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Boeing 737 Passenger Crashes with 157 Aboard; Democratic Hopefuls Gather in Texas for S&SW Conference; R. Kelly: "We're Going to Straighten All This Stuff Out"; Trump May Seek More Money From Allies Hosting Military Forces; Trump May Seek More Money From Allies Hosting Military Forces; Teen Opts to Get Vaccinated Despite Mother's Objection; Trump Lashes Out Over Coulter's Border Wall Criticism. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired March 10, 2019 - 07:00   ET


[07:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How stupid do you think I am? Is this the camera?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. That is a plant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Guys, think for a minute. Use your brains! Why would I do these things? For years?

I gave y'all chop in the closet and feeling on your boutique. Age ain't nothing but a number! And so many other clues!



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders top the field by a pretty wide margin.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Other top tier candidates are struggling to get out of the single digits.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no doubt this race is definitely on in the Hawkeye State.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Another sign that O'Rourke is inching toward running for president right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When are you going to announce your presidential run?

FORMER REP. BETO O'ROURKE (D), TEXAS: We got to be a part of this amazing thing in Texas over the last two years and it continues.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's open season on R. Kelly.

R. KELLY: I promise you we will straighten all of this stuff out. That's all I can say right now.



ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, good morning to you. Thank you for sharing your time with us here on this Sunday.

There is a big day ahead for the Democratic Party. CNN, the only place you're going to be able to watch three town halls with a trio of 2020 presidential contenders.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: We'll have more on that in just a moment. And also, new polling on the Democratic front runners, it's coming up.

But, first, we have to tell you about events breaking overnight.

PAUL: An Ethiopian airlines plane carrying 157 people has crashed in Ethiopia. This was en route to Nairobi, Kenya. Ethiopian state media reporting no survivors aboard the flight, although the airlines has yet to confirm that.

BLACKWELL: CNN international correspondent, David McKenzie, is following this breaking news from Johannesburg.

So, David, this plane was taking off in Ethiopia, took off shortly after a crash went down after takeoff. What else do we know after the takeoff?


Just six minutes after taking off from the very busy international airport there in Addis Abba to neighboring Kenya. They lost control or lost contact with the ground control in Ethiopia, and then soon after, the plane appears to have crashed about an hour's drive southeast of the capital. This was a brand new Boeing 737 800 Max with more than 140 passengers and crew onboard, 157 to be exact. That tragic news just coming in from state media, saying there are no (INAUDIBLE) that they had close to the capitol.

Very worrying, of course, because this is this brand-new plane and it could be coincidental but worth pointing out this is the same type of plane that went down, Lion Air crash late last year in Indonesia, also a brand-new Boeing 737. Now, authorities say there are multiple nationalities on board. This is a very popular route that is often frequented by international business travelers, United Nations workers between the two East African capitals.

Now, they will have try and figure out just how this went off in clear and beautiful weather in the early morning commuter flight in East Africa, but no survivors reported by state media. We'll have to get word from the airline as well -- Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: David McKenzie for us -- David, thank you so much.

All right. Let's go now to Austin, Texas, where CNN is hosting three back-to-back town halls with three 2020 contenders tonight.

PAUL: Those candidates including John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard and Pete Buttigieg.

Let's bring in CNN politics reporter Dan Merica. He's following all the action from the South by Southwest conference in Texas.

You know, it's funny because this used to be about music. How did it turn into such a political venue?

DAN MERICA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Yes, I'm actually standing in a music venue right now. What was once a music and culture festival here in Austin has really been dominated by politics, at least this year. It's been the biggest gathering of 2020 potential candidates or declared candidates to date this year. Now, Texas is, obviously, an early voting state and an important state in the election but that's not really what this is about.

The audience here is far younger, far more liberal than any audiences these candidates will see in, say, Iowa and New Hampshire. So, what you're seeing is a lot of people highlighting their youth, highlighting policy that they think will resonate with young voters. Many people are talking about tech policy like Senators Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar.

And there is also this debate going on in these town halls about what kind of liberal, what kind of progressive are these candidates? And you actually saw an interesting moment yesterday with Elizabeth Warren when she was asked about Bernie Sanders and his political beliefs.

[07:05:02] And here is what she had to say about the Term Democratic socialism.


MODERATOR: Know the difference between what you and Bernie are really saying? What is the crux of the difference?

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Bernie has to speak what Democratic socialism is.

MODERATOR: You are not one?

WARREN: I'm not. And the centrists have to speak what they are doing. What I can speak to is what I do.


MERICA: As for that youth, you will see that on display tonight at CNN town halls where you see Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, he is 37 years old, and Tulsi Gabbard, a congressman from Hawaii, she is also 37 years old. They have been allowed to run for president two years and they're both running.

They have actually both talked about the audacity of running for president at that age and there's also a money factor here. Many of the people here who attend this conference are well-off enough to donate to political campaigns. You have candidates like John Hickenlooper, the governor of Colorado, who's also fund-raising while he is in town. So, here's that play as well.

Then, you have the potential candidates. And I know you mentioned Beto O'Rourke, the former congressman from El Paso, Texas. He's the home town favorite or home state favorite, I should say, ran for Senate in 2018. He is openly considering running for president and he was asked about that at a documentary screening yesterday. I'll let you gauge how he answered the question when you listen to this video.


REPORTER: When are you going to announce your presidential run?

O'ROURKE: So many candidacies, so many leaders who are -- we got to be a part of this amazing thing in Texas over the last two years. And it continues and we are so excited about what you're doing, Rhonda, what you and so many other people are doing and we want to continue to be a part of it, so thank you.


MERICA: Victor, I don't think that counts as an answer to the question that was asked. But certainly we will be watching what Beto O'Rourke does going forward. He is a fan favorite here and a lot of people with Beto O'Rourke signs. In addition, we'll see John Hickenlooper, Jay Inslee, the Washington governor, and Julian Castro, former HUD secretary, this morning. As well as I mention, the CNN town hall this evening.

BLACKWELL: All right. Looking forward to it, Dan Merica for us in Austin, thank you very much.

PAUL: So, we want to tell you about this Iowa poll was released and name recognition seems to be paying off for the time being. The top contender Joe Biden who isn't even in the race yet.

BLACKWELL: In second place, Bernie Sanders, right where he finished last time.

Let's take a look at the numbers with CNN Washington correspondent Ryan Nobles.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: The last time we took the temperature of Iowa voters, there were very few candidates in the race and I can tell you having just returned from Iowa, that the campaign there is very much on and now we now have 14 candidates who have officially announced or formed exploratory committees.

And despite having so many candidates in the field, the results have not changed all that much from our survey back in December. Take a look where things stand right now. Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders top the field by a pretty wide margin,

Sanders trailing by only two points from Biden, and there's not another candidate that cracks 10 percent. Elizabeth Warren has 9 percent. Kamala Harris with 7 percent, Beto O'Rourke at 5 percent, while Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar both register at 3 percent.

There's not one other candidate we polled register above the 1 percent mark and important because a candidate must earn at least 1 percent in three different polls to gain access to the upcoming DNC debates.

Now, there is some movement from what we saw in December and that is to the benefit of Bernie Sanders. Take a look where things are from a couple of months ago. Sanders was at that point only at 19 percent. Biden 32 percent. Sanders has gone up quite a bit all the way to 25 percent. Biden has lost some ground at 27 percent.

Of course, the big difference there, Sanders officially in the race, Biden not in quite yet. The other candidates in this race have not changed that much, although we should note that O'Rourke, another candidate not in quite yet was at 11 percent in December. He's now dropped to 5 percent.

And there is also something interesting about the way the youth vote has an impact on these support for these candidates. Take a look at the influence that young people have. I was at an event with Bernie Sanders at a college campus in Iowa City earlier this week and there were so many young people there passionately behind his campaign, and that's really reflected in this poll.

Voters under the age of 45 support Sanders but flip the numbers. But when you flip those numbers and take a look at Joe Biden support with voters over 45, he takes 32 percent of the vote. Now, there's certainly a lot of energy with young people but generally the older voters, especially in a caucus state like Iowa, is a lot more reliable.

But, of course, the big thing we need to remind everyone is that we are a long way away from votes being cast. So, it's very unlikely what we see from this snapshot in time will actually be how things turn out a year from now -- Christi and Victor.


[07:10:02] BLACKWELL: All right. Let's talk about the poll now. We've got with us Errol Louis, CNN political commentator and political anchor for Spectrum News.

Errol, welcome back.


BLACKWELL: Let's here with -- what do you make of this narrowing of this gap between Biden and Sanders? If we talk about how name recognition is really what these polls are about, neither of those men have probably changed that much in that category from 13 in December now to 2 percent? LOUIS: Well, look, Bernie Sanders actually declared. He had a great

big rally. And so, it's not surprising that both his name recognition and any kind of preference questions will sort of lean in his favor just because he is out there. He is spending millions of dollars. He raised, what, 10 million the first week. You're seeing all kind of viral social media efforts going on.

So, once you start, it's fair to say that you're going to do much better. If the numbers go in the opposite direction, that would be really damning and telling sign for Bernie Sanders but he is really picking up where he left off.

BLACKWELL: You know, an interesting answer to one of the questions here about the type of nominee they want. When asked if the party should nominate a straight white man in 2020, considering the front- runners we have here, the people are unsure. Thirty-eight percent yes, 21 percent no, 40 percent unsure here.

It's 15 years sins the Democratic Party has nominated a straight white man for president.

What do you make of that? Is this a party looking for diversity or is this just a reaction to the candidates that have declared?

LOUIS: Yes, I don't know that diversity -- I mean, even within this poll, you don't see that diversity itself is an issue that people are concerned about or looking for or are casting votes based on. I think, though, I mean, what you are going to find is that those who have been out there like Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, they're going to have the big numbers. And there's more diverse, much younger field, some of these people who are only barely eligible to run for office, they are going to start to sort of make their way into the public consciousness.

I think what the town halls are going to do. That's what some of the early campaigning is going to do. Something you want to keep in mind, Victor, is one person or candidate that does break double digits is no preference, you know?


LOUIS: You rank everything and a lot of people are still kind of making up their minds. And so, you know, we are a long way, I think, from really reducing this to front-runners, non-front-runners. I know Democratic leadership wants to get this done sooner rather than later. They can't have 20 candidates going into 2020, but it's going to be a while, I think, before the voters start making their choices.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about some of the decisions that have to be made about how long to stay in the race. We talked a lot about the Senators Warren and Sanders and Booker and Klobuchar and Harris and all. One senator who's not doing really well in the latest poll is Kirsten Gillibrand.

Let's put her numbers up. For those sharing her first choice, she is less than 1 percent, 1 percent of second choice. That's where she was in December. Unfavorables up 6 points. Doesn't seem to be resonating with Iowa voters.

LOUIS: Yes, I think it's a little early to conclude that. I know Kirsten Gillibrand well. She is tenacious. She's one of these folks who nobody sees coming until they get there. She's been crisscrossing Iowa. She's been showing up in New Hampshire. She's making some West Coast swings I believe as well.

She's going to I think sort of make her case, but to break 1 percent -- you know, the way the Democratic national committee has set this up using that 1 percent threshold, it's actually very difficult to do. It's actually very difficult to do. She is 1 percent nationally. You need to have an organization in Iowa. It's an entirely kind of metric they use.

BLACKWELL: But she's been in the race now for almost two months and Harris, Booker, Klobuchar, Sanders, Warren, all broken about where she is now. I believe they all came in after she did.

LOUIS: Yes, I think she is probably worried. She's got reason to be worried. She's got to tell a story to donors. In some ways that is where these polls matter the most right now. Not so much we in the chattering classes but people who are writing checks and enable these campaigns to get off the ground.

But she's clearly got as much of a path to victory as anybody else who are at barely 1 percent at this point.

BLACKWELL: All right. Errol Louis, good to have you.

LOUIS: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. Live from South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, three CNN presidential town halls, back to back. Former Congressman John Delaney at 7:00, Representative Tulsi Gabbard at 8:00, Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 9:00. Jake Tapper and Dana Bash moderate. That's tonight starting at 7:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.

PAUL: So, can you put a monetary value on the presence of U.S. troops? Well, the Trump administration is considering doing so and they say it's time for allies to pay up for troops stationed overseas.

BLACKWELL: Plus, R&B singer R. Kelly is out of jail on bail after an anonymous person paid $161,000 on child support on his behalf. We'll talk about his looming battles ahead.

PAUL: And a woman was attacked by a jaguar while taking a selfie at an Arizona zoo. We're going to tell you what happened here.


PAUL: Well, R&B singer R. Kelly is out of jail for the second time in less a month after $161,000 in child support was paid on his behalf. Now, it is not clear who paid that money that was owed but the singer is expected in court next week in the child support case and later this month in the sexual abuse case.

So, last hour, I talked to CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson about this.


JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think the first thing you need to do is get what we lawyers call discovery and that is to see exactly what the prosecution has, parse through that information and determine whether there are inconsistencies and discrepancies and what motivations there are. And, you know, I think that is the way to go at least initially. Then they are going to have a lot of work to do in terms of prepping R. Kelly should he testify.

[07:20:00] That's an open question.

PAUL: Yes.

JACKSON: Doesn't need to be answered right away, because the performance that he gave to Gayle King, it certainly needs to be revisited and he needs his demeanor and comportment in check too. So, they will work on that as well.

PAUL: I want to ask you about that, because I feel like we saw two different R. Kellys in the last several days. Who we saw in the CBS interview who's very angry and who we saw yesterday, who was very measured.

What do you make of that?

JACKSON: You know, I think in terms of the Gayle King interview -- I think people can get and understand that a person who is undergoing this type of stress, frustration, et cetera, you know, would be passionate about it, but I think you have to harness that passion and I think to your point, there needs to be kind of like a combination of the two, right? A person who is passionate on the one hand without be belligerent as we are looking there at the video and a person who is assured and calm and, you know, could be trusted because jurors have to relate to you and they have to understand you and they have to find you credible.

And so, I'm sure his lawyers will work on him whether he testifies at trial or not. Again, Christie, that's an open question. But should he testify, I think that there is a lot of work to do so that performance is not repeated.

PAUL: I got you. So you mentioned his lawyers. Let's listen to Steve Greenberg, what he had to say yesterday outside of the jail as well.


STEVE GREENBERG, DEFENSE LAWYER: It's open season on R. Kelly. Everybody is now coming forward saying I met this man and this is what happened. Look, there is no money for these people. I keep thinking when I used to take my daughter when she was a little kid and took her to see "Beauty and the Beast." and they walked up with pitchforks.

(END VIDEO CLIP) PAUL: Open season and pitchforks. What do you make of that characterization?

JACKSON: You know, Christi, everybody handles things differently. Every attorney's personality and comportment and demeanor is different.

But I think, ultimately, if he is going to be representing him as it looks to be in front of a jury, the jury, of course, has to find his attorney credible. Jurors rely upon attorneys to teach them about the case. They have to believe in the attorney.

They have to believe in the message. And I think it needs to be a fine-tuned message, because on the one hand, yes, you have to test and challenge the veracity of all victims that come forward. At the same time, you can't revictimize the victims as well.


BLACKWELL: A woman was attacked by a jaguar while taking a selfie at a zoo in Arizona. Now, a man who was there with his family says he heard a woman yelling for help. So, he ran to where she was an saw the woman's arm clinched in the jaguar's claws. He distracted the animal with a water bottle before it released her from its grip.

A statement from the zoo says: Please understand why barriers are put in place, sending prayers to the family tonight. The zoo says the incident happened with a guest who crossed over the barrier to get a photo, according to eyewitnesses. There were no employees nearby when this happened.

PAUL: Well, the Trump administration has a plan to make U.S. allies pay up. What they're discussing to make other countries pay money to host U.S. troops during peace time.


[07:27:12] BLACKWELL: All right. Twenty-seven minutes after the hour now.

In private, the Trump administration has been discussing how to turn allied relationships into potential revenue and getting countries who host U.S. troops in peace time to pay. As first reported by "Bloomberg", one of the plans has been called internally Cost Plus 50, meaning the United States should work to get countries to cover the full cost of the U.S. military presence in their country and also pay an additional 50 percent of that cost.

Joining me now to talk about this, CNN military analyst and retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling.

General, welcome back.

LT. GENERAL MARK HERTLING (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Good morning, Victor. How are you?

BLACKWELL: I'm doing well. Hope you are too.

Let's start with your general thoughts on the Cost Plus 50 idea.

HERTLING: Bad idea across the board, Victor. And it's ill-conceived from the beginning. It's already receiving pushback from members of the National Security Council, the State Department, the Defense Department, the Commerce Department and Treasury Department. It is such because those who were informed about our forward stationing of military forces know that we probably get more, much more from a strategic interest standpoint than any foreign government might get in terms of their defensive alliances.

The building of alliances is critical in military operations, in a globalized world, and that's why it's important to have these bases all over the world. They help us -- I mean, the bottom line is they help the United States much more than they help any other country and most of the bases -- most of the countries where we have bases aren't used for defensive purposes, they are used for our strategic interests and to contribute to theater security cooperation.

BLACKWELL: Yes, there is a reason, a great value in having Ramstein and Landstuhl in Germany there and great value having those troops in South Korea, the message to China and to Japan and to North Korea.

Let me ask you here about -- I mean, I don't think the 50 percent premium trying to turn this into maybe a profit center or to turn a profit on having military resources in these countries. But there is a valuable conversation to have about burden sharing, is there not?

HERTLING: Oh, certainly. And that is a conversation that has been had over the last decade or so, especially with NATO partners. But when you go into most countries where we have forward stationing of military units, you'll find that they are already paying a significant fund for our forces being there. And it's usually somewhere around 20 percent to 21 percent, which is a direct relationship back to the United States, that these foreign governments pay the United States government, but there's also a requirement, as we have heard so much lately, about the cost of participating an alliance like NATO.

[07:30:13] But that's a very small part. Very few countries in NATO where we have forward stationed soldiers. As you said a minute ago, the requirement for having naval bases in the Pacific to ensure freedom of navigation for commercial vessels is critical. The requirement to have air bases in other parts of the world to maintain a global footprint for flights is important.

So, it's much more than just having that soldier on the ground, if you will, in foreign country like Germany or Italy or Korea. It has to do with what kind of strategic advantages do we get? And, yes, to go back to your question, we already receive a predetermined amount of money from most nations.

I think the cost sharing or the cost plus as it's called has come about because our president happens to be a real estate guy and he has dealt in cost plus transactions which have very many advantages, but also a whole realm of disadvantages that many people don't talk about. VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, that's a report that this is

making the South Koreans pretty nervous as well --


BLACKWELL: -- as they just renewed a contract and offered their payment, looking forward down the line.

Let me ask you here. What then if the countries don't pay? What I don't see is the end of this plan. Is it that, okay, we are pulling our troops out, we are closing the bases some what do you see as the end game of this plan if they say no?

HERTLING: Well, that's what has been advertised. If they say no, we will pull out. I received a note yesterday from a German colleague that I knew when I was commanding in Europe and he said, you know, we always have looked as our American friends as allies and friends. We have never seen them as mercenaries and this particular plan is couching you in terms of a mercenary. We are paying you to be here which is just incredible and it just doesn't make any sense.

So, it also gets to the professionalism of the U.S. military. When a soldier or sailor or airman or marine joins, they raise their hand to defend the Constitution which implies defending values. We do not raise our hands to make a profit or get a return on investment. That's not what the U.S. military does in terms of the defense of the country or our strategic alliances so that is problematic as well.

The end state of this, as you said, I don't know what it would be if a country blocked at paying this Cost Plus 50. Victor, I guarantee, all of them would. I don't think any would pay for having U.S. forces there and as a result, we would lose a great deal, not them.

BLACKWELL: Yes, based on the pushback that's coming across the government, it may never get that far. This is still early conversations.

General Hertling, always good to have you.

HERTLING: Thank you, Victor. Have a great day.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Childhood diseases that can be prevented by vaccines are making a comeback in part because of misinformation leads some parents to keep their children from getting shots. Well, some of those children are growing up and they are getting themselves vaccinated. We are talking to one young man who is doing just that.

BLACKWELL: And tonight, in part three of the CNN original series, "The Bush Years", we explore George H.W. Bush's time as a loyal vice president and his son's increasing interest in their own political futures.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I, George Herbert Walker Bush --

GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: I, George Herbert Walker Bush --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do solemnly swear.

GEORGE H.W. BUSH: Do solemnly swear --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For my dad to be on that podium taking the oath of office for vice president of the United States was amazing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At some point during the inaugural, he leaned over and said, who would of thunk it? Not too bad for two guys from Texas without any vision.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With George Bush winning the vice presidency, that changes everything in the family.


BLACKWELL: Watch "THE BUSH YEARS" tonight at 10:00, right here on CNN.


[07:38:44] PAUL: A university in Philadelphia is reporting a mumps outbreak. Temple University has reported at least 16 confirmed or suspected cases and in a single county in Washington state, then, we have 70 people who are confirmed to have the measles. Most of them were not vaccinated.

Now, measles and mumps are both vaccine preventable diseases, as you know. But there are some parents who decide that their children should not get those shots base their decision as we understand it on misinformation. The issue has reached Capitol Hill now as a Senate held hearings on what's driving these outbreaks.

And 18-year-old Ethan Lindenberger's parents did not get him vaccinated. He told the committee has mother believed some of that bad information.


ETHAN LINDENBERGER: For certain individuals and organizations that spread this misinformation, they instill fear into the public for their own gain selflessly, and do so knowing that their information is correct. For my mother her love, affection and care as a parent was used to push an agenda to create a false distress and these sources which spread misinformation should be the primary concern of the American people.


PAUL: So, Ethan is joining us now from Ohio.

Ethan, thank you so much for taking the time to be with us. I know that you never received any of these standard vaccines as I understand it, no chicken pox, hepatitis, measles, mumps, polio, anything.

[07:40:03] What happened that made you realize you wanted to get these vaccines?

LINDENBERGER: So, it was a combination of a lot of things. I grew up hearing about my mom and see people argue with her. And as I approached my senior year of high school, I had been arguing with her about multiple years trying to understand her perspective. But she would refute a lot of really solid evidence like the CDC, the WHO and I quickly saw not a lot of reason behind those beliefs.

And so, when I turned 18 I decided it was important enough to do it myself even though my mom disagreed.

PAUL: So, you described your father as a little more vaccine hesitant than anti-vaccine, and your mom is an anti-vaccine advocate. How did she react when you went to get a vaccine for the first time?

LINDENBERGER: So I handled it very respectfully and very maturely. I called her and lieutenant her know I was interested in getting vaccinated and not outright do it and not do it behind her back, even though I could have done that. I explained I wanted to speak to my health care provider and my physician to understand the doctor's perspective and none of that really resonated, and she still saw it as me kind of undermining the beliefs I was grown up with.

But we tried to work through that, and eventually we found some common ground and the fact that I was respectfully disagreeing with her.

PAUL: And that's so good to know because that's got to be a tough line to walk. I mean, to address misinformation without demonizing people who fear vaccines for, you know, their own reasons, mostly, they just don't want their child to get hurt. And like I said, it's information. But when it's your parents, that's a tough place for you to be in.

There are a lot of kids that might be in your same position. How do -- what guidance do you give them?

LINDENBERGER: I always say, you now, don't hate your parents for the misbeliefs that has been instilled in them. People that have these beliefs that think that vaccines cause autism and brain damage and don't actually benefit people, it's not that it's out of malice. It's not that it's out of any ill nature. They don't want to hurt their kids. They actually love them, and they're afraid of those dangers.

But if you understand that and you talk to walk that respectful line, I mean, it worked for me at least and it might work for you too.

PAUL: So, I'm wondering -- you know better than I do probably -- how expansive is this? Have you met a lot of other teens who are in the same position you are in?

LINDENBERGER: I spoke to a lot of them, yes. A lot of my friends are vaccinated. The majority people are. I saw upwards of 75 percent of people don't view any vaccines as --

little or no danger. They are not really that big of a deal and they are safe. So most people hold the belief they are fine.

So, I talked to a lot of teens that are in that situation, at least on a personal level.

PAUL: And what do they struggle with most?

LINDENBERGER: It's just that they believe that they are wrong and they are afraid to confront that because a lot of people grow up understanding the authority is more important than their views, and with something like this, that authority is potentially putting you in a medical risky situation. You're going to be put in danger potentially.

PAUL: So, when you talk to the Senate Committee on Tuesday, what point did you most want to get across to them and do you think that you did so?

LINDENBERGER: Yes. So, my main point was the misinformation. I hit home on that and that is what people resonated with and if you even saw only two days after the testimony that I had provided was given and the committee had that meeting, only two days after, Facebook changed their approach to anti-vaccine content and announced that they were taking larger steps to stop misinformation from spreading. So, I mean, hitting that home was my biggest goal, and I think we're already seeing change.

PAUL: No doubt about it.

Senator Rand Paul, he was very open with you during this conversation about his opposition to mandatory vaccines. Do you think they need to be mandatory?

LINDENBERGER: So there is a distinguished -- we need to distinguish what mandatory means versus force. Most people by mandatory mean school man days ago for public school you need to have vaccines to go to public school and I fully support that, because you're talking about people being put at a health risk at a public environment that the government is facilitating. Well, it shouldn't be that way. They can home school or private school but forcing people to get vaccines which I think Senator Paul is talking towards, that's not -- I don't think that's a solution.

PAUL: Well, Ethan Lindenberger, you are certainly getting some good information out there. Thank you so much for taking the time --


PAUL: -- to talk us early on a Sunday morning.

LINDENBERGER: Glad to be here. Thank you again.

PAUL: Sure. BLACKWELL: Ann Coulter, she was once one the president's biggest supporters, she's recently been a major critic. Well, now, President Trump is hitting back at the conservative commentator, calling her a "wacky nut job". What led to this latest attack?


[07:48:48] PAUL: Be sure to watch "STATE OF THE UNION WITH JAKE TAPPER" live from Austin, Texas, this morning. Julian Castro, Governor Jay Inslee, Representative Will Hurd, all of them on the show. That's "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper, 9:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

BLACKWELL: So, President Trump is lashing out at one of his earliest supporters.

PAUL: Yes. Last night, the president called Ann Coulter a, quote, wacky nut job for criticizing the lack of progress on his border wall.

Brian Stelter is with us now, CNN chief media correspondent and anchor of "RELIABLE SOURCES", just a little later this morning.

Brian, good morning to you.


PAUL. Just last month, the president was denied the commentator influenced him and he just couldn't help himself it feels like. What set him off?

STELTER: Yes, this does show that Ann Coulter does occupy some prime real estate in the president's head, that is because she was a big, big supporter of president. She's a far right wring commentator who wants to see more wall as soon as possible. She wants an absolute -- you know, strong wall and she believes that the president has capitulated and given in when it comes to what is going on at the border. In fact, last month, she said the only national emergency is that our president is an idiot.

So, there has been name calling on both sides. But if we move from the insults to the issues here, Coulter and Trump are in a minority.

[07:50:02] They have not been able to persuade the majority of the public to support billions and billions of dollars in border wall funding. As we know, the president is going to other ways. He's going into -- he's going to have a legal battle as he tries to reallocate money for construction of a wall.

So, it's the example of an intramural fight between the Coulters and Trumps of the world. It just goes to show these commentators do get under the president's skin, even though he claims otherwise. He says he barely knows Ann Coulter. I think his tweets in this case tell the real story.

BLACKWELL: Yes, and this tweet last night, the president played up the conservative judges appointed to the bench. Does it appear that the president, with his response to Coulter over the wall --

STELTER: Yes, yes.

BLACKWELL: -- and now talking about the judges, he's concerned about his base.

STELTER: Yes, he's trying to build up his own wall with the base there. I think this is the -- this is the "it could be worse school of politics. You know, the president's message to Ann Coulter was, if you're bothered by me, if you're frustrated because you don't think we're making progress, well, you know, look at the judges I'm appointing. It could be worse.

His tweet about Ann Coulter, he said, if I wasn't elected, millions of people would be streaming across the border and it could be worse. When he talked about the economy, talked about the stock market, he says it would have collapsed if Hillary Clinton was elected. It could have been worse.

So, that's the message he goes after again and again. And, by the way, the advantage for the president that way is it's hard to fact- check those hyperbolic claims. So, I think it's something he falls back on time and time again, saying, hey, even if you're not thrilled about me, it could be worse. That's why I think he's telling his base over and over again.

PAUL: Which he actually said, right?


STELTER: Yes, sometimes literally what he said.

PAUL: During the campaign.


BLACKWELL: All right. Brian Stelter, good to have you.

STELTER: Thanks.

BLACKWELL: And be sure to catch Stelter on "RELIABLE SOURCE", 11:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN. That is today.

PAUL: Look at these pictures. A home destroyed after a tornado tore through northern Texas. We'll have more on what's happening there and the forecast ahead.


BLACKWELL: We now have the first image from the scene of that plane crash in Ethiopia we told you about at the top of the show. That's the Ethiopian Airlines CEO at the crash site of this Boeing 737 that was carrying 157 people.

What's remarkable here is that you see no parts of the plane. You can't tell what he's holding there, but it looks like a crater has been created.

PAUL: From the plane, we would assume.

BLACKWELL: Yes. But again, this picture sent out with very little description other than the CEO. The airline has now confirmed that there were no survivors.

PAUL: Some wild weather has been passing through North Texas this weekend. We're talking about a tornado with winds up to 85 miles per hour that ripped through a mesquite neighborhood.

BLACKWELL: The tornado destroyed at least one family's home. Look at this.

CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar is in the CNN weather center.

And you warned us about this time yesterday that there were the ingredients for this type of rough weather.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. And in some places, it panned out. And other places got very lucky and did not have much severe weather, but those that did, yes, it was a very impactful day. Well, over 50 total storm reports from yesterday, including ten of those that were actually tornadoes.

And, yes, that video that you were just showing, take a closer look. This was from an EF-0, already confirmed by the National Weather Service. This is outside of Dallas. But as you can see, even it's on the weaker end of the scale, it ripped shingles off. It did significant damage to the garage and other portions of this house.

So, it just goes to show you, you don't necessarily need a very strong tornado to really push a lot of damage into some of these areas.

Here is where the threat is going to be for today. We're talking the Carolinas, Georgia and even portions of Alabama. The good news is the system weakens a little bit today. So, our main threats are actually just going to be damaging winds and the potential for some hail.

But there is the possibility that some of those discrete really strong to severe thunderstorms will fire up this afternoon. Once you really get that heating of the day to factor in, for places like southern Alabama and southern Georgia, like Columbus, Albany, even Dothan, Alabama. Here's the thing: Texas is getting a break today, but not for very long. We fast-forward now to Tuesday, for our next big outbreak.

Take a look at this. This potential, portions of Oklahoma as well as new Mexico. Again, this is for Tuesday. The main threats there will be damaging wind and yes, once again, the potential for some isolated tornadoes.

This is or next big system, to really push in Tuesday, but notice Wednesday into Thursday, it moves into areas of the Midwest, you've got a lot of heavy rain that would slide into portions of the southeast, eventually moving into areas of the northeast. So, that next system will impact two thirds of the country as it moves its way across. The concern for the Southeast is not only the severe weather, but also the potential here for flooding.

Victor and Christi, the southeast does not need any more rain, but unfortunately some places are likely to pick up an additional 4 to 6 inches before that next system slides out.

PAUL: I feel like we're early into the season for all of this to be happening. What does this tell you about the forecast for spring when we see this really hitting in, though I know we're on the edge of spring?


CHINCHAR: Yes. You got twofold here. The one thing that's a downfall, this isn't a rainy season for a lot of these locations. That becomes spring. So, you're already going in with a completely saturated ground.

And on the tornado end of it, yes, March is when we see the uptick in it, but it's by mo means the peak. Really April, and May and June are actually the peak for tornadoes for a lot of the same areas.

So, yes, it's almost frightening to start off the season with so many tornadoes, knowing it's likely to go up from here.

PAUL: All righty. Allison Chinchar, glad to have you on it. Thank you so much.


PAUL: And thank you for spending your time with us on a Sunday morning. We always appreciate you and we hope you make good memories today.