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Ecuador Quake Leaves 70 Plus Dead, Nearly 600 Injured; Thousands In Shelters As Aftershocks Shake Japan; Trump Promises "Rough July" For GOP; Clooney On Fundraiser: "Obscene Amount Of Money" Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired April 17, 2016 - 06:00   ET




[06:00:11] VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Look at this. We're starting with this breaking news this morning. A deadly 7.8 magnitude earthquake has rattled coastal towns in Ecuador. Seventy seven people have been killed, nearly 600 others thus far injured, and rescue crews are scrambling to look for survivors under this rubble.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Take a look here at this video. Bystanders jumping in to help trying to pull people out of a crushed car is what you're looking at there. The government has sent 10,000 soldiers and 3,500 police officers to these affected areas and officials say the death toll is expected to go up. That's just one of the things we're covering today.

We are so grateful for your company, as always. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you.

PAUL: So let's go straight to CNN meteorologist, Derek Van Dam for more on this quake. Derek, as we look at this, we are wondering how bad this one is, comparatively to what we were talking about just yesterday in Japan. Actually this week, as we've seen. This is the third major earthquake we're talking about in a matter of four or five days.

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: That's right. Christi and Victor, this earthquake is about 15 times stronger than the earthquake in Japan, but with marked differences especially when it comes to the resilience of this country having to cope with a natural disaster of this magnitude.

We're talking about a populated area versus a sparsely populated area. Let me show you the details. This is the epicenter of the Ecuador 7.8 earthquake, very sparsely populated area, not much activity across the epicenter where the 7.8 magnitude actually occurred.

When you compare that to Japan, these tall columns representing a larger population density. They felt a significant more shaking just because the amount of pure people in that region that had the ability to experience the earthquake itself. But Japan is also susceptible to earthquakes so they can prepare and are more resilient to these types of natural disasters compared to Ecuador. There is the statistics, the 7.8 in Ecuador. It all formed on this ring of fire where continents collide.

This is where we see about 90 percent of the world's active earthquakes and also about 450 volcanos lie within that ring of fire which, by the way, is connected between Japan, the Pacific and on to the other side of the world near Ecuador. Victor, Christi, back to you.

PAUL: All righty, Derek Van Dam, we appreciate it. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right, let's talk about now what we saw all this week in Japan. The death toll now at 41 after the recent quakes there. More than 100,000 people are in shelters. And the seismic activity continues in the area with no signs of stopping any time soon.

CNN's Matt Rivers is live from Kumamoto, Japan. Matt, be a little more specific about where you are there and what are you seeing around you?

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor, we're in one of the harder- hit neighborhoods here. It is a block by block thing when it comes to damage, but you can see right behind me, this up until a few days ago was a two-story house that got completely decimated by the earthquake that happened on Saturday.

Remember there were two earthquakes that happened, one on Thursday, which is a 6.2 magnitude and then another on Saturday, which is a 7.0 magnitude. Really that's just an incredible amount of force for any neighborhood to take, for any buildings to take. It's not just houses.

This was a two-story office complex. You can see right here, this was actually a support beam. This was in the ground up until a couple of days ago, and it kicked right out and the building came down on top of it.

Incredible amount of damage here. The kind of thing that japan does see every now and then, but still for people we've talk to, it's not something they could ever get used to.

PAUL: All righty. What more are you learning this hour about rescue efforts especially there? It gets dark and there's no electricity. What are the resources available?

RIVERS: That's right. There are a lot of resources available, but how effective can be given the conditions we've seen over the last couple of days. It rained a lot here during the day yesterday making rescue efforts very difficult.

As we head into tonight, it was sunny during the day, so they were able to make some progress. We're heading into the evening hours here. That always makes things more difficult. We are told by authorities that they do think that more people remain trapped amidst rubble like just this. So the authorities have their work cut out for them over the next 12, 24, 36 hours as they try and find any survivors that might still be out there.

[06:05:02]BLACKWELL: All right, Matt Rivers live for us in Kumamoto, Japan. Matt, thanks so much.

