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NEW DAY SATURDAY
Big Cat Mauls Florida Zookeeper To Death; Death Toll In Second Japan Quake Rises To 26; Sanders Meets Pope, Talks Economy In Vatican City; Twelve Refugees Board Pope's Plane; Pope Brings Three Refugee Families Back to Rome; The GOP Delegate War; Proof of Life Video for Kidnapped Nigerian Schoolgirls; The Federal Reserve and the US Economy. Aired 8-9a ET
Aired April 16, 2016 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you. We got a lot going on. With politics, we've got, of course, the run-up to the New York primary on Tuesday. There are some delegates that are being chosen in Wyoming.
Bernie Sanders met with Pope Francis and that happened overnight. We'll hear from Bernie Sanders in just a moment but first, we're starting with a tragic story out of West Palm Beach, Florida.
PAUL: Yes, an experienced zookeeper who was mauled to death by a tiger as she prepared for a live tiger show, in fact.
BLACKWELL: Right now, officials are not sure what went wrong yesterday afternoon when that tiger attack, but we know there is an investigation underway and the zoo says it will remain closed for the weekend.
We've got our Boris Sanchez right outside the Palm Beach Zoo there in West Palm Beach. Boris, do we know what happened in the moments leading up to that attack?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We don't right now, Victor and Christi. That's certainly what investigators are looking closely at to determine why this happened. Was the tiger perhaps provoked or is it simply being playful and not knowing its own strength?
Right now, we can tell you that the zoo is, as you mentioned, closed and investigators are studying to figure out what it was that happened during this preparation for a tiger talk presentation that the zookeeper, Stacy Konwiser, was about to give to zoo goers.
She was in charge of the four tigers here at the Palm Beach zoo, three males and one female. One of the males, a 13-year-old simply attacked her at 2:00 yesterday.
Emergency medical officials were sent in. It took some time for them to get to her because the tiger had to be tranquilized. It took some time for the drugs to take effect before they could reach her.
Eventually they did. She was rushed to the hospital. Sadly, she didn't make it. The tiger was tranquilized, but the plans for his future is still unclear.
The zoo has remained very tight lipped about what they plan to do with him, though, they did released a statement. I'm going to read it to you now.
It says, quote, "It is with great sadness the Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society mourns the loss of our lead keeper, Stacy Konwiser."
They go on to say, "We want to underscore that at no time was the public at any risk, at no time did any animal escape." Of course, this happened as she was preparing for the exhibit. There was no zoo goers around that area.
They were all evacuated and the zoo was immediately shut down. As you can imagine, incidents like this spark controversy and one of the groups speaking out against the way that these animals are kept, of course, is PETA.
They put out a statement saying, quote, "We hope this incident will save human lives in the future by making zoos everywhere reconsider the confinement of big cats and other wildlife."
That's in reference to these night houses where the animals are kept really where this incident happened. It's where they sleep and are given food.
And it's very controversial partly because of the way that zoos get the animals to comply with going into these enclosures. Big cat experts tell us that these animals are most active at night and so to force them held without food and other tactics are force them into going into these very tight cramp enclosures -- Victor and Christi.
BLACKWELL: All right, some long-term questions that need to be answered and some short term as this investigation continues. Boris Sanchez for us there in West Palm Beach. Boris, thank you.
PAUL: Let's talk to "Animal Planet's" Dave Salmoni about this. Dave, first of all, I want to know what your thoughts are upon hearing this news.
DAVE SALMONI, ANIMAL PLANET'S LARGE PREDATOR EXPERT: Obviously, my heart goes out to her. You know, I handled big cats myself. We all know that this is the risk we take on when we do something that we are so passionate about. It's really sad.
PAUL: When you say that you know this is a risk, is there any point when you're with an animal that you can sense perhaps the energy has changed and there might be a danger in what's happening around you?
SALMONI: As a handler, that's your job. Your job is to read the animal's body posture all the time. Tigers aren't mysteries or secretive in that way where they want to communicate with their body and noises and will tell you whether they are comfortable or uncomfortable. And it's your job to continue to try to find ways to make them comfortable and assess your own safety.
PAUL: As we look at the investigation, do you know was she alone in this area with the tiger? Are there cameras in this area that might be able to help determine exactly what happened?
