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Different Message From White House On Syrian Missile Strike; Coalition Base Attacked By Isis; Fox News Host Bill O'Reilly Accused Of Sexual Harassment; Neil Gorsuch To Be Sworn In On Monday; Another Man Arrested Regarding Stockholm Truck Attack; Manhunt For A Heavily Armed Man In Wisconsin; America's Top Two Diplomats Are Using Very Different Language On The Syrian Regime; U.S. Mounts A Show Of Force Sending Warships Toward The Korean Peninsula; Isis Claiming Responsibility For Two Church Bombings In Egypt; Huge Crowd Marching For Immigration Reform In The Streets Of Dallas. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired April 9, 2017 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:00:19] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Happening right now in the NEWSROOM.
ISIS claiming responsibility for two church bombings in Egypt killing more than 40 people. Thousands of worshippers gathered to mark Palm Sunday today.
Meanwhile, the U.S. mounts a show of force sending warships toward the Korean peninsula in response to North Korea's latest missile test just days ago. All of this unfolding as U.S. secretary of state Rex Tillerson travels to Moscow this week amid mixed signals from the White House over the U.S. policy on Syria in the aftermath of that deadly chemical attack.
Hello, everyone, and welcome. I'm Fredricka Whitfield in New York. This is the CNN NEWSROOM.
We start with North Korea where the U.S. is sending a Navy strike group towards the Korean peninsula in response to North Korea's latest missile test. I want to bring in CNN Pentagon reporter Ryan Browne.
Ryan, these ships were scheduled to head to Australia before they were redirected. What more can you tell us about this?
RYAN BROWNE, CNN PENTAGON REPORTER: That's right, Fred. These ships are being sent -- one U.S. administration officials says as a result of North Korea's provocation, specifically those missile tests you mentioned. Now, it is being led by the "USS Carl Vinson," an aircraft carrier. But importantly also include two (INAUDIBLE) destroyers that have missile defense capabilities so they can shoot down any potentially threatening missiles from Pyongyang, if need be. Now, this comes - this move was called prudent by national security advisor lieutenant general H.R. McMaster in an interview today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LT. GEN. H.R. MCMASTER, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: Well, it's prudent to do it, isn't it? I mean, North Korea has been engaged in a pattern of provocative behavior. This is a rogue regime that is now a nuclear-capable regime. And president Xi and President Trump agreed that that is unacceptable. That what must happen is the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. And so the President has asked us to be prepared to give him a full range of options to remove that threat to the American people at to our allies and partners in the region.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWNE: Now this comes days after the president met with his Chinese counterpart, President Xi, where they talked about North Korea. And of course, while the military is producing options for the president, senior military officials have said publicly that they don't envision a solution to the North Korean challenge without China's cooperation -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: And Ryan, it was just last week President Trump warned China that if it won't help on the issue of North Korea, then the U.S. was prepared to go it alone. Is he seen as backing up that statement immediately following meetings with China's president?
BROWNE: Well, it definitely appears to be a signal very much that the U.S. is prepared to act. Of course, China is no fan of some of the military presence the U.S. has in South Korea. In fact, they have asked that the U.S. kind of ratchet it down in an attempt to maybe get North Korea to abandon its nuclear program.
The U.S. has done this before. They flown bombers over the Korean peninsula in the wake of some North Korean provocations with its missile or nuclear program. So it is definitely something they have done before. But hard to not see this as a signal coming so soon after that meeting with his Chinese counterpart.
WHITFIELD: Right. All right, Ryan Browne, thank you so much in D.C.
Another story we are following, the deadly bombings in Egypt. And we want to warn you, the images that we are about to show you are very disturbing. The first attack ripping through a church north of Tanta, north of Cairo. Video captured the very moment the blast hit.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
WHITFIELD: That attack killing more than two dozen people, injuring more than 75 others. And then just hours later, a second attack. A bomber tries to enter a church in Alexandria but is told to go through a metal detector. As he does, he detonates his bomb killing over a dozen people there.
