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President Trump Says China Should Pressure North Korea; Third Democrat to Vote Yes on Gorsuch; New Developments on the Russia Probe; Rand Paul with President Trump on Health Care; Spotlight Back on First Lady Melania Trump; Patricia Arquette's Fight for Equal Pay; Crowdfunding Helps Adoption for Families; Thirteen Killed in Road Crash in Texas. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired April 2, 2017 - 17:00   ET


[17:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: First up, Trump's dramatic new interview about a nuclear threat just days before he meets the leader of China at Mar-a-Lago. The president telling the "Financial Times," "well, if China is not going to solve North Korea, we will." It could make for a frosty meeting in sunny Florida later this week.

And then there is the Russia probe. New revelations that Trump's former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, failed to initially disclose thousands of dollars in Russian speaking fees. The president insisting it's just a distraction, tweeting, "The real story turns out to be surveillance and leaking. Find the leakers."

And let's not forget the Supreme Court. President Trump getting closer to a big win with Judge Neil Gorsuch. A third Democrat now says he will vote yes on the president's nominee. A committee vote comes tomorrow and then the full confirmation vote just five days away.

We have a superstar team of reporters and analysts ready to cover every angle. I want to begin with CNN's Ryan Nobles outside the White House where the cloud of the Russia probe continues to hang over the Trump presidency, and Ryan, we heard from the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee today.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right Ana. And Adam Schiff of course was here on Friday to review those materials that Devin Nunes -- that led Devin Nunes, the ranking member, the chair of the House Intel Committee to come and talk about what he viewed was at least something that substantiated the claims that President Trump had made several weeks ago about the Obama administration putting him under surveillance.

And Schiff remains unmoved by what he saw here on Friday night, but he also seems committed to finding a way for this House Intel Committee to come to some court of conclusion in a bipartisan way. The same on the Senate side. We also heard from Mark Warner who is the ranking Democrat on the Senate side. Both men believe that they can still come to some sort of conclusion and do it with both Republicans and Democrats in agreement. Take a listen.


don't want to do anything that will interfere in any case that the Justice Department may decide to bring. We also have to determine whether he really can add value to our investigation, whether we need him to learn information we can't learn from other sources. So it's very early I think even to be considering this.

SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VICE CHAIRMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: We're not ready to consider that. We're not even publicly acknowledging that he's contacted us. If and when we would talk to General Flynn under whatever considerations, we'd want to make sure we knew all the right questions to ask but we're not anywhere close to making those -- drawing those conclusions yet.


NOBLES: So both men talking about whether Michael Flynn, the former National Security Advisor, would be able to offer up immunity in exchange for his testimony. Both at this point not ready to go that far, Ana.

CABRERA: Stand by with me here and let's bring in Matt Rivers in Beijing. Matt, China's president will visit the U.S. and meet with President Trump for the first time this week. Today President Trump, in short said the U.S. will take on North Korea with or without China. How is Beijing reacting?

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: When Beijing wakes up here a little bit later on this morning in China, what they're going to look at and say is what they've said very consistently. The Chinese have been very consistent in their position that the only way to solve the ongoing crisis in the Korean Peninsula is through direct negotiation, is through the United States sitting down with the regime in Pyongyang, hopefully with China there at the table as well, and begin to hash out some sort of bargain, some sort of deal to get Pyongyang to halt its weapons program.

That has been China's position for well over a decade now. Every time the Trump administration brings up that China should be doing more, that China should be using its economic leverage over Pyongyang to get them to stop their weapons program, China always counters with the exact same thing. So I think you can expect the Chinese to be very consistent here.

And I also think going into this meeting though that this perhaps isn't going to be a huge surprise to the Chinese given what we've heard from the Trump administration talking tough on China pretty regularly. I don't think that this is going to come as a big surprise to the Chinese. It's certainly going to be something that they're going to take a look at ahead of this big meeting scheduled between President Xi and President Trump later this week in Florida.

CABRERA: All right, Matt Rivers and Ryan Nobles, thanks to both of you.

