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O'Rourke Soon to Take Stage at South by Southwest as Democrat Candidates Cross the Country; Trump Presidency Overwhelmed with Political Scandals Even Before Mueller Report; Democrats Contemplate Adding More Supreme Court Justices if Next President is Democrat; Democrats Investigations Target Trump's Entire World; Polls: 45 Percent Believe Trump Committed Crimes in Office, 64 Percent Believe Committed Crimes Before Presidency, Republican Approval at 86 Percent; Analysts Say Kim Jong-Un Possibly Preparing New Launch; Miami Herald: Trump Watched Super Bowl with Former Spa Owner Linked to Patriots' Owner Robert Kraft's Arrest; Signs of Hate Rise at Parks, on Sidewalks, at Schools. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired March 9, 2019 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:00:00] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, Allison Chinchar. Appreciate that.
Thank you so much for joining me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. See you back here tomorrow.
We have so much more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM with Ana Cabrera. It starts right now.
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. It's 3:00 Eastern, noon out west. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York. And you are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
We begin this Saturday with a very busy day on the campaign trail for the Democrats who would like to be president. From the battleground state of Iowa to Iowa to ruby red South Carolina, they are speaking out on everything, talking about their vision for the country, all the hot-button issues of the day, and they're talking about their competition in what's becoming a very crowded 2020 field.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I), VERMONT & DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our job is to create an economy and a government that works for all of us, the children, the elderly, the working people of this country and not just the 1 percent.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS, (D), CALIFORNIA & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: For too long, frankly, in our country, for too long, we have not had these honest discussions about race. We just have not.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR, (D), MINNESOTA & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are a number of great candidates. There really are. I like to jokingly say may the best woman win.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Today, in the red state of Texas, the South by Southwest festival isn't just attracting the biggest names in tech, film and music. It's also giving Democratic candidates a chance to get up close and personal with potential voters.
That's where we find CNN's Leyla Santiago.
Leyla, Beto O'Rourke isn't announcing yet if he is running for president, but he is there and taking attendees behind the scenes on the recent Senate campaign. Tell us more.
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We had a chance to watch a very -- a documentary with a lot of access to that run for the Senate, which he went up against Ted Cruz, raised $80 million, lost narrowly by three points. More importantly, for a lot of people in this audience, I was here in this theater, and those outside the theater, he took a question from an audience member who said, what's the deal, are you going to run in 2020. He sort of deflected. He didn't give a straight answer. Instead, he decided to highlight other candidates that are currently looking at a big run in local elections. So, he didn't quite answer that, even though he was here with his wife, Amy, as well as his daughter.
Interesting timing. This morning, his campaign sent out -- excuse me, not his campaign -- his staffers sent out an e-mail telling supporters to sign up for the announcement, to make sure they are on the list, first to know, when he announces. Our sources are telling us, it is a matter of any day now. Remember, last week, he said he made a decision about his future political career and that he would be announcing it soon. I caught up to him to find out when soon was. He was pretty tightlipped. He's not giving much information on when that will be.
That said, all of his supporters are watching every single move. He's been quiet on social media. Not much there where he typically engages with supporters. People are waiting to see, when will he speak next and, more importantly, for them, what will he say about 2020.
CABRERA: Right. He sure is building his suspense for supporters, assuming that's for a reason they are going to like, otherwise, why would he do that.
Leyla, let me ask you about Elizabeth Warren, who is set to speak any moment now. Why is this event such a draw for Democrats?
SANTIAGO: This is South by Southwest. I have to tell you, when I -- this is my first time attending. Yesterday, as I was walking around, I saw a lot of folks with Beto shirts, young people, engaged people. That's an audience that is really, really getting attention from the Democrats, especially Beto O'Rourke. And you're seeing other candidates here that are speaking. We expect many of those to be at the town hall for CNN tomorrow as well.
But, you have to think about who is attending here. Those are young, engaged people. That can be gold for some of these candidates that are looking to differentiate themselves among a very, very crowded field.
CABRERA: All right, Leyla Santiago at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. Thank you for your reporting.
Turning from the 2020 Democratic race to the current occupant of the White House, President Trump. When Special Counsel Robert Mueller submits his report, expected soon, there's a chance Congress or the general public won't see what is in it.
I want to show you how Axios has laid this out this week, showing the forest through the trees, noting the past couple of years have been overwhelmed with political scandal, perhaps the most in American history.
