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President Trump Criticizes Russia Investigation Via Twitter; New Information Behind Electronic Device Ban on Airplanes Released; Senator Rob Portman Discusses Legislation Designed to Combat Opioid Epidemic in U.S.; President Trump's Rescinding of Environment Protection Regulations Debated; New Images Surface of Tennessee Former Teacher and Kidnapped Student; Final Four in College Basketball to Commence. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired April 1, 2017 - 10:00   ET



[10:00:21] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, good morning to you. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. It's 10:00 a.m. here on the east coast. CNN Newsroom begins right now.

PAUL: President Trump, two months in office, still struggling, it seems, to get away from this Russia controversy and get on with his campaign agenda. Russia still very much on the mind of the commander in chief this morning. He just tweeted "It's the same fake news media that said there is no path to victory for Trump that is now pushing the phony Russia story, a total scam." This of course coming after new revelations that former security adviser Michael Flynn offering his testimony in exchange for immunity, and House Intel chief Devin Nunes got surveillance related documents from White House officials.

BLACKWELL: And talking about campaign promises in just a few hours, Vice President Pence will be in Ohio visiting an electronic manufacturing plant, trying to push the president's main election pitch, bringing jobs to the U.S.

Also this morning, U.S. intelligence agencies say that terrorists found ways to hide explosives in electronics that can evade commonly used airport screenings. And this intelligence was the driving factor behind the Trump administration's ban on electronics on flights from eight countries in the Middle East and Africa on these airlines.

PAUL: CNN Correspondent Ryan Nobles live from the White House for us here. So Ryan, I know this might be the first time the White House has embroiled in the controversies from the very beginning. Would that be accurate?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi, I think it's safe to say that there hasn't been too many administrations that have dealt with this much this early on in their tenure here at the White House. And this, of course, comes from a president and a candidate who promised an ambitious agenda as soon as he took office. But when you have the cloud of the situation with Russia and their possible meddling in the U.S. election, and then you put on top of it the president's claim that the former president, President Obama, wiretapped him in Trump Tower during the election, it's made it difficult for them to push that agenda forward.

Now, the White House has really pushed off this criticism, saying there's nothing to see here and that they really want the truth to come out. And they, in fact, want Michael Flynn to testify, and the president himself has suggested that he should ask for immunity. Here is what Sean Spicer said yesterday about this particular topic --


SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He believes that Mike Flynn should go testify. He thinks that he should go up there and do what he has to do to get the story out.


SPICER: That's up to him and his lawyer to decide. I'm not going to give Mike Flynn or anyone else legal advice from the podium, but I will tell you that the president's view is he should go up there. He should testify.


NOBLES: And the Trump administration has consistently said there is no evidence of collusion between this White House and Russia during the campaign and that they have nothing to hide. But at the same time, the president has also refused to admit that there is any -- there was any attempt by Russia to get involved in the American election. But this does make it difficult because these conversations continue to be brought up as they try to talk about things like jobs and tax reform and, of course, repealing and replacing Obamacare. Christi.

PAUL: Ryan Nobles, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Ron Brownstein is CNN senior political analyst and editor of "The Atlantic" and Gabby Morrongiello is White House correspondent for "The Washington Examiner." Good morning.


BLACKWELL: So the president is up and stretching his Twitter fingers, and he tweeted "It's the same fake news media that said there is no path to victory for Trump that is now pushing the phony Russia story, a total scam." Jason Miller, the former communication director for the campaign, Ron, was on this morning, and he essentially the president should talk about jobs, talk about regulation, talk about trade, stop talking Russia. He apparently doesn't want to do that.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. It's your equivalent Saturday morning with Mori. It's Saturday morning with President Trump every week with the new tweets. Look, it is not obviously just the news media that is driving this story. The FBI director in an extraordinary statement in open testimony said the FBI was actively investigating questions not only of the Russian interference in the election, which I think has been established by all of the U.S. intelligence agencies, but whether in fact there was cooperation and collusion. And you continue to see leaks out of that investigation or around that investigation that underscore that they view this very seriously, for example, something in CBS yesterday.

