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Trump Campaign Manager Involved in Altercation; Paris Suspect Charged with Terrorist Murder; Obama Heads to Havana Today on Historic Visit; North Korea Launches Two Missiles in 8 Days. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired March 20, 2016 - 07:00   ET


[07:00:00] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Are we still beating Nick Valencia?

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Nick Valencia is still in the cellar.

PAUL: Sorry, Nicky.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Andy Scholes.

PAUL: Thank you, Andy.

And thank you so much for starting your morning with us.

BLACKWELL: We've got much more ahead of the next hour of your NEW DAY. It starts right now.


BLACKWELL: Violence takes center stage at a Trump rally, this time in Arizona, a protesters. Another one sucker punched by a Trump rally attendee.

PAUL: And Donald Trump's campaign manager under scrutiny. This video appears to show him grabbing a protester by his shirt during last night's rally. Trump's campaign telling a different story. We'll let you decide.

BLACKWELL: Paris terror suspect Salah Abdeslam was captured in a raid in Belgium. And now, he's talking. Authorities believe he was supposed to be a suicide bomber in the Paris attacks but later backed down. We've got the latest on what he's telling investigators. We've got a report live from Paris.

PAUL: And a visit almost 90 years in the making. Obama -- President Obama set to be the first sitting American president to visit Cuba since 1928. The first family traveling with him. All the details live from Havana for you this morning.

And with that we want to wish you good morning. Happy Sunday. I'm Christi Paul. We're always glad to have you with us.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you.

The Trump campaign under fire this morning, as the campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is under scrutiny for second time in as many weeks.

You are taking a look at new video that appears to show him grabbing a protester by the collar.

PAUL: And now, Lewandowski is facing charges stemming from a earlier incident this month involving a now former Breitbart reporter, Michelle Fields, who claims the Trump campaign grabbed her as she tried to ask a question.

BLACKWELL: Lewandowski's confrontation was not the only incident that happened at this Trump rally. You see that. I mean, another protester was sucker punched and kicked by a man attending the rally. Trump said that he does not condone violence but he did label the protester as agitators.

PAUL: All of this, of course, coming as a crucial vote is just two days away now. Idaho, Utah, Arizona, all set to vote on Western Tuesday as it's called. The stakes are especially high in winner- take-all Arizona, 58 delegates.

BLACKWELL: All right. CNN politics reporter MJ Lee is following all the headlines for us this morning and there are a lot of them.

MJ, good morning to you.

Yes, this is another troubling incident for the Trump campaign. As you saw in the video, it appears that Trump's campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was involved in an altercation with a protester at a rally yesterday in Tucson, Arizona. The video seems to show Lewandowski touching the protester at least by the collar of his shirt and sort of pulling him behind.

I want to read for you the statement that Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks gave to CNN yesterday. Here is what she said. She said, "Corey Lewandowski was speaking with a protester at Saturday's rally in Tucson, Arizona, when the individual he was speaking with was pulled from behind by the man to Lewandowski's left. The video clearly shows the protester reacting to the person who pulled him, not to Mr. Lewandowski."

So, to be clear, Hope Hicks, Trump's spokeswoman, is saying essentially that it was the person to Lewandowski's left, not Lewandowski, who was involved in, you know, touching this protester, that it was not, in fact, Trump's campaign.

Now, all of this is obviously very troubling not just because of the incident of its own, but the bigger context as you mentioned being that Lewandowski is under investigation for, you know, another incident involving a reporter where he is accused of having grabbed her by the arm. This is a former Breitbart reporter who has pressed charges. And all of this is troubling also because there's been increased violence at Trump's rallies with protesters and reporters clashing with increasing frequency, and obviously, Trump as a presidential candidate has had to address these issues over and over again.

BLACKWELL: All right. MJ Lee, reporting for us this morning -- MJ, thank you so much.

And you can catch MJ Lee on "INSIDE POLITICS WITH JOHN KING" this morning. Show starts at 8:00 a.m. Eastern.

