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DHS Secy: Trump Will "Be Insistent" on Funding Border Wall; U.S. Citizen Detained in North Korea; NYT: Trump Consults Outside Counsel Once a Week; Russia's Massive Military Base Puts U.S. On Alert; Now: France Votes in Presidential Elections; New Orleans Threatened with Loss of Federal Funds; Grizzlies Beat Spurs with Overtime Buzzer-Beater. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired April 23, 2017 - 07:00   ET


JOHN KELLY, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Pretty straightforward about his desire and the need for a border wall.

[07:00:05] He will be insistent on the funding.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Asked whether he would find a bill that doesn't include that funding, he said, I just don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those are three big legislative packages that he would like to get done in one week, and Washington just doesn't work that way.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Health care is coming along well. Government is coming along really well. A lot of good things are happening.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first round of the French presidential election is set for Sunday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is so much at stake at this country. Eleven presidential candidates, some pro-European, other Euro skeptical.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, good morning to you, on a Sunday morning. We are always glad that we have your company. I'm Christi Paul.

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

Let's talk about the deadlines and the deal-making because lawmakers are facing both when they return to Washington this week.

The deadline, first. Avoiding a government shutdown by midnight on Friday. That is when Congress needs to get a spending bill to President Trump's desk. KOSIK: The question is: will the president insist that bill include

funding for his wall on the southern border? There's a new interview this morning. And in it, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly tells our Dana Bash the wall is a priority for the president.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Let's start with the border wall with Mexico and how it relates to keeping the government over. If Congress doesn't send President Trump a government funding bill by midnight on Friday, the government will run out of money and a shutdown would begin. So, will the president go to the mat and insist on funding his border wall as part of the stopgap government funding measure?

KELLY: Well, Dana, I think it goes without saying the president has been pretty straightforward about his desire and the need for a border wall. So, I would suspect he'll do the right thing for sure, but I suspect he will be insistent on the funding.


BLACKWELL: All of this is setting up what could be a dramatic 100th day in office for President Trump.

Also new this morning, a new polling on his approval rating. We'll have much more on that in just a moment.

PAUL: CNN political commentator Errol Louis and CNN politics reporter Tom LoBianco joining us now.

Good morning to you, gentlemen.



PAUL: Good morning. So, we just heard Secretary Kelly there say that President Trump will be insistent that the money for the border wall be included in this funding bill. At the same time, Democrats had said, look, this is a nonstarter.

So, Tom, I'm wondering, are House Republicans willing to risk a government shutdown over this?

LOBIANCO: You know, it's interesting about that is Paul Ryan and his leadership held a call yesterday with House Republicans talking on this issue, what is going to happen with the shutdown. They held their cards close according to people that we talked with who are on the call.

You know, look, its -- you got -- if you want to do the border wall you have to get to 60 votes in the Senate. That's just the way it works. And you got to find eight Democrats to agree with it. That doesn't look like the type of thing that will ever happen. So, then, you got to think, all right, do you want to risk a

government shutdown? Do you want to risk all of the political ramifications that come out of that? Do you want to risk other issues that will fall out from this?

And the answer kind of looks like no at this point. You know, there's just so much to be done. And that's not even getting into the big priorities they want to do like, you know, whether they can revive health care.

PAUL: So, you know, Paul Ryan, as you mentioned, he actually said the number one priority this week is to keep the government running. Errol, Paul Ryan is not President Trump for one thing. Secondly, if a shutdown is eventuated, what political ramifications might there be for the president?

LOUIS: Well, you can see there that there is some daylight, Christi, difference between Congress and the White House. I mean, just as Tom says, they have very little time to accomplish this. There's no particular reason to think that they can.

And I will tell you that members of Congress that I've spoken to have indicated that the most likely or one likely outcome is a continuing resolution to sort of kick the can down the road and keep the government going, add existing levels for maybe 90 days, perhaps through the end of the summer to give them more time to do what they have to do, because the reality is while getting the wall built, getting it funded, being able to claim some sort of victory in the first hundred days is a top priority for the president.

It is none of those things for the members of Congress who would end up looking horrible if they let the government shutdown begin, even commence, while Republicans have control of all three branches of government.

PAUL: OK. So, Tom, if Congress fund the government without that wall provision, what does the president celebrate in this rally that he is planning for the 100 days in Pennsylvania this weekend -- the next weekend, I should say?

[07:05:07] LOBIANCO: Well, you know, as you kind of implicitly point out in your question there, there is not the big items like health care that he can point to. He got Neil Gorsuch, OK? And that is a big deal. You know, you should probably bring Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell out on the stage for that one because it's much his nominee as anyone. But, you know, he got some big wins but nothing like what he promised during the campaign.

You know this talk about bringing out tax reform as well next week or this week, rather, is kind of surprising. You know, I kind of wonder whether or not he has some advisers over there cautioning him to hold back some of this stuff because as Errol mentioned and we talked about here, you know, there is not a lot of time to do this stuff. You start making all these promises -- making new promises and not being able to look to deliver on them. It doesn't look very good. PAUL: Let's look at this recent interview with the "Associated Press"

in which the president said, quote, "My base definitely wants the border wall." Here is the thing. A new poll from "The Washington Post" showing that the president has a record low 42 percent rating you compare it with presidents in past as well, where they were at this point in their term. And he's got the lowest approval rating since Dwight Eisenhower.

He still has strong support, though, from his base. They are solidly and stoically against him here.

Does he risk losing that base, though, if he can't follow through on his promise of the border wall, or are they willing, Tom, to hang out -- I should actually give this to Errol. Errol, are they willing to hang on to him, his base, until they see what he does with tax reform? Because the economy was the big thing for him.

LOUIS: What you point to, Christi, is that he is not getting the honeymoon, President Trump is not getting the honeymoon, that prior presidents have received, that's because there hasn't been a marriage. He doesn't seem to be interested in going very far outside of his base. He won't negotiate with Democrats in Congress. He hasn't done any extensive outreach to people outside of his narrow base, and so, he's going to try and rely on them.

And I think that means that he can expect to be carried along by that base. It's just that there is certain things you get by simply playing to your base and then there is certain things you don't get. What you do get is a lot of enthusiastic rallies like the one we will see next week. And you do get are followers who are not going to desert you, even though you can't accomplish key parts of the agenda, including tax reform, including health care repeal and, including probably the border wall at least right now. What you don't get is actual action on a lot of those points, and he'll pay a political price somewhere down the road for that.

PAUL: All righty. Errol Louis and Tom LoBianco, your thoughts are always appreciated here. Thank you.

LOUIS: Thank you.


PAUL: Sure.

And, by the way, speaking of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly who we talked about at the beginning here, you can watch his full interview later this morning at 9:00 a.m. Eastern on "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper.

BLACKWELL: Breaking overnight: a U.S. citizen has been arrested in North Korea.

CNN senior international correspondent Ivan Watson is joining us now.

Ivan, what do we know about this U.S. citizen and the -- why he was arrested?


I have to preface this by saying we haven't independently concerned this with CNN. It's being reported by the Yonhap news agency here out of South Korea.

And according to that news agency, the detention took place on Friday night at Pyongyang International Airport where an American citizen with the surname Kim, which is very, very common here in Korea was detained. We don't know the reason why. We believe that he, again, according to this report, is an academic, a former professor at a university in China known as Yanbian University of Science and Technology.

And have not been able to confirm neither with the U.S. State Department or with South Korean intelligence. If it is true, then this would be the third U.S. citizen in detention there. Two others that are currently being held that we know of. One of them is Otto Warmbier, a student from the University of Virginia he was detained in 2016 at the airport and held since then and sentenced to some 15 years of hard labor after he confessed to trying to take down a political sign out of his hotel. Another man named Kim Dong Chul, he was detained in October of 2015 and charged with espionage and received a sentence of at least ten years in prison.

There have been several other Americans who have been detained. Mostly from that airport as they are on their way out of the country and those who have been released, there have been at least two others. They have tended to be held for at least several weeks to several months. Often they have to do a mostly from that airport as they are on their way out of the country and those who have been released, there have been at least two others, they have tended to be held for at least several weeks to several months.

[07:10:04] Often, they have to do a televised confession before they are ultimately released from North Korea -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: And, Ivan, to what degree could this complicate the already contentious relationship between the U.S. and North Korea? As you mentioned, this would not be the first U.S. citizen to be arrested there in North Korea, but at this time, with this new administration, what we have seen the past several months this could offer some greater difficulties.

WATSON: It sure could. If and when this story is confirmed, it would be important to watch how the Trump administration might deal with this. Of course, it's coming against a backdrop of North Korean missile tests which are banned under United Nations Security Council resolutions and one last week that failed shortly after takeoff, the threat of further nuclear tests which will alarm not just the U.S., but most every other country here in the region.

And part of the problem is the U.S. doesn't have an embassy in North Korea in Pyongyang. We don't have direct diplomatic relations with Pyongyang. So, in the previous cases of these detained American citizens, we rely on the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang to handle the diplomacy. And, frankly, the U.S. does not have a lot of leverage once the North Koreans get their hands on a U.S. citizen and accuse them of some kind of a crime -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. I expect we'll learn more throughout the day. Ivan Watson for us there in Seoul -- Ivan, thank you.

PAUL: Well, "The New York Times" reporting President Trump is seeking counsel outside the White House that might be more powerful than the people inside the White House. It's got FOX News Sean Hannity riled up. We'll have details on that next.

BLACKWELL: Also, a big day for France, as voters cast their ballot for their next president. There are several French candidates in the mix. Some of them with some strong, strong views. What could this mean for the U.S.?

PAUL: Also, take a look at the pictures we are getting in here: firefighters in Florida really struggling to get more than 150 wildfires under control now. They could be getting some help. We will talk about that.

Stay close.


[07:16:23] PAUL: Well, according to "The New York Times", President Trump is seeking some powerful counsel not within the White House walls, but outside. Reportedly, advisers include FOX News host Sean Hannity, billionaire Carl Icahn, those are just to name a few.

BLACKWELL: Yes, but Hannity blasted "The New York Times" via Twitter when they refer to him as part of Trump's counsel, calling the report, quote, "fake news speculation".

So, who does President Trump talk to before making decisions?

CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter is with us.

Brian, so break down this reported list of outside counsel. Twenty names here.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, indeed. Hannity is whining and we'll get to him in just a second.

But this front page story is really significant because it talks about who outside the White House is giving the president advice and counsel. Who is he talking with? And how are those people shaping the president's views? Some of the faces, no surprise. People like Rupert Murdoch, the FOX News CEO, or Carl Icahn. Trump liked to mention him on the campaign trail.

Other faces on her include the Patriots owners Bob Kraft, Governor Chris Christie from New Jersey. And then, of course, Trump's family members, his sons Eric and Donald Trump Jr., along with his wife Melania. But there are some interesting names on her that might surprise some folks. For example, the story says that FOX News host Sean Hannity behind the scenes gives the president advice and suggest he stay focused on what got him to the White House, not with stray and distracting tweets. The story also says Rupert Murdoch who runs FOX News and owns 21st Century Fox, has also been on the phone with the president on a weekly basis giving advice and ideas.

Now, at one point, according to "The New York Times", Rupert Murdoch called up Sean Spicer after that Hitler incident and gave him encouragement and told him to buck up. That is unusual. You don't have a CEO of a news agency calling of a press secretary and giving them support.

So, the story details those 20 people and Hannity did not appreciate this one bit. Here is one his tweets at "The New York Times" last night when the story came out. He said, "You don't know who I was talking to." Here is what he wrote. He said, "The New York Times has no clue who I talk to, as I refused to ever talk to them. POTUS knows you're fake news and I doubt he talks to you either."

Hannity is -- I don't know what Hannity is thinking here. I mean, obviously, the president does talk to "The New York Times" and has given a bunch of interviews to "The New York Times." Hannity, himself, talks to "The New York Times" reporters also. I know that because I used to work there and he used to talk to me.

I saw Hannity a week or two ago. He is enjoying I think his newfound spotlight as the most pro-Trump host on FOX News. But he was complaining about this story. Perhaps he doesn't want to be viewed as someone who was privately giving the president advice, only publicly through the television.

But any way, I thought this times story was important because it does speak to the idea that the president has many outside voices who give him advice. He is oftentimes on the phone in the morning or really at the end of the day getting advice from people outside the White House.

PAUL: All right. So, since we are kind of talking about the FOX News arena, let's say, Bill O'Reilly. A lot of people were shocked that he was let go. Not for the reasons necessarily. A lot of people may have agreed with the reason, but they didn't necessarily think FOX would shut it down.


PAUL: And actually fire him. So -- or let him go. So I understand that you're hearing O'Reilly is hitting the air waves again?

STELTER: Yes. He is trying to figure out way to reach his audience and to reach some of his fans tomorrow, and that's going to start tomorrow.

You're absolutely right, three weeks ago, it was unthinkable that O'Reilly would lose his job over the sexual harassment allegations, allegations he continues to say are unfounded. [07:20:04] But now that FOX has pulled his show, cancelled his show,

replacing him tomorrow, he's going to go back online under his own website,, which now has a new big ad saying Monday, the no spin news returns.

Interestingly, guys, he is not doing it at 8:00, his old time slot. He's moving it up to 7:00. What he is doing is he is reviving a podcast that he does for his subscribers. Maybe trying to make that into a bigger part of his brand, trying to reach people online. Straight to them as opposed through FOX News.

Look, he is not going to reach as many people that way but it goes to show O'Reilly is not going to stay quiet. You know, he is not just going to quietly retire now that he has been taken off the FOX News air waves. It looks like he is trying to mount some sort of comeback.

There has been speculation maybe he'll go to some smaller channel, some conservative-oriented channel that wants to challenge FOX. We'll see about that down the line. But we know as of Monday, we will at least hear from him in some fashion. By the way, he is taking home about $25 million for the next year. That's money FOX owes him in his contract. Even though won't be back on the air at FOX.

BLACKWELL: All right. Brian, thanks so much.

STELTER: Thanks.

PAUL: Thank you, Brian.

BLACKWELL: And catch Brian Stelter on "RELIABLE SOURCES" later this morning as two big guests from "The New York Times" who will unveil details on the reporting that started the ball rolling toward Bill O'Reilly's departure. And more on Trump's other advisers. That is at 11:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

PAUL: Lots of rain in the forecast. It could be a good thing, though, particularly for the folks fighting those fires in Florida, 100,000 acres are burning. And 150 wildfires are active in that state. More than a dozen homes have already been destroyed. And there are many others who are facing some pretty close calls.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four boats and about nine vehicles, but the house was still there. All of our animals are safe and we were safe.


PAUL: Evacuation are continuing today for thousands of homes. Federal grants will help fund recovery efforts there in at least two counties we know.

BLACKWELL: Well, France is voting for its next president today and voter turnout seems to be up as people get out to cast their ballot. The outcome could have far reaching repercussion globally. We will take a look at why. PAUL: Also, the secretary of defense is in Africa. Why his visit is

highlighting a rivalry between two world powers.


[07:26:43] PAUL: Well, good morning to you. Twenty-six minutes past of the hour. So glad to have you onboard with us. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you.

PAUL: You know, at this hour, folks in France voting for their next president. Take a look the pictures we're getting in here. Close to 30 percent of French voters have already cast their ballot. And this is a crowded field.

We're talking about 11 candidates to choose from. But there are five major contenders and only the top two after today's voting ends will face-off on May 7th for the final round of voting.

This election is of particular interest to the U.S. because two of the candidates are on opposite side of the spectrum.

BLACKWELL: Far right national front leader Marine Le Pen is anti- immigration and pro-Russia, and far left wildcard Jean-Luc Melenchon proposes withdrawing from NATO. And Emmanuel Macron is promising to boost the economy and improve security. It's going to be a bitter fight, one that might have far reaching global repercussions.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiling his plans to dominate the Arctic with a visit to a new massive military base there.

CNN correspondent Brian Todd reports on Putin's future and intention for the region and what that means for the U.S.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On a frozen wind-swept expanse in the Arctic, Vladimir Putin military ambition is on grand display. Painted like a Russian flag, it's called Trefoil for its three-cornered structure, a sprawling new military base that can house 150 troops and warplanes.

MICHAEK KOFMAN, RUSSIAN MILITARY ANALYST, CNA: This is a lot about the projection of the Russia status, right? Russia status is a great power, first and foremost. Second, the fact that Russia is an Arctic power.

TODD: Sweeping in on a massive military transport, the Russian president recently visited the base. Putin made a show of traversing a glacier and hammering at the ice.

Russian troops will be living under the harshest of conditions: 18- month deployments where the temperatures can dip well below zero.

KOFMAN: This is a base set up and perhaps the most inhospitable, if not the most inhospitable places on Earth. They're so cool short of living on another planet with no oxygen, this is one of the most dangerous and hazardous areas to operate.

TODD: But Russians forces pride themselves in able to operate in the most bitter cold conditions, even training with reindeer. Much of the base is top secret but the Russian military does boast a virtual tour of some parts of the interior.

This is part of Putin's plan to dominate the Arctic. The oil and gas reserves he has his eye on in the arctic are massive and experts say worth possibly ten of trillions of dollars, expected to be become more accessible if global warming continues.

KOFMAN: And they believe in the future there will be a contest for powers who gets access to them. There'll be a lot of economic and commercial competition. And the Russian view is this is a very difficult area to operate. It's going to take a long time for them to establish themselves there, so they want to get theirs first.

TODD: Putin is aggressively navigating the region, even having a Russian flag planted on the Arctic Ocean floor. Russian has more arctic military bases than the U.S. and dozens more ice breaking ships perhaps as many as 40.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And how many ice breakers do we have available?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One and a half.


TODD: Russia's race ahead of the U.S. in cornering the Arctic, analysts say, is a sobering illustration of Putin's broader ambitions.

[07:30:01] HEATHER CONLEY, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC & INTL. STUDIES: For Vladimir Putin, the Arctic is a prestige project. It demonstrates Russian history and its greatness. Russia can conquer anything. It can plant a flag on the North Pole. It can build overcome nature.

TODD (voice-over): The Trump administration is being pressured by members of Congress and outside analysts to close that gap with Vladimir Putin and beef up America's presence in the Arctic. Will they?

We pressed officials here at the White House, at the Pentagon, Northern Command and the Coast Guard for any specific plans to place more resources in the Arctic. We've gotten no response.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


BLACKWELL: All right. As we have been reporting, people in France are voting for their next president.

Let's go to CNN's Melissa Bell who is live outside of polling station in Paris.

And we are getting some numbers in showing relatively strong turnout today.

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. The only official figure we have so far is the midday turnout rate and it is very slightly above what it was in 2012. And that is a good sign. There have been a big question whether there's very many undecided voters of which there are historically high numbers at this particular stage or in the run-up the last few days, whether they might just decide to stay at home and bewildered by the vast array of political choice that is offer here today. In fact, that appears not to be the case and everyone we have spoken to outside this polling station, the 18th district of Paris this morning, have spoken of their determination to come and mark their vote.

France is really at a crossroads. You have 11 candidates but you can pretty well put them in two categories. There are those, and that include the populace like Marine Le Pen, but also many on the left who want a huge change with all that has gone before. They want to retreat within France's border. They want a certain dose of economic protectionism and really a huge that rupture with all that went before, and those on the country who represent more continuity, who would not bring into question of the European Union and that would essentially see France continue along the political lines that it has.

So, this is really a test of what we have been following for many months now, that populist wave that has swept across the United Kingdom, that has swept across the United States, whether it ends here in this first round of voting today in France or whether it continues.

BLACKWELL: Melissa Bell for us in Paris -- Melissa, thank you.

PAUL: And this is an important election worldwide. A lot of people are watching it. Three of the candidates opposed Western sanctions against Russia. Two would extract France from NATO military command. One would increase European defense cooperation to lessen dependence what he is says is an unreliable United States. So, we have the former French ambassador to the U.S. with us next to talk about what all of this means for the United States.

Stay close.


[07:36:53] PAUL: There's some live pictures for you out of Paris this hour. You see the voters lining up to elect their next president. And there's a lot at stake here.

Pierre Vimont is a former French ambassador to the U.S. and senior associate of Carnegie Europe is with us now.

Pierre, thank you for taking the time to be with us.

Let's talk about what all of this means.


PAUL: Marine Le Pen is somebody that a lot of people are watching. She has an anti-immigrant message and we have seen these recent terror attacks there. How much -- is there any indication how much that may be weighing on people as they make this decision today?

VIMONT: Of course, always very difficult to say. But the impression is that voters have decided in the last week for whom they were going to vote and, therefore, I think this last terrorist attack in Paris on Thursday will not change people's mind all that much. But it's true that during the whole campaign, the whole issue of terrorism, of security has been very much there in the forefront.

So, it is a major challenge and all of the candidates had to put up their position very clearly on that issue.

PAUL: There have been reports of Russian meddling in the French elections just as there were in the U.S. election. What's at stake for Russia in this particular election?

VIMONT: You know, Russia is not particularly popular in France. There is no -- not a lot of pull for pro-Russian vote. I think the French voters, in general, are looking for dialogue with Russia, are looking for a way to stabilize Europe at the moment and to have an improved European security. But for those candidates who have been advocating a better relations with Russia, to accept Russian intervention in Crimea and Ukraine, to go for a close cooperation with Russia, I'm not sure this has gone done well with French electors.

This is not the kind of picture, the kind of topic that is at the forefront of the French elector's mind. I think they are looking at much more internal issue, domestic issues, security, employment, their personal incomes. These have been the main issues that have been discussed in France for the last two months.

PAUL: OK. We know two of the candidates believe France should exit NATO and President Trump, as a candidate, had said it was obsolete. He has now changed his mind on that.

How, if that would happen, would that impact the U.S.?

VIMONT: Here again, this position has been taken by the two most radical candidates, Mrs. Le Pen and Mr. Melenchon.

[07:40:09] The other main contenders Emmanuel Macron and Francois Fillon have been on a totally different position. They want to remain in NATO and they want to remain -- that France remain a strong ally to America. And, you know that during the last five years under President Hollande's chairmanship, France has been active military support to U.S. and to NATO in general.

We are pretty much present with our forces in Africa, in the Sahil. We are present in the coalition against Daesh in Syria and in Iraq. And therefore, this active role for the main contender is something that we want to keep on and we want to continue and to extend. So here again, if you look at opinion polls and the way the French

voters have reacted so far, with regard to NATO, there is still a very strong support for remaining a partner inside NATO. Something around 70 percent of opinion polls. Of course, one has always has to be cautious with opinion polls nowadays. But I think that still support for NATO is still very strong in this country.

PAUL: OK. Pierre Vimont, we -- Ambassador, we appreciate you taking the time to give you us your perspective. Thank you.

VIMONT: Thank you. Thank you for inviting me. Bye.

BLACKWELL: Well, we don't have the clock up just yet, but you know one is coming. Counting down to the president's 100th day in office. And the White House and in Congress are hoping to not mark that with a government shutdown.

PAUL: Uh-hmm. The deadline is midnight on Friday and that's when Congress needs to get a spending bill to President Trump's desk. Will the president insist thought that that bill include funding for his wall on the southern border?


JOHN F. KELLY, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: I think it goes without saying the president has been pretty straightforward about his desire and the need for a border wall. So I would suspect he'll do the right thing for sure but I suspect he will be insistent on the funding.


PAUL: House Speaker Paul Ryan told members on a conference call yesterday, keeping the government running will be priority number one this week.

BLACKWELL: But lawmakers on the call say they are still looking for details of this plan. And the White House is working in the shadow of this reality: a "Washington Post"/ABC News poll shows President Trump is the least popular president in modern time. A look at the approval ratings and the 11 presidents prior.

PAUL: Well, Vice President Mike Pence is in Australia meeting with leaders about security, immigration, trade. He is also taking a little time to see the sights with his family. This morning, he and his family visited a zoo in Sydney where they got to get up close and personal with Native Australian animals. And the vice president joked, he hoped to take them home.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which one is --


(END VIDEO CLIP) PAUL: They later headed to one of Sydney's most iconic landmarks , the Opera House, and did so alongside Australian officials.

BLACKWELL: Secretary of Defense James Mattis is visiting Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti. Now, it's the only permanent U.S. military installation on the entire continent of Africa. Secretary Mattis landed earlier this morning. He will meet with the head of the U.S. Africa Command.

And coming up next hour, the secretary will be having a bilateral meeting with the country's president and this is happening as China is building up its base not far from the U.S. base.

PAUL: Well, straight ahead, President Trump threatens to cut federal funds for nine cities if they don't imply with immigration laws. How the mayor of New Orleans is firing back.

BLACKWELL: Plus, one of the fan favorites on "Happy Days" has passed away. Now, Erin Moran's costars are sharing their favorite memories of the late actress.



[07:48:39] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am so tired of doing everything they tell me to do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know. I thought they outlawed slavery in this country. Not for teenagers.


BLACKWELL: Actress Erin Moran best known as Joanie from "Happy Days" has died at the age of 56. She was found unresponsive in an Indiana home yesterday. Moran's co-stars shared their sadness on Twitter.

This from Henry Winkler, "Oh, Erin, now you will have a peace you wanted so badly on earth. Rest in it serenely now. Too soon."

And from Ron Howard, "Such sad, sad news. Rest in peace, Erin. I'll always choose to remember you on our show, making scenes better, getting laughs and lighting up TV screens."

Moran was a fun favorite on "Happy Days" and later starred in the show spin-off "Joanie loves Chachi."

One of the new targets of President Trump's crackdown on sanctuary cities, New Orleans. The Department of Justice issuing a staunch warning to New Orleans and eight cities around the country. If they don't imply with federal immigration laws, they could lose millions in federal funding.

PAUL: Well, now, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu is fighting back saying the NOPD will not be a part of the President Trump's deportation force, no matter how many times he asks. Here is CNN's Nick Valencia.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Outside of the New Orleans immigration office, Jose Lara sits with his two year old son.

[07:50:01] If he looks worried, it's because he is. Today is the day he finds out if he'll be deported back to Honduras. He hasn't committed any crimes, but he is here illegally. Under President Trump's new immigration, it's undocumented families like his now at risk of being deported.

(on camera): If President Trump was here, what would you tell him?

VALENA ZAMORA, JOSE LARA'S WIFE (through translator): I would ask him what he would do if he were in our situation. We can't take the crime in our countries. What would he do if they wanted to deport and separate him from his family?

JEFF LANDRY (R), LOUISIANA STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL: You know what? You broke the law. And there's a penalty for breaking that law.

VALENCIA: Louisiana State Attorney General Jeff Landry agrees with President Trump. He thinks cities like New Orleans should stop protecting people like Jose and his family and start complying with federal immigration law.

LANDRY: I think when you talk to people who come into this country the right way, and utilizing the rule of law and the process, that it is basically a slap in their face.

VALENCIA: Landry has been the state's loudest critic of so-called sanctuary cities, places like New Orleans, he says, one of over 200 jurisdictions that refuse to honor federal detention and deportation requests.

LANDRY: Unfortunately, sanctuary city policies undermine our justice system.

VALENCIA: Last year, Landry testified in front of Congress about a fatal bus crash outside of New Orleans that killed a fireman. The driver? Undocumented. He says the New Orleans mayor hasn't been tough enough on people in his city illegally.

MAYOR MITCH LANDRIEU (D), NEW ORLEANS: We're not going to become the federal government's deportation force.

VALENCIA: Mayor Landrieu says his city has honored the federal consent decree, put in place in 2012, which does not require an officer to ask someone's immigration status during an arrest. He says, because of that, he's not scared of losing millions in federal funds, which the president has threatened to do to sanctuary cities. If the president really wants to secure American streets, Landrieu says -- LANDRIEU: Make sure that ICE and police are at one with community,

not at odds and then you will see a much safer America in a very short period of time.

VALENCIA (on camera): President Trump is sitting right here. He says, Mayor Landrieu, I don't care what you're saying. You are a sanctuary city, I'm going to cut federal funding.

LANDRIEU: Well, that's why we have courts. And I'm going to say, Mr. President, I thank you and I appreciate you and I respect you but I respectfully disagree with you and I'll see you in court.

VALENCIA (voice-over): Hours after his ICE check-in, Jose Lara was allowed to stay in the U.S. for now. They told him to return in three months. So, his future is still uncertain.

And to those who believe they should be sent back to Honduras, they both work in manual labor and say they've literally helped rebuild this country. His wife argues she already is home.

ZAMORA (through translator): This is my country. This is my country. I came here and I helped rebuild it.

VALENCIA (on camera): Jose and his family are still very worried about being deported. ICE agents are given an incredible amount of discretion with immigration cases. So, just because he was let go this time doesn't mean he'll be let go next time.

Nick Valencia, CNN, New Orleans.


PAUL: And we'll keep you posted on that story as we get developments.

Now, if you went to bed early last night, woo, you missed a thriller. Andy Scholes didn't though.


You know, we had high drama in the NBA playoffs last night. The Spurs and Grizzlies coming down to the final seconds in overtime. We'll have the exciting finish coming up.


[07:57:06] SCHOLES: All right. We had the most exciting finish so far to these NBA playoffs last night in Memphis. Spurs and Grizzlies playing an absolute thriller, coming down to the final second, the game was tied in overtime.

Seven seconds left on the clock, the Grizzlies get the ball to superstar Mark Gasol. The big Spaniard coming through in the clutch, making the shot with less than a second left on the clock. Grizz win 110-108. Tie their series with two games apiece with the Spurs.

Elsewhere in the NBA, the Warriors erase a 17-point deficit to come back and beat the Blazers to take a 3-0 lead in their series. Steph Curry leading the day with 34 points. And afterwards, he went and grabbed the game ball to give to his coach Steve Kerr.

According to ESPN, Kerr missed last night's game due to an unknown illness. He's battled complications from back injuries for the last two years, and when he returns to the bench? Well, it's up in the air.


KERRY: Our coach is going through a lot right now physically and he told us this morning, this is a situation we need to rally and win a game for him, but we felt like the way the game had gone on, we had to fight and do it for him and the way he said it was, we had to win one for the Gipper. So, shout-out to coach Kerr.


SCHOLES: And we, of course, wish coach Kerr a speedy recovery and hopes he gets back to the bench soon, guys.

BLACKWELL: All right.

PAUL: All righty. Thank you so much, Andy. Appreciate it.

SCHOLES: All right.

PAUL: Listen, before we go, I want to tell you about some serious support for a little boy, 6-year-old Devin Suau. He suffers from a really rare condition.


DAVID SUAU, 6-YEAR-OLD: Be careful to not get eaten by a bear.


PAUL: He has been made honorary police commissioner by the Boston Police Department. They are really doing what they can to embrace this little boy and lift him up as he suffers with an inoperable brain tumor. This is called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. The condition is DIPG for short. And doctors say he just has two years to live.


WILLIAM GROSS, SUPERINTENDENT-IN-CHIEF, BOSTON POLICE: When we hear of any fight of any kid facing a challenge of a debilitating disease, we step forward. And so, you have to take care of the future and you have to show parents that are going through this that they're not alone.


PAUL: Um-hum. In fact his mom, Christine, says Devin always loved heroes so it meant so much to see real life heroes like this rooting for him. He even got to represent the police department in South Boston's St. Patrick's Day parade.

His family and Boston's finest, of course, are really hoping for a cure, obviously. Between 200 and 400 children between the ages of 4 and 11 are diagnosed with DIPG every year. But kudos to the police department and certainly thoughts and prayers to Devin and his family.

BLACKWELL: And we didn't mention it there, but I'm sure you saw the video he was kissed by the pope.

PAUL: Yes. Look at that little guy. Oh. He had me at the smile. He had me at the smile.

BLACKWELL: All right. Our best to Devin and his family.

PAUL: No doubt about it.

Thank you so much for sharing your morning with us. We appreciate it as always.

BLACKWELL: "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts right now.