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Trump & Barr Allege "Spying" of 2016 Trump Campaign; Sanders Holds Rally Amid Questions of His Millionaire Status; Son Helps Solve Own Mother's Murder Mystery; New Policy Banning Transgenders from Joining U.S. Military Starts Friday; Mayor Jesse Arreguin (D) Interviewed About Immigration; Who Is Running Department Of Homeland Security; Trump Dangled Pardon For McAleenan; Rep. Omar Of Minnesota Speaks On Muslims; Mnuchin Won't Commit To Deadline; Trump And Barr Speak Of Alleged Spying. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired April 13, 2019 - 17:00   ET




ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: You're live in the CNN Newsroom. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Let's get right to our breaking news right now. An enormous line of violent, dangerous storms cutting a wide path across Texas and now Louisiana. This is moving fast.

Weather officials now confirm at least two tornadoes touched down a short time ago about hundred miles apart. This in a town of Franklin, Texas where several people are reported hurt from the tornado that hit there. Everyone in the path of this long line of storms, even two states over, are being told to expect potentially damaging wind and very heavy hail.

Let's go to the CNN Severe Weather Center and Meteorologist Ivan Cabrera. Ivan, show us where people are in the most danger right now.

IVAN CABRERA, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, Ana, 430 miles at my last count. That's how wide this tornado watch is and that's where the threat, the more significant threat of tornadoes continues into this evening. Our good friends in Texas have already seen what this storm can produce. A couple of confirmed tornadoes and that is just preliminary. The National Weather Service will be out there tomorrow. We may have had more.

And, in fact, eastern Texas beginning to see, I think, the last of the more dangerous part of the store. But, now, we're getting into Louisiana. We're going to get into Mississippi. And we have several hours still of threatening weather to come. And we're not just talking about the severe winds that are going to coming out of the storm. We're going to be talking about the potential for rotating storms, that is tornadoes and the kinds of which could down some significant wind. Violent tornadoes at that.

There it is, 430 miles. There's the storm right now. We have one tornado warning across a northeastern part of Louisiana. These things moving at 55 miles an hour. So, if you are in the path of this storm, just keep in mind that you are not going to have much time to get out of the way.

By the way, lightning strikes, just in the last half hour, Ana, over 7,000 lightning strikes. And this is the area again that we're going to be watching throughout the evening, right until midnight. The danger is going to continue to go up not down in the next several hours.

CABRERA: Wow, tornadoes, lightning, hail. There's a lot there. Ivan, thank you for staying on top of it for us.

We have two major developments involving President Trump and immigration policy this weekend. First, Trump and the Homeland Security Department are pushing back and denying CNN's reporting on Trump mentioning a pardon to a top border official.

Senior administration officials tell CNN's Jake Tapper the conversation happened during Trump's border visit to Calexico, California on Friday, last Friday. And Trump told Kevin McAleenan, then head of Customs and Border Protection, now the acting secretary of Homeland Security, that he would pardon McAleenan if he ever went to jail for denying entry to undocumented immigrants.

Now, our second development, President Trump's Friday threat to release detained migrants into so-called sanctuary cities, in part to retaliate against Democrats. The president's Friday tweet about his sanctuary city proposal now drawing plenty of reaction from California Democrats. Governor Gavin Newsom called it a side show and accuses the president of using immigrants as pawns and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who represents San Francisco, calling Trump's threat warped game.

I want to bring in the mayor of Berkeley, California, Jesse Arreguin. He is a -- of course, the mayor of a sanctuary city. Mayor, what's your response to the president?

MAYOR JESSE ARREGUIN (D), BERKELEY, CALFORNIA: My response is, we welcome all immigrants and refugees to Berkeley and to California. And, not surprisingly, our president is, once again, using immigrants as political pawns in a -- in a political game. It's illegal. It's immoral. And it's unacceptable.

And rather than fixing our broken immigration system, this president is, once again, scapegoating immigrants and using immigrants as pawns to retaliate against those people that he disagrees with. It's just simply unacceptable.

CABRERA: If the administration were to drop off detained immigrants in Berkeley, what's your plan?