[15:05:09] There's the hush money payments, before Trump won the election, with two women alleging affairs with Trump and the lies around the hush money payments. There's a historical parallel for this. When Bill Clinton denied having sexual relations with White House intern, Monica Lewinsky. He did so under oath. He was impeached on grounds of perjury and obstruction of justice. Then, the firing of James Comey, because of, in part, the, quote, "Russia thing." There's a parallel here, too. Richard Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre in 1973 when he purged high-level officials investigating Watergate. Think about this one, negotiating the Trump Tower Moscow Project during the campaign, hiding that from the public. No historical parallel there. Then, there's Trump campaign staffers communicating with Russians, not once, not twice, more than 100 contacts made with Russians and Trump associates during the campaign. Zero precedent.
Listen to what former Clinton press secretary, Joe Lockhart, had to say, here on CNN, of the man who led the independent counsel investigation of Clinton, Ken Starr. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE LOCKHART, FORMER CLINTON PRESS SECRETARY: President Clinton didn't go out every day and call this a witch hunt and say there was nothing to this. The president went about doing his job. President Clinton didn't, 10,000 times, tell lies and mislead the American public. He did mislead the American public and lie to them in that Roosevelt Room. There's no defense of that. But, to try to compare these things -- and I think that's getting back to the Axios story, that's the strength of the Axios stories. Donald Trump is using the full weight of the federal government and the executive branch now to protect himself and to cover up what he's done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: I want to bring in constitutional law expert, Laurence Tribe, who is involved in lawsuits against Trump involving emoluments and Trump's national emergency declaration. He is the author of the book "To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment."
Professor Tribe, thanks for being here. Good to see you.
LAURENCE TRIBE, CONSTITIONAL LAW PROFESSOR, HARVARD UNIVERSITY & AUTHOR: Good to see you, Ana.
CABRERA: You have been critical of President Trump. We laid out how unprecedented some of this is. Yet, you say now is not the time for impeachment. What is the threshold for impeachment, in your mind?
TRIBE: The threshold has certainly been met in terms of the likely offenses that are emerging from the evidence. But there's no point in impeaching a president when the Senate is really very much in his hip pocket and will not remove him. We really need to investigate thoroughly. So much of what we know, we only know in dribs and drabs. A great deal has been unmasked by Robert Mueller. Much of it will become public, not all of it. Much is being learned in the Southern District of New York. But it's mostly the House of Representatives, the investigations in the Judiciary Committee, the Oversight Committee, the Intelligence Committee, that's going to reveal a great deal. Then we'll see. We'll see whether the time has come to pull the impeachment trigger.
CABRERA: Do you worry Democrats could overreach? We learned this week, 80 people, businesses, connections to the president, people involved in not just his business, his inauguration, his campaign, his administration, issued requests for documents, for communications. Is there risk in what the Democrats are going, the kind of scatter shot way they started their investigations?
TRIBE: Honestly, it's not scatter shot. It's very deliberate and careful. There's a lot of pent-up curiosity based not on just speculation, but on indictments that have been handed down by Robert Mueller on investigations that are going on in the Southern District. And because prior to last November, the House of Representatives was in Republican control. They weren't investigating anything in a meaningful way. A lot of pent-up information that needs now to be released and made public. Now, obviously, the Republicans are going to make it look like this is way too much. But, all of these investigations are in response to completely unprecedented things this president has done, both in becoming president and in, at least, apparently, obstructing justice during his presidency. We are simply catching up to the truth.
[15:10:04] CABRERA: You don't think impeachment is the answer, yet, but you have said, recently, you don't believe President Trump will complete his first term in office. So, do you think impeachment is coming or how do you see this playing out?
TRIBE: Well, I don't have a crystal ball, but it seems to me very hard to believe that someone who would have never been elected in the first place, if the public had known all of what he was doing behind the scenes, both with Russia and with Michael Cohen and with various people who were conspiring to hide the truth from the American people about the way he was violating the campaign finance laws, I think it's hard to believe that someone who would never have been elected is going to serve out his term. How it's going to end, I'm not sure. He may resign in order to avoid further embroilment and further damage to his entire empire. I don't think he would resign without arranging to be pardoned by Vice President Pence. But whenever he resigns or is voted out of office, or is impeached and removed, he is going to face prosecution by state authorities as well as federal authorities. It's not going to be a pretty scene. I think it's going to end sooner rather than later.