PAUL: All right, let's get you your daily dose of politics here. The GOP race for the New York primary on Tuesday. Ted Cruz proves his team has a stronger ground game in Wyoming, snapping up all 14 delegates in the state, national convention Saturday and yesterday, of course.

And Donald Trump, the frontrunner, continuing his attacks on the delegate process at a rally in Syracuse, New York, look what he said.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So the system is rigged. It's a bad system. They have to do something about it. The Republican National Committee, they better get going because I'll tell you what, you're going to have a rough July at that convention. You better get going and you better straighten out the system because the people want their vote.


PAUL: let's talk to CNN political commentator and anchor for New York One, Errol Louis. Errol, good morning to you.


PAUL: We just heard that Trump promise a rough July for the GOP convention. How do you take that? Is it a warning? Is it a threat? Is it just --

LOUIS: It's a negotiation, Christi, honestly. And, you know, you know that part of negotiation is threats and warnings and maybe getting up and acting like you're going to walk out of the room.

But the reality is Donald Trump has got to come to terms with this organization that he wants to become the head of. The president of the United States is also basically the head of his or her party.

And so if he wants to be the head of the Republican Party, he's going to have to learn how it works, how it operates. Not simply kind of complain from the outside.

The fact that he has been missing out on delegates that he might well have been able to capture because he didn't understand the rules is a sign, number one, that, yes, there's a problem. But it's not as if this is some sort of illegality that's going on.

It is intentionally, in fact, complicated in many cases. If you want to be president, you've got to learn how the thing works. There's no getting around it. It's a shame really.

I can tell you here in New York, where we have some pretty awful rules when it comes to voter registration and so forth, he could have done something to change it and it actually would have benefited him.

So I understand he's a first-time candidate. He could do everybody, including the party, a real favor by learning the rules and then fighting to change the rules as opposed to simply complaining.

PAUL: You talked about rules, let's talk about West Virginia which votes in May. Donald Trump is expected to win. It's delegate selection process has been called intentionally complicated, even favoring people whose names begin earlier in the alphabet.

People are saying what is that about? Does Trump have a point here regarding certain rules and things not being on the up and up?

LOUIS: Well, you know, when you say not on the up and up, I mean, the point is very well taken to the extent that people expect they're going to cast a vote and the party will simply reflect what their votes really meant in the exact proportion. That really intends not to be the way that it works.

Now if you want to change it, if you want to change this organization -- keep in mind, political party, to a certain extent, is a private organization, you have to get involved.

We have some places have caucuses, some places have primaries, and some have conventions, who gets to go, who gets to join, what the registration dates are.

It can get very complicated. Instead of simply complaining about the places where he doesn't think he got treated as well as he should have, I think a much broader discussion is very much in order and, frankly, I hope Donald Trump makes that happen.

Again, not just with the sort of sharp complaint to try to gain an advantage for himself personally, but for the organization and the country as a whole.

PAUL: You cannot dismiss the fact that he's bringing up things that most likely need to be talked about. Errol Louis, it's so grateful to have you here. And Errol will be with us throughout the morning. Thank you, Errol.

LOUIS: All right, thank you.

WHITFIELD: Don't forget CNN is the place to be for politics. We have full coverage of the New York primaries all day for you on Tuesday.

BLACKWELL: All right, we got much more for you on NEW DAY this morning including this --


BLACKWELL: Why Bernie Sanders' supporters showered Hillary Clinton's motorcade with 1,000 single dollar bills.

PAUL: Plus why the man who fatally shot two firefighters, one of them dead, has been released without charges.

BLACKWELL: Also another close call between a Russian jet and a U.S. aircraft over the Baltic Sea. What is behind those close encounters and how much of a threat are they?



PAUL: You hear it there "we're in the money." They are making it happen along the route as Bernie Sanders' supporters shower the Hillary Clinton motorcade with $1 bills, 1,000 of them, to be exact.

She was on her way to a fundraiser George Clooney (inaudible) last night. A Bernie supporter hosted his own fundraiser in the same neighborhood handing a thousand $1 bill to protest what he called the absurdity around campaign finance laws.

BLACKWELL: A thousand bucks wouldn't get you close to getting you inside that George Clooney fundraiser. Single tickets cost $33,400. To sit at the big table with the Clooneys and Secretary Clinton, $353,400 per couple. If you think those prices are ridiculous, you're not alone. Here is the dinner's host.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me start with dinner you co-hosted on Friday night. Big fund-raiser you had planned for later tonight. Do you look at how much is being raised? I think the $353,000 a couple to be a co-chair. Do you look at it yourself and think that's an obscene amount of money?

GEORGE CLOONEY, ACTOR, DEMOCRATIC FUNDRAISER: Yes. I think it's an obscene amount of money. I think -- we had some protesters last night when we pulled up in San Francisco. They're right to protest. They're absolutely right. It is an obscene amount of money. The Sanders campaign, when they talk about it, is absolutely right. It's ridiculous that we should have this kind of money in politics. I agree.


[06:15:00]BLACKWELL: All right, joining me to talk about this, Nomiki Konst, Democratic strategist and Bernie Sanders supporter, and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and Hillary Clinton supporter. Good to have both of you with us this morning.

Philip -- I'm sorry, Mayor Levine, I want to start with you. When you have on this weekend the release of the Sanders tax returns from 2014 showing that the Clintons made more than 100 times what the Sanders made in 2014.

And this $353,000 per couple fundraiser, does it help to have George Clooney pointing out how ridiculous these numbers are?

MAYOR PHILIP LEVINE, MIAMI BEACH: I think George Clooney is being nothing but honest and I applaud him. Secretary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both agree that we need to repeal Citizens United. We think there's too much money in politics.

But make no mistake, that was an extensive fundraiser at George Clooney's home. Secretary Clinton has many low donor, $25, $50 per person as little as possible all cross the country. We'll be having them in Miami coming up.

I agree with George Clooney. I would say Secretary Clinton agrees with George Clooney. I know Senator Sanders I'm sure agrees with George Clooney.

But the key is we need a Supreme Court nominee that will repeal Citizens United and take as much money out of politics as possible. So you won't see any argument here.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about the numbers and I'm going to use the number that many who have follow this race are familiar with, 27, $27, the average amount donated to the Sanders campaign, as the candidate has said many times. He has a new ad out, $27 is the name of it. Let's watch a bit of it.


BLACKWELL: Nomiki, obviously calling this $27 to point out the disparity between the amounts given to the Sanders campaign, no super PAC, and those given to Clinton and this fundraiser this weekend. The timing is clear.

But there have been criticisms about Senator Sanders in not fundraising for Democrats to push through this political revolution he's calling for. This fundraiser this weekend was not just for Hillary Clinton. It was for Democrats.

Does he not need to do more to get the members of Congress elected to push through this agenda that he's proposing?

NOMIKI KONST, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Let's dispel the myth right away that Bernie Sanders is not raising money for Democrats. He's spent 30 years raising money for Democrats. He has gone around with Chuck Schumer, raising money for Democrats. Chuck Schumer has gone and campaigned for him. He is raising money for congressional candidates right now, more progressive congressional candidates. They're not endorsed by the DNC.

BLACKWELL: This is essentially emails that allows donors to split their money between him and three people.

KONST: No, not exactly. He has a separate fund. To get back to that point, the Democratic Party 35 years ago changed its model. It used to be the people's party. It's become the rich people's party, unfortunately. What is happened is the Democratic Party has prioritized candidates that can raise money. They want to be in this arms race for GOP. The problem is that we're not winning.

If we were winning, if we were electing leaders instead of fundraisers into Congress, maybe we would find ways to compromise, like Bernie Sanders does. He's compromised with Republicans more than any other Democrat in Congress, passed more legislation than any other Democrat with Republicans in Congress.

He's the amendment king. Instead we've been electing these fundraisers who lack the leaderships to get those things done like over turning Citizens United.

So the model is changing right now. Bernie Sanders is just proving that you don't need to have these obscene fundraisers to prove that you have a people's party campaign.

I think that this is going to cry out the next 10, 15 years. We don't need to be the Republicans and play it that way.

BLACKWELL: I want to know from the two of you, how deep is this divide? We saw a quite contentious debate on Thursday night here on CNN.

Ruth (inaudible) "Washington Post" this weekend asking if what we're watching in the Clinton/Sanders race is more like the Clinton/Obama 2008 race, where many Clinton supporters said they would not support Obama if he won the nomination but eventually did.

Or if this is the 1980 race between Senator Kennedy and President Carter in which the primary went all the way to the convention and eventually President Carter lost.

She puts I think we have the quote we can put up and one person says here, a former Carter aide said, "I think it's more like Kennedy/Carter. Bernie's message is really resonating with the Democratic base. He has a huge following.

If he stays in the race past the time he's the inevitable nominee, it can hurt her in the same way Kennedy hurt Carter." Mayor Levine, your thoughts?

[06:20:08]LEVINE: You know, my feeling is this. I believe Senator Sanders, assuming that Secretary Clinton, which I believe will get the nomination. I believe he will bring his people to Secretary Clinton's platform and support her.

It's good for the nation, the Democratic Party. The math is the math. As far as the rules go, which are established many, many years ago, Secretary Clinton is way ahead.

I think On Tuesday, we're going to find that she's going to clinch, to a large extent, this nomination. I really believe and have faith in Senator Sanders.

BLACKWELL: All right, Nomiki, you got 15, 20 seconds to wrap it up.

KONST: So the funny thing is after that election that's when we changed the world. The country was more conservative in the '80s. We created superdelegates staffed primaries after the Hunt Commission.

Now the country is much more progressive. The party is 70 percent more progressive, which is why Sanders is the best candidate beating Trump by 20 percent, which is why we need those working class voters that Clinton won't be able to get because Trump will take them.

He is the best general election candidate. We need to change the rules and bring it back to the people's party.

LEVINE: People want to change the rules when you're losing the game.

KONST: No, we're not. You guys haven't gone over 250 pledged delegates. You're not going to hit the magic number.

BLACKWELL: Thank you both. Bernie Sanders will speak for himself. He is live guest on "STATE OF THE UNION" this morning at 9 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN. Love these conversations -- Christi.

PAUL: Yes, Victor, I want to alert you all to some news coming out of North Korea this morning. We're getting word now from an official there regarding what he thinks about Donald Trump's comments on arming Japan and South Korea with nuclear weapons. This is a CNN exclusive. We'll have that for you coming up.

Also new this morning, an Alabama police officer has been shot. We have details on that story next. Stay close.



PAUL: An overnight shootout in Alabama puts an officer in a hospital and the gunman is dead. Investigators say the suspect shot himself. It happened just after midnight. But police say it's not clear what lead to the shooting at this point.

They do say the gunman led officers on a chase before he crashed in a church parking lot. We have just learned that the officer is expect to be released from the hospital a bit later today.

BLACKWELL: We've learned there will be no charges for the man who shot and killed a Maryland firefighter. John Ulmschneider (ph) died after responding to a medical call at a home Friday night, but was shot as he entered.

Now Ulmschneider was a 13-year veteran. Police released the shooter yesterday after questioning and is not revealing why. Police say a volunteer firefighter and the gunman's brother were initially called for help were also shot.

PAUL: Officials in Flint, Michigan, have a new proposal to help clean up lead-contaminated water, asking residents to flush the water lines. A new proposal wants residents to turn the water on full force for 5 minutes a day every day to help clear lines and to do this every day for two weeks. The EPA says there will be no cost to residents for the extra water that's used.

BLACKWELL: The search has been called off for two California teenagers who were swept out to sea. The two were with a group of friends at the beach in Vallejo Saturday afternoon. A large wave hit, the two were separated and more than a dozen rescue swimmers, two jet skis and rescue boat tried to find the two but they were unsuccessful.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's because of these violent waters and it's unfortunate but folks come out here, and they don't understand how violent and how difficult the conditions are out here.


BLACKWELL: The other teenagers in that group were able to swim to shore safely, and they were listed in stable condition at a local hospital.

PAUL: Think about it. Three major earthquakes in four days. The latest overnight in Ecuador, 7.8. We'll update you on what's happening there this morning.

BLACKWELL: Plus, Russia's top gun battle over U.S. aircraft. Second close call in a few days.