Return to Transcripts main page


Obama: 14 Americans Injured in Belgium Attacks; Manhunt on For Terror Suspects; Dems Caucus in Alaska, Hawaii and Washington; Massive Manhunt for Brussels Terror Suspects; 31 People Died in Tuesday's Terror Attacks; Cruz Blames Trump for Tabloid Story. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired March 26, 2016 - 07:00   ET


[07:00:00] MASON WELLS, MORMON MISSIONARY INJURED IN AIRPORT BLAST: I knew I had been wounded. I didn't know how bad it was.

I located an exit. I looked up and located an exit and started to run towards the doors we came through. I took a couple steps, about three or four seconds after the first blast, the second bomb went off. I actually felt the explosion on my right side. I could feel the blast. I don't believe I was hit by anything, shrapnel or anything.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: What an incredible sense of recall and so calm, you know, at that point.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: And the willingness to share the story so soon after the attacks. Our thoughts with him and his family. Prayers for a speedy recovery there.

PAUL: And for information on how to help the victims of the Brussels terror attack, just go to our website, And thank you for doing so.

We have a lot of news to talk to you ability.

BLACKWELL: The next hour of your NEW DAY starts right now.


PAUL: We want to wish you a good morning this Saturday. I'm Christi Paul.

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

And new this morning, President Obama says at least 14 Americans now were injured in the terrorist attacks this week. We've got live pictures here of people going there to just spend some quiet moments or spread flowers for the hundreds injured and the 31 killed. The city still on edge with police patrols on nearly every corner.

PAUL: In the meantime, authorities have a task on their hands, looking for this man. They believe Naim al Hamed is a key figure in the Brussels and Paris attacks. He's from Syria, may have entered Europe through Greece as a refugee. Officials say he's, quote, "very dangerous" and he's armed.

Now, CNN is covering this story from every angle.

CNN international correspondent Michael Holmes in Brussels, Sajjan Gohel, international security director for the Asia Pacific Foundation, and Tom Fuentes, CNN senior law enforcement analyst and former FBI assistant director.

Michael, I want to start with you. What else have you learned about Naim al Hamed this morning?

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, as you said there, police are saying, presume him to be armed and he is potentially a dangerous man. You could call him the most wanted man in Europe at the moment. Al Hamed, he came in, as you said, with the wave of refugees that have been flooding into Europe.

The same as two of the Paris attackers and came in around at the same time, in fact to the Greek island of Leros, and then made his way through Europe and they say was absolutely involved in the Paris attacks and quite possibly the attacks here in Brussels as well. A man that they are very, very concerned about and the manhunt is on for him -- 28 years old, born in a Syrian city of Homs, but at large and wanted at the moment -- Christi.

PAUL: What about this Moroccan man who was arrested in Germany? What do we know this morning about that?

HOLMES: Yes, that was interesting, wasn't it? He was picked up, it was sort of a random stop at a train station. They checked him out. The Germans were good at finding who this guy is and realize that he was on a list of people who they wanted question.

What was curious about him was they looked at his phone and found a text message around the time the attacks happened and it said "fin", which is French for "the end". And also, some other contacts with some of those involved in the Belgian attacks. So, they've been holding on to him. There were a couple of people were picked up in France as well.

One person picked up was apparently in the planning stages of another attack and the French authority police, they handed off something there and he, also, connected to those involved in the Belgium attacks.

PAUL: All right. Michael Holmes, thank you for the information. Appreciate it.

BLACKWELL: Let's bring back Sajjan Gohel and Tom Fuentes.

Tom, I want to start with you. We know that in the hours after the attacks on Tuesday, Naim al Hamed's name and photograph and his profile were decimated among these security and intelligence communities in Europe. Why did authorities wait several days before releasing it broadly to the public? TOM FUENTES, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Victor, first

of all, philosophically, European police services are very close to the vest when it comes to information about suspects. It's very different than the philosophy by U.S. law enforcement. So, here, if we have a photo of a bank robbery suspect or kidnapping suspect or we have an Amber Alert, we put it out immediately. We immediately seek public assistance.

