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NEW DAY SUNDAY

FBI Chief Comey to Testify at Russia Hacking Hearing; China Tells U.S. to be Cool Headed on North Korea; Pence Pitches GOP Bill Ahead of Thursday Vote; Neil Gorsuch Confirmation Hearing Starts Monday; Chuck Berry Dead At 90; Wiretapping Lie Heard Around the World; Emotions of March Madness. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired March 19, 2017 - 06:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:00:25] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The White House seems to be preparing for this big moment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we're going to hear on Monday from Director Comey is a denial that there's any evidence about this.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let me be blunt. We need your help to get this plan passed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He drove up in a car that lead into the White House. And he told the person at that guard shack that he had a bomb in his vehicle.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chuck Berry was one of the pioneers of rock 'n' roll.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Wow. Good morning to you. We're so grateful to have your company on this morning. I'm Christi Paul.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Martin Savidge in for Victor Blackwell. It's good to be with you.

A critical week ahead now for President Trump as his credibility is put to the test.

PAUL: Yes. Tomorrow Congress will finally hear the FBI director's answers to two key questions, the Trump administration's connections to Russia and his claim that President Obama had Trump Tower wiretapped during the campaign.

SAVIDGE: Also tomorrow a potential Senate showdown as Judge Neil Gorsuch finally takes the hot seat in a hearing to confirm him as the next Supreme Court justice. PAUL: And can the GOP sell its health care plan to its own party in

time for that key vote in Congress this week? House Speaker Paul Ryan says it's now or never.

And to add to what's really been an already tense week, the White House is dealing with flaws in its own security after another intruder made it on to the property.

SAVIDGE: Security is back to normal after a car drove up to a White House checkpoint. This late last night, the driver claimed to have a bomb. That checkpoint is still blocked, authorities searched the automobile for more than four hours but ultimately found nothing.

Our Ryan Nobles was on the ground last night with this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: They removed the man from the car, placed him under arrest, as we have watched as they have gone in and very methodically taken everything out of this vehicle very cautiously. In fact they had a robot at one point go up to the vehicle in its trunk, pulling material out of the vehicle. Then we saw a bomb squad technician dressed in the full gear come out and also take materials from outside of that vehicle and sift through those materials.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAVIDGE: This is the latest, of course, in a string of recent White House intrusions. Earlier yesterday another person was arrested after jumping over a bike rack outside the White House. He had a document that he said he wanted to deliver. And then last week there was a man who was on the White House grounds for more than 15 minutes. He was found just steps from a main door to the mansion carrying mace.

PAUL: So as we look ahead to what is going to be a pivotal week for president -- President Trump , excuse me, let's talk to Sarah Westwood, White House correspondent for the "Washington Examiner," Tom LoBianco, CNN Politics reporter, and Nick Paton Walsh, CNN senior international correspondent.

Nick, good to have you with us. All of you. But I do want to start with you. President Trump's relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin obviously going to be scrutinized. Trump has not once criticized Putin, we should point out. I want to listen here with you to what President Trump said on FOX News last night describing Putin as a leader and characterizing his relationship.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Don't know him, but certainly he is a tough cookie, and I don't know how he's doing for Russia. We're going to find out one day, I guess.

(END VIDEO CLIP) PAUL: OK. Now that directly contradicts a November 2015 "Teen" interview where then candidate Trump said, "I got to know him very well because we were both on '60 Minutes', we were stable mates and we did very well that night."

Is this in any way you think a sign that maybe there's a strain between President Trump's relationship now with Putin?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think without doubt, obviously, President Trump may at some point have been wishing that he took a slight tougher line with Russia during the campaign, maybe, perhaps in hindsight. Certainly you're just saying he was conspicuous in his absence of criticism of the Russian strongman. And that's perhaps been in a complicated place because that volume of scrutiny over potential collusion, links, between his people and Putin's people is at the heart of the beltway dispute right now.

And of course if the White House did ever at some point want to come with a policy that might be slightly closer toward that of the Kremlin or cooperate with them, that level of scrutiny will be unleashed all over again.

