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Democratic Presidential Candidates Speak At Forum In South Carolina; Democratic Presidential Candidate, Joe Biden Has Large Lead In Nevada; Police Pull Guns On Pregnant Woman And Children in Phoenix, Arizona; Authorities Question Suspect In David Ortiz Shooting; Seven Americans Die While Vacationing In The Dominican Republic; Presidential Candidate, Beto O'Rourke Supports Study On Reparations; First Mass To Be Held In Notre Dame After Fire. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired June 15, 2019 - 10:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:00:38] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: It's 10:00 on the dot on this Saturday morning. Good morning to you. Thank you for spending some time with us here. June 15th. I'm Christi Paul.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Martin Savidge in for Victor Blackwell. You are in the CNN Newsroom.

PAUL: Glad to have you here.

SAVIDGE: Thank you.

PAUL: And a couple of hours from now several 2020 Democrats are speaking at a presidential candidate's forum in South Carolina trying to court African-Americans.

SAVIDGE: The forum hosted by the Black Economic Alliance is all about promoting work, wages, and wealth in the black community. CNN Political Reporter, Rebecca Buck is outside of the event in Charleston, South Carolina.

Good morning, Rebecca. Tell us more about the importance of this event.

REBECCA BUCK, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Good morning, Martin. South Carolina is not only a key primary state in the Democratic primary, and the first primary state where the electorate will be comprised primarily of African-American voters, the majority will be African- American voters, but this is also a very important test for these candidates ahead of next weekend. We're going to have a very crowded weekend in South Carolina, 22 candidates lined up next weekend to be in the state for a major Democratic event.

Today in the event space behind me, there will be four candidates, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Beto O'Rourke, and Cory Booker are all stopping by South Carolina today to talk about economic priorities for African-Americans in particular. Cory Booker expected to talk about his signature baby bonds proposal to create a savings account for American children at birth and build their wealth over time, trying to eliminate the racial wealth gap with that proposal.

Elizabeth Warren this week proposed a federal account to invest in black entrepreneurs, people of color, entrepreneurs. And Beto O'Rourke yesterday in South Carolina, he was already in the state yesterday campaigning, he got a question about reparations. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BETO O'ROURKE, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The answer is yes. The path there, though, has to come through telling, learning, and sharing this American story with everyone. Then I think we define what reparations looked like and how we begin to make that repair.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BUCK: And as you know, Martin and Christi, yesterday we learned the groups for the first Democratic debate later this month. It just so happens that three of the four candidates who will be here in South Carolina today, Warren, Beto, and Cory Booker, all three will be on the same stage the first night of the debates. It will be interesting to see how they stack up here today, whether they are drawing any contrasts already between each other, among each other. And of course, we'll be looking for their reactions to the debate groupings as well. Martin and Christi.

PAUL: Rebecca Buck, we appreciate it so much. Thank you.

SAVIDGE: Meantime, former Vice President Joe Biden is coming up with a pretty good week. Two polls show him leading the 2020 Democratic pack by a huge margin. A new Monmouth University poll finds former Vice President Joe Biden leads with 36 percent. But it's not all good news. Writing in the Atlantic this week, David Graham says Biden's message is incoherent and, quote, "Biden sees Trump as aberrant. This allows Biden to offer a nostalgic campaign, which, as I have written, is itself an aberration among Democrats historically. Vote for me and we'll put things back the way they were."

David Graham joins us now. David, I read this article, and I do follow your message. But we're also looking at Joe Biden, he's way ahead in the polls. Isn't the message working, and what's wrong with that?

DAVID GRAHAM, STAFF WRITER, "THE ATLANTIC": I think there's a real connection between his standing in the polls and this message, because there is a real thirst, I think, among a lot of Democratic voters for things to go back to the way things were. And there's an idea that before 2016 things were just really hunky dory, and with the right candidate we can put that back. I think that's a potentially winning message. I also think it's probably not something that Biden or anybody else is really equipped to offer to voters. It doesn't work that way.

