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Street Protests Escalate in Push to Oust Maduro in Venezuela; Trump Proposes Sweeping Changes for Asylum Seekers; Trump's Fed Pick Says Biggest Economic Problems Is Lower Male Earnings; CNN Reviews 77 Trump Team Lies and Falsehoods in Report; John Singleton Changed Game, Opened Doors in Hollywood. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired April 30, 2019 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] PATRICK DUDDY, FORMER UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO VENEZUELA: Particular crisis a very important to the United States. In the first instance there is an enormous humanitarian crisis in the country. There are shortages of food, medicine, the electrical grid is collapsing and there have even been shortages of water. So we have seen indications of actual hunger in the country.

This has then precipitated a regional crisis with millions of Venezuelans fleeing to Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil and Peru. Additionally, there is this sense that internally Venezuela is in the process of collapse. And there is the widely held fear that the humanitarian crisis, the human rights crisis that has been imposed by the Chavistas will become even more severe.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: And Ambassador Duddy, today we've obviously seen the full-throated support for Guaido from the Trump administration. So what is the role, the U.S. and the likelihood of military intervention?

DUDDY: Certainly at this point I don't see U.S. military intervention as imminent. Though the administration has repeatedly emphasized that all options are on the table. I just step back and emphasize one further point. And that is it is not only the United States that is supporting the interim government of Juan Guaido, virtually the entire hemisphere and there are actually 54 nations around the world all of whom recognize Guaido as the legitimate interim chief executive of the nation.

And what I think the U.S. and the rest of the region wants to see, indeed what they are emphasizing, is that the restoration of democracy is the international community's goal because we understand that until that happens, we cannot even begin to address the humanitarian crisis that is unfolding before us.

BALDWIN: Patrick Duddy, Mr. Ambassador, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

DUDDY: Very welcome.

BALDWIN: He made sexist comments about women repeatedly in the past and today the President's Fed pick makes an interesting remark about male earnings while on TV. And now even some Republican lawmakers are growing increasingly skeptical of Stephen Moore.

Plus a manhunt underway in Iowa after a 25-year-old woman was shot and killed while just driving home from work. The latest on that investigation and a possible motive.


BALDWIN: President Trump is ordering sweeping changes of how the U.S. treats people seeking asylum. The administration now wants to charge a fee to file applications for asylum while blocking many of those who cross the border illegally from getting a work permit and they hope to expedite applications.

And today the Acting Secretary for Department of Homeland Security faced Congress for the first time since abruptly taking over for ousted DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen where he said family separations at the border are now a rare occurrence.


KEVIN MCALEENAN, ACTING SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: The conditions where a child might be separated from a lawful parent or guardian at this time are extraordinarily rare. It is happening for less than two per day even though we have 1600 plus families arriving and for the safety. And they are for the safety and welfare of the child and so it is being done very carefully and in extraordinarily rare circumstances and that is the only time separation occurs.


BALDWIN: Caitlin Dickerson is a national immigration reporter for "The New York Times" and she is also a CNN contributor. So nice to have you on. And I want to ask you about separations in just a second but first what would be the immediate impact of enforcing the asylum application fees?

CAITLIN DICKERSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: The fees would have a huge impact on asylum seekers. I think when I travel down to the border and interview asylum-seekers, the vast majority of them, regardless of the circumstances they left in their home countries, arrive with almost no money. So when you think about adding a fee on top of that, most of them are actually indeed in debt to these criminal smuggling organizations that this administration would like to eliminate.

So my first thought is that not only are people going to continue to come here and continue to borrow money and they're going to borrow even more and be further in debt and more vulnerable to exploitation from the groups that will be further empowered by this additional flow of funds.

BALDWIN: Now the administration is pitching this as a deterrent from people abusing the asylum system. But you say that won't work. Tell me why.

DICKERSON: Deterrent strategies are very controversial and complicated and many administrations have tried them. Not just the Trump administration. What we've seen historically is that it is very difficult to discourage people from coming here. Certainly it could be possible and people who supported policies like family separation, some of the most aggressive policies that this administration has tried to use as deterrents will say that they weren't left in place long enough to actually work.

[15:40:00] And I think that could be true. But when it comes to something like adding additional money on to the process of applying for asylum, because it is already such a financial operation, one that already requires people, regardless of circumstances, to come here and borrow a lot of money to do it, it doesn't seem like an extra couple hundred or even thousand dollars would be something to me that would change their minds.

