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Trump Supporters Protesters Clash In Chicago; Soon: Trump To Rally In Ohio After Clashes; Cruz: Consequences To Trump's Words; Joint Chipotle CEOs Get Pay Cut In Half After Series Of Food Scares; Four People Killed As Storms Slam Louisiana And Mississippi. Aired 8- 9a ET

Aired March 12, 2016 - 08:00   ET




[08:00:43] DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (via telephone): I met with law enforcement, I don't want to see anybody hurt, Don. So I met with law enforcement and I think we made a wise decision to cancel.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Political discourse should occur in this country without a threat of violence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are consequences.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: That is some of just a little snippet of some of what happened overnight at a Trump rally that actually ended up not happening. You heard Trump say he was cancelling it because he wanted everybody to be OK.

We are so grateful to have your company. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. I'm Victor Blackwell. Just a couple hours away from the next rally that's scheduled outside Dayton, Ohio, it's scheduled for 10:00 Eastern.

Already you see people crowding into this airport hangar. But last night, you look at the video, it's unbelievable as the crowds in Chicago were not so civil.

Dozens of protesters clashed with Trump supporters inside and outside of the University of Illinois and this morning Trump responded on Twitter calling the demonstrators many of them thugs, who, in his words, shut down their first amendment rights in Chicago.

PAUL: All of this, of course, as Illinois is getting readily to hold its Republican primary on Tuesday. We are covering this from all angles.

CNN politics executive editor, Mark Preston, CNN senior political analyst, Ron Brownstein, breaking it down for us, and Phil Mattingly live outside Dayton, Ohio where Trump will be holding a rally this morning.

But we do want to begin with CNN politics reporter, Jeremy Diamond, who is in Chicago. So Jeremy, you were there at the event last night. Help us understand what happened.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Yes, that's right. Last night was a pretty chaotic scene. You had hundreds of protesters packed into this planned Donald Trump rally here in Chicago at the University of Illinois.

You know, you had all of these protesters revving up initially to stop Donald Trump, to kind of prevent him from spreading his message here and they actually succeeded completely in that and getting the rally cancelled.

You know, it was a pretty messy scene here last night where you had fistfights between supporters and protesters, but you also just had a lot of chanting, a lot of taunting between the two sides.

And the Chicago police saying that, you know, they could have kept this under control that the Trump campaign did not consult with them before cancelling the event. They had 200 police officers stationed outside of here.

Listen to what the Chicago interim police superintendent said last night.


INTERIM SUPERINTENDENT JOHN ESCALANTE, CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT: The Chicago Police Department had no role. We were not consulted or provided an opinion as to whether or not the event should have been canceled.

In fact, I can tell you that we did assure the Trump campaign that we had more than adequate resources outside the UIC Pavilion and that we guaranteed them that we could provide safe access and exit for Mr. Trump.


DIAMOND: And there you have it. That's the Chicago police interim superintendent. There were five arrests he said and there were also two injuries that police officers suffered including one police officer who suffered an injury due to a bottle that hit his head.

So that got a little messy last night. One of the people arrested, as well, was a CBS News reporter and so that kind of speaks to the situation last night and the tensions that were there.

Trump now scheduled to kind of move forward. He's speaking twice in Ohio today and tonight will be in Kansas City, Missouri, Missouri and Illinois, of course, and Ohio, all voting on Super Tuesday in the coming primary contests. BLACKWELL: Jeremy, before we let you go, I got a quick question here, the interim superintendent there said that the Chicago Police Department could have kept this under control. Why did they control it? After the event was cancelled, we saw the video of the officer hit in the head there.

[08:05:02]We had people on stage and those weren't uniformed officers controlling that man on stage. Did they take control at some point?

DIAMOND: Well, what the superintendent said was that actually the Chicago police was responsible for securing the area outside of the venue. They had 200 officers stationed outside.

Inside the venue, you had a private security and you also had University of Illinois Chicago police. So they were the ones who are responsible for controlling the situation inside.

And you know, there were several fights that broke out, but ultimately they succeeded in getting everybody outside of the venue within 20 minutes. So that's as far as that goes.

