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Deadly Russian Plane Fiery Landing; The 2020 Democrats Campaign Across America; House Judiciary Gives Deadline for Mueller to Testify; U.S Unemployment Lowest Since 1969; Rep. Jeh Johnson (D-RI) is Interviewed About the Russia Investigation, Election Security and ICE; Many Palestinians and Israelis killed as Fighting Intensifies; North Korea Launches Short Range Missile to Sea; Exploited Undocumented Workers in the Trump Organization; Elie Honig Answers Questions About Bill Barr, Robert Mueller and Congress. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired May 5, 2019 - 17:00   ET



ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: At least 13 people including two children are dead. We also have these pictures showing the plane as it was forced to make an emergency landing in Moscow shortly after taking off from the same airport.

Flames and billowing black smoke clearly visible as that plane touches down, and even more video taken from the ground level capturing some of the 78 passengers and crew members evacuating on an emergency slide near the front of the jet while flames, you can see, devour the tail section.

Russia is now launching a criminal probe. I want to bring in CNN senior international correspondent, Fred Pleitgen, who joins us from Finland. Fred, do you know how long this plane was in the air before it returned and what are you hearing about what happened?

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana. The plane was really not in the air very long. I actually took off from that very same airport, from Sheremetyevo Airport just a couple of hours before that plane took off, and they were forecasting some thunderstorms for that area.

Now, it's big question that's going to be asked is whether or not weather might have played a role in that plane having to declare that emergency. But apparently what happened is the plane took off from Sheremetyevo Airport in the afternoon hours, then almost immediately declared an emergency and then touched down about 26 minutes after having taken off.

Now, what we're hearing is that it was a pretty hard landing and that apparently that fire that we're seeing on all of those videos that looks so horrible obviously much more so for the people who were inside that aircraft, that apparently happened just as the plane touched down.

Now, of course the people who were there at that airport, it was an incredibly terrible sight to see and the people who were on that aircraft -- we saw that video of the people there screaming in despair, screaming in fear as that plane was careening down the runway then seemed to slide off the runway in the end as it came to a halt, and then obviously people trying to get off that aircraft.

Now, we do have some new information, Ana, that we just got a couple of minutes ago that apparently, the head of the or the representative of the investigative committee that's investigating this crash apparently now says that they can only confirm that 37 people survived the crash and that 41 people have either been declared dead or are still unaccounted for.


So, that investigation is moving forward, but it certainly looks as though this could be a disaster on a far greater scale than we were thinking just a couple of minutes ago. But again, the plane went up few minutes later, it declared an emergency and then made that very, very hard landing there on Sheremetyevo Airport.

And as you already know, that Vladimir Putin gave his condolences, but then also said that there is going to be a very thorough investigation to what happened. And of course, we saw the wreckage of that plane after the fire was finally put out and you can see that the entire rear section pretty much everything after the engines behind the engines seem to be completely burned out.

The tail fin seems to have completely been basically burned away, has been completely destroyed. So, easy to see that there might have been people who have not survived and have not been able to get out of that plane as it was engulfed in those flames, Ana.

CABRERA: Wow. The pictures are just terrifying and obviously so many more questions than we have answers for at this moment. Thank you, Fred Pleitgen. Keep us updated.

Now, the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates here in the U.S. are hitting the campaign trail hard this weekend, with so many players in the mix, there is some jockeying to claim a lane. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi offering some advice this weekend. She is pushing her party to focus on bread and butter issues, like healthcare and wages instead of worrying about President Trump or the possibility of impeachment at this point.

Are the candidates following that guidance? Let's check in with our reporters fanned out all across the country following the action today. Nia-Malika Henderson is in Detroit with the Kamala Harris campaign, Jeff Zeleny is in Spencer, Iowa with Bernie Sanders and Vanessa Yurkevich in North Charleston, South Carolina with Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Let's start with you Nia-Malika. We know Kamala Harris has been fundraising off her questioning of Attorney General William Barr this week, but what's her strategy for tonight's event there in Detroit?

