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Ecuador Quake Leaves 70+ Dead, Nearly 600 Injured; Thousands in Shelters as Aftershocks Shake Japan; Trump Promises "Rough July" for GOP. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired April 17, 2016 - 07:00   ET


[07:00:01] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Errol Louis --

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good to see them back together.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You don't realize how much of this really is sort of pure humor and comedy.

BLACKWELL: Yes. All right. Good to have you with us.

LOUIS: Thank you.

PAUL: Thank you, Errol.

And thank you so much for starting your morning with us.

BLACKWELL: Next hour starts right now.


PAUL: Grateful for your company as always. I'm Christi Paul.

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

PAUL: I want to begin with some breaking news out of Ecuador this morning. A deadly 7.8 magnitude earthquake has rattled coastal towns. You are seeing the aftermath right here. Look at this video. The moment the quake struck. Let's listen.


PAUL: Just frightening there, the sound of everything rattling inside that supermarket. It keeps getting louder and louder. More than 70 people are dead and nearly 600 are injured.

BLACKWELL: Rescue crews are scrambling now to look for survivors under the rubble here, and you can see the video. I think we have it coming up. If not now, in a moment. Bridge collapse here it is, smashing everything under it.

Officials say the death toll is expected to rise.

Seismologist Susan Hough joins us on the phone from Pasadena. In terms of magnitude, tell us the severity of this quake compared to

what we saw in Japan last week.

SUSAN HOUGH, SEISMOLOGIST (via telephone): So, this was a 7.8 which is quite bigger than magnitude 7.0. Along the Ring of Fire, it's not nearly as bad as the biggest earthquakes can be. But it's still big enough. It was also relatively shallow, which makes the shaking stronger near the surface unfortunately where people are living.

PAUL: I think a lot of people are looking at this, Susan, and thinking OK, we're talking about three major earthquakes in a matter of four days. Both of these countries part of that ring of fire. Do these back-to-back quakes indicate to you any unusual seismic activity?

HOUGH: Yes, no. There could be a physical link between earthquakes like this that we don't understand. But as far as we understand, there is no physical link. You have earthquakes popping off all around the globe all the time. And sometimes you'll get two or even three fairly close together.

BLACKWELL: Well, after the earthquake on Friday, it was continued. We saw some aftershocks, even that 4.0 the day before. Now, we see this in Ecuador, the earthquake in Tonga. Should we expect more moving forward?

HOUGH: Well, we live on a dynamic planet. We always have to be prepared for earthquakes, especially in some regions. As far as we know, there is no link between earthquakes across the Pacific. Within Japan, that is a very active sequence that's going on. So, locally, you certainly get more earthquakes after that type of activity.

PAUL: We talk about 7.8, Susan, just wondering if that would be indicative of more or less -- does that tell you anything about the aftershocks and what is to come when you're talking about something as strong as a 7.8?

HOUGH: Sure. We know that earthquakes beget earthquakes. After a big event we expect aftershocks. On average the largest aftershock on a 7.8 will be close to a 6.8. If that's shallow and close to a city, that could be damaging in its own right. In Japan, they're having a very active sequence. So, you have the possibility of aftershocks and even subsequent larger earthquakes.

PAUL: All right. Susa Hough, we certainly thank you for your time this morning.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about Japan now, where 41 people are dead after the recent quakes there and more than 100,000 people are in shelters. Seismic activity continues in that area. No signs of letting up yet.

CNN's Matt Rivers is live from Kumamoto, Japan.

And earlier, you were giving us a look at some of the destruction around you. Are these communities fully evacuated? We know in some areas the evacuations continue. MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. And at this point, all these

neighborhoods here that have really been affected are completely evacuated. That's kudos to the authorities here in Japan for recognizing after Thursday's earthquake -- remember, we had two earthquakes here, one was on Thursday and another was on Saturday.

So, after Thursday, upwards of 90,000 to 100,000 people were evacuated from this area.

[07:05:02] And people we were talking to here throughout the last two days, oddly enough, are actually happy about the fact that they had that first earthquake because, in their view, because of the mandatory evacuations, that left -- that brought people out of this area, which meant that when the larger earthquake happened Saturday, the more destructive one, there were less people in harm's way. And in the view of people we spoke to, it might have saved lives.

PAUL: Matt, there were concerns yesterday when we were live in Japan with some of the reporters there about the rain that was coming, the weather that was coming. How has that affected the rescue efforts there? And what are they like there this morning? How much progress is being made?

