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Airplanes Skids Off Runway into the St. Johns River in Florida; Explosion Destroys Silicone Plant in Waukegan, Illinois; North Korea Launches Short-Range Missiles; Venezuela Diplomat Meeting with Russian Counterpart; President Trump Comments on Phone Conversation with Russian President Putin on Venezuela and Mueller Report; U.S. Unemployment Falls after Positive April Jobs Report; Joe Biden Leads Democratic Presidential Field in Recent Polls. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired May 4, 2019 - 10:00   ET



[10:00:18] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. So glad to have you with us on this Saturday, May 4th. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. You are in the CNN Newsroom.

The NTSB has a team on the way right now to Jacksonville, Florida. They're set to arrive there next hour to start the investigation into why a Miami air flight skidded off the runway and into the St. Johns River.

PAUL: You can see it still sitting there this morning before the investigators get started. You see that plane there. Most importantly everyone on board, they are safe. That is the good news out of this. More than 100 passengers and crew members were rescued. They had to climb onto the wing of the plane when it came to a stop in what is some fortunately shallow water there. CNN National Correspondent Natasha Chen has more on what happened and what will happen today as NTSB official get there. Natasha, good morning to you. What are you hearing this hour?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi. We know within the past hour, 16 NTSB investigators took off from, D.C., so we should be expecting them here quite soon. They are going to be looking at the plane that is still sitting in the water there and trying to document exactly what happened.


CHEN: The Boeing 737 went down in the St. Johns River near Naval Air Station Jacksonville. Authorities said the charter jet was coming in for a landing from a military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and apparently slid off a runway and into the water. And 136 passengers and seven crew members were on board in the cabin, a mixture of civilians and military personnel. Cheryl Bormann, and attorney from Chicago, was on the flight and spoke to CNN.

CHERYL BORMANN, PASSENGER: As we went down, we hit a really hard landing, and then the plane bounced and screeched and bounced some more, and it listed to the right, and then it listed to the left. And then it sort of swerved. And then it came to a complete -- like a crash stop.

CHEN: Fire and rescue crews arrived shortly afterwards. Twenty-one people were treated at the base, with some going to local hospitals. There were no critical injuries or fatalities.

BORMANN: I hit my head on the plastic tray that is in the seat in front of you. I'm not injured, thankfully, just a little bump on the head.

CHEN: Bormann said she and the other passengers climbed onto the wings of the plane and described a chaotic scene.

BORMANN: We were in water. We couldn't tell where we were, whether it was a river or an ocean. There was rain coming down, there was lightning and thunder. And we stood on that wing for a significant period of time. The rescue folks came. Eventually somebody inflated a life raft that had been on the plane, and we began climbing into it.

CHEN: It's unclear if severe weather played a role in the crash. There was a tropical disturbance in the area Friday night.

CAPTAIN MICHAEL CONNOR, COMMANDING OFFICER, JACKSONVILLE NAVAL AIR STATION: I think it is a miracle. I have ended very -- we could be talking about a different story this evening, so I think there's a lot to say about the professionalism of the folks that helped the passengers off the airplane. There's a lot to say about that, because it very well could be worse.


CHEN: Yes, and the officials are talking about how well everyone assisted each other, especially that flight crew. The passenger who talked to CNN said really everyone was helping everyone else. A very lucky situation. And that plane right now still sitting in that shallow water waiting for investigators to arrive.

We're live in Jacksonville, Florida, Natasha Chen. Back to you.

BLACKWELL: Natasha, thank you very much.

PAUL: Thank you.

We're also following breaking news out of Illinois right now.

BLACKWELL: Three people are unaccounted for after a massive explosion at a silicone plant. Four people have been taken to the hospital.