NIA-MALIKA HANDERSAON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, she's here in Detroit. She's going to get a crowd of about 5,000 people before an NAACP dinner in Detroit, of course, an overwhelmingly black city. This will be an overwhelmingly black crowd as well. She really wants to focus tonight on the idea of electability.

It's a word we've heard so much about during this cycle and she really wants to sort of reclaim it and say that electability isn't just about a certain type of voter in the Midwest. It's just not about a white- working class voter. It's also about African-American voters. It's a much broader idea that pundits don't often like to talk about.

And so I think that's one of the things she'll try to do. If you talk to African-Americans, talk to African-Americans here, talk to African- Americans in different parts of the country, and there is some skepticism about whether or not the country is ready to elect an African-American woman as president. A woman of any color really.

[17:05:04] So, I think that is what she's getting at because you see in these early polls so far that Biden has the electability market cornered even among African-Americans. He is doing much better than a candidate like Kamala Harris.

So she's going to come here tonight in front of this crowd of African- Americans and basically implore them to think differently about her candidacy and differently about who is electable to the White House.

CABRERA: Meantime, we have Bernie Sanders launching a new plan to attract heartland voters. A program to rebuild and reinvest in rural America. Jeff, tell me about his thinking here.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well Ana, Bernie Sanders as you can see, is speaking right behind me here at a town hall meeting in Spencer. I'll keep my voice down a little bit here but Senator Sanders is definitely reaching out to rural Iowans.

He had a speech on A.G. policy earlier in the day and he is going to many rural areas including Clay County here. President Trump carried this county by a wide margin in the general election. But four years ago, Bernie Sanders really ran (inaudible) and the Iowa caucuses, it's key to get support all across the state.

So, Bernie Sanders here, talking about the economy, talking about healthcare. He is essentially following Speaker Pelosi's advice if you will by focusing on those issues. Impeachment, other matters is not coming up here at all.

In fact, he has said that he believes the House should continue to investigate but not talk about that directly on the campaign trail. So Bernie Sanders' bread and butter issues here in Spencer. A couple of hundred people here are still going to hear him speak and then he'll be taking questions from them as well, Ana.

CABRERA: OK, let's head to South Carolina and Vanessa Yurkevich, people have questioned Mayor Pete's ability to connect with people of color. How is he addressing that in South Carolina?

VANESS YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS REPORTER: Hi Ana. Yes, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is here in South Carolina to try to meet with black voters here in the state. We're in West Charleston where about 50 percent of the population is African-American. And according to his campaign, tonight he's going to continue to talk about what he calls his agenda for black America.

And he lists five pillars and that he's going to be talking about this evening, housing, healthcare, education, entrepreneurship and criminal justice reform. Now, according to our CNN poll, he's polling at about 7 percent nationally. That has him in the top 5, but when we look at where he's polling with non-whites, he's polling at about 3 percent.

So we started to get the ball rolling on this earlier last week when he met with Reverend Al Sharpton in Harlem at the famed Sylvia's restaurant. It's a traditional stop for Democratic presidential candidates. And he asked Reverend Sharpton what his advice would be for coming here to south Carolina.

And the reverend said just be who you are. So we'll see tonight whether or not people here in the audience will connect with the message that Mayor Pete Buttigieg is sending here this evening, Ana.

CABRERA: Nia, Buttigieg and his husband were on the cover of "Time" magazine this week. We've obviously all seen the Beto O'Rourke cover of "Vanity Fair." Where are the women? Why aren't they getting the same kind of treatment?

HENDERSON: This is a conversation that I think that people are having. The women, you know, you look at 2018, that was sort of the year of the woman. The year of 2020 in some ways is shaping up to be the year of the white male in some ways.

If you look at the number of white men who are running and certainly the people who are polling in the top, you know, spots, whether it's Biden, Buttigieg or whether it's Bernie Sanders. So there are questions about the coverage. And also just about how voters feel about the chances of electing a woman.

In some ways, Hillary Clinton might have done women a disservice in terms of believing that a woman could beat Donald Trump , right, that historic loss for her in 2016. And now I talked to voters here, I talked to one voter about Kamala Harris and she likes Kamala Harris but she herself said that the country isn't ready to elect a female.

