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Sally Yates to Testify Before Congress Regarding Michael Flynn; Russia Denies Allegations of Hacking Macron Campaign; Thirteen Men May Now Determine Future of American Health Care; Nigerian Government Officials Say Girls Kidnapped by Boko Haram Now Free; White House Says Border Wall Will Be Built; Women Protest in Streets of Venezuela's Capital City; Always Dreaming Wins Kentucky Derby. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired May 6, 2017 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:09] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.

And new tonight, CNN can now confirm that the Trump transition team warned former national security advisory Michael Flynn about his contacts with Russia, telling him the calls were most certainly being monitored, according to a former U.S. official. And yet just weeks later, Flynn would call the Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak to discuss U.S. sanctions on Russia. A call that ultimately forced Flynn to resign after just 23 days on the job.

The revelation first reported by the "Washington Post" comes ahead of a big hearing on Monday when former acting attorney general Sally Yates will testify before Congress about warnings she gave the White House on Flynn.

We are covering every angel of this. I want to begin with CNN White House correspondent Athena Jones in New Jersey where the president is spending the weekend at his golf club.

And Athena, the transition team was apparently so concerned about Flynn and his contacts with Russian people that will they reached out to the Obama administration for some help. What more can you tell us?

ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana. This is a very interesting details emerging - you are right, the Trump transition national security team as concern that Flynn didn't have a full appreciation or a full understanding of the Russian ambassador's motivation in speaking with him. That is why you had the head of that transition team, Marsha (INAUDIBLE) asked the Obama White House to provide the team with a classified CIA profile on ambassador Kislyak to provide to Flynn to read ahead of any conversation he was set to have with him. One thing that is not clear is whether Flynn read that document.

Now, I should mention that there has been some pushback to this. My colleagues Gloria Borger and Jim Sciutto are reporting former transition officials, former Trump transition officials who are throwing some cold water on this saying that this is revisionist history and that quote "I'm sure everybody is telling the FBI that they warned against it." So that is an interesting tidbit to keep in mind.

But one more point I want to make. This is something that my colleague Jeff Zeleny was able to confirm. A former U.S. official confirm that the Obama White House was also concern about the Trump transition team's handling of classified information. They said that this official said that some highly sensitive documents were copied and removed from a secure room at the Trump transition headquarters in Washington. As a result of that some Obama officials decided that certain documents from there on out would only be allowed to be viewed at the White House. So certainly some very interesting details emerging about this Flynn story, this Flynn-Russia story - Ana.

CABRERA: Athena Jones, reporting for us. Thanks for the update.

Joining me now, CNN global affairs analyst and senior national security correspondent for the "Daily Beast," Kimberly Dozier and CNN political analyst and columnist for the "Washington Post," Josh Rogin.

SO Kim, help us understand this. If Flynn was warned, hey, your communications with the Russians are being recorded possibly, why would he go ahead and discuss sanctions anyway? Does this make sense to you?

KIMBERLY DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Because it's just possible, Ana, that he thought this was something he was allowed to do. This is something I have seen happen with some military folks who have spent even time in Washington, D.C. but not necessarily time at the White House or on Capitol Hill. Other administrations, it's been reported, have reached out to -- during their transition to foreign leaders and discussed sensitive topics. It's just possible that he thought this was within the realm of legitimate.

CABRERA: Even though he apparently was warned that there could be issues with doing just exactly what we are told he did.

But Josh, I mean, there are a couple other questions about transparency and who knew what? Vice president Pence, you will recall, told the country in January that Flynn's didn't discuss sanctions with the Russian because apparently, that's what Flynn told him. But now we have this new timeline. Of course, we know that conversation that Flynn had, the phone call in December, but it makes you wonder if Pence was either left in the dark throughout the whole process here or if the administration was misleading the public? Do you see any other possibility?

JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Those are basically the two. I mean, I personally don't buy this idea that Flynn needed some sort of classified CA from the Obama administration to understand who Sergey Kislyak was. Everybody knows who Sergey Kislyak was. Everybody knows who his connections are and what he was up to.

