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South Korea Condemns Neighbor's "Provocative Action"; U.S. Military: North Korea's Missile Test Failed; Trump: North Korea "Disrespected" China With Failed Launch; Trump Administration Contradicts Own Stance On North Korea Talks; Trump Wants To Cut Personal And Corporate Taxes; Estate Tax May Be Eliminated In New Tax Plan. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired April 29, 2017 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello again. Thanks so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield in Washington D.C.
North Korea fires a missile and sends a message to President Trump and to the world, it will answer to no one.
The president marking his 100th day in office with a massive campaign- like rally later on. This after dismissing the benchmarks measure of early success. We'll look at the administration's early victories and stinging failures.
And a day of divisions, protests and rallies are planned across the country. Some in support of the president. Many angrily opposed. The largest gathering next hour in Washington, D.C. and descending on the White House.
So let's begin with North Korea's latest missile test deemed a failure by the U.S. military, the missile traveled just over 20 miles but its message of defiance has swept the globe.
CNN's Paula Hancocks is in Seoul where South Koreans are keenly watching the rising tensions between Pyongyang and Washington -- Paula.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fredricka. Yes. This is being condemned by South Korea, by Japan, by Washington. We have seen from one U.S. official telling CNN that they believe this was a medium range missile that North Korea was testing potentially one which is solid fuel launched from a mobile launcher.
This really seems to be what Pyongyang is trying to perfect at this point, the mobile launching of missiles, which obviously is far more difficult to detect, far more difficult to track and this is what we are seeing.
But obviously not failure exploding in midair, didn't actually leave Korean territory, but of course, the fact that they are still continuing to carry out these missile launches concern many. Now we know that it came just after the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held that special meeting within the U.N. trying to rally the troops around the United States trying to consolidate support for stronger sanctions, for implementing fully the sanctions against North Korea.
We also know that the USS Carl Vinson, this is the aircraft carrier is now in waters off the Korean Peninsula. According to the South Korean Navy, it is currently undergoing military drills with them. That's been happening this Saturday.
We've already had a response from North Korea as well saying that they called this a reckless action having the USS Carl Vinson back. They also had a very strong message for three countries saying South Korea will be submerged in the Sea of Fire.
Japan will be reduced to ashes and the U.S. will collapse. So clearly the rhetoric we're hearing from North Korea is not calming down -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: All right. Paula Hancocks in Seoul, South Korea, thank you so much. So President Trump had some strong words about the failed launch saying on Twitter just yesterday North Korea disrespected the wishes of China and its highly respected president when it launched though unsuccessfully a missile today bad.
CNN White House correspondent, Athena Jones, joining me now. Athena, any more from the White House on that?
ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fredricka, not so far, but you heard the heated rhetoric coming from North Korea and there is this tough talk we've heard in recent days from the Trump administration as well.
The question is -- there's new tough talk, but is there a new tough plan for how to deal with North Korea and what will it entail? We've heard Trump administration officials talk about how all options are on the table.
We heard the president earlier in the week talk to Reuters about how there could be a major military conflict with North Korea. The bottom line is you hear from everyone that diplomacy is what's preferred.
Diplomatic talks because the military option is a much more dangerous option. It's not like that strike the president ordered several weeks back on the air base in Syria. This is much more dangerous.
You have, of course, a nuclear armed North Korea and U.S. allies in the region like Japan, like South Korea to think about because they would be in the line of fire should the North retaliate after a military strike of some sort.
So diplomacy is really the main approach. We heard Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the U.N. earlier this week talk about need to increase sanctions on North Korea, additional economic sanctions in order to increase the isolation, the financial isolation of the regime.
And of course, the president has been talking a lot and putting a lot of store in his relationship, this relationship he's developing with President Xi of China. He said repeatedly he wants to see China, North Korea's main trading partner, step up pressure on North Korea.