So the president can try to rally his supporters by blaming this essentially on a narrative by the news media, but that is simply not the case. And as well as the investigation in the Senate Intelligence Committee, there is an ongoing investigation. We don't know what they will find in the end, but there is enough there that serious entities are doing serious investigation.

[10:05:05] BLACKWELL: Control room, tell me when you have sound bite one ready for me. I want to come to you, Gabby. And my question is about the discrepancy between what we see from the president on Twitter saying that General Flynn should ask for immunity and tweeting this morning, calling Russia a fake. And moments like this yesterday when he was supposed to have signed two executive orders there in the Oval Office. Let's watch.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You're going to see some very, very strong results very, very quickly. Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you trying to tell the Justice Department to grant immunity to Michael Flynn? Were you trying to do that, Mr. President? Was that your intention, Mr. President, sir? Mr. President, was that your intention, Mr. President? Was that your intention, sir?


BLACKWELL: Yes, he walked out of the room before signing the executive orders. You can't say he forgot. The vice president tapped him on the back saying we still have to sign these. We'll do them in the other room, he said. Gabby, to you. The discrepancy between the president's willingness to tweet out these types of statements but won't answer the questions there in front of cameras.

MORRONGIELLO: Well, look, we've been asking the president to hold a press conference to not only address the ongoing investigation into his campaign's alleged ties to Russia, but also to talk about the wiretapping claims that he made almost a month ago now on Twitter in one of his early morning tweets.

There are so many moments when this administration, this White House has had an opportunity to really move the ball forward on, you know, legislative items that has to do with this president's agenda, and yet they have been overshadowed constantly by these investigations that are months away from reaching completion. This has been an issue that has just devastated this White House from the moment that President Trump entered office. And I really think it would be a key and important moment for him to get out in front of the White House press core, in front of the cameras, and to field our questions. There's so many things that this president needs to talk about, not only that the Michael Flynn offer to testify in exchange for immunity, but also, again, these allegations he made against his predecessor.

BLACKWELL: And so many questions about the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes.


BLACKWELL: Ron, to you, I want you to watch this exchange between a reporter and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. And the question here was how Nunes got this information that has essentially halted their investigation there in the House appropriate. Watch.


SPICER: To answer your question, yes, it's appropriate for a member of Congress to contact someone who has contacted him according to some of these reports. I don't know the answer to that, but if you're asking me is it appropriate for a member of Congress to come over here, as Chairman Nunes said himself, he wasn't hiding or roaming. He was asked to come over here by an individual. He came over, which happens daily. He was asked to go somewhere. He went there. He is cleared. Nothing that is inappropriate -- exactly the opposite. What he did, what he saw, and who he met with was 100 percent proper.


BLACKWELL: If it's 100 percent proper, I understand not answering what was disseminated, but the who, when, where, how, why especially, no answer from the White House.

BROWNSTEIN: No. Look, from excellent reporting from "The New York Times' and "Washington Post" we have a clear sense there were three individuals on the National Security Council. The big question, of course, that has been completely unanswered is why -- look at the circular path this information takes. It is provided by individuals on the national security staff to the chair of the House Intelligence Committee who then rushes back to the White House to brief the president about information he was provided from the president's staff. You know, that is just a very circuitous and strange set of the events and gives you the sense it was not designed to be ultimately revealed where this came from and that it was designed to be a way for the White House staff in effect to get this information out without their fingerprints on it and to allow the chairman to try to use it to support the president's charge against his predecessor.

But all it has done is open a new front in this controversy, where the investigation itself is part of the debate. Look, don't forget, all of this is happening while the president has suffered the biggest, I think, early presidency legislative defeat on health care that we have seen in modern times and where you see continued evidence of both conservatives in the House not fearing him in the way that perhaps the White House expected, but also Democrats on the Senate from the states he won not ling up with him, for example, Claire McCaskill said she's going to vote against Neil Gorsuch. So they have got a lot of challenges on a lot of fronts and they need to reclaim not only the narrative but the initiative.

[10:10:01] BLACKWELL: All right, Ron, Gabby, we have to wrap it here. Gabby, you'll get first question on the next one. Thanks so much.


