tv At This Hour With Berman and Bolduan CNN March 21, 2016 8:00am-9:01am PDT
>> john berman here along with kate bolduan. you're watching history from havana. that's the ceremonial hall, inside there president obama just greeted with full honors by cuban leader raul castro doing a march with troops much like vladimir putin would, but now it's an american president being received in the same way. what a moment after more than half a century of such a complicated relationship between the two countries. >> the first time in 88 years that a sitting u.s. president has visited cuba, not since calvin coolidge arrived on a battle ship. this is a complicated relationship hanging over this entire trip is the communist government's long history of human rights abuses.
president obama is expected to raise this when they sate down for a bilateral meeting, the two presidents, which will be beginning any minute. he will be here. this is his first full day in cuba. following along with history day with us, let's bring in chris cuomo who is in havana, and patrick ottoman. chris, you've been watching all this. this is not your first time in cuba. talk to us just in this moment. history in the making. this is the signature meeting. this is that photo opportunity. this is the moment that will go down in history, what we just saw between president obama and raul castro. >> reporter: it's been a big string of firsts. yesterday when air force one touched down. to use patrick's words, yes, 1928, yes, calvin coolidge, but more accurately the word is never. since the revolution, none of
this has happened. and cuba prerevolution was not the cuba of today. the comparison is off base. the first time to hear that national anthem in cuba, it's never happened before since the revolution. the president here never, patrick, i mean, this string of what seemed impossible not too long ago may change everything. >> if i fall over, it's because i'm so wowed. four years of living here, you see a lot of leaders sitting down, the american flag, the cuban flag. this is a revolutionary palace. they don't let many americans in here, and i never thought i would see an american president being greeted with the honor. there is a chemistry. respect is what cuban officials have told me, if not friendship. all the same, these men are now partners. there's no going back. raul castro said recently this is the last chance to get it right. when he says it, he means the revolution. he's going to step down in two
years. he doesn't have a day to waste if he's going to save his country and keep the communist tile form of government in power here. >> one thing is for sure, kate and john, there was a familiarity of hostility between the countries. there was always discontent. the ability to kind of take it out of the united states. now raul castro has an obvious affection for president obama. said he's read his books. went out of his way to shake his hand at mandela's funeral. that has to mean something. the question is what. the challenges remain to be rall and deep. people here don't need just money. they need basic freedoms. >> both men are making bets. raul castro is looking at short term, more money, tourism, making deals every day with american companies that didn't have until now. president obama is looking at
the long term. american influence, making sure this system doesn't collapse and we suddenly change it over time. he thinks others have said it, the former government will be in the dust of history, and he can take some credit with rights to having played a role in the position that is already currently taking place in cuba. raul castro said we won't change our domestic policies. communist party is here to say. the new generation will take my place. we'll have to say. this is the first generation of this revolution, and raul kas c castro is doing something his brother was never willing to do. >> reporter: they can shake hands, but certainly the cuban americans and the exile generation, it's unacceptable without shaking everything up. we're talking about the president obama taking long term views. the next president could undo whatever he does. the embargo is an animal of
congress, and without congress, kate, nothing can change back. >> patrick, it's john berman here in new york as well. if i can ask you a question. i'm struck by the threading of the needle of protocol that's going on. we heard the star spangled banner inside the palace of the revolution, the hall, played by the cuban military band, which is mind blowing to think of that. just a few moments ago the president laid a wreath at jose marte. how intricate is this dance in terms of protocol between the two countries today and tomorrow? >> there can be no missteps. so far it seems like both sides are willing to dance to continue the analogy. but it's tough. these governments up until last year didn't have full diplomatic relations. they're not used to dealing with one another. the white house is used to coming to a country and saying
what they want. for me, personally, i was looking at the line of officials of president obama shaking hands with. i saw an official i know well, his father was killed, and he was all smiles and respectful as he shook the american president's hands. on both sides, people are starting to move past the unfortunate history looking towards hopefully a better future. i was asking a cuban friend last night what he wanted to hear in the president when he gives his speech tomorrow. he said -- i said do you want to hear a tear down this wall comment like ronald reagan? he said enough things have been torn down in cuba. we want to talk about building things, relationships, the future. that's what cubans need right now. >> and patrick, since on the ground, you've lived there. you've seen this -- all of this happening on the ground from your perspective. i want to get your take when you talk about the delicate dance of diplomatic protocol that's going to be going on over the next 48
