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Key Arrests Made In Paris, Brussels Attacks; Sanders Thanks Bill Clinton For Psychoanalysis; Sanders, Clinton Battle Over Who's More "Qualified"; Trump Focuses On New York, Cancels West Coast Stops; New Raid Underway In Belgium Neighborhood; New Raid Underway in Belgium Neighborhood; Race to the White House Continues. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired April 9, 2016 - 8:00   ET


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: -- 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.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: Authorities believe that they were involved in the Brussels and Paris attacks and authorities may not be finished with their operations just yet.

Frederick Pleitgen is heading to the scene. He is going to join us shortly about an operation that is underway this morning in Belgium.

PAUL: Yes, a raid going on right now in a Brussels neighborhood. He's on his way there as Martin said and we'll bring you the latest as soon as he gets there. These pictures from the neighborhood where this arrest is, where the raid is happen thing morning. We'll keep you posted, of course.

Let's talk -- I'm sorry, we do have Fred Pleitgen, I'm getting word. Fred, what can you tell us what is happen thing morning?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Good morning, Christi. The latest information that we have gotten from the Belgian authorities literally a couple minutes ago is that they are now saying there are six people in custody from these anti-terror raids.

They are saying that they have five people in the two original raids where they have those two prime suspects who were arrested. On the one hand, you have Mohammed Abrini, who of course, is apparently one of the people very much could be a mastermind both behind the Paris as well as the Brussels attacks.

You had Osama al-Krayem (ph) who played a logistical rule and now they are naming a sixth suspect, a man called (inaudible). He is someone who is a jihadist, well-known jihadist from Belgium.

He was actually sentenced to five years in prison in 2015 for being a member of a terrorist organization, however, he was let go prematurely. He got out of jail early, and apparently, was arrested as part of that major sweep of operations going on in the afternoon hours of yesterday -- Christi. BLACKWELL: And so do we know what part he played in all of this, this latest person who's been named?

PLEITGEN: It's absolutely unclear at this point in time. It's unclear what sort of part he played because that he is someone who is a very well-known jihadist and someone who here has been convicted of being a member of a terrorist organization.

He is someone very well-known in the jihadist scene but of course, we know is very dangerous here in Brussels. It's unclear what sort of role he might have played and unclear whether or not he's a suspect that might be brought into custody for question and be released at this point in time, still very fresh.

It's not clear what exactly they want questions they will be asking him, but certainly want to know more about the wider plots that have been taking place and whether or not he might be implicated in any of them.

PAUL: All right. Fred Pleitgen, we appreciate the very latest there on what's happening in Brussels. Thank you so much. And we'll continue to check with him obviously throughout the morning in such a fluid situation there.

Meanwhile, a lot of words being be changed in the race in the New York primary and it's getting dicier and dicier it seems by the day.

Democratic presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, campaigning there in the state today but the war of words between who is more qualified to be president is heating up. It's just far from over.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST, "STATE OF THE UNION": In this back-and-forth with Secretary Clinton about her qualifications, I know that you have said that she is qualified. Bill Clinton today was asked about the comments and said, of course, you wouldn't have made the same charges if she were a man.


TAPPER: And he said, I think there are some different standards for women. Some of them are subconscious.

SANDERS: I appreciate Bill Clinton being my psychoanalyst, it's always nice, but the reality is that ever since Wisconsin when that became the sixth out of seven states that we have won in either caucuses or primaries, I think the Clinton campaign has made it public.

Basically they told the media here in New York they're about to become negative, about to beat us up. And I just want them to understand we have tried to run an issue-oriented campaign, but we're not going to be attacked every single way. Our record is not going to be distorted. We are going to fight back. What I have said is a candidate like Secretary Clinton who voted for this disastrous war in Iraq, who has supported virtually every disastrous trade agreement and who receives incredible amounts of money.

We're talking about tens of millions of dollars from every special interest that you can think of from the billionaire class, you know, I have my doubts about what kind of president she would make.


SAVIDGE: This just when it looked like both sides had called a truce with Sanders walking back his comments from earlier this week, that he didn't believe the Clinton is qualified to be president.

[08:05:05]So let's bring in CNN investigations correspondent, Chris Frates. Chris, this is a hot relationship between Sanders and Clinton. Where do you think it's going to go?

CHRIS FRATES, CNN INVESTIGATIONS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I don't think it's going to get any cooler any time soon, Martin, you have both Sanders and Clinton, they are slugging it out on the campaign train and that's largely because New York's primary is ten den days away and so critical.