And in talking to other voters, they think the same thing. And in some ways, that's what Kamala Harris is going to address here tonight. We see this event gets starred here and so we'll see. Again, it's early in the cycle. Some people have gotten obviously covers on major magazines. We'll soon be able to get some (ph).

CABRERA: All right. There's still time. Nia-Malika Henderson, Jeff Zeleny and Vanessa Yurkevich, thank you all.

Now, Friday's jobs report shows the nations unemployment rate dropping to 3.6 percent, a number not seen since December of 1969. The economy added another 263,000 jobs last month, a record 103-straight months of job growth. So U.S. economy is roaring. But are some of the most engaged Democratic primary voters prepared to

give President Trump any credit for the economy? CNN asked just that on the campaign trail this weekend. Watch this.


[17:09:53] HOWARD HART, DEMOCRATIC VOTER: I think it is our system of economic justice and income inequality that is the largest issue to address because it factors into everything throughout our lives, including big issues like healthcare and things like that.

CONNIE DANEY, DEMOCRATIC VOTER: There may be jobs coming in, but the pay rate needs to be better. The cost of living is so high the minimum wage is so low, I mean, people are really struggling.

JIM CLARK, DEMOCRATIC VOTER: I think that when you pump as much money into the economy through tax cuts for the wealthy, it's bound to trickle a little bit, but I do not see this as sustainable.

ADAVID EDMOND, DEMOCRATIC VOTER: Always the economy most importantly. The tide rises when you bring everybody up. Just bring a few up, others stay behind, you don't do very well.


CABRERA: To testify or not to testify? Two different answers when it comes to whether Robert Mueller should appear before the House Judiciary Committee. Hear what the president is saying in whether Mueller might accept their invitation.


CABRERA: The push to have Special Counsel Robert Mueller testify on Capitol Hill is intensifying. According to one congressman, it's already on the House Judiciary Committee's calendar.


REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI): A tentative date has been set of May 15th, and we hope the Special Counsel will appear. We think the American people have a right to hear directly from him.


[17:14:57] CABRERA: They later clarified that while a date for Mueller's testimony hasn't been solidified, May 15th has been formally proposed to the Special Counsel. No comment right now from Mueller's spokesman however. >

Meanwhile, the president is weighing in again tweeting, "Bob Mueller should not testify." Keep in mind just last Friday the president said it was up to the attorney general whether Mueller should testify. And joining us now is Jeh Johnson, who served as Homeland Security Secretary under President Obama. Secretary, good to see you.


CABRERA: Do you think it's important for Mueller to testify?

JOHNSON: I believe that there is a public interest in the Congress calling Robert Mueller to testify. You recall the Watergate hearings, for example, there were extensive hearings, extensive public testimony about things that went on during the Nixon administration. Particularly as an election approaches and this president appears to be standing for re-election. There's a public interest in knowing exactly what happened and how it happened.

CABRERA: And when we talk about what happened, how it happened, the Mueller report obviously really dived into and dissected how Russia interfered in the election. You were at the head of DHS during that time, 2016, as we were learning that they were interfering. Did you learn anything from the Mueller report that you weren't aware of during that time?

JOHNSON: The indictments of the Russian government officials for hacking into the DNC, for the misinformation campaign were quite extensive. They are what we referred to -- I used to be a prosecutor myself speaking indictments -- that in extraordinary detail laid out exactly what the Russians did to get into the e-mails and exactly what they did to spread misinformation extremist views during the campaign.

I thought that that information was very useful and I definitely learned a lot. We knew a fair amount in 2016 as things were unfolding, but now two years later, three years later we know a lot more. We're in a position to know a lot more and I think the American people need to understand the extent to which the Russian government interfered in our democracy in 2016.

CABRERA: Knowing now what you didn't know then, would you have done anything differently, do you think, at the time if you had had the knowledge that you have now?

JOHNSON: Hindsight is brilliant and we were facing an unprecedented situation, an unfolding situation. I'm quite sure that had we had the benefit three years ago of everything we know now we probably would have done things differently.

CABRERA: You're a lawyer. Your thoughts on impeachment -- because we know Democrats are continuing to investigate some of these investigations spawned from what they learned in the Mueller report.