CNN international correspondent Ian Lee is in Egypt and making his way to that site of the first blast. He is joining us on the phone right now.
So, Ian, the president there declaring a three-month state of emergency. What does that mean for everyone there?
IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on the phone): That's right. That just shows how serious he is taking this situation. That gives the police, the army, extra powers to make arrests, to search people, and also to detain people for an extended period of time. It is not unusual that it would come after an attack of this magnitude where you have dozens of people killed in two different terrorist attacks, as well as ISIS claiming that this is just the beginning.
The president also saying that those who carried out this, who helped carry out this attack -- remember that first one appears to be a package or some explosive device that was left behind. So he is vowing that those people will be hunted down and they will be brought to justice.
But he is also calling for calm and unity right now. These sorts of incidents can, at times, be a sort of division as emotions are raw. He is calling for calm and unity and for people to be alert.
[16:05:33] WHITFIELD: Ian Lee, thank you so much.
All right. President Trump condemning those attacks. He will be leaving Florida soon to head back to the White House after spending the weekend at Mar-a-Lago.
CNN's Athena Jones is there in Florida. There you see air force one on the tarmac there.
So Athena, what more is Trump, you know, saying about what's transpired in Egypt and so many really large items of global importance on the map this week alone.
ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Fred. So much has happened just in the last few days. The president took to twitter a few hours ago to say so sad to hear of the terrorist attack in Egypt. U.S. strongly condemns. I have great confidence that president al-Sisi will handle situation properly.
And we know now that al-Sisi has announced there will be a three-month state of emergency in Egypt. It is hard to believe that it was less than a week ago on Monday that President Trump welcomed the Egyptian president, al-Sisi, to the White House warmly. It was the first visit by an Egyptian leader in seven years. And that's partly because the Obama administration was critical of al-Sisi's human rights record. President Trump hasn't said and focusing on the need to continue to have a strong partnership between the U.S. and Egypt to fight terrorism. And these attacks, these latest attacks in Egypt highlight the reason behind that focus -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: And so, when it comes to the chemical weapons attacks in Syria, you know, and what happens next in terms of the international community and particularly the U.S., where does Trump stand on whether going it alone will be part of the plan, or whether it is incorporating the international community?
JONES: Right. Well, that's really the big question. What will happen next in Syria? What will the Syrians do? What might the Russians do? And also does the White House have a coherent political strategy when it comes to dealing with the Syrian conflict, defeating ISIS and what to do with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, what is the priority going forward?
We are hearing a slightly different focus from different officials. U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley focusing more on the idea of getting rid of Assad. Meanwhile, secretary of state Rex Tillerson is talking more about the need to remember the lessons of regime change approaches in the past, particularly in Libya. Take a listen to what both of them had to say on the Sunday shows this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Ten days ago you said that getting Assad out of Syria would no longer be a priority for the United States. Obviously since then was the chemical weapons attack. But I'm trying to figure out, is regime change in Syria now the official policy of the United States?
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UNITED NATIONS: So there's multiple priorities. It's getting Assad out is not the only priority. And so what we are trying to do is obviously defeat ISIS. There is not any sort of option where a political solution is going to happen with Assad at the head of the regime.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So it sounds like what you are saying right now, there is no real change the United States military stands toward Syria from what it was last week.
REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: That's correct, George. This strike, I think the president was very clear in his message to the American people that this strike was related solely to the most recent, horrific use of chemical weapons against women, children, and as the president said, even small babies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: And so the upshot here seems to be that both remain a priority. That's part of the argument, national security advisor H.R. McMaster made today on FOX News Sunday, the idea of defeating ISIS and also reaching a political solution to the Syrian crisis. The U.S. does not envision Syrian president Bashar al-Assad remaining at the top of the government with that political solution -- Fred
WHITFIELD: All right, Athena Jones, thank you so much in Palm Beach, Florida.
