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NEW DAY SATURDAY

Six Suspected Terrorists Killed In Sri Lanka Shootout; Trump Tees Off With The Japanese Prime Minister This Morning; Trump Defends Charlottesville Comments After Biden Slams Them; Poll: Majority Say Trump Lied, But Oppose Impeachment; Democrats Seek Interview On White House Security Clearances; Michael Avenatti Answers Questions About Charges Against Him; More Than 15 Million People in America Brace for a Winter Storm; Giant Bird that Killed Owner in Florida is Up for Sale Today. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired April 27, 2019 - 06:00   ET

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


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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here in common are (ph) the scene of a gun battle and a series of explosions that has been devastating.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are fears that the terrorist bombers could strike again and there are fears that Muslims in this community could be targeted in revenge attacks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joe Biden flexing his fundraising muscle. With his campaign announcing, he raised $6.3 million during his opening day in the race.

BETO O'ROURKE, UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: Congratulations to Vice President Biden and feel really good about what we have raised.

ELIZABETH WARREN, UNITED STATES SENATOR: Joe Biden is on the side of the credit card companies.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am a young, vibrant man. I look at Joe, I don't know about him.

JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If he looks young and vibrant compared to me, I should probably go home.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is "NEW DAY WEEKEND" with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR, NEW DAY WEEKEND: So good morning to you. So glad to have you with us. We want to begin with breaking news this hour. Overnight, in Sri Lanka, at least 16 people are dead and suspected terrorists, they're on the run after a gunfight during a police raid on a home in eastern Sri Lanka. We know six of the people who are dead are said to be terrorists, but the other 10 were civilians and that includes children. VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR, NEW DAY WEEKEND: So look at this. Police were led to this hideout after finding a possible bomb-making garage a few miles away. That's where officials recovered explosives, ball- bearings, ISIS flags and uniforms. Also, it's less than a week since coordinated bombings tore through churches and high-end hotels in Sri Lanka. Two-hundred-fifty-three people were killed on Easter Sunday.

PAUL: Senior international correspondent Sam Kiley is at the scene of that shootout. Sam, what are you learning about the raid?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they came late afternoon, early evening yesterday following the discovery of this arms cache, this enormous amount of 150 sticks of gel ignite, 100,000 ball bearings, a large amount of precursor materials to make homemade explosives, enough to start pretty much a small war.

Intelligence for there lead to here. With the help of local people, the military and the police raided this location. They killed one man on the street after he opened fire against them and then inside this house, which was rented just three days before the Easter Sunday Massacre by, it is believed, the people who are now just -- bodies have just been removed from it.

Inside here, there were three detonations, blowing one adult male onto the roof, body parts, I'm afraid, strewn across the street and most tragically of all there are six women -- six children and three women. That's six women -- six children and three women were killed in the inferno in there.

Now, that is an absolutely catastrophic result. The police are suspicious that these may well be the family members of ISIS plotters, but above all what this whole episode indicates is that the Sri Lankan authorities were absolutely right in fearing that there were more plots out there, more terrorists, more capability to commit more atrocities and just in the last couple of hours, another terrorist, alleged terrorist, has been arrested also carrying gel ignite, carrying more than 100 detonators and det cord on a motorcycle.

So that was one individual capable of wrecking a huge amount of destruction. He's also been taken into custody.

BLACKWELL: Yes. The numbers of devices and ammunition that these people have, it's really stunning. Let me ask you about this. The government, we know, is warning people not to spread false information on social media about these terror attacks. What more do you know about that?

KILEY: Well, it is a characteristic of terrorist attacks around the world that very rapidly after they've been committed, there's a huge amount of disinformation. We at CNN spend an awful lot of time, as you know, filtering that kind of stuff out and triple-checking. That is the sort of thing that the government here is very anxious to avoid because in this febrile atmosphere, clearly the agenda of the terrorist is to try and create friction between communities, in this case between the Muslim community and the Christian and Buddhist communities. This is a majority Buddhist country. But they would note, with great pleasure and interest, and indeed the police have been at pains to point this out today, that they would not have found either this safe house or that arms cache a couple of miles away had it not been for local Muslim informers that gave them that information.

[06:05:03] And I think for that reason, they're trying to keep the information on the lines of truth rather than the disinformation that social media is now so cursed by.