PAUL: Take a look at these pictures. That's what they were dealing with overnight. This happened in the city of Waukegan, about 40 miles north of Chicago. That fire is out now, this morning. The search, though, for those unaccounted for is still ongoing.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Ryan Young is on the phone with us. Ryan, what is the latest on the search for those missing workers?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, guys, you took a look at that video, it's really unbelievable and devastating. You can see the sheer power of this explosion. The explosion, of course, led to the four people being taken to the hospital, but sadly there's still three employees missing. Right now it's hard for fire crews to look for the missing three people because of the structure of the building. They so far think it's unsafe, so it's very hard to go back into that area right now and try to get fire crews to go through there to look for those three unaccounted employees. The explosion happened at a silicone plant, and apparently the force of it damaged other nearby building in the industrial park area. Just looking at this video, the building of course is a total loss, but more important to realize to find those missing workers will not only be tough, but of course that's the number one goal at this point.

[10:05:12] PAUL: No doubt about it. In fact somebody in Wisconsin I think it was, said, I think they were 15 miles away and said that they felt their home shake. Have you heard anything about that surrounding area and what those folks are dealing with?

YOUNG: Absolutely. From what we were told, that explosion had such force that there were people in the nearby area who really thought -- they could not feeling the explosion, but their windows in their buildings started shaking as well. The good news here though is this is in an industrial park area, so the damage to the other buildings nearby, of course those are businesses. You don't want to hear that, but it wasn't near homes. So we do know that at least the people who were involved in this all seem to work at that plant. So as of right now, it seems to be contained to that industrial park area.

But you can tell by the scene here, it looks like someone dropped an ordnance here on the plane. That's what's left here. It's in rubble. So that is what they're dealing with right now. Luckily, the good news, though, is that the firefighters have been able to get the water on the situation and knock the fire out, but of course the search and rescue has got be paramount to the families who are probably thinking about those three missing people.

BLACKWELL: Of course. Ryan, have you learned any relevant information about the history of this plant?

YOUNG: Yes, they're checking into that as well. And one of the things that stands out to us is apparently there hasn't been any large issues with this plant over the last 10 year. I believe you guys even talked to one of the fire marshals in the last few hours who basically said they haven't had any real issues with this plant. So it will be interesting to figure out what was going on, what was inside that silicone plant that could cause an explosion like this, was there a mistake made, what happened? I'm sure that the federal authorities will be looking into this as well, but of course they put the focus on this.

The good news is the fire is out. It doesn't seem like there's any more threat of another explosion. But I keep rolling back to those three people who are still missing. All the people who were hurt in this were the nine employees who were at this plant. We believe the owner of the plant is on his way back here, and they're hoping to get some larger pieces of equipment into the area to get a move some of that building or the rubble of the building back so they can start looking for that search and rescue of those three people.

PAUL: And we know when that building is compromised like that, that's a really sensitive situation. Ryan Young, thank you so much. And Ryan was right, the fire marshal said earlier today there was a fire there about 10 years ago. It didn't turn out to be anything that wasn't unnatural, let's say, but the company was very compliant with them as they were doing their job today. So thank you so much, Ryan Young, for all the information there.

BLACKWELL: More breaking news now. Approximately 90 rockets were fired from Gaza towards Israel in the span of an hour. Israel Defense Forces say they intercepted dozens of the incoming rockets. We also know that one person is dead, three others wounded from Israeli air strikes, that's according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. We will have more updates as they come in.

PAUL: Also this morning, South Korea is urging North Korea to stop raising tensions. They say North Korea launched multiple projectiles overnight. And this morning the U.S., South Korea trying to determine exactly what the North Koreans launched.

BLACKWELL: President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin talk Venezuela, North Korea, but not election meddling. How his relationship with the Russian leader is distracting from the news of a booming economy.


[10:12:20] PAUL: This morning South Korea is urging North Korea to stop raising tensions, their words there, because overnight South Korean Defense Ministry says North Korea launched several short-range projectiles. At the moment officials are working to determine exactly what those projectiles were. Were they missiles? They don't know. But that's what the determination is going to be.

BLACKWELL: So South Korean officials say the launches came from North Korea's east coast, north of the city of Wonsan. The unidentified projectiles crashed into the sea before 43 and 125 miles away. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement, "We are aware of North Korea's actions tonight. We will continue to monitor as necessary."

