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NEW DAY SATURDAY

Forty-Nine Dead in New Zealand Massacre; Investigation of Flight 302 Continues; Trump Vetoes the Congressional Bid to Block Border Wall; "Tricky Dick" to Appear on CNN; Lawsuits now Filed in College Admission Scandal; Midwest Flooding Continues. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired March 16, 2019 - 06:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEO)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Forty-nine people lay dead as New Zealand's prime minister addressed the gunman directly.

UNIDENTIFED FEMALE: You may have chosen us, but we utterly reject and condemn you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In a very eerie and unfortunate word echo he used the same words to talk about brown people.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're on track for a million illegal aliens to rush our borders. People hate the word invasion, but that's what it is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you see today white nationalism as a rising threat around the world?

TRUMP: I don't really. I think it's a small group of people that have a very, very serious problems.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's been dog whistling to white supremacists since his campaign began.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Work here has begun to inspect the so-called black boxes that would give investigators a far better insight into to what happened with the pilots on board Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 as well as of course what was happening with the plane itself.

ANNOUNCER: This is "New Day Weekend" with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Good morning to you. We're covering a lot this morning. Top stories now, 28-year-old Brenton Harrison Tarrant has been charged with murder in the killing of at least 49 people in two mosques. Police say more charges are coming. He was remanded in custody during an appearance in Christchurch District Court on Saturday.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN HOST: And we should point out the reason that he's blurred is because the court has instructed us it do so. Meanwhile, another huge story that we're following, "The New York Times" reporting investigators say new evidence gather at the crash site now links the Ethiopian airlines disaster to that other accident with the same model of Boeing jet. We're talking with experts in the aviation industry throughout the morning to find out if these planes are truly safe and what do we do now.

BLACKWELL: Also true to his word on twitter, President Trump has just signed the first veto of his presidency, blocking a Congressional bid to block his border wall.

PAUL: We begin with you, this morning though in New Zealand. Police are now asking to hear from witnesses of that deadly shooting.

BLACKWELL: Let's go straight now to CNN Senior International Correspondent Ivan Watson in Christchurch. Ivan, good morning to you. What you have learned?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's shortly after 11:00 p.m. here. New Zealand is a country in mourning right now, after the deadliest terror attack in this country's modern history. At least 49 people killed when two mosques, not far from where I'm standing right now, The Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Mosque were attacked during Friday prayers. Dozens of others wounded, some of them fighting for their lives here at Christchurch hospital as I speak.

Now the investigation has focused on one individual that you mentioned. He's been named as 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant. He's an Australian citizen who was arrested with five guns in his vehicle, as well as improvised explosive devices and some of the eyewitnesses of the terrifying moments when so many lives were claimed and destroyed have been sharing those frightening moments with CNN. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...hardening(ph) of the fighting and he comes to the main entrance of the building, and everybody just run towards the back doors just to save themselves.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could hear screaming and crying and I saw some people were, you know, dropped dead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All my friends lying down in a pool of blood. One was shot on his head the other was on his shoulders.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... just jumping, people running outside as they were leaving from the mosque as what they say, "What's going on?" I say, "Just run away."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I drive past the mosque and there were a lot of bodies outside so we've just stayed right in here since just to see if our son is all right but he's not answering his phone.

(END VIDEO)

WATSON: Now, Victor and Christi, Brenton Tarrant, New Zealand police say, was apprehended some 36 minutes after they received the first emergency call and he was brought to a court here in Christchurch on Saturday morning, where he was charged with murder. Authorities say he will be charged with other crimes as well. There are two other suspects that have been arrested. They're probably being questioned and we don't have their identities yet.

We do know that Brenton Tarrant had traveled extensively internationally. He had no prior criminal record, neither in his home of Australia, or here in New Zealand. He had traveled on multiple occasions to Turkey.

[06:05:00]

Turkish officials tell CNN that they are looking into what he was doing, during extended visits to that country, trying to fill out a broader profile of this suspect who has been linked to some extremist right-wing white nationalist ideology in a sprawling manifesto that was published roughly at the time that the terror attacks were carried out.