JOHNSON: Right. Well, I'll give you an interesting legal fact that I don't hear too often. Even if the president were impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate, there's nothing in the constitution that says he couldn't stand for re-election in 2020 and be on the ballot all through the period of time impeachment is working its way through the Congress.

So, as we get closer and closer to this election cycle, we're actually in the election cycle now, I kind of agree with Nancy Pelosi, that this is something that should be left to the voters. Now that we're in this election season again, we are a democracy and ultimately it should be up to the voters this close to an election to decide whether or not President Trump deserves re-election or it's time for someone else.

CABRERA: Let's talk about the upcoming election in 2020 because last time we spoke a few things have happened since then. We know -- we've learned that former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen tried to talk about election security and Russian interference with the president and was warned don't go there, don't go there with the president from his now acting chief of staff.

We also have learned recently that the president had this phone call this week with Vladimir Putin which he did not bring up election meddling, even though his intel chiefs are saying Russia is still interfering. Should the president have confronted Putin head on about this election interference?

JOHNSON: Yes. The president's -- the number one obligation of a president of the United States is the safety and security of the American people. The number two obligation of a president of the United States in my judgment is the safety and security of our democracy. And that overrides -- that obligation to the American people overrides any political interest, any personal desires, any personal preferences.

And so whoever the president of the United States is, if we know and we do know that a foreign government has attempted to interfere in our democracy, is attempting, will attempt to interfere in our democracy, it's the obligation of a president to confront his Russian counterpart with that information, absolutely.

CABRERA: I wonder what that would accomplish. And I ask that because we all remember President Obama did confront President Putin then, told him to cut it out. And yet we have the Mueller report and we see how extensive their interference was and continued to be.

[17:19:58] JOHNSON: Well, I'll give the Trump administration some credit for the sanctions that they have imposed, but ultimately Vladimir Putin is probably taking his signals from the very top. If the Russian government gets the sense from this president that he doesn't take it that seriously and won't take it that seriously if it happens again , that offers little deterrent.

In the world of cyber security, cyber warfare so to speak, nation states respond to sufficient deterrents and you have to make the behavior cost prohibitive for a nation state before they'll stop and actually be deterred.

CABRERA: Let me pivot because today the president announced he has a new pick to lead ICE, Mark Morgan.


CABRERA: You know him. He served under you actually --

JOHNSON: Interesting choice.

CABRERA: -- at the end of the Obama administration. Why do you call him an interesting choice?

JOHNSON: Mark Morgan was hired to be the chief of the Border Patrol in 2016 in the Obama administration. We brought him in -- it was an unprecedented move because he had never served in the Border Patrol. He was career FBI.

The commissioner of CBP and I thought he would be an excellent choice and then he was abruptly let go in the very early days of the Trump administration for reasons I don't fully understand. And now he's being hired to be the ICE Director. So, we'll have to see what happens. It's a Senate-confirmed position and, interesting choice, interesting turn of events.

CABRERA: Do you think he will make a good ICE Director?

JOHNSON: From my limited experience with him, I thought he was a good Border Patrol chief. I think some of his political rhetoric of late has been a little absolutist. I think any Border Patrol expert knows that border security is a complicated matter. It's not black or white.

CABRERA: I know you haven't necessarily been supportive of the idea of a wall accomplishing what the president wants to accomplish. He is somebody who is a huge proponent of the wall.

JOHNSON: Ask any Border Patrol expert what is needed on our southern border. They will tell you it's a range of surveillance, lights, roads, planes, unmanned aerial vehicles, more aircraft and barriers, fence, wall in the places where it makes sense on our southern border given the terrain to have such things.

We already do have a wall, Ana, of 654 miles on our southern border built pursuant to the Secure Fence Act of 2006, in the places where it makes sense to have barrier or wall. Could some of that be fortified or replaced? Quite possibly.

You would have to ask the Border Patrol experts. So I don't see this as a black and white issue. You can't have a wall from sea to shining sea like others have said.

CABRERA: Secretary Johnson, thank you. Good to have you with us.

JOHNSON: Thanks a lot.

