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Japan Backs U.S. End To Strategic Patience; Pence Discusses North Korea With Japan; U.S. Launches Nuclear Strategy Review; National Manhunt For Facebook Murder Suspect. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired April 18, 2017 - 05:30   ET



[05:30:30] ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, the vice president getting some much-needed support on a big shift in U.S. policy. Why Japan says ending strategic patience on North Korea is the right move.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: And after promising to be transparent, the Trump administration has been anything but. Why won't the White House release the president's new tax returns or visitor logs?

Welcome back to EARLY START, everybody. I'm Dave Briggs.

KOSIK: Good morning, I'm Alison Kosik. It's 30 minutes past the hour. Up first, Vice President Mike Pence arriving overnight in Tokyo bringing his message of U.S. resolve against North Korea to the Japanese, and in a welcomed move, the Japanese returning the favor. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe telling the vice president he supports President Trump's stance as strategic patience with North Korea has run out and all options are on the table.

BRIGGS: Abe adding dialogue for the sake of dialogue with North Korea is a waste and international pressure has to be applied, a sentiment Pence echoed.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And the United States of America believes the time has come for the international community to use both diplomatic and economic pressure to bring North Korea to a place that it has avoided successfully now for more than a generation. And we will not rest and we will not relent until we achieve the objective of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.


BRIGGS: This comes a day after Pence said in South Korea the era of strategic patience is over for now. Let's bring in CNN's Alexandra Field, live in Tokyo outside the prime minister's office, with more on Pence's visit. Good morning to you, Alexandra. Much talk about bilateral negotiations between the two countries on trade, but also failure of dialogue regarding discussions with North Korea. What struck you? ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and it was those sharp words -- those strong words of failure -- that message from Vice President Mike Pence which did echo the failures that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson talked about during his trip to the region last month. Pence went on to say that these failures have amounted to nothing but broken promises from Pyongyang and more provocations. A defense, really, of the line that the White House has been putting out there that all options are on the table, including a military option, but signaling again that this era of strategic patience is over.

What really struck me, though, is the fact that you have the prime minister here in Japan, Shinzo Abe, coming out and saying that Japan values Washington's position in saying that strategic patience was over. The prime minister went on to say that Japan values the fact that Washington is looking at all options and that really speaks to the gravity of the situation, a situation so grave that Vice President Mike Pence called it "the most ominous threat to the region."

It's a real threat for people who live here in Japan, which the prime minister is well aware of and has been speaking very publicly about. He says the steps that his administration, right now, have to do with securing and protecting people in Japan as the U.S. talks about charting this course forward in terms of dealing with North Korea.

The Japanese government is actually looking at what it could do to extricate Japanese citizens from the Korean Peninsula should that become necessary. They also recently conducted a missile evacuation drill right here in Japan. That was after a missile test conducted by North Korea just last month when they launched four projectiles at once, three of them landing off the coast of Japan, in a training exercise that was meant to simulate hitting U.S. bases right here in Japan.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also, earlier this week, pointed out the possibility that North Korea could carry out a chemical attack in the region, suggesting that they might have the capacity to mount chemical-tipped warheads to their missiles. So again, the security concern is real here in Japan and what people in Japan wanted to hear from the vice president was exactly what he delivered, which was a commitment to the security in this region here and a strengthening and a deepening of this decades-old security alliance here -- Dave.

BRIGGS: Boy, he sure did. Alexandra Field live for us in Tokyo. We should add that some speculated that the Trump administration might reverse policy on TPP. He said that, in fact, is a thing of the past. The United States moving on from the TPP. Thank you, Alex.

