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Notre Dame Cathedral Burning; Sudanese Demonstrators Vow to Keep Protesting Military Leaders; Redacted Mueller Report to be Released Friday; Fire Ravages Notre Dame Cathedral In Paris. Aired 1- 2a ET

Aired April 16, 2019 - 01:00   ET



[01:00:00] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. You're watching CNN's breaking news coverage of the fire in Notre Dame Cathedral. I'm John Vause, live at CNN center.

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: And I'm Max Foster in Paris outside Notre Dame. It's 7:00 in the morning. The Sun is rising, a stunning scene, but a sense of trepidation too as we get a full sense of the damage to the roof of the building, the iconic building behind me. French authorities now starting an investigation of course, what caused the fire. We're still trying to find out. We still don't have a proper sense of it. No major injuries. So that suggests that there was no sort of human involvement here, but of course, it's early days in that investigation.

This is a medieval landmark. Everyone knows it around the world really and anyone that's visited Paris has probably gone past it if not gone in. So many millions go in all the time. Officials say the fire is under control but not before it did that major damage toppling the distinctive spire and destroying the building's roof and wooden infrastructure. One firefighter was seriously injured as he attended the scene.

The initial call reported a fire the cathedral's attic that was also construction taking place with scaffolding surrounding the building. French president Emmanuel Macron calling it a terrible tragedy but saying the worst has actually been avoided.


EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): I'm announcing it tonight, we will rebuild this Cathedral. The project we will have for years to come. Starting tomorrow, our national donation scheme will be started that will extend beyond our borders. We will appeal to the greatest talents. We will rebuild Notre Dame because that is what the French expect. That is what our history merits and this is our deep destiny.

(END VIDEO CLIP) FOSTER: Firefighters have been at work inside all night of course. Today we'll get our first sense of what it looks like inside and how much damage has been done to that priceless interior. Nic, you've had an insight.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: I've seen some video which appears to be the inside, some still photographs as well. So the police vehicles are still moving through the area here this morning. What you can see appears to be a lot of water inside the building, some damage to some parts the inside of the building. If you look up at the roof of inside the cathedral itself, on the inside you can see some of the bricks have fallen away from the ceiling.

Some of the pews still seem to be intact but a lot of debris had clearly fallen from the ceiling onto the floor. Of course, this is just a horrible, horrible tragedy for this city.

FOSTER: It really is. And as we look up now, we can see the frontage, the famous frontage looks OK. So we're presumably looking at the whole space behind that.

ROBERTSON: That's where the video was shot. Imagine you walking in -- you walk in the front door and you walk past the columns, these big columns that go from the ground up and support that very, very high ceiling. That's where the video was shot so yes, from there. Overnight, we were able to put together sort of a perspective report on the -- on the fire itself. Here it is.


ROBERTSON: What two world wars and a bloody revolution failed to do? Has this Monday been horribly wrought upon one of the world's most beautiful and best-loved buildings? Paris' fabled Notre Dame Cathedral has been burnt. It's graceful formed rendered black and in places barely recognizable.

It is a calamity of incalculable proportions. The iconic heart of one of Europe's noblest nations has been pierced. Gasps rose from the crowd as the towering flames took hold late afternoon. Others sang hymns as the slender spire succumbed to the inferno leaning and toppling, everyone touched by the tragedy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's horrific. We head to tower full, and it was the worst (INAUDIBLE) and people screamed.

ROBERTSON: The Catholic cathedral has stood here for almost 900 years built in the French Gothic style famed for the flying buttresses that support its walls and the rib vault ceiling. A place where Emperor's came to be crowned and great leaders laid to rest. It has been at the center of French life for more generations than anyone here can remember. A place of prayer and of praise, of solace, a place all others in France are measured from, a cultural anchor.

[01:05:20] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's so sad. Everyone is so sad. People can't realize this happened but we're going to wake up tomorrow, wake up the day Notre Dame is gone. ROBERTSON: More than 400 firefighters fought the blaze late into the

night eventually taming its consuming fury.

MACRON (through translator): What happened tonight at Notre Dame is a terrible tragedy. On behalf of the whole nation, I want to thank all the firefighters who fought and are still fighting the flames. Thanks to their bravery the worst has been avoided.


FOSTER: Extraordinary the rains has come, shame it didn't come last night. It would have helped a bit. What will we be looking at in terms of investigation today?

