up for people.
CABRERA: You lost both your grandmother and your grandfather this past year. What do you think they'd want for the Bush family as it continues to grow and new generations rise to take their place?
BUSH: Yes, it's a really good question. I think they would want us, in my grandfather's words, to get our jersey dirty. To commit ourselves to something that's bigger than our own personal interest.
And, you know, look, our world is faced with challenges, and what it requires is good people to step up. It's certainly not just my family.
But if you look at the example of George H.W. Bush, in particular -- and others in my family, too -- it is a story of people trying to do what's right, trying to lean into challenging times, and trying to make a difference. Trying to make a positive difference and being willing to kind of lean into those challenges, not run away from them. Lean into making the tough choices.
And so I think that they would just want the future generations, you know, my cousins, our kids, et cetera, to just be dedicated to living lives that are bigger than themselves because it's the way to lead a very full life. And it doesn't have to be through politics, I want to be clear about that. There are so many different other mechanisms to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Our thanks to Pierce Bush for that conversation. "The Bush Years: Family, Duty, Power," premieres tonight at 9:00 p.m. here on CNN.