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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Trump Decries 100-Day Marker; New Polls Find Trump Approval Near Record Lows; Interview with Sen. Elizabeth Warren; Ivanka Trump Heads To Berlin For Women's Conference; U.S. Sends Nuclear Sub To Korean Peninsula; Interview with Gov. Chris Christie; Bill O'Reilly Breaks Silence In Podcast; Chechen Journalist Receives Threats For Exposing Torture. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired April 24, 2017 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:02] JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: I thought this timeslot came with better parking. THE LEAD starts right now.
A big development on that big beautiful wall tonight. President Trump could be backing down from a standoff against Democrats and his previous position of pushing funding for the border wall. Maybe he will put it in September. One of his biggest critics in Washington, Senator Elizabeth Warren, will be here live to weigh in.
Military might, its morning in Pyongyang. A U.S.-guided missile submarine is now heading to the Korean Peninsula as President Trump tonight tells a conservative gathering he is not so sure Kim Jong-un is as strong as he says he is.
Plus, "shaken" and "surprised," Bill O'Reilly breaking his silence tonight after sexual harassment claims and evidence cost him his job as the face of Fox News.
Good evening and welcome to a special prime time edition of "The Lead" in which we're marking President Trump's first 100 days in office. I'm Jake Tapper.
With historically low approval ratings and zero pieces of major legislation signed into law, President Trump has empirically had a disappointing first 100 days. Perhaps, that's the reason he recently tweeted about the, "ridiculous standard of the first 100 days."
It is a standard first established by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1933. FDR passed so many major laws in that first 100 days, humorist Will Rogers remarked that "Congress doesn't pass legislation anymore, they just wave at the bills as they go by." That is certainly not been the case with Congress and major legislation during this 100 days.
Congress is more like one of those dungeons in the "Saw" movie franchise and no bill gets out alive. The only reason I bring up the 100 days concede is that you know who was one of the biggest boosters of the 100-day standard?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: Just think about what we can accomplish in the first 100 days of a Trump administration.
Just think about what we can accomplish in the first 100 day.
Think about what we can accomplish in the first 100 days.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: To help voters think about what they could accomplish in the first 100 days, candidate Trump in October released the 100-day action plan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: On November 8th, Americans will be voting for this 100-day plan to restore prosperity to our country, secure our communities and honesty to our government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Well, now the president says it's a ridiculous standard. He's changed his tune on this marker. This very conceit that he promoted with his 100-day action plan, which is not really a surprise, because President Trump often heralds his flexibility. Take NATO, first he said as a candidate, NATO is obsolete.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I said, here is the problem with NATO. It's obsolete, big statement to make when you don't know that much about it, but I learn quickly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Now on day 83, as commander in chief, standing next to the head of NATO, he said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I said it was obsolete, it's no longer obsolete.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Magic. Or the unemployment numbers that he so decried as a candidate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I read every time it comes out, I hear 5.3 percent unemployment. That is the biggest joke there is.
The unemployment number as you know is totally fiction.
(END VIDEO CLIP) TAPPER: Fast forward to day 50 when the very same Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that unemployment under President Trump was down to 4.7 percent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I talked to the president prior to this and he said to quote him very clearly, they may have been phony in the past but it's very real now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Then, of course, there is one of the most popular campaign promises.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You're going to have such great health care at a tiny fraction of the cost and it's going to be so easy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: So easy until day 39.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Now, none of this is to say that President Trump has not been busy. He has been. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch is now Justice Gorsuch who was then military strike against Assad and Syria, two sets of immigration bans, both of which have been stopped by the courts.
And, of course, President Trump has signed more executive orders than any Oval Office occupant since World War II. 25 executive orders to be exact, rolling back regulations and exerting executive powers on issues ranging from trade to taxes. Although, now that I mention these executive orders --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We don't want to continue to watch people signing executive orders because that was not what the constitution and the brilliant designers of this incredible document had in mind. We need people that can make deals and can work, because right now in Washington, there's total, absolute gridlock.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: We're actually approaching another moment of potential gridlock right now and a possible government shutdown this week so one of those people that can make deals would be really handy right about now. [21:05:06] And with the shutdown deadline looming, there is breaking news tonight that President Trump may be willing to wait for funding for that wall. Senior White House Correspondent Jeff Zeleny is live for us on the North Lawn.
And, Jeff, how much of a deal breaker was funding for the wall for the president? I guess it wasn't one.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Jake, as it turns out, it's not much of a deal breaker at all, even for something that was a central promise, a central promise of that campaign to build the wall. Tonight, just a couple hours ago, the president met with a small group of journalists, conservative journalist here at the White House.
