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Republicans Vote in 4 States, Democrats in 3; Cruz Sets Sights on Rubio in Florida; Trump Backs Out of Major Conservative Meeting; Cruz Sets Sights on Rubio in Florida; State Department Staffer Granted Immunity. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired March 5, 2016 - 07:00   ET


[07:00:00] PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: There's still a lot of news to tell you about this morning. The next hour of NEW DAY begins right now.


BROWN: Well, good morning. I'm Pamela Brown, in for Christi Paul.

It is Super Saturday, the biggest political Saturday of the year. Five states heading to the polls today.

Let's get straight to Victor Blackwell who's leading our coverage live from Flint, Michigan, the site of CNN's Democratic debate Sunday night.

Hey, Victor.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, to you, Pamela. Good morning to you at home.

Yes, Michiganders -- that's what you call folks from Michigan, Michiganders, they head to the polls on Tuesday for the primary here.

But today, primary votes and caucus votes in five states. Republicans and Democrats casting those votes for president. For the Republicans, 155 delegates are at stake in Maine, Kansas, Kentucky, and Louisiana. For the Democrats, 109 delegates at stake, in Kansas, Louisiana, and Nebraska.

Marco Rubio is taking his campaign to Maryland today to speak to the conservative Political Action Conference CPAC. He'll be on stage later this morning as his rival Donald Trump snubs the convention, backing out of his appearance at the last minute. It really angered some conservatives there.

Trump's campaign is also taking heat over this. Watch.


BLACKWELL: More than two dozen Black Lives Matter protesters. Watch this video, being forcibly removed from a Trump rally. This was in New Orleans last night.

CNN senior political reporter Manu Raju is following this story.

Let's start with CPAC though and we'll get to that video. Any indication why Trump is backing out of the CPAC appearance?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, Victor, I think politically, Donald Trump thought better to be campaigning somewhere like Kansas where voters are actually taking to caucuses today and will decide who they want as a Republican nominee. Marco Rubio, for instance, in that state, is making a concerted push to win delegates there.

Trump certainly doesn't want to give any life to the Rubio campaign. Trump has two events now scheduled in Wichita today and also heading to Florida before that all important March 15th primary, sort of a do- or-die moment for Marco Rubio.

And, you know, yesterday in this crowd, you really sense a big anti- Trump sentiment. When Ted Cruz came here, he was taking a lot of jabs at Donald Trump and the crowd overwhelmingly reacted with applause.

At one point, several small contingent of pro-Trump supporters started chanting "Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump." And what happened? Ted Cruz overwhelmingly booed them.

So, perhaps when Donald Trump decided to change his he schedule, he thought it would be better to campaign and not before a hostile audience.

BLACKWELL: All right, Manu. Let's go back to that video from New Orleans last night with those Black Lives Matter protesters forcibly removed from the arena there.

Jeremy Diamond was there and said it was one of -- maybe a half dozen protesters or protest, and it was one of the worst he's seen. What do you know about this?

RAJU: Well, I mean from what I've seen, I was not there at that event, Victor, but clearly what we're seeing at a lot of these Trump events, that protesters are seeing a lot of opportunities to try to disrupt an event, and Donald Trump knows -- does not like any sort of dissent in his audience.

Anytime there's a protest, either actually making noise or someone who's even a silent protesters, Trump tries to forcibly remove them from the audience, and that always creates a bit of a stir. We're seeing that more and more these days it's been a big distraction for his campaign, and I think a lot of it may actually help him in some ways too. His supporters really rally behind him. It's hard to see what kind of impact that would have on the polls, but it really shows the divisive nature of his campaign and if he runs into the general election as the Republican nominee, he's going to have to deal with this time and time again. That's one of the things his critics are warning about.

BLACKWELL: All right. Manu Raju there from CPAC -- Donald Trump will not be. Marco Rubio will be a little later in the day. Manu, thank you so much.

It's a desperate fight for Marco Rubio trying to rally the troops in his home state there, Florida. Listen to this ad from a pro-Rubio super PAC.


AD NARRATOR: We knew Marco Rubio first. We saw him stand up for taxpayers in Tallahassee. He inspired when he crushed Charlie Crist and the political establishment. We've seen --


BLACKWELL: Well, he is getting hit from all sides. It's not just from the front-runner going after him. Ted Cruz is trying to knock out Rubio as well, trying to keep Rubio from gaining on Trump.