Now all this started when Sanders said Clinton wasn't qualified to be president. It was a jab Bill Clinton seemed to suggest was sexist and one that Hillary Clinton said she had never even heard before.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You may have heard Senator Sanders say I'm unqualified to be president. Well, seriously, I've been called a lot of things over the years, but unqualified has not been one of them. And this morning, he'd finally acknowledge that of course he doesn't really believe that. This is all pretty silly.


FRATES: So Sanders defended that criticism arguing that it was the Clinton's camp that first questioned his qualifications to be president, a little "I know you are, but what am I," kind of come back there. He's essentially walking his comments back.


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


FRATES: Sanders and his campaign are still questioning Clinton's judgment. They are pointing to her past support for the Iraq war and a law that prevented the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage.

And of course, Clinton has since called that Iraq war vote a mistake and came out in support of same-sex marriage and this comes as Sanders is playing hard to the Democratic base.

He is really trying to upset Hillary Clinton in the adopted home state where she continues to lead in the polls because after his win in Wisconsin, he still trails Clinton by 230 delegates.

And he needs to win 77 percent of the pledged delegates remaining to clinch that nomination. Clinton for her part needs 36 percent and Sanders is campaigning hard today. He's got four stops in New York.

Clinton so far has one event scheduled and I can tell you this guys, it's unlikely that this race will get any more nicer or any more gentle any time soon -- Martin.

SAVIDGE: Yes, Bernie Sanders has a lot of ground he's going to make up at least when it comes to delegates. Chris Frates, thank you very much.

FRATES: Thank you.

SAVIDGE: Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton will both be on "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper. That will be tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. Eastern here on CNN.

PAUL: Want to talk now with Patti Solis Doyle, CNN political commentator and former Hillary Clinton presidential campaign manager and Tad Devine, a senior media adviser for the Bernie Sanders campaign. Thank you both for taking the time to be with us.

Thank you, Tad. Wanted to start with you. When we hear Bernie Sanders say I have my doubts what kind of president she'd be, when you're in a primary election, is there -- how do I say this, an undefined line that you do not cross, shall I say.

Because saying something like this, if she were to secure the nomination, it would be very hard f him then to say I back her, would it not? Has he backed himself in a corner in any way here?

TAD DEVINE, SENIOR MEDIA ADVISER, BERNIE 2016: No, he is not. Think of 2008. We can remember Hillary Clinton's saying shame on you Barack Obama and all the things that happened in that campaign, President Clinton, Secretary Clinton. Listen, I'm sure when this is over we'll find common ground.

But right now, there are big differences between these two candidates on issues like fracking, whether or not we should have it, on Wall Street money and whether or not they should pay for campaigns.

These are issues we need to debate here in New York and across that country, and I think if we do, whenever the voters decide who the nominee of this party will be, I'm sure both sides will come together after that. PAUL: All righty. Patti, Bill Clinton, of course, is joining this battle, so to speak, indirectly saying that Sanders is sexist. Jake Tapper talked about that just a second ago, but let's listen to what Bill Clinton said himself.


FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: I think she would be the best president. I think it's obvious by a country mile and that's all that matters to me. Yes, I think there are some different standards. Some of them are subconscious.


PAUL: Credence to anything he said about some sort of subconscious discrimination and what does that do to her campaign?

PATTI SOLIS DOYLE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think he was reacting to the absurdity of the claim that she's not qualified. This is a woman, a person who served as secretary of state for four years. She was a senator for two terms and first lady for eight years.

She has a breath of knowledge and competency on the issues of the day and I think he was really mostly speaking again to the absurdity of the claim that she's not qualified.

[08:10:06]PAUL: So Tad, we know that Bernie Sanders announced he's taking this trip to the Vatican, to Vatican City, for this conference on social justice. It's happening four days before the New York primary. Smart move?

DEVINE: Listen, you know, this is something a campaign does not intended to have political consequences. Bernie was invited there. These are issues he feels very strongly about whether or not we'll have an economy that works for people and stops sending all the new wealth to the top.

Pope Francis has spoken out about that topic eloquently and powerfully. Bernie relates very much to that. He received this invitation. So he's going to leave the campaign trail really for about a day and a half.

In the meantime, he'll be vigorously campaigning all across the state of New York and other states, as well. It's not a political calculations here.

It's something that when he received this invitation, he cares deeply about the issues and decided he would take the opportunity to speak to this body out of respect for Pope Francis and also to talk about issues that he cares deeply about.

PAUL: Patti, I have a couple seconds, but if Clinton does not win New York, what does that mean for her campaign?

DOYLE: I think she's going to win New York. She's been a senator for eight years. She lives here with her husband, her family, vibrant members of the community. Real concrete relationships with the people here.

She knows the political intricacies of this state, which are formidable. She knows upstate. She knows the city. She knows Long Island. I think she'll win New York.

PAUL: All righty, Tad Devine, Patti Solis Doyle, so grateful to have both of you with us. Thank you.

DEVINE: Thank you.

DOYLE: Thank you.

PAUL: The next debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders is a few days away this Thursday night moderated by Wolf Blitzer starts at 9:00 Eastern only on CNN.

SAVIDGE: Second thoughts for President Bill Clinton?


FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: I did something yesterday in Philadelphia, I almost want to apologize for.


SAVIDGE: But he's not apologizing to Black Lives Matter protesters. We'll talk to a member of the group ahead.

Plus, Ted Cruz making his case to potential delegates in Colorado. Could he get the clean sweep in this key battle ground state?

Also, Secretary of State John Kerry making a surprise visit to Afghanistan. Can he help shore up that country's deteriorating security?



SAVIDGE: The only number that matters right now in the Republican presidential race is this one, 1,237. That is the number of delegates need to clinch the nomination.

This morning the fight to get to that number is in Colorado, 34 delegates at stake, but Republicans won't be voting in a primary or a caucus, no, no, instead state party members are the king makers here.

CNN's Ana Cabrera joins me now from Colorado Springs for the state convention. It will start just a few hours from now. Ana, Senator Ted Cruz is already dominating. How can that be?

ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, 21 of the elected delegates here from Colorado have already been chosen. That happened at the district conventions, which wrapped up last night and it's pretty much been a Ted Cruz clean sweep here in Colorado. Seventeen of the delegates elected from the state in the district convention officially pledged to support Cruz on those forms they filled out when they applied to run as a delegate candidate.

Four of the other delegates who were elected had marked unpledged on those forms, but have said they plan to vote for Ted Cruz at that convention, the national convention come July.

Now one reason Ted Cruz seems to be doing well here in Colorado is he had an established ground game for his campaign here early. We talked with the Colorado chairman of his campaign.

It's Congressman Ken Buck from Colorado, knows this state well and says they began making phone calls, sending out e-mails, robo-calls and all of that, a full throttle effect going into effect as early as December. Listen.


CABRERA: Do you feel like the Cruz campaign on the ground in Colorado has out maneuvered the other presidential candidate's campaigns?

REPRESENTATIVE KEN BUCK (R), COLORADO: I think the Cruz campaign has been successful in Colorado because we started earlier. We identified more of the grass roots supporters.

I don't think that the other campaigns took this process seriously early enough and I think that's what the advantage is in what is happening right now.


CABRERA: Thirteen delegates still at stake today and they could go Cruz. He is Cruz is the only candidate coming to Colorado to speak to this assembly.

And by the way, Donald Trump had planned to visit Colorado earlier this week. He cancelled his visit, which senior advisor for his campaign tells us if he comes away with any delegates from Colorado that would be an added bonus. It really does tell you what the expectations are here in Colorado -- Martin.

SAVIDGE: Very interesting. Ana Cabrera, thank you very much for that.

PAUL: You just heard Ana talk about how Donald Trump is taking time off the trail as the campaign figures out the delegates' game. He tweeted last night, "It's a shame that the person who will have by far the most delegates and many millions more votes than anyone else, me, still must fight," unquote.

CNN politics reporter, Jeremy Diamond, joining us now. So Jeremy, we know the recent polls have him leading in New York by a wide margin. Why would you step off the trail at this point, do you think?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Certainly. This is kind of a time for Donald Trump's campaign to recalibrate. You know, but first, to Twitter. He is tweeting more since that last tweet you read.

He tweeted this morning, "Bernie Sanders says Hillary Clinton is unqualified to be president based on her decision-making ability I can go along with that."

You see Donald Trump firing off some early morning punches even though he is off the trail. But as far as why he's off the trail.

Listen, his campaign has now brought on Paul Maniford. He is a delegate -- a Republican convention expert. He's done this for several presidential campaigns. And now Donald Trump is expanding his role in the campaign putting him in charge essentially of this new delegate focus strategy.

This is what we're seeing from the campaign is moving from this kind of mass communication focus strategy to something that's a little bit more targeted.

To something where Donald Trump, you know, is kind of coming to realization that if he doesn't get the 1,237, he's going to need a team in place to make sure he can wrangle those additional delegates that he needs.

Right now, his campaign saying that they can come very close to that 1,237 number, maybe even make it before the convention, but certainly this new effort is signaling that Donald Trump understands this problem little bit better now.

And he's putting the resources, he's shifting his resources to kind of account for that change and for a new strategy.

PAUL: All right. Jeremy, we appreciate it. Thank you so much for the explainer here.

[08:20:04]And we'll let you know about Tuesday night here on CNN a town hall with Donald Trump, his wife, and his daughter. It's moderated by Anderson Cooper starting at 9:00 Eastern.

SAVIDGE: A new raid is underway in Belgium, a neighborhood there and the connection these latest raids after the attacks in Paris and Brussels.

The nation's top diplomat trying to save the unity government in Afghanistan that he helped bring together. Secretary Kerry's surprise visit. That's just ahead.


PAUL: Getting some breaking news right now. There is a new raid underway as we speak in the Brussels neighborhood. This is day after authorities arrested six suspected terrorists involved in the Brussels and Paris attacks.

SAVIDGE: We want to go live now to CNN senior international correspondent, Fred Pleitgen, live in Brussels where this is going down. Fred, what are you hearing and what do we know about this. I should also point out that we'll have Michael Weiss, who is a CNN contributor joining us, but let's go with you -- Fred.

PLEITGEN: Yes, Martin, this operation is still very much on going. If you look around, you can see this street is blocked off. The residents in this immediate area have been told to leave their houses to go outside. You can see people sort of waiting out here.

There is a big police presence, we believe, around 50 police officers that seem to be involved in this operation. I want to show you the house apparently searched. It's the one -- still is being searched.

The one you see here, this residential building. We've been seeing police officers go in and out of that building. Also about 50 cops involved in going in there. It's unclear what or who they might have been looking for.

[08:25:04]We did see some cops also searched this vacant lot that you see here a little while ago seemingly looking for something. At this point in time, we don't really know whether or not they think there is another suspect here, whether there might be suspicious material here.

But of course, all of this very likely is very much in the realm and conduction with the raids taking place here in Brussels over the past almost 24 hours that of course, nabbed the high-level terror suspects, Mohammed Abrini, which the police say is important.

It's unclear the information these two might have given that led to the police coming here, but certainly with the amount of cops that we are seeing here on the ground, this really is a very, very big operation taking place -- Martin.

SAVIDGE: That was exactly the question I have, whether they were getting intel as a result of the people they captured.

PAUL: Right. Fred, we also had the breaking news a while ago of a sixth arrest, what have you learned about that other person that's in custody, as well?

PLEITGEN: Yes, yes, that's actually very interesting because the first thing we heard is there were five people arrested. Three people arrested when Mohammed Abrini was taken into custody and another person taken into custody with Osama Krayem (ph).

The most recent information that we've got from the federal prosecutor's office here in Belgium is that a sixth person was arrested last night. His name is (inaudible). He is someone who is a very well-known jihadist here in Belgium.

He was actually convicted of being a member in a terrorist organization, a very prominent trial that took place here in Belgium in 2015. He was sentenced to five years in jail, however, he was released early and now apparently taken into custody again.

Also in this case, it's unclear how he might be related to all of the , whether or not they believe he might be implicated in either the Paris attack or Brussels attack or a wider network they are trying to come to terms with.

But certainly, this is something Belgium police are making an effort to tell us he was one of the people we're very, very interested in and that's why we have taken him into custody.

SAVIDGE: All right, Fred, hold on. We'll keep you and bring in Michael Weiss, CNN contributor and author of the book "The Army of Terror" and he join us on the telephone.

Michael, what do we make of all of this going on? There seems to be a lot happening in Brussels or in the neighborhoods?

MICHAEL WEISS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, (via telephone): The good news is every time you arrest one person, it leads to the knock on raids and arrests because that one person will know or be acquainted with several others.

This is similar to what happed in the region. The joint special operations forces conducted a raid that capture a member of ISIS or al Qaeda in Iraq and in the subsequent days and weeks, all of a sudden many more raids are taking place because they work backwards to see who his confederates were in the broader network.

In a sense, it's better to have people alive that you can interrogate than to shoot them and kill them in a counterterrorism raid. Now you got, what, three or four suspects including Salah Abdeslam, one of the main ringleaders of the Paris massacre.

You know, this is going to enable the Belgiums and also frankly the French because to consider these two different cells or networks as separate. They are the frank a phone network. There is no border between Belgium and France when it comes to ISIS operatives.

It will allow them to capture many more people and CNN reported Paul Cruickshank that there are a dozen running around that belong to this broader ISIS network and no doubt they are planning future attacks and will want to accelerate the time of those attacks because they know closing around their neck.

They are doing this now very quickly because they have to. They understand that, you know, the more people that get caught, the more is given away and more numbers of the network will run scared.

PAUL: Michael, looking at this from the outside, a lot of people might think with all the arrests that have been made, why would they stay in Brussels? Why would they not branch out? Are you saying that they are staying there because they are getting ready to plan another attack?

WEISS: Well, that's one reason and another reason is, you know, even in the Schengen visa free travel system, you do kind of run a risk when you cross a border. (Inaudible) gave an interview given to ISIS' propaganda magazine well before the Paris attack in which he boasted.

There was a European wide dragnet because he was implicated in about half a dozen other thankfully aborted terror operations and boasted some official stopped him in his car, took a look at him, compared him to a wanted list and a photograph that was known of (inaudible) and let him go. He said, you know, , Allah looked kindly on me that day.

So anyway, I mean, these guys, if they were to run, would stand a greater risk of being caught on their way out than if they went to ground in their own communities. And, you know, Abdeslam was living for fourth month in a house, a safe house, but was literally one block away from his childhood home. I mean, that tells you everything you need to know about just how safe he felt in the Molenbeek area.

This is what -- by the way, I mean, in Iraq and Syria, the irony is these are the areas that I refer to as the briar patch for ISIS. This is where they are most secure, because they have the support of the local population in Iraq and Syria, the local population being Sunni Arab tribal members in places like Brussels and Paris, you know, Muslim communities that are, in effect, clustered off from the broader society.

They don't trust the police. They don't trust law enforcement, and anyone who comes knocking at the door is not get very far, because they would rather keep, you know, an international terror suspect in their midst than cooperate.

In fact, I mean, there was a report that after Abdeslam was caught, there were text messages going around in the Molenbeek neighborhood saying do not talk to the police, you know, don't cooperate, don't corroborate with the infidel.

That's not saying everyone in Molenbeek is a sympathizer with ISIS. But any people there will be intimated by known Jihadists.

You just -- your report just mention there was a guy who was arrested and tried in 2015, sentenced to five years, a well-known Jihadist, and he was let go within a year. And now he's caught in these counter terror raids, presumably because they see him as a fellow traveler, an accomplice to an ISIS plot.

I mean, this is just how ridiculous it is in Europe. And, you know, I'm sorry I keep coming back to this point. American count terrorism officials, American intelligence thinks the Europeans just do not know what they're doing when it comes to this stuff.

SAVIDGE: Michael Weiss, CNN contributor. Thanks very much for joining us on the phone talking about the latest activity raids we're see in a Brussels neighborhood this morning. Thank you.

For more on how you can help victims on the Brussels terror attack, you can log onto

PAUL: And in the political arena, Bill Clinton says he almost wants to apologize to black lives matter protesters, but would an apology work at this point? We're going to ask a member of black lives matter.

SAVIDGE: And then Catholics worldwide now reacting to a major shift by the church. The Pope wants gay and divorced Catholics to feel welcome. Father Beck joins us ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: Former president, Bill Clinton, almost apologized after sparring with black lives matter protesters this week. Take a look here.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I did something yesterday in Philadelphia. I almost want to apologize for it, but I want to use it as an example of the danger threatening our country. Half of us are so mad all the time, because we think the game's been rigged. Well, it has. The question is, how you going to unrig it? What are we going to do?


PAUL: Protesters heckled him Thursday, shouting, "black youth are not super predators." That was in reference to a comment then First Lady Hillary Clinton had made back in 1996. Now, she says she should not have used those words.

For the latest feisty verbal exchange involving the former president, has grabbed a lot of eyeballs here in the spotlight of his wife's campaign for president. So let's show you what happened.


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 onto 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 lives you say matter. Tell the truth.


PAUL: Black lives matter leader DeRay Mckesson joining us now and CNN political commentator and Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign manager, Patty Solice Doyle. Thank you both for your time this morning. We appreciate it.



