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NCAA Finals Start Tonight; Flynn Didn't Initially Disclose Russia Income; "LA Times" Editorial: Trump's Presidency "A Train Wreck"; Trump Aide Targets Freedom Caucus on Twitter; Trump Supporters Hopeful He'll Bring Coal Jobs Back; Lawmakers to Host Town Hall on Missing Black Girls; North Carolina Against Gonzaga in Title Game. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired April 2, 2017 - 07:00   ET


[07:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: New information that we are learning about the former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. What will certainly be scrutinized are three different sources of income that Flynn received from Russian sources.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Showdown is brewing on Capitol Hill over President Trump's Supreme Court nominee.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The filibuster has never been the norm.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will overcome the obstructionists and the United States Senate will confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By and large, CEOs should kind of keep their head down and do the work. And I think we are cowards if we don't take a position occasionally on those things that are really consistent with what our mission is.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Nobel Prize Committee is absolutely looking for Bob Dylan.



CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Music to wake you up there on a Sunday morning. I'm Christi Paul.

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

This hour, the NCAA basketball finals is set. We're going to be talking about that.

PAUL: Yes, the women are up tonight and men play for the title tomorrow.

Coy Wire has a ticket everybody wants. He's live in Glendale.

Hey, Coy.


The Final Four action last night was incredible. I've played in NFL playoff game in that building and it wasn't even as hype as it was last night. The national title game is set. We are going to talk about it, preview it, show you the best moments from last night coming up in the show.

BLACKWELL: The Trump administration is gearing up for a very crucial week and it could bring a big win for them. That's if Judge Neil Gorsuch is confirmed for the Supreme Court.

PAUL: Yes. Despite outspoken opposition by the Democrats, Vice President Mike Pence says the, quote, "obstructionists will not be able to stand in the way."


PENCE: For the sake of our Supreme Court, for the sake of our country, for the sake of our Constitution, we will overcome the obstructionists and the United States will confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch one way or another.


BLACKWELL: Meanwhile, more revelations about a former member of the administration's ties to Russia, making it hard for the Trump team to move on. We have new details this morning about previously undisclosed speaking fees paid to their former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

PAUL: All of this as the deadline for a budget deal looms. If you take the recess into account, Congress has just seven working days to reach an agreement before the government runs out of money the end of the month.

BLACKWELL: Stephen Collinson, CNN politics senior reporter, and Errol Louis, CNN politics commentator and political anchor for Spectrum News, with us this morning.

Good morning.


BLACKWELL: So, Errol, let me start with you. We've got this disclosure now from Michael Flynn of -- we could put up the detail on the screen -- I think we have the graphic there -- of money coming from RT and other outlets there. On documents there, it says exceeding $5,000. Democrat in the House say it's more than $60,000 or so in total. There's a lot this White House did not know, but we are still hearing

from the president. This is a witch hunt. He tweeted this weekend this is a scam. By their own administration, they haven't done the vetting to really know what they have and don't have on their team.

LOUIS: Well, that's right. We have heard over and over again, Victor, is that there is some political motivation behind this that nobody would want to know or care other than the fact that Democrats are embarrassed having lost the election in 2016. That looks increasingly implausible as a motive. The reality is there is smoke here. This is not sort of a blind witch hunt for a nonexistent witch.

We've got a problem here which is that many multiple high officials and frankly members of the Trump Organization and Trump's own family have financial ties that have not been disclosed. And so, the nature of those really starts to matter at a certain point.

If you are paid for and you have financial dealings or if you have financial partnerships, if you owe debts to people in the Kremlin or people close to the Kremlin, the public has a right to know. There's no getting around that.

BLACKWELL: You know, Stephen, just a couple of days ago, I believe it was back on the 22nd, Sean Spicer, when he was questioned about former campaign Chairman Paul Manafort and his having worked for a Russian billionaire several years ago, his defense was, well, we didn't ask everyone who they worked for in the last decade. This was just in 2015. I mean, to what degree is the White House having that is there anything else we need to know conversation with the White House staff?

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN POLITICS REOPRTER: Well, I think this points, Victor, to sort of lax vetting of nominees for cabinet jobs and other jobs. The national security job is not a national job but it does raise questions about why the White House didn't get this stuff out and whether the White House lawyers actually knew about all these contacts before. People like Mike Flynn are offered these jobs.

But it also speaks to the fact that the White House has found it absolutely impossible to get out from all of these Russia revelations.

[07:05:05] Every day, there is a drip, drip, drip of questions and reports and that makes it impossible for the White House and the president to focus on the things that he was sent to Washington to do on trade, on jobs, on his quest to dismantle regulations. So, politically, this is a problem that just will not go away. And these extra revelations about Mike Flynn, you know, he is not in the administration any more. So, in some sense, it's not damaging, but it's just -- the constant drip, drip, drip of these revelations makes this a huge political problem for the White House.

BLACKWELL: Yes. So, Errol, do you see anything -- to Stephen's point there, anything more than the thickening of smoke, does this specifically have any real value that could cause additional troubles for Michael Flynn?

LOUIS: Well, it certainly puts a little bit more heat under this question of whether or not he is going to testify with immunity because he's got a story to tell. This also partly might explain why he is looking for immunity. No lawyer would let their client walk into a highly charged setting, especially if they've got sort of paper work and undisclosed information floating all over the place.

You know, the reality also, Victor, is that, you know, Stephen is right. There are things that the Trump administration can't do, specifically they can't do what was promised on the campaign trail, which is change the relationship with Russia, maybe collaborate on certain foreign policy problems like the battle against ISIS. All of that is on the back burner at best.

BLACKWELL: Let's turn to the Gorsuch nomination. We know the Senate Judiciary Committee is voting tomorrow and potentially his nomination is going to the full Senate on Friday.

Let's put up on the screen the ten Democratic senators who have not yet declared how they will vote. We see two here in red who are being watched, especially closely, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and John Tester of Montana, because, Stephen, we know they are Trump states, as they are called at the White House, Democrats. They represent states that Donald Trump won in 2016. The Republicans already have two Democrats on their side. Do we know where these Democrats are potentially leaning?

COLLINSON: Not yet, but this is symptomatic of the choice Democrats face in this nomination. We have already had two Democrats, Senator Manchin from West Virginia and Senator Heitkamp from North Dakota have come out and said they are not going to oppose Gorsuch. They are clearly from Trump states. The other two senators that you mentioned are also from Trump states. Now, they have to weigh about, you know, whether their own political interests is best served by going with the rest of the Democrats and opposing Gorsuch or perhaps allowing voting to confirm him given the fact that, you know, they are in states that the president won.

But there -- I don't think it's possible to overstate the anger in the Democratic Party grassroots, the rank and file about this nomination. Not because people don't think Gorsuch is qualified to be a Supreme Court justice, but because many Democrats believe that the nomination was stolen from them. We know that Merrick Garland didn't even get any consideration, President Barack Obama's nominee for this post by the Republican Senate before the election. So, many, many Democrats feel that perhaps this is a fight that they have to have just because the power of grassroots anger about the Gorsuch nomination is so acute.

So, it's a very difficult choice many of them have. A lot of people in Washington believe that the Democrats are going to -- are going to go ahead and filibuster this nomination and that is something that can change the character of the Senate, given the fact that it will require a change of Senate rules.

BLACKWELL: Errol, of course, a single win is not a panacea for all of the challenges and problems that we have seen over the last 73 days now. But what would be the impact of the confirmation of Gorsuch at the end of the week?

LOUIS: Well, it's a political win for sure. But let's keep in mind, it's not just that President Trump needs a political win. That would certainly come in handy. But he also needs a fully functioning Supreme Court. There are some questions like the immigration ban that looks like they're headed to the high court sooner rather than later. And it will really be hard for this administration to get what it wants. The questions about the wall with Mexico that he has proposed could very easily end up in the Supreme Court as well. There are rollbacks of EPA rules that this administration is already talking about, that, too, could end up at the Supreme Court.

So, just as a practical matter, not just the matter of politics, this White House wants a fully functioning Supreme Court. If some reason it's not Neil Gorsuch, they have to find somebody else and they're going to have to do that quick.

BLACKWELL: A crucial week ahead, I mean, not to say as if every week of the administration has not been crucial, but this one especially.

Errol Louis, Stephen Collinson, thanks so much.


LOUIS: Thank you.

PAUL: Well, the president's team continues to talk at the Freedom Caucus, this time with a specific threat aimed at ousting a Michigan congressman from office.

BLACKWELL: Plus, we meet Donald Trump's supporters in coal country. hopeful that environmental policies will bring jobs back.


[07:14:06] PAUL: Fourteen minutes past the hour. So grateful to have you with us this morning.

Well, "The Los Angeles Times" has just published really a scathing editorial on President Trump, calling "Donald Trump's train-wreck presidency." That's the title. "The L.A. Times" is characterizing him as narcissistic, a demagogue, unprepared and unsuited for the job he was seeking, all quotes there.

CNN senior media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES", Brian Stelter, following the story.

OK. First of all, what's your reaction?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's a big front of the opinion section editor from "The L.A. Times" this morning. The paper trying to make a big statement here, running through what it says is a list of troubling traits President Trump has.

Here are three examples, Christi, from that editorial. Number one, it says Trump has a shocking lack of respect for those fundamental rules and institutions on which our government is based. It goes on to say he has an utter lack of regard for truth.

[07:15:01] And he has scary willingness to alt-right conspiracy theories, racist memes and crackpot, out of the mainstream ideas.

This editorial essentially saying he has a train-wreck presidency and wondering how is it going to end? The editorial is designed to motivate people who are weary of President Trump to take action, to protest, to vote in local elections, et cetera. I think what's notable here, Christi, we are seeing all of the biggest papers in the country, whether it's "The L.A. Times ," or "The Wall Street Journal," "The New York Times", "The Washington Post", all of those editorial boards, those people that, you know, write opinion pieces for all these big city papers, have all, in various ways, taken these anti- Trump positions. "The L.A. Times" being bold about it in this morning's paper.

These are all reflections in some ways of elite resistance to Trump. They're also reflections of urban concerns about Trump. You know, I was in L.A. in the past week talking to the editor of "The L.A. Times", and he said the biggest concern our readers have is about Trump's stance on immigration and what is he doing about immigration given the melting pot that is L.A.

So, what we see here is some ways, yes, left-leaning reaction to Trump, but, you know, "The Wall Street Journal" editorial board is right-leaning and it recently had another scathing editorial about Trump, talking about his resistance to the truth. So, we continue to see these big city papers line up with concerns about the president.

PAUL: Well, a lot of his hard-core supporters, they don't care about these controversies. In fact, listen here to Alisyn Camerota's interview with a panel of people who voted for him. Let's listen.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: You give President Trump an "A" already, based on what?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel that he is trying very hard. I feel he is already getting stuff accomplished.

CAMEROTA: Such as?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I feel that he is trying to, like, loosen up the restraints on business, and I know he is trying to with the health care but he -- I know that didn't work out as well as we had hoped.

CAMEROTA: Pax, what grade to you give the president?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I give him an "A".

CAMEROTA: Based on what?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The TPP, the Keystone Pipeline, the Dakota Access Pipeline, the travel restriction, fantastic. CAMEROTA: Wait a minute. Hold on. The travel ban hasn't gone in

effect. It's been shot down by two courts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He took the initiative and did it which is exactly what he said he was going to do.

CAMEROTA: Sara Marie, what grade do you give the president?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I give Donald Trump, President Donald Trump, an "A". And to be honest with you, if I had a marker, I would put a plus next to the "A".


PAUL: All righty. So, Brian, I'm wondering, if all of this we are seeing in the newspapers, if it really matters, does it sway anybody to think differently in any way?

STELTER: That's what opinion columns can't do. That's what editorials can't do. You know, that's what talk shows can't do is what Alisyn was doing there with that focus group, actually listening to voters who have backed the president.

I think what Alisyn found in that focus group this week, her focus group is intended to be fascinating, is what we have also seen in polling. That the most loyal supporters of President Trump are not wavering and if they are, they are only starting to have second thoughts largely around health care and other policy matters. It's not his tweets. It's not his reckless comments on Twitter or at press conferences or rallies that are concerning to those voters.

They are concerning to the opinion columnists and editorial boards of the world. One example may be sort of a big city or elitist reaction to President Trump versus voters in other parts of the country.

PAUL: But, I mean, these are people, too, and there are a lot of people who are just sick of politics as it was. They wanted to see something different. They knew they were going to get something different with Donald Trump. No doubt about it.

I want to read you something really quickly from "The Art of the Deal" from Donald Trump. He said, "You can't con people, at least not for long. You can create excitement. You can do wonderful promotion and get all kinds of press, and you can throw it in a little hyperbole, but if you don't deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on."

Is tax reform going to be president Trump delivering the goods? I mean, does he have to get a "W," a win here pretty soon?

STELTER: Well, you wonder how much people in the focus group will care about tax reform or if he is doing more to please his base, not his base, to please the traditional Republican base, to please donors more so than to please the people that we are hearing from in the focus group. That is what I think is the most interesting story when we hear from those voters that Alisyn was interviewing or when we hear from the viewers probably of this program, the people who do not care as much about seeing a reform of the tax code, because that is going to benefit wealthy Americans more so than it's going to benefit the average voter who turned out in November.

PAUL: All righty. Brian Stelter, always good to see you, sir. Thank you for making time this morning.

Because you know you're going to see him again in just a little bit. You can catch him on "RELIABLE SOURCES" at 11:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

Thanks, Brian.

BLACKWELL: The White House appears to be taking a stab at the heart of the Freedom Caucus, attacking one of its most vocal members on Twitter.

[07:20:04] Senior White House aide Dan Scavino called for the electoral defeat of Michigan Representative Justin Amash saying, quote, "RealDonaldTrump is bringing auto plants and jobs back to Michigan. Justin Amash' liability, Trump train, defeat him in primary."

Well, the congressman shot back, "Trump administration and establishment have merged into Trump establishments, same old agenda, attack conservatives, libertarians and independent thinkers."

Ben Ferguson is with us, CNN political commentator and host of "The Ben Ferguson Show."

Ben, good morning.

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good morning. What a war of words between those two.

BLACKWELL: Yes. I mean, so let's start there with this Twitter back and forth here. Now, Amash is, of course, using this as a fund- raiser. But is it smart strategy for the White House to go after its own party so early in the administration, a conservative, nonetheless?

FERGUSON: Yes. Look, I've said this for a while. When you come into Washington, you got to kind of understand the landscape. You got to realize you may not be friends on one bill, but might need that vote on another bill and if it becomes personal, it's very hard to count those votes.

This Twitter war is probably going to help this congressman more than it's going to help the White House because he is liked in his district, he is hard-core conservative, he can say he stood up to the establishment, and I think that really both sides here, the Freedom Caucus and the White House would be advised to dial it back a little bit. Otherwise, the Democrats are going to be in an amazing situation where you actually have to go and recruit some of their votes to get any of your legislative agenda done.

I just don't understand 73 days in what you're going to gain from this long term. This is a long marathon. Four years is a long time.


FERGUSON: This isn't just one business deal as I described to somebody this weekend. This is four years of a plan that you got to put together and you need every ally you can get your hand on. I just don't think this is going to work long term.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about the next bill that is coming up that is a necessity, the funding bill at the end of April, just as the president round out his first 100 days. I mean, I'm going to ask you now, Ben, to solve the problems of our political system, if you don't mind and you can do it in 25 seconds?

FERGUSON: Yes. Look --

BLACKWELL: How does the speaker put together a piece of legislation that he is can send to the Democrats that likely need to pass it but doesn't have to abandon the president's priorities, including the wall?

FERGUSON: Well, it is a very tough sale. But you also know that both sides would be hurt by any type of government shutdown and I don't think the Democrats have the appetite for that or the Republicans, and that might be really the third-party at the table that makes everybody kind of play by the rules here and say, look. We got to move forward with this. I'm willing to give you a little bit here and there but I'm not -- we also won this White House. We have the House. We have the Senate. You guys can compromise in a couple of things and let's get this done.

Both sides have to understand a government shutdown would be horrible for the country. It would be horrible for morale. And I think both parties would actually probably be blamed for this equally.

And, remember, the White House always has a bigger microphone than Congress does and if you remember the last government shutdowns, whoever the president is, it really works well for them because they are the ones that people are following the most.

BLACKWELL: But Leader Pelosi has said that she is not going to, and Democrats will not support the funding, the billions of dollars for this wall. I think the first request is about a billion dollars.

Can the president signed a funding bill that does not include money for the beginnings of this wall after health care didn't get a vote, after his two attempts at a travel ban went nowhere because of the courts?

FERGUSON: I think it would be very tough for him to do that but I also don't think that you're going to see this taken out. I think this is a core principle and a win that the majority of the American people voted for Donald Trump on. Remember, what made him really become the front-runner in the primary

was his hard stance on immigration reform and also building the wall. Putting in a billion dollars this year, putting in two billion next year, getting this thing started is something that I cannot imagine the president is willing to compromise on. And the American people seem to really have an appetite for this wall and national security issues.

So, I think he is going to fight hard for this. I can't imagine him saying I'm willing to even take that out or put it on the table. And ultimately, that is where your plan of really big game of chicken looking at Democrats going, do you really want to shut down the government over this? Remember, we won the White House, we are in charge of the House and Senate. You may get some things in here, but this is a core legislative issue we are going to get.

BLACKWELL: I hear what you're saying there, I don't know that the polls necessarily show the level support that your espousing and say that the American people have for the wall and for the president. But --

FERGUSON: The selling points for the president is this: you look at -- you look at illegal immigrants coming across the border, they're down 60 percent since he became president. When you fly around the country in Air Force One and you tell people that --


FERGUSON: And you talk about that the majority of Americans are willing to listen to you about the wall.

[07:25:00] So, even if he has to repackage it, he seems to be standing on very solid ground on that issue with a lot of voters. And again, he would not be the president if it wasn't for that core issue and then, obviously, health care would be second.

BLACKWELL: Understood. But -- and we've got to wrap it here. But the approval numbers are still depending upon the poll, somewhere in the mid-30s or so there.


BLACKWELL: Ben Ferguson, good to have you.

FERGUSON: Good to be back. See you guys soon.

BLACKWELL: All right. Certainly.

Congressman Adam Schiff is a guest today on "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper. Don't miss it, 9:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

PAUL: Well, General Electric CEO has something to say. He is upset with President Trump's rollback of Obama era environmental regulations. We're going to tell you what he said to CNN.

BLACKWELL: But not everyone is upset about the president's new environmental policies. Coal miners say they hope to bring back jobs.


[07:30:04] PAUL, CN: Seven-thirty on a Sunday morning. You're awake? We are glad for it. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning.

General Electric CEO is speaking out against President Trump. Jeff Immelt says that he tries to stay out of politics but he thinks it's necessary to stand up against some of the president's policies. I want you to listen to a portion of what he told CNN's Fareed Zakaria regarding the president's rollback of environmental regulations.


FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS": You have done something unusual in the last couple of months, though. You have twice, to your employees, come out essentially in opposition to something the administration did on the travel ban, you expressed concerns, and on climate change policies, you expressed concerns in a memo where you essentially disagreed with the Trump administration, and talked about how crucial it was for the U.S. to continue to be a world leader on climate change.

Why did you feel the need to do this?

JEFF IMMELT, GENERAL ELECTRIC CEO: You know, Fareed, I say, by and large, CEOs should kind of keep their head down and do their work. And in many ways, I agree exactly with what President Trump is doing. But we also are stewards for companies, we're stewards for brands, we're stewards for people.

On the travel ban, look, we have a lot of people that live in the Middle East. We have a lot of people that travel. It's my duty to stand up for them.

Clearly, you want the country to be safe. But it's also my duty to kind of stand up on their behalf. On climate, look, for 12 years, we have been investing an initiative called eco imagination, which has really talked about driving energy efficiency in everything we do, and we have been doing it consistently. We have booked over $300 billion of revenue in that initiative the last 12 years.

I just think it's insincere to not stand up for those things that you believe in. So, I don't think it's something we should do every day, but I do think we are also stewards of our companies. We are representatives of the people that work with us. And I think we are cowards if we don't take a position occasionally on those things that are really consistent with what our mission is and where our people stand.


BLACKWELL: Well, be sure to watch the full interview this morning on "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" at 10:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN. PAUL: Speaking of those rollbacks. There are some people who are

optimistic about what Donald Trump has done thus far in that regard. Some of the folks that support him and his administration believe that they are going to bring jobs back and Miguel Marquez talked to some of those folks.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Kingdom Coal Mine number nine in Red Fox, Kentucky, back in business.

(on camera): How rare is it to reopen a mine here?


MARQUEZ (voice-over): Shutting down last year, the mine once employed more than 120 miners.

MAGGARD: Right now, we have 20 employees and we've probably taken 260 to 300 applications.

MARQUEZ (on camera): This is three miles into the Kingdom Coal Mine. They just started moving coal out this mine this week. It is the first glimmer of hope this area has had in a long time.

(voice-over): That glimmer starting with President Trump's pro-coal agenda.

MAGGARD: It's made a big improvement.

MARQUEZ (on camera): You've already noticed. You've seen it.

MAGGARD: Yes. We probably wouldn't be working today.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Cheap natural gas, automation, and government regulation forcing a steep and rapid decline in the coal industry.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to bring the coal industry back, folks.

MARQUEZ: But even with the President rolling back Obama era environmental regulations, no one expects coal to come back the way it was.

ZACHARY COMBS WEINBERG, KNOTT COUNTY JUDGE EXECUTIVE: At the end of the day, it comes to market and whether the price of the market is there. So, we'll just have to see if the price goes up and they're going to mine coal.

MARQUEZ (on camera): President Trump promises to bring back jobs. Do you think the price of coal and the industry will come back to where it was 10 years ago?

MAGGARD: No, I don't think it'll ever be back to that point. If it'll just level out what we got, I think that will be good. MARQUEZ (voice-over): Knott County alone, population, 16,000, lost about 1,000 high paying mining jobs over the last several years. Ancillary jobs, like trucking, also disappeared.

BRYANLEE WAGNER, COAL HAULER: This thing firing back up has helped a lot, so it's a pretty big deal.

MARQUEZ: As coal declined, business owner Dion Slone closed one of his convenience stores and cut operating hours on his remaining business.

(on camera): How big a deal is it that a mine is actually opening in this county?

DION SLONE, LOCAL BUSINESS OWNER: It's great. I mean, if you can put a few hundred people back to work, it means the world.

MARQUEZ (on camera): So, is there a Trump effect? Coal mine we visited was in the process of reopening long before the election.

[07:35:01] While many here in coal country are grateful for the president's support for coal, they don't think coal is going to be the economic driver it once was. What they want is a few more coal jobs for now which they think they will get so they can diversify their economy and hopefully join the digital age. That is much more difficult to do.

Miguel Marquez, CNN, Knott County, Kentucky.


BLACKWELL: All right. Let's turn to a story that has gone far too underreported until now. Lawmakers -- they are planning to discuss those dozens of missing African-American girls and women across the country. We're going to talk about this with the president of Black and Missing Foundation. She is joining us live in just a moment.


PAUL: Well, right now, there are dozens of African-American girls and women who are missing across this nation and congressional lawmakers are planning to host a town hall this month hoping to do something about it.

[07:40:03] In Washington, D.C. alone, for instance, the police Twitter feed is inundated almost daily with pictures like this -- young black and Latino girls that have disappeared. And they are vanishings have sparked nationwide outrage and prompted calls for a federal investigation now.

The president of the Black and Missing Foundation, Derrica Wilson, is with us this morning.

Derrica, thank you so much for being with us.


PAUL: Good morning to you.

Your organization reported -- I want people to really wrap their heads around this number -- that 64,000 black women and girls disappeared nationwide back in 2014. I know the latest year we could get full statistics for.

Now, the D.C. metropolitan police chief recently said in his district alone, he said, "I say this without minimizing the number of missing persons in D.C., because one missing person is one person too many, but there's actually been a decrease."

Even though that is the case in D.C., help us understand how prolific is this problem?

WILSON: This is an epidemic that has been going on for years, which is one of the reasons why we started the organization back in 2008. Back In 2008, 30 percent of the missing persons in the United States were persons of color and that since increase to 40 percent. So, we really need to see what is going on.

And I actually applaud lawmakers for taking a stand. This epidemic that is going on, and has been going on for year, has awakened everybody across this country to the issues that are really going on.

PAUL: You know, I'm a parent. I don't care if my daughter is 2 or if she is 20, I am in angst if I can't find her. So, whatever you're doing at home there, please watch your screen here and take a good look at the pictures that we are showing you of some of the girls and the women who are missing here.

And, Derrica, back to you here. I want to ask you -- do we know what is happening to them? I mean, are they being taken by people that they know? Are they running away in some cases? Help us understand.

WILSON: You know, there is so many -- there's so many ways to look at these missing person cases. They are vanishing because mental health issues, they are disappearing because of domestic violence, they are disappearing because of human trafficking.

Human trafficking is a multibillion dollar industry that is happening right here on U.S. soil. So rather these girls or boys are running away, we need to find out what are they running from and who they are running to. And so, it doesn't really matter the circumstances as to their disappearance. We need to find them.

PAUL: Well, New Jersey Congresswoman Bonnie Coleman said several things are contributing to the issue such as academic disadvantages and poverty, disparate mistreatment of missing black women and girl by law enforcement, and a lack of public awareness, she says. We do have to kind of look, do we not of how this happens? Because isn't that where we may be able to start to turn this around?

WILSON: Absolutely. It is the responsibility of law enforcement, the media, and our community. We need to make sure that these cases are being taken serious. There has been many times where families have contacted our organization because they couldn't get a police report on file.

And, of course, when it comes to missing children of color, a lot of times they are classified as runaways so they are not receiving the AMBER alert. And more importantly, the community, we need them if they see something, we need them to say something. It is all of our responsibility. We need to be proactive.

PAUL: D.C. police tweeted this just last month, said, "There isn't a spike in missing people in D.C. We are just using social media more to help locate them. Sorry to alarm you."

So, for all of the negatives we hear about social media, it seems like this is one area where maybe it would work -- it would work wonders. Could we even expand the effort there to educate and maybe reach out to some of these young women before something happens?

WILSON: Yes. Being proactive is the key. We have had said many times, social media, it is a blessing and it is a curse. While we are utilizing social media to find our missing, these predators are utilizing social media to recruit them. So, we encourage parents to monitor what their children are doing.

Look at the apps they are downloading because there are so many predators preying on these children online.

PAUL: How many of these children have been found? How many of them are able to come home? Help us really -- help us absorb the gravity of what's happening in families today.

WILSON: I mean, every single day that a loved one is missing, it grows slimmer but we want families to continue to hang on to hope. If you look at Relisha Rutt (ph), I mean, she has been missing since March 1, 2014.

[07:45:02] If you look at Unique Harris out of D.C., she's been missing since October 10, 2010, Pamela Butler, February 2009.

So, we need to close these cases and every day, like I said, it gets slimmer and slimmer but we want to maintain that hope for families that they will have a happy ending like the Elizabeth Smart's and Jaycee Dugard.

PAUL: And urge people, when you're looking at these pictures, to think if that was your daughter, your sister, your friend, what kind of a mental state, emotional state you would be and if you could not find them.

Now, Derrica, I know that your organization is holding a 5K run in June to honor some of these girls, help us -- help us know more about that.

WILSON: This year, we are hosting our annual Hope Without Boundaries. This is our fund-raising event. One hundred percent of the funds go to these families to help them in their quest to find their missing. And so, we want them to know that they are not in this by themselves, that they are rallied around a community that love and support them and they are also rallied around families who have found their missing loved ones to give them that additional support, because that's what they need.

PAUL: OK. Derrica Wilson, thank you for your efforts. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us today.

WILSON: Thank you for having me.

PAUL: Absolutely.

BLACKWELL: The underdogs in the women's NCAA tournament, they are going to the championship final tonight. And the men's title matchup, that is set as well.

Coy Wire is in Glendale, Arizona.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: The championship matchup is set. North Carolina versus Gonzaga. There were players cheering. They were coaches tearing. We're going to show all the great moments from last night's action and preview the upcoming title game. That's coming up.


PAUL: So, this week's "Staying Well" features dragon boat racing which helps thousands of Americans get their heart rates up and their stress levels down.

Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Make sure your stroke is nice and straight and even coming back.

ANDREA ELISCU, FOUNDER, ORLANDO DRAGON BOAT CLUB: Dragon boating is about 2,800 years old and started in China.

A dragon boat is 41-foot long. Everybody has to be synchronized with their paddle. Do you what the person in front of you and the person across from you does. And if you can do that, the boat goes straight and it goes very fast.

WILLIS WEAVER, RETIRED ORLANDO POLICE OFFICER: Constant motion. Like a short burst of energy. Recently retired as an Orlando police officer after 23 years and no matter what I dealt with on the street when I came out here, I couldn't believe it. The water smells good. It feels good. Kind of like a Zen moment.

MELISSA ROMERO, SALES & CUSTOMER SERVICE AGENT: For me, it's about getting my heart rate up, getting some exercise in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Charge. Lengthen your stroke. ROMERO: I like being out in the open rather than being in a gym. I

have a lot of core strength now. When I first started, I couldn't paddle for more than a minute at a time.

[07:50:00] And now, I can probably do an hour continuous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's take the lead.

ROMERO: The worries of the day just kind of melt away.



PAUL: There he is, and Bob Dylan has quietly accepted his Nobel Prize to Literature. He did so yesterday in a private ceremony in Sweden, five months after the surprise announcement. The legendary singer/songwriter was already in Stockholm to perform. But there were no cameras allowed. Dylan didn't speak to the media. He's the first singer/writer to be awarded Nobel Prize. The Swedish Academy said he, quote, "created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition."

BLACKWELL: Just two left now. Just two! I've got one on my bracket! Just two left. That's involved --

PAUL: You know what?

BLACKWELL: Go ahead.

PAUL: You were so low last year, I'm just going to let you ride this one out. Ride high, my friend.

BLACKWELL: I'm in the mid-teens, baby! I'm in mid-teens.

PAUL: Ride high, my friend.

BLACKWELL: Out of 30. So, that's still good.

The college basketball national championship, that matchup is set.

PAUL: Yes, Coy Wire is breaking down the biggest moments from last night's action from Glendale.

Coy, how are you doing out there?

WIRE: You guys don't know how it tickles my fancy that Victor is getting excited about sports!

Good morning to you both.

Look, I played in that stadium behind me in an NFL playoff game Falcons versus Cardinals.

These games last night were as rowdy, if not more so. Two games decided by a combined five points. You had North Carolina in their year-long wait for redemption is now almost over. They're just 40 minutes that separated them from the national championship that eluded them last season. This game went to the very end. Oregon kept on fighting but the Tar Heels able to hold them off for that one-point win 77-76.

Tar Heel nation will take on the Gonzaga Bulldogs who are headed to their first championship game. Zags just out fellow final four first timer South Carolina 77-73.

Head coach Mark Few called a crazy cool, but no, coach, you are cool. Check out the handstand and here he is talking about it afterwards.


MARK FEW, GONZAGA HEAD COACH: Are they calling it a handstand now? Because sometimes they've been a little weak, a little --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't see it.

FEW: I felt pretty good! I felt like I stuck it. You know?


WIRE: Now, on the other side of that spectrum, you have the devastation. No one wears their emotions on their sleeve like South Carolina coach Frank Martin. After the game, the former nightclub bouncer broke down in tears, talking about his seniors who he's going to miss so much in this journey that they shared together.


[07:55:03] FRANK MARTIN, SOUTH CAROLINA HEAD COACH: When you get beat to travel across the country by the masses because they believe in what you do, it's powerful stuff. And they have impacted our community in an unbelievable way, which is worth so much more than the score of the game.


WIRE: Coaches are so much more than a coach. Like mentors and a second father a lot of these kids, so you see that raw emotion from coach Frank Martin.

But keep your chins up, South Carolina fans. You still have a shot at the national championship in the women's game. The Lady Gamecocks face off tonight against Mississippi State in the championship game. This will be their third meeting between the two schools this season. South Carolina won both of them.

Tip-off in Dallas for that one, guys, is just after 6:00 Eastern. So, we'll see if those South Carolina Gamecocks can get a win after all.

PAUL: All righty. Hey, Coy, have a great time out there.

WIRE: Thank you.

PAUL: Thank you so much.

I loved seeing them celebrate. If Gonzaga wins, I want you to videotape you winning. Just checking.

BLACKWELL: I certainly will. Thanks for watching today.

PAUL: "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts right after this break.