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New Policy Bans Most Transgender People From Military; Soon: Students March Against Gun Violence In D.C. Around World; Ex-Playmate Details Alleged Affair With Trump; President Ignores Shouted Questions On Alleged Affairs. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired March 24, 2018 - 06:00   ET



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

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Christi Paul live in Washington where let's say it's been a week of turmoil and chaos. There's been controversy even in just the last 12 hours. It seems like we're just getting started here.

Late last night the White House announced a policy banning most transgender people from serving in the military, a move that's already drawing criticism from Democrats and promises from advocate groups to fight that ban in court.

BLACKWELL: Well, hours from now the White House and Congress will face a different type of criticism. Students from Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida will lead the nation and world in a series of rallies calling for stricter gun control after 17 people were killed at their school last month.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going to make a statement that teenagers can't change the world, and that these things really can't happen without somebody doing something.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're right at your doorstep now. We're going to stay here, and we're going to fight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Washington's ready for us, and I think we're ready to give them hell.


PAUL: We've got quite the panel, as you see, here to break all of this down this morning. We want to start with CNN's Abby Phillip and the late-night ban on transgender troops. Abby, good morning to you. What are you learning this morning?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi. Well, late last night in an 11th hour decision, the White House announced that they would actually ban transgender service members from serving in most cases in the military. Now this decision was a long time in coming after in July of last year, President Trump announced that no transgender individuals would be able to serve in the military.

He made that decision by tweet and gave the Pentagon some time to come up with the final policy when it came to the troops. In a statement last night, here's what the White House said about this policy.

They said, "The transgender persons with a history of diagnosis or of gender dysphoria, individuals who the policy state may require substantial medical treatment including medications and surgery are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances."

Now Jim Mattis, the defense secretary, has said that he believes allowing them to serve would amount to an exemption of certain rules for sex-based gender requirements, and that it would also cost the military a significant amount of money.

That contradicts a 2016 Rand Corporation study that found that the impact on the cost for the military would be minimal. This ban is likely to face significant challenges in the courts. Already California's attorney general has said that they plan to challenge it.

The White House and the Trump administration bracing for probably months of legal challenges to this policy put down today after months of waiting after a presidential tweet last July.

PAUL: All righty. Abby Phillip, always appreciate it. Thank you.

PHILLIP: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's bring in the panel now. Rachel Bates, CNN political analyst and congressional reporter for "Politico," Tom Willis, Green Beret distinguished honor graduate, and Republican Senate candidate from West Virginia, and A. Scott Bolden, chair of the National Bar Association PAC and former chairman of the Washington, D.C., Democratic Party. Welcome, everyone.

Let me start with you, Tom. Do you believe former U.S. Army special forces, that there could be this style of ban on transgender men and women serving in the military?

TOM WILLIS, GREEN BERET DISTINGUISHED HONOR GRADUATE: I think that the first priority for the military is to fight and win our nation's wars. So that's where we start. And when we come into the military, we go through an in-processing station. They give a rigorous medical examination.

If you have any sort of medical issue that might affect your ability to serve and defend our nation, you're disqualified. It sounds like the president has identified this as a potential hindrance to serving in a role to defend our nation, a hindrance to deployability. I think he has that prerogative as commander-in-chief.

BLACKWELL: That was part of the justification that we heard from the secretary of defense. What do you think?

PAUL: As somebody from, a former military man, have you ever seen a detriment in any way to a transgender serving?

WILLIS: I've never served with a transgender troop in the U.S. special forces, so I don't have a personal experience with it. Again, I would defer to the prerogative of the president to make the decision as commander-in-chief.


A. SCOTT BOLDEN, FORMER CHAIRMAN, WASHINGTON, D.C. DEMOCRATIC PARTY: Well, they certainly have to -- the White House certainly has to link it to a health and safety issue. We've got a federal court decision that has struck down this ban and said that it's discriminatory in nature.

Look for there to be follow-up decisions because what the state has to do is have a compelling state interest, narrowly tailor it to serve that interest. Here they're linking it to health and safety.