SAVIDGE: Correct. He is the one who has obviously had the job closest to the White House before as vice president. He's worked in public service a long, long time, more than I think all the others. So why shouldn't this continue to work for him? It seems to be implied in your article that eventually that this is all going to catch up with him, the nostalgia is going to wear off, and people will want to hear something more concrete?

[10:05:11] GRAHAM: I'm not sure that even -- I think there's a potential that Biden could get through the Democratic primary and even potentially win a general election with this message. I think where he's going to hit trouble is if he does win, trying to put this back. A lot of the currents we see that lead to our politics today may seem connected to Trump, but they are really years and decades long.

And so for one candidate to suggest that the Republican fever will break, as Barack Obama said, or the Republicans will come to their senses, as Biden has been saying this week, doesn't really accord with what we see in politics for many years.

SAVIDGE: In other words, even if Joe Biden gets in and, he said, look, I'll be able to bring these divided sides together again, you don't see that as actually reality.

GRAHAM: Exactly. I think it's good messaging, but it's not realistic politics.

SAVIDGE: But if the whole goal to get elected right now, isn't messaging the most important aspect?

GRAHAM: I think that's right, and I think you see that in the polling. It's clearly a message a lot of voters seem to be connecting with for Biden.

SAVIDGE: Many of the candidates have brought forward all sorts of policies, and they have outlined them in great detail. Elizabeth Warren has done tremendous work on this. Joe Biden right now doesn't seem to be a policy person. Do you think the electorate is wanting specific policies, or do you think right now they are just trying to figure out who these 20 people are?

GRAHAM: I think at this stage a lot of it trying to figure out who these people are. And there's also a question of who do I connect with. At this stage in the election I think there's a lot of understanding the personalities. It's not so much pouring through the platforms and seeing what specific policy on taxes or reparations or foreign policy you want.

You want to know who is the person who is telling you something that feels comforting and feels like what you want to see the nation doing. And polling suggests that's Biden. But you also see somebody like Elizabeth Warren rising in the polls with these very specific plans. So different voters are looking for different things.

SAVIDGE: Right. And I have noticed that dichotomy there you just pointed out.

We talked about the Monmouth poll that came out earlier in the week, and it still shows Biden leads significantly. But there's also some analysis that CNN has done, and it essentially says that to beat Biden you likely have to defeat him, and I'm talking about the other Democrats, of course, in Iowa and New Hampshire. Otherwise the rest of the race is after that, the primaries seem to be easier for him. Would you agree with that?

GRAHAM: Yes, I think that's right. We heard Rebecca in South Carolina, that's a state where Biden has run very strong in the past. He has a lot of support there now. And the nature of these campaigns is that once a candidate gets rolling and builds momentum, it's very hard to stop. We've seen that repeatedly. And I think that will be probably true again in the 2020 Democratic race.

SAVIDGE: Any advice you might have for Joe Biden after, say, the primaries if he doesn't want to stick with the message of nostalgia?

GRAHAM: I don't know. I try to stay out of offering advice to politicians. I think I'm probably bad at it. But I do think he's going to have a problem of keeping some of these promises if he thinks things will just go back to the way they were in the nostalgic past.

SAVIDGE: That could be true of many of these Democratic candidates, too, because if the Senate remains in Republican control, all of their policies will have a problem.

GRAHAM: Absolutely.

SAVIDGE: David Graham, thank you very much, appreciate it greatly.

GRAHAM: Thank you.

PAUL: This is tough video to watch. The shocking profanity laced arrest caught on camera in Arizona.

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(SHOUTING)

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PAUL: We're going to show you the whole thing. That is a Phoenix police officer threatening to shoot a pregnant mom after her daughter was accused of stealing a doll from a Dollar Store. What the girl's parents are doing now.

SAVIDGE: Plus, another tragic death involving an American tourist on vacation in the Dominican Republic. This time a New York City mother. Her son now desperately searching for answers into what happened.

PAUL: And the U.S. building a case against Iran after attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Details on actions the U.S. claims Iran took before and after those blasts, and why officials say all of it proves that Iran is, indeed, behind this.