CABRERA: Deadly rockets crisscrossing the skies over Gaza. But today, Israel and the Palestinians are pointing fingers at each other over at least one deadly blast. A live report, next.


CABRERA: More breaking news this hour. A rising death toll on both sides in the escalating conflict between Israel and Gaza militants. Officials are now saying at least 22 Palestinians and 4 Israelis have been killed. This is the bloodiest fighting there since 2014. Let's get straight to CNN's Oren Lieberman in Israel. Oren, what is the latest? OREN LIEBERMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There are intensive efforts behind

the scenes we've learned from a source with direct knowledge of the negotiations to try to bring together and try to restore a ceasefire that had held for most of the last month. That source says that Egypt and the U.N. who have been the moderators here are negotiating, are mediating between all of the sides here.

Israel, of course here, and then Hamas and Palestinian Islamic jihad inside of Gaza. Is that in place? Does that hold? Of course, we'll find out in the next few hours as we see whether the situation is restored to come or whether it continues to escalate.

To this point, as we enter a second fight of fighting, Israel says more than 600 rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel. Some shorter range rockets that would be around the areas that were sitting in here just north of Gaza and Ashkelon and more powerful medium range rockets that have reached some of the larger cities in southern Israel.

According to Israeli officials four have been killed in Israel. Meanwhile, the Israeli military has carried out a wave of air strikes against more than 320 targets inside of Gaza that they say belong to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic jihad.

Though started with smaller military posts and have escalated to multi-story buildings that Israel says are terror infrastructure for the militant groups, and then a targeted killing a Gaza official, the first we have seen in several years from the Israeli military.

Palestinian officials as you point out say that more than 20, 23 to this point, Palestinians have been killed in the fighting. Where does this go from here? Ana, as I mentioned, there are efforts to try to restore a cease fire.

We're entering a second night of hostilities. We'll see how it progresses. I suspect we'll have an answer by morning as to whether the fighting continues or whether there is in fact a cease fire between Israel and Gaza, two enemies that know each other so well over years of hostilities.

CABRERA: Oren Lieberman, thank you for that reporting.

There are new questions tonight about the future of the already delicate relationship between the U.S. and North Korea. We have exclusive new photos and new details about North Korea's latest test launch next.


CABRERA: CNN has some exclusive satellite images of North Korea's newest missile launch. You can see the smoke trail following the rocket, which experts say indicates a short-range ballistic missile. State media reports the regime was testing long-range multiple rocket launchers. Now firing tactical guided weapons into the East Sea.

They say North Korea's Kim Jong-un ordered the drill and personally supervised the testing. This, on the heels of Kim's first-ever meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and following of course, the collapse of the Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi. Still Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insists there remains a path forward between the U.S. and North Korea on nuclear negotiations.


MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: So, we know a couple things. One, at no point was there ever any international boundary crossed, that is they landed in the water east of North Korea and didn't present a threat to the United States or to South Korea or Japan.

And we know that they were relatively short range. And beyond that -- we know there weren't intercontinental ballistic missiles either. And beyond that, I'll leave the Department of Defense to characterize this when further information arrives.

We still believe that there's an opportunity to get a negotiated outcome where we get fully verified denuclearization. Chairman Kim has repeated. He's repeated that quite recently, in fact. And so we hope that this act that he took over the weekend won't get in the way. We want to get back at the table. We want to continue to have these conversations.


CABRERA: CNN's Boris Sanchez is at the White House. Boris, with this new information, the new photos, pointing to this being a short-range missile test, any response from the White House?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Not much other than what we've already seen, Ana. Earlier this week, rather last week, the White House has put out a statement saying that they were monitoring the situation and we saw a tweet from President Trump making a personal appeal to Kim Jong-un.

The president again touting the promise of economic prosperity for North Korea as a reason for Kim Jong-un to abandon this generations long quest to arm North Korea with nuclear weapons. No little rocket man or fire and fury the likes of which the world has never seen this time around.

The White House essentially is saying that they're tolerating this provocation from North Korea because, as you heard there from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, these weren't intercontinental ballistic missiles. They landed in international waters but they weren't a threat to the United States, to Japan or to South Korea.