ARREGUIN: Well, we welcome them. We are a proud sanctuary city. I think immigrants and refugees make our community stronger and more resilient. Just on my way to the studio today, I drove by many businesses that are owned by immigrants.

And they add to our economy. They add to our communities. And we need to make sure that immigrants can come out of the shadows and could be safer and could be part of our community. And studies have shown that sanctuary cities make communities safer, contrary to what our president has said.

CABRERA: I hear you say, we welcome these immigrants. But you would still have to deal with logistics, right? What do you see as the impact on your city, if you were faced with an influx of undocumented immigrants all at once?

ARREGUIN: Well, obviously, we would have to work to provide housing and services. But Berkeley has been a sanctuary city since 1971. We have welcomed, with open arms, immigrants and refugees to our community, working with our faith community, working with other community partners. And we welcome all immigrants to our community.

[17:05:01] CABRERA: And, yet, the president is threatening this. What do you think he expects the impact would be?

ARREGUIN: Well, I think he thinks that he can, once again, misdirect people from his failures in addressing the immigration issue. Rather than working to fix our broken immigration system, he's, once again, using immigrants as political pawns. And it's simply unacceptable. I think he thinks that it will scare us. It will get us to back down. But we will not back down. We will continue to fight for the human rights and dignity of all people.

CABRERA: We also have this reporting that the president wanted border officials to stop asylum seekers. Like, physically stop them from entering the U.S. And reportedly told the CDP commissioner, Kevin McAleenan, who's now the acting DHS secretary, that he would offer him a pardon if he had to break the law, in order to accomplish this. What's your reaction?

ARREGUIN: Well, I'm very glad that he and other officials at INS are actually working to uphold the law and are not following the president's illegal and immoral directive. They are doing their job. They're working to keep our borders safe and are not using people that are being detained at our border as pawns.

CABRERA: The facts do bear out, there has been a big surge of undocumented immigrants crossing the southern border, nearly 100,000 apprehensions last month alone. Many of them families and unaccompanied minors. Do you see this as a crisis?

ARREGUIN: It is a crisis. It's a humanitarian crisis. People are fleeing Central America. They're fleeing civil war. They're fleeing economic insecurity. And rather than welcoming these people and working to provide housing and services, and integrate them into our communities, this president is proposing a wasteful duplicative border wall.

He's proposing to separate kids from families and putting them in cages. He's proposing to confront them using military, rather than bringing services. You know, the Statue of Liberty says, bring us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses to be free. That's a fundamental principle of our country and something that we should continue to respect. CABRERA: Do Democrats in Congress need to reach out and work harder

to try to come up with some kind of solution?

ARREGUIN: I think so. And, clearly, this president is not making comprehensive immigration reform a priority. Rather, he is focusing on divisive policies.

CABRERA: I hear you say that, but are Democrats making comprehensive immigration reform a priority?

ARREGUIN: I think Democrats have said consistently that they want to address the issue of immigration. And I think we would welcome any effort by the president to address this issue and provide a clear path to citizenship.

CABRERA: Mayor Arreguin, thank you very much for being with us.

ARREGUIN: Thank you very much.

CABRERA: This week, it became abundantly clear, and in case you had doubt in your mind just how crowded it is at the top in Washington.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Frankly, there's only one person that's running it. You know who that is? It's me.


CABRERA: "Only one person running it." Unquote. It's a crowd of one. President Trump talking about who in the administration is currently running the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which has an entire dedicated department and about a quarter million people.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's only one person that's running it. You know who that is? It's me.


CABRERA: He is running it. Definitely not Kirstjen Nielsen. She resigned without warning last weekend. People close to her tell CNN it was definitely not her idea. It was after a meeting at the White House with the president. Apparently, it's not this man.

Kevin McAleenan, even though he was hand-picked by Trump to take Nielsen's place, he is, yet, another cabinet with the word acting in front of his title, acting Homeland Security secretary. He joins the big group of acting U.S. officials in important leadership positions without Congressional approval. Like the Defense Department, the top U.S. official at the United Nations and the president's own chief of staff, all acting.

The president, on Friday, confirmed reports that he is considering transporting and releasing undocumented immigrants into sanctuary cities. White house lawyers are working on how this policy could be implemented without running into legal trouble.