KOSIK: OK. With North Korea as the background, the Pentagon has launched a review of U.S. policy on the use of nuclear weapons for the first time since early in the Obama presidency. These reviews typically happen every eight years but this one is expected to look very different from the last, which was done in2010. That report said that Russia and the United States are no longer adversaries and from the mid-nineties on, the U.S. has been deemphasizing nukes as part of its national security strategy. [05:35:17] BRIGGS: But the head of the U.S. Strategic Command, Gen. John Hyten, says America's adversaries, including Russia and China, have "taken the exact opposite view, building up their nuclear arsenals." Given mounting tensions with Moscow in recent years, the new review likely to take a very different tone. The Pentagon says the final report is due by the end of the year.

Joining us now to talk about all of this, political analyst Ellis Henican, author of the "Trump's America" column for the Metro papers. Good morning to you, sir.

ELLIS HENICAN, POLITICAL ANALYST: Morning, guys -- morning.

KOSIK: Welcome back.

BRIGGS: All right, so let's touch briefly on the situation for the United States and North Korea -- one united voice. That the strategic patience, we are past that. All options are on the table. What do you make of the U.S. stance and their strategy to tone down that nuclear program?

HENICAN: Well, the tough part goes from the talking to the doing, right? I mean, clearly the rhetoric is hotter than it has been in recent years, but it's still kind of unclear about what exactly we're going to do. We all agree that all options are on the table.

BRIGGS: But is it clear that we are taking at least a different tone --

HENICAN: Absolutely.

BRIGGS: -- than the Obama administration?

HENICAN: Absolutely -- dramatically different, and that's been true in other parts of the world. But again, the underlying question it seems to be is does that make us safer, does it make us less safe, and I don't think we know the answer to that.

KOSIK: Well, I mean, we've heard from the Trump administration that President Trump is not into letting you know what his strategy is.

HENICAN: That's right, that's right.

KOSIK: In fact, he was talking on a different network about this. Let's listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't want to telegraph what I'm doing or what I'm thinking. I'm not like other administrations where they say we're going to do this in four weeks, and that. It doesn't work that way. We'll see what happens. I hope things work out well. I hope there's going to be peace but, you know, they've been talking with this gentleman for a long time.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KOSIK: OK. So if you wanted to know, that interview is going to be airing on "FOX & FRIENDS" this morning. You know, is there something to be said for not telegraphing what you're plan is? It doesn't mean -- just because we're not hearing about the plan it doesn't mean the Trump administration doesn't have one.

HENICAN: There are two possibilities here, right? One is that there is a plan and we just don't want to reveal it for strategic reasons, and the other possibility is we have no idea what we're going to do.

BRIGGS: Well, no one has any idea what they're going to do --


BRIGGS: -- if, in fact, there is a sixth nuclear test, so that is a --

HENICAN: Exactly.

BRIGGS: -- difficult situation.

HENICAN: Exactly.

BRIGGS: We're clearly leaning on China, hope for some --


BRIGGS: -- economic leverage there and we'll see about that. But let's talk now about transparency in this Trump administration. So it comes down to two things, really. Tax returns, which the Trump administration has said they will not return -- release because they're under audit, and here is what Sean Spicer says about not making public the visitor logs to the White House -- listen.


SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think it's the same policy that every administration had up until the Obama administration. And frankly, the faux attempt that the Obama administration put out, where they would scrub who they didn't want put out, didn't serve anyone well.


BRIGGS: OK, so don't hold your breath on taxes, but what about the faux transparency regarding the making public of White House visitors log?

HENICAN: Listen, I'm for transparency and most of us are, right? I mean, we want to know what our government is doing. While it is correct that the Obama plan did not reveal every single person that came, it revealed the vast majority of them. There was a policy in place that says we're going to tell you every one except these couple of categories. You know what, I'm for more instead of less and so I don't like it anytime they close the books on this stuff. KOSIK: You know, and it's not -- obviously not just the visitor log issue, it's the -- it's the tax return issue. That drum beating again --


KOSIK: -- for President Trump to release his taxes. Keep in mind, though, federal law requires that an audit happen on the president's taxes every year. But in this case, OK, could President Trump maybe release his taxes in previous years?

