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Donald Trump First Quarter Fundraising; Trump Tax Code Benefits Red States But Not Blue; Second Military Leader Deposed in Sudan. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired April 15, 2019 - 10:30   ET


[10:30:00] DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: And so he clearly, by releasing 10 years' worth of tax returns today, can now sort of join the Democratic ranks in applying that pressure to Donald Trump. Not pressure, by the way, that I think the president has any intention of folding to.

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Let's talk about other money. President Trump's campaign announcing a $30 million first quarter fundraising haul. Those are big numbers especially when you consider that the top two Democrats, combined, are essentially making that amount of money. We have Bernie Sanders raising $18.2 million, Senator Kamala Harris raising $12 million. Should Democrats be worried?

CHALIAN: Well, they should to some degree. Remember, Donald Trump did something very shrewd the day of his inauguration. He opened up his re-election campaign account on that very day. We hadn't seen any of his predecessors do that, and it was another bit of the sort of norm-busting that Donald Trump has brought to the presidency.

But it has proved to have quite an impact for him, in the sense that he's been able to spend -- raise and spend -- a ton of money over the last two years. That is a big first quarter number, $30 million. You add in the $46 million that the RNC raised also this quarter, you've got a combined effort there that just has tens of millions of dollars more in the bank to spend on this effort than anybody on the Democratic side right now.

Now, money is not everything. And Donald Trump did not spend more than Hillary Clinton last time around, and still won the presidency. But this is a particular advantage the president may have.

CABRERA: Pete Buttigieg, he officially got into the race yesterday -- the mayor of South Bend, Indiana -- he had some words that seemed to echo another young candidate. Let's listen.




-- of doing this as a Midwestern millennial mayor.


More than a little bold at age 37, to seek the highest office in the land.



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I recognize that there is a certain presumptuousness in this, a certain audacity to this announcement. I know that I haven't spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington. But I've been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change.


CABRERA: David, Buttigieg is now running third in the all-important states of New Hampshire and Iowa. Do you think his rise is coming at the expense of any of his rivals?

CHALIAN: Well, it is interesting to look at how he is putting himself as sort of the change agent, the generational change, front and center. That was a message that Beto O'Rourke had expected to come into this race and sell as well, and is trying to do so.

I think with so much anticipation after what O'Rourke was able to accomplish, though coming up short, against Ted Cruz in Texas last year with the fundraising and the grassroots energy, that there were sky-high expectations for his entrance into this race.

But Buttigieg seems to have stolen some of this moment's momentum. And so he perhaps he has joined that pack, now, of the real second tier there, below Sanders and below Biden. You say he's tied -- he's in third, but he's sort of there with five other candidates.

But Buttigieg has clearly put himself into that second tier in this race. And that is no small feat. The challenge now is being to grow from there.

CABRERA: As the 2020 race continues to heat up, we start to see a little bit more about where the Democratic Party is, where the divides, perhaps, are. Nancy Pelosi addressed this within her party, the division, saying very directly, "Socialism," quote, "is not the view of the Democratic Party." She also said this when asked about unifying her party.


BARBARA WALTERS, HOST, "60 MINUTES": You have these wings, AOC and her group on one side.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): That's like five people.

WALTERS: No, it's the progressive group. It's more than five. PELOSI: Well the progressive -- I'm a progressive. Yes.


CABRERA: Pelosi is famous for her firm grip of her caucus. What's your takeaway from her answer?

CHALIAN: Yes. A little dismissive there of that AOC wing of the party. And also a refusal to cede any ground that Nancy Pelosi herself is not a progressive. She certainly is, but she is also the very embodiment of the establishment. And I think it's some of that generational change, there, that we're seeing the House Democratic Caucus as well.

But Nancy Pelosi, you are right, has been able to keep that caucus together for the moment, in sort of fighting Donald Trump, especially over the government shutdown, which was a fight that Nancy Pelosi won largely because she kept her caucus together. But I have a feeling, those comments are going to come back around to her.

CABRERA: All right. David Chalian, thank you sir.

CHALIAN: Thanks a lot.

[10:34:35] CABRERA: After 30 years in power, Sudan's ousted dictator could soon face serious charges. Plus protestors there are demanding even more changes to their government. A live report from Sudan's capital, next.


CABRERA: Have we told you yet that today is Tax Day? And as the old saying goes, only two things are certain: death and taxes. But you can now add a third certainty to that list. Blue states that did not vote for Trump are going to pay more in taxes. CNN's John Avlon has your reality check.


JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Monday is Tax Day, a day 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 see your taxes go up or down will depend on whether you live in a red state or blue state. And that's by design.

[10:40:02] First, a little history. December 22nd, 2017, that's when President Trump's tax plan was signed into law. It's 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 personal 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. It limited the mortgage interest deduction. And that's where the requitization (ph) of the tax code became evident.

Now according to data obtained by CNN from H&R Block, among states where refunds went up this year, the top 10 are all red states. Among states where tax refunds went down? You guessed it. The top 10 are all blue states. Notice a pattern?

So let's dig a little deeper. Alabama's average SALT deduction was around $6,000 in 2016, well below the 10K cap. Now, the average deduction in New York? 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's the same. Bright blue states are paying vastly more under Trump's tax plan than ruby-red states.

Let's take a look at population density. Because it's no surprise that areas where most Americans live, it costs more to buy a house. And guess who's 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 expensive to buy a home, more expensive to own a home, and harder to sell your home.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who's suing Trump along with three other blue states, put it this way.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): If your political goal is to help Republican states and hurt Democratic states, this is exactly the 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 which Jared Kushner's company bought a white elephant of a building at a record price right before the market crashed -- nearly defaulted on a billion-dollar loan and is still worth around $300 million, and paid little or no federal income taxes for at least seven years.

TEXT: "The New York Times" Jared Kushner Paid No Federal Income Tax for Years, Documents Suggest

AVLON: The loopholes are wider, and sheltering income easier than ever before. As for the rest of us?

TEXT: "The Hill" Survey: Few people think they're getting a tax cut under Trump's law

AVLON: Only 17 percent of taxpayers say they expect to see a tax cut this year.

Now, President Nixon said, "We'll never make taxation popular, but we can make it fair." With a politically weaponized tax code that punishes blue states, President Trump seems to have failed at both. And that's your "Reality Check." (END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: Mr. John Avlon.

A giant rare bird killed its owner in Florida. What happened? We'll tell you. Don't go anywhere.


[10:46:59] CABRERA: This morning, a Florida man is dead after a rare giant bird he was breeding killed him. Police say the bird, called a "cassowary," attacked 75-year-old Marvin Hajos after he accidentally fell on his property.

Now, cassowaries are best known for their dagger-like claws. They have been called the "most dangerous bird in the world." Joining us now for more on the cassowary is Ron Magill, he's communications director at the zoo in Miami.

Ron, I know this man had a license to breed birds like, but this bird killed him after what appears to be an accidental fall. Just how dangerous is the cassowary? How do they attack?

RON MAGILL, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, ZOO MIAMI: Well, they're very dangerous in the sense that they have incredible power. This animal attacks with its feet. Many people look at a bird and they think right away, "Oh, it's just the beak. It's the beak." It's not the beak at all, it's the feet.

They're a very powerful bird. They're flightless birds, very similar to ostrich or rheas. And this bird will attack by kicking. And the rhea -- the cassowary has about a four-inch extended claw in the middle of its foot that it can use to cut and make severe injury.

TEXT: The Cassowary: One of the world's most dangerous birds (Source: San Diego Zoo); Class II wildlife: in same category as alligators, honey badgers and clouded leopards; Three species are native to Queensland, Australia and New Guinea

TEXT: The Cassowary: Has three pointed nails on each talon; Middle toe is several inches long; While dangerous, they tend to be reclusive

CABRERA: Now, I understand the cassowary is rare, a native bird to Australia and New Guinea. Are they typically dangerous to humans in their natural habitat?

MAGILL: Generally speaking, no. The cassowary's going to do what it can to avoid any kind of conflict or, you know, thing with a human being. However, they will protect their next and their chicks. They're very dangerous against things like dogs. They will go after dogs or anything that comes and threatens their chicks.

Having said that, there's been, you know -- I think over the last 50 years or so, 200 or so attacks documented but very few deaths.

CABRERA: How concerning is it to you that this man was breeding this bird at his home?

MAGILL: Well, there are serious aviculturists around the country. You know, I don't want this guy to be looked at as, you know, somebody who kept it as a pet. That wasn't the case with this individual. I understand he was a breeder. He's an aviculturist that provided these birds for zoos and other types of institutions that are maintaining these animals, as kind of an insurance policy against an uncertain future in the wild.

So, you know, he was a 75-year-old man. He fell. I think it was a perfect storm, where things came together and this horrible tragedy occurred. And my sympathies go out to his family.

CABRERA: What is your advice to other dangerous animal breeders out there?

MAGILL: Well, the bottom line is this. You can take an animal out of the wild. You cannot take the wild out of the animal. People look at a bird and think, "Well, it's can't fly. It doesn't have a very big beak so it can't be a dangerous animal."

You have to understand the power of these birds. They run very quickly, over 30 miles an hour. And they have a very powerful kick because that's all they have to defend themselves. So this is very important to understand. Being around these animals, keep your distance. Respect them. And you shouldn't have any conflict with them.

CABRERA: Really good information, so interesting.

MAGILL: And don't feed them. That's the most important thing.

CABRERA: Do not feed them, whatever you do. Keep your distance. Ron Magill, good to have you with us. Thank you very much.

[10:49:57] Alarming numbers coming in from the CDC this morning, what they show about the rapid increase of measles cases here in the U.S. and around the world.


CABRERA: Protestors in Sudan remain defiant, refusing to end their demonstrations until a civilian government is established. These protests come as CNN has learned Sudan's ousted dictator and other government officials could be formally charged with corruption in the coming days. CNN's Nima Elbagir is joining us now.

Nima, after 30 years of military rule, Sudan has seen rapid change in the past week.

[10:55:04] NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Even just this, Ana, me reporting live from Sudan with my head uncovered, me reporting from Sudan, full stop. The last time we were here, we were here under cover under the threat of the death penalty if we were discovered reporting on the demonstrations. So things have moved so incredibly, incredibly fast. But for the

protestors at the sit-in site, it really is not fast enough. What they want is a civilian transition. They want free and fair elections, and they want a timetable to ensure that what -- that they're not swapping one military ruler for another.

And, indeed, they have already deposed a second military leader since President Omar al-Bashir was forced to step down. And the head of the military transitional council, which is just about hanging in there, today was met with real disdain when he attempted to clear the sit-in site.

They say they're prepared to stay as long as it takes. I was speaking to one of the young activists doing what they call the "night shift." They're actually working in shifts, Ana, to ensure that the site is never cleared.

And he said to me, you know, "For the last 30 years, we've been isolated from the rest of the world. But we've been able to -- through online, through the internet, we've been able to see how other people live. And that's what we want. We just want what other people have. We want freedoms." And it seems like they're willing to fight to get them, Ana.

CABRERA: What an incredible moment in history, Nima Elbagir. Thank you for your continued reporting.

We have new data just in to the CNN news room now from the CDC. Ninety new measles cases reported in just one week. This year has already seen the second highest number of measles cases in the United States in 25 years. And it's only April. Joining us now, Elisabeth Cohen, CNN's senior medical correspondent.

Elizabeth, what more can you tell us?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Ana, these numbers are really pretty shocking. As you said, we're talking about this rise in measles. The latest numbers from the CDC, just out this hour, 555 cases in 2019.

TEXT: Measles Cases Rising: 90 new cases reported in one week in U.S.; 555 total cases so far this year in U.S.; 110,000 cases reported worldwide in first three months of this year, a 300 percent increase over same period in 2018

COHEN: That makes 2019 the second-highest year in 25 years. And, Ana, it's only April. We have many more months to go. So this year is -- it's no telling, unfortunately, where it's going to go. A jump of 90 cases in just one week. That's the biggest one-week jump that we've seen in 2019.

And internationally, the situation is even worse, 110,000 cases -- actually more than 110,000 cases -- worldwide. That is a staggering 300 percent increase over the same time period last year -- Ana.

CABRERA: And why this spike right now? And what are health officials doing about it?

COHEN: You know, the health officials I've been talking to really point to the anti-vaxxer movement. You know, in some countries, like for example the Philippines, they can't afford to vaccinate everyone as much as they would like to. There's real access issues.

But that's not true in the United States, that's not true in Europe. People don't want to vaccinate their children in the same way that they once did, and that's because of lies being spread in social media and elsewhere about vaccines. Vaccines do not cause autism, as some people claim to.

So authorities, Ana, are taking a carrot-stick approach. The carrot approach is, they're telling people who don't want to vaccinate, "Sit down with us. Let us talk to you about why vaccines don't cause autism. Let us talk to you about how what you're learning online just isn't true. And here we have vaccine clinics. We've made it easy for you to take your child in." That's the carrot.

The stick is, in some neighborhoods in New York, Ana, they are telling people, "If you can't show us proof of vaccination, we will fine you $1,000."

CABRERA: Right. Elizabeth Cohen, thank you for that.

This morning, Fordham University is mourning the death of a student who died after falling from the school's iconic clock tower. Police say the senior fell about 30 feet Sunday, after climbing the tower with friends. The 22-year-old senior was just a few weeks away from graduation.

Fordham University is now investigating how the students gained access to the tower. Officials say the door to it, always locked and only authorized staff can access the tower.

The parents of a murdered University of South Carolina student say their new mission is to make ridesharing services like Uber, safer. Samantha Josephson died last month after she got into a stranger's car, thinking it was her Uber ride.

Since her death, the South Carolina House passed a bill that would require ridesharing vehicles to have signs that light up. Josephson's parents say the outpouring of support has been encouraging.


MARCI JOSEPHSON, MOTHER OF MURDERED STUDENT: We've heard from strangers all over the country. And so many people have told us, "It could have been our daughter, our son, ourselves" --


JOSEPHSON: And I think it's just become such a natural -- or a new phenomenon, using Uber.

SEYMOUR JOSEPHSON: We grow up, teaching our kids not to get into cars with strangers. And what do we do? We get into cars with strangers.


[10:59:58] CABRERA: The Josephsons say they also want every state in the U.S. to require drivers to have license plates in the front as well as the back of the car.

Thanks so much for being here with me today.