SALMONI: I don't know any of the details on that, but I think none of it has been released yet --
PAUL: Usually, I guess, are there cameras in an area like this and would somebody be left alone with a tiger?
SALMONI: Yes, it would be really unlikely. I know that the zoo is an accredited zoo and therefore, they would have all these safety procedures to do this kind of thing.
[08:05:04]And one of those safety procedures to get accredited would be that you would always have to have a backup, somebody with some of the safety precautions, some of the safety tools that you need would be there over her shoulder.
But in the end, when you're in really tight quarters like the evening quarters for a tiger, it happens really quickly.
PAUL: A lot of people might be wondering, too, what is going to happen to this tiger?
SALMONI: They have to assess how capable they are of this tiger becoming a non-contact tiger, meaning, most zoos that you go to they have outdoor playing enclosure and indoor safety and go in and out based on their hunger.
They get fed in one area or another. In my opinion, it's a more full life to have contact because you can challenge their brain, but once a tiger has killed somebody, you probably would be unethical to allow them to continue to let them be a contact tiger.
If they are able to just, OK, you're going to be a zoo exhibit tiger for the rest of your life, and do that safely then there is no real reason. We're not learning anything new this tiger killed somebody.
They are capable of doing it. So I think if they can't -- if they can't safely have a non-contact tiger they might have to think of another home for that animal or something worse.
PAUL: OK. We just wanted to get out there that PETA has spoken out against keeping these big cats in zoos saying that they need to roam wild. I have 10 seconds, what is your thought on that, Dave?
SALMONI: I think it's an unrealistic view. Everyone would love to have a perfect world where there are no captive animals, but there are so people like this girl that lost her life are taking care of these animals as best as they can.
PAUL: OK, Dave Salmoni, we really appreciate your insight. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us.
SALMONI: Thanks for having me.
PAUL: Certainly thoughts going to the girl's family and to her family at the zoo. I mean, this is jolting for everybody.
BLACKWELL: All right.
Turning now to Japan where thousands are fleeing as the death toll continues to rise from a second earthquake that happened this morning.
PAUL: At least 26 people are now confirmed dead. That's a new number just in the last hour here. Many more, of course, though, are feared dead because they believed that they are trapped under the rubble.
BLACKWELL: This is surveillance video from inside an office building. Watch this. This is the moment that the 7.0 quake struck. Now the pictures are remarkable but now listen to this earthquake. You hear the growing rumble and rattling inside the room.
Let's go to CNN's Andrew Stevens, he is in Tokyo, where we are understanding that some people felt that earthquake that far away and tell us about the evacuations happening right now.
ANDREW STEVENS, CNN ASIA PACIFIC EDITOR: First of all, victor, yes, Tokyo is nearly 600 miles away from Kyushu Island to give you an idea of the strength of those tremors down there. I just want to give you a bit of perspective here.
Because in 1995, there was a big earthquake but less powerful from the one we've experienced about 18 hours ago. There was a big earthquake in Kobe, which is a very built up area, nearly 6,500 people lost their lives in that earthquake in Kobe.
In 2016, today, we've got a much bigger earthquake but so far the death toll is standing around 26. There are still dozens, we believe, we are being told by local authorities who are still under the rubble.
But it's not going to have the same catastrophic effect on the loss of human life that we would have seen had it been a much more built up area.
Having said that, though, Victor, the Japanese authorities are throwing 25,000 personnel from the Japanese defense forces into that quake zone just to try to get people out and also, obviously, the shelter for people who lost homes who are in fear of losing their homes.
A lot of these homes are now obviously uninhabitable. Something like 100,000 people have been evacuated. They are now in shelters around the main population centers.
They are in community centers, in sport centers, in schools so they are spread out pretty across the area. They have to be fed. They have to be looked after. If you go to a convenience store now in Kumamoto City, which is the main city in the area, which was hit. If you go to a convenience store there, you will not find any food on the shelves. We've seen pictures of this.
So that is why the authorities are sending a lot of people down there to deal with this situation. What makes it worse, of course, as with any big seismic event, you get a lot of aftershocks.
[08:10:01]We're hearing constant reports of aftershocks, 5 magnitudes, 4 magnitudes, that sort of size. On top of that, you've also got heavy rain forecast.
That has the potential to loosen areas which are already prone to landslides. We've been hearing reports of landslides. It's still a very critical situation down there at the moment. Back to you two.
