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@THISHOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA

Crisis in Ukraine; Crimean Parliament Votes to Join Russia; Obama Signs Executive Order Authorizing Sanctions in Crisis; CPAC Holds Annual Meeting; Turning Things Around in Chicagoland; Rep. Marcia Fudge Calls for Issa's Removal as Committee Chair

Aired March 6, 2014 - 11:00   ET

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


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: ... oftentimes rubs them the wrong way.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Dana Bash, I appreciate it. Thanks very much.

Thanks very much, everyone, for joining me. I'm Anderson Cooper.

"@ THIS HOUR" with Berman and Michaela starts now.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: New sanctions, new threats and new dangers in Ukraine, the latest on the ground @ THIS HOUR.

A speech that could make or break New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in front of what could be the hostile crowd.

And an inspiration in the face of gangs, guns, every obstacle you can imagine, how one dynamic principal is turning things around. She's just one of the revelations in the new CNN original series, "CHICAGOLAND."

Hello, everyone. I'm John Berman. Michaela Pereira is off today.

It's 11:00 a.m. in the East, 8:00 a.m. out West. Those stories and more, right now, @ THIS HOUR.

And we are seeing dramatic events unfold almost every hour on several fronts on the crisis in Ukraine.

Just moments ago Ukraine's prime minister announced Crimea was, is, will be an integral part of Ukraine. Those words are important. We'll tell you why in just a minute.

Plus, action this morning from the White House, President Barack Obama signed an executive order authorizing sanctions against people and entities that they say are behind this crisis.

And the State Department is imposing a visa band on certain Russian and Ukrainian officials deemed responsible or complicit in threatening the sovereignty or territorial integrity of Ukraine.

While that is happening, a potential game-changer in Crimea, the parliament voted today to leave Ukraine and join Russia, which already has the peninsula under de facto control. Now, it's up to the people there to decide.

The people in Crimea will vote. A referendum will be held 10 days from now. But, again, Ukraine's prime minister just said Crimea will remain part of Ukraine. You can see tension there.

Also, tensions are escalating in Ukraine's port city of Odessa, the historic city there, riot police in a standoff against pro-Russian demonstrators outside key government buildings.

Again, so much going on, we'll ask Fareed Zakaria about what could happen if Crimea ditches Ukraine and joins Russia.

But, first, I want to start with our Michelle Kosinski at the White House. Explain to me how these new sanctions just announced today are supposed to work.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Oh, there's a couple of parts to this executive order.

The first part is freezing of assets, and senior administration officials said that those individuals and entities as they spell it out in this order haven't been identified yet or designated by the U.S. government. That's something that they can do starting today now that this has been authorized.

The second part is refusal of entry to certain people, visa bands, even visa revocations, so already people who can have access to the U.S., they're going to have their visas revoked. And these officials said that that's already in process, that there is a so-called list of people, although officials wouldn't name them or say how many of them there were.

So, that's already in process. In fact, people whose visas will be revoked, they're already being notified of that. This order also says that it's illegal to fund any of these organizations and supply money to them.

So, the first step is really individuals, and it was clarified today, also, and this is something officials have mentioned in the past, but now that the order is in place, they wanted to say, if they were going to sanction a head of state, Putin, of course, in this case, that that would be extraordinary unusual step. And for now at least they're not going to go that route.

They're going to take this step by step as they have been doing over the past couple of days.

Now, who are these individuals in general? Well, they spelled it out there are really four categories that they would fall into -- people who have been deemed by the U.S. government to undermine democratic processes in Ukraine, undermine security in Ukraine, people identified as being misappropriating states funds there or of asserting government authority without the authorization of the government in Kiev.

John? BERMAN: Michelle, it's important to note, as you said, Vladimir Putin not on that list. Yes, a lot of the frustration, yes, a lot of the rhetoric directed at him, but not sanctions.

All right, I want to bring in Fareed Zakaria right now on what I think could be the most combustible issue right now, the most combustible development in Crimea.

The parliament there in Crimea voted to join Russia, and they've called this referendum 10 days from now to let the people there vote. Which country do you want to be a part of, Ukraine or Russia?

To me this poses such a problem for the United States, because what if the people there vote to become part of Russia?