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[10:12:52] PAUL: A couple in Arizona is planning to sue the city of Phoenix after officers pulled a gun on them and both of their children.

SAVIDGE: The couple says the officers approached their vehicle with guns drawn after their young daughter accidentally walked out of a Dollar Store with a doll. We have to warn you this video may be very difficult to watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out now. Get out the -- car. Get out of the -- car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you recording it

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I'm recording it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your hands up. Put your hands up. Hands up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't put my hands up. I have a baby in my hands. I can't. I'm pregnant. Officer, he's overdoing it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's over doing it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: This morning I spoke with Page Pate, a criminal defense attorney. Here was his reaction.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAGE PATE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: They completely overreacted. This is no a situation where police arrive on the scene. They think someone may be armed. There's been a report of a violent crime, an armed robbery, a murder. This is a shoplifting call.

And they arrive on the scene with what appears to be the intent to take these folks down. And when the people don't immediately respond to commands, which seem unreasonable from the beginning, then they really go over the top. So I think it's definitely excessive and really no justification given the circumstances.

PAUL: So the parents have a case for their $10 million?

PATE: They have a case. I didn't say $10 million. I think that number is certainly high. Normally in a situation like this where nobody lost their life, fortunately there wasn't a shooting. The cops didn't completely lose their minds and fire their weapons, I think $10 million is basically to grab the attention perhaps of people saying, look. this is serious and we're going to pursue it. But to say it's worth $10 million in this case, I think that's excessive.

PAUL: I only have a couple seconds left on this one, but what we're seeing here is very different than what we saw in the police report. It was a very watered-down report comparatively.

PATE: This is what happens now that we have video.

[10:15:00] I can't count the times I've been in court and I've questioned an officer about apprehending a suspect. And it's also been, I approached him in a calm demeanor. I asked him to politely get out of the car. Now we actually see what happens. And it is very different from the police report.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: Here's another story we've been following closely. Prosecutors in the David Ortiz shooting say that they hope to release details on a motive in the case as soon as this week. Nine suspects are in custody right now after the baseball legend was shot in the back at a nightclub in the Dominican Republic. Dominican police are looking for a possible tenth suspect. The accused gunman says Ortiz was not his intended target and that he got confused by Ortiz's clothing.

PAUL: According to Dominican media, Rolfy Ferreyra Cruz told reporters that he was hired to carry out a hit, but was only told the color of his victim's clothing, which Ortiz happened to be wearing that night. Prosecutors say he is making it up. Cruz is also wanted in New Jersey on robbery and other charges. So Ortiz, meanwhile, is in Boston recovering from his injuries.

Authorities in Dominican Republic are telling tourists the country is safe, they say.

SAVIDGE: This is another story people have been talking about. Even though at least seven American tourists have died there in the past year, and many of the deaths have been attributed to natural causes, but others at one specific resort are under further investigation.

PAUL: Now CNN's affiliate WCBS is reporting that a man says his mother died while she was vacationing in the Dominican Republic.

SAVIDGE: CNN's Patrick Oppmann joins us from Santo Domingo.

Patrick, what have you been finding out about these deaths, because so many Americans which find this to be such a popular tourist destination, are really getting worried.

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And 2.7 million Americans come here every year. And it's only natural that people are going to get sick, fall ill, and tragically, in so many of these cases, die. So, as you said, the five cases so far with this latest case, Leyla Cox of Staten island, according to our affiliate WCBS there, and still, though, no connection between these five cases, seven cases in the last year.

But it is troubling, and Dominican authorities are having trouble, having difficulty explaining it. And of course, it is causing some people to cancel their trips, even though the U.S. State Department has not issued any kind of travel advisory and the U.S. embassy here has said that they don't see any reason for people to have any concern. These deaths are under investigation by Dominican authorities. The

FBI is assisting with some toxicology work that is expected to be released in the next few weeks. So again, no definite connection between these separate incidents. But of course, when people travel abroad, they die somewhat mysteriously, when like in the case of Leyla Cox who died on Monday, age 53. She was here traveling by herself, celebrating her birthday.