So, it's going to be challenged because the Supreme Court says -- the federal court says unless you can show there's some risk there, then you can't discriminate against these group of fighters.

By the way, there's a history already of transgendered individuals serving in the military. Look at what their performance has been, and has there been risk in regard to their safety of this country or the military? I think not.

[06:05:11] BLACKWELL: Thousands serving now.

PAUL: Let's look at something that President Trump tweeted as candidate back in June of 2016. He said, "Thank you to the LGBT community, I will fight for you, while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs." Rachel, going back to that mindset, looking at today's, how did we get from there to here? Where do we go?

RACHAEL BADE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, the president sees this as him following through on a campaign promise. My first reaction when I saw this was that President Trump finally got to Defense Secretary Mattis on this issue.

Back when he first tweeted about this, that he was going to ban transgender troops last July, they actually had to scale this back in the Defense Department because Mattis was very upset that the president did this without telling the Defense Department or the defense community, he didn't tell Congress about this.

And so, they ended up staying it for a while, saying we're going to research this and then we'll come back at this at a later point. It's interesting to see that Mattis, it appears, has been able to get rid of a blanket ban and add some exceptions in here.

For instance, they talk about select cases, and only in substantial medical treatment costs. They also talk about people who have been stable for 36 months and their biological sex able to serve and those serving under the Obama administration being allowed to stay.

So, it does appear that Mattis, who clearly was uncomfortable with this, to begin with, was able to make some exceptions that he can potentially use to protect these 4,000 to 15,000 transgender troops that are currently serving.

BLACKWELL: And the expectation, this will be in litigation --

BOLDEN: To note somehow that transgender people are unstable, do we want that --

PAUL: Compared to anybody --

BOLDEN: I don't -- I don't think that's a standard that most of us can meet. It's so offensive and discriminatory. You don't see that language in all the federal court cases that are coming, that somehow that it suggests that transgendered people are unstable. It's not true. They're born that way. They don't choose to be that way.

BLACKWELL: Reckless and unconstitutional, Tom, are how an attorney for the ACLU refers to this new policy.

WILLIS: So, when you're talking about national defense, national security comes first. It trumps everything because without national security, we don't have any other rights, constitutional. Again, I think you need to focus on deployability.

If a person can't deploy because they need some sort of medical procedure, if they can deploy only with a constant administration of some sort of medication, in my mind that makes them non-deployable.

We've been spoiled as a nation having nice military bases where we have doctors and medical facilities. That may not always be the case when we're talking about national security.

If you have someone that can't deploy without a regular administration of medical attention or prescription medicine, in my opinion, that disqualifies them from service. We go through dental, medical exams, everything before we deploy. I think it's important to consider that.

BADE: It's interesting. They're not always talking about national security here. I know when lawmakers on Capitol Hill, Republicans in particular, who support this stand talk about this issue, they view it as a taxpayer issue.

They talk about significant cost to the military for sex-change operations and gender therapies, et cetera. But there have been studies that show that this actually hasn't been a significant cost.

So, it definitely plays well with the base, but I think this is going end up in the courts. A lot of people think this will go all the way to the Supreme Court at some point, and then the courts will just have to decide. BOLDEN: You'll see them compare the medical information to what if I've got diabetes or what if I'm on anti-depressants, does that make me deployable or unsafe? I think not as long as I'm taking my medication.

BLACKWELL: We will certainly continue this conversation throughout the morning. Tom, Scott, Rachel, thank you all.

PAUL: So, right now, thousands of students and parents and even school shooting survivors are on their way to Washington. Most likely many already here and they're protesting against gun violence. Polo Sandoval is on the road with them -- Polo.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Christi, joining us on the change, the name given to one of four buses now that are D.C. bound, it is early morning now. We're somewhere along the Pennsylvania turnpike here as we head to the nation's capital.

These are young men and women who are not only very passionate about preventing gun violence, some of them have even experienced it firsthand. You'll hear from one of those personal stories coming up. This is CNN NEW DAY.



