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Trump Posts Link Showing Pictures Of Judge's Daughter; Netanyahu Won't Let U.S. Pressure Stop Rafah Operation; Russia To Begin Spring Military Draft; GOP Civil War Spreads To House Primary Races; Driver Describes Clearing Bridge Moments Before Collapse; Last Day Of Women's History Month. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired March 31, 2024 - 19:00   ET



OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN HOST: All right, everyone. Welcome to the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Omar Jimenez in New York.

Tonight, Donald Trump is lashing out and posting grievances on Truth Social, blasting his political opponents, prosecutors and judges, saying in part, "Happy Easter to all, including those many people I completely and totally despise because they want to destroy America."

Now, Trump appears to be testing the limits of his gag order in the New York hush money case as well, where he will face trial in two weeks. He's now ramping up attacks against Judge Juan Merchan's daughter posting a link to an article showing her picture.

So joining me now is former judge for the California Superior Court, LaDoris Cordell. She's also the author of the book, "Her Honor: My Life on the Bench, What Works, What's Broken and How to Change It."

So, LaDoris, one, thanks for being here. But what do you make of Trump's relentless attacks against the New York judge and his family?

LADORIS CORDELL, FORMER JUDGE, CALIFORNIA SUPERIOR COURT: Well, Omar, thank you for having me. What people should know first off is that this is not normal. Attacks upon our legal system, attacks on judges, witnesses, jurors, court staff, lawyers, and their families is not normal. I've presided over thousands of hearings and trials during my nearly 20 years as a trial judge, and never did any defendants in my courtroom shows such disrespect for the court system as what's shown by Donald Trump.

And occasionally I had to warn a defendant to conduct himself properly, but a warning was usually sufficient. In this instance, Trump's words are clearly intended to intimidate, threaten and incite violence against the people he names in the words coming out of his mouth and on social media. So what he's doing, he's literally thumbing his nose at the courts and he's making a mockery of our legal system.

And we know this because he has cautioned, he has never once, never cautioned his followers to abstain from making threats and otherwise attack his targets. He wants to put people in fear for their lives by having his followers do his dirty work. So, Omar, the job of a trial judge is to ensure a fair trial for both

sides, and to manage the courtroom, to ensure law and order. So when you have a disruptor like Donald Trump, judges have tools to rein them in. They have warnings, you get fines, you got gag orders, you got incarceration. And warnings and fines haven't worked with Trump. So, you know, when I think about what Donald Trump is doing, it's akin to -- it's something I read in a very famous book called, "Please Don't Eat the Daisies," written by Jean Courage.

She's a wonderful humorist and author. And she describes an incident in the book that gave the time title to the book where she tells her children things not to do at her dinner party. However, after seeing only a few stem sticking out of the table centerpiece, she realized she neglected to include in her do not rules that they should not eat the daisies. And Trump just like a child has to be told what he cannot do no matter how obvious like, you don't threaten people, you don't threaten judges. You don't threaten family members.

So Judge Merchan I believe should immediately expand the gag order to include himself and his family members and include D.A. Bragg and his family members. I tell you, I fail to understand why judges do not include themselves and their family members in these gag orders. They haven't done so. Their lives and the lives of their families have been subjected to death threats all because of Donald Trump's words and that kind of speech is not protected by the First Amendment. So when Trump crosses --

JIMENEZ: And what happens -- just to throw this in there. What happens when Trump breaks that gag order on Truth Social or otherwise?

CORDELL: Right. And you said when and not if, and I think you're right, Omar. When he steps across that gag order line and I do hope it will be expanded, there should be only one response. Bring your toothbrush, Donald Trump, because you're going to sit in a jail cell for a while. There has to be an immediate consequence when he defies a court order. That is a normal response. You cannot have a court system that is subjected to these kinds of threats and intimidation.

Nowhere else has this ever happened and gone on without any consequences. And that has to change and it has to change now.

JIMENEZ: Why do you think -- because of course, as you're saying, someone breaks, it's simple. You break the law, you break a gag order, you go to jail, you get put in jail.


Why do you think judges maybe have been a little more hesitant to this point to take a step as significant as that one?

CORDELL: Well, first of all, the judges, I think, so far have taken -- done things appropriately. Warnings, fines, and they found that the conduct of Donald Trump has not changed. So the next is the gag order. In this instance, the gag order, if it's expanded so far, he has not violated that gag order, although he's tip-toeing very close to the line, a lot people think that there's a double-standard being extended to Donald Trump by the courts.

And I can understand that because, you know, when I was on the bench, there's no way anyone would carry on like this without more severe consequences. But I think now it's starting to sink into these judges that their lives, the family members, are all at stake here in terms of the threats of violence and intimidation. So there is nothing left for them to do other than to go the next step. And I don't know what the mystique is or magic is about not putting Donald Trump in a jail cell so that he understands their immediate consequences for not behaving as a normal adult in the courtroom. So I don't know. I think now maybe the time.

JIMENEZ: Yes. And I was just going to ask as well, look, these are some of the most closely watched cases that we have in the country right now. And it's easy to say that what someone does in this case, including the former president, has an impact in regards to people's understandings of what's happening and for their understanding of what is permissible in the justice system. And a federal judge told CNN that Trump's attacks on this judge are a threat to the rule of law. And judges have a responsibility to speak up given the stakes.

Do you agree with that? How do they balance managing their courtroom with also managing and standing up for the rule of law?

CORDELL: I think it's one and the same, managing the courtroom says basically the judge's responsibility is to see that each side is treated fairly and is heard fairly at the trial or at hearings, and to ensure that there was law and order in the courtroom. So it's -- for me, I think it's less a balancing act and more an obligation. You cannot conduct court proceeding with people terrified about showing up in a courtroom or speaking in a courtroom.

And that's what has happened and continues to happen. So the gag order is appropriate, expand it, and then if that doesn't work then judges are authorized and I think obligated to take the next step, which is show this person that there are immediate consequences, and the next step is, well, just shut him down, shut him down for a few days, let him cool his heels in a cell and then bring him back out, and see if the message gets through.

JIMENEZ: And from a practical standpoint, obviously, look, we've got a trial at the center of this trial, has to proceed, but how difficult is it going to be for the judge in this hush money trial to actually do his job given this dynamic?

CORDELL: Well, I think Judge Merchan is doing his job so far. I mean, he has issued a gag order, and you're right. He doesn't want to have to delay the trial. And so, for example, Trump's lawyers have said, Judge, if you want to expand the gag order, well, give us 30 days. Let us file briefs. No, no, no, no. That's just a delay tactic. This judge has everything he needs right now to keep this trial moving by expanding the gag order.

So, yes, this is all about trial management. That's why trial judges, you know, they have a hard job, but at the same time, this is their responsibility and this is their opportunity to show the world and to show Americans specifically that this is not normal. Courts cannot operate the way Donald Trump has been operating. And so this is the time to say, this is not normal. We're going to show you what normal is and how people, adults should behave reasonably in a courtroom.

JIMENEZ: Now, look, we're in an election year. Former president Trump up against current President Biden. And the name of your book, part of it, what works, what's broken, and how to change it, in regards to the judicial system. How would a Trump presidency, given the posturing we've seen from him to this point, fit into the dynamic that you talk about in regards to what maybe needs to be fixed in this justice system?

CORDELL: A Trump presidency would not engage in the fixes that most of us and certainly I am contemplating by making the proceedings more transparent, by making sure we have judges who are objective, that are unbiased.


So I am very concerned and I think most Americans should be very concerned. Fortunately, the president cannot make orders that impact our trial courts in the states and that's what my book addresses, what happens in the trial courts in the states and how those courts can make a difference in people's lives. Many, many more people come before our state court trial courts than do the federal -- in the federal system.

That being said, I am very concerned that our legal system, the federal system, is going to take a big hit if Donald Trump is elected president.

JIMENEZ: Well, we will see. Judge LaDoris Cordell, I really appreciate your insight. Thank you so much for being here.

CORDELL: Thank you.

JIMENEZ: Of course.

All right. To talk about all of this and more, joining us is CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer and CNN legal analyst Norm Eisen. He's also the editor of the new book "Trying Trump" to be released on April 8th. He served as special counsel for the House Judiciary Committee majority during the first impeachment trial of former president Trump.

Great to see you both.

Julian, I want to start with you to respond to what we just heard from Judge Cordell there. Some might see this post from former president Trump online is just a rant here and there, but just how dangerous are online rants in the fashion that we've seen them to this point?