hours. talk about just the arrival of president obama when he arrived on air force one in havana. where was president castro? >> we don't know. and that's created some controversy. i think this event has perhaps shown that it was not intended to be as a snub as cuban officials have told me. >> reporter: and josh earnest said they know in advance the president was going to be met by people on the ground and not castro. they were okay with it. they said other than the pope, that the u.s. president hasn't done much of that either. the men have met before. they tried to brush it aside. >> it's about reciprocity. the cuban government is a smaller government. it feels like it's invaded and bullied by the united states. they'll show the respect it's shown to them. >> reporter: they had the head of venezuela who met with fidel. that sent a message also. >> absolutely. and if you're cuba which
received oil from venezuela, you have to keep both sides. that's very difficult. here we have the images of the two presidents shaking hands. all smiles, and while we don't know where raul castro was when president obama stepped down, the coordination is something to see. no one has come with a car like the beast or enormous delegation, and president obama is really showing the power and the might, maybe soft power, but i think cuban officials are really looking at this with eyes wide open of this is what americans bring to the table. >> let's leave up the pictures of the president's arrival inside the hall. these are pictures you could not have imagined. five, ten, 20 years ago. and i think they're worth seeing again and again and again. i want to bring in a panel with us. we're joined by douglas
brinkley, dan pfeiffer, and julian zelzer. dan, i want to start with you. every president when he or she takes office wants to do big things. this controversial as it may be and unpopular with some folks, this is a big thing we are seeing right now. how important is this to president obama and his legacy? >> i think it's critically important. this is something he has thought about for a long time. it has always been a source of frustration for him that we would have a policy driven by domestic politics that made little sense from a foreign per spect spective. he saw an opening. it's successful. there's a lot of work to do going on long after president obama is out of office. we're seeing history here and presidents love to make history. >> and dan, you were also in the
white house when the conversations were starting. why is this so important for president obama, this move? >> well, look, one of the things that the president has always been struck by is sort of this conventional foreign policy -- conventional wisdom of foreign policy in washington d.c. that is sometimes backwards. the fact that we can talk to the soviet union in the cold war but we can't talk to cuba, a small country, you know, 100 miles off the coast of florida simply because there's domestic politics around it made no sense to him. like i said, we still have problems with congress with the embargo, but if the policy, we did the same thing for 50 years and nothing changed. let's try to do something different here, and if we -- the president always has a theory, the more you get people involved in the world, that will bring them into the modern world and
into the modern set of democratic nations in the world. it's going to take time, but this is a start. >> professor zelzer, these maimamai images are from moments ago. the honor guard here. these images would have been unthink able a generation ago, yet you write that there is much less of a political cost and political risk to president obama in 2016 with these images. >> yeah. i think the politics of cuba changed, and that's part of why president obama has this opening. you know, as the cold war came to an end in the late 80s and early 90s, cuba lost some of its political power within the united states as an issue, and after 9/11 that accelerated even
further, and younger generations of cuban americans are not as attached foto the notion of jus isolating the country as older generations had been. i think there was a real sea change. obama did pretty well in 2012 with cuban americans in florida. and i think the president was aware there was room to move forward with very kind of bold step in ending this last relic of the cold war. >> looking at these images, these are from moments ago. right now according to the schedule, the president and president raul castro are sitting down for wa bilateral meeting. this is a full day of meetings. they're going to be sitting down where we're told the president will be raising part of this complicated relationship. the human rights abuses that the cuban regime, the castro regime has long been accused of
committing against its people. this is historic, no question, but doug, put it in perspective for us. is this up there with nixon going to china? >> it's worth mentioning in that regard. nixon went to china in 1972. the press really got involved with that event. everybody was glued to their television sets. i noticed on sunday cuba wasn't mentioned on the front page of the new york times or washington post, but suddenly everybody is waking up and realizing that this is quite a historic moment. i mean, there's been some diplomacy in the last years. nixon had his ping-pong diplomacy with china, and barack oba obama, there's been baseball diplomacy. the tampa bay rays are playing the cuban baseball team. musicians are coming to cuba, teachers, scholars, environmentalists, but now it's the president of the united states, and for raul castro to basically say i'm putting aside
