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New Poll of Democratic Hopefuls; Maduro and Guaido Hold Rival Rallies amid Blackout in Venezuela; Turkish Airlines Turbulence Injuries Dozens; Future of Brexit Hard to Read; R. Kelly Released from Jail; U.S. Women's Soccer Team Files Equal Pay Lawsuit; Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Crash. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired March 10, 2019 - 04:00   ET




GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A crowded Democratic field for between 2020 and a new poll shows former Vice President Joe Biden is in the lead and he hasn't even announced he's running. More on that ahead.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Also, dueling protests in Venezuela as the country spends a third day without power. We'll take you there.

HOWELL (voice-over): Also ahead this hour, equal pay for equal play. Members of the women's national soccer team sue in hopes of making that a reality.

ALLEN (voice-over): We'll talk about that with one of our sports analysts.

Welcome to our viewers, coming to you live from Atlanta, I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL (voice-over): I'm George Howell. From CNN World Headquarters, NEWSROOM starts right now.


HOWELL: 4:00 am on the U.S. East Coast.

Less than a year to go and the 2020 presidential election cycle officially kicks off with the Iowa caucuses. It's early but we're already getting insight into what voters there think about the crowded field of Democratic candidates who could face off with Donald Trump.

ALLEN: Yes, we said Iowa caucuses.

HOWELL: Early, isn't it?

ALLEN: A new poll shows two clear front-runners at this early stage and the person at the top isn't even in the race, at least not yet. CNN's Ryan Nobles has our report. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The last time we took the temperature of Iowa voters, there were very few candidates in the race. I can tell you, having just returned from Iowa, the campaign there is very much on and we now have 14 candidates who have officially announced or formed exploratory committees.

Despite having so many candidates in the field, the results have not changed all that much from our survey back in December. Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders top the field by a pretty wide margin. Sanders trailing behind by only 2 points from Biden. There's not another candidate who even cracks 10 percent.

Elizabeth Warren has 9 percent, Kamala Harris with 7 percent, Beto O'Rourke at 5 percent while Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar register 3 percent. There's not one other candidate of the 20 polled that even registers above the 1 percent mark.

That's important because a candidate must earn at least 1 percent in three different polls to gain access to the DNC debates. There is some movement from what we saw in December. That's to the benefit of Bernie Sanders.

Look at where things are from just a couple months ago, Sanders was only at 19 percent, Biden at 32 percent. Sanders has gone up to 25 percent. Biden has lost some ground at 27 percent. The big difference there, Sanders officially in the race, Biden not quite in yet.

The other candidates have not changed much, although Beto O'Rourke, another candidate not in quite yet, was at 11 percent in December. He's now dropped off to 5 percent.

There's also something interesting about the way the youth vote has an impact on the support for these candidates. I was at an event with Bernie Sanders on a college campus in Iowa City earlier this week. And there were so many young people there passionately behind his campaign. That's reflected in this poll.

Voters under the age of 45 support Sanders the most at 32 percent but when you flip those numbers and look at Joe Biden's support with voters over 45, he takes 32 percent of the vote.

There's certainly a lot of energy with young people but generally the older voters in a caucus state like Iowa is a lot more reliable. We are still a long way away from votes being cast. It's very unlikely what we see from this snapshot in time turns out to be how things end up a year from now -- Ryan Nobles, CNN, Washington.


HOWELL: Ryan, you're right. It's early. Let's talk about it with Scott Lucas. Scott teaches international politics at the University of Birmingham in England also the founder and the editor of "EA WorldView." Pleasure, Scott.


HOWELL: Let's talk about it. This new poll of voters in the important state of Iowa. That state always a litmus test for candidates running. The poll shows Biden beating Sanders 27 percent to 25 percent, even though he shouldn't officially running yet.

What do you make of it?