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Very dangerous. I think we know by this point, both when he was president and as former president, his words matter. It's not simply the substance of the words which are threatening, but it's the audience that will receive them, which is a huge audience, an uncontrolled audience, and it's creating a hostile and toxic atmosphere.

But the question that you're asking the judge is, will accountability be implemented and achieved as something that's so far he has evaded and he is banking on the fact that he's in the middle of a campaign. He's the Republican nominee and that a judge won't want to be punitive. But I think everything she said was spot on in terms of the atmosphere that we now have.

JIMENEZ: Yes, and Norm, do you agree with the judges -- Judge Cordell's characterization of where we are and Donald Trump's danger, I should say, to the judicial system?

NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Omar, at this point, it's been established by data and we've seen this in filings, including in court filings by the Manhattan D.A. in this case. When Donald Trump targets someone it turns on a spigot of invective vitriol and outright hate. And it's dangerous. It happened in the civil fraud trial. It's happened in the preliminary proceedings in this election interference case that Bragg is getting to trial on April 15th, and it's happened elsewhere all over the country.

That's why other courts have established gag orders. They've survived First Amendment review. And Donald Trump needs to be controlled here. He will follow those rules when they were imposed on him. For example, Judge Kaplan in the E. Jean Carroll case, very tough judge. Donald Trump followed the rules. He tested the limits, but ultimately knuckled under with Judge Engoron in the Manhattan civil case. He'll do the same here if the rules are clear.

JIMENEZ: And again, as Judge Cordell said, if he doesn't follow those rules, bring a toothbrush saying that these judges should take that step to actually put him in jail as penalties for breaking these gag orders.

Julian, I -- look, you're a bit of a historian, I hear. And I'm curious that put this moment and this posturing in context for us here. I mean, this -- I think it's easy to believe that where we are, are unprecedented times, and in many respects they are. But does this fit into a strategy that we have seen before? What is the former president trying to actually accomplish with the clear posturing that he has made to this point?

ZELIZER: Well, I'd start by saying unprecedented is a fair term this time. We have not had a campaign like this, candidate like this, or a situation like this. But he is tapping into rhetoric that we've heard. We heard a little bit of it from Richard Nixon in the late '60s and early '70s, where he pitted himself against the establishment which was defined as the media, the courts, prosecutors. He was the victim. He was not the person doing wrong.

And I think this is a tradition that the former president Trump has taken and used on steroids, but it's fundamental to his message.


And that is how he is trying to capitalize on all these cases and present himself as not only someone that the establishment is going after, but whose supporters are also in the same position and he's representing them. So that's the tradition that I think he's invoking. He always has, and now he's doing it in this unprecedented situation with the courts.

JIMENEZ: Yes. And Norm, before we go here, obviously, look, we've got this trial, the hush money trial in New York coming up just about two weeks now. The judge is likely weighing a number of options and watching of course what the former president is posting and what he is saying very closely.

What does the judge do here? What is the mentality or what should the mentality of this judge be here heading into a trial that I think is fair to say is going to be looked at under a very large magnifying glass at this point?

EISEN: Out of respect for the First Amendment, the judge has allowed Donald Trump to attack him and the D.A., its witnesses, jurors and less well-known court personnel who are protected under the current gag order, I think the judge is going to do a very careful calculus of whether he's playing into Trump's hands by extending the gag order to protect the judge's own daughter. The judge has an eye on what the case is all about.

It's not just the hush money case, it is an election interference one. Donald Trump is being tried for a kind of gateway drug to the election interference of 2020 for paying hush money to conceal critical information from voters in the last days of the 2016 election. And that's where the judge's laser-like focus has been, getting that case to trial starting Monday, April 15th. So he'll think carefully before he gives Donald Trump a talking point by extending the gag order here.

JIMENEZ: Well, we will see. A lot of dynamics here. Julian Zelizer, Norm Eisen, really appreciate you all being here.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

EISEN: Thanks.

JIMENEZ: Still to come, Republicans like Virginia Congressman Bob Good have a reelection fight on their hands and some fellow Republicans are working to help stop their colleague from winning in November. Plus, CNN gets an upclose look at the damage and the work now going on at the site of the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore. But next Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says pressure from the U.S. will not stop Israeli forces from going into Rafah.

