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Trump Looks for Big Wins as 100-Day Milestone Approaches; Sources: Russia Tried to Use Trump Advisers to Infiltrate Campaign; Earth Day Worldwide Marches for Science; Altercation on American Airlines Flight; Hernandez Family to Sue State Officials; Death Toll Rises in Violent Clashes in Venezuela. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired April 22, 2017 - 15:00   ET




[15:00:46] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: You're in the CNN NEWSROOM. Thanks for starting your weekend with us. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York.

Right now, the president and first lady are at the U.S. military's Walter Reed Medical Center outside Washington, D.C. It's President Trump's first visit to this hospital and with the wounded American servicemembers being cared for there.

The president also today teasing what he calls a big announcement a few days from now. This on Twitter, "Big tax reform and tax reduction will be announced next Wednesday."

It's not the only circled day on the White House calendar coming up. The president's milestone 100th day in office is one week from today, next Saturday.

Let's bring in CNN White House correspondent, Athena Jones.

Athena, several major issues facing this administration right now, a government shutdown deadline, a new stab at replacing Obamacare, the major tax reform announcements. It's a lot. And the president staying in Washington, D.C., this weekend. Is the White House a flurry of activity right now? What's going on?

ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana. Well, not a lot of activity here right now. As you mentioned, he made his first trip to Walter Reed Medical Center. You showed some of those pictures of him pinning a Purple Heart on the lapel a sergeant first class. The president said when he heard about this servicemember's injury, he wanted to do this himself. That is, award him the Purple Heart. The sergeant was recently injured in Afghanistan.

But looking ahead to next week, you are right, there are several circled days on the calendar. You have this Wednesday announcement about a tax reform. We're told that that is going to be broad outlines, it will be what the White House hopes to achieve in terms of bullet points, middle class tax cuts, tax cuts for businesses, simplifying the tax code, doing things that they hope will make U.S. businesses more competitive. We won't see nitty-gritty detailed legislative language at that announcement. We're also told by some officials that it might not be Wednesday, it could slide.

Also then, of course, Friday is the deadline for funding the government. Officials here tell me that they are not going to let the government shut down. They made their priorities clear to leadership on Capitol Hill. But they will do what is necessary to keep the government funded.

And the president also is looking ahead to next week saying this morning on Twitter he was going to have a big rally a week from today on the very day that is the 100-day mark, next Saturday in Pennsylvania, that rally will be taking place in Harrisburg.

But a lot of the focus this week will be on how many of the promises the president made in his contract with the American voter back in October, how many of those promises has he kept. On the plus side, the White House pulled the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, got Neil Gorsuch approved to the Supreme Court, approved the Keystone Pipeline. Those are among the things the president promised.

But then again, you have the big failures so far, chief among those being the failure to repeal and replace Obamacare. I was told that they are not necessarily leaning into a vote happening next week. They would like to see a vote soon, but aren't relying on it happening next week -- Ana?

CABRERA: All right. Good to know the latest.

Athena Jones, thank you.

I want to bring in CNN political commentator and former Republican Congressman Jack Kingston; also with us, CNN contributor and "Washington Post" reporter, David Fahrenthold; and Democratic strategist, Julian Epstein.

Jack, is this 100-day marker really a key yardstick of success or is it in his words ridiculous?

JACK KINGSTON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't think it's ridiculous, just one of those kind of a Washington sport, the 100-day clock is something that we watch, but I don't think it really means anything in the long term outside of Franklin Roosevelt. There really isn't anything that anybody has done in the first 100-days that changes the needle. And so he's going to have a lot of achievements though. Athena mentioned what he had done with the Dakota Pipeline and the Keystone Pipeline. She talked about the first president to select a Supreme Court nominee in his first 100-days. People don't realize he's actually signed 28 pieces of legislation and done 25 executive orders. So it has been a very vigorous first 100-days.

[15:05:02] CABRERA: So supporters will obviously point to what you just discussed. But on the flip side, he has not done the Obamacare repeal/replace, he has not been able to get his travel ban through the court system and into effect. He has not been able to follow through on all of his immigration promises at this point on. In fact, we just got the latest information from the Department of Homeland Security, which shows that there is not enough money to implement some of those immigration changes. And so there are a lot of things. Also tax reform that hasn't even been introduced just yet, although he says that is coming this next week.