BLACKWELL: Sam Kiley for us there in Sri Lanka. Sam, thank you.

PAUL: It's early, 6:05, but in just a few hours, President Trump's going to leave the White House to go to the Trump National Golf Club in Washington D.C. after trade and policy meetings at the White House yesterday. He's set to play golf there today with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. CNN White House correspondent Boris Sanchez is live for us now. Boris, good morning to you. What do we know about what's going to happen today between these two?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey there. Good morning, Christi. Yes. So far what we know is that President Trump is going to be hitting the links with the Japanese prime minister in just a few hours. This visit from Shinzo Abe comes at a very important time for negotiations between the United States and Japan over a number of issues, upcoming bilateral trade talks, as well as securing the region and the ongoing efforts by the United States to denuclearize North Korea.

Of course, President Trump is set to return the favour to Abe next month as the president visits Abe in Tokyo. Now, the president telling reporters yesterday that he was looking forward to catching a wrestling match while he is there -- rather a sumo match. I should say the president is currently engaged in a wrestling match with former Vice President Joe Biden. The president being attacked by Biden during Biden's launch video in which the former vice president goes after Trump over his comments following racist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia a few years ago.

Listen to what President Trump said yesterday trying again to clarify those remarks.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you still think there were very fine people on both sides in Charlottesville?

TRUMP: Oh, I've answered that question and if you look at what I said, you will see that that question was answered perfectly and I was talking about people that went because they felt very strongly about the monument to Robert E. Lee, a great general. Whether you like it or not, he was one of the great generals. I've spoken to many generals here right at the White House and many people thought of the generals, they think that he was maybe their favorite general. People were there protesting the taking down of the monument of Robert E. Lee. Everybody knows that. SANCHEZ: Despite the president defending those remarks, let's not forget that the fallout for the White House at that time was tremendous, with at least one senior White House official threatening to resign over those comments. Now, the president also went after Joe Biden about his age, the president saying that Biden, who is only about four years older than President Trump, makes him feel like a vibrant young man.

We should also point out the president is heading to a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin later tonight, for the second year in a row at least, trying to counter program the White House Correspondents Dinner happening tonight in D.C., Victor and Christi.

PAUL: All righty. Boris Sanchez, good to see you. Thank you, sir.

SANCHEZ: Thanks.

BLACKWELL: Well, there are tough choices ahead for congressional Democrats and a "New Washington Post" "ABC News" poll shows why. According to the poll, a majority of Americans, 47 percent, actually a plurality, say they believe the president did try to interfere in the Russia investigation and they said he did it in a way that obstructs or amounts to obstructing justice. But in that same poll, a majority also here, 56 percent, say they do not believe Congress should start impeachment proceedings.

Let's bring in now CNN political commentator Errol Louis, host of the "You Decide" podcast. Errol, good morning to you.

ERROL LOUIS, HOST, "YOU DECIDE" PODCAST: Good morning.

BLACKWELL: So let's talk about the numbers here in this poll. The obstruction question split down party lines. We have those we could put up. Eighty-one percent of Democrats believe that the President did obstruct justice. Seventy-seven percent of Republicans believe he did not. A majority oppose impeachment. It seems to support what we're hearing from Speaker Pelosi, Leader Hoyer and several other Democrats that the case to take to the nation is just not there. No major buy-in from Republicans or Independents.

LOUIS: Well, that's right and, in fact, it leaves us at the same place where we started. Right, Victor? Where everybody is agreeing, more or less, on what has happened, that there's been a real serious problem here, and then the question becomes, well, what are we going to do about it? And that's where things get little bit difficult.

So the reality is, yes, there were -- the report is crystal clear on this. Even your rival, "Fox News Channel," they've been reporting a lot of commentary about time after time where the president tried to end the investigation. He tried to have the -- have Mueller fired. He tried to tell people to change what they already knew to be true and put false information into files and on and on and on.

So everybody knows that there's a problem here. The question is what do you do about it? And I am assuming that there are enough people who were polled who remember what happened the last time we tried an impeachment that they feel like they don't want to see the country torn further apart.

[06:10:05] It would be a very divisive battle to try and actually impeach the president and so the House is left kind of dangling where they're going to have a whole series of investigations, but they're going to avoid the I-word.

