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NEW DAY SATURDAY
Sources: Russia Tried to Use Trump Advisers To Infiltrate Campaign; U.S. to Honor Refugee Deal Trump Called "Dumb"; Trump Looks For Big Wins As Milestone Approaches; Democrats' "Unity Tour" Showcases Party Divisions; Inside the Cabin Where Tad Cummins was Captured; Report: Trump Shows Support for Nationalist Candidate. Aired 7-8a ET
Aired April 22, 2017 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:00:25] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Investigators now believe Russia tried to use Trump advisors to infiltrate the campaign.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not only through e-mail hacks and propaganda but also by trying to infiltrate the Trump orbit.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Just think about what we can accomplish in the first 100 days of a Trump administration.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of the success has been through executive orders. Real success is working with Congress.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A witness spotted Cummins with his former students Elizabeth Thomas deep in the woods of northern California.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are gathering as much evidence as possible. It's a very, very small cabin.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Scientists and supporters are planning a huge march for science.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One hundred fifty thousand people expected to gather here on the mall and march to the capitol.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, welcome to Saturday morning. I'm Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning.
PAUL: This morning we want to begin with you with some new information on how Russia tried to influence the 2016 election. FBI received intelligence last summer that suggested Russian operatives tried to use Trump advisors including Carter Page to infiltrate the Trump campaign, which means it was not just e-mail hacks and propaganda but also perhaps some old-fashioned spy recruitment strategy.
BLACKWELL: Now, the officials made it clear they do not know if Page was aware that the Russians may have been using him because he could have unknowingly talked with Russian agents. And Carter Page told CNN easterly this month how he met the Russian operative Victor Podobnyy but he denies he was actually giving him any valuable information. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARTER PAGE, FORMER TRUMP ADVISER: I did not know he was a spy when I first met him, although eventually it came out. He never made any indication that he was trying to recruit me. It was all just a casual conversation, exactly what I told my students at New York University.
So -- and no offer was made and there was no negotiation whatsoever. I met at a conference at Asian Society and at some point later, with a month or so, I believe, it was several years ago, we had coffee once. Had a slight conversation. I gave him a couple of my information from my lectures, some public research reports and that was the end of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Now, we spoke with former KGB spy Jack Barsky last hour about how spies recruit people in the U.S. and we asked him why Carter Page could have allegedly been a target. Watch this portion of the interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACK BARSKY, FORMER KGB SPY: You take what you can get and obviously there were relationships there. There was an angle. When I was operating in this country, they asked me to, you know, get in touch with all kinds of high level individuals. Well, that wasn't possible. So Carter Page was most likely a very inviting target.
BLACKWELL: Is it possible or even credible to think he did not know that he was being --
BARSKY: It is quite likely that he didn't know.
BARSKY: There's one thing -- there's this statement he made that he was aware that when you deal with Russian business people, that they could be infiltrated by Secret Service. I think that's an after the fact statement. In my opinion Americans are rather naive when it comes to these types of issues.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Phil Mudd, CNN counterterrorism official and former CIA counterterrorism official with us now, as well as Eugene Scott, CNN politics reporter, and Kelly Jane Torrance, deputy editor for "The Weekly Standard".
Thank you for being with us.
Phil, I would like to start with you if I could, please? We just heard there from Jack Barsky. We should point out and I want to get your take on this, that the reporting is he tried -- that Russia tried to influence the election. No proof that that actually happened. Is that correct?
PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: That's what it sounds like happened to me.
We talked earlier about the e-mail campaign. Let me take you inside the intelligence side. If you look at someone like Carter Page, I'm not suggesting he did anything wrong, the FBI will figure that out, that would be an individual in the intel business called an access agent, not somebody who has a senior title, somebody who can tell you who is a player in the campaign, when are issues going to be discussed, what are the issues, where is the party and presidential candidate going on those issues.
Even down to very tactical questions. Where can we meet people? Where do they congregate? When are you going to make an announcement, so if we want to orchestrate the release, for example, of stolen emails we know how to release them?
[07:05:03] So, somebody like that without a senior position still has knowledge that can help an outsider a Russian agent understand the American electoral process.