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS": Exactly, because if we believe that the people's voice should be heard, people of Crimea should decide what they want.

You know, it's a 60 percent Russian majority. There's a large group of people who are historically tied to Russia. Remember, Crimea was part of Russia until 1954, and it was gifted in a kind of internal transfer, because it was all part of the Soviet Union.

So, Khrushchev, the Russian -- the Soviet leader transferred Crimea from Russia to Ukraine, but all within the one country, the Soviet Union.

So, it sort of stayed part of Russia until 1991. So, you know, Ukraine has not really had Crimea that long.

You're exactly right, John. What's likely to happen is the referendum will go in the direction of Russia, and the Ukrainian parliament will not accept that referendum.

And, so, then what you have is two different legal realities, but the political and military reality, of course, is that Russia will have taken over Crimea.

BERMAN: It seems like the situation is even worse than it is right now.

How will the United States justify the sanctions that we have, the rhetoric that's coming out of the White House now, completely justified in some cases, if the people in Crimea say, We want the Russian troops here; we want to be part of Russia?

ZAKARIA: Part of the problem here, John, is that everything has happened so fast in a crazy revolutionary fashion that nobody is really following the law perfectly.

So, an elected Ukrainian president was deposed, essentially by street gangs and protests, very heroic, but this guy was elected.

Now, Crimea is claiming they can hold their own independent referendum, which technically is not allowed. The Ukrainian constitution requires that a referendum has to be held in all of Ukraine.

So, when you think -- when law gets murky, I always think you look at where the troops are, you look at where power is. And Russia has the power. And whatever the sanctions we put in place, they're not going to be enough to deter them, because this is vital to them. This is part of their vital national interest.

And this is where the West made a mistake. We didn't recognize Ukraine was a peripheral issue for us, even for the Europeans, but for Russia, it's at the absolute heart of Russian power.

BERMAN: It does make it very difficult to say that the U.S. or Russia, one side is on the side of democracy when so many moments of these actual moments of democracy are disputed.

Let's talk about the sanctions right now. Michelle Kosinski just laid it out. Are these symbolic or does this hit Vladimir Putin where it hurts?

ZAKARIA: They're symbolic. It's very tough to do sanctions when they're not comprehensive and when they are not complete, by which I mean, you need to have everybody participating.

That's why the Iran sanctions worked because the Obama administration went to U.N. They got the neighbors to agree. They got the Chinese and the Russians to agree.

In this case, Europeans are not buying into these sanctions because they need Russian natural gas. They need the electricity, the power, too much to agree.

Chinese have not come on board. So, these are unilateral American sanctions. They're also not complete, because they don't really involve the heart of Russia's power, which is its oil and natural gas.

So, when you have leaky sanctions like that, historically, they rarely work.

BERMAN: And that's the starting point here.

Of course, the European Union, leaders from the European Union meeting today right now, what does the U.S. need to do? What can the U.S. do to influence European leaders to get into this sanction game?

ZAKARIA: I think what we have to recognize is we're not going to get a perfect solution in terms of trying to make Russia pay a price for what's happened.

So what we're going to have to do is fire on multiple fronts and hope that in doing so collectively you force the Russians to pay a price and ask themselves, was this worth it? Is it worth some kind of a political settlement? Is there an off-ramp?

But you're not going to get -- there is no silver bullet. The silver bullet would be a complete set of sanctions that involves oil and natural gas. BERMAN: Not going to happen.

ZAKARIA: Not going to happen.

It would involve a U.N.-oriented sanctions, because that's international. Russians have a veto in the Security Council, right?

So, you're already in the realm not of second best, but of third, fourth, and fifth best options.

So, moral condemnation, political condemnation, cancel the G-8, some sanctions, that's the best you can do.

BERMAN: Nevertheless, you have made a compelling case to me and others, that Vladimir Putin, Russia is not necessarily in a better place than it was, in a geopolitical sense, two weeks ago.

ZAKARIA: Think about it. He'll have Crimea. But as a result, the Ukrainians now hate him and hate Russia, and this prize of Ukraine has slipped out of Russia's control.

Poland, which had warming relations with Russia, is now calling emergency NATO meetings. So are the Hungarians, the Czechs.

