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NEW DAY SATURDAY

Investigation Underway In Zookeeper's Death; Sanders Meet Pope Talks Economy In Vatican City; Sanders, Clinton 2014 Incomes A Sharp Contrast; "New York Post": Trump Needs To Be Better Informed; Death Toll In Second Japan Quake Rises To 23; Pope Francis Visits Refugees in Greece; Bernie Sanders' Trip to the Vatican; NC's Bathroom Law and the NBA. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired April 16, 2016 - 06:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to Saturday at 6 a.m. I know it's early. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: It is. I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you. Listen, we've got a big day in politics. Bernie Sanders has released his taxes. Of course, we are going to head to the New York primary for Democrats and Republicans.

The GOP in Wyoming picking delegates today. We're going have more on that. We know Bernie Sanders met with the pope overnight while you are sleeping. So we'll have all those headlines coming up in just a moment.

But first we are going to start with the Palm Beach zoo and it's close this morning. It's close because there was a rare Malayan tiger attack. An attack that killed an experienced zookeeper.

PAUL: This happened yesterday afternoon in West Palm Beach as Victor says. Lead zookeeper, Stacey Konwiser was mauled as she was preparing for a live tiger demonstration.

CNN correspondent, Boris Sanchez, live in West Palm Beach, Florida for us. What do we know about the investigation right now, Boris?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor and Christi, big cat experts tell us it's very difficult to tell exactly what happened in cases like this. The investigation in this case still ongoing.

They tell us that it's possible the tiger could have been provoked. They also tell us it's very possible the tiger could have just been being playful and not knowing its own strength, though, it's very difficult to tell why this happened. What happened is without a doubt a tragedy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ (voice-over): Tragedy at the Palm Beach, Florida Zoo after a rare Malayan tiger kills its lead handler. Officials say the attack happened in a contained area called the night house where the big cats are fed and sleep.

The 38-year-old Stacey Konwiser was preparing for a scheduled tiger talk, an informational event for zoo visitors when something went wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This was a tiger that was very familiar with Stacey. She was very familiar with this tiger.

SANCHEZ: The tiger was off exhibit and no visitors were ever threatened, but the zoo was evacuated. Getting to the victim was not easy. West Palm Beach police says the animal was tranquilized and they had to wait for the drugs to take effect before reaching Konwiser, who later died at the hospital.

Officials of the zoo where her husband also works as a trainer said Konwiser had lots of experience handling the tigers and did not do anything unusual as she worked in the enclosure.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The love that they have for these animals, you don't get into this business without the love for these animals and understanding the danger that's involve even more.

SANCHEZ: Officials have not identified which of the four endangered tigers attack Konwiser, but they say it's a 13-year-old male. The tiger's condition is unknown. The zoo only saying it's been contained.

MARK MCCARTHY, MCCARTHY'S WILDLIFE SANCTUARY: That's a powerful animal. And if they get ahold of you, there's nothing you can do to let them go. I don't care how strong you are, how big you are.

SANCHEZ: Attacks by zoo animals in the U.S. are relatively rare. In 2007, a Siberian tiger named Tatiana escaped her open-air enclosure at the San Francisco Zoo and attacked three people. One 17-year-old was killed. The tiger shot dead by police after the mauling.

In 2003, the entertainer, Sigfreed and Roy were performing in Las Vegas with their white tiger, Monticor. Halfway through the show, Monticor lunged and bit him Roy Horn on the neck dragging him around in front of the horrified audience. Monticor was subdued. Horn survived the attack.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: Now incidents like this one are creating controversy and conversation about the ethics of keeping these tigers in these night houses, these tight enclosures. Experts tells us these cats are most active at night.

So putting them in these tight enclosures when they're supposed to be more active can be very stressful on them and it's not just that. It's also some of the tactics used to get them to comply with going in these enclosures.

Often we hear of zoos withholding food from the animals in order to get them to comply. A lot of controversy and conversation about the ethics of the practice -- Victor and Christi.

PAUL: All right, Boris Sanchez, thank you so much for the update. As he was just talking, animal rights group, PETA, in fact, has responded to the incident, and here's what it says, quote, "Hopes that this incident will save human lives in the future by making zoos everywhere reconsider the confinement of big cats and other wildlife."