All right. Let's dig a little deeper now into the headlines. Let's bring in former Reagan White House political director and Donald Trump supporter, Jeffrey Lord.

Jeffrey, good morning.


BLACKWELL: All right. We've got a lot to get to this morning. I first want to play the video. And ask you what do you see here?

[07:05:01] LORD: I can't see. I mean, I've already looked at it. I can't see it as you are showing it. So, you tell me.

BLACKWELL: This is the video that I'm sure you saw this morning with Corey Lewandowski and the other person.

LORD: I've looked at it about twenty times now.

BLACKWELL: OK. What do you see in that video? I se

LORD: What I see this guy next to Corey Lewandowski, in a black shirt with a red stripe, grabbed this kid by the collars, pulls him back. Corey's hand goes up, does touch the guy's collar. But the guy clearly reacts to being yanked by this guy in the black shirt and turns around and tries to hit him. So, pretty clear that the guy behind -- next to Cory and behind this guy, I mean, you can see his hand and he yanks him forcefully back.

BLACKWELL: So, the campaign statement says he was pulled from behind by the man to Lewandowski's left. And I think everybody sees that man pulls him. But they also say that he was not reacting to Corey Lewandowski.

Do you believe or do you not believe that Corey Lewandowski also pulled that man by the collar though?

LORD: No. You can see his hand go up and touch his collar, but it did not appear to me. I mean, the other guy was being yanked forcefully by this other man, whoever that is, and he reacted to him. He didn't turn to Corey. He turned to the other guy and went after him.

BLACKWELL: So, people at home have your description of the video. They see the video for themselves.

Let me get to the more important question. Why is Corey Lewandowski in the middle of crowd. He's a campaign manager. Shouldn't he be backstage with the candidate? Why is he down there?

LORD: Yes, yes, good question. I don't know the answer to it.

But, Victor, let me just speak to something here.

BLACKWELL: Go ahead.

LORD: After I watched this a number of times, at least twenty times here this morning to try and get a fix on it. Just out of curiosity I went on the YouTube and punched in, or typed in the search phrase "Rahm Emanuel pushes", and what I came up with in less than a minute is Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago, being videotaped by a constituent shoving the constituent.

Now, Rahm Emanuel is a prominent ally of Hillary Clinton. Are we having a media narrative here that Hillary Clinton's campaign is violent or that she hangs around with bullies, I mean, et cetera?


BLACKWELL: But there also have been no charges pressed against Rahm Emanuel. There are charges pressed against Corey Lewandowski in this case with the former Breitbart reporter, Michelle Fields. So there is a narrative here that is supported by police reports.

LORD: Well, the narrative, with all due respect to Michelle, whom I like and respect, I frankly did not see her pushed to the ground. She said she was pushed to the ground. I did not see that in that video that was presented.

BLACKWELL: There is an investigation there. And that will continue. We don't have much time together.

But I want to get to what I'm sure you read in "New York Times" this weekend. This effort, the Republican leaders map a strategy to derail Donald Trump. GOP leaders reporting launching a hundred day campaign starting in Wisconsin and the first week of April going delegate by delegate, spending to try to take down Trump, as they did in states leading up to Wisconsin.

What's your take on the strategy here?

LORD: Well, you know, look they are welcome. This is a free country. They are welcome to do anything they want within the bounds of the electoral system. I mean, that's perfectly fine.

What it says to me politically is they have lost touch with the base of the Republican Party. The base of the Republican Party, 80 percent of them at least are turning out for Donald Trump and Ted Cruz who are the two leading anti-establishment candidates in this race. And what they are trying to do is replace either of them with John Kasich you know --

BLACKWELL: Let me ask a question -- and we're going to get to that. But let me ask how you gauge Trump's ability to govern moving forward, if he gets the nomination.

LORD: Sure.

BLACKWELL: We've read in the times that Mitch McConnell has reportedly given senators permission to not only not run with Trump as part of their platform, but to run away from him, to run negative ads. How will he able to govern if the party is distancing themselves from him to that degree?