Meantime guys, we have a government shutdown possibility at the end of the next week.

And I want you to listen to them talking to CNN about how far the president will go to fund his promised border wall.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: So will the president go to the mat and insist on funding his border wall as part of the stopgap government funding measure?

JOHN KELLY, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Dana, I think it goes without saying that the president has been pretty straightforward about his desire and the need for a border wall. So I would suspect he will do the right thing for sure, but I will suspect that he will be insistent on the funding.


CABRERA: So, Julian, Kelly says the president will be insistent on the funding. Is that a deal breaker and if it is, where does that leave us?

JULIAN EPSTEIN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, the same administration official also indicated that they would never have a complete wall as Obama promised. They may get partial funding in some places and use electronic surveillance in others. And it ties into the question about the 100-days. Sure, the president has accomplished a couple of easy lay-ups, but on the major issue, think about it, his numbers -- his approval numbers are in about the can, at 37 percent, 38 percent, the lowest of any president at this time in history. He's in the middle of a criminal espionage investigation by the FBI.

His major promise is not just on the wall, on health care, on a whole range of other things, he's come up with nothing but bagels. And this is a president that has accomplished very, very, very little and is kind of just grasping on policy issue after policy issue to kind of find his way in the dark.

So I don't think -- even if you look at the numbers of support amongst Republicans, you start to see Republicans peeling off on the Hill, he's in the middle of a huge fight on health care which --


EPSTEIN: Doesn't look like they will ever be able to deliver.

CABRERA: Hold on for a minute when you talk about Republicans and maybe the inner workings.

I'll give you a chance to respond in just second, Jack.

But let me get David involved in this conversation.

Because not only are we talking about funding for the border wall that may or may not have support among the legislators who will be voting on the budget coming up in this past week, but the White House also says the priority is $30 billion to infuse the military budget. Would all Republicans be on board for that or would he find conservative opposition on that like he did with the Obamacare repeal?

DAVID FAHRENTHOLD, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think he will find more conservative support on that particular issue. But the question is this odd thing of the border wall. It's a strange strategy to me. Trump was clear that Mexico would pay for that. Now just a few months into his administration he's demanding that the government -- that he get funding from U.S. taxpayers or he will let the government shutdown. In fact, he is trying to hold out the prospect of raising insurance premiums to get the border wall funding. If President Trump believes people want the border wall to be paid for by the American taxer, there is a way to do it. But to do it in this odd way where he's sort of holding it hostage to get this money he said we weren't going to need is a strange strategy.

CABRERA: Jack, go ahead.

KINGSTON: Number one, let me say this. He's not holding it hostage. It's Chuck Schumer and the extremists in the Democratic Party. This is existing legislation that was voted for in 2007 with the support of Hillary Clinton. So --


CABRERA: What was?

KINGSTON: The wall. Building a border wall, that's the law of the land. That was passed years ago.

But keep in mind, just his immigration policies alone, enforcing existing laws has brought immigration down 60 percent. It is at the low he is level in 17 years.

And I also want to jump a little bit into this shutdown. You can put the wall in this or you don't have to put the wall in it, you could put it in the supplemental bill. I was on the Appropriations Committee for 20 years. There are all kinds of ways to on fund the wall. Will he find a way to get Mexico --


CABRERA: Will all Republicans want to fund the wall?

KINGSTON: Absolutely.


KINGSTON: They might not do it on this bill, they might do it on the supplemental or they might to it on the fiscal year 2018 bill, but it will get done.

EPSTEIN: The history of Donald Trump before he became president was that he always portrayed people that were closest to him. If you look in his business history. He has not been -- he will not be able to deliver on the border wall the way he promised, getting the Mexicans to pay for it and it wouldn't be a coast-to-coast border wall. He just won't deliver on that. He has not delivered on the immigration ban. He will not be able to deliver on health care. Why? Because Republicans really don't want health care reform. The Obamacare Act has majority support amongst the population. Republican proposals have had about 20 percent. Republicans don't really want to legislate on health care. They just want to grand stand. And all of the major things that Donald Trump has proposed and campaigned on. Even on NAFTA, he's even retreated on NAFTA.