PAUL: And Gordon Chang, author of "Nuclear Showdown, North Korea Takes on the World," and Guy Smith, former Clinton White House adviser, spoke with us last hour. Here's what they had to say about the situation in North Korea.


GORDON CHANG, AUTHOR, "NUCLEAR SHOWDOWN, NORTH KOREA TAKES ON THE WORLD": This certainly is a nudge to the U.S., but also it's a nudge to South Korea, because Moon Jae-in, the South Korean president, has been trying to broker this piece. And what Kim Jong-un is doing is saying to Moon, look, you shouldn't be working with the Americans. So their message is all over the place.

And we've got to remember when North Korea starts to send messages, it can stark a cycle of escalation. The Kim family has used violence to upset status quos if finds to be unacceptable. This could get pretty ugly and it could get ugly fast.

Although this doesn't violate Kim Jong-un self-imposed moratorium, it could very well violate U.N. Security Council sanctions on the launch of ballistic missiles if indeed it were a ballistic missile. We need to respond, and the reason is if we don't, Kim Jong-un is going to see a green light to future provocations. This is a cycle that comes out of, as what guy says, a Kim family playbook. This is very ugly. And so I think we need to make sure that Kim Jong-un understands that belligerence is not going to work this time.

GUY SMITH, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: I don't agree with Gordon. I don't think we need to have, as the U.S., a strong response. Frankly, I think we need to just ignore it and continue the dialogue, and continue the discussions behind the scenes with the North Koreans about the denuclearization. And it needs to be incremental. It isn't going to all happen instantly. That just not how it works generally, it's sure not how it works on the Korean Peninsula.


BLACKWELL: So we read for you the response from Sarah Sanders, which was being aware of it and continuing to monitor. Here's what the president said via Twitter this morning -- "Anything in this very interesting world is possible. But I believe that Kim Jong-un fully realizes the great economic potential of North Korea, and will doing no interfere or end it. He also knows that I am with him and does not want to break his promise to me. Deal will happen."

[10:15:10] Coming up, Russia's foreign minister says he will meet with his Venezuelan counterpart tomorrow in Moscow to discuss the ongoing crisis in Venezuela. Now, remember, the president said that Russia was not looking to get involved. Now we've got the Venezuelan foreign minister going to Russia. A live report from Caracas, ahead.


PAUL: It is so good to have you with us here on this Saturday.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Breaking overnight, a Miami air flight left the runway and ended up in the St. Johns River. Now an NTSB investigative team is on the way to Jacksonville, Florida, to find out why.

PAUL: Everyone on board is safe. That is the most important thing to tell you here. The more than 100 passengers and crew, though, did have to be rescued from the wing of the plane after it came to a stop in what was fortunately very shallow water there. BLACKWELL: So what was supposed to be a day talking about the economy

turned into the president answering questions about his call with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The economy is booming, boosting President Trump hopes of being reelected next year. But instead the White House is talking about an hour-long talk between President Trump and President Putin. CNN's Sarah Westwood is now at the White House for us. Sarah, the president even tweeted about it again this morning, his good talk with President Putin.

[10:20:10] SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right, Victor and Christi. President Trump is touting on Twitter this morning what he describes as a very good call with Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday. And he's also arguing that there's now tremendous potential for a good relationship with Russia. That's something he campaigned on achieving, but obviously something that has been made difficult politically by the existence of the Russia investigation.

But according to the White House, that call with Putin yesterday, it lasted more than an hour and it ranged on everything from Venezuela to North Korea to a potential nuclear deal with China and Russia to the situation in Ukraine. And the president seemingly contradicted his own secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, who earlier this week told our colleague Wolf Blitzer that embattled Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro was prepared to leave the country amid an uprising, but the Russians convinced him to stay. Trump, though, said that Putin told him Moscow was, quote, not looking at all to get involved in Venezuela. So a bit of a disconnect there.

