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Tillerson: U.S. Willing to Hold Direct Talks with North Korea; 1st Round of NFL Draft in the Books; Is Trump Winning Over Voters in Blue States? Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired April 28, 2017 - 06:30   ET



[06:32:56]ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: America's top diplomat says the U.S. is willing to hold direct talks with North Korea. This comes as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson shares a special U.N. Security Council meeting today on the North Korean threat.

CNN global affairs correspondent Elise Labott joins us now in studio with more.

Elise, great to have you here.

What's the latest on this?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Rex Tillerson is chairing this U.N. Security Council meeting today. It's last day of the U.S. presidency at the U.N. Security Council, and, you know, this is all in an effort to kind of bring more attention to the North Korean effort, show everybody that this is really the top priority of the Trump administration. And I think it sends not just a message to the world, but also to North Korea.

So, you have Rex Tillerson today at the U.N. Security Council calling for more sanctions if North Korea launches another nuclear test, tries another inter -- tries a test missile of an intercontinental ballistic missile, which is the long range missile that can hit the United States, but he is also talking about possible direct talks with North Korea.

CAMEROTA: And that's the real difference.

LABOTT: Yes. I want to take a listen -- or let me read you a little bit about what he told NPR last night. When he was asked about whether he would have direct talks, he said, "Our approach to North Korea is to have them change their posture towards any future talks. Obviously, that would be the way we would like to solve this. But North Korea will have to decide they're ready to talk to us about the right agenda."

And the right agenda is not really kicking the can down the road, which has been the policy for the last 20 years or so. And so, now, they're saying if North Korea were to come to the table and talk about really getting rid of their nuclear program, that would be something that they would be interested too. It's a little bit of a softening from Mike Pence, the vice president, who is just in Asia last week telling CNN's Dana Bash that it's not the right time.

CAMEROTA: Fascinating.


CAMEROTA: Elise, thanks so much for all of that reporting.

LABOTT: Good to be here.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Remember, Senator Markey, the Democrat, saying you should give North Korea a seat at the table, and was dismissed at that time. Now, a couple of weeks later, that's where we are. So, with all this hot talk about imminent conflict between Kim Jong-un, and the United States, how real is the threat?

[06:35:07] Let's discuss, next.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, there's a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely.


CAMEROTA: OK. So, that was President Trump making that ominous warning in a new interview with "Reuters", and that comes after the rhetoric between both sides had seemingly simmered down. So, how real is the threat from North Korea today?

Joining us now is "Daily Beast" columnist Gordon Chang, and CNN military analyst, Lieutenant General Mark Hertling.

Gentlemen, great to have you here.

Gordon, help us understand. Is something different happening with North Korea, or is this more of the same that we've seen, there's saber-rattling and then it dies down?

GORDON CHANG, AUTHOR, "NUCLEAR SHOWDOWN: NORTH KOREA TAKES ON THE WORLD": I think what's different is essentially you got China now thinking about what the United States would do because last Saturday, "Global Times", which is not official, but does reflect the thinking of the Chinese officials, said that China might just sit on its hands if what the U.S. did was only a surgical strike.

[06:40:04] Not an invasion of North Korea. That's actually quite stunning. And so, I think what's different now is that the North Koreans must understand that they're isolated in a way they haven't been before. CUOMO: So, let's talk about this from a military perspective general.

It's good to have you on the show this morning. We know roughly, you're dealing with a million man army there in North Korea.

We have some recent footage that just shows the scale of just manpower they have, right? This artillery attack. We want to show some of the footage of it. We know that Kim Jong-un was supposedly out there directing it. They have, you know, significant mid-range, heavy artillery that they can use. The kind they're seeing now.

They also had a little bit of a drill of what a simulate -- wow, look at that one -- what a simulated attack on America would feel like, right? We have some of that footage also?

This is what they were showing on their state television. Obviously, the United States is not easily intimated, General. But when you look at them from a military perspective, in this context, a recent CNN poll, two out of three Americans say if North Korea attacks South Korea, the U.S. should send in troops.

This is a threat assessment that Americans feel about how big a deal North Korea's threats are. But two out of three Americans, there it is, say if North goes after South, the U.S. should send in troops.

Are you surprised by that number and what are the military realities?

LT. GENERAL MARK HERTLING, FORMER ARMY COMMANDINGGNERAL, EUROPE AND SEVENTH ARMY: I'm surprised it's so low, Chris. We have a treaty with North Korea. We have -- I'm sorry, with South Korea. We have soldiers over there, about 28,000.

The Korean peninsula has been under conflict since 1953. There's a reason Vice President Pence was standing in the demilitarized zone and not a border last week.

Having served on the Korean Peninsula, this is an active threat. And I think the current administration is trying to get some new ideas by reading a lot of old books, and that's a very good thing, to take a look at history and what various administrations have done. But we have plans to reinforce Korea in case of conflict, in case the North attack South.