You know, the issue here is what you pointed to is the fact that Flynn lied to the vice president about this his interactions which is fiery offense. And he may have lied to the FBI, which is a crime, which is really where he is vulnerable. And he made a series of bad judgments calls from not filling out his forms correctly, to not telling the members of the administration about it, lying about it publicly, to having the vice President lie about it publicly. He just really messed this one up. But that doesn't mean that he didn't know what he was doing.

I totally agree with Kim. I think he was going to be the national security advisor, right? He is working with the President-elect of the United States. He has the ability to talk to whoever he wants to. It's not the action, it is the cover-up that is really coming around to bite him.

And with Sally Yates testifies next week, what she is going to say according to CNN reporting, is that the White House lied about it too and that they tried to pretend that they weren't aware of what was going on and that that simply wasn't true.

So it's a series of real miss-directions, lack of transparency, lack of, you know, forthrightness about what really went on here. At least all this suspicion that all of these investigations are trying to untangle right now.

[19:05:45] CABRERA: And that really is the all regarding Michael Flynn and were smoke that we are learning regarding his interactions and what may have happened prior to those interactions again with these warnings. But then there's Carter Page, Kimberly, the Trump aide who is also under scrutiny for his ties to Russia. And just this past week, he sent a pretty stunning letter to the intelligence committee writing quote "I suspect the physical reaction of the Clinton-Obama regime perpetrators will be more along the lines of severe vomiting when all the facts are eventually exposed regarding the steps taken by the U.S. government to influence the 2016 election."

I mean, this was a letter of him responding to the intelligence committee asking him for documentation that is pertaining to any of his conversations or communications with Russians. What's your reaction to this letter that he sent?

DOZIER: Well, I would say both from Carter Page's point of view and from Michael Flynn's point of view, they see this as them being painted in the corner of being pro-Russia, anti-U.S., snowed by Moscow. There is a case that's going to be made by some of the Senate intelligence committee that yes, they were in the pockets of Putin.

But there is another case to be made, which is that Michael Flynn thought, as he said in his book, that is Russia is an adversary that needs to be handled and managed. And these were some clumsy steps towards that end. But all of this has gotten down to one side versus the other. The Obama administration warned people like me, I'm sure Josh heard the same things, that they thought these people were in the league with Russia, but I haven't seen proof yet.


CABRERA: Josh -- go ahead.

ROGIN: I think that's exactly right. I think the problem here is that with all these committees and investigations are about is finding out if there was collusion, right. And there is no evidence of collusion. There's just a lot of shady behavior going on by people like Mike Flynn and Carter Page and Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner and you name it, right.

So you look at all that word behavior and we are talking about this letter where Carter Page reasserts that he is the victim of discrimination against white catholic men and all this other really weird stuff, OK. And everyone looks at it and like there must be a lot of fire there because there is so much smoke. But we haven't actually seen any evidence of collusion.

So if they open themselves to the possibility that these are just two guys, who as Kim said, they get into the political field, they get into the near the White House or near the President-elect and they make all these bad decisions, which make them look really guilty but maybe they are not guilty. Maybe they are just really bad at this stuff. And they are just making all these mistakes and there really was no collusion. On the other hand, there must have been collusion. We have to wait and see.

CABRERA: I want to just talk forward to Monday with this testimony that we are expecting in the Senate intelligence committee with Sally Yates, the former acting attorney general. And yet, you know, we are going to hear from her. There was the big outcry that she wasn't allowed to testify initially in front of the house intelligence committee because that hearing got canceled, and so forth. But in the broader investigation we also have President Obama's former national security advisor Susan Rice who was asked to participate in Senate hearing next week on Russian interference in the U.S. election. She declined. And here was the response from the White House.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do think that it's sad that she has chosen not to be transparent in this process and frankly not to cooperate in this process. We feel very confident that as all of this plays out, it will land on the right side of where we are, but I think it's unfortunate for her.


CABRERA: Kimberly, does Rice risk looking like she has something to hide by declining this invitation to testify?

DOZIER: Well, she does. She may. I think it's Yates who has a story to tell and Rice who can only be hurt by testifying before the committee. So I think if I were her, I would be doing maybe the same thing. Let's see what Yates says. She is going to tell us a lot more, we hope, than we have heard before and then we will see whether we need to hear from Susan Rice, as well.

CABRERA: Josh, last word, what do you think about this?

[19:10:02] ROGIN: I think she is just going to puncture holes in the White House's official story on this. I mean, it's a little too cute by half pressed by the White House to be claiming that Rice is not transparent. We are talking about Jeff Sessions, Mike Flynn, all these meetings, all have to be broken in the news reports, mostly in the "Washington Post," by the way.

And then retroactively, they're like, yes, we were on top of it all the time. It is really not true. But nobody has the details except for Sally Yates and we are going those details. We are going to see what a lack of transparency really looks like.

CABRERA: Josh Rogin and Kimberly Dozier, thank you both.

ROGIN: Thank you.

CABRERA: Now, pure slander is what Russia is saying about the allegations that it hacked the campaign of French Presidential candidate Emanuel Macron. French voters head to the poll tomorrow for their final round of a very critical election that could impact not only Europe but really the world and relations among European leaders and the U.S. with France.

But on Friday, the massive documents dump of emails purportedly from Macron's campaign were posted online. Some authentic and some take according to the campaign.

Our senior international correspondent Matthew Chance has more details.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the reports of the hacking attack on the campaign team of Emmanuel Macron, a French presidential candidate has drawn immediate comparisons with allegations in the United States. That Russian-backed hackers tried to influence last year's Presidential election there. U.S. intelligence agencies say they have evidence that Russian hackers broke into Democratic Party servers and released sensitive emails intended to damage candidate Hillary Clinton. The Macron team say that's exactly what's happening to them with this data dump designed to undermine his Presidential campaign.

They have been at pains not to accuse anyone directly, but previous cyberattacks on the Macron team have been blamed on Russia back attackers. This time the Kremlin has headed off any suggestion it was involved. The Kremlin spokesman telling CNN that these like other similar accusations are based on nothing and are pure slander.

Well, the Kremlin says it has no preference which candidate wins the French presidency. But President Putin met the far right nationalist candidate Marine Le Pen last month and Russian banks have provided her with millions of dollars in loans.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.

CABRERA: Our thanks to Matthew. Coming up, 13 Republican men now deciding the future of American health care in the Senate, not a single woman in this group. What's going on here? We discuss.

Plus the White House says the proof is in the pictures. They are building a wall. What's really happening at the Mexican border? CNN went to find out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no question it's easy to scale this fence. People can probably do it pretty quickly, but this is not a border fence. This is a temporary construction fence that was put up for the construction of the permanent fence.



[19:17:09] CABRERA: Thirteen men may now determine the future of American health care. I want to show you their faces. These are the 13 Republican senators who will now take up that house bill that passed this week and craft a Senate version. Not even one woman will be sitting at this table when the key group talks about crucial issues including childbirth, maternity leave, breast cancer and all part of our health care coverage.

I want to read you the response. One of the senators' aide gave to our Dana Bash saying quote "we have no interest of playing the game of identity politics. That's not what this is about. It's about getting a job done."

Let's talk it over with conservative columnist and CNN political commentator Kayleigh McEnany. Also with us Democratic strategist and former president of Young Democrats of America Atima Omara.

So Kayleigh, to you first and then to Atima. Is this a glaring omission, no women in this group that may craft a health care plan that could very well become the law of the land?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, you know, no health bill is going to pass without the input of women. They need 51 senators. That means that they will have to have women who vote on this. I agree with you in the sense that it would be helpful if you had someone like Senator Susan Collins who has co-sponsored a piece of legislation a health care replacement plan. It would be helpful to have her in the room. Initially, I think it will make their jobs easier. So this will not task about the input of women but they would help themselves if they have someone else, a woman on there from the get-go.

CABRERA: Atima Omara, how do you explain this? Is it acceptable for them not to have a woman on this group to start with?

ATIMA OMARA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, it's not acceptable and the reason why it's not acceptable. And I'll say I will go out and say that I agree with Kayleigh in that this is going to be covering all Americans ideally and it needs to consider the fact that women have certain health issues that men don't have, such as we have monthly menstrual cycles, we are more likely to suffer from sexual assault, domestic violence, all things they come to healthcare coverage or care, as well as maternity, if you're considering having children or not or even in vitro fertilization if you are having trouble having children.

So those are conversations that definitely need to be brought to the table and, you know, are usually affected by women the most. And yes, I would say it's an oversight and it is a bad oversight indeed.

CABRERA: Now from GOP House members who voted yes, already hearing from some pretty unhappy constituents. I want you all to listen to what Idaho congressman Raul Labrador had to say at a town hall after the vote.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're (INAUDIBLE) people on Medicaid except dying. You are making America --.

REP. RAUL LABRADOR (R), IDAHO: Well, no one knows anybody to that. You know, that line is so indefensible. Nobody dies because they don't have access to health care.


CABRERA: You hear the reaction that his response got. Kayleigh, was his response appropriate, do you think?

MCENANY: Look. I don't think it was the best way to answer that question. And I think Republicans need to be very much on message. You have to sell this to the American people. It is one thing President Obama did well. He sold Obamacare to the American people. It took a year-and-a-half and he would argue. It took many more years. Now that system is failing. One third of U.S. counties only have one insurer. We know premiums are going up by 25 percent this year on average. But he was good at messaging it to Americans. And Republicans need to get their messaging together because that's the only way something like the AFCA will accepted by the people.

[19:20:34] CABRERA: Atima, that is true that there are a lot of counties now in America that have only one insurer that is participating in these Obamacare exchanges or are even threatening to leave, leaving some people with no options at all. How do you address that?

OMARA: Well, specifically, going back to the dark days before any sort of health care coverage, where folks has to, you know, if you had preexisting conditions, you had to pay five times more, if you could even get insurance coverage. It's not an option. Under the current bill that they passed in the House, having Trump care, if you are an old persons between the ages of 50 to 64, you are not going to be able to pay five times more than you are now.

So addressing health care coverage specifically to make sure everybody can have it is what should be the conversation here and keeping those costs down. The current option reduces coverage, increases costs, and guts protections to those preexisting conditions.

CABRERA: Let's talk about preexisting conditions. I want to show you a list that we have. It is creating uncertainly, obviously, for a lot of people under this house GOP plan if states opt for the waivers. These conditions include asthma, high cholesterol, diabetes, these are conditions affecting millions of Americans.

So Kayleigh, how do lawmakers deal with this effectively? Isn't this - couldn't this be a huge risk for Republicans to put their neck out there if cost of coverage for any of these people with any of these preexisting conditions goes up?

MCENANY: Right. Well, listen. Incumbent upon Republicans and in particular secretary Price that he only grant states waivers out of the Obamacare preexisting protections if they have a working system. And the law, you know, as I just want to read you a line from it. It says that a waiver will only be given to a state if they have stabilized premiums for individuals with preexisting conditions.

So in theory, the law these people. Now in practice, we know that is a different story. And that is why I say Republicans, if they want state to take over protecting these people, it is incumbent upon them to ensure only - they are only given waivers if these individuals are adequately protected.

I would just quickly point out, under Obamacare, you look at a state like Iowa where their last individual market insurance company is exiting the market.


MCENANY: Someone with preexisting conditions within the individual market, they might not have any coverage at all.

CABRERA: But, I mean, we got the AARP, there are American medical association, these are some of the groups that say this GOP bill might hurt more than it helps. That people with preexisting conditions, low income Americans, older Americans all stand to lose, Kayleigh. How can you guarantee that that is not going to happen?

MCENANY: Well, right now no one really knows what's going to happen, because it's a provision in the law that says we are going to go on a case-by-case basis with states. So it could go one way where if a state like Maine, for instance, they have a great high risk pool system people --

CABRERA: It could go that way but is there a guarantee?

MCENANY: There's not a guarantee. And that is why I say Republicans, if they want to pass it, I prefer the Obamacare provision, just as someone who has a preexisting condition myself. But if Republicans want to go down this road they have to tread carefully. Because if they don't, there will be new, if you like your doctor, you can keep him like in the Obama administration. Except this time it will be a Republican lie on preexisting conditions.

CABRERA: I will give you the last word, Atima.

OMARA: I would just simply say that the Trump care and its iteration right now is not something that is going to be beneficial for most Americans. It's going to kick more people off coverage. It's not going to take care of people preexisting conditions. It is not going to help older Americans. We need a bill that's going to make sure that every American is covered.

And ironically, this is a bill that will affect specifically people who voted for Trump because expanded Medicaid coverage is happen in places like Kentucky, like Louisiana which state where a lot of Trump voters. So, it's in the best interest of the GOP and particularly President Trump that we have a bill that sure as we covers those people who specifically have come to rely on the benefits on health care as provided.

CABRERA: All right Atima Omara and Kayleigh McEnany, our thanks to both of you.

Coming up, free at last. Word tonight that dozens of girls kidnapped by terrorists years ago in Nigeria have finally been set free.

Plus, mass chaos in Venezuela, thousands of government protesters take to the streets. We go live to Caracas next.


[19:28:59] CABRERA: Breaking news from West Africa. Tonight government officials in Nigeria say more than 80 young girls kidnapped by an Islamic extremist group more than three years ago by an Islamist group are now free.

A Nigerian government official says negotiations of Boko Haram resulted in the girls' release. These girls were part of a larger group of girls with 270 who were abducted by Boko Haram back April in 2014.

Let's bring in CNN international anchor, Isha Sesay, joining us from Los Angeles.

I know, Isha, the plight of these girls is very close to you. You have traveled throughout Nigeria reporting on their kidnapping. What more are you learning?

ISHA ESSAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hi there, Ana. Just a remarkable day. I mean, let's start there. The very notion that after all this time such a large group have finally being released by Boko Haram. It is just incredible. And I can tell you that on the ground in Nigeria, it's just pure joy and elation.

And let's take a moment, Ana, to think about the families here who have been separated from their girls all this time. And let's be clear. Of this 82, this group of 82, we don't know who is in the group. So the families don't know whether their daughters are part of this group or freed girls. That this has come about due to significant negotiations that involve the government of Switzerland, the international Red Cross, and international and national NGO's, non-governmental organizations.

It is our understanding that they came about due to a swap that some Boko Haram suspects who were held by the Nigerian government were given in exchange. And now the girls will be making their way to the Nigerian capital on Sunday and will be met by the President -- Ana.

[19:30:31] CABRERA: It is joyous news, although we know that not everybody was released. But over the years, details from this mass kidnapping did come out from time to time. As a few girls were released here, a few girls were released there. Some of the girls we have learned were forced to marry their captors. What has the past three years been like for the people of that village?

SESAY: Yes, a complete nightmare. I mean, nothing short of a nightmare to think about as you send your child off to school and the next minute you hear, in the middle of the night they have been taken by terrorists and never seen again. And in that time while they are being held, as you made the point, some were forced to marry. We know that there was tremendous hardships. Not enough to eat, that they witnessed in some cases executions and death. I mean, jut trauma after trauma.

And you know, I was able to travel home last December with the first batch of girls to be released and was able to see with my own eyes the joyous reunion as they went back home. And no words could adequately sum up what that town has been through knowing that their girls have been away all this time.

CABRERA: You talked about some of what they were forced to do. Do we know any more about the conditions these girls have been living in?

SESAY: Well, in terms of these 82 and their release, we know from tweet put out by one of the federal senator, he is tweeting that they are actually in good condition, that only one has a fractured hand and there is someone with crutches in the group. We haven't confirmed this. This is just tweets being put out by a Nigerian federal Senate who is saying that the girls are in good condition.

But Ana, as you can imagine, even if they are physically in relatively good condition, emotionally, psychologically, these girls have been through so, so much and will need a great amount of care and rehabilitation.

CABRERA: It is amazing. Three years after their kidnapping, they are free. And our hearts go out to them and their families and those better still held captive.

Isha Sesay, thank you for your great report tonight.

Coming up, the White House says the president's promise to build a border wall is on. And they have the pictures to prove it. Are they legit?

CNN's Gary Tuchman head to the Mexican border to find.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are American reporters from CNN. You are in the Mexican side. How is the construction going? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are not allowed to talk about it.