HENICAN: Well, if you ask could he, yes. The answer is he could release any of these years. There is nothing about an audit that requires these things to be held secret. I just think that a judgment has been made in -- about previous years that there's stuff in there that's more damaging than the political pressure that's being dealt with now.

KOSIK: And speaking of political pressure, it was interesting to see one particular senator, Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, at a town hall --

HENICAN: It was rough.

KOSIK: -- as he tried to defend the president.


KOSIK: Watch this.


SEN. TOM COTTON (R), ARKANSAS: As far as I'm aware, the president says he's still under audit.


COTTON: It doesn't take a lot of effort to find out where Donald Trump has connections overseas. He normally puts his name on buildings.


KOSIK: Something tells me you're not going to see members of Congress jump to his defense on this again --

HENICAN: No, no, they're --

KOSIK: -- at least at a town hall.

HENICAN: No, and this is in the middle of Trump country, right?

KOSIK: Right.

HENICAN: This is not -- that's not blue America down there. No, I mean people would like to see their president's tax returns. [05:40:02] BRIGGS: Well, there's some dozen Republican lawmakers that have joined Democratic calls for him to release them.

HENICAN: Yes, still a few.

BRIGGS: The question is there are two fronts in which are applying pressure. One is the public, and that's town halls. The other one is Democrats saying if you want tax reform, if you want a big bill to cut taxes --


BRIGGS: -- you will release your own tax returns. Which of those has a more likely -- is a better strategy to get them?

HENICAN: You know, I'm not sure --

BRIGGS: Will either work?

HENICAN: I'm not sure either one of them is going to work --


HENICAN: -- to tell you the truth. I mean, in the end, if you're -- if you're Trump, right, and you say listen, what is the damage to me of releasing this and what is the damage of not releasing it. I think the calculation has been made pretty clearly that, you know what, I don't want to release this stuff, so I am not holding my breath on it. If it gets out, it will get out one of two ways. Either it's going to get leaked and we should get busy on that, by the way.

BRIGGS: Which breaks federal law.

HENICAN: Which breaks federal law, although it may not break the law to accept the leak, just to commit the leak, OK? Not to be too technical with you, my friend. Are we urging leaks, by the way?

BRIGGS: Trumpesque, urging leaks -- yes.

KOSIK: All right, Ellis --

HENICAN: Leak away.

KOSIK: -- thanks so much for joining us this morning.

HENICAN: Good to see you guys.

BRIGGS: Thank you, sir.

HENICAN: Watch out for those tax returns.

KOSIK: Yes, right. President Trump's policies are threatening the U.S. travel industry. That's according to a new report that forecasts a huge drop in visitors. One study forecasts a decline of 10.6 million travelers over this year -- and not just this year but next year, as well. That's a seven percent drop according to Tourism Economics, which is a forecasting firm used by the travel industry.

And what it says is that the drop will also cost the U.S. economy more than $18 billion in lost revenue and about 107,000 jobs as companies deal with slowing demand. Researchers say even though the president's new travel and immigration policies would affect just a fraction of all travelers, the rhetoric -- oh, the rhetoric has hurt the U.S. brand.

A big reward now on the table in the manhunt for the suspect on a murder posted on Facebook. The victim's family with a message for their father's killer -- that's next.


[05:46:15] KOSIK: Police in Cleveland say the search for suspect Steve Stephens is now a national manhunt. Stephens is accused of fatally shooting 74-year-old Robert Godwin on Easter. He then posted a video of the murder on Facebook. The victim's grieving family, talking to CNN, had a surprising message for Stephens.


ROBERT GODWIN JR., VICTIM'S SON: And all I want to see is him brought to justice. I want my -- I want my family to have closure. It just -- it's a hole in my heart right now. But one thing I do want to say is I forgive him because we all sinners. If you are out there, if you're listening, turn yourself in.


BRIGGS: Police say the fugitive, Stephens, is still considered armed and dangerous. Several reported citings, including one in Philadelphia, have not panned out and a suspected ping or signal from Stephen's cell phone in Erie, Pennsylvania also turned out to be a false alarm.

KOSIK: A special election today to fill a Georgia congressional seat could have national political implications. Eighteen candidates are vying in a so-called "jungle primary" to fill the House seat vacated by Healthand Human Services Secretary Tom Price. Eleven of them are Republican but Democrat Jon Ossoff is leading in the polls. Democrats are hoping to steal the seat in Georgia's sixth congressional district that's been red for decades.

BRIGGS: Ossoff can win the seat outright by getting morethan 50 percent of the vote. If no one cracks 50 percent the top Democrat and Republican will face off in a run-off. President Trump recording a robocall in a last-ditch effort to derail Ossoff, telling Georgia voters the only way to stop "Washington liberals from taking your congressional seat and your money and your safety is to vote Republican." Samuel Jackson making some robocalls for the Democrats in that race.

KOSIK: This is going to be a nail-biter.

BRIGGS: This will also be a big issue on "NEW DAY" today -- Chris Cuomo talks about it. Chris, here's the thing. President Trump lost -- or won that district by 1.5 percent --


BRIGGS: -- so if, in fact, Ossoff does not win isn't he likely to underperform what Hilary Clinton did?

CUOMO: Maybe. I mean, we'll all have to see, you know. These types of races are tough to predict --


CUOMO: -- because you have very thin turnout, you know. It's not even a main election season. But you're asking the right question. We'll get a little bit better perspective on it this morning by talking to Ossoff. He's going to come on. What's his reaction kind of being, you know, a newbie here, a tyro in the game and having the President of the United States bringing the heat, not just with robocalls but on twitter? But we'll take a look at that and why it may matter overall.

You know, the big influence in Congress really starts at the state legislative level because they're the ones who pick the districts. And all this talk about gerrymandering and redistricting, that's about what states do and that's why those losses for Democrats need even more attention.

All right, so we're doing that and then we have three other big points. One is what are we seeing develop in terms of White House United States strategy for the Asia-Pacific region? It's not just about whether or not we do a preemptive strike on North Korea. What is the leverage with China? How can Japan be used? What is the relationship here? What does it mean with Iran? It's very complicated. We'll take you through it because that's the analysis that matters.

Then we have two more tasty bits. The first one is this Alex Jones drama.

BRIGGS: Oh, yes.

CUOMO: How people know who he is from Infowars. The president, seemingly a fan, called in during the campaign and said you'll be proud. Now in this custody battle -- we never like to traffic in people's personal problems if we can avoid it in politics but he's made it an issue, you know, in a custody battle, saying that's just performance art.


CUOMO: What does that mean to his audience? Is that a legit thing? We have two big lawyers, Toobin and Dershowitz, on to talk about it. And thenwe're going to talk about this phantom of disclosure -- transparency. Do the taxes really matter and, if so, why?

[05:50:05] KOSIK: Chris Cuomo talking about tasty bits. We'll be watching. BRIGGS: Thank you, Chris. We'll see you in a bit.

CUOMO: That was my gift to you this morning.

BRIGGS: We always need one.

KOSIK: Yes. All right, let's talk Netflix. It is one of the hottest stocks on Wall Street and its subscriber numbers, they are climbing even faster than its stock price. I'll tell you more when we get a check on CNN Money Stream. That is next.


BRIGGS: President Trump offering his congratulations to Turkey's President Erdogan for winning a referendum that grants him sweeping new powers. This, despite objections from Turkey's opposition and voting irregularities witnessed by election monitors.

"The New York Times" offering a blistering editorial on Erdogan this morning saying, in part, "His victory is expected to prevail, leaving Turkey in the hands of an erratic and vengeful man and the world wondering whether a nation that for decades has served as a crucial bridge between Europe and the Muslim world can possibly have a stable and prosperous future under someone with so little respect for democratic structures and values."

[05:55:18] For the latest let's bring in CNN's Ian Lee, live in Istanbul. Good morning to you, Ian. Now that these international election monitors have noticed and noted these election irregularities where does the story turn from here?

IAN LEE, CNN REPORTER: Well, right now, Dave, the Supreme Electoral Board is going to review all these discrepancies and issue a final statement within 10 days after the last poll closed. But this is a real damning report from these European monitors. The OSCE saying that it wasn't a level playing field and a lot of criticism towards 2.5 million votes that they say are questionable.

One of the monitors saying that "If there were so many irregular envelopes and irregular votes that are actually not valid concerning to the law, then the referendum would maybe have a different outcome than we know." So he is questioning the actual outcome of the referendum and that's what we're hearing from opposition parties who are calling for this referendum to be null and void.

But we also are hearing that President Trump called President Erdogan to congratulate them. They talked about Iraq and Syria. President Trump also thanking President Erdogan for his support in the action he took in Syria. But this differs from what we're hearing from the State Department, who drew concern about that these reports coming from the European monitors. Also telling the president to uphold the freedoms and liberties of the Turkish people, Dave.

BRIGGS: A tough situation for the U.S. It needs their support but can't condemn what went on during this election. Ian Lee, thank you. KOSIK: All right, let'sget a check on CNN Money Stream this morning. Good morning. Global stock markets are struggling this morning. We're seeing Dow futures pointing lower as well and we're seeing steep losses in European stock markets, and shares Asia closing mixed overnight.

Investors seem to be shifting their focus away from geopolitical concerns now and they're kind of focusing on profit reports from big U.S. companies. We are in the middle of first quarterearnings season. Bank of America and Johnson & Johnson report before the opening bell today.

There's also some concern over comments Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin made to the "Financial Times." Mnuchin says the original August deadline for tax reform, that it's not realistic anymore because of the failed Obamacare replacement bill. He tells the paper, "It started as an aggressive timeline. It is fair to say it is probably delayed a bit because of the health care." Money from Obamacare was supposed to go to --

BRIGGS: Taxes, yes.

KOSIK: -- tax reform. Netflix is close to hitting a major milestone, 100 million subscribers. The streaming service wrapping up 2016 with a record 19 million new members worldwide. Going into this year, Netflix had a total of 93.8 million people watching. It expects to hit the 100 million mark this week. Investors are loving the growth, too. The stock is up 20 percent this year and almost 35 percent over the past 12 months. You can get yourself a share at $147.

All right, procrastinators, listen up. Today is tax day, three days later than normal due to a holiday in Washington, D.C. Now, those tax reforms are due by midnight local time as well as any remaining money you owe to the government for 2016. If you haven't filed yet and you need more time, file for an automatic six-month extension, but if you owe money, you'll still pay a small fine.

All right, we've got to go. Thanks for joining us. I'm Alison Kosik.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" starts right now.


SPICER:I think the people understand, you know, how successful the president has been and how much he's paid in taxes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is very basic. Why doesn't he release his tax returns?

COTTON: As far as I'm aware, the president says he's still under audit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This whole tax reform idea is going to go absolutely nowhere unless there's a lot more transparency in this administration.

PENCE: North Korea would do well not to test his resolve.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When the president says "America First" does that mean without our allies?

TRUMP: We'll see what happens. I hope there's going to be peace.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to make this individual's world very, very small.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A cross-country manhunt for a cold-blooded killer.

CALVIN WILLIAMS, CLEVELAND POLICE CHIEF: He committed a heinous crime and we want to get him off the streets.

GODWIN: All I want to see is him brought to justice.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Tuesday, April 18th, 6:00 here in New York.

The Trump White House on the defensive over transparency, refusing to release any of the president's tax returns. And the administration is being sued for not releasing visitor logs, and those would allow the public to know exactly who is going in and out of the White House.

CUOMO: The context matters here. Then-candidate, and before that, citizen-Trump railed on President Obama to release the logs, to be more transparent. You'll remember he campaigned on "drain the swamp."