I think, too, it is worth considering that this sort of suggests that the administration might be trying to save money by charging asylum- seekers to essentially process their applications. But my reporting has shown that actually the administration is detaining immigrants in record numbers which is incredibly expensive and it has largely turned away from cheaper alternatives to detention that have been studied and have been shown to almost guarantee that people will show up for court. And so it is clearly, like you said, it is a deterrent measure.

BALDWIN: Caitlin Dickerson, thank you very much on that.

And meantime, more and more Republican Senators are questioning the President's choice for the Federal Reserve Board. Stephen Moore, the latest is Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, who said he is still weighing the situation and called it problematic. Moore has been under fire for sexist comments and not just ones from a decade ago. The economist said something today that is baffling some.


STEPHEN MOORE, CANDIDATE FOR FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD: Biggest problem I see in the economy over the last 25 years is what has happened to male earnings. For black males and white males as well. They've been declining. And that is, I think, a big problem.


BALDWIN: CNN Congressional correspondent Sunlen Serfaty is with me. What are you hearing from Republican Senators? Are they saying that Stephen Moore's nomination may now be at risk?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There is certainly some serious concern here on Capitol Hill and I would think it is safe to say the nomination is in serious jeopardy. There are growing concern and growing criticism coming from many top Republicans today and keep in mind, this is the group of people that if he is formally nominated by the White House, this is a group of people that hold his fate in their hands.

We have heard from a big group of Republican Senators ramping up the rhetoric in the last 24 hours and ramping up their criticism and concern over his comments he made in the past and his writings about women and pay equity and about female athletes, Senator Joni Ernst saying it is very unlikely she would support him and she's heard from several colleagues saying they share these concerns privately.

And she did not think he would be confirmed if he came up for a vote today. Similar comments from Shelley Moore Capito, Republican Senator. Saying she thinks it is very hard to look past some of his writings. Susan Collins, another female Republican Senator saying she is concerned and looking into his writings more. And talked to Senator Marsha Blackburn, her first extensive comments on this controversy and she said she's known Stephen Moore for many, many years and she is still open to meeting with him but said clearly, he has some questions to answer.


SEN. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R-TN): I've known Stephen for years. And have worked with him. Always have a good relationship. And if he is the nominee, I will guarantee you one thing, this is something that will absolutely come up in that conversation. Absolutely.

SERFATY: Do you think from what you've seen so far that should disqualify him from being nominated?

BLACKBURN: I think what I'll do is sit down with him and talk with him because comments like that sure don't make me happy, I'm sure they don't make you happy either.


SERFATY: Now of course Stephen Moore has launched a campaign to save his nomination. Over the weekend he said he apologized and those were writings from 17, or 18 years ago. They were intended to be humor columns that he's embarrassed for now but the White House is reviewing the comments and the writings by him even though they publicly are standing by him but certainly as this plays out on Capitol Hill, as potentially concerning, it is interesting to see what happens over the course of this week.

BALDWIN: In serious jeopardy. That is notable. Sunlen, thank you so much for talking to those members of Congress for us on that.

As Attorney General Bill Barr gets ready to face lawmakers tomorrow in his first hearing on the Mueller report, CNN just counted and reviewed the number of lies and falsehoods told by the President and his associates that Mueller called out. See what we found.


BALDWIN: The Mueller report documents list 77 specific instances where Donald Trump, his campaign staff and administration officials and family members, Republican backers and his associates lied or made false assertions. That is according to a new CNN analysis. And Katelyn Polantz is a senior writer for CNN who has been covering the Mueller investigation and all the court activity around it. So nice to have you on. You have gone through this whole thing looking for these lies. What did you find?

[15:50:00] KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE WRITER: We had a team of people read extensively through the Mueller report and found that Mueller really in addition to what he chose to prosecute, he also documented down to the statements that people made when they were making false assertions to the American public largely and that was our finding, that there were many, many false and that was our finding.

There were many, many false assertions made by the Trump campaign and the Trump administration in addition to false statements made to authorities, some of which Mueller prosecuted, and there were also some conflicting stories that people gave, where one person was clearly not telling the truth or didn't give the full truth.

BALDWIN: OK. And on the screen, you saw all the various falsehoods and how we got the number we arrived at. What were the main subjects of those falsehoods?

