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South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg Is Expected To Formally Enter The 2020 Race; Deadly Storm System Sweeping Across The Southern U.S.; The Release Of The Mueller Report Happening At Any Day Now; Tiger Woods Is Donning The Green Jacket Once Again; President Trump Remaining Defiant Over His Threat To Release Undocumented Immigrants Into Sanctuary Cities; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Is Suing Trump Along With Three Other Blue States; Thousands Of People Protesting In Sudan. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired April 14, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:19] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this Sunday. I'm Fredericka Whitfield.
At any moment now, South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg is expected to formally enter the 2020 race making him the first presidential candidate ever to be in a same-sex marriage. That's not the only thing that helps the 37-year-old standout from a crowded field of candidates. He also served in Afghanistan, and if elect the Buttigieg would become the youngest President in U.S. history. We'll take you live to South Bend for that special announcement when he takes to the stage.
We are also tracking a deadly storm system sweeping across the southern U.S. it has already killed at least five people, and right now more than 90 million Americans are under a severe weather threat from New York to the gulf coast. And you can see some of the damage left by the system on Saturday. One confirmed tornado hammered Franklin, Texas with 140-mile-per-hour winds. That's equivalent to a category four hurricane.
Let's begin with breaking details on those deadly storms. CNN correspondent Kaylee Hartung with me now.
KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, it's still unclear how many lives this storm has taken or will take. Surveys are under way in some of the damaged areas as we speak and the threat of this deadly storm conditions.
HARTUNG (voice-over): A storm system tearing a deadly path across the south. Thirteen tornadoes, among for than 100 severe storms reported Saturday.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't even know where we're at.
HARTUNG: Texas, the first to be hit. Two children in east Texas, the first casualties of the storm.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I ran down there to see what was going on, and that's where I noticed that the tree had fallen on their vehicle. When I got down there, I mean, I saw the size of the tree and how it was on the car, so I knew that, you know, it wasn't a good outcome.
HARTUNG: And in Houston county, a woman died after her mobile home was destroyed.
On to Louisiana where a 13-year-old boy drowned in a drainage ditch in West Monroe. And in Mississippi scenes like this discovered overnight in Hamilton where another fatality was reported. Homes destroyed, trees toppled and vehicles mangled.
Today, the threat continues east with 90 million people now in its path. Sunday morning at least one tornado already reported in Alabama. In troy, one mobile home on top of another. Sunday's storms might not be as severe as the ones that did that incredible damage on Saturday, but, Fred, today's storms will hit far more people in more heavily populated cities.
WHITFIELD: All right. Folks need to stay tuned. Tom Sater has details for us, too, in a moment, you know.
But, first, are we talking about east coast threats as well?
HARTUNG: We are. I mean, from where we are here in Atlanta, the gulf coast all the way up to New England. Ninety million people are still in the storm's path.
WHITFIELD: All right. Kaylee Hartung, keep us posted. Appreciate it. Thank you so much.
Let's check now with meteorologist Tom Sater. He is tracking the system - Tom.
TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Fredricka, any time we can get a break from the severity of these storms is a good things. Spring storms, the contrast between, you know, the summer heat and winter cold.
Remember, on Thursday, we had that blizzard that pounded areas of the Dakotas. So cold air is in place. This is looking better in the last couple of hours as far as severity, but it's going to pick up again for the large cities, the 95 corridor.
Let's break this down. These are all the tornadoes from the last two days. There was one radar-confirmed tornado in Georgia, but we haven't seen this kind of activity since Kaylee mentioned this morning, really the last one with damage.
The enhanced color here of orange did drape all the way down towards Augusta. We'll get to the masses in a moment but now the threat moves to the north. This area of low pressure pushed out of Texas and making its way towards West Virginia. Here's the radar. Just moments ago Atlanta's tornado watch was allowed to expire. That's great news, but if you look closer, and we're going to get in here from the severe weather down to the panhandle of Florida, here's Augusta where we've got tens of thousands outdoors in the elements waiting for the possibilities for authorities there to blow the horn to clear all the greens.