[15:10:41] KINGSTON: That is not true. He's going renegotiate NAFTA. He's pulled out of TPP. He's also done something that Obama would never do is that is called peace through strength. He has shown the world that there is new leadership, we're not going to lead from behind any more.


KINGSTON: He has sent huge signals to ISIS, to Syria, to Kim Jong-Un, something that Obama would never do.


KINGSTON: And diplomacy will mean something now because peace through strength means we've got to be willing to use strength.

CABRERA: All right --

EPSTEIN: He has flip-flopped his position on Syria and on Iran. He's totally change position on North Korea. This guy is like a cross between a Bond villain and Mr. Magoo when it comes to foreign policy.

KINGSTON: He's disappointed Democrats. Republicans --

CABRERA: Guys, we've got to leave it there.

Jack --

KINGSTON: He has 86 percent approval rating with Republicans.

CABRERA: Jack Kingston, David Fahrenthold --David, we owe you another question. Come back with us -- Julian Epstein, thank you all.


CABRERA: Up next, new details about how Russian operatives used Trump advisers to try to infiltrate his campaign. What CNN has just learned from U.S. intelligence officials. Reaction from one of those advisors in an exclusive CNN interview.

And also ahead, an American Airlines flight attendant taunts a passenger to hit him during an incident on board. He's now suspended. You will see the video for yourself. Stay with us.


[15:16:05] CABRERA: Former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page, is responding to the reporting that Russian operatives tried use him and other advisors to infiltrate Donald Trump's campaign last summer. Relayed to CNN by U.S. Officials, the new information shows the lengths Russia went to try to influence the election.

Carter Page, the man at the center, denies doing anything inappropriate.


MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST, SMERCONISH: Are you aware of their efforts at using you to get into the Trump campaign? That is my direct question.

CARTER PAGE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISOR: I was never -- nothing I was ever asked to do or no information that I was ever asked for was anything beyond what you could see on CNN. There is great depth of report, great information, nothing I ever talked about with any Russian official extends beyond that publicly available immaterial information, Michael.


CABRERA: CNN crime and justice producer, Shimon Prokupecz -- almost called you our reporter -- joining us. He helped exclusively to bring this reporting to CNN.

And we know the FBI did obtain a FISA warrant. That is part of the reporting that he had earlier this week, on specifically dealing with Carter Page. Would they know about whether he is telling the truth then in what he just said to Michael Smerconish?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ: They would have some knowledge, buts fi s the FISAs are geared toward phone calls that he may be having with one or someone else may be having with him. What Carter Page seemed to be alluding to seemed more private conversations, so that would mean bugging a room he was in or listening in on him or the person he was talking to, which would be almost difficult to do. But there is other intelligence, there is human intelligence, sources on the ground in Russia that could be talking to the FBI, that could be talking to other intelligence services, that are then relaying some of that information to the FBI and other authorities here in the U.S. CABRERA: Sources tell CNN that investigators have found possible

collusion or signs of possible collusion, but nothing that is proof necessarily of that collusion. So explain what more we know about that.

PROKUPECZ: Yeah, so that is a key issue in the FBI investigation. There is intelligence, there is human intelligence, there is other intelligence, there is financial records, there may be electronic sort of phone records that show that there was a lot of communication between the Russians and Trump advisors, or people within the Trump orbit world. But that does not necessarily mean that anyone was committing a crime. To show that someone was purposely manipulating maybe somehow information or delivering information to the campaign seems to be a little difficult right now for the FBI. But they are still working through it. But there is other stuff they are trying to find out as well, whether or not many was involved, whether promises were made. And when you communicate with people who are working for a foreign government, there are some issues there that they maybe exploring to see if they can bring charges. But right now, from what we've been told, it doesn't appear that the FBI has anything to indicate there was any criminal activity.

CABRERA: And that is important to know.

PROKUPECZ: Yeah, and it's important. And it's still part of the investigation.

[15:19:33] CABRERA: That investigation ongoing.

All right. Shimon, thanks for bringing us that information.

Up next, from Berlin to Sydney -- take a look at your screen -- cities across the U.S., really around the world, as hundreds of thousands of people march for science and action on climate change. We'll take you live to some of the demonstrations, like there one in San Francisco, also in Washington, D.C, to hear more about what these protesters are saying.