Pompeo, again, has talked about the progress that has been made between the two nations toward denuclearization despite the fact, Ana, as you know, that just a few weeks ago, North Korea essentially asked for Mike Pompeo to step down as the lead negotiator in denuclearization talks.

[17:35:03] So the White House taking a very patient approach, looking at these missile launches as a minor provocation, not reacting to them the way that we saw the president respond to North Korea previously. Ultimately, whether this leads to progress and denuclearization talks or not, yet to be seen, but from the White House's perspective, they are remaining optimistic, Ana.

CABRERA: OK, Boris Sanchez at the White House. Thank you.

A new report accuses the Trump organization of taking advantage of undocumented workers by using their status against them to force them to work extra hours, sometimes without pay. The story's reporter joins us live, next.


CABRERA: A prominent organization accused of taking advantage of people in this country illegally, seeming to have no issue with employing undocumented workers to serve the rich and famous, but also allegedly using their status to force them to work extra hours for no pay, while denying them healthcare coverage and basic rights other workers enjoy.

[17:39:54] To be clear, we are talking about new allegations facing the Trump organization. Joshua Partlow is a reporter for "The Washington Post." This was an exhaustive report from you and your colleague, David Fahrenthold. Take us through this story. What exactly are the allegations and who is making them?

JOSHUA PARTLOW, NATIONAL REPORTER, WASHINTON POST: Hi, Ana. Yes, so the allegations are that over several years, the undocumented employees at one of Trump's golf courses in Westchester, New York were basically not paid fairly. They were asked to clock out and then continue working late into the night. That their bosses -- a practice their bosses called side work.

They were not paid sufficient overtime. They said they generally often had to come to special banquets and parties and work extra hours. And that they also didn't receive the type of benefits and vacation and other perks that employees with regular papers had.

CABRERA: There are a number of things that stuck out to me as I read your article, one of them was that one of the men who is now telling his story says this took place over about 10 years that he was there. He left just a year ago well into the Trump presidency. How far back does this practice go by the Trump organization, the hiring and alleged mistreatment of these undocumented immigrants?

PARTLOW: Yes. From what we have seen now across a range of Trump golf courses and properties that the practice went back as long as these golf courses were in operation. Another course we wrote about, the workers, undocumented workers from Costa Rica helped build the actual golf holes and did the construction.

They worked in the -- as housekeepers and the kitchen staff. This Westchester course we wrote about in the recent story, these were mostly kitchen staff and housekeepers who were involved in this work for many years.

CABRERA: And why are they sharing their story now?

PARTLOW: So, now there's an investigation going on by the New York State Attorney General into these practices. So, a lot of these workers, about more than two dozen we have been told have met with prosecutors in New York to describe their working conditions at the Trump golf course. And so, they are in a process of collecting information and looking into whether the working conditions there violated any labor laws in the state.

And from what we have been told, the inquiry is focusing on these potential wage violations and this, you know, whether these employees were discriminated against for being undocumented or whether they were being paid fairly.

CABRERA: Do you have a sense of just how widespread this is?

PARTLOW: Well, from what we have seen now it seems like a lot of the Trump properties have relied on undocumented labor well into his presidency. I mean, golf courses in New York and New Jersey, "The New York Times" has written about workers in Florida.

Univision recently reported on undocumented workers that are still working at the Trump winery in Charlottesville, Virginia. So, I mean, I've personally spoken with 36 undocumented workers who have worked at various Trump golf courses and I imagine there are more out there.

CABRERA: The Trump organization had this response to your story. I quote, "This story is total nonsense and nothing more than unsubstantiated allegations from illegal immigrants who unlawfully submitted fake identification in an effort to obtain employment." To your knowledge, was the Trump organization aware that they were hiring undocumented immigrants?

PARTLOW: You know, you hear a lot that the managers at the clubs themselves were aware, I mean, to a man, the workers have told me that they believe their bosses were aware that they were undocumented. One of the most interesting things that we heard in this recent story was that a manager at the Westchester golf club said that the headquarters, Trump headquarters in New York City would -- was concerned they were paying too much overtime at the club and told them to cut costs.