BLACKWELL: We've seen some of the stunning pictures of those landslides that you've mentioned with the roads washed out and a car teetering on a cliff that was created by that washed out road and some of the mudslides there. Unbelievable pictures coming out of Japan. Andrew Stevens there for us in Tokyo, thank you so much.
PAUL: I want to tell you this morning about Pope Francis in Greece on the island of Lesbos right now calling attention to plight of tens of thousands of migrants.
I mean, look at this picture that came into us just in the last couple of hours. It's almost -- you're speechless when you see this little girl collapsed at the feet of the pope, weeping and you wonder what is she saying to him? What is she pleading to him for?
Earlier, we should point out the pope tweeted, "Refugees are not numbers, they are people who have faces, names, stories and need to be treated as such." And we see him doing that there today in that refugee camp.
BLACKWELL: Much more ahead on your "NEW DAY." We're just getting started this hour and we are going to turn to politics in a moment, and the tone of this race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
You saw it heat up on Thursday night here on CNN during that debate. There are new attacks making headlines this morning. We'll have those for you.
PAUL: Also the GOP, big fight for delegates out west in Wyoming, Trump launching fresh attacks against the Republican Party. We'll get reaction for you.
BLACKWELL: Also, this disturbing story out of Maryland, a firefighter responding to a home to help a person, that person then turns a gun on the firefighter, kills that person. Others were shot, as well. Was this an ambush?
BLACKWELL: Just three days ago now before the New York primary, the votes for the Democratic Party and this could be really important here. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are not in the states.
Sanders returning from the Vatican later today after attending that conference on the economy and meeting with the pope overnight. Clinton is in California attending several fundraisers. Both candidates have not been playing nice anymore attacking one another on taxes, speeches, much more.
Let's bring in now, Philip Levine, the mayor of Miami Beach and Hillary Clinton supporter, and Jonathan Tasini, political strategist and author of "The Essential Bernie Sanders and His Vision for America," obviously a Bernie Sanders supporter. Good to have both of you this morning.
So I want to start with the big headline and start with you on this, Philip. Bernie Sanders in 2014, he and his wife, Jane, pulled in about $206,000, you see the numbers, the break down there.
Compare that to Hillary Clinton and former President Clinton's income in 2014, $28,336,212. That disparity, does that compromise her message of fighting for the middle class for those who need that help, this disparity of 100 to 1 as it relates to income?
MAYOR PHILIP LEVINE, MIAMI BEACH: I think first of all, the fact that Secretary Clinton and President Clinton were so transparent at releasing their tax records is of the start as the right thing to do.
Listen, Secretary Clinton's husband was the most popular two-term president of the United States of America and all former presidents go on speaking tours and they do very, very well.
What's most important, the fact that you can't get the tax returns from previous years from Senator Sanders. I think during the debate what he said is his wife is very busy, he couldn't get to it.
I would like to tell Senator Sanders, a financial wizard that wants to break the banks, there is an organization out there called H and R Block and they will actually get your previous tax returns, help you do that, bring it to what's called a copy machine, make copies for you --
BLACKWELL: All right. We get the point.
LEVINE: -- and bring it out to everybody.
BLACKWELL: Let me give it to Jonathan now. If there is no big, bold headline out of these tax returns, why did he wait so wait so long after months and months of calls to release them?
JONATHAN TASINI, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: The mayor, of course, did not answer your question, Victor. He read from the talking points the Clinton campaign. The Clinton campaign throughout this campaign has tried to avoid the real issues. They want to throw out things that are really irrelevant and don't want to talk about Hillary Clinton's vote for the Iraq war. They don't want to talk about the fact that she's received $225,000 from Goldman Sachs.
That she's awash in corporate money, that she receives money from oil and gas interests that are complete contrary to the idea of combatting climate change.
The truth is to your point about their wealth, they are part not just of the 1 percent but one-tenth of 1 percent and I think your lead in to this piece, basically exemplified the entire debate.
Bernie Sanders goes to the Vatican to talk about the crisis in the world, to talk about the economic crisis facing all people. The crisis that partly the Clintons brought on by bad trade agreements in this country.
On the other hand, Hillary Clinton travels out west to California to hob knob with the 1 percent, the very people who have been involved in this crisis --
BLACKWELL: Jonathan, let me jump in here because you started your answer by saying that Mayor Levine didn't answer my question, you didn't answer my question either. Why did it take him so long to release the tax returns a single year if this is what he was going to release?