LUCAS: Ryan Nobles is right. It's early. We're talking about 400 voters sampled here. The takeaway is name recognition. Joe Biden is very well known as the former vice president, longtime congressman. Bernie Sanders, known for his run in 2016 and for being a standard bearer for the progressive wing of the party.

So I think you'd expect them to get quite a bit of support. The question --


LUCAS: -- will be in months to come is those who may not be as well known in places like Iowa, do they get a surge as they raise money -- because that's important to get your message out -- and as they do the ground game?

Getting the volunteers out who are going to go across the state and other states, especially when it starts getting cold this winter, that's what will be important.

There's a wider thing here which is interesting, the issues highlighted here. Whether you're talking about a Sanders or Biden supporter, a Kamala Harris supporter or Beto O'Rourke, the real focus were respondents talking about health care, climate change, talking about increased taxes.

If you can provide public services off the revenues and, interestingly, saying their priorities to get a message of unity across after a fairly divisive couple years under Donald Trump.

HOWELL: One name not on there, Governor Jay Inslee, running on climate change, and also Elizabeth Warren, focusing on antitrust measures. Are these the real issues at play that will bring voters together or is this more of an election against Donald Trump?

LUCAS: Yes, I think you'll see elements of both. What voters were saying very clearly is they don't want this to be just about Donald Trump. Only 22 percent thought impeachment should be a key issue; whereas you talk about 80 percent, who were saying health care should be a vital issue.

Almost as many said climate change should be a vital issue. The idea here is Democrats can't just be an anti-party going into 2020. They have to give a positive message for what America can become again after what has been a fairly rough period, you know, socially, culturally and for many people, despite Donald Trump's words, economically.

HOWELL: So you say it will be an issue-based election as opposed to a referendum against the current Republican U.S. president.

Scott, another question for you. The Democratic Party rallying around centrist candidates.

Or do you expect to see the party pulled further to the left as you've seen with Republicans pulled further to the right?

LUCAS: I'm not going to play this game with you and I want to explain why because Donald Trump's tactic will be and those around him will scream socialism. This is all about socialism and that all the Democrats are enemies within.

When you say centrist versus left, you obscure something and that is it doesn't matter if you are a conservative, a moderate or on the left, you probably have a concern about the environment. It doesn't matter if you are the center or left, you probably have a concern about education and how we're going to finance it.

And you definitely have a concern about whether you can get health care if you or your children are unwell. And the more that you play this as a moderate or a centrist, whether be it a Joe Biden versus a leftist, whether you identify that as a Bernie Sanders or Kamala Harris, you play into that split.

And I think that's why this will be an issues-based campaign. At least I hope it will be. And the more that it is, that damaging polarization that we fall into, that's something we can escape next year, which we didn't do a few years ago.

HOWELL: Fair question for sure but my grandfather used to say, I'm not going to play that game with you. When you said it, whoa, you got me. Scott, appreciate your time.

LUCAS: Thank you, George.

ALLEN: We turn to Venezuela where much of that country is still shrouded in darkness.

HOWELL: Widespread blackouts have been causing hardships and suffering for so many people there. Look at what the scene was in Caracas on Saturday night.

Can you see it?

Pretty dark there. Most of the capital still without power except for a few points of light that have generators there. The opposition leader, Juan Guaido, urged supporters to stay strong and called for more protests.


JUAN GUAIDO, INTERIM PRESIDENT OF VENEZUELA (through translator): I've said it before, the regime wants to wear us out, brothers and sisters and, yes, the road has been very long. The road has worn us out. But we will never tire in the search for freedom and we'll stay in the streets.


ALLEN: But at a different rally, sitting president Nicolas Maduro blamed the U.S. for hacking Venezuela's power grid and he had a warning for Washington.


NICOLAS MADURO, PRESIDENT OF VENEZUELA (through translator): If the gringos dare to launch a criminal military action on the country as requested by the opposition, would the bombs fall only on the Chavistas?

It is a question that I ask in a pedagogic way to awaken the conscience of all.


