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Police Release New Graphic Video Of Alton Sterling's Killing; Baton Rouge Officer Who Shot And Killed Alton Sterling, Fired; Calls For Pruitt To Resign Over Rental Deal With Lobbyist; U.S. Officials Fear Consequences Of Withdrawal From Syria; Israel: Gaza Violence Orchestrated By Hamas; "Roseanne" Spotlights Political Divide Over Trump. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired March 31, 2018 - 07:00   ET


[07:00:00] COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: -- at the "FINAL FOUR" at CNN 2:30 this afternoon Eastern on CNN. I brought some Sister Jean socks. Victor, you get to choose.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm taking the one with the face!


WIRE: He's leading our CNN brackets.


WIRE: All right.

PAUL: All right. Thank you, Coy.

WIRE: You're welcome.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Disturbing new video from an officer's body camera showing the police killing of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge.


ALTON STERLING, SHOT BY A POLICE: What did I do? What did I do?

SALAMONI: Don't (BLEEP) move. I'll shoot your (BLEEP) --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't walk away from the truth, Baton Rouge.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An independent autopsy shows that Stephon Clark was shot by police officers eight times, six of those wounds were in his back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It contradicts the narrative that had been put forth by the police.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The White House, not happy with Scott Pruitt over his controversial living arrangements and his security detail. Is the EPA chief, perhaps, the next to go?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he should resign. If he doesn't resign, the president should fire him.


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

PAUL: And I'm Christi Paul. Always glad to have you here. Listen, we have to begin this morning with some new, disturbing video. I just want to forewarn you of Alton Sterling's death. For the first time, we're getting a clearer picture of just what happened before a white police officer decided to shoot him six times, killing him outside of a Baton Rouge convenience store.

BLACKWELL: This morning, that officer has been released from his job -- fired. The police chief got rid of him more than a year and a half after that officer pulled the trigger. We want to warn you that the video you're about to see is disturbing. Our CNN Kaylee Hartung is in Baton Rouge with more. Kaylee, good morning.

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN REPORTER: Good morning, Victor and Christi. Now, with the help of both officers' body cams, as well as surveillance video from that convenience store, we're getting a more complete and clear account of the encounter and the struggle that led to Alton Sterling's death, as well as the moments immediately following. This new video released last night by the Baton Rouge Police Department, I want to warn you again, it is disturbing.


HARTUNG: Graphic and disturbing new video.

STERLING: What did I do? What did I do?

SALAMONI: Don't (BLEEP) move! I'll shoot you (BLEEP)! Put your (BLEEP) hands on the car!

HARTUNG: Showing the controversial shooting death of Alton Sterling in July 2016. The Baton Rouge chief of police announcing officer, Blane Salamoni, who shot Sterling six teams during a struggle with him will be fired over his actions.

MURPHY PAUL, BATON ROUGE POLICE CHIEF: The violation of command of temper has been sustained. Officer Blane Salamoni has been terminated from the Baton Rouge Police Department effective today.

HARTUNG: This week, Salamoni refused to answer any questions. During a disciplinary hearing, the chief said, while Howie Lake, the other officer involved, answered them all. Lake, who the chief said made mistakes but controlled his temper during the encounter, was given a three-day unpaid suspension.

M. PAUL: Two different perspectives, and one officer did not follow the tactics training, professionalism, and organizational standards. HARTUNG: The police chief making it clear their administrative

investigation was separate from the federal criminal charges both officers were already cleared of. The Police Department released four videos from the night of the shooting including this surveillance footage from the Triple-S Convenience Store. That's Sterling at the front of the store sitting at a table where he's selling CDs. Minutes into the tape, he's seen conducting a transaction with an unidentified man. Here he removes what appears to be a gun from his pocket followed by money from the same pocket. Within seconds, Sterling is seen jokingly making a shooting motion toward the man. That night, police were initially called to the Triple-S Convenience Store responding to a 911 call from a witness who saw a man with a gun. Watch closely as things escalate quickly. From Salamoni's perspective, you can see a brief struggle, then his gun is trained on Sterling's head.