BLACKWELL: Now, Democrats have invested a lot in the Mueller report. If not an expectation of a finding of criminality on behalf of the president or the campaign, at least numbers or information that would further weigh down the president's approval ratings. He's at 39 percent in this poll. How does this inform or should it inform the investigations as they move forward, independent of the question of impeachment?

LOUIS: Yes. You know, independent of the question of impeachment, Victor, and frankly independent of the polls, Congress has an absolute duty to go further and find out what the heck happened. There's some information that has come out of the Mueller report that strongly suggests that people who gave testimony to Congress were not being truthful with Congress. At a minimum, they have to follow up on that.

They have to bring people in and get some answers to some questions. They have to find out -- of the 12 referrals that the Mueller team made for further prosecution, we don't know what they're about. Those are sealed. Questions have to be asked about that. So you know, Congress has to go further with this. They don't really have a choice.

Even if it's not going to work out for them politically, even if it's not popular with the public, even if the public says that they don't see a problem, if we know there's an issue here, Congress has to follow up.

BLACKWELL: There's a 51 percent finding here in this poll of people who say that the report was fair and even-handed. We know how hard the president and his supporters went in to try to undermine Mueller and his investigators. What do you glean from that 51 percent number?

LOUIS: Well, look, first of all, most people have not read the report, right?

BLACKWELL: Yes.

LOUIS: So I think this is kind of a secondary feedback where people are saying as far as they know, the two-year process that I think we all have watched, even if you didn't read the report, I think people feel more or less that it was done with integrity and some accuracy.

And frankly, the reaction from the White House kind of confirms that. When you hear the president saying it was all a witch-hunt, it was all fake and so forth and so on, well, people know that that's not true and so people have to, I think, reach the logical conclusion that the report was done properly, that the report indicates smoke where there is some fire.

BLACKWELL: Last number here. The president -- and I want to set this up with what we heard from the president yesterday at the NRA and last night on "Fox News" talking about this being an attempted coup, a coup that failed, launched by the Justice Department. The poll found that the Mueller report had no impact on six out of 10 Republicans in their support in 2020, nearly half of Independents, a plurality of Democrats. Why is he taking that line? If the Mueller report really is not informing or changing minds as it relates to how people will vote, why go far as the -- as far as the coup?

LOUIS: Well, look, the president right from the beginning has said, his aides have confirmed it, that he feels that his legitimacy is at stake with the questions that are raised by the Mueller report about Russian interference, about his campaign's cooperation at a minimum with that interference.

I'm not sure why he feels that way so strongly because my impression is that most of the country kind of moved on, that if you didn't like the election outcome in 2016, you know, you groused about it for a few months and then you started working on the midterms or you started working on the 2020 campaign and you just kind of left the whole thing alone.

There is still, I think, for the Trump White House, though, a feeling that this question -- they kind of still at this late date want it to go away and every time people talk about the Mueller report ...

BLACKWELL: Yes.

LOUIS: ... it's kind of worse for him. And the polls, frankly, show that -- show that. Every time you talk about it, those who are exposed to the information in the Mueller report ...

BLACKWELL: Yes.

LOUIS: ... tend to come away thinking that the White House isn't looking so great.

BLACKWELL: All right. We'll see what the president has to say today about it if he gets onto Twitter and starts talking about it. Errol Louis, thanks so much.

LOUIS: Thank you.

PAUL: Well, in a letter to the White House, Council Congressman Jim Jordan is asking former White House official Carl Kline to sit down for a voluntary interview with the House Oversight Committee. Kline's accused of green-lighting security clearances for White House officials despite red flags on their records. Now, Democratic Chairman Elijah Cummings threatening to hold Kline in contempt after the White House demanded he only testify on certain subject with a lawyer present.

Jordan, the top Republican on the committee, says he's trying to calm tensions between Democrats in the White House. Others say the move is an effort to pressure Cummings to agree to an interview on the White House's terms.

[06:15:00] BLACKWELL: Stormy Daniels' former attorney Michael Avenatti is talking about the charges against him, his lavish lifestyle, a lot more. He says the highs and lows of his career have significantly humbled him. That's ahead.

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SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Have you thought about the prospect of potentially having to spend time in prison?

MICHAEL AVENATTI, ATTORNEY: There's no question I've thought about that. I mean, I'd have to be an absolute moron to have not thought about that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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BLACKWELL: In an emotional interview, Michael Avenatti is forced to answer questions about the charges against him. He burst onto the American consciousness the day after he filed a case for pornstar Stormy Daniels who took on the President of the United States.

PAUL: And he took months shaming the president and his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, over $130,000 hush money payment made to Daniels. Well, here's the thing. Avenatti had the upper hand. What the public didn't know, the feds were investigating his finances all along.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Sara Sidner and Jason Quaveric (ph) show you Avenatti in his rawest form. You will see a side of him that you have never seen until now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AVENATTI: My lawyers didn't even want me to sit down for this interview ...

SIDNER: But Michael Avenatti is doing it anyway while free on a $300,000 bond.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michael, did you think you'd go to jail before the president?

SIDNER: Accused of trying to extort Nike ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Avenatti again made his threats and demands.

SIDNER: ... for more than $20 million.

[06:20:01] Nike says, look, we have Michael Avenatti on tape saying he will take this money and not disclose anything and ride off into the sunset. Did you say that?

AVENATTI: Did I say that we'd ride off into the sunset? Yes. Was it in the context that Nike and the government alleges? Absolutely not. What happened was was that Nike and their attorneys figured out that they couldn't buy me. They couldn't own me. They couldn't control me. SIDNER: Avenatti is accusing Nike of rigging the college basketball recruitment process by bribing amateur players to attend Nike sponsored schools. Nike told CNN it would not respond to the allegations of an individual facing federal charges of fraud and extortion, but the criminal complaint says Avenatti was threatening to go public if Nike didn't comply with his demands, $1.5 million for his client between $15 million and $25 million to hire him and his co- counsel to lead an internal investigation or a payment of $22.5 million and no investigation.

Instead of making a deal with them, Nike called the FBI saying it was being extorted. The FBI began recording the meetings. The case came to a head in just under a week after this tweet, Avenatti announcing a press conference.

What happened after that?

AVENATTI: Well, I was arrested shortly thereafter.

SIDNER: Were you saying to them pay me hush money, I'll be quiet, I'll go away, I'll walk out the door?

AVENATTI: No. Never. Never happened.

SIDNER: The accusation concerning hush money is especially ironic ...

STORMY DANIELS, PORNOGRAPHIC ACTRESS: Hi, everyone.

SIDNER: ... considering the case that brought Avenatti's name into the American consciousness.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michael Avenatti ...

SIDNER: The high-flying, hard-fighting litigator became a household name when he represented pornstar Stormy Daniels who sued the President of the United States.

DANIELS: My attorney and I are committed to making sure that everyone finds out the truth.

SIDNER: She wanted out of a hush agreement she signed in 2016 to keep quiet about a 2006 sexual affair she said she had with Donald Trump. Trump has denied the affair.

Did you think you were going to bring down the president?

AVENATTI: I immediately saw that as an opportunity to do collateral damage to the President of the United States. In that regard, I accomplished the goal, although not, you know, entirely.

You know what? You're a thug ([ph]).

SIDNER: Avenatti's theatrics and legal zingers became a fixture on cable news.

AVENATTI: Where is this guy? SIDNER: The president's personal attorney Michael Cohen endured the public shaming and after an investigation referred to the Southern District of New York by Robert Mueller, Cohen admitted to a total of nine criminal counts, including orchestrating that hush payment to Daniels on Trump's behalf to effect the 2016 presidential election.

AVENATTI: I don't think his prison sentence is strong enough by any stretch of the imagination and I don't believe that other people around him that participated in that, including Donald Trump, the President of the United States, should somehow get a pass. I believe Donald Trump should be indicted.

SIDNER: But now Avenatti is facing serious charges and potential prison time, more than 300 years if convicted. The very same day he was arrested in New York, the U.S. attorney in California charged him in another separate case, eventually bringing 36 counts including wire fraud, bank fraud and bankruptcy fraud, but perhaps the most stunning charge, stealing from his own clients, one of them a paraplegic man named Geoffrey Johnson.

Your paraplegic client has said he did not receive what he was supposed to receive of a $4 million settlement. Did you defraud him?

AVENATTI: Look, here is the bottom line. I'm not at liberty to get into the details of that particular situation because I've been advised by my counsel not to do it. If it was up to me, I'd hold a press conference, put documents up on the screen and tell my side of the story.