He says, "Look, if that fund doesn't happen at this point, it can come in September on the next round of budget talks." But even as this is all happening, the White House is so focused on one thing, a countdown to 100.
ZELENY (voice-over): President Trump breaking bread at the White House tonight with two of his sharpest GOP critics, Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. It's a gesture a senior administration official tells CNN to repair relations with two influential Republicans and an acknowledgement the president needs all the allies he can get. Never mind the president calling the first 100 days a ridiculous standard. He and his White House were in overdrive today.
TRUMP: Do you hear me?
ZELENY (voice-over): From a morning Oval Office conversation with astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
TRUMP: Welcome to the White House.
ZELENY (voice-over): To a lunch meeting with U.N. Security Council ambassadors, invited for a rare session at the White House, where North Korean nuclear threats weighed heavy.
TRUMP: This is a real threat to the world, whether we want to talk about it or the not. North Korea is a big world problem. And it's a problem we have to finally solve.
ZELENY (voice-over): The White House had one goal in mind, showing the president in action. Privately mindful that his accomplishments fall short of the promises made last fall.
TRUMP: On November 8th, Americans will be voting for this 100-day plan to restore prosperity to our country, secure our communities and honesty to our government.
ZELENY (voice-over): As he nears the 100-day mark of his presidency this week, Trump's approval rating at 40 percent is lower than any president in the history of modern polling at this point. Tonight, the White House is facing two critical questions as it tries to engineer a turnaround.
TRUMP: We are going to build a great border wall.
ZELENY (voice-over): Will the president demand that a signature pledge be included in a spending bill that must pass by Friday to avoid a government shutdown? And will the president go ahead with a tax reform plan that dramatically cuts the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent?
TRUMP: We're trying to get it down to anywhere from 15 percent to 20 percent.
ZELENY (voice-over): The president may unveil his tax plan on Wednesday. But Republican leaders tell CNN it could be dead on arrival if it increases the national debt. The president, whose friend insist is increasingly enjoying the job, made time for a moment of levity as he talked with Peggy Whitson as she broke the record for the longest time in space by a U.S. astronaut.
PEGGY WHITSON, NASA ASTRONAUT: Water is such a precious resource up here that we also are cleaning up our urine and making it drinkable. And it's really not as bad as it sounds.
TRUMP: Well, that's good. I'm glad to hear that. Better you than me.
ZELENY: So, Jake, we are seeing here this week what officials probably are calling a flood the zone strategy. They are trying to show all kinds of examples of action and motion and introductions and speeches, including the introduction on Wednesday of his tax plan.
But, Jake, that is already being met with so much skepticism from Republicans because it would simply add to the national debt here, but this is week is one of proposing things. At some point, some of these bills actually have to pass. Jake?
TAPPER: All right, Jeff Zeleny at the White House for us. Thank you so much.
Joining me now to talk about this and much more is Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. She has a new book titled "This Fight is our Fight: The Battle to Save America's Middle Class." Senator Warren, thank you so much for joining us. Appreciate it.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARRANT, (D) MASSACHUSETTS: Thank you for having me. I'm glad to be here.
TAPPER: I want to get to your book in a second, but first, 100 days. What grade would you give President Trump?
TAPPER: An F?
WARREN: An F. Look, he's a man who ran for office promising he was going to be there to help working people. That was going to be his number one, number two, number 10 goal, right, all the way through. And so what has he done? Well, first, he assembles a team of billionaires and bankers and hands the keys over to them. Says to Goldman Sachs, you figure out how to deregulate the economy. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?
Then he signs off on all of these executive orders. It's not just the fact that they are executive orders, it's what they actually do. So he signed off on one that makes it easier for government contractors to cheat their employees out of their wages. He signs off on another one that makes it easier for employers who kill or maim their employees to hide that.
[21:10:05] He makes it easier for investment advisers to cheat retirees. And then for me the one that summarizes it all was Trump care. When he embraces this health care plan and says he's going go all the way in and it had three main features. Part one, knock 24 million people off their health care.
TAPPER: Well, some of them might be voluntarily gone.
WARREN: Well, they're going to be gone, knocked off.
WARREN: Number two, raise costs for a lot of middle class families, and why? For number three, so that you could provide tax cuts for handful of millionaires and billionaires. I don't know anybody who thought the real problem in health care in America today is that millionaires and billionaires don't have enough tax cuts. He promised to deliver for America's working people and what he has delivered is a gut punch to America's working.
TAPPER: You write extensively in the book about the Democratic Party and how it needs to attract voters who have essentially been overlooked once you went for President Trump.
A new Washington Post/ ABC News Poll find that 67 percent of respondents believe the Democratic Party is out of touch with most people in the U.S. That's a higher number that say that about the Republican Party. Among those who identify as Democrats, 44 percent say the party is out of touch. What's going on?
WARREN: I think the whole notion of parties and party identification is actually starting to shift. I think what's happening in America right now is where the real energy is, it's just in the grassroots. And a lot of the grassroots is a very progressive grassroots. Its saying, look, we get it. The game is rigged. It's rigged in favor of those at the top and rigged against the rest of us. And we want some accountability on that. We want to see a government that works for the rest of us. TAPPER: All right, Senator Warren, stick around. We got a lot more to talk about with you when we come back, President Obama, Bernie Sanders. Lots more to discuss with Senator Warren, stay with us.
[21:15:44] TAPPER: And we're back with our politics lead, President Trump has had a busy week ahead as he marks 100 days in office. Some milestone he wants to embrace but now claims as, "artificial".
Back with me is the Senior Democratic Senator from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren. She's out with her 11th book titled "This Fight is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America's Middle Class". Senator, thanks again for being here.
So you're writing your book that Hillary Clinton lost because middle and working class voters did not think she was sufficiently committed the fighting for them and you quote, "Where it mattered in the vote tally, where America had been hit extra hard by lost jobs and declining opportunities our side hadn't closed the deal. Shame on us."
I've heard a lot from voters in those states, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, who -- to this day, have no idea what Hillary Clinton's economic message was. Did you ever think that during the time? And did you ever express it to the campaign?
WARREN: So, look, I'm somebody who talks about this stuff I believe in. And that's what I did as loudly and as vigorously as I could. And I get it. The campaign was trying to work through as best they could, what they thought would be the right way to reach the most Americans.
The real question now for me is not would have, could have, should have, it's what we're going to now. And it's -- this first 100 days, I mean, this is a milestone. I get it. It's partly about he's not following through on his promises, but is this actually making a difference.
And the difference he is making is he is making it harder and harder on working families. So it's the focus on how are we going to be in the fight for the next 100 days, in the next 100 days, and the next 100 days? Look, I get it. Democrats do not have a majority in the House or in the Senate. We have to use other tools to fight back.
TAPPER: So, Bernie Sanders is campaigning for a Democratic candidate in Nebraska who opposes abortion rights. Now, I know you are working hard to promote female candidates, especially female candidates who support abortion rights.
When you talk about your party being at such a minority, I mean I think it's the worst position for the Democratic Party since like the 1920s or something that when you include all the state legislatures, you lost as well. Is it right for Senator Sanders to reach out and support Democrats who oppose abortion rights? WARREN: My position on this is really clear. I've been very loud about this. I am pro-choice. I have been pro-choice for a very long time.
TAPPER: Because everybody else have to be?
WARREN: Look, I am vigorously pro-choice, but I want to make clear is at the federal level. We may be in a fight over this before the end of the week. Remember, the Republicans over and over and over keep sticking back in that they want to de-fund Planned Parenthood, that they want to make the decisions about what kind of health care women are going to get access to. Keep in mind, the last time the government was shut down at the Federal level, what happened was it was Ted Cruz and it started with de-funding Planned Parenthood.
TAPPER: Right, I get that. That's where you are, but I guess that my question is if your party needs to grow, does there need to be a big tent strategy that brings in pro-life Democrats as well?
WARREN: So, I understand where I am and that not all my colleagues agree with me and not everybody who is a Democrat agrees with me and that's OK with me. We got to have people in, but we've got to be in the fight. And I am in the fight on choice. I am in the fight on economics, because I think this is the heart of where we are as a party. The Republicans, the 35 years now have basically worked on a government that more and more and more works for those at the top.
Cut taxes for those at the top, deregulate for those at the top and kick dirt in everybody else's face. What we have to do as Democrats, and what I talk about in this book, how to do it? Is we got to be in this fight for working people. And that means working people all the way.
We got to be in this fight in order to argue to make the investments in education, in infrastructure, in basic research, to have trade policies that are going to work for working people. We've got to be in that fight.
TAPPER: So, I want to ask you one last question, and I'm interested in your answer both as a law professor and also as somebody who is at Harvard for a long time. This is big issue going on about conservative pundit, Ann Coulter, and whether or not she has a right to speak at Berkeley. She was invited by the Berkeley Republicans. Former Vermont Governor and DNC Chair Howard Dean twitted last week, "Hate speech is not protected by the first amendment." Is that true?
[21:20:04] WARREN: You know, look, Ann Coulter has just gotten a much bigger platform because someone tried to deny her a chance to speak. My view is let her speak and just don't show up. If you don't like it, don't show up.
TAPPER: All right. Senator Elizabeth Warren, it's a pleasure having you.
WARREN: Good to see you.
TAPPER: Good luck with the book. It's good to see you, again. Thank you so much.
Talking for the first time since being shown the door at Fox News, what is Bill O'Reilly saying he is sad about?
Then, it's mid morning in North Korea as the world watches and waits for how Kim Jong-un will celebrate another big holiday. Tonight, President Trump seems to be mocking the dictator. Stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome back to "Lead." We got lots to talk about with the political panel tonight. Let me start with Congressman Kingston, a Trump supporter.
So, White House official told CNN that the president will not insist on funding for the wall in the spending bill to keep the government running this week, but border security could satisfy the president at this point. Is it fair to say the president blinked? How would you interpret it?
JACK KINGSTON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No. I think it's a step in the right direction. I think the American people know where he stands.
[21:25:03] They also know that we're at a 17-year low in illegal border crossings, so he is making progress. But they also know Washington right now, it's very difficult to get things done, even if you're trying to implement a law that was passed and supported by Chuck Schumer in 2006. That is building a border security fence.
So, you know, even under those circumstances, the majority -- the minority leader can oppose his own legislation which he supported. But Mr. Trump is working. The American people acknowledge that. Progress is being made, but it's just not one fell swoop the way we'd all like to see it.
TAPPER: Well, I think this was much bigger than the 2006 legislation, but I take your point on border security.
David Gergen, let me ask you. How is it that we have a Republican White House, a Republican controlled Senate, a Republican controlled House of Representatives and we're still talking about a possible government shutdown?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, that's a question many Americans are asking. I think tonight, Jake, it's not just the appearance of the White House caving on the wall spending, but I think the bigger question is, what is the president now going to do about the subsidies for health care, which is also going to be part of this contentious negotiation that was ahead? Is he going to support that? Or is he going to have a fight on his hands with Democrats? I don't think we don't know.
But I do think overall, because he's been -- he has aimed so much of his politics at his base and not broadened his base. We now see in "The Wall Street Journal" poll that came out today, month in February, among independents, 4 percent more disapproved of him than approved. That has opened up now among independents. It's like it's down from 9 percent to 24 percent. He's at a real slide among independents. I think that much harder. He doesn't have as much leverage in the Congress.
TAPPER: Although, I should say, Rebecca Berg, the president support among his supporters, among his base is incredibly solid. 96 percent do not regret supporting him. That is much higher number than Hillary Clinton got in that same poll.
REBECCA BERG, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. Well, that might also reflect just how dissatisfied so many people were originally with the choice they were given between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Many of Trump's voters would not go back in time and support Hillary Clinton because they disliked her so passionately, Jake. But, I think still, the key factor here, the key indicator is Donald Trump's approval rating. And it's as low as any president has had in modern times at this stage in his presidency.
TAPPER: Yeah, lowest in modern history. I want to ask you, Ana, about Ivanka Trump, because she will be in Berlin tomorrow, Berlin, Germany. She was invited by Chancellor Angela Merkel for a women's summit.
Do you think it's possible that the first daughter, who comes in for a lot of mockery I know by the pundit class and such, but do you think it's possible that she might be able to actually help her father smooth over some of his rough edges when it comes to his relationships with Germany and other countries in the E.U.?
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, you can certainly hope so, right, that she can be a moderating influence, that she can be somebody that makes him more thoughtful, that she can give him a different perspective. I think there's no doubt that she is a poised, intelligent, successful woman.
She is -- yeah, she's -- let's not make a mistake. She was born on third base. You know, this is not somebody that was pulled up from the straps, but that doesn't matter. You can still be born rich and be successful. You can still be born rich and be a failure. She has succeeded. She's multitasker. She's -- you know, she's a well accomplished woman. So hopefully she can use those talents.
Now, what she has got to watch, though, what the entire family has got to watch is these blurry lines between the Trump brand, the Trump business, the Trump purses, the Trump shoes and the Trump presidency. That is a steady drip, drip, drip that has been hounding this family since they campaigned, during the transition and now during this first 100 days that, yes, feel like dog (ph) years, but it's only 100 days and it's not going to go away. We saw it today --
NAVARRO: -- with the State Department talking at Mar-a-Lago. TAPPER: Yeah, let's talk about that. The State Department -- a State Department website got a lot of attention today for plugging the president's Mar-a-Lago resort. It was on the State Department website, also on the website of the U.S. Embassy in the U.K.