I asked White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders yesterday to explain that dissect, and she said that Trump was simply relaying what Putin had told him. But by far the part of that conversation that is getting the most attention is the fact that President Trump discussed the end of the Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into alleged Russian collusion with Putin, but did not bring up election interference, the thing that underpinned all of that investigation, and also did not ask Putin not to interfere in the next presidential election. Take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We discussed that he sort of smiled when he said something to the effect that it started off as a mountain and it ended up being a mouse. But he knew that, because he knew there was no collusion whatsoever.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you tell him not to meddle in the next election?

TRUMP: We didn't discuss that.


WESTWOOD: That was the president taking questions yesterday in the Oval Office. But of course, the focus on that conversation with Vladimir Putin has overshadowed what was otherwise a good day politically for this White House with the release of the April jobs report showing that the economy added 263,000 jobs in April. That's some good economic news for the president who is rated favorably by voters on how he handles the economy. But as the president is want to do, he focused on more on something controversial, that Putin call, than the good economic news that could boost his reelection prospects, Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: It's like infrastructure week that comes so often and then is blown up by something else. Let me ask you this before you go. Is there any indication -- Sarah Sanders said that he was just passing on the message from Putin. Any indication whether the president said, but I don't believe it, or but my intelligence people tell me x, or he was just relaying the message.

WESTWOOD: There was no qualifications from the president when he was talking about Russia's involvement in Venezuela. His own intelligence community, his own chief diplomat is talking about how Russia does have potentially nefarious intentions in Venezuela. President Trump viewing them as benign based on Putin's word. This would not be the first time President Trump took at face value something that a dictator told him, and his tendency to do that has caused controversy here at home time and time again, Victor.

BLACKWELL: We all remember Helsinki. Sarah Westwood for us at the White House, thank you.

PAUL: So this morning we've learned that Russia's foreign minister says that he'll hold talks with his Venezuelan counterpart tomorrow, this is according to "Reuters," and will do so in Moscow. This comes after President Trump said, remember, that Russian president Vladimir Putin was, quote, not looking to get involved in the Venezuela crisis.

BLACKWELL: Meanwhile, the head of the opposition party, Juan Guaido says the protests will continue at the country's military bases until Nicolas Maduro steps down. CNN correspondent Paula Newton joins us from Caracas, Venezuela. And today Guaido says take the protests to the military. This is different. Tell us what you're expecting there today.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is absolutely different, Victor. And the point here is that Juan Guaido continues to say we don't want to provoke, we don't want a confrontation, and yet how can there be anything other than that? He knows that if he wants to take this message to the military, he wants them to hear the voices of the opposition protesters. I've seen it here on the ground before. Sometimes they are this close to troops, and you will have protesters yelling in their face, I know you want to join us, I know your family needs food, I know your family is also looking to medicine.

At that point at times it is like the confrontation we have already had, a violent week, Victor. Right here this is where the failed uprising happened on Tuesday. And now there has been a lot of confusion about where the opposition goes from here. I want you to listen now to Juan Guaido, the opposition leader, saying they continue to speak to the military at all levels including high ranks to get them to turn on Nicolas Maduro. Take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[10:25:00] JUAN GUAIDO, VENEZUELAN OPPOSITION LEADER (through translator): We are willing to talk to all the civil and military officials, with tall, no matter where they come from, who are willing to cooperate with the cessation of usurpation, the government of transition of free elections, because that is the mandate that I have by the constitution.


NEWTON: What's interesting here as well is that the opposition is listening very carefully of course to what the president said yesterday. Just to pick up on Sarah's conversation there, they're listening as well. So the president is saying that he has a humanitarian aim here. And while Juan Guaido has hinted that perhaps he might welcome some military intervention here, you have now the president trying to tamp down any expectations of that.

Before I let you go, through, there is that comeback from Nicolas Maduro, just this hour, doing military exercises in the west of the country. Victor and Christi, this looks like a man who is in control of his country. This week we have seen a lot of him at military exercises, at one point even having soldiers kneel in front of him, pledging their loyalty to him as president. Victor, Christi?

