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NEW DAY SATURDAY

N. Korea Parades New Missiles Amid Rising Tensions; VP Pence to Leave For South Korea Today; Officials: Mother of All Bombs Killed 94 ISIS Fighters; Documentary Highlights Regime Attacks on Civilians; Democrat Could Win Seat Held By GOP for Decades; Thousands Demand Trump's Taxes in Nationwide March; Small Business Takes Off with Custom Cycles; April the Giraffe is Finally in Labor. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired April 15, 2017 - 08:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:00:44]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a new president and Kim Jong-Un is trying to challenge him.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: North Korea is a problem. The problem will be taken care of.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With an administration that is showing he wants to send a message there's a new sheriff in town, we don't know, you know, whether we're making maximum effort to settle this peacefully or not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will not relent in our mission to destroy ISIS- K in 2017.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We have given them total authorization and that's what they're doing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that does send a message around the world that America is back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Trump administration says they will not release the names of people who visit the White House. Why? What is the big secret?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't want to scare and people from being able to come into the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's total b.s.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, you've made it to Saturday. We are so grateful to have your company. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you. North Korea is putting the world on notice. For the first time showing off what could be powerful long-range missiles and as the regime prepares for another possible nuclear test, tensions are flaring on the peninsula.

PAUL: And North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un, was on hand watching this huge military parade that marks the country's biggest holiday. Take a look. Analysts say what we're seeing is this, never before seen military hardware. They believe these mobile canisters could contain the largest missiles produced by North Korea.

BLACKWELL: And the U.S. is watching very closely, stationing an aircraft carrier strike group just off the peninsula. This morning, a top North Korean official says they will respond to, quote, "all-out war with an all-out war."

Happening right now, you see Vice President Mike Pence and the second lady, Karen Pence, about to depart from Joint Base Andrews there and head to South Korea. This is the first stop on an 11-day trip to the Asia Pacific region.

This trip comes at a very critical moment. More critical than it was when they announced it a week ago. The Trump administration and U.S. allies after these escalated comments. You can see the vice president here and the second lady as they board Air Force Two. Escalating and posturing from North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, and growing concerns that the country could conduct this new nuclear test.

Now, along with the visit to Seoul, the vice president will also include stops in Tokyo, Jakarta, Sydney, and then back in Hawaii. The White House foreign policy adviser says the trip is intended for the vice president to lay out the administration's policies to U.S. allies in the region and to offer and foster relationships with government and business leaders.

PAUL: Will Ripley, by the way, is in the North Korean capital this morning. He had this close-up view of this parade that we've been talking about and the new military hardware we're seeing filing this report a short time ago.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So far no nuclear tests on the Day of the Sun, North Korea's most important holiday, but you have seen a show of force of a very different kind. You can see North Korean citizens are out here right now. These women are holding up a North Korean flag.

Earlier, we saw North Korea's full arsenal on display. There were scud missiles, submarine launch ballistic missiles, land based missiles that can be launched from a mobile launcher, and at the very end, we saw North Korean intercontinental ballistic missiles.

We know that North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un's goal is to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead capable of reaching the mainland the United States. While analysts say they may not be there just yet, parades like this are certainly evidence that they continue to make progress, faster progress that many experts have predicted.

A lot of people thought there might be a nuclear test today on this important holiday or in the lead-up to it, however, it seems as if the North Koreans are holding off for the nuclear test for now.

But I have received information that a special operations exercise, a military exercise earlier this week when commandos were jumping out of airplanes, that was an exercise in direct response to tweets from President Trump talking about North Korea and urging China to solve the North Korea problem as he put it.

[08:05:12]But we also know that there's a USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group, 60 planes, submarines, equipment, nuclear missiles and 97,000 ton aircraft carrier all designed to send a message of deterrence to the North Koreans telling them not to engage in provocative behavior such as another missile launch or a nuclear test.

But the atmosphere out here as the North Koreans would put it is a single hearted determination to fight, to fight against the United States because their country has told them all of their lives that they're under the imminent threat of invasion.

And so you have a lot of these civilians out here perhaps not many of these women, but you have a lot of the men in the crowd here who have a military background who told us repeatedly that if there were a war with the United States, they would leave their jobs, put their uniforms back on and fight.