ROBERTSON: Well, an involuntary fire. This is how the chief prosecutors describing it. An involuntary fire, which means it doesn't appear as if he's looking for person or people that set this fire maliciously, that set it on purpose. This seems to be more an investigation that's directed at an accident.

Had -- does he have an idea that he's already focusing this on the restoration work? Does -- was he aware that those restoration work going on in the attic area where we first understand the fire started? So this is what it seems to mean. And I think this is very important for France as well given the tragedies that it's been through over the past few years where we think a terrorism that this has no connection to that.

This is the message coming from the chief prosecutor. That sort of thing might have been terribly painful, terribly hurtful, terribly destabilizing for a city that suffered so much, but it isn't that.

FOSTER: We should remember as well. It's had some international coverage but every weekend we've had these yellow vests demonstrations. The country feels quite unsettled right now about the political direction. And this is something which represents

consistency and continuity whatever religion you're from. So very unsettling morning for the French as the sun rises over Notre Dame.

ROBERTSON: And we've begun to see already people coming to work. We've seen the early morning joggers, we've seen people going to work on their bicycles and their scooters. Of course, this particular area still locked down for vehicles, but plenty of people going to work getting a chance to look at this.

And of course, you know, president Macron came here very quickly last night. He made a speech. It helps sue the nation. You could actually see the people who were in -- who were in prayer outside and singing hymns, that at times had equate sorrowful. They were in shock on the news that the president gave them that the worst had been avoided, that the facade that we see, the structures of bell towers hadn't collapsed or weren't about to collapse.

That really seemed to raise the spirit and the hymns continued but they were they were -- they were somewhat of a lighter tone. Yet this is also a president in this country we talk about trouble, a president who came in with so much hope and hasn't been able to deliver on that hope. And as you say with these weekend protests with the yellow vests, it is an unnerving time for this capital city.

FOSTER: Nic, thank you very much indeed. One piece of good news, the Mayor of Paris says some priceless relics were rescued from the fire as the firefighters went about their work. We'll get a full sense of what was saved as the day continues, as we hear more from the authorities. I'm sure we'll also hear from President Macron as well again a bit later on.

Some of these relics include the crown of thorns which some believe dates back to the crucifixion of Jesus, a tunic worn by St. Louis, a 13th century King of France also saved. It's still not clear what other precious items were saved or damaged including the grand origin, one of the world's most famous organ, of course, the most famous instruments in the world, utterly unique in the way it was built.

We're joined by a Dominic Thomas. We talk about the organ. You know you have been quite a specialist to know about it. But for anyone that does, it's completely irreplaceable. There are the irreplaceable elements of the interior in that building. We just need to know what was saved. Are we at this point?

DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: We do and it's also you know, in assessing what there's after all you know, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that's both the physical structure of it which has clearly been compromised and contains so many of the historical elements that make this such an iconic and important building in the realm of art and architecture and so on.

And on the other hand there of course, as you mentioned the religious aspects that are -- that are key. And then the art collections, the sculptures, the paintings that were affixed to the wall and all the other objects that were there.

It's also a multi-layered space in which there are remnants that go all the way back to the 12th century when the first stone was laid, all the way up to more recent kind of renovations. But clearly, once the safety assessment has been made and that -- and that people are really allowed to go back into the -- into the Cathedral, that's when they'll be able to ascertain the kind of the non-physical damage and assess what it is that has survived this horrendous fire.

[01:10:37] FOSTER: We're talking a bit to Nic there about you know, the unsettled nature of French politics right now, people trying to find a new direction, also something like an orchard arm so close to the nation's heart and a reminder of how important it is to French culture but also an unsettling time for the French as they wake up today.

THOMAS: It will. And I think that Emmanuel Macron will be able to use this in a way to bring people together particularly with the religious holiday coming up at the weekend. But having said that, it is a very divided political landscape. And even the discussion of religion in French society has become so politically and problematic and instrumentalized from political parties on the -- on the far right.

And so it will nevertheless be a very complex kind of terrain that he will -- that he will have to navigate. But certainly, the one thing and that will bring people together particularly and as Nic has mentioned you know, in the aftermath of the 2015 attacks and so on, this is a city that is barely recovering from that.

And that was able through the identification of the hashtag, you know, I am Charlie. There are already similar ones going around about I am Notre Dame. It's identifying with something that is not just a religious institution or space. It is something that far exceeds that and is anchored in a much longer French history that everybody at school learns about.

FOSTER: Well, you obviously, you know the cathedral very well. You lived in Paris for many years. You're very familiar with French culture. But were you surprised of how Americans were quite shocked last night and there was a lot of talk online about what happened here?