BLACKWELL: So, Eugene, to you, I mean, I think this piggybacks off of Phil's point here -- the degree to which Carter Page had an upper echelon or any major role in this campaign, it's been, I guess fluctuating over the last couple of weeks, how involved he was. What do we know now about facts of his involvement?
EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: What we know is that when Donald Trump was speaking to "The Washington Post" when Carter Page's name was first mentioned perhaps nationally, that perhaps the president did not know Page as well as he suggested he did. That doesn't mean that Page had contact or involvement in the campaign as he now communicates, but it's revealing the Trump campaign perhaps did have quite a few people in it that perhaps had not been as vetted as he would normally expect a presidential campaign to vet some of its advisers.
PAUL: So, Kelly, we talked with Jeff Barsky as well asking him about the influence of Carter Page, and how they would work to try to get information from him and he basically said, you know what? You take what and who you can get, essentially, because Carter Page was seen as somebody, I guess, on the surface that really would have been able to give them a lot of information.
Do you suspect or is there an expectation that other names will be dropped in this? KELLY JANE TORRANCE, DEPUTY EDITOR, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: You know,
it's quite possible and it's quite likely. I imagine that, you know, as he said you take what you can get. But then you look for as much as you can get.
Now, I think Carter Page is someone who must have been a candidate given the fact that he had been in Russia many times. He worked there. And he had been critical of U.S. policy towards Russia for years.
You know, he gave a speech last summer in Moscow where he actually said that the United States was hypocritical in looking at things like democratization and corruption in Russia. Now, that's quite a statement to make about the United States versus a country that looks to me like the government has been involved in actually killing journalists.
BLACKWELL: Let's focus on this period in this speech, Phil. July 2016, he was there at the University in Moscow. And he says that he only met with and I'm reading here, scholars and professor, university said they set up no additional meetings for him.
Based on what you know about Russian intelligence gathering, is it or how likely is it that those scholars and professors had some intelligence or counter intelligence roles?
MUDD: Had to be. Look, this is what we call a legend, somebody approaches you in a bar, at a conference, in a hotel they are not going to say, "I'm a Russian intelligence officer." They're going to say, "I'm trying to understand the American electoral process. I come from a study institute. It's complicated. Can you give me an understanding of how it works?"
Or you can a businessman saying, "Boy, we're trying to do a deal with American companies. We want to understand how policy gets established on things like sanctions so we know how to talk to American companies." This is a cover story an intelligence officer uses, for a simple reason. You don't want to spook the target.
As soon as you come from a Russian intelligence service, obviously, somebody is going to say, I don't want to talk to you. So, the likelihood that somebody who approached him had an intelligence background and never acknowledged it to me makes a lot sense.
PAUL: All righty. So, Eugene, when we look at the last week of the 100 days of President Trump's first term here, what does this conversation that we have been having for months now and the new revelations just in last 24 hours tell you about how the president may react to this and how it may affect how he moves forward?
SCOTT: Well, what we do know is the president will blame the media, liberals and just the intelligence agency, an organization which he's had quite a complicated relationship with in these first 100 days for putting out information that he will likely consider fake news. What we also know to be more true is that we're not at the end of this. We're just getting started. There's far more information that will come out that's not clear not only to the American people but quite possibly to the Trump administration and people who were part of the campaign.
I think one thing that's very important to point out is that during the campaign, it was very common for Trump advisers to say they had no idea, they did not believe they were not talking to people involved with Russian intelligence. But the reality, as you Phil has said, you don't always know who you are talking about. But I believe the intelligence agency here in the States is going to try to do their best to make that as clear as possible to the American people.
BLACKWELL: And, Kelly Jane, finally to you, it's important to point out that even though this report gives us new details about this investigation that's been ongoing, this does not equal collusion?
[07:10:07] TORRANCE: No, that's true.
Now, what's interesting, though, of course, the FBI had to have some probable cause to get the warrant from the federal surveillance intelligence court to actually look at and surveil Carter Page. So, we don't know what happened. We don't know what he said and who he said it to. But it certainly doesn't look good that the Trump campaign did not do the extreme vetting as Trump likes to say himself of the people that he was naming as his national security advisers.
PAUL: All right. Phil Mudd, Eugene Scott, Kelly Jane Torrance, always appreciate your insight. Thank you for taking your time to be with us.
TORRANCE: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: All right. The man we've been discussing this morning, former Trump adviser, Carter Page, he will be live on Smerconish. That show starts at 9:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.
Also new this morning, Vice President Mike Pence says the U.S. will honor a deal to take in more than a thousand refugees from Australia. The agreement was brokered by President Obama right before the election.
This is the same deal that President Trump slammed back in February. He called it a dumb deal. Here's what the vice president had to say about it today during his visit to Australia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Make it clear, the United States intends to honor the agreement, subject to the results of the vetting process that now apply to all refugees considered for admission to the United States of America. President Trump has made it clear that we'll honor the agreement. It doesn't mean we admire the agreement. Frankly, looking back on the last administration, the president has never been shy about expressing frustration with other international agreements. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: You'll remember the president's frustration over the agreement led to reports of a contentious first call with the Australian prime minister. But the White House downplayed any tensions ahead of the vice president's trip, saying the two allies would reaffirm their partnership on security, trade and immigration issues during this visit.
PAUL: Well, there are Earth Day events happening now, scientists and supporters seeing this day. Their march for science is worldwide with demonstration in London. At this hour, there are some pictures from that city now. And the main event in Washington, D.C. kicking off at 9:00 a.m. Eastern. Just about an hour and 45 minutes away now.
Keep it here. We're going to be covering the protesters every step and these conversations we're having. Scientists and their supporters demonstrating the expected cuts to science research, including for climate change under the Trump administration. Organizers say some 500 satellite marches again taking place across the world and they are just hoping that President Trump is taking notice.
BLACKWELL: As the president's first 100 days round out, the president's tax reform plan might be added to the table next week, that's on top of health care and a looming budget fight that could shut down the government. Can this all get done in essentially five working days?
PAUL: Also, Senator Bernie Sanders and DNC Chair Tom Perez hit the road to rile up the base with a unity tour. Instead, it seems to be showcasing just how divided they still are. We have more on that ahead.
BLACKWELL: Also, details from inside the cabin where the missing Tennessee teacher and his victim spent their last days on the run.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You can see they had things to cook with. They had a cooking stove there. And they left behind some paper work from the FBI.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[07:17:48] PAUL: All righty. We are one week away from president Trump's first 100 days in office. It's long been a traditional presidential milestone. The White House will use next week to revive discussions on repealing Obamacare, trying to secure funding for the border wall and potentially unveiling a package on tax reform.
BLACKWELL: But looming over all of that, the possibility of a government shutdown next Friday.
CNN's Jeremy Diamond is live at the White House. And, Jeremy, the president is questioning the significance of a first
100 days when he basically made this contract for the first 100 days before he was elected. What's behind that?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right.
You know, this might be a case of Donald Trump saying one thing and actually doing another. President Trump is casting doubt now on those 100 days, that significant marker that has existed, of course, for decades. He took to Twitter yesterday to cast doubt on the whole concept, calling it a ridiculous standard. He tweeted, "No matter how much I accomplish during the ridiculous standard of the first 100 days, and it has been a lot including SC, that's Supreme Court, media will kill."
But, you know, as the clock ticks down to these 100 days the marker is clearly on the president's mind. In the last week, he signed a flurry of executive orders, including on trade and yesterday on financial and tax regulations. And next week is already set to be jam-packed. The president and Congress must already pass a funding bill to keep the government open and now, the White House and president Donald Trump are encouraging more activity on health care, which, of course, the president has failed so far to repeal and replace Obamacare as he promised.
And yesterday, the president adding yet another item to the agenda, he said that on Wednesday, he's going to be announcing his tax reform plan. Of course, I don't think the White House expects that plan to go forward in the next week, but certainly adding another item to an already busy and jam-packed week.
You know, the White House, of course, is also trying to accomplish things before these 100 days. They are very mindful of this. So, President Donald Trump very clearly here, if not to get some accomplishments before the 100 days, trying to show some signs of life and initiative -- Victor and Christie.
[07:20:01] BLACKWELL: He's got essentially five working days to get it done.
Jeremy Diamond, thanks so much.
PAUL: To CNN politics reporter Eugene Scott with us, as well as deputy editor of "The Weekly Standard", Kelly Jane Torrance, back with us.
Thank you both for sticking around.
So, Kelly, let's look at this aggressive agenda again in the next five days. The president wants to repeal Obamacare, the debt ceiling negotiations and securing funding for the border wall. What would a victory look like at the end of these five days for President Trump? Does he have to get all of it, just one of it, what a victory look like for him?
TORRANCE: Now, if he got one big thing that would really help but it seems unlikely. I mean, look at the debacle that was the American Healthcare Act. Republicans have had almost eight years to come up with a plan to replace Obamacare. And they did not come up with it. They went ahead with this bill that didn't please anybody in the Republican Congress. It didn't please moderates. It didn't please the Freedom caucus.
So, I think it's going to be hard for him to find something that he can actually accomplish. He's been doing executive orders but you can only do so much with executive orders at least if you're going to govern constitutionally.
PAUL: We talk about the possible government shut down here. We know bipartisan congressional negotiators are talking with the White House, trying to construct this for government funding. Eugene, based on what we know of those talks, how likely will a shutdown be thwarted?
SCOTT: It's not looking likely mainly because all sides want to work together to prevent something like this from happening. This would be an even worse look for the president, I believe, than not being able to repeal Obamacare because it would be an addition to, quite frankly, some of his failures so close to the 100 day mark.
One thing that's particularly interest is that we're seeing Republican leaders work pretty closely with the Democratic leaders on preventing a shutdown for a few reasons. One, it's not likely the more conservative Republicans are going to back something that will lead to more spending and the reality is the Trump administration just really needs a win. And so, we're seeing them approach as they have been in the past.
PAUL: We know tax reform is going to be -- some sort of plan for tax reform is going to be unveiled, next week, they say. Kelly, what do you expect we're going to see from that?
TORRANCE: Well, that's anyone's guess really. I mean, one of the most interesting things we've seen about Trump's 100 days how many campaign promises he's flip-flopped on. And, you know, that's one of the things that -- you know, his approval rating has gone up and down a little bit. What's really changed is how the American people regard him as keeping his promises and now, that's gone from 62 percent of people thought he would keep his campaign promises and now Gallup just found it's down to 45 percent. That's a 17 percent drop.
And one thing I found interesting was Trump surprised his own staff by saying he was going to make a big announcement on tax reform next week and they quickly -- multiple spokesmen quickly came out and said, well, it's just going to be a very broad outline, have some general principles because they are not prepared and I don't think they know.
Again, this is another issue that there's debate about within the Republican Congress itself on how to do tax reform and what is going to be included, especially that controversial border adjustment tax.
PAUL: There's debate about it. But this is the crux, Eugene, of what he ran on -- the whole tax reform issue, the money issue for funding the government. This is what a lot of people voted for when they voted for him.
And Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin said, whether health care gets done or health care doesn't get done, we're going to get tax reform done.
How imperative is it for a win in that category to the president moving forward? Whether it's done -- I mean, that's not going to be done before the 100 days, but at the end of the day, that's what people are closely watching.
SCOTT: Well, it's essential. The president needs a win and I think something that's very important and to pay attention to regarding why he needs a win so badly is that we have seen the president raising significant funds already for his re-election campaign. And so, when he goes out on these rally, which is meant to rally the base and people who sent him to the White House he needs to tell them he has done what he told them he would do.
To Kelly's point so many of those things he told them he would do such as the border wall, such as repealing Obamacare, such as getting this travel ban passed just have not been done so far. And so, while that's not going to get accomplished the tax reform before the first 100 days, they definitely want to get that passed if they are expecting to be victorious in 2020.
PAUL: Kelly Jane Torrance, Eugene Scott, appreciate you both being here. Thank you.
TORRANCE: Thanks, Christi.
SCOTT: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: Former President Barack Obama heads back into the spotlight preparing for a few public appearances next week. And this comes as the Democrats are off to let's call it a rough start on their unity tour.
[07:25:02] Will former President Obama have a message for the party? We'll talk about that ahead.
PAUL: Also, the National Guard being deployed in Florida right now to help fight dozens of wildfires. Look what's happening there. Thousands of people this morning forced to get out of their homes.
PAUL: Welcome back. So grateful to have your company. I'm Christi Paul.
BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you.
Senator Bernie Sanders and DNC chairman Tom Perez aiming to reshape the Democratic Party, starting with the unity tour across the country to highlight their efforts.
Well, the two rallied in Arizona last night, calling on Democrats to fight back in the mid-terms and beyond.
[07:30:01] He also used the platform to slam President Trump and the GOP agenda.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM PEREZ, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: This first 100 days has been nothing less than carnage and chaos. We have the most dangerous president in the history of this country and we must be united. We will be united. We'll put our progressive values into action. We will fight back. We will come together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: So, this tour has hit some rough spots. Highlighting the divide that plagued the 2016 campaign this week, Senator Sanders did not fully enforce Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff labeling him as not progressive enough. In a joint interview with Perez, Sanders took the opportunity to tout his status as an independent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
INTERVIEWER: Do you consider yourself a Democrat?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: No. I'm an independent and I think if the Democratic Party is going succeed and I want to see it succeed it has to open its doors to independents.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: So, is the tour helping or hurting?
Joining me to discuss CNN political commentator and former national press secretary for Sanders campaign, Symone Sanders, and former chairman of the Washington, D.C. Democratic Party, A. Scott Bolden.
Good morning to both of you.
A. SCOTT BOLDEN, FORMER CHAIRMAN OF THE WASHINGTON, D.C. DEMOCRATIC PARTY: Good morning.
SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good morning.
BLACKWELL: So, Symone, let me start with you. I know you don't speak for the senator anymore, but why is it a good idea to come out and say listen, I support the Democratic agenda. I believe that this is the direction the country should go. But by the way I'm not one of these guys, I'm not a Democrat.
If he believes in it, why is he a member of the party?
SANDERS: You know, I think Bernie have been very clear about who he is and what he believes in and he is somebody that really cares about the issues. And so, I think he believes in pushing the Democratic Party forward. And in helping get good Democrats and independents and people that really, people that care about the issues elected. So, perhaps, Senator Sanders was not the guy for the unity tour for
the Democrats. But he's definitely right on the mark on these issues. He's been clear about who he is. I mean, I think it's refreshing that, you know, Bernie is not trying to cover it up he's independent.
BLACKWELL: So, Scott, I mean, as Symone just pointed out, maybe he's not the guy for the unity tour. And Perez makes this call. Why bring in a man who is not a Democrat to headline this tour?
BOLDEN: Well, he ran as a Democrat for the presidency. You know, in Washington, we would call him an independent Democrat. He should leave his party label as long as he supports the Democratic agenda.
Listen, he has shared interests, but Democrats and Bernie Sanders don't share all interests. They have a political alliance. They need one another. They have a common enemy in the Republicans and Donald Trump.
And that's just fine to have a unity tour, because progressive Democrats, many of them young, who backed Bernie Sanders are in the Democratic Party. And they have nowhere else to go, they are not big enough to be an independent party on their own. They certainly aren't going to the Republicans. And so, they've got to work together in moving forward against this common enemy.
BLACKWELL: Yes, there was some noise made, I just mentioned it a moment ago, that he didn't fully endorse Jon Ossoff in the Georgia sixth, Symone, which actually --
BOLDEN: But he did.
BLACKWELL: Well, he said he wasn't progressive enough, which actually might be a good thing if you're trying to flip a seat that's been candy apple red for sometime to not have the full endorsement of a Bernie Sanders may actually be good thing to win some of those independents, or those who might be leaning towards the Republican Party.
SANDERS: Well, possibly. But, also, Senator Sanders noted he was very much ride in on Ossoff. So, from what he knew, which he noted and was very up front, wasn't much, he didn't think he was progressive. Look, I don't think it's helpful across the board for us to apply purity tests to folks and say -- and judge folks on a scale of progressivism.
I think what's more important are the issues people are advocating for, the policies these candidates and Democrats and independents want to put forth, and where they stands on the issues.
BLACKWELL: OK, you mentioned purity tests. Let's go out to Omaha, where we know that there was the endorsement from Senator Sanders of Mr. Mello, Heath Mello who is running for Omaha mayor who has in the past supported some legislation that many would say is anti-abortion rights.
I want to you listen to what Congressman Elijah Cummings said about the big tent he's hoping for the Democratic Party. Let's watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: Many of us don't have a clue of what's going on in each other's districts and how tough it is. But, again, look, I want to win in the end. And so, I want to pull as many people under that tent as I can.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: So, Scott, he had the endorsement this mayoral candidate had the endorsement of Senator Sanders, then the endorsement of Chairman Perez. Chairman Perez has pulled back that endorsement after learning of this support of this so-called anti-abortion rights legislation.
Reconcile those for me. How the Democratic Party can be big tent but cannot make room for Heath Mello?
BOLDEN: Well, I think they can make room for everyone. Just because you have this litmus test and I don't think you should have a litmus test, whether -- each race is different.
[07:35:00] Each candidate is different. All factors -- but all politics is local politics here.
So, one race doesn't make a party. It is a big tent. It has a common enemy and putting resources and rebuilding those 1,100 races or seats that we lost at the local and county and state level is super important.
And so, the Democrats are find their way, if you will. We got a new chair. Bernie Sanders is a very big part of that, endorsing and winning at the local level is super important and that's going to happen. We may have some hiccups. But in the end, we got to get it together and win at the local level.
BLACKWELL: Was the chairman wrong?
Go ahead. Go ahead, Symone.
SANDERS: Well, I just want to say, you know, I'm from Omaha, Nebraska. What's so interesting here, Heath Mello isn't anti-choice. Heath Mello is a good Democrat here. And, one, I want to encourage folks to ask local. But two, we have to -- as Scott said -- be rebuilding the party.
And I think it speaks volumes when headlines can take away from the work that good Democrats locally and good Democrats across the country are doing when folks don't read deep into what's really going on and actually get the facts.
BLACKWELL: He would -- Mr. Mello has said he would do nothing to impede on a woman's right to choose. SANDERS: He was not anti-choice. He has fought to protect Planned
BLACKWELL: So, was the chairman wrong to rescind his support?
SANDERS: Look, I think we got -- we got -- we have to get our bearings here. It's not going to be easy. Republicans are looking for holes anywhere and everywhere to cut Democrats off at their knees. And so, I think we need to stand united --
BLACKWELL: This was an in the tradition party fight. I don't know that the Republicans had anything to do with it. This was a decision whether or not Chairman Perez would support this candidate in Omaha who has come under fire for a previous vote.
BOLDEN: Well, Victor, I don't think getting into a swearing match about whether this endorsement was there or whether it was pulled back or not. Remember, the big picture issue is Democrats are competing strongly in red states. Red states that you talked about this morning during this interview, these are red states that the Democrats are competing and winning. They have been red for 25, 30, 40 years. That's progress for the party.
But, more importantly, they are rebuilding at the base level. So, I don't care whether endorsements were pulled or not, I care about winning. The party has got to win these under the big tent whether you're a conservative Democrat, progressive Democrat. We have one common enemy here, the Republicans and a president that's an extremist.
BLACKWELL: Winning takes support in many cases from the national party --
BOLDEN: It cures everything, too, by the way.
BLACKWELL: Let me add this: we know that former President Barack Obama will be back on the road in the next couple of days as we approach President Trump's 100th day in office. I want to you listen to somebody from the Obama administration talking about his role moving forward in the Trump administration -- watch this -- In Trump years, rather.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALYSSA MASTROMONACO, FORMER OBAMA DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF FOR OPERATIONS: I think Barack Obama is probably still the leader of the Democratic Party even though he's sort of on a hiatus right now. I hope Hillary comes back, but she more than deserves some time out to sort of regroup. Tom Perez, I heard, is sort of cleaning house at the DNC and sort of starting from scratch.
So, hopefully, this will be -- you know, going into 2018 will be a moment where the Democratic Party's identity crisis is over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Symone, to you first. President Obama back out on the road. Should he be more critical of President Trump, more aggressive in standing up to the president?
SANDERS: Look, I think President Obama is going to have the freedom to say some things that he wouldn't have the freedom to say when he was in the White House. So, I'm excited about him getting back out there on front street fighting with Democrats.
I think it's important to note that President Obama cannot carry this party on his own and Democrats have to be careful to be so excited that president is back that we are resting on our laurels. We have real work to do when it comes to building this bench across the country.
BLACKWELL: Scott, quickly to you, what you want to see from the president?
BOLDEN: He's a political rock star. Hillary is. We need all hands on deck, quite frankly. I don't think that's a problem at all. His message to the party and public is, whether it's attacking Trump or not will be super important. But welcome them back and welcome their voice.
BLACKWELL: All right. Scott Sanders -- I'm sorry, Scott Bolden, Symone Sanders --
SANDERS: We're team, Scott. We're a team.
BOLDEN: Oh my goodness. I'm not Scottie Nell Hughes either, by the way, Victor.
BLACKWELL: Good morning. Thank you very much.
BOLDEN: Thank you.
PAUL: Good sense of humor there.
Listen, this is really serious story. A former teacher found in a remote cabin with the teenager he's accused of kidnapping. What was found inside could certainly become a key part in the case against him and we're going to take you there.
[7:41:46] PAUL: Mortgage rates dropped this week. Here's your look.
PAUL: Forty-four minutes past the hour right now.
An internal review board for the Charlotte Police Department has ruled the fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Smith was justified. BLACKWELL: A Charlotte officer shot Scott in a parking lot of a North
Carolina apartment complex. That was in December. You've probably seen the video. Here it is again.
Police say he came out of his vehicle with a gun, refused to drop it. The ruling said for that reason, the shooting was in line with department policy. Scott's widow told officers he did not have a gun and he had a traumatic brain injury. His family said Scott was reading a book when the encounter began.
Police said no book was found afterwards. The family's attorney says they will appeal the decision.
PAUL: Well, no electricity, no cell service, nothing around for miles. We're now getting a look inside the northern California cabin where Tad Cummins was captured.
BLACKWELL: The former teacher was on the run for 39 days along with the 15-year-old girl he's accused of kidnapping.
Here's Sara Sidner with a look at where they were found.
[07:45:04] SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I want to give you a quick look at just how remote this cabin is. You can see there, there's a private road that almost nobody goes on here and then on the other side of the cabin is a mountain stream.
Now, I'm going to go inside the cabin. We have permission from the property owner to come inside after investigators have left and have taken the evidence they needed.
You can see they had things to cook with. They had a little cooking stove there and they left behind some paper work from the FBI. It is the search warrant. It also lists some things that were confiscated including coconut oil and KY jelly. Those are things that are important because authorities are trying to prove not only did Tad Cummins kidnap this young lady, this girl, but that he also intended to have sexual contact with her, which is another separate crime.
And so, they are gathering as much evidence as possible. This is very, very small cabin. It has no electricity. No warmth. No Wi-Fi. There's no cell service here.
And authorities say he came out here because he was trying to lay low. He was only caught because a caretaker and a couple of folks from this area in Cecilville decided that something was wrong, they contacted authorities and the caretaker himself helped lure him out of this cabin.
Everybody is OK. Both of them, one of them headed to court. The other one headed back home.
PAUL: Tad Cummins expected to be in court on Monday. We'll be following up on that story for you certainly.
I want to tell you right now about Florida firefighters and what they are battling this morning: 91 different wildfires, 25,000 acres have already been burned. Nearly 2,000 people had to evacuate their homes. Yesterday alone, there were 22 new fires that started.
Governor has deployed the National Guard now to help fight the fires. There's being fueled, they say, by dry conditions in that state.
BLACKWELL: Presidential election with a main candidate tough on borders and refugees while another calls for unity. Does that sound familiar? That's playing out in France where voters are about to go to the polls as they reel from a terror attack this week.
Coming up, how President Trump weighed in this week.
[07:51:29] BLACKWELL: President Trump has now weighed in on the presidential race in France. He told the "Associated Press" that he believes that one of the front-runners, nationalist candidate Marine Le Pen, quote, "is strongest on borders and she's the strongest on what's been going on in France."
PAUL: The president is referring to this week's attack in Paris, obviously, where a terror suspect gunned down a police officer. Security has been increased at the polls, in fact, as voters go to the ballot boxes tomorrow. That is expected to be the first round of this process.
CNN's Melissa Bell is in Paris for us right now.
Melissa, what are you hearing there and what is the atmosphere there ahead of this vote?
MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESONDENT: We're now, Christi, in a slightly odd period between the end of the campaign last night at midnight local time and when the polls will open tomorrow morning, Sunday morning at 8:00 a.m. Paris time, where the candidates can no longer go out and campaign, polls can no longer be compiled or reported on and so you're sort of in this waiting period.
Now, this has been an incredibly tense, incredibly close campaign. Four leading candidates are really very close to one another and it's very hard to tell who's actually going to get through to that second round. Now, of course, the events right here on the Champs-Elysees of Thursday night will have played in to the hand of the far right Marine Le Pen. You referred to Trump's almost endorsement of her.
Now, she has, ever since Donald Trump's victory in the United States, said, "Look, I am the one who most resembles Donald Trump here in France" and there is some truth to that. She does want to close France's borders. She wants to bring in a sort of economic protection much like Donald Trump has in the United States or has attempted to do, and she's saying it's time for this in France and the time for my populist message has come. Now, what no one has seen coming was the rise of the independent
centrist Emmanuel Macron. For someone who is trying to achieve something totally new, standing without the benefit of an established party, he really has made tremendous progress in the polls and the two are really neck in neck.
The difference couldn't be more stark. He is the candidate of continuity of the European Union, of openness. Marine Le Pen that of closure, a rethinking of the European Union, and a real rapture with all that's gone before. That is the choice facing the French and it is an extremely stark one.
PAUL: All right. Melissa Bell, appreciate the wrap-up there. Thank you.
BLACKWELL: Up next, we have a rare interview of access into the lives of the royals. The duke and duchess of Cambridge open up about their private lives together. We'll have some of that for you, coming up.
[07:58:15] PAUL: Well, a surprise guest hit the airwaves on BBC's Radio One, the duke and duchess of Cambridge. Yes, Prince William, Kate Middleton making an appearance to talk about their life behind closed doors.
BLACKWELL: To listeners delight, they talked about everything, from their struggles to get the queen a birthday gift to their preferences on takeout food.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you allowed to order takeaway if you wanted to?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely, yes.
PRINCE WILLIAM: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, what would you have? Would you have a pizza? Would you have a Chinese? What would you have?
PRINCE WILLIAM: Curry, definitely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just finding out so much. These are the things I want to know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, right.
PRINCE WILLIAM: It's a real conundrum when it comes to --
Yes, I'm not good with spicy food.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you do with takeaway, they must never believe you when you're ordering it to the palace, right?
PRINCE WILLIAM: It doesn't usually get ordered to the palace.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. I see.
PRINCE WILLIAM: We pick it up. Not ourselves.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's not going to go to the cottage, is he?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: These are the questions I assure you Victor would not have asked.
BLACKWELL: No. I wouldn't have asked if you like the chicken spicy. They did talk about this which I think is important, the royal couple discussed their charity, Heads Together, which promotes mental health awareness. So, something great did come out of that interview.
PAUL: You know, it was an ordinary day in West Phoenix for Barb Mattingly. She's watering her plants another her house and then comes a balloon with a message in her yard. On the balloon in black marker, as you see there, a wish written by 12-year-old Vanessa who wanted more books. Well, Vanessa couldn't get a series of books that she wanted from the library.
BLACKWELL: So, she wrote her wish and her address on the balloon and hoped for the best. Mattingly granted that wish and hopes to meet Vanessa one day and give the balloons back with her books so that she can really see her dreams come true.