HOWELL: Two leaders saying two very different things. Our Paula Newton was there at both events and filed this report from Caracas.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Another tense day on the streets of Caracas and throughout Venezuela as there were dueling protests and rallies on the streets of Caracas. The opposition had gathered in multiple points around the city.

But really stymied at every turn by the national guard. There were some skirmishing but it did it did stay --


NEWTON: -- peaceful. We're still deal with rolling blackouts throughout the city, throughout the country. People are dealing without electricity but also without water. Very difficult to get food. Any food they did have was spoiling. You got no sense of that at the government rally.

Protesters and people who were protesting the U.S. government there told me that, look, they want the Trump administration to get out of their business here in Venezuela and kept chanting, "Yankee go home."

President Maduro took on the same tone when he spoke to the crowds but did promise there would be some kind of aid coming after this blackout early next week.

Juan Guaido spoke in front of the crowd but it did seem disorganized. And I saw them, tens of thousands of people, were even unable to hear him. I want you to listen to this woman now, who feels that more forceful action should be taken. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The only way we could get out of this people is by confrontation. We don't expect that the U.S. or any other country. Venezuelans have to get out and fight for Venezuela.

What dictatorship has gone out peacefully? You tell me one.


NEWTON: Opposition protesters promise to be on the streets Sunday but, really, things remain tense, especially as people continue to try and cope with what is a profound and unprecedented blackout that's really trying for anyone trying to just make it through another day -- Paula Newton, CNN, Caracas.


HOWELL: The British government is facing backlash after the death of an ISIS bride's baby in Syria. Shamima Begum left the U.K. as a teenager. She chose to join the terror group in Syria. Her son reportedly died on Thursday after being born in a Syrian camp last month.

The British government has moved through a vote on Begum's citizenship, a decision that's been spearheaded by the home secretary.

ALLEN: Yes, Sajid Javid is being slammed by the Labour MP Diane Abbott on Twitter. She writes, "The mother would have faced justice if brought back to the U.K. and the baby may have lived."

HOWELL: Aid groups -- the aid group Save the Children is also reacting to the child's death.

Its Syria response director writes, "All children associated with ISIS victims of the conflict -- are victims of the conflict and must be treated as such."

She went on to write that, "It is possible that the death of this baby boy and others could have been avoided. The U.K. and other countries of origin must take responsibility for their citizens inside Northeast Syria."

A dictatorship holding an election may seem counterintuitive but North Koreans are voting on Sunday in their version of a parliamentary election.

ALLEN: It's a ritual carried out every five years. Turnout is typically close to 100 percent. There are no actual choices to make. Each ballot only has one preapproved name.

HOWELL: After last week's deadly tornadoes, severe weather again across the southern U.S. has many on edge. We'll have more on that story for you coming up.

ALLEN: Also, getting ready for Brexit isn't easy on either side of the English Channel. That even includes our four-legged friends. We'll explain. (MUSIC PLAYING)





ALLEN: Severe turbulence is blamed for dozens of injuries aboard a flight from Istanbul to New York. At least 30 people were treated for bumps, bruises and cuts. One person may have suffered a broken leg.

HOWELL: A Port Authority spokesperson says the Turkish Airlines jet was less than an hour from JFK International Airport when it encountered that severe turbulence.

ALLEN: Thinking about that gives me the heebie-jeebies.

Severe weather is hitting parts of the southern U.S. Heavy rain and thunderstorms moved across the region Saturday.

HOWELL: Memphis, Tennessee, saw heavy rain and high winds that brought down trees and utility lines there, leaving thousands of people there in the dark.

ALLEN: My family lives there. Maybe I should check in.



HOWELL: The U.S. State Department says that it's aware of new rules for American travelers and others heading to Europe.

ALLEN: Beginning in 2021, citizens from 60 countries, including the United States, will have to apply for a security authorization to visit most European countries. It's similar to a system already in place in the U.S.

