Return to Transcripts main page

NEW DAY SUNDAY

Voting Underway As France Chooses Next President; Yates To Testify In Senate Hearing About Flynn; Judge: Alabama City Can Form Mostly White District; Controversial Kushner Ad In China; Nigerian School Girls Freed After Three Years In Captivity; SNL's "Where In The World Is Kellyanne Conway?"; 143rd Kentucky Derby. Aired 6-7a

Aired May 7, 2017 - 06:00   ET

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


[06:00:05]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A historic vote in France with the future of the European Union at stake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A massive hacking attack has drawn immediate comparisons with allegations in the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Were these simply embarrassing as we saw in the case of Hillary Clinton or something more damming than that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Trump transition team warned former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, about his contacts with Russia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not the action. It's the cover-up that is really coming around to bite him. When Sally Yates testifies next week, what she's saying is that the White House lied about (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The acting attorney general informed the White House counsel that the president asked him to conduct a view whether there was a legal situation there. That was immediately determined that there wasn't.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She hasn't been seen in weeks and no one knows where she is or what she is up to. Your mission today is to answer this question.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Sometimes we just have to add a little bit of humor to the whole darn thing! And wake you up. I'm Christi Paul. We're so glad to have you with us.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good Sunday morning to you.

New this morning, the leading French presidential candidate says he has been hacked on the eve of their election. Emmanuel Macron says it was meant to, quote, "undermine democracy like what happened in the U.S."

And people we know are voting now for the next president in that election. It's turned out to be the established or rather has turned the established political order on its head.

Today caps off a bitter fight between the final two candidates. The far right national front leader, Marine Le Pen, and the independent centrist, Emmanuel Macron.

Whichever way it goes the outcome implications not just for America but for the rest of the world. President Trump did not endorse Le Pen directly, but he did say the following, "whoever is the toughest on radical Islamic terrorism and borders will do well."

PAUL: Two key issues that help propel him to victory last November in fact. In the meantime, former President Barack Obama gave a last- minute endorsement to Macron. Look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I have admired the campaign that Emmanuel Macron has run. He has stood up for liberal values. He put forward a vision for the important role that France plays in Europe and around the world, and he is committed to a better future for the French people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Now on the eve of the election here in an eerily similar situation, the U.S. candidate Macron campaign's was hacked. Thousands of e-mails dumped. What you're seeing there now are people going to the polls just moments ago.

We understand Emmanuel Macron there on the left and Marine Le Pen will be on the right. There they are. I was waiting for that video to pop up. They are voting themselves.

Joining us from Paris is CNN international correspondent, Melissa Bell, and David Andelman, a contributor for CNN.com, opinion and columnist for "USA Today." He is also the author of "A Shattered Peace: Versailles 1919 and the Price We Pay Today." Thank you both for being with us.

Melissa, I want to start with you. What are you hearing from voters as they hit polling stations about everything that has happened in the last 24 hours?

MELLISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we are here at the 18th district of Paris in a polling station and show you what that looks like behind me. People make their way down this line to put their choice in that box at the end of the line.

They are given two pieces of paper. One with Emmanuel Macron written on it and the other with Marine Le Pen, which they put it in an envelope privately before dropping into that box. And here in the 18th district of Paris, we have seen lots of people. The line goes all the way outside and people have to wait sometime before being able to cast their vote.

What they are saying to us is that they were determined to come here today to vote because even more than in previous elections this is a momentous choice that they are making.

France is really looking down one road or down a starkly different vision of what the future should be. A couple of interesting statistics, we've just had the mid-day voting figures.

Because that question of turnout is going to be absolutely crucial especially for the chances of the independent centrist, Emmanuel Macron, who is standing without a party and therefore has an untested electorate by definition.

How many people have come out to vote? We know that at midday the figure is just over 28 percent of potential voters. It was back in 2012, 30 at the same time so slightly down but not terribly far off historical averages. That is a very important figure especially for Emmanuel Macron.

PAUL: No doubt about it. So David, let me ask you, why could this election be so pivotal when it comes to the U.S.?