LORD: Well, you know, he's built this enormous business association, you know, with the ability to get along with people. I mean, I'm aware right this minute that he has been reaching to people behind the scenes. I mean, I'm not going to give any names or anything, but I certainly know that that process is on going with very prominent conservatives. So, I think that, you know, this process has already begun.

BLACKWELL: We also in this "New York Times" report from Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin --

LORD: Yes.

BLACKWELL: --- they also mentioned if this campaign is unsuccessful, there has been discussion of running a third party conservative. Bill Kristol has suggested former Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn and former Texas Governor Perry potentially as those conservative third party candidates.

[07:10:11] What do you think about these two alternatives?

LORD: At least as I understood from that story, Senator Coburn said no. I mean, Senator Coburn whom I have enormous respect for left the Senate because of cancer and I think there's probably some healthy issues there.

BLAKWELL: But these are the only two names being floated right now publicly, yes.

LORD: Bill Kristol, whom I know and respect greatly, I just think he's wrong here. And this really does speak to the sort of insider establishment thing that they really don't care what people out here in the middle of Pennsylvania think. They are going to force some candidate that people haven't voted for down their throats. I think that is a huge mistake.

BLACKWELL: Let me get your reaction to what we are hearing from John Kasich. He had a conversation with John Dickerson of "Face the Nation". That show is going to air on CBS a little later this morning, the full interview. But here is what he said about Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.


GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Frankly, they ought all to sit down and meet with the guy.

JOHN DICKERSON, FACE THE NATION: Would you take a look at Mr. Garland when you -- if you were elected president?

KASICH: Well, you know, he received, you know, overwhelming support from Senator Hatch. So, of course, we'd think about it. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Most Senate Republicans have been in lock step. But they won't consider him, will not meet with him. Not only does John Kasich say that they should meet with him, but he would think about potentially nominating him if he becomes president.

What do you think about what Kasich is saying?

LORD: Yes. You know, Victor, I've been involved in five of these fights when I was -- worked for Ronald Reagan, five Supreme Court nominations. I can only tell you that this is a huge issue. And right there I think is a mistake on the part of Governor Kasich.

I mean, I don't think he's got a path to the nomination anyway. But exactly what he said right there will prove to be a real blocking point for him because again, Republicans want a conservative on that court. They want to wait until the new president is elected and to hear John Kasich say, well, yes, he put up an Obama nominee. Boy, that's not going to fly.

BLACKWELL: All right. Trump supporter, Jeffrey Lord, always good to have you. We've got to a lot this morning.

LORD: Hey, Victor. We're good. I enjoyed it. Thanks.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Jeffrey.

And I do not miss the CNN presidential primetime event. Democratic and Republican candidates all make the cases to the voters, on the same night, right here on CNN. Final five candidates tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

And be sure to watch special election coverage of the votes in Idaho and Arizona and Utah all day Tuesday, live here on CNN.

PAUL: Well, what so many people wondered about is indeed happening. The captured terror suspect of the Paris attack is talking to investigators. We'll tell you what he's been saying.

And we're going live to Havana, Cuba, with you, where President Obama is due to revenue for an historic visit in just a few hours.


[08:16:07] PAUL: This morning, France wants Paris terror suspect Salah Abdeslam back in Paris to stand trial but it could be three months because Salah Abdeslam is planning to fight that extradition.

Right now, he's in a high security prison in Bruges, Belgium, charged with participating in terrorist murders. He's told authorities he had plans to blow himself up, and then backed down.

CNN's international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is live from Paris.

Couple of questions off the top of my head, Nic. But, first, is there a way that France could expedite the extradition?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Unless he decides to go along with it, they're just going to have to fight it legally. But, you know what, the president of France has said it's going to happen. The Belgian officials have said it's going to happen. It's going to happen and probably in less than three months deadline.

But, you know, the Paris prosecutor is also throwing something else in. Not so fast Abdeslam. What you are telling us we can't take that at face value.

Why has he said that? Because ISIS itself said there was going to be an attack in the 18th district of Paris, but right after Salah Abdeslam drops off three of the attackers outside that soccer match where they blew themselves up, he then appears in that 18th district. So, the prosecutor is saying, whoa, your story doesn't add up so far.