There are only 19 days left until the U.K. is set to officially leave the European Union and the future seems more uncertain than ever. For weeks, British prime minister Theresa May has been negotiating possible changes to her withdrawal deal with a reluctant E.U. and also trying to win over her divided Parliament.

HOWELL: But Brexit lumbers on, getting closer. British lawmakers now set to vote on her proposal Tuesday and, if it passes, Britain walks away from Europe with a deal if it passes. If it doesn't, there will be more votes ahead on whether to leave without a deal or whether to delay Brexit.

And while the British are concerned about a no-deal Brexit, they're not alone. The French are also concerned. And they're getting ready.

ALLEN: As CNN's Jim Bittermann reports, if Britain crashes out of Europe, that could affect all creatures, great and small.


JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Oscar the Yorkie may not look too worried about Brexit, but his caretaker certainly is.

Paul Anderson runs a business called Pets2Go2, regularly transporting thousands of pets a year from Europe to Britain and back again. Unlike other animals, Oscar travels back and forth easily with a pet passport.

But potentially after Brexit, more paperwork will be needed and perhaps even a new blood test before he can re-enter into France.

PAUL ANDERSON, DOG CARETAKER, PETS2GO2: There doesn't seem to be any clarity on what is going to happen to our business or transporting as a general. It is a bit of a mess.

BITTERMANN: With as many as 2,000 pets crossing the English Channel each day, according to animal control inspectors, any change in the rules means added expenses and headaches for pet owners. For the three dogs of Ian Squirrell and Debby Lansley, this may be the last trip for a while.

DEBBY LANSLEY, PET OWNER: Until we know what is happening, I mean someone is saying that they're going to need rabies injection but --



SQUIRRELL: The English vets are charging 260 pounds for the blood test which is quite a lot of money.

LANSLEY: We got three dogs.

SQUIRRELL: We got three dogs.

BITTERMANN: Even without a clear idea of which direction Brexit may take, it is also costing a lot of money. French customs says it is spending more than 68 million dollars constructing new customs facilities, hiring 700 more customs agents and hundreds more veterinarian inspectors.

Customs officials here said they have been planning for the worst case scenario for years and that means going back to the battle days of customs declarations, health and sanitary inspections, screening of animals for diseases and fruits and vegetables for pesticides and weedkillers; in short, re-establishing controls that haven't existed here for 25 years.

In the time since, under European Union rules, customs inspections have been carried out on a random basis, sometimes quite literally looking for the needle in the haystack. But after Brexit, French customs inspectors are expected to be much more thorough. The French produced a video hoping to explain to people how they can avoid delays crossing by ferry or by Euro tunnel by going online in advance of their trip.

But those new facilities include expanded customs and parking areas for any of the eight million trucks crossing the channel which have not completed proper paperwork in advance, according to the customs director for Northern France.

THIBAUT ROUGELOT, CUSTOMS DIRECTOR, NORTHERN FRANCE (through translator): It is possible with the formalities, there won't be an added cost to transport. I don't know how the companies will react to this extra cost and restrictions on the circulations of merchandise.

BITTERMANN: Merchandise like fresh produce, for instance: at the moment, the French import about 55 percent of the lamb they consume, much of it from Britain, according to agricultural statistics, and most after it had been slaughtered.

Customs delays could mean fresh lamb would have to be frozen, putting British lamb in direct competition with countries as far away as New Zealand.

TOM BUCKLE, SHEEP FARMER: Things will get complicated.


BUCKLE: No one knows what will happen really.

BITTERMANN: Some, though, are already making decisions without waiting. At STC Transport, which regularly moves thoroughbreds back and forth across the Channel for racing and breeding, one recent client cancelled his horses' trip. The company believes others will follow.

SIMON BROSELETTE, STC TRANSPORT: The owners are reticent to travel at the moment. They don't know if the mares will stay in the United Kingdom, how will they return?