[06:05:05] But that statement about Vladimir Putin being a tough cookie I think a little bit like health care being complicated. It's a blinding statement of the obvious, particularly if you consider Donald Trump's own personal background, born into a very wealthy family, a substantial silver spoon in his mouth. And now of course we're seeing him compare himself to Vladimir Putin to some degree who've been brought up in St. Petersburg in a post-war period where poverty and disease were the extraordinarily problematic issue.

(INAUDIBLE) courtyard, scratch occasionally, he rose up through the ranks of the KGB in East Germany and now has been a very long-term leader, one of the toughest countries in one of the most harshest political frankly going. So the two men obviously from extraordinary different backgrounds. The point is, though, that Donald Trump is in charge of the largest military in the world, the world's biggest economy at the stage. So, you know, he should of course be coming at this relationship as a position of power, but it does appear that the interpersonal relationship between these two men is what bothers him the most.

He has said in the past he doesn't know if the two men will get along particularly well. They have perhaps hope for a broader deal with Russia. There are perhaps some areas they could cooperate. But it has been the suggestion that Putin has been digging so far into the U.S. electoral campaign, interfering so much, I think would make it incredibly hard for these two men to make a public rapprochement simply because the animosity towards Russia and its alleged interference that you see so constantly from the Washington, D.C. political establishment at this point -- Martin and Christi.

PAUL: All right. Tom, I want to ask you, to his point, if there's evidence revealed tomorrow that does show Russian interference, what is the next step for the president? TOM LOBIANCO, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Well, he really needs to knock

this down in the hearing somehow. And, you know, the best that they can hope for was for Jim Comey, the FBI director, is that there's some evidence of collection that would back up his wiretap claims. It's not clear that there's been anything to support that yet. And that really hope that the White House, you know, that they can knock down some of this collusion talk that's been out there. That's really the best they can hope for from Jim Comey at this point.

PAUL: All right.

(CROSSTALK)

PAUL: You are having a bit of a BBC moment, Tom. I can hear the baby in the background. I hope he's OK. Live TV, people. That's what happens. That's how it goes.

All right. Take a minute. I want to get to Sarah real quickly, because, Sarah, I want to run some more sound. When it comes to the wiretapping issue, Jake Sullivan, National Security adviser former to Vice President Biden, also was an adviser to Hillary Clinton, said this Friday night to our Wolf Blitzer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAKE SULLIVAN, FORMER BIDEN NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: One of two things is true. Either he knows it's wrong and he's lying about a national security issue in which case it's going to be hard to trust him going forward, or he can't tell the difference between truth and fiction. And in a crisis, that's really going to matter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Sarah, what's your -- what's your reaction to that?

SARAH WESTWOOD, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: I think that Democrats on the committee are going to go into this committee with the goal of exposing just how flawed President Trump's claims about Obama ordering the wiretap on him really were. And at the same time, I think Republicans are going to go into the same hearing with a different goal, which is to have FBI Director Comey explain the lack of evidence to substantiate allegations behind collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians, because to date everyone that's reviewed the evidence compiled so far have said it's come up short, that there hasn't been really a lot of evidence to substantiate that these contacts between Trump campaign associates and Russian officials yielded any type of collusion. So I think you'll see Republicans and Democrats ask very different questions as part of why there have been calls for a bipartisan commission to investigate this because it's been very politicized on the House Intelligence Committee.

PAUL: Yes. Sarah Westwood, Tom LoBianco, Nick Paton Walsh, thank you all so much. We appreciate you being here.

Health and Human Services secretary, by the way, Tom Price, and Senator Tom Cotton, both guests on "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper this morning at 9:00. That of course is right here on CNN.

SAVIDGE: China says that the U.S. needs to have a cooler head when dealing with North Korea. That word of advice coming as North Korea announces another rocket engine test.

Plus, he was one of the first to write rock 'n' roll songs about cars, girls and parties, and now rock pioneer Chuck Berry has died. We'll take a look at his far-reaching influence on the music world.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:13:56] PAUL: Well, China's Foreign minister says the U.S. should take a, quote, "cool-headed approach," when it comes to North Korea.

SAVIDGE: And that advice comes on the same day the North Korea state media was reporting a new high thrust rocket has been tested. The order to start that test was reportedly given by an observation post by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un himself.

Joining us now live from Beijing with more on the test is CNN international correspondent, Will Ripley.

Will, what's this all about as far as this new engine?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Martin. Well, we believe that this announcement may have been timed to coincide with the meeting between Secretary of State Tillerson and Chinese President Xi Jinping, and it's alarming for those who are watching North Korea's weapons capability because it shows that the nation keeps moving closer to their ultimate goal of a nuclear tip ICBM that can reach the mainland United States.

If you look at the range of the missiles in the North Korean arsenal right now they do have a very long range, up to more than 6200 miles with the shortest range, 300 or so mile SCUD missile but what North Korea is doing is they are perfecting this technology because they are moving from liquid fuel to solid fuel which allows these things to be rolled out and launch with very little notice, which is why the United States is in the process of bringing components into South Korea of the THAAD missile system.

[06:15:17] The way it works you have, you know, the launcher on the ground to shoot missiles out of the sky, and then there's very sophisticated equipment including some of the most advanced radar in the world to detect incoming missiles. But the THAAD missile defense system can be overcome by, for example, multiple ballistic missiles launch at once, and Kim Jong-un ordered four missiles launched simultaneously with three of them landing less than 200 nautical miles from the sea -- from the Japanese coast recently.

So this is the main topic of conversation between Secretary Tillerson and not only the Chinese president but also Chinese two top diplomats. He met with them on Saturday. He met with Xi Jinping this morning before getting on his plane. He's now on the way -- on his way back to the United States. And he said repeatedly during this Asia trip which also included South Korea and Japan, that the North Korean nuclear threat is the primary, most urgent pressing concern right now facing all of the countries in the region, and really the world, because North Korean weapons, the range keeps expanding outward, so the threat expands as well.

But China and the U.S. have differing opinions about how this should be dealt with. China thinks that if the United States fall for this escalating tension on the Korean Peninsula because of these ongoing military exercises that are happening between U.S. troops and South Korean forces -- the U.S. and South Korea are military partners -- the United States thinks that China needs to do more to reign in North Korea by sanctioning companies that are doing business with Pyongyang, and is threatening that they will impose sanctions if China doesn't do it.

So there's a lot to talk about, Donald Trump -- President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are due to be meeting in the United States we believe early next month, but no official date has been set -- Martin.

SAVIDGE: Yes. Some have said this is the greatest threat that the U.S. faces at the very moment, at least from a state government.

Will Ripley, thank you very much.

PAUL: Well, the Trump administration, they say they are confident that Republican health care bill will pass this week, on Thursday, but there are still many Republicans who are skeptical of the plan. Is Vice President Pence the key to swaying them?

SAVIDGE: Plus Trump's pick for the Supreme Court heads to Capitol Hill for an intense week of confirmation hearings. The implications behind what his appointment could mean for years to come. That's ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[06:21:42] PENCE: Let me be blunt. We need your help to get this plan passed. It is a crucial step towards fulfilling our promise to repeal and replace Obamacare with something that actually works.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Vice President Mike Pence there hitting the road ahead of Thursday's big health care vote, and trying to sell to the public on the GOP's plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. Now the vice president said Republican leaders are listening to concerns about the bill and making changes to things such as Medicaid funding.

SAVIDGE: The Trump administration is hoping that the adjustments can sway crucial votes. Right now more than two dozen House Republicans say that they are either voting no or they're kind of leaning in that direction.

We've got more in the way we can discuss this is by talking to Tom LoBianco and also Sarah Westwood, White House correspondent for the white -- sorry, for the "Washington Examiner."

Let me start with you, Tom. The changes that have been made by the Republicans here, is it going to be enough to essentially get this bill passed in the House?

LOBIANCO: It's a start. You heard a lot of Republicans, conservative Republicans, members of the Republican Study Committee, which was sort of a broader group of conservatives, say, that, yes, this is helping them. This is getting them to yes. But that's not who you need to worry about. You need to focus on the House Freedom Caucus. It's a slightly smaller but in this case an incredibly significant group of a little more -- slightly more hardcore conservatives.

This is the group that helped remove John Boehner -- effectively John Boehner a year and a half ago and got Paul Ryan in place, and you can see the irony here that they helped to get Paul Ryan put in place as speaker and now he's having to lean to them again.

Basically you are taking this bill, you're pushing it further to the right to get it out of the House, and effectively what they're going to have to do is once it gets over to the Senate it's going to have to move closer to the center, closer to -- to win over more moderate senators to win there. So, you know, there's a lot still in play. Nothing is definite at this point. And that Thursday vote that they've said, that Speaker Ryan said, is fairly aggressive and at this point appears to be pretty optimistic.

SAVIDGE: Yes. Well, we're going to play a bit of sound from the speaker in just a minute, but first I want to play some -- for Sarah, from the vice president speaking last night, as he talks, because we have to remember there are 20 Republicans who are sort of saying, hey, I'm not so sure on this, but first here's the vice president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PENCE: While we 're having a vigorous debate, the good news is that Republicans are in complete agreement and we have complete consensus that Obamacare must go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: Now of course, the vice president, we know, Sarah, you know, is sort of leading the charge, the cheer on this, but is there kind of a disconnect that he's not playing close enough attention to the divide within his own party?

WESTWOOD: Well, there are, like you said, about two dozen lawmakers who are opposed to the bill or have serious concerns about it, but the good thing for the Trump administration is that a lot of those conservative lawmakers haven't walked away from the negotiating table yet so there's still some time to shape this bill into something that they can vote yes on, and keep in mind that there are things that the Trump administration can do unilaterally to convince these conservative lawmakers to get on board.

[06:25:05] They're billing this as a three-pronged approach to repealing and replacing Obamacare and one of those prongs is regulatory modification that Secretary Price can do on his own. And the Trump administration has told skeptical lawmakers just wait and the things you want that aren't included in this first bill will be done through regulatory changes or through additional legislation that pass through regular order.

One thing the Trump administration can do is go ahead and roll out those other two stages this week or as close to the third stage vote as possible and have those lawmakers see all the cards on the table and know that this Obamacare-lite bill that they oppose isn't everything that's going to be done to Obamacare.

SAVIDGE: Well, Tom, referencing that mention you made of Paul Ryan earlier, he did say earlier in the week that this is kind of a now or never moment when it comes to health care replacement. Why are we feeling this rush? Why is there that kind of timeline?

LOBIANCO: Well, it's politics and it's electoral. It's campaigns. You know, we all cynically kind of laugh about campaigns never ending, but in a lot of ways it's true. The closer -- the further away these guys are from their own reelection, and it's particularly true of the House. The House is up every two years, right? So the closer these guys get to November 2018, the closer they get to having these town halls erupt in their districts, they start to get a little more skittish.

When you've been re-elected already, you have some time to work with, it's easier to take some tough votes. All right? In the Senate, it's not as much problem obviously. You've got six years to do this. So that's the dynamic at play. And the House, they have to do it fast if they want to get it done. The politics of it are incredibly perilous.

SAVIDGE: Sarah, I was going to ask you real quick. If they don't have the votes come Thursday, do they vote Thursday or do they wait?

WESTWOOD: I would imagine that they would do something to postpone the vote. I think the Trump administration views this as a very high stakes situation.

SAVIDGE: True.

WESTWOOD: This is Trump's first legislative battle. If they fail in this one that will have implications for everything else they want to do -- tax reform, these trade policies, they want to get through Congress immigration reform. If they can't achieve this, which is supposed to be the thing that Republicans agree on more than anything, which repealing and replacing Obamacare is something they've run on for seven years, then they are going to have some real trouble getting through things that they don't agree on.

SAVIDGE: Yes, it would be a real embarrassment.

Tom LoBianco, Sarah Westwood, thank you very much.

WESTWOOD: Thank you.

LOBIANCO: Thanks.

PAUL: President Trump's pick for Supreme Court justice, Neil Gorsuch, is going to be on a hot seat tomorrow. He heads to Capitol Hill for an intense week of confirmation hearings.

The Colorado Appellate judge was tapped to replace the late conservative judge Antonin Scalia, of course. His confirmation would be a big win for the White House after a list of frustrations and setback since President Trump took office.

CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson joining us now.

Joey, good to see you this morning. Have to belief that president's travel ban executive order undoubtedly will be a key issue that's raised in these hearings. We know that Gorsuch has defended religious rights for Christians, for Muslims. What do you expect to hear in that regard tomorrow?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Good morning, Christi. I expect a side step is what I expect, and here's why. Well, this is a case that may very well be before the Supreme Court but it's not there yet, and it's not the variation in terms of the forum in which it will be there is not there yet, and so I think that he will have a patent answer addressing that, probably predicated upon, listen, in the event that a case comes before me dealing with the travel ban I certainly will give it all judicial deference. I will rule on the facts. I will be true to the law. I will be true to the issues of the Constitution, but I do not expect him to give any answer particularly because it may be a case that comes up before him, so I would look for a side step in that regard that would just sort of reaffirm his assessment as a jurist that all cases should be handled in an objective, open-minded way that applies principles of the Constitution.

PAUL: OK. Now this is a lifelong Republican here. A member of the Federalist Society. He has no judicial record on abortion. He attends a church that's openly pro-gay and pro-Muslim, and some conservatives worry that he may be a closet liberal. How do you think that is going to play in?

JACKSON: Well, again, I expect him to be very well prepared in this regard, Christi. And I think, look, if you look at his opinions, his opinions would suggest that he is protective of religious freedom, and so I believe that he will respond in kind, and regardless of his individual views, which he's allowed to have as a person who, you know, not only is a judge but is an individual, as a family man, as a member of society, that he will apply principles of law to issues dealing with religion, he will respect religion and whatever his own religious faith is or, you know, he likes it to be should remain exactly that.

[06:30:00]

So I expect a side step. I certainly expect a patterned (ph) answer to that question, and as frustrating as it is to me to give you a straight answers now that's what I think is we're going to hear during the confirmation process.

PAUL: I know you are doing the best you can, Joey. It's all good.

Republicans never voted remember on President Obama's pick on Merrick Garland, could the sting of that for Democrats maybe -- might they oppose it for that reasons because they still feel the sting of what happened before?

JACKSON: I think so. I mean, this is Washington we're talking about. And in Washington politics place deep. We should of course keep in mind the fact that is that it has been 30 years since any nominee has been defeated. You might remember Bork -- right -- back in 1987 who was appointed by Reagan, he had some problems. But that's the only nomination really in sometime that it has been defeated.

So I do expect that the Democrats would be very concerned about what happens to Merrick Garland, and I do expect that the Democrats will be ready, and if there's a scorched earth policy that needs to be applied with regards to evaluating this nomination I think it something that we certainly could expect come tomorrow.

PAUL: Democrats have voiced concerns about Gorsuch in the sense that they say he can't be trusted when it comes to reigning in executive power, that he has a mind-set that is slanted towards business interests. Do they have a valid argument there?

JACKSON: I think they could have a valid argument, but remember the issue really is one of are you qualified to serve and are you -- what I would look for is this. Here's the bottom line. This guy appears to be Gorsuch, the real deal. I mean, he's educated at Harvard. He's got an Oxford doctorate, and so I don't expect the fight to be on grounds with respect to his qualifications. He's noted as well qualified by the ABA.

I expect them to be as the question you raised on ideology grounds. I expect that the Democrats will paint him as someone who can't be trusted, who's out of the mainstream, and they'll try to -- I refer to Bork (ph) -- Bork (ph) (INAUDIBLE). But I do think at the end of the day it's not about somebody's particular ideology unless, of course, that ideology is so far removed Democrats have a right to appoint Democratic jurist. Republicans have a right to appoint Republican jurist, it's could you be true to the law and could you execute justice in a way that's fair regardless of whether you have leanings one way or the other. And so I suspect that those -- that's how that question will be resolved and answered.

PAUL: All right. Joey Jackson, thanks for getting up so early this morning for us.

JACKSON: Thank you, Christi.

PAUL: Sure.

SAVIDGE: Coming up, we're going to talk about the president's unfounded wiretapping claims. They are stretching far and wide. Now the British intel agency accused of wiretapping President Obama responds, the NSA weighs in as well. We're covering it all. Stay with us.

PAUL: And, next, the legacy of rock pioneer Chuck Berry. He was the very first artist inducted into the rock 'n' roll hall of fame by one of his biggest fans Rolling Stones' guitarist Keith Richards.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:37:19]

PAUL: (INAUDIBLE) if you try to give rock 'n' roll another name you may just call it Chuck Berry, right? That's what fellow legend John Lennon has said of one of his idols.

Berry died yesterday at 90 years old. He was found unresponsive at his home outside St. Louis.

SAVIDGE: Berry was hailed as the father of rock 'n' roll. The man how made rolling -- rolling guitar solos and songs about cars, women the hallmark of what would eventually become the new sound of rock 'n' roll. Watch him onstage in the 1950s and you see the beginnings of everything that was to come.

Historian, Douglas Brinkley, was friends with Chuck Berry -- that was a revelation to all of us -- he has helped teach some of your classes, is that right?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, FRIEND OF CHUCK BERRY (on the phone): Yes, good morning to you.

SAVIDGE: Good morning.

BRINKLEY: Losing Chuck Berry is like losing a national monument of some kind. He's just so important to our culture.

Back in 1992, I had an on road class I did at Hofstra University called The Majic Bus. And students would live on my bus for the semester and I ended up in a newspaper article -- wrote an article about Chuck Berry being a poet, and it got into my article and he loved it because he thought of himself as a poet, and, you know, his lyrics that sometimes we take for granted are very intricate like "Brown Eyed Handsome Man," had some lyrics that are decisively about attack the Jim Crow racism in the south.

But at any rate we -- what he said when you come to St. Louis all your students are -- could be hosted by Chuck Berry, so we would visit with him and his daughter Ingrid at and him at Blueberry Hill restaurant. And we would dine with him and talk with him, answer questions, he'd sign his book, then he'd let some of my students interact with him in the basement on instruments and talk about the whole history of rock 'n' roll. This sort of thing due (ph) to (ph) my friend Joe Edwards in St. Louis we kept doing it.

And so just this past year, just a few months ago, Chuck Berry and his wife reached out to me to write the liner notes for what would be his last C.D. He recorded an album called "Chuck" which will be coming out very soon. And here's a man in his -- did this -- recorded these songs in his late 80s and these are mostly original compositions.

[06:40:05]

And a couple of them -- when people hear them in a few weeks their minds are going to be blown that somebody in his 80s can play rock 'n' roll with such passion.

PAUL: What can you tell us about him perhaps, Doug, since you did have that sort of relationship with him that maybe we would never know about him?

BRINKLEY: That there were two people, there's Charles Berry and there's Chuck Berry, and Charles was a southern squire country gentleman, so kind, warm and polite, and that's who I got to know but there's also Chuck. Chuck Berry is somebody that got ripped off by so many bogus managers and promoters that he had a bit of a chip on his shoulder. And so if he felt that you were trying to hassle him he could -- he could, you know, turn on you. And, you know, he had to protect his own turf if he'd like.

But in the person I knew as somebody who loves St. Louis, more than anybody you could ever meet, and he could have lived anywhere in the world. He stayed there in St. Louis. He loved the Mississippi River. He loves St. Louis Cardinals. He would regularly go down to this bar, Blueberry Hill, on Delmar Avenue, and play whenever he felt like it.

And he just was a -- blowtorch of a man and had great physical stamina to the very end and was smart as a whip.

SAVIDGE: You know, I covered when he was inducted into the rock 'n' roll hall of fame in New York in 1986, the hall of fame is of course in Cleveland. I spent time with him in a broadcast truck. He was extremely down-to-earth. There was never any hint of celebrity around him.

He was just a regular guy and a great guy to talk to. Did he ever tell what you his favorite song was?

BRINKLEY: He never told me his favorite song, although he, you know, the song "Promised Land" I know was close to him.

You know, you talked about down-to-earth, he invited me into a recording studio with him a few years ago, there's nobody there. It was in the outskirts of St. Louis and I was there with his sound engineer and himself. And then he just -- we hopped in his little Toyota. We just drove to a Wendy's and just had a frosty, fries, you know, the whole bit, and he would sit there. He was -- wear a captain's hat, like a sailor's cap, and I asked him about that that afternoon and he said, I don't wear baseball caps. Chuck Berry is not a hip hop salesman.

PAUL: But --

BRINKLEY: But he would sit there and everybody would come up and ask for an autograph and he just -- not only did he give them an autograph on a menu or a piece of paper, he would draw a smiley face next to it. He did never needed anything luxurious or posh.

I'm afraid the real biography of Chuck Berry our country treated him very badly when he became a bit hit in the late 1950s and early '60s. He got entangled with the law, and a few things, and some of these were of the, you know, were racists sort of encounters he had had with police. They (ph) thought that Chuck Berry was pushing the cultural noise level in America too high. But he was a (INAUDIBLE) guy just like you said.

SAVIDGE: Yes, his influence on other rockers who were to come is just hard to even fathom. So many of the next generation rock 'n' roll were influenced by Chuck Berry.

PAUL: No doubt about it.

SAVIDGE: Yes. Doug, thank you very much for joining us. Remembering back and looking at the life of Chuck Berry.

PAUL: We appreciate it, Doug. Thank you.

BRINKLEY: OK.

PAUL: And we're so sorry for your loss, really, at the end of the day, I mean, this has got to hit him.

All right. Still to come, the number two guy at the NSA weighing in on President Trump's wiretapping claims calling it nonsense. We delve deeper into how this all started. What the implications are now for the future of international relations?

SAVIDGE: Plus, Northwestern may have lost in the NCAA tournament, but one of their young fans is winning the internet. We'll explain all of that coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:48:23]

SAVIDGE: The number two at the NSA this morning says the claims British intelligence spied on the president had former President Obama's request are -- quote -- "arrant nonsense."

In his interview with BBC Rick Ledgett says, of course they wouldn't do it. It would be epically stupid. This nonsense all started with this commentary from a "FOX News" analyst.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS LEGAL ANALYST: Three intelligence sources have informed "FOX News" that President Obama went outside the chain of command, he is GCHQ. What the heck is GCHQ? That's the initials for the British spying agency.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: So here's the problem. We now know that information came from a discredited former CIA analyst, Larry Johnson. And get this, he first floated the baseless claim on Russia today or RT, as they now call it, the television station that the U.S. intelligence community considers a propaganda tool of Kremlin and even "FOX News" is not standing by that claim now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHEPARD SMITH, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: FOX News cannot confirm Judge Napolitano's commentary. FOX News knows of no evidence of any kind that the now president of the United States was surveilled at anytime in any way full stop.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: All right. Let's talk to CNN's senior media correspondent, host of "RELIABLE SOURCES," Brian Stelter about this. Good morning to you, Brian.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.

PAUL: All right. So let's play a little bit of sound here. The president addressing this issue during his meeting of course with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Just to remind us all (INAUDIBLE) here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We said nothing.

[06:50:00]

All we did was quote a certain, very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television. I did not make an opinion on it. That was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on FOX, and so you shouldn't be talking to me you would be talking to FOX.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Well, we just heard from FOX. What does it do for the president's credibility?

(LAUGHTER)

STELTER: Yes, exactly. You know, Judge Andrew Napolitano, that commentator you showed he said he stands by his story and he's pointing it over to Larry Johnson as one of his sources.

I'm going to have Johnson on "RELIABLE SOURCES" later today, I'll ask him more about this. But you're right he floated this first on Russia today then it trickles to FOX News via Napolitano, then makes it to the White House press briefing room via Sean Spicer and then all the way to President Trump himself when Trump was asked about it on Friday.

This is how a sort of conspiratorial or unsubstantiated ideas spread, you know, sort of in this -- through this chain, and I think it is so striking, you see one of the heads of the NSA, one of the deputies of the NSA now speaking out, calling it crazy, saying it would -- quote -- "epically stupid" for the Brits to actually do this for the Americans and for the Americans to ask the Brits to do it.

Essentially saying if you believe this theory you have no understanding about how intelligence works. I don't know about you I almost never see NSA deputies interviewed in the first place. Now this guy you quoted, Richard (ph) Ledgett, he is about to retire so it seems like he's coming out maybe doing cleanup by speaking to the BBC, by saying, this is a crazy idea, it never happened and never would happen.

PAUL: Let's talk about the British spy agency, GCHQ, here. They responded with this statement (INAUDIBLE) -- "Recent allegations made by the media commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct wire tapping against the then president-elect are nonsense. They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored."

Now a senior administration official told CNN the National Security adviser did offer an apology to the British government. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer denying that...

STELTER: Right.

PAUL: ... but when we look at the relationship between the U.S. and Britain, it is a pivotal relationship of allies since World War II, what does this do to that?

STELTER: Among other factors there's an agreement among some of the U.S. top allies not to spy on each other. And this idea of Obama asking the Brits to spy on Trump, that would have violated the agreement. But among many other things, this is an example of the White House trying to find proof of Trump's two-week-old claim about wiretapping. There hasn't been proof. There hasn't been evidence.

But what was Trump doing in the first place? He was trying to push off the Russia allegations. He was trying to get away from that and say, hey, this is all Obama's fault, and it's going to be really curious tomorrow to see how this is handled by the Congress.

PAUL: Very true. A lot of people will be watching that closely. Brian Stelter, we appreciate seeing you so early this morning. Thank you.

STELTER: Thanks.

PAUL: And you know Brian is sticking around today. He is mentioned that he'll be on "RELIABLE SOURCES" of course, the host of that show, 11:00 a.m. Eastern today right here on CNN tackling that very issue.

SAVIDGE: Plus, Northwestern may have lost in the NCAA tournament but one of their young fans is definitely winning on the internet. Andy Scholes has more.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: You know what? There are emotional fans at basketball games and then there is this kid. What had him in tears? We'll have that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:57:54]

SAVIDGE: Here we go. Emotions can change from minute to minute during March Madness hence the name.

PAUL: Well, a young Northwestern fan had all of them on display yesterday. Andy Scholes has more in this morning's bleacher report.

So I look at this kid and I think OK 20 years from now when you look back at this, what are you going to be thinking?

SCHOLES: You know, March Madness emotional time for many but this kid who is now known as "Northwestern Kid" really taking it to another level yesterday in their game against Kentucky.

You got to check out him in the second half of this game. I mean, he was going nuts this whole time. And he absolutely loses it when the Wildcats right were called for a flagrant foul. His name is John. He's the son of Northwestern's athletic director Jim Phillips.

Now the Wildcats are down by as many as 22 against Kentucky but they made a heck of a comeback in the second half, and as you can see, John happy when they were making the comeback, but this terrible call right here really killed Northwestern's rally. Zach (ph) defender going through the hoops to block the shot. Derek (ph) completely missed it. Wildcats' coach Chris Collins goes nuts. He called for a technical foul. It was really a four-point swing in the game as you see John is not happy again. But the NCAA said after the game the refs completely missed the call and it doesn't make John and Northwestern fans feel any better. They're eliminated and Gonzaga moves on with a 79-73 win.

PAUL: And what a good mom, it's OK, it's OK.

SCHOLES: All right. If (INAUDIBLE) winning at all in your bracket you will not be winning your pool.

The savvy veterans from Wisconsin knocking out the defending champs senior Nigel Hayes coming through right here with a clutch basket in the final seconds to give the Badgers the lead for good. Now Hayes and fellow starter, Bronson Koenig, they are hold overs from Wisconsin's back to back final four teams few years ago. They're going to be heading their fourth straight Sweet 16 and they beat Nova at 65-62. And head coach Greg Gard telling his team in the locker room, they are not done yet.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GREG GARD, WISCONSIN HEAD COACH: I can't be more proud of a gutty performance, and it was not perfect but you kept finding a way, but you keep sticking together, and everybody keeps sticking together, you keep trusting each other and you stay in the course, and that's the type of stuff that can happen, OK?

So proud of you guys. We have more to get to.

(CHEERING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[07:00:02]

SCHOLES: We got eight more games on the schedule today, the action tips off 12:10 (ph) Eastern of Louisville and Michigan. Hopefully we'll get some more exciting finishes like we did yesterday, guys.

PAUL: Love it.

SCHOLES: It was a great day of action.

PAUL: No doubt. Andy, thank you so much.

SCHOLES: All right.

PAUL: Appreciate it.