This is why the French want to get ahold of him. But also because he's such a big figure in planning the attacks. This is what the Paris prosecutor said.

PAUL: OK. Because he is such a big figure in this attack. What do we know about the others in the apartment with him when he was detained?

ROBERTSON: There were three others that were family members, that were essentially hiding him. One of them has been released and two more remain in detention and face questioning. And then there was another man, Al Julali (ph), he is now being questioned by the Belgian authorities. He also faces charges.

It is not clear how central his role may have been to the Paris attacks. But we do know there were two other people that are on the run. One of them was spotted with Salah Abdeslam when he was on his way to Belgium trying a car here just before the attacks. And another key planner also with him when he went to pick up some of the attackers in eastern Europe the French prosecutor described in some detail just how central Salah Abdeslam is in to the planning of all this. This is how he explained it.


FRANCOIS MOLINS, PARIS PROSECUTOR (through translator): Abdeslam is a key actor in the Paris and St. Denis attacks. He seems at this point in the investigations that he had a central role in the constitution of making -- building the commando teams for the logistical preparations of the attacks and himself being present in Paris on the 13th of November.


ROBERTSON: So, of course, this is why the French want to get ahold of him. He knows so much. Was such a central figure involved in buying some of the chemicals and devices that were used to make the suicide vests. So, he is -- he is -- if you will, he can expect to face very, very tough questioning when he gets here to Paris. PAUL: Is there any indication he was still in this, the four months

since the attack, in communication and working with ISIS?

ROBERTSON: The picture that is beginning to emerge as the prosecutors divulge more information here is that ISIS has really been very, very cautious and careful.

[07:20:01] You know, cell phones are wiped clean of data. Cell phones that are a chip SIM cell phone that are activated very nearly before the attacks.

So, a lot of details that were emerging. So, the fact that he was able to hide for four months, it appears as if, you know, ISIS sort of instigated some really sophisticated spy craft here to stay below the radar. So, the information we have about whether or not he was conducting at the moment seems to be limited.

But he appears and ISIS appear to be using very sophisticated techniques to avoid detection.

PAUL: All right. Nic Robertson, boy, some great new information this morning. Thank you so much.


BLACKWELL: Well, in just a few hours, President Obama will head to Havana on this historic trip to Cuba. We'll discuss the reaction he's receiving both in Cuba and here in the U.S. and what he plans to do when he gets there. We'll have a live report from Havana.

And later, the Mexican actress who arranged the meeting between Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and actor Sean Penn, Kate del Castillo, she breaks her silence. Why she's angry with the actor and what she says about the controversy in "The Rolling Stone" interview.


BLACKWELL: Twenty-four minutes after the hour now. Let's check your top stories.

The Israeli government says three Israelis were among the four fatalities on Saturday's suicide attacks in central Istanbul. Two of those victims held dual American Israeli citizenships. Now, Iran says that one of the persons killed was an Iranian citizen.

[07:25:04] Of the 36 people who were wounded, 11 were Israelis. No one has yet claimed responsibility for that attack.

PAUL: And today is a day of mourning for the victims of yesterday's plane crash in western Russia. All 62 people aboard died when the Boeing 737 fell short of the runway in bad weather. Russian authorities say all human remains have been recovered from the crash site and FlyDubai Airline says it will compensate each victim's family with $20,000 in what they are calling hardship payments. BLACKWELL: Pope Francis there at the Vatican celebrating mass

observance of the Palm Sunday. Now, this is the day Christians around the world celebrate Jesus coming into Jerusalem prior to his crucifixion and resurrection. Palm Sunday marks the beginning of holy week leading up to Easter Sunday, and it is the most important period of the church's calendar.

PAUL: Well, Cuba is preparing for President Obama's visit later today.

BLACKWELL: And we get this great music.

A lot of people in Havana are excited including Cuba's favorite comedian.