How will they return in France?

BITTERMANN: So in spite or perhaps because of the political dither on the other side of the channel, over in France, some are already voting on Brexit with their feet -- Jim Bittermann, CNN, Calais, France.


ALLEN: The campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination is just getting started but already there's one person conspicuously absent as candidates speak with voters.

HOWELL: And after years of putting up the wins but not pulling down the big money, the U.S. Women's national soccer team files suit. We have the details.



ALLEN: Welcome back. To viewers here in the U.S. and around the world, this is NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL: I'm George Howell.



ALLEN: A curious phenomenon among the campaigning Democrats, at least so far, is they often treat the current U.S. president as he who shall not be named.

HOWELL: That is bound to change as this race heats up. For now, many seem content to avoid mentioning Donald Trump's name. Jeff Zeleny has this.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: In the opening round of the Democratic primary, one name is often going unspoken.

BOOKER: We've got to beat the -- that person in the White House.

ZELENY: Never mind that the 2020 presidential race revolves almost entirely around that person, though you seldom hear the words Donald Trump from those eyeing his job.

WARREN: I think that, in some ways, is the biggest punishment to the guy who always wants to be in the spotlight. It's just turn the spotlight off.

ZELENY: Turning off or dimming Trump's spotlight may be easier said

than done, considering how he looms over today's politics and how eager he is to shape the Democratic primary.

TRUMP: I just want to be the Republican that runs against them.

ZELENY: Most Democratic candidates are still finding their way, navigating Trump, searching for a balance between showing strength and not taking the bait. Even Senator Bernie Sanders, who calls out the president by name more than any of his rivals, has this message on the campaign trail.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This struggle is not just about defeating Donald Trump.

ZELENY: While Democrats have spent more than two years rallying against the president, it's striking how little his name comes up on the campaign trail, where candidates say going after Trump would get in the way of introducing themselves and defining their candidacies. BOOKER: We have got to understand, this is not about him, it's about us. And we should be motivated not by what we are against, but what we are for as a country.

ZELENY: Senator Cory Booker is choosing the high road over the hammer.

(on camera): One name I noticed you didn't mention was President Trump?

BOOKER: Look, it's not about what we're against, it's got to be about what we're for as a country. Clearly, clearly, this election is an urgency to make sure he's not the president after 2020.

ZELENY: You don't even mention his name, you call him "he" or "that president."

BOOKER: Look, again, it's about justice, about unity, about bringing our country together.

ZELENY (voice-over): The argument Senator Kamala Harris is making against Trump is a bit more subtle, using it as an opening to remind voters as her career as a prosecutor.

HARRIS: I plan on prosecuting the case against people who do not tell the truth and who are purveyors of injustice in this country.

ZELENY: It's Senator Elizabeth Warren who has felt Trump's sting more than all Democratic hopefuls, including this attack over the weekend.

TRUMP: I should have saved the Pocahontas thing for another year.

ZELENY: She says she's not afraid of standing up to him, but she's also trying to avoid distraction.

WARREN: Never let bullies run over you, but we've got to get out there and talk about what we believe in.

ZELENY: Advisers to all campaigns want their candidates to be remembered for their positive attributes and ideas, not for their zingers or one-liners against the president, no matter how clever they may be.

So for now they may be taking the high road but along the way they may be doing the thing that irks the president most of all; that is, ignoring him -- Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Iowa City, Iowa.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

HOWELL: And we are following the breaking news this hour out of Ethiopia. The prime minister of that nation has tweeted that an Ethiopian Airlines flight has crashed.

ALLEN: According to the prime minister, there are casualties. The plane was on a flight to Nairobi, Kenya, when it went down. We'll bring you details as we get them.

HOWELL: We have a reporter, Robyn Kriel, in Addis Ababa and we'll have more on that breaking news we're following.