And so these managers responded by implementing this policy of asking the workers at the golf course to clock out and then continue working unpaid hours. And that was -- and the manager said that was done with the complete knowledge that they were undocumented and they wouldn't have much recourse to complain about that kind of practice.

CABRERA: Wow, Joshua Partlow, great reporting. Thank you very much for sharing it with us.

PARTLOW: Thanks a lot. I appreciate it.

CABRERA: In North Carolina this hour, friends and family of Riley Howell are saying their good-byes. These are live pictures from the memorial services that are under way right now in Howell's hometown in North Carolina.

Howell, a 21-year-old University of North Carolina Charlotte senior died Tuesday putting the safety of others before his own. The ROTC cadet is credited with stopping a campus gunman who opened fire in a classroom.

[17:45:02] Howell and another student were killed. Four others were injured. For his bravery, Howell is being given full military honors. Howell's body was brought home to Waynesville, earlier in the week with the police escort and his obituary read, "Riley died the way he lived, putting others first."

One of Howell's best friends spoke at his memorial just a few moments ago. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From the beginning, I could see his love for others through the little things like offering to carry the heaviest bag or fighting for the right to cook us all dinner up at camp which I was fine with because as some of you know, he made some damn good food especially his fried chicken.

Through our long days at the farm is where I met the real Riley, a person not many were fortunate enough to know. During the summers we were always outside riding the gator to spots deep in the woods where we could explore and wander, leaving our serious personas behind. He taught me so much about life and consequently myself on these walks through the woods. And I will remember these moments for the rest of my life.


CABRERA: Rest in piece Riley Howell. We'll be right back.


[17:49:57] CABRERA: An update to breaking news we continue to follow here at CNN. The death toll in that fiery Russia plane crash has now gone up to 41. Forty-one people confirmed dead. This is video taken from inside the jet showing the horror as a fireball erupted and engulfed the plane.

It was forced to make an emergency landing as the plane was on fire. This was shortly after takeoff from the same airport. Russian officials say they're now launching a criminal investigation. Much more on this story at the top of the hour.

In the meantime, produce the documents or be held in contempt. That is the ultimatum the House Judiciary Committee is giving Attorney General Bill Barr, to deliver the full unredacted Mueller report and relevant underlying evidence. The deadline is 9:00 a.m. tomorrow.

And that brings us to our weekly segment "Cross-Exam" with CNN legal analyst Elie Honig. He's here of course to answer your questions about legal issue. He's a former federal and state prosecutor. Elie, one viewer points out that Barr argues the president did not obstruct justice because there was no underlying crime. Do you need an underlying crime to obstruct justice?

ELI HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Short answer is no, Ana. You know, throughout the time I was watching Barr testify, I kept thinking I wish we could put our viewers' questions directly to him, because I thought overall his testimony was frankly an embarrassment. For the attorney general of the United States to give testimony that was at times not credible, not convincing, not even correct, and this viewer's question I think points that out.

So, Mueller in his report gives us 11 different instances of what he calls potentially obstructive conduct. And one of the early questions asked to Barr was, well, how did you just sweep all that stuff away and say no obstruction? And Barr's answer was, well, one of the big factors was there was no underlying crime, there was no proven conspiracy with Russia.

But under the law it does not matter. You do not need some separate crime in order to charge obstruction of justice. There are famous examples of this. Martha Stewart was charged of an obstruction crime with no separate crime. Scooter Libby, who was Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, same thing.

Roger stone, he's not been convicted yet, but he was charged of obstruction with no underlying crime. And President Clinton was impeached just for obstruction with no underlying crime. So that was just an inaccurate piece of testimony right there.

CABRERA: Interesting. He, of course, testified before the Senate, but he didn't testify -- was a no show --

HONIG: Right.

CABRERA: -- for the House Judiciary Committee. And another viewer asked, what can the House of Representatives do now that Barr refused to show up for his second testimony?

HONIG: And the same question goes to if he doesn't produce the unredacted report by tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. So Congress has three options, all of them imperfect. Number one, they can declare the person in contempt of Congress. That's largely symbolic. There's actually a little jail cell on the grounds of Congress, but it's more symbolic than anything --

CABRERA: The attorney general can be like, uh-uh.