BLACKWELL: All right, some clarity there. Jeremy Diamond, thank you so much.

PAUL: We're just a couple hours now from Donald Trump's next scheduled rally in Ohio. Dozens of people are already lining up to see the Republican frontrunner.

In fact, CNN's Phil Mattingly, who is there in Vandalia, Ohio, just outside Dayton says some people were lined up for, gosh, for seven hours just to get in.

So Phil, I'm wondering, what are the conversations you're hearing from people regarding what happened last night in Chicago and what they are expecting today?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi, as I walked up and down the line, and as you noted, some people arrived at midnight, a couple more at 1:00 a.m., those were the first people in line here.

And while obviously this isn't a monolithic roof, most people were talking about what happened in Chicago. There was a lot of frustration. There was a lot of anger. The perspective here from Trump supporters very much echoes what Donald Trump tweeted this morning.

Donald Trump's first amendment rights and their first amendment rights as Trump supporters have been violated. That these protesters are organized. That they are thugs and don't actually represent people that are -- should be out there fighting against Donald Trump.

That's what we're hearing most from the people in line right now. One of most interesting elements of everybody that I've talked to this morning, Christi, has been a number of them have said we weren't sure we were going to come to the rally until we saw what was happening on TV last night. That's what really clinched it for us. You heard what Donald Trump said over the last 12 hours that he thinks this might actually energize his supporters, at least so far, anecdotally here in Vandalia that appears to be the case -- Christi.

PAUL: OK, so you're there, we can see the people behind you. What kind of security presence do you see?

MATTINGLY: It's a big presence and in talking to local officials leading up to the event. One major difference between this location and what you saw last night is this location.

We're in an airport hangar off the Dayton International Airport. When you look at the authorities that are involved here, obviously Secret Service is involved with all of Donald Trump's events.

You have two local police departments, the Vandalia Police Department and the Dayton Police Department and then you also have the airport police department as well.

Something to keep in mind, Christi, 80,000 people on average show up every summer for the Dayton airshow. They know how to handle big events. They have done it many times before in this exact area.

So they feel comfortable about where they are. That said, they are expecting protesters. They are prepared for as many as 10,000 people to show up.

Obviously, they can't all fit in here Christi, but that's what local officials are prepared. So Christi, they feel comfortable about where they are right now, but obviously, everybody very cognizant of what happened in Chicago last night.

PAUL: The people that are there that you spoke with that said what they saw yesterday in Chicago, that's part of what brought them there. Are these people who support Trump specifically or are these people that support the first amendment and want to see what's happening?

MATTINGLY: Trump supporters through and through, Christi. You can tell by the hats and t-shirts and the political buttons they are wearing. These are people who are very attached and dedicated to Donald Trump.

And their anger right now, their decision to come out is driven by their perception that people are trying to shut down their candidate, to shut down their guy that they want to lead the country. That's why they are coming out more than anything else -- Christi.

PAUL: All righty, Phil Mattingly live there for us. We appreciate it. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right, let's bring in CNN politics executive editor, Mark Preston, and CNN senior political analyst, Ron Brownstein. Good to have both of you.

I want to play for our viewers who are just joining us this morning, what Donald Trump told CNN's Don Lemon after the rally in Chicago was canceled. He was asked if he would take back anything he said during the campaign. Watch and listen.


TRUMP (via telephone): We have had great success. We have had -- we have fantastic support and we have fantastic supporters. We have said wrong things when people were wrong. When people were wrong, we have said some very, very strong things.

Now getting back to before tonight, when I talked about illegal immigration, I have no regret whatsoever. If I didn't bring up illegal immigration, it wouldn't even be a subject of the campaign, Don.

BLACKWELL: So Ron, I want to start with you and a tweet that you sent out last night and you referenced the second civil war, which is the title of your last book. You said it seems ominously literal tonight, speaking about last night's event, amid the chaotic flashes at that Trump rally. Expound for us.

[08:10:02]RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: First of all, yes, I mean, I think look, Donald Trump has a right to address his supporters and his supporters have a right to go hear him speak without fear of intimidation or violence.

But protesters always have a right to be there, as well and there is a clear context for this, Victor. There are months of pattern confrontation and violence at many Trump rallies, not all but a steady progress of them.