THOMAS: Absolutely. And you know, Paris is the most visited a city in the world. I mean, yes during the London Olympics, London took over for a short time. But any American that has traveled to Europe has been to Paris. Any American that has been to Europe has learned that it is a walking City that is absolutely has landscape monuments and so on that are all over the place.

And if indeed the Eiffel Tower and might be the most recognizable and iconic and space in the world, Notre Dame Cathedral is --comes close to that. It is more visited by people than the Eiffel Tower and anybody that has been there will have fond memories of walking around and visiting this incredible space to Gothic architecture and no doubt went home and with fond memories of this.

And in more recent times, you would be hard pushed to find a tourist that went to Paris and did not take a selfie in front of this building. So it's very dear to them. And they France -- and Paris means a lot to Americans.

FOSTER: It does. And it means to so many -- so much to so many people around the world. People are starting to come down here, huge amounts of media of course as well. When it comes to the questions that are raised at the investigation, we'll start getting a bit of the blame game today won't we? But one group of people, people would be criticizing today will be the firefighters who came down here and dealt with what was going on inside, some questions about their tactics.

But certainly you know that's something for the French to be proud of today, the way the emergency services responded and luckily how no one was particularly hurt apart from one firefighter which of course is a tragedy in itself but pretty remarkable.

THOMAS: It is remarkable and from when the fire started, it seems to have been very shortly after the cathedral closed. It's open every single day of the week, so just before 7:00 p.m., and so that really was a stroke of good luck. And it is also a very difficult area to get into and it is an area that has been specially protected since the terror attacks with bollards and cement structures that prevent traffic from entering the Esplanade.

But of course, questions will be asked around the question of the sort of the capacity of these old structures to resist fires. This is not of course one of the only cathedrals in France. There are dozens of them. And also the state will be under pressure for many will argue and lack of support to so many of these monuments.

[01:15:00] Of course, the heads of state and always invest in these kinds of structures, that there will be some murmurings around that particular question. But no doubt about it this building will be rebuilt, and tourism is a major component, not only a French GDP but a French -- France's soft power around the world. And I think that we are feeling today, given the responses that we've seen internationally, just the power of that French cultural reach globally still today.

FOSTER: OK, Dominic. Thank you very much, indeed. A very shocking moment for everyone here. And the major part of the blaze does seems to be over. We are hearing from Nick earlier that there still could be embers still burning inside. The rain has started, that might help the firefighters.

We'll continue to look at the investigation. We'd also speak to a firefighter coming up as well, to get a sense of the challenges that people like him would have faced last night.


VAUSE: It's almost like the death of a loved one in France. They are mourning the destruction of an icon, after fire raced through Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Monday. Fire crews took four hours to bring the flames under control, but not before the spire collapse and the roof was gutted. The blaze comes just days before Easter, on this sacred holiday on the Christian calendar.

Join us now on the line is Cathy Widawska, she was out walking, she lives in Paris, and she saw, at first, smoke, and then, flames, and realized it was the cathedral which was burning down.

Cathy, thank you for taking time to speak with us. At what point did you realize that Notre Dame was actually burning. That this was a great Cathedral which was on fire. And do you remember what your first emotions were, what your first reaction was.

CATHY WIDAWSKA, WITNESS, FIRE AT NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL (through telephone): Hello, good evening. Yes, I was -- I was walking the main street, Rivoli Street, just near the Hotel de Ville, the City Hall. And I just saw the little smoke coming from the roof, from the building. I didn't know yet that it was already -- and it was the Notre Dame Cathedral. But I just -- when I realized, it's a thought -- yes, it was a very -- it was very strange -- you know, because the little smoke just change -- I think in 15 minutes, 20 minutes, in a big, big fire -- in big flame. So, after, it went very, very quick and it changed to the very aggressive fire. So, we knew that something is happening, even if it didn't really know yet what's happening. I think a lot of people thought that maybe some kind of terror attack. But I think its wonders, it was just a --


[01:20:28] VAUSE: They're looking (INAUDIBLE) right now, that I believe the cause of the blaze is accidental. That's I guess the initial enquiry at this point.


VAUSE: But I guess it was one of those moments when people just couldn't walk away. Everyone just kept watching -- I guess, helpless. Was that how you felt?

WIDAWSKA: Yes, we were just shocked -- you know, it was very emotional moment because it's -- a lot of people started to cry because it was like a very, very important building, monument for us, for French people for Parisians. So, it's like we knew it will maybe take -- you know, it will be very, very serious.