You're in the CNN NEWSROOM. Stay with us.



JIMENEZ: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says pressure from the U.S. won't stop Israel from sending troops into Rafah. Now it's a message we've heard from him before, there can be no victory without an operation in Rafah, and now he's doubling down as his government faces widespread protests at home and talks resume in Cairo over a potential ceasefire and hostage deal.

CNN military analyst Lieutenant General Mark Hertling joins us now.

Now, good to see you. If this operation does come to pass and it does seem like it will, at least based on public comments, what happens then, do you think?

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, I think, first of all, Omar, you have to consider from a military perspective, I'm not talking about the politics, but Israel has been fighting now for almost five months in the areas of the northern and southern part -- excuse me, northern and central part of Gaza. The remaining facilities in and around Rafah, the intelligence shows and Mr. Netanyahu said that there's a remaining four battalions worth of Hamas terrorists in that Rafah suburb.

But there's also 1.5 million Palestinian refugees. That's the problem. So while they have gained intelligence in terms of the number of tunnels and entries and exits to these specific tunnels, they know that this is where most of the operational chiefs of Hamas are, and they anticipate, the Israelis anticipate this is where the remaining 130 plus hostages are. So there are very delicate situations going into this.

Israel has learned a lot from the Khan Younis fight as well as the northern Gaza fight. And they're going to apply it in this area. But this is going to be the most dangerous part of this battle that we've seen yet because of the combination of the underground tunnels, the number of terrorists that are there, plus the way the terrorist have interwoven their defensive positions with the facilities above ground like the hospitals, the mosque, and the schools.

So it's going to be very challenging, especially by the fact that on the world stage Israel is not looking too good right now. The public relations aspect of this is horrible, as well as inside of the Netanyahu government.

JIMENEZ: Well, and in regards to Netanyahu and, you know, the public relations and relations between countries, look, Netanyahu is saying that he's going to go into Rafah regardless of what the U.S. thinks. We know that Israel has been a critical ally to the United States historically for a long time. Can you put into perspective where the relationship is between the two countries right now?


Are these public statements truly indicative of a strained relationship or is there always a difference between what may be said in public versus from an operational standpoint, what may be happening behind the scenes?

HERTLING: Yes, I'll answer that two ways. First of all, there always a disconnect between what's being said in public and what's going on behind the scenes. But what I would say having dealt with the Israeli army and the Israeli government, yes, it's much more tenuous than it's ever been before, Omar. I was there in 2013 in Israel as part of my duties and it was a close relationship, but there's always suspicions between the two militaries.

In this case, what you're talking about is a government that's undergone a massive terrorist attack. And we also have Hamas and Hezbollah and some of the other terrorist groups that are in the area on our terrorist watch list. So we're trying to help them rid themselves of this danger to their Israeli security. But at the same time, the way that Mr. Netanyahu led up to this operation, and the way he was dealing with politics before the terrorist events of October 7th actually contributed to some of the problems that they're seeing now.

JIMENEZ: Yes. I want to turn to Russia and Ukraine because the Russian military is reportedly going to kick off a conscription drive this coming week. But you think these efforts won't help the Russian military. Why?

HERTLING: I don't. First of all, whenever I've been watching this commentary about the mobilization, this is something that happens in every April and every August in Russia. They bring their conscripts in and they varied. The last one they did was 130,000. This time they're saying 150,000, but they're having some real challenges with these conscript soldiers, Omar. First of all, most of them don't want to go because they see the casualty rates inside of Ukraine from Russia's military operations there.

There's also reports that some of the Russian soldiers who are being conscripted are actually corruptly using funds to try and get out one of Ukraine and instead go to Syria. So that shows how much they think about the operation in Ukraine itself. But beyond that, the training of the conscripts only last a couple of weeks. They don't learn the kind of things you need on an intense battlefield like you see they're fighting on right now.

So they will continue to be led, lambs to the slaughter in a meat grinder approach. And nothing else has changed within the Russian military. They have learned some lessons from the first two years of this conflict, but they are still feeding forces in. And if you're a conscript age between 18.30, which they are, you don't want to go there. You want to do something else. You want to get the heck out of Russia. And Russia is seeing that massive brain drain and the result of a lot of people leaving the country.

JIMENEZ: Yes. Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, always appreciate your perspective. Thanks for being here. Really appreciate it.

HERTLING: Thanks, Omar, and Happy Easter to you.

JIMENEZ: Same to you.

All right. Meanwhile, battle lines are being drawn inside the GOP. Members like Congressman Bob Good fighting for reelection with their opponents getting aid from other House members. What's going on here? We're going to explain next in the CNN NEWSROOM.



JIMENEZ: It has long been considered a major breach of protocol. One member of Congress campaigning against another from within their own party.

But tonight, multiple House Republicans are under siege in their primary races after voting to oust former for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Among them is Bob Good, leader of the hard-right Freedom Caucus now caught in the crosshairs of center right Republicans.

CNN's Manu Raju traveled to Good's district in Virginia this week where he learned the Republican rift is quickly turning personal.


MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The GOP civil war that brought down a House speaker, embroiled the Republican majority, now in a red district in rural Virginia --

REP. BOB GOOD (R-VA): This is where we will make our stand.

RAJU: -- where the leader of the hard right Freedom Caucus, Bob Good, has been targeted by center-right Republicans who are pushing State Senator John McGuire's bid to knock off Good in the June primary.

REP. DERRICK VAN ORDEN (R-WI): Bob Good didn't come here to govern. He came here to be famous, and he came here to get Twitter followers and do all that stuff. Bob Good is wearing our jersey and he's not on the team.

RAJU: As he barn-stormed through his district with fellow hardliners this past week, Good said he was battling fellow Republicans who are hurting the country.

RAJU (on camera); Derrick Van Orden said, you're more interested in being famous than governing.

What do you say that those colleagues who are targeting you?

GOOD: The people in the fifth district know who my colleagues are, who are here today. They've never heard of Derrick Van Orden. They could care less what Derrick Van Orden thinks.

RINOs, establishment moderates do nothing to influence our Republican primary elections.

RAJU (voice over): That question setting Good off.

GOOD: You got more stupid questions?

RAJU: I just want to ask you --

GOOD: I'm serious. You come and you ask us to -- tell them to cut the camera off. I'll talk to you. I'm not going to camera right now

RAJU: I just want know if you'll vote for the Motion to Vacate on Speaker Johnson.

GOOD: Here's my point, Manu. You come to these things and you ask questions that nobody here cares about.

RAJU: You voted to oust the speaker of the House.

GOOD: You bring up Derrick Van Orden, which is a joke because he should come campaign for my opponent because nobody here knows who he is anyways.

RAJU: It's part of the criticism here you're getting. That's why.

GOOD: Yes, but you don't ask me about Matt Gaetz or Chip Roy or Mark Meadows or Andy Biggs.

RAJU: I talk to all of them. I talk to all of them.

RAJU (voice over): Good was one of the eight in the GOP who voted for the unprecedented ouster of Kevin McCarthy as speaker. Now, McCarthy angling to knock them off.


RAJU (on camera): How much do think it has to do with Good voting to oust McCarthy?

REP. AUSTIN SCOTT (R-GA): Well, it has -- it has something to do with that, but more important than that, we've got a guy who will be a good member of our team.

RAJU (voice over): Good's opponent, a former Navy SEAL, says he was not recruited by McCarthy, though he told CNN he spoke with the former speaker recently.

JOHN MCGUIRE (R), VIRGINIA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: I believe that my opponent wants to burn it all down, no solution kind of guy.

RAJU (on camera): So would you have voted to oust Kevin McCarthy?

MCGUIRE: I would have never in a million years partnered with the -- with the other party to take out our leader. If you are helping the Democrat team take out the Republican team, who's the RINO?

RAJU (voice over): The feud, part of a larger battle over the GOP's direction.

While many say they need to govern through bipartisan consensus, hard- liners like Good push for a compromise approach.

REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): I do not want to go back next January without Bob Good standing there in the trenches with me.

REP. ANDREW CLYDE (R-GA): We cannot let the swamp take out the chairman of our Freedom Caucus.

RAJU (voice over): Good has also clashed over Pentagon spending with defense hawks, like House Armed Services Chairman Mike Rogers who privately called Good a danger to our country at a recent fundraiser for McGuire.

Still, Rogers and others targeting Good don't want to talk about it.