PAUL: So we see those pictures and wonder what is in store today. Thank you so much, Paula Newton, appreciate it.

BLACKWELL: And of course, we heard from the secretary of state that military activity is on the table for the U.S.

So let's talk about this contradiction rom President Trump, who says that President Putin is not looking to get involved in Venezuela. And then you have the Russians who have troops there in Venezuela, and you have the president's national security adviser and the secretary of state saying that Russia is involved, interfering there in Venezuela.

Let's bring in CNN political commentator and Republican strategist Alice Stewart and Maria Cardona, CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist.

Alice, let me start with you. Is the president lying? Straight out, believing Putin's story or bunk, or he has no idea what he's talking about? I wish there was a fourth option here, but if you compare what he said in the Oval Office yesterday, that Putin, quote, "is not looking to get at all involved in Venezuela," close quote, and what his secretary of state, the national security adviser, and what we know will happen tomorrow, the foreign minister from Venezuela will be in Russia, it seems like those are the only three. Which one is it?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Victor, you're completely right. We have three different versions of a story here, and it's really difficult to square the circle. But the reality is it's a terrible situation there. As Paula has indicated people there are suffering without food, and the conditions are terrible. But I think the most important thing that the president can do, which is what he has been doing, is stressing his support for Guaido and making sure he continues to reinforce pressure to have Maduro step down and leave the country so we can get the aid to the people there that need that. That's the most important thing.

BLACKWELL: Let me come back to the question, because it's hard to fight if you don't know the enemy, and you don't know the support the Maduro might have. Does he know and is not telling the truth? Or does he not know the reality that his secretary of state, the national security adviser, and what appears to be the activity from the Venezuelan government tell the rest of us is that Russia has a hand in what's happening in Venezuela?

STEWART: Victor, I'm going to take comfort in the fact that the president knows a lot more than what he is saying publicly, and based on what we heard from Pompeo and certainly from Venezuela this morning, Russia does have some involvement. To what degree and what their endgame is we certainly do not know. But more than anything, I trust that the president has a lot more intelligence than what he's letting on right now. But he is right to make sure that he does have a discussion with Russia, that the situation in Venezuela needs to be resolved, and it needs to be resolved safely and peacefully. And the most important thing is to have Maduro step down and to restore order to that --

BLACKWELL: Plenty of intelligence. The question has always been if the president believes it. Maria, let me come to you. Is it a lie? Is he believing the bunk? Is it that he's being gullible? Or he doesn't know what's happening?

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think that part of it is he's clueless, number one, and number two, that Putin is essential playing him yet again. And we're seeing this situation that we really shouldn't be surprised at, Victor, because how many times has President Trump taken the side of the Russians and of Putin over his own national security team, and frankly over the interests of the United States?

Look, clearly Russia is involved. We know that for a fact from so many people who have been involved on the ground in Venezuela and from people who actually know the intelligence. Russia is absolutely involved.

[10:30:04] And so for Trump to again tell the American people that he is taking the side of Putin over what his own national security team means, again, that he's either gullible, he's either clueless, or that yet again he prefers Russia's side of things. But that shouldn't surprise any of us. It should worry all of us, but it shouldn't surprise any of us because this is what this president does. He doesn't believe his own national security team. I don't know for what reason, but the fact of the matter is that it doesn't help the situation on the ground, and it is desperate.

BLACKWELL: Let me ask a larger question here, and Alice, I'll start with you, and then Maria, then we'll take a break and bring you back. What happened to the noninterventionist Trump from the campaign that says that the U.S. should not be getting into these fights around the world, America first, rebuild this country. What is the reason, the national security interest for the United States going and getting involved in Venezuela? Why is this the U.S.'s fight, Alice?

