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More than 80 Million People Under Threat from Severe Weather; The Masters Final Round Moved Up; Pete Buttigieg Gaining Ground in Iowa & New Hampshire Polls; IRS Given 9-Day Deadline for Trump's Taxes; Stargazers Capture First Ever Image of a Black Hole. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired April 14, 2019 - 07:00   ET


[07:00:00] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: The sheriff there is saying more than 100 homes have structural damage. The situation is, quote, really bad. It's a mess. He says it looks like something exploded in the town.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: And in Texas even worse. Two children were killed after a tree fell on a car they were traveling in during the storm. Power lines are down and large trees ripped down and some roads are impassible this morning and authorities are beginning to assess the extent of the damage' see more when the sun is up.

We are about 25 minutes from sunrise in Mississippi where the storm hit and we are getting our first glimpses of the destruction and this is just Mississippi. The damage is widespread. Look at this.

Storm chaser Brandon Clement has just arrived in Hamilton, Mississippi, that is in Monroe County, and he just sent us this video.

This was the volunteer fire department. The building has collapsed. The emergency vehicles there damaged.

PAUL: I want to show you more video that Brandon sent us. That is part of a home, now in a tree. Large trees we know are down and they are snapped in half. You saw the sheet metal wrapped around the top of that tree. Windows of vehicles have blown out.

Look at this poor man standing there. We don't know if he is the owner of that property but you can't imagine what it feels like to stand in front of something like that knowing that was -- that was your home, that was your place.

Brandon is on the phone with us right now.

Brandon, thank you for taking time to be with us. We know the sun is coming up there. What are you seeing this hour?

BRANDON CLEMENT, STORM CHASER (via telephone): Well, we are just starting to get a good look at first light, however, still have the lights on in my car because what I do. I do a lot of stuff at night. A lot of tornadoes happen late evening and early night.

So, I got a pretty good idea driving around of what we are dealing with. It's not a tremendously long damage path like we saw in Alabama a few weeks ago. It's rather short damage path but it gets real intense really quickly and it hits a bunch of homes in the small community of Hamilton right in the middle of it, damaged, and the volunteer fire department is destroyed and a lot of the homes and the street next to it are destroyed or badly damaged.

Like most tornadoes, you can see which homes were poorly built and those that were most definitely the hardest hit. A couple of trailers were absolutely just destroyed. The man you saw picking things up, that was a couple of mobile homes there. And his girlfriend was at the trailer when it hit and she is now at the hospital so that is one of the injuries.

It's pretty heart-breaking when you see this, you know? And especially when you (INAUDIBLE)

BLACKWELL: You know, Brandon, we have not heard from NOAA yet calling this a tornado. But as the storm chaser, you know, and I know, and Christi as well, for decades covering these storms, when you see a certain type of damage, a signature that you can tell that these were not straight line winds, what is giving you that information what you're looking at it tornado damage, not just the straight line wind damage?

CLEMENT: Well, first it happened right next to the radar, the Columbus radar. You had a real clear, really tight velocity to show the winds coming and you have a debris signature. I think the debris was up to 22,000. So, it was radar confirmed and it was definitely a tornado but until they do the survey, it's not official, but there's no doubt about it.

But when you see it, you see things pushed in different directions. You see straight line winds kind of have a limitation, the damage they can do, you know? Sometimes you'll see and awnings or windows blown out but when you see total destruction of homes and even some of the ones I've seen mobile homes, it's no doubt tornado damage. Roofs missing and walls knocked out and buildings collapsed, that type of stuff and a straight path that goes on for several miles and it's pretty narrow. It's pretty easy to see it's a tornado.

PAUL: I know you're in front of the fire department and it has collapsed. Is there any activity there? We are hoping first of all, that none of the firefighters were hurt, but also those firefighters are going to be needed today.

CLEMENT: Yes, most definitely, equipment they need to do. It doesn't look too much damage so probably usable but not in the best condition. When I first pulled into town a lot of activity but the activity has kind of ceased down. I think they went out search and rescue and trying to evaluate and once they did that, the tornado hit at 11:00 at night or sometime around there. So people were tired and went and got some sleep.

[07:05:00] And I'm sure we will start seeing activity spring as soon as the sun starts to come up just a little bit more. BLACKWELL: Hey, Brandon, I'll understand if you don't have the answer

to this yet but I'm going to ask it any way. We have known for a little more than a day, for a while now this line of storms was coming. But between the time that -- let me say it this way. Before the tornado was on the ground, did we know how much warning people had in this community that the danger was eminent?

CLEMENT: Not much at all. I was watching radar at the time. It's not a fault of anybody, you know, pressing the warning button. This one just spun you will really quick. You can see on radar just a straight line storm at first and then, all of a sudden, we get a hook echo to start to form and within one or two scans, it was a very intense velocity signature on radar and it didn't last particularly long, only on there a few scans, but it didn't take much. It set down as a pretty strong tornado and went right through the middle of the town.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Again, as the radar showed that this was a tornado, the national weather service has not weighed in officially or done the survey, so that will come today as they come and look at the damage. But, you know, this will be a busy time for the National Weather Service and all of these communities. Big city, small towns as this line of storms continues to head east here.

CLEMENT: Perfect, thank you, ma'am.

BLACKWELL: Brandon Clement was on the phone there as a storm chaser in Hamilton County.

PAUL: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Multiple fatalities and multiple injuries there in Mississippi.

PAUL: And when you see this line of storms, you can see where it's going. This is a huge swath. This is a huge line of storms. It is just rolling through -- getting ready to push through Alabama and Georgia, all the way up to New York.

We want to go to CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar.

How potent will storm continue to be as it moves through, Allison?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It's a great question when comparing it yesterday to today. Yesterday, you had a level 4 out of 5 for the warning. Today, it's down to a 3 out of 5. But the population doubles in terms of who is under the severe threat.

And things like this, this video coming from Alto, Texas, is still possible today. This is potential tornado damage in this particular community. It wasn't just tornadoes we had yesterday. We also had very large hail.

Numerous reports in Texas of baseball-sized hail or even larger, over 100 reports of severe weather yesterday. Fifteen of those so far have been reported tornadoes, reported. They will still have to go out and survey and determine which ones were tornadoes and how strong they would have been.

Now, one thing to note. The reason why today is slightly weaker of a threat than compared to yesterday is a lot of these storms are really starting to narrow and start to form a line. That typically means your threat for damaging winds is higher. However, embedded within that line, you can still get super cells that will produce tornadoes, so the threat is still there.

You have tornado watches still in effect for three states for at least the next couple of hours as that line continues to push off to the east. Now, one thing to note, this is the threat area right here stretching from New York all the way down towards Florida. Again, the main threats will still be the same from yesterday damaging winds, the potential for very large hail, as well as isolated tornadoes.

The morning hours, it's mainly going to be a focus, guys, for cities like Atlanta, Montgomery, Knoxville, then by the afternoon and evening, it progresses east. Now, we're talking more cities like Washington, D.C., Raleigh, and even Augusta, Georgia.

BLACKWELL: A lot of people under that threat, more than 80 million.

Allison Chinchar, thanks so much.

I think I mentioned NOAA earlier, of course, I meant National Weather Service. It comes from years of covering hurricanes.

PAUL: Yes.

BLACKWELL: Let's go now to Augusta. The threat of severe weather is forcing the Masters to move up play.

PAUL: Yes, everybody has to prepare, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Right. I spoke with a spokesperson for Augusta National earlier this morning. He told me if there is a severe storm cell heading towards the course, they will blow the sirens here at Augusta National to give the patrons enough time to get to safety. There is no shelter here at the course for the amount of people that will be here so they advise everyone in that instance to go back to their vehicles to ride out the storm.

Now because of the severe weather threat, they have moved up the tee times for today's final round. Her now going to be going off at 7:30 a.m. Eastern and going from holes number 1 and 10 and as opposed to going off in pairs like they normally do, they will be doing threesomes for the first time ever here at the Masters in the final round.

Now, of course, the safety is the biggest concern for everyone here and the course putting out a statement yesterday. It read: The safety of everyone on our grounds is paramount. We also believe the earlier start will give us the best opportunity to complete the Masters on Sunday.

[07:10:04] This decision should benefit everyone -- the players , our patrons and our fans watching around the world. Given the competitiveness and drama of this year's tournament, we look forward to an exciting conclusion tomorrow.

And the Augusta National also announcing earlier this morning that there will be no traditional green jacket ceremony on the practice putting green for all the patrons like they normally do. They have cancelled that in order to expedite gate closures. And, guys, you know, these storms expected to hit around 2:00 Eastern. That's going to make it iffy in terms if they are able to complete today's final round. We haven't had masters Monday since 1983.

PAUL: We might have one this week.

BLACKWELL: Yes, maybe.

PAUL: Andy Scholes, thank you very much.

BLACKWELL: Coming up, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is asking voters to stay tuned for a special announcement this afternoon. We look at how he's gone from a virtually unknown political face to third place in the some of those early state polls.

PAUL: And a car chase ended with a Florida sheriff's sergeant dodging a bullet. We mean this very literally, folks. His head was grazed in the shooting. What led up to this moment and more of this video.

Stay close.


[07:15:22] PAUL: Mayor Pete Buttigieg is expected to make it official today. He has, quote, a special announcement planned in South Bend, Indiana, where he is expected to officially jump into an already crowded Democratic presidential candidate poll there.

Buttigieg is, right now, in third place just after Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. That is in two new polls out of Iowa and New Hampshire.

Also, Eric Swalwell has a kickoff rally. That's in Dublin, California, today. The fourth term congressman has a tough stance on gun control. He announced he is running for president and he announced that last week.

Karoun Demirjian is with us now.

Karoun, good to see you today.

Let's talk about this poll, first of all. The Monmouth University Poll polled likely Democratic caucus-goers in Iowa, said that Biden has 27 percent support there right now, Sanders, 16, and Buttigieg has 9 percent. Then he was third in the other poll out of New Hampshire as well.

What is it about Buttigieg that is getting so much attention, do you think? KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think he has

surprised a lot of people that somebody from a city like the size of South Bend, who's the mayor of that city, could make this sort of a rise.

But I think for a lot of people, he represents a bit of an anti-Trump without really campaigning on a very angry anti-Trump message. You know, he is young. Trump is not young. He is -- Trump has difficulty embracing many parts of the electorate. Buttigieg is a first potential gay candidate to be out there for president.

He served. Trump did not serve. He's got a very intellectual style, because Trump's kind of a off-the-cuff, much more of a marketing sort of things and oftentimes labeling various people or policies with short names that don't necessarily tell you that much beneath those. I think that for some, that's been kind of like breath of fresh air in a way.

But also, we'll see if he can carry this momentum through. I think it's very interesting that Buttigieg is third place behind the two biggest names that we know, right, we got Biden and Sanders ahead of him in each of those polls. And Biden was the vice president for a while and Sanders almost got the Democratic nomination in 2016. So --

PAUL: And Biden has not entered the race officially and put that out there.

DEMIRJIAN: I have to keep remembering that.


PAUL: I want to ask you about something in "The New York Times" today, because they are talking about Buttigieg in terms of whether he is a story teller or whether he is a policy guy. Making the point that he really hasn't put out a lot of detailed policy yet and here is partly of what he wrote.

Mr. Buttigieg said he would outline more proposals with time, but he rejected the idea that the Democratic race might hinge who has the most elegant policy design because the president cannot execute his plans clearly in office. Mr. Buttigieg argued it would be inauthentic to make too many detailed policies. He said, I actually think I've been plenty specific; it's just that we don't lead with it, I don't want to drown people in minutiae.

At some point, will he have to do so, however?

DEMIRJIAN: Yes, once you get to the points the Democrats are in a debate stage and they're technically debating each other on the issues upon which they mostly agree. I think there's a lot of policy points among -- where Democrats are all on the same top line page. It's just a question of how they actually plan to get to the proposals that they suggest, such as universal health care, such as paying for child care, such as college tuition issues. Things that go to the bread and butter issues of what Democrats stand for. But as we've seen, Elizabeth Warren has taken the tact of talking

about policy very specifically and she is ranking below Buttigieg in these polls. There's been people that said, you know, compared to many of the plans, Buttigieg and Warren are not even all of that dissimilar when you talk about certain issues, but she's getting into the more policy weeds, he is not. That doesn't mean that's the only aspect at play. There's all kinds of reasons that people may gravitate to a candidate or not.

There's questions about how women will fare this year -- this cycle, excuse me, the Democratic Party, and whether the party wants to nominate somebody who is female. You don't know what it is right now. So, in a way doubling down on any one thing for any one educate is a risk and I think at this point we will see because it's April, right?

PAUL: Yes, surely.


DEMIRJIAN: We have the summer.

PAUL: And Eric Swalwell is jumping in today as well. But I want to talk about Bernie Sanders real quickly because he is being criticized for his recent financial status after he announced this week that he's a millionaire. Listen to how he's addressing that.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I didn't know it was a crime to write a good book. I don't apologize for writing a book that was the number three on "The New York Times" best seller and translated to five or six languages, and that's that.


[07:20:06] PAUL: It's a great line. I didn't know that it was a crime to write a good book which turns out to be a best seller, he says.

But does this --

DEMIRJIAN: Humble brag.

PAUL: Yes, exactly, very good point. Does his increased wealth diminish his message or does it diminish his credence to deliver that message?

DEMIRJIAN: Potentially. Look, people who are loyal to Bernie Sanders are loyal to Bernie Sanders. That is a very important subsection of the Democratic electorate heading into 2020. It may damage pulling in other people, but again, it's not because changing his message necessarily. I think Bernie has been very clear on what Bernie is campaigning for.

PAUL: And he's very honest this does not change his messaging? DEMIRJIAN: Right. What he has been saying. But again, this is a

question of image always. Politics is not just about what the message you deliver, but what people hear.

And as we were talking a moment ago about how Buttigieg seems to be the anti-Trump in a lot of ways, the more Sanders might not seem that dissimilar from the current president and he is -- policy-wise, definitely, they are not very similar. But when it comes to the way that they have become both these cultural icons, when it comes to the nature with which they draw certain parts of the electorate, but not others, and when it comes to, you know, their age and financial stature, et cetera, you might see people saying, well, maybe he's not that much of a departure from the president.

But it depends who you're talking to and who exactly is the beholder in this. Again, it's so early we are not quite sure what of these details are going to matter down the line, but this is the one that Sanders is answering for this week.

PAUL: All right. Karoun Demirjian, always appreciate you being here. Thank you.

DEMIRJIAN: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: The sun is up in Mississippi right now. Storm chaser Brandon Clement is in Hamilton, Mississippi. This was the Hamilton fire volunteer facility there. You see some of the vehicles damaged.

He is going to try to get a drone up to get us some aerial pictures and give us a broader look at the damage in Monroe County, Mississippi. We will take you live there next.

PAUL: And this next video, my goodness, literally inches from death for this Florida's sheriff sergeant. His hat shot off his head, grazed by the bullet during a shoot-out. We have more of this video coming up.


[07:26:32] PAUL: There are more than 80 million people who are under a severe weather threat right now. These are deadly storms. We have seen massive hail, tornadoes and damaging winds.

All of that is heading east right now, and we're learning there are multiple fatalities and injuries specifically in Monroe County, Mississippi. We don't have confirmed numbers there yet, although the sheriff says there is one confirmed he knows of and more than a hundred homes are damaged. He calls the situation a mess.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Let's go to Texas. Two children were killed after a tree fell on a car they were traveling in during the storm. There we know that the power lines were down as they are in many communities because of this storm. Some roads are impassible. And authorities are just beginning to assess the extent of the damage as the sun rises. PAUL: Storm chaser Brandon Clement is back with us. He was with us a

little while ago. He is in Hamilton, Missouri, there in Monroe County, Mississippi, excuse me. One of the hardest hit areas this morning.

And this is live drone images coming from him today. Look at what they are going to be dealing with just now as the sun is coming up and they are just trying to wrap their heads around what has happened. There is half a house, half a house, still standing.

Actually, I take that back. That is the fire department of what is left of it. You can see the fire trucks that are there. We don't know the damage of those trucks, although it looks like the building collapsed on them but those trucks are going to be needed today as they get through the rest of building town and try to figure out who needs what at this point.

But, again, this is live drone footage of Hamilton, Mississippi, and you can see what it looks like from there.

Brandon is on the phone with us right now.

So, Brandon, we are looking at the damage from your drone, and thank you for making that available for us from the ground. What are you seeing?

CLEMENT (via telephone): Well, you can see a clear path where the tornado went. You also see where more intense when it first came down and it gradually weakened, already been able to track the path. Not a very long path but looks like it was a tornado that did quite a bit of damage to homes. It did hit right in the middle of a community. And when you see a stronger tornado hit in the middle of a community, you know the results are never good.

BLACKWELL: Brandon, are you seeing a lot of -- usually they show the worst of the damage and show it first, mobile homes in this community?

CLEMENT: Yes. The mobile homes that took a direct hit from the tornado either aren't there or so badly damaged and mangled or flipped that you can't really recognize what they are. Mobile homes are probably the worst-case scenario in a tornado or any high-wind event and got a big, broad square area, so they catch the wind and they are not very heavy.

And, you know, I wish I could tell people if you're in a mobile home, at least anchor the frame down, that would give you a little bit more protection, at least you won't get picked up and thrown. Might get thrown apart but not picked up and thrown (INAUDIBLE).

BLACKWELL: It's difficult to even tell and we are grateful for these drone shots, what some of these properties used to be because they are so badly damaged.

CLEMENT: Yes. You can tell when you get up close, the ones that are completely gone, they are not a better, you know, build types that would be consistent with a violent, you know, high-end tornado. [07:30:07] But you are seeing some things that are consistent with EF-

2 damage like roofs missing or partial walls missing. Mobile homes completely destroyed. You know, someone that is strong to a weak 3 range, it's definitely somewhere in there.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: I was listening to somebody yesterday telling people when you I telling people to get out of the mobile homes, just to get out of the mobile homes, to go somewhere else, to not stay there because they were that vulnerable, and we are seeing here just still some of these pictures. And I think about the people who live in these homes who may be seeing these pictures for the first time, hopefully, they had gotten out, hopefully, they had gotten somewhere that was safe for them.

But I want to ask you, again, do you have any gauge of what kind of warning time wise they had before this thing hit?

CLEMENT: I talked to one person who said they had 30 seconds warning before the tornado hit their house. Of course, in a moment of stress, you never really know how well people comprehend time because it can be difficult. I can tell you firsthand looking at the radar while it was happening that it was no indication of a tornado or rotation and then within just a couple of minutes, you had debris being thrown up and picked up on the radar, tens of thousands of feet.


CLEMENT: I'm sorry, go ahead.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: There doesn't appear to be much traffic out there or many people on the road. I don't know if that because the roads are impassible in some communities. You see a few cars there.

Do you see anybody milling around or sifting what left through there?

CLEMENT: Yes, just a minute ago, we looked down as people in yellow shirts walking around the woods, trying to find possessions. Earlier -- not earlier, late last night, I saw a man, you know, going through belongings to pick his stuff up but not seeing a lot of traffic out right now, because that's probably because they had a really late night. This thing didn't hit until 10:00 or 11:00 at night.

You can imagine it hit and everybody, you see these disasters happen in towns, one beautiful thing about it, the communities come together so I'm sure they are all helping neighbors and friends and family to sort everything out. I know when I got here somewhere around 3:00 a.m., there was still a lot of activity going on so they are probably getting well-needed rest right now.


PAUL: Brandon Clement, we appreciate so much you taking time to share this video, this drone live drone video with us. We are thinking about all of the people there in that community. I have this imagine what he was saying people around standing him

looking at this and seeing their property perhaps from this vantage point and has that to be a tough thing to take in. What you're seeing there is what is left of the fire department. Those firefighters, that equipment will be sorely needed the next few days, so we're going to keep you posted as we get more developments there from Mississippi and watch the storm as it moves east.

Everybody, please hunker down and take good care of yourselves.

Brandon, thank you.


[07:37:43] BLACKWELL: 2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says he will release his tax returns tomorrow but the countdown has begun for someone else's returns. Nine days, in fact. That's how much time the Democrats are giving the IRS commissioner to release President Trump's returns.

PAUL: So, House Ways and Means Committee chairman, Congressman Richard Neal, re-upped his demand yesterday, telling the commissioner, quote: I expect a reply from the IRS by 5:00 p.m. on April 23rd.

CNN White House correspondent Boris Sanchez is with us from the White House.

Good morning to you. What response, if any, has he received, Boris?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: None yet, Victor and Christi. The Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin essentially gave the same response he did the first time around. More on that in a second.

But I just wanted to point out what was in the letter that Richard Neal sent to the IRS commissioner, effectively saying that questions about the constitutionality of this request were invalid. Let's recall. He is asking for six years of the president's tax returns, including tax returns some that are related to the president's business interest. Now, the first time around, this deadline came and went with hardly a response. This time around, he is effectively, Neal saying that he shouldn't be ignored.

Look at this portion of the letter that he writes, quote. It is not the proper function of the IRS, Treasury, or Justice to question or second guess the motivation of the committee or its reasonable determinations regarding its need for the requested tax returns and return information.

Now, as I said before, Mnuchin effectively didn't have a comment. He said it would be too premature to saying about this. The first time around, he did say that he wanted to consult with the department of justice before determining whether or not it was appropriate to release these returns. He has said he believes the constitutionality of this is an issue. Further, he said that these deadlines are arbitrary.

CNN heard from Mnuchin yesterday. He said he had yet to speak to the Attorney General William Barr.

Here at the White House, President Trump had previously said that Democrats would have to talk to his attorneys and talk to the attorney general before they got their hands on his tax returns. Keep in mind sources here at the White House have told us that the president is going to do everything in his power to try to prevent this. They will fight this if they have to all the way to the Supreme Court -- Victor and Christi.

[07:40:03] BLACKWELL: Boris Sanchez at the White House for us, thank you so much.

SANCHEZ: Thanks.

PAUL: Of course, Tax Day is tomorrow.


PAUL: If you've already filed, maybe you're not happy with your refund? A big group you can jump right in to.

BLACKWELL: Michelle Singletary, personal finance columnist for "The Washington Post" joins us now.

Welcome back, Michelle.


PAUL: Good morning.

SINGLETARY: Good morning.

BLACKWELL: Folks are not happy about these refunds.

PAUL: Look at her!

BLACKWELL: Because they are smaller or they have to owe for the first time ever for some people.

PAUL: That has to be jolting.

BLACKWELL: Does it mean they are paying more in taxes, though?

SINGLETARY: Not necessarily. What happened when they passed the major overhaul people got money throughout the year but so tiny they feel like any see that money! So, when it came time to file their taxes, either they got a smaller refund or they owed.

I've been hearing from readers all across the country, all ages and income levels, who are just really mad they didn't understand what was happening with this because when they passed it and they changed withholdings, the people needed to go back and redo their withholdings to make sure they paid enough or that they would get the refund they wanted, which they shouldn't be getting anyway, but that's not another story. BLACKWELL: Well, tell that story. Why shouldn't people be getting a


SINGLETARY: Well, think about it, you don't have a situation where your taxes have changed. Like you didn't have a baby, you didn't get married. Then you are, every year, getting a large refund, that's like giving the government your money to hold in their pocket until April 15th or whenever you file in a tax season.

If you've got a lot of consumer debt, it just makes no sense because you're paying all of this interest while you let Uncle Sam hold your money. You know, give it to me. I'll do something with it.


SINGLETARY: So, you don't want to do that.

Now, a lot of people say, Michelle, I want my tax refund because it's a for savings. And I get that. You don't have the discipline to save every month and I understand these happen every month and there is a lot of effort to go out and spend with your friends and things like that. So, if that is you, OK.

If you're carrying a lot of consumer debt, you shouldn't do that and also you could invest those money every month in your kids college fund and your retirement account. So, you're not just losing the interest, but you're losing the potential to have a return on that money. Why you letting Uncle Sam hold it in his pocket.

PAUL: Lay it to Michelle to find the golden nugget in there. Listen, this is what you could be doing even though you're not very happy. So, let me ask you this, what does -- if somebody gets a return and they are not happy -- what does that tell them what they should be doing differently going into next year?

SINGLETARY: Well, you know, April 15th people think I'm done, I'm out of here. No! This is the time of year you need to look at your finances. You got all of those documents there. Sit down with a tax professional and go over your withholdings.

The IRS has a withholding calculator which they're going to be updating, that you can kind of calculate how much you should be having out, taking out of your paycheck or either increase or decrease it so you don't get a large refund or owe lot either. And now is a time to do it.

Don't stuff those documents and put them in a file and next year cry I didn't get enough money, now I got to pay. Now, you need to look at the situation and see, so you can be getting your money and actively, you know, managing your money. This is -- April is financial literacy month.

And I think it's appropriate that it also happens around tax time in the month we have the tax day because you have to be managing your money on an active basis so that you can put yourself in a position that you have enough or are you putting money in your kids' college fund or your saving for retirement or giving? I'm going to church after this interview and people need to be giving to the church. You know? You can't do that if you're not managing your money.

So I love Tax Day. I'm excited about it because we have all of our files. My husband and I sit down and look at our money and I'm so happy. A lot of people hate Tax Day. I'm like, no, we got all of the money, let's look where we can do to change.

BLACKWELL: Things that Michelle Singletary says that no one else says, "I love tax day!" I didn't hear that from other folks.

SINGLETARY: Yes, fall in love with your numbers. My budget and my bootie is two things I love the most!


BLACKWELL: Michelle Singletary, personal finance columnist for "The Washington Post", thank you for being with us.

SINGLETARY: You're welcome.

PAUL: Thank you, Michelle.

Only she can make us laugh and smile about taxes.

BLACKWELL: About taxes. All right.

PAUL: About taxes. Thank you.

Listen, there's a pretty cool milestone moment in space history. For the first time ever, scientists have been able to take a photo of a black hole. How the heck did they do this?

NASA's chief scientist is so excited about this, he's going to tell us, next.


[07:48:56] BLACKWELL: So, the black hole -- I mean, we talked about it before. Now we know what it looks like. Astronomers reveal the first-ever picture -- so dark and deep that light cannot escape.

PAUL: NASA's chief scientist Jim Green is with us now. He is so excited --


PAUL: -- about this picture. I'm sure much like everybody there at NASA.

So help us understand what a black hole really is at the end of the day.

GREEN: Well, this picture is 104 years in the making and it started with a piece of paper and a pencil by Albert Einstein. He produced the theory -- the general theory of relativity in 1915 and we have been tearing it apart and examining it and figuring out what it means.

This is what it means. There is a location for which enormous mass is crunched down so much, it warps space and time and doesn't look light to come out. So, what we're we looking at is, if I may use a bagel, an accretion disk, a round, a region that has enormous amount of mass, so much mass, it appears black because no light can be emitted through that area.

[07:50:12] It's a spectacular image done by the National Science Foundation with eight telescopes, millions and billions of gigabytes of data that crunch down to be able to see this object in this way. It's spectacular.

BLACKWELL: So, now that we have the photograph and all it took to take a picture of the black hole, what do you expect to learn?

GREEN: Well, this is our first picture. Now, many of us had the concept of what it would look like. The only way to see a black hole is to see around it, to see that accretion disk swirling around it and emitting light. That's what we're seeing here. It's tipped about 17 degrees.

Now we're on the hunt for more of them. What's really exciting is we believe we have three black holes in the center of our galaxy. So the teams are going to be pointing their telescopes into Sagittarius, into the very heart of our galaxy to see if we can see them, too.

PAUL: So let me ask you this, what's on the other side of it? Do we know?

GREEN: Well, you know, this is hotly debated. We understand what's on the inside where matter can get crunched down and get as close as it possibly can. There's some ideas as to what happens next, whether other things can be emitted from it. But that's going to be the next 50 years of discovery.

BLACKWELL: All right. So let me ask you about this NASA twin study with the Kellys, Mark Kelly and Scott Kelly, that concluded. What did we learn about how long life can be sustained in space and how?

GREEN: Well, the whole concept here is you have a control. Mike stayed on the surface while Scott was up in space for nearly a year. And so, they looked at the changes that occurred and they found a number of changes.

So the fact that you're weightless in space in a brand new environment, the body begins to adapt and it takes time to be able to do that. So, some of the things they found is that at the end of the DNA strands, the telomeres were extended.

Now, those are important that help longevity of life. But as soon as Scott landed, the telomeres became short again. So, the effects of space seemed to reverse themselves.

What really is exciting, of course, is we want to understand this because of the long journeys it's going to take in space if we're going to go to Mars.

PAUL: Yes, very good point.

Jim Green, thank you for walking us through all that today.

GREEN: My pleasure. It was delightful.

PAUL: It was great to have you here. We appreciate your time.

We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: All right. A reminder for you now. The CNN original series "TRICKY DICK" airs tonight at 9:00 Eastern. Here's a look.


SUBTITLE: White House counsel John Dean meets with Nixon to brief him on the status of the Watergate cover-up.

DEAN: There's no doubt about the seriousness of the problem which we've got. There's a problem with continued blackmail.

NIXON: Right.

DEAN: It'll cost money.

NIXON: You could get a million dollars. And you could get it in cash. I know where it could be gotten.

SUBTITLE: Behind the scenes, White House officials have been paying off the Watergate defendants to stay quiet.

DEAN: There's always the possibility of any one of these individuals blowing and McCord is not accepting any money. So, he's not a bought man right now.

Yes, he's playing hardball. He wouldn't play hardball unless he was pretty confident that he could cause an awful lot of grief.


BLACKWELL: Watch the series "TRICKY DICK" tonight at 9:00 Eastern, on CNN.

PAUL: And President Trump, it seems, is lashing out, as everyone readies for the imminent release of the Mueller report. The deck shuffles in the Democratic race as well for president. Who is emerging from the 2020 pack?

Join Jake Tapper for "STATE OF THE UNION" this morning at 10:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.

And we want to show you some of the pictures that we're getting in today of the storm damage. We know at least four people are dead in a storm that is now moving east. Thank you so much for starting your morning with us and letting us

keep you apprised of what's happening.

BLACKWELL: Yes, this is from -- this is Hamilton, Mississippi, in Monroe County. This is near the Alabama line on the east side of the state. We're getting a look at some of the video there. You see the volunteer fire department that's been damaged, the vehicles they will need potentially for rescues today, trees down, homes damaged.

We have a storm chaser who was there providing this drone video, he says this is the signature of a pretty strong tornado that's come through, although we haven't gotten confirmation from the National Weather Service. They will be out surveying. We know at least one person confirmed there by the sheriff on the show earlier, but the Mississippi Emergency Management says there are multiple fatalities there as well. Waiting for those numbers to come in.

PAUL: So, we will continue to keep you posted throughout the day as that storm, still very potent, continues to move east. You take care of yourself.