All right. Straight ahead, the president's stance has always been America first. But do his actions in Syria say something else? We'll discuss.
Plus, happening now in the streets of Dallas, a huge crowd marching for immigration reform. We will take you there right after this.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [16:13:49] WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. Happening right now in Dallas, a major crowd marching for immigration reform. Take a look.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING) WHITFIELD: The streets of Dallas, as it is happening right now, live pictures right now. Crowd is rallying against what they call discrimination of minorities and aggressive deportations.
CNN's Ed Lavandera joining us live from the march now.
So, Ed, what is happening? How large is this crowd growing?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fredricka. Well, that march has made its way from the cathedral area of downtown Dallas, if you are familiar with the city, several miles here to the front steps of city hall.
Speakers are now taking to the stage. But this is a march that definitely grew in size very quickly here this afternoon. It had been organized and advertised for several days leading up to today, but the turnout of rather intense. You know, back in 2006, the organizers of what has been billed today as mega march 2007 held a similar rally back in 2016. Several hundred thousand people turned out back then.
This march is I don't think has reach those levels. But there is definitely thousands of people out here in the street marching for immigration reform -- Fredricka.
[16:15:07] WHITFIELD: All right. Ed Lavendera, keep us post there had as the crowd size grows there in downtown Dallas.
All right. President Trump captured the nation's attention with his America first stance on the presidential campaign trail. Well, now it seems that making that vision a reality may prove to be a bit of a challenge. This morning general David Petraeus, who was under consideration to replace Michael Flynn as national security advisor, said Trump's strike in Syria might require the U.S. to take a more assertive role abroad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS, FORMER DIRECTOR, CIA: So there's a lot off complexity to this particular issue. But to come back to it, I think the strike does send a message, but only if there is continued thoughtful assertive leadership by the United States which then leads us to believe that America first can still mean that America leads the rules-based international order.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. I want to bring in my panel to discuss all of this. CNN political commentator and Republican strategist Alice Stewart. CNN political analyst and senior congressional correspondent for the "Washington Examiner," David Drucker, and Michael Allen is a former majority staff director for the house intelligence committee. Good to see all of you.
All right. So Alice, you first. You know, will it be harder for the president to maintain this America-first mantra?
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think this is a first step in executing what he promised the American people when he ran for president. Let's go back to when he gave his America first speech in April of last year. One of the key components of that was his message that the world is more peaceful and prosperous when America is strongest. And also he pointed out that friends and allies are beginning to think they can't depend on America. What he did --
WHITFIELD: But he also said he didn't want to be the police of the world. But -- or the president of the world but the president of the United States.
STEWART: That's true. And what he did right now is he showed that America is strong and America is best when America is strongest. And we can achieve peace through strength and he showed that he is strong. This sent a clear message not just to Assad, but it also sent a clear message to Russia, as well as to China and to North Korea that America will take action if necessary, especially if he believes, as he did in this case, that it is in America's vital national security interest and he is not afraid to go it alone. But I can assure you after this, all indications are we won't be going it alone. More people will want to join forces now that we have a president that doesn't erase red lines but rather enforces them.
WHITFIELD: Michael, do you agree with that? That more international allies would be willing to join particularly in light of what actions he's recently taken?
MICHAEL ALLEN, FORMER MAJORITY STAFF DIRECTOR, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I think so. Look, I think most of the world supported what President Trump did this week. But I still think it is too early to say that he certainly made an intellectual transformation into more of a classic, traditional conservative activist foreign policy. I think that's still why you see Tillerson today saying, listen, we did do a strike this week but we see a world where Assad will remain in power for the foreseeable future.
But I think the thing to look for is that world events have a way of intervening and forcing presidents to become more interventionist. And so, I think what you saw this week were the inklings of a president who will likely be forced in that direction.
WHITFIELD: So lawmakers have been very outspoken with their views on Trump's Syria strike. Listen to what Republican senator Lindsey Graham said just this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: What comes next? I'm glad Trump did this. He is no longer Obama in the eyes of our enemies, but he needs to do more to close the deal. There is a new sheriff in town.
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST, MEET THE PRESS: Is there -- do you think there is a moral difference between the use of chemical weapons and barrel bombs?
GRAHAM: No. There is a legal difference, not a moral difference. If you're a mother, your baby is dead. But we do have treaties that we have signed all over the world saying we are not going to let one nation use weapons of mass destruction. That's what the chemical weapons treaty is all about.
But I will say this. If you kill babies with conventional bombs, it is still a moral outrage. Here is what I think Assad's telling Trump by flying from this space, F-U. And I think he is making a serious mistake. Because if you are an adversary of the United States and you don't worry about what Trump may do on any given day, then you're crazy.
TODD: Wow. I have to say, you used the initials, but I think that's a first for "Meet the Press," Senator Graham.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: OK, so, David, Lindsey Graham never minces words. But, you know, your thoughts on that. You know, did President Trump change perhaps a global view of him because of what he has done?
DAVID DRUCKER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Look. I think Michael is on to something in that we really don't know if the president has transformed himself from a sort of quasi isolationist America-first foreign policy president to a more traditional Reaganite Republican foreign policy president. We are going to have to see how he handles the Middle East and Asia, et cetera, going forward.
What I can tell you is that Republicans on the hill, including Lindsey Graham that I spoke to on Friday, felt very reassured that the Syria action means that Trump is abandoning a lot of what he campaigned on from a foreign policy perspective. They really appreciated the fact that he took a leadership role in the Middle East for the United States, and that he put Russia on notice that if they were going to be complicit with Bashar al-Assad and his use of chemical weapons, there were going to be consequences.
One of the things that a lot of lawmakers were really concerned about with Trump was that even though he talks tough, and in that regard is much different than President Obama, that he was really going to continue pulling back of the U.S. from the world and from a leadership role. But when you look at what he said in his statement to the American people the other night announcing these strikes, he didn't just couch it in America's interests. He couched it as America leading what is in the best interests of the west and in the best interests of the world. And I think that's what is so curious about this and what has made a lot of Republicans, and even some Democrats, that were concerned about the president's foreign policy feel a lot better about things, at least for now.
[16:21:22] WHITFIELD: And still unclear is what's next. We know that Nikki Haley said there is more to come. Those were her thoughts immediately following those U.S. airstrikes.
But Alice Stewart, this -- these strikes came without authorization, you know, from Congress. The president didn't go to them. There are some members of Congress who are critical of that and saying, if there is something next, that they need to be consulted and this is also a lesson perhaps to President Trump how important it is to rely upon the intelligence community, which that relationship has been on the rocks as of late. So is it your view, or do you believe, that this president would be going to Congress in indeed there would be yet more military action?
STEWART: I would certainly like to think so. And to follow up to David's point, look, what we are seeing now is someone who campaigned on more of an isolationist viewpoint. But as situations on the ground change, policies and actions certainly change as well.
I know for one, my former boss, Ted Cruz, had concerns about the fact that the president took it upon himself to intervene here without approval from Congress. But based on what we're hearing and based on what we are -- the information we are getting out of McMaster and certain others, this was a situation where we had to act swiftly and we had to act boldly. And the president and his military officials believed that it was in America's vital national interest to take this action and he did and he did it quickly.
As far as moving forward, given that a lot of the concerns we have heard from members of Congress, I would like to think he would go before Congress and seek their approval, because this -- it appears might just be a one-off but the next step certainly will not be and we need to be careful about getting involved in something that may be much more long term.
WHITFIELD: And Michael?
ALLEN: Yes. I think what we need to look for this week is what secretary Tillerson says in Moscow. I think his aim is to sort of try and embarrass Russia for their support, and indeed perhaps their complicit in this heinous attack. I think he wants to try and drive a wedge between Assad and Moscow and say to Russia, hey, listen, we know you are a player here. Let's start to talk about how we end the civil war.
But this was a good first step. I mean, the big problem with Obama is he wasn't willing to sort of put force on the table to enable diplomacy. And that's what the president has begun to do this week. Lindsey Graham and them are trying to sort of say, please do more of that, you are going to have to do more of that. They are trying to goad him a little bit. But let's see how things going with the Russians this week, whether they double down or whether we can begin to get them into a better place.
WHITFIELD: Yes, a very pivotal -- potentially pivotal week ahead. Thanks so much, Alice Stewart, David Drucker, Michael Allen.
Appreciate all of you.
STEWART: Thanks, Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Coming up next, they are on the same team, but are Nikki Haley and Rex Tillerson on the same page whether it comes to Syria? The mixed message coming out of the White House.
[16:28:30] WHITFIELD: In the aftermath of last week's U.S. missile strikes on a Syrian airbase, America's top two diplomats are using very different language on the Syrian regime. Its Russian protectors and what the U.S. should do next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: George, I'm not seeing any hard evidence that connects the Russians directly to the planning or execution of this particular chemical weapons attack. Indeed that's why we have tried to be very clear that the Russians were never targeted in this strike.
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UNITED NATIONS: They now have to answer for this. How can they in a straight face cover for Assad? Because if they are covering for Assad, then what are they really saying? They are saying by covering for Assad that they knew that it was in there or they were incompetent by having chemical weapons there in the first place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: I'm joined now by former U.S. ambassador to Israel and Syria and current head of the Baker Institute at Rice University, Edward Djerejian.
Good to see you. So how does this messaging sound to you? Does it sound like there is real cohesion or is it still a plan in flux?
EDWARD DJEREJIAN, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO ISRAEL AND SYRIA: Well, the overarching cohesion I detect in the statements from both the secretary of state and our permanent rep to the U.N. is that they are certainly following President Trump's basic foreign policy dictum that the United States is not going to get involved in nation building anymore, as we have seen the painful experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq. So I think there's cohesion in their separate remarks in that respect.
[16:30:05] But I think the confusion I believe comes as to whether or not our taking military action, albeit very focused on this one air strip based on this one horrible incident of the use of chemical weapons, that is it a step toward the regime change and I've noticed that several of your guests have been debating that. And I don't think the issue or the policy is regime change.
WHITFIELD: Should it be?
DJERIJIAN: Well, let me put it this way. I think there is a basic consensus that, as long as Bashar al-Assad is president of Syria, that the country is not really going to be able to come together and any political transition at the end of the day would most likely have to involve his stepping aside. The whole question is do you put regime change --
WHITFIELD: Which he's not going to do. Correct?
DJERIJIAN: -- which he's not going to do unless -- unless the stakes become too high for him especially the political and military stakes on the ground where he no longer has the perception that he can win this by continuing his military actions and his really major targeting of civilians.
WHITFIELD: So is a military solution the answer or is it strictly going to be a political intervention that will lead to peace in Syria -- it would seem they have to ultimately lead to removal of Assad because no one believes that if he were to stay in power and then suddenly, you know, it would become a peaceful nation again.
DJERIJIAN: There is no sole military solution to the horrible civil war in Syria. I think everybody accepts that. There has to be at the end of the day a political solution. But what I'm suggesting is that unless the political and military facts on the ground are altered to the extent whereby Assad's regime no longer calculates that it can win militarily, that it can prevail, unless the stakes are heightened against that perception on his part, I think we're not going to get anywhere in these political discussions in the so-called eneva process.
WHITFIELD: Does Russia have to be part of any kind of diplomatic or political solution search in this equation on the international stage?
DJERIJIAN: Absolutely. In fact, I think the U.S.-Russian relationship is the real focal point, not only for Syria but for so many other issues as you well know that are on the agenda. Secretary Tillerson's visit to Moscow before our military action in Syria was already heavy- laden with issues, including Crimea, Ukraine, all different types of issues on the agenda, the hacking of American elections, et cetera.
But now with this issue also on the table, I think, frankly, my own judgment is that Tillerson goes to Moscow more emboldened because the Russian president, Putin, who makes the decisions, now sees that this administration does take, will take, military actions when it thinks certain lines have been crossed.
My own view on this is that the message administration is sending out not only to Russia and Bashar al-Assad and the Iranian, but also to North Korea, is that America's strategic restraints has its limits.
WHITFIELD: And is it your view that Russia can be counted on as playing a significant role in helping to broker some sort of deal, that it can -- that there can be faith that Russia's intentions would be good? DJERIJIAN: I believe so. I think Russia is a key element because,
especially ever since 2015 Fredricka, Russia has established an important presence in Syria, a political and military presence. There are historic antecedents to all of this, but it is a major player in Syria and therefore it will have a major voice in the future solution of Syria.
So I think the U.S.-Russian relationship has to be put on a much better footing so that the United States and Russia can address these issues along with the other issues on their agenda. But having said that, let's not forget the big role that Iran plays in Syria, and that also has to be addressed.
[16:35:00] WHITFIELD: Alright, Ambassador Edward Djerejian, thank you so much. I appreciate your time as we watch Air Force One taxiing there in Palm Beach as the president makes his way back to Washington for a very busy week, particularly on the global stage.
Alright, and this break being news in to CNN now, ISIS launching a complex attack on a base used by western forces happening in southern Syria. Americans were on that base, along the Syrian/Jordanian border when ISIS attacked with vehicles loaded with explosives and fighters wearing suicide vests. We're joined now by CNN Pentagon correspondent Ryan Brown. Ryan, was this attack thwarted?
RYAN BROWN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Fredricka. This attack was repelled by the combined coalition-supported rebel force that was using that base. Now, it was a very intense attack, as you described, using vehicle-born IEDs, suicide vests. In fact, the coalition forces there had to call in a series of air strikes against the ISIS fighters to destroy their vehicles and to eliminate some of that attacking force.
So you know, we don't hear much about the coalition train and advise program in southern Syria. Usually it is focused more towards the north near Raqqa, ISIS capital and the U.S. forces there. But this force has been there for some time aiding rebel groups, helping to stabilize that southern border with Jordan, a key U.S. ally. So we don't hear much about it, so it is a bit of a surprise I think to hear that ISIS is making this kind of aggressive push against this installation.
WHITFIELD: And of course possible retaliation for what just happened a couple of days ago with the U.S. air strikes there in Syria. Alright, Ryan Brown, thank you so much. And we'll be right back.
[16:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WHITFIELD: Twenty-first Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News, will open an investigation into sexual harassment claims against host Bill O'Reilly. It's according to attorney Lisa Bloom representing one of his accusers. Bloom's clients, Wendy Walsh, filed a complaint against the Fox host. Walsh says O'Reilly broke a promise to get her a job at Fox News because she rejected his advances. Here's what Walsh's attorney said this morning on CNN's reliable sources.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LISA BLOOM, ATTORNEY FOR WENDY WALSH: On Friday, we received a return phone call from a couple of attorneys who represent Fox News and they said that they are indeed going to do an investigation based on Wendy's complaint. I told them we really appreciate that and let's get going as soon as possible. And so I am told that they are taking it seriously and they are going to do the investigation that's legally required of them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Alright, this is just one of many harassment claims coming to light against O'Reilly.
And after a nasty Senate confirmation battle over his nomination, Neil Gorsuch is set to join the Supreme Court in less than 24 hours. President Trump tweeting out this weekend, "Judge Gorsuch will be sworn in at the Rose Garden of the White House on Monday at 11:00 a.m. He will be a great justice. Very proud of him."
That's from the president tweeting. Well the court has been at eight justices since Justice Antonin Scalia died last February. That Gorsuch is expected to keep the court leaning conservative. I want to bring in Barbara Smith. She is a former clerk to Justice Samuel Alito and an attorney at Brian Cave. Good to see you. So what's the immediate impact of Neil Gorsuch now soon to be sworn in as the ninth justice?
BARBARA SMITH, FORMER LAW CLERK FOR JUSTICE SAMUEL ALITO: Well, Justice Gorsuch will take the bench and have a whole stack of decision he'll need to make on day one. There are merits cases that the vote may currently be 4-4 and how he votes on the case could determine the outcome. There will be a stack of petitions for (INAUDIBLE). Those are decisions whether to grant cases for the court to hear and if he votes to grant, the case will be granted and if not it will be denied and that's an incredible amount of power to have on day one when you're facing down a lifetime appointment so, he has a lot to do.
WHITFIELD: It is indeed. And so you've clerked for Justice Alito. In what way do you believe the high court shapes the justice particularly when you are new to the bench or how much shaping a new justice imposes on the high court?
SMITH: Well, one of the things that I personally love about the Supreme Court is that justices will serve for decades sometimes with the same colleagues, and the work that they do is very confidential, obviously doesn't leave the building and there are really tough legal decisions. And so one of the best things about the Supreme Court in my mind is that you can have justices that vehemently disagree on outcomes but are still quite close personal friends.
And at the end of the day I think that's a really good thing for the Supreme Court. They say steel sharpens steel and I certainly think that's the case when it comes to the high court. If you have someone like Justice Gorsuch who has a particular opinion about how a case should come out and maybe a different justice is on the other side of that and they're really able to, you know, go to blows legally behind the scenes and still maintain really close personal relationships.
WHITFIELD: So, is it your feeling that while there may be many during that Senate confirmation hearings on both sides that feel like they know Judge Gorsuch because of his record and his decisions that perhaps once you get on the high court, you might read and compare cases and legal documents and apply the law differently when on the high court?
SMITH: Well, I really take then Judge Gorsuch at his word when he repeatedly testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that, you know, he has a particular way of deciding cases. He is an originalist and textualist and that means that whatever the subject matter of the controversy that comes before him, he will read the text of the statute or the text of the constitutional provision and neutrally apply the law to the facts of the case.
So, his personal policy preferences shouldn't come in to deciding cases. And if he sticks with that particular judicial philosophy then for the next several decades when he's on the bench, they won't.
[16:40:07] WHITFIELD: And with your experience working with Justice Alito, do you see whether or not this, you know, fraternity of justices, you know, on the high court will, you know, take in now Justice Gorsuch kind of, you know, show him the ropes, you know, take him under their wings or do you arrive, you know, as a fairly independent newcomer and you just got to figure it out on your own?
SMITTH: Well, of course Justice Gorsuch won't be new to the Supreme Court. He was a former law clerk himself to Justice Kennedy so he certainly knows his way around the building. He knows, you know, how the court works behind the scenes. He's been behind the curtain himself. I'm not sure he'll need a whole lot of schooling on day one, but that said, you know, he had a great reputation on the Tenth Circuit of getting along with all of his colleagues and I expect that that will continue when he's on the high court.
WHITFIELD: Yes, well, it's a new job, you know, totally different responsibilities.
SMITH: It certainly is.
WHITFIELD: Alright, Barbara Smith, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
SMITH: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: Alright, new details on a deadly attack in Sweden. Police have arrested a second man now in connection to Friday's incident in Stockholm. A truck with undetonated explosives rammed a crowd and struck a department store killing two Swedes, one Belgian and a British person. Police say the first man taken into custody is from Uzbekistan and matched the description as seen in this photograph. They also say that he had shown an interest in extremist groups including ISIS and has been refused residency and was being sought for deportation.
Alright, coming up next, a major manhunt under way in Wisconsin for a man that police say stole multiple weapons, possibly set his car on fire, and then ran. All of this after sending an eerie message to President Trump. We'll tell you what was said.
[16:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WHITFIELD: This week CNN Heroes is opening up a whole new world for children with hearing loss. Michelle Christie saw low-income kids struggling to keep up and that's when she opened a special place for them to grow, and a theater.
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MICHELLE CHRISTIE, CNN HERO: A child with a hearing loss can achieve anything, but unfortunately, some fall through the cracks. Sometimes these kids are bullied and a lot of people in their life tell them that they can't do things. Their parents are often told that their child's never going to learn to speak, which is not true.
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WHITFIELD: Go to cnnheroes.com for the full story. You can also nominate someone who you think could be a CNN Hero on our website. Fill out the form. We'll be right back.
And actually, we have some breaking news right now into CNN. ISIS launching a complex attack on a base in southern Syria. Americans were on this base along the Syrian/Jordanian border when ISIS attacked using vehicles loaded with explosives and fighters wearing suicide vests. Ground forces were able to repel ISIS fighters until coalition forces could launch air strikes against them. So there are no reports of any coalition deaths.
And, happening right now in Dallas, major crowds marching for immigration reform. A live look right now at city hall in downtown Dallas where people are congregating. The crowd is rallying against what they call discrimination of minorities and aggressive deportations. We'll continue to keep a close watch on this march. And now this gathering in downtown Dallas.
And now to this -- the search is on for a heavily armed Wisconsin man. Officials say he stole multiple weapons from a gun shop before disappearing, and he also had an eerie message for President Donald Trump. CNN's Rachel Crane joining us live with the latest.
RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Authorities say they've received over 300 tips regarding the search for Joseph Jakubowski. Also, more than 150 local, state and federal officials are working around the clock to try to find him.
The manhunt is on in Wisconsin for this suspected burglar who police say mailed a 161-page manifesto to President Donald Trump last week.
JOSEPH JAKUBOWSKI, SUSPECT: Revolution. It is time for change.
CRANE: Authorities released this video of 32-year-old Joseph Jakubowski mailing an envelope. Investigators say it contains his manifesto filled were anti- religious views as well as grievance against the government.
ROBERT SPODEN, SHERIFF, ROCK COUNTY, WISCONSIN: It's really a long laundry list of injustices that he believes the government and society and the upper class have put forward unto the rest of the citizens.
CRANE: Schools and churches are on alert after Jakubowski followed through with one of the threats in his manifesto, to steal weapons and use them against public officials or schools. Last Tuesday, he allegedly robbed a gun shop where authorities say a large quantity of high-end handguns were stolen. Thirty minutes after the robbery, police found Jakubowski's car on fire nearby with evidence of arson.
SPODEN: Please do not approach him. We consider him armed and highly dangerous.
CRANE: Authorities beefed up patrols at churches and places of worship and shut down the Janesville school district on Friday as precaution. The FBI is offering a $10,000 cash reward for any information leading to his arrest.
This is not Jakubowski's first run-in with the law. In fact, he has a lengthy criminal record dating back to 2001 that includes some violent offenses. In 2008 he tried to disarm an officer. He pled guilty to that.
[16:55:00] Now, officials are urging anybody with any information in regards to this case to please come forward. Rachel Crane, CNN, New York.
WHITFIELD: Alright, thank you so much Racehel and thank you so much for joining us this weekend from New York. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Much more in the "Newsroom" continues right after the.
ANA CABRERA, CNN NEWSROOM SHOW HOST: You are live in the "CNN Newsroom." I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thanks for being with me.
The Trump administration continuing to wade into a very dangerous world. Just days after launching missile strikes on a Syrian airbase, mixed messages now coming from the White House as far as what comes next. First, listen to what Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. said on CNN today about whether Syrian president Bashar al-Assad can stay in power.
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NIKKI HALE, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N: There is not any sort of option where a political solution is going to happen with Assad at the head of the regime.
[17:00:00] If you look at his actions, if you look at the situation, it is going to be hard to see a government that's peaceful and stable with Assad.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CABRERAL: You heard her. There can be no political solution if Assad stays in power. But now, listen to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson --