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Theresa May's Political Fate Hangs in a Thread; Attacks Between Israel and Gaza Continues; Mozambique and Zimbabwe Starts to Rebuild Infrastructures; Innocent Lives Taken in a Meaningless War; Airlines Paranoid of Boeing's MAX 8 Issues; U.K. Lawmakers To Vote On Non- Binding Brexit Alternatives; Israel Again Hits Hamas Targets In Gaza; Senator Graham Urge McCain To Give Dossier To FBI; Trump Administration Wants Obamacare Struck Down; Trump Made Humanitarian Situation Worse; Stunning Development In Jussie Smollett Case; NASA Puts History On Hold. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired March 27, 2019 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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[03:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: -- hit Southern Africa.
Plus, Chicago police and the mayor are outraged after prosecutors dropped all against the actor who claimed to be the victim of a racist and homophobic attack.
Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church. And this is CNN Newsroom.
Well, U.K. lawmakers will finally get to say on what kind of Brexit they want. In the coming hours, they will vote on alternatives to Prime Minister Theresa May's twice rejected plan.
Parliament will test the waters on a number of options, everything from a second referendum, to staying in the E.U. customs union to crashing out with no deal. It's another stinging blow to Mrs. May who will meet with influential conservative members before the votes are cast.
So, let's turn to CNN's international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson. He joins us live from 10 Downing Street. Nic, in just a few hours as we say lawmakers will vote on these alternatives to Theresa May's Brexit plan. How much closer though, are they to getting a majority on one of those available options?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: They're not, in a word this is going to be sort of a beauty pageant of what's most attractive to the M.P.'s, 650 M.P.s, of course they're not will all be voting here today.
There are some in Northern Ireland, for example, that never take their seats in parliament but you're going to have at least 640 views, I can we can fairly say expressed.
At the moment, the beauty pageant of ideas consists of up to 16 different ideas. The speaker later today will pick those that will finally be on the list. But as you said it ranges from a no Brexit at all, reversing the position of wanting to leave the European Union all the way to a hard Brexit with a no deal crashing out of the European Union on WTO terms.
That's what faces the M.P.'s. But the real challenge here is amongst what's expected to be maybe at least seven points on this single ballot paper where M.P.'s will have a ballot of paper this point, and they will be able to take yes or no to maybe several of those ideas if they particularly like them or particularly dislike them.
The problem is going to be trying to finding where the majority is. And is there really a majority for any one idea. Can parliament coalesce around one idea. And I think in part, Theresa May is banking on that and it won't all be done today. They are saying that they want to pick up refine and continue this process Monday next week, Rosemary.
CHURCH: Well, considering all of that then, what does that leave Theresa May's Brexit deal, rejected twice already by lawmakers. But if she offers a timeline for her resignation, there is speculation over there, could bring hard-liners on board and get her Brexit deal through?
ROBERTSON: Sure, there is sort of growing speculation that she could offer her own sort of exit date from the position of prime minister when she meets with the conservative party M.P.s later this afternoon. That's something that's getting that has a lot of currency here.
She has of course in the past few months said that she won't take the conservative party into the next general election. But what's really at stake here is the confidence in the prime minister.
If she can use this tactic of her own resignation, timed resignation to signal to her M.P.'s that she will just get them over the line if they can vote for her deal with the European Union she will then step back and let someone take over and negotiate the next phase of Brexit which is the future relationship, you know, having sort of set the divorce.
You know, it's not clear that she is definitively going to do that. There is a lot of pressure for it. I think what is clear is she would like to try to have an MV3, a meaningful vote three Thursday this week would be the best guess date for that, and she can, perhaps now count on support of some of those 149 M.P.'s that were -- that were the number that voted against all with the difference between those that voted for and those that voted against the last meaningful vote a couple of weeks ago.
So, can her dated resignation really change the will and the minds of 149 M.P.'s? It's just not clear. And there are of course other real holdouts in Northern Ireland still. The DUP who she counts on who are being very hard line about this at the moment and not indicating even if she were to announce a resignation date that they would support her. Rosemary? CHURCH: Who would dare to predict anything when it comes to Brexit,
right? our Nic Robertson bring us up to date from 10 Downing Street where it's just after seven in the morning. Many thanks.
[03:04:57] Well, millions of E.U. citizens living in the U.K. are waiting to find out what will happen to them. The city of Peterborough which voted to leave has a large population of E.U. migrants.
And as CNN's Anna Stewart reports the town seems divided over their fate.
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: It's a city famous for its imposing cathedral, and increasingly, for its politics.
Peterborough voted to leave the E.U. by 61 percent and the leave as I spoke to having changed their mind.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN QUINN, LEAVE SUPPORTER: I just call there are I think with a loss made up by a different country. All are around loss before Europe was getting too intrusive into their way of life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEWART: Nearly 200,000 people living in Peterborough and 21 percent of residents are immigrants. The population jumped by 11,000 people between 2011 and 2015. And immigration was a driving factor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY MATTHEWS, LEAVE SUPPORTER: (Inaudible) I don't have a pension now. I worked all my life. What I've earned I paid in (Inaudible) and everything else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEWART: Outside of the main city centers are residential areas like this one Millfield, which are incredibly diverse. In fact, you can travel the world along a very small stretch of (Inaudible).
You'll see an Indian restaurant here, and actually 10 or 15 years ago, many of the cafes and restaurants were Indian bars since many E.U. countries joined like Poland, Czech Republic, you see increasingly European shops and restaurants.
We have Europol, the Polish supermarket right here. And coming here we've got the Portuguese Euro mini market.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello.
STEWART: We have chicken palace, we have euro star, you can eat in a different country every night of the week. It's a rundown area but it has a great sense of community albeit an
international one. Pubs are being converted, one is now a Polish supermarket, and other a Romanian restaurant.
While some in Peterborough worry about the delusion of British culture, others embrace the multiculturalism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JANET TOBOLIK, REMAIN SUPPORTER: Well, the air is changed but I think it changed for the better, and I've gotten well with the Portuguese and they are very nice people and I think they are entitled to be in this country and earn their living. And I just think it's got better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEWART: The Torak family are from Czech Republic. They moved here in 1999. Radek helps his grandfather with his English.
RADEK TORAK, RESIDENT, PETERBOROUGH, ENGLAND: Like when it came to England, like people what's like, welcomed him because he's like an immigrant, like, people were like saying, how are you, like, how do you find it in England. They were like, welcoming him here. It was really welcoming for him. It was nice for him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEWART: And many residents here hope that the U.K. remains open and welcoming to those coming from the E.U.
Anna Stewart, CNN, Peterborough.
CHURCH: We turn now to the Middle East where a break in the fighting between Israel and militants in Gaza didn't last very long.
Israel's military says it launched a second night of airstrikes against Hamas targets in Gaza after rockets were fired. It follows Monday's fierce exchange of aerial attacks between the two sides.
Israel has sent additional troops to the border with Gaza. And Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is prepared to do a lot more if necessary.
So, let's turn now to CNN's Phil Black, he joins us live from Jerusalem with more on this. So, Phil, what is the latest information you have on what's happening at the border? And have we learned anything more about that initial rocket that was fired deep into Israel?
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, Rosemary, it's been a night of limited exchanges of fire in and out of Gaza, in a sign that perhaps shows that the major scalation that we've seen this week well it may not yet have run its course.
So, at least three rockets were fired out of Gaza towards Israeli territory. They either fell harmlessly or was shot down shot out of the sky. While Israel bomb two Hamas military targets in the south of the Gaza strip. So, the key question is, what happens now? Where does this go?
Well, the Israeli government says there is no ceasefire in place, and as you touched on there, it remains open and determined to doing a lot more if it believes it is necessary. And that's already after describing Monday evening's another to Monday night operations over Gaza as the greatest use of force against Hamas since Israel and Hamas last fought of war, and that was back in 2014.
You touch on the fact that this all started on Monday morning, with a single rocket fire, one that flew from Gaza along way into central Israel striking a family home. There were seven people in that home including children. They were injured. Unfortunately, none were injured seriously or killed.
But that is what triggered this whole escalation. We still don't have a clear idea of who precisely ordered that rocket to be fired and why within Gaza, but we do know that Israel takes the view that everything that happens in Gaza is the responsibility of Hamas because it is in control of Gaza.
[03:10:05] And so, that principle is what has essentially led to this major escalation. It led to that major Israeli operation on Monday night, striking key Hamas targets and buildings doing a lot of damage to Hamas' infrastructure including significantly the bombing of the Hamas political leader in Gaza City.
But Hamas itself has not officially denied or accepted responsibility for that single rocket fire that started all of this. Rosemary?
CHURCH: Right. And Phil, Prime Minister Netanyahu, of course is just two weeks away from a critical election. What impact might that in pending vote have on how he responds to this tense situation?
BLACK: Yes. All of this has to be viewed through that political context because it puts the prime minister in a very difficult position. It's the election is just two weeks away. It's a hard-fought campaign, he is fighting to stay in government. And so, Benjamin Netanyahu must walk a difficult but crucial line between proving that he is still in control of the country's security.
And security is undoubtedly the number one political issue in this country. That he can be trusted to punish and deter Hamas, while also defending Israeli lives. He must show that he is acting with adequate force.
But at the same time, not take steps that could see or lead to a much larger escalation of the conflict because that could also be damaging to him politically.
He's in such a difficult position because he has the burden of being the long-standing incumbent. And so, in a sense, his critics will say the security situation in this country at the moment is a situation of his making. So, he's very open to criticism, and indeed, his opponents and even
allies have been criticizing him very strongly in recent days, essentially saying that all of this is a result of his recent policies, his recent dealings with Hamas. And essentially the criticism is that he is being too soft on Hamas in recent history, Rosemary.
CHURCH: Right. Many thanks to our Phil Black bringing us that live report from Jerusalem, just after nine in the morning. I appreciate it.
While slowly but surely. Mozambique is making strides in its recovery from a devastating cyclone almost two weeks ago. That's next here on CNN Newsroom.
Plus, some are marking the fourth anniversary of the Civil War in Yemen with a rally. But the conflict has brought unspeakable misery to one of the world's poorest countries. And we will get an exclusive inside look at the crisis from our reporter there.
And then coming up later, just when you thought the Jussie Smollett case couldn't get any stranger, a stunning twist. We will have that for you in just a moment.
[03:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: Welcome back.
Well, UNICEF says $150 million is needed to restore water and sanitation services in Southern Africa after Cyclone Idai tore through the region earlier this month. The death toll is well into the hundreds in Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Many are now homeless, food is scarce and the flooding is so severe rescuers still can't reach many remote towns and villages.
Still, there are signs Mozambique is slowly starting to rebuild.
Our CNN's Farai Sevenzo reports.
FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Two weeks after Cyclone Idai struck, the recovery process is underway. Every cable is once again being connected to Mozambique's national grid.
These men are some 100 kilometers from Beira outside the town of Namatunda (Ph) working their way along the cyclone's path to replace broken cables. In the town of Namatunda (Ph) itself the banks have reopened, but the cues for cash have not diminished.
Idai disrupted networks and denied people access to their money. The process of rebuilding after this national disaster is the natural step for many. Roofs must be replaced, and life must go on. For some, Cyclone Idai is slipping into memory as schools and banks reopened.
Far from distance, rural people who survived the cyclone have sheltered. And in Chopi 130 kilometers from Beira, the Chopi medical center is looking after 50 adults and 85 young children who lost everything to the cyclone.
There are bigger camps elsewhere, all trying to cope the Cyclone Idai's aftermath but the sadness of loss is the same.
Rosella da Conceicao is a preventative medicine officer in Chopi.
SEVENZO: Today, Rosella has tested nine people for malaria which is their biggest concern. And I'm going to be the tenth person she tests today. And of these nine, two had malaria. So that they can prevent as soon as they find that they have malaria they can take preventative measures and give them the medicine they need.
I see something happening, so, I'm clear.
ROSELLA DA CONCEICAO, PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE NURSE: Yes.
SEVENZO: For now.
This is cyclone water.
SEVENZO: They're going straight back after you told them.
SEVENZO: Farai Sevenzo, CNN, in Chopi, Mozambique.
CHURCH: An airstrike near a hospital in Yemen has killed at least seven people including four children. The charities Save the Children which supports that hospital is demanding an investigation.
Now the timing here is significant. This week marks four years since Saudi Arabia launched a massive aerial offense on Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, a military campaign which has only made an already devastating humanitarian crisis even worse.
CNN's Sam Kiley reports now from the port city of Hudaydah.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: She's on the brink between life and the abyss, like her country she's been weakened by poverty and attacked by external forces. Ayad (Ph) got a liver infection, her kidneys are failing, and malaria is inside her brain.
She's 10, is she lives to remember anything most of her memories will be of war in Yemen. And more disease spreads fast in the next-door bed, the nearest child has meningitis. The next one over, a despairing teen who try to hang herself.
Bombs landed at the main gate of the hospital a few months ago. The staff are rarely paid but they still come to work.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HODA SOLIMAN, LEAD ICU NURSE, AL-THAWRA HOSPITAL (through translator): Of course, if you see people who can't find medical care then we have to rescue them even if this hospital was under bombardment. When there are clashes, we remain here when the attack the hospital we stayed here.
[03:20:03] If we don't relieve the suffering of these people, who would?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KILEY: U.S. support for the Saudi-led war against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels who hold Hudaydah most of the north is under pressure in the Senate, but still.
KILEY: Death to usual suspects, America and Israel. Not surprising, though, the U.S. is the biggest arms supply to Saudi Arabia in its allies. It's U.S. bombs planes and vehicles that have helped the Saudi-led coalition force its way into the outskirts of Hudaydah.
They're marking the fourth anniversary of a war that's killed an estimated 60,000 people, a couple of miles from the front line.
There are obviously many thousands of Houthis who have gathered here in Hudaydah, and it's this city that's absolutely central to the survival of the whole Houthi mission, it's through the port here that almost all of the food comes to feed some 70 percent of the population.
But they're incredulous after four years of war that the United States and the United Kingdom continue to supply weapons to the Saudi-led coalition.
Anger here is as widespread as hunger. The U.N. has warned that 10 million people are one step away from famine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALI KHAMMASH, TEACHER: How many, how many blood, how many bloods from our body to stop the war?
KILEY: And you know that the U.S. Senate is putting pressure on the Trump administration to stop support for the Saudis. What do you say to that?
KHAMMASH: Our people, our people and my children -- our children tell us USA kill us every day, they kill us. They kill us in the (Inaudible), kill us in the within.
ABDEL MOMEN AL-MONTASSER, ENGLISH LITERATURE PROFESSOR: Actually, they are just thinking of their own benefits from, you know, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries. They are rich, they want to milk of them, you know, as I think Trump. (END VIDEO CLIP)
KILEY: That is a sentiment that's reflective on the walls of Hudaydah. That's the Saudi king's head on a cow and the U.S. president is filling golden pails at the other end.
Sam Kiley, CNN, Hudaydah, Yemen.
CHURCH: Well, how successful have peace efforts been on the ground in Yemen? And what can outside powers do to help them along. I post these questions earlier to Frank McManus of the International Rescue Committee.
FRANK MCMANUS, YEMEN DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE: A problem that the peace agreement that has been agreed is so localized. It just covers Hudaydah City. The tensions continue to boil over elsewhere in the country. And that has a risk of destabilizing what's going on in Hudaydah.
So, since the signing of the peace agreement we have seen a reduction of clashes, a reduction of violence in Hudaydah City but we have seen violence escalate elsewhere in the country. Sana'a and Hajjah just to the north of Hudaydah but also places like Ad Dahi in the middle of the country.
So, one frontline has gone quieter, other front lines have flared up.
CHURCH: So why hasn't the United States and the United Kingdom done more to move Yemen toward peace?
MCMANUS: I would like to point out that there are only some of the actors involved. I mean, we certainly at the IRC would call on all those with influence over the warring parties to do what they can to get those warrying parties to the table and then to implement in good faith the agreements which are reached.
CHURCH: And what would the likely ramifications be then if some form of peace can't be found across Yemen?
MCMANUS: We'll continue to see what we -- or what we which is deteriorating situation. A U.N. report recently put it out put it very well who said that, this year we find millions of Yemenis are hungrier or sicker and more vulnerable than they are last year. And I think we'll see a continuation of those numbers going up.
Right now, we're looking at 80 percent of the country needs humanitarian assistance. So that's up a quarter on last year. We are seeing 3.3 million people are currently displaced. That's up a million over last year.
If the war continues, the numbers of displaced, the numbers of those in need, the numbers who cannot access adequate healthcare, who cannot access adequate clean drinking water will continue to rise.
CHURCH: Frank McManus talking to me a short time ago.
And we should note the U.N. is making efforts to find a settlement between the Houthis and Yemen's Saudi-backed government.
Well, now to the Boeing investigation and the latest issue for the airplane manufacturers MAX 8 fleet. Pilots on one of those planes had to make an emergency landing in Florida Tuesday.
(BEGIN VOICE CLIP)
[03:24:59] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tower, Southwest 8701 we just lost our right engine, need to declare an emergency. Fly heading 020.
(END VOICE CLIP)
CHURCH: The Southwest Airlines plane was being flown from Orlando to California for storage. While the fleet remains grounded after two deadly crashes. There were no passengers on board and the plane landed safely.
The airlines said a performance issue with one of the engines was not related to computer system that's under scrutiny in those MAX 8 crashes.
Now meantime, in the incoming hours, U.S. aviation officials will be on Capitol Hill for a Senate hearing on safety oversight.
Well, since the Ethiopian Airlines crash Boeing shares have dropped about 12 percent and lost $29 billion in market value.
Richard Quest looks at whether the crisis will have a lasting impact on the company's bottom line.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: If endanger Boeing, I'm not going. It's a mantra amongst pilots that dates back to the company's earliest days.
And in 2018, it drove Boeing to a record setting 806 aircraft deliveries. Six more planes, and its rival Airbus.
An enviable reputation for safety is now scarred by the twin disasters of Lion Air 610 and Ethiopian 302. The ensuing crisis is sure to leave a mark on the company's profitability.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Boeing is certainly going to take some financial hits as a result of these two accidents. The question is how much?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: The Indian Airline SpiceJet has been forced to ground its 13 737 MAX 8 jets as part of the worldwide grounding of the aircraft.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AJAY SINGH, CEO, SPICEJET: We are also flying our existing aircraft a little harder and we've canceled a few flights. So, we are trying to redo the best that we can.
QUEST: Now the chief executive wants compensation for Boeing for the lost revenue. But getting rid of Boeing planes altogether, Singh says, not anytime soon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SINGH: You know, Boeing is a world-class company, they are one of the finest companies in the world. And we are confident that Boeing will find a solution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: In the age of this aviation (Inaudible) its Airbus or Boeing. And both are running backlogs on orders. Airlines wanting to switch from one to the other would find that very difficult.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Airlines tend to have fleet philosophies based on commonality of training for pilots, spares holdings, engineering support. And that means that have a major decision to go from one manufacturer or another an airline would tend to stick of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Even Indonesia's Garuda which this week said it would cancel an order of nearly 50 MAX 8's has no plans to replace them with Airbus. If it is not a Boeing, I am not going. That mantra may be at risk, Boeing's firm hold on the market is not.
Richard Quest CNN, London.
CHURCH: Well, Donald Trump is claiming victory and top Democrats are backing away from talk of impeachment, more fallout from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report. That's ahead.
Plus, the decision that has rocked Chicago. All charges dropped in the Jussie Smollett case, a stunning reversal that leaves a lot of unanswered questions. We're back in a moment.
[03:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back everyone, this is CNN Newsroom. I'm Rosemary Church. Let's check the headlines for you this hour. British lawmakers will debate several alternatives to Theresa May's Brexit plan in the coming hours. After wrestling control of the process away from the Prime Minister. The government says it will not be bound by those votes. And are still pushing for a third vote on Mrs. May's price rejected deal.
Israel says, its fighter jets have struck Hamas military targets in Gaza for a second night after rockets were fired at Israel. The attacks brought an end to a 16 hour period of calm. Israel says, no one was hurt. When militants from Gaza fired two rockets toward the country.
An airstrike near a hospital in Yemen has killed at least seven people, including four children. The missile is believed to have landed within 50 meters of the facility's main building. The charity Save the Children, which supports the hospital is demanding an investigations.
A Trump administration officials said the White House still has not seen Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report, but that not stopping President Trump from crawling about its conclusion that he did not collude with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign. CNN's Kaitlan Collins reports from the White House.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Mueller report was great, it could not have been better.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump turning his victory lap into a political strategy today.
TRUMP: This should never happen to a president again. We can't allow that to take place.
COLLINS: Six sources telling CNN that after two years on defense the president now plans to weaponized Robert Mueller's findings against Democrats and those who ordered the investigation.
TRUMP: It went very high up and it started barely low, but with instructions from the high up. COLLINS: The president also taking aim at the media, claiming that
for two years they have pushed the Russian collusion delusion when they knew there was none. The president isn't the only one going on offense. Senator Lindsey Graham, who spent the weekend golfing with Trump, calling for investigation into the Obama Justice Department and Hillary Clinton.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: When it comes to the FISA warrant, the Clinton campaign, the counter intelligence investigation is pretty much been swept under the rug. Set by a few Republicans in the House, those days are over.
COLLINS: Even though Graham admitted he was the one who urge Senator John McCain to turn over the dossier on the Trump campaign, alleged ties to Russia to the FBI. Behind closed doors today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, telling her caucus they should wait to see the full Mueller report. Instead of relying on Attorney General Bill Barr's letter. According to an aide, Pelosi said, we cannot make a judgement on the basis of an interpretation by man who was hired for his job, because he believes the president is above the law. But some Democrats say it's time to move on.
JAMES CLYBURN, U.S. HOUSE DEMOCRATIC WHIP: And I believe that the Mueller report has been done, that is a chapter that is closed.
COLLINS: And focus on other fights to come.
REP. DEBBIE DINGELL (D), MICHIGAN, MEMBER OF HOUSE DEM LEADERSHIP: I mean, we've got real work to do, and we got to get off on some subject that doesn't matter to the working people in my district in the Midwest.
COLLINS: Not all Democrats are on board with that game plan. Freshmen Rashida Tlaib, is pushing ahead with her resolution to impeach the president. Despite what the parties leadership has set.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Impeachment is not on the table until it is on the table.
COLLINS: Now, during the president's lunch on Capitol Hill, he told Republican Senators that he felt like he got a clean bill of health from the Mueller investigation and added that he is OK with that report going public. Now as far as that release happens right now, A DOJ officials tells us that there are no current plans for the White House to get an advance copy of that report ahead of its public release. Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.
[03:35:10] CHURCH: So, let's talk more about all this with Larry Sabato, he is a Director of the Center of Politics at the University of Virginia. Thank you so much for joining us.
LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR CENTER FOR POLITICS, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: Thank you, Rosemary.
CHURCH: Well, despite the facts, President Trump still insist the Mueller report found he did not engage in any obstruction. That question was left to the Department of Justice and the Attorney General and his Deputy Rod Rosenstein decided not prosecute, and that is exactly why the Democrats want to see the full report. So, how likely is it that will happen?
SABATO: I think it's quite likely that will see a good deal of the report. It's pretty clear they're going to excise some of it. And probably properly so when it comes to grand jury testimony and that kind of thing, but you know what stunned me today was the first public opinion poll on whether the report should be released in full.
And well over 80 percent of Americans, 80 percent, want the entire report released. And that includes 75 percent of Republicans. So this is something that is relatively unanimous and actually is bipartisan. And you've seen very little of that today in the United States. And that will have an impact the fact that people do in fact believe they should see the report.
CHURCH: Interesting that there is that call for transparency, because the Department of Justice official has told CNN that the public can expect a version of the Mueller report in weeks, not months, this after Democratic lawmakers demanded Attorney General Bill Barr, turnover the report by April 2nd.
Now that may be too early, I don't know why, but apparently they have to go through this report. But how much of that report do you think will be made available? As a result of this pressure being brought to bear by the Democrats, and clearly the public is saying, we want to see this, we want to know what's been going on here.
SABATO: If they're smart and I think they are, they will release a lot of it. A large majority of it, and they should really explain the sections that are redacted. Because we'll get pieces of it, with everything blocked out. I deal with some of these materials as quite frequently and I have to tell you that, if the government can redact something it usually does. Because this information is power, they want to keep this information to themselves.
But this has got to be an exception, because people through their tax money spent 20 to 30 million dollars or more on this investigation. And it's very important. Particularly the obstruction of justice questions which were not answered by that brief four page summary. People want it release. It should be release, and it should be as complete as possible.
CHURCH: Right, and President Trump is now moving on from the Mueller report after his victory lap. Now insisting he will overturn Obama care, but he doesn't have a health care plan to replace it with. Well, insisting though to the public saying that the Republican Party will soon be known as the party of healthcare. So how's this likely to play out in the 2020 election campaign, because polls are showing that people do like Obamacare. That the public do want Obamacare, and they want the security of knowing there something at least, don't day?
SABATO: Absolutely, and this just puzzles me and I think it puzzles most people who follow politics. Why would you dwell on a subject that apparently you won in terms of public opinion, that is the Mueller report and move entirely to something where you're going to lose the Party, and Trump has lost repeatedly on Obamacare and healthcare generally.
And I wish I could get somebody to make a big bet that I could take that the Republican Party would be known as the Party of healthcare, because believe me that is not going to happen.
CHURCH: Yes. We will watch to see what comes since his comment on that, because that's made a lot of people feel very concerned about the future. Larry Sabato, thank you so much, we appreciate it.
SABATO: Thanks, Rosemary.
CHURCH: Well, President Trump is back to criticizing Puerto Rico after the devastating hurricane that hit the island back in 2017. According to Senate Republicans, the president took a swipe at the government's fiscal management and the amount of disasters relief. The island was already in dire financially strafes before the series of storms. And Mr. Trump has repeatedly said, he does not want taxpayers on the hook for fixing the islands problems. CNN's Anderson Cooper spoke with the mayor of San Juan about the president's comments.
[03:40:05] CARMEN YULIN CRUZ, SAN JUAN MAYOR: What we're talking about is a gap of 600 million dollars that is needed to feet Puerto Rico. So he wants to huff and puff, just like he was King Kong. But when you see him really -- is he (inaudible) the people don't have food to put on the table. He doesn't understand that were still recuperating from a devastating situation which he made worst, by the way, by just crossing the humanitarian crisis.
Just to give you an idea, Anderson, 1.3 million Puerto Ricans out of 3.2 million that lived in the island nation of Puerto Rico are receiving some sort of nutritional assistance. So that means that about 43 percent of the population needs this to put food on the table. Of that 1.3 million, around 45 percent are children, elderly or people that are with severe disabilities.
And we continue to hear about the humanitarian crisis and the human crisis that unfold. Because the president continues to be stubborn to do what is right.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You talked about -- when you say was vindictiveness on his part, what do you think is the source of that? And how much of this is political that, you know, a number of the states, the relief effort he is looking in various states appraising are in red states and, you know, Puerto Rico is not.
YULIN CRUZ: Well, it's totally vindictive, and I'll tell you why. On October 4th the president in 2017, the president came down to Puerto Rico. Just for a couple of hours, and one of the things that he said at a meeting that I was at, was, I hate to tell you Puerto Rico, but you've thrown our budget out of whack from all the money that we have thrown down here, and this is only a few weeks after the hurricane.
That is the same afternoon where he threw paper towels at people. And image that will forever live in the hearts and minds of people all over the world. And that does not reflect at all the goodness and the good heart of the American people and the spirit of hundreds of Americans that have come down to Puerto Rico since -- just to help and to support us beginning our reconstruction.
Remember something, President Trump looked back in the eyes of the world. He was not up to party, he didn't do what he was supposed to do. He couldn't get it done, because he lacked leadership. So now rather than looking at himself. And seeing what he could have done better, he blames the people in Puerto Rico, he blames anybody that does not agree with him.
CHURCH: And as for comment on the president's remarks, the White House issued this statement. The Trump administration is committed to the complete recovery of Puerto Rico. The island had received unprecedented support and it's on phase to receive tens of billions of dollars from tax payers. However the Trump administration will not put tax payers on the hook to correct a decade's old spending crisis that has left the island with deep rooted economic problems.
Well, coming up next a stunning turnaround in the Jussie Smollett case. We will explain what happened and why it grew this angry response from Chicago's mayor.
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RAHM EMANUEL, MAYOR OF CHICAGO: This is without a doubt a whitewash of justice. And it sends a clear message that if you are in a position of influence, and power. You get three to one way, all the people will be treated in other way, there is no accountability within the system, it is wrong, full stop.
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CHURCH: Well as New Zealand begins to heal after the deadly Christchurch mosque attacks, the Prime Minister visited Dunedin, the City where the suspect was living. Jacinda Ardern read stories to children at an Islamic Education Center, she as in the city to meet with Muslim leaders and said she wanted to remind the community that safety is her top priority.
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JACINDA ARDERN, PRIME MINISTER OF NEW ZEALAND: If there was a discussion over what happened next. What we could do to make sure that the community continues to feel safe. Particularly women, who so obviously we are the effect, and we talked a little bit about the ongoing police precincts.
And that will continue for the time being, but being beyond that. Our job is to make sure that the community New Zealand as a whole, knows that safety is our number one priority and to give that sense of security. Including members of the community everywhere can give their sense of security as well.
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CHURCH: Well in the days after 58 people were shot dead in Las Vegas. We were given a crash course in bump stocks. A totally legal device which effectively turns a semi-automatic weapon into an automatic. Now the ban is officially in place, tens of thousands of the devices had been destroyed at a recycling facility in Texas.
President Trump called for the ban after the 2017 shooting, one of the few successful efforts a gun reformed in years. Gun rights groups continue to challenge the ban in court.
Well, there has been a shocking turn of events in the case against American actor Jussie Smollett. He was accused of staging a hate crime and filing a false police report. And now prosecutors have suddenly dropped all charges. CNN's Ryan Young has the latest on what continues to be a story of dramatic twists and turns.
EMANUEL: This is a whitewash of justice. A grand jury could have not been clear.
RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tonight, Chicago officials furious.
EDDIE JOHNSON, CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT: Do I think justice was served? No. Would I think justices, I think this city is still owe an apology.
YOUNG: Police not notified of the dramatic reversal that prosecutors dropped all charges against Jussie Smollett, after he was accused of staging a January 29th attack on himself to look like a hate crime.
JOHNSON: We found out about when you all did.
YOUNG: Officials still charging that Smollett claim, leading police on a city wide manhunt was a hoax. They are staging all the evidence in the case, no longer accessible to the public.
JOHNSON: He chose to hide behind secrecy, and broke of a deal. My job as a police officer is to investigate an incident, gather facts and present them to the state attorney. That is what we did, I stand behind the detectives of the investigation.
YOUNG: Today, Smollett, who have always maintained his innocence took a victory lap at the courthouse.
JUSSIE SMOLLETT, ACTOR: I've been truthful inconsistent and every single level since day one. I would not be my mother son if I was capable of one drop of what I was accused of.
YOUNG: The states attorney's office says that the facts of the case as Smollett's records were used to make a decision to drop charges.
JOE MAGATS, LEAD PROSECUTOR: Also, keeping in mind our resources and keeping in mind that the office is number one priority, is to combat violent crime in the drivers of violence. The decision -- I decided to for this disposition on the case.
YOUNG: Smollett's lawyer earlier pointing fingers at Chicago police.
[03:50:03] PATRICIA BROWN HOLMES, ATTORNEY FOR JUSSIE SMOLLETT: We have nothing to say the police department except to investigate charges and not try their cases in the press.
JOHNSON: Quite frankly it pissed everybody off.
YOUNG: A not to this strong words by Chicago Superintendent last month when announcing charges against Smollett.
JOHNSON: And why the stunt was orchestrated by Smollett, because he was dissatisfied with his salary. He concocted a story about being attacked.
YOUNG: Chicago's Mayor, live it over the outright absence of fault in the undetermined case.
EMANUEL: Where is the accountability? You cannot have -- because of a person's position and one set of rules apply to them, and another set of rules applied to everybody else.
YOUNG: There's a lot of questions remain in this case, not only from the police department, to the mayor's office, to the general public. This is played out so publicly, people thought they are going to get all the information. Don't forget, just last month, you have Jussie Smollett and his team saying, they wanted cameras in the court room for a chance for the world to see that he (inaudible). That will never happen. Ryan Young, CNN, Chicago.
CHURCH: Well it may be spring in the U.S. But, it's still a winter wonderland in California Sierra Mountains. Where snow already stacks up to second story windows. And more could be on the way. And history put on hold, why NASA's upcoming spacewalk would be all female as originally planned.
CHURCH: Well a prize winning show dogs great escape has come to an end. Gail is back with her owners, after gone missing at the Atlanta airport, Saturday. Officials say, the 22-month-old American (inaudible) terrier escaped to a crate on the tarmac, right before her flight to Amsterdam. Gail had finish her last dog show and was returning home to retire. People searched all around the airport for her. Even setting up food traps, but Gail was not ready to be caught just yet. Then on Tuesday when her handler was calling her name, she jump right into his arms. Very cute. Love that show.
Well the first all-female spacewalk won't happen after all. Two women were supposed to swap out some batteries on the Internationals Space Station Friday, but as Jeanne Moos reports, the historic moment was denied over a lack of wardrobe options.
[03:55:05] JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If you asked does my spacesuit make me look fat? The answer is yes. Whether a man or woman, but when it comes the two women.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Houston we have a problem.
MOOS: The problem being not enough size medium and space suits on board for two women to take the first all-female spacewalk. Anne MacLean and Christina Cook, were scheduled to go outside and change some batteries on the International Space Station.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm still a total nerd now, but, hey nerds get to go to space.
MOOS: And got her first walk in space March 22nd with a male astronaut. He is the one wearing the red stripes. But with both women scheduled to go to space walking on Friday, there weren't enough size medium suit to go around. That launched snarky tweets like, we could put a man on the moon, but we can't put a woman in a spacesuit. Even Hillary Clinton chimed in make another suit. Some fun facts about space suits.
First, there are actually custom fitted to each astronaut. The ones currently being used were designed over 40 years ago. It could cause as much as $250 million to create a new suit from scratch. Turns out they do have a second size medium suit on board the space station, but prepping it takes time. They didn't think they need it, because Ann trained on the ground wearing medium and large suits, but she went on her first real spacewalk, she thought the medium fit better.
Cristina's now being pared to go spacewalking with a larger male astronaut. When you have the option of just switching the people, the mission becomes more important than a coal milestone. NASA told the New York Times, at least there's nothing wrong with getting caught wearing the same outfit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is one small step for mankind.
MOOS: One size medium, for two women. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
CHURCH: It's 2019, we can get this done people. Thanks for joining us this hour, I'm Rosemary Church, remember to connect with me anytime on Twitter. And the news continues with Isa Soares in London. You are watching CNN. Have yourselves a great day.