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NEW DAY SUNDAY

Trump Admin to Halt Aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras; Trump Threatens to Close U.S. Border with Mexico; Beto O'Rourke Brings His Campaign Home to Texas; Chicago Police Union Plans to Protect State Attorney Kim Foxx Monday; Woman Says Biden Inappropriately Kissed Back of Her Head in 2014; Jeanne Pirro Returns to Fox News After Two Week Absent; Gonzaga Stunned By Red Hot Red Raiders. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired March 31, 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)

[07:00:03] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Migrant processing centers in Texas are literally overflowing with people.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Closing the borders would be a profit making operation.

LUS GUTIERREZ, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You shut down that board, 5 million Americans lose their jobs. We are interconnected.

TRUMP: They put their worst people in the caravan. They're not going to put their best in. They get rid of their problems.

GUTIERREZ: He simply thinks about how can I get people to hate someone so I can rile up my political base?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am submitting these 380 pages.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am writing almost four pages!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am reading zero pages.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good Sunday morning to you. Thank you for sharing your time with us here.

The State Department is telling CNN this morning the Trump administration will now work with Congress to cut off aid to three Central American countries.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The announcement came a day after President Trump threatened to close the southern border and said that three countries were setting up migrant caravans to enter the U.S.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We were paying them tremendous amounts of money and we're not paying them any more because they haven't done a thing for us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: The government of Honduras responded to the announcement, blaming the move on, quote, contradictory policies from the U.S.

PAUL: And along the southern border, Custom and Border Protection says several detention centers are well over capacity. The city of Brownsville, Texas, for instance, is averaging 300 people per day being released by federal authorities.

We have a team of CNN reporters covering the story this morning. CNN correspondent Leyla Santiago in Austin, Texas, CNN White House reporter Sarah Westwood is near Mar-a-Lago in West Palm Beach, Florida.

But let's start with CNN national correspondent Natasha Chen who is live for us in McAllen, Texas.

Good morning to you, Natasha. What are you learning this morning from where you are?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.

We are at the Hidalgo port of entry near McAllen. And just out 30, 40 miles from us, we were talking to the city of Brownsville city manager yesterday about the fact that they have any seeing Customs and Border Protection drop off migrants for the past couple of weeks in their area just because of the overflow problem, the facilities exceeding capacity.

At first, they were seeing about 50 people a day for the first week and a half and then the city manager tells me that recently that's really ramped up. They have been averaging about 300 people per day. And that the city and nonprofits are helping these people contact familiar members in the U.S. and get bus tickets to go on to other parts of their journey.

So, this is a very challenging problem for them. At the same time, President Trump is threatening to close the border if Mexico does not stop all illegal immigration coming from the south side and that's a real issue for people living in border towns like where we are. We met some folks yesterday who were going back and forth at this port of entry here on regular business and going to see their families. They say a lot of them work on one side and live on the other.

Here is one man, Carlos Flores, whom we talked to. He was on his way to a dentist appointment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARLOS FLORES, OPPOSED TO BORDER SHUT DOWN: There is a lot of old citizens of the United States that go over there for their medication being cheaper over there than over here, insulin, you know, whatever, whatever it is. I just saw some open from here getting their dentures over there and at the dentist a couple of days ago. So, imagine a lot of people will be toothless after this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHEN: He is an American truck driver. He told me he cannot afford health insurance in the United States and why he goes over to Mexico for the dentist and buys his family's medications over there because they are cheaper. So, a lot of people are concerned fountain border closes that would deeply impact their daily lives.

Christi and Victor, back to you.

PAUL: Natasha Chen, thank you.

BLACKWELL: He makes several campaign stops through his home state of Texas, Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke is focusing heavily on border and immigration issues.

Leyla Santiago is following the candidate. She's live in Austin this morning.

Leyla, good morning to you.

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Victor.

Beto O'Rourke also waking up also in Austin back in Texas where he is really comfortable, his home turf. He has his eyes set on the nation's capital, specifically the Oval Office. He had three stops here for the official kickoff of his campaign, but let's back up just a little bit.

