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NEW DAY SATURDAY
Belgium Mourns, Manhunt On For Terror Suspects; Salah Abdeslam Claims Minor Role In Paris Attacks; NYPD Deploys Vapor Dogs To Sniff Out Bombs; Trump, Cruz War Over Tabloid Allegations; ISIS's Second-in- Command Killed; Bomb Training for Law Enforcement; Democratic Caucus in Washington, Hawaii; Alaska. Aired 6-7a ET
Aired March 26, 2016 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[06:00:11] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. So grateful to have your company this morning. I'm Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you. We are going start with live pictures this morning taking you to Brussels. People setting up the memorial for the 31 people killed in the deadly terror attacks this week. The city still on edge. The country on edge with police patrols on every street corner there in Brussels.
PAUL: We should point out. There have been several raids in Brussels including one in the district of (inaudible) where a taxi driver picked up three of the terror suspects and took them to the airport. One person we know was arrested there.
Authorities are looking for this man. Naim Al Hamed is a key figure in the Brussels and Paris attacks. He is from Syria we know. He may have entered Europe through Greece as a refugee. Officials say, he is, quote, "very dangerous and believed to be armed."
BLACKWELL: Let's bring in CNN international correspondent, Michael Holmes. Michael, what else do we know about Naim Al Hamed and why we are finding out about him so many days after the security community, intelligence community first learned of the search for this man?
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There are a couple of developments there. Hi, Victor, Christi. Yes, this man, Naim Al Hamed like two of the Paris attackers we know about have come in among the wave of refugees fleeing Syria to the Greek island of Laros.
Hundreds of others arriving by boat and mingled in with them and was at a refugee center in the Germany city of Ohm at one point. He then disappeared from there.
Now he is suspected of being, and the police say he is quite likely armed and dangerous, and suspected of being a key figure in all of this. One other development I can tell you about is, Salah Abdeslam, the man who is also thought to be one of the ring leaders of the Paris attacks, French media reporting based on interrogation transcript saying that he told investigators, after his arrest here, you remember, he said he played a minor role.
He was trying to diminish his role in the Paris attack basically he say, he helped organize hotels and cars and the like, but really pointing the finger at his brother. He might want to diminish his own role after the explosions here in Brussels.
However, he completely clamped up and said nothing else to investigators. As we know, he is now asking to be extradited to Paris to face charges there. So a little bit more information there -- Victor.
BLACKWELL: Yes, we have heard with this remarkable number of pairings of siblings in terror attacks around the world, we've heard similar counts, we think back to the Tsarnaev brothers and the Boston bombings where the younger brother then blamed his older brother in that case.
We'll of course learn more about Salah Abdeslam as investigators continue the investigation. Michael Holmes there for us in Brussels. We'll get back to you and talk about the arrests in Germany later this morning. Thank you so much.
PAUL: Let's bring in Sajjan Gohel, the international security director for the Asia Pacific Foundation, and Tom Fuentes, CNN senior law enforcement analyst and former FBI assistant director.
Tom, I want to start with you. How much credence do you even put in anything Abdeslam says regarding the minor roles he claims to have played in the terrorist attacks?
TOM FUENTES, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Good morning, Christi. I think that, you know, you could only put as much credence into what he says, if you can prove what he says is true or if there is any way to back up what he says, that's one thing. If there isn't, take it with a grain of salt.
I think he can say what he wants. At this point, it's going to be a matter of them being able to prove. If he puts himself in a position of helping logistically that still helps in mass murder. So he's still admitting to that, if that's true.
PAUL: So Sajjan, when we are talking about Naim Al Hamed from Syria, who they are looking for now, sources are telling CNN that European security agencies believed he's involved operationally in the Brussels attack. What exactly is believed when we say operationally?
SAJJAN GOHEL, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY DIRECTOR, ASIA PACIFIC FOUNDATION: Well, it's a very serious charge effectively he was a coordinator, a planner, and he put it together. Potentially, he may have been on the scene, did the reconnaissance with some of the bombers in advance of the attack itself. So it's illustrating just how important he is. [06:05:02]What concerns me is how long it's actually been taken to formally identify this individual between now and the day of the attack.
As we know, a lot of these people are able to use Schengen zone, which allows free movement of travel to go through various E.U. countries and he may have already left Belgium. The worry is that he may have moved on by now.
WHITFIELD: Right. You would suspect that he would have moved on to Syria or would he have stayed somewhere in Belgium as Abdeslam did?
GOHEL: That's a good question. Abdeslam after the Paris attacks stayed in the suburb of Molenbeek in Brussels for four months. That illustrates just how much support there is for individuals within Brussels for ISIS.
If he has left, it's no surprise, but equally, if he stays in Brussels, it's another illustration that the command and control of support network for ISIS within Brussels is entrenched and that is something authorities have to work out how to effectively extract from the civilian population.
PAUL: Tom, when you look at what's been able to be done here in the last few days since the attack, how much confidence do you have in the intelligence sharing there in Belgium and with other E.U. nations and even with the U.S.?
FUENTES: I have tremendous confidence in the information sharing. I have almost no confidence in the information collected. That's what the problem is here is that even if they collect any information, it doesn't seem to be analyzed and put into a useful form that they can identify members of the grand conspiracies.
Where they are from, where they live, who they associate with, who they likely call, where they are likely to get the explosives from, who are the bomb makers, all of these things seemed to be coming as a huge mystery to services that should know all about them and should have known all about them for a long time.
PAUL: All right, Tom Fuentes and Sajjan Gohel, thank you both, Gentlemen, so much for taking the time to be with us.
GOHEL: You're welcome.
PAUL: Do stick around, too, as we are going to talk a little bit more about the death of ISIS' number two man later this hour. Sajjan, please stay with us for that.
BLACKWELL: All right, meantime, in New York, thousands of additional police officers have been deployed across the city since the Brussels attack.
PAUL: The reinforcements include some members of the NYPD's canine unit found traces of bombs that are becoming a lot harder to detect. Here is Randi Kaye. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a busy afternoon in New York City's Times Square, a high profile area long considered a target for terrorism. But if someone was looking to set off a bomb here, these dogs may sound the alarm earlier than ever before.
And they are no ordinary bomb sniffing dogs, they are what's called vapor weight dogs trained not only to sniff out bombs and bags but to pick up the scent or vapor of a bomb as it walks through the air, something the human nose cannot detect.
BILL BRATTON, NYPD COMMISSIONER: The very function of these wonderful dogs is in fact to protect against exactly what happened in Belgium.
KAYE (on camera): Even on a busy New York City Street, these dogs can pick up the scent of a bomb in the air. The vapor that they recognize could come from a person's clothing, perhaps the bomb maker who walks right by them or from a backpack which may contain the bomb.
(voice-over): The dogs were trained at Auburn University. We visited the university after the 2013 Boston marathon bombing to see the training firsthand.
(on camera): The point of a vapor weight dog is detect the vapor of a bomb, if you will, before it is actually placed where it might explode, to catch it before that.
JIM FLOYD, AUBURN UNIVERSITY VETERINARIAN: That is exactly correct. Your standard bomb dog is primed on looking at an object, a backpack that is placed somewhere. A vapor weight dog's ability to detect the odor coming off of that backpack on the back of someone as they carry it.
FLOYD: And to follow that plume of vapor.
KAYE (voice-over): This video from the university shows a vapor weight dog in action. Once he catches the odor in the air, watch how he never lets up. There are eight vapor weight dogs now deployed to protect soft targets in the New York City area. They just graduated the NYPD's training this week. Each is named after a fallen NYPD officer.
JAMES WATERS, NYPD BUREAU CHIEF: In a world where suicide bombings continue to be the weapon of choice for terrorists throughout the world, the CRCs capability to deploy these vapor weight dogs is more important than ever before.
KAYE: These pups are always working, zigzagging through the crowds, sniffing everyone and everything they come into contact with, including our camera.
[06:10:04]If one of these dogs does pick up the scent of a bomb, he can follow the plume or bomb vapor up to the length of several football fields.
If the vapor leads him to a suspect, he will stop when the suspect stops and sit down to alert his handler. Why are these dogs so good at their jobs?
Because their nose has 220 million cells to pick up a scent compared to 5 million in the human nose. In the world of counterterrorism, they are truly man's best friend. Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
PAUL: And stay with us. Still to come --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm holding two very volatile bombs in my hands. This one has three components to it, this one has two components to it. Three, two, one, fire in the hole.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Brave Nick Valencia there making homemade bombs, apparently isn't as difficult as you might think. CNN, along with law enforcement agencies from around the world getting hands on training in the power of explosives.
BLACKWELL: Plus, the Republican presidential candidates are continuing their feud, punching one another rhetorically over their wives.
And video that has outraged many this morning. A teacher knocking a 4-year-old special needs child to the ground. Was this intentional?
BLACKWELL: We'll get back to the breaking news in just a moment. As the international manhunt continues to catch the suspected terrorist is underway in Europe, presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz, are focusing more on domestic matters.
[06:15:06]Battling over salacious stories, one in a tabloid magazine, and hurling accusations over who planted that story.
All right, to discuss now, we are joined by CNN political commentator and political anchor for "Time Warner Cable News," Errol Louis. Errol, good morning to you.
Is this what the candidates want to talk about? We know that Donald Trump has retweeted this posting comparing Heidi Cruz to Melania Trump.
But this week when Ted Cruz shut back at this tabloid story, he introduced it without having been asked by a reporter. Is this what they want to talk about?
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't know about Ted Cruz so much because it's a damaging story and distracts at a time he needs more attention on his campaign.
For Donald Trump, though, I'm not at all clear that this hurts him. This is something that his followers love to see. He's a counter puncher. He comes roaring back with all kinds of attacks.
The wilder they are, the more entertained his followers seem to be by it. So Donald Trump, I don't think loses one bit of support from his core followers at least when it comes to this stuff.
BLACKWELL: Women at large, going into the general election, he has a double digit deficit when match up hypothetically with Hillary Clinton.
LOUIS: Obviously, it doesn't. But frankly, he may have concluded in a way that that problem is one that he can't fix and that is his vote or support on women is irretrievable. He'll have problems trying to fix that somewhere down the line.
But let's keep in mind, Victor, there's been this pattern we have seen for months now, which is there's a distraction quality to all this stuff. Really just a couple days before, the day before those horrific bombings in Belgium, you have Donald Trump saying that the United States should reconsider its role in NATO.
Now that cries out for some follow up. He's not the only person that's suggested that, but he's certainly the only person that flippantly put it out there when he is this close to actually claiming the nomination.
I think he was in probably a little over his depth by saying that. Having to talk about it, now we are talking tabloid stuff.
BLACKWELL: Also suggesting that torture would encourage Salah Abdeslam to speak a little more freely as he's being interrogated by investigations. We know he's stopped talking.
But let's me ask you about also what we heard from Ted Cruz as it relates to potentially supporting a nominee, Donald Trump. This is what he said after having made this pledge earlier in the campaign that he would support Donald Trump if he were to win the nomination. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SENATOR TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will say this, I don't make a habit out of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my family. And Donald Trump is not going to be the Republican nominee. Donald Trump is not going to be the Republican nominee. We are going to beat him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: No longer are we hearing from any of the candidates say yes, period. We are now hearing these types of statements. Do you foresee we get to a point where these candidates say, no, I can't support Donald Trump? LOUIS: I think, frankly, if you read between the lines, you heard that from Ted Cruz. You know how this works, Victor, there's politics and we have seen politicians execute one back flip after another over the years.
But when it gets this personal, when it comes to personal attacks not on your spouse because of anything she's done, but on her looks. I mean, this is not anything you would expect any grown man to really put up with.
I wouldn't expect Ted Cruz to support Donald Trump, even if it made all the political sense in the world once it gets this bitter, personal and nasty, barring some kind of a reconciliation.
The question has always been when it comes to this stuff, how low is Donald Trump willing to go? How deep into the gutter is he going to dwell and does he have any intention of pulling back at some point? The answer so far is no.
BLACKWELL: All right, Errol Louis, thank you so much. We know that Ted Cruz is holding a rally in Wisconsin. We'll continue the conversation throughout the morning.
We also know that coming up, the three remaining Republican candidates coming up on Tuesday will be in Milwaukee for a town hall. The prime time event will be moderated by CNN's Anderson Cooper, Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. right here on CNN.
WHITFIELD: Still to come, a Georgia teacher has been arrested after being caught on camera knocking a special needs student to the floor. We have that video for you, we'll show you more of it.
Also, more on this web of terror that's touching across Europe. Details on the arrest made in Paris. How the suspects could be tied to the Belgium attacks.
BLACKWELL: ISIS has claimed responsibility for this one, a suicide bombing in Iraq killed 25, at least 25 people here, wounded 90 more. This happened at a soccer stadium about 30 miles south of Baghdad. A local soccer team was being honored with trophies at the time of that attack.
PAUL: In Tifton, Georgia, a special education teacher has been arrested after video surfaced of her knocking down a child. At first, it looks like an accident, right? Some say, though, in slow motion, it appears to show the woman intentionally shoving her knee into the 4-year-old's back. He was not hurt, but the matter has been turned over to the state's division of Family and Child Services for investigation.
BLACKWELL: Just days after President Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to visit Cuba in nearly 90 years, the Rolling Stones as you can see here, became the first band to perform a rock concert in Havana, a free concert here. It took months of negotiations to make it happen. Hundreds of thousands of Cubans turned out for the show, which was held at a rundown sports complex outside of the city.
PAUL: Pope Francis celebrated Good Friday with a candlelight procession around the Roman Coliseum. A pre-Easter tradition known as the way of the cross. The day before the pope washed and kissed the feet of a dozen people including Muslims, Hindus, Catholics and Protestants, all but one of them were refugees.
[06:25:09]BLACKWELL: We know France has spoiled a major terror plot according to investigators there. We now have details on why police believe the suspect was in the, as we call them, advanced stages of the plot and how they are tied to the Brussels bombings.
PAUL: Also terrorism officials from around the world are in the U.S. right now. Hands on training is what they are getting on the types of bombs used in the Belgium attack. We are going to take you there. Stay close.
BLACKWELL: Bottom of the hour and we push forward on the breaking new this morning. President Obama has just said that now at least 14 Americans were injured in the Brussels attacks. We know that at least two Americans were killed in those attacks as well.
And the city still reeling from the deadly attacks this week. Security has been ramped up. It is visible in many places. In some places, there is security that is not so visible, as the city, we know, is living in fear in some communities that it may not be over.
PAUL: A manhunt is on still for the other suspects involved in those attacks including this man, Naim Al Hamed, who authorities believed played a critical role in those attacks.
CNN correspondent, Erin McLaughlin with us now. Erin, authorities, we know, foiled an attack in France this week. What do we know about that this morning?
[06:30:00] ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: French President Francois Hollande had said that while they have been unravelling the cells behind the attacks in Brussels, as well as the attacks in Paris back in November.
They are still very concerned about the potential that there are other networks out there and the events that unfolded here in Paris this week is an example of that.
Authorities say they foiled a terrorist plot in its advanced stages. And they arrested what they say is a key ISIS operative who has been identified by source with knowledge of the investigation as a 34-year- olds French national Reda Kriket.
He was wanted by authorities for recruitment, Jihadist recruitment sending fires to Syria. Now following his arrest, authorities conducted a number of raids in Paris as well as in Belgium.
In the raid here in Paris, it happened in a suburb just outside of the city. They found 4.4 pounds of the explosive TATP, which is the same explosive that was used during the Paris attacks.
So, authorities saying that this plot was in an advanced stages, not giving much more details than that. They said the investigation lasted for months and is still ongoing. But what this really does illustrate is the nature of the threat authorities here are facing, seemingly large number of French speaking militants and ISIS sympathizers operating in what seems to be French speaking parts of Europe.
And the question for authorities, the challenge for authorities is identifying those individuals, unravelling those networks and preventing further attacks.
And keep in mind, all of this happening amidst a backdrop of ISIS coming under increasing pressure in Syria and Iraq directing its sympathizers to carry out the attacks abroad.
PAUL: Eric McLaughlin, we appreciate the update this morning. Thank you.
BLACKWELL: The U.S. says the coalition forces have killed another major ISIS leader in Syria. They say Haji Iman, believe to be the terror group's second in command is dead. The Secretary of Defense Ash Carter says ISIS' minister of war was also killed.
Let's bring back Sajjan Gohel, international security director for the Asia Pacific Foundation.
Sajjan, first, gauge for us and give us an idea from your perspective the importance of Haji Iman to ISIS.
GOHEL: Well, it is significant. He effectively is the number two in the organization. He is seen as the right-hand man to the head of ISIS Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. They say that when al-Baghdadi was injured in a U.S. drone strike last year that he took over briefly.
We have to keep in mind that it is still an uphill treadmill for counterterrorism agencies. One individual being killed doesn't mean that the whole network is destroyed. But it's a start. They are suffering set backs on the ground. They are losing territory. What my concern is that the more territory they lose, the more likely they will want to carry out terrorist attacks in Europe or even in North America just like they did with Brussels.
BLACKWELL: Let's talk about that.
Is there some direct correlation between the loss of resources, the loss of senior leadership, and potentially the loss of territory and their ability to carry out the types of attacks that we saw in Brussels this week?
GOHEL: I would say there is a strong connection between the two. Keep in mind that ISIS is not just a terrorist organization, it operates as a criminal enterprise. It also is a paramilitary force. It has a number of different dynamics to it. And if those other dynamics such as its paramilitary capability is weakened or its criminal activities are cut, its financial supply lines are severed, it will resort to the most desperate act that it does know how to do and that is terrorism, which is cost effective. They can be low key, clandestine and operate more in the shadows like al Qaeda. And I fear that something like Brussels is not a one up event, but part of a series of plots this year that ISIS will want to try and carry out across Europe and possibly North America.
BLACKWELL: There was another development that because of the events in Brussels did not get as much attention, but it was the city of Palmyra. The citadel seems to be no longer in the hands of ISIS. We know that there were ruins there thousands of years old that were bombed, that historians believe had great value.
What is the significance now of the city being turned over from ISIS' hands?
GOHEL: Well, Palmyra, as you mentioned, is an ancient city. Some of its artefacts are identified by UNESCO as essential to history and culture. Unfortunately, many of them were destroyed by ISIS and some actually ended up on the black market because that's how ISIS does things to fund itself.
[06:35:00] The fact that Assad's troops have retaken Palmyra, that's a set back for ISIS. But it also means that Assad is gaining the strategic edge against the pre-Syria Army that the West supports.
So on the one hand, it is positive that ISIS is suffering, but it also strengthens Assad's grip on the country once again, and that may not be in the benefit of the west.
BLACKWELL: All right. Sajjan Gohel, we'll continue the conversation throughout the morning. Thank you so much.
GOHEL: My pleasure.
BLACKWELL: Also, still to come, an American who survived three terror attacks, the Boston marathon bombing, the Paris attacks, now the Belgium bombings. He's talking to CNN from his hospital bed. You will hear this remarkable story.
PAUL: In less than five minutes, a bomb can be made. CNN is with counterterrorism experts as they find out first hand how powerful these bombs really are.
BLACKWELL: 20 minutes to the top of the hour now. And on Wednesday, Belgian officials discovered 33 pounds of TATP explosives at the house apparently use by the suspected Brussels airport attackers. TATP, I'm sure by now you've heard, has this nickname the mother of Satan because this powder can easily be set off by excessive heat. PAUL: What is particularly alarming now is how easily terrorists can acquire these bomb making materials when Nick Valencia went to Alabama for a law enforcement explosives training course. And he said straight out, it is frightening.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is frightening. Frightening is not even the word to describe just how easy it is for anybody to make an explosive. I made three explosives in a matter of about 45 minutes. And perhaps what's most frightening is the sheer accessibility that anyone has to the products capable of making the explosives.
Now in this piece that you're about to see, the bombs that we made weren't even half as powerful as the ones used in the Brussels attacks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fire in the hole!
VALENCIA (voice-over): Here in rural Alabama, elite members of law enforcement agencies from around the world prepare for the worst-case scenario. It's state-of-the-art training, against global terrorism.
JORIS KERCKHOFF, BRUSSELS FEDERAL POLICE: It's all about saving lives.
VALENCIA: For Joris Kerckhoff, this all hits close to home. He's a Brussels police officer and canine handler, ironically sent to the U.S. for training as his city was hit. Had he been in Belgium, he says, he would have likely been guarding the subway during the attacks.
KERCKHOFF: If the knowledge we have here, we can share that with the rest of the world who also wants to make it a better world, I think that's one step in a good direction.
RYAN MORRIS, FOUNDER, TRIPWIRE OPERATIONS GROUP: This is what we know that they're using all over the world.
VALENCIA: Ryan Morris founded the training company Tripwire in 2005. He says the lessons he teaches are critical in the fight against ISIS and beyond.
MORRIS: Personally, the conventional explosives side, like deck cords and dynamites and c-4 and things of that nature, that doesn't bother me. The things that bother me are the stuff that you can make in your house, you can make in a garage, you can make it anywhere.
VALENCIA: And we found out firsthand what he meant.
MORRIS: So go ahead. Grab some ammonia nitrate.
VALENCIA: How much, this whole cup here?
Morris shows us how in a matter of minutes, anyone can make this kind of explosive.
MORRIS: I'm holding two very volatile bombs in my hands. This one has three components to it. This one has two components to it.
VALENCIA (on-camera): We're just going put it on the ground just so you can see what that does. Three, two, one, fire in the hole!
What I found just absolutely terrifying about this entire experience is just how simple and easy it is to make an explosive using ordinary household products, products capable of inflicting massive casualties.
(voice-over): It's these explosives training courses that are crucial to stopping those who want to inflict chaos. For Morris and the team around him, their success is a matter of life and death.
VALENCIA: And those counterterrorism officials say it's not a matter of if, but when there's another attack. They want to be as prepared as possible and they are training these elite members of law enforcement all across the world.
PAUL: It's so interesting that one of those guys was from Brussels. There were two of them, in fact, right.
PAUL: So what did you learn from him that surprised you most?
VALENCIA: He said these brothers that carried out the attacks in Brussels were regular street thugs, that they were known to Brussels law enforcement. Ten years ago, they were arrested for small crimes: smoking marijuana, taking cell phones from grandmothers, carjackings and now, they are up to these nefarious acts.
But he said something further which was pretty disturbing that these individuals had been arrested, charged, convicted and they were out because of overcrowding in the prison population there in Brussels.
He said they had a year to report after that overcrowding or after there was room in those prisons and they were out. I mean, these guys are not going to report themselves, and obviously, they are carrying out what they are carrying out now. It's just really, really scary.
BLACKWELL: You know we're seeing it and you're reporting here on these two, it corresponds with what we are seeing in France with the Reda Kriket who was arrested.
We were told by authorities there that he was someone who was arrested several years ago for jewellery theft. A legal jewellery cells.
VALENCIA: Petty crimes. BLACKWELL: Yes. The transition from petty crimes or maybe organized crimes to terrorism, it really refutes the narrative that we have heard for some time that these are often are men who are ousted in community, feel like outsiders, and then transition into jihad that way.
But, Nick, amazing story.
VALENCIA: Thanks, guys.
BLACKWELL: And we'll talk more throughout the morning.
VALENCIA: It's really scary.
BLACKWELL: It is, indeed. Thank you so much.
PAUL: Yes. Thank you, Nick.
VALENCIA: You got it.
BLACKWELL: Turning to the Democrats, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in this run up to the race for the White House. They are battling for votes in three western states today. 142 delegates are up for grabs.
Could Sanders end up sweeping all three contests? And if he does, what's the impact?
PAUL: Plus, an emotional reunion in Belgium. An American family sees their son for the first time since he was injured in the Brussels airport bombing. It is an incredible story of survival and so gracious of them to let us witness the moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[06:47:57] Sanders: This little bird doesn't know it --
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Who knew the bird would get so many people on their feet. That bird stealing the show at a Bernie Sanders' rally yesterday in Portland. Senator Sanders expected to do well in all three states that are caucusing today: Washington, Alaska and Hawaii.
And so a lot of people are wondering, would Hillary Clinton be worriedn about this. Let's talk about it.
Hillary Clinton supporter Maria Cardona with us. Bernie Sanders supporter Nomiki Konst with us.
Ladies, so good to see you.
Let's start with you, Maria.
MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good morning.
PAUL: Good morning to you.
So Sanders, as we saw there in the video, too, a lot of people behind him. He brought in, we're hearing, 15,000 people to one rally. Do you believe that he might be strengthening his campaign here or getting some steam?
CARDONA: Well, his campaign has already had strength and it has had steam, but it turns out that Hillary Clinton's campaign has had more strength and has had more steam given the fact that she is way ahead in the pledged delegate count and given the fact that she has had millions more votes than Bernie Sanders.
But look, I've said from the very beginning, that his campaign has been terrific for the Democratic Party, great for the country and really good for Hillary Clinton. So, I'm never going to be one to say that Bernie Sanders should get out. He should stay in this race. He has brought up issues that are important to the country.
The debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders has been absolutely passionate and robust, very civil and a huge contrast to the sickening, disgusting debate that's going on on the Republican side.
But the fact of the matter is that it is going to be very difficult, even if Bernie Sanders sweeps the states today, for him to make up the delegate mass that Hillary Clinton is way ahead by at this point.
PAUL: And that's a good point, he is expected to sweep the three states today.
Nomi, Bernie sanders, this is interesting, though. And you brought up delegates, Maria. But Bernie Sanders has suggested that a path to the nomination could involve swing superdelegates. We know that Hillary Clinton has 482 superdelegates; he has 27.
Can that be done? Can they be swayed to the other side?
NOMIKI KONST, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, based on DNC rules, they absolutely can be swayed because the superdelegates have to reflect the will of the Democratic voters.
So right now what's really at stake here are the pledge delegates. The pledge delegates are those who are reflecting the will of their states. superdelegates decide at the convention. The real difference is 200 delegates.
And just today, we have 172 delegates on the map. And Bernie Sanders is expected to take all three of these states. So it's very well likely that by June 7th, because the later states are more favorable to Bernie Sanders that Bernie Sanders could not just catch up to Hillary Clinton, but go past her in delegate count. And that's when you're going to start to see superdelegates turn. Because we are thinking that are about -- this is the Sanders campaign speaking -- is saying that about 40 percent of the superdelegates are soft commits to Hillary Clinton.
Don't forget, she locked up over half of the superdelegates in August of last year, well before many candidates have even thought about running. And that essentially blocked out many bible Democratic candidates.
So sure she's ahead in a lot of ways like endorsements, party support, infrastructure support, you know, the millions of dollars of contributions into her Super PAC which are basically running a shadow campaign two years prior.
Sure, she's been ahead. He was at 4 percent 10 months ago, but look where he is now. We are 200 delegates down. Today, alone, 172 delegates are on the table and he's winning in all three of those states coming in at 538.com. It says that in all three of these states, Bernie Sanders is likely to win by over 85 percent. So we've got to keep in mind, this is a real race.
PAUL: And, Maria, I want to ask you about something. The latest "CNN-ORC" poll shows, you mentioned the Republicans, but both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, are viewed unfavorably by a majority of registered voters. 57 percent of people have a negative take on Hillary Clinton.
How does she overcome that?
CARDONA: Oh, I think easily. When she becomes the nominee, if she is so lucky to become the nominee, I think that what you are going to see is the focus on Donald Trump's negative numbers, which are overwhelming and so many of the key demographics that are critical for Republicans if they want to win the White House.
Let's just look at that same poll in terms of the numbers that he has with women. Obama won the White House by beating Romney with women 11 percentage points. Donald Trump is under water with women against Hillary by like 23 points or more. And when you look at Hispanics, when you look at African-Americans, when you look at the other key minority demographics, there is no way, right now, that Republicans have a viable path to the White House if Donald Trump is their nominee, which is why you see them so desperately trying to tumble him so that he is not the nominee.
And I think she will be absolutely fine if Donald Trump is the nominee for the Republican Party. And it looks right now that that is a very real possibility.
PAUL: Well, it's going to pan out very interestingly because Hillary Clinton does not have the support as has been gauged of Millennial women, specifically. So it makes you wonder, who are women really going to?
CARDONA: Not yet. (CROSSTALK)
PAUL: I'm sorry, we have to cut it off here.
Maria Cardona, Nomiki Konst, thank you so much. Great conversation.
CARDONA: Thank you.
KONST: Thank you very much. Sure.
BLACKWELL: All right, pushing forward on the breaking news this morning. More explosions and gunfire ring out in Brussels. But this time, it's police uncovering terror plots and arresting suspected terrorists.
We are going to go live to Brussels where police are now kind of scratching the surface in getting into some of these communities into the web of terror, as they describe it.
[06:57:26] PAUL: An injured American in the Brussels airport attacks says he knows he is, quote, get this, "So lucky."
BLACKWELL: Yes. His name is Mason Wells. He's a Mormon missionary. He was at the Delta check in counter when the first blast went off on Tuesday.
PAUL: And he describes really in detail to CNN's Phil Black how quickly he went from simply, you know, standing in that position to flying through the air.
MASON WELLS, BRUSSELS BOMBING SURVIVOR: I was actually conscious for all of it. We tried to pull out my friend's tickets at a small little station, you know, my friend's tickets to go to the United States. And the machine wasn't working actually so afterwards working with a Delta attendant. She took us to the back of the line, the checking line.
I'd actually pulled out my iPad to look at something. So, as part of my responsibilities on the mission. And I was starting to look that up. I was looking at my iPad when the first blast went off. It was really loud.
It really came out of nowhere. I wasn't expecting it at all. I was looking down. All of a sudden, a huge blast came from nowhere. I think -- I believe my body was actually picked off the ground for a moment. And my iPad that was in my hands, I don't know what happened. It just disappeared. I think it actually might have hit me in the head when it got blasted out of my hands.
My watch I wear on my left hand disappeared. My left shoe just was blown off. And a large part of the right side of my body got really hot, and then really cold. And I was covered in a lot of fluids, a lot of blood. And a lot of that blood wasn't mine either.
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: How close do you think you were to that additional explosion?
WELLS: Within 10 to 15 meters. When the blast went off after I have those feelings of warm and hot, I was actually -- I saw fire in front of my face and around my body. Fire literally almost engulfed the four of us. There was fire around us from the blast.
BLACK: Do you remember the second explosion?
WELLS: I do. It took my body about a second, half a second to realize that it was a bomb that went off. And of course I'm sure my body was in complete physical shock. I knew that I'd been wounded. I didn't know how bad it was. I located an exit. I looked up, I located an exit and I started to run towards the doors that we came in through.