LEVINE: Jonathan, you're a biographer, you should know these answers.
BLACKWELL: Hold on, go ahead, Jonathan.
TASINI: First of all, let's be clear, not biographer, collection of his wonderful speeches over the last 30 years -- which shows that this is a man of principle that hasn't changed positions based on polls at all.
To your point, look, nobody doubted that Bernie Sanders was a man of modest means. This is why this was a phony issue. Like many Americans, frankly, I actually had to ask for an extension of my taxes because I've been traveling, following Bernie.
He is a presidential candidate. They simply didn't have time. You want to hold him accountable for that? Fine --
LEVINE: It's a great organization --
BLACKWELL: Jonathan Tasini, Philip Levine, I have to wrap this up early. I understand we have a bit of breaking news. Thank you both, we'll continue the conversation.
PAUL: Yes, we are getting some breaking news, Victor. The pope, as we understand, as we have seen him in the refugee camp in Greece today just got on his plane with 14 refugees that he is taking back to Rome with him. We'll have more for you in just moment. Again, the pope just was with refugees this morning. We saw video of that child who collapsed at his feet in tears. Obviously, he walked through this refugee camp. People are pleading with him, 14 people now next to the pope's side on the plane and heading back to Rome with him. We're back in a minute with more.
BLACKWELL: Welcome back. We've got the video here of Pope Francis boarding that plane as he leaves Lesbos after speaking with refugees, the breaking news is that the pope will be taking 12 people, 12 refugees with him back to from Rome.
We have this statement from the director of the Holy Seat Press Office and I'll read it to you, "The pope has desired to make a gesture of welcome regarding refugees accompanying on his plane to Rome three families of refugees from Syria, 12 people in all including six children.
These are all people who are already in camps in Lesbos before the agreement between the European Union and Turkey. All the members of the three families are Muslims, two families come from Damascus, one from another area, as well. Their homes have been bombed.
The Vatican we are told will take responsibility for bringing in and maintaining the three families. We also know that this is not the first family that has been invited into the Vatican, the Vatican parish first adopted their first family of refugees in September of 2015.
But the pope after tweeting out that refugees are not numbers, they are people has not just adopted, I guess, 12 additional people, three families.
Live pictures here of the papal plane about to take off with this unexpected decision, at least on our part, maybe this is something planned on their part to take these three families back to the Vatican.
[08:25:07]PAUL: That's what I'm wondering. I'm wondering if perhaps there were conversations prior to the pope getting to this refugee camp with some of the leaders.
We know that he had meetings this morning with some of the leaders there in Greece talking about people who he might want to take back. Are these three families who were identified earlier? Is this something that happened randomly?
BLACKWELL: It is a stunning decision, either way.
PAUL: It is either way because can you imagine one minute you're sitting in a refugee camp and you have no idea what's going to happen to your feature and the next minute, you're on a plane with the pope going to Rome. I want to show you pictures from just a while ago when the pope is walking through that refugee camp. Atika Shubert is there and she was telling us how there were people falling at his feet, crying, reaching out to touch him.
Anybody looking for hope because this is not just a refugee camp but detention camp she said as well. These people had been there, some of them for a very long time.
What is stunning about this turn of events, if you put yourself in their shoes, here your home has been bombed. You're trying to get to Europe.
You're stopped in Greece and at this refugee camp with people that you don't know wondering where perhaps your next meal will come from, what is the future of your children as we saw really if we can pull it up.
The picture if you're just joining us of this little girl who fell at his feet sobbing. Of course, we could not understand what she was saying. I wish that we could. Here are her cries.
BLACKWELL: Here it is.
PAUL: You wonder if an image like this, if cries from the child like this moved the pope to say come home with me. We do not know this little girl is one of the six on the plane but we are waiting to hear.
BLACKWELL: You look on the right side of your screen. These are live pictures of the papal plane as it prepares to take off after this visit to Greece.
The pope laying a wreath there in the waters to memorialize and honor those who lost their lives in transit leaving Syria, looking for refuge in other countries across Europe.
And I just want to read for you the tweets from Pope Francis this morning. Really encapsulates his sentiment as he traveled here to meet with the refugees. He tweets that refugees are not numbers.