Remember, just two weeks ago, he announced via social media that he wanted to have a presidential bid in the 2020 campaign.

[07:05:03] He went to Iowa. He went to Wisconsin, Nevada, South Carolina and a lot of the questions that he had driving the conversations in those town halls now driving the issues that he is talking about in these speeches, including, of course, no surprise, immigration.

Listen to what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let's remember that every single one of us, including those who are just three or four blocks from here, detained under the international bridge that connects us with Mexico behind chain link fence and barbed wire, that they are our fellow human beings and deserve to be treated like our fellow human beings.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANTIAGO: So, he started in El Paso in the shadow of the southern border where he was born and where he grew up, El Paso. But through the three stops, El Paso, Houston, and Austin, he didn't directly address President Trump's threat to shut down the border. He only said that Trump must be defeated.

And when it comes to the issues, while he listed off things that are important to him, he really didn't go into detail as to how he would achieve that. I keep thinking about a conversation I had with a voter in South Carolina who said, OK, he has identified the problem. I like that but how will he identify the solutions? What should we expect next?

Well, after Texas, he heads to New York, D.C., and back to Iowa.

BLACKWELL: All right. Leyla Santiago in Austin, Texas, for us this morning, thank you.

PAUL: Thanks, Leyla.

So, the president is following up on his threat to close the southern border. He's tweeting that immigration laws could be fixed in less than an hour and then a vote.

BLACKWELL: Joining us live from West Palm Beach, near the president's resort, CNN White House reporter Sarah Westwood.

He says that this would be easy. Now, Democrats have control of the House but one would argue or expect it would have been easier when Republicans had it.

SARA WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right, Christi and Victor. And Republicans did have two years to try to pass some kind of immigration reform. They did try. They did not do so the first two years of President Trump's time in office.

But heading into this next week, Trump is clearly fixated on the situation down on the border starting Friday. He's sort of issuing again those threats again to shut down the southern border all or part of it. It's not the first time we have heard him threaten to close the border. He did so in a tweet in December but the first time he is attaching a deadline to it. He says might do it as soon as this week if he doesn't get more cooperation from Mexico. The administration wants Mexico to do more to stop illegal immigration into the U.S.

Here is what President Trump wrote yesterday: Mexico must use its very strong immigration laws to stop the many thousands of people trying to get into the USA. Our detention areas are maxed out and we'll take no more illegals. Next step is to close the border. This will also help us with stopping the drug flow from Mexico.

Now, Customs and Border Protection says the status quo is unsustainable. It says their system is reaching a breaking point. Its facilities are being overrun, in part because those facilities just weren't designed to handle the high number of families that are currently coming over the border, making up a large number of the migrants that are crossing into the U.S. Many of these families and children seeking asylum. CBP is calling for congressional action to fix immigration laws. And

President Trump echoed that message yesterday in a tweet when he wrote, it would be so easy to fix our weak and very stupid Democrat inspired immigration in less than one hour, and then a vote that probably be solved. But the Dems don't care about the crime, they don't want to any victory for Trump and the Republicans, even if good for USA.

Meanwhile, the State Department announced this weekend that it would be cutting funding to three Central American countries, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras and something President Trump is threatening to do. This comes as CBP says it's on track this month in March to apprehend more people than any month since 2008. So, clearly, the situation on the border getting worse with his threat to close the border and with the State Department's decision to sever aid to those three countries. The Trump administration clearly moving closer to a dramatic response, Victor and Christi.

PAUL: Sarah Westwood, thank you.

BLACKWELL: Joining us now, CNN political commentator and political anchor at Spectrum News, Errol Louis.

Errol, good morning to you.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good morning.

BLACKWELL: So, let's start here with the threat to close the border this week, potentially. Is there an explanation from the administration or any of the Republicans on the Hill who support this, how this is expected to stop the tens of thousands of people coming between ports of entry seeking asylum? I mean, what then does the president do when a week, a month goes on and the tens of thousands of people continue to how this is expected to stop the tens of thousands of people coming between ports of entry seeking asylum?

[07:10:07] I mean, what then does the president do when a week, a month goes on and the tens of thousands of people continue to come?

BLACKWELL: Yes, it's more of a talking point than a strategy, Victor. We do something like $1.5 billion a day worth of commerce through that southern border. So, to close it down would hurt U.S. companies, cost U.S. jobs, create a whole lot of confusion. Something like 500,000 people who legally pass through the border in Texas alone every single day.

So, you'd be inconveniencing a whole lot of people. It's a great talking point, however, and you hear the president say at his rallies and elsewhere because it sounds as if he is going to threaten to get tough with the Central American countries and with Mexico. The fiction, of course, is they could stop this problem because you're exactly right, because you're exactly right. If tens of thousands of people walk up to the border other than capturing them, and maybe detaining them and perhaps exporting them, there's really not a lot you can do. Whether there is legal commerce going or not, the people will continue to come most likely. BLACKWELL: And the same question that many people had when the

president sent troops to the border, if there is a criteria that's met that calls it a crisis to send them, what then is the criteria to retreat to pull them away, right? If 35,000 was enough to say we need troops at the border, now it's 70,000. What then the response from the administration?

Let me get to the funding of sending aid to Honduras and Guatemala and El Salvador. Is there a constituency in the Congress for this funding? Are there enough Republican senators who would like to see this money continue to go to those countries to stand up to the president to fight him on this cutoff of aid?

LOUIS: You know, it's a great question, Victor. It's hard to be sure where they are coming from as far as their understanding of the relationship between that aid to these, what I would call sending countries and the flows of migrants that are coming from these countries, these desperate families that are trying to get out of instability and insecurity in Central America. It's something like 2 percent of the entire foreign aid budget that goes to these countries. If you were to bump it up, we have actually seen examples in the past in countries like Colombia where substantial aid, as well as assistance can security can stabilize the situation in those countries so that they stop sending refugees and migrants to the United States.

I don't know if that is understood or believed by the Republican majority in the Senate. If they don't think it's going to work, then they probably will try to cut back. I mean, these are stingy amounts. I have to tell you when you're talking about tens or -- $10 million or $20 million to a country, the amount of pain and misery that could be alleviated by substantially ramping that up is not even a rounding error in our budget and, yet, it doesn't really get talked about that way. It's always talked about will there be a wall and will there not be a wall and will we shut down the border as if there were simple solutions out there.

BLACKWELL: It seems to contradict what we just saw and heard from DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielson. She was just in Tegucigalpa a couple of days ago and signed this agreement with the leaders of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. Let's put up a line of it there from the department. This is what they put on a website calling this the first ever multilateral compact on border security, aiming to the better synchronize cooperation between the countries in order to bolster border security, prevent the formation of new migrant caravans and address the root causes of the migration crisis.

And now take that money away, how do you hold that line of addressing the root causes if you withdraw the funding? It seems this kind of came at the last minute, even the DHS secretary did not know.

LOUIS: Yes, well, exactly. And, look, again, it's more politics than policy. The politics sound great when he says on Twitter, of all places, I'll shut down the border and, you know, harm or inconvenience hundreds of thousands of people at a possible cost of billions of dollars if you don't do what I say. On the ground, of course, the situation looks a lot different. It's good that the whole homeland security secretary was there trying to address the root causes.

If they don't get some kind of aid down there, what we are seeing is a regular sort of seasonal bump in migrants fleeing these countries because it's going to get really, really hot pretty soon and then you won't be able to sort of walk your way all the way to the U.S. border.

So, it will continue until and unless the United States gets its act together. Whether the White House and the Senate majority can figure this out, I guess, is the question on the table.

[07:15:06] BLACKWELL: You know, despite what some believe should happen at the border, close it or not close it, has he put himself in a position now giving it a deadline which he has not done before when he threatened to do this that he has to some action considering the numbers that are still coming in or people who are requesting asylum that he'll have to take some action and closing at least a portion of the border this week?

LOUIS: Yes. I mean, he can close some of the ports of entry. Let's keep in mind, it's not as if -- it's often portrayed, Victor, as if there is some wave of people trying to illicitly enter the country.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

LOUIS: They are actually looking to come to the ports and present themselves for arrest, detention, processing asylum application or something else.

So he can close a couple of the ports and, again, it's going to harm all of the wrong people, meaning it will be people who wanted to come to the ports to surrender themselves rather than cross illegally, as well as people with legal ability to enter the country.

Let's keep in mind, by the way, there are U.S. citizens. The reason you just can't close the border is U.S. citizens have a right to return their own country. You can't just sort of blindly turn them away. You actually have to process people whatever their claim may be when they show up at the border.

So, the president will mostly likely make some kind of show of closing some ports and inconveniencing a lot of people but the actual border will not be shut down.

BLACKWELL: Then the question with the people with those legal visas who want to come into the country and the drugs that are seized because of the technology at the border, do those go between the ports of entry to come into the country? A lot of questions, there will be possibly some lawsuits if the border ports are closed.

Errol Louis, always good to have you.

LOUIS: Thank you.

PAUL: Well, people are grieving this morning for a university of South Carolina student. She was murdered after a night out with her roommates. What police are saying and a classmate as well. BLACKWELL: Plus, the Chicago police say they stand behind the

professionalism of the detectives who worked on the Jussie Smollett case. We will tell you what else they are saying, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:21:08] PAUL: Police have arrested a 24-year-old man in connection with the death of a missing South Carolina student. Police say 21- year-old Samantha Josephson was last scene getting into a car near the University of South Carolina. Now, investigators believe she mistakenly got into the suspect's car believing it was her Uber driver.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHIEF WILLIAM HOLBROOK, COLUMBIA POLICE DEPARTMENT: What we now know is that she had, in fact, summoned an Uber ride and was waiting for that Uber ride to come. We believe -- we don't have a statement or any evidence that suggests this other than our observations on the video. We believe that she simply mistakenly got into this particular car thinking it was an Uber ride.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Can you believe it? Students at the University of South Carolina, they are trying to reconcile all of this. Listen to what one of them said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was just a very bubbly person. She was very happy and she was excited because she was going to law school in the fall but she was just a very happy bubbly person. Very sad and it's very scary because it can happen to anyone and you definitely need to make sure you stay with your friends.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: A tweet from the college said our prayers are with Samantha's family and friends and we enjoy the entire Carolina family in this time of grief.

Well, we are hearing from the Chicago police chief this morning regarding the Jussie Smollett case. And the police union -- they're ready to take action tomorrow.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Nick Watt is live from Chicago.

Nick, what are you hearing?

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that protest tomorrow is going to be outside Kim Foxx's office at 11:00 a.m. organized by the Fraternal Order of Police and going to be interesting to see how many cops show up to that event.

Now, they are demanding a federal investigation into how Kim fox and her office handled the Jussie Smollett situation. Remember, those 16 charges against him were dropped just last week. Now, police chief superintendent here in Chicago, he gave an interview, Eddie Johnson gave an interview this week to the "Sun Central" newspaper which he said, listen, it's kind of time for us to move on. He also put out a statement yesterday which I will read, in part. He said, the state's attorney and the police will continue in their joint effort to fight crime in Chicago. That will not change.

And let me read you a little bit. He says: As the state's attorney said, clearly, Mr. Smollett was not exonerated. I stand behind the professional of the detectives who worked on this case as well as the conclusions of the independent jury.

Remember, they have now sent a letter to Jussie Smollett asking for $130,000 to cover the cost of the police investigation. Eddie Johnson, back at the time of Smollett's arrest saying Smollett slapped everybody in the city of Chicago across the face. He is angry about this but stresses police have a job to do and this perhaps is already wasted enough time.

Now, whether Jussie Smollett ever pays that money is an open question. He has another five days to pay it and if he doesn't, he has been told that he may be pushed and prosecuted by the city's law department to pay that money. Interesting to see how that plays out.

And, also, whether this investigation ever happens. Kim Foxx says she welcomes it. She clear thinks that she has done nothing wrong.

Guys, back to you.

PAUL: All right. Nick Watt, we appreciate it. Thank you very much.

You know, there are two celebrities now who are joining this growing outrage over a new law in Brunei that seeks to punish adultery and any gay activity by way of death. The law, which is set to take effect Wednesday, would allow for the stoning death of LGBTQ people.

Singer Elton John is backing actor George Clooney, calling for a boycott of hotels with links to that country.

[07:25:05] In a statement, he said, quote: We must send a message however we can that such treatment is unacceptable.

BLACKWELL: The Rolling Stones are putting their upcoming North American tour on hold. A statement says the lead singer Mick Jagger needs medical advice and cannot tour. That is on the advice of doctors. Now, they did not say why 75-year-old Mick Jagger cannot go and what the ailment is.

And Jagger apologized to fans on Twitter. He wrote this: I'm devastated for having to postpone the tour but I will be working hard to be back on stage as soon as I can.

PAUL: We are hearing from 2020 candidates now who are talking about a woman who alleges Joe Biden inappropriately kissed the back of her head five years ago. Their message to the former vice president now, that's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:30:05]

PAUL: Well, this morning, 2020 candidates are addressing the unwanted kiss allegations involving former Vice President Joe Biden. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I read the op- ed last night. I believe Lucy Flores and Joe Biden needs to give an answer.

JULIAN CASTRO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe Lucy Flores. We need to live in a nation where people can hear her truth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, former Nevadan politician Lucy Flores seen here in this picture with the former vice president and actress Eva Longoria alleges that Biden grabbed her shoulders, inhaled her hair as she said it, and gave her a kiss on the back of her head in 2014. Flores says that the alleged kiss made her feel uneasy, gross, confused.

PAUL: Now, Biden spokesperson is responding with this statement, quote: Vice President Biden was pleased to support Lucy Flores' candidacy for lieutenant governor of Nevada in 2014 and to speak on her behalf at a well-attended public event. Neither then, nor in the years since, did her or the staff with him at the time have an inkling that Ms. Flores had been at any time uncomfortable, nor do they recall what she describes.

But Vice President Biden believes that Ms. Flores has every right to share her own recollection and reflections, and that it is a change for better in our society that she has the opportunity to do so. He respects Ms. Flores as a strong and independent voice in our politics and wishes her only the best, unquote.

BLACKWELL: Back with us to discuss, CNN political commentator Errol Louis.

Errol, the vice president has talked about -- he has talked about what he wished he could have done during the Anita Hill hearing, during the confirmation of Clarence Thomas. He talked about the implications of the crime bill.

But this is a statement from a third-party from a spokesperson talking about the vice president and it says, I don't remember that and it's not an apology. He is going to have to do more than this, will he not?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, that's exactly right, Victor. He also has to worry about whether or not other women are going to come forward. This is not the kind of thing that you can just kind of laugh off. The late night comedians have had fun at Joe Biden's expense over the years.

You can go online and find these YouTube compilations of him at various swearing in ceremonies and other occasions and being a little bit handsy, a little bit creepy, a little bit arguably inappropriate, but nobody has really sort of called it out in a very specific way the way Lucy Flores has and it really puts it front and center and it's something that the Biden camp is going to have to figure out, especially if he does, in fact, announce, because things are different than they were not only in 1994 and things are different than they were in 2015.

So, he is going to have to, I think, do a little bit more than say I don't remember it, although it might be legitimate. Well, that's just the start of the conversation.

PAUL: And because it is a different time, Errol, do you think we will see a different Joe Biden if he does enter the race than we have seen in the past?

LOUIS: Well, if he wants to appeal to the base of the Democratic Party, it starts with women, you know? It includes especially Latino women who are a sizeable portion. You know, you're going to have to try and work this out. He's going to have people come forward and vouch for him and have sort of character witnesses. He's going to have to talk about this issue in a way that makes it real for him personally.

What is tricky is anybody can reel off the policy propositions of making sure that harassment is detected and punished and deterred. It's him personally that he is going to have to sort of step forward and explain himself to an audience that a little bit more skeptical than it was just a few years ago about, you know, I meant no harm or it's all in good fun or nobody complained, so I thought it was K. Those kind of explanations just don't fly any more.

PAUL: OK. So, I want to switch gears to a poll regarding the Mueller report. There's a poll in "The Washington Post." Fifty-three percent of people polled approve of how Mueller handled the investigation, 30 percent disapprove, 59 percent believe Russia tried to influence the outcome of 2016 U.S. elections. The 31 percent do not.

We keep talking about President Trump having a 30 percent base and this is what stood out to me. Both of those -- both of those polls would indicate that, would they not?

LOUIS: Well, yes. I mean, look, there is this base there. I mean, Christi, you've got to remember on the day, he resigned in disgrace, Richard Nixon had something like 24 percent support, right? So there are always going to be people who support even at a very unpopular president. Even if facts are known that would lead people so day this person did not really serve in office. I think we would all agree that is where Nixon was at the very end.

[07:35:01] So, you know, what people think about this unseen report, I think, really is going to -- mostly reflect where the country is --

PAUL: OK.

LOUIS: -- and the country seems to be in a place where 30 percent to 45 percent support the president.

PAUL: So, let me ask you this, when we talk about where do we go from here kind of thing, 47 percent believe President Trump committed serious wrongdoing, 46 percent believe do not believe he did so. That's a pretty good middle split there.

Is it valuable enough for the Democrats to further investigate the president on this matter or is it time to move on?

LOUIS: Well, now, the president -- the Democrats will have to. I mean, the Democrats who control the House of Representatives, they have a constitutional duty to do something not only with those numbers but with the report.

The report, when we see it in its final form or whatever form makes its way on Congress is going to serve as kind of a road map. Again, comparing it back to the Nixon era, the special prosecutor gave Congress kind of a road map of here are some real problems that out there and not necessarily crimes that can be prosecuted in a courtroom but you as the Congress, Congress has a constitutional obligation to investigate and to take appropriate action. And that, you know, it could be anything from censure to expressions of disapproval, to maybe changes to policy, sort of tighten things up so that we don't see a repeat of some of the misbehavior and all the way up to impeachment.

BLACKWELL: Yes, it's important also to say that this assessment of how the investigation ended and the findings, not one of the persons who respond to do that poll has actually seen the report because no one has.

PAUL: No one has.

BLACKWELL: SO, when that comes mid-April, maybe those numbers will change.

PAUL: Change.

BLACKWELL: So, that's our base on Barr's four-page summary, although he did call that --

LOUIS: And let's keep in mind, of course, Victor, at the end of the day, what people think about the facts doesn't change whether or not the facts exist.

(CROSSTALK)

PAUL: Change the facts. When you think about them -- yes, they don't change.

BLACKWELL: Errol Louis, thank you for staying with us.

PAUL: Thanks, Errol.

LOUIS: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: OK. So, Jeannine Pirro is back on Fox News after her controversial marks about Representative Ilhan Omar and she is now aiming at President Trump's critics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:41:33] PAUL: So, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro was back Saturday night after a two-week absence without mentioning why she was gone.

BLACKWELL: Now, Pirro's show has not aired since March 9th when she questioned Representative Ilhan Omar's loyalty to America because she is Muslim.

PAUL: CNN chief media correspondent Brian Stelter is with us now.

So, are you getting any explanation as to why was she on vacation? I don't know.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Fox had it both ways. They suspended her but didn't publicize it, so they punished her and didn't talk about it in the press but she was off for two weeks and very unusual move. The reason why it matters, of course, is because it's one of the president's favorite shows.

This is a television presidency. It's a Fox News presidency. He was angry that Judge Pirro was not on the air defending him and supporting him.

So, on Pirro's first day back, Rudy Giuliani was there among others. Here is what some Rudy Giuliani had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: It's an honor to be with you again.

JEANINE PIRRO, FOX NEWS HOST: Oh, thank you.

GIULIANI: You know what I think of you and your entire career.

PIRRO: Thank you.

GIULIANI: You're a crusader for justice.

PIRRO: Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STELTER: (AUDIO GAP) putting it on pretty thick there, Rudy Giuliani on behalf of the president and this is a virtuous cycle that exists between the president and his favorite shows. He defends them, they defend him and on it on it goes. They were calling for Pirro to come back and she showed up with him a matter a few months ago. So, she is one of the president's biggest supporters. She's back on

the air and when you listen to her rhetoric and rhetoric from some of her colleagues, you can hear how extreme and radical it is. Last night, she demanded what she called "behind bars justice" for the people she believes created this hoax about Russia and Trump and that is really extreme rhetoric but the kind of in the president's ears and he likes to hear and now one of his favorite shows is back on RV.

BLACKWELL: All right. Now, before we let you go, "Saturday Night Live" brought back Alec Baldwin and Robert de Niro for their take on the Mueller report, at least Barr letter on the Mueller report.

STELTER: Bob Mueller's president shows, one of the least favorites, this is the kind of skit that gets him tweeting that government should look use regulating comedy.

Here's part of Robert Mueller back as Mueller..

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFED MALE: As for conspiracy or collusion, there were several questionable incidences involving the president's team but we cannot prove a criminal connection.

UNIDENTIFED FEMALE: No collusion, no diggity and no doubt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STELTER: Making a very great point there. I thought this was a fantastic open to the show. It's up on YouTube and Hulu for people to watch in full.

Look, it's making a real point. There's kind of a game of telephone that's happened here. The president and his allies have a week now to cement a narrative about the Mueller report even though the Mueller report is still secret and still in the dark. Unfortunately in this country and all around the world, conspiracies and theories outline festers in the dark, you know?

So the secrecy around this report allows "SNL" to have some fun. It allows left wing bloggers to show conspiracy theories that are probably ridiculous and so on and so on. I think in some ways, the country is more divided than it was a week ago when we heard this report was finished.

BLACKWELL: Well, two weeks now until we get he redacted report or Congress gets it. We will see what is there.

STELTER: That's right.

PAUL: And we'll see what "SNL" does with that.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

BLACKWELL: All right. Thank you, Stelter.

PAUL: Thank you, Brian.

STELTER: Thanks.

BLACKWELL: All right. Catch his show "RELIABLE SOURCES", today at 11:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

[07:45:01] PAUL: So when guys like Charles Barkley call it the game of the tournament, you know it's good, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, exactly right. Purdue/Virginia game was delicious. One kid put on a historic tournament run. A hero was born at the buzzer. If you saw it, you know you want a second helping.

If you didn't, we will give you a taste coming up on NEW DAY.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: Another number one seed has fallen. And apparently, Victor saw it coming.

BLACKWELL: I did. I don't know how.

Texas Tech takes down Gonzaga with help from an unlikely hero.

WIRE: Yes, these are the moments that March Madness are made of, kids you never heard of who shine for this one moment that's going to last forever. David Moretti from Bologna, Italy, check this out.

He hadn't seen his family in about a year, but earlier this week, his brother, mom and dad surprised him at a team meeting, and they were there for the final minutes when David hit arguably two of the biggest shots in Texas Tech's hoop history.

[07:50:08] His dad he says is his idol, taught David to hit three- pointers just like that. The Red Raiders are pulling away. But one seed Gonzaga keeps fighting.

Zach bell, watch him hit this shot to pull the Zags within two. They turn the heat up for this inbound pass. Watch Josh Perkins touching the ball before it's passed into play. That's a technical foul.

So, Texas Tech would get free-throws and the ball back and the win. Red Raider nation storming the court in celebration, but Gonzaga's senior Josh Perkins, after the last game for the school he loves, is devastated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSH PERKINS, GONZAGA GUARD: It's a family atmosphere. We're going to the real world now. So, best five years of my life.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WIRE: Texas Tech coach Chris Beard makes school history taking the Red Raiders for the first time in school history. He's cracked seven tournament wins in the last two years. Prior to that, the school had eight in its all-time list of wins.

All right. Check out the chaos at the end of one-seed Virginia and Perdue. Virginia down two with five seconds left. Their missed free- throw becomes a loose ball scramble. Clark makes an incredible half- court pass to Mamadi Diakite who nails it at the buzzer. His only made field goal the entire second half. A jaw dropping play.

And look at Carson and Mamadi smiling at each other like, wow, this is crazy. In over time Purdue's Carson Edwards who scored 42, breaking Steph Curry's record watches his pass sail out of bounds as they're going for the tie. With it, Purdue's tournament dream sails away, too. Virginia wins 80-75, returning to the Final Four for the first time in 35 years.

Rest to the Final Four determined later today. First Auburn/Kentucky in an all SEC match-up. Then Duke and Zion taking on Michigan State.

Now, we have to talk about our Cinderella story. Victor Blackwell, folks, this guy had the foresight, the division to predict the Texas Tech --

PAUL: He also had gin on his side.

BLACKWELL: I have gin.

WIRE: Yes, gin by his side, powered by gin.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

WIRE: But your decisions yesterday pushed you farther up the ranks. Victor is now in 28th place out of more than 42 folks across the nation in our CNN bracket challenge. That's better than 99.9 percent of the people who played with us. Thank you, by the way.

But my goodness, victor --

PAUL: You need to put that up in your office somewhere.

BLACKWELL: Yes, and I need to do it tonight, because I imagine when these games come -- this run can't go forever.

PAUL: He's so humble. We're going to be talking about it next week.

BLACKWELL: Need to explain the gin element. I picked these teams -- I picked Duke to win it all and randomly picked everyone else, every other team over a glass of Empress 1908 with a splash of Q Indian tonic.

WIRE: And that sounds like a great night.

BLACKWEL: Right.

WIRE: And see what I love about, Victor, he admittedly doesn't like sports but gone to watch a soccer game with me.

BLACKWELL: Yes, yes, yes.

WIRE: He's picking tournament picks.

PAUL: You are turning him around.

WIRE: I'm proud of you, man.

BLACKWELL: All my stories involved a drink. So, we went to have a couple of drinks watching soccer, and --

PAUL: And the soccer game was good.

BLACKWELL: -- and the soccer game was good. We'll see how long this run lasts. I'm enjoying it. Is there a check that comes, do I win something?

PAUL: Oh, no.

WIRE: We'll get you a bum ball machine.

But I got to show you one more thing. Do you guys remember this?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've just been handed an urgent and horrifying news story, and I need all of you to stop what you're doing and listen. Cannonball!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WIRE: All right, Ron Burgundy and the guys are back. Thank you San Diego Padres. Wouldn't you know it, Ron Burgundy came home with the inaugural race. You know what they say, 60 percent of the time it works every time.

Happy Sunday, everyone.

PAUL: Coy Wire, thank you. That's awesome.

BLACKWELL: All right. Different political views can cause stress in a family and friendships. We know that.

And in this week's "Staying Well", we see how to find a healthy medium in your relationship.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEANNE SAFER, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: You do not have to tolerate something that's going to be divisive and make everybody miserable.

(MUSIC)

SAFER: I'm Jeanne Safer, and I'm psychoanalyst.

RICK BROOKHISER, SENIOR EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW: I'm Rick Brookhiser. I'm senior editor of "National Review".

SAFER: How long have we been married?

BROOKHISER: Thirty-nine years in September.

I'm a conservative Republican. She's a liberal Democrat. You know, we used to fight a little bit. Then over time, we learned just not to do that. It didn't result in me or Jeanne changing either of our minds.

[07:55:06] SAFER: As a therapist, the issue is not politics. It's psychology. I interviewed 50 people for this book. I would say about 48 of them were busy trying to stick their opinions down the other person's throat.

If you want your marriage to being better or your friendship or your relationship with your child, I hereby give everybody permission to say let's not talk about this, and stick with it. You don't have to agree with his position. It makes the relationship closer.

It also says, I know the place of politics and I know the place of personality and character. I choose character over anything.

BROOKHISER: We got the right key.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: Those wise words there.

We hope you make some good memories this morning. Thanks for being with us.

BLACKWELL: "INSIDE POLITICS" is up after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)