But over there, they worry it is going to taint the prosecution, it will be prejudicial to the jury if they have someone's name in the media. They don't do it. They don't do it as early as they should.

And, you know, it's one thing when you are worried it is going to affect your prosecution.

[07:05:02] There's no excuse for it, in my opinion, when you jeopardize public lives and you have dangerous individuals running around in Europe that should be picked up that other members of the public should be aware of these people and be looking for them.

You don't have that. You don't have the cooperation of the public because the police don't seek it in the first place in many of these situations.

BLACKWELL: Sajjan, there were admissions of mistakes made by the Belgian interior minister, by many others in the government. There were also promises made months ago, years ago after the "Charlie Hebdo" attacks. There were promises that there would be efforts to support Belgian authorities. After the attacks in November in Paris, more promises to support those authorities.

Now, we are hearing many promises. Again, what will it take? Is this the threshold by which that needs to be crossed to implement the changes that need to happen?

SAJJAN GOHEL, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY DIRECTOR, ASIA PACIFIC FOUNDATION: Well, Victor, we seem to go through this cycle of attack, promises, repeat. Promises, attack, repeat. And, in fairness, there has been some progress since the Paris attacks, but we are not at this desirable level where things can really be improved, especially at a real-time level, because that is the most important aspect.

One of the problems is Belgium's own intelligence and security operators. They're mired because of the linguistic issues. There's a Flemish dynamic. There's a French dynamic. They compete with each other. Sometimes for every counterterrorism, there has to be two roles, that adds layers of bureaucracy.

And Belgium itself, the law enforcement agency, there's a trust deficit with communities, in places like Molenbeek and Schaerbeek, which is where a lot of the radicals are from. All these factors combined made it hard to have security operators against ISIS operation inside the country.

BLACKWELL: Tom, Secretary Kerry traveled to Brussels yesterdays to reaffirm the U.S.'s commitment to the investigation, specifically to what happened this week, also to mourn with the people there, but to also offer support in building this counterterrorism effort to build this fight against violent extremism. Put some meat on the bone for us. What is that support that the U.S. is going to offer?

FUENTES: Well, the offers have been going on for decades. I was involved in offers to assist in organized crime investigations, when I ran that program for the FBI.

This is going on for 20, 30 years that I was involved in where, you know, the FBI and U.S. law enforcement and intel have offered to provide analysts, provide agents, provide investigative support. And, really, they are not really as aggressive about trying to gather that intelligence as we have been in this country.

And that's not just only regarding terrorism, but I can go back to the '90s, talking about organized crime, the rise of Russian speaking organized crime throughout Europe, the spread of Italian based organized crime throughout.

And they didn't want to hear it. They didn't think they had a problem. It's not a big deal. We don't want to create intel mechanisms like you have in the United States. I heard that a lot. I was on the executive committee of Interpol. I heard there as well. That a lot of these services really think that what the U.S. does is too much or too aggressive, we collect too much.

Of course, we have heard many of those criticisms, thanks to Snowden and others, we have heard that in our own country. When you don't collect, this is what can happen when you don't have the information.

BLACKWELL: Are the Belgians and across the E.U., at large, Sajjan, prepared if we accept what Tom is telling us, are they prepared to change their approach now?

GOHEL: Tom makes a very important point. I would say that, at the moment, it's unlikely that's going to change. If an attack like the one in Paris last year, which 130 people were killed didn't bring forward the proper changes that were required in terms of cooperation, sharing of information at a real-time level. I don't see what's going to happen in Belgium that's going to change things.

It's going to require more attacks in a shorter space of time to force Europe to alter its dynamics. Unfortunately, many of them got their secrets and unwilling to cooperate. They have a piece of the puzzle, if put together forms a much wider net to work up the situation. And we know that ISIS is dispersed through many different cities across the E.U. They exploit the Schengen zone which allows them to travel freely.