PAUL: Well, U.S. intelligence agencies say terrorists have found ways to hide explosives in electronics. These are ways that they can evade commonly used airport screenings. Here is what's more. They even have their own equipment, which is like what we see in airports to test whether it can bypass security. CNN's Muhammad Lila live for us from Istanbul. Muhammad what are you hearing there about these bombs?

MUHAMMAD LILA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi, we've reached out to Turkish Airlines, Etihad Airlines, three of the biggest airlines in the world, also home to some of the busiest airports in the world. We're hopefully going to get a comment from them within the next few hours.

Now, any time we're talking about a new terror threat of this level, obviously you can expect these airlines to take it seriously. Where I think they might object, though, is the implication that somehow airports in this part of the world might be more insecure or unprepared for a threat like this compared to airports in Europe or the United States. I mean, you have to remember when this laptop ban was announced, there was a lot of skepticism because the goal posts seemed to be changing quite a bit. First the story was that maybe terrorists had infiltrated these airports and were posing as airport staff. Then they were told that maybe the airport screening procedures weren't strong enough.

Now with this new information, the new line is that it may not be the screening equipment at all. It might actually be the fact that these terrorists found ways using modern techniques to evade or to avoid being detected through common airport screening processes. So certainly that would be a concern for all of these airlines.

But again, you know, the way to classify it in this part of the world is that there's a healthy dose of skepticism, because if you look at the FBI information, they used household tools to modify laptops. And that means if you're using household tools, laptops could be modified, not just in the Middle East, but even in America, even in Europe, pretty much anywhere in the world. So that is what's really scary about this.

PAUL: Muhammad Lila, we appreciate it. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: As drug overdoses increase across the country, there's a group of politicians who say they have a solution here. Senator Rob Portman is here live to explain the plan he's supporting and why he thinks this could save lives. PAUL: Also, President Trump putting American jobs before climate

change. The pushback the president is receiving now for rolling back Obama era regulations.

BLACKWELL: And live from the final four in Glendale, Arizona, our own Coy Wire. Coy?


[10:16:55] BLACKWELL: Well, they're looking for a solution for an epidemic. Congress is tackling the rise of opioid overdoses next week.

PAUL: The Centers for Disease Control estimates 91 Americans die each day from drug overdoses. That's more than the number of deaths from shootings or from car crashes. And you can see the drastic increase here over recent years on that graph. At a hearing on Wednesday, one House committee hopes to find ways that the federal government can help lower that number. Republican Senator Rob Portman from Ohio is backing a bill to stop the shipment of opioids through the U.S. postal service. Did you know that that's how they were transported sometimes? Senator, thank you so much for making time for us. Good morning to you.

SEN. ROB PORTMAN, (R) OHIO: Christi, thank you. and thanks to you and Victor for taking up this issue.

PAUL: Absolutely, absolutely. Ohio is my home state. We've been watching it closely. We would whether it was my home state or not of course. But it's really a crisis no doubt there in Ohio. Help us understand what your bill will do.

PORTMAN: Well, the most recent legislation is focused on this new threat which the fentanyl, which is a synthetic form of heroin, and it's coming to our country via the U.S. mail system, believe it or not. And the more research we've done into this, the more we realize we can simply post office to require the same kind of information sharing that other providers require, say FedEx or UPS or DHS, that law enforcement could target those packages that are suspicious and stop some of this poison from coming in.

We have great support from the Fraternal Order of Police, from the sheriffs' associations around the country, also from law enforcement at the federal level, the customs and border protection people, DEA. And it's a very sad situation now. You have labs mostly in China that are creating this poison and then sending it by the mail system to the United States. And there's really no effective way to target those packages. That's what we're trying to do, get that information to target those packages, so that's what we're trying to do is get that information to be able to target the packages and be able to stop some of these deaths we see. Here in Columbus, Ohio, where I am right now we've had on average one death per day over the last two months from fentanyl. We're on track to probably triple the number of fentanyl deaths from last year. It's tragic and it's affecting everybody.

PAUL: How -- if you're going to have the post office track them, electronically, as I understand it, is there any way to scan or to decipher what is actually being sent, because I can't imagine somebody is going to declare it as we do say with FedEx.

PORTMAN: It's a great question. They're required to provide advanced electronic information for these private carriers of where the package is from, what's in it, where it's going. And that information can be used by law enforcement to at least target the packages that are most suspicious.

And obviously the information as to where it's going is probably the most accurate information since that will be where the destination actually is. So, we're told by law enforcement that this information helps them a lot with regard to these packages that come in, again, through the private carrier systems, and it would be very helpful to have it with regard to the vast majority of packages, millions that are coming in through the post office. It's like finding the needle in the hay stack right now.

[10:20:08] So This is one way to help deal with this issue. It's not the silver bullet because there is no one silver bullet. I was at two treatment centers yesterday, one in Cleveland and one in Youngtown. We have to do it all. We have to do a much better job at stopping the supply, at least raising the cost of this product, because, Christi, one of the issues is that fentanyl is so inexpensive now it's taking the place of heroin. It's 30 to 50 times more powerful than heroin. It's being mixed with heroin, it's being mixed with other drugs.

But we also have to focus on treatment and recovery and prevention, and education obviously is key to this. And it all comes together as a more comprehensive approach in this legislation called the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. So, we've got that legislation that passed to Congress last year. We're trying to implement that as quickly as possible. But in the meantime, let's do everything we can to try to keep some of these poisons out of our community.

PAUL: You talk about how cheap the drugs are, but fighting them is costly when you're talking about helping the U.S. post office, I guess that would evolve and they would become better at spotting this and helping you track. How much might that cost, and is that going to come at taxpayers' expense?

PORTMAN: Right now with regard to the private carriers it comes at the expense of the shippers. In other words, they pay a small fee in order to have that information to be provided to the carriers and to law enforcement. And that's how the post office could do it. We could also provide more funding from the federal government for more postal inspectors, which I think we ought to do because right now they're understaffed in my view to be able to handle this new information. So I think it will be a combination.

But Christi, a little more money up front is worth it. The devastation of this opioid crisis we now have in our country is becoming clearer and clearer. Here in Columbus, Ohio, just this week a guy overdosed in a McDonald's parking lot. He had his foot on the accelerator. He crashed into two other cars. A week ago today you had two little kids outside their folks' pickup truck in a city park in Columbus crying and the police arrived and found both of their parents overdosed. In a movie theater in Columbus, recently, someone overdosed and died. It's the number one cause of crime here in my state and I think in the country now is people who are looking for funds to be able to provide for their habit. And they're committing crimes to get that.

So it is something that's affecting everybody. I'll be at a business roundtable discussion with Vice President Pence later today. And I know what I'll hear from the business community because I heard it yesterday in Youngstown and Cleveland, and that is they can't get people to pass the drug test to be able to hire people.

PAUL: Wow.

PORTMAN: This is something that affects every single one of us and I think is worth the effort.

PAUL: Using the term "epidemic" is definitely accurate.

I want to, before you leave, wanted to talk about Russia a bit because you are on the foreign affairs committee and homeland security and governmental affairs committee. So I wanted to ask you about the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov who said that relations between the U.S. and Russia may be even worse than the cold war. He just said this the other day. Do you agree with that? And if so, what needs to be done to make things better?

PORTMAN: Well, first of all, we want a good relationship with Russia. We would like to join them in the fight against ISIS and other forms of violent extremism. We have other reasons to cooperate with them. But frankly, what they're doing in terms of meddling in our elections and now meddling in other elections of other democracies, France and Germany being the most recent examples, what they have done with regard to the Baltic countries and Ukraine, and their actions in Syria, what they're doing to help Iran, there's plenty of reasons for us to have a very candid discussion about how we can be better partners. But in the meantime, they have to on their side make changes in their approach. Our national security has been put at risk by some of the actions they have taken and we need to be candid about that.

PAUL: Do you think they will be amenable to that?

PORTMAN: I would hope so. You know, we have no designs on hurting the legitimate national security interests of Russia and its people. We are simply trying to ensure that our national security and those of our allies around the world are properly protected. And I spent a lot of time on this issue with Ukraine. I've been there a couple times. I've seen what's going on in Ukraine on the eastern border of Ukraine. As we talk now, Russia is very much engaged in trying to destabilize that country --

PAUL: Senator Rob Portman --

PORTMAN: That's not appropriate so we do need to stand up. PAUL: We appreciate you being here, and best of luck fighting that

problem in Ohio that we know is not just in Ohio, it's all over the country. Thank you for taking the time.

[10:25:00] PORTMAN: Christi, thank you. And again, thanks to you and Victor for covering it, not just today but you've done a great job of helping to raise awareness, which is one of the issues that we have to do is to make this link between prescription drugs and heroin and fentanyl and ensure we're doing everything we can to let people know the great dangers that are involved with getting involved with these drugs, and helping people get into treatment if they have a problem. So thank you for doing that. You will save lives by doing that.

PAUL: Well, as will you certainly. Senator, thank you so much. Appreciate your time.

PORTMAN: Thanks, Christi. Take care.

PAUL: You, too.

BLACKWELL: Still to come, President Trump's new policy on climate change and the environment is under fire. Even the world's biggest oil company is urging the White House not to abandon the Obama era climate agreements. We'll have more on that next.


[10:30:00] PAUL: Well, it's good to have your company. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: It's good to be with you. I'm Victor Blackwell.

PAUL: With a stroke of a pen the White House this White House this week rolled back Obama era regulations intended to help climate change. Now President Trump's argument is it's time to put American jobs above climate change.


TRUMP: This will allow the EPA to focus on its primary mission of protecting our air and protecting our water. Together we are going to start a new energy revolution, one that celebrates American production on American soil.


PAUL: Here is what you need to know about that executive order. It directs the Environmental Protection Agency to review Obama's clean power plant. It rescinds the embargo on coil mining on federal lands, and it urges federal agencies to, quote, "identify all policies that serve as obstacles and impediments to American energy."

BLACKWELL: Now, some of the leaders of America's -- actually the world's biggest companies, are not on board. ExxonMobil sent a letter to the White House days before the president signed that order asking the administration not to abandon the climate agreement reached in Paris, plus, General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt told his employees, and this is a quote, "We believe climate change is real and the science is well accepted."

Let's talk about this with CNN senior economic analyst, sorry, former senior economic adviser to President Trump, Stephen Moore, and economist Jeffrey Sachs. He's the director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. Good morning to both of you.



BLACKWELL: So Jeffrey, let me start with you. What we heard from the president and what we heard throughout the campaign and now his -- the early phase of his presidency is that everything he's doing is to prioritize jobs. And for those people who are looking for those jobs, in the coal industry, in those states where he promised to bring those industries back, you say what to those people who are hoping the president will keep that promise so they can feed their families?

SACHS: I'm wondering whether our president ever tells the truth. He is a liar from morning until night. And he's lying about the jobs as well. There are so few jobs at stake compared to a devastation of the environment that he is unleashing. And he's not doing it because of jobs. He's doing it because of the Koch brothers who have bought the Republican Party for years so that they can make their mega-profits on their oil, coal, and gas interests. They bought the foundations like the Heritage Foundation. This is such a scheme. It's a disgrace, but it's filled with lies. The American people really need to know --

BLACKWELL: All right, I think there's an audio issue. We also need to fix. We heard what you said there, but I want to give Stephen an opportunity to respond to all the allegations just made there. Stephen?

MOORE: Well, look, I work with Donald Trump on energy issues and fiscal issues during the campaign. He made it very clear that he wanted to make America an energy powerhouse. You know, we have the capacity -- I just wrote a book on this called "Fueling Freedom" that people should take a look at. We now have the capacity to become the Saudi Arabia of coal production, oil and gas over the next three, five years, and that could last the next century. So we have more oil, gas, and coal than any other country in the world.

Jeff and other professors and government bureaucrats are saying how wonderful it is to put our coal miners out of their jobs. I wonder whether these professors and government bureaucrats would be so excited about this agenda if it meant they would lose their jobs. I think when liberals say how much they care about working class people, I've been to these towns. I've been to the coal towns and seen the devastation and the ruination of these families. And these people want their jobs back. And Jeff, we have close to 100,000 coal miners and people associated with the coal industry in this country. And to just tell them, we don't care about your lives and your jobs I think is inhumane. One last point, we -- this doesn't just end with the coal industry.

SACHS: I think it --

BLACKWELL: Hold on, Jeff. Hold on.

MOORE: Jeff, let me make this point, Jeff, because you called the president a liar and I have to say --

SACHS: I think he is a liar and what you're saying --


MOORE: It's beneath you to call the president a liar. You can disagree with him. To call him a liar and to say that somehow he's funded by all these, you know, oil companies and so on is just -- it's a vicious -- you talk about lies. That is a lie. But I'll say this. We have 10 million people who are employed in the oil and gas industry. And Jeff, people like you also want to put the oil and gas industry people out of work, too. You're going to put 10 million people out of work and somehow that's going to reduce climate change? I just don't understand the logic.

BLACKWELL: Jeff, go ahead respond and then I want to get to something else.

SACHS: What a disgrace, Stephen, to call us to be the Saudi Arabia of the 21st century when you know -- I don't know if you know --

MOORE: We can be.

SACHS: I don't know if you know, but the truth is that it would wreck the planet. And that is a disgrace for children. I don't know if you have them, but children and grandchildren in this country. What are you talking about?

And, yes, the president is a chronic liar morning until night, and the Republican Party, your foundation, the Heritage Foundation, is bought by these interests. That's what this is about.


MOORE: Jeff --

BLACKWELL: Hold on, hold on, hold on for a second.


BLACKWELL: Wait, wait, wait, Stephen, Stephen, Stephen, hold on. Stephen, hold on. We can have this discussion. Stephen, we can have this discussion without making it so personal. Can we not? I mean, we can talk about policy --

MOORE: Jeff made it personal.

BLACKWELL: I'm talking to both of you. MOORE: He called the president a liar.

BLACKWELL: I understand that.

MOORE: That's getting pretty personal.

BLACKWELL: I understand that. What I'm asking is we can have this conversation without making it so personal. Let me bring this in --

MOORE: Look, I'm not.

BLACKWELL: It's directed to both of you.

Let me bring this in. This was written this week by New York mayor, former mayor Michael Bloomberg. He wrote this in an op-ed. "No matter what roadblocks the White House and Congress throw up, the United States can, and I'm confident will, meet the commitment it made in Paris in 2015 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet." Stephen, to you, what we heard from the president during the campaign is that he was going to withdraw from the Paris accord. Not so clear now. Do you expect he will? Should he?

MOORE: Yes, he will. Here is the reason why. Look, and Jeff knows this, too, even if the United States completely shuts down our energy industry, we shut down our oil and gas and coal industry, in terms of changing the temperature of the planet, it's going to make no difference, as you know, Jeff, because every time we shut down a coal plan here in the United States, China and India build 10 coal plants. So how in the world is putting American workers in West Virginia, in Michigan, in Ohio and Pennsylvania out of their jobs and then transferring those jobs to China and India, how is that going to save the planet?

SACHS: You should be ashamed of reading such propaganda lines or not even thinking this through.

MOORE: It's not propaganda. It was in "The Wall Street Journal" last week.

SACHS: Oh, "The Wall Street Journal." I'm deeply impressed. You know, China and India and the other 190 countries, including and with us the 193 countries of the U.N. are all signed on to this. If the U.S. pulls out --

MOORE: They're not abiding by it.

BLACKWELL: Hold on. Let him finish.

SACHS: You are a propagandist, Stephen, pure and simple. Sorry.

MOORE: So here is the point. Don't look -- don't listen to what they say, Jeff. You're right. They've all signed this agreement. It's just that they're not going to follow it. China is building -- China and India are building 100 new coal plants. That's not propaganda. It's happening.

SACHS: You know --

BLACKWELL: We have to break here.

SACHS: You know, Stephen, what they're doing to do and not do. It's amazing.

BLACKWELL: We have to wrap this here. Jeffrey, Stephen --

MOORE: I know what they're doing.

BLACKWELL: Thanks for the conversation.

SACHS: Thanks a lot.


PAUL: All righty, we have some images we want to share with you just released showing a missing Tennessee student and the teacher authorities say abducted her. Take a close look. We'll show you more, talk about what's happening in that investigation on the other side of the break.


[10:42:08] BLACKWELL: This morning we have new details in the hunt for that missing Tennessee student and her former teacher. Surveillance video was released showing them in a Wal-Mart. This is in Oklahoma City last month. This is the first confirmed sighting of the two since 50-year-old Tad Cummins allegedly kidnapped 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas.

PAUL: Authorities say Cummins is armed with two guns. CNN correspondent Polo Sandoval has more details for us here.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: New surveillance images show former teacher Tad Cummins and 15-years-old missing student Elizabeth Thomas. The two were caught on camera at a Wal-Mart in Oklahoma City earlier this month, showing Cummins with darker hair and Thomas possibly with red hair, according to police. This is the latest evidence since Cummins and Thomas disappeared last month.

MARK GWYN, DIRECTOR, TENNESSEE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: This is not a fairy tale. This is a case of kidnapping.

SANDOVAL: And 50-year-old Tad Cummins is expected of abducted the Elizabeth Thomas.

GWYN: She's a high school freshman. He's a former teacher. This is and was not a romance. This was manipulation solely to benefit Tad Cummins.

SANDOVAL: Thomas has been missing since March 13th, weeks after a student reported the pair kissing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At this point, we have had no credible sightings of either individual.

SANDOVAL: Under Tennessee law, children over 12 years old can decide whether to leave their families unless their removal or confinement is, quote, "accomplished by force, threat, or fraud." District Attorney Brent Cooper is fighting to change that law. He hopes state lawmakers consider Elizabeth's case when they hold their next meeting next year.

BRENT COOPER, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: The statute should say if it's without the consent of the parents or guardians, that should be a crime.

SANDOVAL: The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation even translated Elizabeth's Amber Alert to Spanish, spreading the word to find her faster. Family and friends continue searching for Elizabeth, hoping she returns home soon.

SARAH THOMAS, SISTER: We all want you back home. Your dog misses you. It doesn't want anyone to play with it.

SANDOVAL: Polo Sandoval, CNN, Atlanta.


BLACKWELL: A suspect accused of starting a massive fire that destroyed part of Atlanta interstate makes his first court appearance next hour. Investigators think that Basil Eleby set construction materials on fire Thursday. This was under I-85. It grew -- look at this -- into this enormous fire. It eventually caused a piece of the interstate to crash to the ground. The good news here is that no one was hurt. But we know that repairs to this major artery into and out of the city could take several months, and nearly a quarter of a million people drive that stretch of road each day.

PAUL: When we come back, we're going to take you live to the final four in Glendale, Arizona, with our own Coy Wire. Hey, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: U.S. men's hockey upsetting Russia, Buster Douglas knocking out Mike Tyson -- you could say that this upset of UCONN women's basketball is right up there with one of the greatest upsets of all time. We're going to check it out, show you the highlights, show you the disbelief coming up.

[10:45:14] PAUL: First, wouldn't it be great to fix your shattered smart phone by yourself without paying for an expensive repair? Well, CNN's Sam Burke tells us about Fairphone.


SAMUEL BURKE, CNN TECH CORRESPONDENT: So you can actually take this phone apart and put different parts into it.

BAS VAN ABEL, CEO, FAIRPHONE: We're the first ones in the industry to actually launch a phone where 12-year-old kid can replace all the parts himself.

BURKE: So the screen shatters. You just pop it off and pop on a new one.

VAN ABEL: Exactly. And you can do the same for the camera and for the microphone, for the headphone. What we like to do is to have people use their phone for a longer time.

BURKE: Why is the company called Fairphone?

VAN ABEL: First of all, we make phones. And the fair part is that we focused on how to make the phone as fair as possible. And we do that by looking at the working conditions all the way from the mines to the manufacturing and also recycling. We look at the system ability aspects and the materials we use and the design of the phone itself.

BURKE: Every quarter it feels like every phone company is pushing for better specks, the better camera, the brighter screen. Are you going after that same goal every quarter?

VAN ABEL: No, we're not. I think we're one of the only phone companies that's not launching a new product this year. So we aim at upgrading some of the components, upgrading software. The good thing is because it's modular, it fits into that module, you only have to change that part and you have an upgraded phone. The whole idea is that people can repair their product themselves, so that it can use it longer so that you extend the life time of the phone. If you have an extended lifetime, you need to use less products. And that's good for the environment.

BURKE: How does this small Dutch startup smart phone company even compete with a giant like Apple or Samsung?

VAN ABEL: We don't compete on technology. We're a niche player. Only have 0.2 percent of the market. And we're already selling 200,000, 300,000 phones a year only in Europe.



[10:51:45] BLACKWELL: Was he a loyal follower or an unfaithful coward? What can the bones of St. Peter tell us about his infamous betrayal? Here is a preview of this week's episode of "Finding Jesus."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Peter was the most important disciple of Jesus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He singles Peter out from the rest of the disciples by saying he's the one that Jesus trusts to be the rock at the heart of the movement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was Jesus' best friend. I think he was his brother.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Headstrong, stumbling, confused, questioning, Jesus loves Peter not in spite of his failings, I think sometimes, but because of them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of you is going to betray me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who is it? Who is it!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Peter, loyal follower.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will lay down my life for you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Or unfaithful coward.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I swear, I do not know the man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Finding Jesus" new episode tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. on CNN.


BLACKWELL: Again, "Finding Jesus, Faith, Fact, Forgery," Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. right here on CNN.

PAUL: All right, possibly the biggest upset in women's college basketball history, Mississippi State snaps UConn's 111-game winning streak, overtime buzzer beater. I don't think there was -- well, probably not a seat in their seats I should say.

BLACKWELL: Yes, that's a good way to put it. It's early.


PAUL: Coy Wire is in Glendale, Arizona, where it's earlier with this morning's bleacher report. Coy?

WIRE: Good morning, Mr. Victor and Christi. Good to see you. And this is not an April fool's joke. This really happened. Mississippi State, 21.5 underdog. UConn hadn't lost since November of 2014, over 800 days. But this is really one of the greatest upsets in sports history. Let's check it out.

The smallest player on the court coming up big, standing tall in the big moment. Time winding down, Mississippi state's 5'5" Morgan William with the pull-up jumper at the buzzer to win the game in overtime. Bulldog nation goes crazy, including Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott. He's a Mississippi State alum. He was there in Dallas rooting on the team. And the win will send the bulldogs to the national championship game against South Carolina. My goodness.


MORGAN WILLIAM, MISSISSIPPI STATE: I got enough space. I jumped up and I just made the shot. When I made the shot I was in shock. I'm still in shock. I'm over here like, man, I just won the game.

GENO AURIEMMA, UCONN HEAD COACH: Obviously, you know, when you get to this point in the season and you lose, it's just -- it's the worst feeling imaginable. (END VIDEO CLIP)

WIRE: All right, the sun is coming up here in Glendale and it's about to get hot. Join us on CNN at 2:30 p.m. eastern this afternoon for all access of the final four, a CNN bleacher report special. We're going to get you ready for all the action, Steve Smith, Fredricka Whitfield, myself, and Andy Scholes will walk you through some of the fun that's happening here. It's about to be on, guys.

[10:55:08] PAUL: All right, Coy, thank you so much. Make some good memories out there, buddy.

WIRE: You're welcome.

PAUL: And you, too. Thanks for watching.

BLACKWELL: Thanks for being with us this morning. Another hour of newsroom comes up right after this quick break.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Welcome. It's 11:00 a.m. on the east coast. Newsroom starts right now.

And we begin with disturbing intelligence about a new terror threat to passenger planes. ISIS and other terrorist organizations have designed explosives that can be planted in laptops and other electronic devices and evade airport security. This has led to a ban on electronic devices in cabins on some airlines. It's also played a significant role in prohibiting travelers flying out of eight countries from carrying laptops and other large devices onto planes.