the diaries in favor of president obama's audacity of hope and to have phone conversations to the white house with this president and building a repapport with him, i think we're seeing a major milestone in u.s. history, and certainly, anything like myself who teaches cold war history is moved by the imagery we're seeing that the world does change, and just as germany during our huge enemy in world war 2:00 ii -- ii, suddenly there's a difference. maybe we'll bond together and maybe this been a genuine friendship instead of one with a lot of question marks around it? >> stand by. i want to go back to cuba with chris cuomo and patrick are right now. patrick, a few months ago the president was asked if he would visit cuba. he said not until he saw progress in liberty and freedom and possibilities for ordinary
cubans. did that happen prior to this arrival, or does it seem on the ground there the president just changed the requirements for this visit? >> no, it didn't happen. cuban officials have said they're not changing any of their domestic policies. that cuba doesn't have the right to tell the united states how to run its country, and they feel the united states doesn't have if right to mettle? cuban domestic affairs. the last time i was standing here with cuba with chris, we were watching pope francis. carried it across the line when there was some last-minute waiting of whether or not there was going to be a deal. i think both sides had cold feet and doubts. he was the only one who created the final trust that was needed. and people in the revolution would have been terrified to show their faith that openly.
we saw hundreds of thousands of people out with the pope. nothing happened to them. yes, human rights situation, the economic situation in cuba is not what a lot of people like it to be, but it's trending in the right direction at long last, it seems. >> chris, take us on the schedule. what are we expecting? they're sitting down for the bilateral meeting and statements to the press. a big question is will president castro take questions from the press. as of now, it doesn't seem that's likely. who knows, of course? what are you looking forward to in the next -- today and tomorrow? >> reporter: well, castros don't take questions ordinarily. there's no expectation that that's going to change. we do expect that if kas ccastr doesn't then the president may not. this is a little bit of a dance as we keep using the met or the. you have the state dinner and some cultural events. some dollar diplomacy, the deal
with a hotel, the google deal for maybe doing wi-fi. the thought is if you hook in jobs and business and commerce, then that has a lot of power and sway for change here. but then you have culture exchange, baseball. obviously, cuba is huge with baseball here. the rolling stones being here on friday. you have to remember, that was illegal in the 60s here post revolution. you weren't allowed to listen to rock music. these were seen as excess. what's the dance, though? will it be like when president obama game, where it's not like the pope where people were encouraged to pack the city because they don't want to show too much popular hunger and enthusiasm for the democracy and what america represents. it was palm sunday yesterday when president obama came here. that's a very important time in the catholic calendar. there were more churches open here yesterday.
there was more palms around. i made some palm crosses for people in a restaurant and gave them to them to see if they would take them. it was pretty easy. and the theme, of course, of easter is rebirt ah and renewal. maybe that will play into this. after mass, the women in white, they are protesters here, they show up every week. they got arrested yesterday, and they did it in a big way here, the cuban authorities. they wanted to make a show and everybody saw it. >> it would have been so easy for them to let the protest go on yerks a on, and they didn't. this is our country, they're showing. >> thank you to all of you. when we get statements from the two presidents later, we'll go back to havana. that will be big. a speech tomorrow. that should be a historic event. next, one of the most critical days in the race for president,
the republican party really very much at war with itself. donald trump, he is in washington. he has a meeting with some political leaders in a speech to a key jewish group. what will he say? hillary clinton just spoke to them and created distance with president obama. also, donald trump is spending his time in washington meeting with influential curve conservatives behind closed doors. a superpac is sending a tracker to the meeting to try to get video of the republicans meeting with donald trump. clearly to say they're watching and this won't be forgotten. stay with us. we stop arthritis pain,
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just moments ago hillary clinton took the stage at aipac, the nation's largest proisrael lobbying group and took direct aim at donald trump blasting him for saying he would remain neutral. listen here to her own words. >> we need steady hands, not a president who says he's neutral on monday, proisrael on tuesday, and who knows what on wednesday, because everything is
negotiable. some things aren't negotiable. and anyone who doesn't understand that has no business being our president. >> now, donald trump is also scheduled to address this group later today, and his appearance has created some controversy. threats of boycotts, possible walk outs from some of the folks attending. brianna keeler is live for us on hillary clinton's speech which was well received. >> reporter: she was definitely talking to an audience to agreed with her when it came to donald trump. you can see that in the way that she got so much applause for the lines. she was talking about some comments that donald trump made back in february when he said that he would remain neutral in the israeli/palestinian conflict. he clarified that a little later saying he was proisrael but he would try to remain somewhat