CABRERA: A worldwide event is under way right now. Huge crowds marching for science on this Earth Day. These live images are from one of those events happening right now in Washington, D.C. People are filling the streets all over the world, though, and adding urgency to this year's event, at least here in the United States, President Trump's environmental and energy policies.

Let's take a look at what he's done so far. This administration's 2018 budget calls for deep spending cuts by government science agencies including a 31 percent reduction for the EPA. His administration is also considering withdrawing from the Paris agreement, which is aimed at reducing greenhouse gases that cause climate change, according to experts. And the president has already rescinded the moratorium on coal mining on federal lands. And he said, "Economic growth enhances environmental protection, we can and must protect our environment without harming American about families." We have team coverage. CNN's Miguel Marquez live in Washington, which

is still under way. And CNN's Sara Sidner joining us from San Francisco.

I want to start with you, Miguel.

I know you've been out there for a while. Tell us about the size of the crowd and the message you're hearing from the marchers.

[15:25:29] MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thousands and thousands of people and impressive because it was cold, windy, rainy. This is sort of the end of the march, the last several thousand people coming through. The best chant I heard the entire time was, "What do you want, empirical-based science, when do you want it, after peer review." A very nerdy crowd, but they are really into it.

What they want the president to understand, to hear, is they are concerned with his budget proposal, with the way that it cuts science funding, the way federal scientists have been treated, particularly at the PA. They are concerned that a lot of their science will be sifted through a political ideology and won't reach people who actually need it. They say this is the end of the march today, but it is the beginning of a much bigger community effort in the days, weeks, months and years ahead -- Ana?

CABRERA: All right. Let's go across the country -- thank you, Miguel -- to Sara in San Francisco.

Sara, what are you hearing from demonstrators there?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's an amazing crowd here as well in San Francisco. Instead of me telling you what people are saying, I'm going to talk to someone here, who has come out to this event and planning to market with thousands of people here. Generally, folks concerned about what they are seeing with the Trump administration and really his either ignorance of the data or just ignoring good scientific data.

Let's talk to Tom who has a cool sign, "I'd rather be conducting clinical trials," it says. Very clear here.

Tom, tell me what you're doing here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm here today just to promote science. No real agenda rather than -- yeah, just let people know this is important.

SIDNER: What do you do for a living?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I run clinical trials.

SIDNER: Which makes sense it matches your sign. Are you concerned at all what you're hearing from the administration, the put back on some of the regulations for example with the EPA?

This, by the way, was started almost 50 years ago in about 1970, 20 million people took part and that same year the government created the EPA and now people concerned about the regulations being rolled back.

Are you concerned at all?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, I think the challenge for me is that a lot of these problems I feel science isn't partisan. I feel that for us to come up with solutions, we need to understand the problem. I personally believe that science is what is going to help us define the problems and then we can start having political discussions.

SIDNER: Thank you so much, Tom.

So those are the sentiments here in San Francisco -- Ana?

CABRERA: Thank you so much, Sara Sidner and Miguel Marquez. Our appreciation to both of you being out in the crowds.

Up next here in the NEWSROOM, another airline controversy, this time, involving American Airlines. Now a flight attendant is suspended after video of an altercation with a passenger went viral. The video and the back story just minutes away here in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[15:32:40] CABRERA: Moments ago, President Trump and the first lady visited the U.S. military's Walter Reed Medical Center outside Washington, D.C., President Trump's first visit to that hospital, and with the wounded American servicemembers being cared for there.

Let's listen in to this Purple Heart ceremony that just took place.


UNIDENTIFIED MILITARY SERVICEMEMBER: This is to certify that the president of the United States of America has awarded the Purple Heart, established by General George Washington, August 7, 1782, to Sergeant First Class Alvaro, United States Army, for wounds received in action on the 17th of March 2017 in Afghanistan.


Congratulations on behalf of Melania and myself and the entire nation. (INAUDIBLE)


CABRERA: Again, just happened moments ago at Walter Reed, the president awarding the Purple Heart for the wounds he sustained.

Two weeks after United Airlines made news for dragging a passenger off a plane, another video of a confrontation getting a lot of attention, this time on American Airlines. American has apologized saying it's investigating after this video surfaced. It shows a sobbing mother holding a baby, pleading with the flight attendant to give back her stroller, then another passenger stands up and intervenes. Watch.