So, like losing someone -- you know, who you love someone, you care about. So it's like very, very strange feelings, you know.


WIDAWSKA: And you can do -- and I think, you know, I just have to wait and see what will go next.

VAUSE: Well, the French president believes that -- and has stated that, you know, the cathedral will be rebuilt. But clearly, something has been lost here that I guess, in a way can never be replaced.

WIDAWSKA: Yes, we will see, you know. Hopefully, you know, the courageous firefighters, they just saved two towers on the main construction, you know, which is positive. But yes, it will takes a lot of time, I think a lot of many years it will be rebuild. But I hope it will be one day. I Hope, we will see what we'll take, you know, because it was -- interior, it was very, very rich, you know. It will be very hard I think, to rebuild it. But we have to wait.


VAUSE: Yes. We know that -- we know that 13 million tourists visit Notre Dame every year. But what does it actually mean for -- of region like yourself, this cathedral?

WIDAWSKA: It's like the heart -- the heart and the soul of Parish. Much more just like a church and it look like very cultural monument. And it's like you could take part of the Parisian landscape. It's very -- you know, it's like it was always there and it's like it will be strange I think right now in the next day, or so, to see this cathedral so devastated. So, yes, I think it will be very painful for every one of us.


WIDAWSKA: So, yes. But what we can do.

VAUSE: Exactly. Cathy, it's been a difficult day. And clearly, a lot of people are very emotional about -- you know the damage sustained to this great building, this great cathedral. We thank you for taking time to speak with us.

WIDAWSKA: You're welcome. Thank you. Thank you, have a nice evening.

VAUSE: Thank you, of what.


VAUSE: Well, the fire at Notre Dame is now under control and -- well, officials say the building has sustained colossal damage. That the worst has been avoided. And with that, the focus now turns to the cause of Monday's blaze.

The working theory right now is to blame some kind of accident related to ongoing renovations at the cathedral. Even so, Paris prosecutors have opened an investigation.

Fire investigator Robert Rowe, joins us now from Laughlin, in Nevada. So, Robert, thank you for being with us. Whether this was an accident or something else, how difficult will it be to determine the cause given factors here like the age of the building, that state it is in right now, where they even begin to look?

ROBERT ROWE, CERTIFIED FIRE INVESTIGATOR, PYROCOP, INCORPORATED: Well, as with all other fires, doesn't really matter what type of building you're in. You're always looking for the area that has the heaviest amount of damage. First, going from the lightest area of damage to the heaviest area of damage. So, it's going take a while, they'll look at the exterior of the building first. And then, they're going to work their way into the interior of the building, and then, just basically, look at fire patterns, smoke patterns and different indicators that most investigators look for during these types of investigations.

VAUSE: We're being told, the fire started in the attic, and then, it moved with incredible speed. A former New York chief fire -- a former New York fire chief, I should say, is quoted as saying that, "These cathedrals were built to burn and if they weren't houses of worship, they'd be condemned."

It seems the features which made Notre Dame here, I must see tourist attraction, its age, its designed, the wood work, also made at a tinderbox.

ROWE: We -- and when you have a building of that age, and there is no fire protection to support firefighters and their efforts to put the fire out, it does make it difficult. The building is old. Fire moves quickly through old dried-out lumber. And as I understand it, this cathedral and large beams which, of course, is as an amazing amount of fuel inside of that building to have to contend with for firefighters.

So, I understand the concept that the chief has -- is expressed and it is difficult to fight fires in older buildings.

[01:25:12] VAUSE: And when we think with the fact that there's 13 million tourists every year which would visit this building. And yet, it there appears that there was no fire suppression system which are being installed, were you surprised?

ROWE: Well, not in the building of that age. I mean, of course, fire sprinklers do protect property and lives. But, when you have a building that's hundreds of years old, it's hard to retrofit those. It's an architectural icon.

So, it's very difficult to retrofit these buildings with fire protection systems. Not impossible but it's a very difficult task.

VAUSE: Well, it looks as if the firefighters did save at least some of the cathedrals artworks including the Holy Crown of Thorns. And we have the first images we show inside would be with the altar is still intact.

There's another image from inside, these are the first images. A hall can be seen, in the ceiling what looks to be the result of the fire. Given up quickly the blaze spread, the construction of the building, and the fact it's on an island, essentially with narrow roads. All these factors working against fire crews. Is there anything else they could have done to further limit the damage?