But the problem here, Fred, is that, you know, years and years of diplomacy, failed talks, hasn't yielded the result that the U.S. wants which is a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.
[11:05:09]And it's not clear yet whether this latest approach, round of tough talk and talk of diplomacy will have that effect either -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right, Athena, today 100-day mark for the president in office. What's on his agenda for today? We know he'll be at a rally in Pennsylvania later. We haven't heard a peep, have we?
JONES: No. It's surprising not to have seen him tweet yet. We know he's had some mixed feelings about the 100-day mark hailing it back in October when he laid out a whole list of things he hoped to accomplish by this mark, but also saying recently on Twitter that it was a ridiculous measure.
But we know he's going to mark this day with rally in Pennsylvania, one of the states he flipped from Obama. That will be tonight in Harrisburg. Before that rally upon arriving in Pennsylvania, he'll tour a tool company and then sign an executive order.
This will be his 31st executive order and it initiates a review of the World Trade Organization. This is a body that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has called very, very bureaucratic. Another executive order signing and big rally tonight -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right, Athena Jones, thanks so much, at the White House.
All right, so let's bring in our panel, CNN political analyst, Josh Rogin, CNN contributor, Salena Zito, CNN political analyst, Jackie Kucinich, CNN political commentators, Kevin Madden and Jen Psaki, and CNN political commentator, Mike Shield. All right, good to see all of you. Thank you for joining us at the table.
All right, so Josh, let me begin with you because we're hearing from the president by way of his tweet recently. He said there will be conflict. The inference is military conflict. Is North Korea really calling the bluff on the U.S.?
JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. So here's what is happening behind the scene. The administration did do a North Korea policy review. They came up with a policy called maximum pressure and engagement. That means we tighten the noose as much as we can and then try to get the North Koreans to capitulate.
There's two problems with that, right. One, it doesn't seem like the North Koreans have no intention of capitulating. So what happens if we ramp up the pressure and then they don't do it? He's talking a big game and raising expectations and putting the U.S. government's credibility on the line. And if they don't do what he says, that's a very dangerous situation that we now have.
The second problem is China. It doesn't seem like the Chinese will put pressure on North Korea that we really want them to. Then what do we do? Will we put pressure on China? How's that going to go?
WHITFIELD: Even though by way of his tweet he's reminding China to do that.
ROGIN: He's trying to cajole them. He's trying to give them concessions and using carrots and sticks. In the end, China's agenda in North Korea is different than ours. They don't want to see the same end state that we do. They want to keep the North Korean regime in place.
That's something the Trump administration hasn't really wrapped their head around. I just came up with a third problem while we were talking. The president needs his allies, especially South Korea, to join this program.
What did he do a couple days ago? He had this interview where he threatened the South Koreans with new obligations for U.S. bases. He'll blow up the trade agreement. That's not what you want to do to get the ally to help you with the biggest problem in the world.
He's being super nice to China, our adversary, and being super mean to Korea, South Korea, our ally, there's a disconnect there. It's a problem.
WHITFIELD: All right, so Kevin, what is the issue here? Because I mean, you know, the president is talking about this maximum pressure, you know, to be applied here. At the same time, you can't go it alone as we've heard from him in his many pledges whether it be in the first 100 days or even as a candidate going it alone.
KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Just in the vein of what Josh said, I thought of another big problem. I don't think the president spent last year and a half on the campaign trail as his main goal talking about North Korea or denuclearized Korean Peninsula. That's not why he ran and it's not really why he won.
So much of this is new to this president. So much of it is taking up an agenda that he wanted to focus domestically and now an agenda is focused on national security and foreign policy. So I think one of the big problems that this president has is that he has yet -- I think it's a continuing challenge right now.
He is yet to put together a larger framework of principles on the Korean issue and how it fits into a larger national security foreign policy strategy. What you're seeing right now is a lot of what he's comfortable with which is read and react.
