Return to Transcripts main page


Sanders, Clinton Battle Over Who's More "Qualified"; Trump Focuses on N.Y., Cancels West Coast Stops; Key Arrests Made in Paris, Brussels Attacks; Bill Clinton: Asset or Liability; Pope Calls on Church to be Inclusive; Mosul Dam Break Would Endanger One Million Raids. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired April 9, 2016 - 07:00   ET


[07:00:08] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Seven o'clock on the dot. So grateful for your company. I'm Christi Paul.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Martin Savidge, in for Victor Blackwell.

PAUL: You know, let's talk about Secretary of State John Kerry. He is on the ground in Afghanistan, which is a surprise to a lot of people, another Mideast stop for him, following a day that he spent with Iraqi leaders.

SAVIDGE: Kerry is making these stops in the Middle East to shore of relations to fight terrorism. We are going to be checking with CNN's Elise Labott in just a minute. She's traveling with the secretary of state. She'll let us know how that visit is going forward.

Now to this, this morning. It is less than two weeks before Democrats in New York head to the polls, and the race to win that state is getting mean and it's getting dirty. Presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are lashing out at each other, even Bill Clinton is joining the fray, suggesting that Sanders has different standards for Clinton because she is a woman.

Take a listen to Sanders' response to that.


SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I appreciate Bill Clinton as my psychoanalyst. It's always nice. But the reality is that ever since Wisconsin, that became six out of seven states that we have won in either caucuses or primaries, I think the Clinton campaign has made it public.

Basically, they've told the media that here in New York, they're about to become very negative, about to beat us up, and I just want them to understand that, you know, we have tried to run an issue-oriented campaign, but that we're not going to be attacked every single day. Our record is not going to be distorted. We are going to fight back.

(END VIDEO CLIP) PAUL: All this just when it seems like Sanders was kind of walking back from his comments earlier this week that he did not believe Clinton is qualified to be president. I want to bring in CNN investigations correspondent Chris Frates.

Chris, this kind of hot and cold-relationship between Clinton and Sanders right now is something I think a lot of people feel like they just cannot even predict. What are you learning there this morning?

CHRIS FRATES, CNN INVESTIGATIONS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean you're exactly right, Christi. And I think we're going to see this continue because Clinton and Sanders, you know, they're continuing slug it out on the campaign trail. That's all ahead of New York's crucial primary which is just ten days away now.

Remember, it all started when Sanders said Clinton wasn't qualified to be president. That was a jab Bill Clinton seemed to suggest was sexist and one that Hillary Clinton said she had never heard before.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You may have heard Bernie Sanders say I'm unqualified to be president, well, serious --


Seriously, I've been called a lot of things over the years, but unqualified has not been one of them.


And this morning, and this morning, he finally acknowledged that, of course, he doesn't really believe that. This is all pretty silly.


FRATES: So, Sanders defended the criticism, arguing that it was Clinton's camp that first questioned his qualification to be president before walking his comments back.


SANDERS: Does she have the experience? Obviously, she does. She was secretary of state, a U.S. senator, I thought an outstanding first lady in many respects, breaking the mold.


FRATES: (AUDIO GAP) in his campaign are still questioning Clinton's judgment, putting her past support for the Iraq War and a law that prevented the federal government from recognizing same sex marriage. Of course, Clinton has since called her vote for the Iraq War a mistake and has come out in support of same sex marriage.

And this all comes out as Sanders is playing hard to the Democratic base. He's trying to upset Clinton in her adopted state because even after his big win in Wisconsin last week, Sanders still trails Clinton by about 230 delegates and he needs to win 77 percent of the delegates remaining to clinch the nomination. Clinton for her part needs 36 percent of those delegates, and Sanders, he's campaigning hard today with four stops in New York. Clinton has just one. And I'll tell you, guys, it's unlikely the race will get any nicer anytime soon.

PAUL: Very good point. Chris Frates, we appreciate it. Thank you.

FRATES: Thank you.

PAUL: CNN political commentator Errol Louis with us now.

So, Errol, I want to ask you about this conversation with Bill Clinton and what he said about -- and I want to read it to you so we have his verbiage in, just to be transparent. He said, "It's obvious by a country mile that she," meaning his wife, "is the best candidate for president. Yes, I think there are some different standards. Some of them are subconscious."