Her son told our affiliate WCBS, and he said that she did not have any health problems, that she was very, very healthy. But according to the local authorities and the U.S. embassy here, she apparently died of a heart attack. So it is troubling to have another death, to have another American so soon after other cases. But at this point authorities here say there's nothing to be alarmed about, that it just seems to be a tragic coincidence.

PAUL: So, Patrick, I want to ask you, there's reporting that there was not a toxicology report done on Leyla Cox because the equipment had broken. How confident are people that this investigation or these investigations into these deaths is reliable?

OPPMANN: Well, again, we have not confirmed that report but, yes, her son did tell that to our affiliate. And listen, I travel all over the region. I'm based in the Caribbean. And many of these islands, many places that Americans like to go, do not have the facilities that people are used to. And that apparently extends to investigating a death. And her son told our affiliate that he was very concerned that her body was going to be cremated immediately, and he hired a lawyer. He told our affiliate to postpone that cremation so they can do some more investigating of their own.

But from what the information he received is, is that his mother died of a heart attack, and when somebody dies of an apparently natural death that they don't do all the toxicology results perhaps they would do in the United States. So he's not accepting it, apparently, those results, and he feels he would like to have more tests done.

PAUL: All right. Patrick Oppmann, thank you so much for walking us through all of that. We appreciate it.

[10:20:04] SAVIDGE: Still to come, a U.S. official says that Iran tried to shoot down a U.S. drone. That was shortly before an attack on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Iran strongly rejects the accusation. We'll have more details next.

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PAUL: It's 23 minutes past the hour. So glad to have you with us here.

There are new claims this morning that Iran was involved in that oil tanker attack in the Gulf of Oman. A U.S. official says Iran launched a missile at a U.S. drone flying over the Gulf hours before the attack. The missed, fell into the water. The drone, however, was able to capture images of Iranian boats closing in on the tankers. But the official CNN has been speaking to did not say whether they were actually seen carrying out the attack itself.

SAVIDGE: Officials are also saying that Iranian boats blocked the path of a U.S. Navy ship that was trying to reach to the tanker right after the attack. Iran continues to deny any involvement. President Trump is convinced that Iran was behind the attacks. CNN White House Correspondent, Boris Sanchez joins me now.

And Boris, a key U.S. ally is also supporting the president's claim that Iran is responsible. What do you know about it?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Martin and Christi. The United Kingdom put out a statement early this morning essentially agreeing with the U.S. administration's take that no one but Iran would be behind this kind of attack.

[10:25:04] The U.K. essentially saying that it is most plausible that the Iranians were behind this because, simply put, there aren't very many people in that part of the world looking to do that sort of thing outside of Iran or with the capacity that Iran has to attack tankers this way.

And you're right, President Trump has made clear he has zero doubt that Iran was behind this. The president was asked about this during an interview yesterday on a cable morning news show. The president saying that because of his administration, Iran is in a desperate place. He took the opportunity to bash his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, in having signed off on the Iran nuclear deal. The president suggesting because that because he has left the JCPOA and because of harsh sanctions that have been enacted against Iran they are essentially acting out.

As for what the next steps are, it's still unclear. We know Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was in Iran this week. There was speculation that he might be trying to broker some kind of meeting between American and Japanese officials. At this point President Trump made clear yesterday that is not likely to happen. He believes these two sides are still very far apart, Martin and Christi?

SAVIDGE: We'll continue to follow that. Boris Sanchez, thank you very much.

PAUL: Thanks, Boris.

Next week in the House there's an idea that was once on the fringe but it's getting some mainstream attention now -- reparations for the descendants of slaves.

SAVIDGE: And Sunday on the new CNN original series "The Redemption Project" with Van Jones, see what happens when victims and offenders of violent crimes meet face-to-face. "The Redemption Project," it airs tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. followed by "United Shades of America" with W. Kamau Bell at 10:00. That's all right here on CNN.

