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French President Addresses Nation After Notre Dame Fire; Priceless Artifacts From The Cathedral Are On Their Way To The Louvre; Democratic Candidates Raised About $75 Million So Far In Their Race To Unseat Donald Trump. Aired: 2-2:30p ET

Aired April 16, 2019 - 14:00   ET


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: ... straight to CNN's Max Foster who is in Paris and Max, some of the biggest names in France's business community have pledged millions and millions to rebuild Notre Dame, tell us about that.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: Hundreds of millions. Extraordinary numbers coming in and it hasn't been 24 hours this fire started. Incredible. So if you look at some of the names out there, these are the billionaire families made rich by luxury brands, but also banks and airlines and even supermarkets.

We reckon with our sort of rough guesstimate here, that more than $700 million has been placed so far to restore this amazing building --

BASH: Max, I'm just going to interrupt you I apologize. I want to listen in to the French President.

EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT, FRANCE (Through a translator): ... Cathedral with all its history of thousands of years.

The firefighters managed to extinguish the fire in spite of the risks, they were there with us, with their bosses exploring the roof, which had been devastated completely.

But what we have noticed tonight in Paris, that's what happened, this ability to mobilize, be together and win.

Throughout our history, we have built towns, ports, churches, many have been burned due to revolutions, wars, due to mankind and each time we have rebuilt them.

The fire of Notre Dame recalls that history is there and that we will always have trials to overcome, and whatever we believe, whether indestructible but what France does, materially spiritually, is alive in spite of what is fragile. And we cannot forget this and it's up to us, the French men and women who really can be reassured throughout time, this continuity which makes this nation of France and this evening, directly to you, I'm addressing you for this reason, and what our duty is, which is what we need to remember.

And I am committed in the forthcoming days to react together. But today is not the time. Tomorrow, there are other issues and politics, we will have things to do. But the time hasn't come yet. Remember these few hours, what happened last night, throughout the

night this morning, everybody made an effort to do something. The firefighters did their best to save the building.

The Parisians have been comforted, and people were very touched. The whole world -- and photographs were shown to the whole world and each one of us, everybody has done what they could in their role, in their position and I say this this evening.

We are those people of rebuilders. We are rebuilders. There's a great deal to be rebuilt, and we will make the Cathedral of Notre Dame even more beautiful. We can do this and we will mobilize everybody after these periods of trial, there will be time for reflection and then action, and we will not let things go, we will go forward in spite of pressure, and sometimes false impatience. And people say "Oh, well, it's had to be done by that date."

[14:05:00] MACRON: But we have to administer things. Be aware of our history of time, of our people, those men and women. I deeply believe administer things. Be aware of our history, of time of our people, those men and women, I deeply believe that we are going to change this disaster and work together and reflect deeply on what has happened, what we are and what we can do and become better.

And find, again, the way towards our national project. A human project, which is passionately French. French people -- men and women and all you also foreigners, those who love France and Paris. What I'm telling you tonight that I share your sorrow and I also share your hope.

Now we have something to do. We will act and react and we will succeed. Long live the Republic and Long live France.

BASH: We were just listening to the French President addressing his nation and indeed the world, obviously a call to unity, talking about the fact that there is a lot of work to do, but that he shares the sorrow of the French people. And also their hope, also saying that he and the people who have pledged the hundreds of millions, as Max Foster was talking about will make Notre Dame even more beautiful.

And Max Foster, I want to bring you back in, I'm sorry, I had to interrupt you there, as the French President started to speak. I also was struck by him talking not just about the history of Notre Dame, but of course, the history of France, which has been through war after war, buildings entire parts of cities including Paris, burnt to the ground. And the reminder of that that the city rebuilt then, and it will do so now with this icon.

FOSTER: Yes, with this building. You know, it existed, didn't it, throughout all of those moments in French history, even part of revolutions. Napoleon was crowned there.

So many different parts of French society can attach a part of their story to this building, which is what makes it so unique, but clearly a reference there to more recent political issues. He said other political issues will have to wait whilst we address

this national issue, this national moment, and what he's referring to there, of course, is the yellow vest demonstrations, which have wrecked large parts of this center of the city.

And actually we saw, didn't we recently, the Arc de Triomphe was attacked during those demonstrations. He is saying, "Okay, we're going into the weekend. This is the Easter weekend. This is a famous church. Let's not have those demonstrations. Let's not have those fights on the streets. Let's come together and use this unique building as a point to unify on," and it's certainly been doing that here today, Dana.

BASH: Absolutely, Max and I'm glad you brought up those demonstrations because that obviously is a big part of -- maybe the part of his call to unity there as he tried to bring the nation together. Max, thank you so much. We'll be getting back to you for sure.

Today, some of the priceless artifacts from the cathedral are on their way to the Louvre after they were stored overnight at the Hotel Deauville across from the Notre Dame. But France's Culture Minister tells CNN that most precious items -- most of them, at least -- including the Holy Crown, which is believed to be from the crown of thorns placed on the head of Jesus are now being held under security at Paris City Hall.

CNN's Tom Foreman is here with an in depth look at some of those treasures -- Tom.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Dana, this is really remarkable when you think about it. A lot of people watched this yesterday and said the treasure itself -- the main thing Notre Dame, how did it burn so intensely? How did this fire become such a conflagration like this?

We have pictures now which tell you why because underneath that lead- covered roof and above those stone vaults, this is what you have -- 13,000 trees dating back hundreds of years were used to create this lattice of wood up here. This is the thing that burned so incredibly intensely here. And this is the thing that threatened relics like this, which we still don't know the fate of right now.

This is supposed to be part of the original True Cross. That's supposed to be a nail from the crucifixion. This is what believers believe about this. We're still not sure what has happened with the fate of this particular item. Not sure what happened to all of the sculptures, how much disarray there may have been in there; paintings that were down below there. Not entirely certain about that.

And of course, we know the spire which was only added a couple of hundred years ago that it -- and that roof, we just showed you that burned. We know that's gone.

But other items, yes, good news about this. The crown of thorns which believers believe was worn by Jesus Christ at His crucifixion, incredibly important this time of Easter Season.

[14:10:10] FOREMAN: That has been rescued and taken away. We also know that the organ, one of the most famous instruments in the world dating back to Medieval Times, more than 8,000 pipes here, this has survived. There may be water damage, but it is intact at this moment.

We know that -- you think about what Max said a minute ago about the big events there. The main Bell which heralded the end of World War II and so many other things that is still intact.

And of course, we know that up at the front, the rose windows, there are three of them there. These have attracted about 13 million visitors a year. They seem to be largely intact, maybe damaged, we don't know, but they are intact.

And of course, the gargoyles and the two main towers at the front which are really the hallmarks of Notre Dame as you approach, those appear to be largely undamaged here.

So as this giant rebuilding campaign starts Dana, the good news is there is a lot to build upon.

BASH: There sure is. Tom, thank you so much for showing all of that, and it is incredible that all of those priceless artifacts, those treasures were saved. Tom, thank you so much.

I want to bring in Stuart Richardson now. He was a Paris tour guide who lived in that city for two years. Stuart, thank you so much for joining me. You wrote an op-ed in "USA Today" called "As a Paris tour guide who ignored Notre Dame, I forgot ancient cities don't last forever," and in it. You wrote this. You wrote, "I imagine I pass Notre Dame over 2,000 times while living in France. Only a half dozen occasions did I ever enter it. I avoided the bell towers altogether. I didn't want to wait in line. At 25, I figured I'd be back in Paris once again. I could climb the tower then." Talk about that, and the fact that you couldn't go inside as a tour guide, but you did begin your tours and end at Notre Dame.

STUART RICHARDSON, FORMER PARIS TOUR GUIDE: Yes, so when I lived in France, I live about two minutes' walk from the Cathedral. And when I was there, I would always pass these hordes of tourists. And I always thought, "Well, I won't go inside today, because I don't want to deal with the tourists."

And when it became a tour guide, towards the end of my time in France, I would always be around these tourists. And they always say, "Oh, should I go inside?" And I'd be like, "Yes, just do 15 minutes inside. It will be stressful. It would be crowded and you don't have to go to the top of the bell tower, because you can always do that the next time you're in the city."

And now I think back in those times, and I think of the suggestions that I gave to people, and I think we often overlook the fact that just because something is old, doesn't mean that it's permanent. And today, I'm having that discussion with myself. I'm pondering that question of all the things that I missed, just because I always assumed that they would be eternal, that they would always be there when I come back to the city.

BASH: That's so well put, just because it is old doesn't mean it's permanent or eternal. When you were able to go and you did go in, I know you took some photos that we have here. What struck you the most and what was the most important thing of so many important treasures and bits of history from Notre Dame?

RICHARDSON: Well, it seems like today we're counting our blessings. And the one thing I always loved was the spire that we unfortunately saw, crash to the ground yesterday.

Unfortunately, that spire was adorned by 12 copper statues of the Apostles, and those were removed, just by coincidence at the end of last month for restoration. So those were -- those Apostles, I always loved pointing out towards the end, mostly because one of the apostles was actually created to look like the architect of the spire.

So he always thought it'd be funny to put himself up there. And we still have those copper statues, there now somewhere in the south of France being restored. So I'm really thankful that those are there today.

BASH: Yes, that is a happy accident. And one last question. One expert says that it could take 10 to 15 years at least to restore Notre Dame, so the people who are visiting in in the interim between now and then, what would be your recommendation as a former tour guide in Paris?

RICHARDSON: So you can still, of course, see the exterior of Notre Dame. The one thing I love doing while I was there was going down by the cay along the Seine and having a picnic. Always sort of right in the shadow of Notre Dame, and you'll still be able to do that. You'll be able to see the rose windows and I highly, highly recommend doing that.

BASH: Well, people certainly will no longer and should no longer take this iconic 800 plus year old Cathedral for granted anymore. And thank you so much for joining me. Thank you so much for writing that op-ed.

RICHARDSON: Thank you.

BASH: And more on this historic fire coming up, including how sales of the Hunchback of Notre Dom have soared in the past 24 hours.

[14:15:00] BASH: Plus, as the White House braces for Thursday's Mueller report, here about a case 30 years ago. The then Attorney General, the now Attorney General and then as well, Bill Barr, apparently mischaracterized something in his summary. How that pertains to what's going on now and I.C.E. deporting the husband of a U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan. The mistake that apparently led up to this and the impact on the couple's young daughter.


BASH: Just a little over 25 hours since flames first engulfed Notre Dame, one of the world's most revered and adoring monuments to faith and France. The country's President, Emmanuel Macron addressed the nation just moments ago promising to make Notre Dame even more beautiful.

[14:20:03] BASH: The total damage to the iconic Cathedral is still being assessed and while we don't know exactly what caused that devastating inferno, we do know it could take years, even more than a decade to restore Notre Dame to its former glory.

I want to bring in CNN's Melissa Bell, who is outside Notre Dame. Melissa, you were on the air exactly this time yesterday talking about the scene -- the horrific scene and also, noticing it looked like the fact that there was a lack of firefighters on the scene. But now a day later, we've learned a lot more about their response. What can you tell us?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. We've learned a lot more about the precise sequence of events. By about this time, 24 hours ago, so 8:00 p.m. local, as night was falling as it is tonight, Dana. These flames were finally beginning -- not quite to be brought under control because the fire did rage on for many hours afterwards. We could watch it. We could see it over at the edge of the edifice that still stands remarkably intact behind me.

But some of those plumes of smoke had begun to turn from the darker shades that had been billowing up from the roof of Notre Dame to something slightly lighter, suggesting that the firefighters were getting it under control.

What we understand now happened was that at 6:20, local 6:00 p.m. 20, local time, the first fire alarm went off. No fire was detected, but the Cathedral was evacuated. It was only 23 minutes later, when a second fire alarm went off, that the first signs of fire were detected, the fire brigade came and then of course, Dana, all the difficulty of getting those firefighters here through the Parisian rush hour right here to the heart of historic Paris.

And last night, as tonight, the crowds all around the Cathedral were substantial, although their mood had of course -- has of course changed quite substantially. At the time last night, the emotion -- the sheer emotion of the people gathered here was quite extraordinary.

What we saw today in the many thousands who came through to see for themselves was the sense of relief that so much of the outer shell of the cathedral is still intact. We've been seeing some very remarkable pictures coming from inside the Cathedral. And you can see that thereto, although there are timbers, that forest, many of them felled in the 12th Century were on the floor, the charred remains of them were on the ground.

Much of the inner structure as well looks relatively intact. Of course, we found out since, but thanks to the efforts of those firefighters who battled away at that fire. Let me remind you for nine solid hours, those essential artworks, those crucial relics so important to the faithful who gathered here last night to sing their hymns and pray together were rescued. We believe they're now being kept at the Paris town hall that they'll

be sent the Louvre Museum tomorrow. And then once this reconstruction effort has been achieved and as you say, this is going to take some time and a lot of investment that those relics that matters so much to the world's Catholics will eventually be brought back here to their home, Dana.

BASH: And it's so important to know when you talked about the emotion. We were witnessing it right along with you with your amazing reporting this time yesterday. And Melissa, thank you so much. Appreciate that.

And still to come, it is one of the most significant developments in the House when it comes to their investigations of President Trump. Lawmakers issuing a subpoena for one of his biggest and most controversial lenders. Plus, she was a U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan and now her husband is back in the U.S. after being deported by I.C.E. The backstory is next.


[14:28:03] BASH: Democratic candidates have raised about $75 million just so far in their race to unseat Donald Trump. That's what we're learning from the latest campaign finance reports.

Of all of the 2020 Democrats that you see there on the screen, Bernie Sanders raised the most money in the first three months of this year. His hall tops $18 million. Kamala Harris, Beto O'Rourke, Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren round out the top five.

When it comes to the others, former HUD Secretary Julian Castro did not raise as much money as lesser known candidates like Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang and Yang also came out on top with small donors second only to Bernie Sanders.

Now, both men had more than 80 percent -- 80 percent of their money coming from individual contributions of $200.00 or less.

Let's talk about this and much, much more with David Chalian, CNN's political director. Let's start with the big picture about this money and how much everybody has raised. What surprises you?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, I mean, your graphics there laid it out perfectly. You see what an advantage Bernie Sanders has, that's huge.

Now, money is not everything in politics Dana, as you know, I mean, Donald Trump was certainly outspent by Hillary Clinton in the last election. But it is a thing that matters, and it matters a lot.

Money begets money. It increases the amount of staff you can have, how many television ads you could put on, what your organization looks like. And it shows durability that you're here for the long haul, Bernie Sanders has all of that.

BASH: And I just want to drill down on something that I know that you are super interested in and I mentioned it, but I want to know what you make of it. The fact that when you talk about small donors, we can pull that back up on the screen.

Bernie Sanders did the best. But look who is right behind him, Andrew Yang, who was part of a CNN Town Hall here on Sunday, who I venture to say a lot of people say who?


BASH: And look how well he did.

CHALIAN: And what is so important understand about this. So this is people who contribute less than $200, right?