STEWART: Victor, I'm sure it's a lot different when you're looking at these situations from the Oval Office than looking at it from your home in New York City. And you cannot deny what we are seeing in the pictures and the images and the stories out of Venezuela of the people that are sick and hurting and being injured and need food. And from a humanitarian standpoint, the president realizes that they do need the help. And from a purely simple restoring democracy to the country is of utmost importance. It's beneficial to them and it's certainly beneficial to everyone.

BLACKWELL: There are sick, hungry, and people in pain around the world. The secretary of the state this week told FOX News that military options are still on the table, and if that's what they need to do to bring the change in the Venezuela, then that will be something the president will use. Why? This seems to be directly contradictory to what the president pitched when he was running for office, that the U.S. would not do something exactly like what they're considering, even if it's on the periphery of the considerations, in Venezuela.

STEWART: Well, Victor, it's like a lot of other conflicts throughout the world. When diplomatic optioning don't work and conversations don't work, then you have to put military options on the table. And this is the strategy we have in many other regions of the world. And this is I think the right move by the president and the administration to say all options are on the table. First and foremost is to restore peace and democracy to Venezuela.

BLACKWELL: All right, we're going to take a quick break. Maria, I'm going to start with you when we come back. We've got to talk more about this call with President Putin, also the new economic numbers, what that could mean for Democrats running in 2020. We'll take a break. We'll be back.


[10:36:25] BLACKWELL: Let's get back to today's headlines, President Trump's hour-long conversation with Russia President Vladimir Putin. Alice Stewart, Maria Cardona back here with us. One of the other parts of the discussion that we know was the investigation, the Mueller investigation, Maria, but meddling in the election, 2016 or the upcoming 2020, as many believe is still on the table for Russia, did not come up. Your thoughts on that? Because there are some who say that the government is working, although the president says that it's not something that he discusses.

CARDONA: Right. Well, there are several problems with this, Victor. The first one is, again, sadly it shouldn't surprise us because this president has never wanted to admit that Russia meddled in our 2016 election because I guess he feels that if he admitted that, then it would be undermining his victory because he would know, I think he does know that Russia helped him win. And so moving forward, though, that is an incredibly dangerous

position to be in because Russia did attack our democracy. It was an incredibly huge demonstration of what a foreign power can do when we sit back and let it happen. And that's what he's doing going into 2020. This was a huge cyberattack on our democracy and on our elections. And if he can't even admit it happened in 2016, what does that mean for 2020?

I actually have a theory, Victor, that perhaps he is not admitting, perhaps he didn't even talk to Putin about it because he wants and needs them to do it again in order to win in 2020. There really is no explanation to it, Victor.

STEWART: Hold on a minute. If we want to look at a president and what they're doing to Russia with regard to Russia meddle, I hate to play what about-ism, but let's go back to Barack Obama, and as president, he simply said, cut it out. See how much good that did.

CARDONA: Come on, Alice.

BLACKWELL: Before you get your point. Let's play the president, this is Thursday night on FOX News, making that point, expanding it a bit. Let's watch.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Obama in September before the November election, my November election, if you look, he was told by the FBI and others about Russia. He did nothing about it.


TRUMP: He could have done something. He could have called out the troops and he could have said let's look at this very closely. He did absolutely nothing.


BLACKWELL: Alice, contrast that with what we're seeing from this president. He hasn't even said to him, cut it out.

STEWART: OK, he has taken steps. If you recall after the election, he imposed sanctions on 16 Russian operatives for their involvement in Russian interference. And in addition to that, he has he taken stepped. We heard Attorney General Barr just the other day talk about how we need to harden our election infrastructure. We have the Department of Homeland Security, who is working currently with all 50 states, because, as you all know, elections are run independently in the 50 states. They're working to harden the infrastructure and increase the election integrity across the board in all these states.

Those are critical steps that need to be done on our end in order to safeguard our election process on our end. And certainly Russia knows that we are on the lookout and we're not going to tolerate that anymore, but we're taking the steps.

CARDONA: They don't --

STEWART: We're not previous, but we're taking the necessary steps that we can do to harden our infrastructure.