RIVERS: Yes, it hasn't -- yes. And it hasn't made anything easier. Thankfully, during the day today it's around 8:00 at night local time. During the day today, we actually got clear skies and sun. But that was a huge contrast to what we saw yesterday, which was high winds and rain. That definitely made rescue efforts that much harder. There are reports still of people trapped. And so that is something, thankfully -- hopefully, if the weather holds up, rescuers will be able to hopefully find survivors.

BLACKWELL: Matt Rivers in Kumamoto, Japan, for us -- Matt, thanks so much.

Politics now and the New York primary is now just two days away and, as Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump lashes out at what he calls a rigged system, he says he's still confident in his chances.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In our system, they're not even voting. The bosses are picking the delegates. And it's a very bad thing. Despite all of that, do you know who is going to win? We're going to win. We're going to win, despite all of that.


PAUL: And the Democratic side, a colorful protest by Bernie Sanders' supporters. Take a look.

I think we're going to have the video for you here in a minute. This is part of t but on her way to a fund-raiser hosted by George Clooney last night, Hillary Clinton's motorcade was showered with 1,000 $1 bills. All these people throwing money at her car. They are Bernie Sanders supporters. This was a protest against what they call the absurdity, there it is, around campaign finance laws.

The host of that fund-raiser, George Clooney, what's interesting is he seems to agree.


GEORGE CLOONEY, ACTOR, DEMOCRATIC FUNDRAISER: Yes. I think an obscene amount of money. We had some protesters last night when we pulled up in San Francisco. And 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.


BLACKWELL: All right. For the latest on both races, let's go to CNN's White House producer, Kristen Holmes. She joins me now.

Kristen, let's start with the Republicans. Donald Trump is warning that the GOP leaders are going to potentially have a rough July. Let listen to this.


TRUMP: So, the system is rigged. It's a bad system, dirty system. And we're going to do something about it. Maybe that will take place the next time around, meaning in four years.

But the system is a bad, bad system. And they've got 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. The people want to vote. And they want to be represented properly.


BLACKWELL: Suggesting a rough July, riding this message, seems to be, up until the vote on Tuesday. He's got a busy Sunday to continue to make that message.

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN WHITE HOUSE PRODUCER: Yes, well, exactly. So, because Donald Trump is poised to win the empire state by a huge margin, latest poll has him up by 29 points. He has 54 percent, which means he could sweep all 95 delegates here in New York. And to Ted Cruz in third place with 16 percent, just to give you an idea of where everyone is on the playing field.

So, because of this, it has given him more room to stop slamming his opponents so much and go after the system, as we just heard. Now, I should mention that this is not the first time that he has done that. He has also said that -- he predicted that there would be protests in Cleveland during the convention if he was denied the nomination, even if he didn't reach that pivotal 1,237 delegate number. He said there would probably be protests in the street during that time.

So, but as I mentioned, he is ahead 29 percent. That's not pulling him down. He is not taking anything for granted. He has three events, very busy day. He will start off speaking in Staten Island for a lunch, joined by the head of the veterans police association there.

As you know, in most of his rallies, he does mention the NYPD, especially here in New York, first responders on 9/11 as well.

[07:10:07] Then, he'll go to his alma mater, which is the New York Military Academy. He will do a walk through there. We will see pictures from that even though the press will not be there. He wraps everything up at a rally in Poughkeepsie, where I think we can expect to hear more rhetoric about what the process is and how he hopes to get fixed.

BLACKWELL: Busy Sunday indeed.

So, let's turn to the Democrats. And Bernie Sanders back in New York after his trip to the Vatican and we're hearing from him, at least last night at his roundtable, some context behind his -- the central theme of his campaign.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We grew up in a -- my dad, my mom and my brother, Larry, grew up in a small 3 1/2 bedroom apartment in Flabergh (ph). And the major -- the major problem of our family was constant tension that existed between my parents over money.


BLACKWELL: So, now to some context to support the central theme of this income inequality problem across the country. Something we really have not heard, something this poignant from him leading up to this.

HOLMES: Yes, exactly. I mean, I think that most people who listen to Bernie Sanders, his supporters, have told me they feel moved when he speaks about income inequality in a more general sense, when he's talking about banks, and Wall Street and how everybody deserves an equal playing field here.

But I do think this gives some context, give us a more personal side of Sanders here. And he went on to say that this father was from Poland and he was happy just living in an apartment, but his mom had always dreamed of having a house and she died before she was able to realize that dream. So, I think that this gives people a little bit of insight into where his ideas come from, where it stems, and gives them another layer to Sanders.

BLACKWELL: Kristen Holmes, thanks so much. HOLMES: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Up next, families in Flint, Michigan, are told to turn on their faucets, leave the water running. The expensive tactic might help lower pollutants in the water system. But who is left holding this bill?

PAUL: Also a close call in the air. Russian fighter jet barrel rolls over U.S. aircraft. Details on Russian's dangerous game that's escalating in the skies.


[07:15:34] PAUL: Fifteen minutes past the hour now.

And not necessarily a good day for the Donald Trump delegate count yesterday. Ted Cruz not only won all of Wyoming delegates, but according to "The Atlanta Journal Constitution" this morning, he also snapped up the majority of delegates elected in Georgia's district convention, despite the fact that it was Trump who won the state's primary.

Let's talk about this with New Jersey chair for the Ted Cruz campaign, Steve Lonegan, and national political commentator for U.S. Radio Networks and Donald Trump supporter, Scottie Nell Hughes.

Good morning to both you.



PAUL: Good morning.

So, Steve, I wanted to ask you about these two things -- this one thing coming in from via "AJC" here. Two big delegate wins in yesterday's state, taking a look at Georgia specifically. Trump won the primary. Cruz collected more delegates in the district conventions.

Doesn't that bulk up Trump's argument that the delegates are overriding the people's votes?

LONEGAN: Not at all, Christi. It's a losing day in the Trump losing streak. But it's better than just Georgia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Republicans are caucusing, they're gathering, they're meeting and they're lining up behind Ted Cruz and his message of jobs, freedom and security.

PAUL: Steve, I want to ask you about this. What if it were the other way around? What if Cruz had won Georgia's primary and Trump collected all the delegates? What would --

LONEGAN: I have never heard Ted Cruz whining about the system or whining about the organization at any point, even when Donald Trump had whatever undue advantages he had.

Look, this is about members of the Republican Party. These are the people who work hard every day. They're caucusing. They're meeting. They're gathering. These are people who knocked on doors, made phone calls.

What Donald Trump and his supporters want is to get a bunch of people to stop by ten minutes on the way to the voting way to work, cast a vote, not there is to be a member of the Republican Party. But being a member of the Republican Party takes a lot more work than that.

PAUL: Scottie --

LONEGAN: It requires building support overtime, going to these caucus meetings and working hard to become delegates to go to Cleveland. That's how we're going to beat Hillary Clinton, by the way.

PAUL: So, Scottie, the point he's trying to make -- it's one that Errol Louis made a little earlier in the show, that had Donald Trump -- he would have captured more delegates, actually, Errol Louis, said, had he understood the process. What do you say to that?

HUGHES: Well, let me say to Steve, I don't remember saying we, the people of the Republican Party, members of the Republican Party. I remember it saying we, the people. That right there -- the fact that, Steve, you sat there and discounted the people, the popular vote.

LONEGAN: This is the Republican Party. This is a private organization called the Republican Party.

PAUL: I'm sorry, let Scottie talk here for a second. I want you both to be heard. That's not helping.

So, go ahead, Scottie.

HUGHES: Thank you.

You know, in Georgia, the people elected Donald Trump, the Republican Party are the ones putting their establishment candidates in.

You know, we sit here and talk about these delegate counts. Mr. Trump is not sitting there, discounting it. He's applauding the folks that are running for delegate and being elected by people. The majority are being elected to represent Mr. Trump.

What we're talking about these at-large delegates, super delegates of the Republican Party that are being appointed by the establishment within those state parties that are what we call the Trojan horses going into the convention. I find it absolutely delirious of these Cruz supporters that don't believe they're not being used to get a third nominee from the floor. They believe they're going in to Cleveland with their delegates being more loyal than Trump supporters, then they need to wake up from their dream and realize they're just being used as a vehicle to broker this convention and broker our Republican Party.

PAUL: Steve, go ahead.

LONEGAN: Here is the reality. The reality is that on the ground, real Republicans are working hard to galvanize behind Ted Cruz because of his clear messaging, because they resent the fact that Donald Trump continues to refuse to debate Ted Cruz on the key issues important to Republicans. They're still angry he will not release his tax returns like Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz and John Kasich have done. They want to get behind the candidate that can beat Hillary Clinton.

Trump supporters should understand something. This is the kind of organization it's going to take to beat Hillary Clinton. If Donald Trump is afraid to fly out to Wyoming and ask the voters of Wyoming delegates -- he won't even go there, give them the benefit of a visit. How is he going to beat Hillary Clinton?

PAUL: Two more things to get to before we run out of time here. Scottie, this is for you. North Korean official is talking now this morning -- we're finally learning -- or hearing from them with Will Ripley.

[07:20:08] He sat down with one of them and told them about Donald Trump's comments regarding a nuclear Asia.

Let's listen to what this North Korea official had to say.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: "Donald Trump's remarks are totally absurd and illogical," he says. "The U.S. tells us to give up our nuclear program. He is preparing a nuclear attack against us and on the other hand would tell its allies to have nuclear weapons. Isn't this a double standard?"


PAUL: Scottie, are you confident in the foreign policy message that Donald Trump touts?

HUGHES: Absolutely. Just because he is not sitting there and cozying up to North Korea, I don't think we need to criticize him. All he is doing is saying we need to make sure that those around North Korea are dealing with North Korea, talk about it.

And this is -- remember, we're still on a cease fire from 1953 with North Korea.

PAUL: Japan and South Korea have both come out against what he said about protecting themselves and obtaining their own nuclear weapons.

HUGHES: That's great. That's possible. How else do you deal with someone as insane as the leader of North Korea? Fine, we're not going to sit here and personally going to go in there after North Korea, which we're not going to do.

PAUL: Steve, shall I want to give you one last word here. Listen, Cruz has no public events in New York today. A lot of people are noticing this. Has he given up on New York?

LONEGAN: No. Ted Cruz has been campaigning hard across New York from Bronx to Queens, Staten Island. Brooklyn and all the way up to Albany and Buffalo. He is campaigning hard today in his own way, and we will campaign hard again in New York tomorrow right through the primary.

Let's see if on Tuesday Donald Trump gets over 50 percent New York. If he doesn't, it's time for him to go.

HUGHES: Ted Cruz only got 44 percent in Texas. That is absolutely absurd.

LONEGAN: In the field of, what, ten candidates?


PAUL: The percentage and we will look and see what it is on Tuesday when it all happens.

Scottie Nell Hughes, Steve Lonegan, thank you for being with us. Appreciate it.

LONEGAN: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: It's like a scene from the movie "Top Gun." Did you see that? In this case, Russian jets barrel rolling a U.S. warship.

We'll have some details on what potentially is behind those close encounters and what Russia is saying about them.

Plus, two firefighters shot while responding to a call. One of the firefighters died. Now we're hearing that the person who shot them will not face charges.

More on that.


[07:26:03] BLACKWELL: Coming up on 26 minutes after the hour now.

And an overnight shooting in Alabama leaves an officer in the hospital and the shooter is dead. Investigators say the suspect shot himself just after midnight in Florence. Now, police say it is unclear what led to this shooting at this point. But they say the gunman led officers on a chase before in a church's parking lot. And we just learn that the officer is expected to be released later today.

PAUL: No charges for the man who shot and killed a Maryland firefighter. John Ulmschneider died after responding to a medical call at a home Friday night. He was shot as he entered. Ulmschneider was a 13-year veteran. Police aren't releasing why they released the shooter yesterday, after questioning, but police say a volunteer firefighter and gunman's brother, who initially called for help, were also shot.

BLACKWELL: Officials in Flint, Michigan, have a new proposal to help clean up lead-contaminated water there, asking residents to flush the water lines. The proposals call for residents to turn their water on full force for five minutes a day to help clear the lines every day for two weeks. The EPA said there will be no cost to residents for the extra water use.

PAUL: And the search has been called off for two California teens swept out to sea. The two were with a group of friends at a beach in Vallejo yesterday afternoon. A large wave hit and they were separated. More than a dozen rescue swimmers, two jet skis and rescue boats tried to find them but so far unsuccessful. The other teens hit by the wave were able to swim safely back to shore.

BLACKWELL: All right. In just minutes away, the Supreme Court takes up the case of President Obama's executive orders on immigration. What does this mean for the president's legacy on the issue?

PAUL: Also, President Obama teaming up with NBA star Stephen Curry to help others. It ends up being quite comical. We'll show you.