Return to Transcripts main page

NEW DAY SUNDAY

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Officially Announces Presidential Run; Death Toll Rises to 50 After Mass Shootings at Two Mosques; Trump Still Attacking McCain 7 Months After the Senator's Death; New Colorado Law Will Give State's Electoral College Votes to National Popular Vote Winner; New Zealand Attacker's Manifesto Shows Disturbing Online Pattern. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired March 17, 2019 - 07:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFF JONES, OLD DOMINION HEAD COACH: But we're just really, really happy to be going dancing!

(CHEERS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[07:00:06] COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: A bottle shower afterwards. Incredible moment for Monarchs. Selection Sunday here for your brackets will be announced at 6:00 Eastern tonight. Victor and I want you to join us, go to CNN.com/brackets and take us on, take us down. It's always fun.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: You'll take me down.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm good to the first couple of rounds but after that, I'm not so great.

PAUL: Thank you, Coy.

WIRE: You're welcome.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news!

PAUL: Good morning. We are so grateful to have you with us. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell.

Breaking news this hour, Kirsten Gillibrand, the Democratic senator from New York, has officially entered the 2020 race for president.

PAUL: She just put out a video. It's called "Brave Wins." And this makes her the latest contender of a pretty crowded field of Democratic hopefuls. Take a look at them here, 13 now if you count mayor Pete Buttigieg who is still exploring a run.

CNN national correspondent Athena Jones is with us now live.

Athena, what are you hearing? And good morning to you.

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you.

That's right. Kirsten Gillibrand, the senator from New York, making it official, formally announcing that she is throwing her hat into the ring to try to become a Democratic nominee for 2020. We'll get to that video in a moment. But, you know, a major part for her argument for her candidacy in these opening weeks of her campaign week, she announced an exploratory committee back in January. So, she's been in this exploratory phase.

And part of her major argument has been that she beat the odds back in 2006 when she first ran for congress. She won a reliably red district, a district where Republicans outnumber Democrats by 2-1. So, she tells that story to show that she can appeal to voters across the aisle and that she is going to try to win voters everywhere.

She is also touted her record as the strongest anti-Trump voting record of anyone running and it's clear from her video that she -- that this next phase she is going to be taking this fight directly to Trump. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our anthem calls America the home of the brave. But we don't realize that the lyrics first pose it as a question. Oh, say does that star spangled wave, over the home of the free and home of the brave?

It asks, will brave win?

Well, it hasn't always and it isn't right now. Brave doesn't pit people against each other. Brave doesn't put money over lives. Brave doesn't spread hate. Cloud truth, build a wall. That's what fear does.

We need to remember what it feels like to be brave. We launched ourselves into space and landed on the moon. If we can do that, we can definitely achieve universal health care. We can provide paid family leave for all, end gun violence, pass a green new deal, get money out of politics, and take back our democracy.

None of this is impossible. Americans are brave every day. The father risking his job to fight for his family. A mom taking on 6:00 a.m. shifts and 6:00 p.m. classes. The formally well-behaved women speaking up. The neighbors linking arms.

They are making a choice and it's these brave choices that inspire me to take on the fight others won't. When I voted against the Wall Street bailout while both parties threw billions at the banks, when I took on the Pentagon to end sexual assault in the military, when I turned a red district blue against all odds, when I challenged Congress by making my meetings, finances and taxes public so people could see I was working for them. I took your lead. I chose brave too.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need a leader who makes --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- big --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- bold --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- brave --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- choices.

GILLIBRAND: Someone who isn't afraid of progress. That's why I'm running for president. And it's why I'm asking you for your support.

Our anthem asks a question, forcing every generation to make a choice. Will brave win?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will brave win?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will brave win?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will brave win?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will brave win?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will brave win?

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS: Will brave win?

GILLIBRAND: Let's answer for ours.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JONES: So there you have Senator Gillibrand making that official announcement and she's hoping to generate some buzz with another swing through early states in the coming days.