[07:05:04] Ted Cruz's spokesman says if Rubio loses his home stand, it will be the end of his campaign. Cruz currently trails Rubio in Florida.

But, the Cruz campaign opened ten new offices in the last ten days. Coming up we'll speak with a Ted Cruz supporter about that strategy.

So, let's talk about the latest developments and what's happening on the Republican side and bring in CNN politics executive editor, Mark Preston.

So, let's start -- first, good morning to you, Mark -- with the consequences for Donald Trump skipping CPAC. Are there any quantifiable consequences like we saw out of Iowa when he skipped that last debate?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: You know, Victor, given the state of the race and the fact that Donald Trump is on such a roll, I'm not sure if this is going to have any effect at all. The fact of the matter is he's gone to Kansas as Manu was saying. He is trying to mine votes from that state, where there's actually going to be some results.

Had this been a year ago, then perhaps the narrative would have been drawn that perhaps Donald Trump wasn't a conservative or wasn't trying to get the conservative vote, but at this point we've clearly seen with the numbers he's been able to draw out in states down in the South as well out in the West and, of course, up in the Northeast, that, in fact, he is the prohibitive front-runner at this point and it's going to take a lot from Ted Cruz or for Marco Rubio to try to knock him off from that position.

BLACKWELL: All right. So, let's talk about Ted Cruz in this aggressive plan, the strategy to keep Rubio from winning his home state. Of course, many believe that if Rubio does not win Florida's 99 winner-take-all delegates mathematically and perceptually, that could be the end of his campaign. But doesn't that help Donald Trump as well? PRESTON: It certainly does. Look. It's a risky game that Ted Cruz

is playing right now. But right as we're looking at the math and the path forward for each of these candidates, Victor, it's quite unclear how you can take out Donald Trump.

There are ways do so. One is to keep all the candidates in the race, have Marco Rubio win Florida, have John Kasich win Ohio. These are two large states with a large amount of delegates. If you're able to deprive, Donald Trump wins in those states, then it's going to be a harder path to get the nomination.

By Ted Cruz going down to Florida, though, what he's banking on is to take Marco Rubio out entirely and to try to get all of the anti-Trump sentiment behind him, and he think that that might be his path forward.

In some ways, it's actually not a bad idea, because it's not something that in the end it could work in his advantage either way, because, look, if Donald Trump wins Florida, Donald Trump wins Florida. He if wins Ohio, look, it's going to be difficult at any point for any Republican to win.

However, if Ted Cruz is able to go down there and pull off a miraculous win down in Florida, can you imagine what the narrative would be at that point? It would be all the wind is behind Ted Cruz's back in a statement that is important in the general elections. But at this point, Victor, as we talk about how the Republican establishment is trying to figure out, how to take out Donald Trump, well, his rivals are flummoxed about how to take him out as well.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about today. Four states on the GOP side heading to caucuses --


BLACKWELL: -- and to the polls for the primary in Louisiana. I mean, if this is Trump sweep this weekend, is the party -- is the GOP electorate, are they giving a pass to the other three candidates until Florida, until Ohio?

PRESTON: Look, I'm not sure if anyone's getting a pass at this point. But if Trump does come out with victories today, again, it's going continue to build on the narrative that Donald Trump is driving out voters that we're not normally seeing in a Republican primary. And the fact is, he is getting support from conservatives.

You know, the argument against Donald Trump is that he has a ceiling of about 35 percent support. The other 65 percent are for other candidates. But when those candidates start dropping out, you can't assume that 65 percent of them are still going to be anti-Trump. You have to assume some of them are going to go to the Trump side.

What's interesting about this weekend, not only today, is one of the territories, Puerto Rico is also voting. They're voting on Sunday. Marco Rubio who's going to be speaking today and I'm sure will give a full throated defense for conservatism and a plea for folks to support him, not only will he be in Florida, which is a state he has to win, but he's going to then hop ahead to Puerto Rico, which goes to show you Puerto Rico does play a roll in the primary process. It shows you how important every delegate is -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: Yes, mathematically and perceptually.