[15:35:07] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE). Just give me my stroller, please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, bud, you do that to me and I will knock you flat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You stay out of this.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to hit me, hit me. Hit me. Come on. Bring it on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You try that with a man I'll knock you out. I'll knock you silly. Yeah. Go with --



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't know what the story is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't care what the story is. No one hurts a baby.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know what the story is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not an accident. (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You keep looking at me and it shows me what you did to that lady.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- keep it quiet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, I can see what you did. Maybe you will get videotaped, too, and get all over the news.


CABRERA: Oh, boy. Let's bring in CNN's Polo Sandoval.

Polo, we know it happened during the boarding process on a flight from San Francisco to Dallas. What do you know now about what happened before that video got rolling? POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORERSPONDENT: And that is a key question here,

Ana. Because context is extremely important with this story. What you just played there was the confrontation that happened after the initial incident.

And here's what we can tell you. Some sources at American Airlines saying it started as a dispute over a stroller. Apparently, during the boarding process there was this back and forth that took place about whether or not this woman that you see in that picture with the child would be able to carry on that stroller with her on the plane. We all know that there are several airlines, including American, that has certain policies in which they have to be gate checked.

In the meantime, though, that is when, according to several witnesses, again according to several witnesses, that this woman was struck by the stroller during the back and forth between her and the crew and almost hit the child.

Now, the American Airlines saying that that was not the case, that this is something that they are looking into.

But ultimately, we know what took place is a fairly tense moment when the passenger in the light-colored polo shirt decided to intervene. He apparently didn't feel that -- according to several witness statements, he didn't feel that the way the woman was being treated was right and decided to intervene. And we saw how quickly things escalated between him and the flight attendant.

American Airlines took the flight attendant off the job as they investigated. They also bumped up the woman to first class for the duration of her flight.

And they also issued a very lengthy statement that we talked about during the day, and in essence, saying that they "are disappointed by what we saw during this video here and the way that this male flight attendant responded to this man."

So be very interesting to see whether or not he keeps his job and also if we get to learn more about what led to this moment. This is only about a two and a half minute-window of what was a longer incident that took place on that airport tarmac in San Francisco -- Ana?

CABRERA: Airlines have to be on edge after what we've seen the last couple weeks.

SANDOVAL: Absolutely.

CABRERA: Polo, thank you very much.

Up next, the family of former NFL star and convicted murderer, Aaron Hernandez, announces his funeral plans and they continue to pursue an investigation into his prison suicide. Details on the legal action they're now threatening against the jail.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BJORN KOPA (ph), CHAMPION SNOWKITER: What I love about snowkiting is it's just your imagination that sets the limits. No day of kiting is the same.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Bjorn Kopa (ph) is a championship snowkiter from Norway, population nine, his entire family.

KOPA (ph): I've grown up there, so I don't know anything else but living here. It's nice and calm.

GUPTA: This town connects one of Europe's largest mountain plateaus. For snowkiters, it offers a perfect mix of snow, sun, and most importantly, wind.

KOPA (ph): It's the best place in the world for snow kiting. You can kite for days without seeing anyone. The scale of it blows you away.

GUPTA: Bjorn embraced the sport nearly two decades ago and his dedication has paid off.

KOPA (ph): I've been lucky to have a lot of success. I've won six world championships. When I first started, it wasn't that much of a sport.

GUPTA: But it's grown. And now Bjorn's tiny town hosts the biggest snowkite race in the world, the Red Bull Ragnorak.

KOPA (ph): We have 350 kiters on a small starting line. And once we start, it's an exhilarating feeling.


GUPTA: Ragnorak, is now the toughest race. According to race officials, only about 7 percent ever the racers finish.

KOPA (ph): I think a lot of people don't realize how exhausting it is. The wind might die out, you have to work a bit and ride out the hills.

[15:39:57] GUPTA: Racers have five hours to complete 80 miles.

KOPA (ph): It's made so people don't finish. The potential for injury is quite big.

GUPTA: This year, wind and snow conditions made the race more challenging than usual. Out of 350 racers, only eight finished. Bjorn came in fourth.

KOPA (ph): Just being able to finish is perfect.

When we started snowkiting, we never dreamed of it getting as popular as this.



