Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Calls Flynn's Immunity Request A Witch Hunt; Terrorists Found Ways To Hide Explosives In Electronics That Can Evade Airport Screeners; Ivanka Trump & Kushner Could Be More Than $700 Million; NYC Protest Planned To Combat Nude Photo Sharing; Crowdfunding Platform Makes Adoption Cheaper; Possible Tornado Destroys 12 Homes; 3 Arrested In Fiery Atlanta Highway Collapse; New Images Released Of Missing Student And Teacher; "Farmgirl Flowers" Changes Floral Industry. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired April 1, 2017 - 08:00   ET



[08:00:00] REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH: General Flynn is suddenly out there saying he wants immunity.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you're not guilty of a crime, what do you need immunity for, right?

When you are given immunity that means that you probably committed a crime.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: It wasn't that Donald Trump won the election. It was that the Democratic Party lost the election.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ISIS and other terror groups have found a way to hide powerful explosives in electronic devices.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To take down a commercial airliner has been the kind of Holy Grail of any of these various plethora of terrorist groups.

ROBERT BAER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: Unfortunately, they are going to make it through on one -- with one of these bombs. That's my prediction.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: I want to wish you a good Saturday morning. I hope it's been good to you so far. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you.

PAUL: All right. President Trump, having a hard time it seems shaking off this Russia controversy, still seeping into the White House there. And now his former security advisor, Michael Flynn, offering his testimony in exchange for immunity. The president, however, calls it a "witch hunt". During an executive order signing ceremony, the president actually walked out without even signing the orders, targeting foreign trade abuses after reporters started asking questions about Flynn.

BLACKWELL: And add this to the equation, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis are criticizing Russia's involvement in Ukraine. Mattis also calling out the Putin regime for, quote, "Mucking around in other people's elections."

PAUL: Want to bring in CNN Politics Producer, Dan Merica. So, Dan, I am sure that the president wants to get onto other policy issues such as tax reform, a lot of other people probably wanting him to get onto that as well. What is it going to take for them to move forward at this point?

DAN MERICA, CNN POLITICS PRODUCER: The Trump White House has been somewhat stuck in the mud. And that mud has been Russia for a few weeks now. You know, you have all of these issues that the Trump White House would like to talk about. And empirically, job numbers have been good. They'd like to talk about that. They're certainly like to talk about, you know, health care -- more health care plans, their Supreme Court pick, these business leader meetings they've had, and as you -- as you said in the intro, executive orders. But all of that has been overshadowed by Russia. And now, President Trump, you know, may not want to talk about this publicly, but he's tweeting about this, which just kind of eggs on the story line. But President Trump while he was signing -- or supposed to sign some executive orders yesterday, didn't want to take questions on this. Let's take a look.


TRUMP: Thank you, everybody. You're going to see some very, very strong results very, very quickly. Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, today in your tweet, were you trying to tell the Justice Department to grant immunity to Michael Flynn? Were you trying to do that, Mr. President? Was that your intention, Mr. President? Sir? Mr. President, was that your intention, Mr. President? Was that your intention, sir?



MERICA: And the subtext there is clearly "Get me out of here." Sean Spicer has urged reporters to focus on the substance and not the process in this Russia story. But it's worth noting that the White House is certainly not wanted to talk about the substance of the Russia investigation as well.

PAUL: Good point there. Dan Merica, appreciate it, thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's bring in Errol Louis, CNN Political Commentator and Political Anchor for Spectrum News, Jason Miller, CNN Political Commentator, and Matthew Chance, CNN Senior International Correspondent. Good morning to all of you. And Errol, I want to start with you. There continues to be this discrepancy between the rhetoric that we're hearing out of the White House, from the president himself, from his spokesman, Sean Spicer, and what we're hearing from the president's cabinet. You know, we've got Tillerson saying that they're mucking around in elections. You've got Mattis calling Russia a strategic competitor. There still is this discrepancy from what we're hearing from the president and the persons in his cabinet.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, you know, it's a sign of the system working, frankly, Victor, because you've got cabinet members who are professionals, Tillerson, Mattis, these are respected individuals whom didn't need the jobs that they currently have, and they're not going to, sort of, stray from the truth. They're going to, sort of, call it as they see it. The political staff in the White House has an entirely different agenda. You know, the entire situation, I must say, would benefit from a little bit of silence from the president on down. Every time he steps into this, every time he tweets, every time he tries to spin this a little bit more, it sort of makes the whole situation so much worse. If he would, I think, just kind of let the professionals do their job, the sooner he does that we'll get more of the truth and they'll be able to get on with their agenda.

[08:04:53] BLACKWELL: Matthew, let's talk about the deterioration of this relationship between Russia and their affinity, let's say, for the Trump administration. When it was coming in after the election, they were literally popping bottles there at the Kremlin, drinking champagne. But just yesterday, the Kremlin spokesperson says that the relationship between the U.S. and Russia is now worse than it was during the cold war.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the champagne corks were so premature, weren't they, in retrospect? That's right. I mean, look, when Trump was the candidate, you know, he was talking about building a better relationship with Russia. He was talking about potentially recognizing Crimea as being a sovereign part of Russia. Crimea is, of course, annexed and claimed in 2014, about cooperating with Russia on international terrorism in the conflict in Syria. He criticized NATO for being obsolete. All of this was music to the ears of Kremlin officials and to the Russian President. But of course, none of it has come to pass. The political situation in the United States now is toxic when it comes to the Russia issue, and toxic is the word that the Kremlin uses to describe it. And they're faced with a situation where a turnaround in this relationship that they all hoped for under President Trump is simply not happening. And the relationship is much worse now than it was during the very rocky years of the Obama administration. And that's very disappointing and frustrating to many in power in Russia.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about the early years of the Obama administration as they compare to the first 72 days of the Trump administration, Jason. As a candidate, Donald Trump criticized Hillary Clinton often for that literal and figurative reset button that she presented to the Russian foreign minister back in the early part of the Obama administration. How is the Trump reset any more effective? JASON MILLER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think the reset that they need to be going for right now, and I'll actually take it in a different direction than what Errol was saying, I think we actually need to hear from the president more. And one of the things that we saw on the campaign trail is anytime we had a stretch where maybe it was a little bit bumpier, we were talking about things that weren't as popular, got to get the president out on the road, and got to get the president back to talking what got him elected, which was the economy. Those are two things that we're not seeing right now and we need to.

Further, the president needs to quit talking about the 20 percent issues. We need to get back to talking about 80 percent issues. We talk about things that are slam dunks. Talk about taking on Washington, things like term limits, jobs and the economy, and showing a strong national security. And in particular, we need some fantastic gains when it comes to fighting ISIS. These are good things that we can tout on the road. Also, as we see with some of the foreign leader visits that are coming up, an opportunity to talk about the threat of North Korea, very important, but look, President Trump is one of the most gifted communicators I've seen in my lifetime. On the political sense, probably, the single most. To have him in Washington so much where he's fighting against these hidden opponents and the entrenched permanent bureaucracy class, that's like having Michael Jordan play a game with one hand tied behind his back. Got to get him out on the road, talking about the economy and taking on Washington.

BLACKWELL: Jason, let me understand this. Are you saying that -- let me just kind of narrow this down -- are you saying that the president should just stop talking about Russia?

MILLER: I would say that this is an issue that's being driven by the media. There's absolutely nothing there. And right now, the administration's being forced to punch at ghosts. It's a bunch of off the record, illegally leaked sources that have come to absolutely nothing in any way, shape or form. If these folks have been looking at this for eight months and have nothing to show for it, there's nothing there and it's time to move on. To say that there was a coordination with some foreign entity in this campaign, and that's the excuse for Hillary Clinton losing, is just plain silly. So let's get back out to talking about the things that got President Trump elected and make him so popular with people around the country.

BLACKWELL: Errol, what is the impact? And I know you'll probably follow-up to what you just heard from Jason there, but the impact of the president calling the investigations collectively a witch hunt.

LOUIS: Well, I mean, you know, it's a problematic term in the first place. The problem with witch hunts is that -- the implication is that witches don't exist. In this case, there is a witch. His name is Vladimir Putin. He's a murderous dictator. He's got multiple countries in which he's meddled in elections. We've got former members of the Russian parliament turning up dead, shot in cold blood. Reporters assassinated, on and on and on it goes. Financial ties that have never been disclosed between this regime and any number of members of the Trump administration and the Trump organization. So, you know, it's not as if everybody's concerned about simply the

investigation into the election meddling. That itself is very important. But there are human rights issues at stake here. There are real serious questions about the financial ties and who is owed what and what kind of connections go back to the Kremlin. And it's not unreasonable to ask some of these questions and expect them to be answered in due time. But we can't get anywhere forward on that as long as you have things like a representative of congress, the chair of the intelligence committee showing up at the White House, taking undisclosed information, telling all kinds of conflicting stories about it. I mean, the mess is emanating from the people who say that they want the mess cleaned up.

[08:10:06] MILLER: Well, and, Errol, I think you -- I think you made a great point right there, which is the fact that so much of this conversation is being driven by people not named President Trump. That's why he's got to get back out on the road and that's why he's got to be talking about the economy. Let's go and put some pressure on these red state senators, their democrats are up in 2018, let's have them explain why they don't want to push for some of these free market job reforms and things like that.

BLACKWELL: Jason, let me get to Matthew before we get a wrap up here. I just want to read a tweet from this Russian lawmaker, Alexey Pushkov, where he says this, "The new U.S. administration sounds just like the old one. Mattis indistinguishable from Carter, Tillerson is talking about Russian aggression, Obama and Clinton must be happy." So not only is this relationship in terrible state right now, it didn't look like it's going to get any better any time soon.

CHANCE: No, no. And look, I mean, apart from the frustration that we've already spoken about, I mean, listening to all your guests talk there and listening to the political debate in the United States, I mean, you know, there must be a sense of, you know, satisfaction as well at the Kremlin, because one of the things that it's believed they wanted to do when they intervened in the elections of other countries, is to sew discord. Is to -- is to, you know, kind of a -- could put a cat amongst the pigeons and to disrupt the western political system, particularly the United States' political system. I mean, look at the circus that's unfolding in the United States right now, the discord there, the disunity. In that sense, this operation, if it was a Russian operation, was a very successful one. And so, I think there's a certain amount of satisfaction in Russia as well that they have been so influential in being able to disrupt the U.S. political system so completely.


BLACKWELL: All right.

MILLER: You can't blame -- you can't blame Russia for Hillary Clinton being a terrible candidate.

BLACKWELL: We got to -- we got to wrap it there. Matthew Chance, Jason Miller, Errol Louis, thank you.



PAUL: Well, listen, there are charges filed this morning after that massive fire just collapsed a big chunk of the Atlanta interstate. And now investigators are getting their first clues as to what likely happened here.

BLACKWELL: Also, terrorists stepping up their efforts to smuggle bombs onto airplane. How they're trying to stay one step ahead of airport screeners.


[08:16:26] PAUL: 16 minutes past the hour right now. And first on CNN, U.S. intelligence agencies say terrorists have found ways to hide explosives in electronics that can evade commonly used airport screenings. What's more, they even have their own equipment to test whether they can bypass that security at airports. Here's CNN's Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr with the details for us.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: U.S. officials have grown increasingly concerned about the threats against aviation that they are seeing not just from ISIS but also Al-Qaeda in Syria and Al-Qaeda in Yemen.

U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies believe that ISIS and other terror groups have developed innovative ways to plant explosives in electronic devices that can fool airport security screenings. The concern is heightened because there is U.S. intelligence suggesting that terrorists have obtained sophisticated airport security equipment to test how well the bombs are concealed.

CNN has learned this new intelligence was a significant part of the decision earlier this month to ban laptops, tablets, and other electronic devices from the passenger cabins of planes flying directly to the United States from ten Middle Eastern and North African airports, demanding instead that they be stored in checked luggage.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Elevated intelligence that we're aware of indicates terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation and are aggressive in pursuing innovative methods to undertake their attacks to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer objects.

STARR: Officials have told CNN there was credible and specific intelligence that ISIS would try to attack aviation assets and a hint from a top U.S. commander about why they accelerated effort on the ground in Syria against the group.

STEPHEN TOWNSEND, COMBINED JOINT TASK FORCE - OPERATION INHERENT RESOLVE COMMANDER: There's an imperative to get isolation in place around Raqqah because our intelligence feeds tell us that there is significant external operations attacks planning. STARR: Al-Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen, AQAP, has for years been actively trying to target commercial airliners destined for the U.S., looking for ways to create bombs that contain little or no metal content to evade airport security measures, including hiding explosives in the batteries of electronic devices, like laptops.

And in February 2016, a wake-up call when a laptop bomb, according to Somalia authorities, was used to blow a hole in this Somali passenger jet. The plane landed safely despite the attack claimed by the Al- Qaeda affiliate Al-Shabaab. CNN has learned the explosives were hidden in space created by removing parts of the DVD drive.

The transportation security administration gave CNN a statement noting that while they will not discuss specific intelligence, they continue to monitor all the threats that they see, and that they will change security procedures as they see fit. Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.


PAUL: Barbara, thank you so very much. The busy summer travel season, of course, is about ready to start as well. So, we ask our experts how serious this threat really is, say to American flights, right now in this moment.


[08:20:00] PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: There is a silver lining here and that is airport security and perimeter security to our airports has pushed ISIS and Al-Qaeda to more and more sophisticated efforts to get stuff on aircraft because defensive measures in the United States and elsewhere have succeeded so well. There is one wild card here that we got to watch as we go into the summer season, and that is there are very few terrorists who are going to have the capability to alter a laptop to this kind of level to get through airport security. And U.S. efforts along with allies to eliminate those bomb makers, I think, would go a long way to eliminating a threat. It's not a man-off-the-street terrorist who can take out the electronics in a laptop and build a bomb.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR AND REPORTER: What is the reality of this risk? Have those machines been compromised by the fact that terror organizations now actually have a real machine with which they can test the efficacy of their detection devices to avoid detection? And then, you're left with -- well, for goodness sake, hang on a minute, if the U.S. and the U.K. has banned those airports but passengers can now go through those airports and onto a Frankfurt, Paris, Stockholm, Oslo, or whatever, and then on to the United States, well, we really are now at the position of saying "What can we believe when we actually get on a plane?" because clearly, there is no uniformity and no conformity in standards.


PAUL: Thanks to Richard Quest and Phil Mudd there. Now, the U.S. laptop ban currently includes nine airlines from Middle Eastern and African countries. Officials say they will expand the ban if they feel there's a threat. Victor?

BLACKWELL: The White House now revealing the net worth of their key aides in the Trump administration there. Ivanka Trump and her husband could be worth more than $700 million. Questions now about potential conflicts of interest. Also, this morning, this is not something you want to see outside your window.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tornado right there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's a tornado right there. Oh, my god.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, oh, it's coming at your backyard.



BLACKWELL: Close calls for a lot of people in Virginia Beach as a tornado, possibly, destroys a home there. We saw the funnel cloud. We'll wait for the update from weather experts.


[08:26:32] PAUL: I'm always grateful to have your company. Welcome to Saturday. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell, good morning to you.

PAUL: So, the finances of the president's closest aides, including his daughter, son-in-law, they've just been revealed.

BLACKWELL: We're now learning that Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner's combined worth could be more than $700 million. The couple collected roughly 195 million in income last year. Now, this is according to a new financial snapshot of roughly 180 people serving in the Trump White House. Now, before they were advised to resign from various postings, divest certain holdings, or recuse themselves from future decisions, these are the numbers we're getting. Other included -- others rather included in the report, President Trump's top economic advisor, Gary Cohn, the former president of Goldman Sachs netted around $75 million. And chief strategist Steve Bannon raked in more than $2.5 million.

Let's bring in Amanda Terkel, Senior Political Reporter and Politics Managing Editor for The Huffington Post, and bring back Jason Miller, CNN Political Commentator and former Communications Director for the Trump campaign. Jason, let me start with you. We know that just last week we learned from the GSA that all was well as it relates to the president and the Trump hotel there in D.C., some reorganization happening to make sure that the president wasn't profiting from the hotel while he's in office. We know that Ivanka Trump will keep her stake in that hotel. Why shouldn't she do the same thing to avoid any conflict of interest potentially from foreign dignitaries coming to the hotel trying to curry favor with the administration, just defer that income while she's working for the president?

MILLER: Well, I think it's pretty silly to say that -- or to think that somehow, someone staying at a hotel's going to influence decisions for an administration. But there are a couple things I think are really important for people at home to realize, is that for Jared and Ivanka, not only have they been working with the Office of Government Ethics, the White House General Counsel, they've also been working with Jamie Gorelick. Now, you might not know who Jamie Gorelick is but she's a former deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration, highly respected lawyer on the left, who's been working with Kushner and Trump to make sure everything is moved either to a blind trust or the assets are being sold off. And for the businesses that still remain, Gorelick is reviewing the details of the business transactions to make sure there are no possible conflicts of interest. So, you really see from Jared and Ivanka going the extra mile to make sure that they're complying with everything. And look, to think --

BLACKWELL: So, Jason, hold up. Before we go into the next topic, you say that a blind trust and selling off is the standard -- gold standard here for Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. But we didn't see the president do either of those.

MILLER: Well, the president -- I mean, the president's one of the most successful businessmen in the country. He's worth --

BLACKWELL: $700 million is nothing to sneeze at.

MILLER: The president's worth -- the president's not going to the White House to get rich. I mean, if anything he's losing millions if not billions of dollars. But what we should be talking about this morning is how great it is that the president's putting together these folks who've been so successful in business who want to give that up, to come and actually help the country. And so, look, now that we're going to get to tax reform, now they're going to get back to the economy, these are areas where these advisors whether it'd be Steve Mnuchin and Gary Cohn who are going to lead this tax reform fight, I want people like that leading our tax reform fight so it can help the rest of us keep a lot more of our money and not send it to Washington.

BLACKWELL: All right. Amanda, let me come to you. You heard what Jason said there that they're going about this the right way. But there are still these real concerns from watchdog groups, say in Washington, about a potential conflict of interest. Jason says it's silly to consider it.

[08:30:05] AMANDA TERKEL, THE HUFFINGTON POST SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, even when the Trump family has given up, it's -- you know, had sold or said that we're not involved in the day-to-day management of our companies. I mean, Trump has handed over management of his company to his sons, Jared Kushner has handed over the financial interests to his mother and his brother. I mean, it is still in the family. It is something they are still benefitting from, and can after they leave office.

I mean, I don't feel the need to applaud millionaires for going into government service where they are -- you know, they are still going to raise their profile when they get out, they can benefit from all that. And Trump is now using pretty much every weekend to go to his resorts, which builds up their profile. And now you see his properties really benefitting from all this extra exposure because you have foreign officials, you have lobbyists trying to book things there to get a glimpse of the president or talk to some of his closest aides to lobby them and just have some influence.

MILLER: Victor, one important thing I got to jump in here on.

BLACKWELL: Go ahead.

MILLER: Is when we talk about -- it's a lot different when you're a real estate baron and you've been so successful in that field as opposed to, say, being a Goldman Sachs employee. You don't just magically selloff massive chunks of real estate or things that you've worked years or even decades to go and create. I mean, these are things that, you don't just sell it off. You might be selling off at a terrible price, might be a bad deal. No one who's been so successful in business should be forced to go and just literally throw their money away for the opportunity for public service. Look, I think the Trumps are doing right there.


BLACKWELL: -- literally throwing their money away. The president knew the degree of separation he would have to create between his businesses and his administration when he filed his documents to run.

MILLER: And Victor, everybody knew - everybody knew that Donald Trump was a wildly successful business person. And he's still got 306 electoral votes. And this is something the American people fully knew, we saw it in the campaign trail. They decided, you know what, we want a guy who's not part of Washington. We want somebody who's been successful in business, maybe go and do something to make America great again. So, I think it's great. I'd much rather have someone who made a bunch of money from the business sector as opposed to selling access or being a Washington insider. So, good for President Trump.

BLACKWELL: All right. But - well, isn't that the question about the hotel, Amanda, selling access? Again, Jason says it's silly to consider that using this hotel to try to curry favor with the administration but that's exactly what it would be, would it not?

TERKEL: Yes, I mean, look at what's - look at what's happening at Mar-a-Lago. Trump goes to his property all of the time. There are many guests there who maybe are there because of President Trump who maybe want to just see him who maybe happen to be there for other reasons. But they're getting all of this exclusive access to the president that other people aren't simply because they have the money to be there. Trump is sending a signal that if you want to see me and maybe, you know, you don't need to schedule a meeting or anything like that, I will be there. And those people are paying Trump and benefitting his family. And as a government official, if you want to sort of show that you are sort of above board, you need to show that your public service is not benefitting your personal financial interests. The Trumps have not done that so far.


MILLER: But I think you also have to show the fact -

BLACKWELL: We have to wrap it there (INAUDIBLE) thanks so much.

TERKEL: Thank you.

MILLER: Thanks guys.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN NEW DAY ANCHOR: All right. Well, it's unthinkable, really, women confronted with sexually explicit images of themselves online without their permission. The recourse for victims of revenge porn as it's known, and what they're doing now to make sure we hear them. That's next.


[08:37:50] PAUL: In just a few hours, demonstrators are planning to march in New York to shed light on a worsening type of sexual abuse. We're talking about revenge porn here. And in case you're not familiar, the exact definition is when non-consensual pornography is distributed online to shame, exploit or extort its victims. There are at least two high profile cases of revenge porn right now. The military investigating the sharing of sexually explicit images of female troops, and in Texas, an 18-year-old high school senior committed suicide. She was harassed online for months when intimate photos of her surfaced online. Two people have been charged in that case. Well, Leah Juliet, the organizer of the March Against Revenge Porn later today is with us. She was a victim of revenge porn herself as a teenager. Also, Sara O'Brien, CNN Money reporter.

So, Leah, thank you so much to both of you for being here, but Leah, I'd like to start with you. Help us understand what brought you to this point.

LEAH JULIET, MARCH AGAINST REVENGE PORN ORGANIZER: Sure. When I was 14 years old and in high school, I was a victim of revenge porn when four sexually explicit images of me that were sent between a trusting consensual correspondents were spread throughout my high school and posted online. This terrible event in my life led to depression, anxiety, suicidal ideations and immense shame, and I silenced my voice for a very, very long time. But then I realized that my voice is very important and worth more than being silenced, so I decided to speak out and start the march.

PAUL: How was it that you found the strength to start having those conversations?

JULIET: Well, I've always - I've always been passionate about civil rights and social justice. And I realized that revenge porn is on the fringe of becoming an incredible social justice issue. And that it's something that is spoken about far too little and that affects people far too much. So -- and I also realized that revenge porn is a cyber- sexual assault that should be considered just as highly on a priority level for law enforcement as a physical sexual assault because it leads to the same results, the same feelings of shame, neglect, then despair, and can certainly lead to sexual -- physical sexual assault in the future as well. So, it should be a high priority.

[08:40:11] PAUL: You say that - and Sara, I'm sorry, I'll get to you in a minute, but, Leah, you also say that it's a tool that spreads hate among the LGBTQ community. Help me understand that.

JULIET: Absolutely. Well, research shows that lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals are likely to be victimized by revenge porn at a much higher rate than their straight counterparts. More than that, even, transgender and non-binary individuals are likely to be victimized by revenge porn at a drastically higher rate. And we see that because we see the victimization of Trans and nonbinary folks by sexual assault at a much higher rate due to their gender identity. Oftentimes, people want to exploit Trans people online by taking pictures of their genitalia to expose them or exploit them as having genitalia that is different than their gender identity. And so, I believe that that is a hate crime that is rooted in hate and intolerance and it must be stopped.

PAUL: OK. So, Sara, help us understand the legal ramifications here. I mean, there is a challenge to try and criminalize this kind of conduct.

SARA O'BRIEN, CNN MONEY REPORTER: Sure. So right now, actually, only 35 different states and Washington, D.C. have laws against revenge porn. And even with those laws, a lot of times you're dealing with law enforcement that doesn't necessarily understand kind of the ins and outs of the web and how this kind of crime is spread. And so, you know, lawyers can kind of send a takedown notice to sites and get a site to remove it. They can sue for copyright. But a lot of times what ends up happening is these images continue to resurface on different sites. And so, it really is a - is a battle to kind of keep up with the pace of the web.

PAUL: To keep it from proliferating?

O'BRIEN: Right. Right.

PAUL: And - but Sara, what is a - the perpetrator lives in one state and you're in another. At that point, how do you pursue the case?

O'BRIEN: Yes, so there are lawyers that deal with kind of the cross ramifications of this. I mean, that's why we really need a federal revenge porn law because it will also set a baseline for what the punishment is. Because a lot of times even with the law, they're not - they're not up to par with what the impact on the victim, right? So, the punishment doesn't necessarily fit the crime, even in the states that do have laws. So, we really need a federal law to kind of deal with the cross state issue and to deal with the, you know, leveling up the punishment.

PAUL: To give some uniformity to it.

O'BRIEN: Yes, exactly. PAUL: So, Leah, real quickly, I know that you've organized this march

today. What would you say to anybody who might be standing there along the sidelines looking at you, wondering what you're - what you're talking about, what message you're trying to put out there? If you could look at them face-to-face, what do you want them to know?

JULIET: Well, if you're standing there on the sidelines wonder what this event is about, then that is half the battle. The purpose of having this march is not necessarily to change laws because we know that we alone cannot do that by simply marching, but to start conversation and in turn, change social stigmas which will eventually lead to progression of the social justice movement and the political and legal spheres.

So, if people see us marching and wonder what we are doing, everyone knows someone who has shared a secret or an image that is trusted between a relationship, and to have that image exploited or that secret exploited is a terrible, terrible thing, so everyone can relate to this.

PAUL: They -- you can -- they can. No doubt about it. In one way or another. We've all felt shame in some way, and to think of it being out there in any way it's definitely overwhelming. Sara O'Brien, Leah Juliet, thank you so much, both of you, for sharing, you know, thoughts and the perspective with this. We appreciate it.

JULIET: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: Thank you.

PAUL: Absolutely. And listen, stay with us because we want to tell you what's happening with this massive fire that destroyed a huge chunk of an Atlanta interstate. Fire crews believe now they may have figured out how it started. There are three arrests. We'll give you the lowdown on the investigation. Stay close.


[08:48:54] BLACKWELL: Adopting a child is a great way to grow a family, but the process can be draining emotionally and financially for some. Well, a Los Angeles man has found a way to save money, and his inspiration comes from his own very large family.


HANK FORTENER, FOUNDER OF @ADOPTT & @WORLDADOPTDAY: I grew up with a brother and sister, then, we had 36 foster kids over a seven-year period. And then my mom and dad adopted four boys and four girls from five different countries. In the morning, you didn't know who was going to be at the breakfast table but there was always one more seat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you have this pillow with you?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What a cool idea. Who's this right here? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Daddy.

MATT RIEHM, ADOPTIVE FATHER: Tracy, came to me and said she wanted to adopt. I was really concerned about the cost.

And oftentimes, a family is looking at a bill of $30, $40, or $50,000, and so many families would adopt if they could eliminate this financial barrier. Then, what if we could carry the burden together? is designed as the first ever crowd funding platform for adoption. We're raising funds to pay for those bills. That's when your friends, and family, and co-workers gets to be part of your adoption story, simply by donating to your process.

[08:50:04] TRACY RIEHM, ADOPTIVE MOTHER: We aren't anything crazy special. We're not rich. We and the community brought him home.

FORTENER: has helped over 2,400 families raise $10.5 million to bring their kids home. And it's so rewarding for me to get to do this work because I get to continue in the family business of helping children come into families.





UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tornado right there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's a tornado right there. Oh, my god.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, oh, it's coming at your backyard.



PAUL: Step away from the window. That is a possible tornado forming there. This was part of a severe storm system that tore through Virginia Beach. We know at least a dozen homes were destroyed. Two dozen others have been damaged. Thankfully, no injuries reported, but a local pastor says the storm threw a big chunk of his church into a field across the street, collapsing the auditorium and peeling that metal roof right off the building.

BLACKWELL: Three people are facing charges this morning after a massive fire caused part of an interstate in Atlanta to collapse. Investigators think one of the suspects set construction materials on fire under Interstate 85. That was Thursday. It grew into this enormous fire that eventually caused a piece of the Interstate to crash to the ground. Repairs to the major artery in and out of the city could take several months.

PAUL: New details in the manhunt for that missing student and teacher from Tennessee. Want to share with you some of these new images that were released. They show them at a Walmart. This is in Oklahoma City last month, two days after they disappeared. Now, this is the first confirmed sighting of the two since 50-year-old Tad Cummins, who you just saw there, allegedly abducted this girl, 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas. The teenage girl has been missing since March 13th. Now, investigators say they found romantic e-mail messages between the two on Cummins' school account. According to authorities Cummins is armed with two guns. He was added to the state's top ten most wanted.

BLACKWELL: All right. Coming up in the 10:00 hour of "NEWSROOM", President Trump's agenda overshadowed by Russia. Can the administration shake that cloud of controversy that continues to hang over the White House?


[08:56:32] PAUL: I don't know if you know this, but competition in the flower business, it is huge. But a self-described farm girl is becoming a growing force in the floral industry. It's this week's "START SMALL THINK BIG."


CHRISTINA STEMBEL, FARMGIRL FLOWERS FOUNDER AND CEO: Welcome to Farmgirl Flowers. I grew up on a farm in Indiana, it was corn and soybean, but I ended up in San Francisco (INAUDIBLE) hospitality, and they would buy a lot of flowers. And so, I just started researching the flower industry to find out why the flowers we were buying cost so much. I found that 80 percent of the flowers that are sold in the U.S. are imported. And then, the second issue I'd never thought about is waste. 40 percent of the flowers that are grown are never sold. They end up in compost bins, so I was like, OK, let's figure out a solution to all of these. And that's how I came up with Farmgirl Flowers.

Our motto is that we offer one daily arrangement made of 100 percent American grown flowers, so everything that we buy, we're going to use them, we're not going to throw them away. And then, the other side of it, what that does for us is it allows us to offer designer quality arrangements at generic e-commerce prices.

We're doing really, really well. I need to pinch myself for something that's pretty amazing. I've always been environmentally focused. More importantly, I've always been integrity driven. I care first and foremost about taking care of people, and I want to create a work environment that I would want to work at if I wasn't the owner.


BLACKWELL: Was he a loyal follower or an unfaithful coward? What the bones of one saint can tell us about his infamous betrayal. Here's a preview of this week's episode of "FINDING JESUS".


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Peter was the most important disciple of Jesus. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He singles Peter out from the rest of the

disciples by saying he is the one that Jesus trusts to be rock at the house of the benevolent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was Jesus' best friend. I think he was his brother.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Headstrong, stumbling, confused, questioning. Jesus loves Peter not in spite of his failings, I think sometimes, but because of them.

JESUS: One of you is going to betray me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who is it? Who is it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Peter, loyal follower.

PETER: I will lay down my life for you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Or unfaithful coward. "FINDING JESUS," new episode tomorrow at 9:00 on CNN.


BLACKWELL: Again, "FINDING JESUS, FAITH, FACT, FORGERY," Sunday night at 9:00 Eastern, right here on CNN. All right. That is it for us this hour. We'll see you back here at 10:00 Eastern for an hour of "NEWSROOM".

PAUL: Yes, don't go anywhere though. It's not Saturday without "SMERCONISH", and he starts right now.

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN SMERCONISH HOST: I'm Michael Smerconish in Philadelphia. We welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This week, President Trump went after the Freedom Caucus and threatened to take down its members. But are they actually more politically secure --