Return to Transcripts main page
North Korea Holds Military Parade; Vice President Pence Visits South Korea; FOX News Relationship with Bill O'Reilly Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations Examined; Protestors Call for President Trump to Release his Tax Returns. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired April 15, 2017 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: -- protest sites today.
But first, ready for all out on war? We begin with new pictures coming from inside North Korea today as that country's dictator is showing never before seen intercontinental missiles that he claims could reach America's west coast. These ballistic missiles were paraded through Pyongyang during North Korea's annual Day of the Sun celebration. The threat comes amid growing fears that Kim Jong-un could be preparing for another nuclear test. If so, it would be the first of a Trump presidency.
Starting tomorrow, Vice President Mike Pence will be just across the border. Pence is on his way to Seoul in South Korea.
CNN's Paula Hancocks joins me now live from Seoul, South Korea. Paula?
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Martin, it has certainly been an interesting day here on the Korean peninsula. Those interesting pictures from Pyongyang of a massive military parade, and certainly you know that analysts around the world are looking at those pictures right now to see what kind of capabilities they can deduct from the images themselves.
Of course the two that everyone is focusing on at this point is the two potentially new ICBM canister, these intercontinental ballistic missiles which could potentially hit mainland United States. Kim Jong-un has made it abundantly clear he wants to be able to have that capability. He wants to be able to hit the United States with a nuclear-tipped ICBM. He said earlier this year, January 1st, in fact, he was close to test launching an ICBM. So that is what analysts are looking at. It appears larger than previously, potentially a design concept, potentially telling the world what he's going for and what sort of capability he wants.
But as you say, Vice President Pence is coming here at a very interesting time. He will be coming to confirm the alliance, to reassure South Korean officials that the United States is standing side by side with South Korea. But it's also a tricky time to come from a South Korean point of view. There is no official president. There is an acting president at this point. The previous president has been impeached. She's being detained due to a corruption scandal. So even the man that Vice President Pence will be meeting, Hwang Kyo- ahn, won't be in the same job in just a few weeks time. Martin?
SAVIDGE: As you say, a very, very remarkable day. Paula Hancocks, thank you.
Meanwhile, President Trump is at the southern White House in Florida. And CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is there. She's nearby, at least, in West Palm Beach. Suzanne, do we know what the president is working on this weekend?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We do, Martin. As a matter of fact it was a rare opportunity, we saw the motorcade go by pretty close to our live shot location. It actually stopped at a stop sign. That usually doesn't happen, but we believe it happened because of the protest here at Mar-a-Lago as well, about 100 or so who were traveling from a Trump complex to go to Mar-a-Lago, of course, during this tax day demand that President Trump release his tax returns. That is something that's taking place.
But earlier we saw the president playing of course another round of golf at his own Trump international golf course. By our count, by CNN's count, that would make it 19 visits to a golf course since he's become president. Of course, the seventh time that he has been here to his Mar-a-Lago resort.
White house officials say it is very intentional that the White House staff's footprint is very light over the weekend, giving the president opportunity to spend time with his family as well as the other White House top staffers to do the same. But he has been briefed and updated on the situation in North Korea. People were on high alert, quite frankly, yesterday and through the evening and overnight whether or not there would be a provocation. There was not.
His deputy national security adviser, K. T. McFarland, is here at Mar-a-Lago to give him those kinds of updates. But it really did not turn out to what they expected it was going to be. So it is admittedly a much more relaxed kind of weekend than they had anticipated.
At the same time we heard Paula's report of the vice president's trip, and that is what they are tracking. That's what they're following very closely. He's going to be hitting Japan, Australia, Indonesia and of course South Korea being his first stop. We are told by White House officials the purpose of that trip is really to emphasize the commitment of national security, that shared interest between South Korea and the United States, and during the time he'll be there he's not only meeting the acting president but will have a chance to actually sit down and meet with the U.S. soldiers, with our troops, as well as Korean troops through a meal and through an Easter Sunday kind of holiday celebration. And that is what they are hoping will be an uneventful, if you will, week, at least when it comes to the military side, more on diplomatic side. Martin?
SAVIDGE: I think we'll all hope for that. Suzanne Malveaux, thank you very much. We have been seeing brand new pictures coming from inside North Korea
today of two new intercontinental ballistic missile canisters. U.S. officials say it is not known yet if the canisters actually contain missiles, which the North says could reach the west coast of the United States. They were It was part of a parade through Pyongyang.
[14:05:17] This as the U.S. sends a carrier led strike group to the waters off the Korean Peninsula. So I want to bring in our Tim Naftali. He's a CNN presidential historian and a former director of the Nixon presidential library. Let me ask you this. Are the current tensions any different than what we have been seeing, say for the last 20 years or so?
TIMOTHY NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Actually, I don't think the current tensions are any different than what we have seen since the 1960s. North Korean regimes, the Kim family, we've had a number of leaders, the Kim family tests the United States. They did it in 1968 when they took the Pueblo. They did it in 1969 when they shot down an American reconnaissance plane.
But the real challenge for any American president is to find that sweet spot to reassure South Korea and deter North Korea without giving the paranoid leadership of North Korea, a reason to do something stupid, because when you think about North Korea, keep in mind that this is a paranoid leadership which is starving its people and which is so concerned of the possibility of rebellion that it is actually killing members of its own inner circle.
So there is a very tough -- there is a sweet spot. And the Clinton administration and the George W. Bush tried different ways to contain North Korea's need and desire for a nuclear weapons and it failed. And the Obama administration tried in its own way to stabilize the region. So the challenged for President Trump is not to overreact and to do his very best to work with the Chinese who share with the United States a desire for stability in northern Asia.
SAVIDGE: What does China do? China, many times we have appealed them to do something. What will they do?
NAFTALI: Well, first, in the Vietnam War we exaggerated China's leverage over North Vietnam, and we needn't do that over North Korea. But the Chinese do not like having an erratic regime on their border. They don't want a pro-western unified Korea. So they're not going to help us unify the peninsula. But it is not in their interest to have a nuclear accident occur on their border. So there are a number of things covertly they could do. It is not in their interests for the Kim family to do something stupid and launch an attack on South Korea.
SAVIDGE: But do you think China will do something?
NAFTALI: Well, I am not in prediction business, Martin. But what I do believe is that the United States and China have some common interests in dealing with North Korea. And one of them is not to push the North Koreans such that this paranoid regime does something stupid. So I think the real danger is that we overreact. The North Koreans want to scare us. They're a regime that is
constantly worried that we're going to attack them. Notice their language. They talk about retaliation. They are saying they are going to launch an attack on Los Angeles as soon as they get a delivery available. They're saying we're ready to retaliation if you use nuclear weapons against us. This is not an argument for the regime. I am simply saying that we are dealing with a paranoid regime and a regime that lacks some of the internal checks and balances that we would see with other countries. And that's why both China and the United States have to be careful that they have both carrots and sticks when they deal with Pyongyang.
SAVIDGE: The stakes are so incredibly high and the potential for loss of life could be equally as well, but hopefully that won't come to that just yet. Tim Naftali, thank you very much for your perspective.
NAFTALI: Thanks, Martin.
SAVIDGE: Turning to another subject, activists are using tax day, that would be today, as a way to put pressure on the president. Protesters are calling for Trump to release his tax returns with marches taking place in cities across the nation. You are looking at live pictures from Chicago to Los Angeles and Washington where people are marching. In D.C. activists are starting to march past Trump Tower. That wouldn't be in D.C., I guess. But just moments ago in D.C. Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters in California had this to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MAXINE WATERS, (D) CALIFORNIA: Donald Trump, you sure know how to spend our taxes on your weekly trips to Mar-a-Lago.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[14:10:05] SAVIDGE: We will of course continue to monitor the marches and bring you the very latest as they develop.
Ahead, FOX News has stuck by host Bill O'Reilly. Now new details that maybe the reason why Megyn Kelly split for NBC. That's up next.
SAVIDGE: FOX News host Bill O'Reilly is on a two-week vacation, but the controversy surrounding his is working overtime. Today the "New York Times" reports that O'Reilly's behavior is one of the factors that drove away Megyn Kelly, one of the top talents at FOX News. That article quotes Bill O'Reilly saying, quote, "If you don't like what's happening in the workplace, go to human resources or leave," unquote. That comment followed Kelly's recounting of sexual harassment allegations by then FOX News chairman Roger Ailes.
One of the writers of that article is Michael Schmidt who joins me now. Michael, could this become the final straw in FOX News' dealing with Bill O'Reilly? MICHAEL SCHMIDT, REPORTER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": It is not really
clear. The Murdoch family has not said anything since our story two weeks ago that detailed seven women who had made harassment allegations against Mr. O'Reilly. So we don't really know where their heads at. We do know that Rupert Murdoch is in charge and running FOX News right and that he has a direct hand in this, and that the son James really would like O'Reilly to go but Rupert doesn't seem to want to give in on that at this point.
[14:15:06] SAVIDGE: Can he come back? I guess the sort of two questions here, whether he could be allowed to continue, but can he really come back after all, and I mean in every way that a comeback means?
SCHMIDT: Look, he's lost over 50 advertisers on his show. They only ran about 10 ads the last time he was hosting it. So there is a problem there in terms of advertisers. But we have been told that Murdoch will continue to run the show because what it is that O'Reilly brings in a lot of viewers that stay on for the 9:00 and 10:00 hours, and that's really important to them.
I also think that Rupert Murdoch has a lot of loyalty to Mr. O'Reilly, and he doesn't want to see him go. Mr. O'Reilly has been there since the beginning of the network. And certainly coming on the heels of a "New York Times" story that certainly is not something that I think he wants to be responding to.
SAVIDGE: Right. And also, too, as we've mentioned, they have lost a number of other marquee names. It would be problematic to lose one more, especially this name. It is the biggest of all.
SCHMIDT: What happened was after they lost Megyn Kelly, they extended O'Reilly's contract. They extended it knowing that these deals had been made with these women who had come forward and made accusations against him. And they knew there was a pretty good chance that these things would become public. But they saw Mr. O'Reilly as such an important part of the network that they were willing to do that and they were willing to look past that.
What the Murdochs have not answered, the question they have not answered is, why is it that Mr. O'Reilly stays but Mr. Ailes had to go? If you remember last summer there was this scandal with Roger Ailes where he was accused of sexual harassment, and he was ultimately pushed out and they got rid of him. Similar allegations have been made against O'Reilly, but they stood by him.
SAVIDGE: I guess the bottom line question is, is this all hurting FOX News as far as its viewership, its ratings, and eventually just the whole idea of the network.
SCHMIDT: It appears that the ratings for Mr. O'Reilly's show have actually gone up since our story. But there is a question about the advertisers. FOX says don't worry about -- we are not running ads on Mr. O'Reilly's show. We can just run them on other shows. But if you talk to other people on television, you can't really have the 8:00 hour of your network not running a lot of ads. That's a really key time where advertisers really want to directly reach the millions and millions of people that are watching. So the question here is what would lead the Murdoch to get to Mr. O'Reilly. Is there more to come? And we just don't know how that will play out.
SAVIDGE: Do you think it's possible that the advertisers themselves can say, look, we just don't want to advertise on FOX, period?
SCHMIDT: That's something that we have really kept our eye out for. That hasn't happened yet, but if the advertisers we don't want to do business with FOX. What they can do now is they can move the ads on other shows. But if they don't have other shows to move them to and these advertisers says we're not giving you our money because we don't want to be associated with this individual who is one of your marquee stars, that could be a real problem for the network. But it hasn't gotten to that point yet, and no one is putting pressure on them, there is no public lawsuit against Mr. O'Reilly, there is not a ton of public pressure on them to actually do something here.
SAVIDGE: We'll wait and see. Michael Schmidt from "The New York Times," thank you very much for joining me.
SCHMIDT: Thanks for having me.
SAVIDGE: Coming up, ahead of tax day demonstrators demanding that President Trump release his tax returns. We'll show you some of the protests, take you there live, next.
[14:22:38] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN's breaking news.
SAVIDGE: Breaking news into CNN -- 100 people have died in an attack in Syria. Syria's pro-regime state media says the deadly blasted that hit a convoy of buses earlier today was actually disguised as a food truck. Most of those killed were being evacuated from pro-regime town. Witnesses tell CNN that the evacuations have since resumed. Again, there are reports of at least 100 people killed in Syria in that attack.
Meanwhile, let's show you some live pictures right now of people gathering at roughly 180 protest sites across the nation, including marches from Chicago and Los Angeles. Among other thing, activists are demanding that President Trump release his tax returns. In Washington, protesters are marching to the capitol and they're going to pass by Trump's hotels and then end up at the Lincoln Memorial. This comes as of course the deadline to file your taxes is right around the corner, Tuesday, April 18th. CNN's Tom Foreman is at the start of the march in Washington. And Tom, as we mention they go by the hotel there. What's the significance of this?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we are passing the new Trump hotel shortly here. and as we're passing, you can hear the crowd chanting out "shame, shame, shame" just as we pass the Justice Department a short while ago, and they were chanting "lock him up" to sort of echo the theme of what was said by Trump supporters during Hillary Clinton's time.
And we can swing the camera around, you can actually see the new Trump property right here as the crowd is passing. And you can hear the crowd now, their reaction to us.
Their main message has been about taxes and the idea that Donald Trump will not show his taxes and how much that troubles them. But in addition there have been talks today about immigration. There have been talks about wages and there have been talks about all sorts of things that he may support that they do not support. You can see now they are stopping right outside the hotel here to let their voices be heard in the best way they know how.
And as you mentioned, this is going on a lot of places all across the country right now. They'll hang here for a while, I assume, and then continue moving on down, winding up at the Lincoln Memorial.
FOREMAN: And then I also want to check. Do we know if Sara Ganim is ready for us in New York? Sara, are you there in New York? We're curious as to what you are seeing. No? OK, I will stick with Tom Foreman. Tom, as you mentioned there, there are other reasons that people are out. It's not just the immigration, not just the issue of taxes. What other things are you seeing and hearing from people?
FOREMAN: Well, people here are very worried about the idea of living wage for people who don't make money. That's one of the concerns they have. A lot of people seem to equate this entire thing with an idea of needing just generally more transparency in government, more of a sense that they can trust the government. That's something that we have seen eroding a long time long before Donald Trump became president, but for many of the people here, this is bridge too far where they really feel like they need a lot accountability. There are issues here with the bombing that happened recently. An awful a lot of things have energized this crowd and they want to make sure they get heard in some fashion on absolutely all of it if they can.
SAVIDGE: And then the end goal, Tom, you are going to end up eventually where?
FOREMAN: We will end up at the Lincoln Memorial eventually, about a mile and a half, maybe two miles from where we started depending on how they wind around here, getting fairly close from the White House but not actually there. But the crowd is now stretching out for a few blocks here, and they fill up good space right in front of the capitol. So they're making their voices heard on this weekend.
SAVIDGE: Well, it is noisy but it is peaceful. Tom Foreman, thank you very much for that.
And that's it for me. I am Martin Savidge. The next hour of CNN newsroom starts at the top of the hour, but first we've got "Vital Signs" with Dr. Sanjay Gupta. It will pick up right after a quick break.