Return to Transcripts main page
FBI Releases New Information Regarding Russian Efforts to Influence U.S. Election; American Airlines Flight Attendant Gets in Confrontation with Passenger; Marches Take Place Across Country to Support Science; Trump Administration's Environmental Policy Debated; U.S. to Honor Refugee Agreement with Australia; Man who Abducted 15- Year-Old Captured in California. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired April 22, 2017 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:00] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good to have you with us this morning. I'm Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you. CNN Newsroom begins right now.
PAUL: I want to begin with you with new information on how Russia tried to influence the 2016 election. The FBI received intelligence last summer, they say, suggesting Russian operatives tried to use Trump advisers, including Carter Page, to infiltrate the Trump campaign, which means it wasn't just e-mail hacks or propaganda, but also old fashioned spy recruitment strategy.
BLACKWELL: The officials made it clear they do not know if Page was aware of Russians may have been using him because he could have unknowingly talked with Russian agents. Carter Page just spoke with CNN's Michael Smerconish. Here's a portion of that conversation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARTER PAGE, FORMER TRUMP ADVISER: What bothers me the most is the severe dishonesty, and now potentially with the FISA court action, false evidence which is obstruction of justice by definition. So that to me is my biggest concern. And if there was any meddling in the election, all of the false narrative that has been out there is really the ultimate meddling. Nothing I was ever asked to do or no information I was ever asked for was anything beyond what you could see on CNN. There's great depth of reporting, great information, nothing I ever talked about with any Russian official extends beyond that publicly available immaterial information.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: The host of CNN's "Smerconish," Michael Smerconish, with us now. Michael, good morning to you.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: Victor, how are you?
BLACKWELL: Very well, thank you. I watched the interview and Carter Page forced you to ask a couple of questions a couple of times because he didn't give direct answers to some of the most simple questions. SMERCONISH: Including, Victor, the first question that I asked,
because I wanted to establish a benchmark at the outset, so I said to him, do you care whether Russians interfered in our elections? And I think I had to ask it three different times. I thought that would be lay-up where any American would say, well, of course I care. But as you just played, what he wanted to underscore is that he thinks the bigger issue is not the fundamental question of whether Russians meddled in the election, but the leaks, the disclosures, and this whole process that we are going through now.
BLACKWELL: So let me ask you this. The broader question here, although we appreciate hearing from Carter Page, why does he continue to do these television interviews? We haven't heard from Paul Manafort one-on-one on camera and there's questions about his work before the campaign. Why does he keep doing these?
SMERCONISH: Victor, that's an excellent question. I'm almost embarrassed to tell you is on my list -- and I never got to because we have time constraints that you're well aware of, on my list was to say to him, are you represented by counsel? Because you would think someone for whom a FISA warrant was issued meaning there was a showing of probable cause would not be availing himself or herself on CNN and would only speak through a spokesperson. Now, I'll bet Carter Page's answer would be I have nothing to hide, and I'm here in the essence of full disclosure. But I think it's a great question, and I wish I had asked it.
BLACKWELL: Yes. Hopefully we'll get to that at some point. Michael Smerconish, it was enlightening in part because of what he did not say. Thanks so much for being with us.
SMERCONISH: Thank you. OK.
PAUL: All right, moving on to another story here this morning. American Airlines apologizing right now and there's an investigation underway after a confrontation on a Dallas bound flight.
BLACKWELL: Videos of the incident have been posted online, at least the aftermath of said incident. A witness says that it started when a flight attendant nearly hit a baby with a stroller, then a passenger stepped forward and went face to face with the airline employee. Here's a portion of the video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You do at that to me, and I'll knock you flat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You stay out of this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: All right, for more on what happened, CNN correspondent Polo Sandoval. As I understand it, the verbiage "go ahead and hit me" was used in the confrontation between the two men.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And Victor and Christi, it is important to point out that what we have here is a two minute and 43 second window into what was a larger incident that took place on that plane in San Francisco here yesterday. So we don't see what passengers describe as what was an initial incident in which an American Airlines employee reportedly violently grabbed a stroller from an overhead compartment and, according to witnesses, nearly struck the child of the woman you were able to see in the footage. But what we do see is we're about to play for you now, which is the confrontation between one of the passengers on the plane and an employee with American Airlines that is now off the job this morning. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[10:05:16] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, bud, you do that to me, and I'll knock you flat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You stay out of this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You get the hell off the plane.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bring it on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll knock you out. I'll knock you silly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sit down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't know what the story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't care what the story is. You almost hurt a baby. You keep looking at me and --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep it quiet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can see exactly what you did. Maybe you'll get videotaped too and be all over the news.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANDOVAL: As we understand it, that gentleman in the blue shirt, that American Airlines employee is the gentleman who is off the job. We're working right now to find out whether or not he was a flight attendant on the flight or possibly a gate agent there. American Airlines responding very quickly. I want to read you at least a portion of the statement that was released by the airline, saying, quote, "We are deeply sorry for the pain we have caused this passenger and family and any other customers affected by the incident." The statement goes on to say "The actions of our team member captured here do not appear to reflect patience or empathy, two values necessary for customer care. In short, we are disappointed by these actions."
Again, the investigators with the airline are looking into this incident to try to figure out what led to this and what prompted this kind of reaction from some of those passengers including the gentleman that you saw there. But we have to remember that this is happening only about two weeks since the United Airlines incident, so we are seeing a very different situation here in which American Airlines I think almost before the plane landed in Dallas was already posting some of these statements and responding, taking very quick action.
PAUL: Good point, good point. Polo Sandoval, thank you so much.
SANDOVAL: Thanks guys.
BLACKWELL: All right, CNN aviation analyst Mary Schiavo joining us now, she's also former inspector general at the Department of Transportation. In the past she has represented victims and families in airline lawsuits. Also the president of the International Association of Flight Attendants, Sara Nelson. Good morning to you. Mary, let me start with you. Your reaction to what you're seeing here, is this happening more often or are we just seeing cell phone video now more often?
MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: You're exactly right. It's a combination of both. This has been going on literally since after 9/11 when pretty much what the crew and flight attendants say go. And in most cases that has to be how it is. But it has been abused and abused greatly. I get calls from passengers literally every day that have been abused -- it's often gate agents -- by gate agents or flight attendants. And here we have the trifecta of trouble. You have a flight attendant with an anger management problem, and the key was his I.D. was hidden. When they don't want you to know who they are, they're gearing for trouble, a pilot who was not stepping forward and managing the situation, and sadly children. Airlines are -- I traveled with two babies in a stroller for five years. And airlines just don't like children.
PAUL: Sara, you spent more than eight years, as I understand, directing communications and PR efforts, including holding a coordinator position for United Airlines in Boston. Look, I've traveled with my children. I've never seen anything like this before. I never had an airline treat me or my children in any manner like this. But if you are on that plane, Sara, and something like this erupts, what is the protocol? And was it followed based on what we can see so far this morning?
SARA NELSON, PRESIDENT, ASSOCIATION OF FLIGHT ATTENDANTS INTERNATIONAL: First of all, I want to be really clear that I am a flight attendant and a union representative, and I do communications for the union, not for the airline.
But as a flight attendant onboard, our job is to deescalate conflict. And what I would really like to know is flight attendants are aviation's first responders, and we're charged with the safety, health, and security of the passengers in our care. And there are tens of thousands of flights that take off in this country every single day without event actually because flight attendants perform their job very, very well.
What has happened in the last 10 to 15 years is staffing have been cut to minimums, our planes are fuller than ever, tensions are higher than ever, and in the last two weeks there has been a pitting of the public against the flight crew which has given rise to other tensions.
These employees also on the job are dealing at American Airlines with toxic uniforms, pay that doesn't conform with the rest of the industry, cabin air quality events. So in these events like this when flight attendants are dealing with this, our job as a crew is to help each other out. Another crew member may intercede.
This may have started with a routine procedure by the crew getting the stroller out of the overhead bins, which would be the policy on the airline, and something went really awry. And this is not a representation of what would typically happen on these flights where flight attendants are deescalating the situations and keeping everyone calm.
[10:10:00] PAUL: So I guess my question is -- and, again, we want to be clear. We don't know what preceded what we're seeing. We don't know what the specific altercation was beforehand, Sara. But, again, when you look at this video, do you think it was handled properly once it erupted?
NELSON: No, absolutely not. This is not typical of how a crew would handle a situation like this. And, you know, I feel for that crew who was in that incident. And I feel for those passengers. This is not typically what would happen.
I will tell you that our jobs are harder than ever in doing this. But typically what would happen is that other crew members would step in, help to try to deescalate the situation, address where someone may be feeling that they were slighted. Whether that actually happened or not, the perceptions are very important to deal with.
And also help get a break if a crew member is feeling like they are starting to not be in total control of their professional demeanor. So we really lean on each other in situations like this, and even though our jobs are harder than ever, typically what crew members are doing are handling these situations in an expert manner and getting those flights up in the air in a safe way.
BLACKWELL: Mary, it appears that American Airlines has learned the lesson of the United debacle with this compassionate statement that came out almost immediately.
SCHIAVO: It remains to be seen if they really have learned or not. And what stunned me was the lack of control or the lack of intervention by the pilot. Here we see clearly a distraught woman who, if a passenger had done this and yanked something out of the overhead bin and almost hit a child, the passenger would have been booted and prosecuted, et cetera, because this is a battery. And here the pilot just stood there.
So what was stunning to me, and I think American Airlines needs to look at the whole situation. Yes, they have a flight attendant who clearly had a problem, by the way, as I mentioned was hiding his badge, and the whole situation was handled very poorly. And I cannot believe they allowed that attendant back on the flight to go on. So I don't think American Airlines has done nearly enough. And the key here is that we see a change in the attitude of passengers, and before it's fight hijackers, and now it's fight for other passengers against the crew. And the other guest was absolutely right. That's a very interesting development and there's only one entity that can stop it, and that's airlines have to treat passengers with respect and give them what they paid for.
BLACKWELL: All right.
PAUL: Mary Schiavo, Sara Nelson, thank you for your input in this and walking us through what we know thus far. Appreciate you both.
BLACKWELL: We are covering a worldwide event this Earth Day. It's the march for science. Our Miguel Marquez is in Washington, D.C. covering the march there. Miguel?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is just getting under way here, Victor. We're going to bring you everything here. It's looking like a rock concert right now. But thousands are gathering for science.
PAUL: Also, the Trump White House on the clock ticking down to 100- day milestone of the administration. The president laid out his plan in a contract with his voters. Why does he now say it's a ridiculous standard, that 100-day time period?
BLACKWELL: Also a look inside the last hideout of a former Tennessee teacher accused of kidnapping a 15-year-old student.
[10:17:46] BLACKWELL: A live look at the main stage at the rally there on the National Mall for this global event on Earth Day, the march for science, Washington, D.C. getting started right now. Much of the world already hit the streets.
CROWD: March for science.
BLACKWELL: This is the crowd in Helsinki, Finland. You see what looks to be hundreds, maybe more than 1,000 people there. Protesters have also been rallying in London, Munich, Geneva, Sydney as well. In fact more than 600 cities across the globe are taking part in the event, pushing for protesters who say that they want more evidence- based policy.
PAUL: Scientists taking note here of the president's rollback of climate change policies and big cuts to the EPA staff and budget. It's one of the things they want to talk about. CNN's Miguel Marquez at the main event in Washington, as we said. And CNN's Rachel Crane is in New York, so covering it on many different angles. Miguel, I want to start with you. What are you seeing, what are you hearing there in the early hours of this?
MARQUEZ: I want to give you a sense. This really just gotten under way in earnest. And it's part rock concert, which is kind of going on right now. It is part teach-in, which is going on in tents right near here. This is Earth Day as well, so there's a lot of earth science being done here and discussed here. And it's part protest. They say this is a nonpartisan event, but there's a hard edge of protest from where we are.
We are in the shadow of the Washington Monument. And as you come around this way, we're in the backyard of the White House right over there. Show us your signs. The signs here are some of the more creative that we've seen, and they are everywhere. It's a very, very soggy day in Washington, but it doesn't seem to be dampening the crowds here. It is just starting to gather. They'll be here for several more hours and then they will march to the capitol to talk about they are protesting the cuts, they are protesting the concerns they have about the tenor of science and the discussion of science out of the Trump administration. And many of the protests here want to be heard there in the White House.
[10:20:07] These protests happening around the world from Nepal to New York, and that's where we find our colleague Rachel Crane in New York. Rachel?
RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Miguel, you are in the backyard of the White House. Here in New York City we're right outside of Trump International Hotel, also just a stone's throw away from Trump Tower. And it's interesting to point out that this international day of action really started off as a grassroots social media campaign. Scientists speaking among themselves about their frustration with the new administration's stance on science. Thousands of people are expected to turn out here in New York City to support and celebrate science, but also defend it. One of those defenders is Bill from the Nature Conservancy. So Bill, you mentioned to me earlier that the Nature Conservancy has never marched before. So why today? Why now?
BILL ULFELDER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE NATURE CONSERVANCY: Yes, this is our first march in history in New York City. We're 65 years old. And it's about science. We're proudly a collaborative, nonpartisan organization, but we are fundamentally grounded in science. So today we're marching for science.
CRANE: Why does scientific community right now particularly feel threatened?
ULFELDER: The first thing is I think it's everybody. There's scientific community but they also are people just everywhere. Science is so fundamental to making our nation great, our health, our prosperity, our economy, our curiosity. We're world leaders. And if that's not essential fiber, we have to stand up and support science. So that's what we're doing today.
CRANE: Victor and Christi, the rally here is about to get started. Back to you.
PAUL: Miguel Marquez, Rachel Crane, thank you both so much.
BLACKWELL: Earlier we spoke with Bill Nye the science guy who is the leader of the Planetary Society. He says today big show of force is not just about the environment but keeping the U.S. ahead of the game economically. Watch. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
BILL NYE, "THE SCIENCE GUY": The science march today is about the economy as well as the environment, although it's Earth Day, and I was here for the very first Earth Day in 1970. If you suppress science, if you pretend that climate change isn't a real problem, you will fall behind other countries that do invest in science, that do invest in basic research. And it's interesting to note, I think, that Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution refers to the progress of science and the useful arts. If we suppress science, the United States will not fare as well on the international marketplace, and we will lose business.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: We also spoke with the Princeton physicist who is a climate change skeptic. He says the concerns about carbon emissions are overblown.
PAUL: Still ahead, adding to the agenda, President Trump promising a big announcement next week on tax reform. We're getting new details from the White House on what to expect.
BLACKWELL: Plus, Vice President Mike Pence in Australia says the U.S. will honor a deal to take in more than 1,000 refugees from the country, a position President Trump once called "dumb."
[10:27:33] PAUL: It wouldn't be Saturday without you. Thanks for spending some time with us. I'm Christi Paul.
BLACKWELL: Good to have you. I'm Victor Blackwell. New this morning, Vice President Mike Pence says the U.S. will honor a deal to take in more than 1,000 refugees from Australia. The agreement was brokered by the Obama administration before the election. This is the same deal that President Trump slammed in a tweet back in February. Here's the tweet, and you will see he called it "a dumb deal." Here's what the vice president had to say about it today during his visit to Australia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, (R) VICE PRESIDENT: Let me make it clear the United States intends to honor the agreement subject to the results of the vetting processes that now apply to all refugees considered for admission to the United States of America. President Trump made it clear that we'll honor the agreement. It doesn't mean we admire the agreement. Frankly, looking back on the last administration, the president has never been shy about expressing frustration with other international agreements.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: And you will remember the president's frustration over the agreement led to reports of a contentious first phone call with the Australian prime minister. Now, the White House downplayed any tension ahead of the vice president's trip, saying the two allies would reaffirm their partnership on security, on trade, and immigration issues, and they will do so during this visit.
So let's talk about President Trump's 100-day milestone because we are just a week away from it and the administration is setting up a jam- packed week as it looks to notch a few big wins before next Saturday.
CNN's Athena Jones live at the White House for us. I know this is a big push, a new push here for the president. Now questioning, though, the significance of the first 100 days, questioning that himself even after the contract that he made with the American people. So help us understand where he's coming from.
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Christi. Let's put up that tweet you're talking about. This was a tweet early yesterday morning. The president taking to Twitter to say "No matter how much I accomplished during the ridiculous standard of the first 100 days, and it has been a lot including SC," that's Supreme Court, "media will kill." So that is what he's saying now, but back in October, as you mentioned, while he was a candidate, he delivered a big speech in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where he outlined a long lists of things he wanted to do as part of his contract with the American voter.
[10:30:06] I have it right here. It's a two-pager, a long list of measures he hoped to get done in what he called his 100-day action plan. Now, he's done a few of those things. He withdrew the U.S. from the Transpacific Partnership trade deal. That was a big campaign promise. He did that very early on. He promised in this contract that he would lift restrictions and approve vital energy infrastructure projects like the Keystone XL pipeline. That's another check on that list.
Another big promise was to confirm a new justice to the Supreme Court. Some might say that's the biggest success the White House notched so far. But in several other areas not much progress has been made, chief among them of course is his promise to repeal and replace Obamacare. That's what they're trying again to do after the pretty spectacular failure a little over a month ago. Christi?
PAUL: Athena Jones, thank you so much for the update.
BLACKWELL: Let's bring in CNN's senior political analyst and senior editor at "The Atlantic" Ron Brownstein. Ron, good morning. So the president has a lot on his plate this upcoming week. One deadline that was set before his inauguration was having to fund the government by April 28th. But he's now set this deadline for something on health care that can get through the House. He also this week added an announcement on tax reform. Here's a question that he was asked about can he get it all done? Here's his response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you going to accomplish all of that?
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's going to be great. It will happen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're going to do health care and tax reform?
TRUMP: It will happen. You'll see what happens. No particular rush. But we'll see what happens. Health care is coming along well. The government is coming along really well. A lot of good things are happening. Thank you, folks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think you're going to get health next week.
TRUMP: It doesn't matter if it's next week. Next week doesn't matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: President says next week doesn't matter. What's the reporting show?
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, next week doesn't matter in the sense of it's unrealistic to have your entire legislative program completed in the first 100 days. Even in Roosevelt's case there was a second 100 days in 1935.
But it is a traditional metric. And this administration has a very mixed record approaching 100 days. Athena I think really pushed right at it. It's been tumultuous. It has been polarizing. One measure is his approval rating at the end of 100 days is the lowest we have seen for any president since the birth of modern polling in the 1950s.
And I think you can understand what they have and have not accomplished along two axes. One is the difference between executive action where they have been energetic on many fronts, although in some cases probably less there than meets the eye, versus legislative where they are struggling to mold this Republican control of the House and Senate into a true governing majority.
And I think the other axis that's important is think about where Trump's agenda overlaps with traditional Republican small government arguments, less regulation, less spending, less taxes. Generally that is where they have more alignment with the Republicans in Congress.
But the distinctive economic and racially tinged nationalism that he ran on, the America first nationalism, that's been imperfect. On immigration they're moving full speed ahead in the direction the said during the campaign, but on trade and on foreign policy as you just saw in Australia, there have been a lot of concessions to more traditional Republican thinking.
BLACKWELL: So let's take a couple of these individually. The president's announcement of an announcement on tax reform, which he told the Associated Press will be bigger in his opinion than any tax cut ever. We don't know if that's going to be true, but we have not yet seen the parameters. The White House has been walking back expectations and trying to temper expectations, saying this morning that they outlined broad principles and priorities because this seemed to have surprised some when the president made this announcement. BROWNSTEIN: Absolutely. It surprised everyone I think more than
some. The treasury secretary was talking about much more extended timeframe. This gets at a couple different points. First, you know, with Republicans talking about during the campaign and Paul Ryan as speaker even after the campaign is revenue neutral tax reform in which they offset any reductions in rates for corporations and individuals by finding deductions to withdraw so that theoretically it doesn't lose any money.
What the president seems to be acknowledging is Republicans are having enormous difficulty coming to agreement on how to do that. It really hasn't been done in a big way since Ronald Reagan and the Democrats in 1986. What he seems to be moving toward is a more conventional Republican argument, where we're just going to cut taxes at a time when we are facing, of course, very large deficits. So that may be the path of least resistance for Republicans that they can't agree on how to offset tax cuts and may move toward simply reducing revenue and having a revenue losing tax cut. But that is something that's going to make it very difficult to attract much Democratic support, obviously, and is something that's very much going to change the public debate over whether this makes sense at this moment in our budget and our economic situation.
[10:35:08] BLACKWELL: All right, Ron Brownstein, thanks so much.
BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.
PAUL: Big crowds gathering in Washington right now, getting ready to march for science. Experts who argue science is connected to the economy saying this is about more than just the environment. We'll have that conversation.
BLACKWELL: Also, details from inside the cabin where the missing Tennessee teacher and his victim, that 15-year-old student, spent their last days on the run.
BLACKWELL: Performances well under way on the stage at the National Mall.
[10:40:00] Pictures here for you of the massive crowds. We're going to show them in a moment. Live pictures here from New York here as their event gets under way in just minutes, gathering for the march for science there in New York and in cities around the world. This comes as environmental activists worry that the Trump administration's outlook on climate change and other matters of science will further damage the environment.
PAUL: So we have with us Christine Todd Whitman, former EPA administrator during the George W. Bush administration, also Stephen Moore, CNN senior economics analyst and distinguished visiting fellow at Heritage Foundation, also Carl Pope, former chairman of the Sierra Club. Thank you all so much. We should also point out that Carl also authored "Climate of Hope, How Cities, Businesses, and Citizens Can Save the Planet." This is something he wrote with former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg.
So Carl, I do want to start with you. And talk about this recent Quinnipiac poll. It was just from last month, 61 percent of voters across this country, this shows, disapprove of the way the President Trump is handling the environment. The president's recent executive order, of course, to rollback Obama era climate orders. I'm wondering, what is your reaction to that and what could something like that do, those numbers perhaps do to drive what happens in the future?
CARL POPE, FORMER CHAIRMAN, SIERRA CLUB: Well, I don't think those numbers are surprising, frankly, because most Americans understand that the quality of the air they breathe, the safety of the water their children drink, and the stability of the future climate depend on having leadership in Washington that understands the nature of environmental problems and, frankly, listens to science.
And what we have seen thus far from this administration is the decision to walk away from the future and embrace the past. That's not what most Americans, whether they're Republicans or Democrats, want to do. So I think the administration is skating on very, very thin ice when it goes out and does things like reversing a previous science based decision to keep a dangerous pesticide out of the food our kids eat. I don't think voters like that. I think there's a real risk here for the president.
PAUL: Christine, the president of course proposing a 31 percent budget cut to the EPA. As former EPA chief, help us understand what that does to that group?
CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN, FORMER EPA ADMINISTRATOR: In many ways it decimates it. It is going to stop a put a real hold on enforcement and the ability to oversight and any new science. Science is being cut across the board in this administration, whether it's EPA and NOAA, it's everywhere. And unfortunately that is what gives us our edge. That's what tells us what's safe. That's what takes us to the next generation of products that we can use with comfort. We need science and we need to respect science. And that's why these marches are going on today.
So when you see this kind of a budget cut, it has vast implications that I don't believe yet most people understand it's going to affect their communities where they have ground field sites. The monies won't be there for so many of the programs that the state and municipalities rely on in order to clean up and do the things that they want to do, which again supposedly this administration wants to give more power to states and local communities, but at the same time they're going to cut their ability to actually do those things.
PAUL: The administration also has said they want to create jobs. Bill Nye was on earlier with us, Stephen, and said that the U.S. will fall behind other countries if we don't keep up with science and we'll also lose business if we suppress science. What do you say to that?
STEPHEN MOORE, CNN SENIOR ECONOMICS ANALYST: I think the most important thing when you talk about polling, one thing loud and clear for the last five years which is what Americans care most about right now is jobs. There's just no question about it.
PAUL: But can't jobs be created by environmental policy?
MOORE: Sure. Well, that's what people said that would happen with some of these green energy policies a few years ago. And I have been to these towns where we have seen tens of thousands of coal miners put out of their jobs. And I'll tell you, those people are very angry about these radical climate change policies. And by the way, groups like the Sierra Club applauded that. But more coal miners that lost their jobs, the more the Sierra Club and groups like that applauded that and took credit for it. And so I think we need to have a balance. We can have a strong economy and a sound environment, but this idea that we're going to have environmental policies that put Americans out of work, I think that's crazy. And I think the American people are against that.
PAUL: Carl, I want to give you a chance to respond to that. Go ahead.
POPE: Very quickly. We put hundreds of thousands of Americans to work in the new clean economy. And there are far more people now employed in the solar industry than employed at the beginning of the Obama administration in the coal industry. The fact is we didn't make America great by holding onto buggy foot manufacturing. We made America great in the 1920 by embracing the automotive revolution. We're going to make America great in the 21st century by embracing the green energy revolution.
[10:45:10] MOORE: Carl, that is the reason why the Democrats lost Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, West Virginia, because those workers were victims of these policies. And I said many times on CNN, I don't think a lot of these university professors would be too happy if it was them losing their jobs, not the coal miners in America.
POPE: The people who construct wind turbines are not university professors. They are guys who could also be building other things, and they're building wind turbines, which are good jobs.
PAUL: Let's give Christine a chance to chime in here. Christine, what is it you would like to say?
WHITMAN: Come on, you have to understand that part of the reason that coal is losing and that coal miners losing their jobs has nothing to do with environmental protection and everything to do with economic decisions by the utilities because natural gas is so cheap.
MOORE: That's not true.
WHITMAN: It is true.
MOORE: That's partly true.
PAUL: Let me ask you this because everyone is touting their beliefs about what this is. Science is science. People believe that science is definitive. Christine I'll throw this to you. Why do you think people are skeptical about the definite of science?
WHITMAN: Because scientists as they're saying today in many of these rallies don't communicate very well. One of their great chants right now is "What do we want it?" Spot bases science. When do we want it? After peer review." That's not exactly an exciting chant that is going to get people motivated on the street. They have to learn to communicate as to why science is important and what it's doing for us, for the individual, how it is helping to create jobs.
You go back over history, and we've seen time and again while we have -- well, since 1985 to 2012, we have seen our use of energy go up by over 30 percent. We've seen our population grow. We've seen our GDP more than double. And at the same time we've reduced by over 60 percent our six criteria pollutants. So to say you can't have economic growth and good environmental protection just isn't right. You need to find a balance here.
PAUL: I'm sorry we ran out of time here. Christine Todd Whitman, Stephen Moore, Carl Pope, we appreciate all of you taking the time to be with us today. Thank you.
MOORE: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: A former Tennessee teacher is found in a cabin with a 15- year-old student he's accused of kidnapping. Now we're getting a look inside that last hideout.
[10:52:03] PAUL: No electricity, no cell service, nothing around for miles.
BLACKWELL: We are now getting a look inside the northern California cabin with Tad Cummins was captured. The former teacher had been on the run for 39 days along with the 15-year-old girl he's accused of kidnapping. Here with more on what happens next in this case is CNN national correspondent Dianne Gallagher. Give us an idea of where they were and where this case now goes.
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Victor, what's interesting is that they are in two very different places right now. Tad Cummins is in federal custody. His arraignment will be on Monday in California. And it's going to likely be some time before he ever comes back to the state of Tennessee. We're talking weeks, months, before he's able to because his case is in the hands of the Feds at this point.
His victim, his alleged victim 15-year-old Elizabeth Thomas is back in Tennessee now. She came back on a Tennessee Bureau of Investigations plane yesterday and eventually was reunited with members of her family. It's sort of touch and go at this point. What is interesting is we were just told this morning that a very close friend and that close friend's mother have also been sort of with her at this point. And that is of course TBI allowing them to see her. She's undergone quite a bit of trauma at this point. We're not just talking emotional and mental stress but physical as well. She's been on the run for 38 days, and seeing now the conditions in that cabin that she and Tad Cummins were living in really sort of paints a picture of just how dire this situation was at points, seeing just fleeting reminders of them on the road.
A couple tips here and there, 1,500 in total. It was just that one tip from an eagle eyed groundskeeper in California who noticed something didn't seem right and alerted authorities. But the takedown was very dramatic. There was a sniper sitting outside waiting just in case Tad Cummins came out armed and potentially trying to go out in a blaze of glory with law enforcement there. And law enforcement, the sheriff in California told us that Elizabeth Thomas went through an entire range of emotions. She was laughing and she was defiant and she was upset all in a very short amount of time. So she's been through quite a bit of trauma right now.
She's not back here in her hometown of Columbia, Tennessee. But Victor, they are ready and waiting to welcome her mostly with open arms. There have been green ribbons put all around the lampposts here in this very small town an hour outside of Nashville, Tennessee. And so they are waiting. They know it is going to take a while for her to be OK again. But they want to welcome her back and get her integrated back. Victor?
BLACKWELL: Certainly. Dianne Gallagher, thanks so much.
PAUL: CNN is searching for new heroes who are doing extraordinary work to change the world, and we need your help to find them. In fact, meet some of the people who have nominated past CNN heroes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[10:55:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I met my hero when we were volunteering.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's making a big difference for kids in our area.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is my second mom, my mentor.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I felt like it was very important for people to know about Sister Tisa (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel honored I was able to honor her in such a significant way.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was so proud of myself because I was, like, my goodness for everything that she's done for me, I did something for her, you know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Now, if you know someone who should be a CNN hero, nominate them today at CNNHeroes.com.
PAUL: We love spending our weekend mornings with you. Thank you for spending time with us. We wish you a good Saturday and hope that you make some good memories today.
BLACKWELL: There is much more ahead in the next hour of CNN Newsroom with Fredricka Whitfield right after this break.