So again that's part of the controversy Boris was inferring. We are going to have more on this story next hour joined by a tiger trainer and "Animal Planet" host, David Salmoni as well.

BLACKWELL: New this morning, just two days before the Democratic primary in New York, Bernie Sanders is not in the state campaigning.

[06:05:09]In fact, I think its three days. He's not in the U.S. at all. Sanders has been in Vatican City attending a conference on social and economic justice. We learned this morning that he met with the pope. He talked climate change, the economy.

Listen to what he told CNN international correspondent, Ben Wedeman.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I just wanted to let him know of how appreciative I was of the extraordinary role that he is playing throughout the world in raising consciousness about massive levels of income and wealth inequality, about greed that is so pervasive in the world's economy such that the top 1 percent now owns more wealth globally than the bottom 99 percent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: All right. So neither Democratic candidate is in New York. You see Sanders is in Vatican City. Clinton is in California, several fundraisers this weekend.

Let's bring in CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist, Maria Cardona, who is a Hillary Clinton supporter and Democratic strategist and Bernie Sanders supporter, Nomiki Konst. Ladies, good to have both of you back.

Nomiki, I want to start with you. Sanders has now released his tax returns after months and months of calls for him to do so. I think we have the numbers we can put on the screen, $205,617 unadjusted income for 2014. Why did this take so long if this is generally kind of a no bold headline return?

NOMIKI KONST, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, what we're seeing is that Bernie Sanders is very much like the average person. When they're busy they prepare taxes on their own and he released them during the tax season.

And what better way to call attention to the fact that Hillary was hosting a $253,000-a-plate dinner last night for the DNC, which is giving money to the campaign in very curious ways. What better way to show what Bernie Sanders makes in a year is less than what Hillary Clinton makes in an hour giving a speech. So you know, this is a tale of two campaigns here.

You have Bernie Sanders who is a man of the people, his campaign is funded by the people, and you have Hillary Clinton who we now learn has made $11 million in 2014 alone from giving Wall Street speeches.

And now we also learned that she is personally giving $570,000 to her campaign. My question is in what way is she circumnavigating campaign finance laws?

You know, there are campaign finance limits for Wall Street. So you know, are giving these speeches, $150 million the Clintons have made in 2000 alone off of Wall Street speeches. Is this really a creative way of selling the Lincoln bedroom so that they can fund their --

BLACKWELL: There are a lot of accusations there and let me jump here, Maria, come to you. I want to look at numbers because --

KONST: Those are important right away. Let me make it quick. Michael (inaudible) did an investigative report on this in Yahoo! News.

BLACKWELL: But there were many accusations. That may have been one of them that you supported from that Yahoo! News report. But let me go to the numbers because those numbers are facts, $205,617 made in 2014 by the Sanders.

Let's put the numbers back up, guys, compared to $28,336,212 for the Clintons in that year. Maria, let me come to you. This disparity, does this jeopardize her fighting for you campaign theme.

I mean, this is he makes -- the two of them, the two Sanders, the Sanders couple make less than 1 percent of what the Clintons made in 2014.

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, not at all because right now what we're seeing is that the majority of voters are judging her on her record, on her accomplishments, on her proposals, on what she has focused on in terms of moving forward, and breaking down economic barriers for everyone who wants to have a chance to meet the American dream.

And, frankly, what she talks about is that she has been blessed and how she has had all of these opportunities, she has fought for those opportunities for others, and that -- those are the messages that are resonating, and clearly they're resonating more than what Bernie Sanders' messages are resonating.

In fact, we see it in the numbers. She is 2.4 million votes ahead of Bernie Sanders. She's 220 pledged delegates ahead of Bernie Sanders. And all of these accusations that are coming from Bernie Sanders campaign are just laughable.

And I think they underscore the fact that he is losing and it's kind of desperation times for them, focusing on these distractions as opposed to the messages that voters are responding to that are coming from Hillary Clinton.

BLACKWELL: Maria, let me ask you this. There will now be a shift to asking will Hillary Clinton release the transcripts of the speeches she delivered to Goldman Sachs and others. Will she?