Mark Preston, CNN politics executive editor, thanks so much.

Now, still to come, many say that Donald Trump did not deserve an invitation to CPAC in the first place, although he's now decided to skip that appearance.

[07:10:00] We'll ask the chairman of the event what he thinks about that and what the Trump campaign told them about why they were skipping.

Plus, Donald Trump gets ready to hold a rally in Wichita, Kansas, just a few hours from now. We'll take you there for a look at how the supporters are gearing up.


BLACKWELL: Welcome back. I'm Victor Blackwell.

Republican front-runner Donald Trump will be a no-show as gathering of conservative voters in Washington today. In a statement, the Trump campaign says that Trump will hold rallies in Kansas and Florida, instead of making that planned speech at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action.

Let me bring in CNN political commentator, Jeffrey Lord. He's also a Trump supporter, with Matt Schlapp. He's the chairman of the American Conservative Union, with host CPAC.

Good to have both of you with me this morning.


MATT SCHLAPP, CPAC CHAIRMAN: Great to be with you, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Hey, Matt, I want to start with you.

Your group released a statement after the announcement that Donald Trump would not be attending CPAC this weekend. And in it, you said his decision send as clear message to grassroots.

From your perspective, what is that message sent?

SCHLAPP: The message is that he didn't want to come here to CPAC, the place where Reagan came 13 times, the place where Reagan started his campaign to the presidency, the place where Reagan gave his very first public address after he won that consequential election in 1980.

Conservatives come here from around the country, Victor, because not everybody lives in New Hampshire or Iowa or South Carolina or one of these early states. So, conservatives come from all over the country, including other states, and this is their chance to get an up close intimate look at these candidates.

And I think it was a big mistake for Donald Trump not to be here.

[07:15:02] He should have been open to our format. He should have been open to answering the question.

You don't always get to dictate things when you're a candidate. Sometimes you just have to come and follow the same rules all the other candidates are following. I think it's a political whiff and I think it was a mistake.

BLACKWELL: Matt, did the Trump campaign tell you specifically why Donald Trump was not going to appear?

SCHLAPP: Yes. They didn't like the format. They wanted to be able to change the format. They didn't want to follow the same rules that all the other candidates have followed.

Look, we had -- we had gone after Marco Rubio pretty sharply and Marco Rubio listened and Marco Rubio respectfully said he wanted to be at CPAC and follow our format. It wouldn't be fair to change the rules for somebody else.

We're going to use -- we're neutral in this presidential race, we haven't picked a candidate but all the candidates have to follow the rules.

They did not want to follow those rules. So, they can say they are going go somewhere else, but the fact of the matter is we weren't going to let them come here with a new set of rules.

BLACKWELL: All right, Jeffrey. You heard there Matt say that 13 times Ronald Reagan appeared before CPAC. You compare Donald Trump to Ronald Reagan every day.

So, you do suspect this is the right or wrong decision for Donald Trump?

LORD: Well, first of all, let me say to Matt -- I love CPAC. I spoke a couple of years ago. I'm sorry I can't be there this weekend. It has nothing to do with not want go to CPAC, I assure you. You know, look, this is a presidential campaign season --

SCHLAPP: Yes, Jeffrey, we're going want you back, OK?

LORD: Don't worry about me, Matt. CPAC is fabulous. You can go on with or without me. I don't worry about that.

My only point here is that, yes, I take Matt's point, I really do. I understand. I think also you've gotten these active caucuses and primaries going on and just from a practical sense, I think some campaigns, you know, in addition to what Matt has said may want to get out there and be with the voters who are about to cast ballots. You know, the pressure is on now, we're coming into primaries and caucuses today and on the 15th, et cetera.

So, I can understand why --

BLACKWELL: But Donald Trump could have done both, right, Jeffrey? I mean, Ted Cruz was there yesterday. He'll be out with voters and caucus-goers today. Rubio will be there later this morning.

LORD: Victor, it's purely a subjective assessment on the part of the campaign. Some people would do it. Some people would not. The Trump people decided for whatever reason not to do it. There you go.


