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India Temple Fire; Senator Bernie Sanders Wins Wyoming; Brussels Attackers Planned To Hit France; Pope Opens Door To Divorcees Receiving Communion; Senator Bernie Sanders To Visit Vatican; Jordan Spieth Clings To One-Shot Lead. Aired 6:30-7:00a

Aired April 10, 2016 - 06:30   ET




CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: OK. Those explosions are coming from inside a temple in southern India. I know they look like fireworks but a fire broke out during a fireworks display at a celebration in Kollam. Police say nearly a hundred people are dead, at least 540 are injured. The town's police commissioner said the temple authorities will be charged with culpable homicide.

Senator Bernie Sanders just picked up another win in the race for the Democratic nomination for president. He won the Wyoming caucuses earning seven delegates and solidifying his momentum heading into the New York primary.

Now, Hillary Clinton also earned seven delegates. She says her campaign is on a path to win that nomination.

And let's talk about Republican front-runner Donald Trump. He's hitting the trail today in New York after taking a few days off. He's holding an event in Rochester. And digging in accusations against Ted Cruz of having -- quote -- "hatred for his home state, New York." And saying his rival would never help New York as president.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Back to our top stories now.

Prosecutors say that the terrorists who organized these deadly attacks in Belgium initially planned to hit France again but had to change their plans to Brussels. This new information comes as prosecutors say one of the men rounded up in the terror raids has confessed.

Mohamed Abrini says that he is the man in the widely circulated surveillance video taken right before and after the Brussels attacks. He said that he sold his hat and threw away his coat. Abrini is also the final named suspect in the Paris attacks.

With me to discuss what this means for the fight against terror in Europe CNN senior law enforcement analyst, Tom Fuentes, CNN global affairs analyst, Kimberly Dozier, and CNN military analyst, Lieutenant General Mark Hertling. And we also have CNN senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen.


Fred, we're going to start with you because you've got the very latest words coming from Brussels this morning.


And it was very big news that came out of the federal prosecutor's office literally just about an hour and a half ago when they said that they can now confirm that numerous links in the investigation are telling them that the initial target by this terror group would have been Paris but apparently they were so surprised by the pace of the investigation that was going on that they then had to divert and conduct those attacks in Brussels. It is something that had been speculated about. You'd recall that right after the Brussels attacks, a laptop was found by one of the suicide bombers, where he -- where messages were found of his where he apparently said that he felt the police were closing in on them and that they needed to act as fast as possible.

Some people of course believing that perhaps the capture of Salah Abdeslam may have been a catalyst or an accelerator for that plot to go forward. Remember that Salah Abdeslam of course was captured only about three days before the Brussels attacks took place and then of course you have those confessions by Mohamed Abrini. So it really does appear as though at least he's giving investigators here some information that they are now putting forward to us as well, Martin.

SAVIDGE: All right. Fred, thank you very much for that.

Tom, let me as you this real quickly here. Regarding the suspect, the so called man with the hat, is there a chance that he is not who he claims to be? And is that something that law enforcement has to seriously contemplate here?

Number one, is he truly that guy? And number two, is what he's saying really the truth here or could he be planting false information?

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: You know, Martin, those are great points.

First of all, I've read accounts that the police confronted him with facial recognition technology and that is when he admitted to being the man in the hat. But I've worked with that technology and unless they have very good frontal pictures of him without the hat and without the glasses, it would be very difficult to do from the angle we saw. Now if they have other pictures, fine. But facial recognition technology is still in its infancy and still not as reliable as it should be.

Secondary, if he's not the man in the hat he might say he is just to take the heat off of whoever actually is that person. And that other person could be still at large. So those are great points.

And one other point I'd like to make is that, you know, we often after these attacks say, oh this had to take weeks and months to plan this and arrange it and coordinate it. And here from what they are hearing from the various suspects is they turned on a dime. Either planning on Paris -- arrests were made. They decided to accelerate and two, three days later they are attacking in Brussels.

So it just shows you how quickly they can pick a target and do it and when they are already prepared with explosives and firearms and numerous safe houses, they are ready to go all the time.


Kimberly, let me ask you this. Why would they want to strike France again if what we are hearing is true?

KIMBERLY DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, to show that the French authorities can't stop them.

I think a disturbing fact in this is that so far we haven't been told that there was any evidence of communications from this cell back to ISIS in Raqqa. So it is as if they are operating with a great deal of autonomy.

They have the skills. They have the weapons. They choose the target of their choice.

So when it was too hot for them to attack Paris, they find another soft target in Brussels. That means that there could be other cells and the Belgian interior minister talked about this yesterday, that there could be other cells out there operating with the same decree (ph) of independence working at will just waiting for this police pressure to die down.

SAVIDGE: General, we saw this before. That as investigators closed in there was another attack. It was prompted. It had to happen in Brussels they say not Paris. Do we worry about that again happening?

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I'm going to jump on what Tom said, Martin.

These attacks in and of themselves are not that complex. It is the build up to the attacks that is critically important. Getting the money there, getting the bombs made, getting the weaponry there. But you can turn on a dime.

The thing that I'd be looking for is first of all the connections between the cells. And there is now indicators that some of these individuals were at several safe houses. There are fingerprints left about. There's evidence there. That is the kind of information you have to expand to see where the cells are, where they're connected.

The other thing that is critically importantly is, you know, when you take a look at the bevy of folks who have been found and who have now been arrested, all kinds of different diverse backgrounds. One is from Sweden. One is from Belgium. There's another one that -- who's a Syrian. How did they get connected? Where is the money coming from? Those are all critical important. And now you're talking about this guy Abrini, I'm not sure he's either not lying or he is lying. And also what are the Belgian prosecutors -- this is raw intelligence they are giving out right now.


This has not been analyzed yet. And yet they're saying what could have happened. I'm not so sure I would release that information yet until there are some more analysis to it and to determine that this guy is telling the truth or what they're actually (INAUDIBLE). Or are they trying to stir up a web a little bit and get some more contacts in this.

SAVIDGE: And that thought had occurred to me. Because, Kimberly, I do wonder, the prosecutor seems to be giving out a great deal of information. Now granted you have public that is very frightened and very worried. So you want to look like you are making progress. But is there the possibility here that prosecutors themselves are trying to force something on these groups?

DOZIER: Well that is a dangerous tactic.

We saw this happen once before when Salah Abdeslam was captured and was being interrogated. The prosecutors released the information that he was -- quote unquote -- "collaborating with the prosecutors". And that just possibly spurred his ring that was in hiding into action and spurred the Brussels attacks on the airport and the subway.

So yes they could be trying to flush people who are in hiding to move so that they can catch them. But they have got to consider that they could also be pushing them towards violence.

SAVIDGE: Well let's hope that is not the case but that could be the possibility.

Fred Pleitgen, Tom Fuentes, Kimberly Dozier, General Hertling, thank you very much to all of you for joining us this morning.


PAUL: All right.

The Pope's new message to divorce Catholics. And the reaction that it's having around the world. We have a panel of religious experts who are sharing how significant this announcement really is.



PAUL: Forty-four minutes past the hour and Pope Francis is making headlines all over the world. After offering a more tolerant stance towards gays, lesbians, and non-traditional families, and divorced Catholics in particular. Calling this statement from the pope some say a breath of fresh air. Let's talk about this major change with CNN's senior Vatican analyst, John Allen, and CNN religion commentator, Father Edward Beck. Gentlemen, so grateful to have you both here with us.



PAUL: Good morning. Father Beck, I want to ask you first of all, help us understand what is it like to be a divorced catholic in the church and how significant is this change to their every day faith?

BECK: Well, Christi, for many years divorced Catholics have felt like they are on the outside if they are divorced without an annulment and they have remarried they have kind of been shunned. They couldn't come to communion. They felt as though they were kind of the pariahs. And now with this document says is, no, we want you to be part of us. We want to work with you to get you even to be more part of us.

So if you haven't gotten an annulment for some reason. We still want you to be part of our community. Go talk to your priests. Talk to other faithful Catholics. See in some way if you can be some part of this communion. And if your individual conscience, your informed conscience leads you on a path that says, you should be receiving communion because this is the best you can do right now. Well, then make that decision with your informed conscience and be more a part of that faith community.

So that is very liberating. Now that has been church teaching for a long time but as John Allen says, it's been the best kept secret. It's no longer a secret. I mean, the Pandora's Box is open and now we as ministers have to deal with it. And the result is that people are feeling more welcome and included and have more hope.

PAUL: So John Allen, it may have been a best kept secret but it is not an edict. It is not a mandate by any means. So how does that change or influence, this statement from the Pope, the everyday faithful to go to, you know, their priests and feel like they are going to be welcomed? That they are really going to have these options to take communion, to remarry. I mean, how are the priests absorbing this?

ALLEN: Well, you know, Christi, I was going tell you all about this brilliant piece of analysis we have set to run on the crux (ph) side (ph) tomorrow morning by this guy named Father Edward Beck. But then, of course, it turns (ph) out (ph) you've got it right here. So (INAUDIBLE) that one. But look -- you know, but Father Edward is absolutely right the church has always had this scope for what's called pastoral practice which is trying to decide how a rule applies in a particular set of circumstances.

You are also right, Christi. The Pope has not created any new rule. What he has done is provide space for priests in the trenches to make common sense decisions about how this teaching on marriage that the church has and the rules that it has how they apply in individual sets of circumstances. And in answer to your question, I suspect that experience is going to vary: I expect there will be some parishes and some diocese where bishops and priests take a slightly harder line about how accessible communion ought to be to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics. And I expect there will be other places that are more flexible and accommodating about it. Again that hasn't really changed anything because that was always the case even before this document.

But basically what the Pope has done is encourage that second camp. That is, those who are inclined to be more welcoming and sort of removed this cloud of suspicion that sometimes surrounded that group. So they don't have to feel like they have to look over their shoulder to worry if officialdom is going to come after them. On the contrary, what they are hearing is that officialdom is encouraged.

PAUL: I want to pivot to politics here.

Because we know that a presidential candidate or nomination candidate, we should say trying to get the nominee for the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders going to the Vatican next week. How will, Father Beck, that affect the political realm? Will it be -- will it bring Catholics to his side?

BECK: Well Catholics are notoriously independent when it comes to voting. You can't be assured of any kind of catholic voting bloc. So I would say that Catholics are intrigued that basically Sanders has defined himself as the cultural Jew.

PAUL: Right.

BECK: But he is in agreement with the economic policies of Pope Francis. I mean, there is a lot of agreement. If you look at what they say about economics and the need to -- the one percent can't hold all of the wealth and it has to be more equal just distribution of the wealth. They agree there. So the Pontifical Academy of Social Science is the organization that has invited Sanders -- that had been reported, to speak.


So whether or not he gets to meet the Pope that's up in the air but he will speak. And I think people are going to say, wow, he is open to something that the Pope is certainly pushing and Sanders is pushing. So I think it causes a certain amount of intrigue. But if it is going to get more catholic vote, I would tend to doubt that. There are other issues that Catholics are also concerned about where they would not agree with Senator Sanders.

PAUL: OK. So what would those issues be, John Allen?

ALLEN: Well, look -- I mean, Father Edward is absolutely right.

I mean, the idea there is a catholic vote in America is something of a myth. The truth is that, you know, Catholics are one quarter of the American population. That's a big electoral chunk but they are as divided as the rest of the American population. Certainly for more conservative Catholics socialism tends to be a dirty word and that of course is what Senator Sanders describes himself to be. You know, more conservative catholic voters would be focused on the pro life issues, particularly things around abortion, policy, the contraception mandates imposed by the Obama administration as part of healthcare reform. They would also be interested in limited government. And on all of those issues, you know, Senator Sanders simply is not a very good fit.

This may attract some more liberal minded catholic voters to be interested in Sanders. Although I would add there is also a danger of this backfiring. If there is one thing Catholics don't like it is perceptions that somebody is trying to take advantage of the Pope or manipulate him in some way. And if Sanders turns his visit to the Vatican into a campaign rally, I think there is a risk of some blow back there in terms of Catholics who are maybe taking a look at him for the first time.

PAUL: And we see Father Beck nodding his head in agreement to that.

Gentlemen, we so appreciate your insight and taking the time to be with us this morning. Thank you.

BECK: Thank you, Christi.

ALLEN: Thank you, Christi. Happy Sunday.

PAUL: Happy Sunday to you as well.


SAVIDGE: Ahead on NEW DAY, Donald Trump holds his first rally after days of down time at home in New York.

Ahead, what we can expect today from the Republican front-runner and of course his rivals on the campaign trail.



SAVIDGE: Strong winds at the Masters just can't seem to blow Jordan Spieth from the top of the leader board.

PAUL: Twenty-two year old golfer had a one shot -- he has a one shot lead heading into today's final round.

CNN's Andy Scholes is live in Augusta this morning. The winds did mess some things up for others though.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS: Absolutely. I mean, it was really windy out on the course yesterday especially for those guys who teed off early on.

Spieth was able to weather the storm as you could say getting through his round. But it wasn't perfect, guys. He did run into some trouble at the end of his round. He ended up getting a bogey on 17 and a double bogey on 18. He was in for a great day. He was really running away with the tournament until those last two. He finished the day one over in round three.

Coming in today he has got that one shot lead over Smylie Kaufman. Twenty-four year old Smylie Kaufman who is playing in his very first Masters. Now Spieth is the first golfer ever to lead the masters for seven consecutive rounds. But he knows he's going to have to be on his game today in order to win it all.


JORDAN SPIETH, DEFENDING MASTERS CHAMPION: It was a really tough finish to go from really holding a the 4 shot lead and being in a very similar position to last year to all of a sudden now it is anyone's game. So it's tough to swallow that.

I'm in the lead after 54 holes. If you told me at that the beginning of the week then I'd be obviously very pleased.


SCHOLES: Another story great story here in Augusta is the play of Bernhard Langer. The 58-year-old German (INAUDIBLE) at (ph) 2-under yesterday, is in third place. He's trying to become the oldest golfer to ever win a major.

Jack Nicklaus holds the record winning the Masters when he was 46 years old. Langer has actually won the Masters twice. The first coming in 1985, guys. And back then most of the field including Jordan Spieth wasn't even born yet. So Langer is definitely a guy to keep an eye on today

PAUL: Good for him. Andy Scholes, thank you so much.

Your next hour of NEW DAY starts after this break. Stay close.