POLANTZ: Right. We really saw that the way that these played out and the way that Mueller documented them is that he looked at moments in the during the campaign and also in the beginning of the Trump administration where there were

topics, where a false -- a number of false assertions were spread over and over again, and we counted them as much, multiple times.

One was the firing of James Comey. There were many false assertions made around how that played out, regarding Michael Flynn's contacts with the then-Russian ambassador, regarding other contacts that individuals around Trump had with Russians. There were multiple false assertions made on those. And then the category where we found the most false assertions that Mueller had documented was the Trump Tower Moscow negotiations.

Now, this was the negotiation between the President's company led by Michael Cohen at the time. And it went on through the campaign. And what we found was that Michael Cohen not only made false statements to Congress, which he then pled guilty to, as a crime, but there were also, you know, there was a false story that was being told over and over again by Cohen and the President and others around them.

BALDWIN: And then for everyone wanting to read a little bit deeper about all of these lies and falsehoods that you all have counted out, we can go to for that. Katelyn Polantz, thank you.

$1 trillion for an infrastructure package? No, not big enough, says President Trump. Hear what he proposed when Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer visited the White House this morning.

Plus, CNN is all over the breaking news in Venezuela. Thousands in the streets today trying to push out President Nicolas Maduro. See the moment CNN was taken off the air by the government there.


BALDWIN: The heartfelt tributes are pouring in for award-winning filmmaker, John Singleton. The first black and youngest director to be nominated for an Academy Award died Monday in his hometown of Los Angeles at the age of 51. Singleton turned aspiring black actors into some of today's biggest stars. His first film, the iconic "Boys in The Hood" not only made history, it is in the Library of Congress, it defined a generation.


ICE CUBE, ACTOR AND RAPPER: I turned on the TV this morning. It had [bleep] on about, about living in a violent, a violent world. Showed all these foreign places. Foreigners living in them. I started thinking, man, either they don't know, don't show, or don't care about what's going on in the hood.


BALDWIN: Kelley Carter is a senior entertainment writer for ESPN's at "The Undefeated." She's with me now. Kelly, thank you so much for joining me. And let's just dive right in, because John Singleton influenced not just the genera of film, he was this cultural game changer. So tell me your John Singleton story. How did he and his films impact you?

KELLEY CARTER, SENIOR ENTERTAINMENT WRITER, "THE UNDEFEATED", ESPN: Oh, man, his films impacted me in a lot of really big ways. I think that what he was able to do at his best was take something very insular and highlight neighborhoods that reporters, journalists weren't able to quite penetrate and tell stories of. And I think probably the best example of that would, of course, be "Boys in The Hood."

He kind of took this journalistic lens and really, you know, gave us this kind of beautiful, sad, emotionally rich layered, complex film that so many people related to, because they've never seen themselves like that or their neighborhoods like that, you know, on the big screen before. Certainly, it was South Central, but that could have been Detroit, it could have been, you know, Philadelphia, it could have been so many other neighborhoods. And I think that's why people really connected with that.

BALDWIN: In your op-ed, you talk about seeing him at the Oscars, at the bar, and the chat that you would have about Oscar winners Regina King and director Pete Ramsey. Tell me why that was so memorable for you.

CARTER: Yes, it was great. Every year for the last dozen or so years, I never asked him why he never sat in his seat and he always kind of hung out in that bar area. And we almost never really talked. We talked on the red carpet, but never at the bar, but this year, for whatever reason, he was so exuberant. And I guess the reason was because Regina King had just won an Oscar, Ruth Carter had won an Oscar.

And he yelled out at one point, all of my "expletive" friends are winning Oscars tonight. He was so excited. And Peter Ramsey, when his category was up for "Spider-Verse," I was shocked when he kind of turned and said, Peter worked with me on "Boys in The Hood," that was Peter Ramsey's first film.

[14:30:00] He was like a storyboard editor. And I was, oh, my God. And I kind of grabbed him at that point and I was like, these are your Oscars, too, John, and he looked at me, and I'll never forget it, he was just like, like, thank you, you know?

And of course, aftermath is what it is, but, you know, we spend so much time talking about not giving people their roses while they're here, their flowers while they're here. And for this really quick slice of time and moment, I was basically able to say, even though you've never been able to get up on that stage and take a bow, people that you have given a leg up in this opportunity have done it tonight. And it's amazing.

BALDWIN: What an incredible experience. He got his roses. Kelly Carter, thank you for sharing your stories, living vicariously through you. Thank you. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.