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CNN SATURDAY MORNING NEWS
Wildfires Threaten Part of Southern California; Cemeteries Refusing to Bury Body of Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect; Investigations into Background of Boston Marathon Bombing Suspects Continue; Security Increased at Kentucky Derby; Pundits Debate Gun Control; Reese Witherspoon Arrested; NRA Holds Rally; NBA Playoffs Continue
Aired May 4, 2013 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm Randi Kaye in Boston, a very windy Boston this morning. It is 10:00 here on the east coast, 7:00 a.m. out west. We're glad you're with us this morning.
Ahead this hour, tracing the calls of the Boston bombing suspects, the FBI says it is easier than you think even if their phones weren't tapped.
Plus, they call it the most exciting two minutes in sports, today's Kentucky Derby. But has the Boston bombings put a downer on Churchill Downs?
And 28,000 acres have been scorched so far. And now firefighters race to control this California inferno.
And we begin in Los Angeles. Right now firefighters are battling a raging wildfire and brutally dry weather to save thousands of homes from burning to the ground. In less than two days, 28,000 acres have gone up in smoke in the Ventura County area. The so-called springs fire is only 20 percent contained, and 4,000 homes are under threat.
CNN's Stephanie Elam is in Newberry Park, California, where we have seen a whole lot of smoke there. Firefighters -- we'll check in with Alexandra Steele first and then we'll get to Stephanie. Alexandra, can you tell us -- certainly they are in desperate need of some rain. How is it looking for them?
ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hi, Randi. Certainly things are looking much better. No question about that. What we've seen just incredible amounts of very strong wind. And we're going to see a big change coming. That is the good news.
Here's a look at what it looks like in Camarillo right now. We have clear skies and 57 degrees. Humidity is up. That is the good news. And the winds are down. Look at that, five-mile-per-hour winds, certainly much less than we've seen. The good news, those very hot, strong, dry offshore winds now have switched direction and we have an onshore flow, meaning all the moisture from the water is being brought inland. That's good news.
Rain showers, yes, we will see some between Sunday and Tuesday. Best chance for any rain is really on Monday. Not a lot of rain, mind you, but it's more of the change in the wind direction and increasing humidity that will change dynamics of the weather pattern.
Bad news rain will be light and the thundershowers we could see could have some lightning with them and with that lightning potentially all of that brush is so dry it could spark another fire and also with the thundershowers could see a movement of the winds and shifting of the winds.
Here's a look at the forecast. This is really the key. This is kind of on Monday morning. This is the forecast radar, the bull's eye for some rain. You can see rain coming in Monday morning. Not incredibly heavy rain, that's for sure, but moisture coming in and changing the weather pattern and that's really been the biggest news. It's not so much the amount of rain. Since January 1st they'll only had 1.9 inches of rain. Places like St. Louis had two inches of rain in two days. So it's not the amount. It's just the increased humidity and a change in the wind direction now coming in off the water.
KAYE: All right, Alexandra, appreciate that. Now we've got CNN's Stephanie Elam back on the line with us. She's in Newberry Park, California. So Stephanie, tell me, we've been seeing a lot of smoke in your area. Firefighters have been setting controlled blazes in the area. Does that seem to be helping?
STEFANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, one thing that really helped about doing that is keeps the fire from coming into places where they don't want. I can tell you a lot of mandatory evacuations happened along this road. So it's people not in their house along the street. What they're doing with this big smoke pile you see behind me, that's a controlled fire. They want to make sure they burn down all of that dry brush so that there isn't any kindle here to get the fire coming across the street and affecting these homes. So that's one thing they're doing a lot.
We can see from here way out people are out there digging a line making sure the fire doesn't go any further. I also want to tell you we got an update from Cal-Fire and they're saying now this fire is 30 percent contained and they are keeping the acreage burned at 28,000 acres. That's good news along with the fact that it's also a lot -- there's more moisture in the air today, and that's one thing that will help firefighters, Randi.
KAYE: And what about those 4,000 homes that we mentioned that are still under threat, anything immediate happening to save those?
ELAM: Well, they look -- it's a lot calmer out here today compared to yesterday. Let me put that out there first. Definitely the fact that there are only 15 homes affected by damage is huge, no houses have been destroyed. That's why they have controlled fires. But as a precaution because they want to make sure that everything is better, they're not letting those people back in their homes just yet. But that's something that could happen later on today, Randi.
KAYE: What about you? Can you feel a change in the wind? Does it seem to be dying down for you? ELAM: The last couple of days have been so windy, Randi. But taking a look now, it's so much calmer. It's much more still. That's helping. And you can feel the moisture in the air. So that's helping.
The other issue has been air quality. While some of these people didn't need to leave their homes, they did because the air quality just got so bad. It was hard to see. It would burn your eyes. Yesterday it would give me a headache. So I would wear my mask in between live hits on television. But it's better today. You feel the smoke but it's not as oppressive as it was yesterday afternoon, Randi.
KAYE: Stephanie Elam, thank you very much. Stay safe as well.
New this morning, five U.S. soldiers have been killed by a bomb in southern Afghanistan. There's no word yet on precisely where they were stationed. The Taliban launched its annual spring offensive this week with attacks aimed at foreign military bases and diplomatic areas. Earlier this week a roadside bomb killed three British troops.
Also new this morning, Israel now confirming that it conducted an airstrike Friday in Syria. An Israeli official tells Reuters that the strike targeted a shipment of missiles bound for Hezbollah and Lebanon. The attack was authorized in a secret meeting of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security cabinet. Israeli officials long have vowed to strike targets they think are being used to transfer weapons to Hezbollah or other terrorist groups. An Israeli defense official tells CNN, quote "We will do whatever is necessary to stop the transfer of weapons from Syria to terrorist organizations."
Now the latest developments in the Boston bombings. A death certificate confirms the violent final moments of Tamerlan Tsarnaev's life. The owner of the funeral home handling the suspected bomber's burial read the document to CNN and said it shows that Tsarnaev died from, quote, "gunshot wounds of torso and extremities and blunt trauma to the head and torso." Tsarnaev's body now sits in this Worchester funeral parlor as several papers are recording four cemeteries have refused to bury the body.
In the meantime sources say investigators found explosive residue inside the Cambridge, Massachusetts, apartment of Tsarnaev where he lived with his wife and young daughter. Plus, investigators say Dzhokhar, the younger brother, has revealed their initial target was the 4th of July celebration in Boston.
Finally, the latest on the victims -- of the 260 hurt in the attack two-and-a-half weeks ago, 12 people remain in the hospital.
He took an oath to never turn away a customer. Now a funeral director from Worchester, Massachusetts, is living up to it in ways he probably never expected, having to advocate for the burial of one of probably the most hated men in America right now, the suspected Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Peter Stefan from Grand Putnam Mahoney Funeral parlors is on the phone with me to talk about this. Sir, thank you for speaking to us this morning. How many cemeteries have you called asking if Tamerlan Tsarnaev could be buried there? PETER STEFAN, FUNERAL DIRECTOR FOR TSARNAEV FAMILY: We have mentioned it to all of them, and basically most of them have declined to do this, I think basically some fear of reprisal. As I have told some of them, at the immediate moment you may feel that, but later on when things calm down people will resent you because you didn't do it.
And we're having a problem locating a burial spot. We will find something on Monday, because I said if I have to go to the higher authorities, this is a bad situation, a national security situation, they're going to have to do something, which I'm sure they will.
KAYE: How many -- when you say all of them, how many have you called, and what are they telling you?
STEFAN: There are three that would fit into what we're trying to do. As I say, they don't want to do it. I can understand to a point of view. But, as I said, my view is that we have to do something. We have to bury the person. This is what we do in a civilized society regardless of the circumstances. I can't separate the sinner from the sins. I can't pick and choose what I do. In this country, we bury the dead as I mentioned many times. We bury the McVeighs, the Dahmers, the Bundys. This is no different. They want to change that --
KAYE: Why did you accept the Tsarnaevs as a client?
STEFAN: My thought is I've been in this business for many years. I handle many, many poor people, and I basically take everybody. We do well so money is not the big issue. It's only paper sometimes and it's only good for what good it will do. I can sit here with a pocket full of money and maybe no conscience. But you have to help some of the people that don't do as well. I often said --
KAYE: How long can you keep -- how long can you keep Tamerlan Tsarnaev's body as you wait to find a burial place?
STEFAN: Well, the point is that we are not going to go -- it's not a question of how long we can wait. The thing is that they are going to do things, the Muslim people will wash his body, which is a religious obligation. That has to be done regardless of the circumstances. And once that's done, long before then I will be on the phone with people that have to do something to effect the burial. It's not a question of giving people three and four days to make a decision. That's not going to happen.
KAYE: And under the Muslim faith, what are the specifics for burying Tamerlan Tsarnaev?
STEFAN: In a true Islamic cemetery, the body is washed and wrapped in a shroud, and the body is buried the same way. There's no casket. And of course a mound is built on top of the grave, the reason for that being so nobody walks on it. We have very few of those cemeteries. Most of the cemeteries have a section set aside for Muslim people. It's a nonsectarian cemetery but they have a separate area. That's how it's done. Some require a plain box. Some don't require anything. But that's how it's done. KAYE: I asked you earlier -- I want to get back to what they're saying to you when you've asked them to take the body and bury the body. You said they just don't want to. Can you be more specific in terms of what their reasoning is?
STEFAN: They have declined to do it because most of these graves here are owned by individual mosques in the cemetery. It's a section that's reserved in that cemetery for Muslim burials. Now, the cemetery has control of the lots but they are basically reserved for Muslim people. So it's their option to say we don't want to handle this.
KAYE: And what about the fact that the family wants an autopsy? Does that delay what you're trying to do here?
STEFAN: No, that's not going to delay anything. More or less we insisted it all be done this weekend. We think more than enough time has gone by to effect the other things. And this is not uncommon. Sometimes in accident cases or homicide cases defense attorneys many times will ask for an independent autopsy. That's nothing unusual.
KAYE: And what about the cost of this? If the family doesn't pay, you're willing to?
STEFAN: I will do whatever I have to do. I have done it many times. On some occasions I have someone come in here that's $100 short to do something, and I certainly wouldn't deprive someone the opportunity to see their loved one for $100. I would just do it. The age old expression is that money isn't everything. You get enough to get by. I try to avoid the level of greed if I can.
KAYE: Understood. Thank you again for speaking with us this morning.
Investigators in Boston found residue from explosives inside the apartment that slain bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev shared with his wife and child. Tamerlan's brother Dzhokhar also has told investigators that the pair built the homes at Tamerlan's home. But Tamerlan's Katherine Russell claims she knew nothing about the plot. She has been staying with her parents in Rhode Island.
Joining me now in North Kingstown is CNN's Erin McPike. Erin, good morning. Has there been any sign of Katherine Russell in recent days?
ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Randi, yes, there has. We haven't seen her this morning, but we have seen her almost every day the past week. As you might remember, the week before she spent most of her days just inside and didn't leave. But in the past week she's been meeting with investigators at her attorney's office in downtown Providence.
And the other thing I can tell you is that she's been out in the community doing some errands. We saw her go to the Verizon store this week and went to lunch yesterday. So she is getting out a little bit more than she was before.
KAYE: Now that the bomb residue has been found in her home in the kitchen and bathroom, do investigators believe she may have known more about the plot than she might be letting on and that her lawyers may be letting on?
MCPIKE: Investigators certainly want to get to the bottom of that. What I can tell you about that is that we're seeing a big federal presence of unmarked FBI vehicles outside her parents' house, and those vehicles trail her when she leaves.
But the big thing we keep hearing from her attorneys is that there are two big reasons why if she didn't know, they can explain why she didn't know it, and those are these -- one that of this young couple, Katherine Russell was the bread winner. She was working about 75 to 80 hours a week outside of their home, and that's a lot of time of course, and she might not have known anything about it.
The other thing is that this very young couple also has a two-and-a- half-year-old daughter that Katherine Russell was of course caring for. So these are two big reasons why she might not have known about them if in fact she didn't, Randi.
KAYE: Erin McPike, thank you, reporting for us there in Rhode Island.
Seven acres of guns, gear, and controversy, we're live in Texas for the latest on the NRA's big annual meeting.
Plus, a Hollywood star's late-night encounter with police that ended in a mug shot and public apology. Find out what Reese Witherspoon said to police, and it is all caught on tape.
KAYE: Welcome back, everyone. Houston is playing host to the NRA's annual meeting this weekend. These are some live pictures from inside where the meeting is taking place. Thousands of members are expected to attend the gun show, seminars, and the rallies. And here's also why it's a big deal. It's the gun lobby's first annual meeting since President Obama started pushing for tougher gun laws after shooting massacres like Newtown.
NRA executives and Sarah Palin kicked things off by criticizing Obama for, quote, "exploiting victims of gun violence." CNN's Athena Jones is there live for us this morning. Athena, what is happening where you are?
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Randi. Things are just kicking off this morning, getting under way. We've been here for several hours. Folks started ling up at 7:00 a.m. local time to get in. Now they are being let in, and from what we've seen it will be another day of blockbuster attendance.
Now, what to expect inside? Yesterday from the speeches it was more of a political rally. Today it's going to be about getting down to nitty- gritty. NRA members are going to get their marching orders. And an NRA spokesman described it sort of as a corporate report to shareholders. What is the state of gun rights in America and what is NRA doing for its members and what does it plan to do and what does it want to see done by its members? So folks here are going to be hearing from NRA executives. That's different from yesterday. Yesterday was all about politics. Political rally I should say, hearing from big political stars in the Republican Party, people like Senator Ted Cruz from right here in Texas who celebrated the recent defeat of that expanded background measure in the Senate, that seen as a big victory, of course, by folks in the NRA. He criticized the Obama administration for failing to prosecute the felons and fugitives trying to purchase guns under the existing background system. Let's listen to more of what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ, (R) TEXAS: I would like to invite the vice president if he believes the answer to violent crime is not prosecuting felons and fugitives and not prosecuting guns rights, but going after the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens, I would like to invite the vice president to engage in an hour-long conversation and debate. How do we stop crime?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCPIKE: And so there you heard the senator make one of the big arguments from the gun rights lobby. And of course Senator Cruz is a big debater. He was a hall of fame member of the Princeton University debate team. The vice president's office is not commenting on that challenge, Randi.
KAYE: Athena Jones, thank you very much for that. And we'll have more on the gun debate in Texas and in Washington coming up.
Reese Witherspoon says she's embarrassed and sorry. Now we're finding out just what happened the night the Hollywood star was arrested. We'll show you the police dash-cam reporting. You don't want to miss this one coming up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": It was so hot today that Reese Witherspoon was sitting in a cop car just for the air conditioning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: Reese Witherspoon has spent her fair share of time in front of the camera, but we're willing to bet this is one role she rather forget, facing charges of misconduct following her husband's arrest for driving drunk in Atlanta. The video just goes from unfortunate to embarrassing. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REESE WITHERSPOON, ACTRESS: Do you know my name, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't need to.
WITHERSPOON: You don't need to know my name?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not quite yet.
WITHERSPOON: You're about to find out who I am.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not real worried about you, ma'am. I told you how things work. You want to get out and get in my investigation, that's OK.
WITHERSPOON: Yes, sir, I do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Guess what? We've got a law for that. It's called obstruction.
WITHERSPOON: I'm obstructing your justice?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
WITHERSPOON: Really? I'm being anti-American. Wow.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would be easier on you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry. I absolutely have nothing to do with that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: Witherspoon's husband was charged with DUI. He will serve 40 hours of community service. Witherspoon will pay a fine of $213.
Did you know the feds can get information from your past phone conversations? A counterterrorism agent explains how the FBI is digging into calls between one Boston bomber and his wife the night his photo was released, just ahead.
KAYE: Welcome back, everyone. I'm Randi Kaye in Boston this morning. Here are five stories that we're watching for you.
First up, firefighters are gaining ground against a fast moving wildfire in southern California's Ventura County. The blaze is now about 30 percent contained. It's blackened some 28,000 acres since it erupted on Thursday, 4,000 homes remain under threat. But gusty winds are dying down today and rain is forecast for late Sunday which could certainly help.
Number two, Israel confirms it conducted an air strike Friday in Syria. An Israeli official tells Reuters the strike targeted a shipment of missiles bound for Hezbollah and Lebanon. The attack was authorized in a secret security cabinet meeting. Israeli officials long have vowed to strike targets they think are being used to transfer weapons to terrorist groups.
At number three, check this out. That is the solar impulse, the first ever manned solar airplane. It can fly by day or night without needing a drop of fuel. Pretty darn cool. It is now making historic trip across the country. This morning it completed the first part of a five leg trip flying for 18 hours from L.A. to Phoenix.
Nearly 300 people were evacuated from their homes after a train derailment caused a major fire in Belgium early this morning. The accident happened near the town of Ghent. Several of the trains cars were carrying chemicals. Officials say there were no immediate reports of injuries. No word on the cause.
And number five, place your pets and grab your oversized hat, because the Kentucky Derby is today. More than 150,000 people expected to fill Churchill Downs. Security is extra tight, of course, in the wake of the Boston bombings. There are 100 more security guards, we're told, and officials have banned people from bringing coolers and large bags.
More now on the investigation into the Boston bombings and the significance of a phone call between Katherine Russell and her husband, suspect number one, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the night the FBI released his photo. Joining me from Los Angeles is Jim Clemente, former FBI counterterrorism agent. Jim, good morning to you. You mentioned that if Katherine Russell does not give investigators details of her phone conversation with her husband, the FBI has other methods of finding out what was said. Can you explain that?
JIM CLEMENTE, FORMER FBI COUNTERTERRORISM AGENT: Well, good morning, Randi. First of all, there's been a lot of reporting over the years about technology that phone companies have for collecting data. Phone companies access that data and it also is accessed by government agencies with proper court authority. And some of that data collection method, as noted in "The New York Times" and other publications, also allows them to collect content from calls.
And it's not tapping into everybody's phone. It's not listening to everybody's phone calls. But there are methods that phone companies use to collect this data and it can be available to federal agencies under court supervision. So in this case it's possible that they'll be looking at the content of this phone call at some point in time, and it would behoove Katherine Russell to be up front and honest with authorities talking about her activities revolving this whole conspiracy and whether or not she was involved or not.
KAYE: So certainly at this point we don't know what was said. We know the conversation took place after Tamerlan Tsarnaev's picture and video was posted all over the media. So what are the consequences for her? What are they looking for what she said, and what may be the consequences?
CLEMENTE: You have to understand that after the fact where Katherine Russell saw her husband's image on the news and wanted by the FBI and local authorities, an MIT officer was killed and another officer was gravely wounded. Six IEDs were attempted to be exploded. There was criminal activity that she may have abetted by this phone call if she warned them and then caused them to scurry from their hiding places and kill that MIT officer and other things. So there's a big hammer over her head right now by the authorities to make sure she does cooperate.
And from what I understand she may be clamming up right now because her DNA wasn't found on the explosive device, but that doesn't necessarily mitigate her as being involved in any way. She still may have known. And again the devices being built in her tiny little apartment, it's very hard to conceive of anyone living in such a small cramped space and not see as many as six or eight pressure cookers. A lot of explosive and bb's and other components of these bombs laying around somewhere in that apartment during the last several weeks before the event took place.
KAYE: Let's talk about this laptop as well. The FBI now has the FBI belonging to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the younger brother. I guess, how would they be able to extract information from it, and what do you think specifically they're looking for?
CLEMENTE: Well, the FBI's CART team, computer analysis response team, those are the 100-pound brains that work with all kind of digital data and they're going to comb through that laptop. And they're going to look for bomb designs, communications -- those communications could be with individuals here in the United States or overseas. And they'll look for deleted files. Those are things that these guys might have had on the computer that they then deleted thinking that it now no longer exists, but of course it still does exist digitally and there are ways to extract that information from the hard drive.
And that's what these experts are doing. They're literally going to comb through and look for code words, they're looking for any types of communication that could indicate a further conspiracy meaning other individuals involved, and/or how did they get these designs, and was somebody coaching them through the whole process. So there's a lot of information that Dzhokhar may not have answered in his hospital bed interviews, and it may bring up these questions and build a much bigger case before the FBI and local authorities are done.
KAYE: Fascinating to think of what they could get from the phone conversation and the laptop as well. Jim Clemente, thank you so much.
CLEMENTE: Thank you, Randi.
KAYE: NRA heavyweights on stage in Houston blasting the president for trying to take their guns. Right now they're winning the argument. But will it last? The politics of gun control coming your way next.
KAYE: Welcome back to Boston, everyone. I'm Randi Kaye. Politics now, and time to talk about guns and gun control. In Washington, the fight has quieted down a little since the Senate stopped a new background check law, but things are heating up in Houston. That's where the NRA is hosting their national convention. And their message was clear. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. BOBBY JINDAL, (R) LOUISIANA: I don't care what kind of left wing judges President Obama appoints, he won't be able to touch our freedom to keep and bear arms in the great state of Louisiana.
GOV. RICK PERRY, (R) TEXAS: There are no easy fixes to these problems. Certainly nothing as easy as demonizing gun owners, gun rights supporters, and, increasingly, manufacturers.
WAYNE LAPIERRE, NRA EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT: We'll never back away from our resolve to defend our rights and the rights of all law abiding American gun owners.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: Joining me now, CNN contributor Maria Cardona and Crystal Wright, editor and blogger for ConservativeBlackChick.com. Good morning to both of you. Nice to see you.
MARIA CARDONA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Good morning, Randi.
CRYSTAL WRIGHT, EDITOR, CONSERVATIVEBLACKCHICK.COM: Good morning.
KAYE: I want you both to listen to what Sarah Palin said about the president bringing the families of the Newtown victims into the debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN, (R) FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: The politics of emotion is the opposite of leadership. It's the manipulation of the people by the politicians for their own political ends. It's not just self-serving. It's destructive, and it must stop.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: Does she have a point? Is the politics of emotion a losing game? The bill that came to Washington to lobby for was defeated. Maria, to you first on this.
CARDONA: Absolutely it's not a losing game because frankly the families of Newtown are in this debate. They want to be in this debate. It's not like the president brought them with him or the Democrats kicking and screaming. They want to be front and center on this.
And this is evident by the town hall where Senator Ayotte is now getting a lot of heat, where the daughter of the principal who was killed in Newtown, essentially calling her out for her vote on it. And so I think that the politics of emotion, yes, we need to be careful in not crossing the line, but when it is the families themselves that are speaking out on behalf of their loved ones who were gunned down, they are Americans. They have a right to speak. I think above everything else they have the credibility to do so in terms of pushing for a common sense solution that 90 percent of Americans support. This is not the end, frankly. This is just the beginning of this fight.
KAYE: Crystal, do you want to weigh in?
WRIGHT: Yes, I do. I think that emotions do play a role in the gun debate. But back to Maria's point, the problem with this, and Americans particularly black Americans are very frustrated, that the face of gun violence is overwhelmingly Newtown and white. And if Democrats want an honest, emotional debate about this and to deal with this topic with respect to fact, the number one killer of young black men ages 18 to 34 in this country is guns. Since 1979, we know that over 44,000 black children have been killed at the hands of guns.
So the law, the Senate bill, would have done nothing to deal with that topic. And that's what we need to be dealing with, the real honest facts about this. I think having background checks a as Maria mentioned is something that Democrats and Republicans had consensus on, and even Senator McCain, who voted for expanded background checks, admitted it would have done nothing to prevent the recent incidents at Sandy Hook and Aurora and with Gabby Giffords.
So let's have an honest debate and bring young black Americans into this. Let's talk about race, guns, and the breakdown of the black family. I'm getting increasingly very upset at the direction that the emotional debate is taking. It's dishonest.
CARDONA: Randi, can I jump in here, because I don't think you'll hear me say this often. I agree with 95 percent of what Crystal just said. Absolutely we need to have an expanded debate about gun violence. You've seen the president do this, and, frankly, the first lady do this when she was in Chicago talking about the young lady gunned down a week after she was here for the president's inauguration.
So, yes, we absolutely have to have an expanded debate. I disagree with crystal because I think background checks would diminish that gun violence on the streets that disproportionately affect African- Americans, disproportionately affect Latinos. And it is absolutely a debate that we need to have. This needs to be broader and it needs to include mental background checks and mental health issues.
WRIGHT: On the topic of Chicago --
KAYE: Real quick. Let me move on here. I want to ask you about the fallout from the Boston bombing in Washington and the effect it's going to have possibly on the immigration debate. Pew Research Center poll shows more than a third of people say Boston should be an important part of the debate. How big of a part do you think Boston will play in immigration reform, Crystal?
WRIGHT: I think it's going to play a big role because we know that the Tsarnaev brothers were here. And they were on watch lists, Tamerlan was on a watch list by both the CIA and the FBI. He was a foreign national. He was legally here. His brother was a citizen. But there are breakdowns in our national security checkpoints. We're supposed to have agencies that are talking to each other about terrorists who shouldn't be here legally.
And then we have a situation where we know one of the boys from Kazakhstan were here illegally. They were here on an expired student visa. And so what does the gang of eight want to do? They want to lift limits on student visas.
So I think this will bring it home that we aren't enforcing our immigration laws. Before we take a step of trying to grant amnesty between 11 and 20 million Americans, we have some serious work to do with respect to these immigrants that are coming here with ulterior motives under student visas, and we just aren't tracking them at all.
Why was the older brother taken off the CIA and FBI watch? There are huge holes, and I think that we're trying to accomplish too much with the Senate Bill that we see that's coming to fruition or about to be voted on. And I think it's going to find the same slow death as we saw with the gun bill.
I just want to add one final thing about Chicago. You have 500 kids, mostly blacks, who were killed in Chicago last year. The president isn't talking at all about black Americans being slaughtered at the hands of guns in our city. Not happening.
CARDONA: He is actually.
KAYE: Thank you both very much. We are out of time. We'll get to you next time. You guys ate up too much time going at each other. Have great Saturday. Thank you.
CARDONA: You too.
WRIGHT: Thanks, Randi.
KAYE: In the wake of the Boston marathon bombings, security is extra tight at today's Kentucky Derby, so tight in fact that some people are surprised by what they're not allowed to bring in. That is next.
KAYE: Today is the Kentucky Derby, an iconic American tradition that draws big crowds and lots of media coverage, not unlike the Boston Marathon. So it may not come as a surprise that security is extra tight in Louisville today. But a lot of people say that's not going to stop them from enjoying the race.
CNN's Pamela Brown, a Kentucky native, is live at Churchill Downs for us this morning. Pam, just how tight is security there, Pam?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Randi, there are a number of new security measures in the wake of what happened in Boston just a few weeks ago. It's clear in talking to people here yesterday for the oaks race leading up to the derby today that security is top of mind but officials are doing everything they can to calm concerns.
Now, after 9/11 security was tightened, and now officials are cracking down even more. They had only a few weeks to put measures into place. Now they're banning coolers, bags, and purses longer than 12 inches. There's increased wanding at the entrances here, and local, state and federal authorities are out in full force with 100 more here today than normal.
Also, additional bomb sniffing dogs were brought in just for this weekend. This is the largest sporting event since Boston, but it seems people are not letting fear of another terrorist attack hold them back according to a "TIME"/CNN/ORC poll. Only a quarter of the people polled say they would be less likely to attend a public sporting event out of terrorism concerns. Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Is what happened in Boston on your mind today?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. It definitely is on my mind for the fact that it's such a large crowd and you just never know how people's intentions are.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. Me and my buddy were coming from Chicago and we were talking today about how are you scared at all about it? Obviously it was on the forefront of my mine and his mind coming in today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Randi, as you mentioned, I am a Kentucky native. I grew up going to the Derby. I can definitely see a big change here. It used to be you could bring coolers into the infield and walk around wherever you wanted. And now it's very difficult to walk around and to gain access to all the different sections here at Churchill Downs. But it seems like for the most part, everyone is taking it in stride and they understand why these new measures are in place.
KAYE: Safety first, absolutely. Pam Brown, thank you very much.
Win or go home. The mindset of the Celtics here in Boston last night who faced their New York rivals in an elimination playoff game. Last night's big winners and losers next in sports.
KAYE: It was an incredibly intense night of NBA basketball. Jeff Fischel is here with the Bleacher Report. So four playoff series all ended on the same night?
JEFF FISCHEL, BLEACHER REPORT: Yes. Randi, I would say of all of the series, the big surprise, the Boston Celtics forcing game six against their hated rivals New York Knicks after New York led the series 3-0. You would think the NBA's leading scorer had proven he's great, but Carmelo Anthony has plenty of doubters because he has only gotten out of the first round of the playoffs once in his career. Some wondering, could this be his last game in a Celtics uniform for Kevin Garnett and Paul pierce. Paul Pierce, there's an incredible hoop and the foul. He did not want his Boston Celtics career to end last night. Pierce leading a furious comeback. But Carmelo Anthony missed 19 straight threes throughout the series, but he hits a big one there in final two minutes. The Knicks win 88-80. They win the series in six.
Next up, the Indiana Pacers who also won their game six last night. Game six for Houston and Oklahoma City -- it's the beard. The Rockets James Harden playing with strep throat against his former team. This was intense. In the first few minutes of the game, the Thunder's Kendrick Perkins, the Rocket's Francisco Garcia tangled up, shoving and pushing, and then Perkins does some pushups. Drop and give yourself 20.
Kevin Durant, he can do whatever he wants on the floor, going all of the way, 27 points. The Thunder advance to the next round with the win. They'll face the Grizzlies. They also won a game six last night against the Clippers.
Some panic at getting on a scale. Some do. These guys don't. They do it in public in their skivvies. Floyd Mayweather and Robert Guerrero weighing in for their title fight tonight in Vegas. For Mayweather the first fight since he spent two months in prison for assaulting his ex- girlfriend. He is the champ and he will make at least $32 million for this fight. But Guerrero sounds confident.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT GUERRERO, BOXER: I'm thinking about getting down. That's what I'm thinking about. It's time to rock and roll, man. Nobody is intimidating me. When we get in the ring, it's on.
FLOYD MAYWEATHER, BOXER: It's about blood, sweat and tears. I come from a boxing family. It's in my blood. It's embedded in me. I'm ready to go out there and do what I do best, and that's be victorious.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FISCHEL: He is the best, Randi. He is undefeated all time. Mayweather is 43-0. Back to you.
KAYE: All right, thank you very much.
We have much more ahead in the next hour of CNN SATURDAY MORNING, which starts right now.