SALAMONI: Don't you (BLEEP). I'll shoot you in your (BLEEP) head, you hear me? Don't you (BLEEP) move --

STERLING: All right, hold up, hold up. You're hurting my arm.

HARTUNG: Sterling then was pinned to the ground and tased twice.

SALAMONI: Get on the ground! Get on the ground! Pop him again, Howie!

HARTUNG: Before being fatally shot. Previously released cell phone videos recorded by bystanders show at this point in the encounter, Salamoni believed Sterling was armed.

SALAMONI: He's got a gun!

HARTUNG: A gun was recovered from Sterling's body. But the federal and state investigations determined that the officer's actions were reasonable and couldn't prove that Sterling wasn't reaching for a gun.


HARTUNG: Blane Salamoni's attorney tells CNN, they're disappointed in the chief's decision to fire him. They say they feel he should've been given a comparable punishment to Howie Lake's three-day suspension. They plan to appeal Salamoni's firing to a higher lever in hopes of reversing the chief's decision. And as this new video circulates, Alton Sterling's family is trying to keep his five children from seeing it. The family's attorney tells CNN that what they find particularly disturbing about this video, is the way you can hear the officers cussing over Alton Sterling's body, calling him names as he lay bleeding and dying. Victor, Christi?

[07:05:36] BLACKWELL: Kaylee, thank you so much. We'll talk about that in more detail in just a moment. But first to Sacramento where Black Lives Matter is marching following the police killing of 22- year-old Stephon Clark.

PAUL: CNN was there as one activist shouted this message to police: "You're killing us, and you're lying about it." Here's Ryan Young. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Another night of protests in Sacramento. You can see the protesters behind me letting their voices be heard. Of course, this is a day that had a lot of high emotion because the attorney for the family came out with their own findings and autopsy. The autopsy show that they believe in their investigation that Clark was shot multiple times, and then six shots hit him in the back, and then another in the leg. The father of two, they believe, was on the grounds dying for several minutes before he received help. And of course, ultimately, he died.

Now, you can feel the power of this protest that has been taking to the streets for the last few days. They do plan to have another protest Saturday before the NBA game here. There's been a lot of conversation about what to do next here in the city. We do know the Police Department has said they will not comment about the independent autopsy because they do not want to comment before their investigation is finished. What they are doing here, though, is they're standing still right outside of city hall to make sure their voices are heard. Once again, another protest Saturday, a lot of people wondering what will happen next because people in this community say, they want to have more answers from the authorities involved. Ryan young, CNN, Sacramento.


BLACKWELL: Ryan, thank you so much. Joining me now is Wesley Lowery, CNN Contributor; and Michael Moore, Former U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. Gentlemen, good morning to you.


BLACKWELL: Michael, let me first get your reaction to what you saw there. And I also want to, if you can in this answer, explain to me, you know, there are people who saw this video and wonder why no charges were filed. Officer Salamoni approaches Sterling with his weapon drawn and says, "I'm going to shoot you in the expletive head." That was 30 seconds by my count watching the video before someone else who is, potentially Officer Lake, saying there: "He's got a gun". What role does that chronology play in the decision to file charges or not?

MOORE: You know, one of the most important pieces of evidence in a review and a case like this would the tapes and the recordings and things like that. And I think it paints a picture that is hard to get around. I think that it clearly supports his firing, in my view of a quick look at it, certainly brings into question whether or not those charges could've been brought. There's no question that he handled the situation improperly. There's no question that he -- it appears to me that he escalated the situation. And so, at that point, there has to be a decision made. These cases are tough. There's great deference given to the stress in the field that the officers may sense while they're out there. And the fact, of course, in the Sterling case that apparently there

was a gun that may have been seen or at least reported at some time. That complicates the case, too. Different, of course, maybe than the Sacramento case. But nonetheless, it seems pretty clear to me that the situation moved quickly out of hand. And we hope that officers are trained, and there's a lot of good men and women in the Police Departments and law enforcement across the country. You always want to be trained to de-escalate a situation and to get to a point where if they choose not to use deadly force as opposed to that being something that they bring about as a last resort.

BLACKWELL: Wesley, Kaylee in her report mentioned the insults after the shooting. As tragic as everything is that leads up to the shooting and the shooting itself, officer Salamoni there called Sterling a stupid m'f-er, stupid ass, and idiot, as he lay dying there on the ground. The reaction, the response from this community is justified. I mean, to see that as this man is there on the ground after the shooting.

WESLEY LOWERY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Of course, this kind of charged language, the name-calling. That cuts in both directions, right? You do understand sometimes after something that's so charged and so heated often you hear these kinds of emotional statements from officers who had just been involved in some type of fatal shooting. But beyond that, the fact that we're even seeing this video now, a year and a half, almost two years later, initially when the initial cell phone video came out, the department said that there was no relevant body camera video. The body cameras had fallen off.

[07:10:09] Well, what we now see is that there's all types of revelatory information in these videos. And this would've fundamentally changed the public perception of this case a year ago or two years ago, back when there were thousands of people in the streets. And so, that the department held on to this video for so long that we are just now seeing these things. I mean, like I said, even someone who covered this case previously, it changed the very fundamental ways, my understanding of what had happened. You see Officer Salamoni entering a scenario in which his -- Howie Lake is already talking to Sterling; there seems to be some type of interaction happening and him coming in and guns drawn, and screaming expletives at this man, putting a gun to his head.

Moments later, as you slow this video down, you see at the moment in which Salamoni instructs Lake to tase Sterling. Sterling's hands are on the car, as he's being told to do. And so, you can this continue more force, continuing to escalate even if Sterling is being not completely compliant but not completely uncompliant either. Later on, as this -- you know, the struggle on the ground that leads to the actual shooting, it's because after Sterling has been tased, he's standing there with his hands up. And you watch as Salamoni tackles him to the ground. which I think most police trainers would say isn't the way he should do that.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Michael, speak to how this video could have been, for lack of a better term, held for almost two years now. And answer the questions so many have on social media is, why wasn't there some discipline before now, this happened in July of 2016?

MOORE: So, when you look at these cases, and I've had the chance to sit there and have to make decisions on them, there are so many moving parts. You have the incident that happened, you have obviously a first concern, the victim's family. You have an interested law enforcement community. You have the departments, you have the officer, you have questions about the officer's rights as he goes through department interviews and processes. And so, you want to be transparent, at the same time, you're trying to protect the integrity of the investigation. The problem comes in sometimes that you -- in an effort to be transparent, what you don't want to do is say, look, maybe to the family, look, here's what we found so far, I want to keep you up to date.

And then, suddenly there'd be a press conference on the steps of the courthouse or something as the investigation is in midstream, because we don't know the whole picture. And this is a perfect case of showing how things come to light as that goes on, as the investigation goes on. So, I think the better thing is to have information out there that the public needs to see it, they have a right to see it. The fear is that it will get dribbled out and won't paint an accurate picture until there's ultimately a conclusion in the investigation. So, it's tough. But again, as somebody who meets with the families and wants to talk to the families, you want to share with them because you know no matter what the situation, what led to it, their loved one was involved in the shooting. At the same time, you have an officer who oftentimes is distraught, as well.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Wesley, quickly to you, and I want to talk about Stephon Clark. We learned from an independent autopsy, the second awe autopsy here that Stephon was shot eight times, six times in the back. How does that correspond with what we've been told by law enforcement up to this point?

LOWERY: Certainly. So, the family and the family attorney, Benjamin Crump, would say that this contradicts the version by police, who said that he was facing them, potentially even moving toward them when they opened fire. To see that so many of these bullets entered his body, again, according to the independent autopsy, either through his back or to his side. Again, the family attorneys argue it directly contradicts the police story. The police here in their story multiple times have had to change it. Initially, he had a toolbar or crowbar in his hand, and then they had to come back and admit he only had a cell phone. And so, this still is not a good development for the police in terms of what their initial story was.

