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British Prime Minister Theresa May Calling For A Second Referendum For Her Brexit Deal; A Rocket Fired From Gaza, Hits Northern Part Of Tel Aviv; Calls Grow For Holding Second Referendum; Theresa May Resisting Calls To Step Down; U.K. P.M. Theresa May Fighting For Political Survival; 134 Killed In Village Attack, Including Children; Prince Charles First British Royal To Visit Cuba; The Mueller Probe Found No Evidence of Collusion; A Victory for Trump. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired March 25, 2019 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[02:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I am Rosemary Church here at CNN Center. Well, U.S. President Donald Trump and the White House are celebrating a victory. The attorney general released his conclusions from the Special Counsel's Russia probe. The bottom line, investigators found no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
A jubilant Donald Trump tweeted no collusion, no obstruction, complete and total exoneration. Keep America great. He told reporters Sunday it's a shame the investigation started in the first place.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There was no collusion with Russia. There was no obstruction, and none whatsoever. And it was a complete and total exoneration. It's a shame that our country had to go through this. To be honest, it's a shame that your president has had to go through this before I even got elected, it began.
And it began illegally. And hopefully, somebody is going to look at the other side. This was an illegal takedown that failed. And hopefully, somebody is going to be looking at the other side. So it is complete exoneration, no collusion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Well, despite the president claiming he has been exonerated, Special Counsel Robert Mueller actually wrote this. While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him. We get more now from CNN's Evan Perez.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR U.S. JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: No collusion. Attorney General Bill Barr told members of Congress that Special Counsel Robert Mueller did not find that members of the Trump campaign illegally conspired with Russians who interfered in the 2016 president election. But Barr said that Mueller did not make a conclusion on whether the president illegally tried to obstruct the investigation.
So Barr made the final decision to clear the president of those investigations as well. But on the big question that Mueller was hired to investigate, Barr's letter serves as a clear vindication of the president. Barr quotes from the Mueller report, saying the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its elections interference activities.
Barr also writes that Mueller's report did not draw conclusion, one way or the other, as to whether the president's conduct constituted obstruction. And Barr quotes this line from Mueller. While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him. Congressional Democrats seized on the obstruction findings to call for a full release of Mueller' report.
JERRY NADLER, U.S. HOUSE DEMOCRAT AND JUDICIARY CHAIRMAN: It is imperative that the attorney general release the full report and the underlying evidence. The entire unfiltered report, as well as the evidence underlying that report, must be made available to Congress and to the American people.
PEREZ: And a Justice Department official tells CNN that the Justice Department has already begun the process of determining what in Mueller's report can be made public, but there is no firm timeline for its release. Evan Perez, CNN, Washington.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: A senior Trump administration official tells CNN the White House is thrilled with the Mueller report findings. CNN's Abby Phillip is in Washington with more reactions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Complete and total exoneration, that's how President Trump and his aides are describing what the Mueller report found, and that was distilled in a letter from the Attorney General Bill Barr to members of Congress and to the public on Sunday afternoon. President Trump spent his weekend in Florida at Mar-A-Lago, waiting for these findings to finally be released.
And he was briefed in his private quarters by two of his lawyers, Emmet Flood and Pat Cipollone, about the findings. And sources tell CNN that the mood, both at Mar-A-Lago and on Air Force One as he flew back to Washington, was essentially jovial. This is a president who is extraordinarily happy about the findings that reiterate what he has been saying himself for over two years now, that there was no collusion.
As for obstruction, the president and his aides say that while Mueller did not make a finding on obstruction, they believe the fact that they did not have enough evidence to charge the president with obstruction is a sign that he was exonerated on that point as well. President Trump told his Deputy Press Secretary, Hogan Gidley, to pass on the message to reporters that he believes this is good news for him.
[02:05:03] But now, the question goes to what is he going to do now. Does President Trump still believe, as he said a few days ago, that the report should be made public in its entirety? And when he spoke to reporters upon leaving Florida, he suggested that others should be looked into, that the other side should be looked into.
What exactly that means is not clear. But in the past, President Trump has talked about wanting to investigate Hillary Clinton further. And reporters asked the Deputy Press Secretary, Hogan Gidley on Air Force One, whether or not President Trump intended to ask his Justice Department to look into Democrats. And Hogan Gidley said that's not something that they have discussed as of right now.
But it remains an open question for President Trump. President Trump also has, perhaps, one more decision to make. There were a number of his associates and former advisers who were caught up in this investigation, who pled guilty, or were found guilty, and are facing jail time as a result of the investigations related to the Mueller probe.
Will he want to pardon them? That is an open question, and it is certainly within the president's authority. But in the coming days, it's one that reporters will undoubtedly be asking President Trump to weigh in on, especially as this turns to a political discussion about what Democrats are going to do with this report on Capitol Hill, and whether the general public will ever see the full Mueller report. Abby Phillip, CNN, the White House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And not surprisingly, congressional reaction to the Mueller report summary has been split along party lines. Democrats point out that the summary does not exonerate the president, and it is fueling their demands that the entire report be released. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D), WASHINGTON: The reason we want to see the underlying documents is because there are so many pieces that we are investigating, as you know. There have been 81 requests for information from Judiciary Chairman Nadler, so that we on the Judiciary Committee can investigate a whole series of things, much broader than what Robert Mueller was given the charge for.
I mean we have jurisdiction over and responsibility for obstruction of justice, of course, but also abuse of power and public corruption. Those are the investigations we were prevented from having at all for the last two years under Republican control. And now that we have the gavel, we are finally beginning those investigations.
The information that Mueller has collected is going to be key to those investigations. They are going to provide real information. But in addition, we have to look at how these conclusions were -- you know, how did he get to these conclusions. I think it's important for us not to just accept, you know, without really understanding ourselves and being able to say to the American people that we represent, that we have looked at all the information.
We understand how we got to these conclusions or not. Remember, a big piece of this report does not exonerate the president, a sitting president on an extremely serious charge of obstruction of justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And former Ohio Governor, John Kasich, says it is good news President Trump is not implicated in collusion. But he noted more details will eventually come out. And he called for an end to the country's deep political divisions. He spoke with CNN's Anderson Cooper.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KASICH, FORMER OHIO GOVERNOR: Thank goodness that we don't have the president somehow implicated with a foreign power. That is good news for everyone. That is very good news. We got some good news today. It does not mean we are through all this. There's going to be a lot -- we're going to a lot -- we are going see. But we can't run a country where we are so divided.
It will keep us from doing what we want to do, which is to make this country, you know, as strong as it possibly can be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Joining us now from LA with his perspective is Peter Matthews, political analyst and professor of political science at Cypress College. Good to have you with us.
PETER MATTHEWS, POLITICAL ANALYST: Good evening. How are you doing?
CHURCH: So understandably, the president is thrilled the Mueller report found no evidence of collusion between his campaign and Russia. And the country should be thrilled too, that he claimed that this was a complete and total exoneration. That is not with the Mueller report said, is it? So where does it go from here? And what all did the Mueller probe achieve?
PETER MATTHEWS, POLITICAL ANALYST: Rosemary, it was not all exoneration whatsoever because the Mueller probe, as summarized Barr -- you know the Mueller didn't -- it said that the president was not exonerated. (Inaudible) that way, although there was no evidence to convict him of obstruction of justice either, so we have seen the actual full report. And it is important to see how it might differ from what William Barr's summary of it.
[02:09:52] Because don't forget, Mr. Barr, when he was auditioning for attorney general, actually criticized Mueller for even having an investigation. He also believes that (Inaudible) very powerful presidency. And all this came out in writing that he did it. So he is already in a sense biased toward the president (Inaudible) strong executive and toward minimizing what Congress can do to investigate these kinds of things.
I believe Congress has to investigate deeply now to find out other things that are being looked at, the southern district of New York and other places that is doing an investigation already. It should be combined now fully, and it does not exonerate the president as far as this report goes.
CHURCH: Right. And, of course, so while the president takes -- and his administration take a victory lap, the Democrats are furious. Let's look at the next move. And do they need to be very careful that they don't appear to be overarching here and looking too political.
MATTHEWS: They have to be cautious about that. And I think their big mistake was to put all their eggs in one basket, Mr. Mueller's basket. The constitution requires that the House of Representatives is the grand jury, if a president has seemed to possibly done something that was considered a high crime or misdemeanor.
The House has to investigate that, and they should have been doing that all along very carefully and in a very measured way to find out whether or not this president is -- can be convicted or at least charged with impeachment to be put forth for him. The House put that aside and said let's just Mueller do the reports. That was a mistake.
They didn't to pick up the ball and then run with it, but not to be overzealous either. They have to be balanced and careful and (Inaudible) with evidence.
CHURCH: Yeah. That is a key. And, of course, according to the Attorney General Bill Barr, the Mueller report established that the Russians hacked the Democratic National Committee and engaged in an aggressive covert campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election. So the Democrats, of course, are asking why, Mr. Trump stood next to Mr. Putin in Helsinki and accepted the Russian president's denials of interference. When will we know why he did that?
MATTHEWS: That was inexplicable. And the other thing is, you know, Mr. Mueller did not get a chance to interview the president directly. How do you establish intent without looking at someone in the eyes and interviewing them personally? That should've been done. The president submitted written questions. That was it. So yes, (Inaudible) find out why President Trump seems to be so cozy'd up to President Putin and defending him even against our intelligence services assessments of what's going on in our country and what (Inaudible) to the country.
It has to be done very much so. I think Congress will have to start doing that. Congress is the oversight institution.
CHURCH: And Peter, finally, how likely is it do you think that the public will ever see the full Mueller report? MATTHEWS: That depends on the public themselves asking and demanding
from the members of Congress, that Congress demand the Mueller report fully. It has to be a grassroots effort to do that, because people at the very top are not -- right now very likely to want to bring this up and continue with it, for shear whatever fears they have.
But I think to be a nation of the rule of law, we have to go to the bottom of this. And the people of America have to actually demand this that the report be fully, fully revealed.
CHURCH: Peter Matthews, thank you so much for joining us and sharing your perspective on this issue. We always appreciate it.
MATTHEWS: My pleasure, Rosemary. Thank you.
CHURCH: All right. Let's take a short break here. Still to come, President Trump is claiming a total victory, but his legal challenges are far from over. A look of what's what is still to come. We're back in just a moment.
[02:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Let's just recap what we know about the Mueller report so far. According to the attorney general's summary, the investigation found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. The Justice Department decided not to charge the president with obstruction of justice.
But the report noted he was not exonerated on that issue. President Trump is claiming a total victory, while still calling the probe an illegal takedown that failed. Trump supporters view the Mueller report summary as a complete vindication and exoneration of the president. Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted this. I have just received top line findings from Attorney General Barr.
Good day for the rule of law, great day for President Trump and his team. No collusion and no obstruction. So let's get more on all of this with David Katz. He is a former assistant U.S. attorney in Los Angeles and a former member of the Reagan administration. Thank you so much for joining us.
DAVID KATZ, LOS ANGELES FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY: Great to be with you.
CHURCH: So Special Counsel Robert Mueller did not find the president or the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with Russia during the 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump and the White House celebrating, of course. Can they take complete comfort from this report, do you think?
KATZ: Well, no. I don't think so. You know, I am now a criminal defense attorney. And so my hats are off to the criminal defense authorities who defended President Trump and his son, Don Jr., because they had great news today. And when you are a criminal defense attorney, this is great news that you can give a potential criminal suspect that, you know, the prosecutor has declined the charges. But it's been two years of revelations, which are not going you stop
today. And there is going to be a House investigation that is looming with various inquiries. Some are going to be about this very conspiracy with Russia and obstruction of justice. But, Rosemary, they are also going to go into emoluments, all the people who suddenly want to say at the Trump Tower Hotel, what Michael Cohen was talking about which was the corrupt payments to women, the campaign finance violations.
And there are also all of the New York investigations into money- laundering, banking irregularities, inflating and deflating the value of properties, depending on whether they were trying to get a low tax bill or a big loan from a bank.
CHURCH: Right. Now, President Trump claims the results of the Mueller report are, in his words, complete and total exoneration. But that's not what Mueller said, is it? His direct quote is this. While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him. So why is the president saying it does?