Is there credence, do you think, to what he's saying about some sort of subconscious discrimination?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think as a general proposition, do we still have sexism? Yes. Do we still apply different standards to, in this case, to a woman who's running for president?

[07:05:02] Probably.

On the other hand, I don't know if that's an excuse for them not performing the way that Bill Clinton and the team would like to perform, and so, you know, it's just as the Clinton team doesn't like to hear innuendo about, well, she took a certain amount of corporate money and therefore, there's something wrong, they demand that that be specified. I think the same standard should apply here.

If there's sexism out there, OK, fine, let's grab that. You've got to show how it applies or leave that kind of accusation alone, because this is what I think is causing a lot of bitterness between the two camps. They don't like the innuendo. They don't like to be made to feel as if they've done something fundamentally wrong, or even unethical, without anybody explaining what that's all about.

So, Bill Clinton trying to sort of mount a defense, but it's a great example, Christi, of how bitter this race has become.

PAUL: Well, and they may also just be tired of -- I mean, there may be some campaign fatigue. Neither one of them might have thought the fight would last this long. When we look specifically at New York, because these are two candidates who are really touting their ties to New York voters, how much does the percentage win in New York matter? Whether it goes to Hillary Clinton, whether it goes to Bernie Sanders? Do they have to win by a wide margin here?

LOUIS: I think the burden is on Hillary Clinton to pull off the biggest win that she can. That it's not enough to win with 51 percent. That she's got to show some real strength here because this is her base.

On the other hand, there is this matter of the delegates. And as we all discovered in 2008, it's all about the delegates. There are 247 delegates at stake. If Bernie Sanders can't get nearly all of them or at least three quarters of them as Chris just suggested, it's going to be very hard for him moving forward.

So, Hillary Clinton, you know, she's got a lot to prove. She's campaigning very, very hard. They've made a lot of people available to the local media in a way that they haven't done before. They're going to fight for every vote, they're going to fight for every district, they're going to try to hold off the Sanders surge if you want to call it that, and Bernie Sanders has got to swing for the fences as well -- very tough fought contest over the next couple of weeks.

PAUL: Well, Errol, let me ask you about this announced trip to Vatican City, for this conference on social justice. It's happening just days before the New York primary and that Bernie Sanders will go to. Do you believe that to be a smart decision on his part?

LOUIS: You know, it's very interesting. It will depend on how it all works out. In the final days of the campaign, Christi, for the most part, you know, personal appearances by the candidate sort of matter, but at that point, it's sort of an air war in the state of 20 million people like New York. You're going have a lot of advertising and that's going to really drive a lot of what's going on.

PAUL: But is that part of his -- is that trip part of his strategy? Does he think he's going to get something out of that in terms of how he deals with foreign policy or other leaders?

LOUIS: Oh, sure. I mean, there's a foreign policy angle to it. I mean, when I heard of it, honestly, Christi, I thought it more along the lines of the number one progressive politician in the world happens to be the pope. He's talking in the way that progressives like and respect. It also appeals to Catholics who after all are the number one, I guess, by the plurality, the most popular religion in New York and in many other states.

So, it's a way to sort of do a little bit of double duty, to speak to Catholics, to speak to progressives, to enter onto the world stage. Very smart by the Sanders camp.

PAUL: All right. Errol Louis, always appreciate your insight. Thank you, sir.

LOUIS: Thank you.

PAUL: Of course.

And Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, by the way, will both appear on "STATE OF THE UNION WITH JAKE TAPPER" tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. on CNN. And this Thursday night, mark your calendars, Clinton and Sanders facing off in a CNN Democratic debate live from Brooklyn, New York. That's also 9:00 p.m. Eastern. Wolf Blitzer is moderating it and you'll find that right here on CNN.

SAVIDGE: There's a whole lot more on your NEW DAY, including a look at the Republican side of things and why Donald Trump is taking a break from the campaign trail.

PAUL: Also fallout over Bill Clinton's clash with a Black Lives Matter protester earlier this week. People are asking, did he go too far and did it damage his wife's campaign?

SAVIDGE: And then a major terror arrest in Belgium, but is the man on the sidewalk a suspected Brussels airport bomber?


[07:12:39] SAVIDGE: If you haven't noticed, but Donald Trump has taken a break from campaign trail. The Republican frontrunner says that he is focusing on business, instead of politics. He does (INAUDIBLE), at least that's what he's saying for the time being.