And Mr. Trump has frequently made comments that have seemed to either exonerate or actually insight the violence. We've seen Trump supporters including one on CNN who marveled at the punch that --

BLACKWELL: He had called it good exercise.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. So there is a clear backdrop there and the underlying issue beyond even the comments about violence is the message itself and the campaign.

As David Gergen said yesterday, there are elements of the Trump message that are as divisive as anything we have seen in American politics in a long time.

In this country, we are now a country where about 30 percent of the electorate is non-white, almost 40 percent of the population and you know, the images that we see in these confrontations at the Trump rallies repeatedly are essentially white Trump supporters scuffling with protesters, who are usually African-American or Latino.

And so, you know, there is a real challenge here, I think, for -- and I think Trump's comments are more characteristic than encouraging about taking some responsibility for finding both an immediate tone at the event and a larger message that works to bring the country together, rather than tearing at the seams, which is I think what we are seeing right now.

BLACKWELL: Let me come to you, Mark, with the mood of the event as we see people file into this airport hangar behind you. Give us an idea of what you're hearing, feeling there from the crowd.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Well, Victor, what you see behind us, of course, is them going through one of two entrances that they've opened up to try to get these thousands of supporters in.

But way off to my right is that this line zigzags all the way through the parking lot. We still are a couple hours away from this rally, but this line has been building and building and building for several hours right now.

Now talking to folks in line, I think, Phil Mattingly really capitalizes it perfectly. Folks are frustrated right now that these protesters are going in and they are stopping Donald Trump from talking about what he would be like as president.

These folks want to hear Donald Trump. Now, several people that I spoke to just a short time ago told me that they were glad that he had cancelled that rally last night and the reason being is that they said it showed that Donald Trump is not inciting violence.

That Donald Trump wants to ensure people are safe. Having said that, there are others in line that said listen, if the protesters are going to get in our face, we'll get in their face.

This is the kind of political discourse right now that we've seen certainly over the past couple of weeks that has really trended downward right now.

BLACKWELL: Ron, quickly to you. I mean, after what we heard from Donald Trump saying that no one has ever been hurt at any of his events and that they are love fests, but we see the images we see from North Carolina and from Chicago and other places. I mean, I'm just concerned that if there is a protester in that crowd, what the expectation is that this crowd, how will they respond?

BROWNSTEIN: This has been waiting to happen. I think Mark would agree. There is a charged atmosphere at Trump rallies unlike anything I've ever seen. I've covered nine presidential campaigns and I think that there is kind of this sense of collision often between protesters and Trump supporters.

This comes at an extraordinary moment for the Republican Party. Donald Trump on Tuesday could put himself in an insurmountable position for winning the nomination. Even though he's won almost exactly 35 percent of the vote.

He is a plurality frontrunner who is on the brink of putting away the nomination, even as the polarization around him in terms of a general election is rising to really astounding heights.

So I think this is a moment for the party. Candidates blinked at the opportunity when asked by Jake Tapper to criticize him about the tone he has set at his rallies, at the debate on Thursday night.

They did have stronger statements, some of them yesterday, but this is I think kind of an -- this is coming at really a pivotal moment for the Republican Party in 2016 and perhaps long beyond.

BLACKWELL: All right, Ron Brownstein, Mark Preston there. Donald Trump has said that he doesn't mind the loud, as he called it, any candidate minds the shouting back and forth, but the violence is something we have not seen this cycle or for some time. Thank you both.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. We, of course, will play more from Donald Trump in just a few minutes and just ahead, we'll talk to the panel about whether politics -- in politics, these words actually have consequences. Is there a direct correlation between what we hear from Donald Trump and what we're seeing at these rallies?



PAUL: Live images here of the people who are filing into Dayton, Ohio there. The airplane hangar where Donald Trump will be speaking in just about an hour and 40 minutes. This is in Vandalia, Ohio, and of course, on the heels of what we saw last night in Chicago.

Violent protests, five people arrested, two police officers injured in a Trump rally that Donald Trump eventually went ahead and cancelled because he said he didn't want anybody else to be hurt.

Now, Donald Trump did speak to CNN's Don Lemon after that violence last night.

BLACKWELL: Yes, he talked about his decision to cancel the rally and he was also asked if he would take back anything said during the campaign.


TRUMP (via telephone): Well, I got to Chicago a couple of hours ago and we had 25,000 people scheduled for tonight. We'll have a lot outside and inside, a tremendous gathering of real supporters and at the same time, we had protesters outside, which was probably 2,000 or 3,000 and I met with law enforcement.

I don't want to see anybody hurt, Don. I met with law enforcement and I think we made the wise decision cancel. Now it's pretty well broken up and no major problems. And we made a decision, even though our freedom of speech is violated totally, we made a decision not to go forward.

I don't want to see anybody get hurt and you would have had some people possibly getting hurt or beyond and so I made the decision in conjunction with law enforcement not to do the rally. We postponed it.

LEMON: Do you think -- protesters have been expected tonight at your rally, was your campaign prepared for this?

TRUMP: I think we were prepared, but you can be prepared as you want when you have thousands of people, you don't want to see a clash and there were minor skirmishes, but no major clash --

[08:20:05]LEMON: You've seen the pictures I'm sure of what happened inside of that rally. I'm sure you've been watching and looking at these pictures. What do you make of what you saw?

TRUMP: Well, I think it's a divided country. I think we have a very divided country, Don and it's been that way for a long time and it's very sad to see. It's divided among many different groups and frankly, it's terrible.

You look at a lot of people are upset because they haven't had a salary increase in 12 years. You know, if you look at the workers of the country, our jobs are being taken away.

Our jobs are being sent to Mexico and other countries and our factories are closing. We have a lot of problems and we don't have a real unemployment rate of 5 percent. Probably closer to 25 percent.

LEMON: Mr. Trump, with all due respect, you think --

TRUMP: As people give up looking for jobs, Don, all of a sudden they are considered employed statistically so --

LEMON: Do you think that's what cause that directly --

TRUMP: At the same time -- say it again.

LEMON: Do you think that caused the scuffle directly tonight because those people who were fighting tonight, weren't fighting over jobs?

TRUMP: Yes, I think it's largely economic. I mean, if you look at African-American youth, they have a 59 percent unemployment rate, 59 percent and it's -- yes, I think it's largely economic problem, absolutely.

LEMON: Do you think it has anything to do with the tone that some have said that you set by telling people to get them out or punch them in the face or they should be taken out on a stretcher? Do you think that you bear any responsibility --

TRUMP: We had some --

LEMON: -- for what's happened tonight and at other rallies.

TRUMP: No, I don't take -- I don't take responsibility. Nobody has been hurt at our rallies and I've had 25,000, 35,000 people, more than that. We had one the other day 25,000 in Florida and we've never had anybody hurt or certainly seriously hurt. We had -- I don't know if we had anybody hurt so we've had a tremendous large number of rallies and massive numbers of people, nobody even close to us in terms of size and great people, but we will have protesters stand up and be very, very abusive, unbelievably abusive.

And in some cases swinging and punching and swinging and not a good situation and I think we can overall, I think we've been very mild with protesters and some will stand up and usher them out.

It's not me that ushers them out, it's the police force and the police have done great jobs. Until today, we never really had much of a problem.


BLACKWELL: All right. Let's bring in "Chicago Tribune" reporter, Geoff Ziezulewicz. He was right at the middle of all this. He's joining us by phone. Jeff, first, good morning to you and we appreciate you getting up early and speaking to us.

GEOFF ZIEZULEWICZ, REPORTER, "CHICAGO TRIBUNE" (via telephone): Sure, good morning to you as well.

BLACKWELL: Thank you. We heard there from Donald Trump that it was the protesters who were violent and some of his supporters who then fought back. That this was pretty one-sided at least on how this was initiated. Is that what you saw from your vantage point? What did you witness?

ZIEZULEWICZ: I was basically outside for the whole afternoon and occasional screaming, you know, protesters walking by the Trump supporters waving to get in the event with signs. Some of the Trump supporters shouting back, you know, build the wall.

The protesters really swelled after another group arrived at about 5:00 as people were still waiting to get in and then, you know, when the event was cancelled, it was kind of a vinegar baking soda type thing.

They just let everybody ride out and you had both sides really mixed in and you saw a lot of Trump supporters kind of walking through a gauntlet of, you know, protesters as they left and that's when we saw some violence that took place.

BLACKWELL: So we saw some video, some signs there, Bernie Sanders supporters shouting Bernie, Bernie, holding up signs. I mean, how many of them were there? We're seeing just two or three of 100, are we seeing all of the Bernie Sanders supporters? Give us an idea.

ZIEZULEWICZ: There was people who are definitely vocally pro-Bernie people kind of mixing it up out there. I couldn't give you a number. I mean, I probably witnessed, you know, a good hand full of different skirmishes, but it seemed like a Bernie Sanders type crowd among some of them. You didn't see any Hillary aero campaign signs, so to speak, but there were Bernie Sanders folks out there definitely. BLACKWELL: We also saw the video of the officer bleeding from the head. Jeremy Diamond says he was hit with a bottle. Did it seem like the police at least outside from what we're told, Chicago police ran security outside, university ran security inside, that they were prepared for the crowd, prepared for what unfolded or they were caught off guard?

[08:25:05]ZIEZULEWICZ: I mean, they appeared pretty prepared to me. I covered a lot of the Laquan McDonald shooting protest as well, and you know, the police had horseback cops on hand and kept the protesters separate until the discharge of rally attendees came out and that's when things kind of took a stand.

At one point on the other side of the highway there, everybody started running and that's when I think the police was injured and there was a mix up and then even briefly there is handful of protesters that went on the highway and shut the highway down for about 5 minutes.

But to me, in my experience, other than this kind of flare up that happened, you know, where the officers were injured, it seemed like they had things under control and after that things really kind of calmed down at that point.

One thing that was kind of interesting is you did see a lot of the crowd shouting 16 shots and a cover up and calling for the resignation of the Cook County state's attorney and that again is echoes of the Laquan McDonald shooting.

BLACKWELL: So this was a combination --

ZIEZULEWICZ: Sometimes the protests seemed to devolve into that -- or include that.

BLACKWELL: As is common in large events, people come with different reasons to protest and from your reporting, that's what we're seeing in Chicago. All right, "Chicago Tribune" reporter, Geoff Ziezulewicz. Geoff, thank you so much for spending some time with us.

ZIEZULEWICZ: Yes, have a good day.

BLACKWELL: You, too.

PAUL: Want to tell you about some of the new flooding fears that are happening today across parts of the south. Waters at record levels in parts of Louisiana. Torrential rains are still falling and this has now become deadly.



[08:31:00] PAUL: Well, two men who share the title of CEO at Chipotle had their pay cut in half after a series of food scares sent sales plunging last (year). You're probably wondering, well, what does that mean? Well, they both took home $13 million each. The Chipotle bosses both got the based salaries. They just didn't get as many stock option awards as in previous years.

BLACKWELL: So $13 million after the cut.

PAUL: Yes.

BLACKWELL: Wow. U.S. officials say North Korea has lot contact with one of its submarines. They think it may have happened off North, North Korea's east coast during a military exercise. It happened earlier this week. Now they also say that the U.S. military was watching the sub when it stopped and they think maybe it went adrift at sea or possibly it sunk at this point.

PAUL: A South African teen vacationing with his family in Mozambique from a piece of plane debris that could belong to Malaysia Airlines flight 370. Apparently he found it back in December but his family only contacted officials after a different piece of debris was found, remember, last week, also in Mozambique. Experts are investigating whether it did indeed come from MH 370. That flight, remember, disappeared two years ago with 239 people on board.


Well, let's talk about Marco Rubio. He's moving forward with his campaign events. He's in Florida today campaigning.


Can a win in his home state of Florida give his campaign the boost it needs to keep going?

BLACKWELL: Plus, beyond politics, we're watching the heavy rains causing record-breaking and deadly floods in the Southeast, and it's not over yet. More storms could hit the area.


BLACKWELL: Donald Trump's Republican rivals are pushing back against the candidate over the chaos in Chicago, arguing that Trump's rhetoric on the campaign has, has encouraged and emboldened his supporters to, to become violent with protestors.


TED CRUZ, 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Political discourse should occur in this country without a threat of violence, without anger and rage and hatred directed at each other. We need to learn to have disagreements without being disagreeable, to have disagreements while respect, respecting human beings on the other side.

MARCO RUBIO, 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When you have a presidential candidate, according to the polls and the delegate counts, the frontrunner of the Republican Party, going into his, going into rallies and basically telling his followers, you know, in the good old days people that do that leave on stretchers, you know, I think there's consequences to that that he should own up and take some responsibility. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: We've got with us Justin Sayfie, a Republican strategist and former spokesman for Governor Jeb Bush. Justin, good to have you with us this morning. I just want to start with what we're hearing from the Trump campaign, is that before every rally they, they announce that they want their supporters not to touch any of the protestors, and they say, in their characterization, that they don't promote violence. What do you say?

JUSTIN SAYFIE, FORMER SPOKESMAN FOR GOV. JEB BUSH: Well, I think that, really, if you want to look at last night what happened in Chicago, what were the protestors doing there, what was their goal, what were they trying to accomplish?

I think the First Amendment is a really important principle, and that people should be allowed to hear - the supporters of Donald Trump should be allowed to hear Donald Trump while he's speaking without having to be disrupted. And I would say the same thing about a Bernie Sanders rally. I would say the same thing about a Hillary Clinton rally. I would say the same thing about President Obama. Disrupters or protestors should not be allowed to shut down an event. Those protestors apparently started cheering...

BLACKWELL: Well, let me step in here, Justin.

SAYFIRE: ...when they found out that Donald Trump wasn't going to be there.

BLACKWELL: Let me step, step in here with two things. The same document that guarantees the freedom of speech, guarantees the right to peaceful protest. The second thing is it was the campaign that decided to shut down the event, right?

SAYFIRE: Apparently, yes. The campaign did decide to shut down that event. However, the protestors, we need to look at was their goal to shut down the event? And, listen, the First Amendment applies to everybody.

The First Amendment applies to the people that went there to listen Donald Trump, it applies to Donald Trump, and I get - I start to get nervous when groups of Americans try to shut down free speech. We should allow for more free speech in the country, and there's a way to do it where the protestors can have their say and Donald Trump and Donald Trump's supporters can have their say. And again I say the same thing about Bernie Sanders, I say the same thing about Hillary Clinton, I say the same thing about Barack Obama. I wouldn't want any group of protestors to shut down those - their speeches either.

BLACKWELL: So in Cedar Rapids, February first, this is from Donald Trump at, at his rally. And, quote, "There may be somebody with tomatoes in the audience. So, if you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them. Would you seriously, OK? Just knock the hell. I promise you I will pay for the legal fees." Does that sound to you like a candidate who is not promoting violence? SAYFIRE: Well, no, it's - that, that is a candidate that probably, if I were a candidate, I would not have said that. And I think that that's the kind of thing that I don't think you're going to hear Donald Trump say anymore.

BLACKWELL: Is he promoting violence. But is he promoting violence?


SAYFIRE: Is he promoting violence? No, I don't think he's promoting violence. I think that he's basically expecting everyone - if you look at what the campaign is telling people, what they're saying, they're telling them don't touch people, don't do these kind of things, don't touch the protestors, that campaign is not prompting violence.

BLACKWELL: All right, he's...

SAYFIRE: But certainly that's a comment that I don't endorse, and I don't think he should have said.


BLACKWELL: He explicitly asked them to quote "knock the crap out of them," so we'll let the person who's watching or listening to this interview determine if he's indeed promoting violence. But just yesterday, I mean that was some time ago...

SAYFIRE: Of course.

BLACKWELL: ...just yesterday Trump said in St. Louis, from my standpoint it makes it a little more exciting, it gives me time to think - speaking about the protest - about where I want to go next. It's beautiful, it's like intermission, and the guys that are near the event they see some pretty good stuff. I mean, as you move forward, what's your degree of comfort with some of the rhetoric that we're seeing specifically out of Donald Trump himself, but to a larger degree, during this campaign?

SAYFIE: Sure. Great question.


And I think that there, there shouldn't be any - no candidate for President should be encouraging, should be encouraging their supporters to do that. But, again at the same time, I think it's important to keep in mind that protestors that are trying to disrupt or trying to shut down political campaign events, that needs to be - who, who's the provocateur in some of these instances where the campaign is telling their supporters to not to touch the protestors, but the protestors are going there to shut down free speech. That needs to be kept in mind.


BLACKWELL: Justin, quickly, you were the former spokesman for Governor Jeb Bush.


We know that he's meeting with the three candidates other than Trump, Cruz, Rubio and Kasich. Do you expect that he will endorse? I mean he's one of the few Republican candidates this cycle who's out of the race who has not endorsed.


SAYFIE: Yeah, I - you know, that's, that's a very personal decision for Governor Bush, whether he'll en... Certainly his endorsement would carry a lot of weight with Florida voters. He was a very popular Governor of the State of Florida for eight years. He's said a number of times during the campaign that he considers Marco Rubio a friend and there's mutual respect and admiration by both of those men for each other.


Whether he actually comes out and does an endorsement or not, we're going to have to wait and see, but it's getting a little bit late for endorsements. So we'll see, we'll see if he does one.


BLACKWELL: All right. Justin Sayfie, so good to have you this morning.

SAYFIE: Thanks for having me.



PAUL: Well, stay close because we're taking you live to New Orleans, where there is massive deadly flooding in Louisiana and across the Southeast. Thousands of people forced to leave their homes this morning. Also, we're just a day away from the CNN Democratic Town Hall, Hillary Clinton apologizing for praising Nancy Reagan, while Bernie Sanders and his most fervent supporters (think they'll) score a big victory in Ohio.



BLACKWELL: Forty-four minutes after the hour now and four people have been killed as storms hit Louisiana. Four hundred homes are flooded across the state of Mississippi.

PAUL: And water levels, we understand, still dangerously high. CNN's Nick Valencia joining us live from New Orleans. Nick, what are you seeing there?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi. This region has just been hammered by menacing and torrential rain. Already four people's lives have been claimed, three of them here in the state of Louisiana.

From Texas to Tennessee, thousands of residents across six states have been affected by historic rainfall. This woman had to be carried out of the water after driving her car though a flooded-out road in Memphis. In Louisiana the state's Governor called in the National Guard to help with water rescues.

GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS, (D) LOUISIANA: Obviously, this is a very serious weather event, serious enough that the entire state has been declared an emergency.

VALENCIA: (Tara Moore) shot this video in West Monroe of a houseboat that broke loose and floated away. There was nearly two feet of rain in the worst parts of the state.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We weren't prepared for none of these.

VALENCIA: Sheriffs in Hammond, Louisiana, went door to door by boat to rescue people who were stranded. More than 100 people had to be evacuated in Bossier Parish due to the rising flood waters. With more severe weather in the Southeast on the way, the National Weather Service says flash flooding will remain throughout the weekend, especially for South and Coastal Mississippi.

VALENCIA: And in Mississippi, two boaters on a fishing vessel are still missing. They were last seen on Thursday morning. The search for them will continue later this morning. Victor, Christi.

PAUL: All right. Nick Valencia, thank you so much. Listen, still ahead, Donald Trump set to make his very first appearance in just a little less than a couple of - well, I guess it's about an hour and 15 minutes now.


PAUL: Violence erupted at his Chicago rally overnight. How his Democratic rivals now are seizing - this is an opportunity to talk about his campaign's rhetoric.

BLACKWELL: Also, Israel's military says they're conducting more air strikes. We'll tell you who they're targeting.

PAUL: And the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine has virtually disappeared from headlines. People are still suffering there. In today's "Impact Your World" we'll look at how the Jewish community have come together to take on poverty in the struggling nation.

BLACKWELL: Political unrest and economic decline have hit Ukraine's poor hard. Residents struggle to maintain a sense of normalcy, but thousands of elderly, young, and displaced families can't afford the basics.

IRINA ZBOROVSKAYA, AMERICAN JEWISH JOINT DISSTRIBUTION COMMITTEE: They really do not have any other chances, and it's really challenging.