BLACKWELL: Hey, Matt, let me come to you with this and maybe you can add it --


BLACKWELL: We saw the schedule, the Kasich, Cruz, Rubio, even the former candidate, Ben Carson there yesterday. But there are some activists who question why Donald Trump was invited in the first place, and it would not have been unprecedented for CPAC to skip an invitation. Senator John McCain was not invited in 2009 after losing in the general in 2008. Chris Christie not invited in 2013. The former chairman Al Cardenas saying then that Christie did not earn it that year.

So, to the people who say Donald Trump should not have received a CPAC invitation this year anyway, you say what to those people?

SCHLAPP: I just think they're wrong. I think that conservatives are open to hearing from all the people that want to inherent the Reagan mantle, that want to speak to conservatives and fight for the Republican nomination. Donald Trump might get this Republican nomination. It's likely he's going to get it. I'm not hostile to that idea.

But he ought to come here and pay respect to the activists so I disagree with conservatives and other Republicans who say, you should have never invited him to begin with. That's going to make our movement smaller not bigger. We're open to people coming and joining the conservative movement. We've even had debates on stage about marriage, religious freedom, immigration.

We're putting our differences on the stage. All the cameras are there. We're doing it in the open. It should be the same thing in this presidential contest, which is why Donald Trump should come here.

It's OK. Yes, he'll get some boos. He's going to take tough questions. The guy can handle that stuff. It was a mistake to think he couldn't come here and take that kind of treatment.

BLACKWELL: All right. Matt Schlapp from CPAC in National Harbor, Maryland, a beautiful part of my home state -- Matt, thank you so much.

Jeffrey Lord, always good to talk to you.

LORD: Thanks, Victor. Thanks, Matt.

SCHLAPP: Thanks, guys.

BLACKWELL: Pamela, we'll send it back to you in Atlanta.

BROWN: All right. Thanks so much, Victor.

And still ahead, right here on NEW DAY, the Hillary Clinton email controversy. The Justice Department gives her former staffer immunity. What that could mean for the Democratic presidential front- runner?

Plus, it's major discovery that once again has the infamous O.J. Simpson murder trial capturing America's attention.

[07:20:01] We'll be right back.


BROWN: Welcome back. I'm Pamela Brown.

We'll get back to Victor Blackwell in Flint, Michigan, in just a moment.

But first, here's a look at some of the other stories we're following this morning.

More Americans now see North Korea as much as a threat as Iran. A new CNN/ORC poll shows 44 percent of those surveyed now say they consider the regime of Kim Jong-un to be a serious threat to U.S. national security. That's up from 37 percent last September. Kim recently ordered his nation's nuclear arsenal be, quote, "ready for use at any time."

And Los Angeles police are investigating a knife allegedly found at the former estate of O.J. Simpson. The blade is being checked for DNA in forensics labs. A construction worker allegedly gave the weapon to now a retired L.A. traffic officer sometime in the '90s but it's unclear why it's taken so long for the knife to surface and if it has any legal significance. A jury acquitted Simpson in the killings of his wife, and her friend back in 1995.

And promising new cancer research may have solved a problem of dealing with many types of different malignant cells with a single patient. Doctors say cancer is often like a tree trunk with mutating branches that don't always respond to the same therapy. So, this new approach would instead target the core cancer cells before they mutate,. In other words cutting down the tree instead of simply pruning the branches.

Well, the famed Iditarod dogsled race began today in Alaska but there's one problem. There's no snow. It's been so warm they had to bring in snow from Fairbanks to Anchorage for the race.

[07:25:02] This year's Iditarod will also have a shortened course due to the lack of snow. Meantime, Democrats and Republicans caucus today in Kansas and Donald

Trump is expected to address a large crowd in Wichita shortly. Of course, we will take you there live.

And the politics of the Flint, Michigan, water crisis. The candidates weigh in and we talk to voters there about their fears, concerns and anger.


BROWN: Mortgage rates inched up a week. Have a look.


BLACKWELL: Good morning to you. I'm Victor Blackwell live from Michigan -- Flint, Michigan, the site of Sunday night's Democratic presidential debate.

And this is a fight for survival in Florida. We're going to start there with Marco Rubio. He's taking fire from all sides. That is his home. He has to win there to continue his run up to the nomination.

It's not just Donald Trump trying to take him out. The Ted Cruz campaign is trying to keep Rubio from winning his home state, saying if Rubio loses there, his campaign is over.

Donald Trump, of course, is hitting both of them on the trail, continuing to talk about this reference that Marco Rubio made to his hands.

Rosa Flores is traveling with Donald Trump, following his campaign event today. We'll get to here in just a moment.

[07:30:00] Let's go to Ron Nehring, who's with the Cruz campaign.

Ron, good to have you with us this morning.

Ted Cruz currently trailing Rubio in Florida, the latest polls there. But we know that the campaign ha opened ten offices across the state trying to keep Rubio from winning his home state. Obviously not subscribing to this plan that we heard from Governor Romney earlier this week.

RON NEHRING, CALIFORNIA STATE CHAIRMAN, CRUZ CAMPAIGN: Well, that's certainly correct. We're going in to Florida big. We've opened up ten campaign offices. We have a lot of support in the state of Florida.

And Marco Rubio is very weak there. If you transfer his polling numbers are in the state of Florida, down 16 points versus Ted Cruz's performance in his own state of Texas, where he won by 17 points, that's a 33-point difference between how the candidates fare in their own state. We see there's an opportunity for Senator Cruz and we're going to take advantage of that.

BLACKWELL: So, the Romney speech or the interview with Gloria Borger later this week, he say that Rubio should win in Florida, Kasich should win in Ohio, Ted Cruz wherever he can and then potentially take it to the convention.

But by depriving, Ron, senator Rubio of a win in Florida, does that not build momentum for Donald Trump mathematically, of course, but also the narrative that the wind is at his back and he might be unstoppable.

NEHRING: Well, the first thing is that Donald Trump is not unstoppable. He has a little over 300 delegates right now. You need 1,237 in order to win the Republican nomination. There are many, many delegates out there to win.

The way you defeat Donald Trump is by defeating Donald Trump with the voters. Unfortunately, because Marco Rubio does not have plan or pathway to get to the nomination, his people continue to talk about this, you know, contested convention idea. It's a horrible idea. That's not a good idea. The way you defeat him is by having the voters elect enough delegates to nominate Ted Cruz, who's the only remaining candidate with a pathway to victory.

BLACKWELL: All right. So, Ron, there are voters headed to the polling in Louisiana, to caucuses in Kansas, Kentucky, and Maine today.

Where will Senator Cruz do well?

NEHRING: Well, we're going to do well throughout the states. These are proportional states. Any state that votes before March 15 has to award their delegates proportionally. We have opportunities --

BLACKWELL: Can he win one --

NEHRING: Well, let's see tonight. We're not going to get into the curtain raising. You know, I get asked this a lot, but we're not going to name individual states.

We're competing in all of them. We have strong volunteer organizations throughout all of them. Senator Cruz is campaigning today throughout these states as well. And we have volunteer teams on the ground.

So all of these states, every single state that is coming up including all of the March 15 states and beyond, none of them are bad for us. We have opportunities in all of them. We're going to win some, we're going to do well in others.

This is an aggressive campaign. Our campaign from the very beginning has been to compete in all 50 states and that's what we're doing.

BLACKWELL: Hey, Ron, I mentioned that Gloria Borger interview with former Governor Romney. Gloria asked him if he would allow his name to be put forward at the convention for the nomination. And he said we're not going go there. Anything short of a no is a maybe.

Do you suspect Romney is positioning himself to be a white knight to save the party at the end, skipping over candidates who have actually earned delegates through the primary and caucus process?

NEHRING: Yes. That's -- the answer is no because he simply can't be nominated. The rules of the convention require that you have to win the majority of the delegations of eight states in order to be nominated. Mitt Romney is not running for president, so he simply can't be nominated. The only candidate other than Donald Trump who could be nominated at the convention who has that pathway is Ted Cruz.

BLACKWELL: Those rules -- all rules can be changed and if he doesn't get it on first ballot, then it's up in the air, is it not?

NEHRING: It's not up in the air. Certainly -- the notion that the Republican convention -- I've been a convention delegate. I've been active in the Republican Party for 25 years. I was chairman of the California Republican Party for four years. The notion that our convention would nominate a candidate who didn't run, who didn't receive the votes of any voters is simply not realistic. That's not what's going to happen.