CABRERA: You mentioned earlier, apparent obstruction of justice, a crime.
I want you to hear this from Ken Starr, who served as special counsel for the Whitewater investigation, talking about a president being indicted.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Do you think a sitting president can be indicted?
KEN STARR, FORMER SPECIAL COUNCSEL: Yes. And I disagree with the Justice Department's guidelines, but it is the historic position of the department that goes back to the days of Bob Work (ph) and the Nixon administration.
No person is above the law means that a president can be indicted. But that's not the Justice Department's policy. And Bob Mueller, as you know, is an officer of the Justice Department and, therefore, is required to follow that policy. He cannot indict.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So, Starr sort of saying it both ways. His argument the president can be indicted, but Mueller probably won't do it. Do you agree?
TRIBE: I certainly agree a president can be indicted. The Office of Legal Counsel policy, to the contrary, in 1973, was almost immediately reversed in a brief that the Department of Justice filed in the Supreme Court. The basic principle that we shouldn't lose sight of is that no one is above the law. It is simply not the case under our Constitution that the only way to hold a president to account is through the political process of impeachment, important though it is. Because a sitting president could really have Congress really in his pocket, as I suggested earlier. If a president were to have, for example, bribed just enough members of the Senate to be acquitted, it can't be that he simply serves out his term as though nothing happened. When a president commits serious offenses, some of them crimes, others involving violations of the Constitution that are extreme abuses of power, though they may not be criminal, like accepting emoluments and benefits from Saudi Arabia and Turkey and Russia, then that president has to be held to account.
CABRERA: Before I let you go, I have to ask you about the Supreme Court. Democrats are throwing out an idea that adding more justices might be the way to go if a Democrat is elected president. We heard this from former A.G. Eric Holder this week and 2020 candidate, Pete Buttigieg, who said he supports increasing the number of Supreme Court justice to as many as 15. What is your idea? Is this good or bad?
TRIBE: I think court packing is a bad idea. I can easily see the temptation to do it. But I think that it leads to a never-ending spiral of tit for tat. I think that we need to live with the judiciary as an independent body, not a body that keeps getting either expanded or contracted, accordion-like. I think that's not the way to go.
I do think, in the long run, the American people will hold the president accountable. And, in the long run, we will have a Supreme Court that is much more independent than I think even this president wants it to be. The court is not likely, any more than the court in the Nixon era, did his bidding because he appointed some of its members. I think this court wants to go down in history as an independent branch. The chief justice, whom I had the privilege of teaching when he was my law student, I think the chief justice is going to do his part.
[15:15:08] TRIBE: John Roberts is going to do his part to prevent the court from becoming an appendage of the executive.
CABRERA: Laurence Tribe, thank you so much for being here.
TRIBE: Thank you, Ana.
CABRERA: Fresh doubt over the progress made between President Trump and Kim Jong-Un. New satellite images reveal a rocket or missile could be close to having another launch.
Later, "The Miami Herald" digs up a photo of President Trump with a woman who once owned the spa where Robert Kraft was accused of soliciting prostitution. Details of how she ended up at the Trump Golf Club to watch the Super Bowl with the president.
You are live with the CNN NEWSROOM.
[15:19:50] CABRERA: The testimony of Michael Cohen paired with Paul Manafort shed light on political strategies that may define who wins the White House in 2020. It's really up to the eye of the beholder and the voter. On one side, Trump's detractors see an administration beset by constant corruption. The sheer number of investigations surrounding the president and his orbit is getting daunting. So much that the "New York Times" and "Washington Post" published guides to help you keep up.
There are now 10 House committees looking into Donald Trump's administration. Several spurred by his former lawyer Michael Cohen's testimony. They are not solely focusing on protecting the special counsel and his Russia investigation. Democrats, in full control of the House have taking control, making good on promises to bombard the president with investigations.
President Trump is not playing defense, even as his former campaign manager is in prison, to be followed soon by his former lawyer. Instead, the president is making clear that Americans were promised collusion and citing the Manafort sentencing and Cohen testimony, as proof that he's been right all along. Look at the tweet: "Both the judge and the lawyer in the Paul Manafort case stated loudly and for the world to hear that there was no collusion with Russia."
OK. Facts first. To be clear, that is not what the judge said. Judge Ellis merely noted Manafort wasn't accused of collusion and that his trial was focused on unrelated financial crimes.