They are people who have faces, names, stories, and need to be treated as such. You see that on the left side of your screen, apologies for the size, but we want to keep the picture on the right side showing what will be another change for the 12 people on that plane.
They went from being families living in Syria, living normal lives to now being refugees seeking safety and comfort and now going to Vatican City with the pope.
PAUL: We know that they will be, as Victor said, that the Vatican is taking responsibility not just for bringing families in but for maintaining these three families.
We don't know how long they have been there or what their trek was like to get to that refugee camp but we've seen the pictures.
Again, here is the plane as it's getting ready to take off and I look at that, Victor, and cannot help but wonder what is going through the minds of these people? We know six children, 12 people in all.
Are the parents sitting on that plane with their children finally for the first time in months feeling like I may have a chance? There is a hope here.
They may be feeling hope for the first time, which is something the pope was determined to make known when he was there. He wanted these people to understand that they, as Victor said, were not forgotten, that there is hope.
That there are people thinking about them, that there is a place for them in the world even if they cannot feel that place right now. These people, as you said, they are going to another new environment. They are going to Rome.
They don't know what's ahead of them, but certainly very possibly for the first time in months they are feeling some safety.
BLACKWELL: Again, this is not the first family adopted by the Vatican parish. We know that there was a family that was adopted in 2015. Discussions of adopting additional families and we, again, don't know the identities of the people on this plane.
We know that there were three families including six children. Two of the families from Damascus. The plane soon to take off here, but the pope has made calls to governments across the world, national governments, even small municipal governments to take in and welcome the families.
As we know here across the United States, the plan to bring in thousands of refugees from Syria has been a hot potato politically.
PAUL: Very controversial.
[08:30:001 BLACKWELL: Separated along political lines.
PAUL: Yes, because there are a lot of questions about the intent of the people that they will bring in ...
BLACKWELL: And about the ability to vet these families here in the U.S.
PAUL: That's what I mean, yeah.
BLACKWELL: But the Pope sitting that aside saying that these are people with stories and names and need to be taken care of and he is taking three families back to Rome. The plane set to take off in just a few moments.
Again, on the left side of your screen, you're seeing the Pope greeting many of the Syrian refugees here at this camp in Lesbos and there were many, as we were told by CNN'S Atika Shubert emotional moments. Not just the one that we've been showing this morning of that young girl collapsing at his feet, but also a man who wept there after meeting the Pope and a woman who slipped a note into his hands. We don't know if any of these individual Syrians who spoke with the Pope and these individual anecdotes are part of the families that are on this plane, but we expect it, we will learn more about how this was organized, if it was something planned with the organizers of this camp, with the Greek government or if this was something that was sporadic. But the Pope was moved in the moment to say, "I cannot leave you here. Come with me."
We'll take a quick break. We'll tell you what we learn as we try to learn more about the Pope's decision to bring 12 Syrian refugees from this camp in Lesbos within on the papal plane and take them back to Vatican City.
Keep it here on CNN.
[08:35:02] BLACKWELL: And we're still following the breaking news that's happening in Lesbos, Greece as the Pope's plane takes off. We know that he has taken 12 Syrian refugees from that camp back to Vatican City with him. We know that there are 12 people in total from three families including six children. We have our reporters across the globe getting more details on the decision to take these refugees back to the Vatican and who they are. We'll get to that as soon as we can.
PAUL: Meanwhile, we have to delve into the political arena. Of course this morning, Donald Trump dominating the polls ahead of his home state primary in New York. He could pick up every delegate in that race. Ted Cruz, however, also picking up delegates, such as the 34 that he took in Colorado. And because of that, Trump says, "You know what, this system is rigged.'' Trump's word not mine. "The system is rigged,'' he said. Let's talk about this process.
Trump supporter, Scottie Nell Hughes and Cruz supporter Steve Lonegan with us. Thank you both so much for being with us.
Scottie, I want to start with you. Trump, we know, prides himself on being a deal maker so to speak. Is there any indication that Cruz might be out dealing him this time around?
STEVE LONEGAN, TED CRUZ SURROGATE: Oh, there absolutely is ...
SCOTTIE NELL HUGHES, DONALD TRUMP SURROGATE: No, because Mr. Trump is ...
PAUL: I'm sorry, Scottie, go ahead.
