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French Police Foil Terror Attack; Tough Talk on North Korea; Trump Working with China on North Korean Threat; Travel Policies Discouraging Tourists; Trump Tax Returns and Tax Reform; Trumps Have Hopping Good Time. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired April 18, 2017 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: From anywhere the minute she becomes president, if she becomes president.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: She had her own incident where some woman came up to her, had flowers in her hands, wound up seeming to be more of a streaker kind of situation than anything else. But, obviously, scary. Also brings into focus something that's loomed large in this election, which is, what to do about the ongoing state of emergency. French culture, like the American culture, maybe even more so, Christiane, embracing individual liberty. They don't like the idea of a policed state. But does what just happened in Marseille and the other police discoveries in the recent months make it more likely that it will stay in place?

AMANPOUR: Yes, certainly for the next several months that's already been announced and that is something that people expect. But you're right, it is -- people are chaffing under it. But up until now they have used this to do the kinds of things, for instance, like stopping the attack that the interior ministry talked about today. They called it an imminent, violent attack and they are keen, as you can imagine, given the problems and given the heightened political tensions, to ensure that nothing further disrupts what's going on, on the continent, and particularly in France as everybody watches this election, for a trend on Sunday.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: It will be interesting to see if President Trump tweets about this, as he often does when things like this happen in foreign countries.

Let's talk about North Korea. Christiane, obviously they are saying extremely ominous things about what they say their next moves will be. How do you see it?

AMANPOUR: Well, you're right, the North Korea rhetoric has been ratcheted up very, very strongly. Yesterday at the United Nations, a very rare signing of a North Korea envoy. It was the deputy ambassador, who, amongst many other things, said that, you know, all of this -- and he basically blamed the United States, as they always do, for what he called provocative statements, provocative movers, moving their aircraft carrier and assembled battleships towards the area, basically saying, this has created a situation which makes, you know, thermal nuclear war is the word he used, you know, much more likely. And that is a very scary thing. Then, an official in Pyongyang said to the BBC that North Korea will continue to test its missiles he said weekly, monthly, yearly and that it would respond if there was a direct U.S. military attack.

Now, this kind of rhetoric is well known. We've seen it before when they get incredibly worried about what other countries are about to do. And, of course, it probably does worry North Korea that China is becoming more concerned about reigning them in, doing things like halting or threatening to halt oil shipments to North Korea, that Japan and South Korea have just had a visit from the U.S. vice president and that these ships are sailing toward that part of the Pacific. So they're watching very, very closely what moves are happening. But, paradoxically, former Defense Secretary William Perry told me just yesterday that this may be the moment to have a coercive, diplomatic engagement to reign in those nuclear ambitions.

CUOMO: Well, does your reporting support what we're hearing from the White House, which is that the allies, and now including China in that definition, are responding favorably to the saber rattling by the United States. That they believe it has forced a different disposition from the allies. There's more confidence that now is the time that something can get done.

AMANPOUR: Well, I think there is that. I think people have come out certainly now and in response to having spoken to Vice President Pence saying that they're glad this era of so-called strategic patience, which was the Obama doctrine, has been put aside by the Trump administration. Don't forget that President Obama twice sent in aircraft carriers into that region to try to deter the North Koreans and it didn't actually work. The last time there was a real coercive use of a threat of military force, obviously this is before North Korea went nuclear, was under the Clinton administration in the '90s. And that led to negotiations with led to an actual agreement. And that was considered successful. Yes, the North Koreans were sort of cheating around the edges, but not in the kind of dramatic way that couldn't have been dealt with according to those who support those negotiations. But you remember the Bush administration came in and ditched all of that and it was after that that North Korea, you know, threw out the IEA inspectors, withdraw from the nuclear nonproliferation treaty and then tested nuclear devices.

So there is an argument in the United States, should we negotiate or should we be much more, you know, militaristic? And many believe that negotiations backed by the credible threat of force, a coercive diplomatic maneuver, is good and negotiations aren't weakness.

CAMEROTA: Christiane, thank you for all the reporting of -- on North Korea, as well as the breaking news out of France. We'll talk to you soon.

[08:34:57] Well, back here, some of President Trump's policies could cost one industry billions of dollars this year. What it means for you. That's ahead


CUOMO: All right, time now for the "Five Things to Know for Your New Day."

The Trump White House on the defensive for a lack of transparency. The president's spokesman says he will not release any of his tax returns or White House visitor logs.

CAMEROTA: Number two, Vice President Mike Pence in Tokyo talking about the nuclear threat from North Korea. Mr. Pence tells our Dana Bash he's glad North Korea is hearing the Trump administration's stern warning.

CUOMO: President Trump's advisors will meet at the White House today to debate whether the U.S. should remain part of the Paris Climate Agreement. White House officials tell CNN, top advisors are split on the deal's future.

CAMEROTA: There's a nationwide search underway for the man suspected of killing a 74-year-old grandfather on Easter and posting that footage to FaceBook. Police say Steve Stephens is considered armed and dangerous.

CUOMO: The U.S. Supreme Court rejecting Arkansas' request to begin a series of eight inmate executions later this month. Convicted killer Don Davis, his life spared for now. Two other executions are scheduled for Thursday night.

[08:40:07] CAMEROTA: For more on the "Five Things to Know," go to for the latest.

CUOMO: All right, how about "CNN Money Now." President Trump's efforts to keep America secure are discouraging tourists and threatening the U.S. travel industry. That is according to a new travel forecast. CNN's Alison Kosik in the Money Center.

Alison, do we buy this? How big a hit could it be?


Well, researchers, Chris, are forecasting a huge drop in the number of visitors to the U.S., in part because of the president's travel restrictions. And that could actually cause a big blow to the economy. One forecast shows a decline of 10.6 million travelers through the end of next year. That's a 7 percent drop according to Tourism Economics, which is a forecasting firm used by the travel industry. It's going to cost the U.S. economy more than $18 billion in lost revenue. That is the forecast and about 107,000 jobs as companies deal with slowing demand. Now, researchers say even though the president's new travel and immigration policies would affect just a fraction of all travelers, it's that rhetoric that's hurt the U.S. brand.

But there is another factor keeping foreign visitors away that has nothing to do with Trump. It's the strong U.S. dollar. It surged at the end of 2016 to its highest level in more than a decade. It's been holding steady there for much of this year. So what a strong dollar does is it makes other currencies worth less when travelers exchange money. So I've got a little positive for you. On the flipside, it does make vacations to spots like Europe less expensive for U.S. travelers. So leaving you with a little glass half full.

Back to you, Chris and Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Thank you for that silver lining, Alison. Great to see you.

KOSIK: Same here.

CAMEROTA: President Trump deciding against transparency. And that could throw a major wrench into getting a big part of his agenda done. So we will get "The Bottom Line" on this next.


[08:45:53] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Why is it the case that people at the very top should get a bunch of tax breaks, should be able to hide their business dealings when everybody else pays? Everybody else gets out there and makes our roads and bridges work, makes our schools work. Let's see what Donald Trump is up to.


CUOMO: Senator Elizabeth Warren calling for President Donald Trump to release his taxes. If he doesn't, Democrat senators are now coming together to say the president's hopes for tax reform could be dashed.

Let's get "The Bottom Line" from CNN's senior political analyst and senior editor for "The Atlantic," Ron Brownstein.

Do you buy the political implication here that the Democrats won't do tax reform if they don't see his taxes?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I do, actually. I think, look, tax reform is really hard. The last time we had a fundamental tax reform was 1986 under Ronald Reagan and it took years of preparatory work to get to the point where you can align a political coalition to do it. Republicans a having a lot of trouble getting on the same page to begin with, even among themselves, between the administration, the Senate and the House all have very different visions for how this should proceed. And I think the question of how any plan would affect the president's own bottom line provides Democrats a very good starting point to say, let's keep our distance from all of this and make it only tougher for the Republicans, which, of course, is exactly what happened in the health care reform when the Republicans failed to bring over any Democrats and could not resolve their own differences and so far it's been stalled.

CAMEROTA: Well, then, there you have it. I mean then they're just going to be at an impasse in that case --


CAMEROTA: Which, obviously, doesn't work for the American people.

BROWNSTEIN: Well -- CAMEROTA: It may work for politicians because it doesn't look like President Trump is inclined for any reason to release his tax returns.

CUOMO: He hasn't even shown that he's under audit.


CUOMO: You know, you get these letters from the IRS.

CAMEROTA: I mean he has a letter -- and he has a letter from his attorney that he relies on.

CUOMO: Right, but that's not from the IRS.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely. And the IRS says, you know, we don't do that. So it's -- look, so if President Trump isn't going to do it and the Democrats aren't going to work with him unless he does it, then where does that leave this agenda?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, it -- you know, in theory -- in theory Republicans -- you know, Republicans do control both chambers of Congress. And through the reconciliation process, you know, in terms of reconciliation in the Senate, they can pass tax reform with a simple majority. So they, in theory, can do this without any Democratic support.

The problem is, as you saw on health care, is that once you basically move in a direction that denies you any Democratic votes, you essentially give every faction in the Republican caucus a veto over what happens, both the moderates and the, you know, the hard right conservatives. And the same kind of dynamic is already developing on tax reform where they have some very big issues. Is it going to be revenue neutral, as Paul Ryan said, or is it going to be a net tax cut at a time when the deficit is very large? Is it really going to avoid any net tax cut for people at the top, as the Treasury secretary has promised? I think, you know -- I think most people think that both of those things are unlikely to be true at this point and Republicans are going to find that the only way forward for them is to have a net tax cut that benefits the affluent. That may be the only way to unite enough Republicans. But that, on a policy ground, leaving aside the tax return issue, is something that's going to have very little appeal to many Democrats.

CUOMO: Right, I mean, look, you don't need to see Trump's returns to know he's in the top 1 percent or that he's in the top bracket, but this is a political device. Some are criticizes saying this is already played out. He won. It's over. But listen to what happened to Senator Tom Cotton at his own town hall down there in Arkansas with voters.


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

CROWD: (booing). COTTON: The president -- the president -- the president is also right, that this -- this was not a secondary or it's not (INAUDIBLE) in the campaign. It was a simple issue in the campaign. Hillary Clinton and her campaign repeatedly criticized President Trump (INAUDIBLE) --


COTTON: And he won the fight over it. And as far as -- as far as your -- as far as your points about -- about his relationships overseas, I would just make two replays. First, every federal office holder, every candidate for office files a financial disclosure statement.


[08:50:02] CUOMO: Now, why the senator is deciding to go all in and defend Trump on this level, that's his own political calculation. But the people there did not seem to receive the traditional explanations well.

BROWNSTEIN: Well, look, I mean the polling has been very clear that most Americans want President Trump to release his taxes. It's not an unreasonable question to ask how the policies the president is proposing would affect his own bottom line. And it is impossible to fully answer that question without more of an understanding of his finances and his tax burden.

It is also not unreasonable that that was not the -- the prime concern for voters in the election. I mean it is a binary choice between two candidates. Lots of factors go into that. And to kind of retroactively say that I won therefore everything I propose or everything I stand for is endorsed by the American people is just kind of a way over misreading of what is, in fact, the way people make decisions.

CAMEROTA: But I mean -- but I mean very quickly, Ron, do you think that -- we've had so many guests on and analysts this morning who say, you know, it's not really going to affect his approval rating. People know -- knew who Donald Trump was and it's sort of interesting to talk about transparency, but it's not going to really have any, you know, there there. But do you agree with that?

BROWNSTEIN: No, I don't agree. I mean I think, look, his approval rating is significantly lower than any newly inaugurated president in American history. And as I've said to you before, I think that is rooted, at this point, more in doubts about his behavior, temperament and qualifications than his policies and transparency and all the questions about his business are part of that equation.

CAMEROTA: Ron, thank you. Great to talk to you.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: OK, so, for something lighter, the president and Mrs. Trump teaming up with the Easter bunny and a bunch of kids for their first Easter Egg Roll. And the Easter bunny stole the show. We will have all of the mischief next.


[08:56:36] CUOMO: All right, time for "The Good Stuff."

A stranger in Ohio saves a family's life. Take a look at this. See the car. Stuck in the flood. Inside, Coleman, Abbie and their five-week- old son.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.

CUOMO: The couple's panicking. They open the door, which is a mistake. Water rushes in.

A woman suddenly appears.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Collapsed the car seat, you know, the handle, and --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pushed him through the window.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shoved him out the window and gave her -- gave him to this stranger.


CUOMO: The woman carries the baby to safety and then calls 911 and then goes back to help Coleman and Abbie, who are, of course, beyond grateful. A complete stranger coming to their rescue.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She said her name was Sandy and we thanked her. I gave her a hug and you just saved us, you know.


CUOMO: They know who she is now. They know her name and they will never forget what they -- what that woman did for their kid and for them.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh. And do you know how hard it is to get a baby out of a car seat even not in a crisis situation?

CUOMO: It was a big deal.

CAMEROTA: That's not easy.

CUOMO: She moved the whole seat. She did the right thing. Good for her.

CAMEROTA: OK, on a much lighter note, thousands of kids had a hopping good time at the president and Mrs. Trump's first White House Easter Egg Roll. The Easter bunny and his ears stole the show. And at one point, First Lady Melania Trump had to give her husband a nudge. CNN's Jeanne Moos explains. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You'd think he was a head of state rather than just a head inside a bunny suit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president of the United States and Mrs. Trump, accompanied by the Easter bunny.

MOOS: And to think that at times during the Bush administration the bunny was none other than current press secretary Sean Spicer, who this year merely posed inside the bunny, while "SNL's" Melissa McCarthy portrayed him --

MELISSA MCCARTHY, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": All right, get out of here. Get out of here. Go.

MOOS: Briefly in his bunny suit.

MCCARTHY: Just eat as much candy as you want because this is probably our last Easter on earth.

MOOS: Asked what he thought of the "SNL" portrayal, Spicer dodged --

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I'm usually long -- I'm fast asleep by the time that comes on.

MOOS: The president needed a little wake-up call.

MOOS (on camera): Oh, say, did you see the first lady nudge the president during the national anthem?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): Oh say can you see.

MOOS (voice-over): Tweeted one viewer, "is it just me or did he seem to have a problem finding his heart?"

The president whistled the start of several Easter Egg races. He signed hats and tossed them. This one handily retrieved by its owner, while a girl writing cards to soldiers seemed thrilled to find herself next to the first lady, who rewarded her with a hug. But when Melania read a book called "Party Animals," one audience member acted like one.

MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY: She's more boring than I am.

MOOS: At least she didn't try pulling the Easter rabbit's ears. The ears of a bunny have a funny way of gets around. Around the head of the gunnery sergeant who sang the national anthem, around the head of the president. Wrap your head around this.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


CUOMO: She has quite the eye, Jeanne Moos, (INAUDIBLE).

CAMEROTA: That is great. (INAUDIBLE).

CUOMO: And it was nice of Melania. That was a good spouse -- spouse points there.

[09:00:00] CAMEROTA: Absolutely.

CUOMO: A little nudge. Put your hand over your heart.

CAMEROTA: A little nudge.

CUOMO: Good thing.

CAMEROTA: Sometimes I have to do that to you during the show.

Time for CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow and John Berman.

Hi, guys.



HARLOW: I feel you.

BERMAN: Everyone needs a wing man.

All right, guys, lots of news today. Let's get right to it.