[02:20:06] KATZ: Well, any day the prosecutor says he or she is not going to indict you, I have been in this business now on both sides for a long time, that is a day to celebrate. Having said that, the standard is proof beyond a reasonable doubt, none of this clears the president, even so far as Mueller is concerned. Remember that the president would have to be shown beyond a reasonable doubt to have done something wrong to be charged.
And even then, they have this Department of Justice regulation, which is no law, but is a regulation that is supposedly a sitting president can't be charged while in office. I have never believed that. Right now, you are showing President Trump if he took out a gun and shot somebody on that federal enclave, no prosecutor in his right mind would say that he couldn't be charged in federal court with a crime.
So they must be saying that these crimes don't rise to the level. And that's something I think that's more for the House to consider. The House defines high crimes and misdemeanors for impeachment. But certainly for the moment, he and his son are not going to be charged with collusion, conspiracy, or obstruction of justice.
CHURCH: Right. And also, President Trump, even though he is celebrating, he did attack the Mueller investigation, saying this is an illegal takedown that failed. What is your legal reaction to that comment?
KATZ: It's really mindboggling because he has called Mueller every insult in the book, even though, of course, he is a lifelong Republican, Mueller is. On top of that, Rosenstein and Barr supposedly made the decision, just over this weekend, not to charge President Trump with obstruction of justice. Now, this has made every crammer for every exam proud.
Over the weekend, they decided that this huge report, which could have gone either way on obstruction of justice, charging the president criminally with obstruction of justice. These two decided over the weekend that he shouldn't be charged? It's mindboggling. And it shows why the House wants that report. They want the actual evidence. They want the entire report.
And, Rosemary, let me say on that, that the president, you know, kind of speaks out of both sides of his mouth. But he keeps saying I want the whole world to read the report. The Republicans voted along with the Democrats, 420 to nothing, to disclose the entirety of the report. So there may be a couple of things in there that are grand jury material.
But the judge overseeing the grand jury can order that disclosed to the public, because there is obviously a huge interest in knowing. And regarding national security, so-called executive privilege, that is not what it's about, it's about conversations between alleged co- schemers and what people said in interviews about whether there were these various scams or not. They are not talking about foreign sources and foreign methods.
What happened here? What was the scam right here in the United States? That's not national security. That can be disclosed. And even according to Trump and the Republicans, it should be disclosed. That's what the Democrats want. They want to look at it and they want to follow up on it with their own inquiries in the House of Representatives.
CHURCH: Yeah. So far, we have only seen the four-page summary from the Attorney General Bill Barr of the Mueller report. Some of it is directly quoted. We have got some access to that but not a lot. Do you think we will see the full report? I mean in this day and age where you can't keep too many things secret anymore, can you?
KATZ: Well, you know, I would tend to agree with you, except that President Trump's tax returns remain sealed, and no one has leaked them and no one has managed to get a hold of them until now, though. The house has a committee, which has a right to get them. And the chairman of that committee says that he will get Trump's tax returns.
But turning to the report, no, I think that one thing that Barr is there to do and wants to do and wants to get rewarded by Trump for doing, I don't know if he is waiting to be picked for the next Supreme Court seat if one comes open. But I think Barr is going to give the House a real hard time about getting that report. I think there are going to be fights over it. I think there's going to litigation over it.
I think it may go up to the U.S. Supreme Court. And I expect both Barr and Mueller to be called as witnesses in front of the House and sworn under oath to try to get to the bottom of some of what is in this report. I don't think it's going to be easily disclosed. I don't think that's really going to happen, although people are talking about it.
CHURCH: Yeah. I guess we will see. Time always tells, right? David Katz, thank you so much for being with us. We appreciate it.
KATZ: My pleasure. Thank you. CHURCH: All right. Let's take a quick break here. When we come
back, Donald Trump is celebrating the end of the Mueller probe. But is this the end of his legal troubles? We will take a look at the road ahead for the U.S. president and the Democrats, back in a moment.
[02:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. I'm Rosemary Church. Well, after nearly two years with the cloud of a Special Counsel investigation looming over Washington, we finally have the conclusions from that probe. Attorney General Bill Barr released a summary of the report to the U.S. Congress. The Special Counsel found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, but stopped short of exonerating President Trump on the question of obstruction of justice.
Keep in mind we are talking about federal crimes in a single investigation. Other jurisdictions have other probes on the way. Earlier, Anderson Cooper asked our CNN Crime and Justice Reporter, Shimon Prokupecz, about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Shimon, in terms of the investigation, do you agree that the southern district, one that, A, has been the most fruitful so far.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yeah. They have. We have seen activity there. We have seen quite aggressive activity, right, the search warrant of Michael Cohen. We've seen subpoenas issued to the inauguration committee. So we don't have a good, or I should say a great idea of what they're looking at.
But we have a general idea in terms of the inauguration of what they're looking at. And one of those things is foreign money, whether or not foreign money went into the inauguration. And the southern district of New York, the other investigation is the hush money payments. They just put out the court order, the U.S. attorney's office to release documents from the search warrant, and everything that had to do with the hush money payments.
The search for (Inaudible) related to that, it was all redacted, indicated that that very much is still under investigation. You have the Trump organization that is still under investigation there. And then we could see other people from the organization who could be charged in connection with that
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And clearly, a four-page summary of a nearly two year investigation leaks out a lot of details. What we do know of the events leading up to the Mueller probe and this long-awaited report. Jason Carroll lays out the timeline.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: Two years we've been on through this nonsense, with no -- because there's no collusion with Russia, you know that better than anybody and there's no obstruction.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Even before Robert Mueller's appointment it was clear what Donald Trump thought of the Russian investigation and those responsible for it.
TRUMP: The entire thing has been a witch-hunt.
CARROLL: January 2017.
TRUMP: He's becoming more famous than me.
CARROLL: Classified documents are presented to President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower by then FBI Director James Comey. The documents include allegations that Russian operatives claimed to have compromising information about Trump from that explosive beginning came an early setback for the new administration. As questions are raised about Attorney General Jeff Sessions and contacts he had with a Russian official during the 2016 Presidential campaign.
JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: I didn't have and I have communications with the Russians.
CARROLL: Turns out Sessions had communicated with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian Ambassador to the United States.
SESSION: It's good to be with you.
CARROLL: March 2017, Session recused himself from overseeing the investigation.
SESSION: They said that since I had involvement with the campaign. I should not be involved in any campaign investigation.
CARROLL: May 9th 2017, a startling development.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A bombshell at the White House.
CARROLL: Trump fired FBI Director, James Comey the man charged with overseeing the investigation. What's more, Trump told the NBC News he was considering the Russia investigation, when he was deciding whether to fire Comey.
TRUMP: I said, you know, this rusher thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.
CARROLL: May 17th. Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein announces the appointment of Robert Mueller as the Special Counsel and with each passing month the investigation moved closer to Trump associates. October 2017, Paul Manafort and his business partner and former Trump deputy campaign chairman, Rick Gates are indicted on charges of conspiracy and money laundering.
Gates later pleaded guilty to two counts and became a cooperating witness in the investigation. Manafort was trialed, convicted and sentenced to a total of seven and a half years in prison. Trouble for Trump reaches his innermost circle.
MICHAEL FLYNN, FORMER UNITED SATES NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: Donald Trump, as the next President of the United States of America.
CARROLL: December 2017, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pleads guilty to lying to the FBI regarding his conversations with Kislyak. Flynn also agrees to cooperate with the Mueller probe.
TRUMP: Well I feel badly for a General Flynn. I feel very badly. He's led a very, a very strong life and I feel very badly.
CARROLL: February 2018, Mueller indicts 13 Russian Nationals and three Russian companies for interfering with the election through social media. April 2018, things took a dramatic turn.
He acting on a referral from Mueller to prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, FBI agents raided the home, hotel room, and office as of Trump's Personal Attorney Michael Cohen.
Cohen pleaded guilty in August to eight criminal counts, including campaign finance violations.
ROBERT MUELLER, AMERICAN ATTORNEY: An acted of loyal to a man when I should not have.
CARROLL: November 7th, the day after the midterm elections after months of publicly attacking him, Trump fires Jeff Sessions. Sessions' Chief Of Staff, Matthew Whitaker who had been critical of the Mueller probe, took his place.
MATTHEW WHITAKER, FORMER ACTING UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: I have usually been the only that says there is no evidence of obstruction of justice or collusion.
CARROLL: As the Trump investigation appeared to be winding down earlier this year, longtime Trump associate Roger Stone is indicted. In January, the FBI raided Stone's of Florida home. The Special Counsel alleges, Stone coordinated with senior Trump campaign officials and saw it stolen e-mails from WikiLeaks that could damage Trump's opponents. Stone still awaits his fate on the charges he faces and has proclaimed his innocence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Justice Department is telling us that Attorney General Bill Barr has now received the report from a Special Counsel, Robert Mueller.
CARROLL: It will be up to Trump's new Attorney General, William Barr, to decide how much of the report will be made public. Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.
CHURCH: And we'll take a short break right here but still to come. The British Prime Minister says there won't be a second Brexit referendum. These rally goers beg to differ. How this week might set up a second public vote. We will take a look at that when we come back.
[02:38:04] CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. We want to take a look at the other big stories, we are following this hour. Some breaking news we've been following out of Israel. Authorities there say a rocket fired from Gaza hit a home in Central Israel setting the building on fire and injuring those inside. The rocket landed in an area North of Tel Aviv, making this the farthest a rocket has been fired into Israel since 2014.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who is cutting his U.S. visit short so he can return home to deal with this attack. Our Oren Liebermann joins us now on the line, live in fact from Jerusalem. So, Oren what more are you learning from this, and how is Israel likely to respond?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, we're actually standing right in front of where the rocket landed in Mishmeret in Northern Israel. I'll step out of the way here so you can see through the trees and shrubs here and see the effect the rocket had the damage the rocket did to this home and essentially tore apart the roof. You can now see a backhoe working to clear some of that rubble away.
But in this is rocket as you pointed out the farthest the rocket has been fired since the end of the 2014 war. Israeli emergency responders say seven people were injured, including two women who are moderately injured, as well as two young toddlers in and near these homes, most injured from shrapnel. It's unclear why this rocket was fired, there doesn't appear to be an obvious reason at this point and there's has been no statement from Gaza claiming responsibility or explaining why this rocket was fired. But, the power of the rocket itself is exceptional to have come this
far into Israel, farther than any rocket since the end of the last war. As well as the timing of the rocket, it was essentially fired shortly after 5:00 in the morning. So, at first light this morning we're just an incredibly unusual time, most Gaza rocket fire comes late at night and in dark hours, not as the day is beginning. So those are questions we will see.
As for how Israel will respond, Israel has already closed the two border crossings into Gaza. Meanwhile, Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu who's in Washington right now says he will cut his trip short.
[02:40:03] He'll meet President Donald Trump in a few hours and then immediately head back.
He has promised Israel will respond with a powerful response to Gaza. Rosemary it's worth pointing out that the last time a rocket came even near this far was a couple of weeks ago. Israel's assessment at that point, the military assessment I should say. Is that the rocket was fired accidentally by low-level Hamas Operatives and that worked to an extent the temper to the escalation. If the assessment is different, it could be a very different kinetic afternoon here as Israel perhaps is response and then we'll see if another response comes from Gaza. So, we will certainly monitor how this day develops.
CHURCH: Yes. That is the critical point as to whether this was fired in error. But as you point out, you know, there is a lot to be looked at here as far as may be what's behind the fact that this rocket went so far and what that could mean as far as advancements in their rocket technology.
LIEBERMANN: Sure, Israel's assessment has been over the past couple of years that Hamas and other Organizations in Gaza have had rockets that it is powerful but there -- as we've seen, almost never used over the course of the last four years which is what makes this so exceptional. As for why the rocket was fired there are a number of different reasons. Conceivably could this be another rocket fired by low level Hamas Operatives in error.
It could be but that doesn't seem particularly likely could this be Palestinians Islamic Jihad firing a rocket on Iranian proxy in Gaza in response to President Donald Trump's announcement of Israeli -- recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights? Again that's conceivable but, doesn't seem likely so we wait and see what the assessment is from Military Intelligence about why they think this rocket was fired and of course will see if there's a claim of responsibility for this one.
CHURCH: Indeed. We'll be watching all of that very closely. Oren Liebermann bringing us at that live report. Many thanks. Well, it is shaping up to be another crucial week for Brexit and the British Prime Minister is fighting for her political survival. There are growing calls for Theresa May to step down and reports say eleven cabinet members are threatening a mass resignation. So far, Ms. May appears to be clinging on.
She reportedly met with top Conservatives and Brexiteers at the governments country estate on Sunday. She is trying to get them to back a yes vote on her Brexit deal. That vote could come this week. Parliament could also give in to the demands of this huge rally in London, Saturday. Marchers were calling for a second Brexit referendum. And For more on all of this, I'm joined by CNN European Affairs Commentator, Dominic Thomas joining us live from L.A.
Good to see you. So, let's start with these aspects to Britain's Prime Minister who's fighting for her political survival, resisting calls to step down. How would replacing Theresa May advance the Brexit deadlock?
DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: Oh, Rosemary, that's a great question and it's extraordinary that from the moment Theresa May took over from David Cameron, we've been talking about how long it was, it would be until she would, you know, finally be, be ousted. I think that there are a couple things here, I think first of all it is important to remember that the Conservative Party actually does not have a Majority and she lost it, when she called a snap election back in 2017.
And so a Leadership changed within her party would do very little to change the overall balance within the Houses of Parliaments. Clearly Theresa May, holds a tremendous responsibility for the way that this process have gone just calling the snap election, not reaching across to members of the Opposition earlier enough and so on and so forth. What has been extraordinary over the weekend in this discussion about people trying to oust her or the range of names that have been proposed.
And they've come from across the political spectrum from hardcore Brexiteers and all the way to remainders. So, ultimately it's hard to see where this would go and whether her own party, who back in December attempted to remove her through a vote of no confidence and failed, whether or not they would be able to do that with the assistance of a labor proposal or whether simply mass resignations would push her out.
But the big question is how is that going to help the U.K. with this deadline of April 12th that is a new deadline proposed by the European Union. That's a tough one to answer.
CHURCH: Right, indeed of course. As we've just reported over the weekend, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators march in Central London demanding a second referendum on Brexit. And now for the first time, one of Prime Ministers May's most senior cabinet ministers says a second should be considered. How likely is it, that will we see that happened?
THOMAS: Well, I think what we're going to see happen is certainly a whole range of motions and amendments and debates are going to take place in the Houses of Parliament and it is going to be impossible given the petition and the number of people that took to the street for them to continue ignore this referendum. I think that one of the important things to -- for us to think about here it would be the wording of such a referendum.
And if we think about the difference between the peoples vote and the first referendum it is possible that it would move away from the initial one and be looking at perhaps Theresa May's deal or no deal.
[02:45:03] What's also interesting about it is the whole debate on whether or not to actually go back to the people. And I think that's where it becomes fascinating, is that it is a story that has played U.K. politics in the very moment in which they join the European Union. And that was in 73.
And as early as 1975, there was already a vote to referendum. The first of its kind to be held on whether or not to remain. And at that time, it was overwhelmingly in favor remaining. And so, at this particular stage of anything, the referendum is just there to kind of take the pulse as to where the British people stand at this moment in history.
It's clear that Theresa May failed to deliver Brexit by the proposed deadline. The Parliament has been able -- unable to resolve this. And it seems now that going back to the people is going to be the real way in which they can break this process and the divides.
And these politicians sit there to represent the people. And if the people are being loud and vocal, and asking for this vote, it is going to be increasingly hard for them to ignore it.
CHURCH: Yes, it seems to make sense for those of us watching from outside of all this, doesn't it? Considering a lot of Brits did not really know what they were voting for in that first referendum.
But what would be the likely outcome of a second referendum? Because some have suggest that it could end up the same. What are the -- what are the polls show us?
THOMAS: It could. Well, there's definitely been some movement in the polls towards remain. I think that people have becoming -- you know, increasingly disgruntled with the whole process. They're tired of it. But we'd still see and the kind of national tensions in the neighborhoods that were -- that voted to leave consistently.
You know, polling in those areas has showed that the outcome would be the same. I think it is highly unpredictable. And I think if people go into this, exclusively thinking about the outcome they desire, which is, of course, the normal thing for them to do that it was to lead to disappointment. But something needs to happen. A general election is also going to the people.
At this stage, the parliament has been unable to resolve these matters. Every amendment, every motion that has gone through has been defeated, except for the no-deal conversation. And so, something needs to happen to be able to -- to be able to break this. And it seems that letting the politicians, letting the people weigh in and determine where this would go is going to be the -- you know, the ultimately the one way for them to try and resolve this matter.
CHURCH: Yes, it seems people getting out in the streets that's one way to weigh in, isn't it? Depends on the numbers, whether those will sway their politicians.
CHURCH: Dominic Thomas, always great to chat with you. Thank you so much.
THOMAS: Thank you, Rosemary.
CHURCH: Well, simmering ethnic tensions in central Mali have boiled over in a brutal way. Armed men dressed as hunters massacred 134 people during an attack on a rural village. The U.N. says the victims which included children are members of the Fulani, a mostly Muslim community that's frequently targeted for its alleged ties to Islamist groups.
The Malian government vowed to hunt down the attackers and has dissolved a so-called self-defense unit that's been accused of similar attacks in the past. Well, Prince Charles is making history in Cuba right now, but some people are upset that he's gone there. We will explain why when we come back.
[02:52:13] CHURCH: Well, Prince Charles is touring communist-run Cuba, the first member of the British royal family to make an official visit there. But the trip is raising some eyebrows. Cuba's role in Venezuela was a major concern to the United States. And as our Max Foster reports, the U.K. government may be provoking its closest ally by sanctioning the trip.
TRUMP: Maduro is not a Venezuelan patriot, he is a Cuban puppet. That's what he is.
MIKE POMPEO, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: Cuba is the true imperialist power in Venezuela.
JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR OF THE UNITED STATES: Son called the country now Cuba's whaler.
MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Cuba, the headliner in the Trump administration's troika of tyranny. Alongside Maduro's Venezuela and Nicaragua. The detente with this communist island state initiated by President Obama, well, and truly over.
In this tweet, the Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel denounced a speech on Venezuela by Trump as high-handed, cynical, immoral, threatening, offensive, interfering, hypocritical, warlike, and dirty.
It's into this route of Prince Charles and his wife Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall have flown into. As part of a Caribbean tour and on the advice of the British government. It's a fairly standard royal visit, an example of soft diplomatic power. But some lawmakers in the U.K., ruling Conservative Party are baffled by the timing.
ANDREW LEWER, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, UNITED KINGDOM: Our friends in United States, the many Cubans in Florida or across the rest of the United States will rightly be very perplexed at the sight of the British royal family, making a visit, going on tour, looking around the place at a time when these despicable acts are taking place.
FOSTER: The trip was planned before the Venezuelan presidential crisis drew the attention of the world. But a spokesman for the U.K.'s Foreign and Commonwealth Office maintains that it's going ahead as part of a long-standing British policy of engaging and having a frank dialogue with Cuba.
Particularly sensitive is Cuban support for the embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The U.S. doesn't recognize him as the legitimate leader of Venezuela, and neither does the U.K.
SEN. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: We all know that the Castro regime is the one they're propping up, Maduro, the dictator in Venezuela. And at the same time have the prince who has unbelievable worldwide influence go prop up the regime.
FOSTER: There are no plans for the Prince of Wales to meet members of the Castro family, but he's being hosted by the regime and dining with the president.
[02:55:05] ANTHONY STOKES, UNITED KINGDOM AMBASSADOR TO CUBA: That doesn't mean that we agree on everything. We don't. But it does mean that meaningful diplomacy can help us to talk more closely on issues both where we agree and where we differ.
FOSTER: No comments so far from President Trump, but he's unlikely to warn to these images of a senior representative of a key U.S. ally, enjoying the hospitality of what's regarded as a politically hostile state. Max Foster, CNN, Havana, Cuba.
CHURCH: A math and physics teacher from Kenya is the winner of a $1 million teaching prize. The Varkey Foundation prize was awarded to Peter Tabichi in a ceremony in Dubai.
Tabichi is a Franciscan brother who gives away 80 percent of his monthly income to help the poor. He teaches in a rural village with only one computer and a poor internet connection. He goes to internet cafes to get content for his classes and bring that information back to his students.
Well done. Congratulations. And thanks for your company this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me anytime on Twitter, @rosemarycnn. "EARLY START" is next with more of our special breaking news coverage of the Mueller report. You're watching CNN.