And his default position has been to offer very strong rhetoric with North Korea while letting some of the diplomatic professionals try and offer more words of reassurance to the world community.
WHITFIELD: He also had some interesting perspective about what he thought about Kim Jong-Un and that responsibility. At the same time, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly also spoke to CNN just after the news broke about this missile launch, and he was asked about Kim Jong-Un on his mindset and this is what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:10:06]JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Do you think that Kim Jong-Un is mentally unbalanced?
JOHN KELLY, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Heck, I don't know. He seems like someone who knows what he's doing. Clearly the number one thing in his mind is to remain in power. I think in the dynamic of a dictatorship like that, he's got to do that by convincing everyone around him.
First of all, holding them in stark terror and convincing everyone around him that he's a strong man and is willing to stand up and all of the rest of the rhetoric. The only way to decide if he's insane or not is to lay him down on a couch and have a battalion's worth of psychiatrist talk to him and figure it out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So Jen, obviously that's part of the mystery. Nobody really knows what makes him tick and what his next move might be. When Secretary Tillerson hints that potentially there could be some direct talks between the U.S. and Kim Jong-un, is that a pipe dream or is he throwing that out there because there's some real consideration that that could happen?
JEN PSAKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Fredricka, over the course of time, there's been an openness by a number of officials in the government to having talks with North Korea. There is sort of a specific use of verbiage that matters here because for a long time our position has been not without preconditions and the preconditions piece is the key piece here, right.
WHITFIELD: We saw the same thing in the last administration as it pertained to Iran as well too.
PSAKI: Sure. So I think the question as it relates to laying him down on the couch, we probably won't have that opportunity any time soon. So I think the question here becomes is really this a negotiation with somebody whether he's crazy or not crazy who is going to be negotiating over a table as Josh touched on, we don't have the same objectives. We don't have the same objectives as the Chinese.
So what we're seeing here I think is Trump using his negotiating tactic he used in business which is to throw out an extreme position, hope that throws off his opponent, but in reality it doesn't seem to be having any impact at this point.
WHITFIELD: Doesn't there have to be follow through on that, Mike? MIKE SHIELDS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, President Reagan increased defense spending and created an arms race with the Soviet Union and a lot of people in this town that freaked out when it first started, OK. President Trump said that the era of strategic patience with North Korea is over and people are freaking out.
And there is a new president in town with a new policy. I think we have to be a little bit more patient than to rate the entire policy objective already and say it's not working.
When he says things about South Korea's trade, perhaps he's doing something that has a longer goal to it so that he can then say, actually, I take that back. Now that you're doing what I want, we are going to do the trade objectives with you that we originally had.
When he's criticized for tweeting things about the Chinese regime but he's actually then pulled back and said they're not a currency manipulator because he tries to work with them behind the scenes to get them on a position on North Korea.
At the end of the day, he may say, look, I've tried everything to fix North Korea problem and it didn't work, but at least he's doing something. We've been watching North Korea become a nuclear threat for 20 years.
Previous presidents in both parties haven't involved the problems. Give him credit for trying and dealing with the criticism of what it takes to do something different to try to change the policy. Of course, he's going to be criticized for doing that because otherwise, he would just be doing exactly the same thing that --
ROGIN: I'm going to give him an A for effort. When it comes to nuclear confrontation, effort isn't enough. You want to have actual strategy that you follow religiously, right. So you could say that all of his tweets and all of this statements that he says, that sort of disrupt and contradict his own policy objectives, you can see that's three dimensional chest.
And we're not aware of the genius of how he's setting this up so it falls into place. That's one theory. Another theory is that they just are chaotic inside the White House and that actually when he says stuff that hurts the U.S./South Korea relationship that's bad for placing pressure on North Korea and concession to the Chinese that's actually not good for getting what we want out of them.