GOHEL: And this is something where cooperation is now so critical.

BLACKWELL: I think that's a pretty frightening statement there, Sajjan, and maybe you're right. You are the expert here, that it's going to take more attacks in a shorter time, but after the losses suffered in Paris in November, and what we saw in Brussels this week, one would think that would be enough.

[07:10:07] But we'll see. We've heard the promises before, we'll see if they implemented this time.

Sajjan Gohel, Tom Fuentes, thank you both.

FUENTES: You're welcome.

PAUL: All righty, to the political arena we are going next. Democratic voters heading to caucus out West. Could Bernie Sanders chip away at Hillary Clinton's lead?

BLACKWELL: Plus, Donald Trump, the numbers show that he's unpopular among women voters according to the CNN/ORC poll. What does this mean for his general election if he wins the nomination?

PAUL: And later, the Rolling Stones making history in Cuba.


BLACKWELL: Thirteen minutes after the hour now.

And Democrats are going to caucus sites in three states out West today. Bernie Sanders has been drawing big crowds there, larger and larger crowds, in fact.

But, yesterday, a timely guest stole the show at a rally in Portland. A little birdie landed right on the podium. There it is. We lost the banner right in time.

Senator Sanders looked at the bird when the crowd cheered. Amazing what people cheer about at political rallies. Sanders said the bird had a message to send.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think there may be some symbolism here.


I know it doesn't look like it, but that bird is really a dove asking us for world peace. No more wars.


BLACKWELL: The dove there.

CNN's Chris Frates joins us now live from Washington.

[07:15:00] And, Chris, that was a light hearted moment. But we also know that Bernie Sanders is bearing down pretty hard on Hillary Clinton.

CHRIS FRATES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I'll tell you, that's exactly right, Victor. Bernie Sanders is coming into today's contest with his eyes on the really big prize, and that's Washington state, which has 101 delegates up for grabs today. It's really a must win state for Sanders as he tries to stay with Hillary Clinton.

There are few places as favorable as Washington. Of the nation's 50 biggest cities, Seattle has given Sanders the most contributions per capita, and that's according to the "Seattle Times." And thousands -- I mean, thousands of people have flocked to Sanders rallies in the state.

Just last night, he spoke to 15,000 people at the Seattle Mariners ballpark.


SANDERS: Poll after poll shows us that in match ups with Donald Trump --


Don't worry, Trump will not become president.


Recent CNN poll consistent with other polls showed Hillary Clinton doing well against Trump. She was beating him by 12 points. We were beating him by 20 points.



FRATES: So, Sanders is also expected to do well in contests today in Alaska and Hawaii, which combine for a total of 41 delegates. But it's really in Washington state where Sanders is trying to run up the score. And for her part, Hillary Clinton is doing her best to stay close to Sanders in the Evergreen State and if she can avoid a huge blowout, she can collect a good chunk of delegates and build on her league.

In fact, Victor, going in to today, Clinton has 1,700 of the roughly 2,400 delegates she needs to win the nomination. Sanders, on the other hand, has won about 950 delegates. And, Victor, I've got to tell you, man, I'm liking the pocket square you are rocking, man. It looks very --

BLACKWELL: Do you like my pocket square? Thank you, thank you. I'll send you one.

FRATES: Thank you, man.

BLACKWELL: All right. Chris Frates, thank you so much.

PAUL: Did you see victor's face just light up about his pocket squares?

BLACKWELL: I take pride in my pocket squares. I do. (LAUGHTER)

PAUL: Let's bring in CNN political commentator and political anchor for Time Warner Cable News, Errol Louis, minus the pocket square. So, you need to send him one, too.


BLACKWELL: Pocket squares for everybody.

PAUL: Pocket squares for everybody, he says.