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[10:30:20] PAUL: It's 30 minutes past the hour right now. Joe Biden sitting atop the 2020 Democratic field. Others in the race are starting to try to chip away at his commanding lead. Take a look at these numbers here. Even if they say that they want to stay united, listen to how his rivals are taking aim at the former vice president now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG, (D-IN) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're not going to win by playing it safe. We're promising a return to normal. We are where we are because normal broke.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is Joe Biden a return to the past?

BETO O'ROURKE, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He is. And that cannot be who we are going forward. We've got to be bigger, we've got to be bolder.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (D-VT) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are some well-intentioned Democrats and candidates who believe that the best way forward is a middle ground strategy. That approach is now just bad public policy, but it is a failed political strategy.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, (D-MA) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is a real hunger. There are people who are ready for big structural change in this country.

ANDREW YANG, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Joe Biden must really not like to travel.

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND, (D-NY) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't think there is room in our party for a Democratic candidate who does not support women's full reproductive freedom.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Republican Strategist, Brian Robinson and Democratic Strategist Tharon Johnson with us now. If you would have seen Brian's face just about two seconds ago when she said that, when Gillibrand said that, you winced yes.

BRIAN ROBINSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yes. Joe Biden has been prochoice forever as far as I know. He was for the Hyde Amendment, though. And this is where the Democratic primary electorate is pushing all of the candidates further and further to the left. The Hyde Amendment used to be fairly middle ground in America. There was a lot of bipartisan consensus that even if you were prochoice you could be against government funding of abortion. We could have a truce on that.

And this is how far the Democratic primary electorate has gone left. And this is going to be a problem for Biden going forward because he has a moderate record on many things. He's definitely the strongest candidate in the general next year, but he is going to have a really hard time navigating this. He cannot spend the next six months apologizing for his record over the last 40 years. PAUL: He didn't apologize for that anyway. He said I'm not going to

apologize for how I voted then, and I'm not going to apologize for my change now.

THARON JOHNSON, FORMER SOUTHERN REGIONAL DIRECTOR, OBAMA 2012: Absolutely. And what you're seeing right now is he's evolving. He made the announcement about the Hyde Amendment in Atlanta, Georgia, in from the DNC African-American leadership conference gala. And so what you're seeing from the Biden team is that they under that they are going to be attacked.

And I don't think that the conversation is moving too far left. Listen, we've got to talk about a woman's right to choose. We've got to talk about a woman's reproductive freedom. It is something that in our party we have no problem discussing. It's just where do you fall on the issue in the timing of it.

What you're also seeing from the Biden campaign, and I do agree with Brian that they're not going to continue to apologize, and he hasn't apologized. What he's doing, he's trying to win a Democratic primary to go on and beat Donald Trump. And if the challenge is at a time when we have these new energetic people with fresh new progressive ideas, how do you continue to basically have a moderate campaign, prepare for a general election, where some of the people, you look at the polling, want to hear about a lot of issues that are very progressive.

PAUL: OK, so let's, first of all, put up the Monmouth poll again so we can see the lead here. Biden leads 36 percent. This is in the Monmouth University Nevada Democratic caucus poll, most recent. Warren is 19 percent. That's still a hefty lead for him. I want to now read something from "Politico" regarding Elizabeth Warren.

It says "Warren's disciplined style, populists infused speeches and perceived ability to win over suburban female voters means Trump advisers concede has raised concerns." There's this whole article in "Politico" this morning talking about how the White House now is focusing on Warren. Are they more worried, Brian, about her than about Biden at this point?

ROBINSON: No, I don't think so. I still think Biden is the stronger candidate against President Trump. And if you look at what President Trump is tweeting, it is more about Joe Biden and gives you a lot more of an idea of what's in his head and what he's thinking about. Biden is their strongest candidate.

Look, all those numbers right there, what's more telling to me is his numbers are going down, and the first state, Iowa, is getting much more tight there. And so Iowa is going to have the ability to set the stage for all the other states. And so if Biden is showing weakness in Iowa and Buttigieg and Warren really surging in those Iowa numbers, that should really concern Joe Biden, because if it's happening there it could very likely happen in these other states where the focus isn't there yet.

PAUL: I've got to get to reparations, and I want to give you a chance to respond to that real quickly.