[15:44:57] CABRERA: Former NFL star and convicted murderer, Aaron Hernandez, will be laid to rest Monday in Connecticut. And we've learned a judge wants all evidence connected to his death preserved. His family may sue for negligence over his prison suicide. Corrections officers found Hernandez hanging from a bedsheet in a Massachusetts prison cell. It happened just five days after he was found not guilty in a double murder trial. Already Hernandez was serving a life sentence without parole for killing his former friend, Odin Lloyd, back in 2013.

I want to bring in CNN's Sara Ganim coving this story.

Sara, what do you know now about the lawsuit the Hernandez family has filed?

SARA GANIM, CNN CORERSPONDENT: The family saying they will file a lawsuit for negligence claiming that prison guards that no one checked on him between 8:00 p.m. The night before he died and 3:00 a.m. when he was found in his cell. They also successfully pushed for a judge to preserve the evidence found inside that cell. The jail saying that he had pushed things up against the door to keep people from coming in, but they want to see the video of his cell door in those eight hours between when he was checked and when he was found to see if anyone had to do or gone. They also want to see these three suicide notes that law enforcement has confirmed were found inside his cell. Two were written to his fiance and his daughter. We don't know who the third one was for. And also the Bible verse that was written in red markings on his forehead and his cell wall.

The family is upset because they say that they learned about this from media reports and not from investigators. So as they move forward, they say they are absolutely stunned by this, they had no indication this was coming. In fact, the day before his suicide, his attorney had publicly said he was confident in their appeal of his murder conviction in the case of Odin Lloyd.

Now, all of this on the heels of a family donating his brain to science. They want this institute that studies football players' brains to take a look to see if any dementia or football relatedness may have played a role.


Now, I also find it interesting that as we're learning more about his death and what is happening following the suicide, it's possible that his murder conviction of Odin Lloyd could be thrown out?

GANIM: Massachusetts law allows for this thing called abatement. Basically, because he died while his murder conviction was being appealed, there is this possibility that they could move to have the conviction thrown out. Essentially, he didn't exhaust all of his appeals. So he has this chance to have the conviction overturned. Now, there could be a possibility that that would affect legal procedures down the line. For example, the families of the victims have expressed, and Odin Lloyd's family has already filed a civil suit against Hernandez, which would then go against his estate. Is that affected by the fact that the murder conviction could be thrown out? Odin Lloyd's family attorneys say no, but as we move forward, that is something to look at.

CABRERA: So if this that conviction was to be thrown out, who would initiate that, his lawyer or family members?

GANIM: Hernandez family attorneys or Hernandez's legal defense team would move to have that thrown out.

CABRERA: Keep watching this story. It's not over yet.

Sara Ganim, our thanks to you.

Up next, President Trump setting himself up for a big week, promising movement on health care, tax reform, while a government shutdown looms over funding for the border wall and military. We'll discuss whether he can pull it all off.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

But first, we are on the hunt for "CNN Heroes." We need you to nominate people doing extraordinary work to change the world. Meet some of the people that have taken that opportunity in the past.


UNIDENTIFIED CNN HERO: I met my hero when we were volunteering.

UNIDENTIFIED CNN HERO: He's making a big difference for kids in our area.

UNIDENTIFIED CNN HERO: She is my second mom, my mentor.

UNIDENTIFIED CNN HERO: I felt like it was very important for people to know about the sister.

UNIDENTIFIED CNN HERO: I feel honored that I was able to honor her in such a significant way.

UNIDENTIFIED CNN HERO: I was so proud of myself because I was like, oh, my goodness, for everything that she's done for me, I did something for her, you know.


[15:49:14] CABRERA: If you know someone who should be a CNN hero, you can nominate them right now at

We're back in a moment.


CABRERA: Tomorrow will be a national day of mourning in Afghanistan after at least 100 people were killed in a Taliban attack on an Afghan Army base and that number could still rise. The six-hour siege yesterday targeted soldiers most of them unarmed and they were shot while eating lunch and leaving a Friday prayer service.

Nearly 3,000 families here in the U.S. and Florida have been told they must evacuate their homes. There are huge wildfires right now burning across the state. The National Guard is assisting Florida's Forest Service as firefighters have their hands full battling 91 different fires across the state. Two of those fires forced the mandatory evacuations of nearly 2,000 homes near Naples and another 800 homes near Lakeland. 5,000 homes are under voluntary evacuation orders as well. Since Thursday, more than 25,000 acres have burned in that state.