All right, Errol. So, we are talking the three states, obviously, the Democratic caucuses. It's expected Bernie Sanders is going to sweep them, does that really matter to Hillary Clinton at the end of the day, these three states? Not saying states don't matter, but --

LOUIS: Well, you know, I mean, what does matter for Hillary Clinton is the Sanders campaign. Any sign of strength and today is likely to be another sign of strength for him. On the other side of the country, by the way, Bernie Sanders is opening an office in Brooklyn, his birthplace. But the same place where Hillary Clinton has her headquarters.

To the extent that he continues to challenge, that he continues on a day like today to chip away at her delegate lead. He is setting himself up. While we are talking about the Republican broker convention that a lot of people think may happen, the Democratic convention is not necessarily going to be a peace fest. Bernie Sanders supporters, Bernie Sanders himself are seeking to come into that convention with the right to demand certain things in the way of party platforms, perhaps some rules changes, a speaking role for Sanders.

He's trying to make an impact on the party. Hillary Clinton has got to be mindful of that.

PAUL: You know, we heard this from Hillary Clinton and Sanders, we need your vote. You need to get out there and vote. So, when we talk about voter turnout, who is more dependent on it?

LOUIS: Well, I mean, today, because we've got the situation in both Alaska and Hawaii and also in Washington state, you've got caucuses that favor Bernie Sanders. That tends to be activists. Frankly, it's an acknowledgement, that this is a process for party activists.

PAUL: Right. But overall, they have been concerned with voter turnout.

LOUIS: Well, you know, I don't know how concerned Hillary Clinton needs to be. I mean, we know for sure from looking at past races, that there's no direct connection between turnout of the primary in caucus phase and the general election. Hillary Clinton can say she's garnered something like 7 million votes at this point, more than any candidate, including Donald Trump. So, she's, I think, right to point out that she has no problem with voter turnout at this point. Now, will they be able to mobilize the 60 plus million people that it's going to take to actually win in the general election? That's another story and a bigger project.

[07:20:00] And that does involve some of the questions you raised before about whether or not the Sanders supporters are going to feel energized, respected and mobilized when November rolls around.

PAUL: All righty. Errol Louis, thank you so much. We appreciate your insight, sir.

LOUIS: Thank you.

PAUL: Sure.

BLACKWELL: And, of course, the Democratic race continues in Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington state. Stay tuned with CNN for special live coverage of the 2016 race all day long, right here on CNN.

Ahead on NEW DAY, a suicide bomber targets an awards ceremony in Iraq. Look at this video. More than 100 people killed here and injured.

Also, what the Rolling Stones, changing gears, what they did this weekend to make history.


PAUL: Oh, my goodness. ISIS claimed responsibility for this suicide bombing in Iraq. It killed at least 25 people, wounded 90 more. This was at a soccer stadium about 30 miles south of Baghdad. A local soccer team was being honored with trophies when the attack happened.

BLACKWELL: Six high school students in Georgia are among mine people who now face murder charges in stabbing death of an 18-year-old. The incident began as a vicious street fight between two girls that is faced off in a suburban division that escalated to include 50 people and lead to a fatal stabbing of a young man.


[07:25:15] PAUL: Walk the stage after President Obama became the first sitting president to visit Cuba in nearly 90 years, look who's there. The Rolling Stones performing the first time ever in Havana. The concert was free. It took months of negotiations to set it up. Hundreds of thousands turned out for the show.

BLACKWELL: All right. Ahead on NEW DAY, Belgian authorities asking themselves how the bombers slipped through the cracks and what they need to change to prevent it from happening again.

PAUL: Plus, two Americans are among the victims of the airport blast. We hear the testimony of a young missionary who survived three terror attacks, one in Boston, Paris attacks, and now Belgium. What a remarkable story he has from his hospital bed.

Stay close.


PAUL: Mixed numbers for mortgage rates this week. Here's your look.