[10:35:01] JOHNSON: I think what you're seeing in Iowa, listen, people in Iowa, they know Joe Biden. They know the former vice president of the United States. But what you're seeing is a reward for people like Elizabeth Warren, Buttigieg, also don't count Beto and Cory Booker and Kamala Harris out either.

These are candidates who spent an enormous amount of time in that state. So these voters are getting to know them day by day by day. But I think the key to Iowa is going to be who has the best ground game, because let's remember, it's a caucus state. And the way you caucus there is way different than any other state in the country.

PAUL: So emancipation of the nation's slaves celebrated on Juneteeth, I think it's Wednesday when it shows up. There's a House hearing this week on that same day to study how reparations for slavery could actually happen. Do you support it, Tharon?

JOHNSON: I support what Beto --

PAUL: The study?

JOHNSON: I do support the study, absolutely. It's a part of our history. It's something that we don't like to talk about.

PAUL: How do you make up for it, though? When you look at what reparations would be, you've got to figure who would be designated as being -- having the ability to receive any reparations. How do you keep it from being so divisive? Even Bernie Sanders has said, listen, I would vote for it, but it's going to be divisive.

JOHNSON: Let's go back to how we got to this conversation, right. So you have a hearing, a committee that is going to study this, which I believe nothing is wrong with. This is the United States of America. We've got to be able to talk about all parts of our history. It is a part of our history. It's who we are. It's something that was promised that wasn't delivered.

But also what you have now is a person running for president in Beto O'Rourke who basically legitimized the conversation. It now becomes a focal point in a debate, not only just in South Carolina but as they continue to go around the country.

And I think one of the things I also want to say is this, is I do think, listen, this is the same guy who came out and basically supported the players kneeling in the NFL when it was hugely unpopular. And so to have him do this in South Carolina, let's not forget, this is going to be a key, I mean key battleground state not just in the general but a key presidential primary state coming up, and if he and others don't win in South Carolina or do well, it could be over for their campaign.

PAUL: Real quickly, let's listen to what Beto said since you're referring to it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BETO O'ROURKE, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The answer is yes. The path there, though, has to come through telling, learning, and sharing this American story with everyone. Then I think we define what reparations look like and how we begin to make that repair.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: So Senator Harris has supported it. Senator Booker has supported studying reparations. But you've got to figure out how you pay for it, who it goes to, who pays for it. To that you say what? Is studying reparations enough right now to satisfy people?

ROBINSON: I think the Democrats, if they are going to go out and own this issue and they're going to push for this to try to collect votes from a certain Democratic constituency, they owe the Americans this study, they owe us to show us how this would work out in practicality because it's impractical. We're talking about poor people paying taxes to give money to in some cases very wealthy people who are descendants of African-American slaves.

It's a very impractical policy, and it's another example how the Democratic primary is tugging everyone further to the left. This is not a middle America policy. This is not something that wins you a general athletic. This is not what Democrats should be talking about but Republicans are glad to let them talk about this.

PAUL: I'm sorry, I've got to take a break here. We're going to come back with them in just a moment. We have some other thoughts on Pete Buttigieg and what he said about taking aim at his rivals. That's coming up. Stay close.

SAVIDGE: And there's also other stories we want to keep you apprised from. Rising from the ashes, it was nearly destroyed just two months ago in a massive fire. Now Notre Dame Cathedral is opening its doors for the first time since that blaze. We're going to take you there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:43:01] PAUL: So the lineup for the first Democratic debate is set now. It may not be as fiery as you would expect, at least if you listen to one of the candidates, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-IN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have a fantastic feel right now. I'm honored to be part of this field. We're also competing. And so our job is each to present why we would make the best nominee, why we're the one best able to win, and why we would make a great president.

But we have got to remember that at the end of the day we're all on the same team, and we all have to support -- the 22 people who don't become the nominee have to support the one who does. And everything we do now should reflect that.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Brian Robinson and Tharon Johnson, back with us now. All right, so Tharon, how solidly do you think people will follow that?

JOHNSON: I think they'll follow it probably in the first part of the debate.

PAUL: That's what I was wondering. There's a timeframe here, isn't there?

JOHNSON: Listen, if you're behind and you're trying to make a name for yourself and you're trying to really leave a lasting impression on some people in a debate, you've got to say some things that basically in the comparison and contrast way separates you from all the other people on stage. And listen, we're Democrats, right, so it's OK. We all got tough skin.

And don't forget, it shouldn't be unheard of to American people. We've got a president who basically wakes up almost every day and insults people. I'm not saying that it's right, but I do think that you're going to see the frontrunners take more of an approach like Mayor Pete just said. But I think the folks who are lagging behind who really want to make a name for themselves, I think they're going to try to really mix it up a little bit.

PAUL: But can they survive President Trump if they hold that line?

JOHNSON: The number one thing that Democrats talk about, and if it's not number one it's definitely number two, is that we want to pick a nominee that can go and beat Donald Trump. And part of beating President Donald Trump is that you've got to be able to respond when he attacks you, but more importantly you've got to be able to respond and counterpunch in a way that gets you back on the offense pretty quickly. So I'm not saying we want to get into knock down, slug out match with him, but you do have to have someone who has that tough skin.

[14:45:01] But really quick, Christi, I really want to push back on something Brian said in the last segment about reparations.

PAUL: I knew that was coming.

JOHNSON: Listen, that is totally false. If you look at polling that I've seen time and time again with studying this issue, Americans don't want to have a conversation or want to go back about the topic around slavery. But a majority of Americans, Republicans and moderates, support a conversation about reparations. And so I just don't want our viewers to leave with that misleading fact.

But with that being said, I do think that the first Democratic debate is going to be good. I want to commend the DNC of doing a really good job of trying to make sure that both days are equally matched, and I think the people deserve that. PAUL: Does President Trump, do you have any idea, Brian, what his

motive is going to be when it comes to these candidates? We know how he operated in 2016. Do we expect it to be the same, to be amped up? If they don't come at him, is going to he back off a little bit?

ROBINSON: They are going to come after him. And that, as far as being nice to everybody, one way these people running for president that you've never heard of and the vast majority of Americans have never heard of most of these candidates, is it's a risk to go after your fellow Democrats, because if you're the only one in a crowded field you look like a jerk. Your hits may work. Your attacks may set in with the public. But you take a hit too.

Trump is fair game for them, and so they are going to be going after him. So you will see Trump probably punching, counterpunching, as he says he does on people who come after him. I'll bet you he'll be watching these debates intently. But I think his focus is going to maintain on those who he thinks are the strongest candidates in the general. He is very attuned to who can do well in Pennsylvania and Michigan and Wisconsin. He is thinking like that.

PAUL: And he's a little worried about it. He's a little worried about Pennsylvania.

ROBINSON: I think you tell that he respects Joe Biden. I think you can see that in the tweets. When you give somebody a nickname, it's almost a sign of respect.

(LAUGHTER)

PAUL: OK. President Trump this week did say some things that are still resonating with people, one of which was regarding dirt from foreign governments when he said I think you'd want to listen. There's nothing wrong with listening. He has stepped back from that now, right.

But at the end of the day, Republicans and Democrats alike, no matter what party you're from, I think it's believed that the majority of Americans do not want Russia or any other entity trying to influence our government. So with that said, how potent is this statement that he made not just once but at least twice in that interview.

I think what he said on Friday clarified where he is. I think what you saw on Thursday in that Stephanopoulos interview was him speaking from the gut. And that's what he says he does, he speaks from the gut. And there's a frustration that he feels like he is held to a double standard, that his campaign was accused of collusion.

He feels like his first two years of his presidency has been undermined by investigation after investigation, after accusation after accusation, and that the Democrats get away with it, that the DNC had foreign intelligence involved too, that research in 2016, and nobody cared. He feels like he's gone through two years of hell, and he did less, in his mind, than the Democrats did. So you're seeing that frustration come out. And I'm not saying he was right. What he said was wrong. I distance myself from it. PAUL: OK, I was going to ask for your clarification.

ROBINSON: He said the right thing on Friday.

PAUL: I have 20 seconds.

JOHNSON: This is reckless. And if what Brian said is true, then the president could have come out and said, listen, my campaign has been accused of colluding, nor would I even participate in this. But when he was asked the question not once, not twice, but three times he tripled down on it.

He blamed it on oppo research, said other members of Congress do it. This just shows you that this man is willing to do whatever it takes, and to the point that he's willing to take information from a foreign hostile like Russia. The American people should be very, very worried about what he said.

ROBINSON: I don't think he would that.

PAUL: Brian Robinson, Tharon Johnson, I'm sorry we ran out of time.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

PAUL: We can have a whole couple of hours with you, too. Thank you both for being here.

ROBINSON: Thank you.

PAUL: Absolutely. Martin?

SAVIDGE: It was a fascinating conversation. You want to stand by, though, because Notre Dame in Paris is opening its doors for the first time since a massive blaze nearly destroyed that cathedral. CNN is going to take you there live.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:52:28] SAVIDGE: Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow feeds hungry school children in 18 countries around the world through his non-profit Mary's Meals. He was honored as a CNN Hero in 2010, an even where he met and befriend fellow Scotsman actor Gerard Butler. And the two recently visited Haiti where they met some of the 1.4 million children being fed every school day.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's what we're doing this for, just meeting those children who are eating these meals. The numbers become just mindboggling after a while. The real beauty of it is watching those children become the people they are meant to be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I remember we went just before lunch. And they were tired. Then they had lunch. And oh, my God, it was like different people. And then you realize the simple value of this program. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: To nominate someone you know to be a CNN Hero, go to CNN.com.

PAUL: In just about an hour the Notre Dame Cathedral will hold its first mass since it was nearly destroyed by fire two months ago. That service is going to be small. Only 30 people allowed to attend. And they're going to have to wear hard hats when they enter the building because there are still safety concerns.

SAVIDGE: CNN International Correspondent, Jim Bittermann joins us now from outside the church.

And Jim, I know it's going to be a small service, but I bet the significance is huge.

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Martin and Christi. That's exactly what it's all about that is I think to show symbolically that the church still exists, the cathedral still exists, and that masses will go on here. In fact, they wanted to hold a much larger kind of service in front -- a vespers service in front of the cathedral.

But local authorities would not allow them to because the building, and especially the basements, the vaults underneath the cathedral, are still in a very fragile shape. So they weren't very happy about the idea of a lot of people gathering even out in front of the cathedral. They thought it would be too dangerous.

In any case that mass will go on in about an hour or so from now. It will be just a normal mass. It will be conducted, except one of the things that will be exceptional about it is that it will be conducted and celebrated by the cardinal archbishop of Paris Michel Aupetit.

[10:55:14] And so it's going to be a very special occasion I think for the people that get to participate, and those people are going to be mainly priests, about half of them will be priests. But there are also people who were involved, one of the firefighters, for example, who saved some of the relics, and, in fact, will be I think for most everybody a very emotional occasion. Martin and Christi?

PAUL: No doubt about it. I want to talk to you about the money that's been raised, $17 million already donated to the church. Hundreds and millions more we understand have been pledged. What do we know about where that money is, what they are doing with it, and the restoration process itself, how long it will take?

BITTERMANN: Well, Emmanuel Macron would like it to take five years. Whether it can to be done in that short of time remains to be seen. They still haven't really started reconstruction. They are basically working on consolidating the building and making sure it's safe. And yes, there's $850 million that has been pledged, but it hasn't really come in yet. It's being used, the workers, there are 60 to 150 workers working on this site at any given time. Christi, Martin?

PAUL: My goodness. Jim Bittermann, thank you very much for bringing us all the information there, and really the beautiful views.

SAVIDGE: It is, and a very positive way to end the show.

PAUL: Thank you so much for being with us. We hope you make good memories ahead.

SAVIDGE: There's very much more ahead in the next hour of CNN's NEWSROOM. Fredricka Whitfield is up next.