CARDONA: Not even close. Not even close.

[10:40:00] BLACKWELL: Maria, let me quickly. I have a little time left. I want to talk about 2020 and these economic numbers -- 263,000 jobs created in the month of April, unemployment down to the lowest in 49 years, 103rd straight month of job growth, 3.6 percent unemployment. If this continues, how are the Democrats going to beat that?

CARDONA: The same weigh that we did in November of 2018, Victor, by focusing on the issues. The number one issue that Americans are caring about right now is the health care.

And here is the big discrepancy or dichotomy or gap, if you will, in terms of the economic numbers. And yes, they are great, and for people who are on the stock market, which, by the way, is not the majority of Americans, that is wonderful.

There was a poll that came out, "Washington Post"/ABC News poll that came out a couple days ago that said that the majority of Americans believe this economy is only working for those who are at the top of it, for those who are the richest, for those who are already doing well. There's another Monmouth poll that came out that the majority of Americans aren't feeling the benefits of this economy. And so what Democrats are going to do, what worked very well for them in 2018 and what they're going to continue to focus on is they will fight for an economy that works for everyone. They're going to fight tooth and nail to make sure that Americans health care is not ripped out from under them, which is exactly what this president and Republicans want to do. And that that they're going to fight against the most corrupt administration in history.


CARDONA: There are three messages that are winning for us.

BLACKWELL: Alice, quickly, if you can.

STEWART: It's easy for the Democrats to say this is all about helping the wealthy, but the 263,000 people who got jobs last month I'm sure are thankful that they have a job. And certainly having unemployment across the board at 3.6 percent is certainly good news. And also if we want to throw in another important number, GDP at 3.2. So all the economic numbers are trending in a positive direction, and that is a good messaging point for this president. I hope that he continues to stay focused on driving the economy and jobs, the economy and jobs, from now until November of 2020. And that's a winning message.

Ideally, we could make some progress with regard to health care and securing the border and infrastructure, which happy infrastructure week once again. But that being said, if he can continue on the economy that's a winning message.

CARDONA: He can't even focus on his own economic message. So Democrats will.

BLACKWELL: Alice Stewart, Maria Cardona, thank you both. Got to wrap it there.

CARDONA: Thank you, Victor.

STEWART: Thanks, Victor.

PAUL: Thank you, ladies.

So former White House chief of staff and retired Marine general John Kelly has a new job, and there is some controversy attached for some. He's joined the board of director for Caliburn International. That, if you don't know, is the parent company of another business that shelters for unaccompanied migrant children. Kelly first raised the idea of separating migrant families when he was in charge of the Department of Homeland Security.

BLACKWELL: It is still early in the 2020 presidential race, but new polls show former Vice President Joe Biden with a commanding lead. We're going to break down the latest numbers after the break.

PAUL: And a quick programming note for you on our latest series. Dr. Sanjay Gupta voyages through one of the darkest, coldest countries to find some of the happiest people. What is their secret? Be sure to watch "Chasing Life with Dr. Sanjay Gupta." It's tonight, 9:00 p.m. eastern, right here on CNN.


[10:47:23] PAUL: Then there 21, and by next week possibly 22. The 2020 field of Democratic presidential candidates, it is growing. While the numbers at the bottom are changing, former Vice President Joe Biden maintaining a commanding lead in recent polls. CNN senior political writer, who else, Harry Enten, with us now. Harry, so good to see you. Happy Saturday. Talk to us about Joe Biden, where he stands, where he's going.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER AND ANALYST: Yes. Look at the polls right now. We had two new polls out this week, one from CNN, one from Quinnipiac University. And it's not just that Joe Biden is holding his lead. It is that he is expanding his lead. Look at that, near 40 percent in both of those polls, more than doubling up on the competition. Bernie Sanders, who was supposed in this top tier with Joe Biden in one of those polls, he's actually in third place behind Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden. So right now Joe Biden, yes, it is early, but I think we can all say that he had a very successful launch to his campaign.

PAUL: You mentioned, yes, it's early. Do you see any patterns emerging?

ENTEN: I think that there are a number of patterns that are emerging in the polls across demographic lines, as well as across ideological lines. We can talk, for instance, let's talk about age, for example. If we look at age, what we see so far, look at this. This is something that I think is very, very important that you see on the screen right now. I think a lot of people think that the Democratic Party is young, that it's college educated, that it's very liberal. But in fact, it's not any of those things. It's older. Voters tend not to have a college degree, and more than that, they tend to call themselves moderate or conservative, not very, very liberal.

So let's take a look at age. Let's take a look at how age is breaking down the Democratic primary. And what you see so far is that Joe Biden is overwhelmingly winning the votes of those voters aged 50 and older. Among those 18-49, it's a closer race, but those 50 and older actually make up a slight majority of the voters. So I think that's a very key point.

We can also look at education. And what you see among those voters who do not have a college degree is that Joe Biden is more than tripling the competition right now with Bernie Sanders, this is the CNN poll, versus those who have a college degree, it's a closer race. But again, Joe Biden is winning the lion's share of the voters who make up the majority of the Democratic Party.

And finally, ideology, take a look at this. I think this is just so important. What we see is a very close race among those who are very, very liberal, but they only make up about 20 percent of the party. In the center of the part, somewhat liberal. And then in the center of the electorate, moderate conservatives, Joe Biden more than tripling the competition. So what has essentially happened in this primary field so far is we've seen more candidates than ever go to the left side of the party, but that is not where the voters are. And Joe Biden right now is where the voters are, and that is why he leads with such a large margin so far.

PAUL: This is going to be interesting. Glad that you are at the helm to walk us through it. Harry Enten --

[10:50:10] ENTEN: I'm at the helm. I'm doing my thing, and then afterwards I'm going to get some turkey pepperoni, pull it on some roll, toast it up, eat it with a diet orange soda. I'm going to enjoy it tremendously.

PAUL: That is a breakfast of champions.

ENTEN: That's how I got my brainpower.

PAUL: I love it. Thank you so much.

ENTEN: Thank you.

PAUL: We'll be right back.


BLACKWELL: In many parts of the world menstruation is considered taboo. It not only makes monthly periods extremely stressful for girls, but it also limits what they can achieve. Meet one of this year's top 10 CNN heroes, who struggled with this growing up in Ethiopia and who designed a solution to change her country's culture.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In Ethiopia most women and girls do not have access to sanitary pads. Many girls stay at home during their period. They are scared and ashamed. Half of the population is dealing with this issue, but no one is willing to talk about it. I knew that I have to make a product that helped these women and girls to get on with their lives. All I want is all girls to have dignity, period.


PAUL: To see the rest of this story or to nominate a CNN Hero, go to

[10:55:03] We hope you make good memories today. We always appreciate the fact that you wake up on your weekend and you let us wake you up, too. So don't forget to tweet us, we love to hear from you, Christi_Paul, or Victor Blackwell on Twitter, on Instagram @ChristiPaulTV.

BLACKWELL: Yes, and on Instgram it's @VictorBlackwell, and we just recorded a video during the break and posted it.

PAUL: We did. And we had a little poll. We asked you a question. We want to know what you think.

BLACKWELL: Much more ahead in the next hour of CNN Newsroom. Fredricka Whitfield is up next.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. It's 11:00 on the east coast. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Thank you so much for joining me this Saturday.

We begin with this breaking news. Right now a search-and-rescue operation is on hold in Waukegan, Illinois, after a massive explosion at a silicone plant. We are just learning that one person was found dead, and two others are missing. The search has been called off for now due to dangerous conditions. Meanwhile, four people are hospitalized with injuries. The blast, we are told, could be felt for miles shaking the ground as far as Wisconsin. CNN's Ryan Young joins my on the phone right now. So what more can you tell us about this explosion?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fred, when you look at this video, you can see just how powerful this explosion was.