ROWE: You know, it's -- you have to understand or the -- you know, when you're looking at a building of this size, and it's like 68,000 square feet. Some of the highest points not including the steeple is about 150 feet high, and it's all an entire open space within the building.

So, you have a large area of property that you have to contend with. And getting inside is a very dangerous thing to do. And a lot of people ask that question, why don't you just rush inside these buildings?

Well, it's a difficult thing to do and you have no rescues that you have to deal with. And then, you have to protect an icon of a building like that. But, it's very difficult to fight fire in a large open space like that church fires are always difficult to extinguish.

VAUSE: Well, here is some more free advice from the fire chief in Washington. Donald Trump, he put out on Twitter. "Perhaps, flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly." Why would that not have been a good idea?

ROWE: Well, it's -- when you're using tankers, that's basically a wild land interface firefighting tool. When you're using it on structures, it's not -- it's not something that really can focus in on one particular area of a fire. You're basically putting a lot of water on a large building. And you know, it's not guaranteed that what would work. But, I mean, water works, but you have to be strategic in your application of water as well.

VUAE: What it's like having to whatever the damage you would have done to what is already a fairly frail building.

ROWE: I probably would have done its sheer of damage. I mean, water damage is a huge factor in fire losses. Firefighters putting large hose streams on the buildings. I mean, hundreds of thousands of gallons per minute. And depending on how many pieces of equipment are being utilized. That's a lot of water.

So, you have to be strategic and basically, when you do your firefighting operation, you have to think about wind direction, you have to think about exposures. There's a lot to think about other than just putting water on that fire.

VAUSE: We'll see and proof that free advice is worth the price you pay. Robert, good to see you. Thank you for being with us.

ROWE: Good to see you too.

VAUSE: Well, much more on the Notre Dame fire still ahead. Including more on President Macron's promise to rebuild and restore the iconic building.


[01:31:03] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: And welcome back everybody.

You're watching our coverage of the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. I'm John Vause.

MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And I'm Max Foster outside Notre Dame. You could see the traffic. It's become quite busy behind me. All of these roads were closed off. They've just been reopened in the last couple of minutes, a sign that we're getting back to normal.

Paris back to its normal, awful traffic at this time in the rush hour. But that's good news because as we look at the cathedral, it's under control. The fire, the devastation to the roof last night and the investigation is underway.

We are starting to get some images from inside, which show the extent of the damage. But I see how much of it has actually been saved, as well, and managed to be protected. So amazing work by the firefighters overnight.

French President Emmanuel Macron vowing to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral after that fire. Firefighters say the blaze is under control, as I say.

The twin bell towers are safe, they're the iconic image that people will know around the world. But the distinctive spire in the middle of the cathedral couldn't be spared. It collapse through the roof late on Monday. Jim Bittermann has more for you.


JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The city of Paris at a standstill, as one of its most iconic landmarks, the cathedral of Notre Dame engulfed in flames. Parisians and visitors standing in shock as sections of the cathedral built more than 800 years ago collapsed in front of them.

ARASH DERAMBARSH, FRENCH PUBLISHER: Everybody is crying. it is very sad because Notre Dame de Paris is a symbol of Paris and the symbol of France. It's a symbol of freedom, the symbol of fraternity.

BITTERMANN: James Janega and his family visiting the landmark shortly before closing.

JAMES JANEGA, U.S. TOURIST: We got a couple of blocks, stopped, turned around and looked back then gasped and saw the spire engulfed in flames.

BITTERMANN: The spire of the cathedral, also known as Our Lady's Arrow, destroyed by the flames within hours. Built in the 12th century, and a UNESCO world heritage site, the sight of the Catholic cathedral ablaze drawing attention and reaction from around the world.

From the French President Emmanuel Macron tweeting in part, "like all our countrymen, I'm sad tonight to see this part of us burn.

To President Trump who talked about his visit to Notre Dame.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's one of the great treasures of the world. It might be greater than almost any museum in the world. And it's burning very badly. It looks like it's burning to the ground.

BITTERMANN: 400 firefighters mobilized to fight the fire, taking extraordinary risks to get close to the flames. The cause of the fire still unknown at this time, as the City of Light watches its beloved cathedral burn.

Jim Bittermann, CNN -- Paris.


FOSTER: So the big story out of Paris in recent times has been the Yellow Vest protest. Emmanuel Macron, the president has had to battle that. It's been a big political front for him. He did not waste any time getting down to Notre Dame after the fire broke out.


EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): What took place tonight in Paris and then the cathedral of Notre Dame is clearly a terrible drama. Above all I wanted (ph) the thoughts and thanks that the firefighters of Paris for several hours have been fighting against this fire and will still be there for hours and hours have shown extreme courage, great professionalism and much determination from their leaders.

I want to say to them thanks - a thanks from the whole nation. Thanks to their commitment and all the services of the state, of the city hall of Paris at the start of Notre Dame. The worst has been avoided, even if the battle is not fully won yet. The following hours will be difficult, but thanks to their courage, the facade and the principal decor have not collapsed. Clearly, above all I want to show my thoughts for the Catholics. The Catholics of France and all over the world in particular in this Holy Week. I know what they are feeling, and we are with them.

I also want to have a thought to the Parisian women and men, Notre Dame de Paris is their cathedral and even more so. The mayor of Paris is with us.

And from the first flames, I knew her emotion, and emotions of inhabitants of the city. But also I wanted a thought for all our compatriots, because Notre Dame de Paris is our history, our literature, our imagination -- the place where we have lived through all our great moments, epidemics, wars, liberations. It is the epicenter of our life.

It is this moving over the distances and these (INAUDIBLE) from Paris -- so many books, paintings. It is the cathedral, the one of all French women and men, even those who've never been there.

This history is our, and so it is burning. It is burning and I know the sadness, this internal trembling felt by so many of our compatriots, our fellow citizens.

I also want to have a word of hope for all of us. This hope is the pride that we should have. Pride for all those who have fought to stop the worst from happening, the soldiers of fire. Pride because this cathedral which is over 800 years old we have been able to fight and over the centuries and to improve it.

And so I thank you quite solemnly, this cathedral is one that we will rebuild. And that is part of the French destiny, and the project that we will have in the years to come.

And I commit myself to this, and tomorrow will be a national (INAUDIBLE) launched and well beyond our borders to appeal to the greatest talent and those who will come and contribute and we will rebuild it.

We will rebuild Notre Dame. Because that is what the French people are expecting. Because that is what our history is worthy off. Because that is our destiny.


FOSTER: And we are waiting an update from the Elysees palace today on the latest on the investigation. Firefighters are still finishing up inside, as you can see. They're back in control, the cars are flowing again around cathedral, and tourists are suddenly appearing again here as they have done for so many centuries, actually, here. Such an ancient, iconic building.

We will keep across this for you, other stories as well going on around the world.

We are not leaving -- that's what protesters in Sudan are saying to day. We'll bring you an update from that story, after the break.


VAUSE: Omar al-Bashir tops the list of former leaders of Sudan facing corruption charges. Two sources tell CNN Bashir, along with the head of the ruling party and in the former interior minister will formally face prosecution in the coming days. The three are also expected to face charges over the deaths of anti government protestors.

And those protests continue demanding an end to current military rule and a transition to power through a civilian government. Demonstrators are digging in at the Army headquarters refusing to leave, despite attempts by security forces to disperse the crowd.

The protesters tell CNN just getting this far, ousting Omar al-Bashir, is a victory but they are not going anywhere, not yet.

As CNN's Nima Elbagir reports, they had their eyes on the ultimate prize.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Welcome to downtown Khartoum. It may look like things are clearing up here and people are going home. But actually what is happening is that they're swapping shifts because the protestors here still will not leave this space unoccupied.

They're saying we are the generation that brought down el-Bashir. And we're not going to be fooled.

This is Faja (ph). Faja was imprisoned three times. He was tortured. He was abused. And he's not the only one. Most of the young men sitting here have been imprisoned.

How many here have been detained during the demonstrations?


Can you hear that, we have been hearing sporadic gunfire for most of the night. It doesn't sound very far away. We spoke to some of the army officers, when we were coming in and they were saying that they have been exchanging fire with some remnants of the former regime's national intelligence services.

We are trying to get up high to show you exactly how many people are here. It's completely extraordinary. The question now is, of course, what now. The reality is there is no government. We're in a process of negotiations. All of those people that we have spoken to here, it already feels like a win to just have persevered to get this far.

Nima Elbagir, for CNN -- in Khartoum, Sudan.


VAUSE: A different kind of protest in Sudan on Monday. , Thousand blocked some of the city's busiest roads, protesting a lack of government action on climate change. The group Extinction Rebellion organized these protests in at least 80 cities around the world.

Among the groups demands -- reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2025 and create a plan of action on what it calls climate justice.