The Germans, the chancellor of Germany says Putin is delusional, so trade is going to dry up or at least slow down between Russia and Europe.

The United States has imposed sanctions. The Chinese are looking at him warily. The Turks, his other neighbors, are worried.

And all this and what does he get? He gets Crimea, which, by the way, has a 15 percent Muslim population that is part of an insurgency that he's been battling in the Caucuses, anyway.

This is really a good example of what John Kerry calls "19th century thinking." You know, you got some piece of geography when what you really is peace, stability, trade, commerce to build the wealth of your country.

BERMAN: All right. Thank you so much for the context. Fareed Zakaria, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it.

Fareed will have in-depth analysis and all the latest developments on this crisis during his show, "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS." It airs every Sunday, 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

And I've got to say, by that time, who knows where this situation will be because it is changing every minute.

Ahead for us @ THIS HOUR, Chris Christie in the hot seat, the conservative conference that shut its doors on him last year has him back as a featured speaker today.

He'll be at the podium in just a few minutes. We have inside word on what he might say to charm this crowd. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: @ THIS HOUR, conservatives are gathering near Washington for their big annual meeting. CPAC, it's called, the big names speaking this year, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, Donald Trump, Sarah Palin and the person kicking off the event, Ted Cruz, the senator from Texas.

You know, there are moments he sure seems like he's thinking about a possible 2016 run. Listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: You want to lose elections, stand for nothing, because the last four congressional elections, '06, '08, '10, and '12, three of the four, we followed that strategy.

'06, '08, and '12, we put our head down, we stood for nothing and we got walloped.

The one election that was tremendous election was 2010 when Republicans drew a line in the stand. We said we stand unequivocally against ObamaCare and against bankrupting the country and we won a historic tidal wave of an election.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Notice Senator Ted Cruz almost never speaks from behind a podium, almost never uses notes there, almost always off the cuff. Could this have been a call to arms for Cruz backers?

Maybe, but the latest ABC News/"Washington Post" poll shows that only 4 percent of Republicans say they will vote for Senator Ted Cruz.

The big news from CPAC might not be Cruz but Chris Christie. He's back this year. He's speaking in just a few minutes. And we will bring you that live when it happens.

The New Jersey governor famously was not invited last your after he appeared right here with President Obama, even praising President Obama in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Some conservatives saw that as a betrayal.

Of course fast forward to today, now following the Bridgegate scandal, Christie's poll numbers seem to be going a bit downhill with only 9 percent saying they would definitely vote if he ran for president.

So the governor could certainly use a helping hand from conservatives. Let's bring in Ana Navarro, CNN political commentator and Republican strategist, and Scottie Nell Hughes, news director for the tea party news network.

Ana, let me start with you here. A source close to Chris Christie says he will focus on what it means now to be a conservative Republican. You are there in that hall. Do you think this audience wants to hear that from him? ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Actually I do. I'll tell you I've heard Chris Christie before many times. And he is an engaging and energetic speaker. I think he's going to have a very good reception here. He's going to highlight the actions of the governors. Remember he's the chair of the Republican Governor's Association. So I expect to hear him talk about what governors -- Republican governors are doing around the country.

I expect him to take a positive approach, what Republicans are for, and they need to be a party of ideas. And I also expect him to do something he doesn't usually do, which is take a shot at media and say that we as Republicans cannot let the media define us.

BERMAN: Taking a shot at us, Ana.

NAVARRO: It's going to get a very good applause here, John.

BERMAN: Yeah ,that's an easy applause line will there, taking a shot at the media. It's like taking a shot at the New York Yankees in Boston.

But Scottie, let me ask you about there. Because as Ana says, the governor standing tall in the face of what he believes to be unfair media treatment. So in a way, has he ironically gained from this Bridgegate scandal? Has his isolation, as it were, has focus in the eyes of the media, has that drawn him closer to some in the conservative movement?

SCOTTIE NELL HUGHES, TEA PARTY NEWS NETWORK: Well, lots of people always -- the old cliche there are good and bad press the way it's going to be working for you.

And in this case, you know, Governor Christie might be applying that. But the reality of it is, I think he lost the establishment. If we remember when Bridgegate first broke, all of a sudden, Jeb Bush's name started coming back as being president.

