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THE SITUATION ROOM
Cops Fired After Stunning Video of Them Punching, Kicking Driver; Interview With Arizona Congressman Ruben Gallego; Concern That Kim Jong-Un Could Order A Sixth Nuclear Test At Any Time; President Trump Spends Another Weekend in Florida; Trump White House Refusing to Disclose Visitor Logs; North Korea Tension. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired April 14, 2017 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Are there plans to use it again any time soon?
Private list. The Trump White House says it's decided not to release visitor logs, rejecting another Obama era policy. Who or what is the administration trying to protect?
And cops behaving badly, stunning video catching an officer punching an unarmed man in the face as he got out of his car with his hands up. We have new details on the case tonight. Will the police be punished?
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Brianna Keilar. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Tonight, North Korea is warning President Trump against any reckless provocation, promising its response would be merciless and leave no survivors. Kim Jong-un's regime is escalating its threats at a very dangerous time. The defiant dictator appears poised to conduct a new nuclear test at any moment and U.S. warships are in the region on alert.
We are told President Trump is being briefed as he spends the Hollywood weekend in his Florida resort. Mr. Trump warning that the North Korea problem will -- quote -- "be taken care of one way or another."
A White House official says military options are being assessed and those options will be discussed during vice president's Mike Pence's trip to South Korea this weekend, all of this as the Trump administration flexes its military muscle.
We now have video of the 11-ton bomb that the U.S. dropped on ISIS targets in Afghanistan. Afghan officials say 36 terrorist fighters were killed. The Pentagon is defending this decision to use the so- called mother of all bombs in combat for the first time, calling this the right weapon against the right target.
Also tonight, two Georgia police officers have been fired after they were caught on separate videos punching a motorist in the face when he had his hands up and kicking him as he laid on the ground in handcuffs. Now the officers are under criminal investigation. We will have more on that ahead.
I will talk about those stories and more with our guests this hour. We have Congressman Ruben Gallego with us. He is a Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee. And our correspondents and analysts are also standing by.
First to CNN global affairs correspondent Elise Labott
So, Elise, North Korea is amping up its threats, all of this coming as President Trump has shown that he is pretty willing to use military force.
ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Brianna.
After two major military strikes, new questions tonight about whether President Trump's emerging foreign policy is relying too much on the military.
LABOTT (voice-over): Tonight, new warnings from China. As tensions rise with North Korea, the Chinese foreign minister warning that if war breaks out -- quote -- "There will be losses on all sides."
Russia, Iran and Syria also issue warnings to the U.S. against new strikes in Syria. The threats follow President Trump's decision to launch two major military strikes in Afghanistan and Syria.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have the greatest military in the world and they have done a job as usual. So, we have given them total authorization, and that's what they're doing. And, frankly, that's why they have been so successful lately.
LABOTT: The display of military might a message to U.S. enemies and their supporters and what is quickly becoming a hallmark of Trump's emerging foreign policy.
COL. PETER MANSOOR (RET.), U.S. ARMY: President Trump has given much more leeway to his military commanders to strike. And they're striking. I And think that does send a message around the world that America's back.
LABOTT: It's an about-face from the candidate who promised a national security strategy that put America first.
TRUMP: I want to help all of our allies. But we are losing billions and billions of dollars. We cannot be the policemen of the world.
LABOTT: But as commander in chief, Trump acknowledged the images of last week's gas attacks in Syria had a deep impact.
TRUMP: I now have responsibility and I will have that responsibility and carry it very proudly.
LABOTT: In the span of a week, Trump has also changed his mind on the NATO alliance, now viewing it as a tool to counter Russian aggression in Europe.
TRUMP: I said it was obsolete. It's no longer obsolete.
LABOTT: And abandoning his hard-line stance on China, now calling President Xi Jinping a partner to counter North Korea's nuclear threats.
TRUMP: President Xi wants to do the right thing. We had a very good bonding. I think we had a very good chemistry together. I think he wants to help us with North Korea.
LABOTT: If the Trump foreign policy is emerging, it would be, don't have a doctrine.
TRUMP: I like to think of myself as a very flexible person. I don't have to have one specific way, and if the world changes, I go the same way, I don't change. Well, I do change.
LABOTT: Trump says he trusts his commanders pressing him to flex U.S. military muscle in Yemen, where the U.S. is stepping up against ISIS, in Iraq and Syria, where Trump has sent hundreds of additional troops to fight ISIS since taking office, and in Afghanistan, where his national security adviser, General H.R. McMaster, is traveling soon to plot the future of the U.S. military presence.
Trump now learning to trust the expertise of his generals he once boasted about knowing more than.
TRUMP: I know more about ISIS than the generals do, believe me.
LABOTT: Now, military experts are pointing to a very popular saying in the military. You can delegate authority, but you cannot delegate responsibility.
As commander in chief, President Trump still owns the consequences of the decisions taken by the military on his behalf. While he may be glad to take credit when the mission is successful, the question, Brianna, is whether he would be willing to share responsibility when things go wrong, including civilian casualties.
KEILAR: When it came to Yemen and it came to military casualties, you saw that wasn't the case. So, it's a great question.
Elise Labott, thank you so much.
President Trump is monitoring the situation in North Korea even as he spends another weekend at his Florida resort.
Want to go live now to CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta.
Jim, we know that the president's been getting briefed on North Korea. What's ahead for him in the coming hours?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you said, Brianna, President Trump will be monitoring the situation in North Korea from his Florida resort at Mar-a-Lago over this holiday weekend.
Senior administration officials saying while the president will not have many of his top aides with him, he will have some national security aides by his side to keep him abreast of what is happening on the Korean Peninsula.
Meanwhile, we should point out Vice President Pence is headed to South Korea this weekend to consult with leaders in that region. There are no changes expected to Pence's schedule. A spokesman says, despite this dangerous for some dangerous mischief on the part of the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un.
But Pence spokesman Marc Lotter says -- and we can put this on screen -- the vice president will be delivering a reassuring message to South Korea and other U.S. allies, saying that "The U.S.-South Korean alliance is the linchpin to peace and stability in the region. The vice president will also reaffirm President Trump's ironclad commitment to defending out allies in the Asia-Pacific region."
Now, as for the president, he's been working in some downtime in Florida. He played golf, making today his 17th visit to a golf course as president.
But, Brianna, we should point out late this afternoon, the president did offer a pretty big incentive to China to help control the North Korean situation, despite the fact the president once promised to label China a currency manipulator. That official Treasury Department report came out this afternoon. China instead will be added to a monitoring list, as the administration is calling it, keeping an eye on China's trading practices, but not calling it a currency manipulator.
We will have to see if that helps prod the Chinese to help with the North Koreans, Brianna.
KEILAR: We will see.
Jim Acosta, thank you so much at the White House for us.
Now to the global impact of the largest conventional bomb the U.S. has ever used in combat. Pentagon officials say it's sent a clear and deadly message to ISIS. The question tonight, did North Korea's Kim Jong-un get the message as well?
I want to go now to CNN congressional correspondent Sunlen Serfaty, because you are learning more about this decision to use this powerful weapon.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. We are, Brianna.
We saw the U.S. military today really try to explain why this particular weapon was necessary for this particular mission. The commander of the U.S. forces in Afghanistan calling it the right weapon against the right target.
SERFATY (voice-over): New dramatic video of the blast showing the moment of impact by the massive 11-ton bomb.
ISMAIL SHINWARY, DISTRICT GOVERNOR (through translator): It was really powerful. It was used to destroy all of their tunnels and caves.
SERFATY: A strike in a remote mountain valley along the Afghan- Pakistan border took out three underground fortified tunnels that ISIS, or Da'esh, had been using to stage attacks on government forces, destroying weapons and ammunition along the way, according to U.S. and Afghan officials.
PALSTAR KHAN, SYRIA RESIDENT (through translator): There were ISIS bases over there. They had activities in those areas. Last night's bomb was really huge. When it dropped, it was shaking everywhere.
SERFATY: Thirty-six ISIS fighters were killed, Afghan officials say, but no civilians were hurt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me be clear. We will not relent in our mission to fight along side our Afghan comrades to destroy ISIS in 2017.
SERFATY: The U.S. military today defending the decision to deploy the most powerful non-nuclear weapon in the U.S. arsenal. Dubbed the Mother of All Bombs, it's capable of destroying an area equivalent to nine city blocks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was the right weapon against the right target.
SERFATY: A actually Air Force spokesperson tells CNN each bomb cost about $170,000, because it is built in-house and created from parts of existing systems.
LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: It is constrained. There is no civilian collateral damage. It will collapse tunnels. It will explode the IEDs.
SERFATY: Beyond just its physical impact, military analysts say there is also some payoff in flaunting such a huge weapon, which could also rattle ISIS on the ground.
HERTLING: It will have a huge psychological effect on this area that has a lot of transitioning between Pakistan and Afghanistan ISIS fighters.
SERFATY: The Afghan ambassador to the U.S. says to expect an increase of military action in Afghanistan.
QUESTION: Do you need the U.S. to do more to make that happen? Should they expect more U.S. action like this?
HAMDULLAH MOHIB, AFGHAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: Well, in operations like this, we do use -- we do, do joint operations with the United States military, so, yes.
SERFATY: The White House is attempting to frame this mission as one in a series of recent military successes.
TRUMP: Another successful event.
SERFATY: But there have been challenges in the larger fight against ISIS. Just this week, the U.S.-led coalition in Syria killed 18 of its own allies from the Syrian Democratic Forces, which U.S. Central Command said was actually requested by the Syrian Democratic Forces, who thought the target was an ISIS fighting position.
SERFATY: And there's been more scrutiny beyond just that misdirected strike.
In the past month, there have been two other U.S.-led airstrikes which killed civilians or allies. One was in Mosul and the other, Brianna, in Raqqa.
KEILAR: All right, Sunlen Serfaty, thank you so much for that report.
Let's talk more about all of this with a Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee.
We have Congressman Ruben Gallego with us today.
Congressman, thanks for joining us.
REP. RUBEN GALLEGO (D), ARIZONA: Thank you for having me.
KEILAR: And as you look at this use of the Mother of All Bombs, this massive ordnance air blast bomb in Afghanistan, was this appropriate, in your view?
GALLEGO: Well, until we get more information, I'm going to go with no, because it sounds like they went after 36 ISIS infantrymen or whatever you want to call them.
It seems like you just used a shotgun to try to kill a fly. I'm not sure that it was the right use of this type of weapon. I think there are other weapons in our ordnance that could have done it.
(CROSSTALK) KEILAR: I would ask you this, and you may certainly know this, but they got caves and tunnels as well, this sort of network of caves and tunnels that is used to transport material, et cetera. Is that -- that is not something that was worth using this on?
GALLEGO: Again, there is other ordnance that could have done the same job. I'm not entirely sure it was the proper use.
Now, more information could come out that will teach us otherwise. I think the bigger concern that we should all be talking about is just because the military asks the president to do something, he should not always be saying yes. And that's a concern.
As someone who has served in the military like I have, I trust a lot of my generals, but if you give too much power to the military, they will a lot of times be advocating for the strongest use of force, and sometimes that's not what you need.
In this case, it may be. But in other cases, like we have seen some of the civilian casualties like that happened in Mosul, it could create a situation where sloppiness occurs and innocent civilians are killed because of collateral damage.
KEILAR: We have had a number of experts who said to the suggestion that maybe this was sending a message to North Korea, no, in their estimation, they think this is much more about the war in Afghanistan.
But at the same time, if Kim Jong-un, he is seeing this, this is sending some sort of message, right?
GALLEGO: Well, right.
I think also do we want to be sending a message? I think the most important thing right now when you're dealing with a nuclear-armed country with a psychopath as a dictator that you see in North Korea, what we need to do is actually de-escalate.
This is not the time to, you know, saber-rattle try to act like a tough guy. North Korea knows about our capabilities and they know our willingness to protect our allies. And so for us trying to push forward and push the envelope will actually I think create an escalation that could be very dangerous and could tip over into a hot war involving nuclear weapons, which is -- again, nobody wins when that occurs.
KEILAR: When it comes to China and North Korea and the diplomacy, you have seen -- obviously, we saw President Trump meet with President Xi. He said the visit went well.
We're now seeing China has halted its imports of North Korea coal. Air China, which had flights between Beijing and Pyongyang, is suspending those flights. That was a really key link. Does he get credit for these developments?
GALLEGO: Well, I think it's important for us to understand that China needs to have a stable border with North Korea. They are the last people that also want to see North Korea go get into a hot war on the peninsula.
It doesn't end well again for anybody. I'm glad that Trump is engaging with China, but, again, the biggest problem here is that he needs to be the mature adult in the room. He doesn't have to go poke a stick at the North Korea dictator.
We need to show strength quietly and negotiate with Japan, South Korea, North Korea and China to de-escalate the situation. And right now, that's not occurring.
If you're tough, you don't have to say you're tough. People will know it. And I don't think President Trump knows how to use American military might, as well as tough diplomacy or strategic and foreign policy goals.
KEILAR: And you believe he's acting tough because of what we've seen with the strikes?
I just want to make sure, with the strikes in Syria, with the use of this bomb in Afghanistan, is that what you mean by the acting tough when it comes to North Korea, that he is sending a message?
GALLEGO: No. No, no, no, actually.
KEILAR: You mean just the language, what he has sort of said about this is going to be -- it's a problem and we're going to fix it or he's said about that?
GALLEGO: Yes. Yes.
When you're conducting foreign policy through your middle-of-the-night tweets, that's very immature. Taunting your enemy over Twitter or the airwaves is also immature.
The goal of this is for us to have a stable peninsula and for the United States not to engage itself in a hot war, not for President Trump to stroke his ego by basically taunting a country that has nuclear weapons.
KEILAR: It seems like he is responding, though, to real international threats in a way that sometimes we wouldn't see him do on the campaign.
GALLEGO: OK, I'm just not going to give him credit for finally acting like an adult 10 percent of the time, when he should be acting doing this 100 percent of the time.
This is a very important position that he is filling right now. He should actually be acting presidential, working the world of diplomacy, not spending so much time down in Florida, being in the Situation Room and actually talking to the generals and to our diplomats that actually understand what is going on in that peninsula and really study up, because this is important.
We are dealing with a lot of countries that really hate each other, that have nuclear weapons, and he is tweeting at the opposition and potentially getting us into a shooting war. So, I'm not going to give him credit for at least curtailing a little bit of that, when he should be doing that from day one.
KEILAR: When you see the moves that he has made militarily, even what you see with his meetings with foreign leaders at this point, some of the moves when it comes to China, are you seeing anything cohesive or what could be the beginning of a more cohesive strategy like a Trump doctrine?
And it's very dangerous. He has no doctrine. There's no predictability. If you look at the history of foreign policy and wars that accidentally get started, it's because there is no consistency in one nation's foreign policy.
The fact that he is so unpredictable and impulsive, it is likely to trigger some shots being fired by the other side, because you can't predict the actions of somebody like Donald Trump. That is very dangerous. He needs to, again, get around some really smart people in Washington, D.C., both Democrats and Republicans, that could him some advice to actually create a true doctrine.
And the doctrine doesn't have to be the Trump doctrine. It has to be something that keeps America safe and continues to push forward on our foreign policy goals and interests. And that does not mean that the Trump doctrine is allowing him to tweet at other foreign leaders just to help boost his ego.
KEILAR: Congressman Ruben Gallego, please stay with us. We have much more to talk about, including the White House visitor logs, which we just learned will not be made public.
We will have more on that.
KEILAR: And we're back now with Democratic Congressman Ruben Gallego.
And I want to talk to you, Congressman, about a new announcement that we have from the White House. And they're saying they are not going to voluntarily release visitor logs, which is something the Obama administration did, albeit amended at times.
There's a statement they put out. It says: "Given the grave national security risks and privacy concerns of the hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, the White House office will disclose Secret Service logs as outlined under the Freedom of Information Act, a position the Obama White House successfully defended in federal court."
That's from the communications director.
And so they're not going to, is basically what we've learned. What do you make of this?
GALLEGO: I'm not surprised.
Donald Trump used to slam the president of the United States, President Obama, for this, and said he was the least transparent. Of course, then he turns around and does the same thing.
This is typical Trump hypocrisy. And at the same time, we know why they are doing this. There is a lot of people of questionable nature that are going to the White House to have meetings. They are embarrassed of who they are meeting with.
And, at the same time, we still have the unknown question that everyone seems to not be asking anymore, like, what happened with Russia? Who on the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, and how far did it go up and down the administration, of the Trump campaign, as well as the transition?
KEILAR: You have no doubt. You said colluded. You didn't say allegedly. You have no doubt that someone colluded with Russia?
GALLEGO: I have no doubt. And it's not that I have information either. I just want to make that clear.
GALLEGO: But by the way that the campaign acted and some of those aides acted, bragging about things that were coming out through WikiLeaks, clearly somebody was talking to WikiLeaks, which is a proxy for Russian intelligence.
So, look, they are just trying to hide who they are meeting with. And, again, we still have a lot of unanswered questions about Russia. You know, we need to make sure we refocus on that. Obviously, there's a lot of issues going on. But the fact is, a foreign country tried to undermine our democracy and may have successfully done so by influencing the election.
KEILAR: I want to change gears here, because something happened yesterday that maybe didn't get as much notice, especially in light of this massive bomb that was dropped in Afghanistan.
The president signed what would block states -- federal funding to states allowing -- sorry -- it would allow states to block federal funding to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.
This is something that really galvanized liberals. We saw that when it came to the march that we saw in Washington. And yet it doesn't seem like we have seen quite the backlash. What do you make of that? Has there been a failure to organize against that?
GALLEGO: Quite the opposite.
Actually, yesterday, I was a speaker at a Planned Parenthood luncheon here in Arizona. It's the largest we have ever had, about 1,500. We have people with Planned Parenthood and other type and activists that are galvanized and having seen the highest amount of recruitment in terms of volunteers, as well as donations.
Clearly, Donald Trump knows that this does have popular appeal, because he signed the order quietly, and with -- very atypical of Donald Trump, he didn't brag about it. I think that this is going to have its effect during the election cycle.
The fact they are letting states opt in or opt out tells you a lot that they are afraid to go the full-bore. This is still a problem. But, you know, this issue is not going away. People are very animated.
And, again, it's not an abortion issue. This is an organization that provides, you know, life-changing screenings for women and sometimes are the only type of medical services and/or preventive pregnancy services, as well as STD services, that are found in many of our small and poor communities.
And it's unfortunate that Donald Trump doesn't even listen to his own party, at least the Republicans, voters, who also disagree with defunding, at least in some polling, also disagree with defunding Planned Parenthood.
KEILAR: Many of his followers very much want to do that too, though. It was a rallying call for many of them.
We will see where this goes.
Congressman Ruben Gallego, thank you so much.
GALLEGO: Thank you.
KEILAR: Just ahead, two officers have been fired. Are they going to face criminal charges after they were caught on two separate videos punching and kicking a motorist who was not resisting?
[18:32:21] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: It is early Saturday morning in North Korea and there is growing concern that Kim Jong-Un could order a sixth nuclear test at any time. This would be a dangerous provocation even as the regime is warning President Trump against saber rattling saying its response would be merciless.
We are joined now by our political and military experts to talk about this.
So Jackie Kucinich, the language that's coming out of North Korea, there is frequently hyperbole and a lot of times you can't take it out of face value. But it is also, I guess, it is also definitely worth listening to, at the same time, if that makes sense. That sort of the interesting thing about North Korea. So the threatening merciless response to any American provocation. They are blaming the rise and tension on President Trump's aggressive words, how risky is this situation?
JACKIE KUCINICH, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE DAILY BEAST: It means tensions are certainly very high and it is hard to say exactly how risky it is because North Korea has done this before. This is a leader that talks very tough, talks very big, and is very unpredictable.
But as you said, there are American firepower in the area. There are -- there's increased pressure, not only from the U.S. but President Trump is also tried to get China to increase the pressure on North Korea and we will just have to see. And they being slightly close to vest about what the White House will have ready, should something happen over the weekend. They say they are ready but they are not saying with what. So we will have to wait and see.
KEILAR: One of the things we are seeing -- so President Trump, Bianna, meets with President Xi, and then we see Air China suspend its flights between Pyongyang and Beijing. How is that a big deal? That's one of the very few links, right. And then you are seeing the no oil imports affected yet, but the coal imports affected. So I mean, is this the route forward when it comes to more after diplomatic effort than obviously a military effort.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, YAHOO NEWS AND FINANCE ANCHOR: Right. Well, it does seem like China is the adult in the room as far as this issue is concerned, with regards to the U.S. and the South Korea and this North Korea saying everyone just take a breath, tone it down right now. As you mentioned, they suspended air travel as well.
I think for both sides, they are trying to take something out of it. For China, they have a huge party meeting coming up in the fall. The president has to look strong from that perspective and to say, you see what I got President Trump to do. He is not calling us a currency manipulator. President Trump earlier this week said, you know, after I sat down with President Xi, he told me for about ten minutes about the history of North and South Korea. And I realize now that's a really serious issue. It is a complicated issue. So if both sides can seem to walk away with a victory, then yes this does seem to have been like a good week for both presidents.
[18:35:01] KEILAR: General Hertling, what do you think about this? Because when it came to say, Syria, using chemical weapons, we saw President Trump doing airstrikes on Syria. We have seen him go after ISIS and Afghanistan or certainly his general there did. That's not the option he has with North Korea.
LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: It is not at all, Brianna. And what I would say is from a risk perspective and from a tactical to strategy spectrum perspective, the two strikes we have seen in Syria and General Nicholson, not Mr. Trump dropping a bomb in Afghanistan, those are tactical events, low risk. What we are seeing in Korea truthfully concerns me. I spent time on
the peninsula serving there. And what I tell is you this is a high risk operation. There are not a lot of courses of actions or options. You can't just react with an airstrike because there are people involved and this is a strategy. It should be part after strategy as just -- opposed to just a tactical event.
I'm very concerned about this because we do not have a strategy. We certainly have a war plan or campaign plan that we could apply in Korea but it doesn't consider a preemptive strike or reactive strike with weapon systems that could result in a very irrational actor in North Korea pounding the South Korean peninsula with artillery.
KEILAR: David Fahrenthold, have you seen this tweet from Donald Trump Jr? This was something that caused a lot of conversation. Let's take a look at this. It says bomb the hell out of ISIS, check. Another promise kept. #MOAB for the mass ordinate air blast bomb or the mother of all bombs. Bomb emoji. #makeAmericagreatagain.
DAVID FAHRENTHOLD, REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: I don't think that is something that generalizing how are said. I think this is perhaps not the most mature way to look at warfare or the most strategic way to look at warfare. This was one bomb in a 15-year long war. It didn't really change very much about the strategic catalyst to celebrating it just because it is just a really big bomb is not really the way that I think most folks who have much experience with military tactics or strategy would see it.
KEILAR: Speaking of someone who does have that experience, General Hertling, your reaction?
HERTLING: Yes. I have got two reactions and you are baiting me, Brianna. My wife told me not to give emotional reactions on CNN.
KEILAR: You are allowed. I give you permission. I guess she wins.
HERTLING: I will try and refrain from emotional reaction which is visceral to something like this from a guy who has never seen combat and doesn't understand the implications of killing other people. From a more refrained military analyst perspective, this isn't helpful. This is not what maturity is. In terms of understanding the professionalism of soldiers who have been in a fight for a very long time to have someone from the outside as if they were tweeting from bar say something like this.
KEILAR: I'm picturing general Hertling's lunch table with his wife at this point in time. I think we have sort of an idea of maybe how that went -- Jackie.
KUCINICH: It is just a good thing Don Jr. is in charge of golf courses.
GOLODRYGA: Yes. Don't they have work do? And they spoke for hours and weeks and months on ends how they are going to separate their responsibilities and not focus on what their father is doing. They should stick to that promise and run the business. KEILAR: And maybe not destruct from with their father.
We have much more ahead with our panel. Thank you, guys. Stay with us. We are going to talk about some shocking video ahead as well that renews questions about police violence, race and justice. We are going to talk about a Georgia case and whether the firing of two officers is enough.
[18:43:11] KEILAR: And we are back now with our experts as President Trump spends another weekend in Florida dealing with global tensions as well as domestic politics and of course, golf.
I want to ask you, general Hertling. There have been many calls for President Trump, especially as we have scent airstrikes, to articulate a more cohesive foreign policy strategy, what can he do?
HERTLING: Yes, and I think we have seen some attempts at that. I know General McMaster is looking to pull together a strategy and that is actually what's needed, Brianna. We don't have that. Most presidents at least come into office with an ideology and approach to governing the world around them. I don't think Mr. Trump did that. So he is depending on his NSA to do that for him.
It is one thing to conduct action. It is another thing to be flexible. Both of those things that Mr. Trump has shown that he is good at. But it's a third thing to have a strategy and a vision for where you want to go because that allows to you allocate resources and tell your subordinates, like the state department, the military, commerce treasury and a boat load others what you expect them to do and contribute in terms of campaign planning and just how you strategize and deal with the rest of the world. It is not a binary operation. He is treating still treating most countries in a binary transactional mode as opposed to transformational global mode.
KEILAR: You almost said he was tweeting, which he also is too as well.
HERTLING: I did. I'm still fired up about his son. I'm sorry.
KEILAR: I know you are.
OK. So -- and members of Congress, that is something beyond that they are calling for. They want there to be this more cohesive strategy. Not here in town, of course, to get that. They are on Easter recess. And that means drama, quite frankly.
Listen to this moment. Tense moment at town hall held by Congressman Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[18:45:03] REP. MARKWAYNE MULLIN (R), OKLAHOMA: When you said you pay for me to do this, bullcrap. I pay for myself. I paid enough taxes before I ever got there and continue to through my company to pay my own salary. This is a service. No one here pays me to go.
I do it as an honor. I'm just saying -- I'm just saying --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Patients don't care (ph).
MULLIN: This is a service for me, not a career, and I thank God this is not how I make a living.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're going to give up $178,000 then?
MULLIN: Hey, I have before. I've actually paid it back.
Here is the deal on this one, guys -- I'm gone 42 weeks out of the year and I do my best to serve you, guys. But there's also some facts that you wouldn't hear or you don't. So if you don't want to drive, you're not going to have insurance. But if you're on the road and you have a vehicle insurance, we just got to say, make sure that you can be able to pay for the person that you hit. That's the mandate on that.
It is totally different -- ma'am, please. I know you had a lot of coffee this morning, but please. Give me a second. Guys --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's insulting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: It's cringe-worthy.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, YAHOO NEWS AND FINANCE ANCHOR: Yes. You're not going to find much sympathy for two industries here, if you're an airline executive or politician. And to spend all of this time saying I spent 42 weeks doing this and I don't have to be here and ma'am get more coffee, well, ma'am, next time she goes to vote, she may be voting for somebody else. So, I don't think that was a good call on his part.
And look, these voters want two major things. They want health care and they want their jobs back and job guarantee. Something this president ran on. It's something that he guaranteed and thus for hasn't been able to deliver, even though again, cut him some slack, it is not even a hundred days yet.
KEILAR: What's your read as you watch what is going on with some of these recesses or on recess at some of these town halls?
JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That was an example after poorly-handled town hall. A lot of these guys try to talk to people and do try to sort out the problems. And they are dealing with some of the people at town halls are activists. They come there to protest.
But the others -- they really do want answers. What we saw there was, you know, you don't have to have that job, you run for it. There you want it and you can walk away. And that sort of, disrespectable of constituents never really ends well. KEILAR: And it is not like the tax money that that congressman paid, David Fahrenthold, was somehow earmarked to later pay his salary. I mean, I just thought, once he was going down that path, I mean, you're just -- that's a losing, losing argument.
DAVID FAHRENTHOLD, REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: That's right. I that I lot of these folks are Republican congressman are in trouble because the president has pursued health care, the biggest issue that's happened so far in this kind of deal-focus way. He wants a deal. It doesn't really matter what's in it.
And so, that leaves these guys -- what do they go home and sell to people? What do they say I'm fighting for if you're just waiting around for the president to strike a deal and there's not sort of an ideological content to that. There's not a movement that you're part of.
KEILAR: Can you talk about this "Palm Beach Post" report? It's fascinating, because it says Mar-a-Lago, which is the president's resort. It's still a top venue to hold event and fund-raisers.
Couple of things, it can accommodate a lot of people and there's only a couple of places in Palm Beach that can do that. But now, you have organizations like Susan G. Komen, or the zoo, especially when you think about the Trump brothers going out and killed big game, which is against conservation efforts of the zoo, they're still having their parties there. Is this at all a conflict of interest for the president?
FAHRENTHOLD: Well, it's no more a conflict of interest than the many other things his businesses are doing. And in this case, Mar-a-Lago, a large part of its business, is renting out its ballrooms to charities. And as the story pointed out, charities reserve things way in advance. So they are already locked in for next year. There aren't very many places to go.
And in Palm Beach, Donald Trump is seen him as different than we see him, right? They see him as one of their own. They still see this sort of like, you know, kingpin of charity circuit, Donald Trump. They don't see President Trump in the same way.
Palm Beach is cut off from the rest of the world, in a mental sense in a lot of ways, and that's one of the ways they see Donald Trump differently than the rest of the country does. So, I think he's not going to suffer very much there.
KEILAR: Jackie, 17th visit to a golf course since taking office.
KUCINICH: So, presidents need to have a way to blow off steam. It is OK to go to the golf course.
KEILAR: Of course, it is.
KUCINICH: That said --
KEILAR: But you said, I'm not going to golf --
KUCINICH: Donald Trump shot himself in the foot here. He spent all this time criticizing President Obama for his golfing habits. And now, he spends a lot of his time on the golf course. It is that hypocrisy that is getting him in trouble. Not the fact you know, that's where he goes to think or that's where he goes to blow off some steam. That's fine. Just, you know, what he did before is what makes it questionable.
KEILAR: And now they are hiding, too, as well, his golfing, which is interesting. The White House is frequently.
All right. I want a moment to have a brag session. I want to put up a photo that we saw on "The Washington Post". That is you, David, and who is that? But maybe the next reporter, your daughter. What is she holding?
FAHRENTHOLD: She's holding a reporter's notebook.
[18:50:00] She brought it to take notes on the big event that happened --
KEILAR: The big event was that you got a Pulitzer for your reporting. And I almost think this was a bit of a foregone conclusion for us. I'm not going to lie. You have dogged reporting chasing the money trail when it came to Donald Trump revealing things as well as let's see "Access Hollywood" tape. Things that otherwise never would have been uncovered.
This is what your daughter had for show and tell, in this photo on Tuesday. So, what was it like?
FAHRENTHOLD: It was incredible, to be surrounded by your family, everybody you work with, everybody you know, to be at the center of attention. It was incredible. I thought I was prepared for it. And it was far more intense than I expected.
KEILAR: It's something, Jackie, that I think like, we were watching this as we saw his reporting ahead of the campaign, right? That this just -- this was something that just clearly stood out.
KUCINICH: Absolutely, and it felt good to be so happy for someone. You deserved it so much. I mean, truly, I don't know anyone who wasn't thrilled. Congratulations.
GOLODRYGA: I think you tweeted after the president won a notepad and said there's going to be more work I have to do. So, we're counting on you. You're all proud of you as journalist and as a fellow Houstonian as well.
KEILAR: What did that mean for your daughter to be there?
FAHRENTHOLD: It's tremendous. I mean, she got to lord it over everybody else at pre-K the next day.
KEILAR: What did the other students have for show and tell?
FAHRENTHOLD: And show and tell, there's some nail polish and other stuff.
FAHRENTHOLD: I'm so glad that she got to be there and to see it and also to be taking notes, maybe a future journalist, although I would readily advise doing something else.
KEILAR: I'll give you the final word there, General Hertling.
MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, I was going to say, just to complement him as well, and say, remind all your listeners that there are two organizations named specifically in the Constitution of the United States. That's freedom of the press and a strong military. So I think we've got the leader of that field right there in your panel and congratulations.
KEILAR: Congratulations, David, from all of us at CNN. We get to claim you as a contributor, so we're especially plowed. Thank you guys so much.
General Hertling as well, Jackie Kucinich, Bianna Golodryga, thank you guys so much.
And just ahead, the cops, the video and the criminal investigation unfolding right now. Will there be charges for punching an unarmed man with his hands up?
[18:56:37] KEILAR: In Georgia tonight, a criminal investigation is under way after stunning video surfaced of a police officer punching an unarmed man in the face as he got out of his car with his hands up. A second officer seen on a separate video kicking the same man as he laid on the ground in handcuffs.
The officers are white. The suspect is black. He was unarmed and he was stopped for a traffic violation. The Gwinnett County Police Department says there's no defense for this kind of violence and that the officers have been fired.
We're joined now by CNN legal analyst Danny Cevallos.
So, Danny, this was unusually quick for this police department to respond like this and they're looking at potential criminal charges. What do you expect?
DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's typically the Office of Professional Standards in Gwinnett County, the internal affairs unit. It will take anywhere from 60 days, maybe more to investigate this. The fact that they dismissed these officers so quickly means they're very confident. Now comes a potential criminal investigation. They could be
investigated for not only battery under Georgia law, but violation of oath of office, which means they abused the privileges of being a police officer.
KEILAR: What is their defense in that case?
CEVALLOS: Anytime you have a traffic stop that escalates to force, it's a series of legal stepping stones. People are surprised to learn that even for a traffic violation, a driver can be ordered out of the car. Once the officer gets that close to the citizen, any furtive movements, officers are trained to believe almost anything could be a show of violence. And that is what I would expect the officer to use as his defense in this case. That coupled with the odor of marijuana and any prior experiences with this particular citizen.
KEILAR: Even with that, even if you have those items of defense -- I mean, it's undeniable, the hands are up and then the police officer just punches him with such incredible force. How would that defense work against this? He literally lets his hand go to punch him.
CEVALLOS: In cases like this, officers are -- they're trained to identify any furtive movements as potentially something dangerous. Maybe he articulated some bulge in the pocket that we can't see from this video. There are a number of different things.
And those are factors. His prior experiences can contribute to the totality of probable cause, along with that odor of burnt or fresh marijuana depending on what the officer may have smelled. I'm not saying it's a winner of an argument. I'm saying that we can expect these officers or this particular officer, the one that threw the punch to try to articulate this as a defense as he's investigated criminally.
KEILAR: Real quick, Danny, considering how swiftly the police department acted, does that bode unwell, I would say, for the officers in the criminal case?
CEVALLOS: Generally, yes. I mean, these investigations often take much longer than 24 hours. But we are living in a new era of digital and video evidence where a lot of facts can be resolved very, very quickly as they have been here. However, even with that said, this is a relatively quick period of time to bring it to an internal conclusion.
KEILAR: Danny Cevallos, thank you so much. We really appreciate it.
I'm Brianna Keilar. Thank you for watching. To those of you celebrating Easter, we wish you a very happy holiday.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT' starts right now.