PAUL: It's 13 minutes past the hour right now. In just a few hours from now, people across the country, around the world, are joining the survivors of the Parkland school massacre to fight against gun violence.

The red spots, that is where people are gathering. The markers are where the protests will be happening, and thousands are taking their message. We should point out, you see the big icon, concentration of red markers, right by the White House.

BLACKWELL: And there are markers on countries around the world if you look at the larger map. The "March For Our Lives" is expected to be the largest rally since a gunman killed 17 people in their classrooms in Parkland, Florida. Right now, students and parents are making their way to the capital for the protest.

CNN's Polo Sandoval is traveling on the bus from Pittsburgh to Washington. Polo, these families say that this is life or death, and they're very passionate. They're bringing the passion here to Washington.

SANDOVAL: That's right, Victor. That's why they are on the move. We'll keep our voices down since some activists are getting shuteye before they hit the ground running. They after all did start at about 3:00 a.m. this morning so that they can make it to the nation's capital to take part in this massive event.

We are somewhere along the Pennsylvania turnpike right now as we head to Washington, D.C. These are young men and women, about 250, that have piled on to four separate charter buses and are headed to Washington, D.C.

[06:15:07] These are people that are very passionate about preventing gun crimes, but they have also experienced it firsthand including Christian Carter who is joining me this morning from Pittsburg. Christian, share with me a little bit of your story. Now, you've been personally affected by gun violence.

CHRISTIAN CARTER, YOUTH ORGANIZER OF TRIP TO WASHINGTON: When I was in the second grade, I was walking to school. My brother and I saw a man get shot and collapse right in front of us. The after effects, like I couldn't listen to fireworks or loud sirens for a loud time. This is really important to me because it affected me personally. I've seen moms lose their children and been around like many funerals around churches and watched --

BLACKWELL: We've got a live camera on a bus there. So occasionally that will happen. We'll get back to Polo Sandoval when we can. I think you understood what was happening there. One of the many buses headed here to Washington and passionate students and families and supporters here for this "March For Our Lives.

PAUL: And we have another of those passionate supporters here. Jay Falk, senior at TC Williams High School. She started a movement "We Are Eagles" to show solidarity with the students and are one of the founders of students demand action. What was it about what happened that prompted you to get as involved as you've become? I mean, what struck you?

JAY FALK, TEEN ORGANIZER OF MARCH FOR OUR LIVES: I think it -- it's for high school students specifically, it's terrifying. It hits incredibly close to home because we see these students in Florida and see our classmates, we see our friends, we see selves, and it -- we are acutely terrified and so we have to stand up.

BLACKWELL: So, I understand that you wanted to start the DMV chapter of students demand action. You started with just a few classmates, a few students, and then what happened?

FALK: We had ten people in my living room. A week later we had 30 and couldn't fit in my living room. A week later we had 150 and did conference calls because we wouldn't meet in person. It blew up incredibly quickly.

PAUL: So, what kind of conversations do you have when you get together?

FALK: I mean, it's plenty because it varies from what are you doing, what have you organized, what is our next initiative to how are we going to get our classmates registered to vote, to what are we doing for prom? We are just kids. We are kids in schools and making new friends through our activism, and we've decided to organize around this issue.

BLACKWELL: You've talked about voter registration as one of the important elements of this movement. Every cycle people ask when are young people going to move the needle for a candidate, for an election? And every cycle -- this is a midterm, so less than expected for a presidential election. Why will this be different?

FALK: Well, look, young people are 30 percent of the American electorate. We're only getting bigger. We're now the biggest voting generation block that's alive today. We have the power to change electoral outcomes.

The question is whether or not we are going to turn out. From what I've seen, this is the turning point for young people's turnout. Every generation needs a reason to show up at the polls. For our generation, we're called the mass shooting generation. Parkland is going to be that reason.

PAUL: So, you basically are saying, listen, if you're not going to hear our voice, you're going to hear our vote.

FALK: Exactly.

PAUL: How are you encouraging people to register to vote and to get there once and for all in your generation?

FALK: Well, a lot of it is grassroots activism. You have to go into those schools and bring out the voter registration forms. It's really simple. At my school, we registered just 424 brand-new voters just a couple of weeks ago. I do that at schools across the nation. Those people are going to show up in November.

BLACKWELL: Today this is a major event, right? Hundreds of thousands here in Washington. Hundreds of sister marches, as they're called, around the world. After today's rallies, how do you keep people interested, invested, in this instant gratification generation where it takes forever sometimes to get legislation passed?

FALK: I recently heard a good quote about how movements work. It's that movements work over a really, really long time, incredibly slowly, and then they happen really fast. What we're seeing this last couple of months is this really fast activism. In reality, we have to be there for the long term.

We have to show up not just in November, but in next November and in the presidential elections and local elections. I think every generation, like I said, has one event. There was the Vietnam war or whatever it was, that got them involved.

For our generation, the starting event is going to be Parkland, but it certainly won't be the last. And we keep up our momentum by keeping meeting and having these conference calls and planning voter registration drives. It's just continuous organizing.

[06:20:09] All righty. Thank you very much. We appreciate you being here, Jay.

FALK: Thanks so much.

PAUL: Good luck with you everything. You'll be out today with your group.

FALK: I will be.

PAUL: All right. We'll see you there. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: A new national security adviser threatened veto. Is the president trying to deflect attention from the news of these alleged affairs?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, are Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal lying about the affair?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, is Karen McDougal telling the truth, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, any comment on Ms. McDougal?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you watch "60 Minutes" on Sunday, Mr. President?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you watch "60 minutes," Mr. President?


BLACKWELL: The president clearly did not want to answer questions as he left the White House. Administration officials have even told CNN that President Trump tried to shift the narrative away from the affair accusations by announcing the hiring of the new national security adviser, John Bolton.

Let's bring back our panel, Rachel Bade, Tom Willis, A. Scott Bolden. Tom, I'm going to start with you. The simple question here, should these women be allowed to tell their stories freely, without any legal consequences?

WILLIS: I think women should always be allowed to tell their story. That's a constitution right. I think that we need to always operate with wisdom is to check with elected officials because it is possible that someone could be falsely accused. The accuser could reap free publicity for that.

We need to protect legal rights. I have a daughter, a wife. We all have people that we love that could be in this position. They deserve to be protected. At the same time, we need to protect our elected officials, too, from frivolous or false claims I'm not saying that this is in this instance.

I'm just saying we need to use wisdom so that our government officials can do their job and run our country effectively without getting bogged down in legal cases all the time.

PAUL: At the end of the day, this isn't about affairs and there's no sense that his base would even care about any affairs. This is about intimidation, allegedly, about the possible violation of campaign laws. With that said, have you seen yet any of evidence of that from the legal realm?

BOLDEN: Not to Karen McDougal. It certainly would be in regard to Stormy Daniels. In regard to McDougal, what we have to look is whatever she was paid through an actor or some other entity on both cases, is that a campaign contribution?

We know that the law it says could be. We know the cases have been litigated, one against a former presidential candidate, that went to trial, and he was found not guilty. It is same time, it doesn't mean it's not a crime or can't be prosecuted again.

My thought here is that it won't be, but McDougal is more dangerous for Donald Trump than Stormy Daniels. You notice how the White House has been silent on this. There's no upside. It was a consensual relationship, she's credible.

You put her on the air, and she's got nothing to lose. She would give back half of her money to tell her story. Does she want to make money? Yes. Just because you want to make money doesn't mean you're not credible and it didn't happen.

I think the public cares about it, and I think these affairs took place. The real question is how things are going at home for Donald Trump with all of this in the media?

BLACKWELL: Rachel, it is Saturday morning and the president is at his beach resort on Palm Beach. History would suggest that he's going to tweet this morning about something we're discussing. History also suggests it will not be about one of these women or this topic. I find it interesting that he's staying silent about this of all things.

BADE: Yes. I'll be curious to watch and see if after the "60 Minutes" interview with Stormy Daniels if he continues that silence, or does he feel compelled to say something about her. Look, the president doesn't want to talk about this for a number of reasons. It's an embarrassment, and he's got marriage issues, Melania. These details coming out have previously excruciating for her. Things about Trump telling these women that he loved them --

PAUL: Having them in her home --

BADE: In her apartment, her home. Having affairs with Trump, alleged affairs, with the president, and then also there's the campaign issue that you brought up. Is it ever going to be investigated? Congress has no interest in taking this up and doing oversight with it.

And the FCC, they rarely do anything. They won't look at it in this regard. So, I think another piece of this actually and one more thing is the election piece of this. Republicans are in a really tough re- election this fall. They are trying to keep the house and re-election in Senate. It's an embarrassment to the party.

PAUL: I want to listen to sound last night from Stormy Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, what he said about the DVD picture that they tweeted yesterday.


MICHAEL AVENATTI, LAWYER FOR STORMY DANIELS: That DVD contains evidence substantiating the relationship. The tweet is a warning shot. I want to be clear about this, a warning shot. And it's a warning shot to Michael Cohen and anyone else associated with President Trump that they ought to be very, very careful, after Sunday night, relating to what they say about my clients and what spin or lies they attempt to tell the American people.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Is there any consequence for them to that, as it sounded, threat to Michael Cohen, to anybody associated with the president, Tom?

TOM WILLIS (R),WEST VIRGINIA SENATE CANDIDATE: I think that may be why the president's not tweeting because there's a potential litigation here. And so common sense would say don't make comments now that may be held against you later in a court of law. But I think that for the American people, the fact that our president was not an angel was well litigated in the court of public opinion during the election. I think there's some fatigue in a lot of corners of our society about the president's alleged affairs and unseemly behavior.

PAUL: But again this isn't about an affair. This is about alleged intimidation and possible campaign violations. That's what it comes down to.

WILLIS: Right. Right. And, you know, the FEC should investigate. Nobody is above the rule of law in this country, including the president. And so if there's a violation of law, it should be prosecuted.

RACHAEL BADE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And to be fair here I mean these women, especially Stormy Daniels, they did have, you know. a nondisclosure agreement. They signed these documents.


PAUL: They took money.

BADE: They took money. And, you know, there was an agreement. And yes, women should always be able to speak out about their stories but there was a legal agreement between these two parties that clearly they are having -- Stormy Daniels and her attorney are having second thoughts about. So there's -- you know, that issue as well. And I just think it's particularly interesting. Of course, they're arguing that the president didn't sign this document so it wasn't -- you know, it's null and void. Yes, so that's one area.

BLACKWELL: And the White House isn't speaking about this, but they are certainly paying attention to it. You know, take into context Jeff Zeleny's reporting that the White House considered this news cycle about McDougal and Stormy Daniels when deciding when to announce the new national security adviser. To change of subject here. A. SCOTT BOLDEN, CHAIR, NATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION PAC: This is his

practice, and we've seen it over the last year or so. But Trump drives these narratives with these women. Not the relationship whether he had them or not, but their reaction, and they're lawyering up. When he denies that he had a relationship with Stormy Daniels and she can't talk about it and that she has evidence of being intimidated, then of course she's going to hire a lawyer. And that warning shot is a warning shot because his credibility is at stake.

It will be interesting to see whether the evangelicals who have stood by Trump, as hypocritical as that would seem to be, that the more credible these allegations are, if the disc has evidence, if he lies and denies it again, it will be interesting to see, one, where they go on all of this, whether they continue to support him, but two, remember, in 2018, the Democrats are coming. And so this is relevant, probative, and material because what he says now, what happens now with these women could be investigated if the Dems take over the House and Senate.

PAUL: And real quickly --


PAUL: Does it matter what Melania does? How she -- if she reacts, if she doesn't react?

BADE: Yes. I mean -- well, I don't think she's going to react to this. There's no upshot for her to come out and say --

BOLDEN: Right. No up shot.

BADE: -- either I'm sticking with my husband or, you know, I'm throwing him under the bus and I'm leaving. I mean, I think that she is watching what happens and is clearly not happy about it. They clearly already had a rocky relationship before when she'd swat his hands away, you know, on video. But I just don't see the upshot of her reacting to this.

BOLDEN: Yes, but you know these cases are going forward. And she could be a potential witness because you've got depositions and you've got credibility issues. And if the president goes under oath, I could see indirectly her as a witness going forward based on time, places, and kind of what was going on in the relationship. And so she could be involved.

BLACKWELL: All right. Tom Willis, Rachel Bade, Scott Bolden, thank you all.

BOLDEN: Thank you for having us.

PAUL: Appreciate you all.

So still to come, a California community demanding answers this morning following the police-involved shooting death of Stephon Clark. Protesters swarmed the streets of downtown Sacramento in protest. We have more on what happens ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


[06:39:28] UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: No racist. No justice.




BLACKWELL: Yes. This community in Sacramento is outraged after the death of Stephon Clark, 22 years old, unarmed black man who was shot and killed by police in his grandmother's backyard. That was last weekend. Hundreds of people you see here in downtown Sacramento yesterday in this protest.

PAUL: Police released video of the incident this week. And according to officials, the two officers involved -- it's hard to watch, I know -- they fired 20 rounds at Clark.

[06:40:07] They say they thought he was pointing a gun. The only thing that was recovered at the scene was a cell phone.

CNN senior law enforcement analyst, former FBI assistant director Tom Fuentes with us as well as CNN contributor and "Washington Post" national reporter Wes Lowery.

Gentlemen, thank you for being with us. It is still hard to watch that video. And I can't imagine what it's like for their family.

Wes, where are you learning about where this could go? Why did they think he had a gun?

WESLEY LOWERY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Certainly. So this was a case where the officers had been called in response to a 911 call about someone breaking windows in the neighborhood. This is a neighborhood that has recently dealt with some break-ins, folks making a lot of 911 calls. The officers responded, they encountered Stephon Clark who at that point was back at his grandmother's house, she lived in the neighborhood, ran into him on the side of the home.

What we can see from the helicopter video is that he ran around to the back of the house where the door was as the officers gave chase and then encountered him open fire as we see within about six seconds. Fired 20 shots and he was killed.

Speaking with members of the family as well as the legal team, they're represented by Benjamin Crump, civil rights attorney who's worked with Trayvon Martin's family and Michael Brown's family in Ferguson. They think these videos raised a lot of serious questions. Obviously when someone who is holding just a cell phone is shot 20 times or shot at 20 times, we don't know yet how many times he was hit, it raises questions about that level of force being used. There are questions that also from these videos about what happened in

the aftermath. There's a long period of time before he's rendered any aid. And then beyond that, this question of at the very end of the video these officers are seen talking to each other about muting their microphones.


PAUL: Yes.

BLACKWELL: And, Tom, let me ask you about that because there is this portion there at the end where one officer is heard saying, mute, and the audio goes silent. Is that protocol? I mean, in a scenario like this, would you expect officers if they're following the book to mute the audio on their body cameras?

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: No, I wouldn't expect that. But you know, these are situations that kind of reminds me of Laquan McDonald in Chicago where the first shot we don't know. I mean, that could be in the dark person. We don't know the exact movements. And in the dark, something metallic in your hand like a cell phone --

BLACKWELL: Quick reflection. Yes.

FUENTES: Could look like a weapon. And the officers could have feared that it is a weapon. 20 shots later, that's where the question comes in. In Chicago it was 14 more shots after the subject was down on the ground and lying still. So that's where you get -- where you get the appearance of definitely excessive force, and that's where the questions come up. So if the last shots are unwarranted, let's say, it puts into question every shot.


FUENTES: And all of the action the police officers take. Now we need further investigation in this, but certainly from what we've seen, it does look very bad.

PAUL: Well, and let's listen here. CNN actually spoke with Stephon Clark's brother. Let's listen to what he said.


SLEVANTE CLARK, STEPHON CLARK'S BROTHER: I'm pissed. I'm -- I'm livid. I am --

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You said you wanted his name to be remembered the same way that people remember --

CLARK: Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Eric Gardner, Michael Brown.

SIMON: Where does the family go from here?

CLARK: We're afraid. We're afraid. It's not the first and it won't be the last. That's why -- I think that's what hurts the most.


PAUL: Tom, what does the community, the law enforcement community, say to this family and people like him who say we're afraid still?

FUENTES: Well, right now what the community has to hear from the police and the authorities is that this will be thoroughly investigated. If it's found that the officers were wrong, that discipline will be taken, and up to and including prosecution if it's warranted. But they need to hear that, they need to hear that right away. That this -- we're going to do what's necessary in the interest of justice in this case.

If the police stay silent for any long period of time, it gives the appearance of wrongdoing. It backs up that narrative from the community if they think this was wrong and the police don't answer to at least say we're going to investigate this, you know, the officers are suspended pending the investigation. And a thorough investigation is conducted, not by that police department but by somebody else coming in. And if warranted, obviously all the way up to and including a civil rights investigation by the FBI.

BLACKWELL: And Wesley, it's important to point out, and you of course know this because of your work at the "Post," that this does not happen in a vacuum. That this comes with the context of the other shootings that still there are questions about, and this is a community that shut down in large part an NBA game a couple of days ago. Yesterday they continued with those protests.

Where does this go next and this relationship between this police department and this community?

LOWERY: Of course what's really interesting in Sacramento is this is a case where you have a chief, the city's first black police chief, who came in a few years ago and instituted a series of new policies and reforms in part in response to some previously controversial shootings.

[06:45:05] One specifically, Joseph Mann, a mentally ill black man who I believe had a knife. And after that they instituted things such it's a requirement that every officer have body cameras. It's the reason we see these shootings is because of that new policy. The reasons we've seen that video, it's been about a week since the shooting is because with that was a policy that they would release every video of critical incidents like this.

They're saying they'll formally release the names of the officers within 10 days. And that again another policy that is kind of a post- Ferguson idea that we will be transparent about these. What's also been interesting, we have now two days into protest. And there are times have gotten tense. You know, obviously screaming and yelling, the shutting down of the basketball game. I know there was a car window smashed maybe last night. And the posture of the officers very much has been let's not make arrests, let's not escalate this.

And so what's going to be really interesting in Sacramento to see is these protests potentially continue to ramp up as people continue to be upset, and as the investigation works through -- I mean, we know these investigations take time. It's going to be very interesting to see how the police continue to handle this, and again in a department where the chief has at least vocally been very committed to try to learn the lessons that some cities maybe have mishandled previously.

PAUL: Can this community, though, understand and accept what happened based solely even on the element of this where they muted their microphones? That alone, Tom, is a very hard thing to explain to a community that is trying to understand transparency and what happened. I mean, can -- can the fact that they muted their microphones be countered by anything the police do?

FUENTES: You know, I don't know. And we don't know what their policy is regarding that. It could be that the police department once the incident, you know, the shooting itself is over, and now, you know, you're talking about the time period of rendering aid and, you know, calling for paramedics to come and all of that, it could be that maybe they have that policy for privacy issues.

That to shut those mics off so that other -- you know, other information isn't going into those recordings, that's not exactly relevant to the immediate response where the shots were fired. I don't know. It certainly looks bad. And again, the police department needs to get out in front of this and explain what they're doing, whether that is policy or not, whether they consider that wrongdoing or not, and that it will be investigated.

And I think that's where to me in many of these incidents you don't have the department responding publicly to at least what they can say. You know, they're not going to know every little detail of it, but say that they're committed to a thorough diligent, fair investigation of the incident, including that issue about the microphone, the number of shots --

BLACKWELL: To release some of the pressure.

PAUL: To -- yes, to acknowledge that they know that they have work to do.

BLACKWELL: And they still have a lot of questions to answer. Now as Wesley pointed out, they have taken some steps here toward transparency but still a lot of questions, why aid wasn't rendered immediately, he was there. From what I -- the count on the video, five minutes or more passed between the shots and then chest compressions. And then, of course, the question about the audio.

All right. Wesley Lowery, Tom Fuentes, thank you both.

PAUL: We appreciate you both being here.

Coming up in the 8:00 a.m. hour, by the way, Stephon Clark's family is talking about how they're going to move forward. We're going to talk to him -- Stephon Clark's brother right here on CNN.

All righty. Let's move to the sports arena.


PAUL: Shall we? Because it is madness.

BLACKWELL: It is March.

PAUL: March Madness. Coy Wire.


COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Victor, Christi. Someone at the NEW DAY anchor desk there is leading the CNN bracket challenge. We're going to find out who and show one of most incredible blocks you've seen the entire season. That's coming up right here on NEW DAY.


[06:52:59] PAUL: So two of the most accomplished coaches in college basketball squared off in the NCAA men's tournament last night.

BLACKWELL: Coy Wire is here to get you caught up on March Madness -- Coy.

WIRE: Good morning, Victor and Christi. Together, these two leaders have coached in all but two of the last 42 NCAA men's tournaments. They have legendary careers. Duke's 71-year-old Mike Krzyzewski and Syracuse's 73-year-old John Boeheim facing off in an all-ACC class, hoping to lead their teams to the Elite Eight.

When Boeheim first coached Syracuse in the tournament in 1977, there were 32 teams, not 64, and nobody was seeded. When Krzyzewski first coached Duke in the tournament in '84 there was no such things as a three-point line. In the end, though, Boeheim's orange put up a fight. It was Krzyzewski's Blue Devils enduring to the end advancing with the 69-65 win to take on another basketball powerhouse in the next round, number-one-seed Kansas.

And note to reporters, don't ever ask Coach K about meetings between Kansas and Duke in the past. Listen to this.


COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI, DUKE BASKETBALL HEAD COACH: Yes, I don't remember anything except this game right now. And I'm 71. I have a hard time -- what's my wife's name? It's -- you are my wife, right? Still, yes, for 48 years.


WIRE: His wife there in the audience.

Hey, how about West Virginia leading the number one seed Villanova in the second half. Looking to block them from rolling into the Elite Eight. Sagaba Konate's two-handed block still trending on top 10 this morning. But a few minutes later, the defending champs from two tournaments ago, Villanova took over. An incredible sequence from Omari Spellman who did blocking of his own followed by this emasculating dunk that lifted his team and their fans to their feet. The Wildcats with the statement win over the Mountaineers 90-78.

So that's it. The Elite Eight is set. Two games tomorrow and two tonight including this year's Cinderella -- wait for it --

That was the scene on campus when Loyola-Chicago, the fighting Sister Jeans if you will, found out they'd be playing in the Elite Eight.

[06:55:05] They play Kansas State tonight on our sister channel TBS just after 6:00 p.m. Eastern. Then the Seminoles continue their inspiring run in the league, game against Michigan. Tomorrow, Texas Tech takes on Villanova and Duke plays Kansas.

Now for the CNN bracket challenge, I'll give you a clue. The person leading all of us here is bald, is beautiful, but it's definitely not me. It's Victor Blackwell.


PAUL: And he's doing his victory dance.

WIRE: He's doing his victory dance.

PAUL: Look at this.

WIRE: That's 57 points, 88 remaining. Victor, we're talking over hundreds of thousands in the overall pool. You're in the 97th percentile nationally. You have a future in sports, my friend. But go to another network. Don't take my job, all right, buddy?

BLACKWELL: Listen, to quote the great Beyonce Knowles Carter, top two, and I ain't number two.

PAUL: My goodness.

BLACKWELL: I'm going to soak this up. It may not last forever, but I will soak it up.

Coy, thank you very much.

WIRE: You're welcome.

PAUL: Stay with us.

BLACKWELL: All right.

PAUL: The next hour of NEW DAY starts on the other side of this break.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Major policy announcement from the White House as rallies across the nation and around the world get ready to march against gun violence. A lot going on here in D.C. We've got the very latest after this.