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President Trump's Military Strategy; CIA Director on WikiLeaks; North Korea Threat. Easter Egg Roll At White House; Poster Child For Travelers. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired April 14, 2017 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Throughout the campaign he would take on ISIS. That's true. He distinctly said he would not take on Bashar al Assad, and that is something he has done in ten days. In that sense, where does that fit into the strategy here? Because during the campaign he basically intimated that it would be counterproductive?

RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I agree with that. And I would make the argument that the - the attack on the - on the Syrian air base was less about getting involved in Syria, and more about maintaining international norms when it comes to the - the - not to use chemical weapons. So I think he - you know, whether it was Nikki Haley or the Defense Department, whoever it was, coming to him and saying, Mr. President, we've got to keep, you know, redraw this red line. President Obama said he was going to maintain international norms and didn't. We have to re-establish ourselves that we are going to - we are going to make sure that we are not going to allow these weapons to be used under our watch and that we are going to maintain these norms. And, again, I think it was less about engagement in Syria and more about the role of the United States in maintaining that international leadership.

BERMAN: Congressman Israel, do you think that President Trump needs to come out and talk to the American people about what his long-term plans are in Syria certainly, again, where we're seeing something very different than what he campaigned on, and around the world in general?

STEVE ISRAEL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Critically necessary because his policies are so improvisational. Look, a military strategy, John, you know, is based on foreign policy objectives. Foreign policy objectives need to be clear, they need to be consistent, they need to be coherent. The foreign policy objectives of this administration have changed dramatically. In fairness, presidents grow into the job. There's a different between being a candidate for president and being president. This president has not evolved. I mean you need a neck brace to watch how his policies have been so erratic.

We have gone from coddling Russia to condemning them, from condemning China to coddling them, saying NATO is obsolete to cheerleading for them and it continues on virtually -in virtually every area of the world. That is why we need a policy, a foreign policy, that is clear, it is dependable, doesn't leave people guessing and, to your point, the president of the United States owes the American people a vision of what that foreign policy is, and then implement it in a consistent and sustained way.

BERMAN: So one shift that we saw overnight on a totally different subject was on the administration posture towards WikiLeaks, because candidate Donald Trump, he loved WikiLeaks. How do we know? Because he told us that. But overnight, the CIA director, Mike Pompeo, very, very critical. Listen to the contrast here.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now this just came out. This just came out. WikiLeaks. I love WikiLeaks!

By the way, did you see another one? Another one came in today. This WikiLeaks is like a treasure-trove.

MIKE POMPEO, CIA DIRECTOR: It's time to call out WikiLeaks for what is really is, a non-state hostile intelligence service, often abetted by state actors like Russia.


BERMAN: You know, Senator Santorum, you know, since I know you and I know about your deep commitment to national security, I imagine you side with the CIA director, Mike Pompeo, here. Not by the way on politician Mike Pompeo, who was more open to the idea of WikiLeaks during the campaign, but this is an important statement from the CIA director and a contrast from what the president said and what the president is saying. He still hasn't condemned WikiLeaks.

SANTORUM: No, I - but I - I think what you're seeing is that his advisers, the people he has put in these positions, whether it's General Mattis or Mike Pompeo, are out there saying things that, I agree, that do not line up with what candidate Trump talked about. But what you're seeing is that they are having influence on the president's thoughts on these issues, and I have no doubt that, as Steve mentioned, being president is different than running for president. Understanding the implications of what WikiLeaks does to the security of our country is something that as a candidate you might enjoy the fact that these leaks are coming out, but, as president, you understand the ramifications of what it can do to the security of our country and you take a little bit of a more, again, pragmatic approach to dealing with this.

So I - I think one of the things conservatives were concerned about with Donald Trump, and a lot of the never Trumpers was that Donald Trump would say these things but when he became president, you know, he would move away and become more - more to the left. I think what we're seeing is, it's not left or right with Donald Trump, it's more, he listens to his advisers. He really does make - make these decisions based on what he thinks is best for America, and I don't think he feels necessarily tied, if he said something in the past, he's going to do what he thinks is right for this country. And, in the end, I think that's what people are looking for, someone who would come in and have a much more pragmatic approach in dealing with these problems. BERMAN: Is it better to have flexibility or is it better to have

constancy? You know, that's a key question, congressman, when you're dealing with any president certainly. You want presidents to make decisions, even if it is counter to what they ran on before. And as a Democrat, you know, you were complaining about the fact that he's, you know, flip-flopping. That he's, you know, moving with the wind. But if he's moving closer to views that you agree with, is that a good thing?

[08:35:08] ISRAEL: Well, of course. OK, you know, I'm not going to oppose Donald Trump for the sake of opposing Donald Trump. Where he shows reasonableness and where he shows maturity and growing in the job, of course I think Democrats should support him. I think that the clear test now is, we now have an administration that's recognized that WikiLeaks was acting against the interests of the United States. It's one thing for Director Pompeo to say it. Now how are they going to encapsulate that into policy? We now - I hope that the Trump administration will now be more explicit in recognizing the threat that Russia posed to our election and instead of trying to deflect from that threat will be honest with the American people, support the Senate Intel investigation, the House Intel investigation, the FBI investigation and perhaps support an independent commission that will look into these threats. If the administration is really serious about recognizing these new threats, no lip service. We need to see action by the administration.

BERMAN: Senator, yes or no, should the president stand up and say I was wrong about WikiLeaks?

SANTORUM: Well - well, I - well, I think that you're going through this process - on the WikiLeaks, obviously, what Mike Pompeo is a - a pretty - pretty significant statement and I think you may see some evolution of the president's position on the issue of WikiLeaks. But the - on the broader issue of Russia, the idea that somehow or another that Donald Trump is - you know, was colluding with the Russians or is somehow implicated in any kind of Russian - that should have been put to bed a long time, certainly within the last few weeks. There's no -

BERMAN: Well -

SANTORUM: No administration has been as tough on Russia as this administration has been. And to suggest somehow there's some sort of cozy deal between the Russian government and the Trump -

BERMAN: Right.

SANTORUM: It just - is just ludicrous on its face.

BERMAN: That's a completely separate issue. What's happened the last week and a half - and, again, the president has been tough on Russia and the administration with Russia the last ten days, a completely different issue than whether he had campaign associates colluding with the Russians during the campaign. There's an FBI investigation into that right now and we don't know what they're finding. And the answer to that may be yes or no. It has nothing to do with what's happened in the last week.

Senator, great to have you with us.

SANTURM: Well, I -

BERMAN: Well, no, I mean -

SANTORUM: I would - I would disagree with that. Look, why do you collude with the Russians? I mean for what purpose? I mean -

BERMAN: To win. To win the election. To win the election. Then after the election you use something complete differently. They do not necessarily have to be tied. In fact, I can sit here and make the argument that if they did collude with the Russians during the campaign, maybe it makes them look better now if they don't agree with the Russians because it creates distance. I'm not saying that's what's happening, but you can argue it either way. The two issues are completely separate.

Senator, congressman, great to have you with us. Thanks so much.

SANTORUM: You bet.

ISRAEL: Thank you.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, John, the lawyer for the man forcibly dragged off that United Airlines flight has a message for travelers that you will want to hear. That's coming up.


[08:41:44] CAMEROTA: Time now for the "Five Things to Know for Your New Day."

The Pentagon releasing this video of the U.S. military dropping that massive bomb on ISIS in Afghanistan. Afghan officials say dozens of terrorists were killed in the operation.

BERMAN: President Trump is monitoring the situation in North Korea closely, we are told, from his resort in Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach. White House officials say he is being briefed. This amid mounting fears that Pyongyang is preparing a new nuclear weapons test for this weekend.

CAMEROTA: CNN has learned that intelligence agents in Britain and other European countries intercepted conversations between Trump campaign associates and the Russians and shared those with the U.S. The Senate Intel Committee is hoping to examine those.

BERMAN: Dozens of new U.S. troops being deployed to Somalia. They'll be training local forces in the fight against the al Qaeda affiliate there, al Shabaab.

CAMEROTA: President Trump privately signing an order allowing states to withhold money from facilities that provide abortions. Planned Parenthood striking back, saying federal cash prohibits taxpayer dollars from funding abortions in the law (ph).

BERMAN: For more on the "Five Things to Know for Your New Day,"go to for the very latest.

CAMEROTA: So it has been ten years since we've started the program CNN Heroes, and that, of course, was to recognize everyday people changing the world. And we are proud that many schools have now incorporated the campaign into their curriculum. Brian O'Connor (ph) is a fifth grade teacher in suburban New York City and he's found a way to connect his students with these extraordinary individuals. So watch this.


BRIAN O'CONNOR: Throughout our school year we will set up several Skype calls with various heroes.


Oh, my God, it's (INAUDIBLE).

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How long did it take you -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How is it different -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you ever feel -

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


CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.

BERMAN: The right kind of role model right there, right?

CAMEROTA: That is wonderful. To see the full impact of CNN Heroes in the classroom, you can go to And while you're there, you can nominate someone you think should be a 2017 CNN Hero.

BERMAN: That is such a great thing.

This is not the first time President Trump has faced a crisis from Mar-a-Lago. Are we in for a new international showdown this weekend? We're getting "The Bottom Line. That's next. "


[08:47:53] CAMEROTA: President Trump, once again, will be spending his weekend, this, of course, the holiday weekend, at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. This is not the first time the president has faced and international crisis from what he calls the southern White House. You may remember these pictures of President Trump with Japan's prime minister being briefed in February on a North Korean missile launch, that in the Mar-a-Lago dining room. BERMAN: And just last week, President Trump authorized these strikes

in Syria while meeting with China's president in Mar-a-Lago. So what will happen this weekend in North Korea with the president at Mar-a- Lago?

Let's get "The Bottom Line with "CNN political director David Chalian.

David, this is a - it's a critical weekend. I mean I think that national security experts around the world have their eye on North Korea expecting some kind of display this weekend. Is it a nuclear test? Is it a ballistic missile launch? It might be something, and it might be something soon.

I think the White House probably wants to put out a different image eight weeks after we saw him dining with the Japanese prime minister the last time the North Koreans staged a missile test. So the White House, I think, is probably learning on the job here.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: There's no doubt about it. In fact, we've learned from the White House that, you know, there is a secure facility at Mar-a-Lago for President Trump to be able to absorb information, be in touch with aides if he needs to be. That's quite different than sort of out in the open. There was all that controversy about whether or not he was looking at classified information out in the open those eight weeks ago. So I definitely think you're right, John, they are looking to portray a different image and they are, indeed, learning as we go here.

But this all reinforces, right, that Mar-a-Lago is indeed, as the president calls it, the southern White House as it is where he has spent a ton of time as president. So, of course, as we know, the job doesn't say in Washington at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.


CHALIAN: It travels wherever the man is, and he'll be able to respond to whatever North Korea's provocations are from there.

BERMAN: Is the White House the northern Mar-a-Lago? That might be a better question.

CAMEROTA: That is a good question. But, I mean, but - but just one more point, David. I mean, it's a country club. You know, Mar-a-Lago is a country club and a golf club. Is it set up to be the situation room?

[08:50:00] CHALIAN: Well, it is not - there's nothing set up like the situation room in the White House, obviously, but it is set up, we're told by aides, to be able to have President Trump conduct the business he needs to. But you're right to point out the country club aspect, Alisyn, because, remember, that means that there are a lot of members who are roaming around the halls, on the property, very different than the 18 acres here in Washington. Not that it isn't heavily secured and Secret Service is there to protect the president. I don't want to suggest otherwise. But it is a place where people who don't have any credentials necessarily other than the fact that they're a member of the country club can be roaming the property while Donald Trump is there dealing with world crises.

BERMAN: You know, David, it does feel like the last eight days, from the time of the missile strike in Syria, has been sort of a new phase in this presidency, where national security issues have taken front and center. You saw the missile strike in the week, these eight days capped off by the bomb drop in Afghanistan right now. Do you guess a sense that the administration is pleased by the way this has looked, and by pleased by the way that the president's been perceived these last eight days?

CHALIAN: I do, and I think it's actually less, John, about perceived, although obviously they care about this, by the public overall and his political well-being than it is that internally everyone seems to be perceiving themselves as operating better. That the national security process and apparatus with McMaster and Mattis and Tillerson has started gelling in a way of their own internal process to bring information to the president and be able to have him make the decisions and call the actions that they need to then go forward and implement those policies.

So in that sense you get from the White House that they are quite pleased with how things are running internally. And then, of course, the added benefit they think that the president has been able to look strong and decisive in many of these circumstances.

CAMEROTA: OK, David, on a lighter note, we got a hot tip this morning, John and I, and I want to know if you have any information about this, that the Easter - the White House Easter Egg Roll, which is going to be happening on Monday, might be hitting a couple of snags this weekend? There might not be as much sort of preparation as we've seen in past years?

CHALIAN: Where'd you - where'd you get this hot tip?

CAMEROTA: Well, I don't reveal my sources, David Chalian.

BERMAN: Hippity, hoppity, that's one - one hint there.

CHALIAN: There's - there is no doubt that the ramping up of the social secretary side, the first lady side of the operation that tends to take charge of these big events, it certainly was a little bumpier as they were trying to get things up and running. The White House assures us that the Easter Egg Roll is going to go off just fine. That there will be families there, military families, as we've seen in the part, and those hiccups are behind them they say. We'll see on Monday.

BERMAN: Hippity, hoppity.

David Chalian, great to have you with us. Have a great weekend.

CHALIAN: Thanks.

CAMEROTA: OK, so that man forcibly dragged off the United Airlines flight is being call a poster boy for other aggrieved travelers. What does that mean? That's next.


[08:56:51] CAMEROTA: OK, it's time for "The Good Stuff. A little boy with a big love for video games proves that he also has a big heart. This is Brady Duke (ph) doing what he does best -


BRADY DUKE: Well, I love it. Yesterday I played against my dad a lot.


CAMEROTA: Brady wanted to do something. After he heard about a shooting spree that left a Wisconsin officer dead. So he donated his Nintendo Wii to the police department to lift their spirits.


DUKE: I knew I had to do something because their police brother died.


CAMEROTA: Hmm. See, police officers came by to say thank you and little Brady's parents say they could not be more proud.

BERMAN: That is awesome. Good for Brady.

All right, the man forcibly removed from a United Airlines flight plans to sue after being left bloodied and bruised. So is he now the poster child for aggrieved travelers? CNN's Jeanne Moos explains.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): At a press conference carried live -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Under no circumstances -

MOOS: The high-powered personal injury attorney shared the scream with his client being dragged.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like Dr. Dao was treated.

MOOS: How should Dr. Dao be treated?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope he becomes a poster child for - for all of us.

MOOS: A hero for the huddled masses of wary travelers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's the guy to stand up for passengers. It's us against them.

MOOS: Among the "us," one of Dr. Dao's daughters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Completely horrified and shocked. MOOS: In the words of one tweet, "Dr. Dao will be what I yell out

whenever I get bad customer service at an airport." Attorney Tom Demetrio (ph) said it won't be a class action suit, but maybe it will scare airlines into classier service.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are we going to just continue to be treated like cattle?

MOOS: some noted the doctor will likely be treated to a payout. "Dr. Dao looking at his future, a golden future." "The sky is about to become a lot friendlier for Dr. Dao." His attorney said he had no idea yet how much a lawsuit might be worth.

MOOS (on camera): And with what appeared to be a slight roll of the eyes, the attorney brought up a guy who nerve has to fly coach.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean even our president last night said that was horrible.

MOOS: The lawyer even made a reference to the comedy "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" in which Steve Martin goes through travel hell.



MARTIN: I threw it away.


MOOS (voice over): The moral of the story -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it should be service with a smile.

MOOS: Instead of service that left Dr. Dao with his smile missing two teeth.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


CAMEROTA: I wonder what they were saying when those things were bleeped out.

BERMAN: Yes, I know. This is morning TV. I will say, it's a qualitative difference between dragged out of a plane -


BERMAN: And maybe not having enough overhead space. I think those things may be different.

CAMEROTA: All right. Fair enough. But you don't think that Dao is now just the code word or any sort of frustration? [09:00:04] BERMAN: Yes, maybe you're on to something there.

CAMEROTA: He's going to get a lot of dep (ph) now.

BERMAN: All right, it is time for CNN "Newsroom" with Poppy Harlow and a man I like to call the upgrade, Dave Briggs.