[19:37:02] CABRERA: The White House insists it's making good on its promise to build a wall on the border of Mexico. But in the recent budget there wasn't actually any money for it. There were allocations for border security, but not the wall itself. That hasn't stopped the administration from trying to argue otherwise.

In the press briefing room this week, budget director Mick Mulvaney used props, pictures of a chain link fence that he says is being replaced by a steel wall.


MICK MULVANEY, BUDGET DIRECTOR: We are building this now. There is money in this deal to build several hundreds of millions of dollars of this to replace this. That's what we got in this deal. And that's what the Democrats don't want you to know. This stuff is going up now. Why? Because the President wants to make the country more safe.


CABRERA: Press secretary Sean Spicer made similar claims with the same pictures the next day. There is one problem. Construction of that steel wall began last summer, months before the election.

CNN's Gary Tuchman went to the Mexican border to find out the truth.


TUCHMAN: This is Gary Tuchman from CNN.

We started our day calling and sending emails to the White House, the President's press secretary and the budget director, to ask about their incorrect claims about the fencing found on the border in the southern part of Mexico. We got no reply. So we set out to get a closer look at the barrier. You can't get close to it on the American side but you can when you make the short trip to Mexico.

We are American reporters from CNN. You are in the Mexican side. How's the construction going?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are not allowed to talk about it.

TUCHMAN: Everything's safe?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. It's safe right now.

TUCHMAN: There is unhappiness about the construction in this desperately poor neighborhood just outside of Juarez, Mexico. There is no question it is easy to scale this fence. People could by do it pretty quickly. But this is not a border fence. This is a temporary construction fence that was put up for the construction of the permanent fence.

The chain link fence gets taken down as the secure barrier takes us place. Standard operation procedure say the workers. The Trump administration has suggested two separate times it is responsible for the new barrier. Keeping a campaign promise, they say. But that's not true.

DAPHNE GRIFFIN, WORKS IN SUNLAND PARK, NEW MEXICO: This particular wall came from the Bush administration.

TUCHMAN: Is that common knowledge in this area?

GRIFFIN: Yes, absolutely.

TUCHMAN: But on Mexican side people we talked to give responsibility to --


TUCHMAN: Donald Trump?


TUCHMAN: Donald Trump?


TUCHMAN: Jose Casas lives across the street from the fence. He operates a food stand. He said, yes, it's Donald Trump's wall. Because since he has been in office they are continuing to work on the fence. Some workers tell us rocks get thrown at them occasionally. Jose Casas doesn't do. He said it is hard seeing taller and taller walls built where you live.


TUCHMAN: He said how could you not be offend? Because it's not right.

The construction here is expected to continue until the summer. And if you want to give credit, it goes to George W. Bush and Barack Obama who continue to permit while he was president. Donald Trump getting credit? We'll have to wait.


[19:40:11] CABRERA: Thank you to Gary Tuchman.

And today women filled the streets of Venezuela's capitol city. This group wear all white, they called for peace. There was a much needed break in the protests that have killed at least 36 people over the past month. We want to warn you the next video shows a violent clash between police and protesters earlier this week. Police in riot gear used tear gas against the crowd. One man was actually run over by a military tank. He is now in the hospital.

Freelance journalist Stefano (INAUDIBLE) joins me now from Caracas.

So Stefano, today women were ask to take a stand either for or against Venezuela's president. Were today's protests all peaceful?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, Ana. At least for today we are spared the images that are so common in the upcoming weeks and the past few weeks. So great protest marching toward the Fajardo highway which is the highway that runs through Caracas from east to west that blocked by tear gas and anti-riot police in very heavy gear.

Today, the marchers managed to sneak through and bypass a first military checkpoint and arrived to another checkpoint just to be stopped by once again police in anti-riot gear, shields and military tucks. But nobody shot a single shot or tear gas, at least in Caracas. So at least for today, we didn't see those clashes that happened in the last few weeks. And this could purely be a sign of hope to come up with a peaceful solution for this deep crisis that is embattling Venezuela.