One thing we should bring up, as of right now, she is in the low single digits in many polls and one of the issues she has run into recently is you saw the reference in that video to fighting to prevent or combating sexual assault in the military.

[07:05:02] Well, she has been known as kind of the #metoo senator, leading the charge against sexual assault on college campuses in the workplace, in the military. But she just recently faced her own sort of mishandling, accusation she mishandled a sexual harassment allegation in her own Senate office. And so, that is something she has had to deal with the last week.

And so, that kind of damages it a little bit, her argument as the #metoo senator looking out for women in the workplace. And now, she is going to be hitting the campaign trail again. She spent the weekend in New Hampshire. She heads to Michigan tomorrow. She'll be in Iowa for a swing in eastern Iowa, through many counties that Barack Obama won but that the Trump then flipped.

Then she will also be going on to Nevada and she will be wrapping up this first big official week in the campaign with a speech in New York, here in New York next Sunday in front of the Trump International Hotel. And so, she is going to be taking the fight quite literally to his doorstep in a way. It's not where he lives but it is one of his properties right here near us in Columbus Circle with a big speech that is going to feature gun activists and Dreamers and highlight this theme she is running on of bravery and the willingness to fight what's right -- Christi, Victor.

PAUL: All right. Athena Jones, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: So, what does Senator Gillibrand bring to the field?

Let's bring in CNN political commentator and host of the podcast "You Decide", Errol Louis.

Errol, welcome back.

All right. Will brave win is the line from the video that the senator just released. How does she line up with the rest of the field?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, she not polling very well as Athena points out but she is actually, you know, kind of an early arrival into a kind of Democrat we are seeing more and more of. She flipped a seat back in 2006. It wasn't that easy to do.

She's a very, very big vote getter among the people who normally vote Republican. She actually had higher vote totals in her reelect last year than our sitting Governor Andrew Cuomo. So, she is one of those Democrats who is not afraid to work across the aisle and pull voters to her side.

That doesn't get a lot of attention these days when you got so many progressives who are grabbing the spotlight but she has always been sort of a diligent worker. Something else she's got, Victor, that no other candidate can say is she has built this entire franchise what she calls getting women off the sidelines. She has been supporting women candidates at every level of government all across the country for years.

You do that for around a decade and you've got allies in places that many of us don't even know about because unless you scour her list year after year of who she has been supporting for, raising money for, showing up and making appearances for, you don't know really kind of the network that she has built. So, we're going to see if she can now put that network to work for her.

PAUL: You know, this is something that struck me is the way she announced and it really at the end of the day was so art. So, they didn't get up in a podium in front of people' used a speech. She used a video that can go viral, that has graphics and other voices and video and all of these elements that will support what she is saying and her message -- her message is a very strong one.

Errol, do you think we may some of these other people who are still on the sidelines making their decisions, that they may try to dole out something similar? Because now, you've got the attention of people and they can watch it again and again and again. LOUIS: Right. Well, this is a new style, in fact.

PAUL: Yes.

LOUIS: We have seen for major candidates running for offices and statewide offices, even races for Congress where you start with a video, you try to make it go viral, you follow up with a big rally. Hers is apparently is going to be at the building behind right me, that's the Trump International Hotel right behind me in this picture. And maybe she is going to try to fill the square and put 10,000 or 20,000.

We've got this new metric as well of how much you can raise in the first days after both your announcement and your first rally so this first week is going to be really important for her. But I will tell you something -- knowing her for more than a decade now, Senator Gillibrand doesn't leave anything to chance. She is methodical. She is thoughtful.

She makes checklists. She double-checks those checklists. She's going to, I think, make the best case she possibly can including all of the metrics, including that video that you just reference.

BLACKWELL: Errol, we pointed out that she is not doing especially well in national and statewide polls, less 1 percent in the latest national poll in CNN's latest statewide poll. And also, where is the support there across the New York congressional delegation? I mean, she doesn't have, as I've learned, maybe that will change, an endorsement from another member of the state congressional delegation.