But one policy not coming back, at least according to the president this week, is the separation of parents and children at the U.S.- Mexico border. The president tamped down reports that Homeland Security was thinking about giving families a choice of whether to stay together in detention throughout the entire immigration proceedings or be separated so children would not spend a long time in confinement. After that, that would be against current laws.

But, again, the president says, that's not going to happen. And, remember, who is in charge of Homeland Security.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's only one person running it. You know who it is? That's me.


CABRERA: And, again, that one person running Homeland Security reportedly told his new acting HHS secretary, Kevin McAleenan, that he would receive a presidential pardon, in the event he went to jail for telling border guards to block asylum seekers. That's according to senior administration officials who could not confirm if the president was joking or not.

[17:10:13] Let's bring in our CNN Political Commentators Democratic Strategist Keith Boykin and S.E. Cupp, Host of "S.E. CUPP UNFILTERED" coming up at the top of the hour.

Keith, everyone thought, you know, this administration had hit a low with the separation of families at the border. But, now, we're learning that the president is actually suggesting some of his border officials break laws, in order to stop asylum seekers from coming in. What does this tell you about just how far this president is willing to go on his number one issue, which has apparently hit a major wall in Congress?

KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's interesting, the phrasing of the question, because I don't know that it tells us much about how far he's willing to go on his number one issue. I feel it tells us how desperate he is as a person, as a president. He's shut down the government over this number one issue. He's threatening to send people, immigrants to sanctuary cities, over this number one issue. He claimed he's going to build a wall, over this number one issue.

And you know what? He spent two years with the Republican Congress. He did nothing.


BOYKIN: He had -- he had a proposal from the Democrats that gave him much more than he was going to get from any sort of compromise he might get now. And he rejected it. So, I mean, if this is such an important issue for Donald Trump and immigration is such a concern, why has he done nothing until now and created chaos in government and lawlessness? This is not the way to run any government, much less the United States of America.


CABRERA: Let me ask you, though, --

CUPP: Sure.

CABRERA: -- because on that point, I think it -- I kind of wonder whether it is intentional? Is he actually trying to get something done? Because as Keith points out, that, I mean, he spent two years, everything was blocked by either Congress or the courts. And, yet, here he is, now, not even trying to do it the legal way. Is he trying to get something done or does he just think that's the rhetoric and the, sort of, optics of being tough are enough?

CUPP: Well, I think it's important to point out, and I agree, he had two years of Republican control to work something through. He had problems with the right flank of the Republicans and the moderate Republicans. And then, remember, he got in trouble with Republicans for proposing comprehensive immigration reform in a meeting with Democrats.

So, we don't have to overstate. He tried to do some stuff. But, now, I think desperate is the exact right word. I think what he is suggesting now are not policy solutions. That's obvious. They're illegal. I mean, dumping immigrants into sanctuaries cities would, frankly, infuriate his base. But I think it is P.R. stunts and it's the politics of revenge.

And that's all he's left with. Because he doesn't have a united party, and he doesn't have Democrats who are really, really willing to come to some kind of compromise on immigration. And Democrats have not been offering up a lot of solutions on this either. So, he's desperate. And it's ugly. It's divisive. It's really unfortunate.

CABRERA: Do you think Democrats need to do more?

BOYKIN: Well, everybody can -- immigration is an issue that we all have been trying to wrestle with in this country for decades.

CUPP: Decades, yes.

BOYKIN: The Democrats have put forward proposals. Republicans have put forward proposals. If you want to make progress, you have to have compromise and you have to have people willing to be adults. We don't have that in the White House right now. Donald Trump has no willingness to compromise. When he does offer a compromise, as S.E. pointed out, --

CUPP: Yes.

BOYKIN: -- then he backs off on it the next day, once he talks to his Republican base. Or he doesn't act like an adult with his behavior and the things that he's doing. At the same time, he's acting in a lawless way, encouraging people in his own government to violate the law and to offer pardons to them. That's an impeachable offense. And he may push back on it now, but the White House didn't seem to mind that characterization of him until somebody had mentioned to him that it was impeachable.