BLACKWELL: New this morning. Coming up in just a few hours: President Obama will be heading to Havana, the first sitting American president to visit the country since 1928.

[07:30:03] Of course, we're talking about Cuba, and the country is all ready to mark this historic visit.

President Obama even appeared on Cuba's comedy show. Watch this.



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hello? Yes? Yes, the real White House.



BLACKWELL: CNN's Patrick Oppmann, give us just a couple of the highlights of what's on the president's schedule. His itinerary, I should say.

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, this evening, you got to think, Victor, as soon as he steps off the plane he is going to make history, the first sitting president to arrive in Cuba following the Cuban revolution. He'll be in the area that I am a little later on today, the old heart of Havana, colonial history, all around us, walking, greeting Cubans, probably shaking a few hands.

And, of course, he will go that, Cuba, U.S. baseball game on Tuesday, that Tampa Bay Rays versus the Cuban national team. Before he goes as well, he will have the chance to address the Cuban people live, something that no U.S. president has ever had the chance to do. And as well chance to express some criticism like he's done before towards the Cuban government's policies. And we had the opportunities yesterday to talk to Cuba's top negotiator with the U.S. about this historic visit.

BLACKWELL: And what does he say about that? Josefina Vidal, I believe she is.

OPPMANN: Yes, I thought we were going to use that interview but what she --


JOSEFINA VIDAL FERREIRO, GENEARLA DIR., CUBA'S U.S. DIVISION, MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS: I think there is respect. Undoubtedly, there is respect. You saw that and I saw that during the summit of the Americas in Panama. How President Raul Castro addressed to President Obama, recognizing that after President Jimmy Carter, he has been the only one in our past history who had decided to begin a process towards normalization of relations with Cuba.


OPPMANN: But all across Havana, I can tell you people are excited. There's a lot more security than you see on a regular day, and talking to Cubans that I've met in the four years of living here, people just can't believe this day is happening, Victor. Most people are born after the Cuban revolution, they have only known (INAUDIBLE) Cold War, animosity between Cuba and the U.S. And many people, although we've known about this for weeks said they simply won't believe it until today when they see President Obama stepped off the Air Force One and arrive in Havana, Victor.

BLACKWELL: A large amount -- a healthy amount of curiosity there. Apologize for the glitch from the control room.

Patrick Oppmann, thank you so much.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Let's bring in William LeoGrande, government professor, school of public affairs at American University in Washington.

Thank you so much professor for being with us.

As you watched this whole thing unfold, what do you think this will do to U.S./Cuba relations in terms of how quickly or gradually this will open things up?

WILLIAM LEOGRANDE, GOVERNMENT PROFESSO, SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS AT AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: Well, the purpose of the president's trip is to energize the process of normalizing relations with Cuba that he begun back in December 2014. He has about 10 months left in office. And I think he wants to make the most of it. He wants to push this policy as fast forward as he can so that the next president, whoever it is, will see the wisdom of staying with the same policy.

PAUL: And I was going to say, do you believe this will be a lasting policy that will be inherited by the next president regardless of what party takes over? LEOGRANDE: Well, I do think so. There are a lot of good reasons that

the United States has finally moved towards a normalization of relations with Cuba. First and foremost, that the old policy really wasn't working.

We see enormous support among the American people for the president's policy. A lot of businesses are anxious to get there. A lot of Americans want to travel there.

So, there are a lot of good reasons I think to keep on the track that the president has laid out.

PAUL: You talk about the businesses, Starwood has already struck a deal to help manage some of the hotels in Cuba. But we heard Bill Weir earlier talking about the fact that Cuba still wants 51 percent ownership stake of any business that's there. How do you visualize that progressing with that trade relation?

LEOGRANDE: Actually, the new foreign investment law that the Cubans passed about 18 months ago does allow in some cases for full foreign ownership. It is a matter of a negotiation between the foreign firm and the Cuban government.

[07:35:01] So, it may be possible. I don't know specifically about the Starwood cases. But it may be possible for foreign investors to go in and have complete control.