BLACKWELL: Winter presents the biggest challenge.

ZBOROVSKAYA: During the Winter, the cost of the utilities going up (into) that's biggest part of the pension and goes to cover utilities.

BLACKWELL: The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee is trying to support the poor of Ukraine.

ZBOROVSKAYA: This is help which can be very basic, like food, medications, very basic supplies. We provide them with a comb. In addition, we provide them with blankets, with warm clothing. We do our best in order to support them.

BLACKWELL: For 96-year-old (Lisa Kestleman), the support is a Godsend.

(LISA KESTLEMAN, THROUGH TRANSLATOR): If it was not for them, I can't imagine what my life would be like.




PAUL: All right, these are live pictures of the crowd that is coming to get their first glimpse of Donald Trump at a rally in Ohio in just about an hour. The first time we're all going to see him since the chaos in Chicago. And his rivals, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, have an awful lot to say about the chaos that happened last night in Chicago at his rally, a rally that Donald Trump ended up cancelling all together.

Senior Washington correspondent, Joe Johns, is following this story for us. Joe, let us - give us a good sense of what's being said in Washington.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, let me say that Bernie Sanders himself really weighed in on the issues in Chicago, and he talked about it a little bit last night, almost lecturing Donald Trump about how he should handle this controversy. Listen.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Rallies, that's a part of American democracy, and I do not want to see people manhandled or beaten up, or afraid to go to a rally. And I hope Mr. Trump speaks out forcefully and tells his supporters that that is not what the American political process is about.

JOHNS: Hillary Clinton also talked about it in a statement she put out, invoking what happened at the Charleston massacre in Charleston, South Carolina, just last year. She said in part, last year in Charleston an evil man walked into a church and murdered nine people. The families of those victims came together and melted hearts in the Statehouse and the Confederate flag came down. That should be the model we strive for to overcome painful divisions

in our country. So, Christi, absolutely right. The Democrats have an awful lot to say about what went on in Chicago last night.

PAUL: Well, and it's interesting Hillary Clinton - I mean she's not had an easy week and probably, dare I say, you know, she might be thankful that we're turning the tables here a little bit and looking at something else after some comments she made about Nancy Reagan that just didn't sit well with some people.

JOHNS: It did not sit well, and there are a lot of people on the progressive side that say Hillary Clinton should have known better. So what happened was she did an interview essentially saying among other things, that Nancy Reagan and the Reagan administration back in the day helped created a national conversation around AIDS and HIV, when in fact, the people on the AIDS and HIV track say the Reagan administration really was very slow to come to the table on this controversy. So Hillary Clinton was forced to put out another statement, clarifying that the Reagans did not in fact do all that she suggested they did back in the day on AIDS and HIV, Christi.

PAUL: Mm-hmm, Yeah, and did come out and apologize for those comments as well. We should point out that Hillary Clinton is in Ohio today with Kasich and Trump. Joe Johns, thank you so much. We appreciate it, as of course the campaign continues. Don't forget to tune in to the CNN Ohio Democratic Presidential Town Hall in fact. It's Sunday night at 8:00 pm Eastern, right here on CNN.

BLACKWELL: Of course, you know, Donald Trump cancelled that event last night in Chicago after the clashes between protestors and supporters. But take a look. Here are live pictures as the crowd here in Vandalia, Ohio, in this hangar continues to grow. Thousands of people there, he's - waiting for Donald Trump - he's expected to arrive there and speak at 10:00 am Eastern, so a little more than an hour from now. We're told that the first person got in line to get inside this hangar at midnight, nearly nine hours ago. We will, of course, watch this rally and bring it to you live, at least a portion of it. Stay with us.


PAUL: Live pictures here of all of the people at the Dayton International Airport, inside that hangar, waiting to see Donald Trump, the first time we'll see him since the rally in Chicago last night. It got cancelled and we understand that that rally actually motivated some of the people there today to show up.

BLACKWELL: Yeah, Trump is scheduled to be there at ten o'clock Eastern, about an hour from now.

We'll be back at 10:00 Eastern, but right now stay with us for some coverage.