CARDONA: Well, why don't we wait until Bernie Sanders releases multiple years, in fact 15, 20 years of taxes --

KONST: Changing the rules now?

CARDONA: Can I finish? Thank you.

KONST: Hold on, Nomiki. Let her finish and I'll come bring that to you.

[06:10:03]CARDONA: Which is exactly what Hillary Clinton has released, but again, all of that is a destruction, which underscores the fact that Bernie Sanders' implicit accusation here, which she was bought and paid for by Wall Street is also laughable.

Because as we saw in the debate where Dana Bash did a great job in asking very pointedly the question to Bernie Sanders can he point to any proof, any proof whatsoever that she has done anything to favor Wall Street and he was not able to come up with one example.

BLACKWELL: Nomiki, let me come to you. Many candidates, not all because we're still waiting for Donald Trump's tax returns, but many candidates in this cycle and others have released more than a single year's returns. Is one year transparency?

KONST: He's going release more on Monday, simple as that. Regardless of that, this is a false equivalent. Taking money from Wall Street, multiple millions, hundreds of millions of dollars by giving speeches to Wall Street is not what Democratic values are about.

This is about judgment, character, principle and if you're going to go out there and fight against Wall Street while you're taking hundreds of millions of dollar, that's just dishonest, flat out.

So to say that his claims are dishonest when they've been investigative, some of the investigative are pulling these numbers up from SEC filing. That are just fact, well, that's the proof. Furthermore, to go back to that point, you know Hillary Clinton --

BLACKWELL: The proof of what? I need the end of that sentence.

KONST: The SEC reports shows the numbers. There are no lies here.

BLACKWELL: But the proof that it compromised her views. It compromised her voting while she was a senator. It will compromise as president.

KONST: It's not just her record. It's her rhetoric. Last night, she had a fundraiser, $353,000 plate fundraiser. You know, when you're -- CARDONA: For the Democratic Party.

KONST: That doesn't mean anything.

CARDONA: Yes, it does.

KONST: Maria, you're a super delegate. You know very well how the DNC is run.

CARDONA: The DNC raises money for a lot of candidates. Frankly, Bernie Sanders has not been able to do the same thing.

KONST: That is not true.

BLACKWELL: Ladies, we've got to wrap this up. Nomiki, I'm giving you the last 10 seconds here to finish your point and then we got to wrap it there.

KONST: Maria says Hillary is doing so well. Why was it that Democrats approve of her by 64 percent and now 34 percent just six months later find her trustworthy? That's Democrats.

CARDONA: She's winning. Those are the facts.

KONST: A 200 pledged delegates.

BLACKWELL: Programming note, ladies. Bernie Sanders is on "STATE OF THE UNION." He'll answer more of these questions himself tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. Eastern. I love having these conversations. We never have enough time for them. Nomiki and Maria, thanks. We'll have you later throughout the show.

PAUL: All right. Donald Trump is launching fresh attacks against the Republican Party establishment, what he is saying about the GOP and Bernie Sanders is making headlines.

BLACKWELL: Plus a second deadly earthquake rocks Japan, killing nearly two dozen. We have a report on the destruction. That's coming up.

PAUL: Later, the U.S. versus Russia, a close encounter between a Navy destroyer and Russian fighter jets raises some alarms.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: It is reckless. It is provocative. It is dangerous. It is unprofessional, and under the rules of engagement, that could have been a shoot-down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:16:54]

PAUL: It's 15 minutes past the hour. So good to have you with us today. Donald Trump picking up an endorsement from the "New York Post." Remember that paper from a few memorable Trump covers? We have them here for you.

First of all, "Cruz-ified." "Don Voyage" or even taking it further, "size matters." This wasn't a ringing endorsement. It almost had conditions attached to it.

Here to talk about it, CNN's political commentator and Ted Cruz supporter, Ben Ferguson, and Errol Louis, CNN political commentator and political anchor at Time Warner Cable News. Good morning to you, Gentlemen.

All righty, so with the endorsement "The Post" says they're expecting a pivot. I want to read part of this to you. "Should he win the nomination, we expect Trump to pivot, not just on the issues, but in his manner. The post-pivot, Trump needs to be more presidential, better informed on policy, more self-disciplined and less thin- skinned."