neutral with palestinians so he had a shot at negotiating a deal. hillary clinton repeatedly hitting donald trump calling him a bully. here's more of what she said. >> if you see bigotry, oppose it. if you see violence, condemn it. if you see a bully, stand up to him. let us never be neutral or silent in the face of bigotry. together let's defend the shared values that already make america and israel great. >> reporter: hillary clinton is not completely seeing eye to eye on all issues with aipac, with this pro-israel lobby. she talked about the iran nuclear deal. struck by the obama administration, something she laid the ground work for as secretary of state. she, though, explained herself not a lot of clapping for that, obviously, but certainly there were no boos or anything of that sort. all the candidates will be
speaking here at aipac except bernie sanders. he's going to remain west, 2k3wgive a foreign policy speech in utah. we're expecting the republican candidates here later tonight as well. >> and brianna, it was clear where she was hitting donald trump in her remarks, america has always been great and talking about the ban on muslims and so forth. she also seemed to create some distance in her remarks as well between her and president obama on policy toward israel. >> reporter: yeah, that's right, and specifically in one place where she said that one of the first things she would do as president is to have the israeli prime minister come to the white house. this certainly was something, as you know, kate, the relationship between president obama and prime minister benjamin netanyahu pretty frosty. this was something where she was basically saying that her relationship with israel would be a little more friendly.
of course, she wasn't that specific in hitting president obama, but there were a couple of places where i think she was trying to show that she would be a stronger ally than the president that really was her boss. >> to use a clinton term, f triangulation between the white house, hillary clinton and the praims. sayi another key point, and perhaps a difference with the current administration. thank you so much. >> thanks, brianna. >> coming up, donald trump is today, not only going to be speaking at aipac. he'll be holding an influential meeting with republicans. more on that ahead.
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ai pac isn't the only stop of donald trump's washington itinerary. he's taking a trip into the establishment. trump is set to meet with some congressional republicans in the nation's capital. >> it's mostly trump supporters in washington, but there is one senator who is neutral in the race who will be there, come cotton in arkansas. that is pretty interesting. let's to go to sara murray with look ahead at the meeting. >> reporter: good morning. it's interesting to see the mix of folks who are going to be meeting with donald trump behind closed doors. what we're hearing is it is mainly rank and file members. a hand full of them who have
endorsed him. tom cotton is interesting. when you look at the list of people we know who are coming and ones not coming, it gives you a sense of the division right now within the gop. we are not going to see leaders of the house or of the senate. paul ryan will not be there. mitch mcconnell won't be there, and donald trump is not stopping by to meet with the rnc while he's in town. he's the front runner. he's leading in the delegate fight in the we're not seeing the leaders of the party or congress here to meet with donald trump. i think he is going to come to washington. he's going to try to use this as sort of a sign that he is coalescing the party behind him and he's maybe more presidential than he's appeared on the campaign trail. i think he'll do that in the meeting and also in the press conference he's having after. at the end of the day, donald trump is still a businessman. once again, his press conference will be held at one of his own properties right here in washington d.c. >> and sara, you talk about
trying to project that he's more presidential and there is coalescing behind him. when you see that the anti-super pac is sending a tracker to publicly shame folks heading into this meeting, not the only attempt at publicly shaping people who have endorsed donald trump or support donald trump. this is a party at war with itself. these are normally tactics saved for the opposition, the democrats versus the republicans and vice versa. what is the trump campaign saying act the attempts? >> reporter: you're right. they're saying they're wasting the money. the party is coalescing behind donald trump. we're leading in the delegate fight. as you see, the anti-trump superpacs are trying to push delegates in the states hard to say we still have an effort to head donald trump off. maybe don't throw your support behind him yet. let's see if we can stall him off, not get to 1237 and beat
him at the convention. they're pushing back. they feel like going forward there are still opportunities. for instance, they believe donald trump will be defeated in utah and that will open an avenue to continue their efforts in places like wisconsin. it's clear the anti-trump forces aren't giving up. even though they have defeats like in florida. >> answerly. thank you j sara. >> we have a big programming note here at cc tonign tonight. the final five candidates. all five candidates joining cnn for a special prime time. it starts at 8:00 eastern. it's only here on cnn. hillary clinton now reportedly making her plans to take on donald trump. you might be surprised to hear what she is not planning to hit
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we are in the eve of big western primaries. this is donald trump preparing to meet with a collection of congressional republicans all while getting blasted by hillary clinton before a proisrael lobbying group. >> all this coming before the final five accounts join cnn for a special prime time forum that is tonight. let's discuss the state of play. let's bring in dan pfeiffer. also bill press, christian ferry, and kailee mcnini.