But this is going to be an extremely bloody conflict, with the amount of artillery that the North has to fire on Seoul, Korea. It's been mentioned so many times on this show.


HERTLING: Chris, you know, I reinforced Korea with a brigade when I was a younger colonel and we landed in Busan, drove all the way up the continent of South Korea to get to our war positions in the North. There are active plans to do this. They are practiced every year. There's war games going on right now, and it's because of the conflict between the North and the South.

CAMEROTA: So, Gordon, that leaves us to what Secretary of State Rex Tillerson just said. That he's open to having direct talks with North Korea. How significant is that? How big of a change is that?

CHANG: Well, it certainly is a change from what the vice president said just a week ago during his trip to Asia. And I think what we had, you know, President Trump saying that there would be major conflict, that I think is trying to intimidate the North Koreans because Tillerson and Nikki Haley, our ambassador there, are going to try to get a sanctions resolution through the Security Council and I think what they're doing is they're trying to intimidate the 15 members of the Council to say, look, if don't actually impose tougher sanctions and enforce them, you know, we have other options.

CAMEROTA: But does saying -- does President Trump saying we could have a major, major conflict with North Korea, does that work to intimate the North Koreans?

CHANG: Oh, I think so, because they don't know really where Trump is coming from. They very well may say, look, this is what we've heard before, but Trump is a different type of president than what we have seen from the last three. And basically he's signaled -- Trump has signaled there's going to be new policies unlike what we've done before. That's got to scare both the North Koreans and the Chinese.

Chinese have actually been very cooperative over the last couple of weeks. I think that's because Trump has got them with the missile attack on Syria.

CUOMO: And they turned back cargo from South Korea, what Gordon is reporting now that we'll sit on you are on hands if you attack. Them saying, according to Tillerson, that they said to the North, if you test another potential nuclear warhead, we will sanction you. That's all new.

But just to let people, you know, kind of marinate on this a little bit, General, what would a conflict between North Korea and the United States and its South Korean allies look like?

HERTLING: It'd be ugly, Chris. It would be extremely ugly, much worse than anything we've seen in the last 50 years probably.

But first, let me go back if you can, because what you're seeing I think the administration attempting to do is bring all elements of national power together in one shot. It is the military power. They stationed units out there. They put units on the peninsula at high alert.

They have forced the diplomatic issue with visits by the vice president, the secretary of state, the secretary of defense. Number three, they've got information going on in the U.N., and that's good.

So, the economy piece too, slamming them that way will help as well. All four elements of national power going against this.

CAMEROTA: OK. Gentlemen, thank you very much for all of the information.

[06:45:01] CUOMO: All right. Much, much lighter topic, but important to many. Draft night in America.

The Philly boo birds. That's where the NFL draft was. That's Roger Goodell. He is hearing it. He did not seem to mind, though. It was the big night.

We have details of who the big winners were in the NFL on draft night in the "Bleacher Report" next.


CUOMO: The first round of the NFL draft is in the books. Some teams are happier with their picks than others, as is often the case. What are the dets?

Andy Scholes has more on the "Bleacher Report".

My jets? Nah.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Do you like it? Jamal Adams, some people considered him the top player in the draft, Chris. So --

CUOMO: That's what they said, he was the best football player of the position. But is that really a game changer for the Jets at safety?

SCHOLES: You never know. He could be a great player for a long ways to come, and that's one of the best parts about the draft. It's always great, because no matter what team you are a fan of, you could be optimistic about the future.

The draft also a good opportunity to say hello to Roger Goodell.



ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: Come on, Philly. Come on. There you go.


SCHOLES: You would have thought by that reception, the draft was in Boston not Philly.

Well, defensive end Myles Garrett out of Texas A&M going number one overall of the Cleveland Browns. Then the Chicago Bears, surprising everyone, trading pick number two to select quarterback Mitchell Trubisky out of North Carolina.

[06:50:03] And let's just say, Bears fans not happy with this. The reaction from their watch party was priceless. No one really saw that coming. You can watch rounds two and three tonight -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: I was at an Aerosmith concert once in Philly where it was the same reaction from the crowd, and Steven Tyler gave them a middle finger salute and walked off.

So, I think --

SCHOLES: Well, Roger Goodell, a little more gracious, right?

CAMEROTA: Yes, that's exactly. That is my point. Thank you very much, Andy.

SCHOLES: All right.

CAMEROTA: All right. Up next, they did not vote for President Trump, but is he winning over people in the bluest of the blue states? We've talked to them next. .


CAMEROTA: President Trump closing in on that 100-day milestone, and CNN traveled to three deep blue states and spoke with voters who say they're anxious and agitated about the president's policies.