To Venezuela now. The death toll growing. At least 22 people are dead after weeks of violent clashes between opposition and supporters of President Nicolas Maduro. People are growing desperate. Venezuela is in a full-blown economic crisis right now dealing with shortages of food, medicine, other staples. The unemployment rate could top 25 percent this year. At least 13 people were killed in one day in the capital of Caracas. You see the chaos happening on the ground there. Protesters are growing more and more outraged as the government tries to crack down on their public dissent. They called President Maduro a dictator and accused him of eroding democracy in Venezuela.

CNN political commentator, Ana Navarro, is joining me now.

Ana, I know you are passionate about what is happening in Venezuela. For viewers who may think Venezuela is a country that doesn't impact me, explain why you think everyone should be concerned.

[15:55:31] ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first of all, because they are human. I don't think that the world or the international community should turn a blind eye to the kind of oppression that the people of Venezuela are suffering. But more than that, they are in our hemisphere, they are our neighbors. It's a two- hour flight from Miami. Here in south Florida, we've got tens of thousands of Venezuela ex aisles and political a sigh lease who have sought refuge in Florida while all of this political unrest is happening in Venezuela.

It matters because the world is small, Ana. We don't live in isolation. We don't just shut our eyes and windows and turn off our lights and think if everything is ok in our country it doesn't impact us. It does. They are also one of the largest producers of oil. It matters.

And, you know, I'm so happy, I'm so grateful that you are actually bringing this up and speaking about this issue because it's gotten precious little coverage in U.S. media. I know we are busy with our own issues here and very preoccupied with that, but the people of Venezuela are suffering. They are protesting peacefully right now against a dictator. This is the heir of Hugo Chavez. This has been going on for over 15 years. He is a corrupt, cruel dictator. He is putting, you know -- putting tear gas out in the streets, shooting people, confrontations. These are just, you know, Venezuelans who want democracy, who want peaceful transparent elections. That's what they are asking for, and they are marching in the streets and the tools of millions and millions of Venezuelans day after day taking their lives at risk --


NAVARRO: -- in order to fight for democracy and take their country back.

CABRERA: There is a lot of disturbing scenes playing out as we are continuing to watch some of these pictures.

But another thing we've learned recently is Venezuela's state-run oil company through a subsidiary donated $500,000 to President Trump's inauguration committee in December of last year. That equals what Pepsi, Verizon and Walmart donated combined. Why do you think they made this giant donation?


CABRERA: What's the possible explanation?

NAVARRO: Buying access. You know, trying to buy the idea that they will not be condemned for human rights violations. Look, I'm so old I remember when it used to be a bad thing in a Republican primary to have any connection with Citco (ph) and Venezuela state-run operations because we all recognize them as corrupt oppressive dictators. Frankly, I wish President Trump and his team would take that money and donate it to Venezuelan opposition groups. I also wish that our country would speak more vocally, would be more forceful, more full- throated in condemning what's happening in Venezuela.

This is going to get solved by the Venezuelan people. This is not about regime change brought about by the situation or anyone else. But it is important for them to know that they have the solidarity of the international community and it matters for the United States or the organization of American states, for the U.N., for other Latin American countries to raise their voice and let the Venezuelan people know that we are with the freedom loving people of Venezuela.

CABRERA: What do you think would have a sizable impact if the U.S. were to take some kind of action?

NAVARRO: I think there are sanctions. Certainly, I think that it matters when you -- when you coalesce the international community in condemnation, in breaking relations, in, you know, not allowing tourism. There are economic and political actions that can be taken.

But I think the best thing we can do right now to protect the people of Venezuela who are protesting is speak about this so that the Maduro regime knows that what they are doing is not going to go unseen by the entire world.

CABRERA: Ana Navarro, thank you for joining us.

NAVARRO: Thank you, Ana.

CABRERA: The next hour of NEWSROOM begins now.

Welcome to our viewers around the world. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York. Great to have you with us.

We began with a global show of solidarity for science. Masses of people are sending a message to President Donald Trump on this Earth Day. Science matters. This was Berlin earlier today. Large crowds turning out in large cities and small towns all around the world. Their protests partly fueled by opposition to Trump's budget cuts to agencies that fund scientific work.