RAJU (on camera): I am wondering why you're trying to defeat Bob Good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't have any comment.

RAJU: Why are you targeting Bob Good?

REP. KIGGANS STAFFER: We're running late.

RAJU: You don't need to run away. I mean, I don't know why you're targeting Bob Good.

REP. KIGGANS STAFFER: We're running late for --

GOOD: I just wanted to congratulate and thank Governor Ron DeSantis.

RAJU (voice over): Good has to navigate another landmine.

He is backing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over Donald Trump in the primary.

REP. RYAN ZINKE (R-MO): Mr. Good went against President Trump early. We can do a lot better than Good. We can do great.

RAJU (voice over): Now, his backing of DeSantis turned into an attack ad from a new GOP outside group.

GOOD: Governor DeSantis gave us the opportunity for eight years that we -- I think we need eight years.

RAJU: But Good is now aligning with Trump, even stumping with Trump's former chief, Mark Meadows.

RAJU (on camera): Was that a mistake to endorse DeSantis?

GOOD: Why don't you get with the president? This is a time to rally behind President Trump. My opponent wants to kind of divide people based on the past.

RAJU (voice over): McGuire, who met with Trump recently, says of Good --

MCGUIRE: Certainly he betrayed President Trump. And I'm a big Trump supporter.

RAJU: Piling on, Marjorie Taylor Greene, hardliner who endorsed McGuire and wrote that Good stabbed Trump in the back.

GOOD: Nobody cares what Marjorie Taylor Greene says or thinks. RAJU: All as Good's allies have tried to ease tensions with Trump.

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): I've done all I can to explain to President Trump that his agenda will be executed to its best efficacy if we have Bob Good in Congress.

In primaries, people fall in love. In the general election, they fall in line.


RAJU (on camera): Now, this race is one of four in which Republican members are facing their own college being targeted by their own colleagues.

That used to have been something that was viewed as a breach of protocol, a major breach of protocol. In fact, the speaker of the House is trying to encourage his members not to go this route. They are not listening to him at this moment, it just shows you the moment that Republicans are in, in the House GOP. Tensions, divided, and their agenda essentially in tatters because of it -- Omar.

JIMENEZ: Manu Raju, really appreciate it.

Coming up, part of my interview with a man who was one of the final people to cross the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore before its collapse, stay with us.



JIMENEZ: New tonight, lucky to be alive. That's what the man who I spoke with says when he was driving to work last Tuesday morning across Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge moments before the catastrophic collapse.

This eerie video from a traffic camera shows some of the final vehicles clearing the mile and a half long bridge.

Larry DeSantis tells me his pickup truck was among them. The Baltimore baker says he was commuting, likely just a few minutes before the cargo ship hit one of the bridge which is key supports, sending it crumbling into the river.


LARRY DESANTIS, BALTIMORE BAKER: It was pretty much normal, but there was very little traffic.

I did get over the bridge and they were doing construction on the bridge. They are constantly doing repairs on it, so I was very cautious about going there.

But I really wasn't paying attention to anything on the outside because I was -- you know, with the workers and stuff there, you've got to be really careful.

The speed there moves down to 45, so I was taking my time and it was just strange that there wasn't much traffic, because I may not be talking to you right now if you know, I had been a minute later.

It was that close. Just scary.


JIMENEZ: He said if he had stayed to talk to a co-worker a minute, a few seconds more, he might not be here.

Meanwhile, major developments on the ground today in Baltimore, officials say a 200-ton piece of the collapsed bridge has been removed from the water it marks the first section of the collapsed bridge to be pulled from the scene to this point, a crane is now working on removing other pieces.

Maryland's governor is telling CNN, this is an intricate process that will take time. Officials have said they hope to create a temporary shipping channel around the wreckage so ships can still get in and out of the busy port.

Still though, there is no hard timeline for when the port is set to reopen.


CNN's Gloria Pazmino is with the Coast Guard in Baltimore touring an area near the crash site.


GLORIA PAZMINO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So you could see we have been able to get extremely up close to the wreckage of the Dali and we are starting to really get an appreciation and a sense of just how massive this job is going to be.

You're looking at 4,000 tons of steel and concrete that are sitting on top of that bough. That is going to be the most complicated part of this operation, moving all of that debris and taking it off the ship so that they can begin this cleanup process.

And then, there is everything that's laying below the surface, the part that we can't see. There is more metal, more concrete, more debris in the water. And that is going to be critical because they have to be able to make that safe for the divers whose mission is to get back into the water and continue searching to attempt to recover the bodies of those who were lost.

But as we are sitting here, now, finally, being able to really see it and get up close to it, you really just get a sense of the enormity of the job at hand.

But all the officials here have told us that they are confident that they're going to be able to get that done. They're working together to have all of the technology necessary, and they're going step by step, taking the safest approach to make sure that they get it right and that eventually they can reopen the port, they can start rebuilding and that this important symbol for the city of Baltimore and the state of Maryland can get cleaned up and the people here can start getting back to normal.

I'm Gloria Pazmino, CNN.


JIMENEZ: Thank you, Gloria.

We'll be right back.



JIMENEZ: Today is Easter Sunday, but it also happens to be the last day of Women's History Month. So joining me now is Natasha Alford, the author of the new book, "American Negra: A Memoir of Growing Up In America As A Multi-Ethnic Woman." Natasha is also a CNN political analyst. Thanks for being here.

Now, look Natasha, whether, whether its Black History Month, Women's History Month, I think when the month ends, it is not like the emphasis or study of women, for example, ends as well. But how do you keep that emphasis on women's stories, on women's issues prevalent after, let's just say women's month like this ends?

NATASHA ALFORD, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Omar, I think it is through stories like this.

I wanted to write a book that intertwined both my personal story growing up as an African-American and Puerto Rican girl in Upstate New York in Syracuse, not New York City, and going from public schools to Harvard University.

But even beyond the Ivy League, what it meant to find the American Dream for myself, I grew up never seeing a book like this. Toni Morrison said, if that book doesn't exist in the world that you want, you have to write it and so that's what I did. And I think that's what we should continue to do is to write our stories.

JIMENEZ: Yes, and look you're a mom, how do you teach your kids what you've learned? Obviously, they're on their own journeys, they're learning in their own ways. But you do want them to learn some of the lessons that you had to learn. How do you go about that?

ALFORD: Yes, I think it can be really hard. My mother, she grew up in the Bronx. She wanted me to succeed in school, and so even though she spoke a lot of Spanish to me, she wanted me to do well in school and worried that maybe I would be confused if I spoke two languages. I think a lot of people can relate to sort of those mixed messages.

And so she emphasized English and wanted me to do well and I felt some shame around that being both Black and Latina and not being able to express that aspect of my culture. So that's something that is a lesson learned that maybe I will do differently within my own household.

But we do the best that we can as moms. We learn the lessons from past generations, we also unlearn things. And so that's part of what this book is about.

It is about the things I wish I knew, the things that I now respect and understand about my family's migration story coming from the south of Florida, like a lot of African Americans in the great migration, but also from Puerto Rico.

And so I think that's what we, as women can do when we are raising our children, is to think about what we wish we knew and try to implement that.

JIMENEZ: Yes, look, this weekend, and as far as telling stories and telling our stories to try and keep that emphasis on, a lot of people are listening to Beyonce's new album, which look, it is music, it is entertainment in many senses, but also, look, this is someone who is as successful as a woman as there ever has been, still pushing herself challenging norms, opening herself up for criticism.

What type of example does she set for women? What type of example does she set for you?

ALFORD: Look, I love Beyonce, I was at Renaissance. I went to see the movie twice, which was quite a commitment.

But for me when I see Beyonce, I see someone who is writing her own story. She is not listening to what people tell her she has to do.


A lot of time with Black artists, they try to say you can only do R&B or you can only do hip-hop and minimize your ability to be creative beyond what is expected. And so I think she shows us that it is never too late.


ALFORD: This is a woman with three children and yet, she is still innovating. And so that's the inspiration I take from her story.

JIMENEZ: Yes, Natasha, I wish we had all night. Fascinating talk as always, but great to see you. I really appreciate you coming on.

ALFORD: Thanks so much for having me.

JIMENEZ: Of course.

And thank you all for joining me this evening. I hope you learned something. We covered a lot of topics here. We also, I think, had a little bit of fun. Don't quote me on that though.

I'm Omar Jimenez. We are going to see you again next week, and "United States of Scandal" is up next.