This convention is going to wind up nominating Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, and we'd prefer for it to be the latter, that's what we're campaigning for.

BLACKWELL: All right. Ron Nehring with the Ted Cruz campaign -- thank you so much for joining us this morning.

NEHRING: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. CNN's Rosa Flores joins us now. She's in Wichita, Kansas, where Donald Trump will be holding a rally in a few hours instead of appearing at CPAC as previously scheduled.

Rosa, what are the expectations for Trump in Kansas, one of the four states for the GOP, that are heading to the polls and to caucuses today?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Victor.

First of all, I want to set the scene for you. It's very early, it's hours before the Trump event. But take a look. There's already people here.

I was with these people outside just moments ago before we were allowed in.

[07:35:00] The line is already long. I talked to some of these people and they say they're riled up, Victor, especially, they say, after the speech by Mitt Romney, you know, calling Donald Trump a fraud and phony. They said that that just made them more angry, that that gave them another reason to come here and support Trump.

Some of them drove in from Kansas City. Others are from town, others are other from parts of Kansas. They're actually surprised Trump decided to come to Wichita and not Kansas City, but they said, hey, we're going to support Trump no matter what and that that's why they're here. Now, the stakes are high in Kansas, because 40 of the 155 delegates

for Super Saturday will be from Kansas and we're going to get to see Donald Trump here today in Wichita and also Ted Cruz, and, of course, we're going to bring all of it right here on CNN -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. Rosa Flores, we will look ahead to us. Thank you so much, in Wichita, Kansas, for us.

You see in the maps. The contest on this Super Saturday for both the Democrats.

Back here in Flint, Michigan, though, the site of tomorrow night's Democratic debate, CNN talking to voters about their concerns leading up to this election, and we're finding out how they view politics surrounding the Flint, Michigan, water crisis. There is now this secondary crisis as you'd expect -- a crisis of trust.


BLACKWELL: Welcome back. I'm Victor Blackwell live in Flint, Michigan.

And a lot of the people we've spoken with here in Flint seem to put a lot of stock in Hillary Clinton's early visit to this city, and the concern that she's expressed about the lead tainted water.

[07:40:11] The crisis in Flint has been a regular theme of hers in the campaign trail, also for Bernie Sanders.

Here's what Mrs. Clinton said just a few days ago.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But there's another story in Flint. It's a story of a community that's been knocked down but refused to be knocked out. It is hundreds of union plumbers coming from across the country to help install new water fixtures, it's students raising funds for water deliveries and showing up to distribute supplies. It's the United Auto Workers and General Motors donating millions of dollars to help.


BLACKWELL: All right. Let's bring back in political commentator Van Jones.

Van, you know, people in this community I've spoken with, want Mrs. Clinton, Senator Sanders to go beyond what we heard there and what we've seen on the stump at these rallies. There are many who want the governor here, Governor Snyder, to resign --


BLACKWELL: -- and to be indicted. Now, there's a federal investigation.

How far rhetorically do you expect they'll go tonight?

JONES: I don't know. But let me just say, having been here in Flint, it is just extraordinary, what people are going to. You don't think about the basic stuff.

You can't brush your teeth without risking poisoning yourself. Your child has a rash that will not go away but you're poor because now all the businesses have fled. You can't sell your house because nobody will buy your house. Medicaid doesn't cover dermatological care.

What do you do this morning, tomorrow morning, the next morning?

It is a horrifying reality to be trapped in a community here you can't sell. You can't bring jobs in. You can't leave that.

And so, that's why they say the governor should resign or be recalled because this was not an accident. There were so many warnings that were sent across that governor's desk and this is part of his actual ideology that you should try and save as much money as possible and run government like a business.

Well, businesses make profit. Government is supposed to take care of people. This is going to be a major issue.

BLACKWELL: So, on Thursday night, there was a question about, I guess, 90 minutes into the debate in Detroit about this water crisis here in Flint. Let's listen to a bit of that.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What happened in Flint was a terrible thing. It was a systemic break down at every level of government, and both the federal and partially -- both the state and partially federal level as well.

By the way, the politicizing of it I think is unfair, because I don't think someone woke up one morning and said, let's figure out how to poison the water system and hurt someone, but accountability is important.

I will say I give the governor credit. He took responsibility for what happened.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You're talking about Flint, Michigan. You're talking about places. We need to rebuild the infrastructure of the country. Wouldn't be nice if we got along with the world and maybe Russia helped us in our quest to get rid of ISIS, et cetera, cetera?


BLACKWELL: So, there were major rallies and protests outside of that theater. We didn't see much of that on air.

What is your reaction? And we know you're a Democrat, but you're reaction to what you saw and heard there? JONES: But Trump got it right. I hate to say that. But Trump got it right. It's about rebuilding infrastructure.

All across the country, there are Flints either happening or waiting to happen, we just haven't heard about it. We haven't put enough money into rebuilding. Some of these pipes are as old as Flint, Michigan, itself and it's true across the country.

I was disappointed to hear Rubio to say that, well, nobody got up and thought about poisoning, well, of course, nobody got up -- that's not the point. The point is that there were warnings after warnings after warnings. It turns out there's fabrication.

An apology does not make up for a child who will have a lifetime of impact. What you all don't understand is, these kids will likely never get better. Lead poisoning never, ever is fully remediated.

And so, you're talking about behavioral issues. Some of these kids may wind out acting out in class, may wind up going to prison. You're talking about a lifetime.

The other thing is, let's not forget, the psychological impact. I was in church three to four hours yesterday, 25 congress people, Nancy Pelosi, listening to the psychological stress. Imagine for the last five years you've been giving your child water full of lead. The emotional health issues.

So, to be dismissive and say the government did a good job -- I think it show as lack of understanding of the scope of this crisis.

BLACKWELL: All right. Van Jones, thanks so much.

We'll, of course, continue this conversation not just this morning but throughout this weekend moving forward as the city, the state, and now the federal government try to figure out how to solve this crisis here.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, they will face off on the debate stage once again in the CNN Democratic debate live from Flint, Michigan.

[07:45:02] Anderson Cooper moderates. That's tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, only on CNN.

Now, Pamela, back to you in Atlanta.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks so much, Victor. Really interesting discussion there with Van Jones.

And coming up next right here on NEW DAY, a former Hillary Clinton staffer is ready to talk. Details on the agreement he made with the FBI, in return for his cooperation regarding the email server controversy.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BROWN: Immunity, that's the deal offered to a former State Department employee. Bryan Pagliano set up Hillary Clinton's private email server and he's now immune from facing any charges related to what he did. Should Democrats be nervous about Clinton's chances of being charged?

Bob Anderson just retired as the executive assistant director of the FBI's criminal and cyber division, and he also used to run the counterintelligence division in the FBI.

Bob, thanks for joining us.


BROWN: Good morning.

Just for context starting off, how unusual or common is it for someone to be granted immunity in a case like this? What does that tell you when he's granted immunity?

ANDERSON: Well, it's not really uncommon, Pam, but in this case it's all about information and it really leads the investigators both from the FBI and the Department of Justice to who, what, where, why, and how, and what was really going on with the server.

BROWN: So, clearly this was someone the FBI wanted to speak to but what exactly does immunity mean in this case? Does it offer him full protection no matter what?

ANDERSON: There's different levels of immunity? I'm not privileged to exactly what was granted but at least in this case, it allows the investigators to talk to him and ask specific questions about what was going on with the server and particularly what type of traffic the server was built to handle -- whether it was classified or unclassified.

BROWN: So the FBI is presumably speaking to, or going to speak to more of people who work with Clinton, some of her aides. So, could they be at risk? Because of the server that she wanted to set up so much, focus has been on Clinton herself. But what about her aides?

ANDERSON: Yes, I think they're going to be looking at everybody.

These types of investigations with mishandling classified information, it really is a complex investigation, not only around the classification of information that potentially could have been sent over the Internet, or to a different server. But all the people that were involved in accidentally or intentionally sending those type of communications.

BROWN: So, those that accidentally, you know, sent the classified communication, if that did happen, would they be held liable then in that case?

ANDERSON: What we have to do -- and believe it or not, these happen not often but they happen with regularity in the United States intelligence community. So, people look at the investigators look at everybody that's involved in these cases and look at a lot of things, the damage of the potential information that could get out or if people were doing it intentionally or by error. And if by error, there are procedures to clean the information that's been spilt.