PAUL: You heard, we heard Patrick there talking about how excited people in Cuba are to see this unfolding but what do you think is the expectation on their part? We hear from Bill Weir that how Havana specifically they have such water issues. And they are still living so many years behind the U.S.

Do you anticipate that the people there are expecting the U.S. to help them I guess get into the future, move into the future?

LEOGRANDE: I was actually in Cuba on December 17th 2014 when the two presidents made their announcement. And I can tell you the ordinary Cubans were absolutely jubilant. There is an expectation that with a normal relationship with the United States, the U.S. economic embargo will be lifted and people's ordinary lives will become easier and better.

I think the Cuban government is a little more realistic about how long it's going to take to get to fully normal relations.

PAUL: How open is the Cuban government professor to normalizing things or at least to progressing much of what is in Havana and in the outlying areas to mirror more of what we see here in America in terms of the way people live on a day to day basis?

LEOGRANDE: There is no doubt the Cuban government is very much in favor of trying to forge a more normal economic relationship with the United States. They're interested in attracting U.S. tourist. They're interested in attracting U.S. investment. They're interested in trade, normal trade with the United States, because they see their economic future inevitably is going to be tied to their neighbor to the north.

PAUL: But the people living there day-to-day will see some of that economic prosperity, not just that prosperity being held by the government?

LEOGRANDE: I think absolutely. When an American travels to Cuba, they eat in a private restaurant. They may stay in a private home. There's a lot of advantages to ordinary people for a better bilateral economic relationship.

PAUL: All right. Professor William LeoGrande, thank you so much for being with us. We appreciate your perspective this morning.

LEOGRANDE: My pleasure.

BLACKWELL: Coming up next, as North Korea threatens to test a nuclear warhead, CNN takes you on board an aircraft carrier where the U.S. and South Korea are holding joint military exercises.

PAUL: And Donald Trump's relationship with the FOX News anger is flaring up again or his words about her. The network is weighing in too. More details for you, straight ahead.


[07:41:13] BLACKWELL: This is a very tense time on the Korean peninsula following another missile test by North Korea. Now, South Korea says this ballistic missile that was tested flew 500 miles before crashing into the ocean. North Korean video is showing images, albeit they're undated, of leader Kim Jong-un watching his military conduct naval and land drills.

The North says it plans to conduct another test very soon and it is against this backdrop, the U.S. and South Korea are holding joint military exercises.

Our Ivan Watson gets exclusive access on board a U.S. aircraft carrier as it carries out flight operations.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's an F-18 warplane just taking off from the deck of the U.S. aircraft carrier John C. Stennis sailing off the east of the Korean peninsula.

This carrier strike group is here as part of annual joint military exercises with South Korea. But this is a time of great tension on the Korean peninsula. North Korea argues that these exercises could be a precursor to a military invasion.

North Korea has launched missiles twice in just eight days. That's a move that's been seen as provocative and threatening not only by the U.S., Japan and South Korea but also by the United Nations Security Council.

They say that this is in violation of many U.N. Security Council resolutions which prohibit North Korea from testing nuclear weapons or firing ballistic missiles.

The U.S. is trying to reassure its allies in the region, while also sending a warning of deterrents to North Korea. The aircraft carrier is the largest war machine in the U.S. arsenal, and by sending it to the region this is an unmistaken show of military strength.

Ivan Watson, CNN, aboard the U.S. aircraft carrier John C. Stennis.


PAUL: All right. Ivan, thank you.

So, Trumps versus Megyn Kelly, the feud has reunited. And here's a question for you. What does your brain look like when you are watching Donald Trump?

BLACKWELL: Hmm. That's interesting.

PAUL: It is, isn't it?

BLACKWELL: Plus, the an actress who helped Sean Penn get to "El Chapo" -- why she says she has a problem with parts of Penn's controversial story.


[07:47:36] PAUL: Well, Trump's feud with FOX News anchor Megyn Kelly has flared up again. And now, the network says he has a, quote, "sick obsession with Kelly". Trump, of course, has been firing back. In a tweet he says it is Kelly who's obsessed, quote, "every day, every showing thrashing negative hate."

Joining me now, "RELIABLE SOURCES" host, Brian Stelter.

So, I think what's fascinating about this is you've got a conservative network seemingly going after the GOP front runner. Is this going to go away anytime soon?

BRIAN STELTER, RELIABLE SOURCES HOST: I think it shows how much everything is scrambled right now -- and when you think about conservative politics, and you think about the favorite channel of conservatives, FOX News.

Certainly on FOX News, Trump has a number of friends, a number of hosts who are friendly to him. But he seems to be dismayed whenever he watches Megyn Kelly's show and he doesn't like the guests who appear on her show.

Now, I have to say, some of her guests are pro-Trump. Others are against Trump. She has a wide variety of guest on her show.

But he seems to be really focusing on Megyn Kelly. Lately, he's been calling her crazy which some would think is a sexist reference. There is a meaning of crazy when applied to women that is different to when applied to men. We all kind of know that in society. So when he says "crazy Megyn Kelly", it certainly has a specific connotation. Almost as if he's applying the same tactics to Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio by calling them names now applying to a news anchor instead.

PAUL: I want to play a clip here, because this is another thing that's out there, another type of conversation that's out there this morning.


PAUL: This of his campaign manager Lewandowski and whether he touched, pulled on the collar of this gentlemen here who was a participant at a Trump rally. The Trump camp is saying, uh-huh, he did not pull on his collar. He did not initiate anything. He didn't touch him.

Now, there is video though.

STELTER: It certainly was a confusing statement from the Trump campaign last night because the statement does not jive with the video we're seeing on screen. There are two men. Corey who's wearing a suit jacket and another man as well. The other men, according to numerous reporters, the private security guard for the Trump campaign.

So, the two of them are speaking with this protester. Obviously, this protester was disrupting the crowd, according to the Trump campaign. They wanted the protesters to leave, and that's their right.

[07:50:01] They're allowed to have people escorted out of these private events.

But it does seem to be -- to me, that this is another example of this campaign's getting physical. We have seen this before with supporters of Trump hitting or kicking or punching protesters in the crowd. In this case, though, the campaign manager is very clearly involved.

It just leads you to wonder, what is the campaign manager doing out in the crowd? The campaign manager for Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz and John Kasich generally are not out and about in the crowds.

But then again, Trump's campaign events are very different from all the other campaigns. We're talking here about events that have become like stages. The protesters are kind of players in these events with Trump. Trump uses the protesters to his advantage in many cases.

PAUL: All right. And I'm sure we'll obviously hear more from his camp about what happened there.

STELTER: I think Trump is going to have to address this.

PAUL: Yes.

STELTER: You know, there have been questions in the past about the campaign manager. There was a dispute about a week and a half ago involving a reporter. The details of that are very much in dispute.

But I think in this case because it's on video so clearly, the candidate's going to have to be asked about it.

PAUL: Right, right.

Listen, we need to get to this experiment that you did. Posing this question -- and the question alone kind of makes you chuckle -- what does Trump do to the brain?

Tell us about this neurological experiment you conducted.

STELTER: I said conservative politics has been scrambled. I think all of our politics has been scrambled thanks to Donald Trump. He's a one of a kind phenomenon.

So, we wanted to strap on these headsets at the most recent debate. We convened a focus group. We're going to show the results on "RELIABLE SOURCES" at about 11:00 a.m. Eastern today. We found that Donald Trump is off the charts when you compare him to his GOP rivals. He engages the brain like no other candidate does on the GOP side.

So you see me wearing the headset there. Basically what we're doing is measuring brain waves. What we found was that when Trump speaks, when Trump appears on screen, even Democrats and independents have their brains lit up in a way that doesn't happen with Ted Cruz or John Kasich.

So I think what it speaks to is the idea that Trump has been practicing his craft on television for over a decade. You know, on NBC's "The Apprentice." So, he's able to perform on TV in a way no other candidate is. I think it partly explains his appeal, that even if you don't like what he's saying, your brain pays attention.

PAUL: You get a reaction. Yes. Or he gets a reaction regardless of who it is. Brian Stelter, looking forward to seeing that. Thank you so much.

STELTER: Thanks.

BLACKWELL: That is fascinating.

PAUL: Isn't it?

BLACKWELL: I'm looking forward to that.

PAUL: Yes.

BLACKWELL: A Mexican telenovela star is speaking out about her experience visiting notorious drug lord El Chapo and we're learning more about why she's unhappy with Sean Penn who made that secret trip with her.


KATE DEL CASTILLO, ACTRESS: So why say that and why just hurt Mexico in that way? We're already too hurt. We are already in pain, Mexico is bleeding right thousand.



[07:56:18] BLACKWELL: We're learning more details about the secret meeting of two movie stars and Mexican drug lord El Chapo Guzman. While he was on the run from his second escape from prison, Hollywood star Sean Penn and Mexican telenovela actress Kate del Castillo traveled to Guzman's hideout. Del Castillo sys she did not know before the trip that Penn wanted to interview Guzman for a controversial "Rolling Stone" article. She thought they were just going to produce a movie.

She says she does not approve of a passage of this article during which Penn says they were waved through a military checkpoint because the soldiers recognized Guzman's son was their driver. Here's what she tells CNN Espanol.


DEL CASTILLO: That's one of the biggest inconsistencies that I see in Sean's article. And that I'm -- it really bothers me because that never happened. That never happened.

And also, one of the -- both producers said that they don't recall that event. So I'm happy they say that. Sean still says that it did happen. I can -- I'm Mexican, and listen, I am the first one that will talk about the government, you know, raise my voice against the government and whatever.

I also love Mexico. And I feel angry about that statement that he did, that he wrote because it's not -- it's just not true. So, why say that, and why just hurt Mexico in that way? We're already too hurt. We already are in pain. Mexico is bleeding right now.


BLACKWELL: Watch the full two-hour interview. It airs Friday on CNN in Espanol.

PAUL: Well, Donald Trump's campaign manager Corey Lewandowski under fire this morning after this video appears to show him grabbing a protester by the collar of his shirt. Trump's campaign tells a different story about the video.

BLACKWELL: Yes, the campaign has released a statement. Corey was speaking with a protester at Saturday's rally in Tucson, Arizona, when the individual he was speaking with was pulled from behind by the man to Lewandowski's left. "The video clearly shows the protester reacting to the man who pulled him, not to Mr. Lewandowski."

PAUL: Did you know today is the first day of spring?

BLACKWELL: Did not know that.

PAUL: I thought it was tomorrow. What do I know?

The East Coast, I know, braced for a snowstorm. Boston, forecasts show about four inches of snow could fall for you. New York and Philadelphia, a light dusting. And Washington is expected to stay y, but either way, temperatures are going to drop considerably all along the east coast. So don't put those coats away yet.

BLACKWELL: Ooh, look at this.

Nearly ten-carat diamond here up for auction at Sotheby's. It comes with an interesting past. Curly-haired child star Shirley Temple. Her father gave it to her in 1940. This ring could sell for more worth $5 million.

PAUL: I wonder how old she was in 1940 when her father gave her that ten-carat diamond. Wow!

So, check your March Madness bracket if you dare.

BLACKWELL: Why? Why would I check it? No value.


PAUL: We're just down there.

Eight teams punched their ticket to the sweet 16 yesterday. Indiana beat Kentucky 73-67. The Gonzaga Bulldogs crushed Utah, 82-59. Now, advancing to the sweet 16 for the second year in a row. Congrats to them. And the North Carolina Tar Heels will take on Indiana in the sweet 16 on Friday.

BLACKWELL: So here's my defense, though. I know nothing -- there's that terrible twerk. The terrible, terrible twerk. This guy in the blue is not that bad, but the other team --

PAUL: And they all know it because look, they're just standing back and letting him go.

This is what you needed to see on a Sunday morning.


Going to get you going. Thank you for starting your morning with us.

BLACKWELL: "INSIDE POLITICS" starts right now.