HUGHES: No, because Mr. Trump is still winning. He's still wining in delegates. He's still winning in popular vote. He's still winning in state numbers. There's not any category right now of the GOP that Mr. Trump is not winning.
Yes, the Cruz campaign has done a fabulous job of being politicians. We know that. Mr. Trump -- or Senator Cruz started back in January of 2015 of building his delegate team and studying the states. Congratulations. But what this campaign is exposing, what this election is exposing, is that the politicals have written the rules so that they keep themselves in office and not let a chance of an outsider or fresh blood ever getting into the system. Senator Cruz just confirmed that he is a politician by winning in cases where politics win.
PAUL: Well, listen, we have ...
LONEGAN: Well, Donald ...
PAUL: ... we have a statement -- oh, I'm sorry, go ahead Steve, go ahead.
LONEGAN: You know, Donald Trump has been losing, losing, losing for the last two weeks. A massive loss in Utah. He been lost, as you know, Colorado because we out worked him and defeated him there. He lost North Dakota and that huge loss in Wisconsin. Now we're going into New York.
You know, I have to apologize, Scottie. I heard Donald Trump say and I will apologize. I did hear him say, "We're going to win, win, win until America's tired of winning.'' But I didn't realize he was really saying he's going to whine, whine, whine until America is tired of whining.
As of today, Donald Trump is refusing to release his tax returns and we need to remind people that. This guy will not come clean in his tax returns when Ted Cruz has, when Hillary has, when Bernie Sanders has. What is Donald Trump hiding on tax return?
PAUL: Do you think he brings as a point, Scottie?
LONEGAN: He refuses to come clear.
PAUL: Bernie Sanders just after a lot of pressure, Bernie Sanders just released his tax returns from 2014, some short hours ago. Why will Donald Trump not do the same?
HUGHES: Why does he have to? He doesn't legally have to. He has disclosed everything he legally has to do bound by law for all relating his taxes (inaudible).
LONEGAN: No, but he ethically has to.
PAUL: Scottie, let me ask you. When everybody else has done so, is it then not a target on the wall to him being one of the only ones that has not?
HUGHES: But I think it also shows that he has to submit to everybody else's demands and that's not how Mr. Trump does this. He's not going to submit to politicians calling him out saying you have to do how we do it. He doesn't play those games and that's the reason why people don't trust politicians today because they want everybody to see ...
LONEGAN: That's bogus.
PAUL: OK. Real quickly, listen, we only have a couple seconds left and I'm sorry because I know that it's been very short but Steve, I want to give you a chance here.
PAUL: Looking at the numbers, your candidate Cruz is in third place in New York as we're looking ahead. What happens if he comes in third? Does that change the game ...
LONEGAN: Everybody expects Donald Trump to sweep New York, win New York, and take all 95 delegates. If he doesn't take all 95, if gets under 50 percent, it's time for Donald Trump to get out of the race because he keeps losing, losing, losing.
LONEGAN: You know what? Donald Trump is ...
HUGHES: That's laughable.
LONEGAN: ... is not releasing his tax returns, he does not release his tax returns because he doesn't want the voters to see ...
PAUL: All right.
LONEGAN: ... how much money he gave to Michael Bloomberg's gun control group and ...
PAUL: I appreciate your voices and I apologize. I know it's short and we've just had a lot of news happening this morning.
Thank you both so much for taking the time to be with us.
BLACKWELL: All right. Ahead on "New Day", we've got more on that new video released by Boko Haram of the missing Nigerian girls. It's been now two years since they were abducted, a proof that they are still alive.
And next, we'll get reaction from an activist trying to bring those girls home.
[08:42:55] BLACKWELL: Coming up on 17 minutes before the top of the hour now. And it has been two years, two years since more than 200 Nigerian school girls were kidnapped by the terror group Boko Haram.
PAUL: And you cannot imagine what their families go through knowing and believing them to still be alive. This is a disappearance that ignited this global, Bring Back Our Girls campaign, #BringBackOurGirls, and it would aimed finding the young women.
Now, we need to point out, this is some of the video that just surfaced recently. That is a proof of life video showing a government's belief that these girls are indeed still alive or at least the ones we see here in the video that we know 57 girls did escape. These still missing, however. CNN was exclusively shown this video. It was release, we should point out by the Nigerian government or to the Nigerian government rather by Boko Haram.
And we do want to talk now to Evon Idahosa. She is Founder and Executive Director of Pathfinders Justice Initiative Incorporated, a part of a major epic (ph) push in Nigeria to find these girls.
So, Evon, I want to thank you so much for being with us. Thank you for your efforts, certainly. Help us understand why you believe the Nigerian government has not been able to find these girls.
EVON IDAHOSA, PATHFINDERS JUSTICE INITIATIVE FOUNDER/EXEC. DIRECTOR: Well, I think what we've had was initially the lack of political will and the lack of prioritization of this issue by the prior Jonathan Administration. And so, we really lost a lot of valuable time right at the outset. And we know that the first 48 hours are really quite significant after that kidnapping. And so, we really lost a lot of valuable time right at the outset.
And for the Buhari Administration, which came on a year later, it's obviously created a lot of problems because we know that the girls are probably, you know, broken off into different smaller groups now. And so, I think the fact they have actually probably spread out across various parts of Nigeria and possibly into neighboring countries creates a complication that makes it much, much more difficult to recover all of them.
[08:45:10] PAUL: You talked about 57 girls who escaped. What do we know about the life they are living?
IDAHOSA: Well, we know that some of them are actually here in the United States studying, and really trying to put the pieces of their lives back together. There is an additional group that actually still in Nigeria and studying at the university college there in Nigeria, as well.
I mean, these girls are, you know, they are courageous, they are focused on making sure that their lives accomplish exactly what it is that they would like to see happen for themselves. And so, they're doing very, very well in school and just trying to pick up the pieces of their lives.
But they are also significantly, not just survivors of the Boko Haram insurgency, but many of them are now advocates and are demanding that their sisters be returned by Boko Haram.
PAUL: We're showing pictures here, Evon. I believe these are mothers who are looking at pictures of their daughters, people that you've talked to. Help us understand their stories.
IDAHOSA: Yeah. You know, I mean, I -- yeah, as a second year anniversary of -- was rolling about, you know, coming up, I was trying to think of a way to really try to awaken the conscience of humanity because a lot of people have moved on from the story, but the reality is that for the majority of mothers and fathers and family members who are living and dealing with this on a daily basis, this is still very much real because we know that 219 of these girls have not been returned.
I met -- I was fortunate enough to interview and discussed some of the pain and the reality of the lives of three of these mothers and those are the pictures that you see there. I just really asked them questions about what their lives have been like over the last two years without their daughters and all of that essentially was comprised in the photo essay entitled "Letters to our Daughters, Hope Endures" and it really chronicles what these mothers would like to say to their daughters and what their lives have been like over the last two years without them.
PAUL: We only have a couple seconds, but what do these mothers want to say to their daughters?
IDAHOSA: The mothers what to tell their daughters to hang on and to hold on. These are mothers who have incredible faith, unparalleled faith. And, you know, they've rally essentially said hang on, be strong, God will get you out of this. And they want the rest of the world, if there's nothing you can do specifically, please pray for them. And that's what they wanted me to convey.
PAUL: Evon Idahosa, we appreciate your efforts and we appreciate you taking time to talk with us and wishing you the very best. Thank you.
IDAHOSA: Thank you very much, thanks.
BLACKWELL: Ahead on "New Day", GOP presidential candidates predict doom and gloom for the U.S. economy. Is that actual or is it just politics here? And what does this mean to voters?
[08:51:34] PAUL: Well, Ted Cruz says the economy is in for a crash. Telling CNBC it's the Federal Reserve's fault. I want to read you exactly what he said here. "The Fed has driven up stock prices. But that's not built on anything real. It's not built on an increase and the intrinsic value of those assets. That's just playing games with money, which means a crash will be coming."
And here's the thing, Donald Trump agrees. They don't agree on a lot, but they agree on this. He's already fed that the U.S. is in for a massive recession, Donald Trump has.
So should we trust the GOP candidates?
Jason Johnson is here, Politics Editor at TheRoot.com. I'm wondering, when we look at this, a lot of people look at Donald Trump and think because he is so successful in business ...
JASON JOHNSON, THEROOT.COM POLITICS EDITOR: Right.
PAUL: ... there may be more credence to what he says as opposed to what Cruz says. But how much credence do you put in these two candidate's prediction of the U.S. financial future?
JOHNSON: Well, there's there actual skill set and then there's the time of year that we're in. Usually, if you are challenging the incumbent party, you're going to say, "Hey, everything is going bad, everything is going bad, it's time for a change." So, it makes sense for both Republicans to say that the economy is going to get worse because they help some of this fall.
On a practical level, you would trust Donald Trump more than Ted Cruz. Most of the polls show that Republican voters trust Donald Trump on the economy more than Ted Cruz. Now, I don't think either one of them have a crystal ball to how our economy works, but if anyone was going to make a guess, Trump would be a better candidate.
PAUL: It certainly had people asking questions and Fareed Zakaria in fact spoke with several former Fed chairs including the current one who said that they do not have any fears of a recession coming.
JOHNSON: Yeah. And that's the thing. They are going to make this prediction because they're Republicans and that's what you have to do if you're trying to challenge the incumbent party. And if there's somebody who knows, Trump would know more but that doesn't mean that he's correct. I don't think there's any actual indicator that the economy is in bad shape right now.
And if we look at the Fed and we look at the interest rates, none of those things --they're not vacillating in the way that usually said, "Hey, we're heading for a crash, we're heading for difficulties'' ...
PAUL: They're not growing at the rate that people expected them to grow.
PAUL: However, what you're saying is we're not seeing any red flags that we're ready for a crash.
JOHNSON: No, no. We're not seeing the red flags. And what we've also seen in our general economy, we've seen the unemployment rates go up, we've seen housing prices go up and housing sales go up. All of those things tend to be on the ground, a better indicator of an improving economy. But again, nobody who is running for president right now as Republican's going to say, the economy is great because that helps Obama and that helps Hillary, and that help Bernie.
PAUL: Let's say it's fear mongering ...
PAUL: ... does it work to a degree?
JOHNSON: It never has in the past. I mean, you can say the economy is bad but if people don't feel and it and if people can't attribute it to a particular party, we've gone through what eight, 10 years of a bad economy now, essentially almost since 9/11. Most voters feel like, "I don't know if I can trust the Republicans or the Democrats to improve it." So ...
PAUL: There's skepticism all the way around.
JOHNSON: Exactly, exactly. So, I don't think the fear mongering works.
PAUL: Let's talk about Bernie Sanders here because he says that he agrees with the Pope on his plans for the economy. Let's listen here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I-VT) DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So I am just so excited to be here, so proud to be here with other like- minded people who are trying to do our best to create a moral economy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: The idea of a moral economy basically saying even though it's working, it's not working.
JOHNSON: Right. Exactly.
PAUL: So, what do you think about his stance and politically, will it do anything for him?
JOHNSON: This is our probably weekly reminder that Bernie Sanders is a Democratic socialist and not necessarily a Democrat.
[08:55:03] He is always been arguing for these kinds of issues. And look, it makes sense. It's a good look for him to be an event at the Vatican. It is some place where he can get a bigger megaphone for his belief system. And I think most Americans agree. We wish we had a more moral economy but that may not be how capitalism works in the United States and I don't know if he'll be able to accomplish it.
PAUL: OK. And lastly, you know, we know that Donald Trump is going to be speaking and talking about this rigged system of delegates. How much potency do you think is in that argument? Is that something that's going to stay?
JOHNSON: You know, the guy complaining about the rules as usually one losing and so I think it's really strange for him to be complaining about this ...
PAUL: And he's -- because he's winning.
JOHNSON: Exactly. And it just sounds like sour grapes to me. I don't think it's a very strong argument. Donald Trump is in the lead, he's got more delegates. Hit the books. Make your team do their job and win the delegate fight. And I think this whining that he's doing right now, it's unseemingly for a guy who is by far and away, the front-runner candidate and the likely nominee for the Republican Party.
PAUL: All right. Jason Johnson, always a pleasure to have you here.
JOHNSON: Thanks, Christi.
PAUL: Thank you for being here.
BLACKWELL: And all those candidates are on the move today. We know that Bernie Sanders will be heading back from Rome. We know that Ted Cruz, he will be speaking to the Wyoming GOP convention later today as they choose 14 additional delegates to go to the national convention. Donald Trump speaking in just a few hours in New York and we'll see if he doubles down, triples down on this line of the system being rigged.
PAUL: All of that ahead on "NEWSROOM", that's at 10:00 a.m. But "SMECONISH" is coming up next. Stay close.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST: I'm Michael Smerconish.