In Chicago, the singer R. Kelly was let out of jail on Saturday for the second time in less than a month. He still faces sex abuse charges but his latest lockup comes from allegations he wasn't paying child is the support.

ALLEN: It's not clear who put up the money to have him released because both Kelly and his lawyers say he's broke. CNN's Sara Sidner has the latest on his legal troubles.


SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: R&B singer R. Kelly went to jail for the second time in two week, this time a judge saying --


SIDNER (voice-over): -- he failed to pay more than $160,000 in child support. His first stint in jail this year occurred after being charged with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse against four women, three of whom prosecutors say were minors at the time of the alleged abuse.

He responded to those charges, telling CBS' Gayle King everyone making the accusations is lying.

GAYLE KING, CBS HOST: So they're lying on you?

That's your explanation?

They're lying on you?

R. KELLY, SINGER: Absolutely.

KING: You feel that people have maligned your character?

KELLY: I have been assassinated. I have been buried alive. But I'm alive.

SIDNER (voice-over): Kelly also responded to numerous abuse accusations from his ex-wife, former girlfriends and people who worked for him in the six-part docuseries, "Surviving R. Kelly," that aired in January.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would just like you to know that you really hurt me. I was a little girl in, like, a bad man's world.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Quit hurting people. Quit hurting these girls.

KELLY: I didn't do this stuff! This is not me. I'm fighting for my (INAUDIBLE) life. Y'all killing me with this (INAUDIBLE). I (INAUDIBLE) --

KING: Robert.

KELLY: -- 30 years of my career. And y'all trying to kill me.

SIDNER (voice-over): Kelly also talked about his relationship with women now, saying he has two live-in girlfriends, Joycelyn Savage and Azriel Clary. Their parents have accused Kelly of brainwashing, abusing and separating their daughters from their families. But the girls' attack their parents' claims.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Both our parents are basically out here trying to get money and scam.

SIDNER (voice-over): Clary accused her parents of trying to blackmail Kelly by getting her to take naked photos with him. The next day Azriel Clary's father denied his daughter's allegations, alongside his attorney, Michael Avenatti.

ANGELO CLARY, AZRIEL'S FATHER: I'm angry. I'm hurt. That's not my daughter. The woman she has become now is like robotic.

SIDNER (voice-over): Angelo Clary says he and his wife are scared for their daughter's well-being and just want her home safe.

SIDNER: Mr. Clary, what is your greatest concern for your daughter right now?

CLARY: I really don't even want to speak it in existence but I think everybody know from be able to speak hypothetical on her current situation when she tried to commit suicide.

It's just speechless to hear that, saying that we would sell our kids. That's unheard of.

SIDNER (voice-over): All of the pain, confusion, worry and accusations playing out in the public eye -- Sara Sidner, CNN, Los Angeles.


ALLEN: Members of the top-ranked U.S. Women's national soccer team have filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation, citing gender discrimination over pay.

HOWELL: The American women have had much more success on the pitch than their male counterparts, winning three World Cups and four Olympic gold medals; yet, in some cases, they get paid about one-third less.

ALLEN: Joining me to talk more about it is CNN sports analyst Christine Brennan.

Christine, always good to have you with us.

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Natalie, my pleasure. Thank you. ALLEN: The world just celebrated International Women's Day. And many of the rallies around the world were over equal pay. Enter the famed U.S. Women's soccer team, filing a lawsuit on this same day over this very issue, which claims they are discriminated against because of gender when it comes to pay.

What are their claims exactly?

BRENNAN: Well, this is a long time coming. This has been a battle that there have been skirmishes over the last 20 years. They've even struck back in other 2000 and other battles for equal pay.

So this is not the first time a women's national team -- and I would argue that they are the most popular and most important women's sports team on the planet in terms of being role models and showing the way for so many teams not just in the U.S. but around the country -- around the world. international teams, et cetera.

