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Street Fighting, Fire Kill 35 In Ukraine; V. Stiviano: Sterling Is Not A Racist; Three Bangladeshi Navy Ships Search Bay Of Bengal; Police: School Massacre Plot Thwarted; Legal Fight May be Brewing over Clippers; White House Correspondents' Dinner

Aired May 3, 2014 - 08:00   ET


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: We are not stopping. That is the vow from Ukraine as it battles pro-Russian militants from the street and from the air. The violence there, you can see here, is exploding. Now real fears are growing of an all-out civil war.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: And this woman is at the center of the Donald Sterling firestorm. Now his alleged girlfriend, she is talking and she's talking a lot. Hear what V. Stiviano says about that infamous audio exchange and what Sterling is saying about her.

BLACKWELL: Both are princes, one the future king of England, but this weekend, William and Harry visit another king's mansion in Memphis and eager fans get their glimpse at Graceland.

PAUL: If you are just joining us, welcome. It's 8:00 on a Saturday morning. Hope you are bright-eyed and bushy tailed by now maybe it's not. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. It is 8:00 in the east coast. This is NEW DAY SATURDAY. We are starting this morning in Ukraine where the escalating violence is stoking even more. A real serious concerns now that the country is on the verge of an all-out civil war.

This is in Odessa. Hundreds of miles from where we have seen the fights in Donetsk, bloody battles here hitting Ukrainian forces against pro-rebel forces in this port city. Four people were killed in street fighting there. Thirty one others were killed at union hall when it was set on fire.

PAUL: As you can see there, these are some of the latest pictures we are getting in. We have learned that the group of western observers held by pro-Russian separatists have been freed. Our senior international correspondent, Arwa Damon, is in the Eastern Ukraine city of Donetsk. So Arwa, thank you for being with us. What is happening at this hour?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIOAL CORRESPONDENT: As you were saying, the OSCE members finally freed after negotiations were facilitated by a Russian envoy. Their release happening a short while ago. They were saying they had been treated pretty well so far. They were held and picked up on the 25th of April. Previously one of their other members had been released. A man who was diabetic. But that being said, all of the other signs on the ground are fairly ominous. There has been more fighting and clashes happening as the Ukrainian military moved in from the city of Kramatorsk, that not far from the city of Slavyansk. Where in the last 24 hours we saw the Ukrainian military setting up check points on the outskirts.

And then of course, the fighting spreading to Odessa. That's in the southern part of the country. At least 46 people killed. Their local government there declaring three days of mourning. The outlook for Eastern Ukraine remains very grim at this stage.

BLACKWELL: Arwa, Ukraine is three weeks out from national elections now. Are Ukrainian leaders optimistic that they will make that goal, that deadline or are they seeing the next three weeks will be an approach to this all-out civil war that we've discussed?

DAMON: Well, there is a lot that could happen between now and then. There is also the referendum that the pro-Russian camp is planning on holding on May 11th. Preparations already underway for that. You have the United States and European nations saying that if it seems as if those presidential elections are not going to be held or if there is some sort of interference with them that they are threatening to slap even more sanctions on Russia.

But So far, sanctions have had very little impact. So it remains a very multi-layered and very volatile situation with a lot of cards that could potentially be played by all sides that could worsen the situation. The key issue here, of course, would be to somehow ideally bring the various parties to the negotiating table, but there seemed to be no steps towards that.

Instead, all sides remaining even more hardened and polarized in their various positions. And of course, the growing concern is as the Ukrainian military steps up its operations, what is Russia going to do with those tens of thousands of troops perched along the border.

PAUL: All right, Arwa Damon, we appreciate you bringing us the latest from there. Thank you.

Meanwhile, you know, last week at this time, we did not even know her name. This week, you certainly know the woman at the center of the Donald Sterling scandal. She wants you to know even more apparently.

BLACKWELL: Yes, V. Stiviano is her name. She is the woman heard on the audio recording with Sterling as he makes those inflammatory statements about African-Americans. It triggered a firestorm that led to Sterling's lifetime ban from the NBA. Now in a new interview with Barbara Walters, Stiviano calls Sterling a close friend. She is coming to his defense. Listen.


BARBARA WALTERS: Is Donald Sterling a racist?

V. STIVIANO: No. I don't believe it in my heart.

WALTERS: Have you heard him say derogatory things about minorities in general and blacks in particular?

V. STIVIANO: Absolutely.

WALTERS: You heard him say derogatory things?


WALTERS: Don't they sound racist to you?

V. STIVIANO: I think the things he says are not what he feels.


BLACKWELL: Well, Stiviano also tells Barbara Walters that her relationship with Donald Sterling is not romantic, but it may confuse more people than it actually clarifies or confirms anything for anyone. Let's go to CNN's Deborah Feyerick right now because this confuses me. Deb, in the recording, she says that Sterling that he is in love with her. She tells Sterling that he is in love with her. She's black. She is Mexican. She is mixed and you're in love with me. Is this a contradiction? Is it a reversal that she says it's not romantic? What is it here?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Victor, it kind of goes to the idea. It's the question what is, is, basically. You know, if you listen to the wife, the wife says that the two were engaged in a sexual relationship. That is how the wife characterized the relationship in the lawsuit she filed against the girlfriend.

If you listen to friends, V. Stiviano, she simply worked for Donald Sterling. However, there is more audio and even video showing the two definitely had some sort of an inappropriate relationship and that woman who saw the tape said it makes both of them look very, very bad.

However, ultimately V. Stiviano defining it saying, no, she was never his girlfriend. She was really his archivist and keeping track of the things he was saying and the like he was leading. She really describes the nature of the relationship as his personal assistant. Take a listen.


WALTERS: Can you tell me what your relationship with Donald Sterling is?

V. STIVIANO: I'm Mr. Sterling's right-hand arm man. I'm Mr. Sterling's everything. I'm his confidante. His best friend. His silly rabbit.

WALTER: His what?

V. STIVIANO: His silly rabbit.

WALTER: Is that what he calls you? V. STIVIANO: No. I call myself. I joke around and I make him laugh. I do things that some people find very silly or I do things that sometimes people cannot understand the relationship. I'm his everything.


FEYERICK: According to a friend, you know, they traveled a lot together. They had gone to New Orleans. They were usually side by side, V. Stiviano and Donald Sterling. They spent a good deal of time together. Donald Sterling however recently told an L.A. magazine that in fact he should have, quote, "paid her off." Those are the words he used in the L.A. magazine. The question of exactly what is going on here, V. Stiviano doesn't believe that Donald Sterling is racist. She believes he should apologize.

BLACKWELL: All right, Deb Feyerick, personal archivist, she says. Deborah, thank you very much.

PAUL: Thanks, Deb. You know, the families of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 passengers are so fed up with Malaysian officials in 57 days in. Think about it. Investigators now are pushing back and insisting, look, they now have nothing to hide. We will check in with CNN's Will Ripley in Kuala Lumpur. He has some brand new information this morning on the search for Flight 370.

BLACKWELL: And a teenager's plot to attack his high school and his family. How authorities found his arsenal and this morning, the new threats they say he is making.


PAUL: New information just in to us on the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. We have learned now that three Bangladeshi ships are searching for it in the Bay of Bengal. They think they are on to something.

BLACKWELL: Let's get right to CNN's Will Ripley in Kuala Lumpur. Will, what is the justification for adding the third ship. Is there a lead that they are following up?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There was no explanation other than it was one line in this press release from the office of the Hisshammuddin Hussein, the acting Malaysian transport minister. It says, I'm just reading here, three naval ships from Bangladesh including a survey ship are in the search area. To date, nothing has been found.

What this says to me is that there are ships that are searching this area. I believe the Malaysian officials feel that is the sufficient number of resources in the Bay of Bengal to check out this lead. When you listen to the tone of the press conference here on Friday, in Kuala Lumpur, there was a lot of skepticism.

You heard the acting transport minister saying that while Bangladeshi ships are checking this out, if they were to send even more resources, it would cost time. It would cost money and he said who is going to be responsible for that if this lead turns up nothing. He also reiterated that he agrees with the Australian Search Chief Angus Houston that their best information still places MH370 off the coast of Western Australia.

But nonetheless we now know three ships, including a survey ship, which has side-scan sonar technology searching in the Bay of Bengal, which was also incidentally, guys, is much more shallow. It is about 1,000 meters or one kilometer deep in this area more or less. It is easier to do the scan or search. You don't need the Bluefin-21 or other vehicles dispatched off the coast of Western Australia.

PAUL: Good point. Well, we know on Monday, there is going to be this trilateral meeting between China, Malaysia and Australia as they determine where the search goes from here. Have they given you any indication of what is expected?

RIPLEY: We know that the Malaysian delegation will be flying from here. We believe, tomorrow to be in Australia on Monday. There is a delegation from China. So it will be Malaysia, China and Australia getting together to discuss this next phase of the search. It came out on Friday that they are saying this could take up to a year and cost $60 million U.S. What this meeting is about deciding how the money will be spent.

What resources are they going to bring in? Which private contractors are they going to hire? Here in Malaysia, for example, they have been discussing options with Malaysian companies to see what technology is available that they could send there. Obviously similar discussions underway in China and Australia. This is what is happening Monday after they hash out details. They will hold a joint news conference. We could expect some more details on this next phase of the search then.

BLACKWELL: All right, we look forward to that. Will Ripley in Kuala Lumpur. Will, thanks.

PAUL: CNN aviation analyst, Miles O'Brien and Peter Goelz joining us now to talk about the latest on the investigation. Where this thing is headed?

BLACKWELL: Peter, let's talk first about the search in the Bay of Bengal. We know this morning a third Bangladeshi ship including this survey ship in that area. What do you say? Waste of resources or worth the search?

PETER GOELZ, CNN ANALYST: Well, it is a waste of resources and you know, Miles has been one of the leaders in identifying this company as being a scammer. There is no discussion on the scientific blogs or community that there is any technology that could do what they promoted. At this stage, because the investigation has come up with no wreckage or solid evidence of where the plane is, you have to respond to everything like this.

PAUL: All right, so Miles, what is your take on that? I know you think it is a lost cause, but they have absolutely nothing else to go on, do they?

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: That's true, but you really in a world of limited resources, it is really important to stick with where the evidence leads you. Yes, they haven't found anything yet. If you look at the real evidence, the Inmarsat pings and the aircraft, which gives us an idea on the planet we are in a giant circle coupled with the noise on the pingers on the black boxes that were presumably heard a week or so ago or two weeks ago.

Those two things are true hard evidence. This red herring and wild goose chase in the Bay of Bengal has no scientific or technical support whatsoever. There is not a single scientist in the imagery world who says this can happen. There is no technology that makes this possible. The problem is when you talk about moving resources away from the real search, that is what I get upset about.

Now Bangladesh was not involved in the search. They want to check it out. I have no problems for that. No problem for the families to run down every lead. When it is talk of the Malaysians to move the resources to the Bay of Bengal, that's when I got upset.

BLACKWELL: Miles, for weeks now, you have been calling for the Malaysians to release the air traffic control recordings. They've now released them. What have you heard? Anything stand out to you?

O'BRIEN: No, it is all routine stuff. It is nice to hear what happened on the Ho Chi Minh City side of things. We've heard the Kuala Lumpur air traffic control recording, but what happened on the other side. I know that they were trying to eventually reach them and raise them. There was previously some staticky response from the aircraft. The report says that did not occur. Nevertheless, it would be nice to hear the efforts to reach the aircraft so we understand and have a full picture.

It is routine conversations. You know, that makes me wonder why they waited so long to release it. They could have released this a couple of days after the incident. There is nothing in there that is going to get in the way of any sort of potential criminal investigation if that is why they held on to it. What we are dealing with is a culture of secrecy and there is not a real pattern or tradition of releasing things to the public.

That pattern has persisted to this day. It is a five-page report, more than 50 days after the incident. If it were not for Richard Quest forcing the prime minister to release the supplemental documents, we would have been disappointed with the report.

PAUL: All righty, Miles O'Brien and Peter Goelz, we appreciate you gentlemen getting up in the morning and talking to us about this. Thank you for sharing your opinions and thoughts. We appreciate it.

BLACKWELL: A teenager has been caught in an alleged plot to attack his family and his school and he has the weapons to make it happen apparently.

PAUL: Now authorities say he is making new threats. He is doing this from inside his detention center. We will let you know what we've learned here. Stay close.


BLACKWELL: It's 22 after the hour now. Gun powder, pressure cooker, chemicals or a bomb. That is what police say a Minnesota teenager managed to amass along with a written plan to attack his family and the school.

PAUL: This morning, that teen is in custody. Reportedly making new threats there while a small town, meanwhile, is grateful for the quick thinking neighbor who saw something strange and said something about it. Nick Valencia is following the story. First of all, what are the new threats about?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, he tried to threaten a counselor at a juvenial facility to choke her and kill her with a telephone cord. He's making new threats while in a facility that led him to be transferred to another facility. It is unclear how John Ladue acquired the arsenal to carry out this alleged plot. As I mentioned, he wakes up in a juvenile facility this morning awaiting a May 12th court appearance.


VALENCIA (voice-over): John Ladue appeared to be a typical teenager. His Facebook page showed the 17-year-old playing an electric guitar with a skull on his shoulder strap. He liked assault rifles. The list of his favorite movies, "Dominated By Blood and Gore." Not so different from any others his age. Ladue had a darker fascination. And in a journal discovered by police at his home, the high school junior, allegedly detailed his deadly plan for committing mass murder.

OFFICER CHRIS MARTENSON, WASECO POLICE: His plan was to kill his family members and start a diversion area fire in rural Waseca to distract first responders and travel to the Waseca Junior-Senior High School. Once there, he intended to setoff numerous bombs during the lunch hour, kill the school resource officer as he responded to help. Set fires and shoot students and staff.

VALENCIA: The attack was thwarted by Chelsie Shellhas, a watchful resident who reported what she believed to be suspicious activity at a storage facility.

CHELSIE SHELLHAS, NEIGHBOR: He shut the door. I thought it funny. Normally it doesn't take 10 minutes to open a storage shed. So that's why I called it in.

VALENCIA: That led police to Ladue. An inside police found a locker with bomb making materials.

MARTENSON: Numerous guns, ammunition, prepared bombs and paper work documenting his plans were recovered and removed from the home.

VALENCIA: The investigation started in late March when police began discovering explosive devices at an elementary school playground. A place police believed Ladue used as a testing ground. They say his deadly plan was to target students at the Waseca Junior and Senior High School. He says he expected SWAT teams to kill him. A plan officials say he originally wanted to carry out on April 20th to commemorate the massacre at Columbine, but didn't because it was Easter Sunday and school was not in session.

TOM LEE, SUPERINTENDENT, WASECA SCHOOL DISTRICT: We can either believe that this occurred as a result of a lucky break or as I do choose to believe that God was looking out for all of us.

VALENCIA: A small Minnesota town thankful this day their town didn't become just one more in a long list of tragic school shootings.


VALENCIA: They were certainly lucky. We still don't know if John Ladue has an attorney. We talked to his mom earlier and she did not to talk about the circumstances surrounding her son. He is facing multiple charges, two counts of criminal damage to property, four counts of attempted first degree murder and six counts of possession of an explosive.

PAUL: All right, Nick Valencia, thank you so much. Whatever you are doing, look at the video. We have something you don't want to miss. Two women's brave actions saved a bus full of students. Look at this.

BLACKWELL: So Betty Windom and her sister, Beth, they were at a red light and noticed flames shooting out of a school bus. They knew they had to do something.


BETTY WINDOM, WINTESS: It was smoking real bad and we just knew we had to get those kids out of the bus. We were running on the side of the bus and we have the flashers on. We're honking. We're screaming. My sister was out of the vehicle screaming at them.

TERRANCE VOUNO, CLAUDINE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT: I had to give them something. A plaque or something. They helped also.


PAUL: All 23 students, by the way and three chaperons and the bus driver were able to escape that burning bus. Kudos to those women.

Another woman we are talking about though. You did not know her name last week, but she is at the center of the Donald Sterling scandal and she has a lot of things she'd like you to know.

BLACKWELL: V. Stiviano, she is not just defending the troubled team owner, Donald Sterling, now. She is calling herself his best friend and his silly rabbit. Yes. You will hear what else she had to say.


PAUL: Thirty minutes past the hour. Hopefully the coffee is kicking in at this point. I'm Christi Paul. BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell.

Here are five things you need to know for your NEW DAY.

Up first in Afghanistan, at least 2,700 people are feared dead in a massive landslide. Local officials say rescuers will not dig out hundreds of people buried underneath the stones and mud instead they are declaring the site a mass grave. They are appealing to international organization to help the survivors including the 700 families evacuated from nearby areas.

PAUL: Number two, Secretary of State John Kerry says in just a short while ago that the United States is willing to help Nigeria rescue more than 220 girls kidnapped from their families. Kerry also blasted the terrorists behind the abductions. And the Nigerian government says of 276 victims kidnapped last month 53 girls had escaped.

BLACKWELL: Number three, a deadly virus from the Middle East has spread to the U.S. for the first time. The CDC says a man from Indiana has contacted the MERS virus which -- it's an acronym that stands for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. And officials say the man recently returned from a trip to Saudi Arabia and has been placed in isolation. Experts say the virus poses a very low risk to the general public.

PAUL: Number four, the teenager who stowed away aboard the flight from San Jose California to Maui is no longer in Hawaii we have learned. Officials say this morning the boy is safe but they're not giving any other details. The 15 year old told authorities he hopped an airport fence and (inaudible) into the wheel well of a Boeing 757. He did lose consciousness apparently when the plane took off.

BLACKWELL: Five now, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine is throwing support behind Hillary Clinton for president. That's if Secretary Clinton runs for president. The endorsement of the Democratic former governor could be a big win for Clinton. You know Kaine was among President Obama's first public supporters. He's expected to make a short speech this morning extolling Clinton's credentials at a party even in South Carolina.

A legal battle could be brewing against Clippers owner Donald Sterling and the NBA-- well between those two. Does Sterling fight his lifetime ban from the game and a potential loss of his franchise or does he sell and just avoid the fight?

PAUL: Joining us from New York is CNN legal analyst Paul Callan and HLN legal analyst Joey Jackson. Good morning, gentlemen. I'm so glad to have you both here.

You know I've been listening to people talking about this and as vile as the comments are, as much as they hate it, one question keeps popping up and that is, how can Sterling lose his job for conversations that he said in private. Paul, let me start with you.

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, this is something a lot of people would worry about. Because people say, of course, things in private conversations that are inappropriate and never thinking it's going to go public. And can you lose your job as a result of that or in this case can he lose ownership of a $1 billion asset.

Obviously this is something all of the owners have to worry about because when they have this meeting, they're going to vote to accept or reject this lifetime ban and selling of the team. They're going to have to say, you know, have I said something myself that could be made public that would cause me to lose ownership of the team.

I think there is a difference in this case though in that the league is overwhelmingly African-American and the public image of the league has been tarnished by having him as an owner. And we are not talking about random inappropriate comments, we're talking about something that goes to the very heart of the NBA -- who the NBA players are and his contempt for them.

So I think this is a little different than just an isolated insult thrown in a conversation.

BLACKWELL: Joey, this interview, this "20/20" interview with Barbara Walters and V. Stiviano -- she calls herself his personal archivist. I guess recording his conversations as here job -- I don't know if there is a contract or anything there, but if this punishment from Commissioner Silver, is based on as it is this recording, which was obtained legally, does the punishment still hold up?

JOEY JACKSON, HLN LEGAL ANALYST: It absolutely does. First of all -- good morning, Victor, good morning, Christi, good morning, Paul.

BLACKWELL: Good morning.

PAUL: Good morning.

CALLAN: Good morning.

JACKSON: The writing is on the wall and he is gone. And I think it arises to this Victor. It is about a standard of care. Now, you know, we could attack the victim and say a number of things about her. Was she recording him, this archivist or was she acting in another capacity. It boils down to what he did, not what she did.

What I mean by that, Victor, there is a certain standard of care you are applied to as an owner. Does what you do bring, you know, some disrepute on to your franchise or the organization as a whole. And if it does, and the value of your franchise and collectively of the NBA's otherwise tarnished or in danger of the result of the conduct, I think the NBA is empowered to act under its bylaws and constitution and did properly act.

And so therefore, I see at the end of the day, Victor, that this certainly is upheld.

PAUL: Ok, so Paul, let me just put you in a position here. If you were representing Donald Sterling right now, what is the best defense strategy you would offer? CALLAN: Well, I'd be doing some behind the scenes lobbying, which is often what lawyers do and actually the most highly compensated lawyers probably don't go into courtrooms. They are good lobbyists in representing their clients. And they should be talking to and his lawyers should talk to other members of the NBA organization and say listen, this could happen to any one of you. You're going to set a precedent here. Everything you say in private will be scrutinized. And some enemy will try to use this to take your team away.

And I would be trying to negotiate a more palatable exit, maybe a slower exit, an exit where he walks offstage with a little bit of dignity. I think he's out. He's going to stay out. And this is just a question of having it done in a dignified manner.

BLACKWELL: Joey, a divorce filing by Donald Sterling or his while, Rochelle Sterling, could that stall the NBA owners push to have him sell the team? I mean if you have this protracted fight over assets and that could go on for, you know, years would that push things, I guess, to the back burner?

JACKSON: You know, interestingly enough, Victor, when it comes to law, everything seems to take so much time. But I am one of the lawyers that is of the view that it will have no impact on this and here's why. Divorce, Victor, is about valuating property. What is yours, what's mine? I know it is community property. Let's divvy it up and let's see what's appropriate and so therefore it is equally distributed and it's fair.

I don't believe that a divorce proceeding will in any way shape or form affect the NBA's action or ultimately what happens here. If there's some value that the wife is owed versus the husband owed then you know what -- you put it in the pot, you leave it to the side and once this is all cleared out, everybody gets what they get in its proportionate value.

So I don't think, you know, although some do that this divorce is going to stall things, it's going to hold things, there's going to be a stay on what the NBA can do. It is a separate proceeding and as long as at the end of the day Victor, everybody gets -- husband and wife -- their fair value then I think it's appropriate, it is fair. I think life goes on in the NBA without Mr. Sterling.

BLACKWELL: All right. Joey Jackson and Paul Callan, good to have both of you on the story that is becoming a little more bizarre day by day.

PAUL: Every day.

CALLAN: Day by day.

PAUL: My goodness.

JACKSON: Pleasure, Victor.

PAUL: Thanks.

CALLAN: Who is V. Stiviano? That is what I want to know. That is what we're going to take away from this.

BLACKWELL: She is, by her own, I guess, description, silly rabbit.

PAUL: Silly rabbit.

CALLAN: Yes, she told Barbara Walters. She said she's a silly rabbit. So there you go.

BLACKWELL: Stand by for the Twitter handle.

PAUL: Yes, more conversations on that.

BLACKWELL: Thank you guys.

JACKSON: Sure you guys. Take care.

PAUL: Thanks, gentlemen.

JACKSON: Bye, Paul.

PAUL: All right. Celebration after tragedy -- we're going to tell you how one couple started a new life after a tornado ripped away their old one.

BLACKWELL: Their inspirational story is next. Plus a look at your weekend forecast.


PAUL: Hey, if you need a little inspiration this morning, this is where you're going to get some of it. This Arkansas couple is proving that man if you are in it for the long haul, love can last and weather any storm.

Randy Wright (ph) and his fiancee Angie (inaudible) are turning tragedy into a celebration. Here look at this. They decided to get married on the foundation of their home which had been destroyed by Sunday's tornado.

BLACKWELL: You see the parents planned to marry in a few weeks, but they said they'd sped up the nuptials when they realized how precious every moment is.

PAUL: And I love how everybody is matching their shirts.

BLACKWELL: And then to get right back to work.

PAUL: Yes. Congratulations to them.

BLACKWELL: Certainly.

PAUL: For sure.

Thankfully this weekend is going to be a gorgeous one, I think, for most of the country anyway.

BLACKWELL: There's at least hope it will be. Karen Maginnis is here with the forecast. Karen what can we expect?

KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, Christi and Victor, quite a different weekend than what we were looking at just seven days ago with that outbreak of severe weather. We have a little bit of severe weather to tell you about, at least in thunderstorms rumbling around right in Tampa.

Take a look at this live tower view of the city of Atlanta. Yes, some thunderstorms are knocking on your door. Already a couple of inches of rain -- as a matter of fact record rainfall in the past several days. You will see another inch or two and there are some localized watches that have been issued as well.

Take a look at some of these rainfall totals. In Tampa, 3.11 inches of rain. That was a record daily rainfall total. And if you are headed out toward the Kentucky Derby, well, it looks like a pretty nice forecast ahead for you because those temperatures are expected to be in the 70s. You are looking at just a 10 percent chance of a shower and that is just about it.

Heavy rain in the northwest coming up.

Back to you guys.

PAUL: All right. Karen Maginnis, good to see you. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Washington and Hollywood gearing up to get together tonight for the White House Correspondents Dinner.

PAUL: Yes, but I mean the thing is President Obama is already juggling the crisis in Ukraine and more backlash over Benghazi.


PAUL: So some people are saying, I don't know. Is he going to be able to cut loose?

BLACKWELL: We'll see.

PAUL: Sure.


VENUS WILLIAS: I have to say that I feel more confident on the court than I have in my life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Venus hasn't always been so optimistic about her future. Three years ago she told the world that she was suffering from a fatigue sapping disease called Sjogren's syndrome.

WILLIAMS: I just see it as a challenge because in my life I have never been defeated by anything that I've lost. And I've had to learn, but I've never, you know, had to lay down the towel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have days where you just like can't get out of bed and just feel like you sleep all day? Is that how it works? WILLIAMS: Yes, I do have days where I'm still like that, but I don't stay in bed because that makes me anxious. I guess that sums it up and I realize I have to get the work in because I have really been to the bottom, you know? So once you get that far down, once you get back up, you realize that you have really nothing to lose.



MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST: Hey, good morning. I'm Michael Smerconish.

This morning we're hearing from Donald Sterling's alleged mistress, Vivian Stiviano. And we'll also look at some legal hurdles in forcing Sterling to sell the L.A. Clippers. Also, what celebrities can teach politicians and we're not talking fashion. And a right wing radio host goes rogue and locks himself in the studio. It has all the makings of a political thriller because, let me tell you, it is.

Victor and Christi, we will see you here at 9:00.

BLACKWELL: All right Michael. Sure will. Thank you. Hey, it is the one night of the year where Washington kicks back, relaxes and laughs -- maybe not the one night. But it's the night they do it in front of cameras and we talk about it.

PAUL: In front of everybody else.


So the partisan bickering turns into partisan joking at the annual White House Correspondents Dinner.

PAUL: Yes. I mean even President Obama is going to do a little comedy.

But I mean let's face, he has some heavy issues on his plate right now. The economy, Obamacare, Ukraine, his approval rating is at a new low. So you have to wonder how is this all going to works?

Joining us: Democratic strategist, Robert Zimmerman and CNN political commentator and Republican consultant, Alex Castellanos. Gentlemen thank you so much for being with us.

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Good morning. Good to be with you.

PAUL: Good morning to you.

Robert, let me start with you. How do you think this whole will play out tonight?

ZIMMERMAN: Well, I think it's -- no, this is going to play out just fine. Remember, you have an audience of 2,800 people in tuxedos and in gowns. They have one objective. To run around the room and grab a selfie with anybody who looks familiar. That's their goal. And I think for the public at large, it is a chance -- President Obama has used this occasion a chance to sort of reframe the discussion and point out the absurdity of politics and try to create some -- to put some perspective through humor as to what's happening in our government.

BLACKWELL: So I want to ask you Alex, there have been times in the past when a joke has worked in the room. For example, when President George W. Bush talked about looking for the weapons of mass destruction, he is looking under his desk, looking with the dog behind doors. Outside of that room, that joke might not have played so well. Talk about that line of, I guess, laughing at one's own mistakes or shortcomings as it relates to political issues?

ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, that is one of the challenges I think for President Obama tonight is to reconnect with the press. You know, he has lost a lot of his magic. We're in the post-presidential depression period.

I think as you were saying, he has had a tough time internationally, politically, at home his numbers are down. So what he needs to do is tell them the truth. Hey you know (inaudible). If he has fun like that, if he is self deprecating humor, he will connect.

But you know, the President has never really been good at that. He is better with the sharp jab that pokes fun at a Donald Trump or that pokes fun at somebody in the media. But he has not been that good at poking fun at himself.

PAUL: Ok. Let's talk a little bit about that. Robert, I want to ask you. I mean there are some really good zingers. And we watch him and go oh, because sometimes you think they might hit a little below the belt. Does any of that, does it echo with them, any of these politicians and any of these people as they leave for the night?

ZIMMERMAN: You know, I think realistically, I don't think it's going to impact whether we're going to have an immigration bill go through Congress, whether you have an infrastructure built. I think it really is -- it's an issue that political pundits dwell on extensively. But I think in the scheme of things in Washington. It's really inconsequential.

But I think what is important though is while the President does poke fun at himself sometimes, that line about he's going to learn to speak without a prompter. He wants Biden to learn to speak with a prompter.

But I think more important is when he tries to go after some of the issues that he faces, for example the birther movement and mock those who try to make an issue of that. I think that's where I think the zingers are important because it puts in perspective the absurdities that dominate Washington all too often.

BLACKWELL: Hey Alex, 20 seconds if you could Kathleen Parker has a piece out in the "Washington Post" this weekend where she says the rest of the world could not care less about the dinner except perhaps to not that Washington is out of touch with regular Americans and the journalists are too schmoozy with officialdom. What's your thought on that?

CASTELLANOS: I think that is what a lot of America sees. That is why this -- I think this dinner has lost some of its magic, too. This is one Washington elite hanging out with another Washington elite, and very far from the trials and tribulations of most Americans and their daily lives.

I think it's going to be tough for the President tonight though because he is in a weakened state politically. That is when there is blood in the water and that is when the sharks come out. When he was a brand new president and people were excited about him that was very different than the situation he is in today.


ZIMMERMAN: Alex -- Alex, lighten up a little bit. This is an evening where very frankly you may call it elite, but they think Lindsay Lohan is a celebrity. To put it in perspective.

PAUL: All right. Robert Zimmerman and Alex Castellanos -- I'm sure going to have a lot to say when this is over. We'll be eager to hear that too.

BLACKWELL: Looking forward to it.

PAUL: Thank you so much, gentlemen.

BLACKWELL: Thanks gentlemen.


BLACKWELL: Royalty is in the house.

PAUL: Prince William and his brother Harry in the U.S. not for official business. We're going to tell you where they are, why they're here. I know you want to know. Stick around.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bode Miller was inspired to start Turtle Ridge Foundation after a close friend suffered an accident that left him paralyzed from the chest down.

BODE MILLER, TURTLE RIDGE FOUNDATION: I was trying to help to get him re-involved in sports. And just to watch him go through that, I saw how hard it was and how little support there was for him. People who are in a wheelchair or handicapped, we provide the sporting equipment for them and the environment that allows them to participate in whatever sport that is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once a year, skiers flop to Bode Fest on Bode's home turf of Kenton Mountain, New Hampshire for a day of fund raising and a chance for kids to race the ski icon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is really cool and really fast.

MILLER: These are my Super G Skis. For those of you who watched the Royal Cup this year, that Super G run was the best I skied all year.

BLACKWELL: It's also a chance to test out the latest equipment the foundation has helped developed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The program has really changed my life. I never thought that I would be able to ski, but this program has really changed my opinion on adaptive sports.

MILLER: When we built some of our ski equipment and you give it to a kid who never had a chance to go up and experience what it is to ski down a giant mountain and you watch how life-changing that can be for them. I think it's really -- it's pretty incredible.


PAUL: It is incredible -- he and some of those folks.

All right. Britain's princes have visited the home of the king -- the king of rock 'n' roll -- that is. Prince William and Harry went to Graceland and took a private tour of Elvis' estate. Guess who else was in Graceland, by the way. Some of the princes' fellow citizens.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very exciting stuff isn't it. We did not know until yesterday that the princes were coming here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is lovely. To think that we actually see our princes, future king in Memphis.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At the king's house.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, at the king's house.


BLACKWELL: Very nice. King meets the king. Thanks for starting your morning with us.

PAUL: Yes, we're so glad to have you. We are back here at the top of the hour, 10:00 Eastern. Right now, you've got Smerconish.