This guy is acting in the way that is irresponsible for any type of action to take place on immigration. So, it's not the fault of the Democrats. It's the fault of the Republican Party that won't hold their own leader accountable.

CABRERA: Let's switch gears and talk about Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, another controversy this weekend for her saying this.


REP. ILHAN OMAR, MINNESOTA: Far too long, we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen. And, frankly, I'm tired of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it. CARE was founded after 911, because they recognized that some people did something, and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.


CABRERA: And President Trump, he responded by tweeting a video that showed the 911 attack. Spliced with Omar's words, Democrats are saying he's inciting violence. Republicans are saying she is downplaying the worst terror attack against Americans on U.S. soil. Keith, how do you see it?

BOYKIN: Why is Donald Trump dredging up 911 in 2019 in the midst of everything else that we have going on in this country?

[17:15:03] CUPP: Well, she brought it up, in fairness.

BOYKIN: No. I mean, --

CUPP: Yes.

BOYKIN: -- Donald Trump is bringing this up because Donald Trump wants to use this to gin up his base. Donald Trump doesn't have to respond to everything that somebody says.

CABRERA: Well, that's true for sure. But she brought it up.

BOYKIN: Just because somebody -- just because somebody makes a speech, Donald Trump doesn't have to go out and attack that person because they spoke about something.

CUPP: Yes, of course.

BOYKIN: And the way she spoke about it, you know, it's completely mischaracterized. We've already -- we already -- she's already been attacked, I think, overwhelmingly from people and threatened her -- people who threatened her life because of -- because of her religion and because of her beliefs. And you know what? It doesn't help when the president of the United States is exacerbating that with incendiary tweets. That's not he should be doing.

He should be offering leadership. I remember when George Bush -- George W. Bush after 911 went there with a bull horn and spoke to people -- spoke to the world and he says, the people -- the people who did this will hear from us, using, sort of, the same language that Ilhan Omar did. And you know what? He went to a mosque and he visited a mosque. He tried to reach out to show that this wasn't a war on Islam. It was a war against terrorism. Donald Trump is the exact opposite of that.

CUPP: No disagreement. Donald Trump is incredibly irresponsible. I think that video was indefensible. But Congresswoman Omar should be held to the same standards we rightly want to hold Donald Trump to. She should come with facts. What she said there was factually not through.

BOYKIN: What did she say that was not true?

CUPP: CARE was not founded after 911. It was founded in 1994 and it wasn't founded as a result of Muslims being attacked after 911.

BOYKIN: But --


CUPP: And when you're a Congresswoman --

CABRERA: And that is true. That is true.

CUPP: No, I know.

BOYKIN: That's what he was upset about, though.

CUPP: But when you're a Congresswoman, you have to come with your facts. And, too often, Omar --

BOYKIN: But that's not what Donald Trump was upset about, right?

CUPP: Congresswoman Omar hurts her own argument --

CABRERA: You're right. That wasn't what he was talking about.

CUPP: Let me -- but let me just finish. Let me finish.

BOYKIN: He was talking about the use of the phrase --

CUPP: Let me finish.


CUPP: I think she hurts her own argument a lot. Whether talking about Jews, Israel, 911, when she doesn't come with facts or when she, I think, speaks carelessly. And that's being generous. I think a lot of people have said what she has said was anti-Semitic. And with regards to this, some people did something as being offensive. If you want to generous, we'll call it careless. She's a Congresswoman. She's talking about really tough, polarizing things. I think it would benefit her to be more careful with her words.

CABRERA: I know you want to respond, Keith. But let me just, really quick, put out what her latest response is and I'll let you weigh in again. I mean, this is what her response was today. No one person, no matter how corrupt, inept or vicious can threaten my unwavering love for America. I stand undeterred to continue fighting for equal opportunity in our pursuit for happiness for all Americans.

What we don't see there, Keith, is an attempt to answer those who truly felt that she didn't show respect for the thousands of Americans who lost their lives on 911.

CUPP: And those of us that survived that day.

CABRERA: Should she have --

BOYKIN: I was here on September 11th when that attack took place and I know what that was like. Every time I see the image of the buildings being attacked, it still affects me, as a New Yorker and as an American. And I don't feel that she owes me an apology. Maybe some people didn't like what she had to say but this is America.

People have the right to say what they want to say. I don't feel like her comment, some people did something, is -- it's been blown out proportion to the point where people are jumping on every little opportunity of something that she has said. People use words sometimes that aren't --

CUPP: There's a solution for that. She should be more careful. This is not the first time she's gotten into trouble.

BOYKIN: Yes, Democrats, everybody should -- everybody should be careful in a language that they use.

CUPP: Yes, right. I agree.

BOYKIN: The people are -- people are specifically focusing on her. And people misspeak or say things like this all the time. But happens is that when you have somebody like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or Ilhan Omar, or Rosita Telli (?) or any of the people who are, sort of, the young, new guard in the Democratic Party.

CUPP: No, when you --

BOYKIN: Any time they say anything, Republicans --

CUPP: No. When you repeatedly --

BOYKIN: -- and Donald Trump immediately want to jump on them.


BOYKIN: No, because he --

CUPP: Saying anti-Semitic tropes, it's hard not to hear.

BOYKIN: If people -- if people continue to focus on their words, sometimes take them out of -- out of -- out of context.

CUPP: No, take them at their words.

BOYKIN: And, often, only focus on them and not focus on all the other people in the in this Congress.

CUPP: I call out Donald Trump all the time. I call out --


BOYKIN: (INAUDIBLE) focus on these three young people in Congress.

CABRERA: Do you think there was an element here, the president choosing to respond in this way because she is a Muslim?

BOYKIN: Of course.

CUPP: I think -- yes, I think, for sure. I mean, he's divisive. He goes to the bassist elements possible. And I think he wanted to exploit this. He is awful at this. And by that, I mean he's very good at that. And it's disappointing. It's deeply disappointing. No one -- no one disagrees on that point.

I just don't think we should give a member of Congress a pass. A member of Congress, who has a very big platform and I think could do really good things with it, when she repeatedly gets things wrong, offends people, uses language that is deeply, deeply offensive to a lot of people.

BOYKIN: I just --

CUPP: Be more careful.

BOYKIN: -- I just don't think we should focus our attention on three, young freshmen members of Congress, as if there's not 432 other people in Congress who are in the House of Representatives who are actually doing things themselves.

[17:20:07] But it's part of the right-wing machine that wants to attack these three people, in particular. And I think that's offensive that they continue to do that. And that the media, and people like us, have to talk about this because of that.

CABRERA: Thank you both.

CUPP: Thanks.

CABRERA: We'll end it there. Keith Boykin, S.E. Cupp, I always appreciate the lively debate. All right, don't forget about S.E. Cupp's show top of the hour, "S.E. CUPP UNFILTERED" right here on CNN. There is a legal and a political battle over the president's tax returns. Legally, does he have to turn them over? We'll get to that just ahead in the CNN Newsroom.


[17:25:30] CABRERA: New today, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin appears to be in no hurry to deal with the Congressional request for President Trump's tax returns. Mnuchin says he has not personally spoke to Attorney General William Barr about the House Ways and Means Committee's request for six years of Trump's tax returns. And Mnuchin won't commit to finishing the legal review of that request by a new deadline of April 23rd coming from Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal.

CNN Legal Analyst, and former federal Prosecutor, Michael Zeldin joins us now. Michael, we heard Mnuchin say he will be personally supervising the request, or the review of this request, for Trump's tax returns in conjunction with Justice Department officials. Democrats say the IRS commissioner is the only one who can make that call. Legally, who does have the final say on this?

MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Congress has the final say because it has the authority to require that the secretary of Treasury turn over the tax returns. I'm not exactly sure what review it is that Secretary Mnuchin is doing or what role Justice Department has to play in this.

But the legislation is pretty clear and the legislative history is pretty clear that Congress, as part of its legislative purposes in enacting or in overseeing existing law, has the right to ask for this. And that it is not something that the secretary of Treasury then has the right to, sort of, cull through and redact.

I think that Mnuchin may be stalling and he may find himself on the back end of a subpoena or a contempt citation.

CABRERA: So, is there any wiggle room in the law for them not to comply with the request?

ZELDIN: Theoretically, if the Congress is asking for this, when there's no valid legislative purpose for the request, then, yes, one could say that that is improper and that they should not be able to get it.

But, in this case, I think that there are so many attributes to the tax return that involve Congressional oversight of legislation, not the least of which is that the president, per policy, is to be audited each by the IRS. And, therefore, Congress has the right to see how that audit process is going to determine whether laws need to be enhanced. That I think that the legislative purpose is going to be pretty clear whether to be a court case challenging the Congress' legitimate request.

CABRERA: I mean, it kind of seems like Mnuchin is not afraid of consequences, if he doesn't move forward with, you know, giving these tax returns over.

ZELDIN: So far, it seems like he is not afraid of the consequences. It's quite different, though, when you get a subpoena. And it's quite different than when you are held in contempt and face the consequences of that.

Right now, he's bold. Remember, Michael Cohen was going to take a bullet for the president. It didn't last all that long, so we'll see how brave Secretary Mnuchin is.

CABRERA: Let's talk about the Mueller report because we're all waiting anxiously for that report to come out. Attorney General Bill Barr said it could happen as soon as this week. He dropped a bombshell, though, at his hearing this week. Let's listen to what he said and how the president responded to it.


WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal.

SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D), NEW HAMPSHIRE: So, you're not -- you're not suggesting, though, that spying occurred?

BARR: I don't -- well -- I guess you could -- I think that spying did occur. Yes, I think spying did occur.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, I am. I think what he said was absolutely true. There was absolutely spying into my campaign. I'll go a step further. In my opinion, it was illegal spying, unprecedented spying and something that should never be allowed to happen in our country again.


CABRERA: Now, we know there was surveillance of the Trump campaign. We know about the Pfizer warrant for Carter Page. That was approved and then reapproved by several different judges, so Democrats and some Republicans are saying it was entirely legal and necessary.

Michael, why would Barr use such a loaded word like spying? Do you think it was intentional?


ZELDIN: Well, it appears to be because he said it once or twice. Though, later in his testimony, he referred to it as surveillance. And then, said that he wants to determine whether or not that surveillance had a proper legal predicate. That's the way show have said it from the outset.

So maybe we can give him the benefit of the doubt and say it was a bad choice of words and he is really trying to determine whether or not those words were properly predicated, there was a legal basis for it, and it wasn't illegal spying. I think it's a little strange, Ana, is, of course, Michael Horowitz,

the Justice Department inspector general has been investigating his and his report is due in May or June on this issue. Why the attorney general would wade into it and want his own investigation when his own inspector general is looking into it is a bit of a little mystery to me.

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: That is an independent investigation already happening.


CABRERA: Michael Zeldin, always good to talk to you. Thank you.

ZELDIN: Thanks, Ana.

CABRERA: Bernie Sanders says he'll release his tax returns by Monday. This after revealing he is a millionaire. Today, he's campaigning in a Rustbelt area the president won in 2016. We'll take you there, next, in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[17:35:38] CABRERA: Presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, is holding a campaign rally in Michigan right now, a state Hillary Clinton lost to Trump in 2016. Now, this rally comes amid questions concerning Sanders own newfound status as a millionaire. The Senator today pushing back at critics with this.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): I didn't know that it was a crime to write a good book.



SANDERS: And it happened to be a best seller.



SANDERS: And my view has always been that we need a progressive tax system, which demands that the wealthiest people in this country finally start paying their fair share of taxes.


SANDERS: And if I make a lot of money, you make a lot of money, that is what I believe. So I don't apologize for writing a book that was number three on the "New York Times" best-seller, translated into five or six languages. That's that.


CABRERA: CNN's Ryan Nobles joins us from Warren, Michigan.

Sanders is touring states Donald Trump won in 2016. There all states further down the Democratic primary calendar, Ryan. What message is he trying to send with this trip?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ana, no doubt, Bernie Sanders would rather talk about the strategy here in the Rustbelt instead of his tax returns and how much money he's made over the past couple of years. Instead, he wants to focus on this group of states that Donald Trump won in 2016. We're talking about Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. States that, in the past, Democrats have been able to win and, many times, have delivered the White House to Democrats. Essentially, what Sanders is saying to voters not just here but in Iowa and in New Hampshire, some of the early primary states, is that he can compete here in a general election, and he can beat Donald Trump.

Listen to what he told the crowd last night in Madison, Wisconsin.


SANDERS: I can understand why people voted for Trump based on what he said. And the reason for that is that, in Wisconsin and all over this country, there are a lot of people who are hurting. There's a lot of pain out there. People are working two or three jobs. They're worried about their kids. They can't afford health care. Can't afford to send their kids to college. And Trump said, the political establishment is not listening to you, I will listen to you.


NOBLES: What I think was interesting about what Bernie Sanders had to say yesterday, is that he understands why some of these voters in these Rustbelt states actually cast ballots for Donald Trump. That's not often something you hear from Democratic candidates. And you can see him appealing to those blue-collar voters in many of the stops he's made in this trip. Meeting with union members, with teachers and many blue-collar workers that were big and very supportive of Donald Trump in 2016. And Bernie Sanders believes his message, particularly the message relating to economic inequality, will resonate with those voters and he can win in the fall general election.

Ana, though it seems as though, these states are far down the calendar, this is a message sent to voters in South Carolina, California, Nevada, all of these different places, because a big knock on Bernie Sanders is he's maybe too far to the left to win in a general election. He's arguing exactly the opposite. He's the type of candidate that can win in a general election -- Ana?

CABRERA: Clearly, he plans to be in it for the long haul.

Ryan Nobles, thank you. You'll hear from some of the other Democratic candidates tomorrow here

on CNN. I'm moderating a town hall featuring Andrew Yang, tomorrow night at 7:00, following a town hall moderated by my colleague, Dana Bash, featuring Democratic candidate, Marianne Williamson.

[17:39:24] A devastating end to a mystery that lasted 26 years. A son's discovery puts his father behind bars for the murder of his mother. Details ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.


CABRERA: It took a jury less than an hour and a half to bring an end to a decades-old murder mystery in Jacksonville, Florida. In 1993, 23-year-old Bonnie Haim disappeared. Authorities had little evidence, except the haunting words of her 3-year-old son who reportedly said, "Daddy hurt mommy." But with no proof, the case went cold. Now that child is a man. And what they found in his own backyard became the focus of a courtroom drama.

CNN's Martin Savidge has more.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): By her family's own words, 23-year-old Bonnie Haim was a loving mother, daughter and sister, who, in January 1993, suddenly vanished, leaving behind her 3- year-old son, Aaron.

Bonnie's husband, Michael Haim, has always maintained his wife walked out on him following an argument.

MICHAEL HAIM, CONVICTED OF MURDER: Actually, she just wasn't happy and she wanted to leave, and I couldn't stop her from leaving.

SAVIDGE: Bonnie Haim was never seen again.

Her disappearance profiled in a 1994 episode of "Unsolved Mysteries." The program focused on a startling revolution, a very young Aaron Haim in Child Protective Services saying, "Daddy hurt her."

DET. ROBERT HINSON, JACKSONVILLE SHERIFF'S OFFICE: From what Aaron told us that day, my only conclusion was that there had been a domestic fight and that Michael Haim had killed his wife and removed her and their 3.5-year-old son, Aaron Haim, witnessed this.

[17:45:12] SAVIDGE: With limited evidence and no body, there was little police could do.

Aaron was adopted, and his mother's case went cold for decades.

Then in 2014, police were called to the former Haim family home, finding the once-little boy of 21 years ago now grown up and going by an adoptive name, Fraser. Aaron had recently acquired the home and was renovating it, digging up the pool when he discovered some plastic sheeting with what he thought was a coconut wrapped inside.

Recalling the moment from the witness stand.

AARON FRASER, SON OF BONNIE HAIM: I picked up the coconut object and it ended up being the top portion of her skull.

SAVIDGE: Tests confirmed Aaron had found the remains of his own mother.

Prosecutors say authorities also recovered a .22-caliber shell casing. That is how 52-year-old Michael Haim came to be on trial for murder.

And in another unexpected twist, Haim took the witness stand. For two hours, despite getting grilled by the prosecutor, he never raised his voice or lost his composure. Then, finally, he was asked the question everyone wanted to know:

UNIDENTIFIED ATTORNEY: Did you, in fact, harm your wife?

HAIM: Absolutely not. I loved my wife and would never hurt my wife.

SAVIDGE: In the end, the jury didn't believe him.

UNIDENTIFIED JUROR: We, the jury, find the defendant guilty of murder in the second-degree as charged.

SAVIDGE: Michael Haim showed no emotion.

For Aaron and Bonnie Haim's family, it was the final chapter of a 26- year mystery.

(on camera): Michael Haim could get life in prison. A judge will pass sentence later.

For Aaron Fraser, it is the end of a long and very difficult road. First, at 3 years of age telling police what happened to his mother. Then, 21 years later, when he's all grown up, he discovers her remains. And finally, in a courtroom here in Florida, he finds something else, justice for his mother.

Martin Savidge, CNN, Jacksonville, Florida.


CABRERA: What a story.

Thank you, Martin.

This weekend, a new ban takes effect preventing certain military recruits from signing up to serve. Just ahead, details on the controversy transgender ban for new recruits and what it means for those already serving.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[17:52:00] CABRERA: A controversial military policy that goes into effect this weekend means certain people aren't allowed to be recruited to serve their country. The Pentagon says the ban on transgender recruits does not apply to current servicemembers, but critics believe the new rules will have a chilling effect.

CNN senior national correspondent, Alex Marquardt, has more.


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The new policy started Friday, essentially banning transgender individuals from joining the U.S. military. It comes almost two years after the president made the bombshell announcement on Twitter. The Pentagon believes around 1,000 transgender troops are currently serving. Several studies say it's many more.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This policy focusing on the medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria and aspects of this condition that may limit the servicemember's ability to deploy. So in order to make and ready and lethal force, the military must set high standards and consistent standards across the services.

MARQUARDT: According to the Pentagon, transgender troops serving now can continue, but with some exceptions, those who have been diagnosed with identifying with a different gender than what they were born with or have undergone treatment to change their gender cannot join.

The highly controversial ban had been met with fierce criticism. The ACLU has called it transphobia masquerading as policy.

Former secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, calling it discriminatory and intolerant.

And Hillary Clinton slamming it as abhorrent, saying, "Every American should be able to serve their country and I can't believe we're still debating that in 2019."

The highest levels of military leadership were blindsided by the president's 2017 Twitter decree, which said, in part, "The United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military."

The top U.S. general has consistently said he is happy to have transgender troops who are ready to fight.

UNIDENTIFIED U.S. TOP GENERAL: I believe any individual who meets the physical and mental standards and is worldwide do deployable and is currently serving should be able to serve.

MARQUARDT (on camera): Critics of this new policy say it's not just blocking transgender individuals from enlisting in the military, but, for those serving, it's like the now repealed "Don't Ask/Don't Tell policy," also taking away the rights of transgender troops to serve openly.

As for how the United States feels about this ban, a recent Quinnipiac poll said that 70 percent of American voters support transgender people serving in the military.

Alex Marquardt, CNN, Washington.


CABRERA: This week's "CNN Hero" is bringing a hidden population of teenagers out of the shadows. And 1.3 million kids sleep on the streets or couch surf every night here in the United States. Vicki Sokilik is working to change that and give young people a chance for a brighter future.


VICKI SOKOLIK, CNN HERO: There's a lot of shame that goes with being a homeless unaccompanied youth. They hide what's actually going on with them and so they become this very invisible population.

Most people don't even know these kids exist.


[17:55:10] SOKILIK: The transformation of these kids is monumental. They come in so broken. And I'm just one person telling them I'm going to help them.

They become softer. It's great they can be happy and are able to be kids again.


CABRERA: To nominate someone you think should be a "CNN Hero," log onto

I'm Ana Cabrera, here in New York. I'll see you two hours from now here in the NEWSROOM.

My colleague, S.E. Cupp, continues our coverage of today's news right after a quick break.


[18:00:08] S.E. CUPP, CNN HOST: Welcome to "UNFILTERED."