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Report: Secretary of State Says Moves to Remove Assad Underway; Trump Meets Xi After Months Slamming China; Legendary Comic Don Rickles Dies At 90. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired April 6, 2017 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] BEN WEDEMAN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Barack Obama administration had so much difficultly taking action. Because obviously, if you weaken Bashar Al Assad in any way, the first group that's going to take advantage of his weakness ISIS. Therefore, you're caught between the devil and the deep blue sea when it comes to Syria. Of course, you have the added element of Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah support for the regime of Bashar Al Assad. It's troubling that the Trump administration has suddenly invigorated following this attack on Tuesday morning that left 86 people dead. Let's not forget, on the 21st of September 2013, hundreds of people, many more at this event on Tuesday were killed in a chemical weapons attack on civilians outside Damascus and it is widely believed that the Syrian government was to blame.

So why, then, did private citizen Donald Trump not think military action was necessary and now it is somewhat puzzling, to say the least. However, there are those in this region who would welcome action against Assad. We heard a statement from the Turkish President saying that if action is going to be taken against Syria, it should be more than words and turkey, for its part, is ready to help if that's the case. Brooke?

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Ben Wedeman, thank you for that.

We have a trade imbalance with many countries but china, they are eating our lunch. Eating our lunch. China is eating our lunch. That was then businessman Donald Trump in an interview with Wolf Blitzer and this is now, President Trump touching down a little bit ago in Florida to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago club where the local economy and trade will be front and center of their discussion points. Joining me now to talk more about this, President of The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation and Robert, you penned an op-ed about what President Trump should say in this meeting. Before we get into that, let me just ask you, when you look back to some of President Trump's attacks as a candidate on china saying we allow china to rape our country, we're letting china get away with murder, currency manipulators, he would talk about. But you actually agree with some of the tough talk?

ROBERT ATKINSON, THE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION FOUNDATION: Sure. There's no question that China is a vast outlier in the trading system. They have put in place over the last 15 years a systemic, if you will, mercantilist policy. It's all about helping expand exports and they use a vast array of unfair practices. They force American companies to give them technology. They manipulate the currency and standards and massively subsidize exports. These are big problems and they've hurt the U.S. economy.

BALDWIN: If you are the Chinese President, how are you walking into these conversations? How do you think China views Donald Trump?

ATKINSON: Well, at one level they view him as an unknown, a wildcard, if you will, for the last three administrations prior to the Trump presidency, we've had a policy of play indication and helping the Chinese learn the right way to do it. That policy has failed. The Chinese know what they are doing. This is not a question of them understanding not what a market economy is about. They know what they are doing.

[15:35:00] President Trump is a little bit of a wildcard. The Chinese are very sophisticated, though. They know how to play us off against one another and what works and what doesn't. The President is going to have to be on his game if he wants to negotiate effectively with President xi.

BALDWIN: In the solutions column, we know President Trump withdraw from TTP the trans pacific partnership in January. How does he convince china to practice more responsible trade policies?

ATKINSON: Well, I don't think you convince china. You pressure china. China knows what we believe. They know what economists think. They just choose not to do it that way. They only reason they desist from their practices is when they realize it's not in their interests to do so. That's when we put pressure on them. That's the key point here. I'm skeptical that action is going to work against China. We have to enlist our allies, the Japanese, the Germans, Canadians. We've got to form an appliance with our allies to press on China to roll back their mercantile practices.

BALDWIN: Pressure, you don't convince. Robert Atkinson, nice to have you on.

We're following this breaking news here that the legendary comic Don Rickles has died at the age of 90. We'll speak live to his close friend Carl Reiner, next.



DON RICKLES, COMEDIAN: For 14 years, Johnny Carson kept saying, do you really know Frank? I want you to know, Frank, I worship you and since I was a kid, I used to blow in girls' ears and hear-- kept saying, do you really know Frank? I want you to know, Frank, I worship you and since I was a kid, I used to blow in girls' ears and hear do it my way, I love my wife, but she's ill. I need a girl so bad. But you just got married, Frank. I just can't picture him saying -- and I suppose it's my way

(END VIDEO CLIP) BALDWIN: Gosh, that was 1976. I have sad news to pass along to you. Legendary comedian and actor Don Rickles has died at the age of 90. His kidneys failed. He had such a unique voice. He made a career of insulting people all the while making them laugh. It was an art that many have copied about now one quite liked Don Rickles. I want to bring in Carl Reiner. Last time you called into my show, we were talking about the passing of Mary Tyler Moore. We need to stop meeting like this.

CARL REINER, COMEDIAN, ACTOR: I know. I don't like this at all.

BALDWIN: Tell me about the loss of your friend. Tell me stories.

REINER: First met him when he first came out here and nobody knew who Don Rickles was. I was doing a movie and he said let's go see this comedian, a little club in Hollywood. And I'll never forget that first moment when I saw him. He was insulting everybody and James Roosevelt, you know, the President's son, was in the room and said James Roosevelt and everybody gave him a big hand. He said, James, I saw your mother in Vegas the other day. She was standing behind a pole swinging her pocketbook overhead and saying, hey, sailor, you want to have a good time? First joke that ever came out of his mouth. I'll never forget that.

He was -- you know, the interesting thing about him is that everybody thought of him as a comic. He was a graduate of the National Academy in New York, I forget the name of it. He was a very fine actor. And nobody -- well, they saw later on when he did a lot of movies. I used him in a movie called "That's for Laughing." He was just brilliant. He made the whole last part of the movie.

BALDWIN: What was he like, Carl, when the cameras weren't rolling and not calling people hockey pucks or insulting them for a laugh?

REINER: He was a very dear man. First of all, he mentioned wife, children, he became a different guy. He was so in love with his wife and such a dutiful father. He was just a real person. And nobody knew that except his family.

BALDWIN: Carl Reiner, you are such a treasure. Happy belated 95th birthday to you, by the way.

REINER: Well, thank you.

[15:45:00] BALDWIN: Thank you so much for calling in and we will be right back.


BALDWIN: Some of the chaos within the U.S. Senate is in overdrive with regard to supreme court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch. The Democrats blocked his nomination with the filibuster but the nuclear option was triggered. The high court nominee has refused to talk specifics on major issues that could come before him, but CNN has been able to gather a detailed picture of his views on physician-assisted suicide. Our chief medical correspondent here at CNN, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, has the story.


DIANNE FEINSTEIN, SENATOR, CALIFORNIA: You make the statement that there is no justification for having anything to do with the end of someone's life, encouraging the end of life.

NEIL GORSUCH, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: I've been there with my dad. And others. And at some point, you want to be left alone. Enough with the poking and the prodding, I want to go home and die in my own bed in the arms of my family.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It is not an easy issue for anyone. Would you ever consider ending your life with a doctor's assistance? Five states and D.C. have legalized it, but supreme court nominee Neil Gorsuch is against it, at least according to his 2016 book, "The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia." In it he makes the case that, quote, all human beings are intrinsically valuable and the intentional taking of a human life by private persons is always wrong.

MATT FAIRCHILD, MELANOMA VICTIM: Basically, I open up the day and start my medicines out there.

GUPTA: Matt Fairchild couldn't disagree more, and he is not thinking about the issue, he is living it. In Matt's case, metastatic melanoma has spread everyone, including his brain.

FAIRCHILD: There's at least three kind of narcotic medications.

GUPTA: Make no mistake, Matt has not given up. In addition to all of these medications he has endured willed 38 rounds of Keytruda, the same drug President Carter credits for his remission of melanoma.

FAIRCHILD: When I went, they didn't find cancer this week.

GUPTA: With matt, it didn't work.

FAIRCHILD: I'm open to miracles and special things and great stuff, but it doesn't mean you expect for anything like that.

GUPTA: Now he wants the ability to end his life peacefully, with dignity on his own terms. Right now, it is mainly making matt as comfortable as possible.

When matt and his wife Ginger first met they never thought about the idea of aid in dying, but the former army soldier has been forced to learn more than he ever imagined. Do you feel like why me, is the sentiment anger?

FAIRCHILD: Never once.

GUPTA: He never, ever did. About the idea of aid in dying, but the former army soldier has been forced to learn more than he ever imagined.

FAIRCHILD: Because there's no -- you know, there's a four-year-old girl with cancer somewhere, she didn't do anything to anybody.

GUPTA: In 2014, Brittney Maynard brought the right-to-die movement back into the country's consciousness.

[15:50:00] BRITTNEY MAYNARD, CANCER VICTIM: I can't tell you the amount of relief it provides me to know that I don't have to die the way that it's been described to me that my brain tumor would take me on its own.

GUPTA: Before Maynard's death the country was almost evenly split as to whether doctors should be legally allowed to assist terminally ill patients with suicide. A few years later, 68% in favor, 28 percent against.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to have passion and make sure people don't suffer but striking the balance with hope.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We talked about, OK, what if that miracle cure is just around the corner, what does it mean? How do we get her to that point? There is also the reality that, well, we have to live in that day.

GUPTA: After a seizure on November 1st, 2014 Brittney decided it would be her last day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Within five minutes of taking that medication Brittney fell asleep, just like I've seen her do 1,000 times before.

GUPTA: Opponents still cry foul, worried that laws like this will inevitably prey on the disabled, the poor, the uninsured, people who will be more likely to choose death rather than pay to fight.

FEINSTEIN: Supposing you cannot handle the pain and you know that it is irreconcilable?

GORSUCH: The position I took in the book on that was anything necessary to alleviate pain would be appropriate and acceptable, even if it caused death, not intentionally but knowingly. I drew a line between intent and knowing. I have been there, I have been there.


BALDWIN: Dr. Sanjay Gupta with me now. This is one of the stories you can't imagine what it would feel like. You really have to be in their shoes. When it comes to the medication, how hard is it to get your hands-on that?

GUPTA: It is not easy. First of all, you have to be an adult, classified as terminal, which is a bit of a loose diagnosis because it means six months or less to live. You don't know for sure. It is not an easy thing. You also have to make two verbal requests of doctors, separated by time with a written request. The thinking is that it should not be an impulsive decision. Finally, you have to be able to take the medication yourself. Nobody else can administer it for you. It has to be a self-administered process because you don't want anybody else involved with that. They don't make it easy. BALDWIN: I can imagine though that sometimes people get the

medication, they feel like it is over here, but they don't always use it.

GUPTA: That --

BALDWIN: Is that the case?

GUPTA: Very much so. I think the numbers would surprise you, Brooke, because Oregon has had the law on the books the longest, 20 years now. Over that time, fewer than 2,000 people have received a written prescription. Of that, about two-thirds actually filled the prescription.

BALDWIN: Interesting.

GUPTA: Of that, only about two-thirds used it. Fewer than 1,000 of it actually carried through. The numbers are bigger or smaller depending on your perspective. Over 20 years fewer than 1,000 people used the Oregon law in terms of aid in dying.

BALDWIN: I'm so glad you highlighted this. I can only imagine within the medical community it is, what, all over the spectrum?

GUPTA: People are really split. It is so divisive. So many doctors say fundamentally I agree but I would never write the prescription.

BALDWIN: Thank you for telling the story. I appreciate it.

Coming up here, more on breaking news today, the fact that President Trump is now discussing options for U.S. military action in Syria in retaliation with this week's chemical attack that killed so many people. The President there on Air Force One, telling reporters, quote, something should happen with Assad.


BALDWIN: Just a 15-minute drive from the monuments stands the Washington National Cathedral, a place of true escape and if you want a little adventure. The National Cathedral looks ancient but it was actually completed in 1990. Charles Fulcher is director of visitor programs at the cathedral which offers behind hall of fame the-scenes tours.


CHARLES FULCHER, DIRECTOR OF VISITOR PROGRAMS, NATIONAL CATHEDRAL: One of the most asked questions people have at the cathedral is how do we get up top.

CHRIS MOODY, CNN DIGITAL CORRESPONDENT: Getting to the top is an adventure in itself. You go up. And up. And up. But the pay-off at the end is worth the effort.

FULCHER: Where we are right now you cannot get higher.

Moody: The artwork of the cathedral is just magnificent. As you go through non-public spaces of the cathedral you will find that the same level of artistry, the same level of detail is found all the way up to the top of the central tower 300 feet above the ground. You will find stone angels carved around, gargoyles, not something you see every day.

FULCHER: To see one of the most popular grotesques, you have to crawl through narrow spaces.

MOODY: This is a tight one.

FULCHER: Yes. There is the most asked for carving in the cathedral.

MOODY: Is that Darth Vader?

FULCHER: It is, Darth Vader himself. Most people think, Europe, that's where I go to see a giant gothic building, but we have a spectacular example of the style of architecture right here.


BALDWIN: Chris Moody, thank you. Thank you for being with me.