I think it was taken off one of these websites, but still was on the U.S. Embassy to the U.K. when I last check on it.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's outrageous. I mean, it's completely outrageous. And part of the thing that it's shocking to me with few exceptions, you don't hear conservatives shouting about this. One of the things you want to be able to rely on the conservatives for is limited government, clean government, small government. This is outright kleptocracy as best as I can tell. You literally have somebody who says, "I -- my house, my business is the winter White House." This is an ad.
JONES: I mean, you would pay a billion dollars for this ad. It's on the State Department thing. Now, listen, is that making America great again? I don't think so.
BERG: And can you imagine if the shoe where on the other foot, we had President Hillary Clinton in office and the State Department was hawking the Clinton Foundation, a non-profit conservative would be outraged.
[21:30:03] TAPPER: Well, they were --
KINGSTON: Well, let me say this.
TAPPER: Go ahead. Yes, Congressman.
KINGSTON: Let me say this. There is actually outrage inside the White House.
JONES: Are you outraged?
KINGSTON: I am outrage, but I want to say this Van.
BERG: That's his outrage face.
KINGSTON: I'm extremely happy that the White House reacted immediately. The thing came down. But I also want to point out, this is actually part of $72 million Clickbait campaign that the State Department had previously engaged in.
It was not done under the Trump administration and its part of what they're trying to fair it out the waste in government silly programs. For example, you probably heard, go see the forest near you ads. I think they're silly. I think they're stupid. Those are the kind of things that --
(CROSSTALK) NAVARRO: The president of China having been there. It references Prime Minister Abe having been there. It references things that happen within the last 100 days --
KINGSTON: But it was done.
NAVARRO: -- while Donald Trump was president.
KINGSTON: No. It was done.
NAVARRO: There's where you lose credibility. Let us not pretend that what is true is not true.
KINGSTON: I can say -- I can absolutely tell you this is --
NAVARRO: You know, those kinds of blurry lines between personal profit and government should be something that outrages all Americans.
KINGSTON: Then you force me -- and to remind you, this is left over from the Obama administration. I tried not to --
GERGEN: Oh, come on. Come on, Jack. Come on.
JONES: Tell the truth, Jack.
KINGSTON: It's a $72 million Clickbait campaign.
JONES: But, Congressman, the part about Mar-a-Lago is not left over from the Obama administration. I think that's the point.
KINGSTON: When they put it in there -- well, listen, I'm in agreement with Van. It sounded like a real estate ad. It was stupid. It was taken down immediately for that reason. I don't think it should be up. I'm in agreement with you on that. But I'm saying the bureaucracy does all kinds of silly and stupid things.
GERGEN: So, wait a minute. Wait a minute. Wait a minute.
KINGSTON: I'm an appropriator.
GERGEN: Jack, hold on.
TAPPER: Jack, let David talk.
GERGEN: Jack, it's just not true you can blame this on bureaucracy. Presidents create a culture within the White House, you know that. And people take their cues from how the president acts. And when the president and his family are so close to the line, I think, honestly, exactly like they have created blurry lines, there's a very deep sense that they are being enriched during this process. And then somebody over at the State Department takes their cue and sells Mar-a-Lago.
TAPPER: All right, we have to leave it there, unfortunately. Van Jones, David Gergen, Ana Navarro, Jack Kingston, Rebecca Berg, thanks one and all.
To all of you, coming up, special town hall event on CNN, "America United or Divided?" Ohio governor and former presidential candidate John Kasich will join Anderson Cooper live at 10:00 p.m. Eastern tonight only on CNN.
Coming up, they've detained an American and threatened to blow up a U.S. aircraft carrier. What will North Korea do now that the United States is sending a nuclear submarine to the region? That's very next.
[21:36:39] TAPPER: We're back with some breaking news on our world lead this evening, new comments tonight from President Trump about North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un. The president telling a White House reception for conservative journalist, "I'm not so sure Un is so strong like he says he is. I'm not so sure at all." CNN cameras were not allowed in that reception.
His comments come after North Korea threatened to sink a U.S. aircraft carrier. And the U.S. is now sending a nuclear powered submarine to the Korean Peninsula. Also were told, it's docking as North Korea marks the anniversary of its Korean people's army, a major military milestone that could give the Hermit Kingdom an excuse to fire off a test missile.
Let's go to CNN's Will Ripley now. He is the only American broadcast journalist in Pyongyang, North Korea. Will, it's now mid-Tuesday morning there, any signs of the kind of activity by the North Korean government that we usually see on holidays?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, if there was going to be a nuclear test, it would happen pretty much right about now. And it would be first be detected outside of North Korea, an artificial earthquake. As far as we know that has not happened, but analysts do believe that Kim Jong-un could order a sixth nuclear test pretty much at any moment.
As for a missile launch, they can roll out the solid fuel missiles very easily and very quickly and given the fact that this U.S. nuclear submarine will be rolling up to put sign in South Korea. It certainly would be a day that North Korea may want to fire back, so to speak.
TAPPER: And, Will, has the North reacted to the expected arrival of this U.S. submarine?
RIPLEY: They have not specifically commented, but there was a state media article out yesterday calling the actions of the United States reckless, referring to the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group, which is also now apparently moving toward to Korean Peninsula after the that unannounced detour. North Korea continues to say that they will stand strong and defend themselves against what they feel is the threat of imminent attack by the United States.
TAPPER: And the sub's arrival also comes as North Korea holds a third American citizen in custody. Has Pyongyang yet to say why it is holding this man?
RIPLEY: It's a mystery right now, Jake. His name is Tony Kim and we know that he was here as a visiting professor on a several week assignment at a university here in North Korea that accepts foreign professors, including some Americans. And he was actually at the airport steps away from boarding his flight over weekend when authorities detained him. He was taken to an unknown location, we believe.
Base on past cases, he's probably being interrogated right now and it could be quite sometime before North Korea publicly reveals this prisoner and announces what charges he is facing. Of course, he joined at least two other Americans detained here in North Korea, Otto Warmbier, that University of Virginia student serving 15 years hard labor for taking a political banner off the wall of his hotel, and also, Kim Dong-Chul, serving 10-years and accused of spying.
This is why, Jake, the State Department really urges Americans to think twice before traveling here in North Korea, especially given the high tensions as of late.
TAPPER: All right, Will Ripley in Pyongyang, North Korea. Will, thank you. Stay safe.
Our pop culture lead now, tonight for the first time since Fox News fired him, Bill O'Reilly addressed the sexual harassment scandal on his podcast.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I am sad that I'm not on television anymore. I was very surprised how it all turned out. I can't say a lot because there's much stuff going on right now. But I can tell you that I'm very confident the truth will come out and when it does, I don't if you're going to be surprised, but I think you're going to be shaken as I am.
[21:40:12] There's a lot of stuff involved here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Oh, how the sleazy have fallen. O'Reilly promised more information in the future about the circumstances surrounding his exit. Two sources told CNNMoney that O'Reilly will be paid tens of millions of dollars on his way out of Fox News.
Coming up, he was pushed out of the transition team by the vice president and the president's son-in-law, so what grade does Governor Chris Christie, still a good friend of President Trump, gives his buddy for his first 100 days? There he is in the green room there. He will join us next.
TAPPER: Welcome back. More on our politics lead now. President Trump is approaching his 100-day in office with the lowest level of support of any modern president. He's 42 percent in an ABC News/Washington Post poll released yesterday.
Mr. Trump is planning a flurry of events this week to tout his accomplishments ahead of that 100-day marker on Saturday.
Here with me is the Republican governor of New Jersey, former top Trump adviser, Chris Christie, also a current Trump friend. Well, I think that's fair to say.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) NEW JERSEY: Absolutely.
TAPPER: And you're an unofficial adviser. You guys talk all the time.
CHRISTIE: We do.
TAPPER: What grade would you give him?
CHRISTIE: Listen, I give him a B.
TAPPER: A B?
[21:45:03] CHRISTIE: I would. I would give him a B and I would say the reason I give him B is first and foremost because of Neil Gorsuch. And I think getting that done and getting it done in the way that he did with someone with Gorsuch's integrity and his record is going to be something that will well survive his presidency.
I mean, how many years he serves. I think that's a really important accomplishment for the American people moving forward in terms of supporting his agenda. I also think some of the things he's done by executive action have been very good on the regulatory side. And I can see him in New Jersey that businesses are responding really well.
You know, and I think with some of the implementation and some of the ways that his staff has served him has not been extraordinarily good. And I think, you know, they've got to get their act together in that regard and serve the president better.
TAPPER: Well, specifically, I assume you're talking about the travel ban. Are there other items that you --
CHRISTIE: I don't think that the way the whole health care situation was handled either on the Hill or at the White House was exemplary. We didn't get the result that we needed to get now and they're going back at it again. I wish them the best of luck at it on to try to get something that will be able to pass the House and Senate and get to the president's desk.
But, you know, I've been a governor for 7.5 years. And you rely upon your staff to be able to tee the ball up and make sure that when you swing, you hit the ball and you hit the ball far. I know they're working hard at it. He's got a lot of very good people there who are working very hard.
But, you know, the American people in the 100-day markers, one of those things, no matter whether you think it's real or artificial, it's a historical marker for a long time. And, you know, people start to judge you. They judge governors and presidents by how many touchdowns you put in the end zone.
CHRISTIE: They'll put touchdowns in the end zone. The president knows how to do that. He's got to make sure that we get everybody focused on the task at hand.
TAPPER: Is there anybody in the White House that has ever run a government before that you know?
CHRISTIE: Run a government, I don't think so.
TAPPER: I mean, in the way that you run the New Jersey government.
CHRISTIE: No. There's certainly no governors that are in the White House.
TAPPER: Well, how about with experience in government before?
CHRISTIE: Well, listen, I think that some of -- that's Rick Dearborn for instance, who's -- he's Deputy Chief for Legislative Affairs. Rick has a long history on Capitol Hill as with Sanders and Sessions. I think Rick is very competent guy and so has knowledge of government. So that's one person that I know for sure and I worked with Rick during the transition.
TAPPER: Fair that there aren't enough though? Is it fair to say there aren't enough people?
CHRISTIE: Well, I think that -- listen, time will tell. I mean, everybody is taking a different appropriate. They're taking a different approach. We're going to see if that approach is effective or not in the long run. So far, I think not having a number of people there at the upper level who know how to do those things is creating a delay. Now, let's see if it bars them from doing things. Right now it's just creating a delay.
But the thing that keeps moving this administration forward is the president and the president's, you know, charisma, the president's push for what he wants to get done. He believes in certain things and he continues to talk about those things. And I think that's the main driver of this administration is the president. But the president needs to make sure that he has got people pushing behind him. TAPPER: I've heard people say that one of the biggest mistakes that the Trump team made was during transition when Jared Kushner and Mike Pence took over the transition from you and threw out your plans and started from scratch, and obviously, the transition was a rocky period. Is that a fair criticism?
CHRISTIE: I don't know, because I wasn't involved intimately in what they did after I left.
CHRISTIE: And so it's hard for me to gauge that, Jake. I could tell you that during the time that we led the transition, we put together a really deep, detailed, effective plan in the likelihood that Donald Trump was going to become President Trump.
CHRISTIE: So I'm proud of the work that we did. And I think they decided to go in a different direction. That was clearly their choice to be able to make. I have great respect for the vice president. We worked together as governors. There's somebody in the White House, by the way, who has run a government --
CHRISTIE: -- in Indiana. Vice President Pence did a great job in Indiana. And I've great respect for him and that's why when the president asked him to take over the transition during the post- election phase, I didn't have a problem with it because of who he asked to replace me, which was the vice-president who had a lot of experience.
TAPPER: So, you were appointed to chair a White House commission on the opioid epidemic, which I know is an issue you've been very active in New Jersey. The president twitted about the border wall today. He wrote, "The wall is a very important tool in stopping drugs from pouring into our country and poisoning our youth and many others. If the wall is not built, which it will be, the drug situation will never be fixed the way it should be."
You're an expert on the opioid epidemic or in government trying to push solutions. How much of it is drug dealers from Mexico or from wherever and how much of it is big pharma pushing opioids in a way that's irresponsible?
CHRISTIE: Well, I think it's a bit of both, Jake.
CHRISTIE: I think, you know, there's no doubt that the cheap, pure heroin that is coming up from -- over our southern border is replacing opioids. The dynamic is this for people that really studied it and we have in New Jersey. Four out of every five heroin addicts start on prescription opioids, four out of five.
TAPPER: They get a prescription from the doctor, they hurt themselves, they're it at some sort of pain.
CHRISTIE: And they get addicted almost immediately. And people who have an addictive personality or addictive disorder, they get addicted almost immediately, but then they can't get the opioids or they're too expensive.
[21:50:05] And the problem that the president's talking about is the cheap, pure heroin that is coming up that is so much cheaper than the opioids, Jake, that people immediately then become heroin addicts with all of the criminal aspects that are attached to that, with the infectious aspects that come to that and the death.
I mean, in New Jersey last year, four times the number of people who were murdered by a gun died of opioid overdose.
TAPPER: That is insane.
CHRISTIE: Three times the number of people died in automobile accident, died of an opioid. Three times the number of people died in automobile accident were killed by an overdose of opioids.
So, it's a combination of the two. And I think what we need to do, and that's why in New Jersey, we now have a law that says, "When you go first to a doctor and you get opioids, no more than a five-day supply on your first prescription." They were giving 30-day supplies of this stuff and it gets people hooked and it's one of the things we have to deal with. We need to deal with interdiction at the border. We need to deal with much better education of our kids.
We're back in the '70s in education in terms of the mode. They've made pamphlets of the department of education.
CHRISTIE: We have young children.
CHRISTIE: But they don't read pamphlets.
TAPPER: No, pamphlets not the way to do it.
CHRISTIE: If it's not on their smartphone, if not part of social media, they don't get it. I'm going to reach out to our folks and our friends in social media to say, "How can you help in educating kids about the dangers of opioids, the dangers of drugs?" And the third piece is treatment. We need to make treatment less stigmatized than were broadly available --
TAPPER: And the Step Down Program so people can get off the prescription painkillers instead of going into heroin.
CHRISTIE: And sometimes its medication-assisted treatment as well, Jake, is really important.
TAPPER: You'll come back and talk more about the opioid epidemic, I hope, because we want to cover more, a lot more this year.
CHRISTIE: We will.
TAPPER: Thank you so much. It's good to see you, Sir, as always.
Brutal cell phone video showing the alleged abduction and torture of a gay man in Chechnya, now reporters who cover the story are dealing with terrifying new threats to fall out. Next.
[21:55:30] TAPPER: Welcome back to "The Lead." I'm Jake Tapper. Our buried lead now, that's what we call stories that we do not think are getting enough attention. Last week, we brought you the story of hundreds of gay men in Chechnya allegedly being rounded up and brutally tortured by local authorities. Chechnya, a majority Islamic Republic is part of the Russian federation.
Now, a prominent Russian reporter who first exposed this crackdown says she's gone into hiding after receiving death threats. Abandoning her Moscow apartment and planning to leave the country.
CNN'S Matthew Chance is in Moscow for us, who will be joining us now live. Matthew, you spoke to the journalist at the center of this. What can you tell us about the threat she's facing?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, in Russia where journalists are routinely beaten up and even murdered for their work, you have to take these kinds of threats very seriously. They come after all the reporting of that -- those allegations of the crackdown against gay men in Chechnya. Conservative clerics, Muslim clerics in that region are calling for retribution against the instigators of the report.
One independent Russian newspaper has been singled that. Its editors have said that the threat is an incitement to the massacre of journalists. And that newspapers lead reporter on Chechnya now tells me that she's fleeing the country.
CHANCE (voice-over): This is what's happening on the streets of Chechnya, the lawless Russian Republic where gay men are allegedly being abducted and tortured. CNN obtained this cell phone video from one victim who told us of horrifying abuse.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They tied wires to my hand and put metal clippers on my ears to electrocute me. When they shock you, you jump high above the ground.
CHANCE (voice-over): Chechen authorities deny gay men like those we met even exist there. Now, the Russian reporter who first exposed the gay crackdown is s also living in fear, forced into hiding amid terrifying death threats. ELENA MILASHINA, JOURNALIST: This is the first time when they got that threat, that kind of threat when 15,000 people got together in a mosque and announced actual jihad on all the staff of Novaya Gazeta and it's the last for every (inaudible).
CHANCE (voice-over): The threats made by Muslim clerics in Chechnya were rebroadcast on local television. Religious leaders are shown addressing thousands of faithful, condemning the reports of a gay crackdown and demanding retribution against those spreading what they call gossip and lies. It's a threat journalists in Russia particularly at Novaya Gazeta take seriously.
In 2006, their star Chechnyan reporter, Anna Politkovskaya, was shot dead in Moscow. Her desk is still kept as a shrine. But since 2000, at least five other journalists at the same newspaper have also been killed in mafia-style hits. A sign of how dangerous reporting in Russia can be and how grave are reporters like Milashina to continue despite the risks.
MILASHINA: The only way that can stop the people who might possibly think of murdering my colleagues is to show them that they will be not one.
CHANCE (voice-over): But then you're prepared to put your life on the line?
MILASHINA: Yeah, absolutely. That makes me much stronger than my enemies in Chechnya.
CHANCE (voice-over): Strength to defend the persecuted there in the face of the greatest threats.
CHANCE: Well, Jake, the response of the Russian authorities has been pretty unsatisfactory. Of course, there's complete denial that there is any crackdown on gay men in Chechnya.
When it comes to the threats against journalists, the Kremlin says, "It is against any action that could endanger their safety." But that's hardly reassuring in a country which human rights groups list as one of the most dangerous in the world for journalists.
TAPPER: So upsetting. Matthew Chance, live for us in Moscow. Thank you so much.
Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter @JAKETAPPER or tweet the show @THELEADCNN. That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. Be sure to tune in again tomorrow either at 4:00 p.m. Eastern or 9:00 p.m. again for another special edition of THE LEAD as we countdown the President Trump's 100 day in office.
And now, I turn you over to Anderson Cooper who is with Ohio governor and former presidential candidate John Kasich. Thanks for watching.