And they have pointed to several terrible inequities in terms of pay. For example, the coach of the women's team making one-fourth of what the men's team in the U.S. made in 2017, even though, of course, the U.S. Women's team is so much more successful than the men's team. And you can argue more popular and brings in money.

It's certainly -- there are a lot of people that care very much about the women's team in the United States and other numbers like that that basically show whatever, when you can compare apples to apples, not always in this case but, when you can, look at these numbers. The bonuses, for example, over $5 million for the men even though they only made it to the round of 16 in 2014 World Cup. U.S. Women win the World Cup in 20165 and it's $1.7 million.

So basically again about one-third of what the men made even though the U.S. Women won the World Cup. That's what they're talking about here.


ALLEN: Right. And they draw more viewers than the men's team.

So is this the time now that they may have a case here that has some heft because they do?

BRENNAN: I think they, do and it's also the court of public opinion. And as you know, of course, you mentioned it. International Women's Day, the day they filed this. Happy International Women's Day. They basically said to U.S. Soccer.

Also this is -- you cannot extricate this story from the cultural stories in the United States and other places around the world as well. I believe when you look at all the women elected to Congress, over 100 in the last election in the United States.

When you look at some of the other gains by women and some of the conversations and discussions and, frankly, arguments about where women stand in the United States and around the world, this is part of that conversation now. And I think it's a very important one to have.

Frankly, there's probably people in the United States who have no idea about the men's or the women's soccer team who care now very much about this team because of the issue of equal pay. And three months to go to the next women's World Cup, U.S. defending champ in France.

But all the cards now are here. What a power play. What a confidence -- a move of confidence and aggressive behavior, frankly, that these women did, very much in keeping with Title IX and how we're raising our daughters to believe that they deserve more.

And here they are three months -- you know, U.S. Soccer now really in a bind because they need this team to go and defend its title at the World Cup.

ALLEN: Right.

What about the argument that you hear and many professional sports with women and as well, the men's teams make more money so there's more money to pay them?

Does that argument still have merit here?

BRENNAN: Well, certainly you can have that conversation. The U.S. Women's team brought in $17 million in unexpected revenue a few years ago in the wake of their World Cup success. They're always popular at the Olympics. The U.S. Men often don't even qualify for the Olympics.

And I think here, also, keep in mind we're talking about the national governing body, Natalie, for the sport in the United States, U.S. Soccer. So the idea here is U.S. Swimming, whether it's Michael Phelps or Katie Ledecky, they get the exact same amount in bonuses. It's not prorated male or female at all. You're a swimmer, that's what you get.

Figure skating, same thing, even though the women are much more popular than the men. On and on it goes, in national governing body after national governing body. And so here it's glaring that U.S. Soccer, according to the lawsuit, has such a discrepancy between what it pays the women, who are far more successful, and also in terms of history and role models for girls, they're bringing girls to soccer every day and probably bringing boys to soccer every day because of their winning and because of the role models that they are.

ALLEN: And they are outspoken as well, as this lawsuit indicates. And, as you said, they're quite famous. We'll wait and see what happens. The World Cup coming up in just a couple of months. Christine Brennan, we always appreciate your insights. We'll talk about this again. Thanks so much.

BRENNAN: Natalie, my pleasure. Thank you.

ALLEN: Our breaking news, we're just learning an Ethiopian airliner crashed en route to Nairobi, Kenya. We'll have a report from our reporter from Ethiopia right after this.





HOWELL: Welcome back, following the breaking news this hour. The prime minister of Ethiopia has tweeted that an Ethiopian Airlines flight has crashed.

ALLEN: According to the prime minister, there are casualties. The plane was reportedly on a flight to Nairobi, Kenya, Sunday morning when it went down.

HOWELL: We have a reporter on the ground in Addis Ababa. Robyn Kriel is on the phone.

Robyn, the details we have are limited.

What more are you learning at this point?

ROBYN KRIEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: George and Natalie, thank you. The details also limited on this side. Ethiopia for a long time has had almost a vacuum of information with very restricted press access.