I want to talk more about this with our panel, Washington bureau chief for the "Chicago Sun Times," Lynn Sweet, Republican strategist and former RNC communications director Doug Heye and CNN contributor and former Missouri Secretary of State, Jason Kander, a Democrat. Lynn, I'll start with you. What do you make of the tough talk ahead of the president's meeting with China's leader?

LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, CHICAGO SUN TIMES: Well, he's trying to set the stage and be the -- he's trying to make it clear to China that he wants to dictate terms of the meeting. He wants to do this, he wants to do that. This is not any kind of diplomatic niceties back and forth and you know, he's still new at diplomacy. It certainly doesn't surprise anyone that he's telegraphing his punch.

[17:05:00] Now whether or not he wants to really make good on the promise to go it alone on North Korea, that's a very serious subject and a very serious pledge so, we'll see what comes of all this bravado.

CABRERA: And Doug, your reaction to Trump's go-it-alone comment, on top of a tweet earlier this week in which he said this is going to be a difficult meeting with China's president. Is this smart politics? What kind of tone does it real set for the week's meeting?

DOUG HEYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think it's an honest one. This will be a difficult meeting and if you look at what Nikki Haley, his ambassador to the U.N., former South Carolina governor, said on TV today, she also said that China needs to lead with North Korea because if they don't there is a real vacuum of power.

We've got a lot of issues that we've got to deal with China, currency being one of them. But certainly is North Korea is at the forefront right now. Well I've certainly been critical of Donald Trump in the past. I think he's being pretty blunt and honest here about where things are going. It may not be the most diplomatic thing in the world, but it's pretty pressing and probably pretty accurate.

CABRERA: But let's remember too Trump tried to kind of strong-arm China previously with again more of a tough posture. Remember the One- China policy and the phone call with Taiwan. China seemed to walk away when that was all said and done in the winter, Doug.

HEYE: And they may do that, you know. If you go back to say the Taiwan call, for instance, that was also a part of the time in the transition when the Trump organization was not organized at all and anybody could kind of free-wheeling make phone calls when they wanted to and get the president basically on a cell phone. Certainly that's been fixed now and that's why they're trying to set the stage now that they are in charge and they're moving things forward. We'll see if it works.

CABRERA: Do you see the Jason the words that we're hearing from Trump as provocative? Do you worry at all about the message he's sending to not only China but North Korea?

JASON KANDER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I generally worry about the message the president is sending, which is probably one of the biggest differences between me and the president. He doesn't seem to worry about it very often which is why we're always told that at times we're supposed to take him literally, and other times we're supposed to take him figuratively.

So, what this all goes to is, you used the word bravado. That's exactly what it is. And whether it makes sense if any given situation, defaulting to bravado is not a very good way to approach diplomatic relations because it is not at all diplomatic, and at times it can put people in harm's way.

CABRERA: I want you all to listen to something Nikki Haley said, the U.N. ambassador. She was grilled about some different stances she and the president have had on Russia in terms of the rhetoric. Let's listen.


MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC NEWS HOST: President Trump has said he respects Putin but you say you don't trust him. You've said the U.S. needs to take hacking seriously, President Trump has been dismissive of it. Which one of you should our allies and adversaries believe?

NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: I think we're both saying the same thing, it's just being reported differently.


CABRERA: Lynn, is that the case? Have they been saying the same thing?

SWEET: No, no. No they haven't, even from the earliest days of U.N. Ambassador Haley's tenure at the United Nations. She had a tougher speech on Russia in its dealings with the Ukraine than President Trump did. So Martha Raddatz is a foreign policy veteran and she had it right.

CABRERA: Well Doug, let's talk about what the president was doing today. It was his 14th time playing golf since he's taken office. He had a special guest with him today, Senator Rand Paul was alongside. And as you know Paul has not been a cheer leader, we could say, of Trump. Afterward he tweeted this, "I had a great time today with President Trump and believe we are getting closer to an agreement on health care." So how ironic if Rand Paul saves President Trump from what some have said is the biggest policy disaster he has had to date?

HEYE: No. Look, I think this is one of the smart things where that the Trump administration has done where the Obama administration fell flat and this isn't policy. This is just the politics of trying to get things done on Capitol Hill. President Obama obviously played a lot of golf but he tended to play either with his own White House aides or celebrities from Hollywood or athletes, and certainly I'd rather play golf with Larry David and Mick Mulvaney although Mick Mulvaney is a scratch golfer and really do it.