Trump has canceled the West Coast stops of Colorado and California. Instead, he's staying right there in New York, while his campaign tries to figure out the delegate game, and that is going to be crucial. Trump is at risk of getting swept by Ted Cruz in Colorado. Cruz has effectively won that state, picking up 21 delegates this week. The last of its 34 delegates will be awarded or elected today.

Let's bring in CNN political commentators Ben Ferguson and Jeffrey Lord, who's a Donald Trump supporter.

Jeffrey, we started talking about this last hour. But it seems that Donald Trump has not really figured out the delegate game here. Case in point, what's going on in Colorado. What do you think?

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think this is why he's brought Paul Manafort onboard. I can tell you, I've been through this. This is always a very, very complicated game. And I live here in Pennsylvania, and we have a situation where -- we have a beauty contest and I think that might earn you 17 delegates. We have 71 total delegates, but all the rest of them run on a congressional district and their name is on there just as their name.

In other words, were I a candidate, and I'm not, but were I a candidate, it would just say Jeffrey Lord, on there. It would not say Jeffrey Lord/Donald Trump, or Jeffrey Lord whatever candidate.

So, the voters correspondingly have to figure out who is who. That's up to the campaigns to get that word across and it becomes very complicated indeed. So, you need to get into this and he's got Paul Manafort working for him and I'm sure he will.

SAVIDGE: And, Ben, as this becomes, you know, a fight over these delegates, do you think it has exposed a crack on the Trump ground game?

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I think it exposed a huge crack on the ground game. But I also think the fact that Trump's campaign thinks this is somehow very complicated tells you a lot about the campaign and lack of leadership that Donald Trump shows here.

He thought this was going to be simple and easy. I'll go around the country, fly in on my big plane, a bunch of people show up, they're all going to vote for me, I'm going to be a winner and everyone else is going to be a loser.

The fact is he's not winning enough and he's not going to get this nomination outright. And he's called other people losers before that had been able to do this, including Mitt Romney. He had no problem getting magic number.

So, this is a total shock for the Trump campaign that all of a sudden, they're saying -- wait, what are delegates? Wait. How do we work? Wait, how do we get some of them?

I just think this tells you a lot about the leadership of this campaign and they don't understand exactly what they're doing right now, which is not surprising.

SAVIDGE: The delegates matter.

Ted Cruz, though, Ben, hasn't really had the warmest of receptions in New York, which is where this battle is now.


SAVIDGE: His New York values comment is, I think, coming back to haunt him. Is he seeing any success and try to turn it all around there in the Big Apple and beyond?

FERGUSON: Well, I think you see the amount of time he's spending on the ground there and he's making it very clear he's fighting in New York, and I think that's obviously a positive thing. But I don't think that the New York values comment is hurting him as much as people are implying with true conservatives out there.

This was a line that was said first by Donald Trump. He made it very clear that his values in New York are different than the rest of the country, different than other Republicans. All Ted Cruz was saying when he said this was, I'm quoting Donald Trump. Donald Trump has said his values are different.

Remember, he supported Charlie Rangel, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, for goodness sakes. These are not conservative candidates in New York. They're the most liberal candidates and that's coming out of New York. So, I don't think he's regretting it per se, I think he's telling the truth of what Donald Trump was saying about himself.

LORD: Ben, I mean, you know --

SAVIDGE: Go ahead, Jeffrey.

LORD: Ben, I mean, you know, when Ronald Reagan supported Harry Truman and Hubert Humphrey in the day.

Look, where I -- the minute I heard Senator Cruz say this back in January, I thought he made a mistake. It reminds me very much of what Barry Goldwater said when he suggested he would sometimes like to see the East Coast just sawed off and have it float out to sea. That came back to haunt him. They ran a television commercial in the Johnson campaign in 1964. He never really recovered from it.

I mean, this is a mistake. If Senator Cruz is the nominee, you want to be able to carry New York as Ronald Reagan did. You want to be able to appeal to Democrats as Ronald Reagan did.

Senator Cruz is making it quite plain he has no intention of appealing to these folks and, therefore, why would he be able to carry that he needs to win?


SAVIDGE: Hold on, Ben. Let me read this Trump tweet because this is what he put out overnight, quote, "Isn't it a shame that the person who will have by far the most delegates and many millions more votes than anyone else, me," excuse me, "still must fight".

I think what he's suggesting is somehow this delegate thing is a swindle almost to take it away from him. Do you agree with that? He's trying to put a spin on it?

FERGUSON: Look, I go after one of the core things that Donald Trump has said. He's called Mitt Romney a loser. He's called John McCain a loser. They were both able to secure the nomination before the convention.

The point now is becoming very obvious. Donald Trump is an incredibly weak candidate who cannot secure the nomination, and the process of a convention, he's not getting this stolen from him. I know it's the narrative that the campaign was trying to push, that somehow this is being stolen from them. No, he didn't win it and Donald Trump understands it better than anybody else. Just listen to his own tapes on winning and everyone being losers.

SAVIDGE: Hold it there. Jeffrey, you get the last word on this.

LORD: Well, I hate to say this, but Donald Trump is ahead. I hate to remind Ben of this.

FERGUSON: Not far enough.

LORD: Well, you know, the race is not over yet. The guy who's ahead generally speaking has won. In every presidential nominating contest since 1960 in both parties, the front-runner, even though he gets a heavy challenge from somebody in both parties again has always won the nomination.

So, Donald Trump is ahead. He's going to continue to be ahead. And the battle goes on.

FERGUSON: They got the magic number of 1,237. Donald Trump is not going to be able to get that number.

LORD: Well, Ben, we don't know that.

FERGUSON: He's a weaker candidate than Mitt Romney and John McCain, for goodness sake.

SAVIDGE: Gentlemen, look.

FERGUSON: That means anything --


SAVIDGE: We'll stop it right here just for the moment. I promise you both we'll get you back. Jeffrey Lord, Ben Ferguson, thank you very much, a spirited debate on Donald Trump and delegates.

A programming note for you, CNN hosts a town hall with Donald Trump. That will be Tuesday night at 9:00. It will include his family, Melania and Ivanka Trump. Anderson Cooper is host. That will be Tuesday, 9:00 p.m. Eastern. And, of course, it's right here on CNN.

PAUL: Two of the world's top terrorist suspects behind bars this morning. What were their roles in the Paris and Brussels attack and what's to come?

Also, the pope is calling for more acceptance of gay people and divorced Catholics. Will his word be honored? That's all coming up. Stay close.


[07:23:15] PAUL: Behind bar this morning, two of the world's top terror suspects.

SAVIDGE: Authorities believe that they were involved in the Brussels and Paris attacks. One of the men allegedly took part in last month's subway attack in Molenbeek. The other, Mohamed Abrini, is suspected of driving the Paris attackers to their targets in his car. You can see him on the ground surrounded by police officers yesterday.

PAUL: Now, there's a new question for investigators. Is he also part of the cell that attacked the Brussels airport?


ERIC VAN DER SYPT, SPOKESMAN, BELGIAN FEDERAL PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE: At the moment, the investigators are verifying whether Abrini Mohamed can positively be identified as being the third person present during the attacks at the Brussels airport as the so-called man with the hat.


PAUL: Remember these images from airport surveillance videos taken before the attacks? Could that, as he referred to, so-called man in the hat be captured finally?

SAVIDGE: To find out, let's go live to CNN senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen. He's live in Brussels with the latest. Fred, good morning.


I think it's hard to overstate how important this two terrorists potentially are, that the Belgium police has managed to conduct at last really late afternoon last night, especially if you look at Mohamed Abrini. He, of course, is implicated not just in the Brussels attacks, but in the Paris attacks as well. He appears to be one of the people who at least helped out in the logistics of the Paris attacks when he drove Salah Abdeslam and some others to Paris to then conduct the shootings and also the bombings that took place there.

Now, as far as the attacks here in Brussels here are concerned, really the main thing that the authorities are now focusing on is whether or not he is that so-called man in the hat. Of course, what they're trying to do is recognize to see whether or not the faces match and, of course, also trying to get information from him as well.

[07:25:06] That's something that the prosecutor said yesterday at the very short press conference that he gave. He said he hopes that there might be some information that Mohamed Abrini would be able to give the authorities, or willing to give the authorities here to see whether or not he is that man and then, of course, also to pinpoint whether or not there are still people out there from the cell that potentially is behind both of these attacks, the ones in Paris and the ones in Brussels as well, Martin.

SAVIDGE: Yes. They've got a lot they need to nail down. Fred Pleitgen in Brussels, thank you very much.

Still to come, he's considered the powerhouse behind Hillary's campaign for president. But is Bill Clinton doing more harm than good? This comes after the Clinton campaign has to clean up another outburst from the former president. What Clinton supporters and civil rights activists are saying now about the showdown between him and Black Lives Matter.


PAUL: Mortgage rate were slightly down this week. Here's your look.


PAUL: Former President Bill Clinton is stumping on the campaign trail for his wife. But here's the question: is he helping or hurting her run for president?

One thing is certain, the dynamic between the potential presidential power couple is once again the microscope.

CNN's Michelle Kosinski has more.



MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bill Clinton losing his trademark cool.

CLINTON: That's not true.

KOSINSKI: And it's not the first time he has made headlines on this trail, just two weeks ago stumping for Hillary.

[07:30:06] B. CLINTON: If you believe we can all rise together, if you believe we finally come to the point where we can put the awful legacy of last eight years behind us.

KOSINSKI: Awful legacy of President Obama? Problematic to the point that Hillary Clinton addressed it on Jimmy Kimmel.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're very proud supporters of President Obama. President Obama who, I don't think, doesn't get the credit he deserves for getting as much done --


KOSINSKI: Recently, the president admitted it's a difficult position he finds himself in.

B. CLINTON: The hotter this election gets, the more I wish I was just a former vice president and just a few months, not a spouse of the next one, because, you know, I have to be pretty careful of what I say.

KOSINSKI: And then, days later raised eyebrows by saying.

B. CLINTON: We are all mixed race people.

KOSINSKI: But it also happened in '08 when Hillary Clinton was running against then-Senator Obama. President Clinton attacked Obama, saying, quote, "a few months ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee." And he tried to say that Obama, who voted against the war in Iraq, and Hillary Clinton, who voted for it, essentially felt the same way over time.

B. CLINTON: Give me a break. This whole thing is the biggest fairytale I've ever seen.

KOSINSKI (on camera): So, could Bill Clinton be something of a liability for Hillary Clinton? It's definitely been suggested. His personal life has come up. She's faced uncomfortable questions, and some of his policies as president, on Wall Street, crime, gays in the military, they're a stark contrast to Hillary's biggest threat, Bernie Sanders.

(voice-over): Who has both defended Hillary and blasted both of them.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, Hillary Clinton is not Bill Clinton. What Bill Clinton did, I think we can all acknowledge was totally, totally, totally disgraceful and unacceptable. But I am running against Hillary Clinton. I'm not running against Bill Clinton.

KOSINSKI: A former Hillary communications director today said the trail is tough.

B. CLINTON: I listen to you, you listen to me.

KOSINSKI: And even the people most known for communicating not always at their best under such scrutiny and constraint.

(on camera): Seeing the former president yelling at these protesters in Philadelphia was absolutely the most unusual thing to happen on the trail this week and that is saying a lot. But you saw a day later, he gets out there, feels he should use the word "apologize," saying he almost feels like he wants to, but clearly not apologizing -- Martin and Christi.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Thank you so much, Michelle.

Let's talk about this with CNN political commentator Errol Louis who is the political anchor of New York 1 News and, by the way, will participate in the Democratic debate right here on CNN. Also, CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist Maria Cardona.

Thank you, guys, for being with us this morning.



PAUL: Let's get right into this Black Lives Matter exchange between the protesters and Bill Clinton. I want to take a look at it, just to remind everybody what we're talking about, and then we'll talk about it on the other side.


B. CLINTON: I don't know how you would characterize the gang leaders who got 13-year-old kids hopped up on crack and sent them out in the street to murder other African-American children. Maybe you thought they were good citizens. She didn't. She didn't. You are defending the people who kill the leaves you say matter. Tell the truth.


PAUL: Maria, I want to ask you first of all, were you surprised by that exchange?

CARDONA: I was a little bit surprised, but then, again, I think we have to put it in context. I think one of the challenges for Bill Clinton being on the road for his wife is that it's hard for him to separate his emotion from his gift at explaining everything from a policy standpoint and from a substantive standpoint.

He's also normally a master at reading his audience, which I don't think he did very well here. You know, the stuff that he said, the things that he said were actually true in terms of what the crime bill was able to accomplish. Now what he should have done, though, is understood who the protesters were and go back to what he has said about that crime bill, which is that he realizes it went too far, he has apologized for it, and that he understands it was the root of some of the biggest problems with mass incarceration, with criminal justice.

And the challenge for Hillary Clinton is that it keeps her from focusing on what she's going to do, which is the key here, because again, Bernie Sanders has said this. He is not the one that's running. It's her. So, we should focus on what she is going to do, what she has said about that same bill and what she has done to fix it in terms of ending the era of mass incarceration, ending the school to prison pipeline and replacing it with pathways of opportunities from the cradle to career.

[07:35:03] And that's what the campaign needs to focus on.

PAUL: You know, Errol, for the longest time, you know, Bill Clinton was seen as the most strongest and influential forces in Hillary Clinton's camp. Do you believe that is still true?

LOUIS: Oh, absolutely. I think Bill Clinton on his worst day, and this might have been one of those not-so-good days is better than most politicians in America. I mean, look, you showed the clips from 2008 when absolutely harmed her campaign. What we didn't show because we didn't have the time is in 2012, when President Obama brought him to the national convention and we all watched in Charlotte as he did really a stark turn and both explained and helped that campaign in immeasurable ways.

So, I would halfway think, and there's been some commentary that what we just saw from Bill Clinton was so-called "Sister Soulja" moment, where he sort of took a tougher stance than Hillary Clinton herself might want to take, and they're on that sphere. I mean, you know, you don't get to separate them. I think right from the beginning, they've always been.

And so, if you don't like Clintonism, then maybe you don't like both of them. But the notion that there's some daylight between them, I don't buy that.

PAUL: OK. I want to get to a comment that Hillary Clinton made earlier this week that I think caught some people off guard based on what we've seen, that the real dicey debates that we've seen between her and Bernie Sanders when they are giving their speeches. Listen to what she said here.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, that will be up to the voters of New York and the other states that will be passing judgment in the weeks ahead. I think it's kind of a silly statement, but he's free to say whatever he chooses.

INTERVIEWER: Is he qualified to be president?

CLINTON: Well, here's what I believe -- I believe that voters will be look at both of us, but I will take Bernie Sanders over Donald Trump or Ted Cruz any time.


PAUL: For one rival to say that about another, it's pretty gracious. I mean, a lot of people saying it showed some confidence, some maturity. Will this win her support? Errol, to you first.

LOUIS: Well, I think they both said that about each other. I mean, you can't simultaneously say, this person is unqualified to be president during the primary, and yet I'll support them if they become nominees. I mean, this is a logical point they both have to end up at.

PAUL: It adds to some possible images of being disingenuous, certainly, Maria, right?

CARDONA: Oh, absolutely. And I do think that this helps her. I think it demonstrates that she's the adult in the room because even though Bernie has gone back to saying that, yes, compared to Republicans, he would take her any day of the week, he actually uttered the words that he believed that she is unqualified to be president. She has never said that about him, will never say that about him, and she will continue to focus on her record, her achievements, her proposals moving forward, and I do think this helps her.

PAUL: All righty. Errol Louis and Maria Cardona, so good to have both of you here. Thank you.

CARDONA: Thank you so much.

LOUIS: Thank you.

PAUL: Of course. Bill Clinton's war of words with Black Lives Matter activist, by the way, is the spotlight or in the spotlight, we should say, of the Clinton campaign for a lot of people who are paying close attention here. In our next hour, we're talking to a Black Lives Matter leader and a former Hillary Clinton campaign manager about how this latest spat could impact her campaign and what Black Lives Matter really wants to see done.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Coming up on NEW DAY, Pope Francis is calling on the church to change its ways. His passionate plea to Roman Catholics to be open to all kinds of family structures, gay and straight.

And then, later, Iraqi officials -- the latest crisis has nothing to do with military strategy. We'll hear why leaders are concerned over this dam on the River Tigress.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [07:42:14] SAVIDGE: Pope Francis wants the Roman Catholic Church to do a better job of embracing the gay community. He also wants it to show more empathy and comfort to non-traditional families, including divorced Catholics. His call to arms was outlined in a 256-page paper called "The Joy of Love". The document asks the clergy to move away from unbending rules and rigid codes of conduct.

Joining us now is Father Beck -- no, I'm sorry, the analyst John Allen is joining us.

And I should point out, John, this is not an edict, but I'm wondering how seriously will the clergy follow the pope and his message here.

JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: Well, you're right. The pope has not issued a new mandate or a new decree. In fact, he made clear in this document that he is not changing -- he's not creating new church law or repealing any existing church law. That said, he clearly has given a fairly strong indication of the direction he wants the church to move. He wants the application of law, what's often known in Catholic parlance a pastoral practice, to be more flexible, more compassionate, more accommodating.

Now, you know, will every member of the Catholic clergy in the world bear in mind, there were more than 400,000 Catholic priests around the world, are they all going to own that message starting tomorrow morning? Probably not.

But, you know, this is how cultural change in the Catholic Church works. The pope sets a tone and sooner or later, people begin to follow.

SAVIDGE: And I'm wondering if there is some perhaps contradiction that the pope ask the church to be accepting of gays but then he draws a line at gay marriage.

ALLEN: Yes. Well, Francis has made it very clear from the outset he's not a doctrinal revolutionary. When it comes to teaching on marriage, you're absolutely right. This document strongly unambiguously reaffirms the classic Catholic teaching that marriage is a union between a man and a woman, that it should be permanent, and that it's supposed to be open to new life, which is sort of called for no to birth control.

So, there's clearly not going to be any movement on the doctrinal level. But what Francis is talking about is a church that is open even to people who may disagree with certain aspects of its teaching, but nevertheless want to be part of the community in some way. And he's trying a set of compassion and (INAUDIBLE) activity.

And the idea here, at least in his mind would be, if you meet people where they are and make space for them in the church, then over time, perhaps they'll come closer to the ideals that the Church has set out for them.

SAVIDGE: Yes, there's a lot to contemplate, 256 pages from the pope.

[07:45:00] John Allen, thank you very much for joining us this morning.

ALLEN: You're welcome.

PAUL: Millions are at risk in Iraq. This time it's not because of fighting. They're in the paths of waters controlled by Mosul Dam. CNN is taking you inside the world's most dangerous dam.


PAUL: It's been called the most dangerous dam in the whole world.

SAVIDGE: According to a U.S. report, if the Mosul Dam in Iraq would have break, waters from the Tigress River would submerge an entire Iraqi City.

Here's CNN's Arwa Damon on a possibility of that worse case scenario and if it could happen.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It has been described by some as the most dangerous dam in the world. The Mosul dam, the largest in Iraq which produces hydroelectricity, is built on a foundation of soft gypsum rock, making erosion a constant challenge.

We enter the underbelly of the dam to see how it is even still standing.

Completed in the mid-1980s, what keeps it all intact is a process that needs to happen daily. Workers are drilling bore holes. This one will go down 150 meters, or around 500 feet.

(on camera): Drilling that particular distance takes about a week. And the machines go up and down along the length of the dam, breaking up and then re-pouring cement to try to ensure the stability of the dam's foundation.

[07:50:10] (voice-over): It's a process called grouting. When ISIS briefly took over the dam in 2014, this was halted for 45 days. Intense around-the-clock grouting reversed those weaknesses.

The U.S. recently issued a stark warning, describing the potential for collapse as, quote, "serious and unprecedented", a catastrophic event that would see Mosul, Iraq's second largest city and under ISIS control, entirely submerged with flooding as far downstream as Baghdad.

That warning saves the lives of up to 1.5 million Iraqis would be at risk.

But the dam's manager Riyad al-Naemi insists that disaster is not imminent.

RIYAD AL-NAEMI, DAM MANAGER (through translator): If the dam were to collapse, when the water level is at 330 meter above sea water, then yes, Mosul would be flooded. But with current levels there would be minimal damage.

DAMON: The seepage is one of the reasons why he says the U.S. is so concerned. But he claims his team has determined that it is not impacting the dam's foundation. Still last year, the U.S. installed an early warning system, they monitor regularly. And there is an urgent need for repairs.

(on camera): Millions of Iraqis are directly reliant on the Mosul dam in one way or the other. But years of neglect by the Iraqi government due to politics, bureaucracy and corruption are already being felt.

Couple that with security concerns that for years kept international companies from taking up the job. An Italian company has just been contracted to repair and refurbish the dam. But work is yet to begin. And in Iraq, where nothing is ever entirely predictable, it is always the best to plan for the worst.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Mosul Dam, Iraq.


PAUL: So, you can see they are not just fighting ISIS but this ageing infrastructure and also, the political alliances that are there.

Lieutenant General Mark Hertling joining us again.

So, as we look at this, General Hertling, how detrimental are those political gaps in the leadership between the Sunnis and Shias to the fight against ISIS and U.S. presence there?

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: You know, Christi, the dam is direct reflection of the Iraqi government now. They are trying to plug holes. They are trying to keep it from crumbling. The different politicians are fighting each other. There's leaks springing out all over the place in the government itself.

Mr. Abadi is trying to hold it together but he's having a difficult time because he has contrarians within the government, from the old Shia regimes and Mr. Maliki, Muqtada al-Sadr is now contributing to the turmoil there. So, he's really trying to fight corruption, build the infrastructure of the country, continue to take the fight to the enemy, and yet, there's a lot of people who are going against him.

PAUL: Is U.S. assistance a lost cause then until the political system or there can be cohesive leadership there?

HERTLING: There's got to be someone supporting Mr. al-Abadi as he's doing this, and that's what Secretary Kerry was doing, visiting there, just trying to prop him up. That's what's trying to make this work. But it's a difficult challenge because there's been decades of this kind of turmoil and decades of this kind of trauma within the government that they are trying to fix.

PAUL: All right. General Mark Hertling, we always appreciate your insight -- thank you for being here. HERTLING: Thank you, Christi.

PAUL: Sure.


SAVIDGE: Still ahead, just two weeks before the New York Democrats go to the polls, that race is getting dirty. And right after the break, it's out with the old at the Masters and in with the new.


[07:57:21] PAUL: Well, Jordan Spieth is half way to winning back to back Masters titles and golf great Tom Watson has played his final round.

SAVIDGE: Andy Scholes has more from August in this morning's bleacher report.


You know, the big question this weekend here is, is anybody going to be able to slow down or catch up to Jordan Spieth, I should say, and keep him from winning back to back Masters? Spieth shot the over par round of his Masters career yesterday but able to hold onto the lead. Spieth led for six straight rounds at the Masters tying Arnold Palmer's record.

Now, Spieth, though, has a one-shot lead over Rory McIlroy. Rory looking to complete the career grand slam by winning the Masters and golf fans are in for a treat as Spieth and McIlroy will be paired together for today's third round.


JORDAN SPIETH, PRO GOLFER: I'd rather be someone less -- would rather be playing with someone less threatening to be honest. He's certainly proven himself in Majors. But I think it's going to be fun, really fun challenge.

RORY MCILROY, PRO GOLFER: I really need to focus on me and focus on everything I need to do well to, you know, hopefully be sitting up here on Sunday with one of those on.


SCHOLES: McIlroy and Spieth tee off at 2:50 Eastern this afternoon.

Now, yesterday, second round was emotional for the great Tom Watson. The eighth time major winner playing his final round ever at the Masters and the crowd gave Watson a huge ovation as we walked 18 for the final time.

At 66 years old, Watson says he can't keep up with the young guys anymore. He won the Masters twice during his career. And many guys here at Augusta are trying to find a way to slow down

Jordan Spieth. Well, Henrik Stenson, he came up with a creative idea. He actually posted this picture of his daughter yesterday on Instagram with the caption, "Alice told me don't worry about Spieth, daddy, he's going to be late for tee time."

Now, guys, Spieth was not late on his tee time. He made it on time. So, I'm guessing Alice's mission was thwarted.

PAUL: All righty. Andy, he just has a tough job, doesn't he? Look at the background.

SAVIDGE: Yes, rough, got to be rough out there in Augusta all day.

PAUL: Houston last weekend, have a good time, Andy.

SCHOLES: Yes, I make it work.


SAVIDGE: Someway. Somehow.

PAUL: Somehow I make it work. Thank you.

Listen, we have so much more news to tell you about this morning.

SAVIDGE: Next hour of your NEW DAY starts right about now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

PAUL: Good morning and let you know we're so grateful for your company as always. I'm Christi Paul.

SAVIDGE: And I'm Martin Savidge, in for Victor Blackwell.

PAUL: Listen, we got some breaking news. We can now confirm there is a sixth suspect arrested in the Belgium raids as of late, and now, of course, six suspected terrorists behind bars.