PAUL: DeRay, I'd like to start with you.

Thank you. It's good to have you you all -- it's good to have both of you here.

When we watch that clip, is it fair to say the frustration is growing because the argument that Bill Clinton is making, while valid certainly, is not what black lives matter -- is the point they're trying -- it's not the point they're trying to make. Black lives matter is about reforming the criminal justice system, is it not?

MCKESSON: Yes, so to be clear, what's interesting about Bill's statement is that A, it's an unforced air that he is defending a comment that it seems like Hillary herself has distances herself from. And that instead of defending the crime bill or super predator crime comment, I think what he could have said was, people thought this was the right thing to do then, and we now know the impact was not what was intended.

But instead, he did a whole -- he was dismissive of people's concerns about the impact of the crime bill that introduced things like mandatory minimums and a host of things that turned out to feed the pipeline of mass incarceration. So I think people's concern is about the dismissiveness and the lack of understanding that this actually led to a host of things that were really bad for black people across the country.

PAUL: So Patti, what do you say to that? And especially as we watch that video and hear the cheers in the audience as he makes his comments?

DOYLE: Well, actually, I very much agree. And the fact of the matter is he has expressed -- Bill Clinton has expressed regret for the unintended consequences of that crime bill.

Look, you know, I think -- first of all, I think it has been a long year on the campaign trail, and everyone is tired and tempers are flaring. But I also think, you know, Bill Clinton is a master politician and a master at talking to folks. But when it comes to his wife and his wife being attacked, he no longer becomes the master politician but becomes a husband defending his wife.

And I think that's what you saw there, because I think both Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton have expressed regret for the unattended -- you know, of that crime bill.

PAUL: The '96 -- yes, I wanted to point out Hillary Clinton, too, has come out and said that 1994 violent crime control and law enforcement act needs to be modified certainly.

So DeRay, a lot of people naturally, I guess, link the two arguments, the one that Bill Clinton was making with black lives matter. But how do we all get beyond this and get to the fact that maybe these are two separate issues and make it understandable so everybody feels their voice has been heard and we can move forward, that we can progress here?

MCKESSON: Yes, so remember, so much of this is about acknowledgement, and I think when people are pushing the Clintons, Hillary or Bill, on these issues, it is about acknowledging what has happened and the impact of them.

So I think when we met with Hillary Clinton, it was about saying acknowledge that there is racial injustice at a systemic level. And like what will you do about it? I think when people pushing Bill, it was about acknowledging that he

was a part, whether he intended to be or not, a part of the system that was really detrimental to black people in terms of creating the mass incarceration pipeline.

I think how we move forward, you know, I think that we need leaders at all levels who understand race deeply and are committed to the work of racial equity. It's why I'm running to be the next mayor of Baltimore.

And I am hopeful that the platforms will continue to grow to be really concrete around racial justice and equity. And I think that that is what the movement is asking for in so many ways from both candidates, from Sanders and from Clinton.

PAUL: OK. Let's talk about that 1994 crime bill a little bit more. Critics argue that it contributed to a disproportion number of African-Americans being incarcerated and just being ensnared really in the criminal justice system.

Is this a major talking point, Patti, I'm wondering, among minorities who support Bernie Sanders? And because of that, could it cost Hillary Clinton some votes, even though she has come out and said there need to be modifications made?

DOYLE: You know, I hate to reduce this very important topic to talking points on behalf of any of the candidates. In terms of where Hillary stands, I mean, she started this campaign with a major criminal justice reform speech. She has devoted, you know, pretty much her adult life to advocating, defending children who have been -- who have been given a lot of barriers and can't really advocate for themselves, and that includes African-American children, Hispanic children who have been living through systemic racism for the last decades.

So I don't want to minimize it to a political talking point. I think Hillary Clinton's record stands for itself.

PAUL: And DeRay, I'd like to hear the last word from you. How do you think -- how do you think we can truly move forward, not just politically? But what is your hope here? What is the hope of the black lives matter movement?

MCKESSON: You know, it's a -- it's about ending racial injustice at a systemic level. I think that when we think Bernie, he was quick to come out to address issues of racism in his platform. I think there are questions about how in his priorities at this point.

I think Hillary was a little slower to come out and address issues. When she has addressed them, they are -- she's addressed a small set really deeply. And I think that people are continuing to press for clear plans about how we're going to deal with mass incarceration, how we're going to deal with police violence.

And in saying that the candidates are actually going to talk about these at a deep level, when we think about the crime bill, not only did it feed a system of mass incarceration, but probably most importantly, it become a model for local government and states. And then we saw it replicate some key parts of the bill that were really detrimental to people of color.

And people are asking for an acknowledgement of that, not only because it's important to acknowledge, but because that acknowledgment can lead to the disentanglement of it at the local and state level.

PAUL: Yes, OK. And you brought up Bernie Sanders. I just want to be transparent. The Clinton camp also points out he is not immune here. He did vote for that 1994 bill as well.

MCKESSON: Correct.

PAUL: So a lot of talk going on in terms of what happened back then and now. DeRay Mckesson, Patti Solis Doyle, appreciate your voices. Thank you so much.

DOYLE: Thank you.

PAUL: Yes.

MCKESSON: Thank you.

SAVIDGE: A more open church? The Pope trying to spark a major shift in the Catholic Church doing more to welcome divorced and gay parishioners. How's it being received?

Plus, Afghanistan's deteriorating security situation. It is just one of the topics that Secretary John Kerry is addressing right now during a surprise visit. We'll be live in Kabul.


SAVIDGE: Pope Francis is trying to get the Catholic Church to loosen up and be more accepting of non-traditional family lifestyles. That includes Catholics who are gay, divorced or in straight domestic partnerships.

The pontiff outlined his message in his paper that's called, "The Joy of Love."

Joining me now is CNN religious commentator and host of Sunday Mass, Father Edward Beck. And we've heard how the faithful are receiving this message, Father, but what about the clergy? How are they taking this?

FATHER EDWARD BECK, CNN RELIGIOUS COMMENTATOR: The clergy is so hopeful, Martin, because what it's saying is it's treating people like adults. It's saying, look, you as clergy don't tell people what to do or whether or not they're in a state of sin. It's their individual conscience, and your task as a clergy person is to help people in the formation of their conscience.

So what's remarkable about the document, in my eyes, is that the Pope says there is no longer a state of sin. So take an example, you know, we used to say, "people living together." They're living in sin if they weren't married.

Well, the Pope says, hold on. Maybe they're moving towards sacramental marriage, and rather than say you're living in sin, why don't you as clergy deal with them, help them through the process, lead them to sacramental marriage, and then they become more a part of the community rather than saying, you know, go get your act together, you're not fitting into the norm, then come join us.

He said no, no, no, be with them where they are, and maybe they come more into the fold that way. So it's kind of like you attract more bees with honey than vinegar.

SAVIDGE: This is not an edict, though, so it really comes down, what, each parish, each priest as to how they wish to interpret and enforce?

BECK: I don't think so. I think the Pope is very clear about what he is saying here. And he's expecting priests and bishops to get in line with this perspective.

He is saying it is your task to be merciful, accepting and help to people in their struggles, especially gays, divorced, those on the fringe. And so I don't really think it's a matter of if the priest doesn't like it, he throws it aside. This is where the church is going, and this is where the leader of the church is saying the church has to be.

SAVIDGE: Yes. Why not change doctrine here? That doesn't seem to have happened.

BECK: Well, I didn't think the Pope saw a need to change doctrine. He believes in the church doctrine. He believes in the truth of the church doctrine. But what he's saying is you can't just look at it up here and apply it. You have to look at lived situation and say how do people respond to that, and how can you help them respond more fully to it?

So it's kind of looking at the existential situation of people and saying that's the live reality. Now can we apply the law to the live reality rather than saying here's the law, and you have to conform to?

SAVIDGE: Father Beck, thank you very much for joining us this morning.

BECK: Thank you, Martin.

PAUL: Well, Secretary of State John Kerry is in Afghanistan as we speak. An unannounced visit coming as the government he helped broker is in danger of collapse now. Can this trip help keep the peace?


SAVIDGE: Chaos in Afghanistan has prompted Secretary of State John Kerry to make a surprise stop in that war torn country. Kerry is in the Middle East to massage relations with U.S. allies in the fight against terrorism. His trip to Afghanistan follows a day that was spent with Iraqi leaders. CNN senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh, he's live in

Kabul. And Nick, give us insight into the situation there.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I have to say, you know, John Kerry himself said every year is critical just as he arrived here, but no more so than 2016. The U.N., in fact, it's top official is saying if the Afghan government here quote, "simply survives" this year, that would be quite an achievement. That's how grave the crisis is there.

Now, John Kerry was quite clear in his speech just an hour or so ago that that government led by President Ashraf Ghani, but frankly hand strong by the fact that's sharing power with the man he fought an election against years ago, the man called the CEO of the country, Abdullah Abdullah. But it's really, I think, struggling to get cohesive unity together and get things to happen.

But John Kerry's message was you need to see them every day now in the weeks and months ahead as its liver for the Afghan people. The problem they're facing, Martin, is firstly, on a political level, there's massive internal dispute about how effective this government is -- opposition are coming out from various different quarters -- and to popular discontent. The government isn't able to act simply because how much of a compromise it is at the heart of it.

But the bigger problem is security. Helmand itself, the vital province in the south, that so many American and British NATO troops died to defend and push the Taliban out of. Well, that's increasing now with Taliban control, its main capital threatened by the Taliban.

The Taliban in control of more territory here, according to the U.S. government's own inspector, than there have been since 2001. Afghan casualties and their security forces in just last year were 5,500. That's way more than NATO lost in their well over decade of involvement here.

The crisis is enormous, and the facts simply is that al-Qaeda get a stronghold here, increasingly they say in a renewed partnership with the Taliban. And then in the east of the country, ISIS remain a real security threat. Their presence hit by a lot of U.S. air strikes but still coming back in some areas.

The clock is really ticking here, because I think many think if the government doesn't continue to keep itself together, there's no real plan B for the country to move forward. You get chaos. You get the void. And nothing more than Taliban and ISIS manage to benefit from that kind of thing.

So this capsule itself here now, I think, nervous like it hasn't been for years, Martin.

SAVIDGE: Yes. Nick Paton Walsh with a very bleak assessment. Thank you.

PAUL: So let's bring in CNN military analyst Lieutenant General Mark Hertling. We heard there about the fractured government in Afghanistan. This is what we're hearing about Syria and about Iraq. And we're fighting ISIS on so many different fronts. Is Afghanistan the next Syria and Iraq in the sense that are they that vulnerable, not only to the Taliban but to ISIS?

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, they're struggling, Christi, to be sure.

You're talking about the classic conundrum at the strategic level. You can't get security until you get the government and the economy working. You can't get the government and the economy working until you get security. So this is that back and forth.

And Afghanistan right now, they don't have a very strong security force. It's improved, but it's not great. They have a government where there's massive infighting, as Nick just said, between the two collateral leaders. And you have an economy that's actually declining.

So all of those are contributing to the ability for the Taliban to rise back up. And then you've got truthfully some mistakes on the part of the United States where we are talking numbers as our strategy, how many forces we should have there as opposed to an end state.

When you talk about numbers, that's not a very good strategy. That's just numbers. So that gave the Taliban some hope that they could come back and continue to fight, and it's allowed ISIS to get in there, too. So this is a difficult situation.

PAUL: So if numbers aren't the strategy for the U.S., what is?

HERTLING: End state. You know, the Iraq -- excuse me -- the Afghan government standing up and being strong, the fact they've got to work out some of these difficulties. The economy growing, that's going to be problematic. And tamping down of the Taliban in various providences like Helmand, which has always been difficult, by the Afghan security forces.

They have not achieved that yet. They're trying desperately, but they're just not strong enough. They need assistance.

PAUL: Are -- the ISIS members that are in Afghanistan, are they actual ISIS fighters, do we know? Or are they ISIS sympathizers?

HERTLING: Well, I think you're probably seeing a little bit of both. Initially, it was sympathizers. Now they have reinforced with some fighters. So this is an expanding organization that's trying to get surrogates all over the world.

They started in Syria and Iraq. Now they're looking at other places to grow, Syria, Yemen.

PAUL: Is that because they are being pushed out?

HERTLING: I think it's more than that.

PAUL: There are being -- there's progress being made in both Syria and Iraq against them?

HERTLING: That's part of it. But there's also a lot of other organizations trying to join their brand. It's a messaging.

So yes, they are growing in strength but not as strong as we think they are. They are not 10-feet tall.

PAUL: All right. General Mark Hertling, we appreciate it so much.

HERTLING: Thank you, Christi, Martin.

PAUL: Thank you for your insight as always.

SAVIDGE: And that is it for us. We will see you back here at 10:00 Eastern for an hour of "NEWSROOM".

PAUL: Don't go anywhere. "SMERCONISH" starts for you right now.