But, again, focusing on the politics, it's clear the president is framing a message to voters. Pair that with Trump's reaction to Cohen's testimony.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He lied a lot. But it was very interesting because he didn't lie about one thing. He said no collusion with the Russian hoax. I said, I wonder why he didn't lie about that, too, like he did about everything else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Ken Cuccinelli is the former Virginia attorney general, a CNN legal and political analyst, and Julian Zelizer, is historian and professor at Princeton University and a CNN political analyst.
Ken, Trump had never been beholden to the facts, but he has been successful at selling a message. Is that what the president is counting on with these investigations?
KEN CUCCINELLI, CNN LEGAL & POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, in part. I mean, you make lemonade out of lemons, right? Congressman Doug Collins' letter this past week to Jerry Nadler, the new chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has not gotten a lot of coverage. But if you look at it and if you read it all the way through, it is devastating. It is absolutely devastating from both a political and a legal standpoint. I started --
CABRERA: Devastating to who? To the president?
CUCCINELLI: To Nadler. I mean, one of the things you commented about the promises the Democrats made to bombard the White House, and you are absolutely right, that is exactly what they promised. The problem is, while there's a minority of Americans who really love that and cheer it on, that is not where most Americans are. Most Americans want to see people taking an objective view of the questions that arise between the Democrats and the president. That's not what's happening here. That's why Doug Collins' letter to this one chairman, a very important one, on Judiciary, is going to be so important because I think the Democrats in Congress are overdoing it. The president, as you noted, his habit is not to play defense. He's using that to go on offense. What other choice does he have? He can do that or get pummeled by all these committee chairmen.
CABRERA: Let me pick up on what you said about the Democrats. Are they doing the investigations to the detriment of themselves?
Julian, you have a piece on CNN.com that explores the search for a smoking gun, and the possibility they may not find a smoking gun. Are they dancing with danger, politically speaking, here?
JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure, in an investigation is always a risk. You stimulate a backlash or do it the wrong way and it undermines the investigation itself. I don't think that's what's happening. They are conducting oversight that has not been done in the first two years. They are looking at questions that many people, not just the base of the Democratic Party, agree need to be looked at. Part of it is about the campaign, part is about conflict of interest between the business empire of the president and the presidency. Then, other issues such as obstruction of justice. It might be there's no smoking gun or tape that has President Trump saying I did X, Y and Z. There's a mountain of evidence, already that there are problems and questions about whether this White House has been accountable.
CABRERA: There are interesting poll numbers this week. Ken, according to a Quinnipiac University poll, 64 percent of registered voters said Trump committed crimes before entering office. That's what they belief. Nearly half the voters, 45 percent, think he committed crimes serving as president. Yet, another poll reveals his job approval rating among Republicans stands at 86 percent. If Republicans think Trump committed crimes, do they not care about that?
[15:25:07] CUCCINELLI: Well, I think a lot of this -- just to give the Republican perspective, a lot of the rigamarole that has been more intense for this president is used through the filter of the last president, a president that said, Congress, do what I do or I have a phone and pen and I'll do it myself. When you see the coverage of this president's version where people say, oh, he broke the law -- like, take the national emergency declaration. This isn't even a constitutional issue. It's a statutory one. And the president is using power Congress gave to the presidency.
CABRERA: Although, there are Republicans that who argue that's not a constitutional issue.
CUCCINELLI: No. No, no, no. It's not a constitutional issue. I mean, I talked, for instance, to Senator Paul's office. Senator Rand Paul is extremely principled on these sorts of questions and they don't argue that it's a constitutional issue. They are -- as I understand it, they argue that this is more power than the presidency should have. So, Senator Paul will not support its exercise. And that they also dispute, I presume, the use of dollars being beyond the scope of the statute. But none of them, as far as I know, on the Republican side, make any suggestion that this is a constitutional issue.
CABRERA: There are Republicans that we have heard from who do make an objection on the constitutional basis. Marco Rubio is one of them.
CABRERA: Julian, back to the investigations we were talking about. I remember in December when Democrats were saying their top priority when they took office in January was going to be getting the president's tax returns. That hasn't happened. They haven't even requested them, yet.
ZELIZER: Right. The Ways and Means Committee, it looks like, is moving in that direction. They don't have it, yet. The president is certainly going to invoke his own power as president to stop that. He's been very resolute. I think many Democrats feel that could open some keys to questions that have been raised. The president, it's unclear that he has to do this. It's been a tradition for candidates to give over the material. Now he's president, so he might be in more of a fix. I think the Democrats will keep up that pressure. There's so many fronts right now that they are looking into. I think they are trying to prioritize and I think they are trying to figure out what is the most urgent areas to look into.
And the reason that a lot of Republicans think the way they do, back to the original question, that's partisanship. I think there's a big disconnect between how Republicans feel about supporting a Republican president. And the striking part of that poll, what they think of the president they are supporting. And, it's been hard for Democrats to change that dynamic.
CABRERA: Julian Zelizer, Ken Cuccinelli, I appreciate both of you. Thanks so much for being here.
CUCCINELLI: Thank you.
CABRERA: A new blow to U.S.-North Korea relations. Satellite images revealing North Korea could be close to a missile launch. Details next.
You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[15:32:41] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: This week, the people of Venezuela are boiling over with anger.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: This is in Caracas. Venezuelans are furious all over the country. Supporters of embattled President Nicolas Maduro and riot police physically clashing with people who believe in opposition leader, Juan Guaido, as the legitimate president. Also, right now, nearly all the country is without electricity, since Thursday. Many people blame the Maduro government for being incompetent and for corruption. Venezuelan officials are telling the public that U.S., that is was the U.S. in a sabotage that caused the blackout. People are getting very worried about food safety and hospital patients, if the power doesn't come back on soon.
Also overseas today, new concerns North Korea is getting ready to launch something, either a missile or a rocket. People who keep an eye on North Korea say a lot of activity in one certain place is a dead giveaway.
CNN's Will Ripley is in Beijing -- Will?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What we are seeing based on analysis of commercial satellite imagery is a potentially troubling shift inside North Korea, a shift to a more defiant, perhaps militaristic posture after the failed summit in Hanoi with North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un, and U.S. President Donald Trump.
New satellite images of a rocket and missile factory near the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, a place known as Sundong (ph), indicate, according to two analysts, that North Korea has assembled something, maybe a space rocket, maybe an intercontinental missile. Whatever they have assembled, they've put it on a rail car and the train has now left the station. Where it's headed, we don't know. We do know that North Korea's -- one of their main launch sites, which has been rebuilt after being partially dismantled as part of a pledge by Kim Jong-Un to take the place part. It's now believed to be back up and running, fully operational, according to private analysts, though that's yet to be confirmed by the U.S. government.
If the So-hai (ph) launch station is ready to receive a rocket and if satellite images show that a rocket has been placed on the launch pad, that will be a very clear message of defiance by Kim Jong-Un in the wake of what sources describe as a humiliation in Hanoi, with President Trump leaving the North Korean leader bewildered after the North Koreans felt they made a good offer, only to have the U.S. delegation reject the offer and walk out, leaving without a deal and without sanctions relief that they desperately need inside the country.
[15:35:20] What could it mean for diplomacy? It really depends on how the United States responds. North Korea always claimed space rockets are putting satellites into orbit for scientific research. Those space rockets use the same technology that missiles use, technology banned by the United Nations Security Council.
All this happening as sources tell CNN Chinese President Xi Jinping is also having second thoughts about his own planned trips to the United States for trade talks with President Trump later this month. The Chinese saying they don't want President Trump to walk out on Xi like he did on Kim. An indication that Trump's credibility in terms of diplomacy has really been undermined in the wake of that walkout and the failed summit in Hanoi.
Will Ripley, CNN, Beijing.
CABRERA: Thanks, Will.
Caught on camera. The moment a car loses control and almost crashes into the presidential motorcade. This was in Alabama. We will show you the moment of impact, next.
[15:40:19] CABRERA: Talk about a close call. An out-of-control vehicle crashes into a freeway divider just a few feet from the presidential motorcade in Alabama yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my god. The president. (EXPLETIVE DELETED)? Are you kidding me? Did you all see that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I got it on footage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy smokes. There went the president of the United States and that car almost took him out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, there's --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got all that --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Holy smokes. That video was captured by a bystander standing on the freeway, apparently. The motorcade did not stop or slow down during that incident. The Alabama Highway Patrol says the police department is investigating the accident.
We are learning new details about the woman, seen here in this selfie, with President Trump during a Super Bowl watch party this year. She is the former owner of the spa where Patriots owner, Robert Kraft, is accused of soliciting prostitution, something he denies. CNN and "The Miami Herald" uncover new details of her connection with prominent members of the Republican Party.
CNN's Kaylee Hartung joins us live from Jupiter, Florida.
Kaylee, what are you learning about this former owner?
KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN: Ana, it's not unusual for the president or high- profile lawmakers to take a photo with a political donor. Of course, President Trump has done so more times than he could count, certainly with more people than he could name.
But the optics of this photo are raising big questions.
HARTUNG (voice-over): Her name is Li Yang. She goes by Cindy. She has been spotted with the who's who of the GOP, including the president's sons at Mar-a-Lago, Kellyanne Conway at the inauguration, and Sarah Palin.
But it is this selfie Yang took with Trump at a Super Bowl watch party that's raising eyebrows. Yang is the former owner of Orchids of Asia Day Spa, the massage parlor where Florida authorities say caught New England Patriots owner and Trump friend Robert Kraft on camera paying for oral sex.
DANIEL KERR, CHIEF, JUPITER, FLORIDA POLICE: He is being charged with the same offenses as the others, and that is soliciting another to commit prostitution.
HARTUNG: Kraft denies any wrongdoing.
According to "The Miami Herald," Yang no longer owns Orchids of Asia. According to publication reporting, she sold it back in 2013. CNN repeatedly tried but was unable to reach Yang for comment. She did speak with "The Miami Herald."
NICHOLAS NEHAMAS, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, "MIAMI HERALD": But she didn't answer the question of whether she knew that there was sex happening. She simply told us that she's no longer in the spa business, she doesn't know President Trump, and she's planning to move to Washington, D.C.
HARTUNG: It should be noted, Yang was not charged in the anti-human trafficking bust that led to misdemeanor charges against Kraft and the closing of several spas in South Florida.
The White House declined to comment on Yang, but President Trump did speak about the charges against Kraft.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, it is very sad. I was very surprised to see it. He's proclaimed his innocence totally, but I'm very surprised to see it.
HARTUNG: Yang donated upwards of $35,000 to the Trump campaign, according to FEC filings. She's a self-made entrepreneur who, according to "The Miami Herald," showed little political interest before the 2016 election, and that she had not voted in 10 years prior.
HARTUNG: We are learning more about Li, or Cindy, Yang's recent political support for President Trump. In 2017, Ana, she donated $37,000 to his campaign fund. In 2018, another $37,000. In that year, the man reported to be her husband donated more than $10,000. Again, Yang has not been accused of any wrongdoing, but we go back to
the optics of this photo.
And, Ana, it's worth noting that Robert Kraft will be arraigned on the misdemeanor charges he faces at the end of this month.
CABRERA: Kaylee Hartung, in Jupiter, Florida, thank you.
[15:44:10] We'll be right back.
CABRERA: Signs of hate are on the rise at parks, on sidewalks, and increasingly at schools. An elite private school in the nation's capital carrying out an investigation after some students displayed swastikas during a school assembly just this past week. On the west coast, images of high school students at a party doing a Nazi salute over a swastika made out of beer cups widely shared on social media.
Our Sara Sidner takes a closer look at the growing displays of hate at America's schools. And it is disturbing -- Sara?
SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, experts are telling us, they are seeing a disturbing trend among America's youth, their attraction to Nazi and racist symbolism. But you are going to meet one woman who survived the death camps, who says she's trying to solve the problem and steer them away from hate one community at a time.
(voice-over): High school students in Alabama spouting violent and racist and anti-Semitic comments, and enjoying every minute of it, then posting it on social media.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Without the Holocaust, what would the world look like?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We would have white people still.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jews would run the world without the Holocaust.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED), (EXPLETIVE DELETED) Jews.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jews are fine because they are white.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the Holocaust didn't happen, Jews would be running the world right now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's fine. We just need (EXPLETIVE DELETED) gone, so it's half mixed Oreos. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Think about that. Think about that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you going to do with them?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You stick them in Concentration camps and (EXPLETIVE DELETED) (INAUDIBLE) them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, you have to wait until they die off.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[15:50:03] SIDNER: The girl you hear repeatedly saying the "N" word sent out a statement on her father's car dealership Facebook page. "The horrible, horrible things I said were a terrible attempt to be funny. I'm sorry to anyone that had to listen to the video. I'll do everything in my power to be better each and every day."
But this is just one example of a rising tide of hate among youth. The same week, in upscale Newport Beach, California, high school students do a Nazi salute above a red-cup swastika they created. Parties with a side of Nazi rhetoric seem to be popular with some teenagers these days.
BRIAN LEVIN, PROFESSOR OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE, CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, SAN BERNADINO: What I saw was how the combination of ignorance, evil, shock and peer validation can come together at a time when the social political landscape is about polarization. What happens is there's a race to the bottom, because we don't have civic moral leadership in this country that sets a standard as to what's acceptable communally.
SIDNER: Brian Levin in a professor at Cal State, San Bernardino and runs the Center for the Study of Hate. He and other experts on the subject say there's been heavy recruiting by white nationalist groups in recent years on college campuses and grad schools. The Anti- Defamation League found, in 2017, anti-Semitic incidences in K-12 schools increased by an astounding 94 percent after nearly doubling the year prior. And the FBI says, between 2016 and 2017, reports of hate crimes against Jews skyrocketed, up 34 percent. Overall hate crimes reported, up 17 percent.
While several white nationalists, KKK and Neo-Nazi groups are trying to disguise their hateful messages to make it more attractive to the mainstream, Levin says the youth are looking for shock and awe that's popular on social media.
The behavior isn't just a series of parties. Last month, in New York, it appeared on a playground. And a new Nazi way to ask for a date to a dance in Minnetonka, Minnesota. She later apologized.
Eva Schloss hopes she's an antidote to anti-Semitism among the youth. She's a Holocaust survivor, the stepsister of Anne Frank, whose story of surviving the Holocaust has haunted and inspired the world for more than 70 years.
Schloss travelled to a Newport Beach High School just days after some of its students took part in the incident. She sat down privately with the offending students and their parents.
EVA SCHLOSS, HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR & STEPSISTER TO ANNE FRANK: I just told them that the Nazis did really horrible, horrible things, not just gassing Jewish people, but even their own disabled people. That was the first experiment with gassing, pick children of people.
SIDNER: Schloss survived Auschwitz Concentration Camp at 16. But most of her family were annihilated by the Nazis, along with six million Jews.
Now, more than 70 years after the attempt to exterminate so many human beings, she's faced with young people who think Nazi symbolism is all the rage.
SCHLOSS: How hurtful it was for many, many survivors of the Holocaust who have lost millions of their families all over the world really. It is an insult to those people.
SIDNER (on camera): Insult to you?
SCHLOSS: Yes, insult to me as well.
SIDNER: And lastly, are you afraid, now that you've seen young people doing this over and over and over again here in America? Are you afraid for the next generations of people?
SCHLOSS: Well, there's so much education going on now, and it's going to be improved. It's going to be more and more. I hope eventually they will see the light, that it's not anymore acceptable. I'm still an optimist. You know. I say it can't go on. (INAUDIBLE).
(on camera): SIDNER: Eva Schloss told us she was indeed shocked that in 2019 and in a well-educated town with highly educated students, incidents like this still occur. But when you speak to experts, they say that it will continue to occur across this country and abroad unless there's a strong push for education, not just by the school system but by parents themselves and politicians as well.
Back to you.
CABRERA: Sara Sidner, thank you. So disturbing.
Now the decent on South by Southwest. And 2020 contenders take Austin by storm. What Beto O'Rourke just told a crowd there about a run for the White House.
First, we want to take a moment to honor this week's "CNN Hero." As a highs school student, Zach Wigal teamed up with hospitals to help bring video games to sick kids across the country.
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[15:54:58] ZACH WIGAL, CNN HERO: Sometimes people believe video games are corrupting the minds of America's youth. But they're an incredible tool to help kids find fun and relief during stressful and most difficult times.
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CABRERA: To see Zach and his gaming team in action and to nominate someone you think should be a "CNN Hero," go to CNN Heroes.com.
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MARVIN BUSH, BROTHER OF GEORGE W. BUSH: A great deal of pride that I introduce my big little brother, Georgie.
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One reason Marvin and I, brother, Neil, from Colorado, Dorothy, of Maine, are working so hard is because our dad needs a real job.
Thank you very much.
JOHN SUNUNU, FORMER GEORGE H.W. BUSH CAMPAIGN ADVISOR: George W. was very much involved in the campaign. Almost there to make sure that the campaign was run the way his father wanted it to be run.