So this is what North Korea is saying, that they are being underestimated by the world. They put on these supersized displays to try to prove to the world that they are here to stay and they're going to move forward on the road of their choosing if that's a path of nuclearization that many others including the United States feel is a dangerous and destructive path. Will Ripley, CNN Pyongyang.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACKWELL: All right, Will, thank you so much. And of course, as we just showed you a moment ago, this happens as the vice president heads to South Korea. Let's go there now to CNN's Paula Hancocks there in Seoul.

So Paula, this is an annual celebration, the Day of the Sun, but put into the context of what we're seeing in this exchange between North Korea and the U.S. What is the response that we are seeing -- or at least in Seoul to what we saw those canisters, potentially, of ICBMs?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor, you know, that the intelligence agency here is working extremely hard this evening and around the world, I'm sure. Experts pouring over those images looking at serial numbers, looking at the size, the shape trying to figure out what the capability of North Korea is. Of course, the analysts are saying there are two new ICBMs, the intercontinental ballistic missile canisters, which they believe should be off note. They don't know if anything inside them or whether or not it's a mock-up or whether or not it's actually functioning at this point or whether there's more work to be done on it.

But it is a very clear message from North Korea to South Korea and to the United States saying this is what I have and this is what I can hit you with. It's a very clear message we're hearing and we know that officials were watching this day very closely -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right, Paula Hancocks for us there in Seoul, thank you so much.

PAUL: Kimberly Dozier, CNN global affairs analyst and senior national security correspondent for "The Daily Beast" is with us now as well as Lt. General Mark Hertling, CNN military analyst. Thank you both for being here.

General Hertling, I want to start with you. We heard from Will Ripley saying that North Korea believes that they are being underestimated. How confident are you, based on what we're seeing this morning and what we've seen in that parade, that the U.S. and its allies has a decent, accurate gauge of what North Korea is capable of doing in terms of their weaponry?

LT. COLONEL RICK FRANCONA (RETIRED), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I think the experts in the field, Christi, know exactly what both their capability -- the intel analysts will always tell you they are looking for capability and they often can't give you intention. We know what the North Korean capability is.

We track it very explicitly in terms of their number of launches, their success and failures of the program, what kind of things they are going to do. And probably with North Korea, we know more of their intention than any other country in the world because the intention of Kim Jong-un is to maintain his regime, his family's regime.

And they are frenetic about doing that. They are unbelievably convinced that they can withstand any threats anywhere in the world. That should not be underestimated and I don't think many of the experts who continuously watch this will do that.

PAUL: OK, Kimberly, I want to talk about what a North Korean official said. If the U.S. does any reckless provocation, he says we will immediately apply a destructive strike with our revolutionary power. We're prepared to respond to an all-out war with an all-out war and we are ready to hit back with nuclear attacks of our own style against any nuclear attacks.

Here's the big question. As the general was talking about intent, do we have any interpretation of what specifically a reckless provocation -- what would constitute a reckless provocation in North Korea's eyes?

KIMBERLY DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, what I think you're seeing here is them posturing with the kind of rhetoric that perhaps is a bit more over the top than we've seen before but, look, they've got one chip to play.

[08:10:11]The threat of a nuclear explosion. The threat of a missile that can reach the continental United States. So I think today, seeing them show their might during a parade but not stage a nuclear test is really a version of them blinking.

They see the U.S. carrier strike group right off their coast. They are probably hearing from the Chinese premier and his officials in the background that, look, I have now met with President Trump. You've seen what they did in Syria. They're serious.

Let's work this out behind the scenes. Give us time to maneuver this unpredictable U.S. administration because we don't know what they might do.

PAUL: All righty. I want to listen real quickly here to Representative Ruben Gallego, who was talking about what happened in Afghanistan specifically and let's talk about it on the other side of this. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPRESENTATIVE RUBEN GALLEGO (D), ARIZONA: It seems like you just use a shotgun to kill a fly. So I'm not sure that it was the right use of this type of weapon. I think there are other weapons in our ordinance that could have done it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: OK, so General Hertling, this is his assessment of what happened in Afghanistan with the mother of all bombs that was dropped earlier this week. Is that or was that, in a way, when we talk about tactics, a sign to North Korea not to mess with the U.S.?

HERTLING: Not at all, Christi, and General Nicholson said that yesterday. As much as I admire Congressman Gallego for being in the Congress, he is wrong on this count. He served in the Marine Corps as an infantry soldier so he should know better than to say something like this.

The weapon that was used in Afghanistan by Mick Nicholson was designed specifically for the kind of target they hit. We have manuals that say, if this is the target, what you want to do, this is the weapon to use against it.

And that's what Mick Nicholson did this week and he had been planning this strike for a long time knowing the threat in the Nangarhar Valley. That's a terrible place. He was able to destroy a lot of caves and complexes and over-pressured IEDs.

So he did what he needed to do in that area, sending a signal to the ISIS Khorasan group. It was not a signal to North Korea to be sure, and I think Congressman Gallego was wrong in his statement. PAUL: Kimberly, real quickly, we just saw the vice president leaving for South Korea as he's going to be discussing North Korea very much on this next 11-day tour that he has. How influential do you think his words will be? How much actionable change do you think he will be able to influence?

DOZIER: I think what the vice president will be doing is to explain to people behind the scenes that here's our thinking, yes, we have one face that is looking very provocative but we have a national security team we trust and this is what we're moving forward on.

It's going to be a reassurance tour. And just to second what General Hertling said in terms of the use of that weapon in Afghanistan, what we're hearing from ISIS-related fighters on the ground in the aftermath is they are shocked and stunned that there aren't even bodies for them to bury.

So it really did have the psychological effect that it was intended to have there on that battlefield.

PAUL: Real quickly, General, yesterday, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted, "bomb the hell out of ISIS." This didn't sit well with you?

HERTLING: It did not. My wife has reminded me to stay calm and keep my emotions under check when I say things about that, but this is unfortunate for an individual who has not seen combat, who has not seen the kind of things that weapons do to people and to bodies to tweet something like that. It's immature and unnecessary and I think he should stop doing these kinds of things when he doesn't know what he's talking about.

PAUL: All right, Kimberly Dozier, General Hertling, your perspective, always appreciated here. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: So a missile strike in Syria and this bomb dropped against ISIS in Afghanistan, are these the first hints of a Trump doctrine? And what does this mean if North Korea tests another nuclear weapon?

PAUL: But men, women, children in Syria suddenly vanish. Some missing as many as five years. A new documentary now shedding light on the Assad regime and the criminal investigations surrounding it.

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[08:18:57]

BLACKWELL: Just moments ago, Vice President Mike Pence took off for an Asia Pacific tour stopping first in South Korea, this comes at a critical moment for the Trump administration amid these growing tensions with North Korea.

PAUL: President Trump, meanwhile, spending Easter weekend at his resort in Florida. Aides from the National Security Council are keeping the president briefed on the situation in North Korea.

CNN's Jessica Schneider is in West Palm Beach right now. Analysts say, Jessica, that North Korea is primed for another nuclear test. That's what they are watching right now. Help us understand how the president is working through his options.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know that President Trump is being continually informed and briefed by members of the National Security Council staff, who accompany the president down here to South Florida. There were some questions when the president departed Joint Base Andrews that he didn't have senior staff with him, but we know that he is being briefed by those National Security Council staff.

In fact, while this isn't the White House down here in South Florida, we do know that Mar-a-Lago does have a secure facility and that's quipped with video conferencing capabilities as well as classified features so it's an area where the president can go to get those briefings.

[08:20:03]In fact, that's where the president was last week when he monitored those strikes in Syria. Now as for the president himself, though, he has stayed somewhat quiet and calm and even relaxed this weekend. He's down here with the first lady, Melania Trump, and their son, Barron, Don Jr. and his family.

We did catch a glimpse of President Trump out on the golf course at his Trump golf resort in West Palm Beach yesterday. But of course, President Trump has put forth the tweets saying that if China doesn't do anything to thwart North Korea's nuclear program, the U.S. will.

To that end, the U.S. Navy has dispatched those aircraft carrier strike groups to the Asian-Pacific region. In addition, Vice President Pence leaving today for that 11-day visit overseas. He'll meet with leaders of several countries, including South Korea, and, of course, North Korea and their nuclear threats will be at the top of the agenda.

So in the meantime, President Trump definitely staying informed down here working this as he does as a working weekend as well as the Easter holiday, but a lot to keep track of and a lot to monitor as we look to North Korea -- Christi and Victor.

PAUL: Jessica Schneider, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Let's bring in now Errol Louis, CNN political commentator and political anchor for Spectrum News, and Amanda Terkel, senior political reporter and politics managing editor at the "Huffington Post." Amanda, I want to start with you. Let's listen to former defense secretary, Leon Panetta, what he told MSNBC.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEON PANETTA, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: The administration are creating an even higher volume in terms of the provocations that are going on. I think we've got to be careful here. We shouldn't engage in any precipitous action. There's a reason no U.S. president in recent history has pulled a trigger on North Korea.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: So Amanda, is it likely, are we seeing indications that this president will go beyond the tweets and beyond the "Carl Vinson" and some of the rhetoric and take some action militarily against North Korea?

AMANDA TERKEL, SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER, "THE HUFFINGTON POST": I think that's what disturbs a lot of people about Donald Trump is he's still unpredictable. I mean, his foreign policy so far has been a lot like his tweets. He launched the air strikes in Syria. He dropped this mother of all bombs in Afghanistan and a lot of people didn't necessarily see this coming.

There wasn't a lot of public debate that he was going to do this, and so, you know, these are meant to be provocative. It's meant to be predictable and show that he will take action, but it's not necessarily tide to any long-term strategy. Trump is unpredictable and that's what scares people.

There was a report that the administration was looking at a pre- emptive strike ahead of a nuclear test by North Korea although administration officials have denied that. We don't really know what Trump is going to do.

BLACKWELL: Errol, Will Ripley reported a few minutes ago that the North Koreans say that some of the exercises that they partook in earlier this week was in response to the tweet that the president sent out saying that North Korea is causing trouble. We know the senior advisers are not with the president this weekend at Mar-a-Lago, maybe not the most prudent choice not to be with the president in such a difficult time.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it also suggests it might be good news, Victor, that maybe there is no first strike or no strike planned for this weekend. And by the way, North Korea was going to have a big military display on this very important quasi religious holiday no matter what, whether Donald Trump had tweeted or not.

But look, Amanda is exactly right. When you have unpredictability coming out of the White House as a strategy, it doesn't just throw America's adversaries off guard, it throws America's allies off guard.

It makes it very hard for anyone to predict what is going to happen. So it may work as a strategy on the campaign trail, it may be what Donald Trump wants to project to American adversaries, but the level of instability that it can provoke, especially when nuclear weapons are involved, is something that is going to call for a rethinking and I expect him to get a lot of criticism for this.

BLACKWELL: There are some are wondering whether there's a greater strategy at play here. William Hartung (ph) with the Center for International Policy has an opinion piece on cnn.com and he writes, "Is there a new Trump doctrine in the making or has the president found a formula for distracting the media and the public from his troubles at home, from allegations of collusion with Russian during the 2016 election to his failure pushing through his most cherished domestic initiatives." How pervasive is this sentiment in Washington, Amanda, or is Mr. Hartung just a little more cynical than most?

TERKEL: I mean, there was some talk about this after he launched the strike on Syria and he was getting bipartisan praise at first, even Democratic members of Congress were saying this seems like it's good. We may want to see a little bit more. We would like to see him consult with Congress.

[08:25:03]But at first a lot of the response was praise and obviously there's nothing that Donald Trump likes more than hearing him praised. This is something that maybe isn't going as badly for the Trump administration as all of the domestic policy and it's a bit of a distraction.

But I don't know yet -- I don't think we know whether there is any foreign policy doctrine other than unpredictability. Errol was talking about how allies don't like this. China for example, is trying to put this on the shoulders of North Korea and the United States saying, look, don't escalate this because then if world war starts, this is going to be on you.

BLACKWELL: Errol, it's important to point out that North Korea is potentially if we look at Mr. Hartung's (inaudible) here a different cattle of fish and the weapons that they are working on, it may not fit so neatly into this theory that he writes for Afghanistan and Syria.

LOUIS: That's right. Look, it's always been a puzzle because you have nuclear capability of some sort, but it's in the country that has a GDP that's reliable seems to put it at a smaller than that of Vermont with maybe 500 miles of paved roads.

This is a country that is entirely economically dependent on China for its very survival and has this closed society, strange dictatorship that has a quasi-religious aura around it. It's hard to formulate a policy.

So let's give the White House a little bit of credit at being thrown off guard perhaps the way other administrations have, very hard to figure out what to do here and so stability is going to have to be the watch word.

BLACKWELL: Yes, the challenge of North Korea has never been a simple one. Errol Louis, Amanda Terkel, thank you both.

PAUL: Well, Afghan officials are saying the mother of all bombs killed 94 ISIS fighters. That's a new number this morning. What does it mean for the U.S. war against ISIS?

BLACKWELL: Plus, the race is heating up for a House seat in Georgia. Can a first-time candidate flip a district that Republicans have held for decades?

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[08:31:11] PAUL: Well, Saturday morning, it is here and so are you, for which we are grateful. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: And I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning.

PAUL: This morning, North Korea showing some military firepower, let's say (ph), the founding (ph) birthday of its founding father, leader Kim Jong-un's grandfather. Pyongyang, putting the U.S. on notice as -- notice as tensions are spiking between both countries.

BLACKWELL: Now, the big centerpiece of this parade today, the two new intercontinental ballistic missile-sized canisters. Now, if North Korea really has the missiles, they could give the country the ability to strike targets on the U.S. mainland.

Vice President Mike Pence is on his way to Seoul for a show of solidarity with the ally South Korea. Now, the trip will also include visits to Japan, Indonesia and Australia.

Let's go to Afghanistan where the U.S. dropped one of America's most powerful nonnuclear bombs. Afghan official say, at least, now, 94 ISIS fighters, including four ISIS commanders were killed.

CNN's Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr has the new details for us. Barbara?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The largest conventional bomb ever dropped in combat, exploded above a complex of caves and tunnels in a remote area of Eastern Afghanistan. The top U.S. commander adamant the mission was only about killing ISIS.

JOHN NICHOLSON, COMMANDER, U.S. FORCES AFGHANISTAN: The timing of the use of this weapon was simply the appropriate tactical moment against the proper target to use this particular munition. So it is not related to any outside events.

STARR (voice-over): It does deliver a psychological message to ISIS. One military official tells CNN, the massive bomb is powerful enough to destroy nine city blocks.

MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: It will level that area and provide an unbelievable amount of concussion to that area. So it will collapse caves, it will blow up things and it will -- if you're alive afterwards, you're going to have perforated eardrums and a lot of trauma.

STARR: Gen. Nicholson says it all went according to plan. Caves and tunnels destroyed, Afghan officials say dozens of ISIS fighters killed.

NICHOLSON: We have persistent surveillance over the area before, during and after the operation, and now we have Afghan and U.S. forces on the site and see no evidence of civilian casualties, nor have there been any reports of civilian casualties. STARR (voice-over): The bomb had been in Afghanistan since early

January. Nicholson signed the final order authorizing the mission just 24 hours before the bomb dropped.

Afterwards, local Afghans described the enormity of the blast.

(SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

TRANSLATOR: Last night's bomb was really huge. When it dropped, it was shaking everywhere.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STARR: A lot of firepower was used, but the estimate is, there's still upwards of 800 ISIS fighters inside Afghanistan.

Christi, Victor?

PAUL: Barbara, thank you.

Now, men, women, and children in Syria under attack in their own country. Many killed, mutilated, some kidnapped.

Now a new documentary shedding light on what they say is the Assad regime and a criminal investigation surrounding it.

(SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:39:00] PAUL: Well, thousands of people caught in the crossfire between the Syrian government and rebel forces are now trapped after an evacuation deal stalled. The deal would have allowed Syrians to escape the bloodshed and then get to nearby towns and villages.

For six years though, men, women and children have been indiscriminately taken, beaten or killed. Most recently, with the chemical attack, remember, that killed more than 80 people.

Well, there is a filmmaker now highlighting, in a new documentary, the atrocities that are committed by the Assad regime. It's called "Syria's Disappearance: The Case Against Assad." And it goes inside the criminal investigation in a case that's being built against President Bashar al-Assad.

Listen to the story here of a torture survivor who smuggled the names of his fellow cellmates out of detention.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MANSOUR AL OMARI, SYRIAN TORTURE SURVIVOR: When I look at those shirt pieces, written with blood, blood people who are still there, some of them I knew. I got the news, they are dead. I have their blood with me, I have the handwriting of a man. These shirts are, I filled it, it's filled with souls -- with

their souls. I called many families, and the families need to know, at least, they have the right to know if their sons are dead or alive.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Sara Afshar is the filmmaker behind this documentary.

Sara, thank you so much for taking the time to be with us. I read --

(CROSSTALK)

PAUL: -- some of what this is about. The stories of torture are horrendous. The families, you can't imagine what they're going through. Help us understand what you've heard, what you've encountered in Syria.

SARA AFSHAR, FILMMAKER, SYRIA DISAPPEARED: THE CASE AGAINST ASSAD: Yes. This was an investigation that my colleague, Nicola Cutcher and I have done for two years. And to the tens of thousands of men, women and children who were arrested after peaceful protests began in Syria in 2011.

The Syrian regime used detention for decades to silence people. But, once the protests began in 2011, they arrested hundreds of thousands of people, people who just went on peaceful protests, you know, civil rights activists, human rights activists. The person that we just heard from in that clip, Mansour, who was detained for months, he was somebody who was documenting the disappearances, and that's why he was detained and tortured.

And, the kinds of torture that people have recounted to us are really horrific, including a great deal of sexual assault on men by their captors. There are also children inside these facilities. NGOs estimate there are about 2,000 children inside these facilities now and they need to be freed.

And I also spoke to relatives who have lost their loved ones, who for 18 months -- we spoke to one woman, Marian (ph), for 18 months she was searching for her son Aham (ph). Because, you know, the regime doesn't give people information. They don't say where these people are being held, what's happened to them. And after 18 months, she found out that he had died in detention.

And then, she saw his photograph, in the Caesar photographs, which were a series of photographs smuggled out of Syria by a regime defector, and that's all she has now of him. She doesn't have a body, and she carries this photograph of him on her mobile phone of his corpse. And she -- you know, she just says she dreams of having a grave for her son. And that's the situation so many families in Syria are facing.

I can't really -- you know, I can't express the scale of the situation, and it's very underreported, because it's not on the battlefield. It's a hidden humanitarian crisis. PAUL: Well, with your -- with your documentary, it will not be.

We know that the U.N. Security Council resolution to refer Syrian regime to the International Criminal Court was vetoed by Russia. China has abstained. What can be done, Sara?

[08:43:43] AFSHAR: Well, at the moment, there are war crimes investigators which we feature in the film who have -- they have got over 700,000 documents that have been smuggled out of Syria, regime documents, that show actual orders for peaceful protesters to be detained and they show that those orders went down the chain of command and that -- you know, that the regime knew what was -- also knows what is happening in detention, in terms of the criminal nature of the detention policy.

So those, along with the Caesar photographs that I mentioned, that show 6,700 corpses of who died in regime detention. Those have been used to start a criminal case in Spain because, as you say, the International Criminal Court is not an option because of the Russian veto. But, the prosecutors and lawyers that we feature in the film, they have been through the Caesar photos and a family member who identified their loved one in the photographs, she is a dual Spanish- Syrian national, and so she has been able to bring this case in Spain and the judge has accepted that and so that case is moving forward.

PAUL: Yes.

AFSHAR: So all we can hope for is that there are more cases in these -- in European courts. We're expecting some cases to be brought in Germany.

PAUL: Okay.

AFSHAR: And -- because I have to stress that all the Syrians we spoke to, it's so -- they kept expressing to us how much they want justice. They don't want vengeance. They want justice in a court of law -

PAUL: Yes.

AFSHAR: -- all of them that we spoke to. And that's really important and we need to support that.

PAUL: You know (ph), Sara Afshar, it is -- it is something to see. "Syria's Disappeared: The Case Against Assad," is what it's called. Sara, we appreciate you speaking to us. Thank you so much. We'll be right back.

AFSHAR: Thank you so much.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:50:00] BLACKWELL: Well, President Trump has struggled with low approval ratings since taking office, and Democrats are hoping to seize on that unpopularity to flip a handful of House seats up for grabs. The main focus right now, the 6th district in Georgia where first-time candidate Jon Ossoff is a rising star, and he's hoping to win a seat that Republicans have held for nearly 40 years in an election on Tuesday.

CNN's Jason Carroll has more on the movement to flip the 6th.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JON OSSOFF, (D) CANDIDATE, GA 6TH DISTRICT ELECTION: I'm proud of the momentum we've been able to build.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Meet Democrat Jon Ossoff. At 30 years old, the former Congressional Aide and documentary filmmaker has never held public office but he has become the candidate to beat.

OSSOFF: This thing has taken on a little bit of life of its own. And people are watching across the country because it is the first competitive contest to this new era.

CARROLL (voice-over): Traditionally, voters here in the 6th district, which includes part of Atlanta, and the cities' affluent northern suburbs have sent to Congress the likes of Newt Gingrich, and most recently, Tom Price, who is now Health and Human Services Secretary. It was thought that one of the 11 Republicans running in the special election would claim the seat, until Ossoff turned the race into a referendum on President Trump.

OSSOFF: I want to go to Washington and hold people accountable, and that includes the president of the United States.

CARROLL (voice-over): Trump carried the district by a little more than a point last November, in 2012, Mitt Romney swept it by more than 20 points.

OSSOFF: I think spring has sprung.

CARROLL (voice-over): Ossoff hoping to tap into angst among Democrats over Trump has been running ads critical of the president.

OSSOFF: We can't let Donald Trump put us at risk.

CARROLL: How effective do you think that has been for you so far?

OSSOFF: There are clearly people who have serious concerns about the president's approach to governance.

GRAY: Nice to see you.

CARROLL (voice-over): GOP candidate Bob Gray isn't afraid to embrace the president, hiring several of Trump's former state operatives to help his campaign.

BOB GRAY, (R) CANDIDATE, GA 6TH DISTRICT ELECTION: It's pretty clear that this is a district that's getting behind our president.

CARROLL (voice-over): While former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, and former state senator Dan Moody, question if the district is truly on the verge of turning blue.

KAREN HANDEL, (R) CANDIDATE, GA 6TH DISTRICT ELECTION: They're dreaming about this, but the Republicans are going to hold on to this seat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Republicans will ultimately select a candidate that can beat the Democrat.

CARROLL (voice-over): Claire Wise (ph) has not decided on a candidate. But --

CLAIRE WISE: It will be a Republican candidate. I think Jon Ossoff is too liberal.

CARROLL (voice-over): Cheryl Sykes also a registered Republican disagrees, she's backing Ossoff.

CHERYL SYKES, JON OSSOFF SUPPORTER: I think he is dedicated. And I really feel like we need more balance and more middle of the road people in Washington.

CARROLL (voice-over): And Dave Ferguson (ph), a self-described independent summed up his reasoning for supporting Ossoff.

Ossoff has raised more than $8 million and has $2 million in the bank. His momentum not lost on Republicans who've added staff and ratcheted up their attacks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Ossoff wasn't exactly fighting against terrorism. He was fighting against restrictions on keg parties.

CARROLL (voice-over): Ossoff's goal for the April 18th primary is to get more than 50 percent of the vote to avoid a June runoff.

CARROLL: Do you feel any sort of sense of extra pressure?

OSSOFF: I do feel it. Yes (ph). You know, I'm human too, and there's a lot of eyes on the race, there's a lot of people I want to make proud.

CARROLL: Jason Carroll, CNN, Roswell, Georgia.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: And coming up later this morning, today, April 15th, the traditional tax deadline, is President Trump any closer to releasing his returns, some are asking. In fact, thousands protesters -- thousands of protesters are demanding that he do so and they are taking their message and, as you saw there, their inflatable owls straight (ph) to Washington today.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:58:06] BLACKWELL: This week Start small, Think Big features bold entrepreneurs in South Dakota who are bringing -- breaking records with their motorcycle business. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAURA KLOCK: I'm Laura Klock.

BRIAN KLOCK: And I'm Brian Klock.

2017 actually marks 20 years of Klock Werks and that's a big deal. For us it's huge. And it was just building cool bikes.

I would have never guessed we get to this point and it was only when Laura pushed me to spit out my ideas and say, why aren't you making these, and that was when we finally came out with the products.

LAURA KLOCK: With the two of us doing marketing at the time, Brian thought it would be a good idea to let me ride it.

I found myself on the starting line of the Bonneville Salt Flats. And set a land speed record in a partially streamlined class.

BRIAN KLOCK: I got the inspiration to create the windshield after Laura set the land speed record, because the bike does wobbled at speeds upwards of 125 plus. And we figured out the air and that revolutionized the windshield business.

LAURA KLOCK: Once we got the windshield to market, which was a big deal for a small company, we grew about 650 percent in a year and a half we went from five employees to 20.

BRIAN KLOCK: You have to keep innovating and keep yourself out there. Laura always says, if you're going to be afraid, just go do it afraid. And I was as afraid of failure as I was of success, and she literally helped me get across that threshold.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: All right, people, because what so many have been waiting for, April. The giraffe is having the -- the calf I should say, the calf, finally giving birth here.

Millions of people around the world been watching it, more than 600,000 people watching a live stream, as you are seeing right here, right now. This calf is expected to weigh 150 pounds, and be (ph) six-feet tall at birth -

BLACKWELL: Already got hooves hanging out.

PAUL: Yes. She's been pregnant for nearly 15 months, could be about another we've discussed (ph). And Victor is watching it and saying, this is why men don't --