[06:05:05]DAVID ANDELMAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, CNN.COM OPINION: Well, there are a whole lot of reasons but basically you outlined them at the beginning. That is to say it's Trump versus Obama, in effect. You have Le Pen who is very close to both President Trump and President Putin and that is very important. Macron is not.

Macron is interested in a globalist presence and image for France. He wants France to remain part of the European Union and a have a good trading relationship with the rest of the world.

Le Pen wants to isolate France more and she wants to close the borders to immigrants. She wants to make France for the French, if you will, and bring back jobs to the French people, to the French factories, factory workers throughout the country.

So all of that is very, very important. We need to watch that very carefully. What is also very important is clearly Macron is poised to have a victory.

The question is how big that victory is and will Marine Le Pen get enough votes, reach the 30 percent to 40 percent level and make her the clear opposition and United States has to fight with over the next years.

PAUL: To that point, Melissa, I want to read something that Macron had said. He said that was almost certainly when he was talking about Hillary Clinton, the mistake Hillary Clinton, made in terms of not being out there and just assuming that he would win.

He said I'm absolutely not playing that game. Right from the first day that hasn't been the way I defended myself or how I thought." But polls have him ahead. How much credence do we put in polls these days, does France?

BELL: Well, it's really a good question. Because we saw both in the United Kingdom and United States get the polls wrong because had he had failed to hear that populace anger and wave.

Here in France pollsters have been telling me for many months that they are very confident in their measuring capacity because they say here in France we have always had a far left and a far right vote.

They are used to waiting the results they say to hear those populace extremist votes and therefore confident that this time they will get it right as well and to be fair the first round did prove remarkably accurate. The pollsters did get it right.

Here in France, of course, there is another factor picking up on what I said a moment ago this is a way the continuation of that back light of ideas we saw in the United States just a few months ago with this difference.

That in France, you know, each country have been looking at the populace wave and how it kind of unfurls over various countries. Here in France, there is a very particular history.

This is a country that remembers the consequences of nationalistic populace and the real challenge for Marine Le Pen has been to convince French voters that she is not the continuation of her father's policies with the sort of racist and anti-Semitic overtones that were very president when he was the head of the National Front.

Will French voters have been convinced that Marine Le Pen is a nationalist without those sides to her campaign that her father had represented?

It's one of the key questions we heard the French President Francois Hollande, who is not standing for re-election voting a short while in the south of France and saying people need to go out and vote because it is about choosing the right path.

So here in France, you have a very clear sense that the political elites are really trying to encourage the French to go out and vote because they believe that Republican vote as they call it where different political parties get together to keep the far right out and very keen this time it should happen as it did back in 2002 when Marine Le Pen's father stood.

The question is whether she has managed to kind of get over that barrel that the French tend to put in the way of her party's fortunes.

PAUL: All righty, Melissa Bell and David Andelman, we thank you both for being with us.

BLACKWELL: We will finally hear from one of the most high profile witnesses in the Russia/White House fallout tomorrow. Ousted acting attorney general, Sally Yates, is expected to testify before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee.

She is expected to contradict the Trump administration's version of events regarding former National Security adviser, Michael Flynn's ties to Russia.

Yates was abruptly fired in January after publicly saying that she would not defend the president's travel ban. This is the first time that Yates will publicly speak about the warning she says she gave the White House about Flynn.

A previous hearing scheduled in March was abruptly cancelled by then House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunez. Errol Louis, CNN political commentator and political anchor for Spectrum News, and Kyle Felcher, reporter with the "Washington Examiner" join us this morning. Good morning, Gentlemen.

Kyle, I want to start with you. I want to take you back to February 14th, the day after then National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigned. This is how White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer characterized what Sally Yates told them. Let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[06:10:01]SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: So just to be clear the acting attorney general informed the White House counsel that they wanted to give, quote, "a heads up" to us on some comments that may have seemed in conflict with what the -- he had sent the vice president out in particular.

The White House counsel informed the president immediately. The president asked him to conduct a review whether there was a legal situation there. That was immediately determined that there wasn't.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: All right, so Spicer characterizes this as a heads-up but sources tell CNN that Yates' warning was a lot more urgent than just a heads-up -- Kyle.