PAUL: Let's get you back to our breaking story this hour. There have been several raids in Brussels, including one in the district of Schaerbeek, where a taxi driver picked up three terror suspects, took them to the airport, one person was arrested in the raid. Authorities say the two brothers Ibrahim and Khalid El Bakraoui involved in the Brussels attacks were included in a U.S. counterterrorism watch list even before the Paris terrorist attacks took place.

[07:30:05] Joel Rubinfeld is with us, founder of the Belgium League Against Anti-Semitism.

Joel, we are so grateful to have your voice in this. Thank you for being here.

I know that you are from Belgium and when you look at Europe as a whole, geographically, with open borders, there's an issue with people traveling back and forth. Policies, politically aren't harsh enough to do their jobs. In your opinion, what is the biggest hindrance to stopping the attacks in Belgium?

JOEL RUBINFELD, BELGIUM LEAGUE AGAINST ANTI-SEMITISM: We should think about the security merger. One of the measures which should be taken is about the program. You know, what happened a few days ago in my country, it's not the first that we experience in Europe. It started in 2012. The terrorist attack (INAUDIBLE) and soldiers then it happened in Brussels in 2014 against the Jewish museum, and then in 2015 there were several attacks in Paris, in Copenhagen.

So, it just one more terrorist attack and more, unfortunately, more are to come. We need to have a view of the problem. It's a very serious problem. The head of Europe, which is the Europe and FBI said a few days ago that 5,000 ISIS-trained jihadists are back in Europe.

So, what happened a few days ago in Brussels, it just took five terrorists to do this. What happened in, last year in Paris, in November, where 130 people, innocent people were killed, it took maybe ten terrorists to do this.

So, can you imagine what 5,000 people can do? How they can change the face of Europe. So, we need to have a global merger. It's not only about Belgium. We saw that the terrorist attacks in Paris, they were prepared in Belgium. We saw that terrorist attacks in the Jewish museum, the terrorists came from France.

And, so, we need to globally apply the report and to give the financial and manpower means to the security service. We are not prepared at all today in Belgium to face this wave of terrorism. So, we need to do it quickly, firmly and to give all necessary means to fight back. PAUL: So, Joel, what do you think is the root cause of the terrorist


RUBINFELD: Excuse me?

PAUL: What do you think is the root cause of the terrorist attacks? We hear all the time they are people that feel disenfranchised. What do you think is the root cause?

RUBINFELD: I think the root cause is we are ping the price of political laxity from those 25 years, those last years.

You know, in the late '90s, in Belgium, there were riots, also in France and other European countries and main cities. Instead of putting sufficient police forces in the street to bring back peace and security, what some politician did from the center, they outsourced the security. They outsourced the security to Muslim clerics, some of them radical Muslim clerics and we are paying the price for this. So, the problem is that some politician had no long term view and today we are paying the price.

About the fact that some people are not well-integrate, or there are some -- I don't agree at all with this analysis. You know, Belgium and other European countries are the successful wave of immigration in the 20th century. We have people coming from Italy, Portugal, Spain and the U.S., actually. You also are welcoming refugees and immigrants from all over the world.

All those wave of immigration from Spain, from Italy, from Portugal and Jews who came from different countries when there was the prosecution in the 20th century, they were all well integrated, second (ph) generation.

We see that today some people are coming from Morocco or from Turkey don't want to integrate themselves. Belgium did for them more than they did any other wave of immigration when we talk about means dedicated to integrate them.

PAUL: OK. Joel Rubinfeld, so appreciate having you with us today. Thank you for taking the time.

[07:35:00] RUBINFELD: Thank you, Christi.

PAUL: Right ahead on NEW DAY, some of the families of those missing in the Brussels terror attacks begin to have their worst fears realized. Survivors share the moments it changed their lives.

Also, the other big story, politics and how long can this go on? This war between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz gets nasty.


PAUL: You know, as we watch the terror attacks unfold in Brussels, you can't help but think about these families that are hoping and wondering if the people they can't get hold of are, indeed, ones who were hurt in the attack or got killed, they died in the bombing. BLACKWELL: We know two Americans are among the 31 who were killed.