So you know, OK, let me leave up the possibility that this is all going to work out swimmingly --
SHIELDS: You put missiles into Britain, you can say he's about to start a nuclear war and we bankrupted the Soviet Union. Along the way you can say this looks chaotic, but I can tell you that there is a policy. Vice President Pence was just --
ROGIN: I was with him. SHIELDS: There is a lot of diplomatic language that's going on behind the tweets.
ROGIN: What Koreans heard was Mike Pence say we won't negotiate with North Koreans and Rex Tillerson say that we are going to. There's confusion. So if there is a master plan where this all perfect sense, nobody knows what it is including our allies, adversaries, definitely the North Koreans, right?
So Kim Jong-Il, right, we have to operate under the assumption that he's rationale, because if you just have a crazy person with nuclear weapons then we've got --
[11:15:03]JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And Trump said that last week. He said that he doesn't know. He hopes his rationale. That was interesting because he didn't go as far as some others have that he's -- it did seem like we've seen this president perhaps not mince words when talking about foreign leaders, usually allies.
But when it came to this, he was very pulled back and yet some of the comments were a little bizarre. That said, there seemed to be recognition that his words hold a lot of weight and the world is listening.
ROGIN: You say it's going that way and that's either super smart or really bad.
SALENA ZITO, CNN COMMENTATOR: When I interviewed him on Thursday, we talked about North Korea and about diplomacy. He stressed during that interview that he wanted to work diplomatic channels before there was any aggression. He called North Korea one of the things that he's most concerned about.
WHITFIELD: When you make an inference of conflict, you know, that's imminent, that upstages any kind of efforts of diplomacy whether it be behind the scenes or even overtly.
ZITO: Right, but you know, in context in our interview he said the same thing that he said to Reuters to me, but he also said ahead of that, look, diplomacy is the most important thing to me. I take the weight of the presidency very seriously and decisions I make actually impact people's lives. I thought that was a very serious --
WHITFIELD: Which is really interesting because most presidents have always said they are much more apt to reach toward diplomacy than ever encouraging any kind of military conflict. But the inference here when the Trump administration says everybody has tried it before and it hasn't brought any successful result, the inference is they're going to try to do things differently and military conflict sounds like the top of the list.
SHIELDS: Credible threat is what backs up diplomacy. We had a previous president who wanted to lead from behind and not project that kind of strength and only rely on diplomatic language to solve problems, and it didn't work. So yes, you're going to have to make some people uncomfortable by projecting power in order to bolster the diplomacy that you want to have.
MADDEN: I think a credible threat is important, but I think it also has to fit into larger, more comprehensive strategy. I think allies are also an important part of that credible threat in executing against it. I think that's one of the things that is worrisome is that even our allies started guessing. I get good cop and bad cop and that may be the strategy, but I think they need to do a better job communicating that both in the long term.
PSAKI: I think one of the concerning things that's happening right now is he's learning on the job and it's playing out publicly. When you're not a student of history, when you haven't read biographies of past presidents as he's admitted he hasn't done.
When you clearly haven't looked at how it played out with North Korea over the past several times we've gone through this, it's playing out as we speak and making threats that make it sound like he's about to take preemptive action that sends a bad message to partners and allies including South Korea and it's not clear there is a brilliant strategy behind it.
I think it's concerning because of that. I think we're giving him a little too much credit. We haven't seen evidence that there is strategy behind most of these actions.
KUCINICH: There could be credibility gap because we've seen that several times on the international stage where he's made a threat and pulled back. China is a currency manipulator. That didn't happen. There's reasons for that. I'll pull back on NAFTA. He pulls back on that. NATO is obsolete. NATO is not obsolete anymore. So there is that, OK, does he mean it this time? It's a valid question.
ROGIN: There's one ground truth that's important. North Korea will never give up its nuclear weapons. OK. They have them. They're not getting rid of them.
WHITFIELD: As long as you're in isolation.
ROGIN: How does that work out for Gaddafi, right? We could ask him but we can't --
WHITFIELD: All right, we'll leave right there. Thanks so much, everybody. Appreciate it. We'll have you back.