CABRERA: It is encouraging to hear what you just reported. Now, demonstrators want president Nicolas Maduro removed from office. In part, because of the country's economic crisis has led to major shortages of staple, to bring food and medicine. Just how dire is the situation for citizens there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ana, the economic despair of the Venezuela is the single most important issue that is keeping Venezuelans awake at night. According to recent figures done by independent scientists, three out of four Venezuelans are suffering and are losing weight. And we know that from economists that Venezuela is in the third year of recession. So these are (INAUDIBLE) really taken notes of Venezuelan waken, that the fact that they can't find food to put on the table, the fact that they can't find medicine to look after the people that they care for. And of course, whoever is in power gets the blame for not being able to solve this will dramatic economic situation - Ana.

CABRERA: All right. Stefano (INAUDIBLE), thank you for your reporting.

Still ahead, find out why the parents of two young kids on a Delta flight were threatened with jail time. Yes, jail time! New video catching fire on line.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a federal offense if you don't abide by it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I bought that seat.



[19:47:13] CABRERA: The parent of a 6-year-old girl with autism want answers. They say she was slapped by an aide on her school bus. There's video of it. It happened in New Lenox, Illinois. The school superintendent Kaley Rushing's parents this shocking video of their daughter being slapped repeatedly. Kaylee's parents say she is nonverbal. They just don't understand it.


NICHOLAS RUSHING, KAYLEE'S FATHER: I think about it and it just makes me mad, you know. She shouldn't have to go through that.

MADELEINE NORLEY, KAYLEE'S MOTHER: Just makes me want to cry, to be honest with you as a mom, just seeing that. It's disgusting.


CABRERA: Kaylee's father said she spat on the bus aide just before getting slapped. The aide is not a district employee. Works for a school bus contractor. Police are now investigating this disturbing incident.

A new airplane dispute, also caught on video, this time it is Delta apologizing for forcing a family including two young children off a flight they had just boarded. The incident happened last month but the father just posted the video this week. It's catching a lot of attention. At issue here is the seat being used by the man's toddler son. It was initially booked under the name of his older son who ended up taking an earlier night. And when Delta tried to take the seat back for a standby passenger, here's what happened.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't abide by it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I bought that seat.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. I paid -- I'm -- I had a ticket on another flight so my other son would have a seat. And you are saying you are going to give to that away to someone else when I paid for that seat? That's not right.


CABRERA: Well, this is the latest of a string of confrontations between air passengers and crew.

More now from our Randi Kaye.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need to do what's right. I bought this seat and you just leave us alone.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Brian Sheer and his family are about to be removed from a Delta Airlines flight in Maui bound for Los Angeles. Why? Because Sheers had put their two-year- old son who was in a car seat in the seat next to them. Trouble is, that seat was booked under the name of the couple's older son who had taken an earlier flight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I paid for the seat. I bought the seat.

KAYE: Flight attendance told Sheer to hold the infant on his lap since they needed the seat next them for another passenger on the oversold flight. Then they told him FAA rules say the child, because of his age, had to sit in an adult's lap for safety reason hitting by that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What you are saying makes no sense because we flew out here Delta plane and he sat in a car seat.

KAYE: Despite their arguing, the family was escorted off the flight. Delta later apologized, refunded the family's travel and provided additional compensation.

An apology was in order after this incident, too, this time from American airlines. The woman in the video is sobbing because witnesses say a flight attendant had just violently taken her collapsible stroller away nearly hitting her baby in the process.

[19:50:11] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just give me back my stroller, please.

KAYE: When a fellow passenger tried to step in on the woman's behalf --

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You stay out of this.

KAYE: The woman and her baby were escorted off the plane, American swiftly issued a statement saying the video does not reflect our values. The woman was upgraded to first class for the rest of her trip and the flight attendant was later removed from duty.

Just two weeks before that a viral video from onboard United Airlines after this Chicago doctor was dragged off. He would refused to give up his seat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. I'm not going. I am not going.

KAYE: By the time it was over Dr. David Dau was bloody. His lawyer says he suffered a concussion, a broken nose, and lost two teeth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My God, look at what you did to him!

KAYE: The airline later apologized and settled with him for an undisclosed amount.

Other airline incident are hardly as high profile. On this U.S. airways flight a disabled Vietnam veteran was removed for not putting his golden retriever service dog on the floor for takeoff instead of in the seat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm legally in the right by ADA law. This is a service animal, and he can ride with me any place.