You know statewide politics. Congressman O'Rourke just got two endorsements from Congressman Maloney and Congresswoman Rice out of New York.

[07:10:01] Where are hers? Why isn't she getting that support?

LOUIS: Very good question and it's a legitimate one. And I think it shows that she is not part of the establishment here and that is actually true. I mean, of all the major politicians out of the New York, whether you're talking about Chuck Schumer or the president himself, they're all out of the city.

She is not from the city. She is from Upstate New York. She's from a different part of the state.

She's got a different kind of profile. She has not been an active party loyalist. She's not sticking her party into all positions all over the state here and I think it shows.

The donor class was very upset about her. The establishment tried to snuff her out when she was first named in a special election to fill a vacancy. This was the seat that was formally held by Bobby Kennedy and thought that the seat should go to one of his daughters. That it should go to a Kennedy, and she kind of did an end run around the establishment. They've been mad at her ever since.

PAUL: All right. So, we have been this announcement this morning and this accidental announcement possibly last night. Look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: I know I get criticized -- I'm told I get criticized by the new left. I have the most progressive record of anybody running for the -- of anybody who would run.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

I mean -- of anybody who would run!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Errol, I see you kind of chuckling and he is doing the whole, yes, I just did that. He has called himself a gaffe machine. Your take on this?

LOUIS: I mean, that's Joe Biden in a nutshell. He's got the best name recognition. He's got a very progressive record. He's got a record that he can defend.

He's also got a tendency to put his foot in his mouth and he did both of those things all at once. And so, you know, his perhaps now inevitable entry into the race is going to be accompanied by a lot of that sort of stuff. I mean, there are going to be serious questions asked of him, progressives who don't know his history when they start finding out where he has been on certain issues like the 1994 crime bill that sort of hobbled Hillary Clinton in the 2016 race. You know, he's going to have to answer for that. And the gaffes will, in fact, keep coming and that will always draw the media but it will also draw his critics.

PAUL: It will draw his critic but makes him enduring to some people.

BLACKWELL: It does, it does.

PAUL: Yes.

BLACKWELL: Errol Louis, thanks so much.

PAUL: Thanks, Errol.

LOUIS: Thank you.

PAUL: So, in New Zealand, there are more people that have died now. We have a new number for you in the fight there. The prime minister vowing to change the country's gun laws and to do so immediately. In fact, there is a meeting on that tomorrow. How she says she is going to make that happen.

BLACKWELL: President Trump is attacking the late Senator John McCain seven months now after his death and the senator's daughter is not staying quiet about it. She is quick to fire back at the president. We'll tell you what she said.

PAUL: And Colorado and 11 other states want to change the way presidential candidates are elected, so it's based on the popular vote. We're going to talk about this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:17:26] PAUL: Well, as bodies are being returned to their families in New Zealand this morning, another victim has been found in one of the mosques attacked, mosque that were attacked by the gunman, and that means 50 died and 30 are wounded.

BLACKWELL: Thirty-four people are recovering in hospitals including one child, 12 of them are critically injured. On Monday, police will spread out across the country and offer protection to any mosques that request it and New Zealand's prime minister will move to change the country's gun laws at a cabinet meeting.

Joining us now from Christchurch, CNN correspondent Martin Savidge.

Martin, a lot of healing to do and as we heard from the prime minister, some changes are coming and soon.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. Yes, the prime minister has been adamant that gun laws have to change in this country. I should point out if you do not know, the gun laws in New Zealand are fairly liberal, at least when you compare to other nations in the region here. Part of that is because hunting and outdoors event is just such a huge part of society here.

But now, in the aftermath of this horrendous attack which has just stunned New Zealand to its very core, the prime minister says that change has to happen and in fact, she will begin that process as soon as tomorrow with cabinet meetings and it's quite clear that at least with the initial attitude of the public, many people believe the same thing.

Talking about the funerals, you know the Muslim tradition in that faith is to bury people as quickly as possible but you also have a criminal investigation that is ongoing. Authorities here have been extremely sensitive to that and they are releasing the bodies and funerals have already begun.

One of those who have attended is Farhaan Farheez. He is not only a mourner, he is a survivor of the Linwood mosque attack. That's a second mosque that was struck.

And he talks about his struggle with the emotions since the funerals began.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FARHAAN FARHEEZ, SHOOTING SURVIVOR: I just constantly thinking about it, getting those flashbacks and it's one of those experiences which I wish no one ever encounters. It's just catastrophic and it's just --

INTERVIEWER: Have you been to a funeral this morning?

FARHEEZ: Yes, I have.

INTERVIEWER: And whose funeral was that?

FARHEEZ: So just a close friends and family friends that passed away, deceased. And it was even difficult even to go for the funeral. There were still speculations that we're thinking that maybe, you know, someone is watching us.

[07:20:03] Someone would shoot all of us at the funeral just because we are Muslims.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: That sense of shock is still one that is reverberating. In other words, this fear that somehow that it could happen again. We've already spoken about how more police presence is going to be out in the streets in general starting tomorrow, but also especially around any other mosques in this country.

On a personal note, I was on vacation in New Zealand as recently as last Sunday. It's a wonderful country with wonderful people and I left with the sense that what is so great about this is nothing tragic would ever happen here.

PAUL: All right.

SAVIDGE: Now just a couple of days later, it has. And that whole belief that so many New Zealanders have that they were somehow immune to the rest of the world's tragedies has been shattered -- Christi and Victor.

PAUL: We know it changes things. It changes mindsets. It changes people.

Martin Savidge, such good points to make. Thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: We are learning more about this gunman and the countries he visited before the mosque attacks. There is a long list. Apparently, he took repeated trips to the Balkans, visited Greece and Turkey and Pakistan and North Korea.

So, let's talk about those travels. Joining us now is CNN national security analyst Shawn Turner, former communications director for the U.S. national intelligence.

Shawn, welcome back.

SHAWN TURNER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Thanks, Victor.

BLACKWELL: First, on the travels, give us an idea of the work that's being done right now to determine how those travels potentially informed or prepared this alleged shooter for what happened at the end of the week.

TURNER: Yes, Victor. So, you know, typically when we have an incident like this occur, we take a lot of time and effort and we get the online communication of these individuals and the individuals they were in touch with. But these travels, the revelation that this individual traveled internationally so much gives us a whole different perspective.

So, what the intelligence community is working together with law enforcement to do right now is to take a look at that itinerary where he went and the individuals he connected with and spoke with and what they are really looking for is more information to help understand where he true his motivation from. When he went to those various places, you know, what did he do in the online community as he was out there in those communities engaging with other people and what that rhetoric looks like?

The idea here is that you put together, you build of picture of what happened to this individual as he went through that process of becoming radicalized and ultimately acted out in a horrific way that he did.

BLACKWELL: There is some really fascinating reporting out this weekend, namely, by "The Washington Post" how little the U.S. and its allies share intelligence about domestic terror threats. We know allies share information about international terror threats through the Five Eyes, both the U.S. and New Zealand and Australia in that group.

Why so little sharing about those internal threats?

TURNER: Yes. Well, as you pointed out, Victor, it has traditionally been the case in the Five Eyes group, that the intelligence community shares information related to international terror groups.

Now, that happens for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that those are the groups that typically represent the most significant threat to our collective national security. And so, that is kind of the natural area where you want to share information. The other reason is that there are different set of laws and authorities that allow the U.S. intelligence community and foreign intelligence communities to look at international terror threats in comparison to those laws and authorities that allow them to look at domestic terror threats.

So, both of those factors have been -- have impacted this a little bit. Now, we know it's the case that for the most part these domestic terror groups live in an online environment. And so, we have to take a step back and reframe, reshape the way we look at this in order to share information better. This is an area where we do need to improve and I think that what we need to do is we need to take a look at the way we share international terror information and apply that model to domestic terror because as we know, these individuals no longer operate just inside the borders of their own country. They are looking for inspiration. They're looking for guidance. They're looking for a common purpose in groups in other countries.

BLACKWELL: So, obviously, the real and recent consequences of domestic terror, considering what happened in New Zealand, would suggest that expansion of sharing that information but when we have, on the other hand, what we heard from the president on Friday when asked if he believes that white nationalism is a growing global threat, he said that he does not believe that. Do you expect this will be, even with this example from New Zealand, a

priority for this administration?

TURNER: Well, you know, that is a very good point. You know, look, I think the president has an understanding that when he speaks and he tells us what he believes, what the president is really doing for you and for me, for the American public, for law enforcement, and for international partners and allies, is he is telling us what his priorities are.

[07:25:16] And so, when the president says he does not think that the rise of hate groups and the rise of white nationalist groups is a real issue, he is telling us that that's not a priority for him. Now that is, obviously, a problem because all of the data suggests these groups are on the rise and that they should be a priority for the president.

I think that what we hope to see, both in our domestic law enforcement, as well as in our international relationships and intelligence sharing relationships, is we hope to see that people will say, look, we are going to pay attention to the numbers, these incidents are on the rise, and we are going to treat them as a priority. Whether you're here in the United States or a member of one of the countries that we are partners or allies with, this impacts us on a daily basis. So we need to see them focus on it as a priority.

BLACKWELL: All right. Shawn Turner, thanks so much for joining us this morning.

TURNER: Thanks, Victor.

BLACKWELL: And we're going to get another perspective on that question. What does the rise of hate and the growth of domestic terrorism around the world mean here at home?

2010 presidential candidate Senator Amy Klobuchar joins Jake Tapper morning on "STATE OF THE UNION". She's going to talk about that today at 9:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.

PAUL: Well, apparently, President Trump is not done criticizing John McCain. He went after the senator again, think about it, months after his death. McCain's daughter was quick to slam the president right back. We'll have details for you, next.

BLACKWELL: Plus, Colorado and 11 other states are looking to make history. They want to change the way presidential candidates are elected, so it reflects the will of the people. But is this constitutional?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:31:02] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Thirty minutes past the hour. Welcome back on a Sunday morning. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Not in green. But happy St. Patrick's Day.

PAUL: I was going to say the same thing. I thought I'm not going to say it because you're not wearing green.

BLACKWELL: You didn't text this morning, Coy didn't text this morning.

PAUL: Sorry.

BLACKWELL: All right. We are down a rabbit hole.

All right. President Trump, he was back on Twitter yesterday. He took a shot at John McCain, seven months after the senator passed away.

He tweeted this. Spreading the fake and totally discredited dossier is unfortunately a very dark stain against John McCain. Ken Starr, former independent counsel.

And the president went on to say he had far worse stains that this, including thumbs down on repeal and replace after years of campaigning to repeal and replace.

PAUL: Now, McCain's daughter Meghan, of course, was quick to fire back here.

CNN Sarah Westwood is live from the White House.

Sarah, I think a lot of people are wondering, what does it serve the president at this point to resurrect this?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's a great question, Victor and Christi.

And, of course, Meghan McCain was among the people not pleased with the president's attacks on the late senator John McCain. She responded on Twitter writing: No one will ever love you the way they love my father. I wish I had given more Saturdays with him. Maybe spend yours with your family instead of on Twitter obsessing over mine?

Now, just for a little bit of context. Trump went after McCain for his role in spreading what was then the largely unverified Steele dossier which was paid by Democrats, a McCain associate passed that document along to a "BuzzFeed" reporter. "BuzzFeed" then published the document and McCain himself has acknowledged passing the dossier on to the FBI.

Jeb Bush, a former Trump primary opponent, told CNN's "AXE FILES" that he hopes at some point, the president can remove away from fiery campaign rhetoric. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEB BUSH (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I pray for President Trump every day, my prayer is that he wakes up someday soon and realizes he is president of the United States. He is not running for office. He is not -- he has to lead for all of us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WESTWOOD: Now, of course, the antipathy between President Trump and Senator McCain stretches back to the presidential race when Trump infamously said that he did not believe John McCain, a former POW, was a war hero. He said he liked people that weren't captured and, of course, President Trump never forgot the case that McCain cast a decisive vote against the GOP health care package in 2017, so the president reprising attacks on Senator McCain seven months after his death, Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: All right. Sarah Westwood for us there at the White House -- Sarah, thank you.

PAUL: So, listen to this. Colorado could be part of a voting history in 2020. Colorado's governor has just signed a new bill. It gives the state's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote. So, the state joins 11 others that have done the same thing, hoping the final outcome of the presidential election will reflect the will of the people.

Errol Louis, CNN political commentator and host of the podcast "You Decide" is back with us.

So, Errol, here's the thing. The Electoral College is formally codified in the Constitution. Does this mean that the Constitution would have to be modified if this would be enacted?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, what Colorado is trying to do, Christi, is actually to avoid the very onerous process of amending the Constitution. What they're trying to do I guess kind of have it both ways, which is to say, if and only if the vote turns out a certain way, Colorado will cast its votes with whoever wins the majority vote. Change in the Constitution would require three- quarters of the states so each have a different referendum to put it on the ballot and you've got to get Congress to vote for it.

So, it's an easier way to yet where they want to be, which is to have the Electoral College and the popular link up more than they have in recent years.

PAUL: Right. You need enough states to join in this to control 270 electoral votes with Colorado there at 181.

[07:35:03] We understand New Mexico may be next. But there's going to be a fight. This county commissioner who is opposing it, trying to get something on the ballot, you know, to take this away.

If that number 270 is reached, let's talk about the political fights that that's going to cause, because this did not have one Republican -- one ounce of Republican support in Colorado.

LOUIS: That's right. There will be a huge partisan fight and also a fight from people who for nonpartisan reasons, I put myself in this category, think it's a great idea to turn the presidential contest into a scramble for majority votes. It would really sort of throw off a system that has built up over time in which we have something like 5,000 separate elections.

If you think about, each county runs its own elections in almost every state and in some cases, they have widely different rules and different laws, and we have seen in North Carolina, recently, it can really, really throw things off if people are not diligent and not up to the task of running a fair election. Imagine trying to do that 5,000 times all at the same time. Who is going to monitor it and who is going to keep track of it and who is going to do a recount if God forbid that should become necessary?

The people pushing for a popular vote is the deciding factor in picking a president tend to be frustrated Democrats, but I don't think they want to open up that box, that can of worms.

PAUL: Well, is it -- do you think coming at this point -- I know this fight has been going on for a while and seems to be picking up steam. Is this their direct indictment of President Trump saying Hillary Clinton won the popular vote and what we need to get back to? It seems like that's what where they're going with this.

LOUIS: Yes, that's kind of -- you know, it sticks in their craw and a point that was bound to come to a head. The reality is, I think we've had something like 19, possibly 20 presidents elected with less than 50 percent of the vote. You know, it happens.

PAUL: Yes.

LOUIS: It happened to JFK. It happened to Woodrow Wilson. It happened with Abraham Lincoln. This is a feature of our system that has been around for a long, long time.

Simply trying to win the next election by changing the rules in such a fundamentally irreversible way, I think, they have to be really, really careful what they think they want.

PAUL: So, let me ask you this. Hypothetically, let's say it would happen. Would that change the way candidates would campaign? Wouldn't they be going to the most populous states at that point and focusing on states that don't normally focus on right now based on how the electoral process is -- you know, the protocol right now?

LOUIS: Exactly right. And frankly, after 30 plus years of doing journalism in New York, you know, they'd come to New York City. This city alone would be the 16th largest state by population. The last thing you want is for -- as it is, we've already given you a president, we gave both of the major party candidates in 2016, we have got 3 of the 9 Supreme Court justices all just from New York City.

I don't think you want the donors and the people to all come from such a small area. It's just not good for democracy. It's not the way the system was set up.

And believe me, the Founders who were sitting in New York frankly when they were drafting a lot of the Constitution, they anticipated this and that is why they set up an Electoral College system. People should not likely want to disregard what the Framers of the Constitution had in mind.

PAUL: Very interesting. Errol Louis, always appreciate your perspective. Thank you.

LOUIS: Thank you.

PAUL: Sure.

BLACKWELL: All right. Coming up, this comment controversy. Jeanine Pirro is still off the air one week after Fox News denounced her Islamophobic remarks. Did the network suspend her?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:44:17] PAUL: So, this week's horrific hate-driven massacre in New Zealand has a lot of people asking critical questions this morning. Is white supremacy a rising global threat and are tech companies doing enough to stop it?

BLACKWELL: The attacker's manifesto is shedding new light on an Internet epidemic and what our next guest calls a virus of extremism.

I don't really call him a guest because he is CNN chief media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES", Brian Stelter. He's not a guest. He's at home.

Welcome home.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Thank you. Good morning.

BLACKWELL: Let's start here. The question of what media companies are doing about this to stop potentially these live videos and keep this trash off their sites.

STELTER: Yes, and, first of all, white supremacy terrorism, it is a growing threat. There's a great article on CNN.com that goes to the data on this, and proves it very clearly.

With regard to this social networking companies, this is a big problem that they have, as long as society at large. I don't want to put all of the blame on the tech giants because a lot of these issues are much deeper than the technology. But the tech websites, the Facebooks, the Googles, they allow this extremism to spread virally and be amplified all around the world, and that is a problem these companies say they are trying to address.

We received some really interesting new information from Facebook overnight saying that there were attempts to post more than 1.5 million copies of that massacre video. As we know, the gunman, the suspect in New Zealand live streamed his attack and then copies of the video were circulated around the web. According to Facebook, 1.5 million attempts were made to repost it presumably by other people who wanted to share it. Facebook said it was able to catch most of those and take them down right away. But that just goes to show the scale of the problem. You have initial live stream and all of these attempts to repost it later. Frankly, that is a part of supply and demand problem and lots of people were interested in seeing the shooting video and a problem deeper than Facebook or YouTube.

PAUL: Yes.

STELTER: But again, these companies have so much power to amplify messages that I think is an ongoing concern, both among regulators in Washington and elsewhere, but also among ordinary Internet users. The big question is whether these tech companies are doing enough to try to keep some of the worse impulse that people have, some of the darkest corners of the web from being shared all around the world with everybody?

PAUL: Yes, is there enough machinery or enough human bodies to try to filter that through?

STELTER: Yes, that's right.

PAUL: I want to ask you about Fox News host Jeanine Pirro. She's been off the air for a week after she made these Islamophobic comments linked to Representative Ilhan Omar.

STELTER: Right.

PAUL: Any insight to her status at Fox News?

STELTER: This is a very strange situation. This happened overnight as well. She's not on the air. There's no indication she has been fired. But it seems like she has been suspended.

Fox will not confirm that. But they suddenly placed her show with a repeat of some documentary so something is going on there. It appears she has been suspended.

What makes this noteworthy it's a very rare step for Fox to take action against one of its host or commentators. In this case, she was questioning a Muslim congresswoman's patriotism. It's the kind of ugly, hateful rhetoric that we need a lot less and not more on this country. So, it appears Fox suspended her but they won't say for sure.

BLACKWELL: All right. Brian Stelter, thanks so much.

STELTER: Thanks.

BLACKWELL: And be sure to tune in for "RELIABLE SOURCES" with Brian Stelter. That's today, 11:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.

PAUL: So, the aftermath of this week's bomb cyclone has taken a really awful turn. Historic flooding is happening right now across several states. This is a dangerous situation. We're going to have more for you in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:52:08] BLACKWELL: A 24-year-old New Jersey man is in police custody this morning for the shooting death of Francisco Frank Cali, reputed boss of the New York Gambino crime family. Anthony Comello faces murder charges and could end up spending the rest of his life in prison. He has crossed paths in some limited circumstances with the NYPD. Officials are still searching for a motive for the crime and say the investigation is far from over. Frank Cali was shot multiple times outside his home on Staten Island last Wednesday.

PAUL: And there's a manhunt going on right now in North Carolina. Please take a look at who police are looking for, 57-year-old Rexford Lynn Keel Jr., the husband of a woman found dead earlier this week. His wife, Diana, disappeared March 9th and she was found dead three days later, about 30 miles from her home. Her husband was the last person to see her alive.

Now, police questioned and released him on Tuesday. At the time, he wasn't charged but now, he has disappeared. Police are investigating the death now as well of keel's first wife who died in 2006 at the same home he lives in today.

BLACKWELL: This morning, deadly, historic flooding is swamping the Plains and Midwest, and the water is still rising. Right now, parts of the Dakotas, Nebraska, Iowa, seeing record high river levels after that massive bomb cyclone hit the area.

PAUL: Homes and several bridges washed away. We know that. Melting snow and ice jams are breaching the Mississippi River. Two people have died.

Now, another inch of rain is expected across many of those states today as well.

BLACKWELL: This week's "Staying Well" looks at a hands-on approach physical therapists are using to relieve pain and improve flexibility. The procedure is called manual therapy. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

EFI PAPALEXI: I had a lot of pain for many years in my neck, giving me a lot of headaches. They did MRIs, X-rays. They said there's nothing wrong except you've had this really bad posture for many years and perhaps you might want to see some physical therapists.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gently try to turn to your right.

TAMAR AMITAY, FOUNDER, THRIVE INTEGRATED PHYSICAL THERAPY: Manual therapy is used by physical therapists to assess and treat pain, lack of mobility, flexibility. We're looking at what is driving somebody's pain. We do that through our hands. We'll feel for restrictions of tissues and joints.

Testing is involved to know that manual therapy is appropriate for that patient. We'll use different soft tissue techniques to improve glide and mobility at joints. AMY MCGORRY, PHYSICAL & MANUAL THERAPIST: When she came in, she had a

forward head posture which so many of us have with computers these days. If she doesn't move here she's going to take the slack here.

She had a very tight chest muscles, the pectorals. She didn't have the ability to sit upright. Her exercise program consisted of stretching the chest muscles, getting her to open up.

[07:55:05] Her posture started to improve. And that put less stress on that mid-cervical area.

PAPALEXI: After about a month, I stopped having pain. I can bring the shoulders back instead of just hunching. I feel good.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: Isn't that just massage?

BLACKWELL: I thought it was. Now it's called manual therapy.

PAUL: Hey, whatever it is, it works, right?

BLACKWELL: It works. As long as she feels better, call it what you need.

PAUL: Happy St. Patrick's Day. Hope you have fun. I'm just going to call out a text I just got, a friend of mine.

Sporting the Irish today. Hope you find the pot of gold. If you do, feel free to share.

BLACKWELL: Feel free to share.

PAUL: I would share. I would share with you.

BLACKWELL: You would share, you would share. That would be nice.

PAUL: Victor is going -- he's not saying a darn thing.

BLACKWELL: She would share.

PAUL: I would.

Thank you so much for starting your morning with us. We always appreciate you and hope you make good mornings today.

BLACKWELL: "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts after the break.