BLACKWELL: All right. Wesley Lowery, Michael Moore, thank you both.

LOWERY: Thank you.

PAUL: So, could Scott Pruitt, the EPA Administrator, be the next person fired from the Trump administration? Why White House officials are growing pretty frustrated with the head of the EPA?

[07:14:19] BLACKWELL: Plus, Russia is expelling diplomats from 23 different countries after those countries kicked Russian diplomats out of theirs. How far will this go?


BLACKWELL: This morning, the head of the EPA is facing backlash for how he's spending your money.

PAUL: Sources tell CNN that senior White House aides are frustrated with EPA Head Scott Pruitt after learning from news reports that he's been rending a condo in Washington at a rate far below market value from the family of an energy lobbyist. CNN's Abby Phillip with us now from West Palm Beach, Florida, where the president is spending Easter weekend. So, Abby, we know that the president may be at his Florida resort, his administration is going to have to deal with this fallout from Scott Pruitt. Is there any indication as to how soon they will do so?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Good morning, Christi. The president here having a quiet weekend, but his White House aides are growing frustrated with Scott Pruitt over at the EPA over this controversy and several controversies actually that have been growing around him and his use of taxpayer dollars. He started out with the problem with the 24-hour security detail that some Democrats have raised questions about. But now, there is a question about his living arrangement. A D.C. condo that he's been renting apparently from energy lobbyist that lobby the EPA and were former donors of his, when he was a politician back in Oklahoma. And now, those -- that arrangement in which he paid about $6,000 over six months for a room is being questioned by Democrats and ethics observers.

Now, the White House has been trying to tell cabinet secretaries that they need to get a handle on some of these negative stories about their use of taxpayer dollars. Pruitt was one of the officials brought in by John Kelly into the White House several weeks ago for a meeting in which Kelly said to them optics matter, and you need to not surprise us with these bad stories, but that's exactly what Pruitt did in this case. The White House was blind-sided by the story about the condo. And now, growing frustration with Pruitt, they are looking to him to resolve this problem. For their part, the EPA is saying there was nothing ethically wrong with this arrangement. That even though he may have paid below market value, it was not considered a gift. But obviously, ethics watchdogs are looking at this situation and saying otherwise. Meanwhile, President Trump and White House aides say nothing on the record to defend Pruitt on this issue. An indication of how they are not very happy with how he's handled it so far, Christi and Victor.

[07:20:55] PAUL: All right. Abby Phillip, thank you so much. We appreciate it. A Deputy Managing Editor of The Weekly Standard, Kelly Jane Torrance, with us; as well as CNN Politics Senior Reporter, Stephen Collinson. Thank you both for being here. I want to show you a picture, and I think that she had it up as well. Five other people in the administration who have had some questions about their travel, about discrepancies in their expensing. What's striking here is how many in this amount of time, Steven, is this isolated incident to President Trump's administration? Do you chock this up to inexperience in some regard? I mean, how does what we're seeing here correspond with past administrations?

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN POLITICS SENIOR REPORTER: Well, there's certainly more turnover in the first year of this administration than you typically see in an administration. I think that's not even a debatable point. And one of the reasons for that, of course, is that President Trump is an outsider. A lot of the blue-chip Republican potential cabinet members who would come into normally a Republican administration were alienated from the whole Trump campaign. So, you've got lot -- in many cases, more inexperienced people. The vetting left something to be desired in this administration, despite the fact that there was a good transition plan put in place by Chris Christie, the head of the transition.

But you have to start to consider how many lives that Scott Pruitt, for example, has left. We had repeated questions about his security spending, his travel, and now this issue about his living arrangements. One thing in mitigation, though, is that he may have a little bit more leeway than other appointees that have already shown the door by the Trump administration, simply because he's been doing what the president wants: cutting the environmental regulation, cutting the size of his department. He's a hero in conservative circles. So, it's possible that he has a little bit more leeway. But you come to a point, I think, when the damage that someone is doing, the administration, politically from these repeated scandals and stories, outweighs what he brings the administration. You think that the White House might start to consider if somebody else there that could do the same job with less controversy.

PAUL: OK. Kelly, Kelly Jane, I have to get to this other story that's coming out this morning. ABC News reporting that Pruitt's protective detail actually broke down the door of that condominium that we've been talking about all morning on Capitol Hill, because they believed to be unconscious. This was something that happened a year ago, and ABC reporting that the EPA is being really kind of silent, mysterious, they're not answering questions about this. What do we know happened?

KELLY JANE TORRANCE, DEPUTY MANAGING EDITOR OF THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Yes. Apparently, Scott Pruitt left work early one day feeling unwell, and he went back home to the condo that, of course, we've been discussing. And his people just couldn't contact him. And so, they were worried that, you know, something was really wrong with him and they broke down the door. Of course, they did pay the owner of the condo. I think just under $3,000 to replace the door and the glass. But we've been hearing some mysterious things about Pruitt's security detail for a while. Now, he's seen as -- departments say he's gotten a lot of threats and that's the reason for it.

Well, you know, that may be true. If so, I think that we could use a little bit more information on just what those threats are and why they were deemed important enough that he needs to have this security detail. And you know, Stephen made a lot of good points, but I have to say, I wonder if Scott Pruitt is really doomed because who is Donald Trump going to replace him with? You know, he's got a lot of open positions now. He's still looking for people for. So, I'm wondering, there's no obvious person, I think, in line to replace Pruitt. So, he has that going for him, as well.

PAUL: OK. Steven, you've read the ABC report, as well as I understand they said that they knocked down the door, 911 was called, the Fire Department was mobilized that they found him groggy from a nap. He had declined a medical attention. There was no police filed. When Kelly Janes is talking about other threats what have you heard about other threats, and are those threats what prompted the panic on that day in March of last year?

[07:25:19] COLLINSON: Well, I think this gets to the point that generally an EPA administrative doesn't have a huge security retinue. It gets to the point that Scott Pruitt has been a very controversial figure simply because of the actions he's been taking at the EPA. For example, he was somebody who was very instrumental in the Trump administration pulling out of the Paris Climate Accords, and he was pushing the White House to move faster on that. That has caused a lot of anger in the environmental movement. He's not been one of the most popular in this administration. There was talk from some of Pruitt supporters that he felt endangered when he was on commercial air travel. So, I think that's one of the reasons. But it does seem that for this position that sort of security posture is very, very unusual. I think that gets to some of the questions why his position is perhaps endangered and why he's such a controversial figure.

PAUL: Does it have anything to do, Kelly Jane, with the fact that there is so much discussion now about what the EPA has done and the money that they've pulled out of the department essentially, and some of the programs they've slashed. Is that part of the controversy here with his security detail and death threats that might be coming toward him?

TORRANCE: I think that's possible. It's also the fact that Scott Pruitt has basically shown little to no interest in meeting with representatives from a lot of environmental groups and activists. He has focused his meetings on representatives from industry. And he's always happy to meet people from industry who, of course, are affected by EPA regulations, but he's been less willing to meet with people who are for these regulations. And I think it does look bad when you're only hearing from one side. And I think that is really what's led to a lot of this anger, it's not only that his EPA has gotten rid of some regulations. It's that they're not even interested in hearing arguments for why some of those might be needed.

PAUL: All right. Kelly Jane Torrance and Stephen Collinson, I appreciate both of you being here. Thank you.


BLACKWELL: U.S. officials tell CNN they are worried about a power vacuum if the U.S. pulls out of Syria, and if the U.S. moves on, as President Trump says, will soon happen. Who wins?


[07:32:26] PAUL: Welcome to Saturday, 32 minutes past the hour right now. I'm Christi Paul. BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you. National security officials tell CNN they are worried about what could happen if the U.S. suddenly withdrawn from the battle against ISIS. The officials say that if the U.S. is no longer in Syria, it could create a void that ISIS or another terror group could fill.

PAUL: Here's what President Trump, told supporters at a rally this week.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're knocking the hell out of ISIS. We'll be coming out of Syria like very soon. Let the other people take care of it now.


PAUL: So what happens in Syria if the U.S. is no longer involved in the fight? What would that mean for Russia? Would it be a win?

BLACKWELL: Let's go to CNN Senior International Correspondent Matthew Chance. He sees -- has seen this conflict up close, having embedded with Russian forces in Syria. Matthew, I imagine that Russia would see this as a win to have the U.S. out of Syria.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think it definitely would, Victor. Because one of the reasons it went into Syria in the first place was to say, look, you know, Russia is a real power broker in the region. Russia supports its allies and will not let another one of its allies fall to -- you know, the western powers to the United States, except during its allies.

And of course, Russia has used its air force to bolster Bashar al- Assad, he's the Syrian president, and to prevent him from being defeated, first of all. But more than that, encourage him and allow him to take more and more territory back from rebels on the battlefield. And of course, if the Americans were to depart Syria, effectively the anti-Assad forces in that country would be left without a really strong and powerful ally, and that would give a free reign to Assad's forces, backed by the Russians and a crucially, of course, backed by the Iranians, as well, who are also assisting Bashar al-Assad on the ground in Syria.

And so, yes, in short, I think to answer your question, if the United States were to withdraw from Syria, that would certainly be considered a victory by the Russians because it would give their ally a free reign.

PAUL: Matt, I want to talk to you about the diplomatic standoff between the U.S. and Russia over the U.K.'s spy poisoning. Both sides, of course, kicking out diplomats. Do you have any indication that there is more of that to come and how detrimental really is that to Russia itself?

[07:34:51] CHANCE: Well, I think there is an indication that we're not quite at the end of the tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions yet. Just yesterday, the Russian foreign ministry summoned ambassadors from 23 countries and told them that it was protesting against their expulsions and expelling diplomats from Russia, from their countries. That followed the expulsion of 149 diplomats by 29 countries. 60 from the United States, the biggest expulsion ever of Russian officials. And it's a massive crisis, the biggest perhaps since the -- since the end of the Cold War.

And the hope, of course, is that this will try and get Russia to see it's isolated diplomatically and amend its behavior. But the big concern is that, that won't happen, it all will further antagonize Moscow and force into more confrontation with the west. The first indication of that the Russians have already might turn the rank to the British. And said, look, not only have we expelled the 23 diplomats that you expelled from Britain -- of Russian diplomats, but also we want to unite to reduce your diplomatic mission in this country by 50 individuals. And so, there are more sanctions now being imposed on the British for one.

PAUL: All right, Matthew Chance, always appreciate the insight. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Well, let's bring in CNN National Security Analyst Juliette Kayyem, former homeland security assistant secretary and now a security consultant and professor at Harvard University. Juliette, good morning to you.


BLACKWELL: All right, so let's separate this conversation of what this withdrawal of the U.S. from Syria would mean for the Russians and for terror groups. Because in large part, the exploitation of a power vacuum is how Syria got to this point in the first place. Al Nusra, taking advantage, there moving in the development of ISIS, the establishment of the caliphate. And then, you got hundreds of thousands of dead civilians years later.

So, from a terror point of view, what would this mean? I think we know the end of this story if this line from the president is followed.

KAYYEM: Well, it's a great question, Victor. And just before I start on substance, I just want to comment on process. Syria is complicated if it were easy and all the countries would have come to a solution. And so, the process by which President Trump, has sort of laid out potentially a new -- you know, philosophy about what the United States' strategy is in Syria. Saying it in a speech, not preparing the military, not preparing the homeland in terms of our counterterrorism efforts and what that might mean is just at this stage is sort of careless. It's complicated for a reason, and that's why it takes a deliberative process to the substance of what you say.

As one of the successes in counterterrorism efforts clearly in the last couple of years has been obviously disbanding ISIS and getting them out of -- or occupying certain areas in Syria and Iraq. That does not mean the terror threat has ended, it means that it has changed over time and the sort of what we call the -- you know, the isolated or the lone wolf terrorism is sort of part of the ISIS strategy still occurs in the west. We saw it most recently in France just a week ago. But nonetheless, that's a manageable threat.

I would call what the United States is -- what Donald Trump is saying the United States wants to do less of a vacuum and more of an abdication. In other words, you're just handing it to Russia and Syria that, you know, they will -- if what Trump says is true that we are going to abdicate and hand over parts of Syria will be stabilized, but there will be hundreds of thousands of ISIS fighters who where are they going? And then, of course, the refugee problem. The refugee problem is a problem for Europe, but the radicalization issue is one that concerns all of us.

BLACKWELL: Now Juliette, there are some people who are listening to this conversation about the inability or the -- I guess the rejection of what the president said, rejection to that. And wondering, will the U.S. ever really then be able to withdraw from the region if this is going to be the result every time there is, you know, a discussion of retreat from -- for the U.S.

KAYYEM: So it very well may be that Donald Trump policy is accurate. In fact, members of the Obama administration believe in that policy that we had to begin to withdraw, that Assad will stay, that the idea of getting Assad out is no longer part of our strategy. And that you stabilize the region, but you don't let Iran, or Syria -- or Russia to step into the vacuum. So that is an appropriate theory, it is hard.

And so that's why announcing it without preparing your diplomats or military efforts, your intelligence agents is just careless at this stage. And one, in which Russia is stepping into the vacuum. So, when I say that you know, this is an abdication, put it in the context of a lot of abdications going on, you know. Whether it's -- you know, our failure to go after Russia here in terms of their hacking or their influence in the 2018 election.

From Russia's perspective, from Putin's perspective, they're looking at the United States not even putting up a fight at this stage. That's a win for them.

[07:40:04] BLACKWELL: All right, plenty, plenty of questions. Thank you so much for being part of the conversation, Juliette Kayyem.

KAYYEM: Thank you.


PAUL: Those are deadly protest in Gaza that have force Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, to declare today a day of mourning. You're looking at what was happening yesterday along the Gaza-Israel border. At least 17 Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli troops. More than 1,000 were injured. And a witness to say Israeli troops fired live rounds, rubber bullets, tear gas. Israel says the violence was orchestrated by Hamas and said most of those killed in the violence were "terror activists".

BLACKWELL: Still to come, the hit '90 show Roseanne is back for another season. And it's putting the conservative viewpoints of Middle America right in the center of the conversation. How the show is incorporating America's current political divide.


[07:45:35] PAUL: It was a hit in the '90s, and Roseanne is back. ABC renewed the shows reboot for a second season after the premiere because the ratings were so massive. More than 18 million people tuned in for the revived series last week. And it follow the premiere -- or following and I should say President Trump made a personal phone call to Roseanne Barr, to talk about the ratings.

BLACKWELL: Now, Barr's character, Roseanne Connor, is a Trump supporter. Something rare in Hollywood. Here's a snippet from the first episode.


ROSEANNE BARR, AS ROSEANNE CONOR IN A SITCOM, ROSEANNE: Thank you for making America great again.

LAURIE METCALF, AS JACKIE HARRIS IN A SITCOM, ROSEANNE: How could you have voted for him, Roseanne?

BARR: He talked about jobs, Jackie. He said he'd shake things up. I mean, this might come as a complete shock to you but we almost lost our house the way things are going.

METCALF: Have you looked at the news? Because now things are worse.

BARR: Not on the real news.

METCALF: Oh, please!


PAUL: All right. So, let's talk about pop culture editor for the Washington Post, Zachary Pincus-Roth, with us now. So, Roseanne Barr, we know in real life is a Trump supporter. She's very outspoken about how much this was factored into the show's revival. So, the political divisiveness in the country is obviously working for her.

ZACHARY PINCUS-ROTH, POP CULTURE EDITOR, WASHINGTON POST: Yes, definitely. I think a lot of people must have tuned-in, in part for that curiosity factor to sort of see how the show would deal with this political divide, because Roseanne, herself in real life is a Trump supporter, and then, her character on the show is a Trump supporter. And then, obviously, as we saw on the clip dealing with her sister Jackie, who is very anti-Trump. And I think that was a big part of why the show did so well in the ratings. People probably tuned in to just kind to see how they were treated. And note that the Hollywood does not have many portrayals of Trump supporters on broadcast sitcoms.

BLACKWELL: But demographically, also, Zachary, it just -- it seems like it makes sense. The Clinton Democrats of the '90s in Landford, this --

PAUL: City?

BLACKWELL: -- town there where they live, they naturally by the statistics would have shifted to potentially be a Trump supporters.

ROTH: Yes, definitely. And the Hollywood Reporter noted that the show really overperformed in Middle America, and cities like Tulsa, and Kansas City, and Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh. All these sort of Trump-supporting States.

PAUL: Well, and -- you know, one of the things that people say about it in some capacity, it is relatable. In fact, Disney ABC President Ben Sherwood said this, he said, "People gather round and see themselves in this family. It speaks to a large number of people in the country who don't see themselves on television very often." What is the impact of capturing say, red state Middle America?

ROTH: Yes, well I think -- yes, ABC designed this reboot to appeal to this area that they feel is underrepresented on T.V. And I think it shows that the strategy has paid off based on the ratings. And I think also broadcast networks are going to point to this rating and see that, hey, you know, even with Netflix and Amazon and Hulu kind of getting into our area that appointment T.V. that live broadcast sitcoms are still relevant.

BLACKWELL: So how is Hollywood reacting? Because although there might be a difference in opinion, 18.2 million viewers is something that let's say the other networks might want to get a little bit up.

ROTH: Yes, definitely. I think other networks would really like that. I think, you know, NBC and CBS are probably also very happy about this rating because it shows that -- you know, this rating was -- you know, the highest episode of the year aside from This Is Us, right after the Super Bowl. And the show was just picked up for another season, Roseanne was, you know, its 11th overall. And I think, the other back has networks see this as a good sign.

PAUL: So here's my question, how do you keep it fresh? How do they keep this momentum going after a huge success like this? Where does the storyline go?

ROTH: Yes, definitely. And I think, you will probably see some decline in the ratings in the next episodes just because the curiosity factor wears off. I think that tends to happen, but they have said that they will kind of continue to deal with some of these political issues. They might deal with the opioid crisis, and they might deal with health care. And you sort of saw some of the social issues come out in the first couple episodes in addition to bent divisiveness.

The grandparents, Roseanne and Dan were sort of dealing with this grandson who is sort of dealing with issues of gender fluidity and dealing with a daughter who wants to be a surrogate mom, and sort of their tolerance or intolerance of these issues. And so, I think the show will continue to explore these sort of political and social issues. [07:50:15] PAUL: All right. Zachary Pincus-Roth, always good to have you here. Thank you.

ROTH: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right, still ahead, you've got to see this, this terrifying touchdown for a pilot there in Florida, landed nose first. We'll tell you how this happened.


BLACKWELL: All right, you got to see this, this pilot in Florida, yes, kissed the tarmac after surviving this really dangerous landing at an airport there.

Paul: Thinking I'd do the same thing. The pilot was coming in for a landing there when the plane's landing gear started to malfunction, so he was forced to make that emergency landing nose first. And then, there is his nose. Luckily, the pilot and his passenger not injured, obviously. The NTSB and FAA are investigating that crash.

[07:55:10] BLACKWELL: All right, your next hour of your NEW DAY kicks off after a quick break.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Disturbing new video from an officer's body camera showing the police killing of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't move, we'll stop.

STERLING: What did I do? And so, what do I did?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't move or I shoot you --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't walk away from the truth, Baton Rouge.

BLACKWELL: An independent autopsy shows that Stephon Clark was shot by police officers eight times, six of those wounds was in his back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It contradicts the narrative that has been put forth by the police.

PAUL: The White House not happy with Scott Pruitt over his controversial living arrangements and the security detail. Is the EPA chief perhaps the next one to go?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think, he should resign, if he doesn't resign, the president should fire him.