CNN's Kyung Lah has our next "Red, Purple, Blue, First 100 Days."


KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Across California's fields --


LAH: -- and its cities --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A hundred days of "I can't believe this is happening".

LAH: --- to the East Coast states of Maryland and Massachusetts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At this point, staying out of World War III seems to be the number one priority.

LAH: The blue states where Donald Trump overwhelmingly lost, 100 days into his presidency, fear that they're losing their country, but promising a fight.

The state of California, the largest, bluest state in the union, leading the fiercest opposition.

[06:55:04] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think he can be impeached soon enough.

LAH: At Millie's coffee shop in the heart of liberal L.A., I meet Alex Martini.

ALEX MARTINI, PHOTOGRAPHER: He frightens me, Trump frightens me.

LAH: For the first time in this millennial's life she's afraid the president will hurt her. She is on Obamacare.

MARTINI: With type 1 diabetes, specifically, I cannot physically survive without insulin, and without health insurance, this device is almost $4,000. It is almost embarrassing to be an American.

LAH: I head 400 miles north to California's Central Valley. Trump's immigration policies sowing fear in the fields that feed America.

(on camera): How many people have their papers?

ERIC ROMAN, FARM WORKER: Nobody. Just me. They're scared to go out, scared to go to the store because they think immigration is crawling around.

LAH (voice-over): Farmer Joe Del Bosque, the son of Mexican migrants, couldn't get enough workers this year, problems that escalated after the election.

JOE DEL BOSQUE, FARMER: When he talks about mass deportations, that makes me nervous. Putting a wall on the border, that makes me nervous.

LAH (on camera): And that affects your bottom line?

DEL BOSQUE: It does, because we can grow the crops but then we can't pick them.

LAH (voice-over): Three thousand miles away lies Baltimore, Maryland, a majority black city where only 12 percent voted for Trump.

On a stormy morning, I meet Melissa Bagley, Baltimore born and raised.

LAH (on camera): Do you think the President has any insight into your life?

MELISSA BAGLEY, NON-TRUMP VOTER: Absolutely not, and I don't think that he cares to.

LAH (voice-over): Baltimore's challenges, unemployment, crime and budget short falls. Bagley has lived three all of them.

BAGLEY: The fact that young black boys are falling like flies and I've given birth to five of them, my city is screaming out for help.

He spoke about being a president for all. I said wow. But he's failed. He's failed according to what he promised, he has failed at this point.

LAH: On the other side of Baltimore works Dr. Crystal Watkins- Johansson, neuropsychiatrist at Johns Hopkins University. An economic world away, but she too feels shut out.

CRYSTAL WATKINS JOHANSSON, JOHN HOPKINS UNIVERSITY NEUROPSYCHIATRIST: From what I hear and what I see, I don't think that I'm represented at the table.

LAH (on camera): You don't see yourself at the table? What happens to you in four years?

JOHANSSON: I think that's where the anxiety comes from, is because we don't know.

LAH (voice-over): Anxiety felt from urban Baltimore to idyllic Massachusetts. Every single congressional district in this state voted for Hillary Clinton, a liberal unity awakening activism.

Greenfield, it's Sunday and Reverend Corey Sanderson is calling on his progressive Christians to be the country's conscience.

COREY SANDERSON, CHURCH PASTOR: The truth is out there.

LAH (on camera): Do you see the church as a force of resistance?

SANDERSON: Yes, I do. I do. He may be underestimating the power in the people and in the -- in the sense of resistance against what he's been doing.

LAH (voice-over): After the service, as church members share pastries and coffee, I meet Kendra Davis, age 21, a music student, whose personal crisis collided with Trump's election.

KENDRA DAVIS, STUDENT: I actually had an abortion in January this year. I don't want that to be taken away from other women in the future throughout his Presidency.

LAH: Just days after her abortion, she joined the women's march in her town square to defend choice.

LAH (on camera): Does he factor into some of this thinking.

DAVIS: He factored in definitely because I was scared that once he became president he would make abortions illegal. It was disappointing to me he was part of my decision.

GLORIA DIFULVIO, VALLEY ACTION GROUP: Some of us have been here since November.

LAH (voice-over): Gloria DiFulvio started this grassroots opposition group in Hadley.

DIFULVIO: I don't know if it's because we have this moment where we almost had our first women president, and so now, we're kind of pissed off.

LAH: Angry but also realizing she had become complacent, even on her most personal issue, gay marriage.

DIFULVIO: The Supreme Court decision came out and that was really special.

LAH (on camera): How are you today different than before November 8th?

DIFULVIO: I'm way more involved. I am not falling asleep again.

LAH (voice-over): A repeated refrain of determination across three blue states to derail a presidency. Kyung Lah, CNN in California, Maryland and Massachusetts.