CABRERA: Trump has also been seen out there with some --

HEYE: Absolutely. CABRERA: -- of those celebrities as well.

HEYE: Well, my point is by being out there and playing with members, you're able to establish relationships and that's one of the things even Democrats on Capitol Hill would tell you the Obama White House just didn't do. John Boehner was only invited one time and a John Boehner is a prodigious golfer -- only invited one time with President Obama. I think it's very smart of Trump to do this. I would encourage him to do it with a lot of Democrats, too.

CABRERA: As we pointed out Jason, Paul was one of the big critics of this health care bill that the Republicans have put out. Remember he calls it Obamacare lite, which was a phrase echoed from the Freedom Caucus as well. So, if Trump and Paul can come to some kind ever agreement on health care, what does that tell you?

KANDER: It will mean that they come to an agreement on something that even less than 17 percent of the American people think is a good idea. That was the approval rating if I recall correctly of the Obamacare replacement bill that they came up with.

CABRERA: That's a fact.

[17:10:00] KANDER: So, if they're going to come up with something that Rand Paul and Donald Trump agree on, that means it's going to be closer to the right wing than it was to wherever it was before, which means that an even bigger amount of people will think it's a really bad idea and will be even less likely to pass, which is a good thing for the country because it would cost, I believe the last bill would have cost 14 million people to loose health care right away.

CABRERA: I'll let you respond Doug.

HEYE: Well, look, obviously they're trying to sort this out. The hardest part of anything as we've seen for the past few years in Congress is getting to 218 votes in the House of Representative. I can tell you I worked a lot votes on the House where we had to have to pull the vote or we lost the vote on the floor. It's an embarrassing situation and you're certainly projecting to the Democrats and to the country at large that you're not in a position of strength.

So the smart thing for Trump to do is try and get some kind of package that can pass the house that the Senate will at least look at. Whatever the popularity numbers are after the facts, that you can deal with after the facts. You've got to pass the bill first if you're going to do anything.

CABRERA: And Lynn, the president did address health care in this "Financial Times" interview that he had this afternoon and he actually referred to the Freedom Caucus as his friends which caught my eye. I thought that was an interesting comment after all these attacks that we've seen on twitter going after the Freedom Caucus. Is that how he treats his friends?

SWEET: Well, yes and we have a few things out there. Clearly President Trump just wants to make a deal. That's what this is evolving into. If 30 Democrats came over to him tonight and said we'll thrown in with the Republicans and maybe we need this or that, maybe they would get them. Now, this isn't going to happen.

You know, these health care policies are also rooted in deeply held beliefs by members of the Republican Party. So, you might think you have a deal with Rand Paul but what did you actually make a deal to that will help not loose other Republicans as you get to the mark of -- I think right now the number is 216 that they need to pass. So, what is the core belief that President Trump has that he is trying to get done here?

It seems just -- it just seems to say the least in Congress that, you know, in one tweet or one statement you say you want to work the Democrats then these Freedom Caucus guys are no good, I'm going to run against them, you know, naming (INAUDIBLE) now ahead of the golf game with Rand Paul. It's all going to be OK. You need the legislation. We need details. We need facts to know what really is going on, and then we could come to votes.

CABRERA: All right, Lynn Sweet, Doug Heye and Jason Kander. Thank you all.

SWEET: Thank you.

HEYE: Thank you.

CABRERA: Coming up, my next guest knows Michael Flynn so well he actually wrote a book with him. What he thinks of Flynn's request for immunity in this newly revealed Russian speaking fees.

And later, the famously private First Lady Melania Trump ventures back into the spotlight. Her big week in Washington.


CABRERA: This weekend we learned that retired Army General Michael Flynn, the president's national security advisor for all of 24 days failed to in initially report that he was paid large speaking fees from some Russian company. Flynn left that information off an ethics disclosure forum back when he was on the White House staff. (INAUDIBLE) the job, new documents just filed this past Friday. Three new entries, thousands of dollars to Flynn from three Russian companies.

It is a major development because we recall a few days ago, General Flynn announced he's going to testify in the federal investigation of Russia's election meddling if he is given immunity. Joining me now, freedom scholar for the Foundation of Defense and Democracies, Michael Ledeen. He also co-authored a book with General Flynn, "The Field of Fight." And Michael, we appreciate you coming on. In the run up to his confirmation, you were here on CNN talking about General Flynn, you called him a good pick for national security advisor. I'm curious if your opinion of Flynn has changed in light of his resignation and everything that has happened since then.

MICHAEL LEDEEN, FREEDOM SCHOLAR, FOUNDATION OF DEFENSE AND DEMOCRACIES: Nope. I think he was a very good pick for national security advisor and I wish he had stayed.

CABRERA: How do you score what has happened with that opinion?

LEDEEN: Well I don't see that anything's happened. He did not announce that he (INAUDIBLE). His lawyer is talking to the various committees (ph) that are interested in talking to him and hardly anybody knows what this process is like. I unfortunately know about it all too well because I have to testify during the Iran Contra hearings and it turns out that your biggest risk in this process. It's not anything that you did and as far as I can tell, Flynn hasn't done anything wrong. But what you say --

CABRERA: But we don't know if he's done anything illegal criminally at this point, but we do know he was fired because he lied to the vice-president about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. which was capture as part of incidental surveillance. We have since learned in which he discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador a time where there is an investigation into Russia's meddling in the U.S. elections.

So, that's one thing that has obviously created a bit of a cloud that led to his resignation or being fired by the Trump administration. We also now learned that he did not disclose his financial information as part of his ethics disclosure forms. That doesn't bother you at all?

LEDEEN: No, I don't know the facts.

CABRERA: I just told you the what the facts are as we know them.

LEDEEN: No, you told me the facts as you think you know them, as we think we know them. You haven't seen those documents. I haven't seen those documents so we don't know. We have only accounts of what is seen there so --

CABRERA: We do have those documents. We showed them on our air yesterday, the disclosure forms from the financial --

LEDEEN: No, no, I'm talking about the intercepts.

[17:20:00] I'm talking about the documents in connection with his conversations with the Russian ambassador.


CABRERA: I certainly haven't seen that and I have nothing to say about his finances. I don't know the first thing about them.

CABRERA: Okay. Does it raise any red flags, though, that he didn't survive as NSA director or the National Security Advisor, I should say, past February?

LEDEEN: I think it raises real doubts about the judgment of the people in the White House.

CABRERA: And how do you see that? LEDEEN: I think they made a mistake. I think, as I understand what

happened between him and the vice president -- and again, I don't know exactly what transpired. I wasn't there. But as I understand it, he was -- he, general Flynn, was called when he was on a two-day break from around-the-clock work and asked about that conversation with the Russian ambassador.

He had had multiple conversations and he may well have said things that were incomplete or inaccurate and confused in conversation and so forth. We just don't know. But I have yet to see him accused of any criminal activity. And if he filed late, there are an awful lot off questions about what you're supposed to file and what you have to file and it would take a wizard to decipher them all. And if he was sloppy, he was sloppy. But he's filed. He's not trying to hide anything.

CABRERA: All right, Michael Ledeen, we appreciate you coming on. Thank you.

Coming up, he is the head of the department now targeted for big cuts by the president as many jobs remain unfilled. So, how is that affecting the relationship between Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his staff? A live report next.


CABRERA: We are following reaction tonight to a stunning new interview President Trump just gave on North Korea threatening to deal with the North Korean nuclear threat with or without the help of China. Earlier today the president told the "Financial Times," "well, if China is not going to solve North Korea, we will." And this is tough talk coming just days before Trump hosts Chinese president Xi Jinping for his Florida resort. It will be their first face to face meeting.

Let's bring in CNN global affairs correspondent Elise Labott who's on assignment in Jerusalem. Elise, thanks for making time for us. How does this interview with the "Financial Times" set the table so to speak for these important talks? Is this as big of a deal as it seems?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, you know that President Trump is a real tough talker and I think this is kind of his opening gambit. This is kind of similar if you will to what Secretary of State Rex Tillerson did on the road on the eve of his meeting with President Xi in Beijing from South Korea.

He was talking about that North Korea policy of the last 20 years, what we've called strategic patience wasn't working. And so I think President Trump is sending a signal to the Chinese that the U.S. wants China to use its considerable leverage on North Korea, and if it doesn't, the U.S., as he said, will go it alone.

CABRERA: Now, what could that mean? It could obviously mean a pre- emptive strike. It could mean some kind of covert action such as a cyber action. But it could also mean more sanctions. And what we're talking about is really what they call secondary sanctions which are sanctions on Chinese companies and the Chinese know this very well. Chinese companies that are doing business with North Koreans.

Certainly that was the message that Secretary Tillerson warned the Chinese about when he was there. And so I think President Trump in this interview is saying there is a lot of pressure we could put on China to make sure that they're playing ball, Ana.

CABRERA: Now, I know you have been traveling with the Secretary of State in the past week. There is still a lot of mystery surrounding Rex Tillerson, Elise. What are you learning about how he operates?

LABOTT: Well, I mean I think it's certainly different. I've covered -- this is really my sixth Secretary of State now, and he is really much different than any of the others. This is obviously someone who was a CEO. He was at one big company, ExxonMobil, for 40 years. And so he really brings that kind of CEO mentality. And as a CEO, he traveled very light with only a few aides.

He was very involved in the structure of the company and in trying to kind of gain out what he calls white-boarding. He has these white- boards where he's working on the structure of the company. And I think what's really different is that kind of hands-on diplomatic, you know, kind of touchy-feely, if you will, that people who were familiar with from Secretary Kerry or Secretary Clinton.

He was an engineer by trade, so it is a much more methodical kind of looking at the facts before him and making studied decisions, where I think everybody is looking for him to dive in right away. He wants to bone up on the issues. He wants to form those relationships before you see anything very dramatic. And certainly he's not very comfortable.

It's is obvious, with the public diplomacy aspects of this job. You know, the U.S. Secretary of State is one of the most important people of the world and that a lot is through the kind of bully pulpit, if you will, using the press, using those public appearances. Secretary Tillerson intends to have a much smaller profile, a much lower and that's what we've seen from him on the road. He is having some press interactions, but it is very few and far between.

CABRERA: We also hear is he a prolific reader. We also know that the president has proposed a budget that would cut almost 30 percent of the money from that department, from the Secretary of State's budget and there are still a lot of positions under him that have been left unfilled.

[17:30:00] What's going on there?

LABOTT: Well, I think there is a lot of concern that Secretary Tillerson is not really fighting back for those cuts. I mean, he has said that he thought he wants to see it as kind of a glide path to a restructuring of the department, to a restructuring of the budget. But I think what you've seen is what I think a lot of officials are afraid at the State Department is going to be a gutting of the State Department, a gutting of U.S. diplomacy, if you will, as you've seen this military build-up.

There are a lot off positions that have yet to be filled. Secretary Tillerson is the only confirmed official at the State Department and you've heard from diplomats that we've talked to, they really don't have anybody to engage with at the State Department. So it's really Secretary Tillerson and he just has a few bunch of small aides that don't have any foreign policy experience. So it is a bit concerning but the hope is that as more officials get confirmed, there'll be more diplomatic interactions.

CABRERA: Elise Labott, reporting in Jerusalem tonight. Thank you.

Coming up, it's been dubbed the Beltway's equivalent of a rare bird sighting. Melania Trump's week back in the spotlight. What's next for the famously private first lady?


CABRERA: To the paparazzi, she is the great white whale. A figure so famous and yet so elusive, a photo of her is hard to come by. But that changed this week when First Lady Melania Trump left her penthouse in New York to step back into the spotlight. Here's Randi Kaye.


MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY: Ladies and gentlemen --

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was First Lady Melania Trump's first visit to the State Department -- her first visit to any cabinet department. More than two months into her husband's term, Mrs. Trump is still keeping a low profile. Until Wednesday, the last time she spoke before a television camera was February 18th at a thank you rally in Florida with her husband.

M. TRUMP: Thank you.

KAYE: Here at the State Department, she took part in the International Women of Courage Awards.

M. TRUMP: These honorees who have fought on the front lines against injustice are true heroes.

KAYE: The first lady is still living in New York City at Trump Tower with the couple's young son, Barron, at least until he finishes the school year. Her arrival in Washington this week, considered such a rare event, that the "Washington Post" likened it to a rare bird sighting.

M. TRUMP: I urge you to not be afraid to fail. A failer will never have the power to define you as long as you learn from it.

KAYE: It seems the first lady is taking steps to define her platform, highlighting education and women's empowerment at this event. Impeccably dressed, she presented awards to women and girls from around the world, honored for their courage, strength and leadership.

M. TRUMP: I ask you to allow the (INAUDIBLE) exemplify what these heroic women to inspire you in your own lives and to remind yourself that you, too, are capable of greatness. KAYE: It has been an unusually active week in Washington for the

first lady. On Monday, she announced her new communications director. And on Tuesday night, she and the president hosted a bipartisan reception for senators and their spouses at the White House.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Enjoy these incredible musicians. They are really something special. Melania, thank you very much.

KAYE: Melania Trump hadn't been in Washington since earlier this month when she hosted a luncheon to celebrate International Women's Day. But there isn't any video of her speech since the press was escorted from the room as she took the podium.

Before that, Melania Trump appeared in New York City on March 2nd, reading to children at New York's Presbyterian Hospital from a book she told the kids was one of her favorites, Dr. Seuss's "Oh, The Places You'll Go."

M. TRUMP: You can steer yourself any directions you choose.


CABRERA: That was Randi Kaye reporting. That's one of my favorites, too. Thank you, Randi.

I want to talk more about this with our expert on all things first ladies, CNN contributor and author of "First Women," Kate Andersen Brower. Kate, you've compared Melania Trump to Mona Lisa. How so?

KATE ANDERSEN BROWER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think she's really inscrutable. It's impossible to figure out what she's thinking. I mean she's beautiful. She's unattainably beautiful I think to a lot of women, which I think makes it more challenging for her. She's not somebody who you can imagine relating to, I thought about, you know, being in the car pool line with whereas Michelle Obama and Laura Bush were first ladies who were potentially easier to talk to.

But we have had first ladies who have been very reclusive. I mean, Bess Truman spent most of her time in Independence, Missouri and was rarely in Washington. So it's not an entirely new thing to have a first lady who avoids Washington.

CABRERA: Here's how "Washington Post" writer Paul Schwartzman described the first lady. He writes, "two months after her husband's swearing-in, the nation's new first lady approaches her role with a discernible reticence, her paucity of public appearances -- each defined by tight smiles and spare verbiage -- overshadowed by a vanishing act that stretches days on end."

So up until her appearance this of the past week, has that been your perception or interpretation as well?

BROWER: Yes, I mean, you know on the campaign trail, we rarely saw her, too. And then when she gave that address at the Republican National Convention, she, you know, cribbed from Michelle Obama's 2008 DNC address and got into some hot water for that. So I think that she's had some trouble in the spotlight. She's clearly someone who's not comfortable giving speeches. She often seems to be giving, you know, a kind of frozen smile, and you actually don't see her actually smiling all that much.

[17:40:00] So, I think that people want to like her though. I think people want to give her a chance. We're still early in this administration, as you mentioned. She just hired a communications director this week. She's got four staffers that we know of right now. And so I think we might see some changes when she moves to D.C. this summer which I'm told she will absolutely be doing.

CABRERA: Have you heard how she feels about how the president's first 70 days have gone?

BROWER: I haven't. I would love to know the answer to that.


BROWER: I do -- I have heard that she feels very vulnerable in terms of coming up with a program like Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaigns in childhood obesity. But it did take Michelle Obama about a year to come up were that program. So I think people are willing to give her a little bit of time. It's hard to come on the heels of somebody who left with an approval rating that was, you know, approaching 60 to 70 percent. So I think she's in a difficult position.

CABRERA: Well, the president has pointed out that Melania's approval rating is actually higher than his own. She's not doing too bad. I imagine it would be a little intimidating to be in her position. Now, Melania was not the only first lady who made some headlines this week. We saw Hillary Clinton also step back into the spotlight. Let's listen to be what she had to say.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need to resist actions that go against our values as Americans, whether that's attacking immigrants and refugees, denying climate change, or passing bogus laws that make it harder for people to vote in elections.


CABRERA: Clearly she hasn't given up politics. A jab there at President Trump. What do you see as her role now?

BROWER: I have spoken to some high-profile Democrats who talk about Hillary Clinton being able to come out as time passes and be a more critical voice. And to give voice to people who did not vote for Donald Trump.

For president Obama, it's a little bit more difficult because just decorum and the rules of what we see with former presidents, is they don't typically come out. Even with President Bush, you saw Vice President Cheney doing a lot of the criticizing of President Obama. So, I think we'll be seeing more of Hillary Clinton now that we're past that 50 day mark.

CABRERA: All right, Kate Andersen Brower, thank you very much for your time tonight.

BROWER: Thank you.

CABRERA: She is the Oscar winning actress who could once barely afford groceries. Coming up, one-on-one with Patricia Arquette. Her fight to get equal pay for women and a message to all those critics out there.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN HOST: The headline was female millionaire claims American women don't have equal rights. What do you think when you read that?

PATRICIA ARQUETTE, ACTRESS: I think it's stupid. I mean I think it's ridiculous.



CABRERA: In this week's "American Opportunity," Academy award winning actress and activist, Patricia Arquette. You might remember her 2015 Oscar speech. She talked about the gender pay gap and called for true equality for women. Today she's keeping up that fight opening up to our own Poppy Harlow about her struggle as a young single mother living paycheck to paycheck.


HARLOW: At the Oscars in 2015, you won for "Boyhood," congratulations. You took that moment when the eyes of the world were on you to say this, "It's our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America." You could have said anything in that moment. Why did you say that and what path has it set you on as an activist?

ARQUETTE: Well, I think that character was really reminded me a lot of my mom and her journey. I mean even my own mom, she was married to my dad for 30 years and at a certain point they were talking about getting a divorce, but she already had cancer by that point. And she said, you know, we get a divorce, then six months I'll be dropped from his insurance. Even though I've spent this whole life with him and I won't be able to get insurance because I'll have a pre-existing condition. So, someone who's put their life in to this partnership can suddenly become invisible and valueless in the world.

HARLOW: You brought up some of the critics that came out after your Oscar speech. Let me read you one headline. I'm sure you remember. This is from the "Washington Examiner." The headline was, "Female millionaire claims American women don't have equal rights." What did you think when you read that? ARQUETTE: Well, I think it's stupid. I mean I think it's ridiculous.

These children do not plop out of thin air. You know, someone has to take the time to have them. Yes, we don't value women's contribution to society. That doesn't make it fair. There's a lot of ways to deal with it, but we've never looked outside the box. Like flexible work schedules.

Things that work for women so they can drop their kids off or they can pick them up later, so that they can make sure their dad's home at dinner time when they are away working. There is a lot of different things that we've never even considered. I don't know. I find it -- I find it crazy making and frustrating.

HARLOW: You've talked about this from a very personal level. Not growing up with a lot of money and being a single mother at the age of 20.

ARQUETTE: Yes, it's very hard. I mean it's really a scary thing when you go to the grocery store and you don't know if you can buy diapers and you're eating macaroni and cheese just to get by and you don't know if you're going to have enough nutrients in your milk because you're nursing.

HARLOW: That was your reality?

ARQUETTE: Yes, that was my reality? And you well-child visits and you have copays and how are you going to do those?

[17:50:01] I mean, that's hard to figure out, and you're the breadwinner, and you better figure it out and you have another mouth to feed. That's a lot to carry.


CABRERA: Our thanks to Poppy Harlow for that interview. And now, this week's "Impact Your World." There are so many children out there who need a home and family and parents who want to adopt. But a process can be emotionally and financially draining to accomplish that and a Los Angeles man has found a way to help with this expense. His inspiration comes from his own very large family.


HANK FORTERNER, FOUNDER, ADOPT TOGETHER.ORG: I grew up with a brother and sister and we had 36 foster kids over a 7-year period and then my mom and dad adopted four boys and four girls from five different countries.

In the morning, you didn't know who was going to be at the breakfast table but there was always one more seat.

Did you have this pillow with you?


FORTENER: What a cool idea. Who is this right here? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Daddy.

MATT RIEHM, FATHER OF ADOPTED SON: Tacey came to me and said she wanted to adopt. I was really concerned about the cost.


FORTENER: Oftentimes a family is looking at a bill of $30,000, $40,000, $50,000. So many families would adopt if they could eliminate this financial barrier. Then what if we could carry the burden together? Adopt is designed as the first-ever crowd funding platform for adoption. We are raising funds to pay those bills. That's when friends and family and co-workers gets to be a part of your adoption story simply by donating to your process.

TACEY REIHM, MOTHER OF ADOPTED SON: We aren't anything crazy special. We're not rich. We and a community brought him home.

FORTENER: has helped over 2,400 families, raised $10.5 million to bring their kids home. And it's so rewarding for me to get to do this work because I get to continue in the family business of helping children come into families.

Nice! Nice one.


CABRERA: What a guy. For more information on AdoptTogether, go to We're back after this.


CABRERA: Investigators are still trying to find out what exactly led to that tragic highway accident in Texas that killed 13 people. These pictures tell part of the story. All of those deaths were from people inside the church van that was on its way back from a choir retreat. CNN's Polo Sandoval has been following the story closely and has just obtained new cell phone videos showing the moments leading up to this crash.



POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They're gathering in grief. It's the first Sunday service at the First Baptist Church of New Braunfels since the congregation lost 13 members.

BRAD MCLEAN, PASTOR, FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH NEW BRAUNFELS: It's important for us to recognize this morning that our pain is real. Our loss is real. Our grief is real.

SANDOVAL: While Pastor Brad McLean leads parishioners in mourning, the investigation moves forward focusing on the moments before the head-on collision.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This guy is all over the road. He is driving a white I think it's a Dodge dually.

SANDOCAL: This cell phone video is being reviewed by state crash investigators and the National transportation safety board.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're talking about safety. Somebody needs to get this guy off the road.

SANDOVAL: The footage was provided by a good samaritan Jody Kuchler. He called 911 pleading with police to stop the erratic driver before it was too late.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's going to hit somebody head-on or he's going to kill his own damn self. Somebody needs to get this guy off the road.

SANDOVAL: Those fears were realized when Kuchler came upon the deadly wreck. The truck he had just reported seeing minutes before was tangled amid the heap of mangled metal. Kuchler later told CNN affiliate KSAT, the driver of the pickup told him he was texting and driving.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think my mind kind of went blank. I didn't know what to think. I mean, you can't be texting and driving all over the road for that long.

SANDOVAL: Investigators have not determined a cause of the crash. A spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety tells CNN they are investigating all possibilities. Troopers will interview the pickup truck driver in the coming days. The 20-year-old remains hospitalized along with Rose Mary Harris, the lone survivor aboard the bus. For fellow parishioners, a difficult week awaits as they remember the crash victims.


SANDOVAL: And parishioners will once again pile into pews in the days ahead as they begin some of those funeral services for some of their fellow parishioners in the coming days, Ana. In the meantime, the investigation does continue to press forward until that if any charges are filed ultimately the Texas Department of Public Safety would work with the district attorney's office to decide that, Ana.

CABRERA: Polo Sandoval, thank you.

You're live in the "CNN newsroom." Hello, on a Sunday. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. We begin with three mighty challenges for the president this week. China, the Russia probe and the Supreme Court. Just one of those would make for a good week. The president would grapple with all three in the coming days.

First up, Trump's dramatic new interview about a nuclear threat just days before he meets with the leader of China at Mar-a-Lago. The president telling "The Financial Times" today, "well, if China is not going to solve North Korea, we will." It could make for a frosty meeting in sunny Florida later this week. And then, there's the Russia probe -- that continues. New revelations

now that Trump's former National Security adviser Michael Flynn failed to initially disclose thousands of dollars in Russian speaking fees. The president insisting this is all just a distraction tweeting, "The real story turns out to be surveillance and leaking. Find the leakers."

[18:00:03] And let's not forget the Supreme Court. President Trump getting closer to perhaps a win with Judge Neil Gorsuch. A third Democrat now says he will vote yes on the president's nominee.