What I can tell you is from my vantage point right next to the international airport, there are flights taking off and landing. I can hear them. The prime minister tweeting earlier -- and that was the first indication we had on the ground here that there was a plane crash. There was very little news on it. It's still just trickling in.

We do understand there are casualties. And what my sources are telling me here is this plane did attempt to make some kind of emergency landing in the area of Adama, about an hour, 20 minutes drive from the airport. I'm not sure how long -- or what altitude the plane had reached when it attempted to make this, whatever kind of emergency landing.

As you said, the prime minister indicating there are deaths but we are hearing there could also be survivors. That, of course, we'll have to see as soon as we have information on that, we can let you know. Communications are limited here in Ethiopia. Trying to get any information is quite tough at the moment.

ALLEN: Absolutely. When you first hear about something like a plane crash, a major airliner, it's very hard to get that information because, as you say, the possibility there are survivors so that means there are rescues underway.

Any idea how many people were on this flight and how long would this flight have taken had it reached Nairobi?

KRIEL: I believe the flight time was just over an hour from here. So I'm not entirely sure at what point the problem developed or happened. It's about an hour, 20 minutes drive from where the plane went down from the airport.

What I can tell you is, with a Boeing 737; I'm not entirely sure how many passengers that can take or if the plane was indeed full. It's an early Sunday morning here in Ethiopia so I'm not sure.

Usually those sorts are flights -- usually between Nairobi and Addis, the two biggest cities in this region, and we're not sure who would have been on board early Sunday morning. (INAUDIBLE).

HOWELL: Robyn, we're losing your signal so we may have to reconnect with you. We do have a statement, Robyn, if you're still listening and we will reconnect. We have a statement now coming --


HOWELL: -- from the airline. I'll read the statement.

"Ethiopian Airlines regrets to confirm that its Flight ET-302/10 March in scheduled service from Addis Ababa to Nairobi was involved in an accident today around Bishoftu. The aircraft, B-737-800 Max, with registration number ET-AVJ, took off at 8:38 am local time from Addis Ababa Vole International Airport and lost contact around 8:44 am.

"At this time, search and rescue operations are in progress" -- stand by one second -- "are in progress and we have no confirmed information about survivors or any possible casualties. Ethiopian Airlines staff will be sent to the accident scene and will do everything possible to assist in the emergency services."

Just checking with our control room. We have Robyn back.

Robyn, I'm reading part of the statement there. Not sure if you heard part of that. We just got it here. But we're understanding that this -- the plane took off around 8:38 local time from Addis Ababa and lost contact around 8:44 am local time.

KRIEL: That sounds about right. This is an incredibly busy airport, it's really a hub. And we can talk about Ethiopian Airlines in general. They do have -- on the continent a very good safety record.

I know they had a crash landing in January, on January 3rd. Not sure of the -- what happened around that crash. (INAUDIBLE) that occurred. They also have had issues with their air traffic controllers. I believe there was a strike last year where air traffic went on strike (INAUDIBLE) --

HOWELL: Robyn, again, we're losing your signal. We will try to reconnect. But we understand that this plane crashed. We'll continue to follow the story.

ALLEN: And just -- it was just in the air a few minutes before apparently it lost contact. We don't know if there was any communication with the cockpit. This is very early on in the investigation. We'll stay on this story and be right back.





HOWELL: The latest on the breaking news, the prime minister of Ethiopia has tweeted that an Ethiopian Airlines flight has crashed and according to the prime minister, there are casualties associated with this crash.

It was on a flight to Nairobi, Kenya, Sunday morning when it went down. According to a statement from the airline, it's believed there are 149 passengers and eight crew on board. But they say they are currently confirming the details of passenger manifest for the flight.

ALLEN: Another important part of this story, there may be survivors. We'll have the very latest on this breaking news story as we push on. We're back in just a few minutes.