Just this morning, President Obama confirming at least 14 Americans were injured there.

For some of their stories, here's CNN's Brynn Gingras.


EMILY EISENMAN, GIRLFRIEND OF BART MIGOM: It's been the hardest day of my life.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hope is now heart break for Emily Eisenman. Her boyfriend and Belgian native Bart Migom is among the 31 people killed in Tuesday's attacks. His family identified the 21-year-old's body Friday.

EISENMAN: The fact that he was my best friend and I just felt like I could spend the rest of my life with him.

And I always told this to him at the end of our phone calls.


Which means Bart is always in Emily's heart.

GINGRAS: The horrific news delivered to the Pinczowski family as well. They were checking into their flight headed to New York. Alex and Sascha were checking into their flight headed to New York. Their family confirmed it received a list of the survivors at the Brussels hospital, and the siblings were not on it.

In a statement, the family said, "We are grateful to have closure on this tragic situation and are thankful for the thoughts and prayers from all."

In a statement, the family said, "We are grateful to have closure on this tragic situation and are thankful for the thoughts and prayers from all."

This as Secretary of State John Kerry made a sobering announcement. Americans also among those killed.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: The United States, I want you to know, is praying and grieving with you. For the loved ones of those who have been very cruelly taken from us.

GINGRAS: A senior U.S. official confirmed two Americans among the victims, but their yet been release. Some families are still waiting for word tonight, like those of Justin and Stephanie Shults from Tennessee who are still missing. They were dropping off Stephanie's mother Carolyn Moore at the airport. Moore was visiting the couple who live in Brussels. She survived the blast but says she has still not heard from her daughter or son-in-law.

And an emotional reunion for surviving victim Mason Wells and his parents. Wells, a missionary from Utah, is suffering from severe burns as his fellow church member Fanny Clain. This is the third terrorist attack he has survived. He remembers this one vividly.

MASON WELLS, BRUSSELS ATTACK SURVIVOR: I was looking down and a huge blast came from my right. I believe my body was off the ground for a moment. A large part of the right side of my body got really hot and really cold. I was covered in a lot of fluids, a lot of blood, and a lot of that blood wasn't mine.

Brynn Gingras, CNN, New York.


PAUL: We're certainly still thinking about all those families, keeping them in our thoughts and prayers, sure.


PAUL: Listen, ahead on NEW DAY, you just cannot get away from the bitter feud between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. What is the impact of their feud on the voter? We're talking about that.

BLACKWELL: And later this morning, we'll talk with the chairman of the Ted Cruz campaign about the attacks, the personal ones, and whether this changes commitment to support the nominee if the nominee happens to be Donald Trump.


[07:46:02] BLACKWELL: The mudslinging on the campaign trail has gotten pretty bad. So bad it's now on the front page of supermarket tabloids.

PAUL: Ted Cruz blaming Donald Trump for a story. Trump says I have nothing to do with it.

Here's our Sunlen Serfaty.


SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, victor and Christi.

Well, Ted Cruz held an aggressive press conference here in Wisconsin blasting and blaming Trump that he planted the story in the tabloid.

(voice-over): Ted Cruz breathing fire at Donald Trump.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump may be a rat, but I have no desire to copulate with him. And this garbage does not belong in politics.

SERFATY: In a hastily arranged press conference today, the Texas senator bringing up unprovoked a tabloid story about him, accusing Donald Trump of being behind it, but not offering any proof.

CRUZ: It is complete and utter lies. It is a tabloid smear. And it is a smear that has come from Donald Trump and his henchmen. SERFATY: Trump today responding in a statement saying, quote, "I had

absolutely nothing to do with it, did not know about it, and have not as yet read it."

This comes as the GOP rivals have been sparring in sharply personal attacks involving their spouses.

Trump's attacks include a tweet threatening to spill the beans on Heidi Cruz and a retweet of a split screen image of his wife Melania and Heidi Cruz, with a caption, "The images are worth a thousand words."

Cruz looking to frame this as a pattern for Trump.

CRUZ: Strong women scare Donald.

SERFATY: This isn't the first time Trump has stirred up controversy with his comments about women. From his criticism of FOX News anchor Megyn Kelly's debate moderating --

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions. And, you know, you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.

SERFATY: And his comments to rolling stone about former rival Carly Fiorina's appearance, saying, "Look at that face, would anyone vote for that?"

CARLY FIORINA (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.


SERFATY: To his assortment of digs at Hillary Clinton.

TRUMP: And Hillary, who's become very shrill. You know the word "shrill"? She's become shrill.

SERFATY: The latest CNN/ORC poll shows that while 59 percent of Republican women have a favorable view of Trump, 39 percent have an unfavorable view, and his unfavorable mark jumps to 73 percent among registered women voters nationwide, revealing how much of an uphill climb he could face in a general election if he emerges as the nominee.


SERFATY: Ted Cruz blasted Donald Trump for being largely absent from the campaign trail this week. Cruz said Trump is hiding out in Trump Tower while he basically picks these Twitter fights online. Trump will return to the campaign trail next week -- Christi and Victor.

BLACKWELL: Sunlen, thank you so much.

Let's have the conversation now. I'll bring in CNN political commentator and Donald Trump supporter Jeffrey Lord, also back with us, political commentator for CNN and Hillary Clinton supporter, Maria Cardona.

Good to have both of you?


BLACKWELL: Jeffrey, I want to start with you.

Thank you. People love the pocket square this morning. I feel the love.

PAUL: It was worth the money.


Hey, Jeffrey, I want to start with you. We know Donald Trump loves political polls, the ones that have him on top. He may not like this one -- 73 percent of women viewing him unfavorably with the hypothetical match up with Hillary Clinton, he trails by 27 points. How does this conversation help him overcome that?

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, this is, frankly, a lousy conversation. So much that I'm not going there. I think the whole thing is garbage.


Jeffrey Lord, this is the first time I have heard you not, like, just stand-up behind and next to Donald Trump.

[07:50:04] LORD: Well, look, what can I say? I agree with Senator Cruz. I think the thing is garbage. I just don't think we should be going there, period. That's all I'm going to say.

BLACKWELL: All right. That from Jeffrey Lord.

Let me come to you, Maria Cardona. As it relates to this deficit that Donald Trump faces with women. With men, though, white men, especially, we've seen in recent contests in the primary that Hillary Clinton struggles with winning with white men over Bernie Sanders, is that a concern for her?

CARDONA: No, I didn't think it is. I think once she becomes the nominee, I believe the country, the party will unify behind her. We have seen the debauchery that is going on on the GOP side, and I feel like frankly these days, every time I talk about the GOP primary race, I have to go home and take a shower. This is something Americans are seeing unfold before their very eyes and aren't happy about it.

You see the numbers of Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, and it's not just the nearly 30-point advantage she has among women that should worry Donald Trump and his supporters and the Republican Party since he's most likely going to become the nominee. It's his numbers of unfavorability with Hispanics. You can't get to the White House with at least 42 percent of the Hispanic vote if you're Republican.

It's his numbers against her on issues of national security, on issues of concern to middle close voters. In essence, people don't see him as somebody who has the values and the temperament to be our commander in chief.

BLACKWELL: Maria, let me jump in. We know, Jeffrey, that this week when we saw Hillary Clinton at Stanford University giving this speech on national security and responding to statements that we heard from Ted Cruz and Donald Trump on the same day, there was this back and forth over the discussion of a tabloid story.

CARDONA: Exactly.

BLACKWELL: How does this impact the presidential campaign but down ballot races for Republicans in November?

LORD: Well, two things, Victor. I think that, you know, allegations Donald Trump had something to do with this story is garbage, as well. So, let me make that very clear.

BLACKWELL: Got that.

LORD: There is other people being targeted, not going to go there.

Secondly, in terms of Hillary Clinton, she has her own women problems, if you will. I mean, she does have Juanita Broaddrick there, she does have Kathleen Willey out there making allegations about Hillary Clinton that aren't going to play well with women. And most assuredly, she's not going to be able to skip on this during the fall campaign.

So I do think that that's something -- you know, the picture always changes no matter who the nominees are, when we get down to two people in the fall, as I frequently said there was a December 1979 poll that had jimmy carter beating Ronald Reagan 60 to 32 percent. Things changed in a year and things will change here.

BLACKWELL: Is that comparable, Maria? I'll give you the last 30 seconds?

CARDONA: No, I think when you have two of the Republican front runners calling each other "Lyin' Ted" and "Sleazy Donald", and you have Hillary Clinton talking about national security issues, that's really all the contrast you need in the fall.

And we already saw a preview, Jeffrey just laid it out about how horrible a Trump campaign will be against Hillary. She will be ready to take him on and the voters are going to support her.

LORD: The allegations are coming from women, though, not from Donald Trump. They are coming from women.

CARDONA: OK. All right. Good luck with that, Jeffrey.

BLACKWELL: Maria, Jeffrey, thank you both.

LORD: Thanks.

CARDONA: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Remember, CNN will host the three remaining Republican candidates Tuesday for a town hall in Milwaukee. Prime time event will be moderated by Anderson Cooper. That's Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

PAUL: Well, there is a manhunt this morning for a key figure in the Brussels and Paris attacks. We'll take you back to Belgium for the very latest at the top of the hour. Stay close.


[07:57:42] PAUL: Well, college basketball's elite eight is set.

BLACKWELL: Yes, Andy Scholes is here to take a look who is making it.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, guys, you know, we find out the final four this weekend. Eight teams left and for them, three wins down, three to go to win the championship.

Now, March Madness lived up to the name last night. Notre Dame played a pretty horrible game against Wisconsin for the first 36 minutes and then on fire for the last four. Scored 17 points, two fewer than they had in the entire first half. Now, they got a huge steal by Jackson and he turned it into the go ahead layup right here with less than 15 seconds left and Jackson would steal the ball again as the Badgers were going to try to tie the game. The Irish advance of 61-56 win over the Badgers, Notre Dame trying to make the first final four in 38 years.

All right. North Carolina proved why they are a number one seed. Tar Heels red hot against Indiana last night, shooting 52 percent from the field. Hoosiers tried to keep up. But it was North Carolina's night. They would win 101-86 and out play the Irish in the elite eight.

Now, unless you went to or go to Syracuse, you probably didn't have the orange in the elite eight. Jim has his team one win away and Michael put back his own miss with 21 seconds to go to give Syracuse the lead and their shot is blocked. They will play Virginia in the elite eight. Cavaliers big first half last night. Started the game on 20-5 run would go on to win 84-71 and Virginia going to the first regional final since 1995 and two spots on the final four in the early game, it's number one Oregon against the second seed from the region Oklahoma and then it's another one versus, too, is Kansas going to take on Villanova.

Let's look at the CNN anchor bracket poll standings, guys, you know why?


SCHOLES: I'm in second place.

PAUL: Yay.

SCHOLES: I have to brag. I'm in second place. You guys aren't doing as well as me, but you're not in last -

PAUL: He's very kind, very kind.

SCHOLES: The cellar belongs to Nick Valencia, make sure to remind him of that later on.

PAUL: Go, Nicky.

BLACKWELL: Sorry, we don't have time to show you bracket. We got to wrap.

SCHOLES: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Thank you.

PAUL: Listen, we have a lot of news to talk to this morning.

BLACKWELL: YES, the next hour of NEW DAY starts right now.


PAUL: We're always so grateful for your company. Thank you for being here with NEW DAY. I'm Christi Paul.