HONIG: I don't think he's going to end up in there. It hasn't been used in many decades. Number two, they can refer a case for criminal contempt. The problem is, where does that go? The Department of Justice, which is headed by Bill Barr so I would not count on them to do much with that.

The third one, which is where we may well end up if they don't reach a negotiated disposition, is a lawsuit in civil court, but the problem there is timing. It's going to take months to get through the courts, maybe even years to get through the courts. So delay I think works in the Trump administration's favor.

Now, a lot of our viewers asked, can an attorney general be impeached? And the answer is yes. Impeachment is not just for presidents. It can be -- federal judges have been impeached and cabinet officials have been impeached in the 1800s. So, yes, an attorney general can be impeached. I don't think it's particularly likely here for Bill Barr given all the political realities, but it's possible.

CABRERA: And there's increasing pressure for Robert Mueller himself to testify. We are discussing how May 15th is a date that's been thrown out there. That's not confirmed yet. Here's a question that I imagine Congress would want to ask Mueller. This comes from a viewer, "why would Mueller investigate for nearly two years without providing clear and conclusive statements of his findings?"

HONIG: This seems to be a question that a lot of people agree on regardless of what side of the aisle you're coming from. And just recently, we saw Bill Barr criticize Mueller for not giving a straight thumbs up or thumbs down.

We saw the letter that came out late last week from the White House saying he showed up either indicted or said nothing. But of course the beauty of that from the White House perspective is it sets up this perfect catch-22 for the president, where you can't indict him under DOJ policy, and if you can't indict him, you can't say anything. That would give the president just a free pass.

Of course, the DOJ policy that you cannot indict a sitting president, which by the way, our viewers hate that. One of the top questions I get is what is with this policy? How could it be? But it is the policy. That clearly was a big problem for Robert Mueller. He talks about it a lot in the report.

And I think if and when he does testify, which is coming up potentially in a couple of weeks, one of the first questions will be, did that policy keep you from recommending an indictment, and if not for that, would you have indicted? That could be a million-dollar question.

CABRERA: We hope he testifies. We will be watching.

HONIG: It will be riveting.

CABRERA: Absolutely. What are your questions heading into the next week?

HONIG: So first of all, if Mueller testifies, will he contradict William Barr, right? We saw Bill Barr set up the conflict last week. He set up various things that he disagrees with Robert Mueller on. So look, it's only fair, you have to hear from the other person. And I think if it comes down to a battle of credibility, Bill Barr versus Robert Mueller, that's an easy one for Robert Mueller, but we'll see.

[17:54:54] Number two, will the House hold Bill Barr in contempt? Will we see them take those next steps and push the issue towards a showdown in the courts? And third of all, we have Don McGahn looming in the background here. He was White House counsel. He gave very damning evidence to Robert Mueller on obstruction.

The house has made clear they want to hear from him. Donald Trump has made clear he's not so sure if he wants to let McGahn testify. He's going to try to invoke executive privilege. That could lead us back into the courts. I do not think the executive privilege will hold. I do not think the president will be able to silence Don McGahn.

CABRERA: Okay. We'll be watching. Thank you so much.

HONIG: Thanks, Ana.

CABRERA: Elie Honig, always good to see you. And don't forget, if you have questions, logon to, the opinion section, and send your notes to Elie under his "Cross-Exam" segment. We'll be back with much more breaking news after this.


CABRERA: Years after a family's life was destroyed by a drunk driver, see what happens when they come face-to-face with the woman who was behind the wheel. "The Redemption Project" with Van Jones tonight at 9:00 followed by a brand-new "United Shades of America" at 10:00.

Just about 6:00 eastern, 3:00 in the afternoon out west. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. You're live in the "CNN Newsroom." We continue our breaking news coverage out of Russia. A huge spike in the death toll after a fireball erupted on this Russian passenger jet, forcing it to make an emergency landing in Moscow. We now know at least 41 people lost their lives.

[17:59:50] We have some new video taken inside the jet as the flames erupt and quickly spread. I have to warn you, it is disturbing.