So let me ask you, Errol, when you read that, what is the likelihood that Donald Trump is going to suddenly transform himself if his address changes from New York City to Pennsylvania Avenue?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I have a hard time believing that the "New York Post" editorial board is serious about this. I mean, Donald Trump is going to turn 70 years old in June of this year.

This is somebody who's had great success not just in the business world but politically acting the way that he acts and there is not a whole lot of self-disciple and there is not a whole lot of presidential behavior.

There's not a whole lot of being well informed compared with just saying acting on your gut. So I'm not sure why he's supposed to now turn and walk away from all of the things that bring him a great deal of success.

I think the more interesting question is how can you go this far with these qualities and these traits that the "New York Post" says they're a little bit worried about?

PAUL: But isn't that what everybody has been asking, is how is Trump able to say what he says, Ben Ferguson, without seeming to lose the support, particularly of these loyal, loyal fans and voters?

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, look, Donald Trump has the best supporters that you can get. There's nothing that he can say or do that turned them away from him. Literally, when he said he could walk out in a street and shoot a man in New York and none of his supporters would leave him, he's probably telling the truth.

It may be the most truthful statement of the entire campaign cycle, but this idea that Donald Trump is going to start acting presidential, we know how this story ends. He said in Miami and his campaign said in Miami when we were having that CNN debate in Miami that he was going to be more presidential starting at that point.

It lasted about 35 minutes and then he went back to being the normal Donald Trump that he is. He insults, he antagonizes, he puts people down, and he's a bully. And I don't see him pivoting from this.

He's been doing this for as long I've known Donald Trump has existed. This idea that he's somehow is going flip a switch and become presidential --

[06:20:07]PAUL: He's somebody different than he is.

FERGUSON: -- incredibly naive. This is who he is and he's going to stay this way. He'll probably get worse when he's president because you can get away with whatever you want to.

PAUL: Well, that's debatable.

FERGUSON: My point is this. If he's the president of the United States of America, no one can interrupt you at that point. No one can really trash talk back at you, at least in this country. He will do this on a bigger stage with a bigger microphone and he will do it to other world leaders, and that's why there is a lot of people concerned about.

PAUL: If he makes it there and that's part of the conversation as well as he is continuing to lash out specifically at the GOP establishment here. He says he feels sorry for Bernie Sanders. Let's listen here together.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He wins, he wins, he wins, he keeps winning, he keeps winning, week after week Bernie is winning, and then I listen to the pundits, and tonight Bernie Sanders won again for the seventh or eighth or ninth time in a row.

OK. You know what? That's OK because I feel sorry for him in a way. He wins and then you listen to the pundits, but he can't win. You know why? Because it's a rigged system, folks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: So Errol, what do you make of him using Bernie Sanders to make his point about what he calls a rigged system?

LOUIS: I mean, the word "rigged" is the real problem there because it's not rigged. The rules are the rules. Bernie Sanders in some ways is in a parallel situation in a sense that the need to get majority of delegates appears to be out of reach or there are scenarios in which it will clearly be out of reach no matter how many states you win.

So just as Donald Trump has won lots and lots of states and a fair amount of delegates, that final prize may be out of his reach as well. I think it's terribly misleading and quite irresponsible going back to your earlier point. To sort of look at the rules as they have existed for decades, to look at the rules that he knew going into this contest and then say it's rigged.

And to use his platform and tell millions of people that something untoward or possibly illegal is going on when nothing could be further from the truth. If he doesn't have enough delegates, he doesn't become the nominee. It's that simple.

PAUL: Ben, do you agree with that? Because there are a lot of people who are watching this and they are looking at the numbers and they are listening and they are wondering is this archaic system? And does my vote matter? If I go to the polls, what does it matter if the delegates are going to come in and do what they want to do?

FERGUSON: Look, what it shows is that Donald Trump is a weak candidate and I'll use his own logic. He said that Mitt Romney was a loser. He said that John McCain was a loser. Both of those losers, to use Donald Trump's words were able to wrap up the nomination long before this date that we are on the calendar.