Now, the problem is even though they have had some light rain as this moves in. You have got to clear that whole entire area quickly. The good news is we are not seeing any tornadic activity, and if we break down the hours at 3:00 p.m., coming up on that, still a good 50 percent chance that lasts until 5:00. So it's a thin line that will be moving through and then it fires up again late this evening from Washington D.C. overnight into tomorrow morning for New York. So this system is not over with yet, but we will take the good news that we can right now.
WHITFIELD: We will indeed. Tom, thank you so much. We'll check back with you. Appreciate it.
Meantime, happening now, mayor Pete Buttigieg is preparing to make his presidential run official. This is a live look at his campaign rally in his home town of South Bend, Indiana, where we expect him to start speaking at any moment. The 37-year-old has gone from being a largely unknown Midwestern democrat to the fastest rising Democratic candidate in the large and growing field of presidential hopefuls.
CNN's Vanessa Yukevich is at the rally and joins us now with more on Buttigieg's, on his rise from mayor to now presidential candidate.
So, Vanessa, what's the latest and what's happening there in that arena?
[14:05:34] VANESSA YUKEVICH, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Hi, Fredricka. Yes, the announcement is just getting going. And we can expect Buttigieg to take the stage in just a short while where he will officially announce that he is running for President.
And one of the things we will hear from hear in his speech is he will point to his record here as the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. He has often said the trail that that makes him more qualified to be president than President Trump who is in the White House right now. So we took a look at his record here at South Bend.
YUKEVICH (voice-over): Downtown South Bend, a bustling main street with upscale restaurants and shops. But not long ago it was desolate after the manufacturing industry fled the city.
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Put simply, downtown south bend is back.
All right. Whoa. Look at that.
YUKEVICH: Now as Buttigieg readies his official announcement for president, he is pointing to his leadership of this mid-sized city as the right kind of experience for the White House.
BUTTIGIEG: We would be well served if Washington started to look more like our best run cities and towns rather than the other way around.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See you later.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
YUKEVICH: Mark McDonnell owns LaSalle grill downtown.
MARK MCDONNELL, OWNER, LASALLE GRILL: This is the heart of the city. The neighborhoods may be the soul of the city. You have got to have a pumping heart to have anything else.
YUKEVICH: A conservative who voted for President Trump, McDonnell doesn't always see eye to eye with Buttigieg but he still gives the mayor credit.
MCDONNELL: I still feel he is a straight shooter. He is honest. He is whip smart. Seems to be very organized and very business-oriented.
BUTTIGIEG: But as downtown south bend improved, people who lived in neighborhoods outside the city center started asking what about us?
REGINA WILLIAMS-PRESTON, SOUTH BEND CITY COUNCILWOMAN: We were easily dismissed it seems.
YUKEVICH: Like city council member Regina Preston who ran for office after Buttigieg launched an initiative in 2013 to demolish 1,000 neglected homes in 1,000 days aimed at revitalizing the city's neighborhoods.
WILLIAMS-PRESTON: We understand traditional models of economic development, but if you do what you've always done, you will get what you have always gotten. And what we have always gotten and what cities all over the country have always gotten is displacement of poor people and people of color. Gentrification.
YUKEVICH: After pressure from the community, Buttigieg compromised, allowing for 40 percent of the homes to be refurbished instead, a metric he points to as a success story.
BUTTIGIEG: But the most heartening news out of this initiative is that 657 of these properties, almost half, have been repaired rather than torn down.
WILLIAMS-PRESTON: So what I said to him at that time, is that you know, we are going to challenge you. We are going to be putting this pressure on you, and you need some battle scars.
YUKEVICH: Does he have those battle scars? Is he ready to lead in a new way?
WILLIAMS-PRESTON: I think we might have given him a few.
YUKEVICH: In a neighborhood on the edge of town, resident Stacey Odom had her own run-in with the mayor, literally. STACEY ODOM, SOUTH BEND HOMEOWNER: He told me I'm on my way to a
meeting. And I said, I understand. I said, well, I just have a couple of quick questions for you.
YUKEVICH: Her house was one of the thousands on the chopping block. She wanted it off but hit roadblocks with the city.
When you stopped the mayor on the street and he gave you his card and he said give us a call, we'll help you, did you really think that he would help you?
ODOM: Actually I did. I was a little skeptical, but I thought at least he would get back with me.
YUKEVICH: And he did. And Odom was able to refurbish her home.
ODOM: That's what turned me. That's what said to me that this is a man that has to -- has the potential to be President.
YUKEVICH: And according to his senior campaign aide, we can expect Buttigieg to talk about how he believes voters are ready for a generational change. If elected Buttigieg would be the youngest president ever elected at 37 years old.
And Fredricka, we can also expect him to talk about how he sees himself as a different kind of political figure. He believes that Americans are also ready for something different in this political climate.
WHITFIELD: All right. And when we do hear from him, we will be taking it live.
Vanessa Yukevich, thank you so much in South Bend, Indiana.
All right. Let's talk more about this candidate to be. With me now is Salena Zito, a national political reporter for "the Washington Examiner" and a columnist for "the Washington Post" and Astead Herndon, a national political reporter for the "New York Times."
Good to see you both.
WHITFIELD: All right. Salena, you first.
[14:10:06] SALENA ZITO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Hi. Thank you.
WHITFIELD: Yes, you first. You wrote a column for the "the New York Post" how Buttigieg could hurt Trump in the rustbelt. Explain.
ZITO: Yes. I interviewed him last week, and here's how I see it. Mayor Pete is a number of different unique things. But some of the more important things for him in terms of winning the states in the rustbelt like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio and Wisconsin is his ability to talk about faith in an authentic way, but also because he lives in the rustbelt, right? He has had the experienced not only growing up and seeing the places
around him crumble and some of the things that led to it, but he also went off. He went to the -- into the military. He went to Harvard. He had a variety of really great experiences, but then he came back home to make a difference.
So that story, it was something that is going to mean something to people in these towns that felt that the Democrats in the last election weren't sort of listening to what their problems were, and a lot of their problems centered on how they saw their community.
WHITFIELD: Empathy. You know, character.
ZITO: Yes, absolutely.
WHITFIELD: These are big attributes that people want to see in a Presidential candidate.
And you know, Astead, you know, the highest office that Buttigieg has had is mayor of a city, population about 100,000, but executive office nonetheless. So what does he need to do to convince the masses that he is ready to be on such a giant stage?
ASTEAD HERNDON, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: That's going to be the big question of this campaign is not -- I don't think anyone questions whether mayor Buttigieg is smart or capable or has a compelling story and narrative.
The question is in this climate, in this time when you have such a democratic field with qualified folks across the board, folks who have been waiting for this opportunity or particularly people of color, women and the like. Will the Democrats want to take maybe a political risk on someone who has only held the office of mayor in the fourth largest city in Indiana?
Now, as you heard earlier, that Mayor Pete is going to try to use that to his advantage to say that that inexperience also comes with generational change, also comes with someone who looks at problems differently and can give a millennial or a younger viewpoint on some of these political issues. And so it's going to be one thing where we are going to have to see from voters whether they see that as a plus or minus, but what we do know this is a Democratic Party that loves new faces and loves kind of an out-of-nowhere story. And so I can see him catching on in ways that we already have. He has raised more money than even some of the more bigger names, some of the senators, which would have seemed unthinkable a couple of months ago.
WHITFIELD: Yes. And Salena, you know, Buttigieg, you know, he is a unique, you know, candidate, you know, not only because of his political experience, his young age, 37, but you just reminded everybody, you know, he is a war veteran, he is someone who talks openly about his strong Christian beliefs and he is becoming, you know, the first presidential candidate in a same-sex marriage, and he is also willing to take on the vice president.
So, you know, he is -- he's showing a lot of gumption, isn't he? And is that what it will take to be a real viable candidate?
ZITO: I think it is what it takes. And I think he does have unique qualities, especially in -- in -- in tone, right? How he talks about the voters that, again, felt displaced by the Democratic Party. Republicans, Democrats and independents who would, you know, consider voting for a Democrat in a competitive race.