KAYE: He and his dog were still removed by an officer and rebooked for the next day.

Cell phones appear to be a clear trigger for removal. This woman was talking on hers on a Spirit Airlines jet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Leave me alone! Stop it! Stop!

KAYE: This passenger says Spirit kicked her off a flight because of her cleavage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two or three times people came over and said they're still not covered up enough.

KAYE: That case is likely headed for court.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


CABRERA: Our thanks to Randi Kaye.

Coming up, horses, hats and mint juleps. CNN's Coy Wire is live with all the highlights from the Kentucky derby where the race was a dream for the winning jockey.

Coy, hi.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: I see what you did there, Ana. Always dreaming takes the 143rd running up at the Kentucky derby. We have the horses. We have the hat. (INAUDIBLE). I'm almost done with my day after we will get you caught up here on NEWSROOM.


[19:56:37] CABRERA: Drenching rain much of the day and muddy track. Nightmares condition where organizers of the prestigious national event like the Kentucky derby. But if you are Always Dreaming, none of that matters. Taking the lead from the beginning, never letting it go, the 3-year-old thoroughbred woke up the crowd at the 143rd running of the Kentucky derby. And our Coy Wire is there at Churchill downs in Louisville, Kentucky. He has been hanging out today with the fancy hats and minute juleps, certainly having a great time and looking stylish as well, my friend.

WIRE: Thank you, Ana. Appreciate that.

I have the tough assignment today, the 143rd running at the Kentucky derby here at Churchill downs. As you mentioned, Always Dreaming. Always dreaming was the favorite coming into this race. And this marks the fifth straight year that the favorite has taken the run for the roses. That's the most since the 1890s, can you believe that? Always Dreaming got out to a great start. It was helping to set the

page from the very beginning. Fighting the elements. The wet and sloppy track, running slow and despite the heavy, muddy hooves, he endured to the end. It is safe to say that Always Dreaming is a mudder like no other today. The winning team collecting an estimated $1.2 million. The horse was bought for $300,000.

But Ana, the silver lining in the story is the jockey John Velasquez now has four Triple Crown wins, two Kentucky derby, two Belmont stakes, a whole of fame ladder having claimed over $300 million in earning, more than any jockey in the history of the sport. But most impressively, he is the chairman of the board of the jockey's guild and on the border, they permanently disabled jockeys fund.

I spoke with him in the locker room before the race and he said his mission is to work off the track to raise money to support those who came before him and those who are in need of help. A sweet win, not just for Always Dreaming but for the one of the good guys in the sport, jockey John Velasquez. It's a wonderful day at Churchill Downs, Ana, and one to be remembered. The dream is alive for Always Dreaming. Now, the question is, can he and Velasquez take the second jewel in the Triple Crown at the Creek station two weeks in Baltimore.

CABRERA: Well, after you describe the jockey, it makes us all want to root for him. He is clearly an underachiever. The Kentucky derby, is this pouring cocktail social event as always unlike any other. So how did this one stack up?

WIRE: It gave me the goose bumps yet again. This is my second derby. I was not prepared last year but this year, Ana, I came correct. I bought a hat. It was only $25 but I felt like a million bucks. There were celebrities here. Some were of my former NFL colleagues, Aaron Rogers, Tom Brady was here, Jeff Bridges, Larry David, the actors were here. It was an incredible event, incredible show, pomp circumstance what makes it one of the greatest sporting spectacles in our country. Truly a gem.

CABRERA: I love the hat, Coy. Thanks so much for joining us.

WIRE: All right Ana, thank you.

CABRERA: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thanks for being with us.

New tonight, CNN can now confirm that the Trump transition team warned former national security adviser Michael Flynn about his contact with Russia telling him the calls were most certainly being monitored according to a former U.S. official. And yet just weeks later Flynn would call the Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak to discuss U.S. sanctions on Russia. A call that ultimately forced Flynn to resign after just 23 days on the job.

This revelation first reported by "the Washington Post" comes ahead of a big hearing on Monday. Former acting attorney general Sally Yates will testify before Congress about the warnings she gave the White House on Flynn. We are covering every angle --