first, reporting about this, this meeting of republicans with donald trump before he speaks at aipac, and also the fact that there's now an anti-trump sup superpac that is planning to send a tracker to the event to basically take account of who enters and exits and publicly shame them and say we won't forget. all the efforts coming ahead of the person primaries. what do you say to that? >> you know, first of all, this is trump extending overture to republicans. i think that's great. i am appalled that the establishment, this superpac which is run by a romney advisor is sending trackers. they're sending trackers to a meeting to tape republican senators in an effort to then defeat them in a general election or in a tight senate race if they in fact end up embracing donald trump. that's appalling.
we are one party. we're a united party. we need to come together. this isn't about toppling people within our party. if that's the name of the game, hillary clinton will walk into the white house without much of an effort. >> bill press getting choked up at the thought. christian, we'll put this to you. this is heavy handed stuff, trackers going. we have amanda carpenter who comes an and says she's keeping a list of everyone who is supporting and endorses donald trump. tim miller says that he wants to do opposition research on anyone supporting donald trump. this is pretty serious inflighting we're seeing right now. >> it is. i think it's a nice play by if anti-trump pacs to get some attention on themselves. we're all talking about it today. they're getting what they wanted. at the end of the day, donald trump has an opportunity potentially to be our nominee.
it makes a lot of sense that people in washington want to take the opportunity to get to know him and ask him questions. to ask him questions about foreign policy and other national interests because he hasn't given a lot of specifics on the campaign stump. these people want to ask him questions and find out where exactly he stands on the issues. >> christian, can i ask you if you think anti-trump efforts can successfully stop trump if case ic -- kasich are on the cruz. lindsey graham thinks not. >> john, if i thought you could win, i'd be behind you. you are the most electable candidate. work with ted to deny trump the 1237. if you're not willing to work with ted, then you're hurting the cause. by kasich going to utah, you're making it harder for ted to get
5 50%. >> how well would you have received a message like that? >> i think each campaign is going to make the decision that's best for them. one of the things we've seen is the outside groups have not been very effective in accomplishing anything whether it's propping up their candidates or taking down donald trump. it just hasn't worked yet. the way to beat the way to beat donald trump is to coalesce around an alternative. some people think that is ted cruz. some think it is john kasich. until we have that head-on-head match, i think donald trump will continue racking up delegates and coming close to winning the nomination, if not winning it outright. >> there are some details coming out over the last few days about how the clinton team does plan to take on donald trump in the fall. it's not all personal attacks. the idea has been keeping her separate from this. make her seem presidential. do you think that is wise or do you think you need to go in and punch him in the nose.