The U.S. Attorney General is set to release a redacted version, his redacted version of the Mueller report on Thursday. That appears to have the White House a little on edge.

[01:45:01] Jim Acosta reports the President once again lashing out at the Special Counsel as well as the usual targets.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Traveling to Minnesota to tout his tax cut, President Trump appeared to have the 2020 campaign on his mind.

TRUMP: We may have the best economy we've ever had. Everything that we've done can be undone, and bad, bad things can happen.

ACOSTA: The President seems to have more immediate concerns, namely the Trump administration's plan to released a redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's finding to the public on Thursday.

Even before all of the facts are in, Mr. Trump is alleging he is the victim. Tweeting, "they spied on my campaign, we will never forget."

The President's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani who's expected to release a rebuttal of the Mueller is set to release a rebuttal of the Mueller report piled.

RUDY GIULIANI, TRUMP PERSONAL LAWYER: I think it was the product of -- you want to call it a political dirty trick, or you want to call it a crime. I don't know. I think that collusion will leave that question on. How did this come about?

ACOSTA: The President also tweeted "Mueller and Attorney General William Barr, based on Mueller's findings and great intelligence, have already ruled no collusion, no obstruction, investigate the investigators."

But that's not true. Mueller did not reach a conclusion on obstruction, Barr did. Mr. Trump's attacks on Mueller's team run counter to his comment last month when he said the Special Counsel had acted honorably.

The President is continuing to talk up the idea sending undocumented immigrants to sanctuary cities. Tweeting, "Those illegal immigrants who can no longer be legally held, Congress must fix the laws and loopholes, will be subject to Homeland Security. Given the sanctuary cities and states.

But in the past the President has promised to deport the undocumented out of the country, not ship them around from city to city

TRUMP: Anyone who illegally crosses the border will be detained until they are removed out of our country and back to the country from which they came.

ACOSTA: The President is also coming under intense criticism for slamming Congresswoman Ilhan Omar with a tweet that featured video of the Minnesota Democrat along with images from the 9/11 attack.

"Since the President's tweet Friday evening, I have experienced an increase in direct threats on my life. Many, directly referencing or replying to the President's video."

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE PRESSS PRESS SECRETARY: And certainly the President is wishing no ill will and certainly not violence towards anyone.

ACOSTA: Democrats say the President has gone too far.

SENATOR CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Nothing she said is deserving of what's happening to her and that the President is doing to her.

This is a reprehensible attack on her. It's trying to incite anti- Islamic feelings.

ACOSTA: The President is also standing against Democratic attempts to obtain his tax returns, as his legal team has told the Treasury Department in a letter that those documents shouldn't be handed over. The White House says lawmakers wouldn't understand Mr. Trump's returns anyway despite the fact that there are an estimated 10 accountants in Congress.

SANDERS: This is a dangerous, dangerous road. And frankly, Chris, I don't think Congress particularly not this group of congressmen and women are smart enough to look through the thousands of pages that I would assume that President Trump's taxes will be.

ACOSTA: That issue aside, it's the release of the Mueller report finding that has much of Washington on the edge of its seat. An administration official insist the White House is not concerned about what will be in those findings. But acknowledges, there is a curiosity about the unknown.

Jim Acosta, CNN -- the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE) VAUSE: Actress Lori Loughlin and her husband have pleaded not guilty to two conspiracy charges in the U.S. College admissions scandal. They also waived their right to appear in court for an arraignment on one charge of money laundering. Prosecutors say the couple play $500,000 to a fake charities so their daughters could get entrance into the University of Southern California.

Dozens of wealthy parents, college coaches and test administrators have been accused in this massive scandal.

More from Paris in a moment, including a look at the long, long history of Notre Dame Cathedral.


VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody.

French officials still assessing the extent of the damage to the Notre Dame Cathedral after fires swept through the historic landmark on Monday.

It took hundreds of firefighters hours to bring the blaze under control, and not before the iconic spire collapsed and the roof was gutted. The cathedral's facade and bell towers were saved. French President, Emanuel Macron has promised to rebuild.

MACRON: The Notre Dame of Paris is our history, our literature, our imagination -- the place where we have lived all of our great moments -- our epidemics, our wars, our liberation. It is the epicenter of our lives. It is the benchmark from which distances start and from which we measure ourselves from Paris. It appears in so many books, so many paintings. It is a cathedral that is the one of all Frenchmen and women, even those who have never come here.


VAUSE: CNN's religion commentator Father Edward Beck joins us from Los Angeles. Father Beck -- good to have you with us.


VAUSE: Ok. At the end of the day, this is a building, a brick and mortar, no one died and that is important. But yet for some reason, we have this connection to a building like this 800 years old, gives us a sense of community -- almost security certainty that everything comes to an end. There is some connection here which is very hard to explain.

BECK: Well John -- when you think about it, how long it took to build, you are talking about centuries. I mean with regard to restoration of the rest of it. And all to give praise and glory to God.

When you think that all of that time and effort and workmanship and money and beauty and art went into lifting people up beyond themselves, toward the divine. I think that's why it holds hold such a special place, it's not just a piece of architecture. It's really the house of God where the gathered community came to pray.

And I think that tourism all over the world certainly found that to be true. People in Paris certainly found that to be true, there are memories there. I mean baptisms took place there, weddings, funerals.

I mean people had benchmarks in their lives celebrated and that sacred space. I think that's why it made such an impact.

VAUSE: We just heard from the French President Emmanuel Macron, you know, praising this Cathedral, saying it is so central to the lives of the people of France but you know, really -- nothing phrasing the cathedral, saying it is central to the lives of the people of France.

But you know, really Parisians are not especially religious people, yet they gathered outside this cathedral, they sang hymns and some were crying. How do you explain the connection there to people who would not consider themselves religious at all?

BECK: It is kind of odd, isn't it. I mean there's been such a decline in the church in Western Europe, in general but in but in France and particular. Even after the terrorist attacks, that's where people gather to be in silent vigil. And you see that again here.

So maybe there is somewhat of a disenchantment with the institutional church and the structure, but this deeper longing for a spiritual connection almost seems to be localized somewhere.

And when people gather as a community, whether the building is there or not really they need that space I think in which to someway express what's inside.

And so even if it is just a show right now, the fact that they are gathered there. Again, we are celebrating a very special week this week with Holy Week.

And for Christianity, it is the mystery of death leading to new life, to resurrection that out of the ashes something else will rise. And I think that what President Macron's most referring to but in a deeper spiritual level I think it's something true about what Christians believe about life and certainly the afterlife.

VAUSE: And I was going to get that because rebuilding, restoration, renovation. Is as much as part of this cathedral's history as anything else.

It's a symbol of determination and perseverance.

BECK: It does, doesn't it. It's almost a symbol of the gathered community. So yes, as you said, it is brick and mortar, and it's only a building. There's been And the real church is the people of God gathered.

And the real church is the people of God gathered. But the history of that Cathedral -- and again there has been religious strife there. There's been conflict. There's been other scythe that have destroyed part of the cathedral so there's the infighting there. So it has a very kind of checked history.

But just like human life, just like the community there religious, conflict, there has been other sex that have destroyed parts of the cathedral. So it has a checkered history, but just like as a human life, just as the community they're in Paris.

I mean you have the inter-religious strike right now with Muslims and Christians and some of that discord, and yet it all kind of gets played out in the history of this beautiful space. And yet once again that has been torn down to show us nothing lasts.

And the rebuilding hopefully will also be a rebuilding of something that happens inside, you know, that spiritual connection of what it stands for, not just brick and mortar.

VAUSE: And a church which is built on the ruins of other churches. What struck me though is that this is a moment wasn't just a moment in Paris, wasn't just a moment in France, it was shared around the world. So many saw it live on television or streaming on the Internet. And I think we all pretty much said the same which was to do nothing. We seemed to be just overwhelmed with this sense of helplessness.

BECK: I think that's very true. I certainly felt that -- John. I don't know if you have been inside Notre Dame, have you've been?

VAUSE: No, I have not had a chance.

BECK: When I was there -- I mean certainly the tourists are there. But there was the sense of you are in a space of something that is beyond you. I mean the flying buttresses, and the windows, and there was bells tolled and that organ played. I mean it just it lifts one's spirit.

So is there's a universality to that, and I think no matter where you live or like you have never been there or from another country. You look at it and you say there is something really sad that something so beautiful, and something that represents the very heart of humanity has been destroyed. And I think that's why this kind of a huge universal kind of morning for that space.

VAUSE: Yes. And look, it's been damaged, it's been destroyed before, it's been rebuilt. And I guess that is something which we need to hang on to at this moment.

Father Beck -- thank you. Good to see you.

BECK: You're welcome John -- thanks.

VAUSE: And thank you for being with us as well.

I'm John Vause in Atlanta, along with Max Foster in Paris. Much more on the Notre Dame Cathedral fire after the break.