Which that makes me think of the establishment, like, you know what, we can't fight this battle for you. New Jersey politics is not American politics. We're going back to our old faithful, a Bush, Jeb Bush.

That being said, of every speaker that's going to be at CPAC for the next three days, Chris Christie has the most to gain, but more importantly, he has the most to lose. And in this CPAC that's being crediting being more liberal than conservative, this might be more of his fan base than necessarily Ted Cruz's.

BERMAN: But Scottie, how skeptical --

NAVARRO: This is being billed as more liberal than conservative?

HUGHES: But, you know, if you look at last year, it was billed as being very conservative. This year is liberal. You've got GoProud. You've got the anarchists, people that weren't normally invited in have been allowed this year. And if you're looking at speakers, you have Governor Christie, but you don't have Michelle Bachmann.

NAVARRO: Actually, GoProud is still to be invited.

HUGHES: (inaudible) allowed to have the boot.

NAVARRO: No, they're not allowed to have the boot. They're allowed to come in as invited guests. But they haven't been allowed to have the boot.

And I -- you know, I think that's one of the crazy things, that people talk about CPAC now as being too liberal, some Republicans. So we keep becoming smaller not larger, not growing. I just don't see that as productive. But regardless of that, I think Chris Christie is going to do well here today.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: All right, let me jump in. Let me jump in. Let me ask this question of both of you now.

Scottie, you say you're skeptical of how much gain Christie can get here. So Christie's loss, who wins the most as Christie loses among the potential Republican candidates there? Scottie, you first, then Ana.

HUGHES: Like I said, it's going to be Jeb Bush. If Chris Christie is truly coming from the establishment side point, you know, you can sit there and look at Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Governor Scott Walker. The conservative base, the tea party base (inaudible) lots of options, which can actually work against us as the in-fighting would begin amongst the conservatives.

The establishment, not so many options going into this 2016 election race. You basically have Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and maybe a few others. But those are the main two. So the most to gain of Chris Christie doing bad in a speech will be definitely former governor Jeb Bush.

BERMAN: Ana?

NAVARRO: Well, darling, you know I'm not going to argue with that one.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

NAVARRO: I don't like the -- let me just tell you, I don't like the word establishment. I think that's one of the problems that we have as Republicans when we try to label each other within the Republican party.

I like to think of people like governors who are actually getting things done in the state as pragmatic reformers, people who have the pact (ph) to do things, and they conservatives if you look at their record. Anybody that looks at Jeb Bush's record in Florida as governor, knows he had a solid conservative, fiscal conservative, social conservative record as governor. If you don't think so, you don't know his record.

But I also think there are other people that benefit. But listen, I also it's premature to count Chris Christie out. There's a long time to go. We're yet to see how this Bridgegate thing settles. And there's a lot time between now and the primaries.

BERMAN: All right, Scottie, Ana Navarro, thank you so much for being with us. Appreciate you joining us despite the volume in that hall. We can hear the excitement here or at least we can hear the speakers, so appreciate it.

Ahead for us @ THIS HOUR. Russia accused of scuttling a ship to trap Ukrainian ships in the harbor. Could that be escalating the tensions in Crimea?

And next, a principal who sees herself as a parent to hundreds of students, how she's turning things around in "CHICAGOLAND."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: All right, we have an amazing story of revival that you simply will not want to miss. Five years ago, Fanger High School was one of the most violent and least successful in Chicago. Many students were learning more about gang life than math. Just listen to what principal Liz Dozier had to deal with. In this clip, you could mistake her for a police detective.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIZ DOZIER, PRINCIPAL FANGER HIGH SCHOOL: You don't know what happened? How many shots were fired?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like, three.

DOZIER: And you don't know what direction they were shooting in?

He was like I don't know what's going on. Right. Were they from a car or walking by?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just people like walking I believe.

DOZIER: And they started shooting?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One person.

DOZIER: Yes. Crazy. It's hell.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: It's more about crime scene investigation than education in that case. But Dozier helped turned things around in her five years at Fanger. It is an inspiration, and it's just and one part of the gripping story told in the new CNN series "CHICAGOLAND" which premieres tonight.