>> they have to be aggressive making a case against donald trump. and they have to do it earlier in the cycle than the republicans did in the primary elections. there are a couple of lessons there. one, don't try to outtrump trump. what happened to jeb bush, marco rubio is they got in the mud with trump. some percentage of the republican electorate is okay with trump seeming ridiculous. not okay with rubio and disturb looking ridiculous. that hurts their brand. the other thing that is crucial is understand the normal rule of politics don't apply to trump. i you can't rerun the democrat strategy against mitt romney from 2012 against donald trump. the public will accept negative information about trump and be okay with it in ways they are not with other politicians. the idea of whether it is accurate or not, the clinton campaign is talking about under mining the idea that donald trump is ready for the oval office or fit for office is a good idea. >> just looking at video of
hillary clinton speaking at apack. and i want to ask you about bernie sanders. he's the only one not speaking before apac. misstep, why? >> it was a tough call for hillary clinton. it think bernie would have been well received as well. it was his choice, i'm not going to second guess it. i will second what dan said here. i think democrats have to recognize whether hillary is the nominee or bernie sanders that donald trump is a real threat. he's a serious threat. they have to take him seriously with his appeal to blue collar workers and they have to do what republican candidates did not do. they can't ignore him. they can't be nice to him. they have to define him early and destroy him early, i believe and do it in a substantive strategic way. you are not going to hear hillary or bernie accuse him of wetting his pants. they are doing research to show he is not fit to be the president of the united states. it is important to do it now.
>> might have heard our last small hands joke on this campaign. >> oh, no. >> one more question about the israel speech there. hillary clinton tackled donald trump. to use another football analogy the stiff arm to president obama in the white house over their israel policies. that she invited netanyahu to the white house right away and use the u.n. veto to protect israel. >> look, on the campaign trail she's going to have to create distance on some issues. they don't agree 100% on all things. that's acceptable. i was she was making more of not a criticism of the specific obama policies that apac has had concerns with, most notely the iran deal you her approach to the current israeli government would be. it is more style over substance but smart politics. >> thank you so much. also just getting in new
details -- thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. new details what about will be in the meeting with donald trump. we will have that after the break. the future belongs to the fast. and to help you accelerate, we've created a new company. ♪ one totally focused on what's next for your business. a true partnership where people, technology and ideas push everyone forward. accelerating innovation. accelerating transformation.
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who lay tend an important meeting with donald trump in washington? we have heard members of congress would be there with him, but which members of congress. let's bring in our senior political reporter who is breaking the story wide open. it seems like mostly trump supporters, yes? >> that's what we know of right now. there aren't many trump supporters on capitol hill. this is organized by the lone senator endorsing donald trump jeff sessions in alabama who will be at the meeting and a number of house members who have endorsed donald trump.
chris collins from new york is one. and we are told hunter from california, and another who voted for donald trump in north carolina primary also attending. this is what we are seeing, mostly trump supporters as of now. we will see who decides to attend. tom cotton, the senator from arkansas was neutral in this race has decided to attend the event which is interesting. we will see if he decides to endorse after this. it will be significant if donald trump wins him over. we don't know if that will be the case now. what we do know is the republican leadership will not be attending the meeting. house speaker paul ryan, kevin mccarthy, mitch mcconnell and senate majority john cornyn are not attending. we are not certain how big of a crowd this will get. the house -- a lot of members are traveling back today.
and the senate is on recess. i don't think many members are planning to come back for this, particularly members who are nervous about a trump candidacy. we will see who decides to come. right now looks like trump supporters, very few of them will be in attendance, guys? >> manu, real quick, there's been to much hype about the meeting. what is the point of the meeting and how did the invitations go out? >> the point was to get the outreach. trump really has not got any outreach on capitol hill. talked to a lot of members of congress and they don't know donald trump. jeff sessions, the alabama republican is the one who organized the meeting. we're told he started to build some outreach. we will see if he reaches out to the leadership types. did call paul ryan and mitch mcconnell earlier. one thing newt gingrich, former house speaker will be in attendance. >> interesting but still only outreach to people who are supporting donald trump except
for tom cotton. thank you for being with us. >> a quick reminder, tonight the final five candidates will join cnn for a primetime forum. the three-hour event starts at 8:00 tonight only on cnn. thank you for joining us at this hour. >> "legal view" with ashleigh banfield starts now. ♪ hello, everyone. i'm ashleigh banfield, and welcome to "legal view." the presidential race goes west but not before almost all of the surviving candidates tend to important business in the nation's capital. that's where the american-israel public affairs commitment, always known as aipc is olding the election year for what would be hillary clinton. we will get though that in a
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