All right, the president is calling for one of the biggest tax cuts ever in the U.S. Up next, who could be the winners and losers if Trump's tax overhaul goes through?
WHITFIELD: All right, the Trump administration has outlined what it calls one the biggest tax cuts in U.S. history, but so far it has short on specifics. The Democrats say such massive cuts could put the economy in grave danger. The one thing both sides do seem to agree on is that some kind of tax reform is needed. Here's CNN Money's Christine Romans.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Fredricka. Real tax reform is necessary and if done right would grow the economy, but is this real tax reform? That's the question. What we have is a white paper, a wish list.
This is not a comprehensive tax plan. Not even something ready for a bill but what's in it. It's the principles of this administration. We know the president wants to cut rates across the board and simplify the tax brackets shrinking them from seven different tax brackets for individuals to just three.
Now, the White House attached no income brackets so we don't really know what it means exactly for most middle class Americans. In fact, when National Economic Director Gary Kohn was specifically asked about a family of four making $60,000 a year, here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARY KOHN, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: It's going to mean a tax cut. We will let you know the specific details at the appropriate moment. We're in robust discussions with the Senate and House leadership. They are progressing very quickly and we'll continue to give you more details as we have them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Now the details are a bit fuzzy, but already we can see from this white paper there would be clear winners and losers like companies would get a lower tax rate. Corporate America would like this. It would get a one-time tax also on foreign cash that it could bring back and potentially give to shareholders.
[11:25:10]Of course, the White House would like them to create jobs with that money, but there's no mechanism here that we can see to ensure that companies create jobs with their tax winnings.
The White House is also eliminating taxes that hurt wealthy Americans like the estate tax and the alternative minimum tax and the administration is getting rid of a tax on investment income that helps fund Obamacare. So rich investors would have more money.
So who losses? The taxpayers eventually. There are no details on how cuts would be paid for and people who use these deductions would lose those deductions, student loans, home offices, medical costs, and state taxes.
That last one really hurts blue states who have high state taxes who coincidentally or not overwhelmingly voted for Hillary Clinton in the election -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: All right, Christine, thank you so much. All right, I want to bring in Stephen Moore now, a CNN senior economic analyst and a former senior economic adviser to the Trump campaign. All right, good to see you.
So this is potentially the biggest and promise from this White House, it would be the biggest tax cut since the Reagan administration and by any account it will also cost trillions. We just saw a weak economic report on Friday. Why are you confident that economic growth will help potentially pay for these cuts?
STEPHEN MOORE, CNN SENIOR ECONOMIC ANALYST: Well, because the economy really is faltering right now. You know, we've only grown by about a percentage point and a half over the last 18 months and that's just insufficient to get America back to work.
WHITFIELD: That's down by over 2 percent last year.
MOORE: Last year the growth rate was about 1.6, 1.7 and then we have a lousy first quarter. We need to get the economy moving a lot faster. We need to get jobs up and wages up. Now, president Trump believes and I've talked to him about this. I helped him put that tax plan together during the campaign.
One of the ways of doing that is helping businesses and lowering the rates so they have more money so they can hire more workers. There was also, as Christine Romans just reported, a reduction of taxes for the middle class.
By the way, I think I have the answer to that question about how much the average family would save because one of the major provisions of that tax plan is double what's called the standard deduction. If you do that, the average family would say an income of about $60,000 will save about $2,500 a year.
WHITFIELD: So the president also --
MOORE: That's not nothing.
WHITFIELD: No. I mean, it's something. Every little bit counts for sure. The president wants to eliminate the estate tax and alternative minimum tax, both measures primarily, you know, hit the wealthy. So what's the net effect potentially of getting rid of those taxes?