BROWN: So, let's talk about the security of the server. You have this issue whether information was classified that was sent. And on the other hand, whether there were hackers that could have gotten into the server. We know that security logs have been reviewed and there is no evidence on those security logs that a hacker got into the server.

But wouldn't any good hacker, especially from somewhere like, you know, Russia or China be able to erase their track so that there is no evidence on the security log?

ANDERSON: Well, there is no doubt that hackers from any nation state, whether Russia or China are very, very sophisticated but I think a very thorough forensic review will be abducted and I think we'll have a pretty idea if anybody could have or did get into that system.

BROWN: So, last question for you, because the big question, of course, is timeline. We know this investigation has been going on for several months now. Do you have any sense how much longer this could be?

ANDERSON: No, I'll tell you just from being in the FBI for a long time and sitting four doors from Jim Comey, the current director, for the last couple of years, he's a very smart, thorough man and he's going to go by the rule of law. So, the investigation will be concluded when it's done and not before then.

BROWN: All right. Anything else you want to add about this, Bob, that I didn't touch on?

ANDERSON: No, I think the big thing think here is that it's going to be treated like any other investigation whether the person involved is a member of the government or from one of the intelligence organizations. We look at it the same way. That's fair and an honest way to do it.

BROWN: All right. Bob Anderson, thank you for coming on. We appreciate it.

ANDERSON: Thanks, Pam.

BROWN: And coming up at the top of hour, with all the political attention in Flint, Michigan, we take a look at how the residents affected by lead in their drinking water are viewing this presidential race, and we'll take you live to Louisiana as polls open and the primary.

Plus up next, take a look. Could this plane debris be part of missing airliner MH370? Details on what was recently discovered right after this break. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:56:56] BROWN: Hello. I'm Pamela Brown. We'll get back to Victor Blackwell in Flint, Michigan, in just a moment.

But, first, here's a look at some other stories we're following on a Saturday morning.

Nearly two years after flight 370 vanished, a significant clue has surfaced. This piece might give investigators clues as to where the airliner is. The plane disappeared on its way to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. Malaysian and Australian experts will examine this debris found by an American tourist off the coast of Mozambique.

In the meantime, activists say three air strikes hit a suburb of Damascus. They're believed to have been carried out by Russian warplanes. These are the first airstrikes on the area since an agreement of cessation of hostilities came into effect. A human rights group reports one person was killed, and several were injured.

Watch the ball, it's the most basic coaching rule in tennis, but it's tough to do if you're holding a camera on live TV. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Abby is doing really well. That is not a third time tennis player backhand. Oh, she did it. She did it. She hit the camera man.


BROWN: Wow, a photographer hit right in the face live on CNN affiliate KSWB in San Diego. He was okay and we're happy to report and like a good photographer, he kept the camera rolling and gave a thumbs-up as you saw.

Well, Space X sent a massive satellite in orbit after having to delay the rocket launch five times. The satellite is designed to bring broadband Internet to remote areas of the world. It will orbit the earth in a distance 100 times farther than the International Space Station and they tried to land on a floating platform, but that did not work out.

And NASA's new horizon's probe found snow on Pluto but the snow is made of methane gas. Take a look at these pictures from 4 billion miles away. That's a mountain range covered in methane snow, the range stretches for 260 miles.

Well, there is a lot of news to tell you about this morning. The next hour of your NEW DAY starts now.



GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm going to win Ohio and when I win Ohio, going to be a new ball game.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And they are voting Republican, I hate to say it. It's not because of lying Ted and it's not because of little Marco.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE : Our campaign pilled with vulgarity and profanity and some of the ugliest things that ever have been said about other people on the stage.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is no doubt if we remain divided, Donald Trump winning.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are so many insults flying back and forth, it was hard to keep track.


BROWN: Good morning, everyone. I'm Pamela Brown in for Christi Paul and Victor Blackwell is live in Flint Michigan. Michigan votes on Tuesday.

But, Victor, today is Super Saturday, the biggest Saturday in the year for the race for the White House so certainly a big day in politics.

BLACKWELL: It is a very big day in politics.