The thing -- his challenges are though, some of his positions are further left, even for Democrats within his own party in those same rustbelt states. So, you know, his positions on abortion in the third trimester, his support for the new green deal. When I talked to voters in these states, they are worried about those issues because the new green deal, just take the state that I live in, right, in Pennsylvania.
Those energy jobs have been amazing for people in western Pennsylvania. There are kids walking out of high school that are going to technical schools now, making $70,000 a year. In an area like this, that is a lot of money, but it also keeps families intact. Sons and daughters don't have to move away, right?
So, you know, on the new green deal a lot of these voters that I have been talking to are like we've got to wait and see where he stands on this. These jobs are important to us.
[14:15:03] WHITFIELD: And Astead, you know, Buttigieg, he did make headlines, just kind of, you know, intimated, you know, him taking on the vice president, and he did so recently on -- on the vice President and his view being anti-LBGT, and, you know, pens is hitting back this way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Peter's quarrel is with the first amendment.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How so?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of us in this country have the right to our religious beliefs. I'm a bible-believing Christian.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is that belief that being gay is a sin?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My wife and I are bible believing Christians.
BUTTIGIEG: I'm not critical of his faith. I'm critical of bad policies. I don't have a problem with religion. I'm religious, too. I have a problem with religion being used as a justification to harm people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So Astead, this is a different approach than anybody else, you know, in this very now crowded field of what, 18 Democratic contenders is taking. How could this be to the advantage of Buttigieg? HERNDON: We have several Democrats in this race who are pretty open
about their faith. One of the things that Mayor Pete benefits from though is he has kind of a long-standing back and forth with the vice president who was, of course, governor of Indiana, and this is something that he is open and willing to -- to talk with him about. And people are looking for a kind of evangelical left to emerge, someone who is open and willing to talk about that faith and who is fluent in those issues. And so that's certainly been some -- a place where he has been looking to make inroads. But let's be frank.
I mean, Mayor Pete is trying to sustain a campaign that camp from nowhere, and the words from the vice president will help fuel donations, will help fuel interest and will continue to help him build out apparatus that was not there. But I think for him these issues are personal. They are clear and he has been consistent on the fact of wanting to make sure that people know that he does not see a conflict between his faith and his identity.
WHITFIELD: Yes. Both Hoosiers and once, you know, very friendly, you know, with their titles, you know, as vice president as the governor and Buttigieg as the mayor, but perhaps that is changing now.
All right. Salena Zito and Astead Herndon, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
HERNDON: Thank you.
ZITO: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right. Still ahead, the release of the Mueller report happening at any day now, any moment, but what exactly is in it? And will it reveal anything about the obstruction case against the President? The nine unanswered questions in the Russia probe next.
[14:21:38] WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. All of Washington is bracing for the release of Robert Mueller's report, but what's the feeling inside the White House? A Trump administration official tells our own Jim Acosta there is a curiosity of the unknown, but at the same time there is, I'm quoting now, "not a concern that the top story lines will change," end quote. So what should anyone look for when the attorney general's redacting version of the Mueller report finally comes out?
CNN's Marshall Cohen joining me right now. He just wrote a piece outlining unanswered questions for the report including if collusion were seen as a crime to assessing the President's tweets to how Mueller investigated the Russians.
All right. Good to see you, Marshall.
MARSHALL COHEN, CNN REPORTER: Hey, Fred.
WHITFIELD: So let's tick through it. You know, your first question asks if there will be anything new on collusion, and, you know, Barr's letter said Mueller found no coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government on election hacking so why -- why is that such a provocative question?
COHEN: Sure. Well, just because there won't be any charges relating to collusion or conspiracy doesn't mean that there won't be new information in the report about the contacts which were extensive between Trump's campaign and his campaign aides and Russian officials and Russian cutouts. So the bottom line conclusion that there was no conspiracy, no conclusion between Trump's team and the Russians. That will hold. But there still might be new things to learn.
How many contacts were there? Who knew about the contacts, maybe the candidate Trump actually knew about some of them. Of course, he said all along I didn't know anything about that. So criminality is one thing but potentially damaging information about Russian interference. That's another thing.
WHITFIELD: And the next big question that you would like everyone asked is, you know, what the report will actually say and whether the President obstructed justice. And Barr's letter, you know, his four- page letter said quote "the evidence is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction of justice offense." And you say it is critical to see how much Mueller does explain his decision on why he declined to make a call on obstruction.
COHEN: Exactly. So the biggest mystery as far as I can see from this whole situation is why did Mueller not make a decision on obstruction? That's the whole reason why he is there. He is an independent prosecutor, not a political appointee. That decision most people thought would be squarely in his hands. Instead, he declined to make a ruling one way or the other. Passed that along to the attorney general Barr. Does Mueller in this report explain why? And Barr says in his letter that the special counsel struggled with difficult issues. I'm hoping that the 400-page report will delve into that and give the American people an explanation of why that big decision was passed down the line.
WHITFIELD: And then finally, I want to focus on that, you know, the particular question that you pose. Will Mueller offer ethical or moral conclusions? Talk to you about your concerns and thoughts on that.
COHEN: Sure. Well, you know, most people saw what James Comey did three years ago during the Presidential campaign and said that was not the right thing to do. He said that Hillary Clinton, you know, was careless and made mistakes but not criminal.
Will Mueller do the same thing here? Possibly something along the lines of saying taking a meeting with the Russians not a good idea, but it wasn't illegal, but you shouldn't have done it.
How is Mueller going to assess the vast connections and communications between the Russians and Donald Trump's team? Is he going to give a judgment and say, you know, they really should have gone to the FBI or really you shouldn't be willing to accept dirt from a foreign adversary during a presidential race. [14:25:37] WHITFIELD: All right. Marshall Cohen, we will leave it
there for now. Thank you so much.
WHITFIELD: In the meantime, many Democrats believe release the Mueller report obliterated any chance that could be seen as the report's good faith arbiter from his comments this week. I'm talking about when attorney general Bill Barr testified under oath that he believed spying did occur on the Trump campaign. Later Barr clarified he had concerns whether, I'm quoting now, "improper surveillance," end quote took place but that has not stopped the leading Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee from saying this today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JERRY NADLER (D), CHAIRMAN, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Of course, the attorney general when he started talking completely without evidence, as he said, about spying on the -- on the -- on the Trump campaign, when -- when what he meant executing judicially issued warrants showed his bias in the fact that he's really acting as a personal agent of the President rather than as the attorney general of the United States in this matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. Let's talk more about this. Joining me right now Elaina Plott, White House correspondent for "the Atlantic" and Matt Lewis, senior columnist at "the Daily Beast." Good to see you both.
All right. Elaina, you first. You know, did Barr's spying comment help or hurt the President ultimately?
ELAINA PLOTT, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE ATLANTIC: I think it helped the President a lot, Fred, and here's the reason why. You have had congressional Republicans and Trump's lawyers' alike saying that the release of the redacted Mueller report is not the end of the story for them.
They want an extensive probe of why the Mueller investigation began in the first place. What was the basis for those initial FISA warrants and what not/ And so this was the perfect opening into an investigation of what kind of bias may or may not have been lurking in the DOJ and the FBI during the initial days of the Trump administration and during his campaign.
So as far as the Trump campaign I'm told, as far as they see it and sources in the White House are telling me, this is a big win for them. And they feel they have already won the narrative with the release of Barr's summary of Mueller's report so in many ways Barr's comment was a victory lap for them.
WHITFIELD: So then, Matt, your response on that. And did that ultimately or potentially undermine the inspector general's report or investigation that is still under way. MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think one thing it
does is potentially undermine the credibility of the attorney general. I think had he just said inappropriate surveillance, then that would have been completely different. But when you use the word spy, the connotation of that is that it's something untoward and illegal sort of happening, something nefarious. So I think that that was a mistake. And certainly though, it does help Donald Trump because I think, yes, the point is correct.
Donald Trump's whole -- his like whole theory is attack the attacker. And do you remember the whole fake news things started off about being people who were helping Trump and he turned it around. Same thing here. He's not just going to go like whoa, I can't believe I made it out, you know, past the Mueller report. It's going to be like now let's do to them what they just tried to do to us.
WHITFIELD: Right. And upping the ante, we are already seeing from the Trump reelection campaign that they are using that, Matt, you know, that Barr said spying and they are using it to their advantage or at least trying to marketing t-shirts now, you know, showing an artist's rendering of President Barack Obama. This is really like taking the imagery from his official, you know, portrait and then putting binoculars on it, and they are selling t-shirts. This is the reelection campaign for the sitting President of the United States, Matt.
WHITFIELD: Doing that.
LEWIS: He is good at keeping things exciting and having and poking fun. But I do think there's obviously they serious point here which is Donald Trump's supporters, Donald Trump's campaign are sort of alleging like there's like a soft coup that was taking place. That there's a deep state that was trying to overthrow the will of the people. The people elected Donald Trump. And this intelligence community was trying to perform some sort of a coup.
I think there were mistakes made, of course, and we have had people already who have been demoted or fired within the intelligence community over the way that they did this, this operation. But the implication that -- that the real story isn't -- isn't Russia's involvement in the 2016 election but the real story is that people were surveilling Donald Trump, that's a bridge maybe too far for me, I would say.
[14:30:11] WHITFIELD: And Matt and Elaina, don't you always love a comeback story, and we have one that's non-political? Add another page or shall we say whole to an extraordinary sports comeback kid kind of story.
Breaking news. Tiger Woods is donning the green jacket once again. The longtime pro has won the Masters Tournament edging out the competition and the weather. It is his first master's win since 2005 and his first major win in nearly 11 years.
CNN's Don Riddell is in Augusta.
So Don, what an incredible nail-biter, today's, you know, championship has been from the very beginning with, you know, early tees because of weather and now you have got a conclusion like this. Tell us more.
DON RIDELL, CNN ANCHOR, WORLD SPORTS: It has just been the most extraordinary day, and incredibly emotional scenes on the 18th green just now as Tiger Woods has just been roaring at this accomplishment, an extraordinary achievement. And before this happened, people were speculating that if he ever could win another major it might just be the greatest comeback in all of sports., And now that we have actually seen it happen, I think we can say that it probably is.
Incredible scenes as he is hugging his family and his kids and his mom as he left the green. And this is a moment that many people thought that they would never see again. We all know the Tiger Woods story. We all remember how he burst on to the scene and became the youngest ever masters champion at the age of 21 in 1997, how he dominated the sport completely, how he crushed the field and his opponents and how he transcended the sports, but he has been gone for so long, hasn't he?
Since 2008. He's been through so much. The marital issues which just completely, you know, just shattered his image and his reputation. The issues with his health and his body and the four back surgeries, the complete loss of confidence. Even his most ardent supporters seemed to have lost the faith in him, but then we saw last year the recovery, and that was extraordinary.
Just 16 months ago he was ranked almost 1200th in the world. He said just riding in a golf cart was so painful he didn't know if he could continue. He certainly didn't think it was any kind of guarantee that he could play tournaments and compete again. But he got the confidence back. He contended at the open championship. He finished second in the PGA championship, the fourth major of the year in 2018. Then he won the tour championship, just on the road from here in Atlanta. And he came into this tournament thinking, yes, I could do it.
But, boy, has he done it. He had to work for it this week. He was a very tough field. They didn't hand it to him. But now all of these young golfers have seen something with their own eyes for the first time. Tiger Woods winning a major tournament, the first win here in 14 years and the first major triumph in 11 years. It's an extraordinary comeback.
WHITFIELD: It is. So this is his fifth now jacket, green jacket there at the masters. And, you know, talk to me about the galleries that were following him, because we saw that in some of the recent championships that he's been in and people celebrating, you know, his comeback, his most recent win. But then, I mean, just to see all of these people shouting, cheering him on, following him every step of the way in Augusta, I mean, that was extraordinary, but he seemed to be so laser focused, you know, barely responding to the crowd until, you know, that sign of relief at the end with a win.
RIDELL: Yes. He has been chewing gum as well all week. We haven't seen that from before.
WHITFIELD: I did notice that.
WHITFIELD: Yes. But laser focused. Laser focused. I actually got him to talk earlier in the week about the impact he has on the crowds and kind of whether he's even really aware of it.
WHITFIELD: In a zone.
RIDELL: Has to be so humbled by this game and his life experience. I think he now recognizes that. He appreciates that. He gets a kick out of how he makes other people feel about the way he plays. And you know, the crowds and the patrons as they call him here, I mean, everybody has been rooting for this story this week. Everybody has been rooting for him. They have been chanting his name at Augusta. That never happens. They don't chant for anybody else. Everybody wanted to see this happen. And if you were lucky enough to have a ticket this week and certainly today, this is a moment you will be telling your grandkids about.
Seeing Tiger Woods win a golf tournament was always special. But to see him do it like this, having come back from rock bottom against all the odds, against such a stacked field where the golf, the quality of the golf today was of such a high standard, this is an extraordinary achievement.
RIDELL: It is quite remarkable. It's really hard to find the words to explain it.
WHITFIELD: Oh, you did a great job explaining it all. And you know, everyone needs that kind of inspiration to see, you know, comeback stories like this and to see, you know, greatness multiplied many times over and culminating on this weekend like that.
[14:35:07] RIDELL: Yes.
WHITFIELD: All right. Don Riddell, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
And we will be right back.
[14:391:41] WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome bang.
President Trump remaining defiant over his threat to release undocumented immigrants into sanctuary cities tweeting out that the U.S. has the absolute legal right to transfer immigrants from border cities, but White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said today that isn't necessarily the President's first choice and tried to lay blame for the issue at the feet of Democrats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) [14:40:06] SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: If Democrats would step up and help the President fix the laws this all could go away and we wouldn't be having this discussion. And that would be the best thing for the country and that would certainly be the best way to solve this crisis and fix this problem. If Democrats continue to be unwilling to do that, then we are going to look at all of our options and we don't want to put all of the burden on one or two border communities. And Democrats have stated time and time again, they support open borders. They support sanctuary cities, so let's spread out some of that burden and let's put it in some of those other locations if that's what they want to see happen and are refusing to actually help fix the problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: CNN's Sarah Westwood joining me from the White House.
So, is Sarah Sanders trying to soften the President's message?
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Fred, what we saw from Sarah Sanders was her muddying the waters a little bit around this sanctuary city proposal. President Trump took to twitter last night to say he had just learned that his administration has the absolute legal right, his words, to transfer undocumented migrants to sanctuary cities. But Sarah Sanders said on ABC this morning that the administration is still reviewing whether that's legally possible, that they are conducting an extensive review of their options. So that's a bit of a step back from the certainty that President Trump expressed on twitter.
And in the meantime, Democrats are continuing to blame President Trump for creating the chaos at the border. Democratic congressman Jerry Nadler and Bennie Thompson both also argued that the Trump administration does not have the authority to use taxpayer dollars to transfer immigrants to sanctuary cities. Take a listen.
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NADLER: The President has no money to spend money appropriated by Congress for the purposes to ship immigrants all over the country, nor is it right for the President to use immigrants or people who are claiming political asylum as pawns in a fight against political opponents.
REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D), CHAIRMAN, HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: This is, again, his manufactured chaos that he has created over the last two years on the border. This remain in Mexico, the metering, the zero tolerance put in by the attorney general, all those things have just created this crisis. We won't be lectured to by the President.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WESTWOOD: Now this comes as customs and border protection is saying the system is at a breaking point. Its facilities are overrun. And Fred, CBP has been releasing migrants into the southwest U.S. over the past several weeks because of those capacity issues. WHITFIELD: All right. Sarah Westwood, thank you so much at the White
Still ahead, how are some rich people dodging taxes while other people are paying so much more, particularly those people who did not vote for Trump? Here's CNN's reality check next.
[14:47:00] WHITFIELD: Spoiler alert. I know you know this. Tax day is tomorrow. And as the old saying goes only two things are certain, death and taxes, but guess what. You can add a third certainty to that list. For now blue states that did not vote for Trump are going to pay more in taxes.
Here's CNN's John Avlon.
JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Monday is tax day, a date that strikes fear in the heart of most Americans. Now George Washington said no taxes can be devised which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant. So he set the bar. But we can expect the tax code to be fair.
This year not so much because whether you so your taxes go up or down will depend on whether you live in a red state or blue state and that's by design. First a little history. December 22nd, 2017, that's when President Trump owes tax plan was signed into law. Kind of a Christmas gift to corporations and red state residents, passed entirely along party lines. It cut taxes sharply for most Americans raising the standard deduction. But in return it eliminated all person exemptions, cut itemized deductions and here's the really key part, it slashed the amount of state and local taxes you could deduct to $10,000, limited the mortgage interest deduction and that's where the representation of the tax code became evident.
Now, according to data obtained by CNN from (INAUDIBLE), among states where refunds went up this year, the top ten are all red states. Among states where tax refunds went down, you guessed it, the top ten are all blue states. Notice a pattern?
So let's dig a little deeper. Alabama's average SALT deduction has run $16,000 from 2016. Wee below the 10K cap. And the average deduction in New York was nearly $22,000. How about Mississippi? That's about $6,400. California, nearly $19,000.
And if you look at the entire map the story is the same. Bright blue states are paying vastly more to Trump's tax plan than ruby red states. Let's take look at population density because it is no surprise that areas where most Americans live it costs more to buy a house. And guess is more likely to need a mortgage.
Again, red states deduct while blue states are stuck. This has become known as the blue state triple whammy because Trump's tax code has made it more expense to buy a home, more expensive to own a home and harder to sell your home.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo is suing Trump along with three other blue states put it this way.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: If your political goal is to help of Republican states and hurt Democratic states, this is exact lit way they do it.
AVLON: But guess who does even better under Trump's tax code, Trump's own commercial real estate industry, the same industry in which Jared Kushner's company bought a white elephant of the building in a record price right before the market crash, nearly defaulted on a billion dollar low and is still worth around $300 million and paid little or no federal income taxes for at least seven years.
The loopholes are wider and shelter income easier than ever about. As for the rest of us, only 17 percent of taxpayers say they expect to see a tax cut this year. Now President Nixon said never make taxation popular but we can make it fair. With the politically weaponized tax code that punishes blue states, President Trump seems to have failed at both. And that's your reality check.
[14:50:07] WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks, John Avlon.
Next, thousands of protesters in Sudan say they are fed up with their government and have sent a list of demands to the military there. Details straight ahead.
[14:54:48] WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. Thousands of people are still protesting across Sudan.
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WHITFIELD: They are calling for civilian rule after a military council declared it would run the country for two years after it took power last Thursday from dictator Omar al-Bashir. A U.S. representative met with a senior representative of the new military council and urged the council to quickly achieve stability in that country.
CNN's Farai Sevenzo has more.
FARAI SEVENZO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, despite lieutenant governor Abdel al-Fattah Burhan (ph), the new leader of Sudan's military transitional council, extending a hand of dialogue to all the participants and stakeholders involved in this protest. The protest carried on Sunday. It's an interesting place to be and to observe even from far away. It seems like it's a little village where every participant is coming in. People are walking from (INAUDIBLE). And we are hearing from a young female doctor on the ground who say things like this. That they feel very proud to be Sudanese and to be part of this great history making. That they see new Sudan has quality of freedom of speech and expression. They see the people of Sudan being the first in anything.
Now with that kind of heart, from such a youthful bunch of protesters who led this revolution for four months now, you can see that it the determination is still there. At the same time, this body that the Sudanese people professional association, who are trying to lead this protest are urging the protesters to be carrying on there. They say that they cannot yet trust the military transitional council.
And, of course, Sudan has many problems, Fredricka. Flash points in (INAUDIBLE), for example, which initiated the international criminal court to confer charges of war crimes against Mr. Omar al-Bashir. And if that's the case, how can the men who are now taking over from him not have been tainted by that dark history?
It remains, Fredricka, to be seen whether or not the dialogue happens and the people of Sudan finally get what they want.
WHITFIELD: Farai Sevenzo, thank you so much.
All right. Straight ahead. We will take to you South Bend, Indiana, where the stage is set for a special announcement coming from Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Will he be in the race for the White House?