MOORE: Well, the state tax is the most immoral tax we have in the entire tax system. By the way, it hardly raises any revenue. But I think about so many people like my father who spent a lifetime building a business, paid his taxes every year, paid them on time, paid them legally, and now when he dies, he's going to have to turn half of his lifetime earnings to the government. It isn't fair. You shouldn't have to pay a tax when you die. By the way, the majority of Americans --
WHITFIELD: That's usually when it reaches a certain point. Certain points, not everybody will sustain the tax. MOORE: No matter who you are, by the way, the really rich people like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates don't pay estate tax because they have estate tax planners and they've put their money into trusts. So the people that really get hurt by that tax are small businesses.
I think that the main point here is what we want to do is get jobs back. We want to get wages up. This approach has worked very well in the 1960s for John F. Kennedy and in the 1980s under Reagan when he had 4 and 5 and 6 percent growth.
At 1.5 percent growth, we're never going to get the deficit down if we do that. You make a good point, though, there need to be more specifics. One page document is not going to have enough information about what's in the plan.
I think more is forthcoming. We have to close some of those loopholes and we've got to cut some government spending for goodness sakes to help pay for this.
WHITFIELD: All right, Stephen Moore, we'll leave it right there. Thanks so much. Always good to see you.
MOORE: Thank you. Take care.
WHITFIELD: All right, coming up, on the campaign trail President Trump vowed to be, quote, "so presidential" when he got to the White House. On this 100th day, we take a look back at how this presidency has and has not changed in terms of the president's behavior and his opinions. We'll be right back.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right, welcome back. This is President Trump's 100th day in office and he is marking this milestone with rally tonight in Pennsylvania. So has he been changed by holding the highest office in the land?
CNN's chief political correspondent, Dana Bash, takes a look at the roller coaster ride that has been Trump's presidency.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Candidate Trump's prediction about what President Trump would be like.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I'm going to be so presidential that you people will be so bored.
WHITFIELD: One hundred days in, no one is bored.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: And I want to pray for Arnold if we can for those ratings, OK.
WHITFIELD: And if this former reality TV star was traditionally presidential, he would never say this about his U.N. ambassador.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Does everybody like Nikki? Otherwise, she can easily be replaced, right? We won't do that. I promise we won't do that.
BASH: When it comes to personality, Donald Trump the president is the same guy he's always been and his supporters wouldn't have it any other way.
KEN BLACKWELL, FORMER TRUMP TRANSITION ADVISER: What's refreshing about the president is that he is heart charging and I don't want to change that.
BASH: Still, some Trumpian behavior is even more jarring coming from inside the White House. Going after judges as a candidate is one thing.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: But I have a judge who is a hater of Donald Trump, a hater.
BASH: It's another to do it as president repeatedly lashing out on Twitter against federal judges who rule against his executive orders even referring to one as a so-called judge.
Still, the magnitude of the office has changed Donald Trump in some ways. The vice president told us it was obvious from the first time he walked into the oval office.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He sat behind that desk. I could just tell from the look on his face how moved he was and the privilege that we feel, both of us, to serve our country at such a time as this.
BASH: Which is probably why the political novice is changing some of his positions as he gets a high stakes on the job education especially on foreign policy. During the campaign --
PRESIDENT TRUMP: NATO is obsolete.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I said it was obsolete. It's no longer obsolete.
BASH: Candidate Trump.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: China which has been ripping us off the greatest abuser in the history of this country.
BASH: And Trump as president.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: President Xi wants to do the right thing. We had a very good bonding.
BASH: Trump changing positions should be no surprise to anyone. After all, before he ran as anti-abortion, anti-Obamacare Republican, he had supported abortion rights and a universal health care system, which is why leading conservatives say they are relieved the president followed through on things like allowing states to deny funding to Planned Parenthood.
TERRY JEFFREY, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, CNS NEWS.COM: I wasn't sure, quite frankly, that Candidate Trump really believed things he was saying. I wasn't sure and particularly, for example, on pro-life issue but also other issues. I think when he came into office and he did the things that he did immediately, that he made it very clear he was serious about these things.
BASH: But while he may have been serious about promising not to be the world's policeman, he changed his mind as commander-in-chief authorizing military strikes against Syria.
(on camera): What do you say to voters back home to say wait a minute, this is not what I signed up for?
PENCE: I say to voters that President Trump is a man of his word. There are some that would like to see a greater American involvement in the Syrian conflict, but the president has made it clear. We had a response to that horrific attack that was measured. It was focused.
BASH (voice-over): So how much more change could we see and introspective Trump answered that himself.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I like to think of myself as a very flexible person. I don't have to have one specific way and if the world changes, I go the same way. I don't change. Well, I do change.
BASH: Dana Bash, CNN, Washington.
WHITFIELD: All right. Immigration has been a topic that's brought out strong emotions on both sides of the aisle in the first 100 days. But comedian, W Kamau Bell, believes these uncomfortable conversation actually create change. It's the subject of tomorrow night's season premiere of "United Shades of America."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm in Washington D.C. I can't think of a better place to explore our country's conflicting views on immigration.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no diverse America. There is only white America.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: America is a country of immigrants.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's bull (inaudible). Ultimately America is a white country. It's a man's game.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact is men and women are different. Women are more suited to maintaining the household. We bring a level of civilization. We are more interested in power. We're more interested in exploration and domination. I just want to bathe in white privilege.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not going to say anything. There's a lot of jokes in here. I'm not going to say any of them because I'm a nice hearted person.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. Right now in the nation's capital, activists are getting ready to march towards the White House to protest the president's position on climate change. We're live on the ground next.
WHITFIELD: Welcome back. I'm Fredricka Whitfield in Washington D.C. Right now, environmentalists from across the country are pouring into the nation's capital for what has been dubbed the People's Climate March. This demonstration intentionally held on President Trump's 100th day in office taking aim at specific policies for him administration.
I want to bring in now CNN Kaylee Hartung, who just arrived in D.C. with a bus full of protestors. She was actually riding on that bus as well from New York. CNN's Brian Todd is at the starting point of that march.
So Kaylee, let me to go to you first. You know, what are you hearing from the many people who took the journey to come here to the nation's capital?
KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fredricka, hundreds of buses are in the process of unloading right now outside of RFK Stadium. As you see this flow of people behind me, they are making their way to the D.C. metro. Next stop being the U.S. capitol where this march will begin.
Folks are making this trip from as far as Kansas even North Dakota. I've seen a lot of people from the northeast in the process of this filing behind me. Of the folks I was on the bus with coming out of Harlem, there was one man who summed up today to say it's an opportunity to show the world that people here can come together.
Because as he said the environment is one issue where gender, race and age don't matter. He wants that message to be delivered to President Trump as they try to explain to him make him understand how important they believe this issue is.
WHITFIELD: Brian, you have been talking to people right there at the march as well, many of the leaders. What are they saying?
[11:45:03]BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, they're very concerned about President Trump's executive actions that he signed recently especially the one yesterday calling for possibility of more drilling off America's coast. The executive order that he signed a few days before that questioning the legitimacy of the national monuments and calling for possibly more drilling on federally protected land.
Also they are very concerned about the U.S. pulling out of the global climate change agreement. Those are really the things that they're hitting on at this march.
I have covered a lot of protest marches. This is one of the most colorful that we ever covered. This gentleman in a horse mask and daughter in a bird get up. They're going to the White House.
Check out this guy here. This is Marcus from a theater company leading people there. He says he's going to walk all the way to the White House on stilts.
So you've got people with all different kinds of signs, slogans and symbols here and it's going to be a very, very colorful day, exhausting day because it will get up to 93 degrees. People are committed to making this march.
When they get to the White House, they'll surround it and do some chanting and other things, Fredricka, to signify to President Trump that they are not in favor of some of the initiatives he's undertaken with the environment.
WHITFIELD: All right. Thank you so much, Kaylee and Brian. Appreciate it. Very eclectic crowd, colorful there, and on a steamy, hot day, almost like summer.
All right, coming up, President Trump spoke of his secret plan to defeat ISIS, so 100 days into his presidency, have his actions made a difference in the war against the terror group? A reality check from the front lines next.
WHITFIELD: Welcome back. I'm Fredricka Whitfield in the nation's capital. As a candidate he vowed to take on ISIS with decisive military action.
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PRESIDENT TRUMP: I know more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe me. I would bomb the (inaudible) out of them.
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WHITFIELD: And President Trump has targeted ISIS, dropping a massive bomb on ISIS forces in Afghanistan killing dozens of fighters.
I want to bring in CNN senior international correspondent, Nick Paton Walsh in Erbil, Iraq, for us today. So Nick, what else has characterized the fight against ISIS under the Trump administration? NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, it's actually kind of hard to tell. You referenced that bomb in Afghanistan as far as we understand it the authorization to his commanders in the field who made the call to drop that, the largest non-nuclear device ever dropped by the U.S. in anger was actually given by the Obama administration before Trump took power.
So it is hard to define exactly what his influence has been upon this challenge that previous White House has embraced fully and put a lot of serious planning into. Here certainly in the fight for Mosul the key city in Iraq's northwest that was ISIS's biggest place they held when fully in controlled that has continued on pace.
A lot of civilians caught up as the fighting goes into dense urban areas and in Northern Syria a push to encircle Raqqah, the key city in Syria. When does that siege get under way? In each of these things it does appear that Donald Trump's let the previous administration's planning continue.
Behind the scenes there's been greater permissiveness for rules of engagement and conduct in the field for rules of engagement, but basically let previous plans continue and not disrupt them. That was one potential fear.
Of course, possibly there may be more of a focus on Raqqah speeding up. Suggestions perhaps he's keen to put his mark on the anti-ISIS campaign as quickly as possible. It's been 100 days of business as usual. ISIS losing and it isn't clear exactly how that's changed under the new White House -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right, CNN's Nick Paton Walsh, thank you so much in Erbil. The next hour of the NEWSROOM starts after a short break, but first, CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, has this week's "Living to 100."
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SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: When you think about reading the idea of being able to focus on something in particular that's not a big screen, not a device, it can be a benefit. There have been studies that have shown that it can help reduce your stress levels, help improve your attention levels and possibly be overall good for your mental functions.
You could reduce your rates of cognitive decline up to 32 percent. This is significant and fascinating to see how the brain responds even if the body is sitting still looking at the pages. For example, if there's a scene you're reading that's an active scene here, your brain called the motor cortex responsible for movement may start to light up.
If it's a stimulating part of the book that you're reading your sensory cortex allows you to see may start to light up. Some interesting studies showing you don't have to read a book, I recommend this one by the way, you can actually hear books. You can listen to an audio book, for example, and that can have some of the same beneficial effects we're talking about. The more you read the more you know, the more you learn, the further you'll go. That was a different doctor, Dr. Seuss, but regardless it will help you live to 100.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: North Korea has just launched another ballistic missile.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're not looking to pick a fight, but don't give us a reason to have one.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: There's a chance we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Obamacare, we're going to repeal it, we'll replace it. We're going to get something done.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The American health care act -- it's important to work together.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have the votes?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now I'm a no.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As of now, I'm still a no.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love being a no.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The best thing I think to do is to pull this bill. I will not sugarcoat this. This is a disappointing day for us.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated? We will build a great wall.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no way that Mexico can pay a wall like that.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: The wall is going to get built.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So help me God.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: The newest member of the United States Supreme Court.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm humbled by the trust placed in me.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: And I got it done in the first 100 days. (END VIDEOTAPE)
WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome.