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NEW DAY SUNDAY

Thousands Attend President Trump's Florida Rally; Graham: "2017 Year Of Kicking Russian Ass"; Trump: I'll Replace Obamacare In "A Couple Of Weeks"; Ground Offensive Underway To Retake Western Mosul; Report: Racism Played A Role In City's Disaster; President Trump's Campaign Promise; Trump's Rally In Florida; NBA Stars Show Off Their Skills Aired 6-7a ET

Aired February 19, 2017 - 06:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I'm here because I want to be among my friends.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got a six-foot cardboard box of President Trump in my house, and I salute that every single day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He needed this shot in the arm and connect with the people.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I also want to speak to you without the filter of the fake news.

SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: If you want to preserve democracy was know it, you have to have a free and many times adversarial press.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's just be a little nicer to our president. Thank you so much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. So good to see you on this Sunday morning. I am Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I am Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you.

PAUL: What a packed day for President Trump. He's widening his search to fill a major void in his administration, national security adviser for one.

BLACKWELL: Yes, the White House says the president will speak at least four candidates, Army strategist, H.R. McMaster, former United Nations ambassador, John Boldon, and acting national security adviser, Keith Kellogg, and West Point superintendent, Lt. General Robert Caslen.

Now this comes, of course, after General Michael Flynn resigned for misleading the vice president over the nature of calls with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. PAUL: President Trump is also due to speak with three foreign leaders by phone, and the White House also working to keep one of the biggest campaign promises, repealing and replacing Obamacare. President Trump promise as new plan in just weeks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: You want a health care system -- and by the way, we are going to be submitting in a couple of weeks, a great health care plan that will take the place of disaster known as Obamacare.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: The president discussing strategy later today, too, with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney. The president held one his trademark, high-energy rally yesterday afternoon with some 9,000 of his supporters in the audience and our Athena Jones was there.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Victor and Christi, the rally here was very much a flashback to campaign 2016 and in many ways is an extension of the campaign. The White House described the rally as a campaign rally. It was paid by the president's 2016 campaign, and asked before he got off of Air Force One upon arrival, why he was doing a campaign event so early in his presidency?

The president told the reporters, life is a campaign, making our country great again is a campaign. What was interesting here was that here you had the president repeating a lot of the same rhetoric we heard on the campaign trail and a lot of the same arguments we heard just a few days ago at that press conference on Thursday in the east room.

Laying out some of what he views as his administration's great accomplishments, in his view in the first month. He talked about the five-year ban on lobbying. He also complained once again about this travel ban and talked about the need to keep America safe.

We have been talking a lot about how it's not unusual to see a president go out on the road early in his presidency to sell something, to sell a specific policy. We have been talking about how President Trump was not pushing one specific policy.

Like, for instance, the stimulus package back in 2009, when President Obama first took office, but he did extensively try to sell one thing today. He tried to urge Democrats on Capitol Hill to cooperate with Republicans to pass his agenda. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: It's also time for the Senate Democrats to take responsibility for Obamacare and to work with us to replace it with new reforms that reverse this nationwide health care tragedy, it's a tragedy. It's unaffordable. It doesn't work.

I said to the Republicans, I said, you want to do something great politically, don't do anything, sit back for two years, and let it explode. The Democrats will come and beg for us to do something, but we can't do that to the American people, we have to fix it and we will.

We need members of both parties to join hands with us and work with us to pass a $1 trillion infrastructure plan to build new roads and bridges and airports and tunnels and highways and railways all across our great nation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JONES: So there he was urging bipartisan cooperation to get the things done that he wants to get done. I should not that Democrats on Capitol Hill have indicated they are interested in working with Republicans on an infrastructure package.

One more area where he called on Democrats to cooperate with Republicans was to approve his nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Judge Neil Gorsuch. So he did end up trying to sell something when it comes to policy during this speech.

But still this was very much something that he was looking forward to doing. He said early on in the speech they wanted to get around to the media filter to talk directly to the people.

[06:05:10]And it was clear, he was very much looking forward to coming back out on the campaign trail to just soak up the energy of the crowds that love him -- Christi, Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right, Athena, thanks so much.

Let's now bring in two of our top political reporters, Tom LoBianco and Eric Bradner. Gentlemen, good morning to you. Eric, let me start with you. This went over very well with the 9,000 supporters who were there. Did it do anything to reach out to the Americans who do not support this president or was that even the goal?

ERIC BRADNER, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: It wasn't the goal. I mean, President Trump is under fire right now from Republicans. He's having a bit of a hard time on Capitol Hill, and there were some comments yesterday that I think we will get into that sort of reflected that.

What he's really trying to do is rally his own base, the people that gave him energy and support throughout the campaign, and sort of show even Republicans that he can still turn these people out in force at the same time the Republicans are under pressure on the other side from progressives who were showing up at their congressional town halls this week at the same time.

So that's part of it. President Trump also likes to get out of Washington. He's having a hard time selling his agenda in Washington, and this gives it a boost from outside. Part of what he did was play up infrastructure, which was something that Senate Democrats have been pushing, but Republicans are wary about funding.

So he did sort of go to a populist sort of message that can appeal outside of his base, and sort of maybe grab some Democrats, but it was really about rallying energy on his own side.

BLACKWELL: Tom, this was a domestic based speech, focusing on infrastructure and jobs, and he made a glancing blow at NATO when he talked about that for maybe 20 or 30 seconds. I want you to listen to what Senator Lindsay Graham said about Russia and what this year will mean for Congress as it relates to Russia. This is what he said in Munich. Let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I hope he will embrace the idea that as the leader of the free world he should be working with us to punish Russia. To our German friends, you're next. To our friends in France that they're coming after you, and to my friend, Mr. Lavrov, I hope you finally suffer some consequences of what you and your regime has been doing to democracies, and 2017 is going to be a year of kicking Russia in the ass in Congress.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Yes, a pretty strong departure from what we heard from the vice president yesterday, and what we've heard from the president throughout this campaign, and now his time in office.

TOM LOBIANCO, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Yes, it's interesting, isn't it? Here is Lindsey Graham, a Republican, and this is a line that, I think, you know, behind the scenes you will hear a lot of Senate Republicans agree with that sentiment, but not enough that are ready to go out there publicly just yet.

Meanwhile, you have Lindsey Graham and John McCain saying we are going to drill down on you. I mean, you have to remember, we have three investigations on going three different committees looking into this right now, into Russia's interference in our elections, OK.

So yes, this is a threat from him going out there. It's also kind of putting the administration on notice, too, saying, look, if you want to drag your feet on this, maybe Congress will take the lead. It's a separate independent co-equal branch.

So you know, it was surprising, but it's also pretty stark in the terms of language he's using there, going out there like that, and trying to take a lead on it, too. I think there's a lot of Republican lawmakers out there, who would love to get out there behind Graham on this publicly, but are kind of apprehensive.

You know, again, going back to what Eric Bradner was saying this earlier, about the town halls, the pressure that congressmen are facing back in their district. This is the push and pull that we are seeing right now that Trump base. So that's what is holding them back at this point.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about Obamacare for a moment and what the president said. Guys in the control room, let's play President Trump yesterday at this rally in Melbourne, Florida.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: The people that are put into rooms where Republicans are talking about the plan, and it wouldn't matter what they say, for those people, just so you understand, our plan will be much better health care at a much lower cost. OK? Nothing to complain about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: But the timeline we know, Eric, has been extended possibly into 2018 for some replacement plan.

BRADNER: That's right. Part of that was just about punting a little bit, right? This a week that Congress is in recess, and so lawmakers are at home, and some of them have cancelled town halls and are not doing town halls at all because they know they are facing really intense backlash.

[06:10:04]And so part of what President Trump is doing is giving them this talking point of, well, we will wait and see what the president does in a couple weeks and then go from there, and it's just a dodge.

Republicans have had seven years now where they've been promising to repeal Obamacare and replace it, and it's clear on Capitol Hill that they are still struggling to figure out exactly how to do that.

Members of the very conservative House Freedom Caucus are pushing to just repeal Obamacare even without a replacement already set, and so President Trump recently in an interview said that the timeline for coming with a replacement could slip into 2018.

So Republicans are really struggling with exactly how to do this, what the repeal and replace will look like even though they do have the political power to do it if they want. I really think the president was just buying members of Congress a talking point for their town halls.

BLACKWELL: Certainly some fits and starts there with the replacement of Obamacare. Eric Bradner, Tom LoBianco, thank you both. Thank you.

All right, let's look ahead, Ohio Governor John Kasich is on "STATE OF THE UNION" later this morning at 9:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

PAUL: Also, who will lead the Democratic Party in the era of Trump? The "Democratic Leadership Debate" moderated by Dana Bash and Chris Cuomo, live Wednesday night at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, only right here on CNN.

Still to come, federal agents will soon have more power to arrest undocumented immigrants not on their target lists. We'll tell you how the Department of Homeland Security's new immigration policy has fears running high among immigrant communities across the country.

PAUL: A new report in Michigan says systematic racism is behind the Flint water crisis. Were civil rights laws in that state violated?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think the recommendations match the severity of the situation that we are in.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Also, a new offensive started this morning to free Mosul from ISIS' control, but one of the biggest concerns right now, how to keep hundreds of thousands of innocent people safe?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:15:35]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I've also directed the defense community headed by general and now -- well, you know, he said it, he said it. Now Secretary "Mad Dog" Mattis to develop a plan to totally destroy ISIS.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: That was the president in Melbourne, Florida, at his rally last night, and as he renews the vow to defeat ISIS, Iraqi forces are heading into Mosul right now preparing to force the terror group out of its stronghold there in Iraq.

PAUL: New video showing tanks closing in on the city this morning, and this is the first time ground troops will fight in Western Mosul, yes, ground troops. One of the main concern is keeping the hundreds of thousands of people who live there safe during this battle.

I want to get straight to CNN senior international correspondent, Ben Wedeman. He's following the development from Istanbul. What can you tell us, Ben, this morning about the status of that fight?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is a fight that we have seen gearing up for quite some days, Christi. The U.S.-led coalition and the Iraqi Air Force had been bombing ISIS targets within Western Mosul itself, the Iraqi artillery, also French and American artillery also hitting ISIS targets in the western side of the city.

Now this morning, 7:00, a Baghdad time, the Iraqi prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, announced the beginning of this operation, and this is what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAIDER AL-ABADI, IRAQI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): We are announcing the start of a new phase of we are coming (inaudible) operations to liberate the right side of Mosul city, as we have liberated other areas.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WEDEMAN: And of course, the problem is there are around 650,000 to 800,000 civilians still inside the city living under already difficult conditions with just two or three hours of electricity a day, and dwindling supplies of food and water and medicine as well, and now they are caught in the crosshairs.

Overnight, the Iraqi Air Force dropped millions of leaflets telling ISIS fighters to lay down their arms and surrender, and advising the civilians to stay inside their homes and put out white flags so the Iraqi military will know there are civilians inside. But Christi, it's going to be a hard battle.

PAUL: You know, "Save the Children" released a statement about some of those families in Mosul, Ben, and this is what they said, quote, "This is the grim choice for children in Western Mosul right now, bombs, cross fire, and hunger if they stay, or execution and snipers if they try to run."

Doesn't though -- don't fighters of ISIS try to infiltrate those areas, and may they not take over some of the homes and try to hide there? So how does that manage the fight against ISIS?

WEDEMAN: It makes it all the more difficult. "Save the Children" is saying that there may be as many as 350,000 children in Western Mosul, and we have seen it time and time again. ISIS fighters will, in fact, take over homes with civilians in them and use them for sniper positions.

I have spoken to people, families who fled Mosul, the eastern side, who talked about how they had to go through sewers and gullies and what not to get out of the city, and when they are seen by ISIL fighters, they started to shoot at these civilians.

So it's a perilous situation, and the Iraqi government is advising people to stay in their homes because they may be safer there than trying to escape -- Christi.

PAUL: Hard to imagine. Ben Wedeman, thank you so much for the update.

BLACKWELL: The man who planned the 1993 bombing at the World Trade Center has died in prison. A prison spokesman said (inaudible) died of natural causes. He was serving a life sentence for plotting the attack that killed six people and injured more than 1,000 others. Now (inaudible) was linked to the bombing after investigators found the other attackers frequently visited the mosque where he preached.

[06:20:01]PAUL: Still to come, a newly released report finds racism and implicit bias played a major role in Flint's water crisis. We'll have the details on that report for you.

BLACKWELL: And President Trump pulls a supporter out of the crowd and gives him the microphone, but the man, he's got to get passed Secret Service, first.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: That's OK. Let him up. I'm not worried about him. I'm only worried he's going to give me a kiss.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: After a year-long investigation, three public hearings and testimony from more than 150 residents and officials, a new report by Michigan's Civil Rights Commission says, "Systematic racism and implicit bias have played a major role in Flint's water crisis."

BLACKWELL: The report's findings point to a number of racial disparities.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. AGUSTIN ARBULU, DIRECTOR OF MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL RIGHTS: High poverty level, the low education, high -- the low median income. There are practices going on that continue to produce and reproduce separation of wealth and opportunity.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Governor Rick Snyder's spokeswoman issued a response and here's part of it, "We have been and continue working to build strong relationships between state government and every community we serve, and adding accountability measures to ensure a crisis of this magnitude never happens again in Michigan."

Now, almost three years after the crisis was discovered and began, years later people in Flint are still being advised to use filtered water.

[06:25:06]PAUL: Well, next, you are going to hear from a Trump supporter that was pulled onstage during that rally, onstage, out of the crowd, and why he says he has followed the president for two years.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, it's just -- it's just the way he speaks, the truth, you know, and it comes from the heart. That's the most important thing. It comes from his heart, and he speaks the truth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: All righty, CNN has obtained memos showing the Department of Homeland Security is preparing to release guidance on the Trump administration's aggressive policy on illegal immigration.

BLACKWELL: The guidance is expected to expand federal agent's use of arrest and removals of undocumented immigrants even to those not on their target list. PAUL: We should point out, it also aims to end catch and release policies ultimately making it harder for immigrants to seek refuge, and fears are already running high following the federal deportation raids that resulted in the arrest of nearly 700 immigrants across the country.

BLACKWELL: A DHS spokeswoman tells CNN she cannot confirm the guidance is final, but did not dispute the contents and the new policy has not been published yet and could change before official release.

[06:30:00] A major battle may be brewing over President Trump's campaign promise of building a wall between the United States and Mexico, but this battle will not be between President Trump and his political opponents.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Instead CNN has learned he may face resistance from the very people planning building and enforcing that border wall. They're working on plans to convince the president to abandon his wall idea and rather build a fence.

Here's CNN's Drew Griffin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is 18 feet tall, made of steel with a cement base. Call it what you want but the government planners, security experts and homeland security officials who will be in charge of building it, call this a fence.

This is the most recently built barrier between the United States and Mexico near Brownsville, Texas. And CNN has been told by multiple sources within the agencies involved in building, paying for and enforcing this barrier, that this is what President Trump's wall may look like.

U.S. customs and border patrol is planning to present the plan for border security to its bosses possibly this week and CNN has learned new details. First, they say, the wall should not be a wall, it should be a fence and that could become a sticky situation for a president who insists otherwise.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: On the fence, it's not a fence. It's a wall. You just misreported it. We are going to build a wall.

GRIFFIN: Sources tell CNN the biggest job in moving forward is convincing the president that the fence is more secure and it would be up to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, sources say, who must find a way to allow the White House to spin the promise of a wall into a fence.

Secretary Kelly seems to have already begun, in testimony to Congress, repeatedly referring to the border fortification as a barrier.

JOHN KELLY, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Yes, there are many, many places that we need some type of physical barrier right now backed up by men and women of border protection.

GRIFFIN: Why would President Trump agree to a fence instead of a "beautiful" wall -- as he says? Security and common sense.

U.S. customs and border patrol officials on the ground and in charge of actually securing the border tell CNN a fence actually offers more security, than a solid wall. One source telling CNN: "You never want to have a barrier in place that will obstruct your vision that prevents you from seeing the other side of the border.

Another saying: "I'm not calling it a wall because we are talking about a fence that we can look through. That's what we need."

It's more secure for border agents. It eliminates many environmental factors like drainage and its cost will be significantly lower. If the current plan is approved, it will look like "bollard" style fencing. The steel slats secured six feet below ground and standing 18 feet above.

The slats reinforced with rebar and cement. Another part of the proposal according to sources, it will not go coast to coast. The current fence, from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, with large gaps in between for a total of 654 miles.

The latest plans involve adding 177 new miles of fencing, and replacing 272 miles of already built fence, according to one high level source with knowledge of the project. That means the total barrier between the United States and Mexico would cover 831 total miles of a nearly 2,000 mile border.

Still not even half, according to these sources.

Drew Griffin, CNN Atlanta.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: A lot of Trump supporters want to see that happen. Up next, we're going to hear from one specific supporter of the president, a man who was pulled onstage by the commander-in-chief at his rally in Florida, and much to the chagrin of secret service.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:37:27]

PAUL: Thirty-seven minutes past the hour this Sunday morning. And in the middle of President Trump's speech last night, he stopped, pointed to one of his supporters in the crowd in front of him and said, come on down.

BLACKWELL: Yes, the president said he recognized Gene Huber from interviews on local television before the rally.

Watch what happened next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: And I saw this man on television just now, you. I just saw him on television, and he said, I love Trump, let Trump do what he has to do. That's my guy right there.

Come here. Come here. That's OK, let him up. Let him up. I'm not worried about him. I am only worried he's going to give me a kiss.

This guy is great. Don't worry about him. No, no, come here. Come on up. Come on. Come here.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: This guy -- so he's been all over television saying the best things, and I see him standing -- didn't you get here at 4:00 in the morning?

GENE HUBER, TRUMP SUPPORTER PULLED FROM CROWD: I did, sir.

TRUMP: Say a couple words to this crowd.

HUBER: Mr. President, thank you, sir. We, the people, our movement is the reason why our president of the United States is standing here in front of us today.

TRUMP: A star is born. A star is born.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Later, Gene Huber spoke with CNN. Here's what he said in his interview with Pamela Brown.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Gene, you got up there. You shook the president's hands and you said some words, what was that moment like for you?

HUBER: I want to tell you something, it was a moment of my life. I will never ever forget what just happened to me.

I have been with Mr. President Trump over two years fighting battles in and out -- in and out of lies and terrible things always said about him, but we stuck together and it's just an amazing feeling where I am right now. I just -- it's unbelievable.

BROWN: So I have to ask you, there was a moment there where he sort of whispered something into your ear. What did he say?

HUBER: You know, oh, he said -- he goes, you are great, is what he told me. If I am not mistaken, he said, you are great and -- because he saw me. Because I was the very -- I was the first one in line. I got here at 4:00 in the morning. So I got a lot of interviews from news people.

[06:40:01] So President Trump must have seen me on TV so -- and I told -- I told the reporter that I love President Trump, and President Trump heard me say that and he told me that onstage. He goes, you know, he said that he loves me, and I do, with all my heart because he fights for us each and every second.

He didn't have to do this for us. You know, he's 70 years old, a billionaire, beautiful family, and this man comes out and works harder than anyone I've ever seen in my life, and that's why he's a winner.

BROWN: So it's clear he saw you on television giving the interviews, and he is watching right now, which he very well may, what would you say to him?

HUBER: What was that now? I'm sorry. I did not hear that I'm sorry..

BROWN: What would you want to say to him if he's watching right now? Clearly he saw you earlier when you were giving interviews what would you want to say to him now?

HUBER: To President Trump, I would say, President Trump, I want to thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to come onstage like that. Mr. President Trump, I have been with you two years, you've probably heard this, every single second, every day I am with you.

I have got a 6-foot cardboard box of President Trump in my house and I salute that every single day, and I pray, and I tell him, Mr. President, I pray for your safety today and I am not lying, I do that every single day to the president but he's cardboard.

BROWN: Let me ask you. You said you've been with him from the very beginning.

HUBER: Yes.

BROWN: What is it about his message that has resonated with you, Gene?

HUBER: You know, it's just -- it's just -- it's just the way he speaks, the truth. You know, it comes from the heart. That's the most important thing.

It comes from his heart and he speaks the truth. That's what we believe and us -- our movement believe. I mean, just look how -- look at what just started. Look at it. He -- look what President Trump says. There has never been a movement like this ever, ever. I've never -- and I've never been into politics in my life up until President Trump came down the elevator, and he taught me everything. He taught me everything.

BROWN: So he has been in office, he has been president for nearly a month, what is your take so far and how he's done?

HUBER: Yes. He's doing fantastic. There's no words to describe what this man is doing. He promised to do this. He promised to do that. You know, you have a lot of those voters out there -- and I have family members that say to me, they voted for President Trump, I hope he does this. I hope he can do this.

You know what I say? He will do this. That's why I love this man, because he is smart, he gets it, and he -- he's going to -- he's going to change the world. He's going to change the world, folks.

BROWN: Gene Huber, clearly you are a big supporter of President Trump, and like you said, this is a moment today...

HUBER: Yes.

BROWN: ... that you will never forget being invited onstage by the president to say a few words.

HUBER: Unbelievable.

BROWN: Thank you so much, Gene, for coming and talking to us. We do appreciate it.

HUBER: Thank you. Can I -- can I just say one quick thing...

BROWN: Quickly.

HUBER: ... madam? Yes, very quick. I appreciate the interview and let's just be a little, little nicer to our president. Thank you so much.

BROWN: I was waiting for a comment like that from a Trump supporter considering he calls us fake news. Thank you so much, Gene Huber.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: There was -- there was another major focus of this rally. The president continuing his battle against the media.

BLACKWELL: Yes, he was very transparent about what these rallies allow him to do.

Watch this portion.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I also want to speak to you without the filter of the fake news.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: The dishonest media, which has published one false story after another with no sources, even though they pretend they have them, they make them up in many cases --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: All right. Joining us live now from New York, CNN senior media correspondent, Brian Stelter. Brian, good morning to you.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.

BLACKWELL: So the president got to attack on the media pretty early in his remarks, and I want you to listen to a portion of what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Thomas Jefferson said, nothing can be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself, he said, becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle, that was June 14th -- my birthday -- 1807. But despite all their lies, misrepresentations and false stories.

[06:45:02]

They could not defeat us in the primaries, and they could not defeat us in the general election, and we will continue to expose them for what they are and most importantly, we will continue to win, win, win.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: All right. So there the president is quoting Thomas Jefferson -- but that's not all Jefferson said about the media -- Brian.

STELTER: That is right. You can always cherry-pick quotes from any of the founders to make a political point.

But here's another example what Thomas Jefferson said about the press, he said, if I had to choose between government without newspapers or newspapers without government, I would choose the newspapers without government. His point being that the journalists no matter their flaws are a crucial check on power, a crucial check on government and necessary for that.

Victor and Christi, I think what President Trump was trying to do by quoting Jefferson there at the rally was to say, hey, my comments about the press being the enemy, it's nothing new. It's an old tradition in politics, and certainly all presidents have had their own gripes about the media, some in very harsh ways, but we have not heard a president publically say, the press -- these networks are the enemy of the American people. That is a new development. It is more extreme than what we've heard from past presidents certainly in the times we've all been alive.

I understand what he is doing there, trying to point out that there is always a tension between the press and the president, and there is, but the rhetoric from Trump is what is different now.

PAUL: All right. Speaking of what is new, he had a comment about Sweden that I think a lot of people are still trying to figure out. Let's listen to this one.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: You look at what's happening in Germany, you look at what's happening last night in Sweden, Sweden! Who would believe this? Sweden, they took in large numbers. They are having problems like they never thought possible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Even the former Swedish prime minister tweeted out last night, "Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking?" Is what he said, "Questions abound."

What do you make of -- do we know what he was referring to when he was talking about Sweden, Brian?

STELTER: It could have been a simple slip of the tongue. President Trump says lots of things, some of them are inaccurate, and in this case though it seems to go a step further than a slip of a tongue.

The best theory for what he was talking about is a segment on "FOX News" from Friday night. We know the president consumes lots of cable news, lots of television news coverage. So it seems to be the segment on FOX from Friday night. It was about a film, a documentary filmmaker who has looked at Sweden, who has investigated the refugee situation there.

It's a very political film suggesting that refugees are bringing lots of violence and threats to Sweden. So perhaps President Trump saw that segment on Friday and was referring to that being last night because that would have been Friday night.

There are challenges throughout Europe with the integration of refugees. We hear about that from time to time. CNN has been covering that, I think, however, what we hear from President Trump and others is a description of that that makes it sound perhaps far worse than it actually is.

What President Trump did on stage is he cited Nice and Brussels, examples of actual terror attacks that received wide spread coverage at the time. Those are not everyday incidents, however, those are newsworthy because they are rare and they are violent incidents involving terrorist in those countries. So with regards to Sweden nothing from Sweden Friday night, but it maybe was that "FOX News" segment.

And by the way that gets to this contradiction from the president, we know he's a cable news president, tuning in television news. That's why he invited up that fan on stage because he had seen that fan on local television. So he does decry the press is fake news while being a veracious consumer of it.

BLACKWELL: All right. Brian Stelter -- thanks so much, Brian.

STELTER: Thanks.

BLACKWELL: All right. Be sure to watch "RELIABLE SOURCES" today at 11:00 a.m. Eastern here on CNN. PAUL: NBA (ph) all-star (ph) weekend. It's (INAUDIBLE) with the game tonight. It was plenty of action last night though. Andy Scholes live in New Orleans. Good morning, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Good morning, Christi. An all-star Saturday night, always one of the highlights of the weekend. Did it live up to the hype? We will have the highlights coming up in this morning's "bleacher report."

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[06:53:01]

PAUL: The basketball's best players is going to be on the court tonight for the NBA all-star game, but they had a little fun though last night.

BLACKWELL: Yes, Andy Scholes is in New Orleans where the game is. Man, you have the best job. You're always on the road at some great place watching the best game, right?

PAUL: And having fun.

SCHOLES: I will tell you what, guys. It's Sunday morning for us right now, still Saturday night here on Bourbon Street. Hundreds of people out here still enjoying Mardi Gras.

You know, all-star Saturday night is always one of the highlights of all-star weekend. And last year, you know, we saw one of the best dunk contests of all time. It really set the bar way up here for future dunk contests. And let's just say this year didn't quite live up to the hype.

Aaron Gordon put on an amazing show last year. He was back in this year's competition. And he tried to use a drone from Intel in his first dunk attempt, and it was pretty cool to see, but Gordon did struggle to land this dunk. He eventually -- he would end up getting it on the fourth try, but Gordon not making it out of the first round of the competition, and with him being the favorite eliminated, it opened the door for the other competitors.

And Glenn Robinson III would take advantage. He would win the dunk contest jumping over three people and landing a dunk backwards, and Robinson said afterwards when we caught up with him on the court, that this was one of the highlights of his entire career.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GLENN ROBINSON III, INDIANA PACERS, FORWARD: It's a dream come true. You know, it's something I always dreamed about since I was little, and I wanted to dunk and could not dunk until my senior here in high school. And I come out here and won an NBA dunk contest is amazing feeling.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SCHOLES: As for the three-point competition, defending championship, Klay Thompson, he also failed to get out of the first round of the three-point. He was just a point or two short. This one ended up going to -- down to the Rockets, Eric Gordon versus the Cavs' Kyrie Irving.

We actually got an extra round (INAUDIBLE). They went to overtime, and in the end it was the Rocket's Eric Gordon bringing home the title of three-point champion.

[06:55:03]

And one of the cooler moments of the night right after the three-point competition lots of players, celebrities all came on to the court and they shot three-pointers, each one worth $10,000.00 towards the Sager Strong Foundation, of course Craig Sager dying after a long battle with leukemia last year.

This is a really cool moment of everyone trying to raise money for his foundation. And Shaq picking up Craig Sager's son. He puts in the last basket, a half million dollars being donated to the Sager Strong Foundation, and such a cool moment.

Now, guys, of course we have the all-star game later on Sunday, the big story line is Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant on the same team once again for the first time since Durant left the Thunder. I'd tell you what, I watched the entire practice yesterday you could cut the tension with a knife. These two guys were clearly avoiding each other. I did not see them speak to each other whatsoever, and I even asked the Warrior's Draymond Green did he see them have any contact with each other at all during practice?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DRAYMOND GREEN, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS, FORWARD: I don't know what they did. I don't spend my time watching Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook. Maybe they did, maybe they didn't. They may have said hi, I don't know.

No, you're just playing. We didn't even do anything out there. I think people looking for the story too much. Let's just enjoy this weekend, and it's a great weekend.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: I don't know if we are looking for the story too much, guys, because every time I ask anyone about this, they say I don't want to talk about it, or I don't know. It's an awkward situation and it's definitely something to look for tonight when those players are on the court together.

(CROSSTALK)

BLACKWELL: It's the first indicator, you are asking the right question when everybody says, I don't want to talk about it.

PAUL: I don't want to talk about it.

BLACKWELL: All right. Andy Scholes, thank you so much.

SCHOLES: Absolutely.

PAUL: Have fun, Andy.

And listen, we've got a lot to talk about this morning.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Much more ahead in the next hour of your NEW DAY. It starts right after a quick break.

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