Liz Dozier is here. And Liz, you know, this is a success story. And I do want to talk about that because it is an inspiration. But to understand why it worked and what worked, we gotta figure where how it started from. Tell us how bad things were when you first arrived.

DOZIER: First of all, there were so many success stories across the city of Chicago and across this country for hard work people do. For us, we started out with close to 300 arrests inside the school building, a 20 percent drop-out rate. And statistics go on and on.

But if you look at where we are now, we're below 3 percent drop-out rate. We've become now a leader in restorative justice and peace circles in the country and leading the way.

BERMAN: So what worked? I'm sure there are so many people who want to know the answer to that question.

DOZIER: I think it's -- first, just getting a good team on board, like people who really care and are consistent with kids, know how to build relationships and really believe in the promise and possibility within kids.

BERMAN: Was there something inherent at Fanger, ingredients that made this all possible?

DOZIER: Well, I think the main -- a huge part of it was the funding we had. We had $1.6 million grant from the Department of Education for four years to support this work.

BERMAN: So I want to talk about that funding here.

DOZIER: Sure.

BERMAN: Because I think one of the most important issues as we expand to look at this nationally is, is your success repeatable? Can it happen anywhere? You said you had a large grant, a large federal grant, $1.6 million. Without that money, could you ever have been a success?

DOZIER: I think we could have. I think it would have just been a little bit longer to see some of the changes that we had in place. Obviously, money makes it ideal. You can, you know, manipulate that and give kids what they need like grief counseling, anger management, smaller class sizes, these types of things from the course of the school day.

BERMAN: What is the thing that inspired you most over the last five years?

DOZIER: The kids. I have the most resilient and amazing children. And they're all over Chicago public schools, just amazing kids beating the odds and doing amazing work in the city.

BERMAN: What's the saddest thing you've seen?

DOZIER: Sad thing I've seen is, you know, when children die. And I think that's really always hard to take and hard to digest.

BERMAN: And this is America, by the way, we're talking about here.

DOZIER: Right.

BERMAN: This is an American city.

DOZIER: Right, not just Chicago. Correct.

BERMAN: But that's got to be awful to see, you know, when you were in that office as a principal.

If you were giving advice to other schools around the country -- because as you said, it's not just Chicago where this is a problem, where there are these challenges, what are the keys to finding the success?

DOZIER: Again, having a great team. There's an amazing team at Fanger High School of teachers and advocates and great just group of folks, I think really investing in restorative justice, which Chicago public schools has done, just been a leader in that. So having a way for kids to resolve conflict.

And I think, three, incorporating in student voice. Students have to believe and vie in that they can be more than what people might see them as today.

BERMAN: All right, Liz Dozier, the principal of the Fanger High School, in Chicago, thank you so much for being with us. You are an inspiration, and in some ways, the revelation in "CHICAGOLAND." It does -- premiere tonight at 10 o'clock, 9 o'clock Central right here on CNN. You do not want to miss that.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BERMAN: All right. We do have breaking news @ THIS HOUR. The head of the Congressional Black Caucus is calling for House Speaker John Boehner to remove Darrel Issa from his role as chair of the Oversight Committee.

This has to do with drama that's been unfolding really over the last 24 hours on Capitol Hill. It started at an Oversight Committee hearing. Darrell Issa chairs that. He had a confrontation with the ranking member, the highest ranking Democrat on that committee, Elijah Cummings.

It was contentious, and it has continued overnight to today to what has just happened on the House floor.

Let's bring in Joe Johns who joins us from right Washington now.

Joe, bring us up to speed on these recent developments.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, this was Marcia Fudge, Congresswoman Marsha Fudge of Ohio with the Congressional Black Caucus. But it may be a little bit bigger than that. What she did was she offered what's called a privileged resolution on the House floor, alleging that the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Darrel Issa, acted inappropriately in trying to turn off the microphones and trying to adjourn the meeting while Congressman Elijah Cummings of Maryland was raising objections to the way the committee was proceeding.

And so, Marcia Fudge essentially read this privileged resolution. It doesn't have to be acted on immediately. And the bottom line is it's not likely to go very far because the House of Representatives, as you know, sort of operates as a place that is generated by brute force.