SIDNER: But Avenatti did do that. Using Twitter as his bullhorn, he posted this document showing a glowing recommendation that he said his client had signed just a month before the indictment.

His attorney said what you posted was actually you tricked him into signing something saying that you were a great attorney and that he was happy with your services, that you stole money from him. How do you respond to that?

AVENATTI: That assertion by the attorney is absurd.

SIDNER: Prosecutors are also saying the same thing.

AVENATTI: Prosecutors are saying all kinds of things, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they're all true or provable.

SIDNER: That wasn't the only client prosecutors say he defrauded. There are four others, including an NBA player who wanted to quietly pay monies to his ex-girlfriend for her longtime support, but nearly all of the $2.7 million settlement was allegedly used to pay for this, Avenatti's personal jet.

Did you want private jet?

AVENATTI: I had an interest in a private jet, yes. But there's nothing ...

SIDNER: Your company ...

AVENATTI: But there's nothing unusual about some of these factors relating to my lifestyle. Have I had a privileged lifestyle? Of course.

[06:25:02] Have I had a lifestyle that some people would describe as lavish at times? Yes. I'm a self-made guy. I put myself through college. I put myself through law school. Nothing was ever handed to me, Sara. And you know what? I busted my ass for a lot of what I've received.

SIDNER: And prosecutors have tied your lifestyle. They accuse you of buying that jet with $2.5 million that belongs to a client from a settlement. Are they right?

AVENATTI: We're going to have facts and evidence. We're going to present that to a jury and a jury's going to decide up or down whether I'm convicted or not and it's their obligation ...

SIDNER: You're evading the question and you usually -- if there's nothing, but truth out there and you did none of this, why can't you just tell me?

AVENATTI: Because, Sara, here's the problem, because my lawyers didn't even want me to sit down for this interview. We've had umpteen debates about this and the problem is is that I've been told to say absolutely nothing and I've said no, I'm not going to do that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: He does have a lot more to say though. Michael Avenatti's talking about the R. Kelly case, his domestic violence arrest, his own future.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SIDNER: Have you thought about the prospect of potentially having to spend time in prison?

AVENATTI: There's no question I've thought about that. I mean, I'd have to be an absolute moron to have not thought about that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: That part of the story is straight ahead.

BLACKWELL: Also ahead, parts of the U.S. are bracing for severe weather this weekend, tornado warnings in some areas, winter is trying to make a comeback in others. Allison Chinchar is up next.

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[06:30:00]

PAUL: All right. Just about 6:30 here for you on a Saturday morning, and from the immigration cases, R. Kelly's sexual assault case, there's this new interview we have for you with Michael Avenatti, he's revealing an awful lot this time around.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CO-HOST, NEW DAY SATURDAY: Yes, Stormy Daniels' former attorney says he made a list of powerful enemies during his career, and questions whether some cases he took on were worth it. CNN's Sara Sidner is back now with more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MICHAEL AVENATTI, ATTORNEY: I'm not going to answer that, that's a ridiculous question. Next question.

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Avenatti has rarely shied away from a controversy.

AVENATTI: It is time to come clean, busta.

SIDNER: Stepping into the spotlight in connection with the biggest headlines of 2018.

CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD, PROFESSOR OF PSYCHOLOGY, PALO ALTO UNIVERSITY: Brett groped me and tried to take off my clothes.

SIDNER: As U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh faced sexual assault allegations.

BRETT KAVANAUGH, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES: But I have never done this to her or to any one.

SIDNER: Avenatti emerged with a second accuser.

AVENATTI: She is 100 percent credible.

SIDNER: Republicans and some Democrats viewed his insertion into the case as an outrageous stunt.

(on camera): Do you interject yourself purposely for your own fame, for your own fortune in these cases that have made headlines?

AVENATTI: Do I interject myself? No, I received a call from a client.

SIDNER (voice-over): She never testified. She was accused of lying, but her allegations were never investigated. When the border battle over child separation emerged, so did Avenatti with clients whose children were alone and afraid.

In one case, he went all the way to Guatemala to deliver a mother's most special gift, and unexpectedly received one of his own.

AVENATTI: It was -- it was one, as a father myself, it was -- it was one of the best days of my career. I remember it like it was yesterday. I mean, he gave me a -- I have it in my briefcase, I carry it with me. It was in my briefcase when I was arrested. It's a fabric bracelet that he made me to thank me for bringing him back to his mom.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you consider running for the Democratic ticket in 2020?

SIDNER: Avenatti began to consider running for president.

AVENATTI: Stand-up, join the fight club.

SIDNER: He tested the waters in west Hollywood and the crowd swooned.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Avenatti, as you know, I sleep better because you're in the world unlike --

AVENATTI: We hit harder.

SIDNER: From Iowa to New Hampshire to Texas, Avenatti began fundraising for Democrats. But problems with his own financials followed him. A judge ordered one of Avenatti's firms to pay his former partner $10 million and another $800,000 he owed to the IRS. He has yet to pay all his debts.

(on camera): Are you broke?

AVENATTI: No, I don't think I'm broke.

SIDNER: Well, you'll know if you're broke or not. Are you broke?

AVENATTI: No.

SIDNER: You're 100 percent sure?

AVENATTI: No, I'm not broke.

SIDNER: Are you having money problems?

AVENATTI: No, I don't believe I'm having money problems. I mean, I believe there's been some challenges along the way, there's no question about that.

SIDNER (voice-over): Avenatti still had his eye on the presidency. And then --

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: Michael Avenatti; the attorney for Stormy Daniels is under arrest on allegations of felony, domestic violence.

SIDNER (on camera): Did you hit, slap, drag, the young lady that was in your apartment?

AVENATTI: Absolutely not, and that's why there's been three separate investigations and no charges have been brought.

SIDNER (voice-over): And with that, Avenatti bounced back into the headlines, taking on another explosive case.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Michael Avenatti said that he had given the state's attorney's office a videotape that showed Kelly having sex with an underage girl.

SIDNER: At first, Avenatti's new evidence in Superstar R. Kelly's case energized a public clamoring for justice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You, R. Kelly --

SIDNER: But it wouldn't be long before Kelly's attorney would use Avenatti's legal troubles against him.

(on camera): He is basically saying R. Kelly's case has been tainted because of what has happened to Michael Avenatti and the case is rotten.

AVENATTI: It's a desperate attorney for a desperate man. It's absolutely absurd.

SIDNER: Now, Avenatti is fighting perhaps the biggest case of his entire life, the case against him.

(on camera): You're facing potential of more than 300 years in prison, if convicted. Will you fight these charges or will you make a plea deal?

AVENATTI: Well, I anticipate on fighting all of these charges.

SIDNER: Have you thought about the prospect of potentially having to spend time in prison.

AVENATTI: There's no question I've thought about that. I mean, I'd have to be absolute moron to have not thought about that --

SIDNER: There are some people that are delighting in what they see as your facade being exposed, the "New York Post", "Avenatti is actually the fraud con man he accused Trump of being." "The Hill", "Trump Jr. mocks Avenatti, saying, you might just get to share a cell with Michael Cohen." "Politico", "Avenatti crashes and burns." Have you crashed and burned?

[06:35:00] AVENATTI: No, I don't think I've crashed and burned at all. I mean, look, this is a rough and tumble business. There's no question about that. We operate now in an environment that is more toxic politically than we have ever experienced in the history of the United States.

SIDNER: But haven't you contributed to that?

AVENATTI: Look, largely due to social media. Have I contributed to that?

SIDNER: To the toxic nature of politics.

AVENATTI: I don't think so because I don't think I have trafficked in nonsense and personal attacks for the most part.

SIDNER: He has also made clear why he thinks he is facing his own legal battles now.

AVENATTI: I've made a lot of powerful enemies over the years, especially over the last 18 months. SIDNER: You are alluding to a conspiracy against you.

AVENATTI: I'm not alluding to a conspiracy.

SIDNER: You are.

AVENATTI: I'm saying that -- what I'm saying is the facts are the facts.

SIDNER (voice-over): The IRS says the fact is they've been investigating him for two years, long before Avenatti ever met Stormy Daniels. Daniels and Avenatti parted ways earlier this year when Avenatti was arrested for financial crimes, Daniels tweeted she was not shocked, adding that he treated her extremely dishonestly. He denies being dishonest.

(on camera): Was it worth it to take on this case?

AVENATTI: If you would have asked me that nine months ago, I would have said absolutely. As I sit here today, Sara, I just don't know because the price that has been paid by me and my family and those around me has been enormous.

SIDNER: You sound like a man that has been humbled by this? Is that fair?

AVENATTI: No, there's no question I've been humbled. Regardless of what happens, I have had an enormous life. I have had a lot of opportunities that a lot of people can only dream of. I've done a lot of things over my 48 years, a lot of people would never have an opportunity to do.

SIDNER: Are you afraid you're going to lose it all?

AVENATTI: Well, of course I'm afraid of that. I mean, again, I mean, if I wasn't afraid of that, there would be something fundamentally wrong with me as a -- as a man, and as a human being. But I can't have that consume me. It can't -- I can't allow it to eat me up because otherwise, you know, I might as well just, you know, I guess crawl into a fetal position and wither away. And I'm not going out like that, and I'm not planning of going out, period.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: And thank you to our Sara Sidner for all that there. So have you looked at the window today? And now the calendar says April, people, there could be some snowflakes falling, and I'm not just talking about a few.

BLACKWELL: This is not a dusting.

PAUL: This is not a dusting, isn't it almost May?

BLACKWELL: Yes, Easter was last week. Wow.

PAUL: More than 15 million of you under Winter storm alerts. Details on the regions expecting, yes, heavy snowfall, that's next.

[06:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: So, last weekend, people were searching for eggs, you know? This weekend, they're going to have to search the basement for the snow shovel --

PAUL: Clearly --

BLACKWELL: Because there's extreme weather. And we're not talking just snow, there's other stuff out there. Look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Now, that's one of those mini-trampolines.

BLACKWELL: Was it?

PAUL: That's -- yes, that's one of those little round mini- trampolines that was flying in the air. This was from a confirmed tornado in Wyoming. Notice, the bleeper meter is going at you know, top speed here.

BLACKWELL: I understand --

PAUL: A few mobile homes were overturned, thankfully no reports of injuries, but CNN's Allison Chinchar is with us now because not only this, Allison, but I cannot believe the amount of snow you're talking about today.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, METEOROLOGIST: Yes, it is all coming from the same system. So that tornado video that you saw just now in Wyoming, that all stem from the system just when it was a little bit further west. Yesterday, over 100 total storm reports, one of those being that tornado that you just saw in Wyoming.

But now the system is going to push a little further east. So let's take a look at the actual forecast. Now, that forecast itself is brought to you by shark, the self-cleaning brush-roll, the vacuum that deep cleans now cleans itself. Here's a look at where that storm is right now.

You can see rain on the frontend, so a lot of these cities are going to start in the form of rain. But once that cooler air starts to push down on the north side, you're going to quickly start to see it transition into snow. And there's a lot of moisture here, folks, which in turn means there's going to be a lot of snow.

So you have over 15 million people under some type of Winter weather alert for today as well as tomorrow. Here is the time line, most of the cities in the Midwest, it moves out pretty quickly, which is kind of the odd thing here because you would think if it moves in fast, it's not going to have a lot of time to dump a tremendous amount of snow.

But that's not necessarily the case. Widespread amounts, likely about four inches for a lot of these places, but take a look. Chicago, even some of the northern suburbs, even portions of southern Michigan could end up picking six, seven, if not even eight or nine inches of snow before this system finally pushes out.

And Victor and Christi, here is the thing I want you guys to realize, because you're right, Easter was last week, and so how rare is this? Well, take Chicago, for example. The average last snowfall is March 31st. Madison, Wisconsin, April 8th, Milwaukee, April 8th. So, for a lot of these cities, we are well past when the last snowfall should actually be. Keep in mind, though, these numbers are for just .01 inches.

PAUL: Right --

CHINCHAR: Some of these areas may get as much as eight inches of snow.

PAUL: Oh, my gosh --

BLACKWELL: Wow, Allison Chinchar, thanks for watching it for us.

CHINCHAR: Thanks.

PAUL: So there's a giant bird that killed its owner. And now, this bird is up for auction this weekend. Ron Magill from Miami Zoo is talking to us about what makes these birds so lethal. Just in case you're thinking about buying it.

[06:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: So a giant bird killed its owner, now it could be yours.

PAUL: Yes, that's a line. The Cassowary is up for auction in Florida this weekend. Now, the owner used to breed Cassowaries, he was attacked by one of them after he fell in his backyard.

BLACKWELL: All right, joining us now, Ron Magill; Communications Director for Zoo Miami. Ron, good morning to you. First question we have and everybody at home, probably, who would want to buy the bird that just killed a man and why?

RON MAGILL, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, ZOO MIAMI: Well, you know, it's a novelty thing. It's all the wrong reasons why a lot of people want to buy these birds. You know, Florida has a huge challenge. Florida is like the Ellis Island of exotic animals.

Everything comes here, it's like club meant for these animals. You don't have these problems in places like Michigan and Chicago. You just did a weather report up there of the snow and such, which is why you don't have those problems up there.

But here, they have these problems and this cassowary now has got so much notoriety because tragically it killed its owner. That you know, people, for all the wrong reasons want to have this bird. And people need to understand that this is not just a big chicken, this is a very dangerous bird.

PAUL: OK, all right, two quick questions here because I know that we're limited on time. But one, how much does a bird like this cost, and, two, talk to us about a very special edition that you had with a baby Rhino this weekend.

MAGILL: A bird like this is going to cost, you know, it can cost over a $1,000. It depends. The problem is who is having access to it. The permanent situation here in Florida is that will -- there are some loopholes where people can get this bird without necessarily having a permit, it could be for agricultural purposes.

So, it is accessible and that makes it dangerous. For me, you know, people, again, get all caught up in the novelty of having some large, exotic bird. They think of it like some (INAUDIBLE) we got to have. Wrong reasons, people need to think twice before anything like that.

[06:50:00] Our new addition, greater Indian, one-horned Rhino, the great thing about this baby Rhino is that, it's the first Rhino in history, Indian Rhino history that was conceived through artificial insemination, combined with induced ovulation. So this is a great scientific feat for us and helping, you know, preserve using dangerous species.

PAUL: We just want to show those pictures, it's going to make somebody smile today.

BLACKWELL: I'm usually not into the animal stories, but this Rhino is so --

PAUL: Isn't it awesome?

BLACKWELL: All right --

PAUL: Ron, thank you so much. Ron Magill, we appreciate you taking time for us today.

MAGILL: My pleasure.

PAUL: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right, a serious story now. This boy was thrown from the balcony at the Mall of America and now his family is optimistic about his recovery. Coming up, when the family thinks that the boy will be able to leave the hospital.

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PAUL: So, good news for you from the family of that 5-year-old who was thrown from the balcony of the Mall of America back in Minnesota. The boy's family says, he is alert now, he is conscious. Remember, he fell nearly 40 feet after a man just picked him up and threw him over a balcony's railing. The family says there are a lot of surgeries and months of rehab in

his future, but they hope he will be released from the hospital yet by June. So still some time there.

[06:55:00] The suspect in that case, Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda did not know the child, didn't know the mother and he's been charged with attempted murder now.

BLACKWELL: Join Walter Kamau Bell for the much anticipated season for premier of the "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA". Kamau shines a light on the people creating change, fighting for justice and making a difference. Here is a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WALTER KAMAU BELL, STAND-UP COMIC & TELEVISION HOST: To me, like, how are you not reckoning with the political moment?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm telling you, that is quite a -- you know, let me say, to be like Jesus, to be like him, so humble and holy. Oh, I want to be like him, except --

(LAUGHTER)

When you start --

BELL: Yes --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Talking about who you get to marry or like excitement, you know --

BELL: Simply, you're talking about opening up the borders.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes!

BELL: Except with --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't want to be like Jesus like then. You can't serve Jesus who was an immigrant and then be hating on immigrants when they show up like -- I mean, so either you're following a Jesus of your own making --

BELL: Yes --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which I would argue many of us are --

BELL: Yes --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Or you're following the Jesus that forces you to have to wrestle with a real what would Jesus not do?! What did Jesus do?

BELL: What did he do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did he do?

(LAUGHTER)

We got ways to go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: A new season of "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA" starts tomorrow night at 10:00 Eastern right here on CNN.

PAUL: Well, breaking overnight, a shootout in Sri Lanka. Sixteen people are dead, and this includes children. And suspected terrorists are on the run after police raided a home searching for the people responsible for last Sunday's Easter massacre.

CNN is live on that scene, next.

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