Meanwhile, we've seen many shows of sympathy and support and grief here in Christchurch and in other cities across New Zealand. I saw a candlelight vigil here in front of the hospital, within the past couple of hours and complete strangers, embracing each other, on the sidewalk; a sign that an attack on one community is an attack on all New Zealanders. Victor and Christi.

PAUL: Ivan Watson, thank you so much for bringing us up to date there.

BLACKWELL: Well, a right-wing Senator, therefore Australia got some pushback after blaming Friday's attack on Muslim fanatics and immigration policies. And the 17-year-old boy didn't like that, and this is what happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What I said was that a terribly unfortunate thing, a tragedy. But it's going to be eventually accepted or expected that these sort of things happen. When people are getting attacked in their own ...

(END VIDEO)

PAUL: Okay. You weren't seeing things there. The teenager smacked an egg on the Senator's head. You saw the Senator fight back. The boy was led away by police. He's reportedly been released. A fund-raising page has been set up to collect donations to cover the teenager's legal fees and to, quote, "Buy more eggs."

BLACKWELL: Well President Trump offered his condolences to the people of New Zealand but during an event in the Oval Office yesterday, when he was asked about the terror attack, the president said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you see today the white nationalism is a rising threat around the world? TRUMP: I don't really. I think it's a small group of people that

have very, very serious problems. I guess if you look at what happened in New Zealand, perhaps that's the case. I don't know enough about it yet. They're just learning about the person and the people involved. But it's certainly a terrible thing, terrible thing.

(END VIDEO)

BLACKWELL: All right, joining us now Daniel Lippman, he's a reporter and the co-author of "Politico Playbook." Good morning, Daniel.

DANIEL LIPPMAN, CO-AUTHOR OF "POLITICO PLAYBOOK": Good morning.

BLACKWELL: So let's start here with the president's understanding of white nationalism and what the facts tell us about white nationalism, and violence related to white nationalism. What do we know?

LIPPMAN: So, FBI statistics show that these types of hate groups have -- these attacks have increased 30 percent in the three years to 2017; they haven't released those 2018 statistics yet. And so, and just by reporting, you know, the anti-defamation league, you read those reports, they're horrifying. The Southern Poverty Law Center shows that there are over 1,000 white hate groups in the U.S. and I did reporting early on in the Trump Administration, DHS has these anti-domestic extremism grants, in the Obama Administration and they ended the one grant that they had for an anti-white hate group, you know, trying to stop these groups from fermenting violence and so, that was very concerning when I did that article.

BLACKWELL: And -- and you wrote about this. I'd like you to talk about how these white nationalists -- white supremacists hear the president's equivocation when he speaks about what happened in New Zealand and other attacks like it?

LIPPMAN: I think, you know, we don't know exactly what's going through their heads, but they take that as encouragement a little bit because they sometimes view that they have an ally in the White House and, of course, the president condemns these attacks. But he doesn't seem to do it as forcefully, or as generally that, you know, one might hope. And he doesn't also talk about the exact groups that were targeted when there are Muslims attacked. They did not release -- say things like, you know, I call for all American Muslims to feel safe in their communities. He just talks about the overall term "hate."

So, it's let to former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama to actually try to reassure our American Muslim friends that they have - that they should not worry

that these attacks are going to happen here.

BLACKWELL: We should also point out that the president's adviser and daughter, Ivanka Trump...

LIPPMAN: Yes..

BLACKWELL: ... she tweeted out a message speaking directly to the Muslim community and using the word unlike the president. He did mention mosque in his tweet but not Muslims specifically.

LIPPMAN: Yes.

BLACKWELL: And there seems to be, Daniel, a consistent trend here that when the perpetrator is a white supremacist or white nationalist, the president seemingly doesn't know, or he's not read in or even when there's mention of white supremacy. Here in New Zealand, he talked about not knowing the facts. The Steve King controversy when he was asked on the lawn there at the White House. He said he hadn't really read in on it.

After Charlottesville, and the attacks there, he said that he was waiting to get all of the facts which really isn't the hallmark of this president. During the campaign when there was questions about David Duke support. He said he knew nothing about David Duke although he had been on tape earlier in his career talking specifically about David Duke. How does that align with how the president speaks about attacks when the perpetrators are not white or white supremacists and they're brown people?

LIPPMAN: Yes, he repeatedly condemns illegal immigrants when they commit crimes in the U.S. and he seems to know all of the facts about those types of incidents and it kind of reminds me of some of when some of his former top staffers get indicted or get charged with crimes in the Mueller investigation he says, "I barely knew them." You know, he tries to distance himself. He says, you know, when he gets criticized from Steve Bannon, he says, you know, he didn't -- Bannon came on late in the campaign.

So, it's kind of this pattern of disclaiming knowledge, and doesn't seem to be that curious that he is going to get asked about this question so he's going to dig into this. Because in a week or so, the media will move on, and there will be a new controversy that we're covering. So we're not going to follow up, Mr. President, have you read that manifesto? What's been your response? You've had a week to do that.

BLACKWELL: Yes. All right, Daniel Lippmann. Thank you so much.

LIPPMAN: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Now if you want information about how you can help the people there in New Zealand, go to cnn.com/impact.

PAUL: There is new reporting from "The New York Times" this morning regarding the link between last weekend's crash in Ethiopia and an earlier crash with the same model jet in Indonesia. What a piece of wreckage showed may have contributed to that crash.

BLACKWELL: Plus, states of emergency in the Midwest, as severe flooding leads to some really dramatic water rescues and the flooding could last weeks. We'll get the latest from the CNN Weather Center.

PUAL: And screams could be heard from the middle school parking lot -- look at this. Nearly 70 teenagers fight with school officials and police. We'll tell you what happened. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:15:00]

PAUL: Seventeen minutes past the hour. I'm so glad to have you here. You know, investigators at the Ethiopian airlines crash site have found new evidence linking that crash to an earlier crash that involved the same jet.

BLACKWELL: Now, according to the "The New York Times," a piece of this Boeing 737 they found shows the pilots may have been battling an automated system in the minutes before the crash. That information comes from two sources with knowledge of the operations.

PAUL: Joining us now, CNN correspondent Oren Liebermann. Oren, good morning to you. What are you learning?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi and Victor, the piece that the "The New York Times" is talking about is what's called a jack screw and it was found at the crash site in Ethiopia from Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. The jack screw positions the stabilizer at the tail of the airplane and the position of the jack screw as it was found at the crash site according to the "The New York Times" would have forced the stabilizer to put the airplane in a nose-down position. That would have caused the airplane to go very fast and to dive which is both unusual right after takeoff when a plane should be in a smooth climb and, of course, incredibly dangerous.

The question becomes why was the stabilizer in that position? It could be pilot input, it could be the autopilot or what's known as the MCAS system, an automated system to help a pilot avoid a low-speed stall. That system is at the center of the investigation of the Lion Air crash from back in October where the 737 Max 8 airplanes crashed. The system apparently was triggered by a faulty sensor reading. Now the question is is it that same system that forced the stabilizer to put the plane in a nose-down position in the Ethiopian Airlines crash. That will be a question for investigators. Where is that answer? Perhaps right here behind me at BEA where French aviation investigators are looking at the black boxes - the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder, to download the data and then at some point to begin analyzing that data.

We know the work on the flight data recorder which has the parameters and the readings from the instruments in the systems of the airplane; that began yesterday. Cockpit voice recorder work, that's the audio stream and the audio file from the pilot, the second in command and the cockpit itself. That started just a short time ago. All of this is going well according to a BEA spokesman. That data could be downloaded by the end of tonight or sometime tomorrow and then it's a question of analyzing that data and learning the story of what happened aboard that flight. Was this in fact the same MCAS system from the Lion Air crash? If so that could be a major blow to Boeing. But that's where the investigation stands at this point. Victor and Christi, observers from the FAA, the NTSB and Boeing are here behind me in this building as they pull that raw data down from the cockpit voice [06:20:00]

recorder and the flight data recorder and then begin the analysis which has the real key that they're looking for here.

BLACKWELL: Still a lot of work to do. Oren Liebermann for us there, thank you.

PAUL: Thank you Oren. So President Trump promised a veto if Congress blocked his national emergency declaration to build the wall, and you know what, he kept his word. In a sharp rebuke to Congress he signed the veto saying this.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

TRUMP: I have the duty to veto it and I'm very proud to veto it.

(END VIDEO)

BLACKWELL: Plus, the impeachment debate, should the democrats start impeachment proceedings in the house, or wait as Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggests? That conversation is ahead.

PAUL: But, first, an all new CNN original series, "Tricky Dick," explores the life and career of the 37th president and offers insights into the parallels between the Nixon presidency and the events taking place during the Trump Administration today. Kate Bolduan talked with CNN contributor and former Watergate investigator, Richard Ben-Veniste about his Watergate experience.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

RICHARD BEN-VENESTE, FORMER WATERGATE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: It was horrifying, because while we understood intellectually that something like Archibald Cox being fired might happen, the reality of it was emotionally very impactful and very disturbing. It was the closest thing to a coup d'etat that I've ever seen. It was naked force overcoming the force of law and that's what we lived through. The same FBI agents who were working for us that morning, were now seizing our offices on the orders of the President of the United States -- extremely disturbing.

(END VIDEO)

PAUL: "Tricky Dick" premieres tomorrow night 9:00 Eastern, only here on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: So glad to have you with us here; 26 minutes past the hour on Saturday. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you. President Trump is not done fighting for his campaign promise to build a border wall. He vetoed his Congress' rejection of his declaration of a national emergency to build a barrier between the U.S. and Mexico. PAUL: It's the first time he's used his presidential veto power to

block legislation. Congress is not done yet either. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will vote to overturn the veto on March 26th. CNN's Sarah Westwood is live at the White House. Sarah, do we have an indication the House has enough votes to overturn that veto?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well good morning, Christi and Victor. And right now it's unlikely that the House will have enough votes to overturn the president's veto because, remember, just 13 House republicans broke ranks and voted for that resolution of disapproval aimed at blocking the president's use of a national emergency. But it will be just another shot in this battle between Congress and the White House over executive power. Now President Trump tried to frame the vote this week as one focused primarily on border security but obviously, democrats and some republicans viewed it as a vote on constitutionality. Still, the president yesterday in the Oval Office, defended his declaration of a national emergency and said he was proud to veto this resolution. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

TRUMP: There haven't been too many that are bigger emergencies than we have right at our own border. Consistent with the law and the legislative process designed by our founders, today, I am vetoing this resolution. Congress has the freedom to pass this resolution and I have the duty to veto it and I'm very proud to veto it and I'm very proud, as I said, of a lot of republican Senators that were with me.

(END VIDEO)

WESTWOOD: Now, ahead of the vote this week, the White House had pressured republican Senators to vote against the resolution. The White House viewing it as a loyalty test for republicans, whether they would stick with the president, whether they would break ranks obviously, a dozen senate republicans chose to vote with democrats against the president's use of the national emergency in what amounts as a major rebuke of Trump attempts to get wall money using a national emergency. But it does appear, Victor and Christi, that his veto will be withstood from any attempts by Congress to try to override it.

PAUL: All right, Sarah Westwood, live from the White House for us. Sarah, thank you.

BLACKWELL: Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says impeachment would divide the country and President Trump is not worth it in her words. I spoke with David French, senior writer for "National Review" who feels voters should decide that they should wait until the election and Yoni Applebaum, Senior Editor at "The Atlantic" who disagrees with Pelosi and feels impeachment should start now.

YONI APPLEBAUM, SENIOR EDITOR AT "THE ATLANTIC": Those aren't charges that should be lightly lobbed if the Speaker believes what she says, the Constitution gives her a procedure for acting on those beliefs and by not using it she's distorting our politics.

BLACKWELL: So David, you say that the voters should decide 22 months until the next inauguration. If democrats believe and some in the House do, that there could be a continued threat; why wait?

DAVID FRENCH, SENIOR WRITER FOR "THE NATIONAL REVIEW": Well, the first thing you have to understand about impeachment is it's a political process. It's not a legal adjudication. It's not the application of law to facts. So this is a political process that would begin at some point in the future after the Mueller report is released and will last for a very long time -- for month after month after month while a political campaign, while a presidential campaign, is ongoing.

And that would be, one, extremely divisive, as Speaker Pelosi indicated and number two, would leave open a question that the president's defenders would ask that I think would be quite compelling to the American people, which would be why not just let the people decide?

[06:30:00]

BLACKWELL: David, let me quote your writing in "Time Magazine" where you say that impeachment by the House is an exercise in futility because the republican-led Senate would not convict or remove the president. There are some House democrats who say that their diligence should not be incumbent upon the Senate. And you say to those members what?

FRENCH: Well, essentially then what is the purpose of the exercise? If the purpose of the exercise is to lay out in detail that you believe the president is not fit for office, if the purpose of the exercise is to lay out in detail the president's wrong doing, you can do that without an impeachment process and you can do that without further inflaming already intense divisions in the U.S. I mean it is getting to be a crisis. It is reaching a crisis point the amount of division we have in this country. We have about 1 in 5 Americans who according to recent polling believe their political opponents have sub-human characteristics. I mean this is - this is - we're in a moment of terrible polarization and I feel like in the political calculus, we have to think is this, a, is this the right thing to do legally is only one thing, and b, is this the right thing to do for the country with an election looming?

BLACKWELL: And Yoni, you answer that question that David posed when you write, "the question of whether impeachment is justified should not be confused with the question of whether it's likely to succeed in removing a president from office." Explain that.

APPLEBAUM: Well I think that David is exactly right to be concerned about partisan polarization. It impeachment gives us a framework for having a fight we're having anyway. It's precisely because of the deepness of the divisions in our society that we ought to put this debate into a rule-bound process where the evidence can be aired, the witnesses cross examined and the charges assessed by the public.

It is the absence of that kind of a debate which is feeding partisan rancor. Certainly impeachment would be a contentious process but it gives us some benefits and it's important to take those benefits equally seriously. Most importantly it takes a presidency that has been marked by its disregard for norms, conventions and rules and says, "No, this isn't simply a question of popularity." There are actually norms and standards to be upheld. I think you've got fast forward to 2020 and imagine what voters will think in 2020.

Presidential election is a binary choice. It asks voters in some sense these days to choose the lesser of two evils. It's not a process of adjudication. Many voters can go to the polls fully convinced that this president has committed felonies, fully convinced that he's unfit for office and still pull the lever for him because they fear the alternative. They shouldn't have to make that choice. The congress is empowered to step in and say this man should not be President of the United States, not because of his policies, not because of his views or beliefs, but because of his conduct. If they do that, that frees voters then to go in 2020 and to choose between two candidates who are capable of discharging the office.

BLACKWELL: Yoni, you also write that you believe one of the reasons that the democrats - you explain their trepidation around impeachment is because they don't want to turn President Trump into a "sympathetic figure" like President Clinton was during his impeachment. Is that an applicable example for - for what we're seeing today?

APPLEBAUM: Well I think that's the fear of House leadership which lived through that earlier impeachment proceeding and watched it backfire on republicans. But they're taking the wrong lesson from it. One lesson to take is don't simply bring this to a vote on the floor. Go through the process, believe in the process. Believe in the ability to lay the evidence out before the American people.

House republicans rush that process. They heard from a single witness and then voted their articles of impeachment. That was the wrong way to do it then and it would be the wrong way to do it now. The other thing that they're not really looking at is the other historical precedence here. Cinton is anomalous unless you think that the infractions committed by this president are directly analogous to those committed by President Clinton and House democrats have said repeatedly that they do not, then it's the wrong place to turn for guidance.

When we've seen other impeachment proceedings move forward against other presidents, Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, they have succeeded in shifting public opinion against the president by shifting the focus of the public conversation away from the president's provocations and toward his debilities, toward his abuses of power, toward the things that he has said and done. That is a big part of the process.

It didn't work with Clinton because that wasn't the focus of the Clinton impeachment hearings and there weren't hearings. It moved directly to trial in the Senate. But it would work the same work that it had worked with those other presidents; at least there's no reason to think it wouldn't.

BLACKWELL: David, how about that? FRENCH: Well, you know, one thing, Yoni makes a very good point about

the power of hearings, the power of presenting evidence. But everything that he just discussed, about the ability to hold hearings, the ability to present evidence, the ability to bring these witnesses in front of the public for them to judge credibility in front of all of our eyes,

[06:35:00]

all of that can happen in the absence of an impeachment proceeding. We just saw this the Cohen hearing that was extreme - a moment where people could take a look at someone saying the things that they'd heard about and read about, but to see a person actually testify to it has its own power. All of those things can happen without a formal attempt to remove a president in the middle of a presidential campaign. One of the things, I think, that is important to understand about the Nixon and Clinton impeachment proceedings, both of these occurred in their second terms, after the voters had an opportunity -- when the voters didn't have another opportunity to weigh in on the conduct of these presidents. Here, the voters have an opportunity to weigh in on the conduct of the president directly which I believe is a preferable, particularly in this political moment, preferable to attempt to remove. It almost certainly would fail anyway.

BLACKWELL: Well, despite what we heard from Nancy Pelosi, this certainly will be a question that the democrats will continue to wrestle with. Yoni Applebaum and David French, thank you both.

APPLEBAUM: Thank you.

FRENCH: Thank you.

PAUL: You k now this week's bomb cyclone might be gone, but, oh, my goodness, the flooding, that is getting really dicey now because of it. We'll have the latest in the CNN weather center. Stay close.

BLACKWELL: Plus, U.C. Berkeley is one of the colleges named in this admissions scandal and now they're considering revoking admissions officers and diplomas over the cheating scheme. How some students and parents and other schools are responding.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:40:00]

PAUL: As outrage over this college admissions scandal grows, there are a lot of people asking what's going to happen to the students involved? U.C. Berkeley was named in that cheating scheme and now the school is considering revoking admissions offers and diplomas that are in any way related. I want to read you what the school is saying in this statement. They say, "Integrity in our admissions process is critically important. Students who do not adhere to the value may have their admissions officer revoked. Enrolled students may be dismissed, diplomas conferred may be revoked." CNN Legal Analyst and criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson with us now. Is that the necessary kind of step to course correct here Joey? JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAN ANALYST: You know Christi, good morning to you. There's no question that this scandal was in massive proportion. There's no question that something needs to be done to prevent future abuses of the system. I'm one that has a soft spot for the students involved here. Perhaps some of the students knew, perhaps many didn't, I think it's demeaning, it's demoralizing enough, but now to start revoking diplomas from them, kicking them out of classes.

We're talking 18, 19, 20, 21-year-old young men and young women and I think, certainly, as it relates to them, if they earned their education once they were in the school, then I think that education needs to be respected. I'm sure many would disagree; that's their prerogative. But I think when we start revoking things from students who are young and have their lives ahead of them, demoralizing them, demeaning them, I think that becomes problematic. We need to deal with the root core(ph) of the problem and I think if you get to that which are the parents, the administrators, the coaches and everyone who was involved, I think we do a great service to moving this forward and to correcting the core issue.

PAUL: There's a mom in California who wants do what you just talked about, Jennifer Kay Toy, she's a former Oakland Unified School District teacher and a single mom. She's suing Lori Loughlin and others who are named in this scandal for $500 billion. This is class action. Here's the thing. Her statement says she's outraged and hurt because I feel that my son, my only child, was denied access to a college, not because he failed to work and study hard enough, but because wealthy individuals felt that it was OK to lie, cheat, steal and bribe their children's way into a good college. What evidence would she need to prove that they were denied a fair shot at college? Would he have had to apply to one of these?

JACKSON: Indeed, Christi. Yes, indeed. Just taking it back for one minute, I think a lot of people share her sentiment. I mean certainly as a person myself who has just gone through this process with my son. You go through -- it's not even a process when you apply. It's a life- long process, right, what they're doing in terms of their academics and doing well, getting cultural experiences that make them more attractive to colleges, athletically, getting on varsity teams, debate teams, all of the things you do to sort of get your children in line to do the best they can and be looked at by the colleges you want them to.

I think the sentiment she expressed is shared and certainly hurtful for everyone who has done it the right way. But on the merits of the legal argument I think there's many things to overcome. The first thing Christi, is a causation problem. No matter how good your child is academically, everything else, it's so competitive and so but for this rigged system, would they have gotten in anyway? We don't know. There are many applicants across the country who are just solid; so many impressive young men and women and so the core issue again is would they have been admitted but for this scheme. We don't know that.

The second issue in terms of the devaluation of the education. I mean the reason people have engaged in this scheme is because of the name and the recognition and the respect and reputation these colleges have. I don't think perspective employers are going to be so shallow as to say, "Oh, you graduated from Stanford and Yale, it's because your parents are rich."

PAUL: OK, so Joey...

JACKSON: I mean any measure of society... yes?

PAUL; I want to clear that up because those are two different - those are two different law suits and I want to just make sure ...

JACKSON: Yes.

PAUL: ... our viewers understand the other lawsuit you're talking about is from two Stanford students who are asking for compensatory damages, punitive damages, restitution and other relief because they believe prospective employers may question whether they were admitted to school on their own merits.

[06:45:00]

Is it a fair assumption to believe that you're going to go in to see employment and somebody is going to say, "Oh you're from this school, your degree isn't worth as much." Or do you really kind of have to wait for that to happen before you can make that claim?

JACKSON: Yes, that's the problem, Christi. And the problem is that it's speculative. I think that, you know, there are employers out there who know and recognize that cheating goes on unfortunately. But I think and I would hope that they would look at individual and assess what their abilities are as opposed to putting them in a wide net. Look it happens, right. People are shallow and they, you know, they might group and generalize about people but I think employers recognize and understand that, look, things occur. I'm not going to hold it against the whole school.

So to the point, I think you do have to wait to determine whether or not something happened against you. And yes, there are two different lawsuits one in which the actors are being sued for what they're doing and in that regard, it's hard to hold them accountable. Again, not defending their actions - terrible thing in which they did but they engaged in a process that was rigged and that process needs to be examined and that's what needs to be torn down, not those people who will be held accountable criminally.

And in terms of the other lawsuit which you rightfully point out which is separate, you know the students who are going after and talking about their devalued degrees, I think that there are many problems with that including the fact that the college itself was shown not to know, right? It's a major corporation that was taken advantage of it. I think it's an uphill battle with respect to these lawsuits. Criminally, I think there will be a lot of accountability. Civilly, that's a whole separate question and I don't know how successful these lawsuits will be.

PAUL: Yes, we'll see how it goes. Joey Jackson, we value your expertise. Thank you so much for being here.

JACKSON: Thank you, Christi.

PAUL: Absolutely. Victor?

BLACKWELL: Get to higher ground now. That was the warning to people in Nebraska as historic floods came through, and look at this, all of this water, this flooding could last for weeks. We'll get the latest from the CNN severe weather center next.

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[06:50:00]

BLACKWELL: More than 10 million people are waking up to flooding, and a flood warning this morning. In the Midwest, historic flooding along the Missouri River is just getting started. This could last for weeks. Look at this.

PAUL: Oh, what a mess. Flash flood warning has been issued for several counties in Nebraska. Omaha's mayor has declared a state of emergency in the Eastern part of the state, we know officials were very clear, get to higher ground now. But let's look at Wisconsin too because there's a declared state of emergency there after melting show led to severe floods. At least 300 people had to be evacuated.

BLACKWELL: Allison Chinchar joins us now from the CNN Weather Center. Allison, how long do you expect all of this to last? Because I mean some of these communities are just...

PAUL: You can't take that that long.

BLACKWELL: ... can't get through.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN WEATHER CENTER: Yes, it's going to be weeks and I say that plural. And also you have to understand how widespread this is. We're not just talking one or two small rivers here. These are hundreds of rivers and then just small creeks and streams that get added into it as well.

Take a look at the scope of this. All the dots you see here are the gauges we're talking about that are flooding. Over 300 river gauges are above flood stage as we speak. Fifty of them - over 50 of them are at major flood stage, OK? And about a dozen of them are either already at or are expected to be record levels in the coming days.

Here's why this is happening, OK? You've got what's called snow melt. Typically in March, temperatures start to get warmer, and all of that snow that fell over the winter begins to melt and goes into those rivers, creeks and streams.

So even though this is something that happens every year, this year is different because there's so much extra snow. Take Minneapolis, for example, they're about 20 inches above average for the season. So that's why you're having so many problems there with some of the snow melt. But it's not just the snow melt, it's also saturated soils. Some of the cities farther south like Des Moines, Omaha, even St. Louis, they had just a lot of rain over the course of the winter.

That's what's causing scenes like this where you have these communities that are just inundated with water. You can also get what's called ice jams, OK, and so that's unfortunately pushing a lot of the water into these communities. Even streets and homes, saying I've lived here for 30 years of my life and I've never had flooding like this. That can happen in scenarios like this. You have streets that are basically under water. You have creeks that have now basically turned into lakes and that's going to be a problem going forward. Because as we mentioned, all of this water, Victor and Christi, eventually flows south, so the Mississippi is going to get water over the next couple of weeks, but in some cases places like St. Louis, Memphis and eventually into like New Orleans, it may take as much as a month for those areas to crest.

BLACKWELL: Wow. Allison Chinchar, thanks so much.

PAUL: So, listen, you're going to want to see this video I think. Police in Washington state had to wall for backup after a fight outside of a middle school basketball game turned into an all out brawl. We'll show you more and tell you what happened.

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[06:55:00]

BLACKWELL: Well, after losing a father when she was just 14 years old, this week's CNN hero struggled with depression for years before she finally got help.

PAUL: Yes, Mary Robinson has dedicated her life now to helping other people deal with their grief.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

BELLA, STUDENT IN GRIEF: My name is Bella and my dad died.

MARY ROBINSON, IMAGINE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Kids in grief are kids at risk.

JADEN, STUDENT IN GRIEF: My name is Jaden and my mom died.

ROBINSON: Time does not heal all wounds. Time helps but it's what you do with that time and what you need to do is mourn.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD IN GRIEF: When you hear other people's stories it kind of brings comfort.

ROBINSON: So that's why a place like "Imagine" exists to give children a place to mourn their loss and find out they're not alone.

(END VIDEO)

BLACKWELL: To nominate someone you think should be a CNN Hero, go to cnnheroes.com.

PAUL: So police in Washington state had to be called after a brawl broke out at a middle school. Look at this. You hear the screams? This was after a basketball game yesterday.

BLACKWELL: School officials say when they tried to break up the fight, the students started to becoming hostile and assaulted them. Police say between 60 and 70 teenagers were involved. Nine of those teenagers were arrested for various charges including assault and resisting arrest.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Forty-nine people lay dead. This is as New Zealand's prime minister addressed the gunman directly.