KYLE FELDSCHER, REPORTER, "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": It seems a little more severe than that. From what we are hearing she didn't outright tell the White House that Michael Flynn could be fired but strongly implied that. So that clip you just showed from Sean Spicer really seems to downplay the severity of what Sally Yates was trying to get across when she spoke with the White House counsel.

BLACKWELL: So Errol, let's talk about the time line here. The meeting between Yates and the White House counsel from what we understand was January 26th. More than two weeks later on February 10th, when the president was asked about the reporting from "The Washington Post" on the conversations between he and the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on Air Force One, this is what the president said about that revelation at that point.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I don't know about it. I haven't seen it. What report is that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The "Washington Post" reporting that he talked to the ambassador of Russia before you were inaugurated about sanctions.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I haven't seen that. I'll look at that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: I remember discussing with you the day after that happened on Air Force One about if that was even plausible that the president had not heard about it. We now know that the president absolutely knew about it and we know about it from his own White House press secretary.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's right. I remember that conversation, Victor. I remember saying that man is not telling the truth. I was talking about the president. Just from his demeanor, all of the facts of the situation.

Let's go back a little bit further in the time line, Victor, to December 29th when sanctions were being announced publicly and unprecedented kind of pushback from the United States saying that the Russians not only meddled in our elections but will be punished for it. People were being expelled from the country and so forth.

On that day Michael Flynn talked with the Russian ambassador and then subsequently lied about it. This is serious stuff. This isn't just about giving somebody a heads up.

This is about important questions that he thought were important enough that he would lie to his own boss about it, a penalty for which he has been fired.

BLACKWELL: This seems to be the linchpin, Kyle, because if you look back to the president's news conference the only one he has held since he has been in the White House, he said that -- I'll quote him here. I don't know about that -- rather he said when I looked at the information, I said, I don't think he did anything wrong, speaking of Flynn.

If anything, he did something right, he was coming to an office. He looked at the information and he said that is fine, that is what they are supposed to do. It really came down to lying to the vice president on or about misleading the vice president and not having the conversations about the sanctions.

FELDSCHER: Right. Even then, it seems like President Trump hasn't really been that angry publicly with Mike Flynn for his lying to Mike Pence. It seems like the president has -- he values loyalty above all else and Mike Flynn was one of his early supporters.

So it seems like it's hard for the president to really come across as angry and disappointed in Mike Flynn when he is really been someone that has been with him for so long. So even with all this scandal around him, the president has yet to really forcefully condemn Mike Flynn directly.

BLACKWELL: Errol, where does the Yates testimony fit into the narrative building about how the White House handled what they learned and when they learned it about the conversations that the former national security adviser had with Kislyak?

LOUIS: Well, I think it advances in possibly public way. What we have been hearing sort of around the edges from the intelligence committees, which is that there was serious amount of contact, serious enough again that members of the Trump transition team and high ranking officials thought it was necessary to lie about those contacts.

So that is pretty serious stuff. Sally Yates has no dog in this hunt. She is not a politician. She wasn't out campaigning for or against anybody in the last election.

So it's going to have some real credibility that somebody who was a career official comes across the situation with people kind of having these untoward contacts, subsequently lying about it.

I think it helps to focus the public on what is at the core of all of this stuff, which is a real serious breach of national security protocols and if people don't care about it, that is one thing, but we really do need to find out more about what happened.

BLACKWELL: All right, Errol, Kyle, stick with us. We will pick up with the conversation in a few minutes.

[06:15:03]PAUL: A prominently white town in Alabama wants to form its own school system and a judge slams that effort from being motivated by race. So the question is why is that same judge allowing it to happen?

BLACKWELL: Invest $500,000 and immigrate to the U.S. That's the word coming from the Kushner family to wealthy Chinese investors. Why critics say that Jared Kushner's sister could be using the White House for profit.

PAUL: And "Saturday Night Live" goes on a hunt for White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway with a classic '90s game show "Throwback."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She hasn't been seen in weeks and no one knows where she is or what she is up to. Gump shoes, your mission today is to answer this question.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: Well, as most city in Alabama that is predominantly white will now be allowed to form its own school system, although a federal judge in the case said race is one of the factors driving the effort. [06:20:11]PAUL: In fact, the judge called the motivation behind the move, quote, "deplorable," but then the (inaudible) is she is allowing the withdrawal to happen. Polo Sandoval, a CNN correspondent, is looking into this. As we understand she is allowing it to happen with certain conditions being met?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A mix of reaction from the community too, Victor and Christi. Because when you hear some of the supporters of this split, they say this is simply about taking local control of their school district.

I also spoke to parents of some of those kids that would be affected potentially. They said they are not easily convinced that this order as it stands right now is actually reversing the clock on years of efforts to desegregate schools in the south.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is me, 18 years old.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Reponza Maxwell has fond memories of her years at Gardendale High. Captured on the fading photos of her 1978 yearbook.

REPONZA MAXWELL, FORMER GARDENDALE HIGH STUDENT: I attended from 1974 through 1978 and it was a beautiful campus back then.

SANDOVAL: Beautiful and inclusive, she says.

MAXWELL: Just an ordinary student and that is how I felt and that is how I was treated.

SANDOVAL: Like the rest of the schools at the Jefferson County Board of Education, Maxwell's campus had to comply with a 1971 desegregation order issued long after the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision that meant Alabama students like Maxwell were bussed into predominantly white schools to allow for integration and she said the move to a new school provided more academic opportunities.

MAXWELL: I was the first African-American valedictorian that Gardendale had.

SANDOVAL: Nearly 40 years later, students outside this predominantly white town still come to Gardendale for options they don't have that other Jefferson County Schools.

DR. CRAIG POUNCEY, SUPERINTENDENT: We are very diverse county school district now. We are basically 50/50 in terms of ethnic representation and that is fine because we value greatly the strengths that are built upon diversity.

SANDOVAL: But that is now in jeopardy. Gardendale with a mostly white population of nearly 14,000 and an annual median income of $56,000 is seeking to split from the county school system. Nearly half of Jefferson County's 660,000 residents are black and the income level is lower. A group of the city's residents went to court arguing that, quote, "desegregation orders are outmoded and that enforcement of longstanding desegregation decrees represents federal overreach and interference in matters that are purely local."

But a federal judge found something else striving the desire to succeed. In a late April ruling, the judge issued an order writing race is a motivating factor in Gardendale's decision to separate.

In spite her findings, the judge allowed Gardendale to stand alone as long as certain conditions are met. At least one African-American must be appointed to serve on the newly formed board, the district gets control of two elementary schools and three years to prove it can comply with the 1971 desegregation orders.

And if all requirements are met, the Gardendale city school system could have the option to buy the $55 million Gardendale High School and keep out district students from enrolling there.

U.W. CLEMON, ALABAMA'S FIRST BLACK FEDERAL JUDGE: We believe that this kind of message will encourage that kind of racial hostility.

SANDOVAL: U.W. Clemmon came out of retirement to represent some of the families of African-American students in Northern Alabama. Before serving as the state's first black federal judge, he litigated against segregation in the '60s.

CLEMON: The present order gives a green light to the spin-off of white cities from metropolitan school districts and hardly enough desegregation of public schools.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If this is allowed, it's going to turn back the clock.

SANDOVAL: Sandra Ray and Manel (ph) Carter are plaintiffs in the case against Gardendale. They witnessed the ugly face of segregation and hope to spare their grandchildren the same.

SANDRA RAY, PLAINTIFF IN LAWSUIT: It doesn't make sense. There is too much blood, sweat, and tears that have been put in place to avoid that very thing and we don't want that to be the mindset and the culture once again. We are very fearful of this coming to pass if Gardendale is allowed to form their own system.

SANDOVAL: If the order stands, these women fear that Gardendale their grandkids will know won't be the inclusive campus that Maxwell graduated from nearly four decades ago.

MAXWELL: I thank God for Gardendale and my education here because it kept a dream in me.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[06:25:10]SANDOVAL: Sandra Ray and the rest of the parents are now hoping that the judge will reconsider this opinion. They have filed a petition for -- requested she do that and three-party mitigation, Victor and Christi, that is scheduled to take place on May 10th to see if the order will stand.

PAUL: OK, Polo, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Jared Kushner's family is under fire over another potential conflict of interest involving this ad by Kushner's family business is pushing investors in Beijing to put up more than $500,000 for a path to a green card.

PAUL: Also after three long excruciating years, 82 schoolgirls kidnapped by terrorists in Nigeria are free this morning.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:30:10]

PAUL: So good to have you on a Sunday morning. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you.

A controversial new ad overseas is putting a spotlight on potential conflicts of interest in the White House.

PAUL: Yes. It's this ad in China that is raising eyebrows. Take a look at it here.

It reads, "Invest $500,000 and immigrate to the United States."

The EB-5 visa program gives immigrants a path to a green card for a half million dollar investment in a project that creates jobs in America. Jared Kushner's sister used the ad to attract Chinese investors to a New Jersey residential project that the family company is building.

Now CNN international correspondent Matt Rivers is live for us in Beijing. Matt, I know there are critics that say it appears the Kushners are using the visa program to bring in investors. What are you hearing there?

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this was a presentation that was given inside of a fancy ballroom in the Ritz- Carlton Hotel in Beijing. About a hundred Chinese investors were told to show up. Under that EB-5 visa program it was hosted Jared Kushner's sister who gave the presentation in large part.

And that EB-5 visa program is something that has been used by wealthy Chinese investors to essentially get a path to U.S. citizenship. You invest a certain amount of money it gives you the chance to apply for a green card and that could lead to citizenship down the road. It's something that lots of real estate development companies used.

And so the fact that Kushner Companies using Jared Kushner's sister is here pitching Chinese investors is not unusual in and of itself. A lot of real estate development companies do that. But what is unusual is the fact that Jared Kushner, until January, when he joined the administration officially, was the CEO of Kushner Companies. He is very much attached to the company and he still has lots of different business holdings.

And so it is raising the question, is Kushner Companies using Jared Kushner's proximity to the president to potentially lure Chinese investors? It's a question that I think is very reasonable to ask and we did pose that question to a lawyer for Jared Kushner. We did get a response that we would like to read to you in full and his lawyer wrote, "Mr. Kushner has no involvement in the operation of Kushner Companies and divested his interests in the One Journal Square project by selling them to a family trust that he, his wife and his children are not beneficiaries of a mechanism suggested by the Office of Government Ethics. As previously stated, he will recuse from particular matters concerning the EB-5 visa program."

But the fact remains that the company is the Kushner name and that people here in China associate Jared Kushner with the Trump presidency. Jared Kushner has been a key adviser to the president on issues dealing with China. He actually helped set the agenda for China's President Xi Jinping's first visit to the United States back in April. So this is just raising more concerns and it is clear that the company understands the optics here.

We sent in an associate producer to film the event on her iPhone. She didn't get kicked out but we do know that reporters with "The New York Times" and "The Washington Post" were both escorted out of the event for reasons that they were told were unknown.

PAUL: Mm-hmm. All right. Matt Rivers, grateful to have the update from you. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: And here is more information about that EB-5 visa program. The program allows immigrants a path to the green card, as Matt just said, if they invest more than $500,000 in a project that creates jobs in the U.S. Now this is a program that was used by the Trump and Kushner family businesses despite the president's current stance on immigration. But lawmakers on both sides are clear in their critique of the program. They say it sells citizenship.

Let's bring back now Errol Louis and Kyle Feldscher. So let me get to the question of Kushner and a potential conflict of interest, first, before we talk about the visa program overall. As his attorney, Blake Roberts, said that Kushner has divested his interest in the project, will recuse himself from this EB-5 visa program.

Errol, do you see a clear conflict of interest here?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. There's an absolute conflict of interest even from the attorney's letter saying that -- OK -- these family members of his family won't benefit from it but those members of his family will benefit from it.

So, OK, fine. You know, if that is enough to sort of satisfy the office of government ethics or to satisfy people politically that is one thing but I think most people on first hearing it understand that the Kushner family is out making money at the same time as Jared Kushner is making policies. You know, I mean, the larger question of course, Victor, is should there be an EB-5 program? Now, you know, at that point, the conflict is obvious that whether he personally or his child or his wife and, you know, his sister are all going to benefit from this, some of them yes, some of them no, that is sort of a different question. I think we should be asking the question of, why in order to build an office building in New Jersey do you have to go to Beijing and, in effect, sell citizenship?

BLACKWELL: OK. So, Kyle, let me put that question to you because I'm sure now that this has broken over this weekend this is one of the early questions for Sean Spicer when he returns or if it's Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday.

[06:35:10]

Does the president stand by this program that many say sells citizenship?

FELDSCHER: Well, it's going to be interesting to see the response to that because this program really does go against a lot of what the Trump administration says about immigration. They don't want the buy American, hire American is the creed over there. The slogan America first has been the cornerstone of the Trump administration so far.

And you hear the allegations here. Selling citizenship and one of the pitches at this conference yesterday was, hey, get in now before the administration possibly raises that level up to a different amount that could be more expensive. So there are going to be some real questions about the Trump administration and their -- and how they handle not only this visa program but, you know, immigration at large.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And, Errol, this -- Jared Kushner's sister did not mention her brother's role specifically within the administration, did not use the president's name but according to "The New York Times" there was a slide show presentation and the president's face was there and had him labeled as a key decision maker. Of course, he is the president of the United States but he is not intimately involved in visa approvals, typically, is he?

LOUIS: Well, I'm not so sure about that. It's not about the particular visa so much, Victor, as whether or not you can get access to that capital that for some reason certain developers, including the Trump organization and the Kushner Companies seem to want to get from this particular source as opposed to trying to prove their credit worthiness to American financial resources.

So, you know, if this is -- if this is going to be the path of the future, you know, it's very interesting this notion that there could be a squeeze play here where what they want to do is try and get as much money right now as they possible can and then maybe sort of raise the price, have the folk who are doing the family business out of the White House change the policy or push to change the policy in a way that will get them even more money on the private side.

I mean, that is the new normal. That is what we see going on and I think we are going to have our hands full reporting on all of the difference cases and places you have to go halfway around the world for this particular one in which the people in the White House and their families and their businesses are mixing public and private business.

BLACKWELL: No doubt this will be a topic of conversation as we go into the new week. Errol Louis, Kyle Feldscher, thanks so much.

LOUIS: Thank you.

PAUL: Eighty-two schoolgirls are free now in Nigeria after the government negotiated with the terror group Boko Haram for their release. They are among 276 girls who were 16 to 18 at the time, kidnapped from their school in the middle of the night in 2014.

I know you remember that. It sparked global outrage. The social media movement #BringBackOurGirls was born. Some Boko Haram suspects being held by the Nigerian government were part of the release of the negotiations here.

BLACKWELL: Plus, the state of Florida is fighting wildfires. And the arsonists who start many of them -- since the beginning of this year alone, arsonists in Florida have reportedly torched 40,000 acres.

PAUL: Also, Alec Baldwin's revival of President Trump was a no show this week's Saturday Night Live." It didn't stop them from spoofing the president's alias though, John Miller.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEC BALDWIN, AS JOHN MILLER: I want to wish everyone a happy Cinco de Mayo which is the day all Mexicans eat a sink full of mayonnaise.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:42:50]

PAUL: Forty-two minutes past the hour. White House counselor Kellyanne Conway is at the center of this week's "Saturday Night Live." I know. I thought I might be seeing something a little more serious there.

The show pokes fun at her absence from media appearances in recent weeks.

BLACKWELL: And what better way to do it than with a classic throwback to '90s children's television show "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" Here is the clip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS PINE, HOST, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE (singing): Was used to be on T.V. on like every single panel. Then one day we woke up and she was no longer there. What could have happened? She is not on any channel. Tell me, where in the world is Kellyanne Conway?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

BLACKWELL: Them holding on to the deep there with the lyrics though. Senior media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES" Brian Stelter joins us now.

Funny sketch but really where is Kellyanne Conway?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes. This is us something real which is that Conway is mostly just been appearing in conservative media outlets. Rarely showing up on the major networks on CNN or other big channels here.

She has been taking a lower profile than she did in say February or March. And so SNL clearly had noticed that. You know, guys, we also saw the "Morning Joe" team in action on SNL overnight. Of course, a few days ago, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski announced they are engaged. They got engaged last weekend.

And so here's the show poking some fun on this on screen romance.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKA BRZEZINSKI, COMEDIAN: OK. Here's what I want to say to this topic.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, COMEDIAN: Yes. Go ahead.

BRZEZINSKI: The president is mentally ill.

SCARBOROUGH: Well --

BRZEZINSKI: He has entered a state of psychosis.

SCARBOROUGH: Mika, Mika, you're being very naughty. OK? You're being very naughty.

BRZEZINSKI: Why? Am I being naughty?

SCARBOROUGH: Yes, you are being real naughty. You are being real naughty. Maybe you need somebody to punish you for being naughty.

BRZEZINSKI: Journalists?

SCARBOROUGH: It's not about journalists. You're a bad kitty.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STELTER: I can see that becoming a recurring feature on the show.

[06:45:01] We don't know when the wedding is going to be yet by the way. In a more serious note in that "Morning Joe" sketch there was some talk about the health care bill passing the House. Here is a pretend version of President Trump playing his own publicist calling into the show.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN (on the phone): I'm just celebrating the fantastic success we had in Congress yesterday with the new health care law. After Congress voted, we had a party. It was beer. A disaster that this Obamacare has finally been repealed.

SCARBOROUGH: Well, OK. Hold on, sir. It's not repealed yet. The bill still has to pass the Senate.

BALDWIN: What now?

SCARBOROUGH: The bill goes through the Senate. They might -- they might even rewrite the entire thing if they pass it at all.

BALDWIN: But there was beer.

BRZEZINSKI: Mr. Miller, the bill has a long way to go, so it seems a little premature to celebrate.

BALDWIN: You know what? We are going to look into this. Talk to you soon. Bye-bye.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

STELTER: You know, the beer was a liberal laugh line, didn't turn out to be true on Thursday. There was a beer delivery but not for the House members who were, of course, working on the health care bill.

By the way, guys, truth is stranger than fiction as it always is. John Miller is a character that President Trump used in the '80s to call up newspapers to leak information about Trump. So John Miller is a real thing, a fake character that Trump used many decades ago. Now SNL reprising that idea last night.

BLACKWELL: So --

PAUL: Sometimes I feel like you can't even write this -- that you couldn't write this stuff!

STELTER: Exactly.

BLACKWELL: My question if the beer delivery wasn't for the Republican caucus celebrating who is getting beer in the middle of the day?

STELTER: Who was it for?

That is the mystery. But they say it wasn't for the health care folks. You'll never know.

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

STELTER: Thanks.

BLACKWELL: All right. Be sure to watch Brian on "RELIABLE SOURCES" later this morning, 11:00 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

PAUL: Listen, do you know there have been 106 wildfires and there are that many now burning in Florida? Our Allison Chinchar tells us what the state is facing as they're trying to fight these things -- Allison.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: That's right. They are facing very dry conditions because we really don't have much rain in sight. However, there is some good news. We'll talk about that coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:51:26]

PAUL: You know, more than a hundred wildfires are burning right now in Florida and weather is not helping. There are hot, dry conditions there that are fueling what you're seeing here.

BLACKWELL: Well, the state is also fighting arsonists who have torched 20,000 acres so far this year.

CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar is here with more. 20,000 from arsonists alone is a rough time for Florida.

CHINCHAR: It is and then you have to then factor the weather on top of it which exacerbates the problem.

Now, we understand that this is the dry time of year for Florida. This is what Florida looked like last year at the end of their dry season. You can see a little bit of yellow there indicating it was abnormally dry. But nowhere near what we are seeing this year.

Take a look. Now only is a lot more yellow on there but we're also talking the oranges and even the red indicating extreme drought into portions of Florida and that is going to be a huge concern for them. And because we are also starting to pick up on some wind as well we have red flag warnings out for much of the state today indicating those fire conditions are going to be very good today and likely for the next several days.

Now we have over a hundred wildfires across the state as a whole but at least 29 of them are a hundred acres or larger. OK? And, again, 91,000 acres has already burned so far in 2017. You talk about 20,000 of those alone are from arsonists but that means the rest of them are from weather and when we take a look at the forecast, look. The next five days, there is a zero percent chance of rain. The only chance we even have comes at the very end of the seven-day forecast.

Now we talked about some good news and there is some. And that means that we are going to be heading into summer pretty soon here and that, Victor and Christi, is actually the rainy season. So, again, we're getting (ph) the short term. We have no rain in sight but at least in the long term we should start to break this pattern, at least once we get into June and July.

PAUL: All right. Allison Chinchar, thank you so much for the update. Appreciate it.

Muddy run for the derby yesterday.

BLACKWELL: Yes. My grandfather always said when it's a sloppy track, bet on the long shot -- bet on the long shot, didn't come through this time. And so --

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: It did not, Victor. And you know what? The track conditions were a nightmare for most it did turn into a dream for one 3-year-old thoroughbred and we will have the highlights from the muddy Kentucky derby coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:57:41]

BLACKWELL: The 143rd running of the Kentucky derby turned out to be a dream. Get that?

PAUL: Yes.

BLACKWELL: For the favorite.

PAUL: Andy Scholes, let's just bring him in right now for this morning's "Bleacher Report."

SCHOLES: All right. Good morning, guys.

You know, the experts said there was no, you know, big favorite this year. There was no California Chrome or American Pharaoh but in the end the favorite --

PAUL: There was Patch.

SCHOLES: Well, there's a sentimental favorite, Christi. But in the end, the favorite to win the Kentucky derby ended up winning. Always Dreaming was your favorite. Jumped out to a great start in the muddy conditions from the get-go and Always Dreaming, you stay toward the front for nearly the entire race and he would take over the lead before the final turn and at the end, just pulled away down the stretch. He won by nearly three lengths. Always Dreaming is now the fifth straight favorite to win the derby.

Next up is the Preakness Stakes in two weeks. Of course, you know, every year at the derby one of the best parts of it is all of the star gazing and New England Patriots, they had basically a team outing. Huge group of them including Tom Brady were on hand for the derby.

Brady later running into fellow Boston sports legend David Ortiz. That's a pretty cool picture. Now the award for best dressed going to golfer Rickie Fowler. Check him out in the watermelon colors. And by the way, Victor, if you want that jacket it sells for $495 at Vineyard Vines coming this weekend.

PAUL: I dare you -- I dare you to wear that on the air.

(LAUGHTER)

BLACKWELL: OK.

SCHOLES: All right. (INAUDIBLE) sports. Warrior's head coach Steve Kerr has undergone a procedure on his back to fix a spinal cord leak. He remains out indefinitely. That is what Warriors owner told "Bloomberg Radio." Kerr had been dealing with complications from back surgery since undergoing surgery nearly two years ago.

The Warriors still cruising without their head coach. They beat Jazz 102-91 to take 3-0 lead in their series. They still have not lost in the playoffs.

Near the end of this one, Kevin Durant was not pleased with a shove he got from Rudy Gobert so he would give Gobert two hands right into the back. Got a flagrant foul for that and a reporter had a pretty creative way to ask him about this little skirmish after the game.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: What happens on that Gobert kerfuffle at the end?

STEPHEN CURRY, NBA PLAYER: That is a word right there.

KEVIN DURANT, NBA PLAYER: What did you say?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Kerfuffle.

DURANT: Good job, bro.

CURRY: That is strong.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: And, Victor, when was the last time you were in a kerfuffle?

BLACKWELL: I don't know actually. It's been a while.

PAUL: I was going to say that --

BLACKWELL: Since I even heard the word!

[07:00:00]

PAUL: (INAUDIBLE) question (INAUDIBLE).

SCHOLES: First time I've been able to say kerfuffle on TV. I was pretty proud of myself. BLACKWELL: I'll tell you at the end of the break.

(LAUGHTER)

PAUL: Not something you can publicize. Thank you so much, Andy.

SCHOLES: All right.