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Report: Nikki Haley Says Never Go Rogue on Trump; Ex-NFL Player Hernandez Not Guilty of Double Murder; World Braces for North Korea's Next Move. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired April 14, 2017 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: The daughter of Sikh immigrants from Indian, her father was a professor, her mother a lawyer. But the family suffered constant discrimination.

NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: They had never seen anybody in a turban. They had never seen anybody in a sari. They didn't know who we were or what we were or what we were about. So, growing up you always knew you were different, you felt it.

GANGEL: One such memorable moment when she and her sister were disqualified from the Little Miss Bamberg beauty pageant which crowned one white winner and one black winner. The judges said they were neither.

HALEY: My mom said, well, Nikki's been practicing this song and it was "this land is your land, this land is my land."

GANGEL: There's the irony of the story.

HALEY: It is. My mom said your job is not to show them how you are different. It's to show you how you are similar.

GANGEL: Nikki went on to get her accounting degree at Clemson, married her husband, Michael, who is a captain in the South Carolina Army National Guard and raise two children. Her daughter Rena now a freshman in college and her son Nalin who is 15. Along the way, she credits two women with her interests in politics.

Your role model, you frequently say, is Margaret Thatcher?

HALEY: Yes. If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman. Love that.

GANGEL: But the woman who inspired you to go into politics, to run, was a Democrat.


GANGEL: Named --

HALEY: Hillary Clinton. GANGEL: One day, she went to hear her speak and she said for every

reason people tell you not to do it, that's for every reason that you should.

HALEY: That was it. I was done. I didn't know you weren't supposed to run against a 30-year incumbent in a primary. But ignorance is bliss.

GANGEL: She became the first Indian-American and first woman governor of South Carolina.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, help you god.

HALEY: So help me god.


GANGEL: Overnight she was a rising star in the Republican Party. Thrust on the national stage after the horrific mass shooting at Charleston's Mother Emanuel AME Church.

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Everyone just wanted to hug her. There is this image of Nikki crying.

GANGEL: And then she won praise for her successful campaign to remove the confederate flag from the statehouse.

SELLERS: She did something that many thought was impossible. A female who ran for governor and she beat all of the boys. She's always persevered.

GANGEL: Her star-power and clout was never more apparent than during the Presidential campaign when she endorsed Florida Senator Marco Rubio and many thought this could be the GOP ticket.

Donald Trump did not take it well and he went on twitter. The people of South Carolina are embarrassed by Nikki Haley. And not 20 minutes later you responded, "bless your heart." What does "bless your heart" mean when you're from South Carolina?

HALEY: It's a polite way of saying read between the lines.

GANGEL: Trump didn't hold it against her, naming Haley his U.S. ambassador and it appears he's pleased with her high public profile.

Is there any tension with secretary of state Tillerson? He's been so quiet. He's kept such a low profile. And you've been out there. Any awkwardness?

HALEY: I think it's just the personalities. He's very much an executive. He's thoughtful in his approach and how he moves forward. I'm one that's not afraid to say anything. You know, I'm not easily intimidated so I can go out and say things. I think we actually complement each other very well. GANGEL: It has, however, led to speculation that she might like his

job or higher office.

Everybody I talk to said, does she want to be secretary of state?


GANGEL: Do you want to be senator?


GANGEL: Are you going to run for the white house?


GANGEL: You're not going to run for the white house? Everyone thinks you are.

[15:35:00] HALEY: You know what's amazing, and this has happened my entire work career. Is everyone thinks that I'm ambitious and everybody thinks I'm trying to run for something and everybody thinks I want more. And the truth of it is, I'm just passionate.

GANGEL: But you wouldn't rule out that someday, you might run for the white house?

HALEY: I can't imagine running for the white house.

GANGEL: You really can't?

HALEY: I really can't.


BALDWIN: Jamie Gangel, thank you for that.

Kim Jong-Un, his regime, says President Trump is the most aggressive President ever. Does that change the dictator's plans?

And just in, a verdict involving former Patriots star Aaron Hernandez who is also facing double murder charges. We'll show you his reaction in the courtroom to the verdict moments ago.


[15:40:00] BALDWIN: Breaking news out of Boston. A jury has found former NFL star Aaron Hernandez not guilty of murdering two people. The stunning decision coming just moments ago as a former New England Patriot stood trial for double-murder. Jean Cesarez is working this for us now. We covered the other trial. He has been convicted of murder. This is just entirely separate.

JEAN CESAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Entirely separate. It's a huge victory. I'm not sure it's as much of a victory as Aaron Hernandez as it is for Jose Baez, his attorney. Found not guilty in two counts of murder. He was found guilty of unlawful possession of a firearm. This all stems from even before he was convicted in the murder of Odon Lloyd. It was July 2012 when he was at a nightclub, having a good time. Somebody had drinks, they spilled the drinks on him. He got upset. What prosecutors said was that he then went outside and started firing at a car that had who he believed the people that spilled the drinks on him. Well, two victims did perish at that time.

And a good friend of Aaron Hernandez was with him and that person became the star witness for the prosecution. But then we have another wrinkle, Brooke, because months after that circumstance and that shooting happened, this good friend named Bradley of Aaron Hernandez was in Florida, so was Aaron Hernandez, and Bradley got shot between the eyes allegedly by Aaron Hernandez but he survived and that allowed him to become the star witness in the prosecution's case to describe exactly what happened that night at the nightclub, shooting at the car, five bullets.

The thing is, Jose Baez, the defense attorney, turned around on cross- examination and decimated that witness for the prosecution, that star eyewitness, allegedly, by saying you're a liar, you're paid to get a deal by prosecutors, you're a drug dealer, and the jury obviously did not believe that star witness. Aaron Hernandez found not guilty.

BALDWIN: But still he's in prison for life?

CESAREZ: But he's in prison for life because of the murder of Odon Lloyd.

BALDWIN: Jean, thank you so much.

Let's turn our attention now to North Korea here. Just hours after a threatening a quote, merciless response, North Korea is marking the biggest celebration of the year. This is the birthday of the founder, Kim Jong-Il. And now the world waits to see if Kim Jong-Un will launch a nuclear test. And how will the world respond if he does that. Let's talk about this with director of the Korea Working Group at Harvard, John Park. Nice to see you.


BALDWIN: You have these tweets from the President that have clearly reached North Korea because North Korea acknowledging them and saying that Trump is one of the most aggressive Presidents in history. What do you make of that?

PARK: This is a new dimension happening at a high level. A lot of the different pieces, the deployment of this U.S. aircraft group, the Carl Vinson, as well as the addition of Japanese as well as South Korean naval assets to that, you see the stakes are very high. We're seeing a two-level approach to this unfolding crisis. One is almost an entertainment, kind of bizarre entertainment on Twittersphere and then the military deployments around the area as well.

BALDWIN: Militarily speaking, one response to consider is this pre- emptive strike but do we have enough intelligence to know about where launch pads or stockpiles are even located, their capability? PARK: Sure. With respect to what is anticipated by the community of

North Korea watchers, a sixth nuclear test, the site there is actually regularly surveilled by commercial satellite imaging. You have researchers keeping a regular tab on what is happening there. The latest information is there's a tremendous amount of activity but the site, the location is interesting. Punggyeri, it's very close to the border with China. So, if in fact there is an attempt at a pre- emptive strike, because it's so close to the border with China, it's a whole new dimension when it comes to that kind of proximity.

BALDWIN: And in terms of proximity, those who would be fearing the most is the South Koreans. We are also keeping in mind the Vice President will be in Seoul on Sunday and the Japanese.

[15:45:00] PARK: And the interesting thing there, Brooke, is that everyone has a different threat perception. For South Korea, they have long held the view that the biggest threat to them is long-range artillery. For the Japanese, their concern is this ever-growing capable North Korean ballistic program and for the north it's the ICBM getting closer and closer to the United States. So, you get a sense of how these different threat perceptions make coordination difficult.

BALDWIN: What do you think it would take for Kim Jong-un to want to pull off something that would obviously demand a response?

PARK: It seems that he has been very careful in making sure he's not crossing lines. And so, when it comes to a nuclear detonation, that would be something highly atmosphere, not aimed at any particular country. But I think when you look at the different moves right now, there is something to be said about focusing on his sixth nuclear test because it does lower the threshold in terms of a type of military response. If you imagine a long-range ballistic missile, because of the United States, Japan and South Korea, there could be a possibility to attempt to intercept. But by doing a nuclear test, you're going to see ambassador Haley very busy if we go that route in preparing another U.N. security resolution and sanctions.

BALDWIN: She has been busy. John Park, thank you so much for your time.

PARK: My pleasure.

Coming up next, one former white house staffer says it is the single most high-profile event of the year. The white house Easter egg roll. But by all accounts, the Trump administration has been a tad behind on schedule. A former staffer joins me now to explain what they'll have to do to pull it off.


BALDWIN: It has been called one of the biggest events the white house puts on. It's an event, when the President and first lady are judged when it comes to social gatherings. I'm talking about the Easter egg roll. A 128-year tradition, thousands upon thousands will attend. It's an event, when the President and first lady are judged when it comes to social gatherings. I'm talking about the Easter egg roll. A 128-year tradition, thousands upon thousands will attend and so far, there's been questions about whether the Trump administration is ready for Easter egg roll on Monday.


SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: With respect to the Easter egg roll, it's a huge topic, I appreciate that. I think we're going to have an "egg-sellent" time. You can't ask the question and not get the answer.


BALDWIN: I can tell you that the first lady just tweeted this. Saying looking forward to hosting the annual Easter egg roll at the white house on Monday. With me now, a woman who knows a thing or two about these Easter eggs, Melinda Bates, the former director of the white house under former President Clinton. She's organized eight Easter egg rolls. It's great to have you on, Melinda, and I read something to the effect you said if you can pull off a white house Easter egg roll, you can pull off anything. Why is this -- why is this so -- so complicated and sophisticated?

MELINDA BATES, FORMER DIRECTOR OF THE WHITE HOUSE UNDER PRESIDENT CLINTON: It's complicated for two reasons. One is because of its size and the other is because of the complexity of all the different things that have to go on the lawn at the same time, but let's talk for a minute about the size. We always had 30,000 people or more during the Clinton years. The Obamas had 37,000 people last year. You know what. It takes a lot of careful planning and logistics to move 30,000, 37,000 people on to the lawn and around the lawn and then hopefully in an orderly way off of the lawn. That all requires a tremendous amount of organization. I have seen no indication that the Trump administration has prepared for that.

BALDWIN: I've had conversations on this show, no offense to Easter eggs, but much, much bigger issues, you know, facing this white house and with regard to not filling key agency positions, deputy positions, but that even trickles down to this huge event upcoming on Monday, right? Mean, it's my understanding their organizations were normally dealt with early on who have yet to hear from the white house. What do you know about that?

BATES: Well, they have not filled the job that I held, director of the white house visitor's office. That's the lead person on this event. They have a social security. I assume that she's taken over the planning for this and that's great, but it takes an enormous number of people. I had a staff of seven and countless volunteers and interns and we could never have done everything we need to do without them this. White house doesn't appear to be set up that way.

BALDWIN: If they called on you to help, would you?

BATES: I don't know. There's a thousand things that I loved about the white house that I would do in a heartbeat. Probably not this. This one is really difficult, exhausting, and really make or break you. It's pretty tough, and this is for Mrs. Trump. There's always interest, especially in the first one of any administration, but there's a real heightened sense of interest for this one because Mrs. Trump is an absent first lady. She's not present in the white house. She's not present in Washington, and so people are exceptionally interested in knowing what is her style and taste. How has she decided this event should look and who should be invited to participate? And frankly it's her staff that she has chosen competent to pull it off?

BALDWIN: This is a huge first test, social test for the first family.

BATES: Absolutely.

BALDWIN: What are other comparable social events that you're looking out for?

BATES: Oh, there's nothing comparable to this. It's the single largest event that takes place at the white house every year and that quote about if you can pull off an egg roll you can do anything. It's not actually from me. It's from a person in the George Bush administration telling the Clinton transition people keep your eyes open and look out because this is the hardest thing there is at the white house, really tough.

BALDWIN: I'll take your word for it. Before I let you go, can you tell me a good Clinton egg roll story.

[15:55:00] BATES: My favorite one, the last one, 2000, we had an opportunity to have Robert De Niro come and read a children's book to the little kids on the lawn.


BATES: So just try to imagine standing there, a low stage, Robert De Niro is reading a children's story. All the little children are sitting on the grass and the parents behind, and that was absolutely just an amazing experience, my favorite.

BALDWIN: Melinda Bates, we'll watch and see how it goes on Monday. Thank you so much.

BATES: Thanks for having me.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

Coming up next, the Trump administration announcing it will keep its log of white house visitors private. This is a change of course from the Obama years. We'll discuss why that is coming up.


BALDWIN: Need to quickly clarify something. My last guest just mentioned that the white house has not filled the post of director of the white house visitors office. In fact, we're just now told by the white house that they have indeed filled that position. So, important note there. There you go. Meantime, it has been ten years since we started CNN Heroes, ten years. We're proud that many schools incorporated the program in their curriculum including this fifth- grade teacher.


BRIAN O'CONNOR, TEACHER, SEVEN BRIDGES MIDDLE SCHOOL: Throughout the school year we'll set up various skype calls with various heroes.

They are a celebrity to my kids and as they should be. The kids come up with amazing questions.

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT: How long did it take you?

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT: How is it different?

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT: Did you ever feel.

O'CONNOR: When I see how excited that fifth grader is it makes me realize we're doing something right in here.