If they're losers and they were able to secure a nomination with the same exact rules that Donald Trump is having to deal with, what does that say about Donald Trump? His problem is he's afraid people are going to call him a loser.

He's afraid that he not going win the nomination. So instead of deal with the reality that his campaign on the ground has been very disorganized, almost nonexistent in some states.

Instead of taking accountability for that he says the system is rigged, and he is going to keep saying it as long as people are willing to listen to it.

But Donald Trump has a problem. He has a problem on the ground game. Let's also look at one last thing. He said his campaign was working on delegates. Instead of them going to Washington State, they were going to Washington, D.C., and vice versa.

Is that a rigged system? No, that means you have an incompetent campaign that has no idea how to run a state by state campaign. It's really sad that he says it's rigged.

PAUL: All righty. Ben Ferguson and Errol Louis, always appreciate your insights, Gentlemen. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right, just coming into NEW DAY, the death roll has risen after that devastating earthquake in Japan. We're going to take you live to Tokyo with more of these really heartbreaking images.

Also a monster tornado touches down in Oklahoma. We have the video from the storm chasers, and we'll have it for you in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:27:46] PAUL: We're going to take you to Japan now. A massive rescue mission is under way as we speak here after another devastating earthquake rocked the country's southwestern region there.

BLACKWELL: The latest struck early this morning in the city of Kumamoto. This is the monster impact, this moment of impact here measured at 7.0. At least the 23rd person now, we've learned, has died as a result of this earthquake. It comes on the heels of Thursday's 6.2 quake. Nine people were killed in that one

PAUL: Hundreds of people have been evacuated we know. We are learning now the biggest fear right now is the scores of people feared trapped beneath collapsed buildings and piles of debris. South Korea and Britain have pledged their support to help with relief efforts.

CNN's Andrew Stephens is in Tokyo with the very latest where I understand they actually felt it in Tokyo there. But what is their most urgent need? Do they feel they have the resources to get to those people they fear to be trapped right now?

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN ASIA PACIFIC EDITOR: Yes. We must remember that this is not an uncommon thing in Japan. This is an earthquake-prone area, Christi, and the Japanese authorities are throwing a lot of people at the rescue attempts.

They've increased the number of self-defense force person -- effectively the Japanese military to 25,000 people, 15,000 people already on the site around Kumamoto and another 10,000 on their way by tomorrow.

To give you an idea of just what they're doing. Now at the moment the death toll is at 23. It doesn't sound particularly high given the force of this earthquake but the toll may well rise.

Local media reporting that dozens that still may be trapped under the rubble there. That's what we know at the moment. Certainly, there's a lot of effort going into the search and rescue at this stage.

It's very much a search and rescue mission. I should point out, though, that the conditions are deteriorating rapidly. We're talking heavy, heavy rains sweeping in.

Also of course in any big earthquake event, there are aftershocks. These are big aftershocks. We're talking magnitude 4, magnitude 5 on a city that's already weakened by not one but two earthquakes.

[06:30:30] ANDREW STEVENS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So go back to Thursday that was a six magnitude earthquake which weakens a lot of buildings and flattened at many more.

On top of that two days later, you get a tremor which is 15 times more powerful. So, buildings that were already structurally weakened have collapsed and we're getting these aftershocks coming through.

So at the moment, it's very much search and rescue as I say 23 dead. Dozens more expected to be in the rubble and the weather is deteriorating as the Japanese prime minister says this is a race against time like any earthquake in this hours. It is a race against time to get to those survivors while they're still alive.

PAUL: And we can see that in some of the pictures that are coming in here for instance, this bridge that is washed out. You wonder how those resources can get to those people and get those people then to safety. Andrew Steven, thank you so much.

A trio of tornadoes meanwhile, swept through parts of Oklahoma. There were severe storms that struck the Texas can't (ph) handle as well. Storm chasers captured this twister. Look at this thing winding through Texas County. The area has been hit by strong winds and monster hailstorms over the past few days.

BLACKWELL: Wow. Ahead, we've got more on our developing story this morning. The fatal tiger attack at Palm Beach Zoo. The questions now surrounding, what went wrong? We'll try to get some answers this morning.

PAUL: Also more politics for you. Bernie Sanders visits the Vatican and meets the Pope. You're going to hear what he's saying since that meeting now.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: We're so grateful to have you with us today as we follow this developing story out of Greece right now, 6:34 is the time.

[06:35:07] Pope Francis on the island of Lesbos this morning visiting migrant center, it holds thousands of people who are there now as they are trying to escape the violence that has engulfed parts of the Middles East. This is some of the newest video we're getting in here.

BLACKWELL: Now, we understand. The Pope understands that some of those people may face deportation. The Vatican says the Pope's trip is not to criticize that action. Later this hour, the Pope will participate in the ceremony honoring those who died while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea.

PAUL: Now, before the Pope took off of Greece, he had a meeting with Democratic presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders. The meeting was scheduled ahead of time. But, Sanders had said that he hoped it would happen.

Our Ben Wedeman got a chance to speak with Sanders about that meeting including the issues where he and the Pope do not see eye to eye.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I-VT) DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is still (ph) secret at my view on women's rights, on gay rights, on contraception is different from the churches. But I think in this world, what we have to do is work with people when we can work with them, and his leadership in terms of the need to create a moral economy. The need to make sure that we transform our energy system, so is to prevent climate change from wrecking havoc on this planet has been extraordinary.

So, you work with people in those areas as you can, when you disagree, everybody knows what the disagreements are, and let's work together where we can.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And certainly, in the reporting leading up to the conference yesterday, there was an indication that there's an element within the Vatican that has felt the Bern, so to speak.

SANDERS: That may be the case. If so, I am honored and pleased by that because the truth is -- I think it is fair to say, there have been few members of the Senate if any who have been more outspoken and support of the role that the Pope is playing in the fight for, not only economic justice, but talking about the need to create a moral economy.

What we have now, was so few have so much and so many have so little. In my view, it's not only immoral, it is unsustainable. And certainly, in terms of climate change, if we don't boldly address this crisis, I've worry very much about the kind of planet will be living our kids and our grandchildren.

WEDEMAN: Now, why do you suppose -- the other people running in this election, in this lead-up to the election, none of them were invited, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump?

SANDERS: That you'll have to ask them and you'll have to ask the Vatican.

WEDEMAN: And now, there has been some talk that you sort of abandoned the campaign trail to come over here to Rome. How do you respond to that criticism?

SANDERS: If anyone has been following me in New York State for the last week to talk about abandoning anything, we've been doing rally after rally after rally.

We had 27,000 people out of Washington Square Park. We're going back to do another rally. I think tonight, we're going to be working very hard for the next few days.

We'll have talked to over 100,000 people in upstate New York, in almost every borough in the City of New York. We've been working very, very hard. But I did feel that getting this invitation from the Vatican, giving my enormous respect for the Pope is something that I just could not refuse.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: OK. And he brought up that question, that a lot of people are wondering what does this trip means for the voters in New York.

BLACKWELL: Yeah. Is it consequential? Let's dig a little deeper there with CNN Political Commentator, Errol Louis was back with us. Errol, we know statistically that Northeastern Catholics are living that area of the country tend to lean more Democratic than Republican more than and maybe other parts of the country. Will this be consequential? Do you think that there will be able to, maybe not specifically, but there will be some result favorable to the Sanders campaign for having made this trip to Vatican City during the New York primary campaign?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah. You know, we're all scratching our heads here, Victor, honestly because the -- while it may help him, I don't know if it's going to help him in the traditional way that you just outlined where you get to, you know, you meet the holy father and then the Catholics back home might give you a second look or think that you're one of them or think that you're in line with their values and maybe they're a little bit more inclined to vote for you. That's really not the way it works.

In a lot of ways, the Pope has come to stand for sort of a global progressive figure. So, we had our mayor, Mayor De Blasio here in New York City travel to meet the Pope and to attend the similar kind of conference talking about income and equality. And it was sort of like putting a little gold star on somebody who I think was already associated with a lot of those issues.

But, as far as simply attracting Catholics, it just doesn't work that way and it really hasn't for a while now.

[06:40:04] BLACKWELL: So, let's check the inverse now. I mean, we know that Hillary Clinton is in California, while Bernie Sanders is in Rome. But, he has the ground to make up.

Latest "Wall Street Journal" poll shows that he is 17 points behind. Will there be some negative impact of having taken these two days off to be out of New York?

LOUIS: Well, on Wednesday morning they may be kicking themselves. I'm wondering if maybe there were a couple more appearances they could have made. That's if it's a close race.

I don't know if it's going to be that close of a race. I mean, we did our own poll. New York one did about a week ago. And at that point, you know, all polls are sort of a snapshot. He was down by about 12 to 14 points. Some subsequent polls by other organizations suggest that he is not closing that gap in a way that's being picked up by the polls at least.

So unless he's got some sort of a surprise coming, he still got a lot of ground to make up. Now, those rallies that he's mentioned they're really quite extraordinary. I mean, you know, he said 20,000 at Washington Square Park. I've heard that the police estimates were that twice that many people were in the vicinity, but just couldn't get in to the area.

He is generating quite a lot of excitement. He certainly did at the debate the other night. So, we may get a surprise on Tuesday. BLACKWELL: All right, Errol, you're with us for a bit more this morning. We're going to turn toward Hillary Clinton in just a moment. Thank you so much. We'll continue this conversation.

LOUIS: All right, you got it.

BLACKWELL: Christi?

PAUL: You know, ahead on "New Day", we have this close encounter between a naval sub and Russian jets. A lot of people wondering what's behind it, how close those jets came to being shot down by the U.S. Navy, we'll talk about that.

And later, two years after Nigerian girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram, new video showing some of them are indeed alive, reaction from some of the mothers. You do not want to miss this. This is CNN exclusive. Stay close.

BLACKWELL: First though, we want you to meet the CNN hero who is passionate about helping child survivors of war using the sport of soccer. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LUMA MUFLEH, CNN HERO HELPING CHILD SURVIVORS OF WAR USING THE SPORT OF SOCCER: There are so many things stacked against them. For you to be successful you're competing against all these other people that already like 10 steps ahead of you. So, how are you going to catch up? How are you going to stand out and how are you going to contribute successfully?

We're getting people from all over the world, from all different place to come together to do something great.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: It's a great story. If you want to watch more and more of other stories, go to cnnheroes.com.

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[06:46:06] PAUL: Well, Russian jets fly within 30 feet of the U.S. destroyer in the Baltic Sea. And Secretary of State John Kerry says they could have been shot down. Take a listen.

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JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: It is reckless. It is provocative. It is dangerous. It is unprofessional and under the rules of engagement, that could have been a shoot down. So people need to understand that this is serious business. And the United States is not going to be intimidated in the high seas and with respect to our freedom of navigation.

(END VIDEO CLIP) PAUL: So is Russia and military threat to the U.S. and should we expect more of these confrontations in that region? Jill Dougherty is with us, a Russia consultant and former CNN Moscow Bureau Chief. It's so good to have you with us.

So I wanted to ask you. We hear there that it's reckless, that it's provocative. What was the intent first of all?

JILL DOUGHERTY, FORMER CNN MOSCOW BUREAI CHIEF: You know, there are a lot of things going on. This area is fraught with a lot of problems. I mean, you're in the Baltic. The Russians have an enclave to Kaliningrad, which is 43 miles from where this happened.

They have been pouring equipment and personnel into that area. It's becoming more and more militarized. The United States is putting in its own forces that are going to be rotating and going into that area to the Baltic countries, et cetera. So you have a lot of firepower, a lot of potential for problems.

But, I think what they're trying to do is they're really keeping the west off balance. So keeping NATO off balance in conventional weapons and conventional forces they don't have as many as, let say the NATO forces in total, but what they can do is we make NATO wonder, well, could they?

Could they really, could Russia actually attack a NATO country like some of the Baltic nations? Could they do something that's dangerous? And that in itself, just that unpredictability and using that unpredictability can be very effective. They also score points domestically in Russia because Russians think that President Putin is really sucking it to the west.

They're actively testing NATO, seeing how NATO reacts. There are a lot of things going on. Actually I even saw the Russians media using this by quoting the Chinese who said that the United States was humiliated. So there's a lot of messaging and a lot of scoring points right now in a very dangerous situation.

PAUL: All right, Jill Dougherty, we certainly appreciate all the background there. Thank you so much for being with us.

DOUGHERTY: OK.

BLACKWELL: Ahead on "NEW DAY", a CNN exclusive. Two years after Nigerian girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram, new video released by the terrorist group shows some of them are alive. You'll see it here. You'll see also the emotional reactions from some of their mothers.

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[06:52:48] BLACKWELL: All right, a Maryland firefighter is shot and killed in the line of duty. His name is John Ulmschneider. He responded to medical call at a home last night when the person he was there to help, shot him as he tried to enter. Another firefighter was critically injured in that shooting as well. There's also an innocent bystander were told who was also shot. PAUL: Private funeral services today for ex-New Orleans Saint defensive end, Will Smith. Hundreds of friends and former teammates paying their respects yesterday during the public visitation that was held at the Saints Practice Facility.

In the meantime, authorities from the man accused of killing Smith have demanded the New Orleans Police Department pull out of the murder investigation. Lawyers for Cardell Hayes say they have concerns about how evidence was handled.

BLACKWELL: Singer Cyndi Lauper says, she will continue with her concert in North Carolina, but she's going to donate the proceeds from that concert to an LGBT rights group. This comes after North Carolina passed the controversial bathroom village its known, formerly known as "HB2" that mandates the people use the bathroom that corresponds with the gender on the birth certificate instead of the one with which they identify.

Lauper says that she plans to turn her show into an entire day to build public support to repeal that law.

PAUL: And, you know, the NBA is at the center of the firestorm over North Carolina's so-called "Bathroom Law" as well.

BLACKWELL: Yeah. Andy Scholes has now more on what may happen, what the impact maybe on next year's All-Star game.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Absolutely, guys. You know, whether the 2017 NBA All-Star game gets moved out of Charlotte. Actually it's been a very heated topic of debate since North Carolina passed the law last month.

And yesterday, NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver said there's no plan to move the game yet, but the law is very problematic for the league. Silver spoke with reporters after the league's board of governors meeting. He said, "They did not discuss moving the game during the meeting adding that a threat would not be as helpful as trying to encourage change."

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ADAM SILVER, NBA COMMISSIONER: The best role for the league to play here is through constructive engagement towards change, not setting deadlines, not making ultimatums, but working with a private sector and the government to effect change in North Carolina.

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[06:55:04] SCHOLES: Now last month, the Atlanta City council introduced the resolution asking the NBA to move the game to Philips Arena, right here, next to us, guys here at CNN center.

What, wait, and see. You know the games not until February of 2017. So still a lot of time and this of course a fluid situation.

PAUL: A lot going to happen. No doubt. Andy, thank you ... SCHOLE: All right.

PAUL: ... so much. We appreciate it.

BLACKWELL: Ahead more, we've got more in that tiger attack. The fatal attack at a Florida Zoo there in Palm Beach County. We're going to go back to Florida for an update on this still developing story.

PAUL: Also, the death toll is rising after a devastating earthquake in Japan. The latest images we have coming up for you this morning and all the news in the political arena. Stay close.

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BLACKWELL: A tiger mold and killed a zoo keeper in Florida. And today, officials are trying to determine what went wrong there. What made this tiger attacked?

PAUL: Also, listen to this. The region is, "Swaying every hour." That's how one person described the strong aftershocks after two deadly earthquakes battered Southern Japan. And right now, rescuers are frantically trying to dig survivors out of the rubble.

BLACKWELL: And a major presidential primary coming up in just a few days. New York will prove crucial. Donald Trump dominating the Republican field in that state, but is this a tight rate for the Democrats, tighter than the latest polls show?

PAUL: I want to wish you a good morning. It's always great to have you company. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you. And this morning, we are starting with, of course, what's happening in Florida.

But, ahead this hour, we're going to Nigeria, this grim milestone and still a shred of hope. We knew it (ph) outrageous, well two years after Boko Haram kidnapped 276 school girls.

PAUL: I cannot put myself in the position of some of these parents. And I think anybody watching can try to do the same thing.

BLACKWELL: Yeah.